Roundtable Member, Anne Steptoe, VP of Infrastructure for Wealthsimple, shares strategies for building connections in a hybrid workplace. You can also download the PDF to read later.
Q: Our team is a hybrid team, with some employees in the office and others working remotely. We’ve recently seen a few people leave and hired new employees as well. I’m worried about maintaining a sense of company culture in this hybrid model, and how to build connection among our team members.
Anne’s Point of View
Maintaining company culture becomes even more difficult in a hybrid environment. One of the things we can continue to do as leaders is create those moments of connection and shared experiences.
Here are two examples I’ve done: one where it was mostly in-person, and one where it was fully remote:
At Wealthsimple, teams were invited to attend a Team Day. We flew in people from across Canada — Nova Scotia, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and BC — to come to the Toronto office where there was a full day of planned events. We ate meals together, participated in team building activities, presented team mandates and accomplishments as a big group. We also broke out in smaller groups to get to know each other better and build relationships.
There were a few people that could not make it into the office, so we made sure to include them remotely as both presenters and participants throughout the day. It was a great experience that allowed many of us to meet each other for the first time. Afterwards, people created opportunities to build further connections on a 1:1 basis.
During the height of COVID lockdowns, we wanted to bring our team together, but of course, it had to be remote. We were looking for something fun that everyone could do at home while on a group conference call. So, we planned a “cooking workshop” to make scrambled eggs the way Gordon Ramsay made them in a You Tube video! It put everyone at ease and was so enjoyable because we weren’t just sitting around talking; we were actually in our kitchens making scrambled eggs!
Shared Experiences Build Connections
In both cases, we created memorable moments, shared experiences and learned more about each other. It definitely helped us all feel more connected! There are many ways we can build connections with our team members, we just need to take the time and use our creativity.
Meet Anne Steptoe
Anne Steptoe is currently the VP of Infrastructure at Weathsimple. She’s a technology leader with over 20 years of experience in product development, enterprise architecture, quality assurance and infrastructure operations. She has been part of The Roundtable’s alumni since joining the Catalyst Program as a mentor in 2018.