In the last decade or so, and more recently emphasized by COVID, there has been a growing focus on work-life balance. Priorities are changing, leading to employees who want to spend more time with loved ones or do things they enjoy. Many companies have had to adjust to this changing landscape with accommodations like flexible schedules, more paid time off, and allowing employees to work remotely.
In a piece from Forbes magazine, Sinive Sneely, a Certified Executive Coach and Consultant, explains, “When you put your people first, they are empowered to show up as their best selves and are supported to maximize their potential and excel in their roles.”
At Dispatch, we strive for a culture that puts our people first. More than a written statement, this value is action-oriented and is encouraged and practiced daily by everyone within the company. It also supports the play portion of the work hard, play hard mentality, and we believe that a positive, inclusive environment is part of carrying out this goal.
One contributor to our company culture is the Dispatch D.R.E.A.M. Team — both an acronym that stands for Doing Really Exciting Activities Monthly and a promise that the group delivers on. Formed in January 2020 and led by Jane Otto, Dispatch's Office Manager, this culture-focused committee has 13 members.
“As our employee numbers started to grow with the addition of new markets, we wanted to increase the number of company events per year. We also wanted to involve the remote employees and have these events be created and chosen by our employees,” said Otto.
The Team meets regularly to brainstorm activities, and then two or more volunteers plan and execute each month’s event. With all events being virtual due to COVID, the group has had to adapt and get creative.
For example, the D.R.E.A.M. Team recently hosted a virtual gingerbread house decorating contest. As part of this company event, employees who signed up to participate received a gingerbread village kit in the mail and could either partake in a live decorating event or submit an entry on their own time. Whether participating or spectating, anyone could jump on the video call and "hang out" during the live portion of the event. As for the rules, participants had 50 minutes to get creative with their gingerbread kit. Overall there was a lot of laughter as most struggled with the fondant, and candy decorations spilled across tables and floors — even ending up in one employee's laptop!
Past events have included a chili cook-off, bingo, trivia, Thanksgiving Mad-Libs, St. Patrick’s Day Limerick contest, a few Halloween costume and pumpkin decorating contests, and more.
Another activity that has helped us stay connected in a remote-first work environment has been a Q&A Slack thread cleverly dubbed the Promote Our Remote channel. Every week a topic is chosen, and staff can post their answers in the shared chat group. It’s a nice and inclusive way to engage employees, and everyone can vote on their favorite answer using emojis. The winner earns bragging rights and chooses the next week’s topic.
Along this line of connection, the D.R.E.A.M. Team coordinates another virtual event called Dispatch Coffee Talk. Open to all employees, Coffee Talk allows attendees to hop on a meeting that then breaks out into smaller sessions where they are given a few themed topics to discuss. Employees can use this time to build camaraderie and meet coworkers from other departments.
“Coffee Talks opened the door to converse, connect with, and get to know coworkers that some of us wouldn’t normally get to talk to. I never knew who I would end up in a group with and always looked forward to the surprise and opportunity to get to know others and their point of view. These talks, in a way, expanded my bubble. The connections it helped form were priceless,” said Nicole Hembd, Network Operations at Dispatch.
More Than Just a Company Value
Fostering a great work environment is more than just fun and games, however. It's also about empowering employees. Dispatch does this in a variety of ways.
For starters, during our weekly company-wide meetings, we encourage our employees to give their colleagues a shout-out or two, which are read aloud during the meeting. These shout-outs are not only a great way to say thank you but also acknowledge the accomplishments or contributions of fellow team members.
Employees also get one-on-one meetings with their managers every week. It’s time solely devoted to that employee. Anything can be discussed, including goals, questions, feedback, ideas, career aspirations, and more.
On top of that, Dispatch has an unlimited PTO policy and flexible schedules, two benefits that demonstrate the genuine work-life balance that is so important to employees nowadays.
When you put these puzzle pieces together, they paint a clear picture of how much Dispatch appreciates our employees for their hard work and dedication — creating a culture that’s as vital as making a profit.
To learn more about Dispatch, the company's core values, or to view current job openings, visit our Careers page.