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About 60 people work in Hamburg's office

Ministry

Agency for communication in digital media. Founded in 1999, we are among the most established interactive service providers in Germany.
Kudobox

We had an idea to install something like Kudobox (a tool for peer-to-peer appreciation). I thought that if David or I do that then it won't be the same as when our colleagues install it by themselves. I spoke with some people about the idea of bringing Kudobox to life. I described what Kudobox is about and how to use it. The more I spoke, the more interest people showed me.

In the end, I made only a Trello board. They put all kinds of things in it such as “We have to design cards", "We have to buy a postbox", "We need to think about this and think about that". For me it was a great feeling that the people created Kudobox completely by themselves.

It’s installed now. We have Team Breakfast meetings where everyone gets together and we talk about everything. We read kudo cards there and it's a lot of fun.

Bartender Experience

We have many events. Next week we have our 7th Fireside chat. Before we started that, we sat at the meeting and spoke about plans and ideas: how to make Fireside chats great, how to launch them, what benefits for the clients we could bring. I suggested making cocktails and others said, “Yeah, why not? It’s good. It’s a nice event with good speakers. The cocktails sound perfect”.

Prior to that, I just made cocktails for my friends and me. I liked them, my friends liked them too. Next week I’ll do a bar-keeping for the 7th time and people love it. It goes around at Ministry. People are talking “Oh, Markus is a barkeeper”. When we do Ministry events, the people come to me and ask “Are you planning to make cocktails this time?”. And I reply, “No, I haven't planned to make cocktails for this event, but okay I can do that”. Every time we have an internal team event my colleagues say “Well, maybe Markus could make cocktails”

My grandma loved to make cookies. When she came we shouted cookies and she had to cook them all the time. Now I feel like my grandma, just for cocktails :). I'm proud when I do cocktails and people come around just looking at me preparing, talking and socializing. It’s a warm feeling because I can do something for my colleagues.

One Happy Life

I've been working for eight years in public relations and social media. I never wanted to stay in a company for more than one and a half years because I need a lot of space for myself. I love my job, but I’m not the person who likes to sit in front of a computer 8 hours every day or more. In most companies, it’s more. I started to dream of having two jobs. One job is doing PR but only 5-6 hours a day. And another totally different job.

When I applied to Ministry they didn't need anyone. I told them “Hey, I’d like to have an opportunity to work for 30 hours per week and do something else with my other time”. And they gave me this opportunity. I’m so happy with this concept that I feel it’s the first time I have ever wanted to stay longer with the company. Now I have some kind of balance with my life. Firstly, I can do my business. I’m a professional and I’ve been doing it for eight years. Secondly, I’m working with old people at a nursing home. I help them, entertain them, go for walks with them. I don’t have to work at the computer for a whole day. I can deal with people. It’s really great! There are not many companies that offer you that chance.

Dogs Room

We have dogs and it’s something I find really nice about Ministry and the people working here. We have one girl who brings her dog every day, the small dog which is very cute. And we have another teammate who brings a dog twice a week, just for the morning. We also have people who are very allergic to dogs. So we had a big meeting with everyone who wanted to join the conversation because we had a problem. We have dogs and we have people who are allergic to dogs. So what would we do?

One solution would be to tell dog owners that they cannot bring their dogs to work. No one wanted that because many people knew how difficult it is to find a dog sitter or to leave a dog at home all day. Then a group of people said, "We are not allergic to dogs. Get them in our office room".

We decided to make it a dog room. So now the dogs are allowed in a certain area to prevent them spreading their hair all over the place.

It was a really nice gesture from everyone saying, “No, we don’t want you to leave your dogs at home, that’s not the point. We need to find a solution.” I think it really shows the spirit of Ministry. It’s not about bringing a problem the easiest solution, but instead finding the solution which makes everyone happy as well, and showing them that they are appreciated as much as everyone else.

It's not about Friday

Since I’m working here, it’s totally different for me from before. It was difficult to understand all the freedom I have in the beginning. It still is, and I am slowly getting used to the fact that there’s no one sitting behind my back barking, “Is it ready?", "Do it now", "Why are you already leaving?”. Everyone is friendly and the atmosphere is open-minded. Sometimes I sit here and think, “Am I really here?”

It was so cool to listen to a strategy presentation by the Four. After that I talked to Andreas and said to him, “I never experienced that the bosses were sitting together for three days somewhere in Germany and discussing how to get the company better and better, and how to develop it more, to integrate the coworkers there." They think so much about the opinions of people who work here.

As I said, I never experienced that before. The employees here are highly appreciated for the work they do. We always have the freedom to say our opinion, or to give feedback, or just hang around. I love to come here every morning. It’s cool when it’s Friday. And when you realize that you don’t need a Friday rescue you, it makes you feel great. Being satisfied is about your work, about coming in each morning with a happy face and leaving thinking, “Yeah, it was a good day!”

