When the pandemic struck, LC needed to quickly adapt its office-centric company culture to a remote environment. Heather Batchelor, executive vice president of human resources, shares the creative solutions that kept company culture thriving and led to Crain’s Chicago naming LC one of the “Best Places to Work” in 2021.
High fives, happy hours, face-to-face meetings and wearing real pants to work— this was how things got done before the pandemic. When Laughlin Constable’s offices closed in March 2020 along with the rest of the world, we had no idea how long it would last— and certainly none of us would have guessed we would still be at home one year later— but we were faced with the challenge to continue doing what we do best: deliver exceptional work to our clients fueled by collaboration and creativity.
Our agency thrives by working together, across disciplines and experience levels. We learn from one another constantly. In order to continue to foster this culture while working remotely, we quickly adapted to embrace technology and creative solutions to stay connected while being physically apart. The changes made helped us maintain our strong company culture and remain connected to our valuable employees so much that LC earned recognition as one of Crain’s Chicago Business “Best Places to Work” 2021.
We rely heavily on video conference calls for team meetings which not only work to keep teams in touch but have been exceptional at integrating new hires that joined the agency over the past year. Many new team members have shared how much this has helped them get to know fellow Griffins, work closely on projects and feel a part of LC’s standout culture. All-agency town hall meetings were held weekly at the start of the stay-at-home orders to share exciting client work, provide important COVID updates and company news and even take time to have some fun with our very own version of Family Feud. Our CEO Mat Lignel holds virtual open office hours each week for any Griffin to “drop in” to share ideas, voice concerns or just offer a quick hello.
Other ways we stay engaged include a private Facebook group for Griffins to share work-from-home memes and quotes, and by hosting digital bake-offs, music challenges and lookalike contests with prizes to help maintain our creativity and competitive nature. Of course, beyond the virtual trivia or pre-pandemic weekly breakfasts and happy hours, our Griffins care about our practical perks too, which include unlimited paid time off and a competitive benefits package.
Certainly, for all of us, this pandemic has brought on many different challenges that have reinforced what we are grateful for and taught us to learn and adapt to new ways of doing things. Overall, it has highlighted what is really important to our agency, and that is creating an environment, whether in-person or remote, that supports and encourages our team members to create and do great work together.