How These 14 Companies Celebrate The Holidays
We asked startups, Fortune 500s, and remote-reliant teams to share how they keep the holiday spirit alive at work.
Yesterday, we celebrated our third annual Secret Snowflake at PowerToFly! We wanted to know what other companies do to keep the holiday spirit alive at work, so we asked our partner companies to share one or two of things they do to celebrate. From spending quality time together in person (even when their teams are spread across multiple locations!) and giving back to their communities, to taking time to rest and recover for the new year (a couple of them even shut down between Christmas and New Years), their answers did not disappoint.
Read on to get an inside look at the many creative ways these companies celebrate the holiday season and kick off the new year!
Greenhouse — A New York City New Year.
Greenhouse SF Party
"At Greenhouse, we like to end the year on a high note and start the new year off right. To close out the year and celebrate our successes, each of our office hubs hosts their own holiday party and our distributed employees are given the opportunity to choose their own Greenhouse-sponsored activity. We love seeing each employee show their own personality through the photos that are posted on Slack the next day. As a distributed workforce with teammates all over the United States and Dublin, we don't always get to meet face to face. So, we like to ring in the new year together by bringing the entire Greenhouse family to our headquarters in New York City for Kickoff Week. During this week, we get to meet our fellow teammates in person, show off our unique knowledge at Trivia and karaoke night, and bond on both a company and team level."
[Learn more about Greenhouse.]
Quip — Cookies and camaraderie.
"This year, Quip held our fifth annual Holiday Cookie Cook-off. Quip employees brought in cookies to share with their coworkers and compete in categories including Most Millennial Cookie, Best Non-Cookie Cookie, and Grand Champion Cookie. More important than the baking and the voting, everyone at the company looks forward to eating all of the amazing cookies, and socializing with coworkers across the company."
[Learn more about Quip.]
Blockstack — White elephant and wacky socks.
"At Blockstack, we held a 'Fuzzy Socks White Elephant End of the Year Party' this year for both HQ and remote team members. We provide the fuzzy and patterned socks so that everyone who joined (team member and their families/partners) can wear them and feel included as part of the celebration, whether in person or remote. We played White Elephant with gifts provided by the company, so that we can swap gifts around. For remote folks, we ran a spreadsheet with fun descriptions of the gifts to intrigue remote folks to choose the present."
[Learn more about Blockstack.]
Braintree — Letters to Santa.
"At Braintree, every year we look forward to participating in Chicago Sun Times' Letters to Santa program. Every child deserves to get gifts for the holidays, so this is our chance to help make that a reality. We receive letters from local elementary schools, and Treeps sign up to help purchase gifts between $25-$30, ensuring every child has a happy holiday! This year we saw participation from over 180 employees, who provided nearly 350 gifts for local students."
[Learn more about Braintree.]
Dell — Random acts of kindness.
"At Dell, we close for the week of Christmas to give everyone time to relax and recharge before the new year. We also keep the holiday spirit alive through different team activities. This year, one of our teams is having an acts of kindness contest. Participants contributed $10-$20. Now they have until January 3rd to complete ten acts of kindness (e.g. giving up a parking space at the mall, or your place on line at the cashier, or any other). At the end, each participant will submit their top act of kindness and the team will vote on the #1 act. The winner gets to select the cause that the entry money is donated to."
[Learn more about Dell.]
T. Rowe Price — A "Holiday Giving Campaign."
"T. Rowe Price hosts an annual Holiday Giving Campaign, and every year, associates go above and beyond to make an impact. More than a dozen nonprofits around the world are supported each year by the firm's 7,000 associates. Giving and serving in the community are important aspects of T. Rowe Price's culture, and the Holiday Giving Campaign is a longstanding tradition that has grown along with the firm. Through donations and volunteerism, T. Rowe Price's associates make a difference in their local communities all year long—but the holiday season especially sparks a spirit of generosity and camaraderie. To learn more about T. Rowe Price's culture of giving read out latest report at, TRowePrice.com/CRReport."
[Learn more about T. Rowe Price.]
CarGurus — A top-secret, surprise private performance.
