Celebrating Our Shine: What Makes GOTRI a Best Place to Work
Joy. Empowerment. Intentionality. Diversity. Connectedness. Optimism. Gratitude. Health. Compassion. Every day at Girls on the Run International (GOTRI), we empower girls to embrace who they are, define who they want to be, rise to any challenge, and change the world. We could not bring this vital mission to life without our amazing team members at Girls on the Run! The way our employees embrace and embody these traits makes Girls on the Run not only an inspirational place to work, but a genuinely enjoyable one.
This year, the Charlotte Business Journal recognized GOTRI as a finalist in the Best Place to Work Awards program. GOTRI has participated for seven consecutive years and in 2023, we received our highest score ever.
We are incredibly fortunate to have such bright employees share their talents with GOTRI. But what do these strong and compassionate people value most about working for the organization? Here are a few insights shared in the award survey:
An organization that exemplifies its values
“This organization leads with its core values, and it shows.”
Our mission and core values are at the heart of our people strategy. Our operational practices are all assessed through the lens of alignment with our core values from performance development and compensation philosophy, to communications and staff recognition. For example, we express gratitude with our words, thoughts, and actions to recognize staff and our performance management includes a component heavily weighted on our core values.
An environment of inclusion and connectedness
“Continue being a heart-centered, people-centered organization. I have never felt the affection, connection, and appreciation that I do at Girls on the Run.”
GOTRI fosters a culture of diversity and inclusion. Our core values encourage us to embrace our differences and find strength in our connectedness. We strengthen the connectedness of our fully remote workforce by organizing virtual staff gatherings and engagement activities, hosting in-person departmental events, and encouraging space for friendship and social connection between all staff. Employees express that they feel “valued,” “grateful,” “joyful,” “inspired,” “honored,” “appreciated,” and “lucky” to not only be part of the Girls on the Run movement, but to work for an organization that values our connections with each other.
A commitment to investing in staff both in and out of ‘the office’
“I’m incredibly proud and appreciative of the many ways Girls on the Run invests in our people through recognition, growth potential, salary, and benefits.”
At Girls on the Run, we want staff members to feel celebrated and supported in both their personal and professional lives. We strive for our benefit strategy to reflect that. We intentionally invest in a balance of benefits that empower staff to reach their limitless potential at work and enrich their lives outside of work.
Out of ‘the office’
This year, we invested in a new benefit to recognize loyal, long-term employee tenure by introducing a paid six-week sabbatical for employees with 10-plus years of tenure. In our first year alone, 12% of GOTRI employees will have the opportunity to enjoy this benefit! PTO starts at 31 days annually with increases at every five-year anniversary. Our PTO is fully flexible, and employees can use it at their discretion. We enhanced our paid-leave policy to also cover non-birthing caregivers for a variety of needs, including mental health. We also provide financial education and company-paid mental health benefits through FlexCare.
In ‘the office’
We implemented a retention bonus program, starting at five years of employment. We conduct annual external total compensation assessments to increase employees’ salaries and ensure we pay employees at or above the median benchmark for their respective roles. And our vibrant employee-led Culture Committee facilitates opportunities for connection and to engage team members, including celebrating our teammates with tenure awards and GOTR-versary recognitions. We are committed to life-long learning and invest in internal professional development opportunities as well as providing managers with stipends for employees to pursue external training opportunities in areas of importance and interest.
A remote work culture that rocks
One employee shared on the survey that the organization should continue: “Providing tons of PTO, having flexible work hours, being remote, and being loud and proud about its mission.”
Like many organizations, we quickly shifted to remote work in Spring 2020, but unlike many other employers, when the time came to decide if and how we would return to a physical office, GOTRI centered employee perspectives to determine our path forward. Staff expressed that the immense benefits to their personal lives and health made a transition to fully remote work the choice most aligned with our core value to nurture our physical, emotional and spiritual selves. This decision forwards our commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility by reducing barriers to employment and expanding our recruiting pool, and most importantly it boosts staff satisfaction. GOTRI intentionally leans into workplace practices to maximize the benefits of remote work, establishing No Meeting Fridays and core working hours, and providing a monthly remote work stipend that employees can use in any way that makes remote work life more comfortable for them. The impact of these benefits shows up not only in anecdotal support from employees, but also translates directly to employee engagement scores, with 2021, 2022, and 2023 yielding our highest Best Places to Work scores yet.
We are proud of the culture we create at Girls on the Run and will continue striving to meet the needs and values of our incredible staff. One of our employees said it best:
“Girls on the Run’s unwavering commitment to fostering inclusivity, advocating work-life balance, and wholeheartedly appreciating each team member not only differentiates it, but also plays a pivotal role in driving its remarkable success. The organization’s enduring dedication to a supportive and forward-looking philosophy makes working here an unquestionable privilege. It’s inspiring to contribute to an organization that not only fosters professional and personal growth but also empowers the emerging leaders of tomorrow.”