Ballad Group

Five Ways Ballad is Staying Connected & Engaged

At Ballad we’re used to collaborating with our colleagues in remote locations to deliver a project or prepare a proposal. However, like most businesses our entire team shifted to working remotely due to the global COVID-19 pandemic and the physical distancing guidelines. In doing so, we quickly realized that we were not leveraging our internal tools to their full capacity, and there was an opportunity to better engage remote team members. At first, our Slack conversations picked up, and Zoom video conferencing replaced phone calls. Then our team quickly started new initiatives to help keep our team members connected and engaged such as:

  1. Zoom Hang-Outs: Pre-COVID-19, periodically on Fridays the Edmonton corporate office would host happy hour drinks to celebrate successes and start the weekend. Physical distancing quickly put an end to those catch-ups. In their place, we’ve had Zoom hangouts with trivia games, drawing competitions and drinks. One of the perks with gathering online is that team members in every location can now participate. 
  2. Coffee Chats: Over the last few weeks and months there has been a lot of changes in all aspects of our team members’ lives, with new information constantly impacting the way we work and live. To better understand how our team was coping with these changes, our HR Coordinator initiated a series of coffee chats to check in and engage every employee. It was an opportunity to learn about the experiences of each team member which better informed the management team as we continue to operate in this new reality.
  3. Active April: To keep us moving and to help prevent the COVID-‘15’ from setting in, we launched Active April. This was started by our Operations Manager and excel wizard – who made an elaborate point system that kept us accountable whether we were biking, doing stairs, yoga, or dance-dance revolution. The winner (notably our most senior participant) received a $100 gift card and a $100 donation in their name to a charity of their choice.
  4. Book Club: An idea that sat on the shelf for several months was finally initiated.  The book club was started to promote shared learning, morale, and encourage just a little less screen time. With a lot of interest and suggested books, we developed a quick employee survey to select the first read, landing on The Originals written by Adam Grant.
  5. Mental Health Check-ins. Previously at the beginning of meetings we’ve always done regular check-ins that resembled: what are your weekend plans or how is your week going? But now, our small talk has shifted to real conversations and concerns. It’s pretty normal to ask how is everyone’s mental health or how is everyone REALLY doing? And to not get the “good” or “busy” standard answer.

Overall, our team members are more connected. We’ve seen inside coworkers homes, heard how their plans and lives have changed, and we’ve rallied together to shift and adapt.

Now, as we enter these next phases of reopening Alberta, it’ll be interesting to see which of these initiatives will continue to bring our team together.