Johanna Penry | Mar. 24 2022
As the People Experience Manager, I find myself thinking about culture quite a bit. In the past year alone, The Many has almost doubled in size. With each new hire that comes through our virtual doors, it’s a combination of the work and our culture that will help our people thrive. This begs the question: what does it mean to build a successful hybrid culture, and how can it evolve as we do?
Buckle up – this is the part where we take the main topic, and add in the Merriam-Webster definition for context:
cul·ture | \ ˈkəl-chər \: (noun)
The ad hoc moments in our culture are like finding little nuggets of buried treasure, except you're finding them often and on Slack. Take the channel #photoshopbattle, for example: "Many would look at the name and think that it's a challenge to show off Photoshop chops (there is that element) but mostly it's a place where people can make jokes and commentary about our workplace and the world regardless of skills. It is a cultivating ground of culture in this weird from home era we are in," John Paul Brantly, Senior Designer.
Step 1. post a pic
Step 2. everyone photoshops the pic
Step 3. whatever photoshop gets the most trophy emojis basks in divine and eternal glory
You never know when the bell will ding, or what the png image will be, but you’re guaranteed to chuckle. And yes, even John Paul Brantly himself has been lovingly trolled– no one is safe.
We also have a ghost. Stay with us now. Thelma Todd was a famous actress in the 1930’s, who also happened to run a restaurant in what is now our Los Angeles office hub on the Pacific Coast Highway. Thelma was unfortunately and mysteriously murdered in a garage just above the office, and now we fondly refer to her as the office ghost. So there’s that.
We consistently find ways to integrate and pay tribute to Thelma, as a thank you for letting us use her old stomping grounds without haunting us in a way that would actually scare people off. “I started making custom slack Thelmojis™ to help us all precisely communicate what we mean in full 1930’s attitude on the daily. Recently, she’s actually popped up on slack with an account all her own, delivering good news, troubleshooting, and even advice here and there. I don’t believe in ghosts though, so somebody has to be running her account….. right??” remarks Frank Garguilo, Associate Creative Director. Here’s a sample of Frank’s most recent Themoji pack:
How we work
One of the first things you’ll notice about how we work together is that no one is too far out of reach. “Everyone at The Many has a seat at the table. Our culture is a direct nod to our name, The Many; we welcome everyone’s diverse perspectives because fresh ideas are what make us better and listening to the talented people we’ve hired remains key to our growth and success,” Courtney Burns, Director of Talent + Culture. Our organization is intentionally flat, emphasizing organizational structure over power. In fact, one of our core values is Passion Without Ego.
In terms of our daily operations, we won’t tell you where you have to dial in from, or when to start or stop working. “Everybody has different needs, different rhythms. We have an opportunity to embrace this. We are aiming to empower our teams to decide the exact hours they work best, and how they can best use office space as a place of intentional connection and collaboration. We continue to push on this, and to question conventional wisdom. Everything we are trying is learning and progress,” Todd Lombardo, Managing Director, Excellence. Read: no micromanaging. We trust our employees.
Transparency is also central to how we roll. “Every other Tuesday is Big Tuesday, agency leadership spends the day assessing the business and formulating plans for continued improvement. Each member of the leadership team will then send a recap of the discussion to the entire agency. There is a standing invitation to the entire agency to present any ideas to the leadership team. Twice a year we hold a special event called State of the Many. This is a deep dive into all goings-on in the agency. We’ll look back on where we’ve been and provide a roadmap for where we’re headed. We celebrate our people, our progress, and our work. Most importantly, we take time to kick it as a collective and reflect on where we are and where we’re going. Perhaps most important of all, we encourage people to just reach out if they have a question or something on their mind. Everyone has something to teach and everyone has something to learn,” Melissa Cabral, Head of Strategy.
This is just the highlight reel of our culture. It’s not often you work at a place that employees frequently describe as “special.” At The Many, we let our values and creativity pour into everything we do – and that makes magic.