4 Ways FunCorp Helped: Igneous Systems
We sat down with Kristin from Igneous Systems, one of our fave clients, and asked if she thought the company culture around the office had changed after a few FunCorp events.
"Here are the 4 most impactful benefits I’ve experienced over the last year of partnering with FunCorp:
Benefit #1: Helping employees find their voice
Igneous, like many tech startups, is predominately comprised of software engineers and during my first year in the office, many were polite, but heads down at work.
While I understood this – and there’s nothing wrong with an introverted population – I was fairly certain they actually had a lot to say, and perhaps would, given the right setting.
Enter the Karaoke Olympiad – a FunCorp suggestion met with high skepticism on my part, given past attempts by others to set up karaoke after work. An extension of our product launch party, this event turned out to be a game-changer. Several of our apparently shy and reserved employees belted a few classic tunes out of nowhere and on that day, several legends were born.
Yes, the office was abuzz with water cooler chatter for days, even weeks, to follow. But the real value was not the singular conversation that it started, but rather the ongoing conversation that it, and subsequent events, instigated. I observed individuals more actively engage, starting conversations and discussing topics that mattered – both personally and professionally.
It stands to reason that a more connected office is a more productive office but sometimes even the smartest people with the most to say just need a little encouragement and/or the right forum to say (or sing) it!
Benefit #2: Laying the friendship foundation
Igneous always had a company calendar, but outside of verifying the next corporate holiday or company meeting, it was seldom used. The issue wasn't the content – any employee was welcome and encouraged to post any activity, personal or professional.
Simply stated, it lacked engagement because we needed more interpersonal connection. Why would you advertise your band’s latest gig if no one even knew you played the drums? Why would you let co-workers know you were going rock climbing over the weekend if you didn’t think there was anyone interested in joining? Why would you sign up to demonstrate pickle-making if you didn’t know your co-workers shared your passion for organic food and would love to watch you turn a cucumber into a tasty treat?
Enter FunCorp with their mantra of “partying with a purpose.” Company leadership wanted to help facilitate friendships and create opportunities for folks to form connections outside of daily standups and work task lists. Events provided the excuse to congregate but strategic activities within those gatherings – from game stations in celebration of our company values to social media challenges to kick start our Instagram account –are what helped us discover both our individual interests and common passions.
In short order, the company calendar started filling up with postings, notifications and invitations. Social events outside the office occurred organically via the company calendar that always existed.
It’s been my experience that most will do more to help a friend than an acquaintance, and very few will lift a finger for a total stranger, which led to our willingness to invest in social capital. No two companies are the same, but sometimes the challenges a company faces can begin to course-correct once friendships and social connections are given a chance to flourish.
Benefit #3: Giving employees a personal stake in the business
Empowering employees and making them feel as if they have a personal stake in the company is often seen as the responsibility of Human Resources, however, you can’t achieve this via policy or legislate it into existence. And while we created an employee committee, dubbed the Ministry of Fun, to organize social events, employees initially viewed these events as an extension of HR and a job perk rather than an employee-led effort.
Partnering with – not outsourcing to – FunCorp on specific events elevated the importance of the occasion and from the employee perspective, was seen as an investment in “us”. The individual identification with the corporate collective was a pivotal moment in our company’s evolution and soon, common complaints turned into resolution and action.
Employees drove the unification under a common name, calling themselves Rocks and creating a company mascot. Employees took the initiative to educate each other on topics ranging from meeting etiquette to tech demo days, which eventually led to the formation of a committee dedicated to tackling issues employees clearly cared about. All of these grassroots efforts were certainly enabled by HR but I have to give credit (and much respect) to FunCorp’s involvement.
Benefit #4: Increasing HR scope and impact
Even if you already recognize the value of investing in social capital and have implemented many of the ideas or programs mentioned, can you – or should you – always do it alone?
You may know your employees but do you know how to solve your people problems? You may see the signs or symptoms but do you understand the root cause of the behaviors? You may have great working relationships but does your position within the company keep individuals and honest feedback at bay? And even if you have the answers, do you have the bandwidth to address them, given all the other demands on your time? Speaking from personal experience, I struggled with all of the above.
FunCorp helped me identify and articulate objectives; plan and execute events from start to finish; create consistency and credibility; and objectively measure progress and/or success.
This is not to say we are without our challenges today – the journey is far from over – but we celebrate and build upon these early wins. With vision, direction and a partner in FunCorp I am confident we can create the kind of company and culture we aspire to be."
Did any of the problems Kristin talked about ring true for your office as well. Drop us a line and lets see if we can run a custom party with a purpose that can help you tackle your workplace culture.