Office culture matters a lot. Not only will your employees stay around longer and work harder if they’re happier — you’ll have a way easier time of recruiting new ones. A big part of fostering a good, healthy office culture is getting your team together and letting them blow off some steam and have fun as a group. We caught up with the people in charge of team building events at three Colorado startups that are notorious for throwing awesome parties and events. Incidentally, they all happen to be hiring. Here’s what they had to say:
Ziola Saputo, Senior Director of People Operations at Kapost
What has been the coolest office activity you've put together? We've done once monthly happy hours where we'd go out to a bar (like the Rio) and have drinks and apps. But we've grown to a size where that's tough to do (we're almost 100 people!). So recently we held a happy hour at our new office that we just moved into in August. We're really proud of our new space and wanted to christen it. We had music, good food, drinks and games. We rented tricycles and had trike races around the office!
What was your favorite part of that event? Trike races - 'nough said!
Fair enough. Do you have any events coming up that you're excited for? Yes! In the past, we've done an annual company retreat in places like the Rocky Mountain National Forest, Cal-Wood, and last year we did an in-town scavenger hunt and dinner at Chautauqua. This year we're going all out by taking the team up to Keystone. We're going to celebrate our successes, deepen our connection with each other, and instill our company values with our newbies.
What are you going to do in Keystone?
Some of the highlights will be an onsite Yoga instructor for some morning exercise, skill development sessions lead by OrgDev
(Michael Rich and Sam Elmore), a really fun team building activity (it's a surprise so we can't talk about it yet!), and scenic bike rides to Homestead Ranch for dinner. Of course, while there we'll have a bonfire for s'mores and (probably out of tune) singing with guitars.
Wow, you go all out. Is it worth it? Some people may look at this type of thing and think it's extravagant and wonder why we make such an investment. We've grown by 30 people in the last 6 months! What's critical to our success and reaching our aspirations as a company is that we work cohesively as a team. And, to do that, we need to be a collaborative, learning machine, brimming with people that are committed to our core values and working hard for each other. Getting away together, out of the daily grind so that we can reconnect, focusing on what's really important, and having fun together is not a luxury. It's crucial.
Charlotte Whitmore, Operations Assistant at StatusPage.io
Where did you go for your last big off-site? Our coolest event so far was our most recent company retreat this past August at Bodega Bay in California.
What did you do in California? Twice a year, we rent a house in a great location and bring both offices (San Francisco and Denver) together for a week of work, bonding, and fun. In August, we rented a house in Bodega Bay that had a beautiful view of the ocean, a ping pong table, and a hot tub. This retreat was special not just because of the amazing setting, but also because we had a few newer employees in each office that had yet to meet the entire team. There was a lot of bonding, a lot of work, and a lot of planning getting done! The house had a great long table where everyone could work and eat together, and the team went golfing, played spikeball on the beach, and took a few drives to enjoy the beauty of the California coastline.
Any plans to take the team someplace cool in the near future? We have the AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas the week of October 5th. Every year we take the entire team to the conference. It's a ton of work, but also a ton of fun.
That sounds awesome! Is the conference all work or do you manage to get some time to play too?
We go out at night as a team, check out parties other companies are throwing, and do some gambling. It's a great opportunity to meet people from other companies we know, and connect face-to-face with a bunch of our customers. This year, we're actually co-hosting a party with our friends at VictorOps at the Bourbon Room in the Venetian (RSVP page: https://www.statuspage.io/aws-pubcrawl-2015
). We're especially excited to be able to show all our conference friends some love in the form of free booze, food, and prizes!
Rachael McNea, Director of Recruiting and Retention (A.K.A. Rockstar of Fun) at RevGuard
What's been your the favorite activity you've put together so far? I love all of our activities so it is hard to pick just one! We've done everything from tubing at Frasier Hill to spending the day at the Boulder Reservoir, but my favorite event so far is our annual Halloween party.
Well, that's coming up! What goes on at the Halloween party? We kick off the month with a food drive, and then we divide the company into teams that compete against one another. First, everyone submits a unique Halloween costume idea. Then, we meet at a local brewery and everyone draws to see the costume they have to dress in!
I imagine people come to the party in some pretty crazy costumes? We've had one guy come as Cleopatra last year, and another as Miley Cyrus at the VMA's. We also ended up donating over 1,000 pounds of food to Sister Carmen's last year. We eat and drink at the office until early afternoon, and then we head to Rio Grande for more drinks and food on the Rio rooftop.
What other events are you psyched about? I am ecstatic about our Wild West party this Friday! Everyone dresses up in western attire (dust off you boots, polish those belt buckles and tip your hats!). There will be mechanical bull riding, grilled food prepared by our CEO, and Bonnie and Clyde cocktail time. By early afternoon we giddy up for a tour of the Leanin' Tree Museum, which is only 5 blocks from the office, and happens to have the best collection of western and landscape art in the U.S.
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