When my business partner and I decided to build TaskUs in the Philippines, we knew next to nothing about starting a business abroad. Five years later, we can attest to the immense importance of company culture. As a service-oriented business, the success of TaskUs hinges on having impassioned and invested team members always willing to go above and beyond for our clients.
Building a remarkable company culture doesn’t happen overnight; you have to work relentlessly to build a great culture. As companies increasingly open offices overseas and hire remote employees, fostering great company culture has become a much harder challenge. As the king of company culture Tony Hsieh says, “Businesses often forget about the culture, and ultimately, they suffer for it because you can’t deliver good service from unhappy employees.”
If you stick to these three simple ingredients, you can establish incredible company culture in all of your offices and employees, regardless of location:
Unfortunately, communication is the most difficult challenge you will face when building a company or hiring employees abroad. Our entry-level employees in the Philippines are often afraid to alert management of challenges they are facing because they have not been encouraged to communicate clearly with superiors. Consequently, by avoiding these small issues they become major problems, and the team’s performance suffers. Fortunately, we solved our communication struggles with one book, “Crucial Conversations.” If you haven’t read this yet, do so immediately.
“Crucial Conversations” offers tactical tips and strategies for communicating effectively during moments of high tension or increased conflict. We asked the management team in the Philippines and the operations team in the U.S. to read it and then flew our U.S. team to our office in the Philippines to have an open dialogue. The effects on our company culture from “Crucial Conversations” are widespread and communication has never been better. Never underestimate the power of everyone being on the same page, literally.
Nothing brings an office together like friendly competition. Sports competitions, sales competitions or even attempting to break a world record can help create instant bonds between teammates, regardless of location. At TaskUs, competition is alive and well. Whether it is beer chugging contests at our annual holiday party or breaking the world record for most people to do “The Running Man,” we jump at any opportunity to compete.
Even if your offices are separated by thousands of miles, you can develop creative ways to bring your employees together through the spirit of competition. Remember, the more inclusive the better; don’t forget to rope in your overseas offices. Once everyone feels included, that’s when the real bonding starts.
The final “C” is the simplest, but arguably the most important. Wherever and whenever possible, bring everyone together to celebrate. Every year, our entire office in the U.S. packs up in the middle of December and heads to the Philippines to work out of our office in Manila. The highlight during each year’s trip is always the TaskUs Holiday Party. Over 500 TaskUs teammates from two different continents unite to revel in a few common interests: great food, great drinks and tons of karaoke.
I’ve written in the past about “partying as a business development tool,” but I feel even more passionately about the positive effects partying can have on your employees. Whether you run a startup or you’re a part of a massive corporation, team bonding is absolutely crucial to building a phenomenal company culture. At TaskUs, we’ve used traditions like our holiday party to steadily build an incredible base for our company culture.
Ever since we founded TaskUs, our goal has been simple: provide the absolute best and most highly personalized work for the world’s most innovative companies. Although we work in the internet and tech industry, the core of our service is driven by our teammates’ dedication and loyalty. Thus, the success of TaskUs is inherently tied to the quality of our company culture. As a bootstrapped company going up against industry titans, TaskUs is a living testament to the remarkable feats you can accomplish when you invest in your company’s culture. Despite what many might argue, you can build great company culture from afar, from abroad and in any office.