Can photo sharing help you build company culture?

For ages, ice-breakers and team-building activities have been the go-to answer to the question, “How do I build community in my office?” Yet, it may be time to rethink that answer and embrace photo-sharing to improve your company culture. Here’s why.


Attention is precious

Peoples’ attention span is now shorter than nine seconds and our smart phones absorb much of that attention. Unlike emails, photos capture our attention and give us a ton of information in the blink of an eye because our brains respond and process images so quickly. For example, when a social media post is accompanied by a photo is ten times more likely to get engagement.

 

Photo-sharing is the new norm

Instagram has more than 1 billion users, 60% of whom are active monthly. Photo-sharing is how your younger employees are used to building community outside the office. Tapping into things your employees already do to achieve your goals, is much easier than getting them to adopt new ones. Your best bet is to use photos to spark connections with photos and then encourage them to connect offline around common interests they discover as a result of the photos.

 

Visual cues teach us things about each other

With so much office communication taking place via email, instant message and text, we lack the visual cues that tell us who someone is outside the office like seeing a kid’s drawing, bike helmet or trophy in their office.

Supplementing screen-to-screen conversations with photos can re-establish those visual cues quickly and effectively. In fact, 60% of Rumblesum participants learn something new about their coworkers after just a single challenge.    

 

Photos Improve Recall

Many ice-breakers rely on listening, but studies show that people only remember 10% of what they hear once 72 hours have passed. However, incorporating images boosts that number to 65% after three days. You can see why images are so important when you’re trying to build connections between people.

 

Commonality builds community

Photos allow employees to better understand their coworkers on their own terms. Introverts especially like to connect with people with whom they have things in common. Plus, the right photo prompts encourage employees to open up about the things they like to do outside the office.


In conclusion, if you’re looking for a way to build community in your office that taps into today’s trends, photo-sharing may be the right fit for your office. If you’re looking for a platform and a few tips and tricks to get employees to upload and peruse photos, check out out Instagram to see just a portion of the photos we’ve collected from participants and give us a shout.


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Why Employees Need to Drive Your Culture

COMPANY CULTURE HITS YOUR BOTTOM LINE.

  • Recruitment: A strong company culture makes it easier (and less expensive) to attract talent.

  • Retention: A fractured culture breeds silos, encourages conflict and increases turnover.

  • Revenue: Happy, engaged employees increase customer retention and lifetime value.

TOP-DOWN IS NOT ENOUGH.

Most companies try to tackle culture from the top-down at turning points like fast growth, high turnover, a merger / acquisition, bringing on remote workers, etc. Without the addition of ground-up efforts, employees disengage because they have no voice or ownership of their culture.

Improving your culture requires empowering employees to build a community they want to be a part of.

KICK START AN EMPLOYEE-DRIVEN CULTURE.

  • Identify an engaged, organized employee to take the reins.

  • Set measurable objectives focused on building community.

  • Allocate a budget and participate in activities (especially leadership).

  • Start small and get feedback. Build up to regular activities that appeal to a variety of employees’ interests.

  • Expand. Ask Meghan the runner to start a running group. Ask Scott, the trivia-loving dad to host a family game night.

If you’d like more detail, check out our series Creating a Culture Committee: The Lean Way.

WHY RUMBLESUM CAN HELP.

People don’t get to know each other the way they used to. Purpose-build technology that meets employees where they are and keeps your data private will improve participation and increase the impact of your efforts.

Rumblesum is an app-based platform that empowers employees to connect on their own terms using modern-day habits like mobile competitions, games, and photo sharing.

We also help you maximize your culture budget with:

  • Aggregate data about employees’ interests,

  • Feedback through in-app surveys,

  • Photos and stats to promote your culture inside and out of the office, and

  • A Free Trial Competition to ensure it meets your needs before you commit.

Stay connected

If you want to learn about innovative ways to build a more connected and inclusive culture, subscribe to our newsletter. We pledge not to spam you, email you more than once a month, share your contact info, or try to sell you a butter braid for our kids’ school (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

Creating a Culture Committee - The Lean Way (Part 3)

This is the final installation of a three-part series about getting a Culture Committee or Program off the ground in your office using the Lean approach.

Please check out Part One ( A Lean Crash Course ) and Part Two ( Data Gathering and Approval )


Part Three: Implementation and Reporting


Step 5: Establish norms

Determine:

  • Roles: Is there a committee chair, secretary, treasurer or do the positions rotate?

  • Members: Bring in new members or keep it small. A small committee can be powerful if you:

    • Actively ask for feedback from those outside the committee

    • Use effective tools

    • Pull in others as necessary i.e. If Patrick loves to cook, see if he’ll organize a cooking class

  • Appointment: Can people ask to join, do they need to be invited or some combination of the two?

  • Time: How much time do you all want to invest in this program?

  • Output: How much appetite do coworkers (outside the committee) have for activities?  

  • Engagement: Do you want to have term limits to ensure people stay involved or step off?

