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How do you create the best place to work? Learning from the team at Atlassian, who just took out the number 1 spot on the BRW Best Place To Work list for 2014, my first response would be don’t preserve your culture: add to it!

Lucky for BeChallenged we have the absolute pleasure in working with Atlassian on a number of events each year… So I suppose you would say that it was BeChallenged that helped them hit number 1… unfortunately not, we are just a small part of the greater strategy that Atlassian chief people officer, Jeff Diana and the team implement.

Jeff, who joined the company two years ago, says it is not a matter of teaching newcomers about an existing culture.

“You can never preserve a culture. What you can preserve are your values and your values can drive what you do,” he says.

“When I talk to new hires, I tell them we hired them to add to the culture. We want their experiences, their viewpoints, their perspectives, their talents. So, when I hear companies say they want to preserve their culture, I get worried because those things will always evolve with the great people you add.”

To allow their culture to continue to evolve and newcomers to find their way and add value, Atlassian implement a number of initiatives such as:

  1. Big Bash Party: annual team building event for the entire company that is built and tailored especially for Atlassian, this year’s event being the ‘Game of Codes’
  2. TGIF: an event on the first Friday of every month with beer, chips and games
  3. One per cent foundation time: to help out a charity of their choice.
  4. HackHouse: graduates spend a week at the beach completing challenges, getting to know the company and having fun.
  5. Office perks: a drinks fridge, boutique beer on tap, a pick’n’mix lolly station, table tennis, pool table, video games and board games

Atlassian have re-written the manual when it comes to building a culture, engaging and recruiting employees, so I would urge you to follow their lead and don’t be afraid to try something new…

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