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Our Virtual Smartly.io Birthday Celebration

Mari Terrio Oct 29, 2020 3:04:00 PM

At Smartly.io, Build Trust is one of our core values and therefore we like to invest in the social aspect of working together. With remote work as the new norm, one of the challenges has been how to bring human interaction back into our day-to-day work. Our annual company birthday party presented us with an excellent opportunity to find creative ways to bring all Smartlies together not only to socialize, but nurture trust across organization.

How to Build Trust and Belonging in a Remote World

In seven years, Smartly.io has grown to over 400 employees in 17 locations on five continents. This year alone, we have hired close to 100 new Smartlies who have yet to meet other Smartlies in person. 

“When you get to know each other and you spend time talking outside of work, it creates safety, trust and belonging and those are the cornerstones of good decision making and fast execution.

Now, in a remote set-up, we want to make sure that people know each other on a personal level as well and also talk about other things than work only to get things done and collaborate better.” - Kristo Ovaska, CEO Smartly.io

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In seven years, Smartly.io has grown to over 400 employees in 17 locations on five continents. This year alone, we have hired close to 100 new Smartlies who have yet to meet other Smartlies in person. 

We believe it is a high priority to support interaction between Smartlies, as it is the foundation for walking the talk of our culture of trust, transparency and feedback. Throughout the years, we have given time and effort to make this happen.

One example is our birthday party, a festive event that brings Smartlies – new and old – together to celebrate the new milestone. As the pandemic prevented us from celebrating face-to-face this year, we were excited to figure out how to organize a fun and engaging party and recreate the casual vibe and randomized connections that an in-person celebration has.

The Solution: A Global, Virtual 24-Hour Party 

We may be organized into teams and regions, yet we are one global organization. Taking a remote-first approach to organizing this party allowed our staff globally to connect and celebrate in one party, together.

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To ensure all Smartlies in our 17 locations would have the chance to interact and participate, no matter their team , location, or interest, we decided to throw a 24-hour party with multiple, different activities. Hosting such a variety of activities allowed catering to a wider array of interests.  Thinking further into how we could randomize interaction, we tried to capture the similar essence of an in-person celebration, creating different virtual rooms with different people and happenings at different times. The result: 

  • one continuous DJ room in Google Hangouts
  • three activity rooms in Rally with activities ranging from stand-up comedy to live cooking shows. 

A key element of our birthday party was that it was made for Smartlies, by Smartlies. We wanted to not only organize a fun event for our people but also engage them in co-creating the program. We have a lot of surprising talent in our team, so we chose to actively involve Smartlies in hosting activities during the birthday, such as a live draw and sip session, a gaming hour, and even a live cello performance! 

Our Best Advice for Organizing Virtual Events for Your Team

Are you planning your own virtual event? Here are some learnings from our experience of organizing a global event: 

  • Involve the community to make it your own – created by your team for your team. Whether they host or simply participate, your employees will be thankful to be a part of the initiative to bring everyone together to celebrate. 
  • Find a platform that can deliver the experience and interaction you want to achieve.
  • Create a social channel for the event where your employees can share photos, great experiences, or to hype up the activities they’re hosting. 
  • Involve your leadership team and get their commitment to take part in activities and encourage others to take the time to participate in the activities. 
  • Plan your communications well for both pre-, during and post-event. Make sure everyone is aware of all events taking place by sharing schedules and sending calendar invites well in advance

Interested in joining Smartly.io? Come celebrate with us!

Author
Mari Terrio

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