During these times, everybody must be doing virtual meetings through online communication platforms. However, it is hard to communicate correctly and engage your audience because of the physical distance you have with your team.
At Outsource School, we have recently started to hold monthly culture and team meetings via Slack chat, and we’ve found some pain points and other challenges in conducting these meetings. Luckily, we found ways to address these issues, and we’re excited to share what we did.
These monthly meetings are something new that Outsource School wanted to try out as we started hiring and scaling the team. After all, constant, engaging, and effective communication is essential to improve productivity.
We always had our weekly all-hands meeting, weekly team meetings, and quarterly 1 on 1s, but we hadn’t experimented with a meeting specifically about team and culture. With 3 of these in the books so far this year, we can honestly say that it’s been a massive improvement in building our remote culture.
This article will discuss points to remember when setting up a monthly culture and team meetings through Slack chat. Here’s what we’ve found to work so far:
Set the Right Precedent and Make it Mandatory
Give your team plenty of notice about the meeting and make sure that they’ve added it to their calendars, so they don’t forget. Letting them know about an upcoming meeting sets their minds and drives them to prepare for the activity. Set a specific date and time every month and do your best to stick by this schedule to develop a habit for everyone in the team.
Let them know that the meeting is going to be all about the team and culture. We are getting to know one another better, talking about the company’s vision and mission, and going over company values.
Communicate to your team the agenda of your meeting. We found that being 100% transparent about the discussion prepared the team to contribute when it came time to run it. Through open communication, you’ll have a more productive and efficient meeting. Everyone comes equipped with possible questions, suggestions, and other items they’d want to discuss with the group.
Don’t stress yourself out with unnecessarily long, tiring, and time-consuming meetings. As the lead, it’s your task to make these group activities as fruitful as possible. Remember, this is a culture meeting, not your usual updates or performance reviews. It doesn’t have to be as formal and all about work.
Spend the First 20 Minutes on a Team Building Activity
With a 100% remote company, it can be harder to get to know your colleagues than if you were in an office with them every day. There is a negative impact on engagement and participation when colleagues don’t physically see each other during meetings – these team and culture meetings can help solve those issues.
In our most recent meeting, we all went around and shared where we were from and where we were currently living. As everyone shared, we Googled the locations on a map and shared the image to get a good sense of where we all were.
It was a fun exercise that brought us all together and taught us a bit more about each other’s upbringing and culture.
Ideally, it would be best if you did activities that would get everyone to talk about something emotional and personal, but not too intrusive. Another example of these activities would be asking them about their favorite movies/songs and asking them to share why.
Relationship-building is vital to a productive, collaborative, and high-performing team.
Spend the Next 10 Minutes on Any Team or Culture-Specific Updates
You don’t want these topics to rule the meeting and take too much of your time. Keep updates short, concise, and easily remembered. Through Slack, you can also easily prepare notes beforehand that you can easily copy and paste during your meeting. Doing so will help you maintain structure in your meetings, avoid going overtime, and ensuring that you don’t forget any important updates.
However, when you have any necessary updates, make sure to mention them, so the team is on the same page. These critical updates could include new hires, the main focus for the week, new internal processes, etc. As long as the update involves and affects almost everyone, make sure you communicate with your team.
Teams work better if they have the same idea and mindset in the activities that they do. Any miscommunicated updates well will most likely confuse and disrupt performance.
Spend the Last 20-30 Minutes Going Through a Company Value
The part of the meetings where we discuss how a company value has had a very impactful effect on our team. At Outsource School, we have a culture guide that outlines our mission, vision, and values. We make sure that our culture guide is defined to have a clear direction where we want to go.
Each meeting, we pick one company value, and we discuss it as a team. We make sure that everyone has had the opportunity to share what it means to them. It is also essential to let the team mention how it impacts them in their personal and work life.
This part of the monthly meetings led to some fantastic conversations, showing that we all have a lot of the same values and beliefs in life. It also creates a bond between the team members knowing that they share the same points of view.
Bringing people together around their beliefs can create real bonds and make them work harder towards building the company.
Holding meetings through chat might be unconventional for some. The norm has always been to use video or voice calls during meetings. But as discussed, these meetings have been extraordinary for us so far, and we look forward to developing them even more.
Outsource School hopes that you have learned something from our experiences and how we approach our monthly culture meetings.