With a workforce working remotely for more than a decade, it’s natural to assume Goodway Group coped better with the pandemic than other organizations. But what earned the digital marketing and ad tech company the No. 3 spot among companies with more than 200 employees in Ad Age Best Places to Work 2021 was its ability to weather difficult decisions together with its employees.
As advertising revenue dropped sharply early in 2020, “we were really torn with, ‘How do we keep our people and how do we keep our team together?’” says Kandi Gongora, VP of people and organizational development at Goodway Group. The 371-person company, including its two owners, took pay cuts to keep the team together, resulting in zero layoffs or furloughs from March to June 2020. The company also set up a voluntary, employee-funded assistance program that was designed to help its workers through financial jams, with requests ranging from expenses caring for sick pets to supporting family members who lost their jobs.
Goodway expanded on its support structures during the pandemic, bringing employee family members into Friday video conferences. “We had our CTO who rides horses ... we had him out on his horse ranch, sharing his horses, doing tricks with his horses,” says Gongora. This encouraged others to join or start their own sessions, such as tutorials on how to make soy candles; kid-driven lessons on how to care for pregnant lizards; and meetings on how to make healthier food using an air fryer. “We had kids who were showing off their dancing because their dancing classes had stopped,” says Gongora. “Because we are remote, connections are really important.”
Goodway even managed to return pay back to normal after it exceeded its reduced financial goals for the year. The company set a financial goal to break even and promised that pay cuts would not last past December. By Dec. 4, Gongora says, the company had eliminated all its pay cuts.