Eight weeks ago, we Ninjas (aka this year’s Graduate Trainees) experienced our first day at Cognifide. Even then, One Cognifide Day was being talked about. As time passed, it became an increasingly hot topic of conversation, and consequently the expectations around it grew. But what is One Cognifide Day exactly?Put simply, it’s a celebration of everything that is Cognifide. It’s an annual event which brings together every Cognifide employee in our engineering centre in Poznan, Poland.
From day one, One Cognifide Day was portrayed to us as one of the funnest, craziest moments in our working calendar. At the same time, those who had been before kept an aura of mystery around it - “you’ll see” they said, with a smile on their face. We weren’t disappointed...
The opening boded well, with an introductory talk from our CEO, Miro Walker, followed by keynote speeches touching on our company’s development over the past year. Talks were relaxed and informal - particularly the final Q&A with our two founders, Miro and Stu. Billed as “ask me anything” , we shared hilarious moments with them around their first jobs, worst moments and tellingly, what was the last thing they ever actually coded.
Throughout the day, a number of activities were constantly on offer, ensuring you were never bored or lost in terms of what to do. These ranged from workshops, games, demonstrations, and masterclasses.
Everybody in the company had been encouraged to engage their passions, and involve their friends and colleagues in the process. The result? We experienced everything from competitive Mario-Kart™ racing to Polish language classes, and from bee-keeping to first-aid training. Not to mention the Japanese corner and the smart-home demo. There was music on offer: jam sessions were going on, with developers and experience analysts transforming themselves into master musicians. There was plenty for everybody, fuelled by endless supplies of delicious food.
It’s typically Cognifide not to try to tie people down or to put constraints on their experience. We were all free to create our own agendas for the day.
The Culture Bit
Culture is a fundamental pillar in every company, but especially ours, given that we employ a close-knit and entrepreneurial mindset. As new intakes, we soon figured out how deeply our common beliefs permeate day-to-day operations and relationships, but it’s hard to articulate that in our everyday actions. So One Cognifide Day featured workshops that were aimed at better defining our identity and generating original input from the people that matter, us, the staff.
We discussed what Cognifide means for each of us and through which values we would like to develop both ourselves and the company. The crucial importance of constantly challenging ourselves and innovating, as well as always working as a team, were themes that stood out in the conversation. Agreeing on these ideas and shouting them out loud (literally) helped us becoming more aware and ensured everyone’s voice was heard.
The Best Bit
Amongst all of this, what really stood out? In our opinion, and probably many others would agree, it was the getting together bit. In any company that relies on distributed teams and ongoing support services; a strong, and reliable communication infrastructure is a must. However, this does not negate the need or immense value that comes from physically meeting your colleagues, especially during fun and casual events.
The reason people look forward to One Cognifide Day is because at heart, it is a huge family gathering. It is a chance to make new friends and to strengthen existing relationships, in ways that matter so much on a human level. For some people, this event marked their first visit to Poznan, where all our technical development work is carried out, and therefore also marked a crucial step in their understanding of the business.
One Cognifide Day brings together more than just colleagues, and it involves more than just talks and activities. It helps generate new ideas, welcomes newcomers, and increases team morale. As the day came to a close, one thing was definitely clear, One Cognifide Day is actually much bigger than the day itself.
Oh, and did we mention that it was all topped off with the most fantastic party!
To read about how best to thrive in this fantastic culture, read this blog from our Global Director of Talent, Alex Anders.