How Valimail Busts
Costly Silos by Building Stronger Social Cohesion on Gatheround

With “humanity in the foreground,” Valimail uses social time to foster stronger cross-functional collaboration.

Two smiling Gatheround mascots sharing ideas over a laptop.

Industry: Technology & Cybersecurity
Company: 100+ fully remote employees
Use Cases: Team Bonding, Socials & Celebrations
Gatheround Plan: Enterprise

Valimail, the global leader in zero-trust DMARC email authentication security, provides a full line of cloud-native solutions that authenticate sender identity to stop phishing, protect brands, and ensure compliance. The company has earned the trust of more than 30,000 customers with an uncompromising commitment to excellence. Its remote-first team is made up of hard-working experts, putting in the hours across seven different time zones to create a better and safer email communication experience for customers.

Valimail does serious work, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously — in fact, that’s one of the company’s core values. When customers rely on your team for mission-critical work, it’s important for each team member to understand what’s at stake — and just as important to know when it’s time to step back and realign with the foundation that underlies all great collaborative work and a regenerative culture: a trusting, connected community of colleagues. But in a remote-first environment, sustaining that kind of culture can be easier said than done.

Remote As A Strategic Opportunity — And Major Challenge to Collaboration

One large study of the transition to remote work found that, without intervention, remote teams can quickly form silos. People on these teams spend 25% less time talking to people across other teams, work less often with “weaker” acquaintances, and have fewer social ties to other teams or functions. Silos are extremely costly, estimated to eat up nearly 2.5 hours a day of worker time and tied to a 24% drop in productivity across organizations. Leaders consider them to be the most significant barrier to innovation that workplaces face.

When Valimail leadership made the pivot to remote work, they did it with great intentionality, seeing it as a strategic pillar for the future of the company. But they also understood the risk that siloed work represents. With customers relying on them and the company’s 100+ employees seeking more connection and community, they knew they needed to find a way to bring people together. Valimail moved decisively and turned to Gatheround, a video meeting tool designed to bridge gaps and strengthen relationships.

Social Bonds, A Sense of Belonging, and Operational Excellence

Valimail launched a regular team social on Gatheround — and the impact was immediate. Honor Chan, Employer Brand and Communications Lead, was the architect of the company’s employee engagement programming until recently, and saw its effect play out in real time. She says,

“When we actually curated a space for  employees to bond as people and on topics that they find interesting, we noticed that people were leaning in more to collaborate cross-functionally and understand others’ perspectives. We wanted to continue to give them the space to foster a sense of organic belonging.”

Honor Chan, Employer Brand and Communications Lead

Honor and her team kept building on the initial structure of the meeting, responding to enthusiastic feedback from team members who loved having a space to get to know each other, not just as colleagues, but as “very cool people who work at Valimail.”

Research has shown that remote teams that take a similarly thoughtful approach to building culture reap the benefits: 40% of remote teams of similar size and structure to Valimail tend to be, “‘far above average’ at building personal connections among workers,” and excel across other key performance indicators like culture building, recruitment and retention, and employee engagement.

An Iterative Approach — With Structured Support from Gatheround

Honor and her colleagues began drawing on the team’s enthusiastic feedback and ideas to inform the topics and agendas that shape each social. Honor notes, “We have really different profiles of personalities across the company, so we regularly ask for feedback and apply that to our design planning. That way, everyone feels they have ownership.”

To lend structure to the social and find ways to connect all of those different personalities, Valimail relies on Gatheround, which supplies a robust library of conversation prompts across hundreds of topic areas, and provides a tested framework for bringing people together.

Among other benefits, Gatheround’s architecture also breaks down silos by encouraging people to explore what they have in common and what they don’t. It matches people who don’t often connect, uses prompts to bring conversations in new directions, and gives everyone equal speaking time (with priority for less-frequent contributors) — all in service of a more diverse organizational network.

For Valimail, using Gatheround has created bonds of trust that span individuals and teams, linking together the disparate parts of the organization to create a unified and socially cohesive whole. That strong culture shows in the work. As Honor puts it, “When people are able to see each other as people first, they naturally engage one another with more respect, curiosity, and grace.”

“Gatheround provides a fun venue for our people to see each other in that light with job titles set aside and everyone’s humanity in the foreground. Collaboration towards a common goal becomes natural when everyone is inclined to help each other out. That is the power of authentic social cohesion.”

Honor Chan, Employer Brand and Communications Lead

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