Back to blog posts

2021 company onsite: Bringing Pinwheelies together

Pinwheel Team

November 2, 2021

Download case study
Share On:

At Pinwheel, we’ve been accelerating our progress at a rapid rate - from raising our Series A round to launching new products to better serve our customers.  But it’s sometimes easy to not recognize the most critical elements that enable this type of progress and help us build an enduring company and world-class team. 

Pinwheel was launched during the pandemic, and as a consequence, the team we’ve been building has been onboarded almost fully remotely.  As we’ve scaled our team, we recognized we were reaching a state where we would benefit from bringing everyone together to strengthen our connections and take a step back from our day-to-day efforts to focus on our strategic objectives.   

With this in mind, we decided to hold an onsite in New York City and brought all “Pinwheelies” together, including remote team members.  No small feat however, especially given the challenges around the ongoing pandemic - so we were careful with clear COVID guidelines, and options for team members to take part remotely if they chose to.  

The objectives of this onsite were threefold:

  • Strengthen our bonds as a team 
  • Build a stronger customer-first mindset
  • Identify tactics to continue to raise the bar on our commitment to excellence 

The Mission, Should You Choose to Accept it

50 “Pinwheelies” joined us to take part in “Mission Pinpossible” (the spy/action theme for the onsite), an ambitious endeavor to build connectivity, customer centricity, and team excellence in just two short days.  

Connectivity: After months of working in a distributed manner, we wanted to help the team to build deeper connections with each other and continue to execute in a world-class manner.  Upon arrival, Pinwheel “Agents” received a “top secret” folder with materials needed for the day and “missions” to facilitate deeper connections like creating user manuals to understand everyone’s work preferences.  Additionally, we broke everyone up into different teams to conduct a scavenger hunt with the winning team picking a non-profit for donation.  

But it wasn’t all spycraft.  Some of the strongest foundations for working relationships are built on the basis of fun, a beverage of choice, and even a little bit of Taylor Swift at Karaoke.  :-)  

“There’s magic that comes from in-person human connection and this was a great way for our team to build deeper bonds with each other.” - Kurtis Lin (Co-Founder and CEO)

Customer Centricity: One of the best ways to become more deeply connected with customers is to try to put yourself in their shoes to understand their needs and the possibilities unlocked by payroll connectivity.  To help with this, the team broke up into cross functional groups to come up with a rapid pitch for what could be built with our APIs and pitch it to our “Shark Tank” panel of co-founders.  We were also honored to welcome three of our clients to take part in a Q&A session and help the team understand their perspectives more deeply.  Special thanks to our friends at Square Cash App, Perpay, and Findigs!  

“As an employee who has worked entirely remotely, it was extremely insightful to hear directly from our customers — how and why they chose to work with us. It was great to learn more about each company, its history with Pinwheel, and its plans for the future.” – David White (Software Engineer)

Team Excellence

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit”

At Pinwheel, we have a deep commitment to building a world class team.  Part of that commitment is not just around hiring the best, but also about continuously raising the bar to deliver with excellence and speed.  

To help with this, each of our functional teams conducted an exercise to identify ways to raise the bar across a number of areas, from systems and processes that could be adjusted to dependencies that would improve collaboration with other functional areas.  And to make it extremely actionable, each team defined an action plan around what would be done differently and ways to follow-up on their commitments.  

Mission Report: Success!

We couldn’t be happier with the outcomes we achieved.  The best evidence of this was from our closing session where we gave each team member a chance to talk about what they got out of the onsite and also participate in a gratitude exercise suggested by our partners at First Round.  The exercise involved writing up a line of gratitude for each person on their working team (e.g., something they admired, appreciated, or were grateful for) and for what they’re personally grateful for. We then sent everyone a personal Top Secret e-mail with their team’s responses.

“I came out of the onsite feeling energized and more connected than ever to my teammates.  One big takeaway for me from the onsite was to not be afraid to take risks and make mistakes. We are a team and we should not be afraid to share ideas, push our thinking, and learn!” - Denisse Garcia Rivas (Product Designer)

If you’re interested in joining our team, checkout our careers page

And if you’re interested in learning more about how our APIs can help power use cases from Direct Deposit Switching, Income & Employment Verification, Paycheck Linked Lending, and more, reach out to our team here -- we look forward to hearing from you!