I am late to the party again… here is our yearly wrap-up for 2022. I am writing this new report from home where I have been hibernating for the winter. I live on an island in the Atlantic Ocean off the northwestern coast of the Scottish mainland.
The winter is pretty rough here and we go from one storm to another so it’s a good time to slow down, stay warm and cosy, paint, read books and cook dinner with friends. However, I’ll be found swimming in the sea, walking or doing something outdoorsy as soon as we’ve got a window of good weather.
In our last report, I told you about the new format focusing exclusively on our people and the culture we are trying to build. I’ll share my experiences, thoughts, and learnings as we progress on this journey and open up about the challenges and topics that are perhaps avoided sometimes.
Before I get started with my usual ramble, here is a quick team update from Q4 2022.
Benji went on a surfing trip to Corralejo, Fuerteventura in November to recharge his batteries and took some well-deserved time off to enjoy the holidays with his family.
Andreea went on a little trip to Barcelona, went hiking and spent some time hanging out with family, friends and her lovely dogs for the holidays.
Luis was fully focused on sports at the end of last year (a lot of football and running). When he wasn't playing football, he was watching the World Cup or spending some quality time with his wife for the holidays.
Pancho and his family went on a trip to Córdoba at the beginning of November. One of the main activities was to regenerate the land that has been burned by planting native trees. They also watched the World Cup and celebrated Argentina's victory. Eli was their biggest fan.
Alban visited his grandparents in Brittany, France. He then travelled to Gijon and Mallorca to visit his girlfriend and spent the holidays in a winter wonderland - Finland.
Leo travelled to Olhao in Portugal to take part in a capoeira event with his family.
Franco jumped on a plane and went on holiday to Mexico with his girlfriend. He also celebrated Argentina's victory at the World Cup with his family and the whole town.
Bastian spent some time with his family in Portugal practising Qigong and surfing. He went to his first fruit and dance ceremony, made some kimtchi and he learnt new skills working on his van.
I (Emilie) travelled to France to visit my family and then to Newcastle to see friends. I also spent a lot of time outside walking and enjoying the winter in the Outer Hebrides.
We also had some team meetups in Q4 2022 which is super exciting.
Barcelona meet-ups with Andreea, Benji, Bastian and Jason:
Valencia meet-up with Bastian, Andreea and Luis:
Today, I am going to focus on our end-of-the-year routine. It is a very important time for us all as individuals but also as a team. I am going to give you a little insight into each of these events.
1. Yearly team retreat
In November, we hosted our annual team retreat (virtually). It was a really good way to connect with the team again, reflect and brainstorm, listen to each other’s opinions and get some clarity.
This yearly event is very important to us and we use it to reflect on the past year (we celebrate all the achievements and think of the lessons learned) and plan for the following one (what will be the priorities). Here is the schedule:
Wednesday from 2 pm (BCN) to 6 pm (BCN time): reflection on the past year: This session is a team conversation, we all take time to think, and reflect and we share achievements, lessons learnt and anything we want to share. Everyone is encouraged to speak and engage but there is no pressure.
Thursday from 2 pm (BCN) to 6 pm (BCN time): let’s talk about the future + culture chat: This session is more of a presentation from Bastian and anyone in the team about the coming year, the goals and priorities. We create our manifesto and get a finance update (and any important things needed to be shared). We also end the session with a Q&A. This session gives clarity to everyone on where we are at, where we are heading and everyone’s responsibilities.
We didn’t get to talk about culture on Thursday so I scheduled a separate call on the following Monday from 2 pm (BCN) to 4 pm (BCN) for it.
This year, I really wanted to take some time to chat about remote working with the team. I wanted to hear everyone’s take on remote work and what it means to them, how they want to shape it, what is important to them and what we can do at Wild Audience to make this vision happen. This was very interesting and gave me a good idea of what our next priorities as a company need to be and what our team needs to be more fulfilled, content and happier at work and in their personal lives.
Main outtakes from this discussion and what the team expressed interest in:
A phantom share scheme
More flexibility (non-linear work)
More free time (shorter days, 4-day work week)
Async communication (by default)
2. Yearly Wrap up 1:1s
At the end of every year, usually in December, Bastian has 1:1 calls with every team member to wrap up the year. The goal is the same as the yearly team retreat on a more individual level. We go more personal here and talk about projects achieved, work satisfaction in the role and our well-being. We talk about our personal situations and what we want from life/our life to look like.
It pushes everyone to reflect on what they have accomplished and to celebrate it all. It’s also a good opportunity to think about the things that didn’t work or weren’t that fun. We question the status quo and think of ways we can make things better for the next year.
Questions Bastian can ask us:
How are you? How do you feel?
What did you work on this year? what was fun? what projects did you not like?
What was the highlight of the year?
What’s the difference between you last year and you now?
What’s your priority this year? What do you want 2023 to be about?
Are you happy with your responsibilities and the way you work? Can we improve anything?
What can we do to make sure you’re content and fulfilled next year at work and in your life?
What would you change for next year?
3. Culture wrap up
After our team retreat and the 1:1s, Bastian and I usually have what we call a culture wrap-up. We reflect on what’s been said, what we need to focus on in the next year and set our priorities. We do that on a team level but also on an individual level. That way we can take action quickly, address any problem and implement changes when it is needed.
Some questions we ask ourselves:
How is the team feeling?
What can we do to improve the team spirit?
Are there any situations that need to be addressed?
Who needs our attention at the moment?
What action can we take now to answer their needs?
What can we do better?
4. Xmas/2022 wrap-up call with the team
We always end the year with a little call to celebrate the holidays, share some words of gratitude for each other and chat about our holiday plans. This was also an opportunity for us to say goodbye to Jason who was embarking on a new adventure and wish him all the best in his new chapter.
I do feel very grateful to work with everyone in the Wild Audience team. They are all unique and bring something different to the table. I am grateful for their trust, their constant feedback, the lessons they teach me and their input in creating a culture that works for everyone.
Talking about gratitude, we are quick to forget about how important it is to openly and publicly share gratitude with our team and with each other. I believe this is one of the core elements of company culture. I read an article about this the other day and I’ve been thinking about it.
For us at Wild Audience, company culture is about the way we work together and communicate with each and by that I mean:
the way we listen to each other
the way we publicly congratulate each other
the way we agree and disagree
the way we handle difficult situations
the way we own and embrace mistakes and learn from them
the way we encourage people to own their work and projects
how honest and transparent we are
how we support and encourage each other
how open we are to receiving and giving feedback
the way we empower each other
how and why do we hire someone or fire someone
our values and how true we stay to them
the benefits and salaries we offer
the policies we create and why
the way we respect each other boundaries, time off and opinions
the way we make our vision happen
the trust we have in each other and in our team
While socialising is important, it's only a small percentage of our company culture. Don’t get me wrong, meetups and team retreats are important but they shouldn’t be the core of your company culture.
We’re definitely not perfect as a company and we do make mistakes on our journey to build a great company culture but we learn from them and always try to do better. Everything I mentioned above is something we work on every day and thrive to be better at.
Things on my mind for next year:
4-day workweek, I’ve been doing my homework on this topic and we will be starting a series of trials next year. Stay tuned!
Period days - it’s time for menstrual health to be taken seriously by companies!
Async work by default - switching towards a more async way of working by default is not easy and I feel like async work is often misunderstood and feared so I want to demystify it for our team.
Bring it in 2023, we are ready for you 🙂
Resources on remote work and company culture:
Wildbit has been a pioneer in people-first and remote work. You can read all their articles and find all their resources here.
I'll see you all in my next report 🙂
Emilie queen of culture at Wild Audience 👸🏻