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How A Best Place to Work is Maintaining its Culture 

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As many organizations are working from home, many leaders are asking, how can we keep our staff engaged, and maintain our culture through this turbulent time.

We definitely don't have all the answers, and we are continuing to figure out what works for us, however as one of Fortune Magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work For," a two time winner of Inc. Magazine's "Best Workplace," and a six time winner of Crain's Chicago Business' "Best Companies to Work For" we thought we'd share what we have been doing during our first week of quarantine in the hopes that it sparks some ideas for other organizations. We will continue to add to this blog as the weeks go on - so come back for more inspiration! 

Updated November 20, 2020 

10 Days of Giving  



LaSalle is kicking off the holiday season with 10 Days of Giving! With virtual and outdoor, socially distanced volunteer opportunities, LaSallians, friends and family are volunteering for more than 11 causes in the first two weeks of December. Stay tuned next week to learn more about which causes we’re supporting and how!  

 

LaSalle Veteran Network 



LaSalle Network is proud to announce its commitment to helping more than 1,000 veterans land employment in the next year through its newest program, the LaSalle Veteran Network. To learn more, click here 

 

Thanksliving Virtual Cooking Class 



In any other year, we’d be having our 4th annual Thanksliving dinner at Manny’s Deli where we’d get together over good food and good company. This year, we put a twist on our tradition to enjoy tasty meals together virtually. Chef Carol, former Capitol Grill chef, hosted a cooking demo on a few of her favorite Thanksgiving side dishes including a cauliflower casserole and apple praline cobbler...we’re drooling! 

 

Canned Food Drive 



LaSallians broke out into teams for a friendly competition, raising money for a canned food drive! Teams had two days to gather donations and team leaders used the funds raised to shop for nonperishables, donating 5,061 items to the Greater Chicago Food Depository and $2,200 to Feeding America. As a whole, LaSallians helped to feed almost 80,000 people 

 

Super Market Sweep 



After gathering donations, team leaders brought the whole company along virtually as they shopped for nonperishables during our weekly all-company meeting.  

 

Halloween Contest Winners 



The people have spoken! LaSallians, friends, family and followers tuned into our virtual Halloween costume contest and who took first place? The cast of Schitt’s Creek! Click here to see the rest of these creative costumes. 

 

Award Winners and Promotions 



We celebrated those who went above and beyond in the third quarterproducing great results and growing in their role. Check out which LaSallians earned promotions and titles to some of our most sought-after awards here! 

 

Updated October 23, 2020 

Virtual Bridal Shower:



We celebrated LaSallian bride-to-be Jenna Spathis with a virtual wedding shower for her and fiancé, Max. The shower was complete with games and a special champagne and treat delivery! 

In-Person Management Meeting: 



LaSalle Network’s management team safely came together to brainstorm, strategize, and focus on closing out the year strong! Thanks to our very own LaSallian, Jason Siegel, for hosting us on his family’s farm and pumpkin patch, Cottonwood Farm 

Fall Fest:



While we have been dedicated to maintaining our culture virtually, LaSallians came together in person for the first time since quarantine for a socially distant Fall Fest. It was not only great seeing one another in person again, but also great to meet the many new puppies and babies of LaSalle!  

Halloween Costume Contest: 



While in the office, LaSallians get into the Halloween spirit with our annual costume contest and being remote won’t stop us from continuing this tradition! After dressing up for a company-wide town hall, our Facebook followers will decide which individual and which team had the best costume. Cast your vote on October 30! 

Canned Food Drive:  



As a part of our annual Thanksgiving charitable drive, we have set up boxes at each office for LaSallians to drop off canned goods to donate. In November, teams of LaSallians will then volunteer to package up and deliver the goods to families in need around the Chicagoland area 

Q4 Kick Off:



To kick off Q4, we hosted a virtual all company meeting to recap the last 90 days, share goals, and discuss what’s to come in the months ahead. With so many LaSallians going above and beyond to help grow the business, we also celebrated exciting awards and promotions. 

Instagram Takeover:



Our very own LaSallian of the Year, Katie Knotts, took over our Instagram for our virtual Q4 Kick Off! We tuned in to watch her cranberry juice challenge (bike edition), see her WFH outfit, and celebrate virtually with all award winners.  

LaSalle ThemeSong:  



What says ‘I bleed green’ better than a personalized, LaSalle theme song? Our song was played for the first time during our virtual Q4 Kick Off and every Thursday since to celebrate ReBirthdays (aka LaSallian work anniversaries). You can make your own song on SongFinch.com. 

