How we’re leaning into our culture during the time of COVID
Everything we do at Monigle starts from a place of humanity, from the desire to build brands that move people, and that includes moving one another. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that our culture is better described as a community, organically yet consciously built as a place for unique creators energized by a good old-fashioned challenge. We celebrate our true selves every day at work and know that we can always count on our colleagues – personally and professionally. Because we trust one another, we care for one another as people and frankly, we just like one another.
It’s during turbulent times that one’s culture can make or break an organization. The best and the worst of people can be brought out as survival instincts kick into gear. But in a culture that is highly convergent, where leadership and employees share a strong, collective mindset, it’s that mindset that will guide individual and organizational reaction. When there’s a shared value system, there’s peace of mind in being able to anticipate how others will react. It’s easier to think about “we” rather than “me” when you feel that you’re all in it together.
Learn More: Convergence is the Key to Cultural Effectiveness
We know that our culture at Monigle isn’t just special, it’s an asset that must be cared for. That’s why we are ensuring that what makes this place special – our people – isn’t lost during these challenging times. We’re doubling down on our efforts to preserve our “special sauce”, even if we have to do it through webcams and Teams channels.
We are working to take our own advice – implementing the strategies that we would recommend to our clients to ensure they maintain their all-so-important cultures during this crazy time. Here are some of the activities and behaviors we’re embracing to ensure our culture remains palpable and inspiring during our new reality of social distancing – that can also be translated to most businesses looking to keep culture alive during this time:
1. We’re prioritizing face-to-face connections
The first thing we knew we had to do was stay hyper-connected, even more so than usual. Discipline teams set up daily 15-minute stand-ups to share project updates and more generally, start the day off with a strong sense of team awareness and solidarity.
Second, we knew that we’d be missing one another’s faces – literally – so instituting a “cameras-on” policy ensured that touch of humanity we craved while sequestered at home. Of course, this also created the perfect venue for our individual personalities – or alter egos – to shine, with numerous costumes, accessories and new coworkers (aka kids and pets) making guest appearances.
Finally, managers took it upon themselves to find other ways to maintain connection with their direct reports – such as setting up virtual coffee or breakfast dates – to regularly gauge well-being and overall sentiment.
2. Leadership is setting the tone with transparency and cautious optimism
A special shout-out is in order for the Monigle leadership team, who have truly risen to the occasion by setting the tone with their continued positivity and thoughtfulness.
One of our cultural commitments at Monigle is to always have an all-in mentality. To not just be inclusive, but to commit to giving our all to one another, to push forward together. From the start, transparency has been a guiding principle of our organization, and of leadership’s response to COVID. Once it was clear “WFH” would be the new normal, they proactively opted to host our monthly share and tells virtually. During these meetings, no question is off-limits. Leadership tackles the hard questions head on – will there be layoffs, will we be okay, how long will this last – and they commit to delivering both business updates and heartfelt sentiments. Inspiring, empowering and forward-looking, they are personifying our core values.
Learn More: Statement from Monigle on the COVID-19 Situation
Our leadership team is committed to communicating early and often. Not only do our share-and-tells continue biweekly, they also send out weekly all-staff emails. These communications keep everyone abreast of business and policy updates. But more importantly, these personalized messages contain words of encouragement.
Finally, our leaders are taking the time to reach out to every individual in the organization for one-to-one check-ins. This provides them with the opportunity to see how we are each fairing and to discuss with us directly what else they can be doing to support us as employees and as people.
3. We’re keeping our momentum, supporting our clients
We’re at Monigle because we’re passionate about building brands that move people. Just because we can’t go into the office doesn’t mean we turn this passion off. It is quite the opposite actually. For many of us, our work has become an outlet of normalcy, of expression and productivity, amidst the chaos.
To the extent that it’s possible, the directive has been to maintain business as normal. Many of our clients are in healthcare – and they’re out there fighting on the front lines of COVID. We’re doing our part to be here for them, whether that means working ahead on projects, giving them the mind space they need to do the bigger job, or providing quick turn points of view on how to pivot for the current COVID and post-COVID world. We’re committed to finding ways to keep the momentum going.
And while we are confronted with the inevitable pause in some client work, we are choosing to make smart use of this time to better ourselves and the organization. Internal initiatives that often take a back seat are being prioritized to ensure we emerge on the other side of this crisis with an even stronger perspective and offering of capabilities.
4. We’re embracing the humanity of this situation, not hiding from it
One of our commitments is to lead shoulder-to-shoulder. Now we’re doing it remotely, and with the added company of our children (and fur children)! It would be entirely off brand for us to ignore this fundamental reality. That’s why we’re not just encouraging it, we are celebrating it!
Case in point, today the “Monigle Mutts” channel on Teams is by far our most active. Not to mention we’ve hosted a virtual happy hour dedicated to showcasing our pets and are using our connections to find homes for animals, team members are fostering while shelters are closed.
For those of us who are parents of the human-kind, today’s WFH environment is particularly challenging. Monigle recognizes this and stresses the importance of maintaining balance – offering employees the flexibility they need to take care of their families and their clients. We have also found ways to put resources in place to help. For example, the Monigle “Parents of Tots” Teams channel is a place for fellow parents to encourage one another and share helpful ideas for balancing work and schooling children from home. And don’t worry, there’s a parent’s virtual happy hour in place as well, kids welcome!
5. We’re finding ways to have fun, together but apart
Most importantly, we continue to find ways, big and small, to make each other laugh. To enjoy our unique personalities. To showcase our personal passions and talents. To have good times, even during the bad.
In recognition of the craziness that is working from home full time, we’ve instituted weekly “WFH Funsie awards with categories such as “Most likely not to be wearing real pants”, “Best costume in a meeting” and “Monigle Cribs”.
From sharing a dad joke of the day, to playing guess that tune via piano videos, Monigle coworkers are organically starting these new rituals that keep things lighthearted and give us something to look forward to each day.
Coming up soon, we’ll be hosting the first ever Monigle Open Mic Night. Remotely of course. But, it’s sure to be a time to relax and simply enjoy one another’s company and talents.
While we all can’t wait for the return of normal, we have comfort in knowing our Monigle community is here for us, stronger than ever, just like always. And that makes all the difference.
If you have additional thoughts on how you are handling the new normal or impacts that WFH is having on your business culture, we would love to hear it! Reach out to us here or on social to continue the conversation.