How to build culture in hybrid working times

In E&N’s first Instagram Live, we spoke to Hello Iconic CEO Alejandro Corpeño, who gave us his advice about being an effective company that takes care of its employees in this digital age. We talked about labor flexibility, about the risks of cybercrime in companies and how to retain talent.

Written by Claudia Contreras, E&N

Although many companies are returning to their offices in the region, many companies in the United States are keeping the default scheme. One of the great lessons of the 2020 pandemic is to show that remote work has been successful in maintaining and increasing companies’ productivity.

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In parallel, the next big trend in this digital age is to provide flexibility and enable people to make more time. To learn a success story in this regard, E&N created the first Instagram Liva where we learned the story of Alejandro Corbinho, CEO of Hello Iconic, a software company that was born in Honduras, but is now based in Pasadena, California. A software engineer and startup consultant, he is the founder and CEO of Hello Iconic, the software company that Alejandro Corpeño founded with Jorge García in Honduras in 2011.

From the start, although the company that Corpeño runs is digital and they already have some experience in a remote culture, most of the team has been in Honduras. “So everyone actually went to the office, but all of our clients were in the US, so we really had a little bit of working remotely, meaning we always met our clients via zoom” Corpeño explained in his first Instagram Live.

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READ MORE: Alejandro Corbinho: The Great Digital Architect of Honduras

But the world locked itself in from day to day. The pandemic has allowed Hello Iconic to expand its list. The company has 85 collaborators in Honduras, the United States, El Salvador, Colombia, Argentina and Venezuela. They started with developing Android and iOS apps, and then created multiple apps for SmartTV. Much of today’s Disney+ streaming platform is related to the development of “creative” solutions, as Alejandro Corpeño calls them. Today, they have added a large and growing portfolio of businesses in the United States: Fintech Solutions.

Culture in mixed working hours

Corbinho noted that they also had to think of strategies on how to make everyone feel part of the company, because “it’s people who are there, they depend on us and they have to be part of the culture.” To solve this challenge, physical collaboration has been replaced with interaction in Slack, an app to help organize teams and provide communication channels for each project, topic, or team. The tool allows you to be notified if you are not available at a specific time.

“We’re starting to create within Slack itself where collaborators start to notify others when, say, they’re going to move out of their office because they have to perform a task or they’re going to eat. So they warn so others also know if the person is available.” Corpeño described how this helped them improve communication if a message was not answered within 5-10 minutes.

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For this Honduran businessman, it is also important that people schedule meetings when necessary and know how to solve problems via email. “It has also turned out to be an abuse of meetings, that everything is meetings and sometimes the day is meeting after meeting, and since we all assume that it will cost no one a thing (…) we must also organize, and not everything is a meeting, there she is of Teaching people how to communicate effectively in chat messages or emails.”

Hi Iconic Sales process, the payroll process has changed too. Just as the hiring part was, before the process was experimental, today the company has a human talent manager to hire in a more structured way. “We like people to communicate, and they have very good connections because when we assign someone to a client, we don’t put a barrier between the client and the developer, unlike other companies who can only talk to the project manager. And the project manager filters everything and passes it on to the developer, and we put everyone in the same Slack group with the client.”

Hello Iconic takes into account the applicant who thirsts to constantly learn, is curious, knows how to communicate and is transparent, values ​​that are part of the company that was born in Honduras from day one. “Communication is key: you can’t just hire people and tell them, ‘You’re a programmer and we’ll do a job for you if I don’t see you again,’ but you have to maintain constant communication. What we do in a more natural way is that in Slack, Jorge and I, who are the highest-ranking In the company, we tell everyone, Since we’ve hired them, we have the door open, and the door in Slack opens if they want to contact us through direct messages, no problem and we’ll always answer them.”.

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Corpeño talks one by one with the new members of Hello Iconic to tell them about the company’s performance. Every month, Hello Iconic implements an organizational culture through its premium conversations, which are mini-conferences for team members on a topic for everyone. Example: How to use the audio library in programs. “We encourage the same collaborators to be able to teach others and at the same time identify themselves because there are already people entering the company and if we don’t, if we don’t. Nobody will know because we’re not in the same room, right? Since 2020, they’ve He also created a virtual town hall meeting to introduce new projects and clients. “This excites people because sometimes our clients are celebrities.” He explained how Neil Young, singer Moby or projects with Pokémon excite the Hello Iconic team.

This space is part of a prelude to the second Digital Transformation event in Central America that will be held on September 28 and 29 in virtual mode via Facebook and YouTube. At the end of August we will open for our first time Twitter Space where we will talk about digital identity and cybercrime.

These are the topics of the second Digital Transformation Forum:

Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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