When I started working at Formstack I was most excited about becoming the “Keeper of the Culture.” When a team is made of up only six people it is easy to maintain a common culture, but when you double in size and know that tripling in size is in your future, it becomes something that you need an individual to own. So what do I do? Here is a short list of things I do to keep culture alive and well:
1. Stop, Look, and Listen:
Communication is probably the most important aspect of my position. When you have a small team all employees should feel like they can voice concerns and ask questions without jumping through hoops. We also maintain an open door policy, and generally you can talk to any team member at any time without worrying about your title or level in the company.
I make sure to acknowledge employee birthdays. We may be adults but that doesn’t mean you don’t get cake on your birthday. I also wrote each employee a little note for Formstack’s 6th Anniversary party just to let them know they are appreciated and thank them for what they do. Seeing each employee as an individual is very important. Do you have any Veterans on your team? Has their dog been sick? Did their favorite football player get traded? Pay attention. They have lives, and it is nice to take notice.
Allowing employees to work from home or at a co-working space is a nice little perk. Occasionally it is nice to get a change of perspective. Also, don’t make an employee feel bad for coming in late or needing to leave early on occasion. Things happen. A big part of Formstack’s culture is dealing with changes quickly and with agility. I make sure the team at least knows where everyone is, that way if something big comes up we can easily get a hold of each other.
Every month we plan some sort of out of the office fun activity. It is also fun to have friendly competitions with March Madness brackets or Ping Pong Tournaments. We have Nerf guns and various other toys in the office. We aren’t afraid to laugh, and we want to keep that a part of our culture.
Volley Pong, Power Struggle, Friday Lunch, and Second Breakfast are some of our traditions. It is a great way to help onboard employees by teaching them these traditions. A new employee quickly feels like a part of the group. I find ways to teach new employees who we are and how we operate. The quicker they feel like a part of the group, the quicker they will start being successful at their specific job.
As with any tech company, each individual does a lot of different things. I also help with recruiting and general office upkeep, but mostly I am here to make sure Formstack keeps being Formstack.
What types of things do you do to emphasize culture in the workplace?