At Eventive, our agency culture is derived from leadership’s commitment to provide an environment and values that nurture and grow the extraordinary talented people that are the cornerstone of our organization. It is truly the collective mindset and attitude of our people that define our culture. With that, our value pillars have provided the guiding principles that drive our culture: Performance, Integrity, Ownership, Fun and Community. And at the heart of the agency is our Culture Committee that strives to create positive employee engagement and collective mindset using our values as the guiding principles behind all our culture-related practices.
But when our agency “environment” drastically changed, due to the pandemic, we realized that it was never more important to strive to preserve those values, and in some cases, amplify them in an effort to maintain our culture. Even when we became more “distant”, we knew it was important to try harder to stay closer as a group. And so far, we have.
Eventive’s leadership team recognized early on that heightened humanity was so important in order to show empathy towards the new struggles or challenges that colleagues might be facing with sheltering in place and working from home.
Along with shifting the normal agency group activities (fostered by our Culture Committee) to a virtual state (Happy Hours, Employee Recognition Events, Cultural Awareness Month activities), we made sure that the “little things” made the biggest difference with our staff…increased support and participation in community causes and charities, periodic delivery of gifts to employees, amplification of conversations and “check-ins” with colleagues by leadership, recognition of employee milestones like birthday, anniversaries (and even one retirement!) and consistent communication of support services provided by our Human Resources Dept and benefits program.
Our hearts and related efforts had to grow bigger to bridge the gap of distance and overcome the disparity of uncertainty for our agency family. All of the initiatives and activities provided by our Culture Committee were increased to new levels to keep our eyes focused on the positive and support of each other. During the time of the pandemic, it has never been more important to continue to highlight those through the gestures and actions by the committee and our leadership.
And oh yes, we had fun too (as “Fun” is one of our agency values).
When sheltering in place became the norm, the Culture Committee stepped in by organizing weekly virtual happy hours that included fun group activities, along with cocktail-induced chatter. Beyond the happy hours, we also collectively authored our first Eventive Heritage Cookbook, which offered an opportunity for employees to share family recipes with one other. The cookbook highlighted the extraordinarily diverse backgrounds of Eventive team members, long worth celebrating.
We organized group birthday and anniversary cards for employees to electronically sign, making even a virtual celebration one to remember. With the world working from home and isolated from friends and family, our Culture Committee created a resource guide for nearby hikes, parks, and activities to consider while remaining socially distant.
And when weeks turned into months and we were all tired of seeing each other’s faces on screens, we organized a “Lunch in Central Park” where employees could choose to spread out on the grass and catch up with their colleagues…masks and social distancing included.
Eventive created a modified Employee Wellness Week, where we were able to showcase our talents outside of work. We hosted virtual yoga, nutrition and workout classes, and even enjoyed a mixology class! The emphasis has been on encouraging everyone to strive for balance between work and personal life and decompress when we’ve needed it the most. After all, we have been literally living at work for months now.
And some things just stayed consistent as our Culture Committee continued to create month-long celebrations throughout the pandemic including Black History, LGBTQ+ Pride and Hispanic Heritage months. Our commitment to national and community causes such as Cycle for Survival, No Kid Hungry, and the Achilles International Foundation actually increased during this time. Our colleagues have participated in many “virtual” races these past few months.
At the same time that we were looking internal, Eventive leadership increased its efforts, externally, by putting forth industry thought leadership and highlighting client work through our social media channels. Though always a standard practice of our agency marketing’s efforts, it took on even more meaning as it gave employees reassurance that it was business as usual and allowed us all to focus on the positive nature of and take pride in the great work that we provide our clients. Keeping our eyes off of our own selves and steadily moving forward despite the circumstances.
With such a strong and enduring agency culture, we’ve also been able to be a positive and reliable resource for our clients. The same practice of heightened humanity towards each other has been applied to our relationship with our clients. And they have been very appreciative, standing by us as best possible and standing with us in the promise of a return to business normalcy.
“We still face a reality of uncertainty in our professional and personal lives which has made it even more important for us to increase the efforts that cause us to look outward, vs. inward, so we can remain close to each other and our clients,” as stated by David Saalfrank, Managing Director of Eventive.
Despite the challenges we’ve faced in 2020, Eventive’s focus to enhance the values that represent our culture has not only allowed us to endure, but in many cases, to flourish as well. And our colleague, family and client relationships have thrived as a well.