The Progressers Who Make Progress Your Progress: Meet Danielle Shea, Manager of People Experience & Operations, Americas

The Progressers Who Make Progress Your Progress: Meet Danielle Shea, Manager of People Experience & Operations, Americas

Posted on July 18, 2022 0 Comments

Top organizations around the globe have consistently recognized Progress for our corporate culture. Just this year alone, Progress has won 10 awards for employee engagement and corporate social responsibility, including making Inc. and the Boston Business Journal’s best workplace lists. Because of these accolades, we wanted to highlight the people at Progress who make the company a great place to work.

Enter our new blog series: The Progressers Who Make Progress Your Progress. These are the Progressers who are leading the unique work that makes Progress, Progress: From employee engagement activities, inclusion and diversity programming to professional development initiatives and charitable giving opportunities.

The first person we’re spotlighting is Danielle Shea, Manager of People Experience & Operations for the Americas. Along with her many job responsibilities, she is tasked with leading employee engagement efforts to bring the Progress community together. Connecting employees in a hybrid environment is certainly a challenge, but luckily for us, Danielle and her team have learned a thing or two about employee engagement. Because of their efforts, Progressers can come together in person and on screens.

If you’re interested in how to keep your employees engaged in a remote or hybrid setting, look no further. Below you’ll find insights from Danielle on the top five things to consider for your activities.

1. Lean into virtual event offerings.

It’s important with a dispersed workforce to offer events that employees can participate in from anywhere and that work with our busy schedules. For the past few years as Progress’ workforce has continued to disperse around the country, we’ve offered almost exclusively virtual programming so that our employees can fit the events into their busy lives, logging on to see faces of tenured colleagues and meet newer coworkers.

2. Diversify your programming option types.

Mix together events where employees do, learn and create with events where employees sit, listen and watch. Think outside the box: Embrace non-traditional events that give employees a chance to learn or hone a skill, take up a new hobby or generally get creative.

In the past few years, Progress’ best attended engagement events were toward the non-traditional side of this mix:

  • Wine tasting events: Employees learned about the science of wine while also indulging in a delicious selection from a small-business vineyard.
  • Charcuterie board making classes: Progressers were taught the art and science of board layout, selecting the right components and what goes into the perfect size bite.
  • Tie-dye classes: Employees and their families were encouraged to get a little messy.
  • Yoga and meditation sessions: To help Progressers focus on their overall wellbeing.
  • While non-traditional events go a long way, employers should absolutely continue to also offer the classic types of virtual programming, like trivia nights, comedy shows or game show mockups—they are considered classics for a reason.

3. Listen to your employees.

Employees are significantly more engaged and more likely to attend and participate when their opinions and thoughts are taken into consideration. Send your employees a survey, using any of the available digital tools, to measure their interest in programming and ask what they want in engagement events.

The survey serves multiple purposes: It builds anticipation for programming selections to be announced; gages interest in programming types, frequencies and/or timeframes; and most importantly, it allows employees to suggest ideas you’ve not thought of previously, avoiding the 900th karaoke show that no one attends…

A survey note of caution: Ensure the survey has some event idea parameters or you will get many “pie in the sky” suggestions. All employers have budgets to mind, unfortunately ruling out all-company trips to the Caribbean or into outer space.

4. Differentiate your sources of communication.

In a remote or hybrid environment, email communication is overwhelming and multiple engagement event emails could be overlooked. While email communication isn’t completely avoidable, perhaps send a reminder via an internal social feed, publish a “coming soon” attraction type banner on your intranet home page in advance of the communication launch or post an event flyer in the kitchen or on a smart screen to capture those employees working in the office.

Included in this diversification are your employees: Encourage them to spread the word to their networks! Employees are less likely to skip an email if it’s coming from a name they interact with regularly.

5. Partner with a virtual or remote events vendor—if your budget allows.

Progress has been fortunate to be able to partner with an amazing vendor the past few years; they serve as a connection point between us and the companies directly providing the programming. Having a partner to manage most of the administrative and organizational hurdles that coincide with engagement programming is a relief for the employees responsible for these events. In addition, the vendor may offer new and exciting programming ideas that you or your employees have not previously considered.

The hybrid work environment isn’t going anywhere, but with the above tips, you’ll be able to connect your employees both virtually and in person. In doing so, you’ll overcome challenges posed from the hybrid environment and elevate your corporate culture.


Danielle Sutherby of Progress

Danielle Sutherby

Danielle Sutherby is a marketing communications manager at Progress, where she supports Progress’ employer brand efforts, raises awareness of the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) and inclusion and diversity (I&D) efforts, assists in PR activities, and strategizes employee engagement activities worldwide. Danielle is also the co-founder of the first employee resource group at Progress, Progress for Her, which aims to empower women at the company by providing leadership and networking opportunities. When she is not at work, you can find her writing, reading, or acting like a tourist in her own city.


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