Let’s begin with a story: in a municipality on the outskirts of St. Louis about 3 years ago, an ambitious CEO took over a direct marketing company. He had dreams of creating a company culture that went unmatched throughout the land and inspired employees near and far. He believed in the idea of creating enjoyment and fulfillment at work and he began his mission by reading heaps of books to educate himself and his loyal subjects. From there, he implemented programs, encouraged associate-run committees and scheduled monthly activities to keep his people happy, healthy and engaged. And everybody lived happily ever after. The end.
Well, not exactly. However, most of the above tale is in fact true, and it’s something we are very proud of here at Gabriel Group. Although our company culture is relatively young and still growing and developing every day, we’ve already learned some important lessons along the way. Continue reading below to take a look at some of our favorite takeaways we’ve picked up so far throughout our journey.
- Insert buzzword here: Transparency
We know, we know…we’re sick of hearing it too. “Transparency” has become overused and beat to the ground when it comes to culture building, but as cliché as it has become, it’s still vital to keep in mind. Closed doors and office whispers are no way to promote trust and pride in an organization – so break the pattern and stop letting it happen. One way Gabriel Group combats this is by holding a weekly All Company Meeting every Monday morning in order to get everybody together in one place where we discuss financials, upcoming events and company news. Most importantly, leadership opens the floor to anyone who wants to contribute or ask questions. Creating this environment on a weekly basis has made a massive difference in associates feeling heard, valued and a part of the bigger conversations.
- Actually commit to your core values
There is a good chance that all of us have been a part of an organization at one point or another who spouts language around their core values – but at the end of the day, it seems like hypocrisy is missing from the lineup. And hey – nobody is perfect, including us. However, this major disconnect can lead to huge issues if not addressed properly, including turnover, resentment and potentially total business collapse. At Gabriel Group, our core values (Warrior Spirit, Servant’s Heart and Fun-Loving Attitude) are a part of daily conversations when it comes to our business practices, successes and especially our failures. Let your core values truly be your guiding path – even if it’s scary – and believe us, it is. Holding ourselves accountable is a daily struggle, but worth every second when we can look back and see the exact road that led us to where we are today.
- Celebrate, celebrate, celebrate
Come visit Gabriel Group for a day and you’re sure to hear at least one person say, “When’s the next party?” We take Fun-Loving Attitude seriously when it comes to commemorating accomplishments, holidays and especially each other. From Thirsty Thursdays to 12 Days of Christmas and monthly Associate Appreciation Luncheons, we make it a point to bring all of our associates together and take time to simply enjoy what we do every day. The result? Associates who celebrate you back. Whether it’s on Glassdoor or in our “What’s On Your Mind?” opinion box, we receive amazingly positive feedback about the efforts we put forth to make Gabriel Group a great place to work. And don’t forget the bonus of having fun at work every single week without fail!
- Differentiate between perks and culture
A big mistake companies can often make is focusing too much on flashy perks while ignoring the way employees feel day to day in their positions. Many times, updated office spaces, unlimited beverages and Ping Pong tables can shroud larger bottlenecks that are plaguing an organization’s culture. The fact of the matter is is that free beer doesn’t create open lines of communication between departments, just as good intention doesn’t automatically increase revenue. Be deliberate about what you offer to your people and make sure you’re not sending mixed messages between the extras you provide and the culture you are fostering. Some perks at GG include a one-month sabbatical after 6 years, one paid volunteer day a year and the ever-popular free popcorn in the breakroom (sometimes less really is more).
- Never underestimate the power of giving back
Research shows that more and more job seekers, particularly millennials, value prospective employers who make a conscious effort to give back to their community. Of any tips or tricks that you take away from this article, pay attention to this one. Gabriel Group participates in an internal Pay-It-Forward program where each year, associates vote on one local nonprofit organization to raise money for. Our goal has continued to increase to $15,000 for this year’s nominee, Missouri Veterans Endeavor. More than luncheons, activities or new initiatives, it’s safe to say Pay-It-Forward fundraisers are everyone’s favorite part of our culture at GG. The generosity we see from our associates when it comes to giving back to our partner organizations every single year continues to blow us away. Point blank: buy in to charitable giving and you can’t go wrong.
Our story here at Gabriel Group is not unique or uncommon – but what we do know is that it’s special to us. The last few years have been irreplaceable as we have found our footing and have continued to progress towards the culture we aspire to grow here at GG. The biggest lesson we can share with you is short and sweet – enjoy the ride. There will be amazing ups and there will be disheartening downs, but if your heart is in the right place to create a place where everyone is excited and proud to be, your happily ever after might not be as far off as you might think.
To learn more about GG’s culture, call us at (314) 743-5700 and ask for Kelsey!
Gabriel Group is proud to announce that it has implemented a handful of organizational changes in order to better align the company’s goals with the needs of its clients.
Charlie Pitlyk, formerly Executive Vice President, has been promoted to President, CISO, where he will continue to evaluate production capabilities and maximize revenue while also overseeing business operations and ensuring that the company-wide security program is implemented effectively.
Steve Koch makes a move from Vice President of Account Management to Vice President of Sales, where he will shift his focus to overseeing the sales team in addition to developing strategies that will identify marketing opportunities and planning for new project development.
Crystal Glaenzer and Kim Brown have both advanced to the role of Director of Account Management, where they will oversee day-to-day interaction with nonprofit and corporate customers, respectively. Ashley Dalton has also been named the Director of Client Solutions, where she is responsible for facilitating new business processes while reviewing and improving existing client projects.
The biggest change of the transition comes from the creation of an entirely new Gabriel Group department: Agency Services. Renee Durnin, CFRE will lead the new division that will be responsible for cultivating and executing creative strategy, including overall campaign development and graphic design. Traci Basden, CFRE also joins the Agency Services team, transitioning from her role in sales to Senior Fundraising Strategist in order to serve as a liaison between Gabriel Group’s nonprofit account management team and their clients to develop successful fundraising campaigns.
“We are thrilled about the new direction these changes will take us in the future,” says CEO, Dave Hawkins. “Our leadership team feels very confident about the adjustments that were made throughout the company in order to create a more client-focused structure that will best support both Gabriel Group and its partners moving forward. We can’t wait to see what’s next.”
Gabriel Group is proud to announce that it has officially began conducting a substantial audit that will measure the company’s print and delivery management systems relevant to security, availability, confidentiality and processing integrity. Upon completion, scheduled for September 2017, Gabriel Group will be SOC2 Certified, aligned to the Health Information Trust (HITRUST) Alliance Common Security Framework (CSF).
The HITRUST CSF is a comprehensive and certifiable security framework used by healthcare organizations and their business associates to efficiently approach regulatory compliance and risk management. The purpose of this process is to create a common security baseline of validated security controls that encompass many well-known standards, including HIPAA, ISO, COBIT, PCI and NIST. Gabriel Group will be one of the first marketing companies in the country to have attained SOC2, aligned to HITRUST when the audit is completed later this year.
“We are very excited to begin our journey towards SOC2, HITRUST-CSF certification,” says CEO, Dave Hawkins. “This progression is not only huge for us as a company, but will be extremely beneficial to our clients – especially in the healthcare and financial services industries. First-rate data security is our top priority when it comes to every single organization that we work with, and having this industry-recognized accreditation to add to our arsenal will be a big step towards achieving our goals.”
“Gabriel Group is proud of our commitment of complying with the most highly renowned controls and standards in the business in order to assist our clients in the best way possible. The future looks bright for us as we continue our mission towards attaining our certification.”