It means turning our values into behaviours that positively impact how we treat each other, how we interact with our colleagues, partners, customers, how we work and see the world and its ecosystems. So to complement our values, we’ve created a code of conduct that serves as an official commitment to teammates and potential newcomers about the behaviours we encourage (and the behaviours we discourage) at eolos.
As Gandhi said: “We want to be the change that we want to see in the world” ; starting with creating an inclusive (eco)system at our level.
We’ve given it quite some thoughts and since it’s important to us, we wanted to share this document openly, so that it may inspire others, be used as a reference or even a template for others; like we did ourselves when reading and copying bits and pieces of the amazing work done by organisations such as Bosch Solutions, Ace & Tate, Patagonia and Buffer.
Why a Code of Conduct makes a difference and why it matters for purpose-driven companies like ours
Ensuring that everyone at eolos | engineering the future feels included is a big priority for us. ‘’Embracing diversity to unleash creativity’’: Our team is comprised of people from diverse backgrounds, allowing us to ‘’see’’ from different angles, ultimately resulting in our systemic approach to problem-solving. That’s why creating a framework for expected behaviours is key for our people, partners, customers and the planet to benefit from.
For us, creating a code of conduct goes beyond hiring and into talent retention. It’s about encouraging everyone to be(lieve in) themselves so that we can work better on building sustainable solutions.
As such, these few pages are in the form of a living document that everyone on the team can access, can read and share, can suggest changes for and even challenge at anytime. As a team, we share a vision, a mission, and a set of values. It binds us, as much as it prompts us to evolve, individually & collectively.
Our Code of Conduct
eolos is dedicated to creating an inclusive environment for everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, colour, national origin, age, disability (physical or mental), sexual orientation, gender identity, parental status, marital status, and political affiliation as well as gender expression, mental illness, socio-economic status or background, neuro(a)typicality, or physical appearance. We’re united by our values, and by our mission, and we celebrate our unique differences as the representation of all the possible ways it can represent to reach our destination: a greater and more circular world.
We put forth this code of conduct not because we anticipate bad behaviour, but because we believe in the already exceptional level of respect among the team. We believe that articulating our values and accountabilities to one another reinforces that respect and provides us with clear avenues to correct our culture should it ever stray. Also because we are a service provider, working in a world where each organisation is different, where people come from different environments, where certain behaviours might be / have been tolerated, and that one needs to be aware of those differences to best adapt, react, decide on the way to go next.
We commit to reinforce and allow the code to evolve as our team grows.
Like our values, this code of conduct includes concepts & guidelines which we expect teammates to endeavour to apply to their daily lives, in and outside of the office & working hours. Specifically, it applies to collaborators interactions in various areas of our shared (professional) lives, including all events hosted by eolos and/or our partners, shared online spaces, social media, feedback forms, and events. Additionally, by being an eolos team member or partner you represent eolos | engineering the future, thus any behaviour outside and in the office, may reflect on the company image.
Both encouraged and unaccepted behaviours are intrinsically linked to our values: Embracing Diversity // Collective Intelligence & Fear-free zone // Accountability where it belongs // Uncompromising on ethics // Relationships based on Goodwill, Integrity & Respect
Behaviours we support & encourage
Every member of the eolos team is expected to be honest, benevolent, humble, and contribute to an inclusive, collaborative, positive, and healthy environment in which we can all succeed. Specifically:
Be a team builder:
Embrace diversity and be aware of your own cultural background. We believe that diversity is key to our success; so make sure to contribute to building an environment free of clichés. Avoid slang or idioms that might not translate across cultures, or be deliberate in explaining them to share our diverse cultures and languages. Speak plainly, use English which is our business and team language and avoid acronyms and jargon that not everyone may understand.
Be generous in both giving and accepting feedback. Feedback is a natural and important part of our culture. Good feedback is kind, respectful, clear, and constructive, and focused on goals and values rather than personal preferences. When about to give feedback, don't forget to ask if the other is ready for it. Also you are expected to receive feedback with gratitude and a growth mindset. Recognise that in when you are asking for feedback, you need to listen to it.
Be a team player:
Collaboration is the new competition. Involve your teammates in brainstorming sessions, project discussions, and others. It’s part of our values to share early and ask for feedback often. Don’t succumb to either impostor syndrome (believing that you don’t deserve to be here) or the Dunning-Kruger Effect (believing you can do no wrong). Finally, there is no such thing as “Knowledge or Information is power” at eolos, we rather promote transparency as we truly believe this is how we can Learn & Grow as individuals and as a company. This is a necessity to accelerate the change.
Mind the time zone differences & people’s private life schedules. Not everyone likes to wake up early or read emails before going to bed. Ask yourself twice if it’s really worth disturbing someone out of office hours (9am to 5pm local time, except if mentioned otherwise in the outlook calendar) or during lunch break. Now, all are busy, have different working hours, and it’s sometimes difficult to find a slot when everyone is free. To support, we highly recommend highlighting time slots when you could be available as “tentative” so that others might get additional options in case it’s needed. Finally, we do not disturb our colleagues during their holidays. Everybody needs a break to be able to come back to full speed. Be mindful that parents don’t decide when school starts or that their child falls ill and know that they are the first ones to become annoyed if they cannot make it to a key customer meeting last minute.
Be a team leader:
Support your collaborators, both proactively and responsively. Offer to help if you see someone struggling or otherwise in need of assistance (taking care not to be patronizing or disrespectful). If someone approaches you looking for help, be generous with your time; if you’re under a deadline, let them know when you will be able to help or direct them to someone else who might have time.
