How LeadLab Media Has Developed a Remote Company Culture Worth Having
LeadLab Media’s unique, tight-knit company culture might surprise people given the nature of working fully remotely. Our culture has been in the making for years since LeadLab Media started in 2014 as a remote company and has remained completely remote since. Many companies transitioned to a remote work setting out of necessity during the pandemic causing new challenges with company culture, productivity and overall morale. According to the Harvard Business Review, “Culture is the tacit social order of an organization…When properly aligned with personal values, drives, and needs, culture can unleash tremendous amounts of energy toward a shared purpose and foster an organization’s capacity to thrive.” What has shaped our culture is a CEO who recognizes employee needs and desires and understands that fulfilling these will only lead to greater employee engagement, a sense of purpose among employees and ultimately, high-quality client work. There are a few key things we do that help foster a healthy and productive remote working environment.
An important pillar of LeadLab is that everyone has a voice. At LeadLab Media, employees have the power and the freedom to bring about change and come up with new ideas, in conjunction with pursuing projects we are passionate about. From intern to CEO, we are all constantly coming up with innovative project ideas, process improvement ideas, cutting-edge testing proposals, and more. LeadLab Media offers a really great open space for ideas to flow freely and for small groups, or the entire team, to collaborate. We also boast a variety of internal committees for things like new business initiatives, organic content creation, volunteer efforts, and more. This gives each employee the opportunity to be a part of a project they are particularly passionate about; or on the flipside, to start a new committee to collaborate with teammates on a project that doesn’t yet exist.
Professional development is another priority; we are encouraged to continue our education and get certifications in areas that simultaneously benefit our own career path and move LeadLab Media forward as a company. Each team member has a bucket of dedicated hours for professional development each month that are reserved to earn new certifications or focus on non-client projects. The hours allotted for professional growth ultimately translate to a more well-rounded and knowledgeable team of employees which leads to new client initiatives, smarter optimization recommendations, and overall better performance.
Work-life balance is a phrase thrown around frequently these days with so many companies turning to remote work. Since LeadLab Media has always been remote, our CEO has had years to test, iterate and perfect what work-life balance means for LeadLab Media employees. For us, work-life balance means that there is not that expectation to arrive extra early and stay until after dinner time. Yes, there are times where one of those two is necessary, and we happily accommodate for urgent client requests; however, we are able and encouraged to have a life outside of work. The ability to spend time with family and friends doing non-work related activities leaves us feeling refreshed each morning and ready to tackle any and all challenges that come each day. This is a key component in employee productivity, happiness and prevention of burnout. Work-life balance also means that we have several amazing moms that are able to hold important positions within LeadLab Media while also having free time to spend with their children, take them to school and participate in activities that fall within the traditional 9-5 workday. Work-life balance has, and always will be, an integral part of LeadLab’s DNA as it fosters a culture of productivity while working.
While professional development and work-life balance are two of the three important pillars, LeadLab also has a variety of regularly scheduled events that are meant purely to promote personal relationships. Each week, we have short 1:1 coffee chats with a different team member. This time is set aside for non-work related chit chat, like you’d expect when people are standing around filling up their coffee mugs in the cafeteria at an agency. We have team lunches once a month where we virtually share lunch together and discuss non-work related topics. An event that everybody looks forward to is our monthly virtual happy hour that often involves a Zoom game of Heads Up or Poker and a lot of laughs. LeadLab also sponsors employee regional happy hours, encouraging us to meet up with co-workers that live within our region. All of these events foster the creation of 1:1 personal connections, as well as a larger team connection despite being in completely different locations.
Having a sense of belonging and feeling like an important part of a larger team definitely drives high-quality employee performance and a positive team morale. It might seem impossible for a remote team, with employees all over the US, to have a tight-knit culture or even a sense of community, however, we are proof that it can be done.