Managing Partner at woumedia
How to encourage employee independence while building up a shared company culture?
woumedia is a digital product studio where the team uses their experiences as CEOs, consultants, software developers, and designers to jump on board with clients to act as a team extension, a partner, or as a co-founder - whatever is needed most by the particular case. The services they provide focus on software development and product design.
Like many other companies, woumedia had sort of a rough start. The company really came to be when their previous startup wouworld called it quits and a lot of people began to ask the questions: “Who did that for you?”, “How did you do it?” and “Can you help us?”. That was the basis for woumedia actually jumping ships and starting the consultancy. They learned from their mistakes and kept learning over the course of two years. The organization now enjoys having, being and doing the best for other businesses.
woumedia is currently made up of 12 employees, the majority who work remotely. The company culture is based on this remote strategy, meaning you can work from wherever you want and whenever you want. Due to the majority of the team working from different places, a lot of attention is placed onto self discipline, motivation and engagement. And of course, there are some challenges that can come along with remote workplaces if not handled correctly (Listen to our podcast on remote work).
woumedia highly values the independence of its team members. Ditching the traditional 9 AM to 5 PM workday, woumedia knew that this was the company culture it wanted and needed, but how could they ensure that remote employees would stay productive, motivated and engaged without having to walk into the office every day?
Simple. By starting with the basics - having a continuous conversation with your employees was key.
Encouraging creativity and having the most productive team possible.
Jarek Owczarek who is the CEO of woumedia is a true believer of the idea that personal devel- opment should be an ongoing process, not something that should be brought up once a year. It’s more about “feeling the pulse” of the company’s internal state and in his opinion, having the traditional annual 1-on-1 conversation with your employee simply does not make sense. Instead by staying on top of the present conditions, a manager will understand much more than looking back at the results over the course of several months.
In addition, being able to understand the different personality types on your team is highly beneficial and in order to be a good leader one must be able to practice the art form of the utmost importance: listening.
“Because it’s a lot about listening. And I joke around about that I have to be able to be the boyfriend, the girlfriend, the mother, the father, the boss...”
Tackling the issue of work alignment with a remote team.
With remote employees, there was also the issue of work alignment. Of course the importance of jumping on a call when necessary to get everyone on a project or on the same page is highly valued by any company, and synchronous communication is something that woumedia pays very close attention too.
Communication in this regard does not simply apply to the day-to-day comments and questions that occur when working with clients or on projects. Having synchronous communication means that everyone is onboard with what is going on and where the organization is going. This was crucial for an organization like woumedia.
From realizing issues to finding a solution.
Being manager of an entire team and having the responsibility of conducting all the 1-on-1s can be a tough job, particularly of a team that doesn’t work from the same location. Jarek had been doing 1-on-1s before, but in an unstructured way - simply jumping on calls with team members when he felt there was a need. Duuoo helped him optimize the entire process.
Jarek now uses Duuoo as a starting point for his team members and has found that with it he is able to react faster, to listen more, and to work on the personal development of different team members - and overall, always has a more continuous communication channel.
Duuoo was implemented into the organization about 6 months ago and made the challenges of synchronous communication with remote workers manageable, as well as unearthed the diffe- rent personalities of the team members. The employee engagement process was made easier and more pleasant with the addition of the smart 1-on-1 platform.
“I love using Duuoo because it makes my life easier as a manager.”
Don’t stress! Just enjoy the ride.
According to Jarek, Duuoo flowed right into the inter workings of woumedia, there was almost no difference in the workflow at all. There was never a moment where Jarek felt as though the- re was a huge change in the logistics of the company either.
“I think it’s super helpful to have everything on an automated process - it’s on autopilot! I felt like Duuoo put on autopilot for me. Since I started the process, it just goes on. I never really had to pick up the ball because it was somewhere else. It was always moving.”
Furthermore, the Agreements made in Duuoo provides Jarek and his team members with a checkpoint of where they are at with their personal development. Duuoo makes it clear when it is time to step up and turn the personal goals into actual projects.
Using Duuoo has paved the way for higher levels of engagement, personal connections, and an awareness of what works best for each and every individual.
Moving onward, Jarek has noticed a better understanding amongst the team overall after im- plementing Duuoo. And this stems from the fact that the point of view of others is better understood within the entire organization because of the frequent 1-on-1 conversations via Duuoo.
“With Duuoo I have the pleasure of seeing a problem or a project from a different point of view.”
And not only has Duuoo helped with the challenges of remote working and encouraged high levels of engagement and motivation of team members, Jarek now feels as if he has a more personal connection with his team and is aware of how different team members respond to different management styles.
Duuoo has allowed Jarek to know all of the different personalities that exist in his team, even without meeting and seeing them in person everyday. Everything he needs to know about each team member is ready and available to him in one single space.