88 Views

How to Build Social Capital Within Your Team

How to Build Social Capital Within Your Team

The benefits of social capital—collaborating and connecting with those you work with—can extend far beyond completing a simple project. When you invest in ways to build social capital within your team, you’ll generate momentum and boost productivity throughout the entire company.

Take it from five-time CEO Margaret Heffernan, who spoke at length on the topic during her June 2015 TED Talk. “What matters is the mortar, not just the bricks.” She’s talking about social capital—the glue that holds your company together. When teams work and interact together, that interdependency promotes trust and the open flow of ideas.

When you trust your co-workers, you can ask them for help. Heffernan says,

“Helpfulness is absolutely core to successful teams and routinely outperforms individual intelligence.”

At Help Scout, our mission is to help people build companies their customers love. Helpfulness is core to our mission and how we interact with each other.

So, yeah, water-cooler talk is pretty important.

Building a remote team like ours might seem like a crazy idea, especially whenstudies show how important social capital is to the success and productivity of the people you hire. If people don’t work next to each other, how will they interact enough to build the trust they need to be candid and helpful?

It’s not impossible. Here’s how we’ve made it work.

Scheduled Serendipity

People in Sweden have a sweet tradition called fika: the act of taking a break during the workday for conversation, coffee, and cake. While having an excuse to eat pastries is already appealing, fika is an easy way for a company to invest in social capital.

It’s about making time for the important (but not urgent) task of chatting with your colleagues—a habit that strengthens the glue that holds your team together.

At Help Scout, Friday Fika is our adaptation of this custom. Everyone on our team takes time on Friday for a 15-minute video chat with someone outside of his or her department; it’s the remote equivalent of water-cooler talk. Caffeine and sweets are welcome but not required.

The idea came together after our second team retreat, when we received feedback that our staff loved the face-to-face time with people they didn’t normally work with. How could we have that happen on a regular basis?

I spoke with Liz Hall from Trello, and she told me about CoffeeTime, a similar practice that started with similar intentions: to make it easy for cross-team small talk to occur. CoffeeTime later evolved into what Trello calls “Mr. Rogers,” and has played a huge part in keeping their 50% remote team connected to HQ.

After learning how successful CoffeeTime had been for Trello, we were ready to give it a try at Help Scout. We’ve being fika-ing for more than six months, tweaking our process slightly along the way.

ALSO READ  7 Important Tips On How To Grow And Boost Your Bank Account

How We Do It

  1. Using a Google sheet, we randomly pair everyone on the team, checking against recent pairings and removing people who are on vacation.
  2. When opportunity knocks, we’ll do a little matchmaking. If there’s a chance for an in-person fika due to travel or someone visiting the Boston office, we’ll make it happen. If there’s someone new on the team, we’ll match them up with their new work best friend to ease them into Friday Fika.
  3. After the pairs and matchmaking are set, we add a topic for the week. Why have a topic? We are a team largely made up of introverts who don’t see each other every day, so having a topic to break the ice is handy.
  4. We post the pairings and topic in our #fika Slack channel and then it’s up to people on the team get in touch and set up a time for a chat.

If it sounds like a lot of work for someone to do every week, it is. But it’s important in helping us build trust and bond with one another. Sometimes you don’t know what will stick, so experimenting with things that don’t scale helps us figure out which ones are important enough to keep going with. Almost everyone on the team looks forward to Friday Fika, so it’s here to stay.

Because we do want Friday Fika to scale, we’ve enlisted the help ofResilient Coders —a Boston organization that helps low-opportunity youth to learn how to code—to build us a tool to make our matchmaking easier.

What We’ve Learned

Sound like something you want to set up for your remote team? Here are a few things we’ve learned along the way:

  • Introduce your version of Friday Fika to the team as an experiment. If people seem hesitant at first, let them know that it’s an experiment, and they might be more open to it.
  • Unstructured, group video chats don’t work well for a team of mostly introverts. We learned early on that, for us, a group hangout was a little awkward.
  • Let people figure out when they want to meet. With different time zones and work patterns, picking a universal hour for everyone to fika is a losing battle.
  • Experiment! Every team is different, so what works well for Trello or Help Scout might not work for your team.