Team Meet Up at the Park: 



For the first time in months, one of our teams all gathered at a park for some social distanced bonding time. We got a mini lesson on jewelry making and put our lessons to work – some turning out better than others :) 

Time Off to Campaign: 



LaSalle offers every employee paid time off to campaign for a political cause or candidate of their choice. While some in-person campaigning may be limited, click here to read more about how you can get involved. 

Interviewing LaSallians: 

Contrary to popular belief, working remotely can make it easier to get to know colleagues, especially coworkers who once worked in a different office or on a different team. During our company-wide townhalls, our CEO picks out three LaSallians of varying tenure and teams to interviewSimple conversation starters like where did you grow up, what is something you enjoyed working on this year, and what’s your favorite sports team allows all 200+ LaSallians on the call to get to know them better.  

 Virtual Poster Board:

 

While in the office, teams would make posters or cards when celebrating special events like ReBirthdays, and include favorite memories. To keep this tradition alive virtually, LaSallians are using Kudo Board to submit photos and notes for a special occasion. 

 

Sharing Inspirational Videos:



As a company, we watched a short video by Simon Sinek discussing the challenges millennials in the workforce are faced with today, and how it has impacted their career success and networking abilities. The video shared highly relevant advice and tips on how to build resilience and how to form better relationships with coworkersClick here to watch. 

 

Updated August 22, 2020

LaSallemas 2020: 



August 17, 2020 marks our 22nd year in business! Each year we have a week of celebrations leading up to this special day that we call “LaSallemas (aka our company’s anniversary), typically filled with surprises, games, performances and happy hours. This year, we had to improvise and recreated the celebrations virtuallyWe hosted daily virtual competitions hosted by varying LaSallians across all 5 of our offices. 

Eye Spy:



I spy with my LaSallian eye...someone with a Santa hat on! The first 5 people to scroll through their Zoom screens to find the hidden LaSallian were the winners 

Never Have I Ever:



We broke out into Zoom Rooms to play a LaSalle-themed “Never Have I Ever” game. Have you ever...won an award? Met your spouse or best friend at LaSalle? The first person with all ten fingers down definitely bleeds green! 

Caption This: 



We dove into the archives to find classic photos from the last 22 years. LaSallians submitted their most creative captions, with secret judges voting on whose was best.  

Scavenger Hunt: 



We hosted an at-home scavenger hunt via Zoom. LaSallians sought out different items from around their homes like LaSalle t-shirts, something sticky and something that smells. The first one back to the computer with these items was the winner! 

Team Videos: 

We believe that laughing together makes teams stronger! Each team within LaSalle created funny videos to share with the company, from parodies of popular TV shows to reenacting popular TikTok videos with a LaSalle spin.  

Home Deliveries: 

A champagne toast is a LaSalle tradition to celebrate the anniversary of our inception, and this year, our c-suite traveled to each LaSallian to deliver the supplies for a successful virtual cheers that evening.  

Talent Show: 

We’re a talented bunch! Keeping with LaSallemas tradition, we hosted a talent show via Zoom. Some highlights included an acapella ‘Kokomo, stand-up comedy, and song parodies. 

Memories Shared: 



Each day in August leading up to LaSallemas, our longest-tenured employees shared their favorite LaSalle memories, from the first day LaSalle opened in a cramped office with a small-but-mighty team, to incentive trips and LaSallemases past. Not only were the stories emotional and hysterically funny, it was a great way for newer LaSallians to learn more about the stories and people who have molded and shaped LaSalle to be the company it is today. 

Day of Giving

This year we decided to make LaSalle’s anniversary a day to give back to our community. Every LaSallian was given time off on August 17th to serve either in person (safely!) or virtually, based on their own preference and comfort levels.  

With 200 sets of hands-on-deck, we contributed 1,000 hours of community service to benefit charities such as Pitch in for the Parks, Center for Enriched Living, Aspire, Kenneth Young Center, Special Olympics and Cristo Rey 

Updated June 18, 2020

BBQ

As Chicago begins to reopen, we are finding ways to safely see one another. This week, our leadership team hosted a drive-in cookout for LaSallians to grab lunch and catch up with coworkers...6-ft. apart, of course! 

Virtual ReBirthdays

On everyone’s work anniversary, which we call ReBirthdays, the company gets together to celebrate the employee’s hard work over the last 365 days with in-office celebrations that include speeches, decorations, and catered in snacks. While we work remotely, some families have taken the tradition on themselves! 

Pictionary

One of our teams spiced up a virtual happy hour with a game of Pictionary! You can do so by utilizing the ‘white board’ function on Zoom or with an app called HouseParty. Could you guess this is a pinata? 

