Our client, a fast-growing IoT startup based in Silicon Valley, already embraced a remote-first work policy before it became necessary due to the pandemic. With a flat hierarchy, approachable management, and employees scattered worldwide, the company’s challenge was to enhance team communication, maintain the motivation of their team members during the shift from building to maintenance in project life cycles, and facilitate the self-development of their workforce.
TEAM DYNAMICS: APPROACH
To help our client, we implemented Kolbe assessments during the company’s semi-annual all-hands meetings, allowing us to interact directly with the team. Kolbe assessments are psychometric tests that measure an individual’s problem-solving instincts and can be used to improve team collaboration and communication. This formed our foundation because some management had already taken Kolbe assessments.
DEVELOPERS NEED TO TRANSITION FROM BUILD TO BAU
- Despite being an IOT Startup that thrives on ‘cool’ technology challenges, there was a natural transition from project creation to maintenance, which was considered ‘less cool’ by the team. This posed a challenge in maintaining the enthusiasm of creative technologists.
- Though beneficial in terms of talent acquisition and work flexibility, the remote work model led to challenges related to team communication. Some main issues were different time zones, language barriers, and the absence of casual ‘watercooler talks’ that occur naturally in an office environment.
- The company was planning to expand its team significantly, making it imperative to establish effective communication channels and maintain the company culture before the arrival of new hires.
EMPOWERING THE TEAM
Following the Kolbe assessments, we presented a 2-3 hour Team Seminar and then met with each team to provide an overview of their combined strengths. The initial engagement was higher than typical for technology teams, which was a positive start. The team listed challenges related to customer behaviour rather than internal communication, which was unusual based on our experience.
The team’s high level of conative cloning (similar problem-solving instincts) and the hiring process that focuses on high cognitive ability and communication skills could contribute to this. Some challenges related to information flow and work scheduling due to different time zones came up during casual interactions but weren’t discussed in formal sessions, indicating that the team might need encouragement to voice their concerns.
With the insights gained, the company was better equipped to address communication gaps, align project work with employee instincts for improved job satisfaction, and enhance the team’s self-development journey.