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Building a culture that’s Stronger Together

Author:

Nitin Prasad

Published:

December 22, 2023

Building a culture that’s Stronger Together

We recently sat down with our Senior Product Manager Nitin Prasad, who’s based in our Takapuna (Auckland) office in New Zealand.

Nitin reflected on the conversation before creating this article, which reveals some of the ways Zipsters in New Zealand go about creating a fun, supportive environment, building culture and smashing some seriously impressive goals.

Building for balance and inclusivity

A key aspect of how we have strengthened our culture on the ground while retaining a connection to the broader ZipFam is how we have prioritised inclusivity. We all come from diverse backgrounds and want to be a part of an environment where each and every Zipster feels safe and that they can bring their authentic self to work.

How do we do it? Well sometimes it can be something as small as the ProdEng team greeting each other in the morning in our first language (for example in Korean, Cantonese or Hindi), or choosing to embrace and celebrate our collective passion for cooking by organising a ‘potluck’ in the office. This way we can share a little bit more about ourselves through our love of food!

We also build inclusivity by ensuring that we’re giving our staff the chance to review product work from its early discovery stage right through to rolling out to production. Before any change to our products has reached the customer’s hands, we’ve really given our teams an opportunity to provide their input.

A community that’s Stronger Together

At Zip we receive two days of volunteering leave every year. In Auckland, we’re lucky to work from an office in a beautiful location, near the beach in Takapuna. We make the most of it by regularly using our volunteering days to come together as an office to do a beach clean up…which is often followed by a well-deserved ice cream!

Spending time together away from the office and getting to know people we don’t always work with day-to-day, all the while having a positive impact on our local community, is a very rewarding way to strengthen bonds within the team.

One of our Zip values is 'Stronger Together'. One way this plays out for the team is ensuring that we wear many hats, especially in crunch moments. We understand that by working together we have a higher probability of succeeding over staying limited to our roles.

Communication builds culture

Being a part of a smaller local or remote team that works closely with many different Zipsters across the ditch in Australia means we always put an emphasis on clear communications, whether through a message on Slack, connecting in person or speaking over Zoom.

There may be an initiative that I’m working on which doesn’t immediately involve or impact other parts of the business in Australia at a certain point in time, however I always choose to prioritise transparency and information sharing in case it does at a later date. Similarly, with cross-functional work I place a lot of importance on always finding time for retros, where Zipsters can review and share feedback so that we can create better ideas in the future by connecting the dots between different teams.

Zoom has been known to be a barrier to building connections, but we always try to have some constructive fun during calls, thinking about different ways in which we can build rapport, get to know other Zipsters better - including what drives them outside of work - in order to find mutual points of connection or ways to relate to one another.

We also try to engage with the wider ANZ ZipFam through shared fun and connection beyond the typical 9-5. An example of this recently has been the push-up challenge that we kicked off as a team in New Zealand. We do daily push-ups at 3pm to break up the day and to maintain our fitness levels. .. but we primarily do it for fun.

However, we've started to take it semi-seriously and we now track our results. We’ve shared our progress with our Sydney and Melbourne counterparts and recently challenged them to see if they could beat our totals. It was great to see our fellow Zipsters in our other offices taking part, with the Sydney team bringing home the W in our inaugural competition.

Looking ahead to what’s next

Looking forward to our cultural calendar in 2024, we will have a mix of planned activities including more bleach cleans and organised celebrations with the team to mark days of cultural significance. But I’m sure we’ll also see a lot of spontaneous fun driven by our Zipsters who I believe all feel like they can share their passions and beliefs in the workplace.

If you’re new to Zip or thinking of joining, my advice is to embrace our values, particularly ‘Own It’ which we summarise with the line ‘See a problem, own the solution’. If you have an idea, don’t be afraid to share it with the team, always stay curious and ask questions outside of your immediate area of specialism.

Also approach your day-to-day with empathy! Do your best to get to know people not just in your squad but across the business too…. it really will make everything at Zip easier for you!

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