Word of the Year
Starting the year with a ‘Word of the Year’ is a powerful tool to align with their intention, focus their attention, and ultimately shape their execution.
During recent leadership meetings, we thought why not? Why not come up with a word of the year for our team. Something to help us align with our true intentions, to focus our attention, and to help shape our execution. So, what did we pick? Gratitude.
It might seem like a funny choice for a business. After all, we need to turn a profit to keep the doors open. How will Gratitude help us thrive, help us be a successful business? Gratitude helps us focus on our teams’ overall well-being
A company is nothing without its people – Team, Family, Customers, Partners, and Community.
We pride ourselves on our value statement – We improve the lives and business success of our employees and customers. And this year we are doing this by intentionally focusing on Gratitude.
Gratitude can improve your overall well-being, working memory, sleep, immune system, relationships, and coping with emotional upheavals. I think we can all agree. After the past 10+ months, we could all use more of this… and TRAVEL, I could use more travel 😉
What did we do first?
Our first Gratitude activity was a charitable donation drive. Rockton offered to match any donation made to a charity, of the team members’ choice, within a set timeframe.
During a recent company meeting each team member spent time explaining a bit about the charity they chose. What an eye-opening and inspiring activity?! Often the most common charities come to mind first. We heard that not only food shelves are suffering right now, but some zoos are struggling to feed their animals too. And about some of the trickle-down effects caused by someone being incarcerated without being able to post bail.
Our team ended up donating just under $8,000 to our local communities. Here is a list of who our team supported this past month.
Who are we donating to?
Rockton has a tradition of giving back to the community in a variety of ways. We have our 1-1-1 rule, where 1% of our team’s time, 1% of company profits, and 1% of our product is given to charities in our communities. Also, each year at GPUG Summit we give away one of our products for free to a Non-Profit. In 2020 we gave out 2. Check out those winners here.
A few years ago, Rockton enacted a 1-1-1 rule. This means we dedicate 1% of our team’s time, 1% of company profits, and 1% of our product is given to charities in our communities. Employees enthusiastically jumped at the chance to engage with their chosen charities. It is such a great part of our company culture. We support a wide and interesting range of nonprofits in the communities where Rockton Software employees reside.
Going along with this rule we have recently incorporated something new. Each year we ask for nominations from nonprofits that would like to receive one of our products at no charge. We typically announce the winner at GPUG Summit but since this event went virtual we had to do things a little differently.
This year we are thrilled to give out not 1 but 2 awards.
Congrats to Autism Services of Saskatoon and Grace Lutheran Communities.
After all the submissions were reviewed, we felt these two service organizations go above and beyond for their community and they both deserved to get their requested product.
Autism Services of Saskatoon Submission
I would like to nominate Autism Services to receive the Dynamics GP Toolbox solution. We have been in operation for just over 40 years in the Saskatoon community and on an annual basis have approximately 130-145 new families every year coming to us for services. The existing families still need support so our demand for services has been increasing dramatically in the past 5 years. In all of this, I feel having the right tools in our hands to do our administrative processing as efficiently as possible is a good way for us to save a few dollars that can then be used to support our clients.
Grace Lutheran Communities
I’m writing this nomination for the free Rockton product that you are looking to reward to a non-profit organization. We are a non-profit organization that specializes in Skilled Nursing Facilities, Assisted Livings, Low-Income Apartments, Adult Day Services, and Child Care. Our organization uses Microsoft Dynamics GP for our Accounts Payable and Finance reporting.
Being a nonprofit organization, we use our budget to the best of our ability to service our residents and clients and most times go without the technology items that would help us with our day-to-day operations in the office. If I could have one product introduced to my Finance Team, I would like to get SmartFill. I feel as though the functionality of this product would greatly help us when we are dealing with information for 20-plus facilities and over 300 vendors that we do business with.
With a small team of seven people doing so much any little time saving tool would greatly help and impact the amount of time spent looking for something within the Dynamics system. I also find that this product would allow us to find mistakes before they happen and really impact our organization. I know that using this product previously it can help elevate double payment to vendors and such issues that arise. With an organization that does so much for so many facilities with a small number of employees this product would definitely be beneficial to us.
Congratulations to both and we are so excited to help be a part of your mission!
If you would like to learn about these two organizations and donate check out the information and links below.
Autism Services continuously strives to deliver the highest standard of support, advocacy, and service to individuals with autism, and their families and caregivers.
Click here to donate, https://www.autismservices.ca/how-you-can-help/make-a-donation/
Our vision at Grace Lutheran Communities is an evolution. We will breathe life into our vision with initiatives that help us live the vision a little more each day.
Click the link to donate to our Supplying Grace Fundraiser: https://www.autismservices.ca/how-you-can-help/make-a-donation/
Did you ever think there would be a shortage of toilet paper? Or we would attempt to cut/color our own hair, OD’ing on hand sanitizer, or that wearing masks would become the norm?
Matter of fact, we have a Rockton Parody all about it.
