At Symphony, we take great pride in our culture and community - that’s something that we very openly communicate and emphasize on every occasion we get. Most recently, we announced the collective donation our community made to healthcare institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and North Macedonia. In case you missed this amazing update from our community and launch of our new campaign, Change That Matters, check it out here.
The global COVID-19 pandemic brought a lot of change, not only to our personal lives but also to our professional lives. That also meant that our community activities went through major changes in the last couple of weeks. We’re using this opportunity to share our experiences with you and give you a real insight into our community.
The story behind the Community Support Center
We understand the importance of keeping the well-being of employees top of mind. Thanks to the newly formed department within Symphony, Community Support Center, we’ve managed to identify many ways to positively impact the community as we navigate COVID-19.
The most valuable help we can offer our team members right now is information and a listening ear. Media outlets have become an endless source of breaking news and alarming updates, and people everywhere are becoming anxious.
Community Support Center detected the opportunity to step in and connect with the team on a new level - perhaps much more emotionally than ever before. We became a new source of information our community needed the most, offering different resources and insights on the health of the business.
Based on our experience, a strong recommendation is to not let information flow exclusively from the top down. We used this time to get a pulse on our community and involve them in the path forward.
Some current initiatives at Symphony include:
- Weekly meetings with Cofounders, Haris Memic and Muamer Cisija, during which they transparently share the latest updates related to our business, discuss any potential concerns and answer questions team members may have.
- Workshops and other development initiatives designed to help the professional and personal development of our community members. Our Talent Management team is on a mission to detect the needs and point areas of improvement for each individual team member and to provide full support in the development process.
- Mental health and resilience development initiatives, related to the current crisis times, organized by our HR team, where we work on developing efficient stress coping mechanisms, learning to take more efficient care about our mental health and deal with our personal and professional challenges during these times.
- Online workout sessions at least four times a week where we do yoga or HIIT training with a professional yoga/fitness instructor. We used to have these sessions in our gyms back in the office, and we didn’t want this situation to prevent us all from taking care of our physical health and activity.
- Weekly knowledge-sharing sessions where engineers proactively select and talk about a different topic or challenge they’ve encountered. These sessions last up to one hour with a very interesting Q&A session.
We’ve also created two special channels on Slack where we invited all Symphony community members, one is reserved for a random chatter throughout the day and the other one is the main source of all important information and announcements. On the chatter channel, we don’t have any rules besides “don’t use @here”, while the announcement channel is being kept from all unnecessary noise with one rule “@here is a must”.
Never assume you know the needs and concerns of your team members - ask them directly! Thanks to regular community surveys and informal chats we have during online coffee dates, we managed to create and execute a number of fun activities for community members. Some of them are:
- Online team building for the whole Symphony community where we created a video game inspired challenge with 10 different levels for 20 groups.
- Trivia quizzes for each development center organized using Zoom and super creative presentation skills.
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament which required great input from the community, which turned out to be a very fun experience and something that we need to do again.
- Chess tournament organized by avid chess players which managed to turn into a live tournament followed by many team members who weren’t competing.
- Live Cooking Show is a live show we organize three times a week with our chefs during the lunch break where we all gather to follow the preparation of one delicious meal and tune in to hear tips and tricks.
- The weekly cookbook is an internal document we roll out every Monday with our chefs who share healthy recipes twice a day on our Slack channel (the chatter one). We collect all recipes from the last week and share the document at the beginning of each new week.
- Various internal guides on social distancing, work from home, safety precautions, and small exercises for neck and back created by the Community Support Center.
Lastly, during this crisis, it's critical to channel community values in everything we do. That’s why we strongly believe that together we’re the change that matters. Once again, shout out to our community members and their valuable inputs and work that continue to inspire Symphony as a company.
We hope these examples will give you some inspiration for how to support your own team right now. Just remember that we’re here if you need additional inputs or more context - just send us a message on Facebook or Instagram.