Looking Back at AnswerFirst’s Remote Employee Culture in 2017

AnswerFirst Staff in Holiday Hats

2017 has proven to be another successful year for our remote CSP culture.

Our volunteer Culture Committee members did a great job of being creative in their ideas to make sure our stay-at-home staff had opportunities to stay connected to the office staff this year. Our goal was to have at least one culture activity each quarter that was in line with our company vision “AnswerFirst envisions a healthy world filled with happy people enjoying exceptional customer care.” We started off the year with a company-wide healthy step challenge. We encouraged everyone to get out and walk to a healthier version of themselves. Our staff members reported their steps each week. The committee sent them words of encouragement plus health tips throughout the 1st quarter of 2017. At the end of the quarter we recognized one overall winner for the most improved who received a Fitbit to hopefully continue the healthier lifestyle. Everyone else who participated received an AnswerFirst water bottle. We also declared February 14th AnswerFirst CSP Appreciation Day. We sent each of our remote staff a care package with some snack size popcorn and some heart-shaped candy. Each package had a card signed by each of us here in the office to say “We just popped in to show you some love and appreciation from the office.”

During our 2nd quarter the committee made it a point to add engaging daily questions to our employee group page on Facebook, the AnswerFirst Lounge. We learned a great deal and shared a great deal with each other, which is exactly what the AnswerFirst Lounge was created to do. This private member group on Facebook is our virtual version of the water cooler in a traditional office environment. Additionally, we did word search puzzles for some added fun on our internal Intranet.

Twice a year we hold offsite events so that remote employees can interact with the rest of AnswerFirst’s staff in person. Our first ever offsite Family Fun day was held in our 3rd quarter. We had a day of bowling and family fun that was a huge success and we had a great turnout. We paid for anyone unable to attend but who wanted to participate to bowl at their local alley to so that all employees had the opportunity to share in the fun. We had face painting for the kids, a photo booth, game passes for the arcade, of course lots of bowling and plenty of food and drinks for everyone.  Many great memories were made during this event!

In the spirit of giving back, AnswerFirst had a bloodmobile at the bowling alley with some of our employees making donations and some patrons at the bowling alley gave blood, too. We also began Meme Craze Monday in our AnswerFirst Facebook Lounge. Every Monday, we start a new topic to share your favorite meme to encourage positive interactions between all of our staff. It also helps to break up typically mundane Mondays.

In the 4th quarter, we had two memorable events. In October, we participated in National Customer Service Week. Our company was divided up into 6 teams. Each team consisted of remote CSPs (both local and not) and office staff. We had a daily theme for each day Monday through Friday and a daily scavenger hunt task to complete. We received points for every tasks our team participated in and at the end of the week the winning team, of course, had bragging rights as the winning team for the next year. That team also received an extra point for every member on their team. Each point received during the week earned an entry into our drawing at the end of the week. We did 5 drawings which were featured on our Facebook page and gave away gift cards and movie passes.

AnswerFirst Employees at 2017 Holiday Party and GEM AwardFinally, we had our end of the year party at our corporate headquarters. This year we did a red carpet event to pair with our GEM Award presentation. Each year during our holiday party we recognize our overall GEM Award recipient. While this was only our second year for our GEM Award program, it greatly increased in popularity over last year.

Our GEM Award is a way for employees to recognize themselves or a coworker for “going the extra mile” to help someone. Throughout the year, we receive nominations for team members who have gone above and beyond the call of duty. Their actions might be anything from helping a coworker, to assisting a client or going out of the way to help a caller in need. Our Culture Committee members review all of the anonymous entries and select the top 5. Then, a company-wide vote, also anonymous, chooses our top 3 who are revealed during the GEM Award event.

This year we also recognized some other top performers in each department. We had a Spotlight Award, Team Player Award, Employee of the Year & Rookie of the Year.  We also recognized the best business owners by awarding our very own Matt and Penny Herron as our Outstanding Business Owners in 2017. The event was filled with red carpet photo opportunities, food, fun and great social interactions with all employees who were able to attend.