Building Genuine Team Connection with Ruby Receptionists

Meet Ruby Receptionists (Ruby), a highly skilled team of virtual receptionists on a mission to preserve and perpetuate real, meaningful connections in an increasingly technology-focused world - they “restore the human touch to business”.

Ruby believes that their culture directly relates to the success of their business. If you spend a day with them, you’ll feel a genuine connection amongst employees. This is no accident.

At Ruby the focus is on fostering team connection because when your team members are valued, they deliver the best service to clients.

It’s then to no surprise that Ruby has been nationally (in the U.S.) recognized and voted a top 5 Best Small Company to work for, 4 years running by FORTUNE magazine and one of 100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon and one of Oregon's fastest growing companies for eight years.

So what’s the secret to making your team feel valued? Ruby believes it starts with your core values.


Founder and CEO, Jill Nelson says that their values aren’t simply put up on the website and only mentioned sporadically at quarterly staff meetings, they’re something they live by every day.

“Employees today are looking to work for companies that have a larger purpose, that instill meaning in the work they do —That’s what sets us apart,” Jill said.

Here are the five core values Ruby lives by: Foster Happiness, Practice WOWism, Create Community, Innovate, and Grow.

  1. Foster Happiness extends to both their team and clients. Ruby understands happy employees are critical to building personal connections with callers, so they take the time to celebrate successes and add a bit of fun into their work.
  2. Ruby’s message to their receptionist and their clients is “Our service is about more than answering phones—we’re about making people’s days. We don’t do fine—we hit it out of the park.”—which is why another of their values is Practice WOWism, the desire to impress and delight clients and team members. Both of these aspects of their values system cannot be carried out without the individual already feeling content within themselves.
  3. Building connections is a core part of their service, which means it is also a core part of their company culture. Ruby understands as a team they are all connected and depend on each other, which is where their third value—Create Community—comes into play.
  4. If there is a better way to do something, we’ll find it.
    Ruby’s fourth value, Innovate, invites and encourages ideas from all over the company. They avoid confining themselves to “standard operating procedures” and instead look for the best solution.
  5. We aren’t afraid to make mistakes at Ruby and believe every decision makes us wiser. The final value, Grow, reminds the team that change is inspiring and learning is a lifelong passion. Ruby encourages their team to grow themselves personally and professionally and to get excited about what lies ahead.

As you can see each value is an extension of the ways they foster connection amongst the team. At Ruby they all walk together and lift each other to be the best and spread happiness throughout the team and then to their clients.


At Ruby they place importance on keeping common workspaces neat and tidy, and ensure resources are always stocked. Research shows that organized work environments really allow for creativity, new ideas and positive energy to exist - which inevitably leads to communication and connection amongst team mates.

Ruby also encourages the personalization of workspaces. “Today, you’ll see streamers from the ceiling over one Ruby’s cube who recently got married. You’ll find plastic dinosaurs balancing on the tops of the cube walls, plastered walls of “Ruby Raves” (peer to peer recognition notes,) photos of loved ones, and personal works of art.” By allowing employees to express themselves individually, celebrate the significant moments of their team members and share the things that matter to them with others, Ruby is sending the message: Please be yourself and have fun.

Additionally, you’ll notice how their Core Values are reinforced throughout the office space. “Our training room is named after our “Grow” value and has stories of Ruby’s going above and beyond for clients.” They also have many areas dedicated to creating community, another Core Value. For example, Rubys can showcase their talents on the art wall, or answer this quarter’s big question on the chalkboard wall.

As for their work day, Jill’s goal has always been to create a fun and supportive environment where employees can’t wait to arrive at work. Ruby receptionists are assigned to teams to encourage camaraderie, as well as provide support throughout the day - this way no employee feels they’re out on their own.

Jill says that her greatest hope is for employees to leave work every day “fulfilled, believing they have made a meaningful difference in our client’s days.”


