UK university student recruitment lockdown learnings
We want to share how we think and work at Gelato. This text will help you understand what it will feel like working here and help you when deciding if you would like to join us on this journey. We hope you find this useful in getting to know us and making your decision.
With a yearly revenue of more than 800 billion USD, printing is one of the largest industries on the planet. Without owning a single printer, Gelato can offer printing services in over 100 countries worldwide, reaching more than 6 billion people within 72 hours.
Gelato serves three main customer segments:
Everyone in our team has taken an active choice to build this company- a difficult, yet rewarding, journey. We believe in our vision because it improves the way that global companies and consumers work with print.
Like all great companies, we strive to hire, develop, and retain the best people. We believe in collaboration and learning from others. These are some things we want you to know about us:
Our plan is to provide sustainable and local printing to every person on this planet. It is a big and ambitious goal, but one that connects the entire team working at Gelato.
The way people work with print has not changed. Printed material is sent all across the planet, which takes a long time and is unnecessarily expensive and wasteful. The transportation industry causes 25% of the total global carbon emissions. Paper accounts for approximately 9% of all carbon emissions in the manufacturing industries.
There is a long distance to travel between having a great idea and building a great company. We embrace the hard work required to deliver on our mission. We know that we do not have all the answers. We enjoy this because we problem-solve, innovate, and operate as a team.
We seek brilliant people who are also great team members. We do not have room for arrogance or self-oriented people. We believe that the cost of working with such people is just too high. We strive to improve and develop just like athletes. Yesterday’s achievements are no measure for where we aspire to go.
At Gelato, we sometimes disagree, but we always treat each other with respect. We have no hierarchies. When you build a company you have more questions than answers. In that environment, hierarchies increase the risk for poorly thought through decisions. Hierarchies also have a tendency to silence people which results in reactive thinking. In Gelato, we want people to think on their own and make decisions as a team.
As we move rapidly between challenges, we rely on our culture of entrepreneurship and the fact that you are an owner of this business. As Formula 1 driver Mario Andretti said: “If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough”. We move with ferocious speed. We constantly worry about who is “driving behind us” and when we will be overtaken. This can happen when you least expect it.
We know that this way of operating can be highly motivating for some and uncomfortable for others. For us, speed is one of the most important aspects of working here. We love speed. Sometimes we make mistakes. Then we change. We rethink. We start again.
We want to deliver on our key milestones to build this company and gain the necessary knowledge as quickly as we can. If you love the feeling of going faster than feels comfortable, if you love pushing yourself, and you want to be part of a team who enjoys working with this same pace and urgency, Gelato could be a great place for you.
At Gelato, you will not observe the more traditional ways of management such as “let’s ensure we build the right process for this before we start”, or “how do we create reporting lines for this project?”. Things change so fast that these formulas and structures are many times obsolete before they are implemented.
Rapid change and development do not mean poor planning. These constant adjustments are the result of our aspiration to constantly seek the right way forward. We do not spend much time thinking about processes and organizational structures, but believe that too much structure might actually slow us down. Where we lack formal processes, we cover the gap with self-motivated and empowered team members.
Entrepreneurship means many things, for example, constantly moving forward and never standing still. We operate under difficult and demanding conditions. We are doing something that has not been done before. We need to identify new opportunities and solve new problems every single day. There is no end in sight.
Being an entrepreneur also means thinking and acting like an owner. Everyone at Gelato is a shareholder. This amplifies the feeling of purpose and belonging. You will never hear someone say “that’s not my job”. Our partners and customers entrust us with their business and data. If we mess up, miss a deadline, or slow down, it matters. We take that responsibility seriously, just like any business owner should.
Being an entrepreneur with a global ambition will also mean thinking, building, problem-solving outside of ordinary working hours. If you are an entrepreneur, you seek the ability to influence and change things. Adding to this exciting mix is the fact that being a global company means operating with a global team and colleagues connecting from the U.S. Brazil, China, India, Russia, and all over the world. To us, this is super energizing because we all want to work in an international environment. It sometimes requires that meetings may happen early or late at night. Our business is intertwined with the global economy, so while team members are on holiday, Gelato is not.
At Gelato, you will be surrounded by extremely motivated and driven people. If you compare yourself to others, you will almost always see someone investing more energy, having bigger ambitions, or getting better results. We do not compare ourselves to one another. The value of a team is leveraging each other’s strengths and differences, while always striving to develop and improve, both individually and together.
Few people have ever grown an apple tree. Therefore, if you find yourself wanting to grow one, listen to a person who is really good at it. Accessing this knowledge and experience will save you years, even decades. Speed without direction is counter-productive, which is why we always seek guidance and inspiration from the outside world. In a documentary called “Triumph of the Nerds” Steve Jobs quotes Picasso: “Good artists copy, great artists steal. We have always been shameless about ‘stealing’ great ideas”.
We learn from others and respect what they have built. By growing the apple tree, we avoid reinventing the wheel and save years in product development - accelerating our ability to create values for our partners and customers. Even if we worry about being overtaken by other race car drivers, we do not obsess over our competitors. We invest heavily in understanding how other companies in other industries are spearheading rapid innovation and changing the world.
We encourage a “growth mindset” in everything we do. We always want to keep learning because it helps us challenge our own experiences and beliefs. We know how quickly the world is changing, and the growth mindset helps us seek solutions and implement ideas when other people give up. We change until we win.
This mindset generates continuous and rapidly implemented improvements. We never settle because we know further improvements are just around the corner if we search hard enough. When everyone shares this sense of responsibility and stays curious, we end up doing the right things.
We give our team members a lot of autonomy, both in the work they do but also in their personal development. However, do not confuse the lack of top-down direction with a lack of interest from the top. High performers are recognized, enabled, and rewarded - often with more responsibilities and bigger autonomy. There are conventional forms of recognition also, but experience tells us that our team members get most excited when given more responsibility and the opportunity to work on interesting and high-impact projects.
We have a very rigorous interview process. We utilize questionnaires and assessments in the interview process to aid us in objectivity. Our goal is to search for diverse experiences and not “lookalikes”. Studies have shown that when lacking rigorous interview processes, hiring decisions are made subconsciously within the first 4 to 20 seconds of meeting the candidate. Assessments bring objectivity to the interview process by helping to combat unconscious biases.
Our approach to hiring is that it is about a mutual fit. It is about us finding the right candidate, and about the candidate finding the right company. We invest significantly in our recruitment process and we expect each candidate to do the same. It doesn’t mean we are satisfied with our current process either. We know that there are still improvements to be made and we would welcome any input that you have on how we can improve.