Team Dynamics with TeamSnap

TeamSnap is a web and mobile app that puts the ‘organised’ back into sports. Coaches, players and parents use TeamSnap to keep track of the team’s schedule and roster, communicate by email and instant messages, track payments, confirm attendance and much, much more. It works for any sport – from your kid’s soccer team to your office softball team.

But if you really want to get to know who they are as people, you’ll come to learn they are “about 80 funny, smart and creative professionals working to make team management easier.”

TeamSnap was co-founded by Andrew Berkowitz, the Chief Creative Officer and CEO Dave DuPont in 2006. Andrew was working with a small web design firm and they all played soccer but didn’t have a good way to manage their teams. That’s when they built the first version of TeamSnap, ultimately as their own solution, but they eventually figured they could turn it into an actual product.

Like many start ups, “the first few years were pretty slow”, Andrew says. “We officially spun TeamSnap into its own company and launched paid plans in 2009. For the next couple of years the team hovered around 4-10 employees. Things really started taking off in 2012 as we took a couple of investment rounds, and we’ve grown a tonne in the last two years.”

Not to mention, TeamSnap has “nine million customers who are able to have fun, stay healthy and spend more time with their families” because of their app.

TEAM DYNAMICS

For TeamSnap, “Team dynamics encompasses all of the ways a group of people interact with each other and work together (or not).”

It’s easy to say, “embrace team dynamics and build a great team”. The thing is, ‘how’ do you embrace each of your team members’ individuality to leverage a strong team dynamic?

“We had a writer, we had a creative person, but we didn’t have an analytical person. That was a major characteristic we looked for in searching for someone. Although everyone has their own job responsibilities, being a small team means that we look for people to have skills we can use across projects and, in some cases, departments. Leveraging the different team members’ skills and making sure we acquire the skills we don’t have makes for a strong team.”

TeamSnap embrace the idea of “WorkDifferent” in many ways, but a stand out one is tied back to their core value of ‘Trust’.

Stephanie, shared that “We’re trusted to get our jobs done in the time it takes us.” While most workplaces and organisations measure productivity and commitment to the time their employees are at the office, TeamSnap challenges this kind of work ethic.

“I’ve always been a fast worker. With TeamSnap, that’s not something I need to worry about. Obviously, you need to be available to your teammates, but nobody questions your commitment if you’re not sitting in a chair eight-plus hours a day.”

Additionally, Andrew says,“We are wildly transparent. Management doesn’t keep secrets from employees. We share product plans, vision, partnership talks, finances. By knowing everything about the business, the people doing the work are able to make informed decisions that are right for the company.”

“We are not afraid to make mistakes. When mistakes happen – and they will – we step up and own them and learn from them. We practice “blameless post-mortems,” in which we evaluate why things went wrong, without repercussions.”

A COMMUNITY OF WELL BEINGS

It’s evident that organisations are starting to understand that when an employee is happy, they will reflect this back into their organisation. What does Andrew believe to be the factors making TeamSnap an employer of choice? “Trust. Autonomy. Flexibility.”

“Work how you want, from wherever you want (seriously – we’ve got a bunch of employees currently working from RVs as they travel across the country). You’ll work hard because you want to, not because someone is standing over your desk counting your hours. And we’re a fun company building a fun product!”

“When you treat each other like responsible adults who are doing the right thing, people act like responsible adults who want to do the right thing. Without a bunch of policies and politics, TeamSnappers are freed up to do their best work, and that brings great satisfaction. Studies have shown that what people want is autonomy and purpose, and that’s what we strive for.”

Stephanie helped us understand how a team member's purpose and passion fit into the picture at TeamSnap.

“We simply hire people who are passionate about what they do, no matter what that is. We’re looking for people who are constantly learning and questioning and coming up with new ideas.”

Andrew adds in, “Besides everyone having a voice in every aspect of the company, we also fully support people using some of their work time (we call it 10% time, but nobody’s counting) to work on anything for TeamSnap, even if it’s not in our company plans.”

“More than that, though, we want people to be working on the things that they find most interesting, so people are encouraged to speak up if they want to move to a different project or team, or even change jobs entirely. We aggressively try to promote from within whenever possible, and many TeamSnappers have gone from part-time support personnel to full-time leaders in other departments.”

Clearly this shows TeamSnap has a dynamic, diverse and supportive culture, which is truly engaged in creating a kick-ass company to work for, but more importantly, fostering the growth of well-rounded, happy and inspired people.

STRUCTURE AND OBSTACLES

What problems have you overcome to build a stronger and connected team? “Making sure your team is strong and connected when it’s spread out across miles can definitely be a challenge. We have to make sure people feel supported, even when they’re the only TeamSnap employee in their whole state.”

TeamSnap explained that addressing obstacles, “starts with hiring”. “We try to get a really good feel for how someone will do working physically alone without someone else constantly looking over their shoulder.”

TeamSnap has been ranked in the Top 25 Mid-Sized Best Company Cultures by Entrepreneur. Those rankings were based on an internal survey given to their employees. “I think that says a lot,” Stephanie says.

Another rather cool structural aspect of TeamSnap is that they have an unlimited vacation policy. Stephanie explains that an unlimited vacation policy again “falls back to trust”. “We trust people to take the amount of time they need to live and enjoy their life, recharge and come back and do the best work they can.”

It’s nice to hear Andrew share that “so far nobody has abused this” [unlimited vacation policy]. “People here like their jobs. They’re excited about what they’re working on. They balance their vacation against the needs of the business and make the right decision for themselves and the company. They communicate with their co-workers so things are covered when they’re gone. It just works.”

TeamSnap meets “twice a year and the entire company gets together to have meetings, brainstorm and generally socialise.” The company also holds smaller team meetings throughout the year, regionally.”

As more and more people realise that life isn’t just about ‘working to live’, the shift in our world will be on what we can all bring and create together to support a happier and peaceful world.

TeamSnap is just one of the companies out there today pioneering this space.

Want to work at TeamSnap? They’re hiring! Check out their job opening on our job board here