A Giant Pink Gorilla: The secret to building employee engagement

By Adam Robinson,
January 9, 2013

We like to think outside the box. And if you haven’t already noticed, we’re big on company culture. So when it came time to plan our holiday party, hosting a dinner party at a nice restaurant somewhere around the neighborhood just wasn’t an option. 

With the help of Marketing Coordinator Erin Borgerson, we came up with the ultimate holiday party location – Dave & Buster’s. We figured that holding the party at D&B would allow us to sit down like the mature adults we are and enjoy a nice dinner. But because 99% of us are millennials, we couldn’t just do dinner. So the second half of the night was spent playing arcade games. 

You might think that playing arcade games at a holiday party is tacky; and you know what, you are absolutely right. But I guarantee if you ask any one of the Hireologists, they will tell you it was the best part of the night.

From watching the sales team lined up side-by-side shooting, well… more like attempting to shoot, free throws to seeing the leadership team hovering over the game where the purpose is to get the moving light to land on the jackpot, it was a good time. But it was so much more than just a fun night out with the co-workers. It was a chance to get to know each other outside the office; to let loose and have fun as friends, not just colleagues. 

The night at Dave & Buster’s was proof the Hireologists are passionate. There’s no doubt that in our day-to-day work, our passion shines through. But we quickly learned that our passion translates well even outside the office. At one point, the entire Hireology team was huddled around one game, cheering on Sales Development Manager Jeff Brandwein. When he finally got the light to land on the jackpot, everyone burst out in excitement. It was proof that the support we show for each of our co-workers is genuine. 

Now you would think that a bunch of 20-somethings wouldn’t really care about the tickets won in each game, but that assumption couldn’t be more wrong. We pooled our tickets together to get some fun odds and ends – like a green, zebra-print tie and a sparkly stapler. But the highlight of the night came when we found out that we had won enough tickets to get the giant pink gorilla hanging from the ceiling (which, mind you, took three employees and a ladder to get down).

As the intern, I felt it was my duty to carry the gorilla around for the rest of the night and ensure he safely arrived at the office the next morning. We voted, and his name is now Crusher. Although he is the result of team-work, he represents so much more than that – culture, dedication, passion. Crusher now sits atop a set of cabinets, staring down at each of us. He gets a lot of odd looks from visitors to the office, but all of us Hireologists just smile and remember what it took to get him here.

I won’t lie though, Crusher’s definitely intimidating

Hireology’s night at Dave & Buster’s just goes to show how important building a strong company culture really is. But it didn’t just happen by chance. When hiring candidates, our leadership team makes sure to ask questions based on culture-fit. A candidate with a great looking resume but the inability to work in a team environment wouldn’t succeed here. Especially for smaller companies, building a strong culture require cohesion – and scanning for that in interviews is crucial for the success of your team both in and out of the workplace. 

Do you have a great team like Hireology? Learn how to keep them around with our guide to retaining employees. 


About the Author

Adam co-founded Hireology with the mission to help growing companies make better hiring decisions through data and better technology. Adam is passionate about entrepreneurship, donating time to a number of organizations that support the entrepreneurial cause. Adam completed his undergraduate study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and received his MBA from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.

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