In the past year, Reward Gateway has grown more than 30% and expanded its offices - and we’re still recruiting. As Internal Communications Manager, it’s my job to stay on top of our ever-growing employee base (330 strong, and growing!), while keeping our culture and values in mind.
Sometimes, it can get tough. To combat any ill will toward our increased growth, we hosted global feedback sessions with our employees, who told us that although they felt informed of business strategy and communication within teams was better than ever, the gaps between departments were beginning to grow. We were becoming siloed (a word we hate!)
As a much smaller company we’d always done a great job of integrating our staff with a regular calendar of events on our boom! portal (via our engagement platform SmartHub) that made socializing easy and enabled natural and strong development of internal relations. You might think (and you’d be right) that these events often included monthly “free bar tab” events, but we’re now at a point where that budget wouldn’t last past the first half hour. (And no one likes to be a downer on happy hours.)
We also found that although the suggestion of ‘after work drinks’ is a good way to get people together, once at the bar, everyone would branch off into the same groups and cliques that they spend all day socialising at work with. So after the buzz (pardon the pun) wore off, there was no long-term value to our employees.
We needed a new way to bring our teams together, increase employee engagement and foster a great culture. And it couldn't be forced.
Well, here’s the good news. I’ve found our solution. (At least, I think I have!)
For a moment, I just want you to picture this. The end of the working week is upon us, it’s time to kick back, let our hair down and knock back a cocktail or two. Somewhere in the deep depths of town, eight people find themselves sitting around a candlelit table. Full of the finest food and surrounded by the best company. Sound like a good night out? It’s much more than that. It’s our very first round of the Reward Gateway Secret Supper Club. A secret night out for a rotating exclusive group of staff to treasure together.
Here’s how it works...
In each office, a group of names are picked at random.
These eight lucky people will be wined and dined together at a restaurant – with a budget of £250 (about $360 USD)
We understand that our staff would probably love to share this treat with their loved one too. So, they’re welcome to invite partners along as long as they are able to make payment for their own dinner and drinks. That way, we keep our budget in line, but still bring that extra joy to our employees.
The best thing about the Secret Supper club concept is that it is easily scalable. Any office with over 20 staff can run a really fun and effective social development benefit to incorporate in its internal communications strategy, such as Secret Supper Club. Creating a benefit like this one gives your staff an exclusive and special treat to look forward to every month. By being a little creative with our budget and employees’ time, I’m (not-so-secretly) showing off how awesome our staff is to one another. Something they’d never discover during a clique-filled happy hour, or eating lunch at their desks.
Since the announcement of the first Secret Supper Club, the exclusivity and introduction of this new benefit was met with excitement and a complete buzz in the office. Everyone is looking forward to this new way for us all to get to know each other a little bit better. By capitalizing on what we already knew, that everyone likes free food and a cocktail or two, we found a better way for us to spend time with each other. Plus, we can do so without the rush of an end of lunch deadline or the laptop lurking in the background.
So did it work? Cautiously, I'd say yes!
Here's a quick selfie from our first-ever Supper Club. I received a note from one of the participants straight away, "We had a brill time and it was great to know each other a bit more : ) This will be a huge hit going forwards..."
And with that, we say, let the drinks flow, the chatter grow and the laughs last all evening.
As Head of Global Engagement and Internal Communications, Catrin's main focus is to make Reward Gateway a better place to work. Using the Engagement Bridge™ model, she drives our mission, purpose and values while adding sparkle and creativity to our internal communications.