"Among many holiday traditions at CarGurus, such as donation drives, individual team celebrations, and Secret Snowflakes, we like to celebrate the start of the new year with a company-wide party! Last year we invited all 900 employees, along with a plus one, to the House of Blues, for a private surprise performance by Snoop Dogg! This year, we will keep up with our tradition by having our subsidiary company PistonHeads join us to partake in the holiday festivities. The live performance is still under wraps, but we cannot wait to share who it is. Follow us on our Instagram culture page, @cargurusculture, to see all of the fun that is about to come during the rest of the holiday season!"
[Learn more about CarGurus.]
Procore — A "Week of Giving."
"Towards the end of the year, each Procore office gets to celebrate, reflect, and give back in ways that are unique and special to our offices. But celebrating isn't all we do—our Austin office, for example, participates in a "Week of Giving" where we give back to the local community through donation drives, volunteering at local charities, and writing gratitude cards for children at SAFE, a human service agency in Austin serving the survivors of child abuse."
[Learn more about Procore.]
Vrbo — Unique themed parties + festive sweaters!
Vrbo's 2019 Haunted Holiday Soiree that was on Friday the 13th!
"Each Vrbo office around the globe is uniquely decorated and has its own holiday celebrations, but our One Team value is what brings us all together to reflect back on the year we've accomplished together. We gather in our most festive sweaters for a holiday version of our monthly companywide meeting with leadership, 'Table Talks,' to recognize achievements and discuss what we can look forward to in the new year. In Austin, we hosted the Latinos in Tech End-of Year Fiesta, which brought together 10+ tech companies to celebrate the city's strong and growing Latinos in Tech community. An Austin employee favorite is our holiday party that we've hosted Downtown at Moody Theatre for the past three years!"
[Learn more about Vrbo.]
VideoAmp — Contributing to the community.
"At VideoAmp, we celebrate the holidays and get into the Holiday Spirit by giving back! A few years ago, VideoAmp was a tiny company with roughly 17 employees, and one thing we all shared together was a commitment to people. "VideoAmp Gives Back" started off simple. At first, we worked with organizations that allowed us to volunteer, like the Salvation Army. Eventually decided to do everything in house during the holiday season: from lunch kits, hygiene products, and toy drives to sponsoring families' Christmases. All these events were recommendations from our employees, and as our company grew bigger (we went from 70ish in 2018 to over 200 employees in 2019), so did VideoAmp Gives Back!"
[Learn more about VideoAmp.]
Scout RFP — A sophisticated San Francisco soirée.
"To celebrate the holiday season, Scout RFP hosts a Holiday Party every year at a venue in San Francisco, where we are headquartered. Our employees who are remote or work in another office fly in, and everyone is invited to bring a plus one. We rent out a private section of the venue and have food and drink available to all our guests. It's so fun to see all of our coworkers outside of a work setting, dressed in cocktail attire, and with their plus ones."
[Learn more about Scout RFP.]
Intuit — A holiday market in support of small businesses.
Every December, Intuit puts on a Holiday Small Business Market, where local businesses and vendors are invited to Intuit campuses to showcase their creations and (hopefully) spark unique and creative gift ideas for Intuit employees. The event encourages support of local businesses, a sentiment in line with Intuit's mission of powering prosperity. Many of the local vendors are also small business customers of Intuit's QuickBooks product. Intuit also has a Toys for Tots drive in partnership with the Marine Corps and our team at Intuit Boise also partnered with the Make-a-Wish Foundation to write letters from Santa. For every letter written, Macy's will donate $2 to the Make-a-Wish Foundation. The team hand-wrote 378 letters!
[Learn more about Intuit.]
SeatGeek — Giving, giving, giving.
"Here at SeatGeek, the holidays are all about giving. We have an employee-run group internally called GiveGeek that organizes charitable events and donation opportunities for the company. This holiday season, GiveGeek has partnered with a few different organizations to create 3 unique opportunities for employees to give back to the community. From purchasing gifts for under-resourced children, to writing cards for local seniors and partnering with a local food drive, GiveGeek helps create opportunities for SeatGeek employees to make a positive difference in the community."
[Learn more about SeatGeek.]
Nextdoor — An end-of-year shutdown.
