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How BELAY Fosters Culture With A Remote Workforce

In not-so-shocking news, many companies still cling to the archaic belief that culture is made by forcing people to sit next to their colleagues in an actual brick-and-mortar office.

At BELAY, we know that isn’t how culture is created. (Watch our recap video from our last company meeting.)

Think about it: Did you feel any sense of ‘culture’ in school when you sat next to the same people for 6-8 hours a day for years on end? So why would an office be any different?

Someone needed to connect those dots, draw those parallels, and realize that proximity does not make a culture.

We decided to be that someone. We believed there had to be a better way – and so, we set out to create just that.

In our nearly nine years, we’ve proven that a shared vision – not shared spaces – creates a culture. It is about instilling a sense of belonging for your employees and ensuring they identify with the greater mission and values of the company, despite being a remote workforce.

And contrary to what others may – GASP! – still believe, we’ve proven, time and time again, that culture can be created without an office. BELAY is living proof of this. Don’t believe us? Then allow us to put our acknowledgments and awards where our mouths are …

  • Entrepreneur Magazine ranked BELAY No. 1 in Best Culture for Small-Sized Companies
  • Entrepreneur Magazine named us Top Company Culture for a Small Business Award for having a ‘productive’ and ‘high-performance’ culture
  • Inc. Magazine ranked us as one of the Fastest-Growing Companies in the United States in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018
  • The Society of Human Resource Management awarded us the Work Works Award, recognizing ‘... companies that offer effective and flexible workplace strategies, empowering their organization to rise above the competition’
  • The Atlanta Business Chronicle named BELAY as one of the ‘Best Places to Work’

We’ve won these major culture and business awards from prominent national magazines and outlets despite the fact that not a single one of our team members shares an office. Why? Because we understand how culture is really created. Because we instill our mission and values of gratitude, teamwork, vision, passion, fun, and God into every one of our six-hundred-plus remote workforce team members.

A Culture of Community

When we set out to create BELAY, we thought of every person who had become disillusioned with working in an office. We thought of those who considered leaving to take care of their families but always felt that something was missing.

So we created guiding tenets that would serve to structure the culture we hoped to create for those people. They remind us that …

We exercise self-agency, recognizing that we are in control of our lives and our destinies. We have faith in a higher power but know that we cannot rely on others’ paths to be our own.

We let go of preconceived notions about what success looks like. We define success as the pursuit toward or achievement of our ‘why’ because doing the right thing is not always the easy thing.

We surround ourselves with like-minded people who want to help and have our best interests in mind.

We are humble enough to ask for help, even if we’re used to being the caregivers.

We are grateful to be in connection with others who call us out, cheer us on, and genuinely love us.

We know that practicing radical self-care is not selfish. The healthier we are, the more we can care for others so we will put the oxygen masks on ourselves first.

We value work, but we do not place our value in our work.

We recognize that working virtually is a gift and we will work hard to honor that gift.

We will take action because time is our most precious commodity.

We are determined to make a plan to pursue our ‘why,’ even if it takes years to get there as there is infinite value in the journey.

Our Secret (Awesome) Sauce

Now, don’t go around spilling our secret to everyone, so just keep it between us, OK? But the secret ingredient to creating the kind of vibrant, familial, and supportive culture that is greater than the sum of its parts: We lead by example.

As leaders, we walk the walk, and talk the talk. Ours aren’t commandments bellowed from on high; they are living, breathing manifestos that we embody with every ounce of our beings. We live it because we believe it.

Because culture isn't something that you can see, taste, touch, or smell; it is the only environment that you can feel. It’s that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you dread going to work or the excitement you feel when you’re actually eager to go to work. For us – and this may seem contrived – but without being encumbered by having to go to an office every day, we really, truly have fun working together.

And our vibrant culture is what makes it possible. It’s inextricably linked to our vision with no margin for ‘kinda sorta’ cultural commitments; you’ve got to be “all in” in order to lay the foundation for our remote workforce culture to thrive, regardless of zip, area, or even country code.

So in everything we do, in all that we are, we are our culture. Our people are our culture. And everything else falls perfectly into place.