At Tamman, we believe that access to information is a human right and our designers, developers, and technologists work every day to make sure that the digital work they do is as accessible as possible. This ethos grounds our organization and has acted as a north star amid the turbulence and growth for us over the past few years.
It is fair to say that the last few years have brought a great deal of change for us. These recent years have forced us to be more introspective and reactive, both as a business and for each of us as team members. While it has become totally cliche to say now, but 2020-2022 provided a canvas by which Tamman was able to rethink many of our processes. From business continuity, to company-wide communications, to resources for employees, Tamman has used the last three years to examine, strengthen, and improve in all of these areas.
Perhaps the biggest change for Tamman came at the close of 2021 with the full-time departure of one of our founders, Michael Mangos. Like so many of us, the time of COVID re-prioritized items in his professional and personal life. He decided to take action that placed a focus on his health and his family. We are thrilled for him and even more thrilled that he continues to be a leader as a solutions architect and consultant for Tamman.
That said, for the first time since our founding, the leadership burden was on one, not two people at the top of Tamman. The ‘Tam’ in Tamman, Jeff Tamburino had more on his plate than ever before and as an organization, there was much to do. 2022 would be a year of solidifying the things we’d begun in 2021 and working to grow in new areas while managing the unforeseen challenges that we know always crop up in business. Jeff handled all of this with aplomb, and Tamman continued to deepen, strengthen, and grow across many areas of the business.
Tamman has worked very hard to establish a strong work culture built on inclusion and clear communication. Access to information is not just a human right for our customers and consumers, it is for all of us. As we have gone fully remote and continue to grow, it is a promise at Taman that every team member at Tamman is given the attention, communication, and investment necessary to succeed.
When Tamman was smaller, Mike and Jeff were able to regularly meet with everyone to provide a consistent message and make sure needs, questions, and ideas were heard. Necessitated by our growth, the role of Leads was established in the organization to assist in this promise. This role has only become more and more important, especially in 2022.
Tamman has empowered Leads to ensure that team member voices are heard, ideas are discussed, policies are vetted, and performance is managed. Some 2022 first for the Leads:
- Recognition/Team Budget – An idea that emerged from the Leads to set aside money for either recognition or teambuilding
- Tamman Cares – Another idea originating from the Leads was a matching donation/volunteer time initiative
- Quarterly Engagement – We hosted a series of quarterly engagement opportunities for everyone
- All Staff Retreat – Leads took complete ownership of the afternoon team building exercises at the first annual in-person retreat in years
- Compensation – Deepening their involvement in the nuances of the organization and leveraging their closeness to the work on the ground every day, Leads were included in the end of year compensation planning for the first time
2023 will continue the direction of empowering the Leads in the organization as well as expanding the total number of Leads we have, to continue to provide the highest level of support to every Tamman Team Member.
2022 brought the return of the all-staff retreat in-person. The importance of this day cannot be overstated as it cements the culture we have and evolves the culture we want.
After two years of not having a retreat, simply getting to meet in person was a treat. The theme of this year’s retreat was ‘Expand the Voice of Tamman.’ Jeff’s decision to move from one centralized message to a broader disseminated voice requires a lot of trust from a business leader, and was a really big deal. It was clear at the conclusion of the day that his trust is unquestionably justified. This is the best group of people who have ever worked at Tamman and that is a pretty remarkable thing to say.
In addition, as stated above, the Leads took a major role in the day and 2023 is expected to bring forward more involvement and opportunities from all corners of the organization. In fact, the retreat acted as a catalyst to get more technical content and thought leadership planned and out into the world for others to learn from the subject matter experts we have at Tamman.
Marketing & Partnerships:
Tamman’s content engine kicked into high gear in 2022. There are now 95+ different pieces of content on our Learn page. Our social media has reached thousands of people across all our channels. Tamman, once the best kept secret in Philadelphia, is now getting recognized as a leader in this space. This only happens through a great deal of teamwork and none more so than the fabulous team at Witty Gritty. They established a foundation and were the capacity builders necessary for Tamman’s thought leadership to reach new levels.
