Culture Club: The low down on getting the right work culture with Weirdly
As a general rule, our team here at GridAKL are a little weird. I use the word ‘little’ lightly. We are a lot weird. Between us, we harbour penchants for anything from aerobatic silks to spoken word poetry to pet guinea pigs to getting lost in Bolivian mines. We are a crazy collection of awesome strangeness that somehow works magic mixed up into a team environment together. Basically, we are a great example of the benefits of looking beyond purely professional experience as the holy grail of job requirements, and factoring in the kinds of personal experience and traits that can gel a team together in a beautiful way.
This idea is what lies behind the creation of Weirdly, who have created a recruitment app that generates a fun, customised quiz which ranks candidates in order to find the perfect ‘match’ for both your team and your business vision. We found our legendary Community Activation Manager Eva Perrone through Weirdly, so naturally we were suitably stoked when these guys decided to make GridAKL their new home base. I talked to Dale Clareburt, Weirdly co-founder and connoisseur of all thing things strange; to discover the how and the why of a company like theirs.
CM: How did you come up with the name “Weirdly”
DC: We spent a long time throwing names around that described what we DO. Then, one day we were talking about WHY we do what we do. We wanted to connect real people, with all the complex, unique skills and experiences that real people have with roles that would fit their particular cocktail of strengths. We got hooked on the word ‘weird’ – talking about that unique ‘fit’ idea and how it’s the weird things about people that are the things that make them brilliant in the right role. And the name Weirdly naturally evolved from there.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that Dr Seuss had written a quote that perfectly summed our ideas up for us as well!
CM: Whats the number one thing that you would look for in recruiting your team and building an awesome culture?
DC: Haha this is a great question with an obvious answer – Mutual weirdness of course. Businesses should be looking for people who feel and believe in what they’re doing every day. Who want to ‘belong’ rather than just ‘turn up’.
At Weirdly it’s no different. We’re looking for people who want to have fun, who are bursting with ideas, who believe in what Weirdly is all about, who are looking for a job and a place to work that they love. We love what we do and why we do it – so you’ve got to feel the same in order to get the most out of an opportunity with Weirdly.
CM: Why do you believe so many companies struggle to find the people that fit their needs?
DC: I think that the way that businesses recruit and the way that people find jobs is broken. The process is old fashioned. Too often businesses are putting skills and experience first, or they say that culture fit is really important but still start the process by asking people for CVs first. And people are still responding to this process so send in their CVs and cover letters without trying to make themselves stand out.
Interestingly, the companies who are finding ways to customise roles and work environments to fit their staff’s needs are also finding people that are more productive and better fit the company’s needs. It’s a scary thing for a lot of businesses but the ones who are taking a leap of faith by implementing non-traditional stuff like flexible work weeks and shared roles are definitely more attractive to the best people.
CM: How do you balance a good strong culture with team diversity?
DC: Another awesome question.
Culture doesn’t mean uniformity. In fact, quite the opposite. A strong company culture is about knitting together diverse groups of people around commonly held values and goals. Ultimately your company quiz should give people a taste of what it feels like to work there, and help you (and them) understand whether you share those core values and goals.
CM: What if a company has no idea what their own culture is? How can they build something that they haven’t yet defined?
DC: This is easy – One way we address this is by helping to create a quiz that you can use/test internally to get a gauge on the current state of play. Then based on the interpretation of the data and feedback from your team, we can tweak the questions and answers accordingly.
The other thing we’ve found useful is getting the different parts of the company to talk this through together. Values and mission statements – the things that traditionally sit within the Marketing department – are huge drivers and influencers on company culture. Getting Marketing or Exec heads involved in these discussions can be a good way of teasing these things out.
Culture is always evolving so its a great idea to keep checking in on things in the future too.
CM: Is there such a thing as “good weird” and “bad weird”? Can you describe a situation for you that was undeniably “bad weird”?
DC: Nope. And it’s probably more like the “right kinda weird” vs the “wrong kinda weird” for your business. We believe that there is a place for everyone, and what might be the “wrong kinda weird” for one business is probably the “right kinda weird” for another.
As the Community Co-ordinator at GridAKL Casey knows everything about our lovely/weird humans that call GridAKL home! If there is something that you are itching to know about, let Casey know via our contact form so that she can write a blog post about it – easy!