Think Global: Cultivating a Global Team Culture

think global

It’s only been seven years since Viber was founded, and what started as a modest startup with big dreams is now a global company that connects over 900 million users worldwide. In 2014 we joined the Rakuten family, becoming a part of one of the most successful Internet companies in Japan. We’ve continued to grow ever since, and the addition of Djamel Agauoa as Viber’s CEO has brought new faces from different places on board, along with a need to connect hundreds of employees from around the world.

A Close-Knit Global Team

Viber has offices in Minsk, Brest, Sofia, Paris, Barcelona, Luxemburg, Amsterdam, London, San Francisco, Singapore, Manila, Tokyo and Tel Aviv. Needless to say, we’ve had to find the right formula to bring us all together and work towards a common goal.

The challenge in any global team is creating a “global feel”. The key to this global feel is for clear role definitions. Every person in our organization knows what he or she is responsible for and the impact their work has on other people in the company. This is important because something one person does in Singapore may impact the work of someone in London. We are always attuned to these relationships.

Another key piece to creating a global feel is harnessing a close-knit company culture. At Viber, we accomplish this need for company culture by acknowledging our different cultures. We learn about each other’s respective holidays and important dates and have a great deal of respect for one another.

Still, physical distance plays a significant role in getting work done. We bridge the gap with weekly, company-wide syncs where Djamel addresses the entire global team in a live-streamed broadcast. We call this end-of-week tradition “Vibeer” – because of the usual presence of beer and snacks. It’s our very own in-house, global happy hour.

Djamel told us that his first days at Viber came as a pleasant surprise. “I was happy to find out that the team members in each office were very close to each other. I wanted that kind of connection to cross borders and create a feeling of belonging to a multi-cultural team,” he said.

The combination of productive, fun and often enlightening make for another key ingredient in the ways our physically distant teams work. These are the things we usually cover during Vibeer meetings to foster our global team culture.

  • Company sync: Each meeting includes a weekly summary in which our global teams are updated about our products, features, and stats so that everyone is in the loop. Every week a different team member will introduce a project they’re working on or the results of a test they’ve just performed. This enables all the Vibeer participants to get a rundown of the most current ongoings.

  • Introduction and welcoming of new employees: Being new on any team can be overwhelming, and especially so on big, global teams. We like to make new employees feel as welcome as possible and introduce every new team member to everyone.

  • Q&A session with Djamel: Even though he can’t physically be in every single Viber office at the same time, Djamel considers it his duty as CEO to be accessible to all employees. Each week he takes the time to answer questions from employees who are interested in knowing more about pretty much anything – from product development to vacation days or even Djamel himself.

  • Holidays and celebrations: Vibeer is also a time to unite our global team by mentioning or celebrating meaningful holidays to our team members around the world.

By bringing together our global teams in the same way we connect between our users, we’re able to work together to reach our mutual goals and build the best possible product.