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SQLAndy

I'm Andy Warren, currently a SQL Server trainer with End to End Training. Over the past few years I've been a developer, DBA, and IT Director. I was one of the original founders of SQLServerCentral.com and helped grow that community from zero to about 300k members before deciding to move on to other ventures.

Corporate Culture

One of the things I enjoy about work is seeing the various cultures that evolve. Some companies are rigid, some are fun, some very loosely organized, etc. It’s almost magic how it happens, and it’s rarely all done on purpose. Each manager has a style, each employee has a work rhythm, and they get combined in interesting ways. Sometimes functional, sometimes not!

I like to look for the things that go beyond a single manager, things that are likely to live on if they get promoted or move to another company. For example, a current client has a thing where every Friday an IT manager breaks in doughnuts. The managers rotate the job, and then it’s 10 minutes of sugar treats in the break room on Friday morning. Every once in a while a manager forgets and then the other managers cheerfully chastise them, and then someone gets deputized to go get the doughnuts. It’s a little thing, but it’s fun, and it gets people in the room for a few minutes that might otherwise not see each other during the week.

I’m looking for other examples of interesting patterns, preferably positive ones. Is there something you’ve seen that spanned departments or teams that added richness to the culture. Something you smile about now, or tell people about with pride?

Comments

Posted by Jorge Segarra on 11 February 2011

One cool thing (among many) about working at Pragmatic Works is our lunch time basketball games. We try playing up to 3 times a week and it's an open invite to anyone working in office. It's been a fun way to get to know the rest of my coworkers and it's a nice break from the usual "eat at desk while working" scenario.

Posted by Steve Jones on 11 February 2011

One of my teams used to schedule a monthly event for the 20-22 of us. One person would have to stay behind (rotating), but we would usually take 2-3 hours to go to a baseball game, mini golf, a movie, etc.

Posted by Andy Warren on 12 February 2011

Anyone have examples of behavior that goes across teams/departments?

Posted by sivakumaran.j on 18 February 2011

we have a event called Birthday Bash at FIS each month, which goes beyond the Teams.. we organize it in such a way its filled with fun of events.. It spans for 30 minutes but it will look like it just started, time goes that faster with fun events and laughter. Another highlight is that the good efforts are awarded.

Posted by Trish Lewandowski on 18 February 2011

At one place I worked on one Friday afternoon a month they would set up a minature golf course in the office.  We would play teams, girls against boys or managers against employees, etc.  It was alot of fun and helped people get to know one another.

Posted by Travis Parker on 18 February 2011

At my former company, we establish a kind of intramural basketball league. Each department had a team of 6 - 10 employees. Men and women played, and games were scheduled about two weeks out. We practiced 2-3 times a week after work (sometimes cutting out early to do so). We eventually got our CFO playing, which is the first time I actually got to meet him.

Posted by je.campbell on 18 February 2011

this is the only place I have worked (and there has been a lot) that has a work out room, free weights, machines, etc. showers, two personal trainers and and five YOGA classes a week.

Posted by Andy Warren on 18 February 2011

je - how big was the company to support that?

Posted by Mateo1041 on 18 February 2011

At a small company I used to work for they have quarterly events with different themes:

* Early spring there'd be an active event like paintballing or inner tubing.

* Late spring there'd be a "culture" event where we'd arrive, divide into teams to prepare a cultural dish, have lunch together, and have drinks.

* Early fall there was a company founding event where we'd meet in an outdoor bar area that was reserved and have drinks/appetizers.

* In December there was a formal Christmas event with fancier meal at an hotel.

The events were fun, but the work unfortunately sucked.

Posted by Kimberly Chapman on 18 February 2011

At a previous company (< 60 people) we had an established "Fun Committee".  One particular event that they sponsered were 'The Summmer Games'.  Each year 15+ people would participate in an annual(summer) trade show for our industry.  They would be out of town for about a week, leaving the rest of us behind. The "Fun Committee" would create daily games and contests throughout that week. Games were something you could do in your work clothes and over a lunch break.  Contests would include Bingo, Jacks, trivia questions, office scavenger hunt and whatever the "Fun Committee" came up with.  The games usually had a 2 hour window so you could jump in anytime. I believe this helped to build comradery and brought the child out of everyone.  It was really fun!

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