Have you ever heard of a company providing employees an all-expenses-paid vacation? No?
Well, now you have.
Formstack offers not one but two fully paid trips every year for employees. In the first half of the year, we have the opportunity to attend Converge, our annual all-company retreat. In the second half of the year, we get to head out to Small Hands, our smaller departmental retreats.
These trips are meant to provide employees time to meet up in person to foster relationships, recap wins, and prep for the coming year. As a remote-first company, we understand how valuable it is to get face time with coworkers. There’s just something magical about getting to see (and collaborate with) people in real life.
Where did our teams go this year? Here’s a recap of where Small Hands took more than 300 ‘Stackers this year!
Go-to-Market Dons Cowboy Hats in Nashville
“I am proud to be a part of a transparent, lively, inspiring organization where not only the product is unmatched but so are the people,” said Amanda Carter, following her first Small Hands trip with the Go-to-Market team.
For the first time, Sales, Marketing, and Partnerships came together for a single Small Hands adventure. The teams all traveled to Nashville and stayed at the world-famous Gaylord Opryland Resort.
Teams were excited and energized to discuss 2023 strategy, KPIs, and plans. Senior leaders from Sales, Marketing, and Partnerships provided insight into next year’s plans during all-team presentations. The content portion closed with a live interview with Chris Camp, founder of Insight Powered, a Salesforce-certified consulting agency and Formstack Partner.
Social time kicked off with a very competitive trivia contest during the opening evening dinner. Lukas Buller, Partner Enablement Manager, explained, “The event organizers were very intentional with our tables. We had assigned seats, and at each table, we had a representative from sales, marketing, and partnerships. During trivia, my table commented on how diverse Formstack is. I believe the statement, ‘there are no cookie cutters here’ was thrown out. It was a great way to kick off a fun and relationship-building few days.”
‘Stackers could choose from a wide variety of activities to participate in during their designated fun time, including Top Golf, a peddle bar, and even a Nashville-themed scavenger hunt. Their time in Nashville concluded with an evening out at local restaurants and bars in the heart of downtown Nashville.
HR Heads Down South to Austin
The Go-to-Market team wasn’t the only one hanging out in a land of cowboy hats and boots. Our HR team spent their Small Hands in Austin, enjoying the warmth of Texas weather and hospitality.
After a busy year growing Formstack’s headcount by 29%, the HR team spent their time in Texas bonding, celebrating achievements, and planning for the hiring and people needs in 2023. When not putting their heads together during planning sessions, they enjoyed touring the city, grabbing ice cream, and exploring the Austin food scene.
Talent Acquisition Manager Yirang Lim had this to say about her experience: “This annual department gathering is where we meet, learn, and have fun. This is my favorite Formstack time of the year. Not only did I see my team in person, but we also learned more about each other and felt more engaged. And most importantly, I gained a strong sense of purpose and belonging.”
Customer Experience Explores New Orleans
Customer Experience was jazzed to hit up New Orleans for their departmental retreat. The team stayed in The Ritz-Carlton, set within a 1908 Beaux Arts building in the heart of the French Quarter.
The team kicked off their bonding with a costume party during their opening dinner. Congrats to the winners: Kendell, Melissa, Porter, and the CX Ops team! Customer Support Specialist Sean Vantuyl said this about the evening: “For sure I was nervous to meet everyone, but the first dinner was like a gigantic family thing. As an introvert, it felt welcoming and like home.”
When not in team sessions and discussing 2023 goals, the group enjoyed activities like mask making, float tours, and getting 360-degree panoramic views of the city from Vue Orleans. They even did some improv during the trip!
“Small Hands is an incredible and integral part of our department’s success. It allows our teams to come together to share not only our wins but how we will shape our teams and processes for the future,” said Director of Customer Success Lauren Kofeldt.
“Having the time to connect one-on-one with individuals to share not only work experiences but our life events is an unmatchable energy that we just wouldn’t get without this meeting. I am so grateful that our Formstack leadership team affords us this opportunity each year.”
Finance and Legal Hit Up Sunny San Diego
Is life better on a beach? The Finance and Legal teams might think so after visiting San Diego for their Small Hands trip. The team stayed at the Catamaran Resort Hotel, just across the street from the Pacific Ocean.
The team of 25 spent time together planning for 2023 and collaborating on future goals. But when the presentations ended and the laptops closed, the group had a lot of fun out in the sand. Their afternoon activity included bikes, kayaks, and sand castle building. They also hit up a San Diego Padres game against the LA Dodgers at beautiful Petco Park.
They closed out the trip with a private campfire on the beach, overlooking the ocean while they shared stories, laughed, and made memories.
Product and Engineering Enjoy New Orleans
“I am a firm believer that if companies want to retain their employees, they need to actively work on creating a sense of culture and connection within the workplace,” said Sue Lynn Withrow in her reflection post about the Product and Engineering team’s Small Hands trip. Looking at the pictures, it seems the team did just that during their stay in New Orleans at the JW Marriott, right in the heart of the French Quarter.
The teams that create and maintain our products enjoyed plenty of time discussing 2023 roadmapping, product plans, and goals. Bringing our product and engineering teams together for a single retreat ensured clear communication, collaboration, and partnership. The presentation portion of their trip wrapped up with awards and an Ask Me Anything session with product and engineering leadership.
When not focused on the future of our products, the teams enjoyed lots of authentic Louisiana activities. From beignets and jambalaya to jazz and a behind-the-scenes look at where Mardis Gras floats are created, the team got a lot of exposure to the culture of the French Quarter.
When asked about her experience, Sr. Product Analyst Christina Price had this to say: “It's so amazing to get to connect in person and to meet people I may rarely have a need to work with. It's a very positive thing about Formstack that it values giving us the chance to make a personal connection, in addition to the fully remote culture."
"Also, you just can't beat NOLA for food, coffee, and jazz. What a great place to get together in a relaxing environment.”
That’s a Wrap!
Culture has always been a big reason why ‘Stackers come to work for Formstack. It’s also a big reason why they stay. Small Hands is just one part of Formstack’s culture that ensures we put people first. “Relationships matter” is a Formstack culture value for a reason!
Interested in joining the Formstack team and experiencing Small Hands for yourself? View all of our open positions.