Building a Strong Team in EpicSS—What We’ve Learned So Far

Building a Strong Team in EpicSS—What We’ve Learned So Far

One of the things that we most pride ourselves on is the compactness of our team. For a start, our business development would be impossible without building a strong team first. There are numerous actions you can take to keep your team on the right path. However, over time, we’ve figured out that the most effective team building strategies are to:

1. Hire the people you trust and let them do their job

2. Make workplace expectations and company values clear

3. Unite the team over the common goals and priorities

4. Communicate openly and frequently

5. Make respect among the team mates a ground rule

6. Show respect to the employees

7. Use positivity to motivate

8. Provide room for growth and learning

9. Organise activities outside of work

Check out examples from EpicSS for each of these principles in the continuation.

1. Hire the People You Trust and Let Them Do Their Job

EpicSS has functioned like this from the beginning when it was only a small core team. This principle carried forward when the team started expanding. It’s one of the major reasons EpicSS team members feel valued and trusted. This reinforces their responsibility for and dedication to their part of the project. It also keeps them motivated and loyal. That’s what they say at least. In other words, we feel that the most important step when building your team is the hiring process. We make sure to find the people that we see as trustworthy, honest, and hard-working. These people don't need supervision. They supervise themselves and they have the intrinsic motivation to give their best. We all work remotely, and our experience has proven this repeatedly. Our CEO rarely goes through individual tasks. Seniors and team leaders are there to check their subordinates’ work. The CEO’s job is to make sure that we are cohesive as a team and on a good path towards the fulfilment of company goals.

In short, our management always keeps in mind three guidelines:

  • Hire trustworthy motivated people
  • Have faith in your employees
  • Avoid micromanagement

2. Make Workplace Expectations and Company Values Clear

The workplace in itself is a more relaxed and informal environment than it used to be 20 or 30 years ago. You are expected to allow people the freedom to take breaks when they need them and organise their work as they find suitable. Accordingly, petty things like brake length and the number of times someone stood up are unimportant in EpicSS. We look at the bigger picture! Our process of building a team culture started with three leading ideas:

1. Allowing rest whenever employees need it (goes without saying)

2. Avoiding micromanagement

3. Stressing the importance of the accountability of every team member

 

These expectations are directly derived from our main company values: trust, dedication, and proactivity, in addition to knowledge. We make sure these guidelines are clear from the word go. They are stated in the welcome email every new employee receives. We are still polishing this (a bit cluttered) email, to be honest. Nonetheless, it serves its purpose of letting people know where they stand and what is expected of them from the first day.

3. Unite the Team Over the Common Goals and Priorities

Working towards a common goal reinforces the team’s sense of comradery. Knowing what the company priorities are helps everyone make the right decisions daily. The CEO’s job is to set realistic and measurable goals and clear priorities for the company. EpicSS is always striving for this kind of clarity and unity. That’s why we are all included in the production process and encouraged to provide any input we see as valuable, such as:

  • Giving suggestions for the product improvements
  • Acting as a sort of test audience—“Run it by the group” has become a common sentence in EpicSS. This means “Publish it in the public channel so everyone can give an opinion”. It's a great way of in-house testing of any crucial element of a project
  • Sharing our knowledge with the team members—It bolsters everyone’s progress, indepence, and contribution This sort of environment eliminates pointless competition between colleagues. Instead, we are bound by a common purpose and desire to deliver the best of our team.

4. Communicate Openly and Frequently 

We insist on open communication within our team. Establishing it is one of the most important team building strategies for the workplace. So, how to build a strong team through communication? In EpicSS, we do it like this:

  • If we need help, we ask for it
  • When we see someone struggling, we inquire how to help
  • If we have doubts, we ask the crowd
  • We encourage everyone in the team to collaborate and share ideas
  • The team welcomes and appreciates innovative ideas
  • We never criticise or ridicule any idea, even if it doesn’t get adopted Just like any other company, ours is made of different people. Our communication practises make sure every person easily finds their place in the team. They also make us feel safe and welcome to make suggestions. This atmosphere encourages out-of-the-box thinking and paves the way for innovation.

