At the top of 2023, Mike Shunney, our Chief Executive Officer, shared his perspective on what “creating community” means to him, considering the changes in the workplace since the COVID-19 pandemic began. At Brown & Brown Absence Services Group, community and belonging have always been an integral part of our culture, so when we had to close our doors temporarily and switch to a safer from home work model, we adapted our strategies to bridge the gap between our teammates, no matter where they are located.
As an organization, we understand that our teammates are the driving force behind our success, and ensuring they have all the necessary tools to succeed is our top priority. While our teammates have access to some of the best technologies, these alone are not enough for them to succeed. Teammates who feel a sense of belonging are connected to our organization’s mission, values, and goals, which motivates them to contribute their best efforts. Collaborations across cubicles and in-office conference rooms have brought out some of our teammates’ best efforts, and when the pandemic hit, this was among what our teammates missed the most.
Over the past four years, we have worked hard to provide our teammates with opportunities to stay connected despite being physically apart. From expanding communication methods and providing more frequent all-company updates to sending regular care packages and hosting virtual trivia nights, what it means to connect and belong has changed – but the importance of it has not. In his reflection, Mike Shunney noted,
“While in-person contact certainly helps nurture community development, it goes much deeper than that. I’m proud to say that the Brown & Brown Absence Services Group community is made up of individuals with whom you’ve established a personal and professional rapport; those you can trust and rely on; those who both support and challenge you; and, as important as any of it, those with whom you can share a laugh.”
As we enter 2024, our ambitions to provide a best-in-class workplace have never been stronger. We anticipate initiatives that connect teammates across geographies, including committee work, virtual training, professional development programming, and more. We approach this year with the same mindset that guided us through the last four – we don’t care where you are, we care how you are.
Tell us, what strategies have you implemented to build community in a virtual setting?