How these Colorado tech leaders foster collaborative company cultures

April Bohnert

A team that truly collaborates to achieve a common goal is an unstoppable one, but breaking down silos and teaching people with different personalities and work styles to come together isn’t always an easy task. From offsite brainstorming sessions to Rockies games and volunteer outings, see how these six Colorado tech leaders approach teamwork, both inside and outside of the office.

 

Healthgrades is a consumer resource for comprehensive information about healthcare professionals and hospitals. Though in many ways their teams are working separately from one another, their efforts are all working toward common objectives. Healthgrades’ chief people officer Kate Hyatt explained how she works to bridge the gap between departments and make their office a more collaborative space.

How does teamwork factor into the day-to-day operations of your business?

Everything that we accomplish at Healthgrades is through effective teamwork. There are very few roles where individual contributors work alone. We have dedicated squads of engineering, product and UX design employees who work together as autonomous teams.

How does teamwork play a part in your company culture both inside and outside of the office?

One of our six core values is “achieve excellence together.” The key behaviors associated with this value are to collaborate and celebrate, and drive as a team toward the larger mission. We talk about our values every day and use our portal to recognize co-workers who are living the values.

Every other Friday, we have engineering and product demos to highlight innovative products and approaches that teams have developed. Additionally, all of our employees have a paid volunteer day each year. Many of our teams volunteer together and find it to be a rewarding and teambuilding experience.

Why is teamwork so important for your company?  

One of our other core values is “change the game.” The digital health field is fast moving and exciting. We are playing a huge role in promoting consumerism in healthcare. We know that we have the most impact when we are tackling opportunities as a team.

 

Canvas Technology is pushing the edge of robotics with their autonomous delivery technology. That kind of innovation doesn’t happen without a free-flow of ideas — and a team that knows how to work together. Sandra McQueen, the company's co-founder and VP of marketing, shared more about how Canvas approaches teamwork across all departments.

How does teamwork factor into the day-to-day operations of your business?

It’s hard to answer this question...because it’s everything! The day-to-day wouldn’t happen without it. I’d say there are two types of teamwork playing out at Canvas. One is your classic team of people focused on a big project, who are given the authority and support to succeed. The other is with individual contributors who receive help from other people in the company in the form of a sounding board or pitching in to help where they can.

How does teamwork play a part in your company culture both inside and outside of the office?

We have specifically focused on hiring people with strong emotional intelligence who can work well with others in an environment of high pressure. We pull together for high-stakes milestones which builds confidence and closeness, and we often play together with company ski and climbing days, hikes or just grabbing a beer at Upslope.

Why is teamwork so important for you?  

The challenge we’ve taken on at Canvas is immense. We’re commercializing technology that has only been tried in the best university labs and packaging that into products that have to “just work” out of the box. If we didn’t work well together as a team, we’d never achieve our goals. By tackling these big challenges together, the team creates better solutions and gets energized by each other.

 

Guild Education touts education as a benefit and is helping young, working adults get an online education through their employers. Developing and scaling their platform is a major priority at the moment. Jessica Rusin, Guild’s head of engineering, discussed how their engineering team works together and across departments to meet their ambitious goals.

How does teamwork factor into the day-to-day operations of your business?

Our engineering team focuses on teamwork every day as we use an agile process. Every morning the team has a daily stand-up to get a better understanding of current status or of blockers that someone might experience. We work as a team when pair programming and work together cross-functionally with product teams and business stakeholders to ensure that we are building best-in-class software products for our students and partners.

How does teamwork play a part in your company culture both inside and outside of the office?

We are a mission-driven company and we hire people who resonate with that mission. For Guild, this means when we work together we are more effective because we are driving towards the same goal. We also frequently have offsite events that help us connect in different ways and get to know our coworkers better. We've met for sunrise hikes, post-work happy hours, and more recently, this weekend is our first annual company retreat in the mountains.

Why is teamwork so important for your company?  

Guild is a fast-growing startup company that is in the process of scaling our products to meet the demands of our students. The only way to do this effectively is through building a great team. We move quickly, so it's important to work together as a cohesive team to deliver results as efficiently and as fast as possible while still delivering an excellent product to our users.

