How We Connect in a Hybrid and Remote Work Environment
Working in a hybrid environment for the past two years has shifted our approach to how we build and sustain our culture at Prophet. With 14 global offices and 600+ Propheteers, finding opportunities to connect and create a stronger community is important to the health and vitality of our firm. Our culture has always been a distinct reason people join and stay at Prophet and after two-plus years of being virtual, we knew we needed to reinvigorate how we connect and build relationships with each other.
In addition, we also wanted to recognize our talent and show them our appreciation for all the ways they contribute to Prophet’s success. How do we achieve this? Our answer – Prophet Connects. Focusing on our three key pillars of what makes a strong culture–connection, inspiration and appreciation–our Culture & Engagement Team created curated moments throughout the month of March to bring our employees together and create more personal and meaningful connections with Propheteers globally.
Inspired by the amazing talent within Prophet, we aimed to create a space that allowed us to learn more about each other and understand the different journeys and experiences of our teammates, to bring in outside inspiration and external speakers to share their stories, and to show our appreciation for our teams, leaders, and out people.
Week One: Connection
To respect the diverse time zones of our global team, we used a regional approach for week one. With 30 minutes on the calendars, Propheteers in each region were invited to join a call with very limited information about the event. Would these calls be exciting? Nerve-racking? Thrilling? The answer was yes to all of the above!
Small groups of Propheteers were placed in breakout rooms and tasked with two items. The first task was to answer the question: “What’s your connection?” Each group had several minutes to figure out what they had in common. Many found they all love camping, others discovered that everyone in their group enjoys the beach and some had travel dreams of visiting Paris. Once groups found their connection, they were then asked to create or find a meme and/or GIF that captured the spirit of their commonality. And boy did they deliver!
Propheteers who participated in this first event had two opportunities to walk away winners. However, just by showing up to the activity, they had the opportunity to win a truly special prize–connecting with their peers. This first event proved to be a great success. Not only did we make personal connections within the breakout teams, but we also provided an escape from the reality of everyday work, a moment to laugh together and simply an opportunity to have fun with one another while connecting with our people.
Week Two: Inspiration
Building culture and connections in a hybrid/remote world is hard. We miss the days of being in the office, sharing lunch or a cup of coffee together and catching up on each other’s lives. Our people wanted the opportunity to have smaller, more intimate connections on topics outside of current projects and work-related tasks. Inspired by TED talks, Prophet Talks emerged. Prophet Talks was all about inspiring our teammates. Over the course of three days, we had a line-up of 21 speakers on diverse topics. Space was limited in each talk as we wanted to keep the groups small for a more personal experience.
“Not only did we make personal connections within the breakout teams, but we also provided an escape from the reality of everyday work.”
Day one focused on finding purpose. We had regional, external speakers, like Culture and Innovative Curator Andy Stefanovich, share stories of how they found a sense of purpose in their work and personal lives. Prophet alums, Blums Pineda, MD and global head of internet and tech investment at banking for Standard Chartered Bank, and Wisdom Mak, a strategist for Chanel’s regional fashion team, shared their experiences of being leaders in a virtual environment, what it takes to keep your team engaged in a hybrid environment, and how you can be a strong thought leader in your career.
“Don’t stop me now” was the theme for day two of Prophet Talks. We highlighted Propheteers from all types of roles and areas of expertise and had them share their stories of success. Chiaki Nishino shared her journey from engagement manager to senior partner and president of North America. While another Prophet leader, Creative Director at Prophet Springbox Jeff Abbott, shared his process of writing over 20 novels in the last 20 years.
Day three’s theme was “all about the why”. Why is creativity at Prophet so awesome? Why is Dave Aaker so important? Why do we offer design services at Prophet? Digital? Healthcare? Social impact? Those were just some of the topics that were covered by our own Prophet experts. For example, London office Creative Director and Partner Gregg Finlay shared and inspired us with his passion for design and creativity. Also, from our Berlin office, Partner Layla Keramat explored the world of X&I and motivated us to think from different perspectives.
Week Three: Appreciation
Our people are what matter and what makes Prophet such a great organization to be a part of. We took this opportunity to recognize our people for the amazing work they do every day. From a slow reveal poem highlighting each class-to-class playlist to internal kudos and shout-outs, our team introduced something new each day to our fellow Propheteers. The finale of our three-week event was a class assignment where we asked each Prophet class what makes them the best. Teams were tasked to create 60-second videos answering the question, putting their creative minds and humor to the test. The activity wrapped up with a viewing of all the videos and participants voting on a favorite.
We won’t tell you the winner, but they have bragging rights and some pretty cool swage headed their way.
Why We Loved Prophet Connects
Those who participated in Prophet Connects felt more connected, inspired and appreciated by this experience. We set out three primary goals for this event. One–to help build stronger connections across regions. Two–to bring smaller, intimate groups together to bond over shared interests and passions. Three–to show our appreciation and gratitude to our people through sincerity and fun interactions.
We achieved all our goals and more. We made new friends, learned about each other and had a ton of fun along the way. Our event provided Propheteers the jolt of connecting energy they needed to kickstart the year. What we loved most about Prophet Connects? It sparked ideas across the firm and at a local level, inspiring Propheteers to make their own journey, bringing people together and building those important relationships. Looking to the future, we are excited to find new ways to connect, inspire and appreciate each other. Stay tuned…
Interested in learning more about Prophet culture? Visit our Life at Prophet page.
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