The more you put into these the more you will get back. Culture is the soil on which everything else grows. Good soil and good seeds make magic happen. Make a deliberate effort and create an ecosystem.

Hiring and nurturing is fundamental to culture

Here are some guardrails that can help get on the right track. Roughly in order of impact starting with formal to less formal:

  1. Hiring process
    1. Get started with an HR screening
    2. Hiring manager interview
    3. 3x standardized tests to help with interviewer biases:
      1. Technical test specific to the role
      2. Consider standard IQ test
      3. Consider personality test like Myers-Briggs
        1. General example:
    4. Independent party interview
      1. Someone from a different team with no horse in the race
    5. 4th interview by a senior leader if need is felt
    6. Final decision based a profile created from all of the above
  2. Transparency and mobility
    1. Make it transparent when any group is hiring by sending an email to the entire team or company with the opportunity
  3. Mentorships opportunities
    1. Make sure everyone gets a mentor from a different department
  4. Make coaching part of the culture
  5. Make collaboration part of the culture
  6. Institute cross-functional projects and nurture them
  7. Make continuous learning and development omnipresent
  8. Create challenges with awards to complete certifications and courses
    1. Example: $50 gift card for each certification or course completed
  9. Create opportunities for informal interaction
    1. Events, spaces, talking pieces, anything goes…
    2. Small groups – may be a book club, a movie club, a bonsai club, etc…

Recognition is important for team growth

Roughly in order of impact starting with formal to less formal:

  1. Quarterly recognition meeting with winners that get awards
    1. Create categories and give tangible rewards like:
      1. Gift cards for food and coffee
      2. Meal trains for a week
      3. A care basket
    2. Submissions from leaders and peers
    3. Could be a points system that builds up to different level awards
    4. Consider using a platform for recognition rewards that can be customized to your unique needs
  2. Rotate teams each month to order lunch for each group
  3. Recognize great achievements – like a major project completion – with on-the-spot tangible award
    1. Send a box of cookies or a care basket or the like
  4. Go the extra mile award
    1. Have one made and send a rotating trophy
    2. For remote, cool if you actually mail one around
  5. Encourage peer-to-peer recognition
    1. When say 5 peers have recognized someone – send them a gift card or care basket
  6. Book a last min 15-min congratulatory call for great work
  7. Host hackathons or competitions
  8. Create a wall of fame
    1. For remote, maybe on the home page of your wiki
  9. Celebrate work anniversaries
  10. Suprise time off
    1. Say, after completion of a big project
  11. Send thank you postcards
    1. Handwritten in the mail
  12. Linkedin recognition pings

More on culture here: How to build a team culture that boosts cohesion & optimal solutions

And here: Think in layers to empower your team and build better products