I am extremely proud to say that Clarus Commerce has been named by The Hartford Courant as a Connecticut Top Workplace for the eighth straight year!
That is quite an accomplishment that speaks to every person at Clarus and our company culture.
Clarus is obviously a great place to work.
Anyone who’s ever interviewed here, or who currently works here, tends to agree.
Each year The Hartford Courant recognizes a handful of companies and organizations in the Greater Hartford area for being a top workplace.
These companies have been recognized based solely on surveys (by third-party administrators) about their workplace and completed by their employees.
Being able to make the CT Top Workplaces’ list has been exciting, to say the least.
I feel strongly that culture is the reason you’ll join a company, and it’s ultimately the reason you’ll choose to stay.
And here’s how we’ve taken that seriously, especially with some of 2020’s biggest challenges.
Coping with COVID-19 Challenges
When I first heard we made the list for the eighth year in a row, I was energized and happy, but a small part of me was also amazed.
I know companies everywhere have had unexpected challenges during these “COVID times”, and we’re no exception.
So, to have won it while several months of the “evaluation period” happened during a pandemic really illustrates how people feel about working here during the great times and the challenging ones.
On March 13, we made the decision to have the entire company work remotely as the health and safety of our employees was our No. 1 concern. On the business side of things, Clarus continues to do well.
We’ve continued to hire and altered our onboarding process to accommodate video training for new hires, ensuring we’re setting them up for success.
Since March 13, we’ve had 14 new employees come on board successfully (11 were interviewed and hired during this time, and three were already hired and onboarded during this time).
But that’s not the only thing we’ve tried to do to keep the great momentum going.
A Great Company Culture Means Truly Listening
We immediately knew we’d have to meet regularly to develop good communications with employees, monitor our business, watch the pandemic, and work on planning for a future return.
We sent out a link where employees could respond anonymously with their concerns, fears, questions, etc., and we received a great response!
And then our CEO Tom conducted an employee meeting via video (all 130 of us at a time!) to go through it all.
Learn more about how our CEO Tom Caporaso was just named The Hartford Courant’s Top Workplaces winner for leadership in the category of small employers.
It included a presentation from our CFO about our company’s financials to put everyone’s minds at ease that we’re in a good spot from a business perspective. And Tom talked about safety and health being our No. 1 priority,
The meeting was an hour and the feedback was that people felt connected and encouraged.
We’ve continued these meetings regularly throughout our remote work cycle to encourage continuity and stability.
Finally, we’ve regularly surveyed employees throughout this time. One survey focuses on how they’re doing, what their challenges are, how they’d “rate” themselves at that moment, and how their workload has been.
There’s room for comments and to leave their name if they’d like, and to set up a time with People Operations to discuss any concerns.
Another survey has been focused on employees’ feelings toward eventually returning to the office (when would they be comfortable? What would need to happen first?).
These surveys have been helpful in driving decisions around the facility and an eventual physical return.
A Top Workplace is Willing to Adapt
I’m now part of a weekly video with the senior leaders to talk about the issues of the week.
The issues can range anywhere from business-related challenges, to what we’re hearing from employees, and a lot of great action items come from those meetings.
Here are some of them:
- We’ve held several fun online events like Trivia with anyone interested, via video, and using an outside company to facilitate, as well as Bingo.
- We implemented “2 p.m. Fridays”. All employees have been told they can log off at 2 p.m. every Friday.
- Some groups have scheduled regular “happy hours” with each other via our TEAMS app so that we can continue social interaction after hours with each other via video.
- Our CEO Tom implemented a “show us your workstation” link where people can choose to take pictures of their workstations at home and upload them to share with everyone.
- Employees can send our creative team video clips of them and their family doing something fun during the pandemic, or “high fiving” each other to celebrate a business win.
- We’ve sent out information on wellness webinars, articles, and activities that encourage people to think about their bodies and minds during the pandemic.
We’ve communicated that employees should absolutely be taking time for themselves.
Log off when you’ve had enough! Work with your manager if having non-traditional or reduced hours helps you
We’ve acknowledged the many challenges employees are facing which include having to home school or watch children while trying to work, having health concerns with family members or themselves, along with the mental and emotional stress connected to all of this.
Our overall message has been: Tell us what we can do. What do you need? Don’t be afraid to ask or tell us when you’re struggling.
The Best Companies to Work for are Resilient
None of us knew what to expect when we left the office on March 12. Here we are, six months later, and still working remotely while the company continues to flourish.
Before the pandemic, some people worked from home on certain days each week or when they had appointments, etc.
But we never had everyone work from home at the same time for any length of time. There were questions to be answered in all our minds.
And Clarus has answered them in a most effective and positive fashion.
The Clarus team has shown great resiliency and demonstrated that the same work they were doing in the office can get done at home.
Most importantly, we’re continuing to do things like our mentor program, performance reviews, etc.
Flexibility has been a key company attribute before the pandemic and, most certainly, during it.
By placing family and health before business, we think it’s smart to keep certain things in place that make people feel comfortable and show there are consistency and support.
Challenging Times Make This Recognition More Special
Being named one of the Top Workplaces in CT this year is more special simply because of the challenges surrounding the pandemic.
I think every company has had to learn as they go through this since these are unprecedented times.
I’m very proud of our commitment to our employees, and to maintaining the culture that has become the fabric of the success of Clarus.
We attract and retain the best people, and it shows in everything we do.
The Top Workplaces award is just one piece of the puzzle, but one which has been noticed and appreciated regularly by candidates who interview with us.
I’m excited to see what the next eight years bring Clarus!
If Clarus sounds like a place where you’d like to work, check out our culture video below and head over to our career opportunities page.