How EntityOne focuses on retention, well-being and neuroinclusion
As a digital studio, EntityOne invents, designs, builds and maintains tailor-made websites, webshops and web applications.
They realise all this thanks to the open source content management system Drupal. That is why they are also happy to contribute to the Drupal community.
The quality of their Drupal platforms and their targeted and transparent approach ensures that they build lasting relationships with their customers.
In early 2022, EntityOne also strengthened itself by becoming part of the make it fly group. The support through the group’s broad digital expertise ensures that customers can be served even better and colleagues have more opportunities to grow and share knowledge.
In addition to their customers, their employees are also central; they consider it important that people are happy.
Among other things, the company ensures a good working atmosphere and working environment, open communication and a good work-life balance.
In that context, EntityOne came into contact with Bjièn.
We enter into a conversation with Hannes Tack and Christoph Demon and explain how we have further assisted them.
Hannes Tack – Agency Director
With 15 years of experience in the Drupal world, first as a Drupal developer himself, then as a technical lead and operations manager, Hannes is now Agency Director of EntityOne.
He guides both their customers and their employees to make every project a digital success and tries to make the various processes run as smoothly as possible for everyone.
Christoph Demon – Drupal Developer
Christoph is a PHP/Drupal developer at EntityOne where he is responsible for developing various projects within a team of Drupal developers.
The challenges of today’s digital studios
To start with, it is difficult to find the right people. Hannes adds: “When we talk with CxOs from other Drupal organisations in Belgium, we often hear the same story. There is a serious shortage of developers, both senior profiles and people with Drupal expertise.” People leaving an organisation are a significant cost to the company, not to mention the loss of knowledge and the cost of finding, recruiting and onboarding new people.
EntityOne is committed to retaining their people and keeping them happy. This ensures the continuity of their operations and the satisfaction of their customers. For example, during and after the corona pandemic, they want to prevent their people from ending up in social isolation at home.
However, during the development and construction of projects, EntityOne – like many other software companies and agencies – notices a number of additional operational obstacles. The company wants to deploy their people in an efficient manner, in which both customers and staff are satisfied. Deciding on priorities and managing time efficiently is crucial and occasionally challenging.
As a company that strongly focuses on the individual strengths and talents of people, EntityOne employs a number of staff with ADHD and autism. Their creative thinking and drive make them extremely valuable to the company. Christoph, with a suspicion of ADHD: “When a new project is started, I can jump on it with great enthusiasm. I also get a lot of energy out of it if I can hyperfocus on a certain task and finish it in an afternoon.”
Today, EntityOne focuses on a healthy work-life balance, building psychologically safe teams, and the benefits of clear and consistent guidelines regarding freedoms, working from home, communication, conflict resolution, and so on. Hannes: “Within EntityOne, we also want to make the matter of neurodiversity in the IT world a subject of discussion, and to signal to our people that they are welcome with us and can receive support with their challenges.”
How Bjièn made the difference
With EntityOne’s pre-existing focus on well-being and supporting their people, they want to encourage their employees. As such, Hannes wants to highlight that the software development team is not alone with their challenges, and he wants to inspire and support them with recognisable stories and tips from others.
Bjièn eventually came to light through an article in the newspaper ‘Het Laatste Nieuws’ about an event on neurodiversity in Ghent (Breaking the Silos, of which Bjièn is co-organiser).
In addition to burnout prevention and work-life balance, neurodiversity has also rightly become a topical subject, but one that too few people talk about. As a company, we thought it would be worth investing in this.
– Hannes Tack
Dietrich’s affinity with the working environments of software developers was the deciding factor in entering into the collaboration.
His keynote “ADHDeveloper – Thriving as a neurodivergent software engineer” highlights the challenges of a software developer with ADHD, a story that was relatable to EntityOne and provided the ideal opportunity to acknowledge and further discuss the strengths and challenges of neurodiversity.
In “ADHDeveloper”, Dietrich tells his personal story and highlights, among other things, the importance of psychological safety, setting priorities and avoiding excessive mental load. He also shows his personal approach and system for building and maintaining focus and achieving (personal) goals.
Hannes: “The keynote was received positively; there was a lot of recognition, not only among the neurodivergent employees, but among the entire team. Although the subject is relatively heavy, the presentation was delivered in a smooth and humorous way, making it easier to process.”
My colleagues learned that not everyone thinks or works in the same way. Ultimately, it's all about the needs of the person themselves; here it is important that the employer indicates the necessary options and makes it negotiable.
– Christoph Demon
A lasting, positive impact
By inviting Bjièn to speak about neurodiversity and ADHD, EntityOne sent a clear signal to employees that neurodiversity is recognised and valued. On top of this, they have since given their people even more the mandate to develop their ideal working environment, so that the individual strengths of the team can be used even more. In the long run, this creates a positive impact on employee well-being and the company’s retention rates.
The employees therefore started working on the matter personally, including in the field of internal communication. Hannes illustrates: “In addition to creating the necessary awareness, we have also become more concrete in our internal communication. For example, with every e-mail since then everyone knows very clearly what the intention and context is and what is expected. It used to happen that a vague email was sent with some action items that were clear to me but not to the recipient.”
After the presentation and in the period afterwards, there was still follow-up with the employees, and we shared valuable information and tips about neurodiversity, diagnostics and time management. Christoph: “I was impressed by the personal agility board that Dietrich shared. I should definitely get started with that – my todos now consist of various notebooks and lists that are scattered here and there.”
Thanks to Hannes and Christoph for the open conversation!
Do you want to focus on the retention and well-being of your team just like EntityOne? Would you like to discuss neurodiversity within your company, and discover how your software team can work together more efficiently?