This is the second article in a series of blog posts that explores Alcidion’s core values in action and how they influence our work, products and culture. In this blog, General Manager of Product Julia Stevens takes a look at how we live our value “We are a team” in everything we do.
To understand how Alcidion works as a team, we need to first define what a team means in our context. Is it a group of people co-located and working for the same company? Is it a bunch of people reporting to the same line manager? Is it a collection of people with a common skill set? Is it a troupe of people with a similar background?
When Alcidion Group was established, it brought together people from four companies with different cultures and objectives. We have employees in three countries; we operate across five time zones; we work with a diverse technology stack; we have representation of people from every continent in the world (apart from Antarctica!); our ages span four decades; our qualifications range from engineers to lawyers to medical practitioners to health information managers to geologists; and we have gender diversity.
So how do we form teams across such a diverse range of people? How do we bring them together? How do we find common ground? We do it by ensuring that every single person who is part of our organisation has a shared purpose – to transform healthcare together.
With this purpose in mind, we create teams across geographies, technologies and cultures. The diversity of our people enhances the team; we can approach a problem and its solution from multiple different perspectives, depending on the context and expertise that people bring to the table. Each team member can play to their strengths and bring complementary skills to enhance the capability and efficiency of the team.
Communication is essential for the effectiveness of our teams. Across the company, each team will meet daily to discuss their challenges or blockers and explore strategies to overcome these together. To make our daily huddles effective, when someone raises a problem, we identify the people that can assist and they pick up the challenge following the huddle.
And then at the end of every week the huddle flips and the focus shifts to people reporting back the best parts of their week. This allows for the team to share in the successes everyone has had over the week and celebrate together!
This regular communication and collaboration is vitally important to ensure people feel supported and connected to the shared purpose, particularly in the context of a global pandemic. With employees working from home during lockdowns or long periods of isolation, our daily huddles have become a place where people feel comfortable to talk not only about work challenges, but also how they were coping personally.
We have grown so used to children popping in and crawling across the screens during these calls. We have gotten to know each other’s home surroundings and what we are all juggling in this strange new world – be it elderly parents, housemates or the joys of home-schooling. Having this daily insight into the team on a more personal level has further enhanced the sense of comradery. It has enabled us to see when individual team members may be facing challenges outside work (did I mention home schooling??) and need more support. At the same time, we now also face the challenge of trying to “switch-off” from work when working from home, all day, with your computer.
The COVID-19 crisis has also given us the ability to bring people from different geographies together more frequently. When people are working in the same office, you can often have serendipitous encounters such as overhearing a conversation and adding an idea, which means not everyone can engage. Through remote conferencing, we can create cross-team collaboration in different regions on planned and routine basis, where before it could have been a water-cooler discussion.
This collaboration also extends to other activities such as social catch ups, trivia quizzes and other opportunities to meet in a less formal environment to encourage people to interact and exchange ideas. These events have created broader team collaboration and introduced employees to more colleagues than their immediate teams. While we were apart physically, we established a collective across the world.
Our value of “we are a team” also signifies how we like to work and partner with our clients. Whether it is an implementation project or a support agreement, we have always focussed on building trusted long-term relationships with our clients and working together through any issues that may arise. As we transition projects from implementation to support, our teams may change over time, so we always ensure we bring our clients on the journey with us, as part of our team.
We believe the attributes that make our teams effective at Alcidion include:
- We communicate effectively and with trust
- We focus on outcomes and results
- We create a forum for everyone to contribute
- We include diversity from multiple perspectives
- We thrive with good leadership
- We have fun!
At Alcidion, we know the importance of teaming with the right people, at the right time, to ensure we transform healthcare together.
Julia Stevens is General Manager of Product at Alcidion