The second component to fostering genuine connection falls into 3 parts:

1. Be committed to only hiring people who are driven to foster genuine connection and happiness. Jill doesn’t believe that you can “create a desire to serve in people—it comes from within.” Therefore, Ruby ensures they hire people who already have a passion for delivering a “delightful service—and then get out of their way!”

“Since our business is driven primarily by our team’s ability and desire to build connections, hiring for cultural fit is our primary objective. Ruby strives to hire from within for positions whenever possible, as well as offer programs for employees to grow personally and professionally. When recruiting we carefully screen all prospective employees to ensure, above all else, they’re naturally friendly and delightful. We don’t hire for typing speed and software skills; we look for cheerful, bright, charming individuals who have a desire to serve.”

This level of commitment to what they stand for is why Ruby has the standard of service they do.

2. Constantly reinforcing, supporting, and rewarding acts of connection and fostering happiness.

When employees understand their “Why” they can produce their best work. At Ruby this is done through the reiteration of their core values. Ruby also recognises the importance of commending, supporting and rewarding the team and individuals for doing a great job. Their work does not go unnoticed.

At Ruby, they celebrate one another’s achievements daily through their “WeRock” list. This list is compiles compliments and positive feedback from their clients.

The “WeRock” list came to fruition when Jill sent out Ruby’s first employee survey years ago. She found that employees were happy with their benefits and felt they were being compensated appropriately, however, many responded that they didn’t feel what they did mattered. Day after day, clients were thanking Ruby for making their lives easier, for their friendly and professional tone—but that message wasn’t reaching the team. And so the “WeRock” list was born!

Today any employee can send an email with client compliments or stories of a positive client interaction to the whole company. On any given day there are “anywhere between 20-40 emails being sent a day,” and their employees are constantly reminded of the positive impact they have on our client’s lives.

What I love about this is how the list truly allows for team members to see the difference they are making as individuals and also collectively as a team - and even further to how they are impacting the world.

3. Treating their employees as a close friend or loved one. This kind of work relationship requires trusting employees implicitly, helping them in any way possible, always giving them the benefit of the doubt, and being one of their raving fans.

“We learned early on that an inherent desire to connect with others is a critical characteristic of what makes a Ruby, a Ruby. Therefore, Rubys are already intrinsically motivated to create connections when they’re hired.” Jill said.

As a company, Ruby focuses on creating an inclusive and engaging company culture. They make it fun to connect with others through programs like their Culture budget, which provides funds to Rubys looking to host activities with their fellow employees. Cool right? Through this program, Rubys have planned everything from monthly cooking classes and karaoke nights, to a terrarium making parties and dragon boat racing team. It’s programs like these that empower Rubys to connect with each other on their passions, and build lifelong friendships.

When employees feel supported and appreciated by their team, their happiness comes through on calls to clients and creates an exceptional experience for Ruby clients.

In addition to their “WeRock” email list and Ruby Raves, they show our appreciation for employees in a number of ways. Key milestones are celebrated with special events including our VIP Brunches on employees yearly anniversary and through the “Five at Five Sabbaticals” program, which awards five weeks of paid time-off for employees who have worked at Ruby for five years. Ruby is also committed to supporting employees overall wellness with our free, in-house fitness programs.

Jill adds in, If you want to get to the heart of why our employees feel supported, it’s the individual acts that often occur when one faces a hardship outside of work. We are all empowered to “break the rules” to be able to support an employee.”

What this means is that Ruby will adjust someone’s schedule while they navigate an unexpected childcare shortage, or let someone “borrow” PTO if they just can’t seem to kick that cold. Ruby truly strives to treat their employees in the way they would treat their closest friends and family members.

If you’re inspired to make a difference in the world through small actions such as making someone’s day, then Ruby Receptionists is the place to be. This company is undoubtedly fostering such genuine connection within their team and their strong bond and positivity is truly having a ripple effect around the globe. Remember, it’s from small things that big things grow.