Helping develop psychological safety on teams is central to Range’s mission. At its core, Range is an async check-in tool that allows team members to share updates with one another, without using up valuable meeting time. Each person shares what they are planning to do and what they have recently accomplished. As part of each person’s update, there is also a daily question designed to improve your understanding of your teammates and cultivate psychological safety. Some are simple ice breakers such as “what did you do last weekend?” or “what’s your favorite holiday destination?”, others probe more deeply into work dynamics, such as “what are you most proud of on your team at the moment?” or “what’s one skill you’ve improved over the last year?”
At Range, we start each meeting with a check-in so that each of us can give context for how we’re feeling and how that might affect how we participate. Naturally, we then use our own meeting tool – agendas are dynamically assembled, and everyone is empowered to raise topics: a tension, an area where they’re blocked, or any other relevant topic.
At the end of every two-week cycle, we reflect as a team on each of our highlights and noble failures from the week, with zero judgement on the self-identified failures. We believe that building high-performance culture begins with building a diverse and inclusive environment that every member of the team feels safe in, so we aim to be models of this ourselves.
At Asana, teaching with compassion means sharing your knowledge and realizing the strength that comes with empowering your teammates. It’s not about making someone feel inferior for not knowing what you know, but rather giving them the patience they need to make progress. To do this, we strive to understand from the learner’s perspective: where they come from, what their learning style is, and how they absorb information.
We place a huge emphasis on mentorship. Everyone has unique knowledge, skills, and experience, which they can share with others. From onboarding buddies, to managers, to interview mentors, we look for every opportunity to create meaningful relationships. We’re mentoring each other all the time – there’s always room to grow!
Ultimately, we view failure as a crucial step toward success and an opportunity to learn. When things don’t go as expected, we practice an exercise called “Five Whys,” which encourages us to analyze a problem with a curious mindset without blame.
52 Open Positions
Operating system for building and growing developer communities
San Francisco, Paris, or Remote (US/Europe)
The best communities in the dev space (or otherwise) protect the psychological safety of their members, and we believe it should be the same at Orbit. This means creating a space where you feel comfortable speaking up and sharing your thoughts without fear of risking your reputation, back channelling, or having an idea called stupid. At Orbit, our goal for ourselves (and anyone who joins the team!) is to ensure we trust and respect one another. This makes for a more resilient, fulfilling, and long-lasting work environment.
Our team values hard work, but we are also there to help one another when needed. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, or have taken on too much and need help delegating tasks, it’s a safe environment to reach out and ask for support.
We’re learning every single day, especially as we look to build our engineering team from the ground-up. Not everything we do is going to be a win right away, and that’s okay as long as we acknowledge and learn from our mistakes. Losing clients is tough, but it provides us with an opportunity to learn from what went wrong and coach each other through these instances. That could mean re-examining how we set expectations or communicate.
For every project we do, we make it a point to have a recap at the end. For example, at the end of each training class, Joy Liu (Head of Trainer Development), puts together a deck summarizing what they did in class, what they learned, and what she’d do differently next time. This is then shared with the leadership and executive teams.
1 Open Positions
The science of high-performing teams is a topic of interest here at Aptible, and we’re constantly thinking about how to build the best work environment. We believe emotions belong in the workplace, which is why every new employee completes our workshop, “Aptible 102: Communicating through Disclosure, Feedback, and Conflict” within their first two weeks on the job. Instead of asking everyone to conform to one particular work style, we also encourage each other to share our personal and work style preferences.
We check in with each other both qualitatively and quantitatively, too. Each team member has a weekly 1:1 during where they can discuss anything with their manager. As a team, we also conduct a bi-yearly Team Experience Survey to understand how we’re doing as an organization. One of the key components that we assess is Team Psychological Safety. We ask questions derived from the work of Amy Edmondson, PhD – the scientist who developed the concept of psychological safety – to understand how the team is feeling about taking risks, asking for help, and making mistakes at Aptible.
We’re very proud of what the results say about psychological safety at Aptible today! Our most recent results show that our team feels overwhelmingly positive when asked about various aspects of psychological safety, something we actively work hard to protect:
Psychological Safety at Aptible: Results from our Team Experience Survey (March 2019)
1 Open Positions
Creating experiences that connect people through photography
Mountain View, San Francisco, or Remote in CA, CO, ID, IL, MD, MA, MI, MN, NM, NY, NC, OR, TX, UT, VA, and WA
Our goal as a company is to provide an inclusive workplace where all of our people can thrive. Policy is a powerful tool to ensure that acceptable and unacceptable behavior is clearly defined across the organization. Our Code of Conduct creates the guardrails for safe and effective interaction.
