When we began in 2008, we aimed to raise the bar at what makes a great place to work and live, but how can we improve even more? We started as one of the first Croatian agencies to work exclusively with international clients and provided our employees the opportunity to work on best-in-class global products, travel extensively, and enjoy fulfillment from creating products for some of the world’s biggest brands. But, we believe that our responsibility as a company is much more than that. If we want to consider ourselves truly successful, we need to contribute to our community equally. Here are some of the initiatives that are currently important to us:
An inclusive and diverse culture is something that we’ll always nurture and propagate. We hire open-minded people who see the differences in our world as valuable, not threatening. We want to foster this kind of culture among our ranks and beyond. Here are some initiatives that we’re proudly championing:
Around 35% of the employees who work at FIVE are women, which is way above industry standards — in management (lead, PM, HR), women hold over 40% of the positions. Additionally, we’re super proud that there’s equality between female and male salaries across all roles.
Female employees have fueled FIVE’s growth and help us create an enjoyable, stable environment for all employees. We would be nowhere without our women. Because of this, we decided to participate in multiple initiatives addressing the role of women in development, design, and tech.
One of FIVE’s biggest cultural strengths is tolerance and open-mindedness, something you’ll notice as soon you walk inside our doors. Our differences are what make us stronger. We thrive from having people with different sexual orientations, religious beliefs, cultural backgrounds, and political views. It also helps that we picked New York City for our US headquarters — you can’t beat its diversity and inclusivity. The city’s melting pot pushes us to think harder and more thoughtfully about culture and identity.
Mental health is a topic that we at FIVE are very engaged about and aim to set an example for everyone in the industry on how it’s done. We started the new Feel Good @FIVE program this past October to raise awareness of the importance of access to mental health benefits within our company. The initiative provides our employees with the opportunity to explore psychotherapy, get licensed experts’ support in dealing with personal and professional challenges, and ultimately provide a healthy kind of self-care.
Even when FIVE had just ten employees, we felt that it was our responsibility to support those less fortunate. Our primary focuses were working with children without parents, hospitals, and humanitarian associations that care for the vulnerable and overlooked. For 10+ years, we’ve supported numerous organizations with donations and gifts that we collect as a team. We invite everyone to participate in supporting their local humanitarian aid projects.
More than 80% of our employees actively participate in outdoor activities. Nature is our passion. We use nature to refuel, recharge, reset, and spend time with loved ones. We travel around the world, climb mountains, and sail the seas. This planet is our home, our only home, and we’re extraordinarily concerned about climate change, pollution, and the exploitation of public land. To protect our Earth, we’ve launched several different initiatives to minimize our environmental footprint.
Eating fresh food comes first and foremost! We stock our offices weekly with fruit sourced from small, bio/organic family-owned farms. Doing this helps those vendors limit their own environmental footprint and grow food sustainably and healthily.
Our coffee, which we enjoy daily (multiple times per day), comes from a vendor who sources coffee beans seasonally and transparently while paying a premium price so that the coffee producers are compensated fairly for their high-quality beans.
One of FIVE’s philosophies is to “live green”. Accordingly, we’ve been persistent in our efforts to minimize or eliminate our environmental impact. Since January 1, 2020, we joined the Plastic-free Croatia movement. We’ve successfully implemented a recycling program that aims to have 0% of the waste from our offices be unused, and we intend to further our efforts still.
Due to the nature of our work, we meet with our clients often. It’s part of doing business, meaning FIVE employees frequently fly to the US. In 2019, FIVE recorded 132 flights resulting in 195t of CO2. Given that face-time with clients is vital to our customer relationships, we know that having 0 emissions is virtually impossible, but we’re still determined to address the problem. We decided to invest in environmental research and promote sustainable energy sources, even though we are aware that this is just a small step that will help slow down our energy consumption.
Since October 2020, we’re officially a “Cycle Friendly Employer”. This recognition is significant to us because cycling has been part of our culture from the very beginning. We’ve always encouraged our employees to bike to work and made efforts to raise awareness of the benefits of traveling on two wheels. Our next step is introducing an eBike pool to our Zagreb and Osijek offices and opening up space in our garage that will act as a “hotel” for our employees’ bicycles.
We are problem solvers at our core, and this extends beyond our business. Given our experience with global clients and years of climbing the IT business ladder, we have a sense of responsibility to share our know-how with the community and prepare future experts for all that they might encounter on their way to success. Here’s an overview of the initiatives we’ve developed to encourage a culture of knowledge-sharing and collaboration.
TBD, which stands for “To Be Defined, To Be Designed, To Be Developed,” is an event series where we explore essential topics in product design & development through presentations, panels, workshops, and more. Our events are geared towards everyone in the digital product space, from students to seasoned professionals. For our first TBD, we welcomed a well-known user research expert, Steve Portigal, who held an engaging talk called “Stop Solving Problems,” followed by a series of interactive workshops.
Female developers are undeniably a vital driving force in the tech industry. Even though in most IT companies, they’re outnumbered by their male colleagues. Because of this, we wanted to empower women and organize a series of meet-ups that would lead to them strengthening their community. Our goal was to gather the community of female developers to casually network with other experts from the same environment, cover topics of interest, get better insights into others’ relevant experiences, participate in discussions, and have fun.
The legend of our summer internship program, Boot Camp, echoes through the halls of many Croatian universities. And for a good reason! For six weeks at FIVE, students get a taste of what it’s really like to work at a digital product agency. Students gain the knowledge and experience needed to work on any project, anywhere in the world. Every student gets to work in a team on the same projects we work on every day. They participate in all team activities, and with the guidance of their mentors, they learn to solve tasks that we tackle for our clients. All Bootcampers go through the entire process of creating a digital product and learn about best practices in coding, product design, and growth marketing.
Many of our current team members developed their first products during one of our programs. A popular one that we’ve been organizing in cooperation with FER for four years in a row is called “iOS vještina”. Students who attend this course have the opportunity to develop iOS apps from scratch. They learn their material based on apps we create for our clients and then go through our code review process. We don’t conclude the program with an exam, though. For the grand finale, students get to present their very own iOS apps in our Zagreb office!
Sailing and the sea are big parts of Croatian culture. Huge. We’re currently supporting one of our most famous skiers in his quest to win another Olympic medal, but this time in sailing. Until then, he’s competing in two of the world’s most famous races for single sailors, the Route du Rhum and Vendee Globe. He’s also using our software to gain an advantage over the competition. By participating in those races, he’ll set a new standard for Croatian sailing and inspire countless others.