Be Kind
Nik Roberts
Nik Roberts
17th Feb 2021

Do Good, Be Kind

One of our core values at Versantus is Being Good. We interpret this in a range of ways: being healthy, happy, kind, and honest. Giving good advice, doing great work, enjoying ourselves doing it. We also interpret in the same way Google used to: "don't be evil". Don't knowingly do things that are morally dubious or downright wrong, do everything possible to avoid accidentally being evil, and take every opportunity to do better.

For a business that's trying to grow it can be hard to stay on the right(eous) path. When ambition is high and margins are tight, how do we cherry-pick the "good" customers who share our ethics and avoid the ones that don't? How do we promote a strong culture that encourages consistent behaviours in our team as it expands, whilst still promoting diversity? How do we work on projects for the right reasons, not the wrong ones? What counts as right and wrong anyway?

I'm proud of most of the choices we've made so far in our ten years of trying to be good. There are lots of things I'd do differently if I was in the same position again, but as an ex-Philosophy student and a lover of Bentham's utilitarianism, I am confident that overall we've done much more good than harm, and the ratio is heading in the right direction most days.

Our good work over the years includes projects in support of refugee rights, better access to education in the global South, return to work coaching for new mums, and lots of projects with local and international charities. We're building a good team by hiring people with similar values but with a diverse background and skills. We invest heavily in training, equipment and opportunity, including for young apprentices and work experience students. We encourage exercise, mindfulness, a good work-life balance (well, good-ish!), and positive community action.

We've also recently been working on projects that are specifically or closely related to environmental issues. We've worked with Badminton Horse trials in their significant efforts to reduce their carbon footprint, helped Swarco Econnect build a world-class electric vehicle charging platform, and we're currently in the midst of a project to raise awareness of the issue of deforestation caused by some of the largest companies in the world.

With the climate emergency now terrifyingly clear and present to everyone who doesn't have their head in a rapidly melting glacier, it makes me happy that we also work on projects that can have a positive impact for the environment. It's easy to get caught in a geekgasm over exciting technology, but - honestly - who else cares? Technology is nothing in isolation. It only matters if it is building a better future for people and planet, and we need to continue to play our part.

Technology is nothing in isolation. It only matters if it is building a better future for people and planet

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