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Leaders Letter 167 – The Comprehensive Guide & Ranking Of Company Culture Activities

Dear leaders, are you considering your options to improve your company culture? I hope so. 

Why? I am often asked by CEOs, leadership teams and founders about how to invest in company culture and what are the best activities to improve culture. 

Each business is in its own phase and each business has specific characters who will have their say on what’s best, particularly the internal influencers

What is important is to balance these factors out and select the best most inclusive event. 

Company Culture Activities  

I bet you have asked your fellow leadership team members what you should do. 

I bet you gathered a wide-ranging list of events, and you might now be considering a getaway, an army assault course or even starting a computer game league or sorry startups – a ping pong tournament? 

I have worked since 16 years old and over the last 25 years, I have experienced 16 different attempts to connect and improve company culture. 

I have ranked them below with a score out of 5, a cost implication and a breakdown of the score. 

If you want to expand or have a detailed look at the list, request full access here

My top 5 recommendations to improve company culture would be to consider the following: 

  1. Problem Solving Day – a revamp on the hack day, a way that the whole business can come together and select existing problems, bring the team closer together and develop new tech, and different approaches and release a new working practice collectively. Work out whether you remove the leadership team from this as it can bias the problems solved or how problems are shaped  
  2. Hack Day (Aka Hackathons) – a staple in most businesses, a hack day can be a great way for devs to demonstrate their skills and their broader ways of thinking and collaborate with many they just don’t have a chance to work directly with. It’s key to encouraging or constructing teams who rarely work together to work together. It is key to ensure you remove the boredom from hack days as it can be a lot of start-stop without real structure and deadlines throughout the day  
  3. Sports Day / Sports Team – sports can divide people (sporty vs non-sporty) but in my experience, it is the closest thing to connecting people quickly and easily across the ability scale. Here in the UK rounders (like softball), giant egg and spoon, sack race, and tug of war is the go-to, I have been part of a company that hired an athletes track and we took part in an Olympics-style event it was brilliantly done and everyone stepped up for the event. The key to winning this is keeping everything light-hearted and encouraging people to give it a go and making the in-between about connection, not competition!  
  4. Company Retreat / Holiday – you either love or hate retreats, I have had some brilliant company-wide holidays/vacations/retreats and I have had some of the worst professional experiences at leadership retreats. I found company-wide holidays work particularly well for those companies from 10-200 and then effectiveness can scale down quickly from 500 as it is logistically so challenging and you need people to force people to interact and speak to complete strangers. Leadership retreats aren’t treats they are hard work and it’s important to onboard new members of the leadership team to the way you do offsites or retreats and then gather rounds of feedback to improve retreats.  
  5. Cooking Class – I am a cook (not quite a Masterchef) and I have always enjoyed cooking classes, from pasta making to pizza making to Indian cooking classes, they bring people together, everyone tends to get a job and then there is healthy competition and connections. For those who just don’t or can’t (or won’t) cook if you want them to engage create a judging panel or drinks classes to encourage making the drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks) and make for those cooking etc. 

All company culture activities and days have a series of costs, from internal costs (like the number of hours missed of work) to large external costs of hiring event spaces and paying for external facilitators. 

Tip: Always have a dedicated budget in mind before the events are created rather than react to the potentially large quotes you will likely receive. 

This week’s focus item is to review the full list and then create a series of activities or events to connect and galvanise the company employees in line for Q4 and the associated ramp-up. 

Have a great week ahead,

Thanks,

Danny Denhard

Need help with company culture? Get in touch, just hit reply or email me directly >> danny @ focus.business