Since our inception in 1996, bswift's goal has been to use technology and information to simplify the administration of health care, reduce costs and empower consumers. In the beginning, we were known as Platinum Healthcare, a company that set out to change the world and transform healthcare by creating the first web-based CDH (Consumer-Driven Health) plan. In the process, we discovered that there was great market demand for an online benefits enrollment/administration system, so we built one. It worked pretty darn well. In fact, version 1.0 of our benefits enrollment system was a finalist out of 15,000 entrants in Microsoft's 1999 e-commerce system competition. Not bad, huh? So the company ran with it, changed its name to "bswift" and landed its first employer clients.
Today, bswift has millions of consumers on its system and offers software and services that streamline HR and benefits administration. We're the partner you can trust to help your HR and Benefits team discover the true business value of benefits administration.
Rich’s 20 years of experience in the healthcare, benefits, and information technology sectors include multiple responsibilities in marketing, sales, account management, and operations. He co-founded bswift and led its growth into one of the nation’s leaders in benefits administration and technology. Prior to bswift, he served as Vice President of Provider Relations and Network Development for Health Partners, a leading physician practice management firm. Prior to that, Rich served in various management positions at Sachs Group, a leading provider of healthcare planning and marketing data, and directed their entry into the managed care marketplace. Earlier in his career, Rich worked in sales and consulting roles at IBM and A.T. Kearney. Rich holds a BA from Williams College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Ray’s 20 years of experience in insurance and benefits include various executive positions. Ray founded and built several benefits and healthcare companies, including Plaines Health Networks, a PPO, and KeyLink Group, a third party administrator. KeyLink was sold to National Employee Benefits, Inc. (NEBI), and Ray was instrumental in the subsequent sale of NEBI to American Whole Health (AWH). Ray served as President/Chief Operating Officer of American WholeHealth Networks, a leading national alternative health care network firm, after its parent (AWH) acquired NEBI in November 1998. Ray’s success in growing benefits companies demonstrates a thorough knowledge of the constantly evolving marketplace as well as a client-focused orientation. Ray holds a BA and an advanced degree in Ambulatory Health Care Administration from the University of Minnesota and is a licensed life and health agent.
Dave is a global financial executive with experience in manufacturing, services, and technology companies dedicated to improving operations and creating value. He was most recently CFO of Torex Retail US, a global leader in retail software and hardware technology solutions. He also was responsible for implementing US GAAP revenue recognition in conjunction with IFRS reporting for the London and Europe based businesses. Previously, Dave held SVP Strategic Finance, Treasury, and Controller roles with hardware, software, and technology services companies ranging from $150 million to $2.2 billion in revenue. He has been involved with two successful IPO’s, more than $500 million in debt offerings, and over 20 acquisitions. Dave is an active member in Financial Executives International, Turnaround Management Association, and the AIPCA. His professional credentials include MBA, CPA, CMA, APICS CPIM.
Don brings important strategic leadership to bswift’s Exchange Solutions division. Don leads carrier product procurement for bswift’s Springboard Marketplace and contributes to the development of consumer-facing technology, including bswift’s proprietary Ask Emma decision support tool. Prior to joining bswift, Don co-authored the white paper used by Utah’s legislative leadership as an outline for the creation of the Utah Health Exchange’s multi-carrier, employee-choice small business exchange, which was established prior to passage of the Affordable Care Act. He received a formal commendation from Utah Governor Gary Herbert for outstanding work as a health reform consultant to the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. Earlier in his career, Don worked in the insurance industry in sales roles with Beneficial Life and Aflac, and was a partner at FirstWest Benefit Solutions, an employee benefit consulting firm in the Salt Lake City metro area. Don was recognized as the Utah Underwriter of the Year in 2007 by industry peers at the Utah Association of Health Underwriters. Don holds a BS from Brigham Young University and is recognized by the American College as a Registered Health Underwriter.
Brad's 12 years of experience in health care, benefits and technology has consistently focused on bridging the gap from innovation to execution. He built and then led Safeway's wellness and reference pricing programs, most recently as President of Safeway Health, a venture to commercialize Safeway's health benefit solutions. Under his leadership, Safeway saved hundreds of millions of dollars in health benefits cost for itself and its clients and Safeway Health became a profitable and successful enterprise. Prior to Safeway Health, he was Vice President of Strategy and Health Initiatives at Safeway. In his strategy role he managed operational change programs and business line turnarounds that led to over a billion dollars in profit improvement. Before joining Safeway, Brad was a management consultant with Booz & Company, Deloitte and independently, where he advised clients on product commercialization and growth strategy. He worked with companies in the health care, biopharmaceuticals, technology and consumer products sectors. He received his undergraduate degree in economics from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and earned his MBA from the University of Chicago.
Brett leads the management of bswift's technology team leaning on his 18 years of experience growing technology businesses. Founder of Big Game Software, Brett built a company that provided high-volume transaction, data analysis, real-time data processing and content management products to the sports and entertainment industry. Prior to Big Game Software, Brett held numerous management roles with Apropos Technology, NEG Micon and APV Plc. Brett’s diverse experience includes software development, design, consulting, and project management. Brett holds a BS from the University of Illinois.
Josh has over 15 years of experience in HR strategy, benefits technology solutions, and business development with companies including Aon Hewitt and Towers Watson. Prior to bswift, Josh was the Senior Vice President of Aon Hewitt’s Human Resources Outsourcing Practice, where he focused on new client solutions and sales. Josh holds a BA from Albion College.
