April 2, 2024

Decoding Success: The Story Behind Our Team's Engagement Revolution

"Great things in business are never done by one person. They're done by a team of people." – Steve Jobs

Have you ever wondered what truly motivates people at work? For us, that question sparked a journey to reshape how we engage with our team — and how we keep them engaged — given we’re a dedicated remote agency with folks spread out across the country.

After much experimentation, we’ve settled on an approach we feel could be a blueprint for others looking to build an invested team:

We start with our values.

We’ve always relied on a special blend of empathetic leadership, transparency, candor, and support to build trust on our team, encourage innovation, and attract even more of the best people in the business. While that works well for us, we wanted to create additional structure around goals and feedback, to empower employees to become more involved in the process and actively shape their career paths.

At the heart of our approach lies our "values agreement" - a powerful document that’s now signed by everyone on our team. The agreement clearly outlines expectations and goals, keeping us all accountable to what we want to achieve together, and how we make it happen.

We don’t miss an opportunity for growth.

From there, we experimented with a shift from bi-annual performance reviews and engagement surveys to monthly pulse checks on both key metrics, believing that the gap between these important discussions was a missed opportunity to stay in step on growth and progress. The new cadence provided immediate results: we’ve had positive feedback from the team and engagement is trending upward. Rather than a heavy lift twice per year, the lighter, more frequent touch points have deepened our connections and created more opportunities for open dialogue. This ensures everyone's voice is heard and keeps us all on the same page regarding our shared objectives and individual career paths.

We create structures that support collaboration and continuity.

In that same spirit of transparency and alignment, we created a massive internal command center in Notion that’s become a treasure trove for collaboration, career development, and company accountability. It houses our company goals and functional team spaces, and provides a hub for project work, connecting our teams, creating more productive workflows, and ensuring continuity when teams shift or folks need time off.

We built a culture of continuous learning.

Our Notion hub serves another purpose critical to our company and our culture: it’s home to an extensive resource library and our bespoke growth and development initiatives. We started with skill building programs and are now creating our own mentorship programs and courses.

Why? From day one, Ali, our founder and CEO, has believed in the power of learning and growth, both personally and professionally. A voracious reader and bold experimenter, Ali has an appetite for innovation and iteration that’s shaped our culture. These qualities are reflected in our team values (curiosity, courage, partnership, integrity and mastery) and brought to life in the way we work.

Together we explore topics like the transformative potential of technology and the future of work, as well as focus, flow, and productivity, often through our company book club.

Innovation isn't just a buzzword for us - it's a way of life. For example, late last year we instituted our AI challenge, inviting the team to test out new ways to use AI to improve the way we work, and rewarding the winners (we’ve had several folks win already!)

We don’t compromise on health and wellness.

While enriching our minds keeps the team connected and curious, we firmly believe in the power of personal health in keeping our team engaged. That's why we've implemented a range of initiatives, from health and wellness stipends to flexible time off, to ensure that everyone here has the support and resources they need to prioritize their mental and physical well-being.

We’ve also found that a key part of engagement is a sense of purpose, so we’ve worked hard to unite our team around a shared purpose. Beyond our day-to-day projects, we're driven by a commitment to making a positive impact. Our big, bold goal of donating 10 million meals is just one example of how we're using our platform to drive meaningful change and contribute to a brighter future.

What it all looks like together…

One thing is clear: by focusing on the above, we feel like we’ve been able to “10x” the true potential of our team, we’ve built amazing client relationships that fuel our business with referrals — and we’re just getting started! The path we’ve been on has allowed us to attract a team of folks who are all on the bus with us, driving in the same direction, and excited about where we’re headed.

Curious about how this might work for your own team? Reach out to info@justdrivemedia.com and let’s talk!

Wondering where we found the inspiration to make these changes? Check out these resources: