If you’ve been keeping up with all we’ve been doing at Conectys, you’ve probably heard about how we’ve helped our clients grow notably – and how we have too. We’re all thrilled about this success, but like many of our clients, our main concern is keeping our culture strong through such growth.
In the last year alone, we’ve added locations in IloIlo, Philippines as well as Dallas, Texas in the U.S. By the year 2020, we’re aiming to have 2020 employees around the globe. And through it all, we’re being wildly intentional about keeping our organizational culture intact.
So, how does that look? And more importantly, how does that work? We all talk about – and hear about – company culture, and we all want to have a great one. But when you think about what that actually means, it can seem a little vague. One of the best definitions of “company culture” that we’ve found is this: “Company culture is the personality of a company, defining the environment in which employees work and includes elements such as work environment, company mission, values, ethics, expectations and goals.”
At Conectys, we’ve worked really hard to zero in on our company’s personality and environment, making a strong and cohesive culture a focal point of our brand. After all, alignment around our company mission, values, ethics, expectations and goals benefits every single company stakeholder. But it’s not always as simple as defining these aspects and having team members agree to them – especially when you have hundreds of employees (or more) who are spread out around the globe.
Here’s a look at how we keep the heartbeat of our international business strong, across hundreds of team members with different backgrounds, languages and cultures all around the world. If you’re trying to keep your organizational culture strong as you grow, we hope these tips will help you do the same.
Our leadership team knew that they’d have to work hard – and regularly – to connect team members that aren’t near each other. We lean on technology to help us do this, and go beyond standard virtual meetings. For example, we’ve made a tradition of holding happy hour sessions where we invite team members from a variety of locations to join an in-person gathering remotely. These types of events have sparked lively conversation and connection over shared experiences, and really boosted camaraderie – and growth.
We also bring together in-person and virtual teams when we train our staff, so multiple offices are always meeting and working alongside one another. Our executive team makes a point of using these gatherings to paint a high-level picture of the company plan and share important company matters with the whole team. This helps everyone get on the same page, and feel like they have the same level of information as their peers, no matter where they’re located.
Some of our teams also have their own ways of acknowledging standout performers and encouraging hard work and peer-to-peer recognition. For example, our operational team has a session called “The Oscars in Operations.” This fun event brings the group together and publicly rewards top performers, even allowing them to give a speech through virtual video remote sessions to all employees around the globe. Seemingly small gestures like this have gone a long way in strengthening the bonds that our team members have with each other, and making everyone feel like a valued member of the company.
Travel is a Two-Way Street
As helpful as technology is in bringing us all together despite our physical distance, it’s still not a perfect replacement for face-to-face time. So we tackle this by making travel a priority on a couple of levels. First, our executive management team travels regularly to our other sites. They make sure to visit each site in-person at least twice a year, although oftentimes do so more often. This helps them to stay connected to each site’s leaders and team members, learn about each location’s culture, disseminate company culture and meet any new hires they haven’t yet.
Second, we periodically fly out members of our staff to our headquarters in Romania. This gives them a chance to see how everything is set up, get involved hands-on, soak in company values and learn about the culture in our headquarters. These trips have proven to be really valuable in keeping consistency and collaboration between all of our separate sites.
Relationships via Infrastructure
The travel we prioritize at Conectys helps build relationships between team members of every level at our company. But we also have the right infrastructure in place to encourage communication at any given point between locations. We have our own internal communication tool we use, and we have technologies readily accessible so employees can set up video calls (through Skype or Zoom) with anyone in the company they need to reach. Creating a communication bridge between our various locations and roles, and making it easy for such dialogues to happen, has helped our staff build relationships and trust in one another.
Another piece of infrastructure we believe has had a profound impact on our internal culture is using third party tools such as Glassdoor to collect feedback about how satisfied our employees are. Based on the responses we get, we follow up to find out how we can increase team members’ satisfaction. Oftentimes, we’ll get insight into the work environment we’ve created or into other culture-related issues, and it helps us to remedy potential problems right away. It also lets us know what we’re doing right, so we can do more of it.
If you’re growing at a fast pace or expanding to new locations and becoming an international business, you might be worried about how to keep your culture in place. As long as you keep communication open (and accessible), prioritize group gatherings (whether in-person, virtual or a combination of both) and put the right infrastructure in place to build relationships and gather feedback – you’ll be on the right track. We’ve done it, and you can too.