  • Meetings: How often do you meet and for how long?


Step 6: Get going

With management on board, you’re ready to start testing a few hypotheses because your next job is to get everyone else in the company on board, too. Now’s the time to:

  • Layout a calendar: Tap into what people are already thinking about i.e. new year’s resolutions, spring break, summer activities, Halloween, etc. Test the activities that popped up multiple times in your survey (or are just really fun ideas) and see who liked what.

  • Flesh out Communication Channels: Determine the best way to get info out there. We’ve found pushing is better than pulling so instead of just posting it on the intranet, send them to the intranet to get more info via email, posters and staff meetings. The key here is limiting communication and emphasizing what you want them to know – with at least one reminder email.

  • Secure Tools: Invest in and start using the tools you identified in Step 4.

  • Document: Get photos of people participating so you can use them to promote your brand on Instagram, LinkedIn, in the office, etc.

  • Get more help: Asking people outside the committee is a great way to tap into more manpower and reach more people. Make a list of athletes to find a 5k, gamers to set-up a trivia challenge or Puzzle Room. Provide them a template so you know what you expect of them and invite them to the meetings leading up to their event to update the committee.

  • Measure: Always get feedback about what people liked/didn’t like about your activities so you can cut the ones that don’t work and double-down on the winning strategies. Higher attendance is less important than if people enjoyed it. Sometimes lots of small activities throughout the year are better than one big one.

 

Step 7: Report back

At least once a year, you’ll want to report back to management what you accomplished, learned and why it’s still worth the investment to continue the program. We like graphs and testimonials to get the message across. If your company does an annual engagement survey, see if you can add a question or get the results from that to include. You’ll want to understand if people feel more connected to their coworkers and if you’re breaking down silos.


Rumblesum is a mobile platform that builds community and sparks connections in your office through mobile competitions including trivia, sustainability, photo sharing, philanthropy and wellness.

If you want to learn about innovative ways to build a more connected and inclusive culture, subscribe to our newsletter. We pledge not to spam you, email you more than once a month, share your contact info, or try to sell you a butter braid for our kids’ school (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

Creating a Culture Committee - The Lean Way (Part 2)

This is the second installation of a three-part series about getting a Culture Committee or Program off the ground in your office using the Lean approach.

If you’re not familiar with the Lean approach, check out Part One of this series: A Lean Crash Course

Part Two: Data Gathering & Approval

Step 1: Initial approval

At this point, all you need is the blessing to begin exploring what your program/committee could look like. This may come from HR, marketing, leadership or a combination of all three. Here’s some good ammunition to make your case:

  • Silos: Departmental, office or cross-company silos are expensive because they impede knowledge sharing, create animosity and often have conflicting agendas.

  • Recruitment: In the age of social media, your culture is no secret, and companies that have a strong company culture attract better talent. This is especially true for younger talent. Millennials desire a strong company culture more than anything else when deciding where to work.

  • Retention:  Not only is replacing a valuable employee a massive expense, it results in re-training, knowledge loss and a hit to morale. When people feel like they’re part of a community, they’re far more likely to stick around. Studies have indicated measurable increases in turnover for companies with poor or nonexistent culture.

  • Revenue:  Your culture impacts your brand identity and employee happiness. Happy, engaged employees mean better customer service and higher customer retention (especially if you’re a client service company).   

  • Milestones: Most companies start thinking about culture at major milestones. If your company has been through any of these, there’s even more reason to start a program:

    • Merger / acquisition

    • Growth spurt

    • Move, even if it’s just to multiple floors

    • Trauma i.e. financial hit, losing a lot of people at once, etc.

 

Step 2: Bring in help if you need it

Hand pick a few (like three) other people to help you get this off the ground. They should be:

  • High achievers

  • Show some excitement for improving the culture in the office or getting people together

  • Diverse both in demographics and department. In other words, get out of your social circle.

If you can’t find two to three that meet these criteria, ask managers to recommend someone from their team.

 

Step 3: Learn what you don’t know

This is where things can go off the rails and into the weeds so it’s important to understand what you can and can’t change on your own. Although you may want to in the future, don’t start trying to define company-wide values. That’s for management to handle when they’re ready, and your work can inform that process later.

Since your goal is to give employees a voice and build a community, your initial job is to get a few baseline measurements and discover:

  •  Do people feel their voice is heard when it comes to culture?

  • How connected do people feel to their coworkers across the office or company? (Not just the people in their department)

  • What types of activities do people want to see more / less of:

    • Company-wide events (summer picnic, holiday party, volunteer day, etc)

    • Small interest-based activities (wine-tasting, family museum trip, dog park meet-up, etc)

    • Games / competitions

    • Suggestions?

  • Do people want activities during work hours, after work or on weekends?

  • What would they be interested in (select all that apply):

    • Athletics

    • Art

    • Food/drinks

    • Family

    • Education

    • Games

  • Who may be interested in doing more to help your program grow?

This can be captured through a short survey or informal focus group, or both.

 

Step 4: Formal approval

With your survey results, you have a basic understanding of what’s working and what’s not.

So carve out some time to put together a formal proposal and budget. If you don’t have a template from your company, you can use this:

  • ·Why now: Why is it important to tackle this now? Internal or external circumstances.

  • Problem: What major business problem are you solving (see Step 1). Include stats!

  • Your vision? What does success look like?

  • Why is a your program / committee uniquely positioned to help address this problem? Use your survey results. 

  • Your plan: Demonstrate how the program /committee helps you reach your vision of success including a proposed calendar.

  • Ask: This includes a budget and other support like apparent management buy-in. Include what tools you’ll need and exactly how you want management to express their support.

 PART THREE: Implementation and Reporting


Rumblesum is a mobile platform that builds community and sparks connections in your office through mobile competitions including trivia, sustainability, photo sharing, philanthropy and wellness.

If you want to learn about innovative ways to build a more connected and inclusive culture, subscribe to our newsletter. We pledge not to spam you, email you more than once a month, share your contact info, or try to sell you a butter braid for our kids’ school (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

Creating a Culture Committee - The Lean Way (Part 1)

Even if it’s just a committee of one, a strong employee-run culture program is one of the best ways to build community and bridge silos from the ground-up.

Taking a Lean approach to getting a culture committee off the ground gives you a digestible road map that minimizes wasted time and money. It’s a favorite approach among intrapreneurs (you) and entrepreneurs.

 

Part One: A Lean Crash Course

If you’re not familiar with this approach, this post is a quick and dirty overview as it pertains to starting a culture committee. If you really want to dig in, The Lean Startup by Eric Ries is worth the read.

 

Rule 1: Focus your goal

Instead of trying to reform your company culture (much of that is up to management), your goal should be something you can accomplish and measure like “ building community and cross-silo connections.”

 

Rule 2: Start small

Similar to a start-up getting customers, you need participation and results for budget approval - that means building a program people love. Since you never really know what people want, start with a variety of small activities and grow the ones that move the needle in terms of voice and community.

 

Rule 3: Get feedback

Identify the metrics that matter. Number of attendees is less important than if coworkers enjoy the activity and feel more connected as a result - this leads to lower turnover and increased engagement.

 

Rule 4: Iterate

Use your metrics to determine what to keep, change and scrap all together. It might sting to get rid of that dog fashion show you love, but if it’s not making an impact, it’s gone.

 

Rule 5: Repeat

The Lean model is an ongoing cycle. You should always be innovating, evaluating and eliminating waste.  

PART TWO: Data Gathering and Approval

PART THREE: Implementation and Reporting

Rumblesum is a mobile platform that builds community and sparks connections in your office through mobile competitions including trivia, sustainability, photo sharing, philanthropy and wellness.

If you want to learn about innovative ways to build a more connected and inclusive culture, subscribe to our newsletter. We pledge not to spam you, email you more than once a month, share your contact info, or try to sell you a butter braid for our kids’ school (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

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#SaveTheIntroverts: Four Trends Making Offices Less Inclusive of Introverts

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Even though introverts bring a lot to the workplace like creativity, focus, grit, and leadership, they’re often expected to act more like extroverts at work. As an introvert, the following trends make me (and your introverted employees) want to crawl into a hole or, worse yet, find a new place to work.

Open Offices:

An open office is hell for introverts and recent research supports that they’re not that great for other employees either. The problem is, we can’t get anything done with all those distractions. So, if you have an open office, give your introverts a little space of their own, allow remote working occasionally, and let us wear headphones.

 

Constant Interruptions:

Although I see the benefits of instant messaging for quick questions, the constant interruptions make deep work almost impossible. Encourage your introverts to turn off their IM if they’re trying to get something done or need time to recharge. You can also minimize the small talk, call them if something is urgent and respect off-hours messaging.

 

Lack of Deep Relationships:

I don’t feel comfortable unless I have genuine friendships with a few coworkers, but this is becoming harder and harder as people rely more heavily on screens to communicate. Encouraging coworkers to have one-on-one conversations with others about shared personal interests is not bad for productivity. Not to mention, it helps with conflict resolution, bridging silos and retention.    

 

Large Group “Team-Building”:

I’m not the only one who gets miffed when a company spends 75% of their “culture-building” budget on their holiday party. Research shows that only 36 percent of employees actually enjoy it. Please, please, please get creative with those funds and support more small group activities throughout the year where introverts feel comfortable. If you were to plan a bunch of smaller activities that actually interested us, we would be so grateful.

 While these trends have value, please consider your introverts when implementing them.

Rumblesum is a mobile platform that builds more inclusive cultures through competitions, photo sharing, games, in-person activities and interest-group management.

If you want to learn ways to build a more inclusive culture, subscribe to our newsletter. We pledge not to spam you, email you more than once a month, share your contact info, or try to sell you a butter braid for our kids’ school (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

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#SaveTheIntroverts: Common Misconceptions About Introverts In the Workplace

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If you’re working to improve inclusion in your workplace, please don’t exclude one of the most misunderstood populations: introverts.

