How We Gather: Deep-diving into how our People and Talent teams work together at Gather

It may not surprise you that at Gather, we go to work in our virtual office on the very tool we build. Our teams are constantly using the various features we build in order to supercharge remote culture, improve productivity, and collaborate together. We sat down with three members of our People and Talent teams to share with you how they Gather.

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How We Gather: Deep-diving into how our People and Talent teams work together at Gather

Photograph of Philip Wang
Veronica Saron

It may not surprise you that at Gather, we go to work in our virtual office on the very tool we build. Our teams are constantly using the various features we build in order to supercharge remote culture, improve productivity, and collaborate together. We sat down with three members of our People and Talent teams to share with you how they Gather.

Tell us who you are and what you do at Gather.

Katrina: I'm the People Ops Lead, which means I handle all things People-related, from creating programs that support all of our team members and leaders to managing performance, benefits, and training.

Brian: I'm the Head of Talent. I focus on all technical and non-technical recruiting.

Steph: I'm the VP of Ops! I oversee and look after non-engineering, product, and design functions. That includes People, Talent, Customer Experience, Support, Legal, and Security.

How did you manage recruiting and HR in the past, before Gather and the COVID-19 pandemic?

Katrina: Up until the pandemic before I started at Gather, our work was done entirely in person. It required a lot more coordination and guidance which included providing instructions for coming into the building. For recruiting, navigating this took a lot more time. We needed to give people a tour and regroup with them afterward. When you're physically moving around a space more multitasking happened compared to now in a virtual environment. It also required a lot more effort to get a candidate to come in based on what their commute was. It was a lot harder because you're trying to stack interviews back to back to be conscious of their time and travel.

Brian: Before the pandemic, I was completely office-bound. The commute distance was always a factor as to whether or not candidates would decline or stop the interview process. During the pandemic prior to joining Gather, I worked in a hybrid way, which had a few challenges. It was harder to see and gauge body language, for example. Now the focus has shifted to replicating things we did when we were in the office within Gather. How can we get to the communication piece that's more representative of the real world?

Brian, Katrina, and Taylor from our HR and Recruiting team in a Private Area on the beach in the Gather office

When you are NOT using tools like Gather, how does working remotely affect the workplace and its culture?

Steph: Engagement is tricky. We don't necessarily get that same vibe of sitting in the kitchen together, getting on the elevator, and making small talk. Everything feels more scheduled. We have a meeting, which is why we're talking. But we haven't walked by each other in the hallway. Spontaneous, organic conversations are non-existent when you work remotely. It is harder to connect. Before remote working, people really enjoyed random gifts and treats throughout the day and little unplanned events.

Katrina: Everything is scheduled when you're remote. There's a lot of things you can't pick up on when being remote. I used to oversee onboarding at my previous company; we were fully remote, but not using Gather. It's different when someone starts off working fully remotely vs. being in person. You do have to find more ways to integrate people into your culture.

One of the original Gather Office lobbies where we welcome guests.

How do you use Gather to create a differentiated candidate experience? What has the reaction been like?

Katrina: When we moved to remote work, it was much easier to schedule interviews, and the turnaround times were shorter because commuting isn't a factor. It was also easier, timezone-wise, because multiple interviews could happen, regardless of where someone is located. Moving onto Gather further enhanced and improved the process. Before, people couldn't get a sense of what the dynamics were around what you did and how you interacted with people. These were things we were trying to solve at my last workplace, and Gather solved those issues. I could see all these other people talking around me. I had a tour of a virtual office and understood the culture of the company through all these little interactions happening around me. All of those things were checking off the boxes to really heighten that experience of remote working. 

Brian: Allowing candidates to come into the office to see things virtually puts a lot of things into perspective for them. Sharing the videos we have, the office dog, the go-kart…those are the things people really appreciate. I once fell into a portal, and it took me through several different spaces! That was a lot of fun, and it was actually with a candidate who got to see how things were different here at Gather. Those organic moments help. Our platform has given a different version of remote work. The ability to have meetings within a space and walk up to someone's desk removes the video fatigue we've all experienced in the last few years. It creates all those happy moments that make people excited to hop onto the platform.

Katrina: We’ve integrated elements that replicate what it feels like going into an office. We have interview rooms and areas for people to go to and explore, so it's a lot more fun. You can be at a fishing pond, in the forest, wherever! Those elements are what candidates really like about Gather. It's also where they experience that "aha" moment and really get what we're about.

Our onboarding ship where we new hires experience their first day at Gather.

Tell us about how we do onboarding here at Gather.

Katrina: We do have new hire orientation on the first day. We give them a tour of the office and get them acquainted. You pick up from the avatar social cues to see who's going to and from the onboarding area, and there's a build mode section so that people know how to build in Gather. Afterward, we get them set up at their desks, which makes it easier if they have questions. We can do a check-in within their first week. There are a lot of new hires who have just come to our desk. I see where Katrina sits. I can go over to her. It's very different from just being remote and not using Gather. It's a lot more personal and engaging.

Steph: When you go to a new office in real life, you probably get lost a lot when you first join. Where's this room? That room? With Gather, you can just click follow, and the platform takes you to where you need to be. You can see where people sit. It really eases the pain of the transition.

What are your favorite features about Gather that build on candidate experience and current employee experience?

Steph: You can still be in an office but without the commute. I met a candidate in this virtual office who is based in London. We kept in touch and are friends now. That's unique, and it definitely speaks to the power of these digital spaces. I would never have had that opportunity because we wouldn't be hiring internationally in this way.

Katrina: The fact that Gather offers a virtual office setting. It's one thing to be remote; it's another to have working desks that our avatars can sit at. Candidates have told me that they love that they can change up what they're wearing when they come in! It's a lot more playful, and a great experience. It helps that I can see other people working and interacting around me, too.

Brian: I love the small Gathering areas that we've created! These are the small spaces that we have and go to when we want to focus or have meetings with other people. When the "take me there" function takes me to a new area that you don't usually get to go to. There's a sense of delight and surprise.

Our operations teams at their desks in the Gather office

What advice do you have for other People Managers that want to improve remote culture and productivity for their teams?

Brian: The environment matters a lot. On Gather, having an aesthetically pleasing space is important. It should feel warm and make people want to come in on a regular basis. It's nice to see people working beside each other. A manager/leader can and should continue to communicate with their directs and emphasize that it's an open environment. Encourage people to walk up to each other and communicate with each other within the space. You can do that with other remote tools, but Gather is great for making it not scary or intimidating to approach anyone.

Katrina: Create best practices! And constantly revise their working habits. Set that tone and make it clear so that people understand those expectations.

What advice do you have for other Recruiting Leads looking to improve the candidate experience for new hires?

Katrina: Creating a welcoming environment is definitely important. You want employees to feel like they're really a part of the team. You want people to feel like it's efficient and effective. How do you create those moments of serendipity? Gather can be a great solution for them.

We hope you enjoyed this glimpse into how our people and talent teams work together to collaborate and build productivity on Gather! If you haven’t created a space yet, you can get started for free. If you’re interested in helping us build Gather, check out our careers page

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