2020 has tested us all in so many ways, but it’s also taught us a lot too. In a year unlike any other, at Aspectus we’ve been reflecting on what we’ve learned, how our company culture has fared in 2020 and what we’re going to be carrying forward into 2021.
From where we work to the type of work we do; the pandemic has undoubtedly shaped us as an organisation. And it’s shaped our culture too, challenging us to apply all those things that kept us motivated, supported and excited to the virtual realm. Working in a digital first environment has meant that we’ve had to come up with innovative ways to keep our teams connected and inspired – and we came up with a lot of new ideas! We put on lockdown competitions, virtual meditation sessions and hosted inspiring speakers – all to keep our culture thriving and our teams engaged in the new digital environment. And in doing all of this, we’ve learned some valuable lessons about what’s really important to our people. Here’s what we’re taking with us into 2021:
1. Creating a space for informal learning
There have been times this year when it’s seemed unclear where we would be without video conferencing software. The phrase of 2020 has to be ‘Sorry, I was on mute’. We’ve relied on these solutions for team meetings, internal updates and client calls too. And while it’s a great way interact whilst working remotely, if we didn’t make an extra effort, we might have missed out on the informal opportunities for learning that an office environment provides. Turning around to ask a question or overhearing teammates solve a problem just isn’t as easy now. This makes creating a space specifically for learning key to the way we connect and support one another. We’ve introduced regular peer group forums, as well as Q+A sessions themed around industry topics with different people across the business sharing insights each month.
We’ve also set up channels for our team members globally to share key learnings from challenging weeks. All this has been instrumental to ensuring a culture where we constantly learn from each other continues to thrive online.
2. Welcoming new colleagues onboard in a thoughtful way
At Aspectus, we’ve had the privilege of hiring lots of new talent across all our teams in 2020, and we’ve continued to offer internships too. It’s a fantastic position to be in in the current environment. Continued remote working means many of our new team members have never even stepped foot in any of our global offices, reinforcing why it’s so important to put the correct measures in place to welcome them into the business and get them up to speed effectively.
This year, we’ve reviewed and refined our onboarding process to ensure it works for this new digital environment. We’ve developed a formal structure for virtual training sessions, virtual meet and greets, as well as creating streamlined online briefing processes and a brand new global team document to allow all our new hires to get to know everyone personally.
3. Prioritising keeping connected
When working remotely, we’ve learned that it could be easy to feel isolated without the right structures in place to bring us together, and we recognise that this year has had a huge impact on people’s mental health. At Aspectus, we firmly believe that our people are our greatest asset which is why we’ve thought carefully about how to keep our teams together this year. We’ve expanded our global buddy support scheme, pairing up people from across the company to check in on one another, support each other, and create deeper relationships. This has been supported by our commitment to mental health support and training, which we’ll be carrying forward into the new year. In early 2021, everyone across the global company will learn how to offer support to those who are suffering from poor mental health, to make sure we are giving our teams the help they need to really be there for one another.
Developing a company culture which can thrive in a remote world isn’t an easy task, but we’ve worked closely with all of our people over the past year to ensure that they feel supported, energised and most importantly, together.
What lessons are you taking into the new year?