 

Updated June 11, 2020

Diversity & Inclusion Discussion 

LaSalle is built on a caring and compassionate culture where we are encouraged to speak openly and embrace difficult conversations. In a companywide Townhallour CEO Tom Gimbel and CHRO Sirmara Campbell addressed questions submitted by LaSallians regarding the social unrest in our country.  

Sharing Wins 

While working remotely, it is even more important to share successes and celebrate one another’s hard work. A few of our teams here at LaSalle have started a daily email chain sharing successes with one another. Another team starts their weekly meetings by each sharing something non-work related that they are excited about or looking forward to. 

Buzzfeed Quizzes 

Have you ever wondered what Friends character your boss is? One of our teams started their weekly meeting with a Buzzfeed quiz to find out! 

Virtual House Party

One close-knit team found a way to enjoy one another’s company virtually through the HouseParty app. This app allows the team to video chat and play games like Heads Up, Trivia or Pictionary. 

Poker Night  

LaSalle's company trip to Vegas may have gotten canceled, but we're bringing the poker table to the dining room with a virtual game night. 

Updated June 4, 2020

Country Western Night 

While we can't visit our favorite bars and restaurants right now, we brought the ambiance of a LaSalle favorite, Bub City, to a virtual happy hour! 

Share your Station 

After 12 weeks of working from home, we shared photos of different, creative workstations LaSallians have set up for themselves. By moving off the couch and away from the kitchen table, we’re getting a much-needed change of scenery. 

Summer Bucket List for Kids   

LaSallian parents swapped ideas with one another for keeping their kids entertained and enjoying their summer. Balloon tennis or outdoor camping, anyone? View the full list here! 

Updated May 28, 2020


Orange Theory Class

Finding ways to get active as a team has been one of LaSalle's favorite culture-building activities. Back by popular demand, Jayme and John Schrieffer led an Orange Theory HIIT workout via Zoom.


One-on-One Walks 

Checking in with one another face-to-face while remaining safe has been one important way managers are staying connected with their team. Some managers who live nearby team members have switched their one-on-ones to socially distanced walks.



Wellness Wednesday

One of our teams has implemented a 'Wellness Wednesday' challenge to each reach out to different coworkers each week to remain connected. This week, the team tried something different by swapping recipients of their reach outs in order to connect with new people they may not have originally known well.




Updated May 21, 2020

How Well Do You Know your Vice Presidents?




LaSallians tuned in for a virtual happy hour and game night to see who knows their vice presidents best. VPs shared fun facts about themselves and we guessed whose surprising fact was whose. One of our VP's started their professional career shucking corn...do you know which one? Next week, we're playing how well do you know your Executives!




Positive Affirmations:


Encouraging another person is often beneficial for your own mental heath, as well! After a Zoom meeting, LaSallians each sent an encouraging note to the person whose face was on the screen below them. This was a fun way to reconnect with coworkers and provided an uplifting message to relieve stress.


Pay it Forward: 

Encouraging another person is often beneficial for your own mental heath, as well! After a Zoom meeting, LaSallians each sent an encouraging note to the person whose face was on the screen below them. This was a fun way to reconnect with coworkers and provided an uplifting message to relieve stress.



Virtual Onboarding Happy Hour:

 Onboarding remotely can be tough, but we've found ways to get our new hires involved in our company culture right off the bat! We celebrated our newest LaSallian, Christian Canas, with a virtual happy hour.

Book Club:

Working from home couldn't keep our book club from meeting! LaBookClub met virtually to discuss 'The Tattooist of Auschwitz.'



Updated May 14

Virtual Baby Shower

We celebrated our LaSallian moms-to-be with a virtual tea party. While we typically would have thrown them a baby shower in the office, we were still able to play games and "shower" them with our support via Zoom.


Charity Events


While in-person events have been put on hold, LaSalle is accepting the #moveforthekids challenge from afar! May 15 - 17 Lurie Children's Hospital is hosting a virtual workout challenge with live classes, an independent 5k run and a toast to our healthcare heroes. To join in and support the cause, visit Move for the Kids here.


Mental Health Resources

May is Mental Health Awareness month, and we're sharing our favorite ways to reduce stress and anxiety. By sharing resources and mental health tips, LaSallians are supporting one another from afar. Some LaSalle favorites: getting outside, being active, learning a new skill and relaxing with a face mask.


Peloton Challenge

We have more than a few competitive LaSallians in our midst, and what better way to get active than by starting a friendly competition? Those in the office with a Peloton bike have kept each other accountable for getting their exercise in by starting a monthly cycling challenge.


