Athena's top-down leadership ignites a culture of feedback
When it comes to creating a workplace that fosters loyalty, Athena soars above the rest. In today’s modern workforce, most employees stick around in their roles for an average of one to two years. What’s more disheartening is the significant number of employees who feel disengaged and unhappy at work. Athena is on a mission to challenge these trends, and they are using transparent communication, influential top-down leadership, and feedback as their superpowers.
1:1 Meetings • 360º Feedback
A glowing review from Glassdoor reads “I envision myself working with Athena for more than a decade, honestly.” What do you attribute to your ability to keep employees happy and engaged at work?
At Athena, we attribute our success in maintaining high employee satisfaction and engagement to a people-centric approach. We prioritize the well-being, development, and satisfaction of our workforce by encouraging open and transparent communication, regularly recognizing our employees' contributions, fostering feedback, and providing competitive compensation and benefits.
What are the challenges of facilitating a large, remote-first workplace?
Facilitating a large, remote-first workplace comes with its own set of challenges, which can include:
- Ensuring effective communication and collaboration: Overcoming time zone differences and language barriers while maintaining seamless communication and collaboration across different departments.
- Building team cohesion: Addressing feelings of loneliness and isolation, especially for new employees who may miss out on the daily interactions of a physical office.
- Monitoring employee productivity: Ensuring work gets done without micromanagement and finding the right balance between trust and accountability.
- Overcoming work disruptions: Dealing with potential disruptions caused by internet and power outages that can affect remote work.
These challenges are just a few among the many faced by organizations operating in a remote-first model. We have successfully navigated these challenges and continue to find solutions by leveraging effective leadership, technology solutions, well-defined policies, and a strong commitment to maintaining a positive work culture that supports remote employees.
We believe that when employees see that their leaders value feedback, they are more likely to reciprocate.Beth Villon
Why are regular 1:1s important within your company culture? And how do you ensure employees engage in them?
With our strong commitment to maintaining a positive work culture that supports our employees, we put a lot of importance on 1:1 sessions. We believe that 1:1s provide an opportunity for managers and employees to discuss individual goals, challenges, and career development. This personalized attention can help employees feel valued and supported.
It’s an effective way for us to provide constructive feedback, recognize achievements, clarify expectations, set priorities, address issues and concerns, and ensure that employees understand their role in achieving organizational objectives.
We ensure that employees engage in 1:1 sessions by primarily holding managers accountable for conducting regular 1:1s with their team members. Our Data Team sends out a monthly report on the number of 1:1 sessions per manager. We make sure that our teams prioritize and promote 1:1 meetings as a valuable part of our company culture.
How do you promote a healthy culture of upward feedback at Athena?
We encourage leaders and managers to actively seek feedback from their teams and demonstrate their openness to input. We believe that when employees see that their leaders value feedback, they are more likely to reciprocate.
Our Ops team conducts upward feedback through Small Improvements on a quarterly basis.
We also ensure to create safe spaces, which include 1:1 meetings, where people should feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts, and where 2-way feedback conversations are incorporated into. Other ways that we promote upward feedback is through our anonymous quarterly engagement surveys and performance review cycles.
How else do you support managers at Athena?
We equip our managers with the necessary resources, tools, and technology to effectively manage their teams and projects.
What are your favorite aspects of working with Small Improvements?
How do you communicate the importance of 1:1s and upward feedback?
Instilling the importance of feedback, including the value of 1:1 meetings and upward feedback, requires a combination of communication, leadership, and cultural elements.
We make sure that we clearly communicate the purpose and benefits of feedback, 1:1 meetings, and upward feedback to all employees. We use company-wide meetings, emails, and other channels to explain how these practices contribute to personal and organizational growth.
Most importantly, we ensure that leaders and managers lead by example. When our employees see that our leaders actively seek and value feedback, it sets a powerful precedent.
When our employees see that our leaders actively seek and value feedback, it sets a powerful precedent.Wilson Hung
Head of Growth