Fostering Company Culture in the Age of Remote Work
How can you feel so close with a group of people that you’ve never met?
The globally based Propel team has been embracing remote work culture since the very beginning.
Although Propel is headquartered in the Holy Land’s tech epicenter of Tel Aviv, our team stretches across the globe from the United States to the United Kingdom and more. You could say we’ve gotten pretty cozy with remote work conditions before the latest pandemic-driven shift online.
“I knew that connectivity would be one of the greatest challenges in running this company, but also a part of it that would bring the greatest rewards,” said Propel CEO and Co-Founder Zach Cutler. “Luckily, the digital landscape is overflowing with resources that can turn threats of isolation into a globally based open floor plan.”
Cutler is passionate about building a successful remote work experience to help in the push for greater democratization of employment opportunities.
The Harvard Business Review shared an article rounding up several research findings that all point to employers’ responsibility to structure their companies in support of equal remote or hybrid opportunities.
“Remote companies do away with physical barriers that people face in pursuing a sufficient salary at their company of choice,” Cutler said. “They increase every employee’s freedom and make each person much more of a master of their own fate. This is the future.”
The four core values of Propel
The first step in establishing a connected, enthusiastic team: get everyone on the same page. Take passion toward a common end-goal and create building blocks that bring you closer to that goal. For Propel, this happens through the four core company values:
1. Be David not Goliath. Tackle challenges fearlessly, and do not be afraid to go up against something that makes you feel small.
This principle of bravery is always on our minds as members of a relatively new organization in the PR industry, three years young. As Propel continues to grow dramatically, it is crucial that our team is comfortable with going up against massive companies and feels confident with what we have to offer.
Propel Chief Growth Officer Dave McGrath has been leading by example with this mentality since he joined the company in its early stages…
"When I first joined Propel 18 months ago, I was the only person in the commercial team,” he said. “So, not only did I have to build out the team from scratch, but I also had to roll up my sleeves and hit the phones again for the first time in about 10 years. I love working for a smaller company where everyone pitches in and helps each other out and where you can have such a big impact in such a small space of time."
Without our David vs. Goliath mentality, it is hard to imagine that our team could have landed itself in the quaint arena of the industry-leading PR software companies.
2. Move fast or die. At this SaaS startup, we take ‘startup energy’ and run with it. Each team member is encouraged to foster a mindset of innovation and stay ahead of the curve.
We are reminded of this value at the beginning of each month during the Propel “all-hands” team meeting. Here, we review all of our highs and lows from the past month and set our goals and visions for the next…
Each sector of the company has the chance to share updates about their role and unique experience within the team, which ultimately creates a positive dynamic for real-time feedback, comments, questions and more.
At the all-hands meeting, we save the best for last: an open floor for any further questions, comments or… shoutouts! This ends every meeting on a positive, energized note no matter what.
3. Teamwork makes the dream work. Never hesitate to reach out to a team member for help, or even to invite colleagues to a brainstorming session. We try to operate just as efficiently, if not more efficiently than an in-person team by embracing real-time communication and collaborative opportunities whenever possible.
We enjoy using Slack similar to a company group chat. At any given time, a team member can message another and expect to hear back within a few moments.
And like any successful group chat, there has to be some fun! To satisfy our team’s infectious humor and energy, we have a Slack channel dedicated entirely to the fun moments: #wins.
Stemming from our teamwork-based value, we are always looking for ways to support one another along the way and celebrate both team and individual #wins.
Whether a team member has a new baby join their family, wins over a client, launches a product update or moves into an RV, we’re here for it! And yes, these are just a few joys we’ve shared with one another this year, and truly only a glimpse into it all.
Enjoy an exciting example below, as Zach shares the official launch of the Userway Accessibility Widget to our platform...
No win is too big or small to share, truly. Propel CEO and Co-Founder Zach kept the #wins channel warm as we closed out 2021 with an original holiday song to share with the team. Those vocals were absolutely #win worthy.
4. Embrace diversity and inclusion. We’re always excited when someone brings a new perspective to the table. The more diversity, the better, and we take every opportunity to celebrate our differences.
Zach Cutler is one of the only venture-backed technology entrepreneurs in the world with a physical disability, making it a priority of his to support and accept people from all different backgrounds.
Each person on our team brings their unique edge, which amounts to limitless potential when we all come together… virtually!
Take a look at the Propel office floor plan below:
Working from your home, a nearby coffee shop, or wherever else the signal is strong enough does not have to lack team connectivity.
And considering the health effects that COVID-19 isolation has imposed on a significant number of lives, we are reminded how crucial it is to build a close-knit community in the workplace.
The American Psychiatric Organization (APA) 2021 Public Opinion Poll: Workplace again confirms mental health challenges that those subjected to remote work conditions are experiencing across industries.
Among the unsettling results, this study found that “nearly two-thirds of people working from home feel isolated or lonely at least sometimes and 17% do all the time.”
There is nothing positive to be said about the COVID-19 pandemic. But thankfully, we’re brought back to our core values in the face of adversity to remain united in both our personal and organizational goals. These core values underscore much more than just achieving a record sales month or making the latest product launch.
They remind us to enjoy the human element at the heart of a business and stay connected despite an ocean or a few time zones situated between our monitors.
To learn more about Propel, book a demo with our team below: