“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”
Culture is a business topic that many talk about, and for good reason. At Rule29, we wholeheartedly believe that culture is as important as anything else you do for your business. As the world went virtual, the topic of culture seemed to be a daily conversation. Zoom games, happy hours, and digital meetings became the new norm for a world that could not connect in person. But culture is way more than a Zoom happy hour; it’s about people and what makes your team your team. How do you celebrate one another? What keeps people around? If it is a happy hour, you must be serving the really good stuff. At Rule29, we love a happy hour, but the good stuff is within our team.
We are a team that wants to celebrate one another, acknowledge the wins, learn from the losses, and establish a connection. When your team counts on one another as much as we do, you have to work hard to work together and WANT to work together to give clients the best service and deliverables possible. Here, there really is no “I” in “team.”
Most of the world will continue to be virtual at some level. Rule29 will be, too, with multiple offices. Keeping culture strong is going to lessen that distance. The following points work really well for the Rule29 culture, and we hope you can apply these ideas to your team and realize the benefits we have.
One of our first changes was to group initiatives together. Before, each team member had an initiative—a skill they wanted to expand on that would help them personally and the R29 team as a whole. Now, we have the Marketing Team, Culture Team (hey, that’s me—are you surprised?), and the B-Corp Team. This allows our team to put our heads together and focus on what makes us uniquely us. Collaborating as a team has led to new team processes, a social media campaign, and diving into our work as a B-Corp. We are committed to being better, and these changes are just the beginning.
Something new that the Culture Team has started is including High-Fives in our 15/5s. (If you need a refresher on our 15/5s, check this out.) We recently have changed our layout a bit, so at the end of the week, you share a co-worker highlight and three things you are grateful for. Taking time to think of what you are grateful for in your day is something you can (and may we suggest you should) build into your culture and day-to-day life. Recognizing these things can change your whole outlook.
Once a month, leadership looks at who received the most high-fives, and we award the High-Five of the Month (kind of like an employee of the month, if you will). This person gets a killer Instagram story (check out celebrations highlight) and a gift card! According to Forbes, such recognitions are often motivating and appreciated by employees. One of our High-Five of the Month winner, Katie McConville, says, “High-Fives are a great morale builder. It’s nice to hear even if just the little things from the team, and it’s nice to share those things with leadership too. It’s simple, but the simple things matter.” Being praised for hard work is rewarding. And what makes it really rewarding is that the team recognized this person.
Celebrations always happened in the office, but when they had to be moved to digital, we came up with ways to celebrate on our social. In the celebrations highlight on Instagram, you’ll also see new posts about celebrating new R29ers and promotions! These gestures of celebrating the team really allow us to grow, set goals to continue to better ourselves, and be proud of our team. A welcome or congratulatory post is exciting to share among family and friends when talking about your latest news.
An external brand is only as strong as its internal brand. Here, we are always collaborating on how to market ourselves while also bringing good to the world. You may have heard of LEO or Love Each Other, which is an internal initiative that spreads love and kindness. To keep spreading positivity and love, there will be some changes coming with LEO. Keep an eye out for that on Rule29 social media.
Culture is so much more than happy hours and zoom games. As Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb says, “Culture is simply a shared way of doing something with a passion.” At Rule29, we love seeing what we can create together and how each of us contributes to the overall culture we share. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it helps to build a strong team and a positive culture!