Being in this COVD life since March sure has been challenging. It has created anxiety and uncertainty and put a lot of stress on us and our families. But, in the midst of all the chaos, we are also getting more creative, learning new things, and making the most of it.
What has the team at Rockton been up to? Many of us have been cleaning, decluttering, learning new things, and staying active. We thought it would be fun to share some of the ways we’ve been keeping busy in hopes to help give you ideas as we head into the winter months.
- Golf – it’s one of the only sports right now that makes you feel good, allows you to get some fresh air & exercise, spending time with friends while social distancing, and lets you forget about COVID for a few hours.
- Family Game Night – Our go-to game right now is Catan. It involves the whole family, promotes problem-solving mixed with a little strategy and is something different than Monopoly.
- Using “Microsoft Teams” for Virtual Happy Hours – I’ve been connecting with my college sorority sisters and it’s been a great opportunity to catch up, talk about our kids and their challenges with being in High School, distance learning, sports etc. and our other children that are facing similar challenges with college.
We have used this extended lockdown to finally declutter our house. We made a list of everything that needs addressing in every room and have been knocking down that list, little by little, pretty much every weekend since this began. I don’t know if I would call it “fun” per se, but the results are endlessly satisfying.
I’ve done more TV watching in the past few months that I have in the same number of years. Netflix exclusively.
I tried to cut my own hair… but I don’t think it would be considered fun… the end result certainly isn’t.
Oh, one thing I have done that’s fun is Legos! Built an awesome VW Van.
My family has slowed down and we have planned more “togetherness” moments. We went camping almost every weekend for 2.5 months starting around May when the campgrounds opened up. We spent many nights by the fire sharing stories, fishing early in the morning and fishing at night, going to the beach, swimming for hours, renting kayaks and standup boards, playing card games in the camper, and going for hikes more than we ever did in previous years. In all of these weekend trips, there were so many fun memories or things we did together and that is what got us through a lot.
COVID has affected so many lives & families (and continues to do so). Families have lost loved ones and I can’t imagine their grief. For our family though, COVID has helped bring us together and form a stronger family bond. It forced us to listen more and talk less. It also gave (forced) us to show our kids how you handle bad situations like a pandemic. Like making personal hygiene something we can all get better at. We try to be the examples for them, even though we are just as nervous as they are.
This summer we spent many hours outside landscaping and adding value to our home. We added new flower beds, transplanted hostas to add more life, built garden boxes for my kids so they could plant strawberries, grew tomatoes in several planters, and I tried growing jalapenos for the first time. I put up bird and squirrel feeders as well.
- Got a new bow for my Birthday so I have been going to the archery range and shooting more!
- Driving through the mountains to enjoy the fall colors.
- Quick camping trip using our rooftop tent on the Jeep.
- Spending time with our dog who is getting up there in age
- We’ve done a virtual couple’s cooking classes. The classes we have taken go from making a Charcuterie meat & cheese board to Chicago deep-dish pizza and Thai Curry.
- We’ve done a virtual escape room with a group
- Using the Houseparty app, we’ve connected with friends and family to play the trivia and games that are part of the app
- We’ve found a lot of new walking trails in our area
- We’ve had patio happy hour with friends
- Spa nights at home – facials, manicures, and pedicures
- Met family at parks to do socially distant walks
- Attended online church on Sunday mornings. It’s become one of our favorite times to be together get organized for the week and have breakfast
- Firepit and movies outside
- Planted a garden
- Multiple home repair and improvement projects
- Started a weekly Zoom book club with my siblings, nieces and nephews
- Stream yoga classes
- Moved kids back and forth to college two extra times
- Played backyard beer pong with same kids
- De-cluttered house, Marie Kondo style
- Helped my daughter sew her first quilt
- Rediscovered cards and board games and got some new ones (recommend Wizard)
Well, what have I done so far? It’s quite a list.
- Put our Christmas lights up on the house
- Organized nearly every corner and closet in the house
- Baked more than I have in my life
- Taught my boys how to bake without burning the house down
- Countless puzzles with the family
- Teaching my boys how to play chess
- Started designing my holiday cards
- Sent quarantine gifts for friends stuck at home
- Finally programmed my Alexa to do what I say
I am not done yet, here is what I have left or want to do:
- Plan to learn calligraphy
- Start a succulent garden for the winter months so I have something green growing inside for winter
- Redecorate both of my son’s rooms
It feels like so long ago when you could just get on a plane and go anywhere. I was going to FL a few times a year to visit family (my parents, daughter, and granddaughter) well since that’s not happening we are Facetiming a lot more.
We also have the Facebook Portal which makes it easier and you don’t have to worry about your phone dying so quickly.
I have been doing a lot of organizing and decluttering but still have a ton to go. I just received a Cricut Joy for my birthday. I plan to use that a lot in the coming months as it gets colder here in RI. Maybe I will become a DIY crafter.
During the lockdown, I have had 2 distractions that have helped keep me from pulling my hair out (which I suppose would be the closest thing I have had to a haircut!)
