Culture is a company's unique identifier. A large number of teams across are struggling with creating a productive company culture. The good news is, it's something we can control and fix, even if our teams are hybrid and remote.
What is culture
No, it's not built on free lunches, a game room, and gym access. It's built on three main areas — product, process, and principles. But, it won't work itself out if we leave it to chance; that does more harm than good in the long run.
Why is culture-building important?
- Loyalty quotient increases
Not just from employees but also from customers. This in turn creates strong positive advocates out of both employees and customers. Perhaps no amount of marketing and sales will bring in as much value to the organization as brought by loyal employees and customers.
Happiness quotient increases
When organizations fix their processes, and actively put a growth-oriented positive spin to it, everyone involved is consistently happy and enthusiastic. Employees who are enthusiastic generally are more productive and creative, leading to better work and ideas.
Low attrition, low churn
Good culture, not only attracts good talent but also retains them. It goes without saying that high attrition can set a company back and slow its progress and growth. When employees are not engaged and productive, they don't do their best work and will either end up leaving or getting fired. This could have a negative impact on a team's performance and morale.
It serves as a strong differentiator and builds brand identity
When we focus on building a good culture, people will know you for your culture. We need to make it count. A well-defined culture goes a long way in coordinating team behavior towards the vision and performance goals that benefit both the individual and the company.
How to better team culture? Good practices
We interacted with teams that are remote/hybrid and actively working on improving their culture. Here are a few tried and tested methods that they currently practice:
Active collaboration and healthy communication are the backbones said, everyone. Every individual needs to feel that they are a part of something bigger. For this, it's important to know who they are working with, and what they are working on, very clearly. Here are a few ways teams can improve their collaborative efforts to maximize impact:
Onboarding a new member:
When a new team member joins, giving them a comprehensive understanding of the team and its work so far can be the most important first step. This will not only reduce the onboarding time, but it will also serve as a catalyst for the team to work together effortlessly. In a remote-first world, here are a few ways to achieve this:
Team member introductions in a playlist
Gone are the days when everyone had written bios against their names. A more interactive and active way of introducing everyone would be through short videos. Put a face to a name and a voice to the face. It makes all the difference.
No doubt documentation is evergreen and we can never do away with it. In addition, if a new member can get access to all the important previous discussions and meetings, along with a video of someone in the team explaining, for eg, the codebase, architecture, the whys, etc. the onboarding and ramping up can be expedited. How? Create a meaningful playlist with all the relevant content and share it with them
Explain Internal tools, dashboards, and processes
Create an explainer video demonstrating how your team uses a certain tool and the best practices and set conventions. Explain clearly where to find important stuff, how the team works, how to reach out to people, what Slack channels are for what purpose (including the ones for jokes!).
The best part about creating these videos is that it's a one-time effort. Every new member can access the same videos multiple times without utilising another's time.
Weekly show and tell
The consequences of isolated teamwork can be dire. It could impact morale and productivity when knowledge and information are restricted to each team. An individual or a team can host a weekly or bi-weekly 'show and tell' for everyone in the organization and open a QnA. Again, record these and make the highlights available to those who missed out.
Internal hackathons plus demo day
Hackathons are not just for developers. Anyone from any team should be enabled to make contributions and build anything using their skills and expertise. It need not even be relevant to the organization. This will get the creative juices flowing, will help individuals snap out of their everyday work and think outside of it. No motivation? Give out handsome rewards and make it an engaging and fun routine. You will be surprised at the results. Teams can hold this once a quarter and have a demo day at the end of the hackathon. Again, record these for those who missed out.
Provide regular constructive feedback
Everyone works towards a goal — for the organization and for personal growth. We tend to look up to people for direction, inspiration, and motivation. Direction and feedback are what we thrive on, they help us better ourselves, our work, stay focused, and help us create more value. Periodic constructive feedback culture can go a long way in increasing productivity and output.
Define and communicate your values well around things you care about — your product, your customers, and your employees. Make another fun video about it.
Weekly fun evenings
Teams and individuals get burnt out. At the end of the week, you would want to take a break and let the steam out. Friday evenings can be just for that. Wrap up a little early and play something online with your entire team. There are a lot of easy online games available that will help bring the team together and have some mindless time off work.
People want to be a part of communities that focus on positive growth. Build a culture of trust, constructive feedback, meaningful connections, and rewarding work. Have you strategized and thought about how you can build a positive culture that people want to be a part of? Creating team introductory videos is a good start.
Share your thoughts with us.