Start a Meeting with a Stretch

We brought energy back to a gloomy morning by starting our company wide Zoom call with a group stretch


Updated May 8, 2020




Mixology Class: 




We hosted a virtual cocktail making class straight from the kitchen of one of LaSalle’s favorite mixologists, Lisa Mosher! The menu included margaritas, mojitos and her signature Sunset Martini. Cheers!  




Cooking Class: 




LaSalle’s resident “chef” Claire Challenger gave us a virtual cooking class for lunch on Tuesday. On the menu was chicken tacos with her signature garlic-herb crema.  




Team bonding:




Teams hosted trivia game nights or guessing whose baby picture is whoseOthers have used Microsoft Teams polls throughout the day for fun “Would You Rather” or “Who’s Most Likely to...” questions. Some popular polls included “Would you rather give up pizza or ice cream?” and Who on this team would be most likely to get a face tattoo?” 




Dance Class: 




We broke a sweat while breaking it down in a virtual hip-hop dance class! Thanks to the LaSallian with the smoothest moves, Jess Rico, for teaching us a few of her signature steps.  



Mother’s Day Celebration: 




CEO Tom Gimbel typically sends a letter in the mail to thank the mothers of LaSallians on Mother’s Day, but this year he did so over Zoom. We hosted a virtual Mother’s Day Zoom call for employees and their moms to say thank you for their guidance and support during this challenging time. 






Daily Town Hall Meetings: 

We have a standing company-wide Town Hall meeting every morning, where all employees, we call ourselves LaSallians, log on via Zoom (a video meeting for those who aren't familiar with Zoom). All employees are asked to join via video not just audio so we really feel a sense of connection seeing one another face to face. The Town Hall is led by our CEO, Tom Gimbel. He shares pertinent information and updates, and gives employees an opportunity to ask questions.  Tom talks about these town halls with Inc. Magazine here. 

Morning Stand Ups & Wraps:  

At the start of each workday, each team meets for a Stand Up, they use Zoom to see one another via video, and discuss each person's priorities for the day, and any roadblocks they're facing. This updates the rest of the team on what each person is working on. It not only encourages collaboration and can streamline projects, it also gives the team a sense of who needs help. At the end of the day, the crew gets together again for a Wrap via Zoom video, and shares what they achieved. Stand up and wraps help keep everyone accountable to one another.

Virtual Happy Hours: 

While in office, we typically host several celebrations weekly for employee’s work anniversaries or accomplishments. Whave kept this tradition going by joining one another virtually, beverage of choice in hand.  

Theme Days: 

This week was going to be our 11th annual March Madness party, where we host clients and contacts at our headquarters to watch basketball, have hotdogs and nachos, and eat endless chili from our chili cook off contest. Since this year both the NCAA tournament, and our party was canceled, we’re keeping the spirit alive by each repping our teams from afar. Theme days like these give people something to look forward to and definitely encourages a little trash talking... :) 


Hats off to our fifth week of working from home! We're keeping Town Hall interesting with theme days.


While Wrigley Field may be closed, we’re still celebrating. We surprised CEO Tom Gimbel for his birthday by all sporting his favorite team: The Cubs! 

Virtual Lunches:



For those of us missing our group Chipotle runs, a video call lunch has been a unique alternative. Some LaSallians have posted their lunch times on our all company Microsoft Teams chat to include whomever wants to join!

 

Communication Channels: 



Communication is key while working at a distance, especially across multiple teams, states and time zones as many people ventured back to their hometowns to be with family. Besides our daily Zoom video meetings, we have incorporated our company-wide Microsoft Teams chat to share pertinent information and a channel specifically for "Work from home" to share tips on working from home successfully. This doesn't only include work talk or current events...we also have a Teams channels featuring the dogs of LaSalle and the cats of LaSalle.

 

Sunrise Yoga: 


We started Work From Home Week Two with a virtual sunrise yoga class, led by our very own, instructor certified LaSallian, Kristin Dozier! Greeting the new week refreshed and re-energized was the perfect start to a Monday morning and reinforced the importance of a morning routine.


Ice Cream Social: 






LaSallians love their treats! While we haven't been able to celebrate in the office with our regular snack days commemorating a ReBirthday or holiday, on Tuesday night LaSallians tuned into a group Zoom with their favorite treats in hand. Ranging from Chicago's favorite ice cream, Jenni's, to Ben & Jerry's, dairy-free, and plant based treats, we snacked together and shared stories. Casual connection like this keeps the LaSalle culture and camaraderie alive!


Virtual Piano Bar



We had our bi-weekly virtual happy hour with a twist on Thursday night, featuring a musically talented friend of LaSalle, Jim Schiffer, performing our favorite songs. LaSallians gathered their cooped ups kids, spouses, roommates and pets to join in the fun and dance and sing along. The crowd favorite? Billy Joel's Piano Man, of course!



