News > Training and Touchpoints: How the Dasher Culture Helps Our Team Scale Trauma

Training and Touchpoints: How the Dasher Culture Helps Our Team Scale Trauma

As the COVID-19 shutdown endures, the anxiety it brings is rising like an uncontrolled fever.


I understand. At Dasher, we are finding innovative ways to heal the hurt for our team.


During this pandemic, people are feeling trapped in their homes. Trapped by their unpaid bills. Trapped by job losses. They are stressed about schooling their kids, and about the possibility of getting devastatingly sick.


The COVID-19 crisis illustrates all too well that business owners can pour their heart and soul into their business, and it can still go under.


No business owner could have ever predicted how this insidious virus would turn our world upside down. The 2008 economic slowdown did not even come close to this tidal wave of trauma.


As in 2008, we are bird-dogging every one of our team members to ensure that they are coping well. We have always operated as a trauma-informed team. For example, we delivered nonperishable food to our teammates’ homes and apartments, and we are paying for health insurance for team members who were furloughed by the loss of work.


And in this current environment, we are not only focusing on current needs, such as food, shelter, health care and socialization. We are focused on the future. While we train our team members all the time, we are doubling down on our training, all of which is trauma-informed.


Skeptics have expressed their fear that we will train employees who will learn, and then leave. But we have, happily, found quite the opposite. We find ongoing training on developing soft skills as well as technical skills to be a sound business investment and part of the secret to our remarkable retention rates and customer satisfaction measures.


On the professional side, we offer a long menu of classes, thanks to licenses through Thinkzoom LMS. We teach professional skills such as Excel, Advanced Excel, Project Management, and other software training.


Our video classes are 10 to 20 minutes long, and usually involve two people talking, not a one-directional lecture. In this format, one person is typically the teacher, and the other, the learner. Our team learns from watching the student and the teacher.


We remind team members frequently, via emails, to take time out for these classes, and we track what lessons they take. These trainings encourage team members to stay and grow.


Our Dasher Academy for Purposeful Living is also a seminal training opportunity. Once a face-to-face course, the pandemic has forced this training to go virtual as well. The five classes are now a bit longer, running about two hours, two days a week.


We also provide highly specialized, leading-edge training in motivational interviewing, health and condition-related topics, such as breastfeeding, and trauma-informed care.


For example, Dasher provided the means, in terms of financial assistance, work flexibility, and emotional support, for a staff member to earn certification as an EMT. Another of our teammates showed a newfound passion for Microsoft SharePoint, so we provided her the training.


This learning augments our training for new teammates, who receive one-on-one process or job shadowing, ride-along opportunities, or both. Our teammates learn our operations end-to-end, even if they are only responsible for one facet.


Whether a new employee or a long-time veteran, at each point, we address the influence of trauma in our trainings and our larger culture. We have always realized that the world is far broader than our workplace. There is a whole other universe of uncertainty and anxiety out there that our team members carry with them into the office.


Especially now, we are trying to heal the unseen bruises that COVID-19 and its related trauma causes. We may react with anxiety, depression, anger, and resentment, especially in stressful times. These are natural reactions.


At Dasher, we will not judge a team member harshly based on a stressful time. We aim to create a safe space to help our people cope with their feelings.


We rotate through our workforce of 70-plus employees and speak to them once a week. Not about assignments, but their overall well-being. We do not merely ask, “Are you ok?” but “How are you?”


Our culture has been contagious — in the best way. Employers have paid it forward by helping each other. Dasher teammates have formed sub-groups and created their own separate channels on Microsoft Teams. They stay in touch regularly.


We are fully aware that, as employers, we cannot solve the world’s problems, but we can be genuinely caring and supportive listeners while providing links to help. When we do that, the whole team rises, sticks together, learns together and dreams together.


Dasher is a data-driven, customer contact services operation with a focus on communicating complex messages to diverse populations. Specific capabilities include face-to-face communications provided by our field teams, customer engagement strategies provided by our call center and member engagement staff, and secure, complex, variable mailing services provided by our production team. Dasher is an experienced Minority, Women and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (MWDBE) with a bestselling book, “The Talent Pool,” and is certified by AICPA with the SOC2SM Type2 data certification and validation.

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