What the Pandemic has Taught Me about People

One silver lining of this disruptive pandemic is that we’ve been forced to try new things with our team that we may not otherwise have been brave enough to try.

I want to say upfront that we by no means have it all figured out. We’ve made mistakes. We’ve been clumsy at times. And there still may be several innings left in the proverbial ball game.

That said, we’ve learned a lot because we’ve had to. Here are a few examples:

  • Of the ten new hires we made last year, only two were located in our home base city of Jackson. Five were in our New Orleans office and three were fully remote team members located in Atlanta, Chicago, and Canton, Ohio. It used to be challenging to recruit to a small market in the Deep South, but with that burden removed, it’s like a whole new world has opened up.
  • Of course, with this ability to recruit anywhere, that also means that our team members are being recruited by out-of-state companies who won’t require them to relocate. I am seeing a lot of sponsored geotargeted recruitment posts on platforms such as LinkedIn by the large national consulting firms. In my opinion, continued investment in our culture remains a critical part of minimizing turnover.
  • When your prospective new team members are located everywhere and anywhere, onboarding becomes critical. Our leadership team has been very intentional about continuously improving our onboarding experience and actively soliciting feedback from new team members on how we can do a better job. Seems like a no-brainer, right? But it requires a lot of hard work.
  • We are doubling-down on our diversity initiatives, by building a more robust pipeline of diverse candidates, funding scholarships and mentoring programs with HBCU’s, offering grants to nonprofits in under-represented areas, and supporting creativity in the BIPOC community. By building a diverse team and celebrating them for who they are, we create a culture of collaboration, which in turn, elevates our work and ultimately increases both Ramey’s and our clients’ successes in the marketplace.
  • We’ve had team members who want to move to another city – and we’re learning how to facilitate those moves to ensure that proven people with our tribal knowledge can continue to be successful members of the Ramey team. That’s not always easy, but so far, so good.
  • Ramey has a thriving “Boomerang Club” of people who have returned to Ramey for a second tour of duty. It’s always gratifying when people tell us that Ramey was the best place they ever worked – and that they would like to return. Even more gratifying to me recently has been the return of two former business partners, Bob and Jim, on a contract basis, to bring years of valuable experience back to the agency.
  • Finally, surveys show anywhere from 25% to upwards of 40% of workers are thinking about quitting their jobs. We’ve lost a few great people during the pandemic who wanted to try something completely new – and we’ll likely lose more over time. But if we can continue to focus on being a great place to work, one where each team member is encouraged to live into their fullest potential, I remain bullish that Ramey will continue to thrive.

Chris Ray, CEO

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