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How Fintech Startup Nikel Uses Peer Recognition To Grow Engagement Across Engineering Teams

Nikel team. Source: Nikel

Singapore-based startup Nikel is making financial services accessible for all.

Since 2018, they have been providing comprehensive lending solutions to banks, tech companies, and other financial institutions in Southeast Asia since 2018. This has enabled the underserved sectors in industries such as agriculture, healthcare, and sustainability to gain access to the financial services they need to meet their basic needs.

The Struggle of Building Remote Culture Via Formal Communication Channels

With Nikel’s CTO Jon Austin, based in Singapore, and the rest of the engineering team across multiple countries, you could say they’re a completely remote workforce.

Interactions between team members are always digital - via emails, Slack messages, and video meetings. Always with a fixed agenda.

The lack of spontaneous, personal interactions makes it hard to build social connections between employees. What more building a shared culture.

Here’s where PraisePal comes in.

Using Spontaneous Recognition To Build Social Connections

With PraisePal, the Nikel team now has an avenue to engage with each other beyond formal meeting invites.

A company-wide recognition channel is visible to all team members on their Slack workspace.

PraisePal recognitions channel on Slack. Source: PraisePal

Engineers can send each other spontaneous appreciation messages to celebrate the small wins. Anytime, instantly.

These informal yet meaningful messages also helped shape a social culture. New employees can read what’s been shared in the recognition feed, and get a vibe of the company culture beyond just the formal calls and emails.

“PraisePal is a tech solution for tech teams. Seeing the recognition messages gives me that bit of assurance that people are communicating and working together. It’s almost like validating cross-border communication.” — Jon Austin, CTO of Nikel

Building a shared recognition culture has helped the Nikel team feel more connected among team members, despite never meeting in person.

PraisePal employee engagement overview. Source: PraisePal

Team members have also reported feeling more appreciated and valued at work. Especially crucial for teams working behind the scenes, such as engineers who often shy away from louder means of expressing gratitude.

Build Informality In Your Teams & Find the Tools to Elevate It

While formal discussions take place via emails and scheduled meetings, an informal engagement channel is what makes your employees actually enjoy connecting with each other. Just look at the Nikel team and how it has worked for their employees.

All that’s left to do is to find the right tools that will help you grow, and will grow alongside you in your culture-building journey.

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