Beyond Pricing has always been a global company, with offices and employees in multiple countries. But when COVID-19 hit, they were faced with a whole new set of challenges: without a physical office space to create a sense of togetherness, how could they remain a connected and values-driven team?
From reinforcing company values during team meetings and a “welcome to WFH” onboarding program to a collection of party parrot emojis, they’re full of creative solutions and engaging programming. We sat down with Head of Support Jess Kelso, and San Francisco Office Manager Olga Santos to learn more.
What are your company values, and how do they inform employee programming?
We recently refreshed our company values. They are:
- We care
- We’re on the same team
- We inspire trust
- We go Beyond
- We ship it
We find opportunities to reinforce and be inspired by these values all the time. We restate our core values in our team meeting every Monday and have a “shoutout” slide where anyone in the company can recognize someone living up to a specific value in their day to day at work. As part of our onboarding process for new hires, we also shine a spotlight on each of these core values with examples of the value in action at the company.
You’ve always been remote-friendly, but how has COVID-19 changed your team’s working dynamics now that everyone is working from home? What initiatives have you put in place to keep teammates engaged and productive?
We are a startup that has grown from 20 to 70 people in the last two years, which creates both challenges and opportunities. The main challenge was how to stay connected—it’s a lot easier when you’re all in the same room!
As a remote-friendly company, we’ve always relied on a lot of digital tools to collaborate across teams and geographies, and we have come to rely on them more and more. We do a lot more Zoom meetings now!
When COVID-19 first hit, we created a special “welcome to WFH” onboarding workflow in Donut, which allowed us to share daily tips on health and wellness, books to read, podcasts to listen to, and cocktails to make, right in Slack.
Olga, our amazing office manager, also organizes Coffee and Cocktail drop-ins, held in the morning in the United States and evening in Portugal to cover the majority of our staff. As time has progressed, we’ve discovered that people’s needs have changed and people have taken it upon themselves to organize catch ups.
But honestly our #bp-besties program with Donut has played the most important role in keeping us connected. While in the office, you engage in impromptu catch ups daily while making coffee or taking a break. With everyone working remotely, Donut is the nudge we need to take time out of our days to connect with coworkers on topics that aren’t work related.
“We've used Donut to stay connected when we were sorely missing the personal connection we were used to in the office.”Jess Kelso
Beyond Pricing, Head of Support
How and why did you decide to launch #bp-besties?
We were looking into a pairing program for our global Secret Santa and it got us thinking that we should foster these random connections all the time, not just once a year! This search led us to Donut. We tested it with a small group of staff who we knew would get behind the concept, and it went well. Word started to spread, and we had people asking us to join the channel before we had officially launched it. That’s how we knew we were onto a winner!
We currently have over 90% of our employees in the #bp-besties channel and an all time meeting rate of over 80%.
That’s amazing! How did you get such widespread participation, and how have you kept engagement high?
We add all new hires to #bp-besties as part of their onboarding process, which keeps things fresh. We also encourage people to post wrap-ups of their meetings in the channel, which makes everyone feel included and is a great conversation starter. When teammates see each other having fun, they want to be a part of it.
People get really creative with their Donut meetups, even while quarantining. One employee in SF “bought” coffee for a teammate in Australia via PayPal, and another performed a personal guitar solo. Folks choose funny Zoom backgrounds, including our CEO who likes to perch a virtual cat atop his head. Someone even hand-painted their own sprinkle-themed Beyond Pricing mug to use #bp-bestie virtual coffees. While he painted some for his besties too, he’s waiting until it’s safe to gift them in person.
At the end of the day, great people work at Beyond Pricing, and we genuinely care about them—and getting to know them!