How We Maintain a Startup Culture Amidst a Growing Team

There’s no doubt that Imagine Media has come a long way since our humble beginnings back in 2013, when our two founders, Margot and Shantel, started the company from their laptops out of a Panera Bread Factory. As our family of partners grows, our team will grow with it in order to maintain the close relationships we build and deliver the personal touches that we take pride in.

Since day one, company culture has been something that our founders held close to their hearts. As leaders, they understand that team morale is essential to productivity, and they created a list of core values to steer our team in the right direction each day. Just as we promise to build relationships with our partners, it’s also important for us to build relationships with each other within the office. We’ve rounded up some of the actions we take to make sure we stay true to our culture.

Culture Club

Yes, we have a whole sub-team of Imagineers who are committed to enhancing our office culture. This group meets about twice a month and are the brains behind our culture operation. The meetings serve as an open forum to bounce ideas off one another and plan upcoming events. Everyone from the team is invited, so the group dynamics are always changing depending on who can make the meeting time that particular week. We discuss everything from the big events, to birthdays, to what snacks to keep on hand for the team.

Communication

Our leadership team encourages an open communication with honest feedback. While keeping our meeting times down is a goal this year, we do make sure we briefly touch base with the team each day to find out what our priorities are, any challenges we can support each other with, and shout-outs to celebrate or thank a teammate for something they helped us with. We also use a platform called Slack that allows us to send quick, informal messages to each other in organized channels which reduces the number of internal emails that are sent.

Celebrating As A Team

No matter how much our team grows in size, we will never miss an opportunity to celebrate our accomplishments together! Once a month our Culture Club plans a happy hour where we have the chance to close our laptops and enjoy some downtime together as a group. Each quarter we also do a team outing to somewhere new. Past trips have included ice skating, Skyzone, and an escape room. We find that these events get our creative juices flowing and serve as a great way to share some laughs as a team. To top it off, at the end of each year we go on a team retreat which is half work and half play. In the daytime, we take the time to reflect on the year that’s passed and set goals for the year ahead, and in the evening we open the wine and play games.

Celebrating Each Other

While celebrating as a team is very important to us, we also love to celebrate our teammates as individuals for their personal and professional accomplishments. Shantel and Margot have created a work environment where no good deed goes unnoticed, and one of our Slack channels is dedicated to recognizing each other for various accomplishments or thanking each other for going out of their way to support the team. This is one of my favorite aspects of our culture because you won't go through a work week without feeling valued and important.

Networking and Career Development

Within any office culture, it’s common to get stuck or have low morale if you don’t feel like your career is progressing. To make sure we stay innovative professionally, we engage in monthly Lunch & Learns, quarterly networking events, and are encouraged to pursue any continuing education opportunities. By committing to developing our skill set, it ensures that our team will maintain the startup mentality of constantly learning and growing.

Introspection

The Imagine culture also teaches us to focus on our life as a whole, not just from a work perspective. We understand that in order to feel balanced, we need to feel fulfilled in our personal lives. Every Monday we set goals that support our career, self-growth, social, and physical well being. Once we set those goals, we also choose a one-word focus for each week with a quote that elaborates on that intention and share both our word and quote with the team. Taking the time to look inward really helps us start the week on the right foot, and when we know what each teammate is focusing on at a higher level, it helps us support each other.

There’s no doubt that Imagine Media is on track to keep growing, but we will always stay faithful to our foundational culture. Relationships are so important to us and, in line with our brand promise to create relationships with grit, we won't grow out of our startup culture.

Story By: Sophie Duncan