Fostering a people-first culture at our 2020 Hybrid Kickoff

Hanna Kontinen Talent & Culture Lead @ Brella 1 month ago

Here at Brella we have a tradition. Twice a year, we gather the entire team together for a Brella Kickoff, and we do 3 valuable things:

  • We reflect on the past 6 months. What have we learned? What could have we done differently? Where did we succeed?
  • We plan our future. How will we develop as a company? How will we serve our customers even better?How does the future look?
  • We have fun. At Brella we have a strong people-first culture. That culture is the fuel for our success. That’s how we catch the best talents and that’s the reason we tackled Covid-19 last spring.

This year, though, our kick-off was a bit different. Covid is still here so a traditional physical event was out of question. If only there was a tool for hosting a virtual event!

Jokes aside, this was our chance to taste our own medicine and really feel what it's like to organize a virtual event. Or better yet, a hybrid event.

Eventually, the big day arrived and our Brellaneers were more than ready to try this new concept with our beloved Brella product. During that day we learned a lot. Both technical stuff with our product and strategic stuff with the kickoff presentations.

Also, we were quite surprised too. The hybrid event actually works pretty well. It’s not the same as a traditional live event, but it’s pretty close!

We used our own matchmaking tool for networking, which is always a big highlight of the kickoff. Especially now when our offices is quieter than usual, we love every opportunity we have to chat and connect with each other.

We also streamed each presentation to our virtual teammates and they could comment in real-time using our chat. It was great to hear questions from not only our physical audience, but our virtual one too.

I was super fortunate to have a ton of help from Mathias, our Sales Team Lead, and Maarit, our Key Account Manager. Without them, this kickoff wouldn't exist!

Mathias had some great words about the challenges and successes of planning a hybrid event:

"Brella kickoffs have historically been very fondly anticipated amongst all Brellaneers. But one week away from the kickoff, we found ourselves at the very beginning the second wave of the notorious 'Rona.

Nothing else to do than scrap our plans, turn our very much in-person event hybrid, whilst still trying to look for some activities that would allow the team to bond. Finding some Corona-friendly activities on a short notice is actually quite a challenge!

That being said, everything turned out well. It was another good reminder that the actual activities don't need to be planned to the dot when you're surrounded by awesome people. Both me and Maarit were very happy with the turnout all things considered, and this obviously couldn't have been done without the help of Hanna either."

And Maarit summed up her learnings for any aspiring hybrid event planner:

"I think my main takeaways were...

1. Have at least one person in charge of the in-person event and at least one (different!) person in charge of the virtual side

2. Always have someone dedicating their time to streaming the event

3. Plan (voluntary) activities for the virtual crowd during breaks."

We even had an awards ceremony! At Brella, we take our values seriously, and wanted to congratulate some of our teammates who were particularly exemplary during this year.

The whole team gave their nominations and strong arguments for each deserving recipient, and at the end we had 5 lucky winners:

  • Brella Innovation Award: Mikko Matikka, Head of Product
  • Brella Growth Award: Oleg Afanasev, Account Executive
  • Brella Spirit Award: Saija Portugal, Key Account Manager
  • Brella Collaboration Award: Aynur Atayeva, Customer Success Manager
  • Colleague of the Year: Jon Strutt, Content Marketing Strategist

Could this be our new tradition? Maybe! The only thing we know that we will keep organizing these company events no matter what. People first, Covid can’t stop us. :)

And if you want to be a part of this incredible, driven team, you’re in luck. We’re hiring!

Take a look at our positions and apply - we’d love to have you onboard!

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