One of the biggest events that we planned and promoted was the multi-day United States Access Board Meeting and Town Hall. Tamman and our partners, The Sierra Group, co-hosted this meeting and we were told by several people that our sessions and our help made this one of the most successful they’ve ever had. It could not have been done without the close knit communications and strong partnership. Tamman and The Sierra Group continue to work together on client projects and our partnership will only grow in 2023.
Some of the other wonderful partnerships that we hope to continue to build upon in 2023:
- The PHL Innovations Picnic with Ben Franklin Technology Partners
- Un/Ravel, Stories the tie us together with Indy Hall
- Team WMMR and the American Cancer Society’s Bike to the Shore
- Jeff Wiesner speaking at the Technology Learning Collaborative Conference at Temple University
There is so much to celebrate in this space and it is our sincere hope that everyone who worked so hard across many different types of projects feels seen and recognized in the moment.
Some of the work this year included truly innovative design and development that pulls in dynamic real time content so that individuals working with consumers can be assured that they are working with the most up to date information at their fingertips. We also continued our evolution of design systems and accessible componentry that are accessible and increases the time to market on a host of projects.
Some of the areas where we saw the greatest growth this year came from our Digital Document Accessibility work and our Mac Engineering team. The volume of work that both of these teams handle is remarkable (over 8,000 document pages / hundreds of deployments and tickets closed) and reinforced by their intense quality everyday. Because of this, we expect continued growth in 2023 for both of these teams.
This look back to 2023 would run entirely too long if we tried to catalog all of our work in 2022. Nevertheless, it always bears remembering that from the smallest projects to our multi-month monsters, the work we produce is seen by millions of people, many of whom are able to access this work only and specifically because of our commitment to digital accessibility.
It is also important to note that Tamman made a formal commitment to being a fully remote company this year. There is still space in Philly that we maintain, as well as Tamman West out in Los Angeles, but these are satellites in our remote space.
The Tamman Team should be congratulated for making this transition to working remotely as it takes effort to forge relationships with co-workers who are around the country, discipline to not allow productivity of work to overshadow other personal priorities. However, this isn’t a project that simply gets completed like moving into a new office space. As a group, these commitments are made to one another around our work and must be tended to regularly.
Tamman is stepping up to continue to support the overall wellness of our team. Despite Tamman’s stability and the continued opportunities of growth on the horizon, the world is still chaotic. We are facing a Flu, RSV, and COVID this winter, war in Ukraine, increases in the interest rate and a possible recession. The individual challenges of dealing with an uncertain world remain with all of us.
Therefore, Tamman’s commitment to wellness and mental health has to grow as well. Tamman is offering a new benefit – a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) that has the express focus of mental health where we will share some of the cost burden with employees for these services that increasingly sees providers are opting out of working with traditional insurance providers. It is just one more way that Tamman is constantly listening and trying to improve for everyone in our community.
It is hard to predict the future, but Tamman is poised as never before to continue to evolve further. There is a passion and a drive to continue to focus on people. Being human-centered isn’t just something said, it is something done everyday. It means listening and empowering our team members at every level. It means staying wholly committed to broadening awareness and creating work that is digitally accessible for others and ourselves.
Tamman will continue our core values of quality in all that we do. Establishing confidence based on this with ourselves, our colleagues, and our clients. We will work to add capacity as we consistently deliver quality and gain confidence, so that we can take on more. And we will not do this just to be faster, but with velocity – meaning that we will know our direction and purpose as we continue to gain mastery in our endeavors.
Finally, we know that at times we all may make mistakes – in fact, it is our hope and wish that everyone makes a mistake because we are pushing the limits of what’s possible and stretching ourselves – but we will not repeat them. We will learn from them and we will grow and improve as people, as a team and as a community.
Here is to 2023, the best year yet for Tamman and our community!