Our Product Design Process book is out now!

ORDER NOW

Friday Tells: how we keep our company's culture while scaling

If you had the chance to get to know us in person you probably noticed that our team speaks passionately about front-end software development, UI/UX design and how we proudly deliver amazing digital products to top clients worldwide.

Making people’s lives easier through technology is truly what drives us and makes us roll out of bed every morning. So yes, we’re focused on creating great software solutions. But we also believe that’s only possible with a highly skilled and motivated team.

As you can imagine, managing a fast-growing software development company with 3 offices in different locations (Lisbon, Coimbra and London), a total of 40 people and demanding projects it’s quite challenging. On top of that, to ensure that the company doesn’t suffer from growing pains and that the working culture foundations are not harmed, we had to be creative. So what could we do?

What if we all have lunch together?

Have you already heard about a show & tell? What we do is something similar. Our Friday Tell, by concept, is a relaxed team gathering that takes place twice a month, on Fridays. We kick-off with an internal presentation that can cover, literally, any topic. From new tech tools to sustainable practices, healthy food, or anything that can be relevant to our quality of life. We then exchange ideas over a catered lunch sponsored by our company.

We’ve started it back in 2014. Since then, our HR team guarantees this fortnightly get-together. It is a refreshing moment to learn something new, share ideas with our colleagues and spend some time together while eating giant pizzas. Everything on this internal event is about sharing: knowledge, experiences and, most important of all (we’re Portuguese at heart!) great food!

Why do we do this?

You’re wondering why we bother to have all this work. There's a lot of effort put on organizing a Friday Tell twice a month. And the best way to get an answer is to return the question to you: Why wouldn’t we?

As a matter of fact, we spend an average of 40h a week at work, most of the times in the same office. We share similar interests. But we’re so focused in our own tasks that we would never guess that the colleague sitting two desks away is also a coffee addict, which owns an adorable French Bulldog and reads the same newsletters as we do every morning. Crazy right? But unfortunately that's how modern jobs look like. We get into our own bubble of thoughts that we kind of forget about the rest. And we do it in a non-intentional way.

When companies are small-sized, usually someone starts the trigger to go for lunch all together and you don’t even need to book a table at that cozy restaurant that’s just around the corner. Been there, done that and it’s really nice actually. However, as companies start to grow and hiring fast, this small-sized company feeling starts to be at risk if not well managed.

As you can imagine, it would be surreal to get our 40 co-workers, spread over 3 locations to go for a team lunch. So we had to think of an alternative that could suit us in terms of logistics, timing and food preferences: we have meat lovers, vegan and vegetarian people aboard. So how to combine everything and have, at least once a month everyone in the same office? Challenge accepted! Let’s do it in-house: all our offices have a wide, well equipped and common kitchen. We can call our favorite pizza supplier, take care of drinks and desserts and invite team members (each one at a time) to prepare a short yet valuable presentation. Ta-da! And this is how our Friday Tells were born.

A glimpse of our Friday Tells

Why we find it important

A few years ago some companies, mainly startups, started to introduce internal events, like catered breakfasts once a week, surf lessons every Thursday or even weekend getaways as part of their informal work culture. We really don’t believe that this concept should be linked to startups only. We’re not a startup and we think it’s more about a management mindset, rather than company size, maturity or any other factors.

If on one side it’s true that co-workers need to make an effort to fit in and connect with other team members, we believe that it’s also the company’s responsibility to provide a healthy & happy work environment for that to happen.

We find it truly valuable to organize internal gatherings that helps newcomers to integrate, but above all, a casual interaction of all team members independently of their roles, hierarchy or contracts. So yes, this means that next Friday Tell you might be sharing a pizza side by side with your manager, team lead or the CEO and enjoy the chance to get to know them in person. And relax, they’re real people too: they’re looking forward to enjoying lunch as much as you do.

Besides team bonding, we’ve got a few other reasons why we can state that this kind of internal events truly matter:

Reinforce the company’s culture

Start working in a new company puts you off your comfort zone. We know that. It's a mix of excitement with an bit of anxiety. Our Friday Tells are casual and informal as we are too, so we think it's a great way to welcome newcomers and help them feel part of the team.

Learning is never over

One of our core values is that learning is never over. One can learn individually, of course, by reading books, asking google and that’s fine. It means that you’re curious by nature. But as a team, we always have something to teach each other: we have different backgrounds, experiences and it’s not only about the ultimate tech trend or framework. It’s also about sharing personal experiences, just like the new restaurant in town with the greatest tacos, how Copenhagen can be a great weekend get-away or to have a good laugh with the funniest cat videos.

Increase overall satisfaction

Think along: if you’re happy with your working conditions (your comfortable chair, fast PC, etc), a fair salary, challenging projects, able to work with a great team and a free meal twice a month, it’s less likely that you’d be looking for other jobs. Our HR team puts a great effort in setting up a thoughtful recruitment process to make sure you are aligned with us in terms of skills and values. So once we find each other, we want our connection to last and prosper!

Happy team, happy customers

It may sound cheasy, but we do believe that if our team is happy, our clients are happy either. Our recruitment has a few stages so we can make sure we're hiring the right people, but we value each one's efforts to deliver a top-quality and timely work. Of course, it doesn’t all resume to Friday Tells and we acknowledge that individually in other ways. However, in hard times, what makes us stronger is to rely on a strong and supportive team. But you can only be part of one if you have space to create one. So this takes time and effort, but it’s rewarding in the long term. And you know what? Clients can really notice. Take a look at the below review we received from Clutch:

It’s clear that the staff is well supported by professional development workshops, performance reviews, and benefits. The team’s positive internal culture has supported a personable business relationship., CEO, Industrial Software Company (San Francisco, California)

Wrap up

Managing a company and guarantee that each one of our employees feels valued and motivated can be quite a challenge. This is why we’ve decided to put our mindful creativity into action and create our Friday Tells.

For us, this is not a marketing game. If you take a closer look, we’re doing it for about 6 years in a row and only now we’re talking about it because we think it’s important to share with you some important moments of our journey. We’re low profile and we like it that way.

We see internal events, like our Friday Tells, like an opportunity for the team to bond, exchange ideas and interests. It goes along our core values, it's fun, makes us stronger as a team, and of course, who doesn’t enjoy a good slice of freshly baked pizza?

If after reading this article you’ve got kind of hungry, well, we’ll be having a Friday Tell in two weeks. In case you’re willing to join a pizzaholic team that’s passionate about front-end development and UX/UI design, get in touch. We guarantee that it certainly won’t let you down!

At Imaginary Cloud, we simplify complex systems, delivering interfaces that users love. If you’ve enjoyed this article, you will certainly enjoy our newsletter, which may be subscribed below. Take this chance to also check our latest work and, if there is any project that you think we can help with, feel free to reach us. We look forward to hearing from you!

Laura Freire

Laura Freire is a Digital Marketeer with a strong passion for tech, healthy food & sea kayaking. When she's not preparing a Marketing plan or learning about the ultimate tech trends, you may find her catching the next wave along the shore or eating avocado toasts.