- Be open and not guiding anyone towards picking certain answers.
- Not containing too much free text, because that can actually hinder the effectiveness of surveys.
Practice Planning Makes PerfectAndrea is proud to say that she’s created something unique to Appen by establishing the Neighborhood and F2F programs. She drew inspiration from her experiences in Australia where an old job of hers made co-workers sit with their departments at the office, which was a change from the previous structure of just claiming any cubicle as your own. The other Australian influence was from the Bank of Adelaide that coined the concept of Neighborhoods but used a method different than the one Appen implemented. In order to give these programs a strong start, Andrea read numerous articles about tech companies that tried to go back to the office, be fully remote work from home, or do a hybrid format. A lot of these articles mentioned the companies’ shortcomings, and this formed a ‘what not to do’ guide. Some insightful learnings included not having specific mandates or prescriptions dictating what employees are expected to do. The other main insight was to not downsize to one specific work format (hybrid, in-office, or remote). This created a baseline where there would be a core structure to the new programs, but there would be flexibility for employees to truly make it their own. Combined with the freedom to either meet in-person, elsewhere, or stay full remote the foundation of Neighborhoods and F2F was solidified.
Neighborhood Connections Program LaunchWith the evolved focus on communities and interrelatedness, the Neighborhood Connections Program was created. The initial test phase was launched in July (with the idea to refine the design before a broader rollout later in the year). The purpose of this program is to create neighborhoods in each geography for Appen employees working from home to connect in person, feel a sense of community, provide opportunities for fun, learning and development, attend virtual or local face-to-face events in their area, work on customer projects, engage in Yammer Neighborhood chats, attend a watch party of our Quarterly Town Hall together, and more. The Neighborhood Connections Program is being launched to ALL Appen employees worldwide, inclusive of those currently working in an office, fully remote, hybrid, and working at a secured site.
Face-to-face (F2F) Collaboration LaunchIn addition to the Neighborhood Connection Program, there’s a second program called Face-to-face Collaboration designed specifically for employee teams. Many Appenites are eager for a more inclusive and broader definition of in-person teamwork. Face-to-face collaboration will now be the term Appen uses to describe in person teamwork – or F2F for short. Anything in person might mean several employees meeting at a customer event, an industry conference, a local coffee shop, a local WeWork space, or an Appen office. As mentioned earlier, the program will not be prescriptive on how or when teams should connect F2F. The purpose of this program is for teams to assess what’s best for our customers and each other. It’s up to them to decide how they want to create F2F time for their team. Flexibility is important here because the needs of teams vary, so the amount of F2F time will vary as well. F2F has a large travel component to it, as we are a global company our teams are spread across multiple states and countries. This program will allow those spread-out teams the opportunity to travel and meet up in person if they desire. We firmly believe that face-to-face time, although it can take some time and coordination, will create a stronger team connection.
Tips for SuccessAndrea has a few tips for success that she hopes other companies will find helpful when working on their plans for remote, hybrid, and in-person work plans.
- Listen to employees
- Be open minded
- Create action plans based on what employees want
- Know that not all models work for all companies
- Keep a growth mindset
- Look and see what smaller companies are doing
- Maintain a good work culture