Story from
Susanne Reppin
Agile coach & Flow Minister
Story from
Markus Niemann
Motion Designer
Story from
Elena Frateantonio
PR manager
Story from
Lisa Graf
Account Manager
Story from
Antje Kroon
Strategic Planner
View from outside
Story from
Sergey Kotlov
Entrepreneur
Story from
Raphael Schulz
Account Manager
Family-like organisation

When I entered Ministry’s office, the first thing I sensed was a warm, family-like atmosphere. People were very friendly. They were excited to share how they worked and what their roles were. They were also extremely interested in what I was doing. One moment I ended up standing outside the building with two guys and discussing my tour and some completely random stuff about web technologies.
My friend and I stayed at Ministry till the evening because we wanted to see what Fireside chat looked like. Markus, an employee there, was a bartender and mixed me an amazing cocktail with his homemade syrup. “This stuff is delicious. Is it just your hobby? Did you work as a bartender before?” I asked Markus. “Nope, I do it only for my dear friends like you”. I spent only a day at the company and it was enough for me to believe him instantly. People at Ministry are surprisingly — for a Russian guy — open and sincere.

When the interview was taken, Raphael worked at Ministry for only two months

I worked for about 4-5 agencies before. There was no spirit there like this. People leading Ministry are really interested in what the employees think about the agency itself, and how they work, and how they work together. In all my previous agencies, they only wanted to know that the work was done, but not how it was done. There was a lot of pressure, hard timings. It's quite new to me that the people who lead an agency care if you’re happy or not. I’m doing this job 12-13 years now and it's the first time I’ve seen people so interested in each other.

There’s a frame inside which you have to move, to work, to work with other people. The part which is not strictly ruled by the leaders of the agency is what you’re making out of it. I have enough space for me to do what I think is right. There is a part with rules and a part where I can work how I like. I have a space where I can realize my kind of work and how I think things should be done.

Our initiatives

Agency Band Aid

In 2013, a somewhat crazy idea arose: “We have such a lot of musical people in our company, we have a music corner (drums, bass, keyboard and guitars) where frequent jam sessions take place... quite a few colleagues are members of bands, so why don’t we organise a music festival with “MINISTRY bands”? And, while we’re at it,­ why don’t we combine it with a good cause? Let’s have a real Band Aid like back in 1985?”

Since then we have been organising our “Agency Band Aid” every year. In our office, we clear out the work spaces to make room, setting up a serious stage, installing a serious PA, and having a serious music festival for a whole day.

Fireside Chat

 

Once a month the Ministry Group Lounge is opened to a limited group of exclusive guests for our Fireside Chat. At each event selected speakers examine a single topic connected with digital transformation from different angles. After the talks there is an open discussion with the speakers and the guests. The evening closes with networking among all participants. Throughout the evening good drinks and fine food are served. Some say that this is one of the best business events in Hamburg.

Hacker School

The purpose of the Hacker School is to inspire young people to learn programming, to nurture and cultivate talents that might otherwise go undiscovered.

The Hacker School is a non-profit, private initiative founded by three experienced entrepreneurs. We want to show kids how exciting it is to create things with programming; how much fun and rewarding it can be when after a few hours of work you have made a small program, an app or website.

Ministry has been supporter of the Hacker School since its founding in 2014.

There was this guy. He was fourteen years old and he was creating a small robot. He found that he had two motors — one being stronger than the other. He wanted the robot to not drive in circles, but straight on. So he figured out that he should stop one motor every 10 milliseconds for a short time. He made that robot from scratch, having no prior programming experience at all.
Andreas Ollmann

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Our rituals

Creatifair

Once a year we have a creative hackathon, that we call a “Creatifair”: everyone in the Ministry Group is asked to participate ­­ but they have just 48 hours to form small teams and work on their ideas. There are only a few simple rules: it’s really only 48 hours.

There is a fixed budget, and at the end, each team has to hold a 10 minute presentation in which they explain their idea and show their results. So far the outcomes have included prototypes for several different software products, new furniture for our lounge, a steampunk marble run, an idea for our own beer brand, a song and a horror movie.

What's cooking?

Every Wednesday afternoon we meet at the "What's Cooking" board with people from each team to talk about current "cooking" projects, upcoming projects and also about potential projects.

Someone (usually several people) from each team explains what is going on, where they might need help, and what has been successfully finished. Finished cards are put on a spike, like used to be done in restaurants and a bell is rung — also like in restaurants when the cook wants the waiters to come get the food for the guests. We try to connect topics and projects between teams as well. Anyone from other teams is welcome to listen, when one team talks about their projects.

Team Breakfast

Every two weeks we move our daily breakfast buffet to our lounge and all gather together and eat breakfast together.

This is an opportunity for the leaders tell the team about news and answer questions and for the team to share successes and other stories with each other. Some tell about an upcoming event, others show a project they have been working on.

At the end we open a mail box and someone reads Kudos cards out loud and everyone claps for the person receiving thanks or praise.

We live
by values

You do not get paid for your butt. You get paid for your brain.

We don’t care if you need to come later, leave the office earlier, or want to work from home.

It’s up to you and your team to decide when you go on vacation.

What matters are the results of your work. And that no one in the team is hindered from doing their own work well as a consequence.  

Decisions should be made where the experience and the knowledge is.

You decide who is needed for your team and who joins it.

We’ll help your team to find clients but it’s you who makes them happy.

Creativity doesn’t happen at work. It happens in the park, at the movies, under the shower. It happens everywhere.

Office life in Hamburg
Cremon 36

+49 40 27 15 15 30
[email protected]
ministry.de

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