How do you create company culture within your startup? The response to this question tends to vary from business to business. Pre-Covid, some might have implemented a company culture policy or brought staff out for drinks. Others may have encouraged their team to bring their dogs to the office.
How do you create company culture within your startup?
The response to this question tends to vary from business to business. Pre-Covid, some might have implemented a company culture policy or brought staff out for drinks. Others may have encouraged their team to bring their dogs to the office.
Company culture is no longer just for full-time employees. Oh no. Startups are keen to develop a culture with freelancers, contractors and remote workers too. Creating a culture without a central office space comes with challenges but it can be done with preparation and buy-in from your team.
At a time when many of us are working remotely, it’s so important for companies to bring their employees and teams together - to acknowledge and highlight the contributions they make to the company and to celebrate their achievements. To allow staff to chat and laugh about both work and personal matters, just like they would in the office. Water cooler gossip and lunchtime catch ups are a tonic for unloading life’s stresses and gripes.
I’ve worked with several companies where Slack was the main source of communication among teams and I can tell you that if used well, it can most definitely be the catalyst to create a strong company culture.
So, whether you're managing a team of full-time employees or remote freelancers, here are a few ways you can use Slack to bring your team closer together.
1. WATER COOLER CHATS
Many office workers who've been stuck at home over the last few months haven't necessarily missed the office itself (or the commute for that matter), they've missed the people they work with.
Chats over coffee, quick catch ups at their desk or after-work drinks have been temporarily sidelined due to Covid. But they don’t have to be.
The Freelancer Club has a Slack channel called "#Watercooler-Chat", where we chat about our weekend plans, share tasty recipes, holiday pics etc.
The Freelancer Club is made up entirely of freelancers working remotely (and has been since 2016), which means most of us have never met in person. Two of us are based in Ireland, a couple in London, Essex, York, the Isle of Wight, and Norfolk. However, jumping on the "#Watercooler-Chat" channel for a few minutes everyday helps team members get to know each other on a personal level.
2. DOG CLUB
Not one to be overlooked.
When I was at university, the student welfare department would bring puppies to the library just before exams started and student’s stress levels were at their highest.
Why? ‘Cause dogs are cute and a welcome distraction.
I’ve been in a few "Dog Club" Slack channels in my time. Am I a massive dog lover? Not necessarily. However, a cute dog picture always prompts a reaction from most people and as dogs are like family members to a lot of people, getting to know their dog is now like getting to know their family.
Whether it’s a dog club, recipe swaps, Celebs Go Dating or Fortnite, find out what you’re into and set up a channel. TV shows work well too as your team can chat about what they watched the night before. The Red Wedding, anyone?
3. FITNESS CHALLENGE
Not everyone in your startup will be into running, but many like to fit in a walk, a cycle or some form of exercise on a regular basis.
Consider creating a "Fitness Challenge" Slack channel. Select a destination or distance via a poll at the beginning of the month (Amsterdam, Paris etc.) and aim to collectively clock up enough mileage to get there by the end of the month.
At a time when international travel has been shelved by many, this kind of fitness challenge helps motivate individuals to keep fit, while working towards a common goal.
4. FRIDAY RECAP
It’s really important to provide a space on Slack where people can share what they’ve been working on and what they’ve achieved each week.
Setting up a "Friday Recap" channel on Slack is a great way to do this.
When you encourage your team to acknowledge their efforts and achievements, particularly in writing, it allows them to recognise and appreciate their abilities and contribution to the company, which will give them more confidence to take on the next task you send their way.
5. GENERAL STUFF
Slack's a great place for breakout team chats, where small groups can easily communicate about specific projects. However, it’s really important to create a space on the platform that’s suitable for company wide announcements and updates.
A "General" Slack channel is perfect for this. Without such a group, you might find yourself in a spot of bother if you inform certain individuals about an important piece of news or information but forget to share it with others.
However you choose to use Slack, I’d recommend setting some ground rules when introducing a new member of the team to the company. At Freelancer Club, we use the acronym ‘A.P.I’ - something we picked up from Matt Mullenweg. API, in this case stands for Assume Positive Intent. Chat (like WhatsApp messages) can be misinterpreted or misunderstood leading to issues or rifts amongst teammates. By assuming positive intent, you’ll always strive to see the good in people and build a more harmonious culture.
Like a lot of people, your team value and need human connection now more than ever.
Try creating some of the groups above. They’ll help bring your teams closer together at a time when they’ve never felt more apart.