May 24, 2018
Who would have guessed that a virtual company could be named the No.1 small company in Entrepreneur’s Top Company Cultures List? Some may argue that such a team does not even experience culture when they are working online remotely, scattered about the country. Others may say that their culture is only peaceful because they rarely need to interact face-to-face. But wouldn’t you rather believe that this virtual company has carefully curated a truly edifying, enriching, and encouraging culture, fought for it, and found success? Believe it, because that is what BELAY has done.
BELAY, formerly known as eaHelp, is a virtual staffing company that specializes in virtual assistants, virtual bookkeepers, content writers, and webmasters. This company has worked hard to establish their mission, vision, and values, because they know that a strong culture makes a successful company. With a culture centered around “encouraging commitment and service,” BELAY walks the walk. They are continuously seeking to engage and invest in their employees, causing a contagious, domino effect of putting others first. No wonder their employee retention rate is 99.3%.
What do they ask of their employees in return? Buy in. Bryan Miles, CEO, says “At my company, our vibrant culture is what makes working without four walls work. It’s inextricably linked to our vision, and by design, our team willingly — and enthusiastically — embodies that. We leave no margin for a ‘kinda sorta’ cultural commitment; you’ve got to be all in, contributing to the greater good. Our culture is a hum. A verve. A vibe. An electricity.” BELAY takes their time finding prospective employees who will respect and reflect their values and mission.
While the BELAY team does not have the luxury of frequent face-to-face team building activities due to lack of physical proximity, staff members still pride themselves on their connection and sense of community. In an effort to keep culture a priority, they have found creative ways to build relationships, such as video conferencing, email, instant messaging, and quarterly company retreats or events. Miles says, “No office? No problem. We do virtual happy hours, virtual coffee talks, Friday highs-and-lows shared on social media and more.”
Most importantly, Bryan and his wife Shannon demonstrate that they prize culture over competency in how they care for their employees apart from work. “We want you to work to live, not the other way around — and we strive to honor that every day,” says Miles, in regards to the flexible schedule permitted by their virtual office. According to Krisha Buelher, HR manager and culture cultivator, “The Miles’ have also established the ‘Pay It Forward Program,’ a fund that’s been used to help employees, clients or contractors facing hardship. Employees can voluntarily contribute a $1 from their paycheck towards the fund. Donations have gone towards everything from a water heater replacement to an employee who lost a child.” Additionally, BELAY takes care of their employees professionally and personally by offering workshops, book clubs, family days, and semi-annual summits for celebrating the company’s success and dreaming about the future. Events like these unify the team and provide a sense of belonging – the epitome of a strong culture. Clearly, this business has earned their No. 1 rank on Entrepreneur’s list of top small company cultures.