“Be the change you want to see in the world” At eolos, we walk the talk, meaning we challenge, discuss, share best practices on how to live a more sustainable life. We try to consume less, responsibly. We observe strict travel policies and make sure to measure both the positive and the negative impact we have on the planet.
Accountability is taken, not given. Wherever you are in the world, the company or the project, you are here for a reason and your collaborators rely on you to be successful. Play your part, and be open if you need help, support, or can further assist another collaborator in need. Leader is not a title, it’s an attitude.
eolos team is committed to providing a welcoming and safe environment for all. Discrimination and harassment are expressly prohibited.
Don’t forget: “Communication is not what you say, but how it’s heard.”
In that sense, we have highlighted below some common behaviours and language, which are worth noting as particularly unwelcomed:
It’s okay to say “I don’t know” or “I don’t understand”: At eolos, we believe that collective Intelligence is a key enabler to success. There’re no stupid questions and easy for one doesn’t mean easy for another! We all come with different experience, expertise and competences and It’s always acceptable to say “I don’t know” or “I don’t understand”. So please don’t act surprised when people aren’t familiar with a tool, person, place or process.
No exclusionary language: Be careful in the words that you choose, even if it’s as small as choosing “hey, everyone” over “hey guys”. Sexist, racist, ableist, and other exclusionary jokes are not appropriate and will not be tolerated under any circumstance. This can also be stereotyping nationalities and cultures. Any language that is unwelcoming—whether or not it rises to the level of harassment—is also strongly discouraged.
No subtle -isms: Much exclusionary behaviour takes the form of subtle -isms, a.k.a. small things that make others feel unwelcome / uncomfortable. Regardless of intent, saying “It’s so easy even my grand-ma can do it” can have a significant demeaning impact on teammates. And don’t forget, “Communication is not what you say, but how it’s heard.” So please don’t say, “Comment X wasn’t sexist!” or “You’re being too sensitive”, when someone comes forward sharing their feelings.
Attack the problem, not the person. Similarly, please don’t pile on someone who made a mistake. It’s not a big deal to mess up – just apologise and move on. As we are building an inclusive and safe place for all collaborators and partners, make sure to not mix professional matters with personal ones, and do not use personal matters you might know about, against another teammate.
Yes, we all love gifts. But not all gifts are the same. eolos places great importance on corruption prevention in order to safeguard the public's confidence in the integrity with which we perform our duties and in order to protect its employees. In business life, it is normal to offer gifts to one's business partners on certain occasions (e.g. New Year's) and to thus express thanks for good contacts or successful cooperation. However, the acceptance and the offering of even small gifts and other non-cash benefits for eolos employees & their customers is always associated with a duty of disclosure and permitted only within narrow parameters. Please think twice about expressing your satisfaction with a good cooperation, through gifts.
Reporting an issue
These guidelines are ambitious, and we’re not always going to succeed in meeting them. When something goes wrong—whether it’s a feedback session that went astray or an instance of (perceived) harassment—there are a number of things you can do to make sure the situation is addressed.
Most recommended: Talk to a member of the People Team. People Team members take concerns about this stuff seriously. We are here for you to discuss the problem and we will figure out what steps to take next. You can make a report either personally or anonymously. We’re keen to hear concerns about situations of any size and magnitude. In all cases, we will make every effort to stay in clear communication with anyone who reports a problem, maintaining confidentiality as much as is possible.
Recommended: Talk to your / one of your managers(s) or mentor(s). Your manager/mentor probably knows quite a lot about the dynamics of your team, which makes them a good person to look to for advice. They should also be able to talk directly to the colleague in question if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe doing so yourself. Finally, your lead will be able to help you figure out how to ensure that any conflict with a colleague doesn’t interfere with your work.
Address it directly. For smaller incidents that might be settled with a brief conversation, you can choose to engage directly with the person in question to discuss how it affected you. Please use this approach only if you feel comfortable; you do not have to carry the weight of addressing these issues yourself. If you’re interested in this option but unsure how to go about it, try discussing with the People Team first—they will have advice on how to make the conversation happen and can also join you in a conversation.
Caring for others:
If you ever witness something that seems not aligned with our values or these standards, please talk about it. Even if an incident seems minor, reach out to the person impacted by it to check in. We’d also appreciate it if you would speak to a any member of the People or Management Team to share your concerns.
You can also speak to a person impacted by an incident or to the person who has violated the code of conduct, but these conversations can be tricky, so feel free to contact someone from the People team (external or internal), if you would like to exchange on how best to approach them.
Because we are not perfect, and we know it:
None of us are perfect: all of us will from time to time fail to live up to our very high standards. Recently in an interview, a candidate even told me it seemed to be a lot of pressure to be part of eolos.
Well, what matters to us is not to be with people that have most perfect, shiny track record, but the ones who are taking responsibilities for their mistakes, admit when they don't know, and most importantly are committed to learn and grow, constantly.
If you are approached as having (consciously or otherwise) acted in a way that might make your teammates feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, listen with an open mind and avoid becoming defensive.
Remember that if someone offers you feedback, it likely took a great deal of courage for them to do so. The best way to respect that courage is to acknowledge your mistake, apologise, and move on — with a renewed commitment to do better next time.
As we all grow and learn, too, eolos (will) provides trainings on non-violent communication, interculturality, feedback, and others. That said, repeated or severe violations of this code can and will be addressed by the People Team and leadership, and can lead to disciplinary actions, including termination.
Work in progress
And again, these few pages are a living document that everyone on the team can access, can read and share, can suggest changes for and even challenge at anytime; starting with dedicating part of one of our Quarterly Team Meetings to re-open the discussions around it.
If you have any comments, questions, requests, we'd love to hear them!
Author: Helene Isermeyer, Partner & Chief of Staff
Together with the eolos Team