5. Make Respect Among the Team Mates a Ground Rule 

The basic prerequisite for building a strong team is mutual respect among the group members. Open communication will be impossible without it. Without respect and communication, the team is sure to be dysfunctional. That’s why we make respect among colleagues a clear requirement from day one. This may look like a silly point to make when a new team member joins. However, if we didn’t do so, the first occasion for competition might endanger the seemingly perfect teamwork. The two things the whole Epicss team is aware of are:

1. All points of view relevant

2. Everyone’s time is valuable

 

We don’t claim we are perfect. On the contrary—we are human, and misunderstandings happen. When they do, we address them as soon as possible and as openly as possible. We also have occasional discussions during the Epic Hour (more on that later). These discussions are almost never related to work. However, they are always a practice of respect for other person's point of view and opinion. No one is ever pushed into the discussion if they are happy only listening. However, those who do participate are always, in a friendly manner, made aware if they go over the line. We’re a team. You must be called out on something every once in a while in a close-knit team. It’s inevitable

6. Show Respect to the Employees

Each of us has been there. The boss is a micromanager. They don’t trust in their employees’ abilities. When they make a mistake, they fail to take responsibility. Instead, they point the finger at an employee and punish them. They always monopolise the team’s accomplishments. Worst of all, they are often rude to their employees in front of other colleagues. You get fearful, frustrated, furious. Then, you leave the company. This story is why we are addressing the issue of the employer’s respect for their team members. Building a strong team demands that respect goes both ways. Leaders cannot demand respect for themselves and among people, if they don’t set an example. Many of the current EpicSS members have been a part of a toxic work environment. We are now building a team culture that is different—one with a certain level of comfort and safety.

7. Use Positivity To Motivate

Constant negative remarks and criticism can only lead to frustration and spite in employees. In EpicSS, we tend to influence undesirable behaviours through positivity. We never fail to praise a job well done in front of the whole team. For example, when we launched BatWinner, there was a flood of praise for our mobile team on our public chat. A similar thing happened after our amazingly organised 2022 NY party. This time, the star of the chat was our awesome HR/Marketing Manager who planned the whole event by herself. This way of giving recognition is among our cornerstone team building methods. It is how we are encouraging more of the positive and beneficial behaviours. It may seem little, but a simple and open appreciation of someone's good work has proven to be a great organic booster of motivation.

8. Provide Room for Growth and Learning

Each team consists of unique individuals. Every one of those individuals has a unique set of strengths and talents. A company should nurture those talents, help the employees improve their skills, and thus support their growth. With the growth of every individual, the team, as well as the company itself, grow stronger. So, how do you help team members grow? For some time now, we have had a stock of paid courses that any EpicSS member can access. Any extra time we have between the tasks, we can use to listen to a course that interests us. There’s also a company-wide task where we all record our study time. It’s so encouraging to see that number growing daily. This way, we improve our skills and get to use the new knowledge on the upcoming project. Everyone wins!

9. Organise Activities Outside of Work

If you follow our Instagram page, you may have noticed that we aren’t lazy when it comes to organising team building events. We use every opportunity to get together and do something fun and relaxing. It’s one of the fail-proof team building techniques. It’s no secret—the whole industry’s doing it. Short but frequent team building sessions work best for us. For example, we’ve so far done padel, bowling, and barbecuing, to humour those less sporty among us. These activities give us a chance to nurture our team spirit although we work remotely. Another regular team activity we have is the Epic Hour. Fridays at 3PM we hop on a group call and play a game, quiz,or talk about a fun topic. This helps us bond and get to know each other better. In other words, we build relationships that are more than work relationships. That enables us to communicate more effectively and openly regarding work projects.

Conclusion

Building a strong team takes much more than following these nine guidelines. It’s not a one-time nor a one-person job. This is the goal that we are all working on day-in-day-out. We enjoy that work, and, for now, we are sure every new person will bring a new boost of energy to the team. So, we can't wait to meet all the new faces! Would you like to reinforce our team with your unique strengths? Head to our Careers Page and check out our open positions! We may have one just for you.

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