2020 was grueling. So grueling that, by late fall when it came time for our team to brainstorm and ultimately select a company theme for 2021, we were more exhausted than excited. In years past, coming together to choose a cornerstone theme for our People & Culture initiatives filled the room with palpable excitement (I mean, we love this stuff!). But 2020 seemed to leave no one unscathed, and we were all feeling it. Still, we persevered and pulled together a list of potential ideas, but we just couldn’t get authentically excited about any of them. So we gave ourselves permission to delay the decision, regroup in early January, and make a choice with clearer eyes.

When we dove back in, one of my colleagues mentioned that it felt great to be doing this work again, together. 

Ah ha! TOGETHER. 

Our conversation paused as we each quietly examined the word for a moment. We then erupted with the energy and excitement of having hit upon a perfect, authentically-us, battle cry for 2021: together. We quickly went to work and had one of our extremely talented UX/UI designers (shoutout to Jose Gil!) put together a design to help visualize our vision. 

While our 2021 theme is but a single word, it is nonetheless substantial and full of the kind of promise that we all need after last year. Here are a few ways we’ll be living our theme as a company in the year ahead.

TOGETHER in where we work:

While most of us have chosen to continue working remotely until the pandemic is under better control, our commitment to ensuring that it still feels like we’re working together (even while physically apart, for now) is as strong as ever. This means we won’t let up on our intentional efforts to keep everyone feeling tethered as a community outside of their basic zoom calls. 

TOGETHER (while apart) takes the shape of casual cross-company donut chats, virtual supper clubs (this month’s attendees made a cozy French One-Pot), safe and socially distanced meet-ups of small teams, “SK surprise and delight” initiatives (you know we can’t tell you what these will be, right?), and eventually… working safely TOGETHER in person in our beautiful office space on the Atlanta BeltLine. Oh, what a reunion that will be!

The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime. – Babe Ruth

TOGETHER in how we work:

We exist to solve complex business challenges for our clients by building custom, scalable, data-driven software solutions. And we know that the best solutions come through harnessing the collective power and experience of multiple individual experts who ask the right questions, listen intently to learn, share what they know, and collaborate on a well-balanced solution. 

We’ve built (and will continue to iterate) on well-coordinated processes that maximize the collective expertise of our clients, their users, our solutions experts, user experience designers, engineers, project managers, and more. 

To be clear, solid repeatable and scalable processes are important, but they are only ever as good as the people who are using and informing them. Accordingly, we are ever-dedicated to driving a high-engagement, high-trust culture rooted in our company’s values and imperatives. These are the things that call us to show up as the best versions of ourselves in the work we do together. Our Clifton StrengthsFinder program helps each of us know and name how we can best use our unique strengths in our work, our trust-building programs (2020’s theme was Trust) help us talk about and grow the deeply-human connections we need to excel in our work together, and our OfficeVibe metrics of engagement help us know how we’re doing, what’s working well for our employees, and what we should focus on improving.

Under the theme of TOGETHER, we will continue to expand and hone the “how” of our work, just as much as we’ll focus on the “what” we’re delivering to our clients. 

 

TOGETHER is how we grow:

Our decision to move into 2021 TOGETHER helps us claim a space in which a purpose is shared, values are our foundation, facts matter, debate is measured, diversity is celebrated, people are respected, and where we are focused on growing together instead of growing apart. 

If you share our commitment to making work and life better by engaging in it together, we’d love to hear from you. We’re always looking for smart, aligned people who want to join our team and for clients who are eager to work with a company that takes this approach. And if great things are happening in your workplace to support togetherness, please share them so we can be inspired together (yep… there it is again!).

“Individually we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean”. – Ryunosuke Satoro

Jami Sieder

Chief People and Culture Officer at Stable Kernel

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