When Jaspar Weir and I built TaskUs, we did not anticipate how quickly our business would expand. Our US office alone quadrupled in size in just 8 months and our office in the Philippines doubled to more than 500 people in less than 4 years. From the beginning, our goal was to bring Silicon Valley-inspired company culture to the outsourcing industry. Initially, it was quite simple to build a great company culture as we were only managing a team of 5 people. As our team numbers multiplied, we began to notice some concerning issues. Outside of our US operations managers, our American office had very little connection with our counterparts in the Philippines. Our company culture was deteriorating and the quality of work suffered with it.
Poor company culture can destroy a business from the inside, so it must be worked on daily and be consistent in all of your offices, regardless of global location. As TaskUs continues to grow, we've found great company culture can be sustained with these 5 key ingredients:
#1: Open Communication
A few weeks ago, I made a visit to our office in Manila, Philippines and held a book club discussion on New York Times bestseller Crucial Conversations. The book helps readers identify what a crucial conversation is and how to come to an effective, productive resolution. The US office swore by it so much that we sent 40 hard copies overseas so our top leaders could read it. Over 40 of our employees showed up to the focus group to discuss the book and how to incorporate these tactics in real-life situations, personal and professional. Great communication is the base for good company culture, but you can't assume every employee will have the skills or confidence to communicate clearly and effectively with their peers or superiors. Arm your employees with the skills and encouragement to communicate and you will instantly see improvement in morale and company culture.
#2: Bring Everyone Together As Much As Possible
We try to bring everyone together as much as possible. At roughly $2,500 round-trip per employee, this is not a small business expense. However, the connections and comradery that are established during this bonding experience between our US and Philippines team are invaluable. Regardless of the size or locations of your offices, try to bring everyone together at least once a year. When it comes to team building, there is no substitute for 6 straight hours of karaoke. At least, that is what works for TaskUs.
#3: Good Old Fashioned Competition
People tend to band together when there is any opportunity to win prizes. Our US office has taken cues from the Philippines in regards to promoting competition. Sports competitions, battle of the bands and Halloween costume contests are some of the highlights at the TaskUs offices. Whenever possible, make competitions companywide. Different offices, teams and departments will band together in the spirit of winning awesome prizes. Don't underestimate the power of competition. Our team members have even banded together for competitions outside of TaskUs. As our clients have been nominated for various awards, TaskUs team members have worked together to vote for and support them in their quests for recognition.
#4: Define The Role And Importance Of Every Team Member
Whenever possible, communicate the importance of every employee's personal role within the company. We have made careers of doing the mundane and boring daily tasks that innovative companies don't want to do. Since great and hard work is our service, it is imperative that each team member understands the role they play in our company's growth. From data entry specialists to the vice president of operations, we have made the habit of clearly communicating the value and importance of each role within our company. As many businesses suffer from high turnover, I can't express the importance enough of this particular ingredient in building great company culture and retaining A-players. Every employee, regardless of role or title, needs to know they are valued.
#5: Work Hard, Have Fun
At TaskUs, we have posted "work hard, have fun" on the walls in our offices in the US and Philippines. It is a very simple mantra that resonates with every employee, in every office. Globally, people are spending significantly more time in the office than ever before. Everyone needs to cut loose once in awhile. Remember, some of your team members will never feel comfortable having fun in an office environment. Don't be afraid to get outside the office, take trips to the beach, visit the local pub or even take it to the streets. Your team will thank you and your company culture will be healthier than ever as you remind them there is life outside of work. Instant connection and team building will occur when you encourage your employees to work hard and have fun.
Great companies have amazing culture that is evident in everything they do. Zappos and Starbucks have demonstrated the incredible growth your business can experience when you have happy and motivated employees. Remember, company culture is not something you build overnight. You can't write your core values in the employee handbook and expect your employees to adopt them instantly. Company culture is built from the ground up with a steadfast dedication to improving the lives of your employees, one day at a time.