The Culture Club’s mission
In January 2021, a small group of Striders, known as the Culture Club, got together to discuss how they wanted to help improve Stride’s company culture. It was a brand new year, and we were still in the throes of the pandemic. The previous year had been a time of restructuring, and there was opportunity to improve our culture and community.
In this meeting on January 20, we sat down to decide on the club’s mission. Together, we came up with the following statement:
"The mission of the Culture Club is to foster fun and togetherness at Stride."
There were other strong contenders, such as “We Do Fun Good™,” “…foster a sense of joyfulness amongst Striders,” and, most simply, “…have more fun at Stride.” Ultimately we felt that fostering fun and togetherness at Stride was what we were all passionate about.
The Culture Club helps reduce friction between business layers by
- empowering Striders to host social events around a diverse set of interests;
- celebrating milestones and successes;
- ensuring that Striders feel appreciated and recognized.
Little things have a big impact on culture
It may seem insignificant, but sending treats to Striders on birthdays and work anniversaries had a big impact. This group charged itself with leading those efforts, and these events became fixtures of our company’s cadence. The concept of fostering fun and togetherness has permeated the group and spread through the organization.
Virtual socials and events
The Culture Club gathered feedback from Striders on what types of socials they like most and at what cadence they’d like to have events scheduled. We discovered that Striders like friendly competition and events where they can learn fun new facts about each other. Strider’s preferred to have events every other month or once a quarter, so that they don’t become stale. Some events we’ve done include
- Stride’s got talent;
- Virtual Coworker Feud;
- a pet halloween costume contest in which Striders donated $5 or more, and the winner got to choose a local animal shelter to receive the winnings.
We planned the virtual Stride holiday party last year, emceed by Justin Schulz, which included highlights of the year from Stride’s founder, Debbie Madden, stand-up comedy, and customized bingo. Everyone was given a budget to order food and drinks from their favorite local restaurants, and we had an afterparty using a virtual gathering tool called Wonder.
Our most recent virtual social was hosted by confetti, which had put on our Virtual Coworker Feud. The event we selected was Jeoparty, though we did have other finalists such as Boombox and Guess Who.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Culture Club brought back a Slack tool called Donut, as a way to connect Striders who might not regularly talk with each other. Since the creation of the Donut channel, there have been 286 conversations facilitated through the app, and 56% of the company is active in the channel.
Activities that the Culture Club has talked about but not done (yet) include a company-wide game of Geoguesser and custom activity boxes by Breakout.
We announce new hires, hiring anniversaries, and birthdays at town hall meetings, and we post shout-outs on the day of each event, on Slack.
We also celebrate milestones such as new babies with Stride-branded onesies and gift cards, and weddings with gift baskets.
Culture Club as a mindset
The Culture Club is for Striders and made up of Striders. It fosters culture by helping Striders come up with ideas and then build on and deliver those ideas.
Culture Club’s existence reflects what Stride values. It’s a beacon of fun and togetherness that grew out of the company’s creating a safe place to have those conversations.