We all know team culture is important, and it can greatly impact an employee’s experience.
However, a one-time investment in developing your team culture is not enough. Team culture is not something that can be maintained on autopilot. It requires constant care and attention to truly flourish throughout your organization. Often we’ll see culture change or become inconsistent as teams grow and evolve. This is why it is so crucial to invest in culture stewardship with your teams.
The goal of a culture stewardship program is to align your team’s approach to maintaining culture even as they grow and evolve. Aligning expectations across team managers will help ensure that your company culture continues to thrive in each squad. The best way to do this is to make it easy for your teams by giving them ideas and guidance on how to nurture company culture.
Some things that have worked well for us include:
Dedicating time for team bonding during work hours!
Making time for team bonding during work hours reflects how serious leadership is about their team culture. By scheduling team bonding activities during the work day you are signaling to your team that team bonding is as equally important as anything else we do during the week. The best time to schedule these events is whenever the team hits a milestone. Events for team bonding can be especially refreshing after a tough release. It gives the team time to unwind and truly celebrate what they accomplished with their teammates.
Curating events or activities that your team is interested in
Every team is different, and acknowledging that will be key in finding activities that your team enjoys participating in. One thing to keep in mind when curating activities is what would create the best experience for all of your team members. For example, If you work in a hybrid workplace, or your team is spread around the globe it is often best to default to a truly remote-based activity.
For our tech teams, playing Codenames online has been a crowd-pleaser. However, you can choose any activity ranging from Mario Kart to a group-baking session or even a weekly debrief session to process the latest episode of your team’s favorite trashy tv show. The important part is that someone assumes the role of the event facilitator to curate the event. More often than not, team members are more than happy to help facilitate the event, but they’ll usually need some help coming up with ideas. Creating a central list of activities your teams have enjoyed previously is a great way to make it easy for team managers to organize activities.
Always scheduling welcome events for new teammates
Whenever new folks join the team, we always recommend that team managers schedule a welcome team hangout. These are great opportunities for the team to get to know their newest team member. This also establishes the importance of team bonding for any new team member. Fostering these connections as soon as possible helps teams build their foundations and truly start to thrive.
We highly recommend ice breakers for these team hangouts so folks can start to get to know each other. There are plenty of fun or silly ice breakers out there. You can even integrate shorter ice breakers into the beginning of some meetings when time permits. Some of our personal favorites include:
- Two truths and a lie
- What fictional world would you want to live in?
- Which song would you sing at karaoke?
Nurturing team culture is a job that is never fully done. It requires a level of care and commitment from leaders to truly enable their culture to thrive. Encouraging your leaders to become stewards of their team’s culture will empower them to nurture and grow their team’s culture.