Values-driven, through and through
If you don’t know this yet, you probably don’t know much about us, but Cogent is a values-driven company. No, really, our values are core to how we do business, and were developed after a lot of research done with our own people to find out what’s important to them.
Here they are, for anyone to see. Everything else comes after them.
Want to go super in-depth and read what we mean by all this?
We like your style. Read on, friend.
We strive to be transparent in everything we do at Cogent because we believe that transparency builds trust, and trust builds Cogent.
Cogent thrives because we have many healthy long-term relationships with each other and our clients; we believe that comes down to the trust that Transparency builds. By adopting openness and honesty as default, we’re able to truly understand one another and the decisions we make because the reasons behind them are clear.
We are honest with each other about our capabilities, our mistakes, and our desires so that we can improve, not harm or criticise. In sharing openly we enable others to engage with us both personally and professionally. This is true for us as individuals and in the way our leaders lead their teams and the company.
The strongest manifestation of Transparency at Cogent is our open salary model. That’s right, everyone knows what everyone earns, right up to the CEO. We literally put our money where our mouth is. We openly talk about company finances, even if they’re not going as planned and we invite company-wide feedback at any time, no matter what role a person is playing at Cogent.
We believe it’s important to acknowledge that full transparency isn’t always possible because it may sometimes conflict against our other values (i.e. Wellbeing) or it may breach legal or ethical standards. We are mindful about what we share, and the way we share it. Transparency isn’t an excuse to simply speak one’s mind, unfiltered, and can sometimes be confused with democratic decision making. But at Cogent, transparency is simply about empowering people to make decisions and to be open about the reasons for them.
We apply the same open and honest approach to relationship-building with our clients as we do with ourselves. We’re upfront and realistic with our clients about the value that we offer, we admit when we’re wrong or when a project isn’t going as expected. We’ve learned that by being transparent we’re enabling better and more efficient decision-making which leads to better outcomes in the long-term, for everyone.
Without transparency, we can’t have trust. And without trust, we can’t have Cogent.
We prioritise the wellbeing of our people and our clients because, at the end of the day, Cogent is its people. We make decisions and act in a way that considers the whole-of-person, all of the time.
Life is complicated and different for everybody. So whilst our job titles might say we’re one thing – an engineer, a designer, an office manager – we’re still parents, carers, children, friends and family. We still have passions and interests outside of work, appointments to keep and rough nights when we’ve struggled to sleep. Wellbeing is a reminder that people can’t ‘switch life off’ when they walk through the doors to come to work.
We believe in creating a culture in which everyone can be as open and honest about their whole life as they feel comfortable with, and, in doing so, feel supported by default, not judged. Whether that’s the need for flexible working arrangements, professional mental health support, nutritious food, or additional leave to cover individual circumstances. Cogent supports wellbeing, but is not responsible for it, nor does it dictate how people need to take care of themselves.
We extend our culture of wellbeing to our clients and the businesses we build for them. We are flexible and responsive to shifting clients needs, whether they are personal or political. We treat our clients and their problems with the same care and attention we do our own. Working side-by-side with us, we help them build businesses that, in-turn, enable the wellbeing of people who interact with them.
After all, Cogent’s well if its people, customers, and the businesses we create are too.
If there’s one thing we can all bank on in life, it’s change. Evolution allows us to be ready for it, respond positively to it, or provoke it if stagnation sets in.
Cogent and its people don’t operate in a vacuum. Every action we take impacts the people we work with and the businesses we create. At the same time, Cogent and its people are influenced by an ever-shifting environment – markets fluctuate, new technologies emerge, people grow. Evolution recognises the complexity of this ecosystem and aims to guide us in our continual response to it.
We actively cultivate the ongoing improvement of Cogent and the people that work here. We create environments that enable people to use their logic and creativity to be challenged, to flourish, and to grow. But we don’t do the growing for them. We provide structured career development and mentoring, and purposefully develop the types of customers we work with and the work we seek to make. We continue to try new things and experiment by developing new ways of working, new lines of service, and new business ventures. Through all of this, we are mindful of the consequences of our actions so we are careful to adapt in measured, incremental ways, not revolutionary ones.
Our customers also benefit when we evolve. The successes and failures of our past inform the tools, teams, and processes we use in the future. We recognise that change can be confronting so we ensure that our acceptance of uncertainty and our innate willingness to evolve is offered with kindness, patience, and understanding to ensure that everyone benefits from evolution in the way that suits them.
We believe that different perspectives and different ways of solving problems are critical to making our best work, work that matters. We ensure that as diversity at Cogent grows, the sense of belonging that individuals feel is sustained and improved. We call this Inclusion.
Inclusion is a mindset, not code for diversity metrics. We treat every person who works at or with Cogent as a human, not a label. We actively cultivate habits that are aimed at recognising our natural biases and talking about them openly because we know this leads to better work.
We focus on practical ways of creating a sense of belonging for all people by creating environments, leading discussions, and working in ways that ensure everyone feels liberated to bring their whole self to work, knowing that they will be accepted. That might mean planning projects around religious holidays, catering for dietary requirements in group lunches, or facilitating forums for respectful discussions of key political, social, and economic issues that affect us all.
It’s critical that we listen more than we speak. We seek to answer questions like, “Who might this exclude?” so we’re able to ensure that our day-to-day decisions are driven from a place of empathy, a recognition of the individual, their importance to the team, and their contribution to our shared goals.
Inclusivity doesn’t just apply to those who are employed by Cogent, but also applies to the customers we work with and those who use the businesses that we help to build. There is no ‘us’ and ‘them’. Instead, we invite our customers to work in our offices, to attend our team lunches, to celebrate our birthdays, and to share their thoughts and opinions respectfully, in the same way an employee can. After all, we’re building a business together so being included isn’t the exception, it’s the rule, and it’s better for everyone.
We prioritise an equal voice in all things, across our entire company because when we’re truly included, it’s better for everyone.
We strive towards doing meaningful work because we want the people that work with Cogent to answer “What did you do at work today?” with pride and energy.
Meaning means different things to different people at different stages of their life. Recognising this individuality, we focus on generating work, teams, and businesses that give people energy rather than take it, and make people proud and motivated to talk about what they’re doing and how they’re doing it.
Meaning at Cogent is about positive impact. A change we seek to make. It might be at a personal level, a team level, or a global level through the business we help our customers create. And whilst we recognise that not every project or customer will align with what gives each individual a pure sense of meaning in their work, Meaning helps guide our efforts to ensure it’s considered and that it shapes our daily practices. We know that there will be times where we’ll have to navigate difficult patches, perhaps working on things that take energy rather than give it, or challenge us to adapt to new and confronting scenarios. We also know that meaning can be found through adversity, in fact, it’s often what binds us.
By knowing what gives meaning to our people, we’re able to make decisions, together with them, about what they work on and why. It also helps us evaluate the clients we work with, ensuring that we focus on minimising the harm that unconsidered software may have on the customers that interact with it.
While for some, Meaning can be derived from an output, it also helps us to acknowledge the importance of the journey that gets us there. It encourages us to bring meaning to the everyday interactions we have with one another by talking about it openly, understanding what gives each of us meaning, and being respectful of the diversity that exists within it.
Meaning gets to the core of people, and it’s different for everyone. Because of this, it’s important that we consider our other values of Wellbeing, Inclusion, Transparency and Evolution in discussions and decisions we make that affect how and where an individual derives meaning in their work. In the end, we’re all searching for something, and it’s likely that it’s Meaning.