“Payarans”. That’s the name we have for all team-members, regardless of whether they work in Payara’s brick-and-mortar offices or whether they’re remote, working from their own home-offices that are spread around the world in diverse places that include Japan, the US, Sweden, Colombia, the Netherlands, Portugal – the list goes on. Ensuring that these remote Payarans feel as much part of the team as those sitting in HQ is a fun challenge for Human Resources, and it’s an important one to get right. After all, without proactively promoting engagement, it’s easy for teams and individuals, particularly those who are remote, to become isolated and for a job to become – well, just a job.
To enhance engagement, this year we unveiled Virtual Payara Day – a quarterly event that aims to refresh team-members’ connection to each other and to the company’s mission. To ensure that office-based participants have no advantage over remote participants, all sessions and communication are online, via video conferences and an event-dedicated wiki. Fundamentally, this event is as much inspired by Payara’s values as it aims to fuel them, as we believe that our value of openness is a foundation for our values of trust and community, and these must be promoted to all Payarans equally.
In the spirit of openness, company Director Steve Millidge opens Virtual Payara Day with a keynote that presents a wide-angle view of the company’s course and position. We continue this transparency with a company-wide stand-up session to which all Payarans are welcome to present, from apprentices to senior engineers and management. This session gives team and initiative leaders a platform to tell the whole company about their projects that might otherwise remain isolated within a team.
In addition to inspiring connection across functional teams and the whole company, we also ask for sessions to have a quarterly focus. This, combined with the challenge of fitting all content into a single day, challenges us to consider essential and immediate initiatives, ones that will improve trends from the previous quarter in a way that drives us closer to Payara’s mission and vision in the upcoming quarter.
What’s more, engagement with Virtual Payara Day extends beyond the day itself: all Payarans are invited to build the agenda themselves by proposing its sessions, and these can be for a single functional team, across teams or company-wide. This opens the company-wide platform to each Payaran, and the suggestions, even those that don’t make the cut in the event’s programme, offer insight for leaders on where team-members suggest further development.
The idea for a dedicated “time sanctuary” for company-wide regrouping is not new to Payara. For three years we have enjoyed the success of Payara Week – an exciting event for which we fly in our team-members from around the globe for an energetic five-day collaboration marathon. We’ll have a post completely dedicated to that occasion, but I will tell you that one of the most exciting outcomes of both Virtual Payara Day and Payara Week is the rejuvenation of community across all teams, throughout all of Payara.