Behind the scenes: Cronofy hits Amsterdam!
Every six months Cronofy organises a companywide meet up, and we always try to choose a different location. This year, we chose Amsterdam, to give our teams the chance to see our recently opened office and see the sights that this wonderful European capital has to offer.
There’s huge value in these meet ups; it always amazes me how much stronger our relationships are after these events, seeing people bond in ways that Zoom just can’t offer, while providing the perfect opportunity to realign the direction we’re going and lay the ground work for the next six months of success.
We always split our time into social and collaborative work, with updates and events sprinkled throughout. Here are the headlines of our four days in Amsterdam.
The journey begins
For both environmental and social reasons, trips like this usually start on the Eurostar. A great chance to catch up and drink an unhealthy amount of coffee in the absence of a stable wi-fi connection. Getting nearly 30 people through a metro system in a new city inevitably meant we nearly left some people behind, but this first obstacle was passed with flying colours.
We stayed at the Van der Valk hotel in Overamstel, an exceptional place for weary heads but not for long - we had reservations at L’Osteria, an Italian restaurant on the marina who served up the largest pizzas and pasta dishes ever seen. Kudos to our Head of Sales, Mark, who did an astonishing job of clearing his table!
Socials, competitor wargaming and sushi
The first part of the second day was dedicated to a range of social activities chosen by individuals. Some groups took museum tours; the van Gough or RijksMuseum. A large group rented bikes and went to find windmills, others went rock climbing or took a tour of the Ajax FC’s stadium. We also gave people the option for free time in Amsterdam, which I know was time well spent.
For the afternoon, after a spot of lunch we joined together in a workspace for some reflective presentations around what we've achieved in the last six months from our CEO, CTO, Head of Sales and Head of Talent. It was great to recall how much has happened and how far we’ve come, but also take the time to celebrate other achievements, whether it was relocation, weddings, engagements, or growing families!
We also started our two-day group activity - competitor wargaming. An opportunity to research our international competitors to learn more about the scheduling landscape, and really understand our strengths and opportunities for improvements in a challenging industry. As we were working in cross-departmental teams, it also gave us a chance to work with people we wouldn't normally work with and listen to different perspectives.
Wednesday was topped off by a visit to George Marina, a restaurant right on the riverside for some of the best sushi and steaks around.
Rainy boat tours and rebranding
The last full day included a group social activity; a boat tour through the canals of Amsterdam seeing the sights and learning more about the city. We were unfortunate to do it in the rain, but fortunate enough that we were sheltered!
In the afternoon, our design team formally unveiled our company rebrand – a slick, Swiss-inspired red, black and white colour scheme with bold graphics and fonts. Such a huge amount of work has gone into this and it was fascinating to learn about the branding journey. it perfectly reflects us as a company and what we want our product to be.
We finished the day off with presenting our competitor research back to the group; a collective learning experience that really brought us all together and reinforced our strong brand position.
We also used the day to welcome some of our new starters joining us in the coming weeks - meeting their soon-to-be colleagues and providing the context behind our new branding will really put them on a strong foot when they join us.
We wanted to end the week on a high, so after our dinner at North African restaurant Rainarai, we all visited the immerse audiovisual experience AMAZE which was a truly unique experience to remember.
There were definitely a few weary heads around breakfast on Friday morning, but our journey in Amsterdam had come to an end. We departed to the Eurostar for a few early nights over the weekend!
Holding a companywide meet up event every 6 months is always a challenge. We have colleagues across the UK, Netherlands, France and Spain, and there is a real commitment from everyone to make these meet ups happen, but the benefit is exponential. To see the colleagues you wouldn’t normally spend time with helps build stronger relationships - and trust - across departments, we have a stronger understanding of our vision and take huge strides forward as a business together. They are priceless, and continue to define the culture of working at Cronofy.