“We want to achieve the best results and stay motivated in the process”
Tirana, April 3rd, 2018
TOK / Digital Agency brings together a team of digital strategies and UI/UX designers, developers and analysts to help organizations improve their websites, apps and digital products or create new ones. Based in Albania, the agency seeks the best relationship possible with its clients, both during and after the goals of the project have been met.
In an interview with TIA, Erind Alickolli, Managing Partner and UX designer at TOK / Digital Agency, gives an insight on the agency’s daily life, where he arrived after a long career all over Europe. Alickolli highlights the importance of motivating the team in order to achieve the best results while maintaining a good communication throughout all projects.
Could you describe your career path so far and what led you to TOK?
I have worked in corporations all over Europe, during which I’ve attained extensive experience in a variety of fields. With TOK / Digital Agency, I wanted to bring all the knowledge I’ve gained over the years and apply it to a company in Albania, where I thought a ‘corporate standard’ was lacking.
How would you describe your company culture?
We work tirelessly and get the job done to a very high standard, but staff morale isn’t compromised for results. We want to achieve the best we can but stay motivated in the process, so that’s what I encourage throughout the company.
We always adhere to deadlines, because trust is key, and the general outlook is competitive, as we want to surpass what other companies are offering, which I think we do a lot of the time. It’s about getting a balance.
How do you know if a person has what it takes to fit your agency’s culture?
During the interview process, first and foremost I make sure someone presents themselves in a respectable manner. When talking about the role, I seek passion for the job and previous roles, and like to hear about ideas the interviewee has had – even the bad ones. Someone that can acknowledge when they’ve done good but also when they’ve done bad is a valuable resource. Similarly, I look for someone that is relaxed, in control of the situation, and that has energy for the company and its growth, knows how to enjoy working and of course to have fun with the team.
What are the key questions you ask at a job interview for a position at your agency?
We always like to know what the interviewee is looking to achieve; where will they fit in and we do have room to put them where they’ll be their strongest and help them develop in areas they’re weaker in. Someone that acknowledges the need for development is always a fresh sight – we don’t need perfection, just someone that strives for it.
On a more personal level, we like to ensure that the candidate will fit in with our company culture, which includes a hint of sociability and sometimes a sip of good whiskey. We want to be approachable and interested in our employees, which means we like to hear about interests and hobbies, even if they don’t relate to the role. Talent is what matters.
How important is team work at the agency and how do you encourage it?
Everyone is friends with one another. We encourage regular meetings to openly discuss ideas and, of course, communication is key. Often, we arrange events together, so we can learn and laugh with each other on both a professional and personal level. However, this is always conducted responsibly. It’s our clients that come first, but we try to enjoy ourselves, too.
What is the communication style within the team? Do you use any apps or tools?
To encourage discussion and ensure communication is clear, we work predominately in small, specialised teams that are formed to fit a project based on their experience and strengths. If there are any concerns about an idea, team members are encouraged to flag them and discuss. For project management, we use JIRA, an app that helps us to work to deadlines.
What does a great working environment look like for you?
It’s essential that you enjoy being at the office. You need to enjoy your job, so we try to create a working environment that is pleasant to be in, where ideas are welcomed, and our team feels valued.
We like to ensure that our employees are not only benefiting us but that we’re also encouraging their professional development, which may include training courses or allowing them to take control of a task they may not have had experience with elsewhere. As with every company, our team has career goals, and we encourage that and strive to work in a way that will help them achieve and remain positive.
Tell us one thing you love the most about your role and what don’t you like?
Working with clients where there’s huge potential that hasn’t yet been realised is always exciting, as it means there’s enormous scope to turn them into successful, or at least more successful, businesses through creative collaboration and awareness.
We love to create excellent products and get a kick when we see people enjoying them. We’re corporate minded but want to have fun while succeeding. If there’s a hiccup in a project, it’s never fun, but the process of ironing out problems as they occur is a team effort and one we do well.
What piece of advice would you give a recent grad looking to work in the digital industry?
Think outside the box; it’s easier said than done, but just make sure you’re not replicating ideas and stand by your voice. We like people with vision, not copies. Try to get as much experience as you can and develop a portfolio of case studies as soon as possible. Money is not everything, so be open to taking a hit on your salary in the early years of your career if the company is right, as that compromise will pay off.
Always remain humble, no matter how good you think your ideas are – we like people that are easy to work with. More than anything, demonstrate passion, keep reading and learning, and be open to constructive criticism.