The value of company culture in times of crisis
We have all faced the anxiety of lockdown over the past few months as we adjust to the challenges and restrictions. We’ve been working in unfamiliar spaces and places and dealt with the panic from customers and suppliers as they face intense business pressures. In our personal lives, Covid-19 anxiety, a lack of resources, the possibility of income loss, the dread of loved ones on the frontline, homeschooling, that loud, obnoxious neighbour and poor internet are all conspiring to drive us over the edge.
All things considered, I have never been more grateful for a supportive company culture than at this time. None of us realised the depth of the cultural roots of our team until we were confronted with the daily dilemmas we are now facing. Our cultural pillars have always been important to us and we often hire for culture first for job positions where skills can be taught on the job.
Allow me, for a moment, to tell you about how working for a company that puts people first has been a lifeline during this crisis.
We’ve got spirit. Yes, we do
Our culture can be summed up as fun and lighthearted, supportive and accepting. We are aware of one another’s individuality and make an effort to be inclusive and helpful regardless of the situation. As a business, we believe that a healthy and productive work environment – a place where our staff and clients feel comfortable to express themselves and are motivated to interact, evolve and succeed personally and professionally – is the most important thing we can engender.
But don’t just take my word for it, here’s what our team describes as the essence of the League culture:
“Everyone is accepting and open to working together to make our work great.”
“The people are very supportive and you can go to anyone for help.”
“We treat each other as equals, no matter their position, beliefs, gender, race and background. #EverybodyLoveEverybody”
“There’s a place for every single looney tune in the office.”
“We are supportive, encouraging and everyone bounces off each other’s motivation to Grow Good.”
“This is a really inclusive and judgement-free workspace.”
“Come for the free pizza, stay for the talented, hardworking and united people.”
An intentional company culture
Over the years, I and the rest of management have stressed the importance of our culture – and the team has done a great job of sustaining it. But I had not expected it to pay off in the way that it has. While working through the daily pressures of the pandemic, I found that I was one of the few people among my contemporaries whose main source of stress was not work or coworkers. I think this comes down to a few essential principles from our company culture that fosters solidarity at all times – but especially when our positivity is tested.
- Everyone puts their game face on. No matter the challenge, our clients’ requests, short deadlines or lack of connectivity, nothing kept the team from delivering to our clients – and to one another. At this time, it was as important to continue delivering to the team as it was to our clients. But the best part was that if you were not feeling it, you didn’t have to worry, someone was there to help and support you until you could do the same.
- Proactivity saves time and solves problems. We went for it and found new ways to deliver value to our clients. We are confident in our expertise and, while there was panic and uncertainty in the world, we provided our team and our clients with the assurance that they needed.
- Agile is the name of the game. When everything changes daily, you have to be on top of the shifts and our team members – regardless of the department they were in – were all involved in driving this in our internal teams and with our clients. We made some far-reaching and permanent improvements to our internal processes and systems during this time as we could identify the problems we needed to solve.
- Support, no matter what. We supported (and continue to support) one another through this trying time. There were times when we could not all focus, deliver on time or be creative. That’s OK here at League Digital because no one is under pressure to perform as if there isn’t a mountain of external stressors at the moment. We were open and honest with our customers and assured them that we were with them, but that we were also trying to do our best in these unprecedented times.
- We celebrate. We recognised the contribution of our team members no matter how small the victory. It also helped us stay connected to what everyone else was up to. We also celebrated one another – our uniqueness and individual quirks matter just as much as our cultural pillars.
I know this is not over yet and that there is no normal to return to. But if it wasn’t for our culture, I don’t think we could have pulled off the craziest parts of this journey. We have found new ways to support our team and clients and learnt so much about one another in the process. And I look forward to discovering what this means for all of us in the long term.
There is no way to thank our team and clients for their patience and resilience over the past few months, but we will try and find a way. I expect that the season of gratitude which will follow will help all of us through the next phase of the new normal.