A different kind of tech company: 6 reflections on Dimagi’s culture from a new hire
I joined Dimagi nearly a year ago to lead and build the marketing team. I’ve spent the last decade in B2B technology product marketing moving between large, profitable companies and mission-driven ones. I joined Dimagi at a moment when the world felt increasingly inequitable and scary, out of a desire to do something I can be proud of when I retire. I love to work, and I want to translate that passion into impact. Dimagi seemed like the best place to do this. But it’s not only impact that matters to me; I care deeply about company culture.
Since joining, I’ve been continuously impressed with Dimagi’s culture, and how this 20 year old social enterprise and Benefit Corporation is run. I’m writing this in honor of B Corp Month to share what’s #BehindtheB at Dimagi. I’ll start with the good and end with some areas for growth.
“Impact, team and profit. In that order.”
This statement is at the core of Dimagi’s ethos and has been since our founding in 2002. Many companies have a purpose that sounds meaningful but when things get challenging, they have to prioritize profit above all. That is not the case at Dimagi – impact comes first. Our High-Impact Growth Framework guides our decisions about projects to ensure maximum impact. It’s also important to highlight that Dimagi is set up as a for-profit so that we can deliver sustainable, long term impact to our partners and communities, as well as respond to the market and our users’ needs.
Information flows transparently and allows autonomy
Dimagi believes in operating openly and transparently. Financials and company decisions are accessible to the full company. The CEO and leadership teams make themselves available for open Q&A in our bi-weekly All-Hands, where our whole team comes together to present different topics. I never wonder how we are doing because the information is made freely available. I’ve found that this level of transparency allows each of us to make the best informed decisions and operate with autonomy. I have more responsibility and authority than I’ve ever had in my career and I see this in colleagues as well – we are given stretch roles and encouraged to grow into them.
A key element to transparency at Dimagi is our pay policy: We ensure pay equity across all employees with our non-negotiable, internally transparent pay scale. This is a big deal – as someone who identifies as a woman, I never wonder if a male colleague at my level is making more than me or if someone with better negotiating skills is getting some kind of bonus that I didn’t know to ask for.
A focus on continuous learning
Dimagiers have the space to try new things, learn and fail. We encourage retrospectives on big projects and see failure as an opportunity to improve. Many companies will say this but are not actually set up to support it. At Dimagi, this shows up as an obsession with learning, iterating, evolving, and improving.
In my first few weeks, I waded into our marketing automation system to set up a form. The form caused an unintended popup on partner-facing webpages, triggering questions from partners. When I took responsibility for the snafu, the CEO wrote to me and said “Now you are truly Dimagi.” Followed by, “Just don’t make the same mistake twice.” That’s a small example, but what I’ve found is that a learning approach is required at Dimagi because of the nature of our work. We work on the challenging, complex, and unsolved problem of enabling equitable access to critical services globally, especially for those hardest to reach. And we each need to bring our creative problem solving skills and continuous learning to move the needle.
Inclusive communication methods allow ideas to shine
On a number of occasions, I’ve had an idea for how something could be done better at Dimagi. I’ve been encouraged to write it down, and then circulated it internally. In several cases, these proposal documents led to actual change in how the company operates. I realize my role brings increased access and visibility but I truly believe anyone at Dimagi is capable of initiating change here if we are willing to get our thoughts on paper, incorporate feedback and champion the initiative.
This is one example of how Dimagi prioritizes written asynchronous communication to foster inclusivity. We are a diverse, global team working across time zones, cultures, and communication styles. Internal wikis, proposal documents, and project management tools enable everyone to access, read, reflect and contribute at their own pace and on their own time. By encouraging written feedback and input, we help ensure sure the best ideas are surfaced and heard. I personally need time to take in information, think and reflect and would rather contribute in written form so this helps elevate my voice and encourages me to share. This asynchronous approach also minimizes time spent in meetings and maximizes time getting stuff done.
Long-term sustainability as a company and as an employee
Dimagi is not looking to get acquired or go public. We are here to scale our impact for the long term, and this shows up in how we build as well. A primary goal on any project is to ensure that we are building a foundation of accessible, scalable technology that will serve communities into the future.
We are also committed to sustainability and work-life balance at the employee level. Making an impact is a long-term and slow process, and we need to take care of ourselves on that journey. Dimagi offers fully flexible work schedules where employees design their workdays based on what works best for them and their roles, 30 days of PTO, unlimited sick time, and unlimited personal leave days for emergencies and unplanned events. Dimagi is truly set up to support living full lives outside work. I feel trusted to plan my time in a way that works for me and my family. And I’ve heard from many colleagues who also appreciate the flexible and supportive environment.
Out-collaborate, rather than out-compete
Dimagi believes in the benefit of market competition and market forces. But, we believe even more in the power of tapping into collective genius through collaboration to drive large-scale impact. We collaborate openly, working across divisions as One Dimagi and with partners, competitors and industry thought leaders to develop impactful solutions, many of which are open source. For example, during Covid, we worked with two organizations we often compete with, ONA and Medic, to develop recommendations for digital tools for pandemic preparedness as well as shared, open data standards to enable equitable vaccine delivery.
Of course, no company is perfect. We’re the first to admit we don’t have it all together and we’re on a journey of growth and evolution. This year we are working on improving in a number of areas: we are focusing our efforts to do fewer things better with a 5 year strategic plan and annual strategies; and we’ve assembled a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council, a consultative body to help drive us towards best practices, guided by certified DEI consultants, to ensure that everyone at Dimagi feels a sense of belonging.
Overall, close to a year into working here, I’ve found Dimagi to be an organization with its heart in the right place that prioritizes building and evolving its culture to support thriving team members who can create maximum impact. I’m looking forward to continuing to build a world-class marketing team of diverse, empathetic humans coming together to generate sustainable revenue and exponential impact growth at Dimagi.
If you are considering applying for a role at Dimagi, I hope you find value in my reflections. If what I’ve written resonates with you, I encourage you to check out our careers page and join us. You can also find me on LinkedIn if you’d like to connect.
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