Maintaining Culture Through a Pandemic
Employee perks don’t make you one of the best agencies in town, but they sure do help make work seem a little less of a drag. These extras have always been a focus for me at Granular. Having worked for other agencies and in-house I mentally bookmarked everything I wished they offered me when I worked for them. Like coffee that wasn’t just the cheapest option they could find, or chairs and desks that were on sale at the local office furniture store, or 8-5 schedule because that’s how things have always been done. Can you believe that at Best Buy corporate I had to buy coffee, nothing was free there!? Bigger doesn’t always mean better. We do a lot of things differently at Granular and they’re all focused around the employee.
From the beginning, I intended to implement the type of perks that I would have enjoyed during my days as an employee at other companies or agencies. Granular strives to provide an atmosphere and culture where employees want to come into the office, be respected and trusted for their work and have autonomy like few other companies offer.
A few of the unique benefits we offer at the office:
- Always stocked snack drawers & popcorn machine
- Stocked beer fridge
- Monthly coffee gift cards
- Monthly Public Market gift card
- Ping Pong tournaments
- Baking/Cooking Championships
- Community Service days
- Monthly Hot Breakfast during reporting week, cooked by the founder himself (well, me and my wife)!
- Ridiculously large work anniversary balloons
- Birthday treats (often homemade)
- Baseball tailgates
- Catered Lunch and Learns
- Half-day Fridays (ALL YEAR)
- Paid month off (sabbatical) after 3 years of employment
- Dog-friendly office
- Shared Bucks season tickets
These perks have been a huge part of our culture and they are ever-evolving. Since the pandemic began some of the above are still functioning in full swing, unchanged. However, a number of them required a bit of creativity to account for our newly fully remote workforce. For the last eight months, Granular has been focused on engaging the team virtually with as many perks we can offer. Sometimes it has involved arranging large orders and deliveries with local businesses other times it means me and my wife driving a 3 hour route to make drop offs for the entire local team!
- Dropped off or had delivered: Milwaukee Pretzel Co, Care packages of favorite office treats, Labor day grill kits from Vanguard, Breakfast Kits from Braise, and State Fair Cream Puffs – Something local each month
- Celebrated work anniversaries and birthdays by dropping off balloons & birthday treats
- Held social distanced activities like a virtual cookie decorating contest, outdoor painting Happy Hour, a Trick or Treat event, a pumpkin patch, and pumpkin carving contest
- We even virtually onboarded three new employees to the team. Loading them with new tech equipment and plenty of Granular swag.
Recently, we were honored by the MMAC in the Focus on the Future Awards for our efforts to maintain an employee-centric focus during the pandemic. Check out this short (1 min) video.
Of course we miss seeing the team in the office, but we are so proud of our Granular crew, the entire office is thriving in this remote work universe. We are going to continue to show our gratitude through whatever perks we can muster in this new environment for as long as it takes! Okay, so we can’t send the team to a Bucks game, crack open a beer together at a Brewer’s, tailgate, or vote for the best chili after eating 10 different kinds at the office… But we can take the time and effort to cultivate a new kind of culture – this pandemic won’t stop the perks!