 By encouraging introverts to be ourselves at work, we’ll dramatically impact your bottom line with our creativity, focus, grit, and leadership. Here are a few misconceptions about introverts and ways to ensure we feel comfortable being ourselves at the office:

We’re terrible at brainstorming.

The truth is we come up with great, well thought-out ideas when we immerse ourselves in our work, not in traditional on-the-spot group brainstorming sessions. My old boss used to jokingly say “hang on – Sara’s processing.” We’d all laugh, but the truth is, I really appreciated it.

 

We don’t like people.

I may have said this once or twice in jest, but I love the relationships I have with my close friends and family. What introverts don’t like is small talk and shallow relationships with no foundation.

 

We can’t network.

We just don’t like networking events. I have an incredible network that I’ve built through one-on-one meetings and, one of the things I do best, genuinely listening to people.

 

We hate socializing.

Although happy hour and parties make me super uncomfortable, I can talk with an individual or small group about things that interest me for hours.

So, if you’re an introvert, too, be proud of all you bring to your company. If you’re an extrovert who doesn’t understand introverts, strike up a conversation with one of us about something we both have in common., See how it goes.

Rumblesum is a mobile platform that builds more inclusive cultures through competitions, photo sharing, games, in-person activities and interest-group management.

If you want to learn ways to build a more inclusive culture, subscribe to our newsletter. We pledge not to spam you, email you more than once a month, share your contact info, or try to sell you a butter braid for our kids’ school (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

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The Sustainability Challenge

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Sustainability is a tough thing to get employees excited about. At Rumblesum, we make it fun by combining a month-long Sustainability Challenge with a Company SWAG Giveaway.

Our clients identify five(ish) sustainable habits they’re employees can get behind. As participants check off the habits each day on our mobile app, they climb the leaderboard, upload photos and earn points toward company SWAG. For example:

Every day employees get points for:

  • Not using takeout containers (including coffee) – 10 points

  • Turning off their computer at night – 5 points

  • Eating a vegetarian meal – 15 points

  • Taking the stairs instead of the elevator – 5 points

  • The office cutting down on its printing by 10% - 10 points


For every 150 points, they earn one of the following company SWAG items:

  • Water bottle

  • Coffee mug

  • Socks

  • Bag

  • Whatever you have on hand

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If your company in interested in hosting a Sustainability-SWAG Challenge, get in touch and we'll talk through the details.

Our mobile platform builds more inclusive cultures through competitions, photo sharing, games, in-person activities and interest-group management.

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Seven Ways to Create a More Inclusive Workplace

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No matter how diverse your workforce, you’ll be stymied by inclusion if you don’t give it some love, too.

In an inclusive workplace, individuals feel comfortable bringing their authentic selves to work and don’t feel the need to hide who they really are. Since most employees look to their company to determine how authentic they should be, here are a few tips to show employees that you want them to be open and authentic:

Start Before People Apply:  A lot of great candidates use social media to get an insider’s view of your company culture before they apply for a position. Sharing photos on social media of employees enjoying themselves (being silly with co-workers, enjoying hobbies, or family photos) is critical to convey a positive view of your workplace’s culture to the applicant.

Show Candidates the Goods: Find out how a candidate enjoys their free time and show them (with data, if possible) how employees in your company will embrace their passions. Whether it’s family-friendly activities, lunchtime workouts or a gaming club, make sure they know that  they’ll fit in.

Make Their First Day A Hit: One of our clients found out that their newest hire loved to listen to music while she worked. When she arrived on her first day, she found a new pair of Bose headphones on her desk. This kind of targeted gesture shows an employee not only that you care about them as someone doing work, but also as a whole person.

Make Connections During Onboarding: A lot of companies match new employees up with a mentor or “buddy.” Take this one step further and introduce your newbie to a few employees from across the company who share their interests and let them pick their buddy or buddies. Maybe even pay for them all to go grab lunch together!

Support Niche Activities: Many companies try focusing on few activities that will appeal to most employees (i.e. baseball games and happy hours). Instead,  try to create a portfolio of simple, cheap, and niche activities that at least a few people will get excited about (board game evening, potluck lunches, etc.). This may seem like more work...but see below.

Encourage Ownership: Since it takes more time to support niche activities than large generic ones, give employees the tools and a bit of funding to start their own groups and activities based around their actual interests.

Start Meetings with a Reveal:  Most meetings start with small talk but if you ask everyone to share something specific about themselves before each meeting, you’ll learn a lot more about your coworkers. There are even card games you can leave in the conference room with questions to ease the burden.

Many of these actions are free and fairly simple for small companies to get off the ground. However if your company is a bit bigger and could use some help to get the ball rolling, let Rumblesum be your inclusivity partner.

Our mobile platform builds more inclusive cultures through competitions, photo-sharing, games, in-person activities and interest-group management.

