At a global organization like 2U, success is a collaborative effort—and a compelling team culture means everything. That’s why we’re excited to announce 2U was certified as a Great Place to Work for the third year in a row—with official recognition from the “global authority on workplace culture,” Great Place to Work®.
Success is built from the ground up, but cultivating an environment where every team member has the support they need to contribute their best work—and feel valued—is easier said than done. With a commitment to workplace culture, employee growth, and positive company values, 2U has seen unprecedented growth in a year where many corporations struggled to find their footing. Here are a few of the guiding principles and global workplace best practices that contributed to our success in 2020.
At 2U, Relationships Matter
Relationships Matter is one of 2U’s Guiding Principles, and in a global survey distributed to our more than 3,000 2U employees, 88% of respondents said that “people really care about each other here.” Strong relationships—with one another, our university partners, and their students—are the key to our shared success. When individuals are invested not only in their personal development, but the development of teammates and partners, it’s easier to build an environment where everyone feels like their contributions are important.
That’s not to say this success is without its challenges: with our global team spread across 10 offices on three different continents, determining the right framework for a connected, global workforce was paramount.
New Tools for the New Reality of Remote Work
In mid-March, the threat of a looming pandemic became a reality. Businesses around the world were forced to bring their operations online in response to government-mandated lockdowns and quarantines. Major disruptions to established workflows impacted all branches of our organization—but as a leading provider of online education, 2U already had the essential infrastructure in place to sustain a fully-remote environment.
To help facilitate a transition to remote work in less than 48 hours, we provided additional tools and guidance to the employees who needed them. For instance, some 2U employees were provided access to advanced in-home technology, such as uninterrupted power supplies and wireless hotspots—making the shift to working from home as seamless as possible.
More Than Sustainability
As fortunate as 2U was to continue operating with some semblance of normalcy, a “sustainable” work environment was never the end goal. 2U strives for something beyond corporate success. We pride ourselves on our ability to provide employees with fulfilling work and a community of connected, like-minded, and passionate team members. Solving for the practical concerns that come with remote work was only part of the equation. The other part of the equation—the human part—is what truly makes 2U a great place to work.
Our organization strongly believes that the capacity to care deeply—about work, our partners, their students, and fellow team members—is what drives employee development and company-wide success. At the beginning of the pandemic, 2U implemented employee engagement surveys to gather feedback and establish new practices through which our remote operation could continuously grow and improve. As a result of those responses, we were able to respond to the needs of 2Utes with changes and advancements like flexible schedules and working hours, on-demand workout videos, new community engagement programs, and “beat the burnout” boxes.
Additionally, all of the year’s planned in-person gatherings were repurposed as fun, engaging virtual events to keep team morale high, traditions alive, and connect 2Utes across the globe. We also routinely communicated with the entire organization on Daily Dose of Team Time, a global call that offers 2Utes the chance to come together at the same time every weekday to check in, share motivational and impactful stories, learn from one another, and celebrate their exceptional work.
Simply put, providing employees with the technical infrastructure they need to work from home isn’t enough. 2U works hard to create an at-home environment that makes working and living remotely not only more manageable—but more enjoyable, too. As a result, 84% of all 2U employees agree that 2U is a great place to work.
New structures to the way we conduct business have certainly provided continued growth despite overwhelming challenges. But, more importantly, new workflows have helped us forge a remote environment where our employees are excited to wake up and make the 15-yard (or 13 meters for our Cape Town and UK 2Utes) commute to a home-office every morning.
Making Time to Give Back
At 2U, we live by a simple rule: “Make Service Your Mission.” But our dedication to providing our partners, their students, and our teammates with the highest level of service extends far beyond the business world.
2U has grown significantly in the last year—demonstrated by an expansion of our global footprint (from Cape Town to Los Angeles and London to Boca Raton) and our breadth of partnerships. As an international crisis of unprecedented proportions created economic uncertainty for many, 2U’s global reach helped our team demonstrate our core values in communities across the globe—offering critical support to those in need.
Every April and November, 2U participates in Days of Service, a multi-day on-site volunteering activation. While giving looked a bit different this year, employees still found ways to donate, serve, and share, even in a virtual environment.
In April, from 2U’s headquarters and largest office in Prince George’s County, Maryland, we donated 500 KN95 masks to the University of Maryland Prince George’s Hospital Center and provided the Capital Area Food Bank with 3,500 bags of snacks in the spring when supplies were limited. We also offered $10,000 in scholarship funding to Prince George’s County Public Schools and taught their faculty members the best practices of instruction online—the same No Back Row PRO® training we offer our university partners.
The spring also marked the first time socially distanced events were organized to provide 2Utes across the company with an opportunity to donate time and money to their surrounding communities. Activities included everything from making face masks to writing letters to senior citizens who were separated from their families. We also implemented a gift-matching program, in which 2U matched donations to the United Way COVID-19 Worldwide Relief Fund.
During November Days of Service, scores of employees helped to make a difference in their communities by identifying local causes they could support virtually. From donating blood, food, clothes, and toys to mentoring students and even refurbishing bikes, 2Utes found unique ways to give back. Around the world, 2Utes truly brought #MakeServiceYourMission to life.
Want to Find a Career That Makes a Difference?
Eliminating the back row in education means providing all students with the same opportunity to learn in a personalized environment—facilitating engagement with subject matter and providing a strong foundation for future success. But creating a world where students from all walks of life have access to the front-row experience they deserve takes time (and a committed team).
Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, 2Utes stepped up to the plate—leading projects, developing new products, supporting their communities, and collaborating from afar to get the job done. If you’re interested in joining a team of passionate 2Utes who are driven by the common purpose of providing transformative digital education solutions to universities and their students around the world, explore our careers page today.
Learn more about us.
At 2U, we’re on a mission—to eliminate the back row in higher education and help universities thrive in the digital age. To learn more about who we are and what we do, follow the links below.