Think back a couple of years. Your financial advisor starts working at their kitchen table for the first time. A dog leaps up on the chair next to them, looking for a snack. Grandpa slips a note under the door, not sure he can still look after the kids this morning. A new neighbor drops Clorox wipes off outside, after they vanished from stores. The neighbor tells Grandpa she can help out. In the middle of all this, your advisor still manages to answer some of your most serious questions, which will decide whether you can comfortably retire when you want, or have to keep working into your seventies.
Since 2020, financial services workers across the world carefully constructed their work-from-home environments via phone and conferencing tech, so we wouldn’t actually see or hear the same hectic realities that were affecting the rest of us. The thousands of employees at Charles Schwab, or Schwabbies as they call themselves, were no different.
I previously wrote about how COVID-19 turned life upside down for staff at North Dallas Bank and Trust. This month, I got to hear the story of Stephanie Howell and how DoorDash was able to ease Charles Schwab’s transition to work from home, in a way that’s still relevant now. Stephanie leads a team focused on change and project management, field communications, rewards, recognition, and engagement for over six thousand client service and support employees. That’s more than a quarter of the company’s entire workforce.
Living just outside Denver with her husband, Aaron, and sons, Tanner, Teddy, and three-year-old Nicky, Stephanie finds Schwab’s flexibility around where she can work to be a boon: “Before the pandemic, it would have been pretty unthinkable for us all to work from home. But that changed everything. Now, being able to walk my oldest son to the bus stop in the morning, and then take a call on the way back to my house, that’s the sort of thing I really value,” she says. “Not to mention, if I wake up before any of the kids, which is rare, I can hop online and get some work done earlier than I would have, if I was commuting.”
So, like many of us, Stephanie has found new ways to manage her career and life outside work, which have some definite upsides. But back when COVID-19 first became a reality, it threw her organization into a state of tumult: “Before then, we loved to bring food in for whole teams on a tough day to boost morale. Managers typically have an engagement budget to use, and it was easy. One might want to take his team out to Chili’s for dinner. Suddenly he couldn’t do that at all, but the need to boost morale was stronger. So they would send food, one delivery at a time to team members and expense it, which became a logistical nightmare.”
That’s when her team discovered DoorDash for Work: “DoorDash has been in the trenches with us from the get-go. With the Expensed Meals option, we can now track what managers are doing with the money they’re allocated for this. In fact, for National Customer Service Week, which is a big deal for client service professionals, we just gave every team member a DoorDash credit for $25 to spend however they want.”
That flexibility to spend DoorDash credit at any time is something Stephanie and her family treasure. Stephanie often uses it at Crave Mediterranean Grill, which is family-owned and has operated in Centennial, Colorado for more than two decades: “Their grape leaves are amazing and so is their hummus, and helping keep this local restaurant in business, it means a lot. Then, you know, we're in fall ball season, so the two older boys are playing baseball, soccer, and flag football. And the only day of the week that we don't have anything going on is Fridays.
DoorDash saves us time getting food on the table so many other days of the week, whether it’s from Crave, East Moon Bistro (above), or another favorite, Chick-Fil-A. And by using the corporate DashPass benefit, we save on delivery every time”.
In another DoorDash for Work blog, Kristen Van Nest wrote about the difference between recognizing and appreciating employees. Appreciation is something very much on Stephanie’s mind as she thinks back: “You remember the GameStop Reddit story?” She’s referring to the amateur traders who pushed GameStop’s stock to record levels back in early 2021. “We saw a tremendous amount of trading volume around then and it was just a crazy experience for so many employees who were working remotely.
“Lots of people who we had never done business with before were calling us about opening up accounts, advice about what was happening, or moving money around. Being able to offer our staff DoorDash gift cards really helped lift morale, which would have been much higher if they were physically working side by side.”
Charles Schwab currently offers employees a hybrid plan, combining the opportunity to come into the office or work from home. Even though being back in the office is now a reality for many, they plan to keep offering DoorDash for Work, because the corporate DashPass allows employees to save money on meals. Expensed Meals also give leaders like Stephanie more transparency into how staff spend engagement benefits. “Whenever we interview for someone new on the team, and they ask about a ‘typical day,’ I tell them no two days are the same. And that’s what I love about working here. Your career is what you make of it, but we think this benefit definitely helps people sign on the dotted line.”