Just want to learn ways to build a more inclusive culture? Subscribe to our newsletter. We pledge not to spam you, email you more than once a month, share your contact info, or try to sell you a butter braid for our kids’ school (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

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Diversity and Inclusion Are Not the Same Thing

So what’s the difference between the two and why does it matter?

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Political scientist Robert Putnam believed that a healthy community requires both “bonding capital” within groups (diversity) and “bridging capital” between groups (inclusion). Without inclusion, diversity programs with the best of intentions can result in silos. Turns out bonding capital is good on paper, but bridging capital is crucial for true advancement.

Here’s why.

In 1970, Xerox launched the first Employee Resource Group (ERG), which is now called the National Black Employees Association. Groundbreaking at the time, the idea was adopted by companies around the world to help “out-groups” feel more engaged in organizations that were almost entirely dominated by straight white men. The idea was that group members could become more confident, help each other, more easily raise concerns, and most importantly, attain levels of leadership that previously seemed out of reach.


From Women’s Councils to LGBT Groups, most Fortune 500 companies now have a dedicated diversity and inclusion officer to help ERGS like these thrive. ERGs have accomplished a lot and are loved by many of their members, but they fell far short of diversifying leadership in the way that they were intended to. For example, though women make up more than 50% of the workforce, only 6 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs, and most of those female CEOs were selected, groomed and appointed by male leaders -- not members of their ERG.

After nearly 50 years of “diversity and inclusion” initiatives, many companies, like Deloitte, are realizing that emphasizing diversity at the expense of inclusion is detrimental to their goals.

To be clear, we are not claiming ERGs are bad, only that they’re insufficient. Without inclusivity, diversity can only do so much for the health of a company’s internal culture.

If you’re interested in kick-starting your company’s inclusivity, check out 7 Ways to Create a More Inclusive Culture, subscribe to our newsletter, or schedule a time to talk with us.

Rumblesum is a mobile platform that builds more inclusive cultures through competitions, photo-sharing, games, in-person activities, and interest-group management.

Just want to learn ways to build a more inclusive culture? Subscribe to our newsletter. We pledge not to spam you, email you more than once a month, share your contact info or try to sell you a butter braid for our kids’ school (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

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Using Instagram to Attract the Right Talent

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A lot of great candidates use social media to get an insider’s view of your company culture before they even apply. That’s why managing your company’s Instagram feed is so important. Although, it takes more to standout than just posed photos of employees smiling, celebrating or volunteering, it’s not as hard as you may think to be compelling.  

Here are a few rules that will help your company standout.

1.  Be Clear: Whether candidates are looking for a fun, active, rewarding, laid-back, formal, or travel-focused culture, make it obvious what you’re all about. Pick a few themes that define your employees and you’ll not only standout, you’ll attract candidates who will love working there.

 2. Be Original: Quotes work well and stock photos can be lovely, but originality is priceless. Try to aim for 70 percent original content. That said, aim for quality over quantity – see Rule #3.

 3. Be Picky: Great photos that make you smile or warm your heart are few and far between and you don’t want them to get lost in a sea of mediocre pics. So, while some people recommend just having your employees tag your company in their own Instagram photos, I advocate for curation. Since you’re being clear (Rule #1), you want to pick photos that convey the right message and evoke the right emotions. Make sure candidates feel what it would be like to work there, not just see it.

4. Be Brief: Let the photos speak for themselves. Beyond a brief description and a few hashtags, focus on personalizing your captions with a shout-out or a nod to how it fits into your cultural blueprint. Better yet, get creative and have employees submit captions in a caption contest.

5. Be Consistent: Luckily, most candidates will seek out your feed when they’re interested in a job so you don’t need to post every day. Just ensure your costume photos hit the top of your feed around Halloween and there are green leaves in the summer and snow in the winter.

6. Be Inclusive: Even though you’re curating photos, it doesn’t mean you can’t get some great pics from employees . . . with a little direction that is. At Rumblesum, we love using themed photo contests and incorporating photos into our challenges to collect a ton of photos, from which you can pick a few for Instagram. You can use competitions to get photos of:

  • Employees doing what they love – running, their pets, ComiCon , being outside, the possibilities are endless

  • Your mascot or SWAG in locations all over the world (Hootsuite does a great job of this)

  • Unpolished selfies of employees having fun together

We know this can feel like a daunting task so check out our feed for a few ideas and/or let us know if you want to put some automation behind your photo gathering. We bring in hundreds of incredible photos every year for our clients with minimal management from marketing or HR.

Rumblesum is a mobile platform that builds more inclusive cultures through competitions, photo-sharing, games, in-person activities and group management.

Want to learn ways to build a more inclusive culture? Subscribe to our newsletter. We pledge not to spam you, email you more than once a month, share your contact info or try to sell you a butter braid for our kids’ school (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

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How “Covering” Impacts Retention

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An inclusive work environment means that individuals feel comfortable bringing their full, authentic selves to work.