While every voice must be heard and valued, we want to make sure we’re doing so in a way that prevents trauma and isn’t harmful to others. That’s why one of our employee-led DEI groups was consulted in crafting our code of conduct and policies. We’re intentionally taking steps to ensure we operate as an anti-hate and anti-discriminatory company. In addition to requiring mandatory training on inclusion, we offer several places for employees to report issues and submit feedback or questions anonymously.
We foster psychological safety by emphasizing that failure is an acceptable outcome. The engineering team has regular retrospectives to ensure we reflect as a team. Folks are very open about providing direct feedback to each other and following through on identified action items. By creating a space where people feel safe discussing what could be improved moving forward, we’re able to do our best work. Mistakes and failures are bound to happen, but we see them as opportunities for us to learn.
We also make space to celebrate and recognize one another. Bonusly, a platform that lets you send points to one another to acknowledge team members’ accomplishments or acts of kindness, is one of our most popular benefits. At the beginning of the month, each company member gets Bonusly points to award and acknowledge fellow team members. Points can then be redeemed for rewards like gift certificates or converted into cash for charitable donations. By regularly recognizing each other’s contributions, we build stronger relationships, and it’s just fun!
Agile product development consultancy
San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chattanooga, and New York
It’s amazing how companies are able to move quickly when they give a certain level of autonomy and agency to their team. Whether it’s through an actual system or by teaching inherent values within the working paradigm, it’s necessary for teams to have a way to do risk assessment. What is reversible risk? What isn’t reversible? When everyone trusts that they are within those guardrails, the team can move and make decisions quickly. We are incredibly thoughtful about this not only at Carbon Five but also when assessing the companies we take on as clients. We gather a lot of metrics for all of the companies that we work with, and demonstrating psychological safety is one of the strongest signals for success that we’ve seen over the years.
In order to empower teams to make decisions, engineers have to feel safe enough inside their team to be industrious, make and learn from mistakes along the way, and be able to seek help when needed. We’re adamant that diverse teams with different viewpoints and experiences will 100% create the best software and product for us.
Creating an environment that prioritizes psychological safety starts at the team level, but really ladders up and permeates the entire organization. Being part of the healthcare industry, we have the unique benefit of access to behavioral specialists. We recognize that healthcare can be a stressful experience for everyone, and we’ve had behavioral specialists lead stretching and yoga breaks, Zoom meditation sessions, as well as give talks on how to build resiliency and cope with the pandemic.
While our values have always informed our mission, the events of the summer of 2020 highlighted the sustained violence toward Black Americans and illuminated the social and economic disparities further exacerbated by COVID-19. Our organizational commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion will always be an ongoing process, and we started to deepen and codify it by focusing on learning from voices across our organization. Executive leadership made sure to check in with colleagues in the Minneapolis area, our care teams reached out to all of our Black patients nationwide to ensure their well-being, and we sent an open letter to all of our patients reaffirming our commitment to racial and social justice. We continue to invest in this work as a key contributor to our success as a culture and community, and believe that all stakeholders (patients, employees, shareholders, and our broader community) are served by Iora’s commitment to this work.
32 Open Positions
We believe kindness is a key ingredient for building a sustainable, successful organization. To that end, we strive for a culture of ongoing respect, diversity, and inclusion that allows kindness to be easily spread. While we value engineering skills, the curiosity to learn and ability to get along well with others is something we actively look for when interviewing. If you’re unfamiliar with parts of our stack that’s definitely not a barrier to joining – we care more about your passion for learning. Regardless of your role or level, we want you to feel comfortable raising your hand and asking for help if you don’t know the answer to something. Every engineer who joins the team is paired with a buddy, someone who is generally on your team and shares a similar skillset. You can feel free to reach out to your buddy anytime to ask a question or get help. We know that by being patient, understanding, and empathetic we do our best work.
