It’s no surprise as the COO that I have a lot of responsibility. On any given day, I’m working with clients, interviewing, coaching, making financial decisions, brainstorming strategies, reviewing campaign performance reports, or the dreaded, but part of the gig, firefighting. I love my job. I love the diversity, the pressure, and the responsibility. Most of all, I love the people. I adore our team. They are not “my staff” or “my employees.” I will always introduce them as my coworkers or friends. Creating an environment that shows our team that I value them not only as RYNO’s, but also as people, has always been my primary driver. I believe our culture is what improves our service, not me hyper-focusing on the service itself. So how do I focus on culture? Two critical elements to the culture at RYNO are education and giving back.
Education: We have to keep learning to keep getting better!
Growing up in my house, getting an education was the be all end all. My dad was always preaching about college education and continually learning to get better. I’ve carried that lesson with me into RYNO. You can’t be a RYNO if you don’t want to learn constantly, and I mean constantly. Each team member has a monthly education requirement to complete. The digital marketing landscape is continuously changing. The only way we can stay ahead of that is to make sure we’re regularly sharpening our swords with the latest and greatest information. I’m sure the monthly education requirement can be annoying to some team members in some months, but most of the time, our team likes to learn. It makes them more confident, stimulates creativity, and allows them to better themselves. The education requirement isn’t always just about being a better designer, coder, or SEO. Many times it’s about better organization, time management, dealing with stress, or how to handle difficult conversations. We encourage them to attend conferences, follow blogs, listen to podcasts and audiobooks, or pick up a good old fashioned book. We know RYNO isn’t the last stop for many of our team members. They have big careers ahead of them. We are committed to making sure each one leaves with a full tool belt to be well rounded, educated, and in high demand wherever they go.
Giving Back: Volunteering fills your soul. Full souls are happy souls. Happy souls give better service!
Once a month, our office closes on a Friday and we go volunteer in the community as a team. We’ve volunteered at all types of local charities. We’ve packed backpacks for less fortunate children, prepared food for food kitchens, organized clothing closets at homeless shelters, helped with farm work at a food bank, and dug trenches for irrigation at a children’s shelter. We’ve left volunteer days emotionally drained by the stories we’ve heard and physically exhausted by the labor we put in. We’ve also left smiling with gratitude and feeling amazing about the work we’ve done.
Giving back makes our team feel really good and I love that. It’s a bonding experience. It gives us memories and stories to laugh about later. Our team works very closely together every day. Each job within RYNO relies on another to be successful. Creating an environment of friends and family that do life together, have common bonds, and fun experiences washes away the muddiness of office fights and water cooler complaining. RYNO volunteer days are some of the most anticipated days of the month around here. These experiences translate into a strong culture and happy employees that are willing to do whatever it takes to go the extra mile to help their teammates and clients.
In my past life, I was trapped in the corporate rat race. I was just a number. Beyond my immediate supervisor, no one knew my name, cared how I was feeling or asked about my life outside of work. My job was to come in, get my work done, and leave without issue. Honestly, I’m not sure if “culture” was actually a thing then or if I was just somewhere that it was so bad that I didn’t know a good culture could exist. I always knew if I had the opportunity, I was never going to let anyone in any level of my organization feel that way. My goal was to make them feel valued, able to inspire change, and that I genuinely cared for them. I hope my fellow RYNO’s feel those things when they close their computers at the end of each day.
Author: Anna Yano, COO