When you’re 100% remote, one of the hardest things to do is to maintain your company culture. Since you’re not all in the same space and interacting with each other every day, it’s easy for people to begin to feel isolated or separated from the team.
While it’s not easy to maintain our culture, we go out of our way to make sure everyone knows what we stand for and what our values are. We continually spend time to reinforce and celebrate our core values.
Here’s how we make sure our culture is continually front and center.
We spend a lot of time investing in intentional meetings. Since the water-cooler doesn’t exist in a remote team (outside of Slack), there aren’t a lot of opportunities for employees to cross-interact or have a serendipitous conversation.
Our team solves this by creating intentional meetings with the goal of just meeting other team members.
For example, our team has a weekly “coffee break”, a regularly scheduled “lunch and learn”, and a “shadow & mentorship” week. These meetings give the team an opportunity to go outside of their day-to-day to meet someone new and possibly learn something different.
We try to get our entire team together every year for an annual team offsite. The goal of the offsite is for all of us to meet in person, have a good time, and get to know each other outside of work.
Our off-sites are energizing and reinvigorating. The goal is not to talk shop, but instead, to get to know the people we work with.
Pulse & surveys
We use Lattice for our internal performance management. The tool is fantastic for helping us manage our remote team, allowing us to track employee reviews, pulse surveys, and employee NPS.
Our team regularly uses the pulse survey and employee NPS score to gauge our team’s “happiness”. The pulse surveys give our leadership team feedback on areas of improvement and allow the team to anonymously share how they feel about working at QRY.
The key to a great culture is to find a way to make the team feel like they’re all in the same room, even though they’re spread across the US. We use Slack to keep in touch and to share messages.
Our Slack is set up with channels dedicated to working, but we also have channels dedicated to topics that people are interested in. We’ve created a “water-cooler” channel for miscellaneous conversations, a “recipes” channel for our team’s favorite recipes, and a “music” channel for the latest QRY Spotify playlist.
We use Assembly to celebrate each other's successes and call out when someone goes above and beyond. When you’re remote, you can’t walk over to someone’s desk and tell them that they did a good job. Assembly allows us to do that, remotely.
Team members are able to give each other “trophies” and a shout-out whenever someone does something to be celebrated. It could be anything from supporting someone to answering a quick question. The “trophies” can be redeemed for gift cards and other fun rewards.
Our team uses Donut, a Slack application, to create serendipitous meetings. Donut is a phenomenal tool for, programmatically, keeping people connected and an absolutely integral platform for any remote business.
Donut allows us to keep our “water-cooler” channel filled with interesting chat prompts that lead to conversations where we learn more about each other. It also matches teammates and schedules coffee, which is a great way for people to stay in touch with other team members and meet new ones.
We recognize that company culture isn’t only created in the office, it exists outside of it too. When you’re remote, you can’t go grab a drink or dinner with your colleagues after work. We wanted to make sure we could give people that experience, even while being remote.
We try to schedule regular after-work events. The virtual event could be a cocktail class, virtual trivia night, a cooking class, or something else. The goal of the event is for our team to have a fun time and get to know each other.
We’re very thoughtful about making sure everyone feels like they’re a part of the team. We make sure to invest in systems that allow us to get feedback (so we can address any issues), reinforce our core values, and purposefully keep everyone connected.
We want everyone to love the people they work with and to be passionate about the work they do. It’s not easy, but it’s definitely worth it.