"At Nextdoor, we're scaling quickly and have offices/team members in over 10 locations around the world. In addition to some amazing Holiday parties, we're grateful to have been given the opportunity to implement an end-of-year shutdown and our offices will be closed until the first day back in the office on January 2nd. This allows our team members an opportunity to step away from all of the hard work we've put in at Nextdoor and reconnect with our community of friends and family."
[Learn more about Nextdoor.]
Branwyn Baughman, recruiter at Lockheed Martin, shares an exclusive take on the most important tips to keep in mind when preparing for an interview.
Take a look at the company's application process, culture, and values, as well as some top-notch tips that Branwyn outlines on how you can make your application stand out.
To learn more about Lockheed Martin and their open roles, click here.
6 Tips for Companies & 5 Tips for Individuals from Indeed's Group VP of ESG, LaFawn Davis
Earlier this month, LaFawn Davis, Indeed's Group Vice President of Environmental, Social, & Governance, joined us as part of our Diversity Reboot Summit to talk about the 'shecession' experienced by many women, and especially women of color, as a result of COVID-19.
LaFawn shared some great tips for companies and individuals looking to be part of "the great rehiring." If you're looking to find a new role, or to ensure that you help bring back diverse talent displaced by COVID, check out her advice below, and catch her complete talk here or by clicking the video above!
Q: What would your advice be to companies that are looking to step up their diverse hiring in 2021?
My advice: Good intentions are no longer good enough. Nobody wants to hear what you meant to do, wish you could have do, intended to do. Nobody wants to hear that you can't find Black Women or any other dimension of diversity. We're obviously out here.
My squad and I have a saying "Impact over intentions." So, if 2020 was the year of good diversity and inclusion intentions, let's make 2021 the year of actions and impact.
So, now that we got that out of the way. If you're looking to step up your diverse hiring. Stop and get your house in order. Because you shouldn't just want to hire a diverse workforce, you should want to grow and keep them too. So there are 5 things, ready?
1. Focus on long-term systemic change.
There's a lot of momentum — and need — for change right now. It's not just about a message of support or donating to a cause one time. Take a look at your own systems. How do you hire and grow employees? Do your succession planning, talent reviews, recruiting and other processes have built-in biases? Is equality part of your core values? Are you actively working toward change? Recognize that talent is equally distributed, but opportunity is not. Above all, hold yourself accountable for the way things are, then work to improve.
2. Take a close look at your data.
Share it internally to be transparent with employees of where you are now. When possible, share it externally to be visible and accountable (I'm happy to announce that Indeed will be releasing its own diversity data this summer). Use it as a baseline for comparison against what you hope to achieve.
3. Change behavior.
Focus on behavioral changes throughout the company with an emphasis on coaching, training, and having crucial conversations with managers. Leaders and managers set an example for the entire workforce. If employees see the behavior of managers or leaders in a negative light, a true sense of belonging is difficult to achieve.
4. Representation matters.
If leadership roles are perceived as exclusive to many members of the workforce, then a broader sense of belonging will continue to elude many employees. People in leadership roles should reflect the diversity of a company's workforce. Observing someone "like me" in a leadership role helps attract and retain talent and motivates workers to pursue roles with greater responsibility.
5. Create Policies And Procedures Reflective Of The Entire Workforce.
As you work through new or existing policies and procedures, be aware of barriers experienced by different populations. Take, for example, the case of caregivers. More scheduling flexibility for calls can go a long way for employees who share their home workspace with others and must tend to family responsibilities while working remotely.
Q: Do you have advice for individuals that are looking for new career opportunities, especially women of color who might have lost their previous jobs during the pandemic?
Adaptability has always been an important part of an individual's career progression - even before COVID-19, it is especially important now.
It is important to show a potential new employer how your abilities adapt to a new role or a new industry. Focus on skills more than just experiences because skills can be applied in so many different ways. So… I'll give you 6 things for this one.
1. Perform a professional audit. Taking some time to understand your qualities, qualifications and values can help focus your career transition and narrow down your career path options if you haven't already. Doing so can also help you understand how you might position yourself during the job search.
2. Identify your hard and soft skills. Soft skills are often the most transferable, so identifying them early can help you understand the ways you might bring value to a new role or industry. Taking inventory of your hard skills will help you identify if there are certain industries that might be easier to transition into.
