Why Every Team Needs a Social Coordinator
- 10 mins
Does anyone really want to be their team’s social coordinator? Having just joined the Product Team at Mudbath, my answer to this was “of course not!”. In a modern tech agency, the very title ‘social coordinator’ is at odds with the impression of a cool and hip workplace.
But I soon realised that no matter the title or responsibility, if I bring the right attitude, the team will come along for the ride and actively contribute. With everyone encouraged to contribute to social and work ideas, we would launch the journey of becoming an empowered product team, strengthening our team culture to support the work we do.
The fact was that I had joined a growing team and it was apparent that as we continued to grow and work in a hybrid model, someone would need to ‘own’ the social calendar and budget. By owning this responsibility, the team would have time prioritised for enjoying new experiences together.
So over a few after-work drinks with the Head of Product, I was asked to take on the (un)official role and see to it that there would be many more occasions for after-work hangs. No one had owned this role in the past, resulting in missed opportunities for fostering team building.
Even by just agreeing to take on the role and own it, I felt a sense of belonging to the team and company. As the ‘new guy’ it was an absolute win as I now had a defined role amongst the group and we could all have a good old laugh about the title ‘social coordinator’.
Part of being with Mudbath is enjoying dedicated time for career development and social events like MudLunch, muddrinks, ‘lunch and learns’ and our annual conference MudCon. These events which we hold at any of our three offices help create the fabric of connection across the whole company, making us feel like part of a growing family. As I learnt, a social budget is also set aside for each department, to foster culture building within each team, something that is highly valued by leading companies in tech.
You can’t top pub trivia as a way to break up the week and get a bit competitive as a team. The product team managed to take out the top prize at The Greenroof hotel as one of our first organised social events. I was super impressed with how we tackled the challenge and allowed everyone to have a voice and share their general knowledge. This was a real highlight and a chance for us to share the news of our win on the company’s #whatwedid Slack channel.
It's always a great surprise to learn what your colleagues get up to outside of work, and what their unique interests are. After just a few hours of hanging out we all left feeling more connected as mates, not just colleagues. Most importantly, we achieved a victory together that couldn’t have been done individually. I also felt a sense of victory as this was the first real social event I had organised!
Communicate openly & bring good vibes
At Mudbath, we tell it how it is and lead by example. This is one of the values that guide what we do. Being a tighter and more social team has allowed us to be open with each other and share knowledge to strengthen the whole team. We also understand that positive culture drives productivity, retention and overall quality of deliverables.
What really drew me to tech was the culture built around learning and socialising. Work-life balance is at the heart of everything and we know that to do our best work, we need to feel happy and connected with each other.
A highlight of being Product team social coordinator has been welcoming remote working team members from Adelaide, Tamworth, Sydney and Newcastle and showing them a great time no matter where we are all located. We’ve hosted game nights at Mudbath HQ and many team lunches out at vibey restaurants and takeaway joints. When organising an event, it’ll often begin with a Slack poll, where the team can vote on ideas and dates. This gives everyone a chance to share their sentiment and helps me get a pulse check on what the general vibe is for an idea. The team chats daily in Slack, sharing inspiring quotes and ironic gifs.
Each week closes off with a team meeting, where we might run a department retro to review our process or add content to the growing Product Team Playbook, which we are building with Notion. This wiki serves as our source of truth for skills and tools and a key resource for onboarding new starters.
The future looks bright here for the Product Team! We will be capping off 2022 by attending Web Directions Summit in Sydney for three days of learning, networking and socialising. Be sure to keep an eye out for an upcoming post on Web Directions. I will be sharing key learnings and takeaways from the event, which will be relevant to product, design and development teams.
As Mudbath continues to scale, the Product team will grow with it. The company has already expanded from Newcastle to have permanent offices in Melbourne and Sydney. These are growing hubs for the company, so there will no doubt be a time when a social coordinator will exist for the teams in each city in Australia and beyond!
It’s vital for someone in this role to remain fresh and bring new ideas to the table. In time I expect to hand on the title of social coordinator to a new (and perhaps slightly trepidatious) team member, whom I’m sure will also find it greatly rewarding. Does this sound like something you would be interested in? We’re always on the lookout for the brightest minds to join Mudbath, so please get in touch.