As one of the founding partners and current Director of Operations, Darko Gacov has a vital role in perpetuating a strong company culture backed by strategy and structure. Maria Debrin sits down with him to discuss this further.
SINGULAR is a well-know name in the iGaming sector with 10+ years as a software supplier. The company has grown from a team of five to 150+ employees across three offices in Malta, Georgia, and North Macedonia. The brand’s competitive factor is shaped by three critical factors: adaptability, dependability, and innovation that are reflected in the quality of their products and way of work.
With Singular having various different offices in different countries, how do you link administrations together?
Offices dispersed in different geographic locations can be either a challenge or an advantage of the company. It depends highly on the organizational approach, and the company culture. Throughout the years, we have learned that the biggest enemy is having autonomous functioning of each office without centralized leadership. For that reason we have Head of departments that work together with a specific team across locations. For example, our Finance team lead is located in Malta while in the Skopje and Tbilisi office there is a dedicated Finance associate that answers to him. Another key aspect is having a shared company culture across the offices that keeps the feeling of unity and working towards a common goal. This is achieved a lot easier when you have a clearly defined organizational structure and clearly communicated vision and goals.
What’s your take on work from home? Did your company have to adapt due to COVID-19, and if yes is there still that community feeling?
The COVID – 19 caused a major shift in the way we work, but also in the way we think about work, work-life balance, productivity and employees well-being. From the very beginning, we transferred to working from home even prior to this being a recommended practice by local policy measures. Thanks to the fact we already work across different locations, our processes were already made for the digital realm, and work continued uninterrupted with the same, even increased productivity levels. In the beginning, we all enjoyed the benefits from working from home… no commute time, relaxed clothes, less “unnecessary” meetings, and so on. But with time, we realized that to truly care for our employees well-being we need to do more than simple provision of equipment, well organized digital processes and flexible working hours.
We had to make an effort to keep the strong community feeling and company culture we had built in the past 10 years. In that direction, we organized a number of digital events celebrating company’s milestones, employees’ anniversaries and achievements, as well as less formal gatherings accompanied with online challenges that aimed to decrease stress and feeling isolated while working from home. But, our efforts to improve our employees’ well being did not stop there. We also organized online meetings with a licensed psychologist, and soft skills trainer, to tackle the challenges of day-to-day communication and its importance for our mental health and its effects on our professional lives. Even though the likes of above activities can help bring people closer together in such times, there is still a lot more to be done and a lot more to innovate in this field.
Last year you won various awards, what do you attribute these recognitions to?
The key pillars of Singular’s way of work are innovation and flexibility. First, we aim to always innovate not only our offerings but also our agile processes while using state of the art technology. I believe this is the key aspect of everyone aiming to deliver competitive software on a global scale. Next, the agility of our teams and more importantly the mind-set of our people gives us the flexibility to shift between ideas, proactively solve problems and propose solutions that are not a standard in the industry. This, I believe, sets us apart from the competition.
Understanding and developing organizational culture is a must for any organization. What defines the culture of your company?
We tend to nurture four core values of our brand: self-improvement, leadership, communication, and teamwork. I will try to give a few examples. We reward people for their professional and personal development, we are enthusiastic and passionate about our work, and applaud proactivity and ideas sharing. We entirely depend on effective communication, we show respect for others’ opinions by listening attentively, and earn the trust of our teammates by being reliable every day.
Originally published in SiGMA Magazine.