3. Highlight your biggest career wins. Communicating the impact you've made throughout your career can help employers quickly understand the value you'll bring to their organization, even if you come from another role or industry.
4. Utilize online job search to your advantage. Pay close attention to the requirements and duties of jobs so you can evaluate whether the career would align with your skills, interests and values.
5. You just need to meet "most" of the qualifications. Try to focus on positions for which you meet at least 60% of the qualifications with your transferable skills. Meeting 60% of the qualifications isn't a hard rule, but it's a good general guideline to help you determine whether it's worth applying for.
6. Get a sense of the company. Before interviews, do some research to learn how inclusive a company is. Peruse the organization's core values, its social media accounts, and any recent statements in support of marginalized groups. Pay attention to the interviewers themselves. Is the panel diverse or are you likely to be an early "diversity hire"? If the interviewers seem to be emphasizing "cultural fit," ask what that means. Basically, be an active participant in the hiring process. You are also interviewing the company, as much as they are interviewing you.
Stephanie Acker, director of inside sales at Commvault, gave us a behind-the-scenes look at the company's application process, culture, and values, as well as her own career journey.
To kick things off, Stephanie mentioned the three things that make a great inside sales professional: an independent work ethic, the ability to learn and execute on their own, and an awareness of what keeps them motivated.
Over her 12-year career at Commvault, Stephanie's greatest motivation has been helping customers to find solutions and catapult them to success. In both her past role as a sales representative and her current director position, Stephanie remains committed to ensuring her team understands what motivates them to sell and setting them up for success.
The biggest surprise during her career at Commvault was becoming the director of inside sales. Stephanie shared that she loves working for a company that listens to new ideas, thinks outside of the box, and tries new things.
Don't miss her take on what moves a candidate forward in the interview process! For example, Stephanie loves when the interviewee gets into "the zone"—showing their selling technique. She also shares her favorite interview questions.
As Stephanie says, stop thinking and apply today!
To learn more about Commvault and their open roles, click here.
When you think about strong female leadership, what comes to mind? For Tatiana L., a global client partner in Miami, it's about more than having an executive seat, being a mother, or making dreams come true. "Good leadership is about being open, flexible, and able to understand different perspectives," she says. "It's about fostering collaboration, bringing people together, and empowering them to connect."
Tatiana L. is a global client partner based in Miami.
Tatiana is part of the Women@ Facebook Resource Group and helped plan Women's Leadership Day, an annual global community summit. While the highly-anticipated event takes place over just one day, its massive impact is felt over the course of the entire year.
Amy W. is an operations lead based in London.
"Women's Leadership Day is more than an event. It's energy, and it's a movement," Amy W., an operations lead in London, says. "Moments like this can completely change the perception of women in technology."
From choosing the content and programming for the event to making it accessible for women around the globe, we went behind the scenes with seven members of the Women@ Facebook Resource Group to learn more about how women are empowered—and are empowering one another— in their career journeys at the Facebook company.
Behind the scenes with Women@
Amanda M., an internal recruiting manager based in Singapore, speaking onstage at 2019 Women@ Leadership Day in APAC.
"I've always been passionate about empowering women, but I didn't know how I could do it at work. My first Women@ experience changed how I felt at Facebook," Amanda M., an internal recruiting manager in Singapore, remembers. "From then on, I wanted to help other women feel heard, valued, and confident."
Planning the global event, which brings together women from more than 20 countries, calls for close collaboration across multiple teams, regions, and timezones. Members of Women@ also partner with other Facebook Resource Groups, such as the Pride@ Resource Group, Latin@ Facebook Resource Group, Desis@ Facebook Resource Group and Black@ Resource Group, to ensure all women at Facebook are represented and feel included.
Vivian V. is a program manager based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
"Across regions and communities, we each bring unique differences and powerful stories. When one of us moves forward, we have the opportunity to bring all of us forward," Vivian V., a program manager in the San Francisco Bay Area explains. "While planning the summit, we meet weekly to talk about what women in different regions are experiencing. From the event theme and content to planning speaker sessions and fine-tuning details, we each have items to own. Two months before the summit, we meet daily to share updates and make sure nothing slips through the cracks."
