ES, a platform for people
Henrique Driessen, architect and CGO of Elephant Skin says, ”I've always had a lot of friends and my house was always full of life. When I started Elephant Skin, I was alone and thought that it didn't matter what I was going to sell. But, I did think that it had to be a place where people wanted to work as much as me, rather than work for me. I wanted ES to be a platform for people.
What makes an organization one of the best companies in the world for which to work? What main qualities must they possess?
According to the Great Place to Work list, the top 3 (out of 25) companies listed were: 1st DHL Express, 2nd Cisco and 3rd Hilton.
The German DHL Express, the transport giant, generates in its employees a strong culture of belonging. From day one in the company, employees know that they will not only have a role in the process, but will also be pioneers in global commerce.
The American company Cisco, in the field of Information technology, refers to their employees as “Cisconians.” They employ the inclusive motto “Be You With Us.”
American Hospitality Hilton has been guided for over a century by a singular mission: to make the world a better place through hospitality. Their goal is to create the best and most inclusive home away from home, experienced first and foremost among their team of employees.
The American Elephant Skin, also considered by Great Place to Work as one of the best companies in the world for which to work, aims to become a titan in the real estate market. ES helps to solve commercial and marketing challenges, and is an excellent platform for talented individuals in the areas of archviz, branding, creation of visual concepts, and films/cinema. Elephant Skin was created in 2017 and has grown quickly within the market. Today there are 100 people in the agency's team and the goal is to continue increasing their numbers.
The customer is people. Collaborators are people. The employees are people. You can't be complacent when it comes to people!
What makes ES one of the best companies in the world for which to work is how much it focuses on PEOPLE!
Henrique says that in the culture of higher education, the most important element in creating a successful global organization is empathy.
The CCL (Center for Creative Leadership) conducted a survey of 6,731 managers in 38 countries. In a feedback assessment, these leaders were rated on their levels of empathy. In the analysis, it was shown that empathy in the work environment is directly linked to better performance of leaders and the teams they lead.
Empathy is the ability to put yourself fully into another person's situation, experiencing their emotions, ideas and opinions. It is worth reflecting on the fact that people are not machines and need to be heard and understood.
For a long time, in companies with a vertical hierarchy, team members live with the fear of making mistakes or the fear of hearing from HR.
“Our primary concern here at Elephant Skin is how can we quickly make people feel at home versus how and when will they produce. Everyone will make mistakes and that is normal. But we want that person feeling comfortable to have ideas and feeling as though they belong in this space.”
Elephant Skin is a place where people are free to be who they are and to exercise their creativity. When architect Giovana Driessen (CEO of Elephant Skin) was working in an office in Miami, dealing with the difficulties common to the everyday workplace, she was surprised by her boss with a post-it-note on which was written “Elephant Skin.” The message being sent was that Giovanna needed to toughen up and bounce back, like elephant skin! This was the perfect name for the big idea that was about to become a reality.
ES is a creative agency and talent platform for those who love archviz and branding, while also enjoying the challenges of always reflecting upon their own work and evolving within themselves.
Creative minds have the ability to connect with different, diverse people. Diverse environments encourage minds to challenge stereotypes. And so, people from different cultures and perspectives are catalysts for creative thinking.
Discovering one's own potential is the adventure when entering Elephant Skin.
In order to balance the ego and what you want to build, choose to be part of a great company. One of the best companies in the world for which to work started with a mind that was not satisfied with working alone, and so considered how to bring in more people to live that dream. Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, founder of the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), started his career alone, but as he achieved more prestige and notoriety, he thought about how he could go farther. Today, BIG is not just Bjarke Ingels, but a prominent brand with several projects spread around the world that relies on a variety of valuable creative minds.
The biggest companies in the world have given up their ego.
Henrique says “It's no use being the best company in the world in terms of size, revenue or prestige. It really needs to be the biggest company in the world for every single person inside of it. I want ES to be the inclusive space that I couldn't find in other companies.”
To be a global company that was born remotely.
ES emerged remotely because this was the only possibility for the company to exist with its few resources. Henrique's dream was to set up a company with amazing and talented people, but then... the pandemic of 2020. At first, he did not well receive this new reality, because as the company grew in the remote format, he was fast realizing that his dream of a physical office was getting farther and farther away.
“I had to reframe my idea of remote work. Instead of twenty people in one place, we could have hundreds of people spread across the world, sharing unique knowledge and cultures.”
Nobody in Elephant Skin is put into “boxes.”
The agency, now considered one of the best companies for which to work, is characterized by being beyond rules, avoiding the usual impositions when thinking about work environments. “We don't hire people because we think they'll fit in. The beauty is in discovering people and seeing what happens. People is a daily job. It’s a construction of affection, culture, respect, and listening,” says Henrique.
People at ES are encouraged to develop, grow and share their individual ideas.
Are you a restless person looking to be challenged? Do you like epic adventures and captivating stories? Then this could be also be your place!
This company continues to grow. More people make Elephant Skin an amazing place to live and work. The goal? To be the biggest company in the world.
The ES brand is in being a global company, totally remote, which does not belong to a group of founders, but to the team of people who make up the company.
Henrique concludes, “ES is no longer mine. I created it, but now the responsibility of taking the name of the company and making this the most amazing place to work is no longer mine; it’s the responsibility of the people who work here.”
Henrique Driessen CGO
Communications Manager - Roberta Lemos | Communication Intern – João Victor Campos
Author – Jornalist Daiana Barasa and Juliana Rodrigues | Naiá
Interviewed - Henrique Driessen - CGO
*All Rights Reserved to Elephant Skin Group Corp.
Born in 2017 in Miami, Elephant Skin offers a cutting-edge, integrated branding experience for real
estate developers. Our services include brand storytelling, still renderings, concept development,
CGI, 3D renderings, film productions, floor plans and interactive tours. We are a company for
creators, for people that never settle.