Like the rest of the world, 2020 was an unusual year here at LP, and that’s putting it pretty mildly. With most of us working from home since mid-March, we’ve had to completely rethink how we do our jobs and interact with our colleagues. That’s left our employee experience (EX) team with the difficult task of keeping us all connected while the pandemic forces us apart.
Despite this significant challenge, our EX team has remained committed to positively impacting LPers through inventive virtual events while also rallying our company to make a difference in the communities where we live and work. In a year full of big changes, we’re looking back at our 2020 EX events to see how they evolved in response to the pandemic and what might be in store for the future.
A New Emphasis on Virtual Events
The year began typically for us with a volunteer project benefiting the Oregon Food Bank. Our team partnered with Microsoft employees to repackage 6,000 pounds of boxed oats into 5,000 family-sized portions. In February, LP team members delivered homemade Valentine’s Day cards to the Avalon Retirement Community near our headquarters in Lake Oswego. Later that month, nearly 40 LP employees raised money for the Special Olympics by participating in the 2020 Polar Plunge. By March, COVID and work from home arrived, which prompted the EX team to reimagine some of our in-person traditions for a virtual environment and develop entirely new events that better fit the way we work now.
One of the first virtual EX programs to launch was LP Live, our internal TV show, which has now reached 33 episodes and counting. We’ve also hosted several virtual financial seminars and workshops on topics like first-time home buying and credit repair, along with team-building events like virtual happy hours and trivia nights. To help our employees stay physically and emotionally well during these challenging times, the EX team also created a virtual wellness program that featured weekly meditation and yoga classes. We even turned Logicalpalooza — our beloved summer BBQ — into a virtual event where employees enjoyed a half-day off with fun giveaways, themed cocktails, prizes and a virtual program they could enjoy with their team.
The LP Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee Formed
Of course, our EX program is about more than event planning. We also point our collective efforts towards initiatives that improve the workplace for our employees and positively impact the communities around us. While we’ve always believed in fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace, the social justice movements that swept through the country during the summer reminded us that we can always do more.
In June, we formed LPs first Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee. This new group spearheads company-wide DEI efforts while keeping us accountable to listen, learn, and leverage our influence as we stand by our employees and publicly stand up for our values.
Investing in Our Employees and Our Community
Part of standing by our employees means setting aside time so they can advocate for their values at the ballot box. In the fall, LP launched its first-ever “Time to Vote” campaign, which gave all LPers two hours of paid time off on Election Day so they could cast their ballots and participate in democracy.
Participating in our community is an LP value we didn’t want to abandon during the pandemic. So in December, we hosted a month-long virtual, contactless toy drive benefiting the Toys for Tots program. LPers generously spread holiday cheer to less fortunate children by donating nearly 200 toys throughout the seven states where we have offices.
The First Annual Cube Awards
The EX team is already off to a strong start in 2021. In January, they presented the first annual Cube Awards, also known as The Cubies. The virtual award-style show recognized 42 employee nominees in categories based on LP’s six core values. Along with awards, employees also walked away with over $4,000 in combined giveaways. The night featured lots of fun and surprises, including appearances from our Microsoft and Google partners as well as very special messages from The Bachelor host Chris Harrison and Brian Baumgartner — perhaps better known as Kevin from The Office.
The Virtual Shift Has Been Positive
While the pandemic created some enormous challenges for our EX program, Emmy Thomas, our employee experience manager, believes the virtual shift has been positive for the company. “Before COVID, it was always a challenge to roll out a new event that provided an equal experience for the team at our headquarters and the teams at our other offices throughout the country,” she said. “Work-from-home has allowed us to scale our employee experience and set high standards for what EX looks like no matter where our people are located.”
It’s not clear yet when or how we’ll return to the office. In the meantime, Emmy and the EX team will spend 2021 looking for opportunities to improve team-building, collaboration and community impact company-wide so that employees feel like they’re part of a larger team no matter where or how they’re working.