Covid-19 has changed our working environment in ways previously only seen in sci-fi movies. As leaders, this situation created new opportunities to help our team members cope and find ways to come together to improve our working conditions and continue to deliver world-class service.
I want to share three challenges we faced at PubMatic and how we were able to learn from these and achieve excellence:
Communication: As hopes of returning to our offices faded by mid-2021 our regular cadence of video conferencing team meetings needed enhancement to get new employees engaged with their peers and leaders. While manager and employee one-to-ones were useful for providing performance feedback, we were missing the personal touch we were able to easily get in the office environment. As we brainstormed with global teams we came up with a versatile approach.
Employee Morale: Before Covid-19, our employee morale was not only high, but it was also tangible. We could shake hands or high five and celebrate big wins together. After a year of isolation, we could sense morale needed to improve, and we had to change things if we wanted our culture to thrive during the pandemic.
Attrition: We believed the first two challenges could contribute to attrition of new folks hired during Covid-19. Our average employee tenure is five-plus years, and our retention rates are outstanding. My customer enablement peers told me they were all experiencing the highest turnover rates in years; and high salaries and flexible schedules were not enough to inspire employee loyalty.
As operations managers we decided to do surveys and get personal feedback from our employees and encourage their help in making the changes needed to enhance company culture during the pandemic. We came up with changes that helped us achieve record financial results in 2021.
Improving employee intimacy was high on our agenda for our global teams. We created a mentoring program to allow easy access to senior staff and leaders for new and existing employees. This was not limited to work-related topics, whatever was on employees’ minds, we were available for them.
We also updated our organizational structure to create smaller sub-teams and created global virtual teams for collaboration and brainstorming to nurture employee interactions. This change allowed new folks to work closer with their peers and achieve outstanding results. Our technical training and educational framework had to be revised to ensure every new employee had a friend and a learning agenda that would drive their success.
On the fun side, we had wonderful social video events for smaller teams to get to know each other better outside the stress of daily work. For example, we had cooking and casino nights — teams were encouraged to choose whatever activity was most fun for them. We provided a budget for manager/team member virtual lunches and had small in-person team gatherings when everyone felt safe and open to participating.
We have partnered closely with our HR team to evangelize our peer-to-peer recognition programs to foster closer relationships. When we recognize each other, we create deeper connections at work. We also expanded career opportunities, with associate positions for new college graduates, updated our PubMatic onboarding programs to help retention of new hires.
Our work continues in 2022, and we are evolving our operational framework to sustain and strengthen our world-class service culture based on our core values.