We’re genuinely thrilled to have been selected two years in a row for Inc Magazine’s National Best Workplaces list.
President Kyle Mitnick on the win: “Advertise Purple has received numerous national and local awards for unparalleled growth and dominance in our field. Though each of those say great things about our team and service, the prestige of ‘Best Workplace for 2020’ selection soars high above.”
He continued, “Successful companies aren’t built by ideas, funding, or luck, they are built through investment and growth in the right people. And this specific investment has paid dividends for all facets of our company. We accept this award with great humility and gratitude, and will continue to deliver the absolute best workplace experience for our team in the coming year.”
We’re proud and delighted to be able to add this to our list of achievements. But also, it gives us a great opportunity to pause and reflect. After all, with COVID-19, it’s obvious the state of the world when we were recognized in 2019 compared to that in 2020 is drastically different.
We’d be remiss not to comment on this change and exactly how our culture got us through it. Adapting to work from home conditions and adjusting to a new normal is not something that happens overnight. Nor is it easy to successfully implement, without a great culture to rely on.
And yes, this award was slated to be given to us prior to COVID-19, but I think that it called out the same company philosophy that has made 2020 a much less difficult time for us than it has for many others.
To be clear, when we speak of culture, we don’t mean it as a fuzzy concept many companies trot out; a selling point to new hires or a way to manufacture idealized “happy” employees. Rather, we prefer it as a real, positive way to make a business unit run successfully.
The reason we felt so good about the achievement in 2019 is in some ways the same but also very different in 2020. We know the nominees for this award are tracked on multiple variables, the most important being a survey taken by our entire staff.
We were already aware that we had a strong portfolio of Glassdoor reviews, with close to 100% 5-star ratings from those who work for us. We recognize and don’t take this positive feedback from our team lightly. And I truly believe it’s the depth of how seriously we take company culture that leaves this positive impression.
I think when the modern digital startup was coming up in the 2000s, it was nap pods, ping pong tables, beer, free lunch, dog friendly offices, loose dress codes, and the like that made for a “great office culture”. And to be honest outside of nap pods (I mean, really?) we do have all of those things.
However, there’s much more to it than that. It’s really feeling like the place you go to work every day is kind of like your second family. Your family can grow and take new people in. Families go through ups and downs together. But for the most part, families have one another’s back. And that’s what we love about our culture.
Speaking of backs, we’re not just patting ours here. Instead, we’re taking note of a huge asset we feel helps us on a daily basis, that materializes in the process of winning awards such as this one from a reputable source such as Inc.
But how could office culture make a difference when something as devastating as coronavirus takes hold of our economy? Wouldn’t it seem like all bets are off? And you’re not even in the office anymore. How could a great culture persist?
Well, in my mind, it’s not an exaggeration to suggest the reason we’ve been able to build instead of retreat or downsize is that we have the right people. People who courageously put in the same effort from home to keep our business afloat as they would have in the office – in the middle of a pandemic.
People who make up a leadership team that decided to prioritize lending a hand and making sure each and every employee was accounted for. They knew that profits come from people, and that business would be fine if staff and clientele were properly taken care of.
I clearly remember the day towards the beginning of quarantine, when we opened up the office so that employees could grab monitors, mouses, and other technology items to enhance their work stations at home.
We all mentioned to one another how strange these times were, and the amount of people who spoke about how much they’d miss the office was really quite telling. Nobody was jumping for joy at the opportunity to avoid seeing their colleagues, which I know isn’t the case everywhere.
And there were tangible cultural measures taken as well, once we were home.
Small details that came from the top really made a difference. I mean, for example, we had to cancel our weekly free lunch on Wednesdays, but our VP of Finance implemented a $20 lunch credit from any delivery app in lieu of it.
Management constantly reassured employees that their job security was of the utmost importance to the company during a difficult time. It takes true leadership to right the ship in a time of uncertainty, but it also requires a team that can respond to the challenge.
Workers had open communication with HR and the leadership team to make sure everyone was doing okay at home. Not just with work, but mentally and physically. We had follow-up calls that continued even further into lockdown. Nobody’s opinion was dismissed or not taken into consideration.
This all started early and proactively. We closed our office when it was becoming clear coronavirus was an issue. Not after or once we were forced to.
That, to me, is the culture success story. Taking the real tangible manifestation of having a great culture and putting it to the ultimate test.
So, when this is over, we will be sure to toast to this victory in person, but for now we’ll have to have another Zoom happy hour, hug our pets, socially distantly chat with our loved ones, and feel lucky to work at such a great place as Ad Purp.
So, let’s just say that a resilient spirit defines our culture more than beer and ping pong. But hey, we’ll keep the beer and ping pong too.