ITL #554   Collaboration and inclusivity: how we built a team that will always champion us

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Although 100% remote, a B2B AdTech PR agency achieves breathtakingly good workplace culture scores. By Ren Bowman.



Team culture is no short-term commitment, and it’s likely one of the most, if not the most important element to success and productivity in the workplace. Productivity only grows when creativity and collaboration is nurtured, where there’s a free sharing of ideas and knowledge. When you build the right culture, your team thrives both in motivation and outputs, and they choose to say because they feel heard and because their input is valued. And yet, so many companies get it wrong.

 

I’m really proud to be able to say that The Digital Voice™ isn’t one of them. Everyone I talk to about my role here says it: we seem to have done the impossible and found the perfect work-life balance. When I describe how we work, I’ve been told it sounds like a dream.

 

But how exactly has that happened? What does it take to create a workplace culture that encourages your team to constantly do their best work, in the way they work best? And how can you know you’re getting it right? One place to start is to measure your Net Promoter Score (NPS) as a benchmark of success. 

 

First, a humble brag: we recently took part in a staff survey and benchmarking exercise, and we’re happy to say we’re right to rave about how our team feels about their work and our culture. 

 

Agency Benchmarker asks the same set of questions to staff across a number of participating agencies, to understand employee sentiment and sense-check whether they’re getting it right as an employer – and our results were through the roof. In the words of Mike Turner, Managing Director of YouBecome, the consultancy who run the research project, “we’ve been [benchmarking agencies] since 2012 and these are the best numbers we have ever seen.” 

 

Our Net Promoter Score was 100 out of 100: every single team member who took the survey would, without hesitation, recommend and actively promote us as a place to work. And regarding culture specifically, we scored according to Mike, a frankly “impossibly good”’ score of 5.9 out of 6. 

 

But enough about our scores – what’s our secret? Here are just some of the elements we feel have been key to establishing an outstanding company culture that the team really wants to be a part of. 

 

Working better together, virtually

Rapidly approaching the end of 2023, we’re a long way from the era of pandemic-enforced homeworking. The debate is raging as to how teams should be working on a daily basis, as a number of big companies call for the return to the office full-time and others seek out flexible combinations of home and office work.

 

But The Digital Voice has always been 100% remote. As our founder and CEO Julia Linehan points out, there’s no reason the best person for a role is going to be within commuting distance of the office. Being remote means we can be global, hiring our team from all over the world so the only criteria for the role is skill and potential.

 

The model clearly suits and supports our team. Much of the satisfaction in our survey scores stems from “giving us the freedom to work in the comfort of our own homes, but also building a really inclusive culture,” says Camealia Xavier-Chihota, Marketing and Social Media Director. “We champion each other”. 

 

Keeping up the team culture as a fully remote team takes work, perhaps more than it would in a face-to-face environment, but that extra effort to sustain it might just be exactly what makes it work so well. We actively make time to socialise and support each other, set up remote channels for collaboration and community-building, and losing the commute allows us to shorten our work days, building the best possible ‘life-work balance’ for our team, in that order. 

 

With a clear operating model and the tools to support it, the employee satisfaction markers speak for themselves. And research shows that this is a common theme for companies, with Deloitte noting that digital collaboration is fundamental to happiness at work. Happiness means motivation, productivity, and ultimately, success.

 

Laying the foundation for genuine inclusivity

Breathe a sigh of relief – diversity, equality and inclusion are no longer the elephants in the proverbial room. These conversations have become front and center for a lot of companies in the last four years, and hiring staff everywhere are starting to realise the advantages that come from a diverse talent pool that were either missing completely, or entirely sidelined in the past.

 

But hiring with DEI in mind is only half the work. To really create an inclusive culture, you have to build an environment that fosters the right conversations, supports your team and advocates for the things that matter to them. And don’t be afraid to ask questions when DEI brings things beyond your comfort zone. By providing spaces for our team to share the knowledge, culture and experiences that make each of us unique, such as a team call to learn more about Ramadan for the team members who celebrate, it raises the comfort level for everyone and encourages the open communication that keeps the cogs turning smoothly.

 

It shows in our results too, with 100% of our team saying they feel trusted and empowered, and that they feel their thoughts and opinions are listened to and taken seriously at work. In return for that trust and self-confidence, our outputs are supercharged. It’s a win-win!

 

Building a continuous cycle for collaboration and culture

On the subject of open communication, it really is the key. Provide your team a forum in which to say how they feel – and act on their responses to improve your culture where the team really wants it. Be open to make changes, even if you’re already making an effort. Simply knowing what kind of environment we want to maintain as a team is not going to be enough to make it happen, no matter how much we might want it. 

 

Getting that feedback, preferably anonymously so the team feels they can be completely honest with their thoughts, must surely be a key part of sustaining a positive workplace culture.

 

I know for sure that it works for us, and that if things continue exactly how they are, I’ll be promoting The Digital Voice for a long time to come.

 

And although we’re buzzing from this latest testament to employee happiness, we’re certainly not complacent and there’s always more work to be done. There are improvements we can make, and we plan on making them. After all, a score of 6/6 for workplace culture would certainly have a nice ring to it!

 


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The Author

Ren Bowman

Ren Bowman, Multimedia Lead, The Digital Voice™.

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