In 1963, sociologist Erving Goffman coined the term “covering” to describe how individuals go to great lengths to minimize certain stigmas about themselves. In his 2006 book “Covering: The Hidden Assault on our Civil Rights”, Kenji Yoshino, currently a professor at NYU Law, gave structure to Goffman’s “covering” along four axes (NY Times article for a quicker read):

  • Appearance: Altering how you dress or groom e.g. a woman dressing more masculine

  • Affiliation: Avoiding behaviors e.g. not discussing religious practices or holidays  

  • Advocacy: Not standing up for your group e.g. not pushing back on an inappropriate joke about gender or race

  • Association: Avoiding contact with other group members e.g. a gay person not bringing their partner to work events

Along these same lines, Deloitte published a report in 2013 focusing on whether employees feel the need to “cover” -- even within organizations that aim to be “inclusive”. In Deloitte’s study, 93% of respondents said that their organization stated inclusion as one of their values, and yet:

  • 61% reported covering at work and that it is detrimental to their sense of self

  • 53% respondents stated that their leaders “consciously or unconsciously have an expectation that their employees will cover,” and that this expectation affects their sense of opportunities available to them

As a result, 50% of respondents said this expectation by leaders has affected their sense of commitment to the organization.

That’s a lot of numbers, but it boils down to one thing: If employees don’t feel comfortable being their true selves at work, they are less likely to be satisfied with their work and less likely to continue working at that company.

If you’re interested in making your company more inclusive, check out 7 Ways to Create a More Inclusive Culture, subscribe to our newsletter or schedule a time to talk with us.

Rumblesum is a mobile platform that builds more inclusive cultures through competitions, photo-sharing, games, in-person activities and interest-group management.

Just want to learn ways to build a more inclusive culture? Subscribe to our newsletter. We pledge not to spam you, email you more than once a month, share your contact info or try to sell you a butter braid for our kids’ school (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

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Holiday Wellness Challenges That Don’t Overwhelm

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The holidays are a great time to help employees maintain healthy habits in busy times. Encourage stress-management with a competition or campaign to remind employees to do a few things every day through the end of the year.

Keep in mind, achievable goals keep employees engaged. Here are some ways our clients are doling out points in their “Keep Calm & Holiday On” competitions.

  • Relaxation: Take 15 minutes to meditate or relax each day. We like the help of Insight Timer, a free app with meditations of different lengths and topics.

  • Cap Your Steps: Take at least 5,000 steps every day - employees get the same number of points whether they take 5,000 or 50,000 steps.

  • Get Out: Get 10 extra minutes of fresh air each day.

  • Just Say No: Abstain from social media all day

  • Acts of Kindness: Make another’s day a little brighter by doing something nice.

  • Stay Active: Get in a 30-minute workout every day.

  • H2O: Drink at least 8 glasses of water.

  • Sleep: Get at least 7 hours of sleep each night or let each employee set their own goal.

All of these challenges are doable on your own. . . but if you’re feeling overwhelmed with all you have to do during the holidays, let us know and we’ll handle the set-up, tracking and communication all in an easy-to-use app.

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Use Your Annual Toy, Food or Coat Drive to Take on Your Fellow Colorado Companies.

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And Raise 10 Times More Than Last Year in the Process!

If your company’s annual charity drive needs a reboot or you’re struggling to find the time to get one off the ground, we’re excited to announce the Inaugural Charity Drive Throwdown!

Yep, this November, we’re turning charity drives into a company-vs-company competition
that builds camaraderie and boosts donations.

And the winning companies get an extra donation to their chosen charity.
 

Companies that use Rumblesum:

  • Average 80% participation
  • Have increased their donations 10-fold
  • Say using Rumblesum turns their drives into engagement-building machines

 If you’re interested, all you need to do is:

  • Let us know
  • Pick a charity (any charity) for which to raise money, volunteer and donate goods
  • Send an opt-out email to employees (that we are happy to write)

 We take it from there. Our software:

  • Makes logging donations simple
  • Assigns points for items, dollars and volunteer hours
  • Has live team and company leaderboards
  • Allows employees to make credit card donations
  • Sends kick-off, weekly and wrap-up emails so you don’t have to

Want to learn all kinds of ways to build fun into your culture? Subscribe to our newsletter. We pledge not to spam you, email you more than once a week, share your contact info or try to sell you a butter braid for our kids’ school (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

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Engaging Engagement: Wilson & Company Combines Wellness and Giving to Impact Their Local Communities

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Every fall since 2012, Wilson & Company organizes Lose a Little, Gain a Lot to encourage its employees to get fit and give back.  Each of their 15 offices sets a total “pounds” goal.  For six weeks, they collect food and workout to burn calories in support of their local food bank.  Wilson & Company makes a donation to EVERY office’s food bank based on what percentage of their goal they reach and gives prizes to the top office and individuals.

Like many national and multi-national companies, Wilson & Company has to get creative to find engaging ways for their employees to make a positive impact and build higher relationships with the local people and communities they do work for – which, for them, is high on the list of priorities.

