An authentic workplace culture isn’t diminished through remote working; a team of passionate people doing what they love will stand the test of Slack, wi-fi issues, and gatecrashing dogs on Zoom calls; and, ultimately, if a business’ values mean more than just some copy on its website, chances are you’ve found the holy grail; an employer that cares.
“I’m really not just saying this to get the job. Yozu is awesome.”
I think I said the above sentence four times during the interview and trial stage for my job at Yozu (okay, six – it was six times). And I meant it. Seriously! Here’s why; it was August 2020, the pandemic was at its peak, and I was Yozu’s first remote new starter. While it had been a summer of getting used to Zoom calls and work-from-home loungewear (fine, pyjamas), hiring for a brand new role and onboarding that person remotely was new territory for Yozu – and I was the guinea pig. Except I couldn’t have been made to feel less like a test run – and that’s why I wanted to write about my experience.
This isn’t a post to tell you how brilliant Yozu is (okay, it is but bear with me). It’s also a post to demonstrate that an authentic workplace culture isn’t diminished through remote working; that a team of passionate people doing what they love will stand the test of Slack, wi-fi issues, and gatecrashing dogs on Zoom calls; and that, ultimately, if a business’ values mean more than just some copy on its website, chances are you’ve found the holy grail; an employer that cares.
Workplace culture doesn’t mean Google-esque gimmicks…
Under normal circumstances, Yozu offers potential new starters a trial day at their (very cool) offices in Liverpool city centre. It’s an opportunity for the candidate to get a real feel for the business, try out some tasks that would be typical in their role, meet the team and generally see if it’s a good fit for both parties. Back in August amid lockdowns and regulations however, trial days were strictly off the table, and my trial for the position of Content Writer was to be conducted remotely. Awesome 😐
I needn’t have worried; my trial day started with a warm welcome – albeit digitally – from the whole team (think lots of well wishes, silly gifs and genuine offers of help if I needed it), then only got better as the day went on. I was allocated time slots with different members of the leadership team to pick their brains; given plenty of time and freedom to work on an article (with support when required); and took part in a ridiculous, hilarious, lunchtime quiz that made me instantly feel like one of the team. I felt comfortable in every conversation; supported in every task; and grateful for the team’s ability to instantly make me feel at home (OK, so I was already physically at home but you know what I mean…).
The culture wasn’t reliant on gimmicks – pool tables and bean bag chairs wouldn’t have helped much during lockdown – instead, it was based on authentic, genuine communication driven by the staff.
After my trial day, I had a call with Yozu’s CEO, Luke Morgan, to talk about my experience. I gushed about how much I’d enjoyed the day, swore that I wasn’t just telling him what he wanted to hear, and insisted that more people needed to know what it meant to work at Yozu. Notably, the culture that Luke and his team had fostered was so natural that it wasn’t promoted or marketed; as far as they were concerned, a motivated, happy and supported team wasn’t a USP of Yozu – it was Yozu.
When I was offered the job, tiered regulations allowed for (socially distanced) meetups, and I was able to spend my first day in the office, getting to know some of the team and settling into the role. I was presented with a welcome card, chocolates, wine and what would become my go-to for navigating those early days; a comprehensive working plan along with top tips, reading suggestions, kind words and silly jokes – every element equally important for a newbie that would be predominantly working from home. This was bolstered by ongoing support and the freedom to hit the ground running without micro-management.
Workplace culture is what keeps us going on the tough days…
Fast-forward nine months (woah, where did that time go?!) and it feels like there is light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. I feel comfortable, supported and ready to move towards office working – and I know that my colleagues do too. This is in no small part due to the Yozu culture that’s helped us get through the these-four-walls-are-driving-me-crazy days, the I-really-need-a-laugh days, and all of those what-day-is-it-again days.
It’s the Yozu culture that’s made the shift to office working feel less intimidating. It’s the free access to a professional counsellor, weekly quizzes, the development of an in-house magazine that’s kept us laughing every Friday afternoon, and, of course, those sweet little unexpected Slack messages from your colleagues that ping in your inbox and remind you that you’re not alone.
I was not asked to write this post. It was not a strategic move or marketing ploy; just like Yozu’s culture, it’s an honest reflection of my experience as an employee here – and one that I will be forever grateful for.
Does Yozu sound like your kind of workplace? Find out more about our current vacancies.View Vacancies