Melissa Hentschel is Chief Delivery Officer at Onbe, where she builds high-performing teams that deliver on operational and service excellence for our clients and their payment recipients.
At Onbe, we’re focused on building a connected culture with a growing team that spans the US and beyond. The pandemic’s ever-shifting status has made us stay flexible and find creative workarounds that encourage collaboration, support our employees’ diverse needs, and integrate in-person and remote work. And of course, it’s important to have some fun along the way. Here are a few of the initiatives we’ve been taking this summer to keep our team engaged and connected with each other in a year that’s been challenging but has brought its share of bright spots.
Going hybrid for team celebrations
Will the future of workplace events be hybrid? According to a recent study, 87% of employers plan to embrace more flexibility after the pandemic. For us, flexibility means creatively using digital tools and solutions to break down barriers—both those that pertain to the pandemic and those that will persist in our new normal, such as creating a culture that’s flexible enough to grow with our company.
Since our team members are divided among our Philadelphia, Chicago, and London offices as well as working remotely, planning our annual summer party called for a unique approach. We hosted pizza parties in person at each of our Onbe campuses, along with a virtual Zoom event that brought us all together to enjoy team-building games. Played in randomized groups, these activities helped team members from across campuses and departments make connections that might not otherwise have happened—even in our pre-pandemic normal! I love the fact that creative virtual solutions offer growing companies a chance to foster camaraderie across locations, helping to build a culture that knows no boundaries.
Mobilizing for charity
Giving back to the community and making a difference in the world is part of who we are at Onbe. But getting full participation in charitable events is much easier when it’s not just one date and time but an ongoing initiative that works for everyone’s schedule. So, this summer, we collaborated with 360insights, the KANPE Foundation, and other corporate sponsors to host a virtual walkathon during the months of July and August. Proceeds benefit communities in Haiti that have been impacted by the pandemic.
Getting involved is as simple as downloading a mobile app. Employees can walk or run as much or as little as they want, but we’re hoping to see a lot of healthy competition. The best part is that participation doesn’t have to happen at any particular time and place. We can all log miles at our own pace, in our own neighborhoods, and celebrate our team success together.
Building a virtual hub for team news
Part of creating a vibrant workplace community is making space for the personal in our everyday interactions. That can mean anything from sharing inside jokes and traditions to celebrating milestones that happen outside of work—like welcoming a new baby or achieving a personal goal. To make these moments accessible to everyone working across campuses and remotely, we built a virtual hub for team buzz. It’s similar to a social news feed, with posts ranging from IT updates and Q&A with our CEO to pics of team activities and coworkers’ new puppies. Having a virtual space to share information and conversation fits today’s need for digital communication, and it’s the ideal way to keep everyone up to date at our growing company.
As we all continue to navigate the changing workplace, I hope some of these ideas have inspired you to think outside of the box when it comes to engaging your people and building a strong culture that prevails regardless of physical distance.