Lose a Little, Gain a Lot definitely makes an impact at a local level.  Wilson’s Colorado Springs office reigned supreme last year by donating 527 pounds of food to Care & Share Food Bank of Southern Colorado.  Among other things, this helps Care & Share offer Mobile Food Pantries over the summer.  They are incredibly important to kiddos who receive Free & Reduced Lunch during the school year, but often go hungry in the summer.  As one 12-year-old patron put it,

“It helps us save money for things like water and light.”

 

If your company has a fun and unique Engaging Engagement Idea, we’d love to feature you in an upcoming story.  We’re especially interested in activities that help companies build a unified culture between multiple offices and remote workers so other companies can do the same.   

 

 

Charity Drive Challenge In-a-Box

Fall is the season of corporate giving, but company charity drives can be a bit daunting to get off the ground and can grow pretty stale year after year.

So, Rumblesum created the Charity Drive Challenge In-a-Box . . .and by "in-a-box", we mean on your phone.

It’s really quite simple. First, you pick a charity. Then, we: 

  1. Coordinate with your charity to create a short list of items they need donated, big projects they need funded and volunteer opportunities.
  2. Set-up a challenge based on your chosen nonprofit’s needs and what works best for your company e.g. winter clothing, food, toys, etc.
  3. Provide templates to get the word out to your employees i.e. emails, posters, etc.
  4. Create teams among your participants.
  5. Give access to the Rumblesum apps that allow them to earn points by logging donations and volunteer hours (we even do credit card donations).
  6. Keep folks engaged with live leaderboards and weekly newsletters that include tips to increase giving e.g. ask vendors and clients to get involved.

Some results from last year’s charity drives:

  • Average of 80% employee participation across all our companies.
  • One company saw a 10-fold increase in giving from $500 to $5,000.
  • Another company saw an average gift of $100 per employee.
  • Employees called it “The best charity activity we’ve ever done.”
  • Companies said “How much we raised was great, but what really struck me was how much it improved engagement after a really tough year.”

Help us make the most of this season’s giving. More info and pricing.  

Two Easy Ways to Reinvent Your Company Charity Drive

Pinyon Environmental celebrates their 2016 Charity Drive for Tennyson Center & The Action Center.

Pinyon Environmental celebrates their 2016 Charity Drive for Tennyson Center & The Action Center.

Many companies struggle with charity drive participation and impact, but I’ve found that these two simple tweaks can help improve both:

  1. Make it a competition
  2. Give employees more ways to contribute

Competition
Divide participants into teams, appoint captains and watch the friendly competitive blossom in employees who have never given your annual drive a second thought.

By adding a team competition, Rumblesum client, First Western Trust raised 10x more than they did the year before.

Contribution Options
Allow employees to:

  • Donate physical items
  • Virtually buy those items via credit card, and/or
  • Use volunteer hours to contribute to the drive

Janus Henderson Investors recently made their annual food drive a virtual one and increased their impact by 80% compared to the previous year.

By giving people more ways to contribute, you’ll:

  • Increase Participation: Variety allows you to give employees with families a way to involve their kids, employees strapped for cash a way to use their time to contribute and employees short on time a quick and easy way to give.
  • Raise More: Hands down, the more ways people have to donate, the more you’ll raise.
  • Make People Feel Good: When people virtually “buy” a specific toy or food item, they feel better than if they were just to make a donation.
  • Build Connections: Organize a group volunteer day and you’ll add some facetime to a regular-old drive.
  • Have a Photo-Op: That photo at the end of the drive with all the stuff is priceless.

 
With more cash donations, nonprofits get:

  • General Operating Support: Sure, nonprofits need specific items, but they also need dollars for general operating to distribute those items and keep the doors open.
  • Big Ticket Items: Many nonprofits would love a drive for a new gym floor, a piece of machinery or other big-ticket item that doesn’t warrant a capital campaign. . . but could change their whole year.
  • More Bang for Their Buck: Nonprofits often have deals with manufacturers to get what they need far below retail. For example, food banks can often turn a dollar into ten.  

Breathing new life into your company’s annual charity drive may be as easy a one, two. . . no need for three. 

Six Easy Steps to Creating an Engaging Philanthropy Program

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Creating a corporate philanthropy program that boosts employee engagement can be a daunting task. It's easy to get overwhelmed by the planning or frustrated because you have too many activities with low participation.
 
At Rumblesum, we encourage our clients to organize a few activities, get feedback and grow a more formal program from there. Here’s how it works:
 
TAKE STOCK

  • What philanthropy and non-philanthropy things are you already doing to boost engagement?  Donations, drives, volunteering, events, etc?
  • Were these started from the top down or bottom up?
  • What’s working to boost engagement? What’s not? Can you identify similarities?

 ASK
Although your goal shouldn’t be to make everyone happy, it’s important to get your finger on the pulse of what most employees want via a short survey or focus group.

