To be honest, my heart sank when our governor announced that our company would be forced to work from home.
Steelhead has invested tons of energy creating a physical space where our organizational culture and values can flourish. However, at the time of the closure, we had yet to figure out how to fully and seamlessly integrate our remote employees into the vibe.
After my panic settled...I gathered our Marketing Team (who manages external and internal communications) to brainstorm a plan which would not only keep intact the culture we had worked so hard to create, but force our need to address the weakness of remote employee integration.
Keeping 'Exhibit Happy' Alive
Our first step was to develop a vision/a purpose for why the strategic development of a virtual company culture was so important. We knew that the narrative around the initiative would matter as it would provide context and direction amidst so much uncertainty.
For us, the mission was to maintain our ‘Exhibit Happy’ connection as a group of people who genuinely care about one another and the whole Steelhead ecosystem.
We trusted building this foundation virtually would give us enough fuel to help spread light outside of our organization during a dark and difficult time.
An important mantra at Steelhead is, “It’s not just what we do, it’s how we do it that matters”. We let this statement be the guide for the execution plan.
Bringing Our Virtual Culture to Life
Step 1 - Structure
We were inspired to recreate collision points which would naturally occur in the office. Though difficult, thinking from this prospective got our wheels turning.
For us, this turned things such as ‘water cooler conversations’ into weekly ‘Town Hall Good News Announcements’ curated by HR. “Good mornings” into AM GIF sharing via our company group chat, lunches together turned into ‘what’s on your plate?’, Jersey day turned into ‘What’s Up Wednesday’ themed outfit day.
Step 2 - Communication
We’ve learned that a project with no owner has an exponentially higher failure rate. Knowing this, we selected a single person who would be accountable for ensuring that all meetings be linked to our virtual meeting platform, scheduled on everyone's calendar and send reminders rhythmically and hold people accountable for attendance.
Step 3 - Community
All of the departments at Steelhead have a culture of their own. Given, we asked the departmental leaders to work with their teams to develop a standing meeting and theme. So far, we know there is a wine Wednesday group and a pool party crew. Outside of our direct Steelhead culture, we’ve also created events to engage our industry and the Las Vegas community as well. Most proudly, we created ‘Exhibit Happy Hour’ which replaced drinks after work. We open this up to ANYONE who wants to attend and it’s been a major hit.
And also very proudly, the Drive and Drop Donation Station where we asked the Las Vegas community to support local non-profits in need.
During this time of isolation, we believe that people still need people…and, probably more than ever. We are proud of the commitment we made to elevating our culture into the digital space. We’re happy to share more or answer any questions. Feel free to reach out.
- Rhiannon Andersen, CMO