3 Proven Culture Hacks That Employees Love

by Sabrina Son on Mar 18, 2015 8:00:00 AM

What’s the number one challenge that organizations across the world are facing? According to the recent study by Deloitte, it’s culture. A total of 87% of respondents in the survey claimed the issue to be “important,” while 50% reported it as “very important.” Those are some alarming numbers!

And of course, we dug around and found some great ideas that you can try out in your workplace to keep your employees engaged. Here are three hacks to create a rocking organizational culture:

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Company Olympics

We spend so many hours at work, so why not give employees a break once in a while? Dawn MacKay, VP of Product Management at Halogen Software, recaps an exciting week-long event her company coordinated:

“The Halogen Winter Olympics was inspired by the 2010 Winter games in Vancouver. This is a week-long happening with daily events that put teams against each to compete for the gold, silver, and bronze. Throughout the week, teams are also on a scavenger hunt collecting items such as a vintage Star Wars lunch box and having their picture taken (in costume) by the local police.

"The whole event is about building cross-department bonds and just having some serious fun. This event has become such an important element of life at Halogen — it exemplifies our “work hard, have fun” attitude — with perhaps a little more on the fun side than a typical week.”


The Pirates of the Halogean put their heads together during the trivia competition.

In the Swing of Things

Part of having a thriving culture is complementing individual employees’ work styles. Ari Trulla, CEO of BetterDoctor, provides a comfortable environment for all employees:

“Even though our office is small, we have a huge deck that people work on when it's sunny out (which is most days in San Francisco). We have swings set up too. These office hacks make it clear to everyone who works here that we value productivity and happiness, not spending a ton of hours in an office environment. We provide private and outdoor spaces so that people can find the best spot for them to get their work done.

"The swing set, outdoor deck, and private rooms emphasize that each individual has different work styles, and this is accommodated for, and that having an opportunity to have fun at work can increase engagement. It's a simple way for a small start-up to inject some fun into the workplace, even when we don't have the budgets that bigger start-ups have.”


The CEO made the swings from skateboards and climbing rope.

Expand and Explore

Learning doesn’t stop after you get a job. Giant Spoon, a marketing strategy and innovation agency, explains how their organization empowers their employees:

“Giant Spoon wants their employees to be curious — to question the world around them. The agency offers employees a fund for cultural immersion through an Adventure Fund. It should be used for books, music, movies, art shows, TED talks, etc. Giant Spoon wants employees to seek out what's new and what's next, and to bring it back to share with the agency.

"There are certain conferences and events that are more than just business-related; they are great opportunities for personal and professional growth. Giant Spoon offers employees proprietary Jet Packs that allows them to decide which experiences are important to them. This Jet Pack acts as their personal slush fund that gives them the freedom to pursue their interests without ever having to ask for permission. If the agency asks an employee to attend an event on their behalf for business purposes, this does not come out of the Jet Pack.”

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Giant Spoon employee, Corbin Brown, enjoying his adventure fund.

These organizations have invested in their employees to create a strong culture that puts engagement as a top priority. So if you want to keep your workers sticking around, try out some of the above activities.


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This post was written by Sabrina Son

Sabrina is the managing editor for the TINYpulse blog. A Seattle native, she loves her morning (or anytime) coffee, spending her weekends on the mountains, and of course, the famous rain.

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