Our culture and employee engagement are vital to establishing trust within our organization.
We believe in putting people first, and this starts with recognizing that happy and engaged employees aid in organizational growth.
We’re also committed to our mission and vision and believe when our employees have clarity and a solid understanding of their role and our company, we can all grow and excel together.
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Read full interview from Company Interview with Tricia, CEO of BELAY.
We make sure everybody knows each other in real life.
While I think it's possible to create a team where nobody ever meets in real life, I don't think that's something we want.
I do feel it would be harder to create camaraderie and bonding.
We have regular meetups with everybody, and as we welcome somebody new, we make an effort to come to the office to work physically together for a little while.
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Building close connections with your co-workers while working remotely can be a challenge. Our engineering team has a recurring all-hands call where they share interesting features they are building, new technologies they are experimenting with, and just generally get to know each other better.
We also have an end-of-week, all-hands video call, so everyone has the opportunity to see each other at least weekly.
It’s a fun time to wrap up the week, highlight our accomplishments and successes, give props to team members that stood out that week, share important company news, and wrap up the week on a fun, positive note.
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Trust in remote teams is essential. It's the foundation for distributed teams to function optimally. We've established rituals to start and end the week to keep remote team members engaged.
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It is so important to keep a team spirit and a sense of fun, especially in the current circumstances.
We do this by holding regular virtual team drinks (sometimes in fancy dress!) and encouraging social interaction on Slack.
Furthermore, we have a partnership with virtual cycling club HotChillee and aim to support our teams to maintain both their mental as well as physical health.
But from the beginning, we implemented a truly transparent environment. That, a clear vision, defined and lived values, our approach to ‘working out loud’, and the Guiding Principles I mentioned mean that our workforce is both inspired, engaged, and clear on trust.
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By being honest, fair and treating everyone as equals. Another thing is worth mentioning. Vietnamese devs are as good as any other nationality, but their knowledge of English might fluctuate. Therefore, the Western tech leads have as one of their duties to assist in research on Google and Stack Overflow.
But the individual devs are also encouraged to help each other with this. We found this to be a good bonding procedure that quickly builds up trust among the team.
Our policy is that a quest for knowledge may include failure, and there's no such thing as a stupid question.
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Love that question, but is somewhat similar to one of the previous ones. Trust is the first thing to build from the management down. I empower people to contribute and penalize people that do not.
When you are somewhat forced to contribute, you are hoping that the person at the top will take it well, and of course, making sure that myself and my managers take people's input well is how I build trust.
If I penalize people for taking the risk of giving their opinion even once, maybe because I am in a bad mood that day, that's probably three months of trust-building efforts to bring trust back to the previous level.
We also focus heavily on culture. We try to create hangout drinks on Zoom, we play board games and card games virtually, and we use an app called Donut that schedules random 1-on-1s. We also share recipes and jokes on Slack, which seems to keep everyone happy.
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We build trust in teams by embedding transparency into our culture. What does this culture look like?
Well, we embrace taking risks and making mistakes, and we own the results, that’s the way people learn and develop. We are transparent about our goals and values.
We encourage open and constructive feedback. We also leave no room in our culture for workplace drama, and this is one of the core principles of our culture.
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This question is what all our interviews and our startup are trying to answer! It’s different while remote; you can’t just ask someone to get drinks or spark up a conversation in the cafeteria. You have to be intentional about building psychological safety and close relationships.
A lot of startups address this with a top-down approach, putting the responsibility on People Ops to drive programs that spark bonding and company culture.
These happy hours are fantastic, but one team can only do so much at scale.
That’s why we believe trust and culture-building falls to remote managers.
Managers have closer relationships with teammates and more opportunities to create trust in a smaller team environment. Building the same levels of in-person trust requires vulnerability and an open attitude towards mistakes.
The manager has to lead by example, showing that it’s okay to take days off and ask for help. We know managers have a lot on their plates, so we built Kona to help facilitate relationship building.
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It’s all about process and goal-setting. If you are clear about expectations and deadlines, then everyone knows what they need to do to succeed. If you have a process that includes sharing what you’re working on, reporting on your work, etc. then you know how your team is performing and what they are up to. The rest of that trust is up to you as a leader to have faith in your team.
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