A couple of months ago, we started our ‘Sofico – How is the weather' at Sofico, a weekly meetup between colleagues.
The aim of this initiative is to bring people from within our own company together on a weekly basis. Each participant is paired with one other colleague from somewhere around the globe each week, for a short 'get to know you' chat. During this short chat, topics like specific hobbies, interests, experience, projects, etc. come up, but the participants are entirely free to discuss whatever they like.
“This initiative started after I saw a similar principle at one of our customers and after participating in a telephone conference network initiative (credit to Frédéric Paulussen). At the customer, the initiative was in place to establish a bridge between internal and external employees. I finetuned the initiative a bit to make it fit our needs at Sofico; it helps all our colleagues to connect with each other and makes sure young hires get to know colleagues from around the globe in a very short period of time. Building your internal network has become easier than ever before.”
– Laurens De Witte (Project Manager – Sofico – Belgium)
First of all, subscription to our "How is the weather" initiative is entirely voluntarily. Colleagues are free to join and leave whenever they want. They can add their name on our internal Confluence page in a participants table.
On Monday morning, the pairing is done based on the subscriptions. If colleagues don't 'unsubscribe' they stay in the participants pool and they get assigned to a different colleague every week.
Participants spontaneously share the initiative with other colleagues and this means that our group of active participants is growing every week. All the participants are extremely happy with the initiative and the feedback could not be more positive.
For new colleagues who joined the company during the Covid-19 home-office period, this is of course the ideal way to get to know colleagues from our worldwide branches. But we clearly see that not only the 'newbies' benefit from it. Even colleagues who have been with us for years don't always have a close relationship with all our colleagues around the world, which is quite normal of course.
Wouldn't it be pity not to know that one of your colleagues shares the same passion for jazz music, motorcycles, gardening, or whatever as you do?
“As a new hire during COVID, this initiative enables me to get to know a lot of colleagues and it gives me the opportunity to introduce myself. It’s a really good initiative!!!!!”
– Bert van den Berg (Business Consultant – Sofico – The Netherlands)
“Being new, this is a great opportunity to get to know your colleagues in an informal setting.”
– Leen Steenberghs (HR Officer – Sofico -Belgium)
“Working in a smaller unit and for a fast-growing company, 'How is the Weather' has been the perfect 'ice breaker' in getting to know my colleagues on both a professional and personal level.”
– Richard Fogden (Project Manager – Sofico – United Kingdom)
“This platform has given us an opportunity to speak to both old and new colleagues. It was great to speak to some people for the first time after 12 years in the same company”
– Satyakam Pandit (System Engineer – Sofico – Australia
"How is the weather" is a time to get to know our colleagues beyond their role, name, and avatar picture. A great break from our daily work and a great way to get to know Sofico people from around the globe.”
– Napoleon Tan (Developer – Sofico – Japan)
“The 'How is the weather' initiative enables us to meet old and new colleagues from different locations, countries and continents while staying safe during these extraordinary times. A fantastic way for new hires to meet new people and feel welcome at Sofico.”
– Adel Habib (Technical Consultant – Sofico – Germany)
“Besides the work-related usual subjects, you can now easily get in touch with the other people driving the business from another perspective, which gives you new and important insights. And apart from that, it is a very good opportunity to get to know the person behind the business role.”
– Peter Poot (Business Consultant – Sofico – The Netherlands)
Research has shown that productivity improves when colleagues know the person behind the professional. Scott Eblin shared the 10 questions below, which help to discover who the person behind the professional really is.
1. What’s your favorite place of all the places you’ve traveled to?
2. If you were immortal, what age would you choose to stop aging at and why?
3. What was the worst job you ever had?
4. If you could choose any two famous people to have dinner with, who would they be?
5. If you could change places with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
6. If you could instantly become an expert in something, what would it be?
7. If you could eliminate one thing from your daily routine, what would it be and why?
8. What was your favorite game to play as a child?
9. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
10. When you die, what do you want to be remembered for?
(Source: Scott Eblin, How Getting to Know Your Colleagues Could Make You More Productive - Ten questions to help you find the person behind the professional)
In the end this initiative brings all colleagues a little bit closer together, which is great to see! Together we are building the Sofico family.