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Anne Zizzo Founder and CEO Zizzo Group
“We’ve all heard of employee experience. But what does it really mean? At Zizzo Group Engagement Marketing (ZG), it’s about a workplace culture that mirrors our client experience. Clients come first, but we also make our employee experience a priority.
“We start with helping our ZG employees feel appreciated and part of the team. One way we do this is with our weekly ‘Kudos Award.’ Every Monday at our all-staff meeting, an employee recognizes another employee that went above and beyond the week before with a Milwaukee Public Market gift card.
“ZG is purposeful about building staff connections. Before COVID-19, that meant closing early once a month for in-person, themed socials, annual Paddle and Pedal Tavern outings and family Brewers games.
“This has been especially true throughout the pandemic. During Safer at Home, we held weekly 10-minute Zoom meetups where we played ‘The Wheel’ and awarded the winning employee a home lunch delivery of their choice, paid for and coordinated by ZG. We also had virtual group trivia and scavenger hunt events.
“We love finding opportunities to recognize and reward people for a job well done. It seems simple, but it boils down to this: happy employees do better work for clients. When work is engaging and rewarding, it pays off for everyone.”
Jim Schwalen Senior vice president – personal lines and marketing West Bend Mutual Insurance
“Accountability and flexibility don’t have to be at odds with each other in remote work environments. Accountability is created at West Bend Mutual Insurance by providing associates with well-written objectives, having regular conversations around those objectives, and clear communication about whether those objectives are being met.
“This was our process pre-COVID and it’s our process today. Why? Because all of these activities can work equally well in environments that introduce flexibility around where and when employees work. While tools might change — video conferencing versus in-person meeting, for example — the techniques are the same.
“Leadership should ensure that measures don’t focus on ‘productivity’ alone. Just because employees are productive doesn’t mean they’re accomplishing their objectives. I find that people can certainly be productive with remote work or flexible schedules – but is that productivity attaining the results you want?
“Another risk to consider regarding accountability is that in many situations where employees work at the same location, they draw off each other’s energy, which motivates them to be more accountable. In a remote set up, you may need to identify alternative ways to foster a culture of competitive spirit and support that leads to more accountability. Using creativity and the right tools, accountability and flexibility is achievable.”
Dan Bader President and CEO Bader Philanthropies
“Bader Philanthropies, Inc. is guided by our core values – a belief in people, humanity and dignity. We see our employees as people first.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unique challenges to our workplace environment, both physically and culturally. We understand the importance of balancing productivity with humanity. Currently, employees have the option to work on-site as few as three days and up to five days per week. When employees choose to work off-site, they have access to state-of-the-art technology, which ensures the work of the foundation continues.
“We also require employees working in the building to take a COVID-19 test every two weeks to monitor the health and wellbeing of our team and adhere to strict CDC health protocols. Employees are strongly encouraged to take sick time or work from home, if they are not feeling well, no questions asked. For employees who wish to have socially distanced meetings, we have an outdoor meeting room to offer a break from Zoom calls.
“Our leadership team continues to prioritize communication – formal and informal – to ensure employees remain focused on the foundation’s goals. In addition, the leadership team meets one-on-one with employees to review progress and to hear how employees are adapting in the office and at home.”