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inSpiria: The most fun you can have without getting out of your pyjamas

February 17, 2022.

From February 8 to 11, all of us at Spiria marched to the beat of a different drum. For the fourth time in our history, we gathered the whole company for inSpiria. While the primary goal of this event is to inspire, we also use it to learn, explore and challenge ourselves. Oh, and that whole social aspect is going on as well…

The first two editions of inSpiria, held on our 10th and 15th anniversaries, were in fact mainly social events. As we grew to encompass multiple offices and projects, it became more important to gather to meet distant colleagues, some of them for the first time. While the second edition featured more learning activities than the first, it was still first and foremost a social gathering.

Then COVID19 happened.

Overnight, all Spirians started working from home. Fairly quickly, we decided to fully embrace hybrid work policies. Whenever our local governments allowed it, we reopened our offices but did not enforce physical presence. You could work in your pyjamas every day (ideally at home!) if you wanted to. Because of this policy, we started recruiting across Canada, which in turn further reinforced our hybrid work policies.

Which brings us back to inSpiria. Originally a once-every-five-year event, we toyed with the idea of making it annual. Midway through 2020, when most everyone worked remotely, it became apparent that we had to do something. So we adapted and came up with the virtual conference format used in 2021 and 2022.

These four days are absolutely jam-packed. We have our own version of the ubiquitous Town Hall meeting, which we’ve named the Broc ‘n Roll (because, reasons), external speakers on a variety of topics, but where inSpiria truly shines is that Spirians step up to speak, host, present, organize, the works!

Communities of Practice gather to align and work on their various specialties, project teams showcase their awesome work in our Knowledge Fairs, everyone debates random topics during employee-favourite Unconference sessions … the event’s agenda has something for everyone.

Did we completely flip inSpiria from a social event to a learning event? Not at all! At Spiria, we truly believe in having fun. I’ve heard some employees describe it as “serious fun”: we definitely don’t take ourselves too seriously. Though learning events are social as well, inSpiria also includes exclusively social events, given the limitations imposed by online attendance.

Next year will mark our 20th anniversary, which coincides with the five-year mark since our last in-person inSpiria. Our plan, health safety rules permitting, is to hold a fully hybrid event. Spirians who wish to gather at a yet-to-be-disclosed location will be welcomed, and we’ll ensure that we have live feeds of key events for our remote, pyjama-wearing colleagues.

This type of event is not cheap, and the hybrid version will be even more expensive. However, we strongly believe there’s a better way to look at it: inSpiria is not an expense, it’s an investment! We are constantly working to improve the CX (Customer eXperience) we provide, and our NPS scores justify those efforts. We think that a strong CX requires an equally strong EX (Employee eXperience), and inSpiria is but one element of this experience.

Besides, what’s the point of it all if you’re not having fun?

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