As I wrap up my internship at Scouted, I’ve taken the time to reflect upon my experience and what aspects have made it so memorable. I’ve developed many skills, made new connections, and learned so much about the startup space. Ultimately, I’ve realized that the Scouted culture has played a major role in why I have had such an impactful internship.
What is culture? As we wrote about in our blog last week, a company’s culture consists of its environment, its tone, its “vibe” — built upon the team’s intrinsic values. Culture is something that companies strive to perfect, but few succeed at doing so. For many candidates, company culture can play a big factor in the job search process. For hiring managers, it is important to understand their own company culture in order to share with potential candidates.
In Scouted’s case, I would describe the company culture as welcoming, relaxed, fun, and meritocratic. To emphasize this, I recruited my fellow Scouted coworkers to help come up with some tips that we use routinely to cultivate and maintain our company culture.
Trust is the foundation of a positive and productive work environment, where every team member trusts themselves to complete their own responsibilities and trusts one another to help meet the goals of the company. Every Friday during the summer at Scouted, we work from home and give ourselves a break from the daily commute through the city. Even though the team is scattered across New York City, we hold ourselves accountable to finishing our work, responding to Slack messages, being on time for calls, and meeting deadlines. We trust one another to complete our to-do’s, without the daily structure of going into the office.
Through creating transparency in a work environment, employees are able to feel comfortable asking questions, clarifying confusion, or giving feedback. Each week at Scouted, each team member outlines what they hope to accomplish that week and their successes and challenges of the past week. These weekly emails help team members support one another and provide transparency of what their week looks like.
Another way Team Scouted practices transparency is through feedback. In team meetings, there are always opportunities to provide feedback to one another. Team members are very willing to schedule time one on one to share further feedback. As a curious intern, I always feel comfortable asking questions or requesting feedback, and any of the team members will take the time to help me learn more.
Set Communal Goals
Setting goals creates motivation and initiative within a team; creating communal goals helps a team to stay motivated and hold one another accountable everyday. In practice, we conduct weekly team meetings where we review our weekly goals, accomplishments, and to-do’s. Additionally, we utilize key performance indicators (metrics) to hold us accountable for achieving our weekly, monthly, and quarterly goals. We also have broad goals such as “have a great culture that drives company success and creates an environment where people want to work”. We break down this broad goal into milestones, such as “develop core principles” or “complete quarterly development meetings” that will help give every team member a sense of whether we are working toward meeting this goal.
Because every member of the team is present for our weekly/monthly/quarterly meeting, the entire company is able to understand each department’s goals. In doing so, we can support one another in achieving these goals, and this helps to build an environment of collaboration and teamwork.
Keep it Fun
Implementing fun rituals and activities into the workplace is a great way to improve work/life balance. Scouted is honestly a very fun place to work, and the team recognizes that there is always a time and a place to have fun together. Once a month, we host a team bonding event where the team will go out to a restaurant, host a game night, or even see a Yankees game. Through team bonding events, we get to know one another outside of the workplace in a casual, fun setting.
Another way to promote keeping the workplace fun is on every Friday, we create a team Spotify playlist with a variety of themes. Some playlists themes include “Song to sing in the shower” and “dance party.” I’ve looked forward to adding to the playlist and seeing what other members of the team included. There are so many ways to have fun in the office, without even spending a dime. Play a game a taboo, or head out on a team walk.
Support Personal and Professional Development
In order for employees to feel that they hold value beyond their work, personal and professional development should be a crucial factor in a company’s culture. To promote the development of our employees here at Scouted, we hold quarterly development meetings — each employee with their manager. In these meetings, we review skills that the individual hopes to improve and how to go about improving them. We also take into account their career goals overall, and how Scouted is helping each team member to achieve their personal and professional goals.
Along with promoting transparency and honest feedback, we are also open to constructive criticism. Each team member strives to be their best possible self — both professionally and personally — so team members are open to receiving feedback, even criticism, on how they can best improve.
Strong company culture is a huge differentiator in the job market now. I hope these tips are helpful to many companies, whether you’re a startup, consulting firm, non-profit, or a Fortune 500 company.
How would you describe your company culture? How does your team build company culture? Let us know in the comments.