How do you get people at the same organisation to get together and enjoy each other’s company. This is an age old question that all employers have wanted to answer, both because everybody naturally wants to foster a great spirit between co-workers, but also because it may pay off as a stronger commitment to the company, ultimately resulting in better overall results.
There are tonnes of different kinds of perks that companies offer their employees, and it seems like the perception of the different types vary from person to person. Would you rather that your employer sponsored a company trip, offered free massages, or would you rather have those expenses distributed as a cash bonus?
Startup vs. big corporations
It can be very difficult to determine as an employer, but obviously it also depends on the general corporate culture that you have, or you are trying to foster. To generalise, startup companies may have a (younger) staff that is more passionate about the company and the vision, and may work overtime simply because they care more. Here, perks that bring together people may provide more value, since people spend more time at the office, and the cold numbers on the pay check may matter less. Free beer on Fridays, or the mandatory ping pong table, anyone?
On the contrary, larger corporations with more senior staff may benefit from rewarding their staff with cash bonuses or flexible hours, perhaps because their employees to a larger degree have families and wish to be able to spend their free time there with additional opportunities to take days off, go in vacation paid via a bonus etc.
To repeat myself – I am generalising.
We just started with a couple of runs after work…
What we did at the company where I’m spending all my time, Graduateland, was to encourage our dear colleagues to join different organised runs. It all started during the spring of this year where some of us started to run together after a hard day’s work. Soon more joined, and we decided to participate in an upcoming half marathon in Copenhagen. Anybody who wanted to join would have their ticket paid for by the company, and we quickly organised the design and printing of company running t-shirts.
Graduateland – The Usain Bolt of university recruitment
Runners from all departments and 4 different countries
Ultimately we were 8 who joined out of 20 employees who decided to run. And that was a very heterogeneous group, consisting of both company founders, sales reps, our university managers, and coders, from Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Ukraine. That’s a pretty good ration of half marathon runners at a company that makes software!
The fact that everybody finished the race is not the point, though I think it is highly impressive. For most of us it was the first run of that distance. I was personally really happy that they simply thought it was fun to spend their time running.
The following months some of us have upped the distance, and we had one participating in the Copenhagen Marathon, and two running the Stockholm Marathon. Again, for two of us it was the first time we ran marathons.
More efficient than beer
The obvious positive effects of getting into marathon shape are quickly realised, however it has been so much fun finishing all these work days with running trip across the Copenhagen area, in sun, wind, and rain. One way to get to know people is to get drunk with them – another is to go for a run together.
I think it has been a tremendously great initiative and I’m so pleased that so many of our guys and girls wanted to take part. Looking forward to the next challenge!