It was a moment we were all waiting for. After weeks of preparation, on July 9th, over 150 Divante employees met in Wrocław or online for the Summer Summit. That was the first time we met in person as a company in almost two years.
To this day, we’ve had four summits: two in the winter and two in the summer. This year’s Summer Summit was different from previous ones. Before we had speeches, we gave out long-service awards. This time, we decided it would be awesome just to hang out with each other and have fun without the screen between us.
This is us - Divantees present during Summer Summit 2021
We asked Weronika Reniszyn, our Employer Branding Specialist and this year’s Summer Summit coordinator, about the event, its goals, and the organizational process.
Company integration in the time of a pandemic
The organization was tricky due to the COVID pandemic. The rules changed from day to day, and it was impossible to plan ahead. The main organizational work took place three weeks prior to the event.
“The organization began at the end of April, which was quite late. But it was unavoidable because we were constantly receiving different information about the pandemic-related restrictions. Up to the very end, we didn’t know how we could proceed or how to be compliant with the restrictions.” - Weronika Reniszyn, Employer Branding Specialist
One of the challenges was to gather information about how many of the employees were already vaccinated. We had to consult with our lawyers and be very careful. On one hand, health issues are sensitive, personal data. On the other hand, COVID prevention is our common responsibility. We had to find a compromise between those two approaches. Also, the level of concern among people is different. Some are very cautious and expect safety measures, and others, not so much. We tried to meet everybody’s expectations and at the same time, comply with the COVID restrictions.
“We approached it carefully. We wanted to investigate the state of vaccinations and whether people were willing to meet in person at all. We consulted with lawyers and a personal data specialist, and we gathered the information. We conducted an anonymous survey asking employees about vaccines. Thanks to this, we were sure that we didn’t exceed the required limit and were reassured by that.” - Weronika Reniszyn
The original plan was to organize an event similar to the fully remote Winter Summit that took place in the midst of the pandemic. However, the feedback gathered from employees gave us another idea.
“Initially, we had different plans, but hearing what people were saying, we decided that we would skip the speeches and the official part. We wanted to give people time to see each other live to talk in person in a relaxed atmosphere. Give them the opportunity to talk about other things than work. The Summit was opened by Marcin Łaskawski, our CEO, who welcomed everyone and made a short, 10-minute summary, and then the official part was over.” - Weronika Reniszyn
The other thing was the weather. On the day of the event, we had a huge storm in Wrocław, and the event was going to take place in a tent! We were lucky not to suffer any damage, and right before the event started, the sun came out.
“Our main goal for this event was employee integration. We didn't see each other for almost two years and the meetings were sporadic. The Summer Summit was the first opportunity to get to know each other in person because a lot of new people joined us during the last year. In the end, over 150 people took part in the offline event. For us, it was a huge success! We also arranged a live stream for those who joined us via the internet.” - Weronika Reniszyn
Of course, not all of Divante’s employees could attend this event in person. We’ve always had remote employees, but the pandemic increased the number of people working from different locations.
“A couple of people came from abroad, which was awesome because we never met in person before. It was really fun to finally meet them. We also wanted to do something for remote people, so we organized a rock concert with an online stream for them.
In the COVID era, there have been very few concerts, so we thought some live music would be a treat for the participants.” - Weronika Reniszyn
Antyradio Cover Band during their performance
After the concert, we had a DJ play some music to chill out to, we had sunbeds and a barbecue. Nothing fancy, but we believe that after over a year of social isolation, people are more appreciative of being together. Their focus shifted from awards and keynote speeches to just hanging out together.
With this event, we wanted to give people, above all, the opportunity to meet physically, talk, and be in one room at the same time. We wanted to give them a substitute for the new “normal” by organizing a concert with a rock band. All of this created an amazing summer vibe but with all the COVID safety measures. It was also a great lesson in being flexible and adjusting to an ever-changing situation. It was all worth it!
“At Divante, we believe that people and the atmosphere at work are the main motivating factors. We spend a lot of time at work, so it's crucial to feel good and build relationships.” - Weronika Reniszyn
Our employees chilling and having fun on the sunbeds
After the Summer Summit was over, we asked the employees about their opinions in a survey, and they endorsed it almost unanimously. Their satisfaction with the event is a great motivation for us. It gives us the strength to organize future events even better.
Whether or not the pandemic is over, we’re already thinking about planning another hangout with our awesome employees!