Before it became the centerpiece of week-long festivities, MediaAlpha’s all-hands meeting was a simple opportunity to practice the transparency we preach. In a single meeting, our company’s executive leadership team would share important updates about the future of our business. This way, our team members would be better prepared to use their creativity and expertise to help us solve our biggest challenges.
In the years since, our all-hands meeting has evolved into a quarterly All Hands Week that brings together team members from across the country for a week of team-building, knowledge sharing, and good, old-fashioned fun. Together, we’ve developed our skills, formulated our company plans, and enjoyed a range of in-person and virtual adventures, from wine-tasting tours and professional sporting events to pasta-making classes and canvas painting parties. And while COVID-19 has prevented us from being together at our Los Angeles headquarters, we’ve been creative in adapting this important company tradition to our present remote reality.
Here’s a little more about how we do All Hands Week and what it means to us here at MediaAlpha.
All Hands Week helps our team members make the most of our scarce time together
When we’re all able to be together in person, a typical All Hands Week begins when our team members from outside Los Angeles arrive early in the week. On Tuesday, everyone comes together at our headquarters for our quarterly company-wide meeting, where our executive leadership brings everyone up to speed on how the company is doing and where it’s going.
Through Thursday, the office serves as a hub of activity. With everyone all in one place, our team members are able to attend trainings, guest speaker events, team meetings, and presentations from experts across our company. These events are a great opportunity for us all to get on the same page and learn from one another.
During the evenings, we do everything we can to show people a good time. Each All Hands Week includes a happy hour, a big dinner out at a nice restaurant, and a trip somewhere fun. In the past, we’ve gone to NBA, NFL, and NHL games, among other destinations. All Hands Week is MediaAlpha’s quarterly opportunity to create lasting memories and show team members how much they’re appreciated—so our People Team always goes the extra mile to make it special.
We do all this because our culture has been crucial to our success, and we know that the investments we make in it during All Hands Week will pay off down the road. When our team members feel connected to the company and each other, they’re more comfortable giving and receiving the honest feedback that allows us to reach our full potential.
Adapting to COVID-19: How MediaAlpha’s People Team has taken the All Hands experience virtual.
As you might imagine, COVID-19 has made all of this…rather challenging. In the months since the pandemic began, our People Team has worked hard to translate the All Hands experience to our new, all-virtual work environment.
Beyond merely moving the meetings to Zoom, this has required the team to coordinate a shipping operation to send people the items they need to celebrate from home. For instance, team members who participated in our virtual paint party were mailed a canvas, brushes, and small paint tubes to create their masterpieces.
The pandemic has also sent the People Team in search of a delicate balance that creates opportunities for us to connect with one another without burning people out with Zoom fatigue. Initially, they worked to replicate the in-person experience with a jam-packed schedule of virtual social and educational events, which left some attendees feeling a little Zoomed out. Moving forward, the team has tinkered with the formula to create an experience that builds relationships in the spirit of All Hands Week, while still providing necessary breaks from video chat.
Despite all these challenges, the People Team has found ways to create engaging events that live up to the expectations set by our in-person gatherings. For instance, many of us learned to make ravioli from an 84-year-old pasta chef broadcasting live from her kitchen in Italy this past September. The event was such a hit that MediaAlpha’s head of people operations Anna Goranson says it tops anything we’ve done at our in-person events.
We’re looking forward to making more memories in the future
While it’s unclear when we’ll all be able to be together in person again, one thing is certain: our next in-person All Hands will be one to remember.
“As soon as we can safely come together, the first All Hands back in the office will be the best that anyone has ever seen,” Goranson said. “With our IPO and all the success we had as a company last year, we have a lot to celebrate. The next All Hands is going to rock the house.”
Until then, she and the rest of the People Team will keep working to put on virtual events that capture the transparent, appreciative, and collective spirit of All Hands Week.