We remark several times a day (pinch ourselves, even) about how incredibly grateful we are to have such a sharp, dedicated group of people on our team and working tirelessly in pursuit of our clients’ business goals. We know they’re amazing. We try to make sure they know they’re amazing. This news – that our agency was named to Inc. Magazine’s Best Workplaces list for the second year in a row – is just icing on the proverbial cake. But it was tough to process the news this year – we received word that we’d made the list in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Normally, this would call for a fun happy hour surprise or mid-day sweet treat break at the office. This time would have to be different. Before we could even share the news with our team, we needed to ensure that our clients’ needs were being met as the impacts of shutdowns and continued business operations challenges unfolded. Each day brought unfortunate news of layoffs, furloughs, business loss, contract pauses or cash flow issues, juxtaposed with some incredibly positive update about a quick pivot, supply chain adaptation, new manufacturing line, or way to assist healthcare workers on the front lines.
I know it sounds cliché, but some days truly felt like we were riding a rollercoaster. Fortunately, our team has always been a nimble one, along for the ride no matter what. And now we needed that flexibility more than ever. It’s one of our agency core values, and it’s so important we named one of our conference rooms after it. The same flexibility that allowed our team to work from wherever and whenever in the past, allowed us to close our office down a week before the rest of our state went on lockdown. And even before we transitioned everyone to working from home, we tested the waters with a socially distanced staff meeting where everyone stayed at their desks, communicating via the company Intranet.
When the shutdowns started becoming official, we quickly adapted to having everyone working remotely and implementing the use of video conferencing to accomplish what we often used to do in person. We’ve kept exceptionally busy helping all of our clients navigate the changes to their organizations – both internally with their own teams and externally as some of their business units have quickly changed course. And we’ve been doing some of our best work in the wake of the virus outbreak.
And though we miss seeing everyone in person, we’ve had time to adjust to this new normal and spend some time focusing on our team’s evolving needs brought about by the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic:
- The need for more facetime meetings – we use Zoom more than our conference lines now, and have a standing Monday check-in discussion and a completely casual Wednesday afternoon virtual happy hour. They’re some of the highlights of our week!
- The need for more one-on-one check-ins with team members. We’re encouraging all of our supervisors to do them as frequently as team members need them to ensure that everyone has a sounding board during this unique period in our history.
- The need for continued learning – as the world learns more about the COVID-19 virus and all the changes it’s going to bring to our way-of-life in the coming years, our team has been participating in virtual events and webinars designed to educate us about how to best communicate the situation.
- The need for fresh ideas or a quick brainstorm to help refine a client’s key message or think of a new pitch angle to make something resonate. We’ve been reaching outside of our usual client teams for help with ideation more than ever and it’s paying off in a huge way.
- The need for distraction from the weight of it all – sometimes our team’s GIF sharing is off-the-charts hilarious because that’s just what we need to counteract the heavier moments of all this.
We’ve all grown more than any of us even know in the past few weeks. And the Inc. recognition was an important reminder of why a culture-forward environment is so important – in good times, but especially in bad. We’re honored that our colleagues feel the way they do about working for Bellmont Partners, and we can’t imagine weathering the COVID storm without them.