We race on bikes, take part in fussball championships, party on boats and learn how to cook together. Internal events for employees come in different shapes and sizes at Tooploox. Let’s see what makes them attractive for Tooplooxers. Here are five guidelines we always keep in mind.
1. We create events out of things people already enjoy
Tooplooxers eagerly take part in events based on activities they like. Here are a few examples.
Bike2work, our cycling competition that lasted for three months, attracted attention because we knew that a lot of us enjoy riding bikes. It was a natural choice for us and it was also a safe call – we knew that people will participate.
We did the same thing with fussball. Our iOS and Android teams like playing fussball, so we organized a fussball championship. This was part of a larger initiative for Fundacja Koci Zakątek (an organization supporting cats). We collected money, blankets, food and other goods for cats and dogs in our area throughout October last year. It was a chain of events, one of which was a fussball championship with cat-lovers vs dog-lovers. Teams paid with blankets and food to participate in the competition. We even streamed the final match!
So, how do you know what people like? Well, this brings us to tip number two.
2. Everybody can initiate an event (and ask for help)
In Tooploox, ideas for events do not come from one team. Of course, we do have a virtual team named “Culture” (which gathers Office Managers, as well as members of HR and Marketing team) that usually prepares and initiates internal events. However, other people are more than welcome to bring ideas or even run the event themselves.
For instance, one of our colleagues from the back-end team proposed going to carpentry workshops with a larger group – about 20 people joined and tried carpentering for the first time. We, as Tooploox, financed the event but the group was ready to go without any additional money from us. They wanted to go just for the sake of fun and team-building.
Another example is Women’s Day (May 8th) and Boys’ Day (September 30th) at Tooploox. Two groups (boys and girls) try to do “something even better than they did” for this special day. It usually turns into a very exciting and unexpected event that lasts about half a day. The best thing is that the Culture team or the company does not initiate it – this is more of a tradition. This year, the guys set the bar pretty high for us. I can’t wait for our turn in September!
3. We support initiators
This one is easy – people have good ideas, but they usually need some funding or help with logistics. Sometimes they simply do not know how to get started. We offer the company’s support for Tooplooxers initiating events, whether its financial or in event organisation.
4. We react to what’s happening around us
I mean two things here – both reacting to the needs of participants and reacting to what is happening in terms of the weather and media. Here are two quick examples on this, to make sure I have explained this right.
Starting with participants needs, when we launched Bike2Work, a few Tooplooxers approached us and asked for organizing the same competition for our ten runners in the company. It was not that big of a deal, so there was no reason to stop it. We added another challenge on Endomondo and prepared a place for our runners on the Leaderboard. As a result, runners were proudly racing right next to cyclists throughout the three month challenge.
As for reacting to the external world – the simplest example is weather. We have a terrace with BBQ equipment and, fortunately, April gave us lots of warm and sunny days. This is why we decided to hold a BBQ for our employees. Events that are connected to what is happening outside feel more natural and people are more eager to participate.
5. We also have fun on our events
As simple as it may seem, this is really important in my opinion. How would you know the event is fun if you do not actively take part? You need to participate, try it and feel something – then you’ll know what to do better next time.
We know it’s hard to enjoy the party when you are responsible for it and stressed out as a result. That’s why, for most complicated and important events – such as our company trip – we rely on an external company. It’s a great way to ease the burden from our Office Manages (a bit, at least) and also let them enjoy the trip.
This approach works well for us. People are encouraged to initiate their own events, are motivated to join others and get the chance to know each other better. This is extremely important as Tooploox has quickly grown over the last two years. We will be kickstarting May off with the second edition of our Bike2Work event and we have lots of ideas for other events. Keeping in mind all of the above, I am pretty sure everything will turn out great!