CoffeeTime, Mr. Rogers, Friday Fika—it doesn’t matter what you call it. What’s important is getting members of your remote staff together for some regular 1-on-1, face-to-face time to strengthen your team and help you build momentum. After all, teams that work well together can accomplish great things together.

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Latest Posts

What You Should Know About The Shaku Shaku Dance
Entertainment
55 views
Entertainment
55 views

What You Should Know About The Shaku Shaku Dance

PH - January 22, 2018

If you’re familiar with Nigerian music,  you’ll have noticed there is a long history of being able to make a hit musically when you have a good…

“I Can’t Hangout With Someone That Doesn’t Eat Amala” – Dj Cuppy
Entertainment
61 views
Entertainment
61 views

“I Can’t Hangout With Someone That Doesn’t Eat Amala” – Dj Cuppy

PH - January 22, 2018

Billionaire Daughter, DJ Cuppy, who recently went on Social media to complain about how she’s been battling with throat pain, has revealed the kind of people that…

See Inside Ex-President Jonathan’s Sitting Room In Abuja That Can’t Accommodate 10 People
Politics
69 views
Politics
69 views

See Inside Ex-President Jonathan’s Sitting Room In Abuja That Can’t Accommodate 10 People

PH - January 22, 2018

A retired Permanent Secretary and an associate of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Ambassador Godknows Igali, says the immediate past president may be the poorest former leader in…

See How Jim Iyke Rips Apart A Follower Who Urged Him To Marry
Entertainment
64 views
Entertainment
64 views

See How Jim Iyke Rips Apart A Follower Who Urged Him To Marry

PH - January 22, 2018

Nollywood Actor, Jim Iyke has lashed out at one of his followers who flogged him and urged him to marry asap, as age is not on his…

Simi Adeagbo, First African Female Skeleton Competitor in Winter Olympics featured in Nike’s “Forever First”
Featured
74 views
Featured
74 views

Simi Adeagbo, First African Female Skeleton Competitor in Winter Olympics featured in Nike’s “Forever First”

PH - January 22, 2018

Nike’s new short film ‘Forever First’ celebrates the power and mindset of Simidele Adeagbo, who is Africa’s first ever female athlete to compete in the winter sport…

SEE Photo Of Two Men Arrested With Counterfeit N8Million Cash In Niger State.
Shocking
61 views
Shocking
61 views

SEE Photo Of Two Men Arrested With Counterfeit N8Million Cash In Niger State.

MT - January 22, 2018

Following intelligence at the disposal of the Niger State Police Command in connection with the circulation of money suspected to be counterfeit, the operatives of the Command…

Goodluck Jonathan Is Broke, In Debts Over 2015 Election – Ex Diplomat, Boladei Igali Reveals
Politics
53 views
Politics
53 views

Goodluck Jonathan Is Broke, In Debts Over 2015 Election – Ex Diplomat, Boladei Igali Reveals

MT - January 22, 2018

While speaking during an interactive session with some journalists over the weekend in Abuja, former Career Diplomat and retired Permanent Secretary, Ambassador Godknows Boladei Igali, has said…

Relationship Expert, Joro Olumofin Shares 24 Qualities Of A Wife Material That Got Ladies Talking
Entertainment
61 views
Entertainment
61 views

Relationship Expert, Joro Olumofin Shares 24 Qualities Of A Wife Material That Got Ladies Talking

MT - January 22, 2018

Popular relationship expert, Joro Olumofi, has shared qualities of a wife material on his Instagram page. According to him, for men looking for wives, a lady must…

“Today Is A Very Special Day My Daughter”- Peter Okoye Celebrates Daughter, Aliona As She Turns 5
Entertainment
60 views
Entertainment
60 views