Celebrating our Interns:

We have been blessed with a small but mighty crew of college interns from various colleges. When our office decided to go remote, all of them chose to stay on with us and continue their work from home, as well. With school closures and graduations postponed for the time being, we hopped on a video call to celebrate them virtually.


Trivia Night:


Week three of quarantine has us WIGGING out! We have a few trivia fiends here at LaSalle, so what better way to celebrate the start of April than a LaSalle themed virtual trivia night? Throw in a few costumes and your beverage of choice for the perfect mid-week morale boost.


Virtual Surprise Bachelorette: 




While some major life events have had to be put on hold due to quarantine, LaSallians can’t let anyone get away with NOT celebrating. Our marketing team was able to host a surprise Zoom bachelorette party to cheers our bride-to-be; champagne, sashes and all.




Chalk the Walk: 




A few LaSallians living in nearby neighborhoods left notes in sidewalk chalk outside the homes of coworkers. Bonus tip? Bring your kids along to leave a picture, as well!




Bingo: 






We hosted a virtual Bingo night featuring quarantine themed squares. How many have you completed?


Pen Pals:


We teamed up with several nearby nursing homes to forge new friendships and start a pen pal program. While seniors are isolated in their rooms, we found a way to spread joy with notes, crossword puzzles and a few crayon drawings from our LaSallians in Training.




Dance Party:


How do you start your days while working from home? To keep our energy up, we're sharing a pump up song of the day. It's surprising what a few shoulder shimmies can do to start the day off right.


Messages:


This week LaSallians each came to Town Hall with a message written to hold up to the camera and read as a group. Ranging from humor to heart felt, this was the perfect way to check in and take pulse of how the group was feeling.



Virtual Training:  


Training doesn’t stop just because we’re working remotely! LaSallians tuned in to virtual trainings this week to continue to sharpen our skills while working from home.  


HIIT Class:


A team that is active together is stronger together! Personal trainer and friend of LaSalle, John Schrieffer, hosted a virtual Orange Theory style HIIT workout.  


Would You Rather? Virtual Game Night:


Would you rather work from home in your BATHTUB or OUTSIDE (rain or shine!)? We hosted a quarantine themed Would You Rather game night and happy hour. 




Administrative Professionals’ Day: 

Administrative Professionals' Day was April 22. We surprised our amazing administrative team with thank you notes, virtual zoom backgrounds and a big round of applause at our daily town hall.




Step Challenge: 

One of our teams started a friendly competition to see who can get the most steps in per day. Whether that means a quick jog outside or pacing around the living room, we’re staying active and holding one another accountable.


ReBirthday Celebrations: 

Each year on the anniversary of an employee’s start date, we celebrate their “ReBirthday” with snacks, decorations and a night out. While quarantined, teams have still found ways to make their celebrations special. LaSallian Jim Halpin was celebrated with a surprise Zoom happy hour and a $1000 donation to Misericorida, a local community of care that maximizes potential for persons with mild to profound developmental disabilities. 

Supporting Local Businesses: 

From hole-in-the-wall pizza places, to local breweries and even a neighborhood animal shelter, LaSallians showed their support of their favorite local businesses by shopping small this weekend. 

 

Superhero Day:

April 29th was national superhero day and we celebrated our favorite first responder superheroes and friends of LaSalle. Thank you to all on the front line! 

Spa Night: 

What’s better than a virtual happy hour? How about a virtual happy hour...in your bathrobe? We were in full support of self-care this week by hosting a virtual spa and sip night. 

Day Off: 


After 7 long weeks of working from home, our CEO, Tom Gimbel, decided to give everyone a well-deserved day off. To keep business operations running, LaSallians are alternating the days they take off. His one condition? Everyone spends some time reading, meditating and getting refreshed for the weeks to come.  


Inspiration from Other Companies


 We've been hearing from our clients about the things they are doing to keep their staff engaged. Here are some of our favorites:


  • Wellness Checks: The HR team rotates through their list of employees, deciding who talks to whom each week to check in and see how each employee is doing.

  • Virtual Buddy System: Some companies have paired up employees to check in or connect with one another via phone or video chat each day. Each employee has a buddy

  • Wellness Inspiration: Some companies have instituted 'step challenges' to get employees moving by sharing their step count for the day and competing with their peers to reach a goal. Employees also share recipes or their favorite home workouts in an email chain or chat.

  • Wellness Wednesday & Fitness Friday: Keep each other accountable & healthy.



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