 

Newmedia works to help businesses of all sizes develop a stronger digital presence, and that doesn’t happen without the combined talents of many different people. In fact, their teams are completely non-siloed, with employees working in pods composed of web designers, copywriters, SEO specialists and more. CEO Steve Morris shed some light on how he puts teamwork front and center in the workplace.

How does teamwork factor into the day-to-day operations of your business?

Teamwork plays a critical role in our daily operations. It’s the staple of our entire workflow. Effectively delivering client projects requires an extremely open and collaborative environment. We value streamlined processes throughout our project lifecycles and definitely empower the entire team, regardless of position, to weigh in on deliverables and priorities. In return, this enables everyone to feel empowered and know that they make a difference, not only as individuals but as a cohesive team.

How does teamwork play a part in your company culture both inside and outside of the office?

As a company, we support the concept of a team. Our amazing office manager has set up a monthly calendar of events so team members always have lots of things to look forward to, and we promote much-needed breaks throughout the day/weeks. We have ping-pong tournaments, bi-weekly breakfasts, bi-weekly happy hours and potlucks, etc. All of these activities are scheduled with the intent of helping individuals build personal connections with the rest of the team, including those that you may not always interact with on a regular basis.

Why is teamwork so important?  

We don’t just deploy software or push code. We do custom work and craft creative solutions to unique problems, every single day. These do not happen without effort. Without everyone working on the same page, effective teamwork, and communication, we simply would not be able to deliver for our clients. Period. It is an essential component of who we are and what we do, and we’re constantly looking at different ways to improve that, whether it is attending a Rockies game for an evening or a weekend trip to the lake.

 

10-4 uses technology and big data to bring greater visibility to supply chain management. CEO Travis Rhyan explained how they rely on the strengths and talents of each and every team member — as well as the help of their customers — to continuously improve their product.

How does teamwork factor into the day-to-day operations of your business?

Teamwork plays a big role for us. It’s great when we collaborate, especially on the day-to-day stuff. It helps so that nothing can slip through the cracks. More importantly, we meet monthly to discuss the larger and more important strategic items that drive our overall business plan. We have two offices and four additional remote resources and it is critical that we all stay in sync —  which is so much easier with all of today’s technology for collaborating with remote teams.

How does teamwork play a part in your company culture both inside and outside of the office?

Teamwork is a big part of our company culture, and we’ve done some things outside of the office to promote that. Things like Rockies baseball games, picnics, ski trips, poker games, offsite vision sessions, team-building paintball, bowling and laser tag events, volunteering at the Food Bank — and we recently did a ropes course.

Why is teamwork so important to 10-4’s success?

We are a software development company, which makes teamwork a really critical component of our work. Companies are relying on us to deliver a great product and we have to be able to work together and communicate effectively to make sure we deliver that product and take care of our customers. We also extend our collaboration to our customers and work directly with them to design solutions and develop roadmaps, and we frequently bring them onsite for strategy sessions. We recently wrapped up our first onsite Customer Advisory Board working session here in Boulder with some of our key customers!

 

Marketing agencies are inherently collaborative places, where people with different strengths need to work together closely to develop and implement cohesive strategies for their clients. At Screen Pilot, their teams are doing everything from web development to social media for hospitality and hotel businesses, so it’s no surprise that teamwork is woven into the fabric of the business. Chris Lau, director of search marketing, shared how he approaches teamwork and why it’s so important to the success of their agency.

How does teamwork factor into the day-to-day operations of your business?

Teamwork is an integral part of and a must in our day-to-day operations. Members from different departments are in constant communication with each other daily in order to carry out client objectives and meet project timelines. Our team members are in meetings throughout the day to strategize and produce materials for our clients.


How does teamwork play a part in your company culture both inside and outside of the office?

We constantly preach that teamwork is essential to be a successful employee at the company. Each year, we close our offices for a few days to participate in “Screen Pilot Team Days” which includes a variety of discussions and events that foster teamwork, collaboration and future visioning.

Outside of the office, we do a mixture of social activities that allow us to be collaborative while having fun. Activities typically include happy hours, team lunches, birthday/anniversary celebrations and volunteering events.  


Why is teamwork so important for your company?

Given the nature of our business, teamwork keeps our business going. It allows each team member to think outside of the box while expressing their creative sides. Without this, our company would do a mediocre job which isn’t in our plans, or worst case, fall into oblivion.

 

Photos via featured companies.

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