How Melbourne tech start-up Envato attracts the world’s best talent

A Melbourne startup is using its unique workplace philosophy to demonstrate how a business can use it’s flexibility and diversity to become a global success.

When Collis and Cyan Ta’eed, Jun Rung, and Vahid Ta’eed first launched their online design marketplace from the basement of Cyan’s parents’ house in 2006, little did they realise that their humble Australian-based start-up, Envato, would eventually become one of the world’s most successful creative communities, bringing together designers and developers from across the world.

Ten years on, Envato boasts 7 million community members across 200 countries and manages a team of 280 employees across the globe from its headquarters in central Melbourne.

So how does an Australian business with a global focus attract the talent it needs to grow and thrive? Easily, explains co-founder and executive director Cyan Ta’eed.

“The energy and start-up culture in Melbourne makes it very easy to find great people. There’s a real atmosphere of entrepreneurship and innovation here, and that momentum is building every day,” said Cyan.

Envato’s unique workplace culture is also centred around creating a results-driven environment that operates on principles of trust and flexibility. With approximately a third of its workforce based outside of the company’s Melbourne headquarters, Envato had implemented a raft of flexible workplace policies, including allowing staff to work anywhere in the world for up to three months of the year.

“We want to create a company culture that reflects the type workplace we would want to work in. We believe that people should be able to do creative work and earn a livelihood doing what they love. Where you work doesn’t matter; when you work doesn’t matter. What matters is your talent and your get-up-and-go.

“We believe in flexibility in the workplace – not just for working mothers, but for everybody. We want women who have children not to feel that their career is being hindered. We want men to feel that they have the flexibility to spend more time with their families. We want people to be able to pursue their dreams outside the workplace – whether that is travelling, pursuing sporting goals, or going back to university.

“I’m very passionate about this because I think it allows talented people to have working lives that they love, without having to make compromises.”

In 2015, Envato was named Australia’s Coolest Company for Women by careers website JobAdvisor – a recognition of the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

“When we started out 10 years ago, there were very few women entrepreneurs in the tech scene, but I think a lot of organisations are working really hard to change that,” she said.

Cyan nominates the supportive nature of the startup community as a contributor to the growth in numbers of women entrepreneurs.

“There are not only more female entrepreneurs and start-up founders out there – they’re also supporting each other. There are venture capital firms out there dedicated to supporting women in the startup space, and they’re doing wonderful things to support the women that they choose to get involved with.

“The industry is changing, and I feel that there’s a huge amount being done to shift the culture to a more diverse and inclusive one. That said, I feel that diversity goes well beyond gender; there are lots of different markers for a truly diverse environment and I’d like to see a similar commitment to addressing other measures of diversity in the workplace.”