  • Do they know what your company is already doing? Do they participate?
  • What do they do to support their community on their own time?
  • What would they like to see your company do?
  • What causes are important to them?

 PLAN
The key here is to take in all the info about your company and employees and use it to create (or revamp) a few activities that can be implemented and tested quickly. For example:

  • Q1: Use an hour to create valentines for a local children’s home
  • Q2: Host a competitive blood drive
  • Q3: Coordinate a few days for people to rebuild trails
  • Q4: Host a team vs team cash and coat drive for a local homeless shelter 

CREATE
Keep implementation simple – your goal is to identify what works and what doesn’t.

  • Host a lunch n learn to announce the new program and what you’re doing for the year
  • Create template emails, posters and intranet pages for each activity
  • Use simple sign-up methods to track participation
  • Send two questions out after each activity: Would you participate again next year? Why, why not?

CIRCLE BACK
Make sure employees see the impact. After each activity and at the end of the year, send photos, report hours and donations, share communication from the nonprofit you supported, post on LinkedIn, etc.
 
PROMOTE & PURGE
What worked, what didn’t? Next year, put more effort into the ones that did, ditch the ones that didn’t and test a few more.
 
Keep repeating this process and your philanthropy program will grow organically, remain relevant to your employees and make a big impact on your community.

How Social Capital Impacts Your Bottom Line: Innovation, Engagement & Retention

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Whether you’re charged with improving innovation, engagement or retention at your company or simply want a culture that feels more like a community, you should be thinking about Social Capital.  

Margaret Heffernan explains it best in her TED Talk when she says:

Employees are the bricks of a company and social capital is the mortar that holds things together. 

While many companies focus on the bricks (aka superstar employees), it’s the strong personal relationships between coworkers (aka social capital) that will save a company from collapse when it’s stressed.

Problem is, social capital doesn’t build itself and it takes time to see the results.  While innovation, engagement, and retention may be at the top of your to-do list, they frequently get pushed down because. . . you don’t know where to start . .  you have three new people to hire by May and . . . helping employees make friends at work can be a hard line-item to defend.        

So, here’s your motivation:

Research shows that if employees have friends at work, it will increase your profits and save you a ton of money.

Here’s why:   

Trust & Communication: Friends at work feel more comfortable being honest with each other than do strangers.

Efficiency: Instead of reinventing the wheel when they run into problems, coworkers save time by tapping into each other’s experience and knowledge.

Reciprocity: Turns out, friends feel more responsible for their friends' entire working groups and the company as a whole.

 Engagement & Innovation: Both occur when people communicate across departments because they better understand the company and your clients. 

Retention & Recruiting: Employees feel like part of a community and encourage their friends to join them at your fantastic organization.

The good news is that little changes can go a long way. If you need some ideas to get you started, check out:

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Six Ways to Improve Social Capital on the Cheap

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Improving social capital (friendships between employees) has a big impact on innovation, engagement and retention. Plus, it’s something you can do on a budget. You just need to get creative and empower employees to take the lead.

Let Them Play: Give employees the time, encouragement and a small budget to plan social activities that interest them. You'll be amazed at what they come up with – a cycling club, beer tastings, board game nights. . .the possibilities are endless. 

Personalize Birthdays and Milestones: Approach some employees a few weeks before their coworker’s birthday. Give them a small budget and let them plan a surprise. They could all dress like characters from the birthday boy's favorite movie, treat the birthday girl to coffee at her favorite cafe or bake their favorite flourless chocolate cake.

Use Volunteering for Team Building: Using philanthropy as team building isn’t about making a big donation, it’s about employees getting their coworkers involved in volunteer activities they love.  Put the onus on them to set-up a day of home building, soup serving, dog training, whatever gets them excited about giving back. Provide a way for them to recruit others, offer them a few hours a month to volunteer and don’t forget to recognize them for their efforts.

Leverage Wellness Dollars: Many companies are realizing that one of the biggest benefits of wellness is that it can improve your culture. Tweak your wellness program to pull double-duty by engaging your most active employees. Here are some tips on how to do it.

Limit Expensive Events: Some companies spend their whole budget on a fancy holiday party . . . and what usually happens?  Cliques get magnified because people feel most comfortable talking to people they know. Instead of spending a bunch of money on an expensive event, build smaller events around a fun (and cheap) activity like a scavenger hunt, Wii bowling tournament or lip-sync battle.   

Add a Few Friendly Competitions: Competition goes a long way in getting employees to talk with coworkers they don’t normally interact with, especially when you intentionally mix up the teams. On a small scale, track points in Excel and update a centrally-placed leaderboard. As you grow, enlist the help of someone like. . . Rumblesum. 

As you can see, there are creative ways to boost social capital without breaking the bank. Find ways to encourage employees to engage their coworkers in the things they love.

Want to learn all kinds of ways to build fun into your culture? Subscribe to our newsletter. We pledge not to spam you, email you more than once a week, share your contact info or try to sell you a butter braid for our kids’ school (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

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