Entering into 2020 felt a bit like a meteor hitting Earth for me (and I think a lot of my colleagues!). There wasn’t really a slow period over the holidays and January kicked off our busiest quarter of the year. On the HR side, we had performance & compensation reviews, recruitment, working with teams to set their departmental goals, and keeping on top of the day to day work. It was all too easy to push aside taking some time to reflect on 2019, and all that we accomplished.
That is, until my wonderful colleague, Lindsay, came up with the idea to pause for a moment around Valentine’s Day. We sent everyone a $5 gift card to use for a coffee, with the caveat that they had to drink it with a colleague (in person or via a video call), and not talk about work. We then asked that they share a picture of their “fika” moment with the wider team so that we could all, “share the love” a bit more.
Top – Digital Shadows CEO, Al & Regional Sales Director, Danial in Australia.
Bottom – Dallas Office Coordinator, Nick, and BDR Matthew in Dallas
This got me thinking about working at Digital Shadows, why I’ve stayed (over 4.5 years now!), and what makes it such a rewarding place to work.
Our people tend to be a big part of the reason someone signs the line on an offer from us, and I believe that this is one of our not-so-secret keys to success. While the tone that was set from our Co-Founders from day one on how we work as a team & what we expect from each other as colleagues is largely why we operate as we do, below are the top 3 consistencies I’ve seen that have remained strong since we were a small team (under 50 employees) and to where we are now (just under 200 employees).
- We Care
One of our core values is “All About People” and we have defined that over time as us nurturing our talent for the long haul. While this includes talent retention strategies like training budgets, internal career progression, and events, what I find to be most unique about Digital Shadows is how much we genuinely care about one another.
In almost every exit interview I’ve hosted, when I ask what they’ll either miss most about Digital Shadows, or what they enjoyed most about their time here, the answer is almost always “the people”. We see similar results in our annual engagement survey, and when we talk to new hires about why they joined. Many times, I hear that my colleagues feel they have a family here, a support system, and enjoy the relationships they build on the day to day.
When I first joined the company in 2015, I had just moved across the country to San Francisco, California, and found out I lost a relative. I didn’t know many people in the area, so, when I received the news, I pulled our CEO, Al, into a room to let him know. Without hesitation, Al told me to head home and take the time I needed/work from the east coast if I wanted extended time back home with family. I never felt pressured to put on a strong face, and “push through”, and both Al and my colleagues reached out frequently to see how I was doing. I was given the space I needed to feel, and to generally be human.
Each and every day I get to witness this mentality across the organization, and I am grateful for each opportunity I get to become that support for someone on the team.
- We Make & Learn from Mistakes
On our weekly All Hands calls, we’ll frequently hear our Co-Founder & CIO, James Chappell, speak the words, “You either Win or Learn”. While we may poke fun at him time to time for this, it really is at the core of who we are. We all make mistakes, and in some cases, mistakes can lead to better and more creative outcomes. One thing we have tried to bake into our DNA, and that we heavily focused on in 2019 via Manager Trainings, is a coaching mentality. Help those on your teams come to the conclusion (don’t always give out the answer), and help them work through why something didn’t (or did!) work well.
We don’t get this right all the time either…but we try. In a sense, most of us at Digital Shadows are building the rungs of the ladder as we climb it. This leaves a lot of room for trial & error and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that there will be errors, and it’s all about putting your hands up, asking for help, and moving forward.
- We Row in the Same Direction
For any startup/small company that is growing, you might feel that you work in a constant state of chaos. Another frequent statement we hear at Digital Shadows was started by our CFO, Daniel Moskowitz: “We’re a new company every 6 months”. The sentiment of this statement is more so that things change, and will continue to evolve as we further understand and advance our product, go to market approach, and people strategies. One thing that remains constant though, is our goal of being as successful as possible. While we might not always agree on the direction or an approach or project, I find that over time (and with practice!), we are able to still remain aligned as one larger team.
As I think about the year ahead, I am looking forward to uncovering more about what makes my friends and colleagues at Digital Shadows tick, as well as continue to learn more about who we are at the core. My “People” theme for the year is not so subtly called “Operation Re-Energize”, to continue to resurface our values, and have some fun along the way.
Here’s me on my virtual “Love Where You Work” coffee meet-up. I commandeered our wider team call which stretched across Boston, San Francisco & London.
When you think about your 2020 goals & plans, are you thinking about what motivates your teams and people? What are you doing to re-energize your workforce/yourself? What makes you #LoveWhereYouWork? We’d love to hear your feedback – drop us a note on Twitter or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org