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What is the Lightyear culture?

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I was out with a friend for lunch when she started complaining about the fact that she had to log her activities and that her (home) time working for her company was being monitored by her boss. An activity that cost her both time and motivation. When I compare that with the culture at Lightyear, it blows my mind how backwards some people have it.

The problem with ‘babysitting’

The main problem with having a babysitting culture is that it's a signal of a low trust organisation, where the company is worth less than the sum of its parts. People get in each-other's way, slowing progress and they’re less likely to put the company first.

I truly believe that by checking whether people do the minimum, you discourage them from doing the maximum.

Instead, you can just decide to trust your colleagues to do what’s needed, people have an intrinsic motivation to do their work right and to succeed. When there is trust within a  company, it becomes easier to develop personal relationships that help in personal development. This leads to better feedback and to continuous improvement within the company. This way you are building ánd improving in a ‘safe’ environment.

Several team building games were played during the Lightyear summer event 2021.

One of my fondest Lightyear moments was Lightyear’s Design Unveiling in September 2018 when the whole company was in ‘flow’. We were one organisation, one team with one goal for the day. It didn’t matter what your role was within the company: you just did what was necessary to make the day a success.

That’s already two years ago, but this is still the mentality that we aim to conserve within Lightyear. The way the Design Unveiling, took place, with our engineers lending a helping hand for marketing and organising the event, is the type of thing that’s only possible if your people trust you and you trust them. If you don’t then it leads to individualism and to problems being confined to function that has them instead of seeing them as a collective responsibility.

The key to success is knowing that our company works as one and is driven by the same thing: our mission. It always makes me proud to share that the level of trust and the belief in our mission are the two aspects that score highest in our quarterly culture scan. This scan provides insights in our organisational- and cultural wellbeing on three levels: (1) the organisation as a whole, (2) the individual teams, and (3) every individual. Based on these outcomes improvement projects are defined and priorities set.

Lightyear is an exceptional team that puts together people from all over the world with the goal of bringing clean mobility for everyone, everywhere. It's a place where we all know that collectively we can have a meaningful positive impact in our society. The experience and fulfilment of working at Lightyear is like in no other company. I felt welcome from the very first day and working with such motivated engineers and teams gives me the energy I need to do my best every day.”
ManueManuel Ribeiro — Lead Autonomous Driving Engineer

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‍‍The first Lightyear Hackathon that was organised in late 2018, for team bonding and letting colleagues work with eachother from different disciplines.

Making sure everyone is a fit

This wholeness and coming together is something that we try to push for as much as possible at Lightyear: we want our people to play-off each other’s strengths, not get frustrated with each other's short falls.

That’s why we try to get people to understand each other as much as possible and expedite this by having all our people take a PPA (Personality Profile Analysis) test, using the DISC methodology, and write a ‘personal manual’ on how to be approached and preferred working practices. Lex, our CEO, presented his manual in April 2019 and since then, we’ve rolled this out to the rest of the company.

What strikes me most about Lightyear's atmosphere is that all people are true of equal importance. No matter which function or role, together we make the impact. A dent in the universe I can contribute to. It was a relief to be able to bring in just who I am. No masks, no pretensions, just be my authentic self. Besides our accomplishments, the value is really in our people, our intrinsic motivation to strive for a better world.
Gerard Berkelmans — VP Strategic Sourcing & Procurement


Building up intrinsic motivation**

The measure of our success is our people’s motivation and their commitment to our mission. When it comes to that, we believe in empowering our people through the well known (but often not so well executed) three main motivators: ‘Autonomy’, ‘Mastery’ and ‘Purpose’.

The last one (purpose) is clearly represented by our mission: clean mobility for everyone, everywhere. Due to the trust we place in people, we can give high levels of autonomy to teams and individuals (e.g. in terms of when, where, how and with whom they work).

Lastly, with feedback trajectories, personal development, internal coaching, but above all by providing a safe place to ‘fail quickly and learn faster’ mastery is gained.

In our dynamic culture there is always room for improvement. The lucky part is; we have a blank sheet of paper, a lot of critical employees and a bunch of research telling us what does and doesn't work for companies to succeed. The only thing we continuously need to do is to translate all of these insights into the Lightyear way of work. I believe that’s how you develop a culture that’s ready to drive change.

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We design for independence and convenience. We create clean solar electric cars that can drive off-grid and into all of life's adventures.

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This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 848620