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5 Things That Help Create Great Team Culture

Recently, one of our audio producers took 3 weeks of annual leave. The week before his return, some of the staff in our office got very excited planning the pranks they would play. 

From ‘missing person’ signs everywhere (even on the milk) to an office full of balloons, the level of their excitement reached fever pitch.

All fairly standard workplace stuff.

But when I was sent a photo of the hijinks, what I saw wasn’t so standard.

Firstly, the woman in the photo (Patsy, our Head of Finance & Admin) was working after hours. Never one to miss some fun, Patsy was still hard at work paying invoices/blowing up balloons after her usual knock-off time.

And secondly, the photo was taken (and captioned) by a staff member who herself was in the middle of annual leave, but who came into the office to be part of the shenanigans.

This made me smile.

Staff who are so invested and connected to their team that they stay past knock-off, and who willingly interrupt their holidays to see their colleagues. In my mind, that’s a sign of healthy workplace culture.

It got me thinking. Why do we see this level of camaraderie at Abe’s Audio? We haven’t always been knowingly intentional in building workplace culture - much of it has happened organically - so what has contributed to it?

Here are the five things we do to grow healthy team culture.

    1. Be transparent & honest

      As the owner of Abe’s Audio, my wife and I have always valued (appropriate) transparency. We’ve always tried to communicate clearly, to let staff know what we’re thinking, and to be honest - even when they ask tough questions.

      I once heard the saying ‘run towards the funk’ - and it’s something I try to do. Not to shy away from hard issues, discussions and questions, but to address them head-on.

      This builds a sense of trust; my team know that I mean what I say, and that as a business, we don’t have anything to hide.

    2. Lead with authenticity

      It’s important to be the same at work as we are at home. In an age of social media, and where you’re never quite sure what is real, people are drawn to authenticity. When we model this in the workplace, trust & likeability increase. And when staff like each other, they’ll pull together - both in the fun times and tough times.

    3. Empower others

      Empowering and trusting others to do their jobs well is critical to business growth, and it also helps staff to feel ‘bought-in’ to the vision. Checking in regularly is important to ensure that goals are being met, but giving people a goal and getting out of their way has seen some of our team do amazing things.

      I’ve always tried to surround myself with people who are better at doing a particular job than I am - because that frees me up to do what only I can do. When my team is empowered, they also enjoy their jobs more because they have agency and control over how they work.

    4. Talk about the ‘why’

      People need to have a purpose. And while businesses need to be profitable, staff won’t get excited about just growing revenue.

      At Abe’s Audio, PEOPLE are our why. To break this down, we support causes that directly support people. Among other things, it might be partnering with Compassion Australia to help children break out of the poverty cycle. Or it could be handling the audio post-production on a documentary that highlights the evils of human trafficking.

      Our staff know that we use our resources - both finances and skills - to help others. When they understand and take ownership of this, it gives them a greater sense of purpose in their work.

    5. Create unexpected moments of joy

      In a busy production business that produces 120+ audio & voiceover jobs every day, our team are constantly busy - and some days can be tough. And with some of our workforce spread around the country, we have to be creative in how we create those moments.

      Menulog has become a go-to service. From evening meals to a simple coffee and muffin, we’ll often surprise our remote staff with a home delivery. For those who work in our office, a tray of hot coffees (or their chosen beverage) goes a long way!

      When we create little unexpected moments of joy, people know they are seen and appreciated.

A healthy team culture doesn’t just happen, but some might say that it’s intangible and only a ‘nice to have’’.

I disagree. The benefits of having a team that works really well together are noticed - and appreciated - by clients. And that directly affects the bottom line.

Because happy staff lead to happy customers!

Like to meet our team? Click here.

Abe Udy

Abe is the founder of Abe's Audio and started the business in 1998 from his bedroom with an old computer, fax machine, dial-up internet, and a microphone in his wardrobe. Today, he leads a team that provides audio production and voice overs to media, agency, eLearning, video & creative clients around Australia and beyond.

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