The beginning of a new year can be a lot. We’re coming off a break, it’s the start of new projects and priorities, and it’s cold. While most of these things are exciting (sorry, cold weather – not you), it can also take its toll given the circumstances of the past two years. The good news is, like anything, how you approach the situation can make all the difference when it comes to the happiness of your teams and the quality of work produced for your clients. At Bellmont Partners, we know a happy and connected team is the key to our success, and to the high caliber of work we continue to produce for our clients day after day. Because of this, we’re always trying to find new and innovative ways to keep our teams connected and energized.
Here are three ways our team is working to start the year off on the right foot when it comes to producing great work while having fun along the way:
- It’s all about the organized fun — 2022 not only marks the start of a new year, but it also marks the 25th anniversary of when our agency was founded. Despite numerous attempts at an in-person celebration (thank you, COVID), we’ve been working hard to find ways to celebrate even when we can’t physically be together. One way we are doing this is through “25 Days of Organized Fun” this January. As part of our organized fun, we mapped out a calendar of activities, virtual happy hours and surprises, both big and small, as a way to connect outside our regular client work. Whether it be encouraging the team to pick up a “fancy coffee” on Monday morning and expense it to the agency, to having everyone share their favorite songs from 1996 (the year Bellmont Partners was founded) to create a Spotify playlist for the team to enjoy, to declaring a no-meeting Friday, these little things are a great way to break up the work day in a way that is fun, meaningful and sometimes a bit silly. After all, laughter is the best medicine.
- Find new ways to embrace technology — In a previous blog post we talked about how we’ve seen a tremendous shift and focus to people over the past year — and rightfully so. At Bellmont Partners, we are very proud that this isn’t a new concept for us. We’ve always made it a point to focus on the people first, and to make sure we understand where both our team and clients are at on any given day. With our team working remotely, a focus on people often means finding new ways to engage our team outside of the endless video calls. One way we have done this is by encouraging everyone to get creative in how we hold meetings. For example, early in the pandemic when Zoom fatigue was setting in, instead of hosting our monthly staff meeting via Zoom, we hosted the meeting on our internal chat app, Glip. Moving to this messaging platform for the meeting not only provided an opportunity for the entire team to add commentary and insights (including those who don’t often speak up in meetings), but we also had a lot of laughs by encouraging people to respond with memes and emojis when appropriate, adding a new, refreshing, element to a virtual meeting. Now, our team hosts regular “Glip-storms” on this same platform to crowd-source ideas, troubleshoot any challenges, and gather additional feedback or ideas on various projects and strategies. The best part is that everyone across the agency can contribute on their time, in-between meetings and other work. It allows everyone’s voice to be heard, making our ideas more diverse and our work stronger than ever.
- Focus on the small wins — Bellmont Partners President Brian Bellmont summed this one up best in a recent article in The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s Book of Lists, saying, “We paused and made sure to acknowledge our personal and professional good news: weddings, babies, new homes, awards (like being named to MSPBJ’s Best Places to Work list for the fourth time and to Inc. Magazine’s Best Workplaces list for the third), major new-client wins, promotions, doing excellent work, and even just the fact that we met a deadline that was particularly difficult when we weren’t able to collaborate in person. There was so much uncertainty and negativity in all our lives, we wanted to really hold up the good things and make sure they got their due.”
If nothing else, this is probably the most important way to bring a team together and start the year off right, as sometimes just hitting that deadline, no matter how big or small, is cause for celebration.
How are you gearing up for the new year and keeping your team energized and connected? We love hearing all the ways other organizations are working to focus on the people and celebrating their successes. Please share – GIFs and fun photos are always welcome!