July 06, 2022

How Bench fosters connection and development for their remote workforce

Scaling a business and onboarding new employees is a tough job in itself without bringing a global pandemic into the equation. As remote and hybrid models gain more ground, people-leaders are left to determine how to best cultivate and build connections in a virtual workspace and what resources are required to support employee well-being and development.

In this article, we recap key highlights of the discussion between 

Sarah Sheehan, Bravely’s Co-Founder and President, and Tina Woodhart, Director of People Operations at Bench, on “How to Effectively Foster Connection and Development.” 

This webinar explores the challenges her organization experienced while doubling the headcount during the pandemic and how Bench relies on Bravely’s coaching platform to provide much-needed, individualized support at all organizational levels.

“I think one of the great things we have [concerning] the coaching culture at Bench is not boxing possibilities or someone’s progression to the role that they’re in, or the team that they’re in, or even the organization that they’re in, as well.”

Tina Woodhart, Director of People Operations at Bench

Navigating business growing pains 

Bench is a fintech company that provides bookkeeping services to small businesses across the US, allowing entrepreneurs to focus on what matters most to their business. With an ambitious mission centered around making a significant difference in the life of one million people, Bench strives to keep a people-first approach and holistic view of the employee experience as they expand their teams and transition to a virtual workspace.

These changes  created the need to rethink their onboarding process from in-person meetings and presentations to virtual-first experiences so that remote employees could achieve a more profound sense of connectedness to the company’s mission and culture. At the same time, the People team has become more intentional about enhancing collaboration through shared experiences, be those in a virtual world or a local co-working space.

Another business area that Bench had to tackle as their company grew was performance planning, namely how to build performance frameworks that set healthy work expectations and support unbiased compensation decisions. This step allowed employees and decision-makers to gain more clarity on the competencies required at every level of the organization and opened up an opportunity for Bench to invest in learning and development resources that could help people get to that next level. 

“We’ve tried to shift our mindset from solving all the world’s problems to how we can create infrastructure for managers to be able to support their teams effectively. So [that’s] putting more focus on creating resources and templates, for example, and critically evaluating our offerings.

Tina Woodhart, Director of People Operations at Bench

Partnering with Bravely to supercharge development and well-being for a remote workforce

When Bench grew their team during a sudden shift in workplace dynamics, Bravely quickly proved to be a key element in facilitating connection within individual teams and throughout the organization, driving higher employee performance and productivity.

By implementing Bravely’s coaching resources, Bench empowered managers to transition from a decision-making role to that of team connector, while enabling direct reports and other team members to leverage the benefits of actionable coaching sessions and gain transferable skills.

“A lot of our managers can have up to 15 direct reports within our operations function, which doesn’t leave them a ton of time to do all of the coaching they’d want to do and to the quality they’d want to do it. So Bravely really relieved that pressure for them a little bit and freed up time to be able to focus on being that connector.”

Tina Woodhart, Director of People Operations at Bench

Furthermore, coaching served a dual role by offering prompt, individualized support to those remote employees who struggled with mental health. Having Bravely’s coaching platform as a tool to relieve stress and get actionable advice allowed managers to guide team members to the appropriate resources without taking more on their plate than they could handle. 

Resetting the future of work

Going forward, Bench is committed to translating its company culture into viable, virtual and in-person opportunities that enable people to connect and collaborate efficiently across teams. 

Moreover, having uncovered the link between engagement rates and attrition based on their engagement survey, their organization plans to invest in a learning & development budget and provide employees with more career development opportunities. 

Meanwhile, Bravely’s coaching sessions remain essential when it comes to providing personalized support at scale and helping Bench employees develop soft skills without overloading managers. 
Watch the full webinar to learn more about how Bravely helped Bench boost organizational performance and well-being.

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