"Just like me, women in APAC look forward to Women's Leadership Day all year long," Amanda says. Planning something that's deeply meaningful to so many people can feel like a lot of pressure, but at the same time, it's uplifting. I appreciate that we have the opportunity to talk about our individual and shared challenges, and we map out ways we can build community while empowering leadership for women across the globe."
Empowering confidence, equality, and leadership through storytelling
Paris Z., a vertical strategy lead in Singapore, and Amanda M. collaborate with women across the globe to plan Women@ programming and events.
Women's Leadership Day encourages women to talk about challenges like experiencing imposter syndrome, breaking through barriers, and how to manage work/life flexibility. "Storytelling is a huge part of the event," Paris Z., a vertical strategy lead in Singapore, explains.
Vivian says, "I've been at Facebook for nearly two years and help plan these events, and honestly, I never really understood imposter syndrome before I got here. Working with the Women@ community and hearing from our speakers—who are talented, brilliant superstars—I've seen firsthand how it affects them too."
Michelle C. is a client partner based in London.
Michelle C., a client partner in London, says that the summit's speaker sessions, which feature people from inside and outside of Facebook, are a highlight of every event. "We had a speaker from Tel Aviv who talked about the importance of balance in her personal life and how she co-parents with her husband. She shared specific things she's done, like adding her husband to the WhatsApp chat groups for mothers she's in and reminding her daughter's school that her husband is also available when their child feels sick. Her message was that we'll never be equal in the workplace until we're equal at home, and it really struck a chord."
Paris says that in APAC, Eva Chen's talk about facing challenges amidst the coronavirus pandemic and how she's raising her daughter was a top-rated session because it was so relatable. "From talking about her daughter's love for dinosaurs—a "boy" thing—and raising kids to fully be themselves to opening up about what it was like to grow up with immigrant parents from China and Vietnam, Eva inspired us with her authenticity and openness. Her struggle to feel supported while working in fashion and tech, rather than medicine, is something a lot of people in APAC understand."
"Every woman has a unique story," Michelle says. "Hearing from others is inspiring, validating, and truly eye-opening. It reminds us that we're not alone."
A memorable and lasting impact
It's no surprise that with the tremendous amount of planning and careful consideration that goes into the summit, its full impact is impossible to measure.
"It meant so much to me when people shared such positive feedback about Women's Leadership Day," Paris says. "We heard that some attendees felt inspired for days and weeks."
Kira G. is an agency partner based in Berlin.
Kira G., an agency partner in Berlin, has witnessed how the summit's programming can inspire action, even helping people push past a career plateau. "We might reach a point in our careers when we think, "I can't do this anymore, I'm not moving forward'," she says. "Women's Leadership Day gives us fresh perspectives, shows us new approaches, and starts important conversations. This can unlock new paths for growth and help us move forward."
Impact is felt in other Facebook groups, communities, and across teams too, inspiring interest and allyship. Amanda explains, "I felt so proud when a male VP from the Sales team came to us after hearing about what people talked about at Women's Leadership Day. He told us he wanted to learn more because it's everyone's responsibility to be an ally."
Empowering the community throughout the year
While Amanda describes Women's Leadership Day as a "bump in energy and inspiration" and "an injection of adrenaline", Vivian says that the real magic is what happens afterwards—and takes place all year long.
"When we think about Women's Leadership Day, our focus is on making sure that the powerful messages we hear and experience serve us throughout the entire year. We ask ourselves questions like, "How can we sprinkle these themes into our programming throughout the month or quarter? How do these ideas fit with our Women@ initiatives?" Going through something awesome together is just the beginning. Our work takes place year-round and we're constantly building on it to do more."
Paris agrees: "There's no shortage of amazing stories from our Women@ community throughout the year. Women's Leadership Day is just one channel for those stories, and I love how it stays top of mind with people and empowers them to do more good. When we come together, we can do anything we dream of."
"We're building a sisterhood and a community," Tatiana beams. "It feels so good to know there's always someone there to support you."
Learn more about Facebook's Employee Resource Groups, including Women@ here.