“Today Is A Very Special Day My Daughter”- Peter Okoye Celebrates Daughter, Aliona As She Turns 5

MT - January 22, 2018

Peter Okoye aka Mr. P and Lola Omotayo's daughter, Aliona turned 5-year-old today and the musician celebrated her via his Instagram page. "Today is a very special…

Meet The Soldier Who Ladies Love To Be Around With In Borno State. Photo
Inspiring
61 views
Inspiring
61 views

Meet The Soldier Who Ladies Love To Be Around With In Borno State. Photo

MT - January 22, 2018

An average Nigerian is always scared to come close to a soldier but this down-to-earth soldier who serves in Ngala of Borno – has won the hearts…

Why Rivers People Will Vote For Me In 2019 – Governor Wike
Politics
44 views
Politics
44 views

Why Rivers People Will Vote For Me In 2019 – Governor Wike

PH - January 22, 2018

Nyesom Wike, Governor of Rivers State, has said he would never ask people of the state to rig election in his favour. Speaking during a Thanksgiving service…

Inspiring: Meet The Lady Who Makes Furniture With Used Tyres Gotten From Dumpsites. [Photos]
Best of Nigeria
68 views
Best of Nigeria
68 views

Inspiring: Meet The Lady Who Makes Furniture With Used Tyres Gotten From Dumpsites. [Photos]

MT - January 22, 2018

This is really encouraging. Here’s an inspiring photo-story featuring a young entrepreneur who started making waves for herself during her teenage years. The young graduate of the…

Man Who Proposed To His Girl Friend At SARS Headquarters Finally Weds. [Photos]
Best of Nigeria
46 views
Best of Nigeria
46 views

Man Who Proposed To His Girl Friend At SARS Headquarters Finally Weds. [Photos]

MT - January 22, 2018

Last year December, A man proposed to his girlfriend of many years at the Special Anti-Robbery Squad SARS headquarters in Port Harcourt, Rivers state. The man proposed…

How Okada Rider Dumped His Wife And Got Married To Police Woman Who Helped Him
Romance and Love
57 views
Romance and Love
57 views

How Okada Rider Dumped His Wife And Got Married To Police Woman Who Helped Him

MT - January 22, 2018

A motorcycle operator identified as Essien has dumped Grace his wife of many years, and married a police woman who showed him love during his travail in…

Herdsmen Killings: ‘Why I’ll Hold Fulani Leaders Responsible For Any Attack’ – Gov. Fayose Sounds Warnings
Politics
84 views
Politics
84 views

Herdsmen Killings: ‘Why I’ll Hold Fulani Leaders Responsible For Any Attack’ – Gov. Fayose Sounds Warnings

MT - January 22, 2018

The outspoken Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, has sounded a warning to Serikin Fulani in the state, Muhammed Abashe, that he will be held responsible for…

Seven Banking Ideas For Students
Business
53 views
Business
53 views

Seven Banking Ideas For Students

MT - January 22, 2018

College season is near, which means that millions of freshmen from around the country will leave the snug confines of their childhood home for a room with…

Watch Banky W and Adesua Etomi at their Special Thanksgiving in England
Entertainment
53 views
Entertainment
53 views

Watch Banky W and Adesua Etomi at their Special Thanksgiving in England

PH - January 22, 2018

Arguably one of the biggest events last year, Banky W and Adesua Etomi‘s wedding, #BAAD2017, grabbed headlined for weeks on end in 2017 as the whole nation was practically watching in awe.…

“My Song ‘Science Student’ Is Not Encouraging Drug Abuse” – Olamide Responds To Critics
Entertainment
53 views
Entertainment
53 views

“My Song ‘Science Student’ Is Not Encouraging Drug Abuse” – Olamide Responds To Critics

MT - January 22, 2018

  Following thereactions that his recently released song, “ Science Student,” has sparked; Olamide has made a counter-reaction on Instagram. The musician took to Instagram to correct…

Loading...