Knitting is a longtime hobby of mine, but this year my knitting has become pandemic focused. I knit a rainbow stuffie to hang in my window to show love and solidarity with my community. I used the leftover rainbow yarn to knit a baby blanket for a friend’s pandemic born baby.
Animal Crossing – Imagine if you could escape our current 2020 reality to a faraway desert island with only those you love and some surreal and adorable animal neighbors….all from the comfort of your quarantine couch. That pretty much sums up the Nintendo Switch game Animal Crossing. My 7-year-old daughter and I have fully immersed ourselves in this fun and creative game. And it has the added bonus of visiting our friends’ and family’s islands who live in other states. It has helped us all stay connected in a unique setting.
What you have been doing during this time in quarantine, feel free to share them with us?
Also, if you’re not part of our Summit Staycation, learn more and sign up today.
Part of our culture
Volunteering is becoming more and more part of our country and part of company culture.
The 2018 Volunteering in America report found that 77.34 million adults (30.3 percent) volunteered through an organization last year. Altogether, Americans volunteered nearly 6.9 billion hours, worth an estimated $167 billion in economic value, based on the Independent Sector’s estimate of the average value of a volunteer hour for 2017.
Here at Rockton we take volunteering to heart and are grateful for the chance to give back to society. In fact, we each donate 21 hours a year, which is a total of 441 hours.
So, what have the Rockton volunteers been up to lately?
Kris Berger, QA Development Team Lead
I have been volunteering 4 hours a week with the Fargo Lego Robotics League. The league runs from September through mid-late February, or later, depending on how far the team makes it in competitions.
I volunteer as a coach with a competitive team of 6 kids in coding robot missions and project research in preparation for regional and state competition. Each year the national league provides missions to complete, as well as a project theme. This year, the project theme is bettering your community. The kids on my team have chosen to research and present on the topic of CPTED, Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, and how to use that to better our community.
They finished the year by making it to the state competition and taking 1st place in presentation and 4th place in robotics.
Sue Roe, Sales Assistant
I use my volunteer hours for Sandpoint Threshold Singers. We are part of Threshold Choir International, and we sing at bedside for people who are dying, ill, in need of comfort, etc. Most of our referrals come thru hospice.
I have been part of this organization for about 5 years. There are 15 active members. We sing acapella in small groups, usually 3 or 4 singers. Most of the songs we sing at bedside were written by members of Threshold Choir International, specifically to be sung at bedside. There harmonies are very beautiful, gentle, and moving.
Are you looking to boost your company culture and morale? Volunteering is a great way. If you build a culture through volunteering programs you will see improved retention, increased collaboration, and build a culture that people are proud to be part of. Employees value the opportunity to give back to their community, but it’s always nice to feel like your employer has the same values as you do.
Rockton retreats are anything but dull and boring, especially when you are in Vegas.
This year we kicked off our first day meeting in small groups to discuss and understand what was working well and what could be improved. Stress levels are always important to evaluate and compare to previous retreats.
With all the changes and tremendous growth over the past year, strategizing was key. We brainstormed our plans and processes so we can best utilize our team to help us go even further in the future.
Thursday morning, we boarded the Zappos shuttles for a tour of their amazing facility and to learn more about their culture. Wow, this place had great ambiance and it was fun to see so many cultural similarities. They kicked off the tour with videos and talking about the core values of the company, which they proudly display so everyone understands what it means to be part of the Zappos Family.
Top Notch Customer Service
One thing that really stood out is their huge focus on customer service. They go above and beyond and will do everything they can to make a customer happy.
They even display records set by employees, such as a call with a customer that lasted 10 hours! Believe it or not, they aren’t spending that 10 hours calming the customer. Instead, they focus on creating and building that relationship on a personal level.
And to give that great customer service, they make sure to take care of their employees. They focus on hiring the right people and want employees to love their job and want to be there. The atmosphere is fun, the energy is infectious and all the employees we met were engaging. They talked about earning Zollars to spend in the company store and being encouraged to give back to the community and to each other. They provide massage chairs, a workout room, drinks and snacks, game rooms and a one-of-a-kind state of the art aquarium nap room. For all you pet lovers…they can bring their dogs to work!
We ended the tour in true Rockton Style having a little fun ourselves by jumping into the ball pit!
Work Hard, Play Hard
While we did spend a lot of time brainstorming, staying caffeinated, and getting a lot of work done, you can’t go to Vegas without doing a little gambling and site seeing.
In the evening, we went down to historic Freemont Street and then Pink Taco at the Hard Rock casino. Some of us successfully walked away with big winnings and some of us donated $ to the casino.
We ended the amazing week with some Beatles LOVE. This Cirque du Soleil celebrates the musical legacy of The Beatles through their timeless, original recordings. Using the master tapes at Abbey Road Studios, Sir George Martin and his son Giles Martin have created a unique soundscape of The Beatles music for the show.
This is definitely a show you should see the next time you plan a trip to Vegas.
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