An Experiment in Building Culture

While I have found that some aspects of my job with Redgate improved with our move to remote work this year, I think others have deteriorated. I have spent lots of time over the years trying to build relationships with people in lots of different departments. This year, I’ve gotten lots of time and more communication with those I often work with, but the connections across groups have been limited. I have worried this is affecting the great culture at Redgate.

We have a group of people who spend time trying to deepen and strengthen team relationships. They have a budget each year and typically try to plan different types of activities for teams, departments, and groups inside the company. During the pandemic, we’ve had some competitions (quizzes, exercise goals, best picture), and they’ve been good, but for our end of year celebration, they really did a fantastic job.

First, I saw Kendra post a picture of her end of advent calendar. Interesting, but I wasn’t sure what I thought. Plenty of other Redgaters posted similar pictures, which intrigued me, as I hadn’t gotten anything.

Then I got a package with a note not to open anything before Dec 1. It contained my advent gifts, 24 boxes, and I spread them out on a table. I opened the first few myself before my family got interested. Day 3 was a mug, which my wife promptly grabbed, washed, and filled. Since then I’ve been looking forward to seeing what I get each day, with my gifts slightly different than what my UK colleagues are posting each day.

Each year we usually have a large award ceremony, fancy dinner, and dancing with partners and colleagues. We can’t do this year, which I had expected to be a big loss when each office gets the chance to celebrate together. We’re separated, but this gift was an excellent substitute. Some teams jointly together get to celebrate our individual moments of joy with co-workers, bringing us together in a unique way when we can’t be together as a group.

Culture is hard to build and maintain, but Redgate did a fantastic job, despite the challenges. Hopefully some of you find your organizations trying to do something that brings you together as well.

Steve Jones

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