They say you gotta love what you do. How many of us can honestly, genuinely and without a doubt say they love what they do? Pick me! Pick me!
You see I am one of those people that frikken love what I do, love the people I work with and most importantly love the place I work at… The Purple Group. Perhaps it is because I am not held to my desk from 8-5, which is just as well as my ADD would not allow that! Maybe it’s because I get to be creative no matter how crazy the ideas are.
You walk through the doors of this place in the mornings and you are greeted by name (my favourite is “Hey Kurty”) by two, sometimes three angels with contagious smiles at the reception. A bright, welcoming and happy reception filled with personal hand-painted portraits of all the staff pinned proudly to the wall. Thank you Idah, Phinds and Lebs.
You are then enriched by the energy of your team and the people around you as you walk down the passage. Pricing tickers visible and trades being executed from the trading desk, overhearing the personal service to clients by the epic sales team, whether you are a R50 client or R50-million, you are treated properly and professionally. Daily data discussions and comparing of different data dashboards. What is the rand doing today? What is our share price doing? But most importantly, the concern from fellow team members about how your evening was, or how that client event went the day before.
Monday cockpit meetings, as we call them, are one of my favourite things. The room is always filled with passionate, fun and inspirational people wanting to make a difference every day not just for the company, but for society. I get to sit with the CEO, Exco and Manco members… me in a room talking strategy and planning with all of these execs, the crazy thing is, they are normal people just like me. You can speak your own mind, you can run with your own ideas and the team believes and supports you. Yip, open door policy is very underrated here. No special lift to the CEO’s office. In-fact his is the smallest office and he shares it with two other execs. The CFO sits at the same desk in the same area as everyone else. #HandsOn, I call it.
Lunchtimes are great. I get to the kitchen and warm up my pre-ordered, healthy, homely meal which is delivered daily and subsidised. There is also fruit, which is delivered daily as well as a chill room with comfy couches and a yoga mat in case you need a good ol’ stretch. A little health and well-being. Oh, and the table tennis room and foosball table is a big hit. When your mind starts getting a little tired, off to play some foosball or table tennis and BOOM, energy levels are back.
Throughout the year we have various internal events, whether the men dress in tutus and hand out roses on Valentine’s Day, or we compete for best recipe at the annual potjie family day. And I’ll never forget when a bus load of us went to watch a derby match at Soccer City or the many spontaneous treats, internal product campaigns, appreciation pamper days and the list goes on.
A lot happening here. Woah, when do we work? You see, if you love what you do and promote the correct culture (which stems from the top), the work and increased productivity will follow. Seriously. You want people to want to be here! You want to be proud of the place you work at, so you will also give back, right?
We recently celebrated our year-end party Christmas party. Purplistas (the name for people who work at Purple) get flown in from around the country to celebrate as a team / family and “sho”, but do they know how to celebrate. Annual awards and long service recognition. I laughed at some mates who said for 10 years of service to their company they get the day off, or a tie or a R500 shopping voucher. Eish.
I was awe struck when three of the team members received a personalised Breitling watch for their 10 years of service. Some may say that is a little over the top . . . but is it though? These people have dedicated 10 years of their life to making this place great! Every team member who wins an award receives money and the employee of the year receives a big monetary cheque.
I was so proud walking up to receive my “Team player of the year” award as well as winning “Best Team” (marketing team). You see some companies do things for the sake of, or because it’s the norm. Here, it’s a little different. Sure the money and framed certificate are wonderful, but that feeling of knowing you are truly making a small difference to the company and culture and being recognised for it is what really gives me the goosebumps.
Dis-Chem recently listed on the JSE. It was like a cat fight between fund managers to try and secure their clients some shares before they listed. The reason I bring this up is because Dis-Chem didn’t even offer its staff or managers shares first, only upper management. I was shocked! A massive company like Dis-Chem would be nothing without their people. At Purple Group, every single employee is a shareholder; every single employee gets share options. People trump strategy, every time.
I am not really sure what I was going to write about this place, or what my point is. Perhaps the next paragraph endorses why we believe in culture and our people.
Winning! We all love to WIN, but here we love it the most! Perhaps you could call us the underdogs, the small guys making a big difference. Well, that is exactly that, David taking on Goliath. Purple Group took six major awards this year. Six! With the competitors being all the major banks, and more mature fintech companies.
- Financial Mail & Intellidex – We took #1 spot for online broker as well as #1 for TFSA account
- Accenture Innovative Index – We took #1 for the most innovative concept in SA
- Fintech Africa Awards – We took #1 spot for Africa’s best investment tech company and (one of our biggest achievements) won the title BEST Fintech company in Africa
- We then went international and won the Financial inclusion award at the Banktech Asia Fin5ive challenge, which was held in Malaysia
Hard work deserves to be rewarded, right? If you achieve your goals and KPIs you can receive a bonus every quarter. Yes, not just a 13th cheque but potentially 14th, 15th and 16th!
Fridays are my other epic day in the week. It’s when we grab a beer (well whatever drink you want from the bar) after work, put on some tunes and we all catch up on the week, have a laugh, and cheers to another week gone by. Sometimes drinks get festive and we all end up going for dinner and a couple more . . . colleagues aren’t just colleagues.
Sure it helps that work is not just a workplace, it is more like a second home. I suppose it makes sense when we spend most of our life at work and with the people we work with. So best we make the most of it and make it work. If you don’t like something, change it, challenge it, or leave! You are your life’s own author. Take risks, be bold, have fun and don’t take yourself too seriously, rather take what you do seriously.
Purple has been a client of CN&CO for nearly two years. I have been with Purple for nearly a year now and they have given me title of “Ambassador of Buzz” or “Culture Architect”. While I am humbled by those fancy titles, company culture (a.k.a. gees) isn’t up to one person. It’s a collective. And while there is still a lot of work to do, a lot of fun to have and a lot more awards to scoop, I am extremely privileged and proud to be a part of this incredible place – a place that lets you be you. This place is called – The Purple Group.