We look at team buildings as an opportunity to get to know each other, learn, inspire and brainstorm.
And to enhance their importance, we’ve embedded them in our official company policy:
A must-attend, 1 day each month out of the office, visiting unknown destinations, tasting great food, drinks, laughs and tons of fun.Our previous definition of a team-building
But as the team grew (and it is still growing) our kumbaya team buildings felt unorganized, ad-hoc and not that valuable.
So we felt that we should re-invent them.
In this post, I will share this experience on how we restructured our monthly team buildings into internal events and give you a few highlights from the first conference.
Hopefully, our experience can help other founders and teams who might have a similar struggle do more with their team buildings.
From random restaurant drinks to internal conference that is still fun
We are not experts in team buildings of-course, but at least we knew what kind of team buildings we don’t want.
In short, we don’t want to have just a free day that the company pays for it, go to random restaurants, eat food, drink (get drunk), talk about the weather and go home feeling average.
Things that each of us can do anytime with anybody.
We wanted to have something special. A memory!
A memory we won’t forget, capable to trigger our 7 senses.
EmbedSocial is in the trust business, and for us having the openness to discuss, debate, ask, learn and grow has become the foundation of our culture and we believe that nurturing the open mindset will help us achieve more.
We, the founders of EmbedSocial, felt that everybody needs to know this, know us, how we got here, how we work and where we are heading.
EmbedSocial is a product company and we all work on 1 product. We are not outsourcing, service company where individuals can exceed just because they work separately.
For us, breathing as 1 is essential to maintain and continue building the product.
And we realized that one of the tools to sync that invisible chain of creating a product-people bond is to create an internal team-building event, that still involves drinks, of course, but brings reflection what we’ve done, celebrates wins and fixes, and gives direction what we are doing next.
And that is why EmbedSocial Open was born.
What is EmbedSocial Open?
A platform that will embrace the culture and principles of EmbedSocial, that at the same time is fun and engaging.
We named it Open, like in tennis. US Open, French Open … you get it, right 🙂 But also the word ‘open’ reflects allowing access, passage, or a view through an empty space; not closed or blocked outlining our goal to provide access to critical company information and openly plan our future together.
EmbedSocial Open is an internal conference that is designed to help team members to understand where we are, where we want to be and encourage everybody to actively participate in the decisions on how together we can get there.
And of course we made a custom branding to represent the conference:
What are the goals of EmbedSocial Open?
The main objectives of the EmbedSocial Open are to create, stimulate and accelerate:
- Transparency by openly presenting metrics of customer growth, future predictions, and the introduction of new processes and procedures.
- Participation in a two-way conversation with ask me anything sessions
- Ownership in the product roadmap and clearly understanding what everyone has done and what we are doing in the upcoming quarter
- Recognition of hard work with announcing the team member of the quarter
- Celebration of achievements but also of major product fixes
- Welcoming new team members.
How was the first EmbedSocial Open like?
First things first.
If you ever organize a conference make sure your swag is epic.
We take swag very seriously and this time we decided to brand our own super cool backpacks, as you can see below:
But before organizing all the SWAG, location, food and the logistics of the day, we spent some time defining the Agenda.
We wanted to use the opportunity and share our product development process, a new way of how we organize around the product map and how each task flows among departments.
But we also wanted to emphasize how we got to this stage, how we grew the company and visually present the future. Especially important to the new people who recently joined the team.
So the agenda looked like this:
And just to give you a quick glimpse on how the day went by, below are the major highlights:
EmbedSocial Open Highlights
- Nikola Bojkov, our CEO extended the agenda for 1 hour
- He got emotional when he was remembering that time he saw the company logo on a wall in Facebook HQ in San Francisco
- He explained what kind of people we want to be, our culture and principles
- Ivana our Product Manager, explained a complex flow chart in a simple interactive presentation
- She emphasized the main features we are building in the next quarter
- Nikola answered tough questions during the AMA
- Nevrie was an employe of the month (or the century) – twice in a row, for the amazing graffiti she painted in the office, and she managed to close a deal with a major global brand
Here are some photos of the conference and from other past events:
As we decided that the conference will continue and it will become an essential part of our team buildings, we immediately started gathering feedback from everybody.
Once the day was over we send a survey form and asked everybody to rate the sessions, the speakers and also provide detailed feedback for critical points during the conference.
Here are some of the highlights that the team shared:
And here are some of the things we need to work on that most of the people thought we should do much better:
I hope this conference will continue to bring us these amazing experiences and we will make sure to report about the highlights of the next EmbedSocial Open conference.