Innovation is driven by insights from a team of passionate, curious, and diverse individuals, who can show up as whole, quirky human beings and solve hard problems together. To spark that innovation, we align around shared goals and values and create a space for what makes you you, where your journey and your story matter. Our differences in identities, interests, backgrounds, and experiences bring with them a variety of creative ideas, knowledge, skills, thoughts, and techniques. We need you at the table.
We take our work seriously, but we try not to take ourselves too seriously. As we’ve learned from the patients we support or from our own medical journeys, levity and joy – especially in the face of daunting challenges ahead – keep us resilient and help make solving those problems a little easier. Laughing with each other and embracing mistakes as learning opportunities helps us be more creative and resilient as we work together to change the future of all patients and medical research.
Our leadership team takes their responsibility to create space for others very seriously. We are among the few companies with a female CEO & Co-Founder and a number of other key leadership roles (COO, Head of People), and have LGBTQ+ members in our senior leadership (VP of Eng, COO). While having diverse leadership is important, we recognize as we grow we need to be conscious of creating opportunity and extending pathways so that we can not only win, but win with you.
In each retro a team member claims the “Kintsugi Cup,” an award that lets teammates share a time they made a meaningful mistake and grew from it. It’s a time to share our growth with the team, and to reinforce across the team that we all make mistakes and we are stronger for it. As often as not, a founder claims the cup with their own misstep. Alongside Feedback Fridays, this helps constantly reinforce that we all have flaws and are working to improve all the time, and prevents doubts or negative feelings from festering.
“There's a real sense that everyone's opinion matters and that anyone can share their ideas without judgement or fear,” says Spencer Brody, one of our engineers who has spent time at Google and MongoDB. The team balances a sense of individual ownership with a knowledge that the entire team is standing by to help collectively improve everything we do. Team members of all levels regularly share incomplete ideas with the rest of the team because the culture is one that assumes good intent.
In our “Wednesday Wonderings” we have bi-weekly discussions on inherently difficult and disagreeable topics – for example, "what is our responsibility for moderating dangerous content on our decentralized network?" These conversations allow us to share our values, beliefs, and ideas – and personal backgrounds – in an understanding setting. There's no expectation or even possibility that we will all reach agreement or consensus. Rather, it helps us strengthen our commitment to a shared understanding of our differing perspectives and experiences.
We’re in a very unique space since no one else does what we do. In order to transform the technical interviewing and hiring process, we have to build a team that is willing to take risks, ask questions, and challenge the norm. Leadership sets a good example during weekly We Connect meetings by being open and vulnerable – not just about company goals – but also about real world issues that affect Karateers.
Creating a place where people feel safe to share ideas and ask for help when needed is crucial for our success. As Kyle says, “I always feel like I have someone I can reach out to for support on a project or a piece of information. We’re encouraged to experiment and it’s ok if something doesn’t 100% work out, because it’s a safe space to share an idea or try something new.”
Postmortems are always blameless and we view failures as learning opportunities. For instance, we recently invested a lot of resources into integrating our video calling product with our coding environment. We thought it was really cool, but when we actually released it to the people using the product, most of them didn’t like the change at all. Instead of dwelling on the outcome, we viewed it as a good learning experience where we were able to gain more information and in the future we might release something that has both options. Taking risks is part of the process and engineers should never feel afraid to try something new and fail.
Here are a few examples of techniques we use to ensure the team feels safe together:
After issues or outages, and as a regular check-in twice per quarter, we conduct blame-free retrospectives. The person facilitating the retro is responsible for making sure we focus on facts, actions, and effects, and critically evaluate the process that led to an event, not the individuals involved. We then put action steps in place to change our behavior for the future.
Product team members in lead positions model vulnerability by asking questions and discussing their failures in group settings. We also have a weekly informal dev Q&A discussion where we pose questions and geek out about various parts of our codebase. This reduces siloing and spreads knowledge, but it also sets an expectation that we’re all still learning and demonstrates that asking questions is warmly encouraged and met with enthusiastic and helpful discussion.
One of the most unusual aspects of our culture is that we run periodic peer feedback sessions. These sessions are unrelated to formal reviews or promotion. We provide coaching on tools like the Situation-Behavior-Impact model for these. These sessions both allow individual engineers to better understand what other members of the team are doing. But more than that, they are training ground for both how to give and receive feedback – skills that are often unpracticed and untaught until someone is suddenly promoted to management.
Minerva staff and students at Graduation 2019.
1 Open Positions
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