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4 Questions to Ask When Building a Better Workplace

In May, I attended the virtual one-day Introduced Conference, hosted by Technical.ly as part of Philly Tech Week Presented by Comcast. The Introduced Conference was described as an opportunity to learn what some of the “most innovative orgs in the world are doing to recruit, retain and support savvy professionals.” Like many organizations, Tapp is thinking about how we grow our company and build our culture, particularly in a post-pandemic world.

What do tech companies look like after COVID-19?

I can’t begin to count the number of conversations I’ve had over the last year regarding the COVID-19 Pandemic's effects on various industries. Those of us in tech know how blessed we are to be thriving at a time when so many other industries are in despair.

At Tapp, we were already niched in the Digital Marketing space, and COVID-19 just accelerated our growth. Organizations that didn’t have a digital footprint needed one now and those that did needed it to be better. This was especially true for the nonprofit organizations we serve, who are now competing with other nonprofit organizations in the world for donors, supporters, volunteers, and even services. This demand caused quick growth for Tapp and we’ve been working to hire accordingly to fit that need.

Our team was working remotely prior to COVID-19. In the past, that was a way to differentiate ourselves from other agencies and provided an ability to hire amazing talent all over the world. Now, much like our clients, we’re competing with organizations all over the world who are trying to hire remote talent. It's required us to think much more creatively about whom we hire and where we find them.

Where does People Operations go from here?

Let’s start with that title. People Operations. What happened to Human Resources? Operations? Are they the same? Human Resources, long abhorred by the humans themselves, is rebranding! It makes sense if you think about it. Operations by definition is really the way that your organization functions, so it makes sense to consider the people who work for your organization in relation. Despite amazing AI and automation technologies, most businesses still need great employees to thrive.

But, no longer can companies view humans as simply resources. They’re people. People with lives and families and interests outside of their job. The state of the employee experience matters more now than ever.

How can you maintain team culture during high-growth phases?

I’ve been with Tapp Network since 2018 and we’ve always had steady growth, but it really took off in 2020/2021. We have more than doubled our team - all during a pandemic!

The remote work situation brought up unique challenges. There are team members I still have not met in real life. There are recent college grads who are starting their first professional job completely remote. Before COVID-19 we had several occasions to get together; whether for strategic planning, client meetings, travel, happy hours, etc. There were opportunities for face-to-face time. 2020 put a stop to all of that.

Our use of Zoom began long before COVID-19, but the way we use it began to change. There are more cameras on these days, in our attempts to feel connected with each other. There have been meetings that started with sharing what each of our team members were grateful for. There was an unspoken, but obvious need to maintain or even improve, our team culture during such a stressful time. But how do you do that? How do you maintain or improve culture when over half of your team is brand new? I can tell you how you DON’T do it! It’s definitely not with silly Zoom games and happy hours. How do I know? We tried! What does work? Listening to your team. Understanding what they need, what they value, what’s really important to them.

Every single one of our team members work their butts off for us and our clients. We know the risks of burnout, especially when there are life events outside of our control. That stress compounds any workplace stress. Additionally, it can take a unique type of person to excel in remote work. You have to be self-motivated, organized, and maybe most importantly, disciplined. Maintaining a work-life balance is hard. When you’re remote it can feel as though you’re always connected. (My desk is literally in my bedroom!) Cutting your work off to spend time with family and friends, exercise, or even eat can be difficult, especially when you love what you do. We recognized that our team needed more flexibility. So we implemented flexible (or unlimited) paid time off. We saw that our team was invested and totally bought into our mission, so we implemented profit sharing. We want our team to know not only do we value the work they do, but we value them as people who exist outside of Tapp Network.

How can you recruit while competing with an increasing number of remote companies?

We’ve used your usual recruitment tools - Indeed, Monster, LinkedIn, etc. But, it’s tough out there right now! We’re no longer just competing with other marketing and tech companies, we’re competing with ALL remote work offerings. That’s forced us to be a bit more creative and think outside the box on whom we’re hiring and where we find them. We’ve placed a heavier emphasis on soft skills and implemented robust internal training processes. We’ve attended virtual job fairs, reached out to former colleagues, and improved our compensation and benefits packages.

I’m grateful to Technical.ly and the Introduced Conference and the opportunity they provided to learn from others. We’re determined to be creative, hire great people, and continue learning how we can build a better workplace for our team.

Join the family!

We would love for you to consider a career with Tapp Network. We’re a tight-knit team and passionate about our work and our clients. We work remotely. We offer unlimited paid time off, profit-sharing, and health care benefits. Take a look at our openings. We can’t wait to work with you!

Jen Reid

Written by Jen Reid

Jen is experienced in process improvement as well as human resources and project management. Driven by efficiency and organization, she takes pride in identifying opportunities to streamline and simplify workflows. As the Director of Operations, her goals include keeping projects on time and budget and maintaining a team full of talented and passionate professionals. In addition to her primary job functions, Jen specializes in health care marketing, having spent a large portion of her career in that space.