Although she was only a few months into her role as chief people officer of Blackbaud when the pandemic began, Maggie Driscoll realized early on that the organization’s external clients were going to face unprecedented challenges: Blackbaud provides cloud software and services for the “social good” community, which was among the many sectors upended by the crisis. Museums and zoos were shuttered, while healthcare organizations and food banks were struggling to meet exploding demand.
Supporting those clients in such unprecedented times, Driscoll says, could have also impacted Blackbaud employees, but the organization responded quickly to beef up its engagement efforts as its global workers went remote.
“We rallied behind our employees to ensure they were taken care of and could support our customers during this time,” Driscoll says. “To do that, we focused on empathy, care and the overall wellbeing of our employees.”
Here are a few ways Blackbaud brought that mission to fruition:
Enhanced communication: The company CEO records weekly videos for all employees, and the entire leadership team across the globe now meets remotely every week and provides updates from their meetings on the company intranet. Shortly before the pandemic, the organization launched an all-employee Teams channel, which has also become vital for information-sharing.
“Coffee with Maggie”: Having started with Blackbaud in January, Driscoll was still in her own onboarding process, and she shifted the employee communication she would have had in person to a virtual setting with a regular roundtable remote discussion with employees called “Coffee with Maggie.” Employees are invited to bring issues, ideas and concerns to the table, and Driscoll also keeps in touch with all employees across the globe with monthly emails and updates. “It’s been so critical to ensure our employees feel heard during this time and know about our resources and offerings,” she says.
Wellbeing focus: Utilizing the Teams channel, Blackbaud now celebrates Mindful Monday once a week, offering resources and tips to help employees take care of themselves while at home. Driscoll also sends out wellbeing information monthly to the company.
Employee-led programming: Blackbaud employees are encouraged to support and connect with one another and have risen to the occasion, Driscoll says, with employee-produced cooking classes, homeschool tips, talent shows, game shows and more.
Blackbaud After School: In preparation for the unusual school year to come, the organization launched Blackbaud After School, featuring live and pre-recorded sessions from Blackbaud employees to provide education and entertainment for school-age kids—storytime, cooking sessions, yoga and more. Employees who donate time outside of work to the effort will be eligible for additional time off through Blackbaud’s Volunteer for Vacation program. The organization is also working with clients like the South Carolina Aquarium and San Antonio Zoo to provide special remote programming for employees from those locales.