We believe that people matter most, and when our employees are happy at work, they do the best work for our clients. Keeping employees happy is partly about having a great office culture and bonding over shared activities like Zoom trivia, but it’s also about truly listening to employees’ ideas and putting them into action.
One of the most important ways we gather ideas is through our new employee committee, which meets quarterly (now over Zoom). When new staff come on board, they have a fresh perspective on what we do and how we do it, and their ideas are invaluable.
This committee suggested we find new ways to improve employee recognition. Within our Slack account, we started using an app called HeyTaco. This app allows anyone to give public praise to anyone else by giving that person a virtual taco (emoji). Everyone participates, and it is a ton of fun. This may sound silly, but it has significantly improved how often we recognize each other and express gratitude. As an added bonus, the app keeps a tally of your tacos, and they can be redeemed for fun things like coffee with a coworker, lunch with your team, or a taco party for the department. And who doesn’t love tacos?
Every year, following our busy seasons, we conduct focus sessions for each department to discuss these key questions: How did busy season go? What went well? What could we do better going forward? Ideas pour out of these sessions, and we’ve implemented a ton of these ideas to improve things like our internship program, tax preparation process, and training procedures.
To keep staff engaged (even when many team members are working from home), we are:
- Inviting all staff to virtual social hours. We focus on fun in these events, where we play games, do trivia and scavenger hunts, and even hold virtual wine tastings.
- Holding firm-wide meetings as needed to ensure we are communicating everything really well – including any updates related to COVID, PPP, etc. Things are constantly changing, and it’s important that everyone is on the same page.
- Connecting on Zoom over morning coffee in small groups of 3-4 every week.
- Creating task forces to help us gather people’s ideas about getting through these trying times. We have task forces related to office re-entry, working parents, and process revision, all of which we started during the pandemic.
- Facilitating weekly small group lunch gatherings for team members to meet with all three partners, so everyone on the team can hear from the partners directly on a regular basis.
- Engaging new hires to get involved with the New Employee Committee, which meets quarterly, to share feedback and ideas.
- Checking on new team members and investing in their progress. New employees are assigned coaches (other experienced team members) on day 1 to help get them acclimated to everything from day-to-day tasks to getting comfortable in our culture. After 6-12 months, we encourage all employees to choose a mentor, someone who is invested in their career and helping them work to achieve their goals.