Working so closely with scaling tech companies, we hear an awful lot about the importance of company culture. By now, we’ve held scaling sessions on it for our growth programme cohorts, made onlinecourses about it and even published a book on it.
Company culture is essential to attracting and retaining talent, ensuring your staff do their best work and make the best choices when the boss is not in the room. Every company is different and what works somewhere won’t work somewhere else, but at Tech Nation we think we’ve got some of the important stuff down.
Of course, Covid-19 has meant that we have had to adapt our team activities, process and practices to keep our teams safe. Remote working and communication were engrained in our company culture before the pandemic, and it remains vital today.
With colleagues all over the country, it’s important that we get together to reassess where we’re at as a business and get some valuable face time. Before Covid-19, we held frequent company away days that varied between business strategy focus and group activities – such as volunteering. Evening team treats have included group cooking in London, a boat trip in Bristol and Escape Room in Leeds.
Like many others, we made the switch to remote working full-time during the pandemic. In August 2021, we invited colleagues to attend the first ‘post-Covid-19’ team day in London where we caught up in person after many months apart. As part of the day, we held outdoor sports day-style activities (complete with team awards), meditation, and a painting class. You can listen to our CEO Gerard Grech discuss the day in our audio review.
We’re a creative bunch at heart
With people based in 11 cities (and counting), communication is clearly key for collaborating on projects, but it’s also a big part of our culture. Slack is where those most important parts of any culture often occur – the organic miscellaneous habits and rituals that don’t require a calendar invite.
At Tech Nation that includes #dogchat. A Slack channel for the mutual appreciation of lovely doggos; #dogchat is obviously vital to team morale. Of course, there’s a #catchat too if that’s your bag (and yes, you can be in both).
We have a small but dedicated band of runners in Tech Nation’s #RunningClub Slack channel, which sees Strava heat maps and Spotify running playlist suggestions shared regularly. Of course, talking about running isn’t quite the point – and we aim to take to the great outdoors with our running shoes donned as a group in the near future.
Our first outdoor gathering post-Covid-19
Lunch ‘n’ Learn and Book Club
And the budding Book Club is inclusive enough to welcome those who may not have yet read the book, but are happy to offer opinions and ask questions nevertheless.
Tech Nation Detox
You might get free lunch elsewhere, but Tech Nation Detox is a real proprietary privilege. Each month someone super informed, inspiring and influential from the tech industry joins us remotely to give us their insights, hot takes and answer closed-room questions.
The Detox roster would be the envy of any global conference, with recent visitors having included Benedict Evans, Eileen Burbidge, Rob Desborough, Sarah Wood, Trishna Saxena and Adam Hale.
A Tech Nation Detox from before the pandemic
Meditation and Geekaton
At the end of the week, we hold Mindful Meditation, which is exactly what it sounds like. That is followed by Geekaton, where we collectively focus on self-development (or any outstanding) tasks using the Pomodoro technique.
Designed to be a quick blast through any outstanding work that you want to finish before the weekend, Geekaton invites participants to openly share their goals (to help create accountability) and short sprints (to manage distraction). Everybody is muted, with just office background ambience playing to help people achieve their last-minute goals. It’s a Geekaton of productivity fun.
In any company, you can have all the structures and policies you like, but it’s people who make culture. Equally, you need to be open to a team creating the culture for you, and help them with what it is they want to do. Thankfully at Tech Nation, all of the above is true.
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