Company Week Highlights 2016

Company culture is highly important, for a business and their employees. Many companies have found an increase in productivity and financial results when adapting to a more positive outlook, or adding to employee benefits.

Zappos could be seen as one of the leaders in regards to having a successful company culture. They believe that culture is more important than money, and even offer new hires a $2000 bonus to quit after the first week. As CEO Tony Hsieh explains, ‘People who don’t fit the company culture are better off being paid to leave.’ Only 3% of potential employees opt to take the money over working for them. Zappos are definitely getting something right, with staff turnover as low as 11% in 2015.

Company culture affects both the workplace and interactions with customers, so it is very important to have the right start. A negative company culture could have an impact on productivity and staff turnover. A study by Columbia University showed that companies encouraging a good culture had a rate of 13.9% staff turnover, compared to 48.4% at companies where a positive culture wasn’t valued. When understanding company culture it is also important to recognise it is not as simple as making changes overnight, every company and its culture is unique and what works for one may not work for another. However, some of the key elements that every company should aim to incorporate are:

  • Respect
  • Trust
  • Communication
  • Meaning and purpose within each employees work

What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team provided research which proved that when people work in teams they are more productive, innovative, and are able to find solutions faster when mistakes are made. Working in teams not only has benefits for the work produced, but also the employee satisfaction. In 2012 Google set out to study the most common workplace beliefs surrounding the question, ‘what makes the perfect team?’. They found that each team had ‘norms’, whether that was spoken or unspoken, and to make the perfect team they must first understand which of these norms were the most important.

A study by Carnegie Mellon, M.I.T, and Union college delved further into this question, and found some behaviours that the ‘good’ teams encountered. One such behaviour is the team’s average social sensitivity. A high average would indicate that team members could read each other’s feelings based on non verbal cues. These particular qualities led to better completion of tasks.

Here at Matchbox we pride ourselves on having a great company culture. An environment in which our team can thrive every day is our goal, whether that is in the office, working remotely or attending events. We believe happy employees lead to even happier customers, and who wouldn’t want the best of both worlds? Every year we dedicate a week to gather all Matchbox employees together to take part in fun activities and team building events. At this years annual ‘Company Week’ we spent our time playing crazy golf, completing team game challenges, learning new cooking skills, and socialising…a lot!

Our Company Values

Mutual – Partnership and shared collaboration combined with respect of our team.  

Awesome – Allowing everyone to do their best whatever the task.

Truth – Honesty, integrity, and the pursuit of understanding.

Creativity – Turning imaginative ideas into a reality.

Humour – We are serious about what we do without taking ourselves too seriously.

Bold – Bringing new ideas, new products and new technology to the forefront.

Optimistic We always believe there is a solution.

X Factor – The indefinable.

Team Building

During the week we had a number of team building activities to take part in, including a blindfolded food test, photo scavenger challenge, office treasure hunt, and by far the hardest of them all, solving riddles. The photo challenge was a great way for everyone to really get to know one another, and was very much enjoyed by our  CEO Andrew, “My favourite team building activity was the photo challenge. We found ourselves in some interesting scenarios outside of the office, it required creative/improv thinking, it pushed some people outside their comfort zones…most of all, it was fun.” The food test in particular really built trust within the teams. Sitting together in a room whilst blindfolded and trying to guess the mystery food or drink required a lot of teamwork. It was a popular opinion amongst the teams that, “The blindfolded food test was an epiphany moment in how much appearance influences taste.” – Andrew

Activities

One of the most popular activities of the week was the adventure golf, as we were lucky enough to have the sun beaming down that day. After a picturesque walk along Brighton’s seafront we ended up at  Jungle Rumble Adventure Golf. Splitting off into teams we had the choice of two courses; the jungle hightops, or down through the caves and waterfalls. For one of our Matchboxers, Mark, it was his highlight of Company Week, “I got a hole in one despite overall losing the game, so it was a great moment of mixed emotions, which I was able to share with my team, plus Ben (who insisted on following us whilst playing alone, and was of course, most welcome)”.

It is safe to say none of us will become pro golfers anytime soon, James however was more than happy to give it a go, alongside our Seattle Matchboxer, Megan. 

At Matchbox we certainly have a competitive streak, so a few games of snooker and darts combined with some cold beers certainly brought that out in us. For Bonnie this was her best moment of company week, “Georgia, Adam and I created hand snooker. It didn’t make us any at better at playing actual pool or snooker but well done us on creating a new game”.

Alcohol played a recurring part throughout our Company Week, with some Matchboxers continuing well into the early hours at Dead Wax Social. Rik’s highlight can be pinned down to, “The 4am drinking session because I got to know Georgia and Bonnie much better. And silly things happened which can’t be shared”.

Food

Company Week kicked off the way we meant to go on, with a whole lot of food. An amazing array of pastries, juices and coffee each morning, certainly made for a perfect start to the week.

As our mid-week activity we were lucky enough to take a trip to the Brighton Cookery School. With many dishes in need of skilled preparation, we donned our aprons and began making the crème brûlée and chocolate torte desserts. The fresh pasta starter was a much anticipated course, especially for Rhys, “My favourite part of the day for the cookery school was the pasta making, I’ve never done it before so that was a fun challenge. Leaving it to dry on a clothing rack though was a slight oddity.” We also learnt how to correctly dissect a whole chicken, though not everyone was keen to take part in this. However some did enjoy learning a new skill, in particular Chris who said, “‘The best part of the Brighton Cookery School for me was learning how to prepare a whole chicken, working as a team and finding out what my team liked and didn’t like.” After a long and fun day of preparing our dinner, we finally got to sit down and eat it, and it was absolutely delicious!

Company Meal

The final evening was spent tasting creative dishes and expanding our palettes in Silo Brighton. With an array of innovative dishes available, from the tomato and curd starter to the sea buckthorn dessert, everybody was very impressed – in particular Vanessa, “I love food and Silo was really good. I will never forgot the taste of the pork with parsnip.” Not only did we get to enjoy Silo, but a spot of morris dancing on our way out certainly got everyone in a merry mood. We ambled off to the last watering hole of the week, the North Laine Brewhouse. There was plenty of drinking and team bonding, and it was certainly the perfect way to round off a fun filled week.

Matchbox believes an annual ‘Company Week’ really helps instill the values we pride ourselves on, and encourages our positive company culture to prosper. The week as a whole was a great opportunity for everyone to get to know one another other better, which we all certainly took advantage of. Roll on next summer!