Tracey leads the bswift Exchange Operations team, leaning on her 15+ years of experience managing large scale programs in Fortune 100 organizations focusing on technology, operational improvement and organizational change. Prior to joining bswift, Eisman served as Chief Operating Officer for Mobius Executive Leadership. Previously, Eisman held numerous management roles with JP Morgan Chase and Proxicom, with responsibilities spanning from technology development to ongoing operations. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Classical Music from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, MA.
Steve Parkhouse adds management depth to the bswift Client Services team where he is charged with managing key client relationships and grooming bswift talent. Parkhouse joins bswift with 15+ years of experience in benefits administration and benefits technology, including both new client implementations and ongoing business operations. Prior to bswift, Parkhouse held the positions of Director of Implementations and Vice President of Benefit Operations at Aon Hewitt. Previously, Parkhouse held a sales role at CIGNA Healthcare in the National accounts segment. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI.
Jan assumed the senior leadership role for bswift’s Human Resources department in 2014. For the past five plus years, Jan has successfully led our Reseller team and Reseller partners, developing a solid team and growing the existing Reseller business by over twenty percent each year. During this time, she has also become a key member of our senior management team with her strong management skills and industry knowledge and experience. Jan has over 25 years in the health insurance industry working with a couple different national health care carriers, including Humana and Blue Cross Blue Shield, and a few large national TPAs. She has held senior management positions in provider relations, marketing, account management, and Human Resources.
Want to be a "bswift-er"?
bswift prides itself on having a fun, friendly and smart staff that goes the extra mile to get the job done right. We offer the excitement and opportunity of a young, fast-growing company with the stability of an experienced management team, a blue-chip client base, and a proven track record of success.
We're looking for motivated and goal-driven team members who do whatever it takes to make a company great. The reward is a fun, flexible and creative environment with ample opportunity for professional and personal growth. If you possess the bswift values of higher standards, greater accountability and more fun, we want to hear from you!
Watch this video to learn more about our culture:
"This is a growing company with an energetic workforce, and a fun and fast-paced environment. There is great opportunity to move up quickly in the organization if you are a 'rock star' and work hard."
- Cortnie Gill, Implementation Specialist Joined bswift 4 years ago
"Our development team is made up of a diverse group of people with a wide array of programming skills and backgrounds. Combined with a great management team, the end result is a fun and flexible work environment."
- Rod Ganesan, Senior Software Developer Joined bswift 4 years ago
bswift has partnered with a select group of companies in order to offer you a wide range of products and services that complement our own. Not only do we think these companies have unique value propositions, but they also provide bswift clients with special price breaks and/or integrated system technology.
Our OneTouch Partners are best-in-class companies that we have teamed with on a strategic basis to broaden the bswift offering. This means that in addition to seamless integration with our system, there are no additional setup fees or administrative fees required to utilize the bswift — OneTouch Partner integrated solution.
HR, Benefits, and Payroll Reference
Analysis & Tools
Employee Benefit Solutions
FSA, HSA, HRA Solutions
COBRA, FSA, HRA, HSA Solutions
Seamless Life / EOI Process
Caregiver Matchmaking Website
Company Culture Marketing Platform
Seamless Life / Voluntary Benefit Enrollment
In the News
“Health care firm bswift lands $51 million from private-equity fund.” Growing at a rate of 40% annually for the past four years, bswift will use the investment from Great Hill Partners to further strengthen its benefits technology offerings and meet the increasing demand for private exchanges.
"Will State Stumbles Extend Enrollment Deadlines?" Don Garlitz, Executive Director of bswift Exchange Solutions, comments on the success of Connecticut’s state exchange, AccessHealth CT, which bswift works with as a technology partner, and how struggling states are looking to this model for their own exchanges.
"Employer mandate: No time to sit back and relax." The ACA's final rules add temporary delays and some flexibility, to give employers time to measure and analyze employee hours. bswift's Don Garlitz, Executive Director, Exchange Solutions, examines the details of the regulations.
"5 retail marketing lessons for health exchange brokers." Brad Wolfsen, bswift's Executive Director, Exchange Solutions, highlights how companies developing health care exchanges can apply the hard-earned lessons of consumer retail to the benefits-selection process.
"Cigna launch spurs question: What is a private exchange, anyway?" On the heels of bswift’s introduction of its Springboard Marketplace, Don Garlitz, Executive Director of bswift Exchange Solutions, discusses the power of single-carrier exchanges.
"bswift launches private health exchange," discusses bswift's new private exchange, Springboard Marketplace. Based on a defined contribution model, the exchange streamlines benefits year round and includes ancillary and voluntary benefits offered through leading carriers.
"bswift launches private exchange for health and voluntary benefits." Matt Dunning of Business Insurance provides an exclusive of bswift’s new private exchange, Springboard Marketplace, featuring carriers Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America, Unum Group, MetLife Inc. and Assurant Inc.
"Don’t Be Sidelined by ACA Delay: Act Now to Avoid ‘Play or Pay’ Flag" With penalties slated to be assessed starting next Jan. 1, there’s plenty of work for employers to do. Mary Bauman, attorney at Miller Johnson, and Don Garlitz, Executive Director of bswift Exchange Solutions, share their insight on how employers can prepare now.
"Lessons learned from our switch to a DC health plan." With employee benefits evolving, Don Garlitz, bswift’s Executive Director, Exchange Solutions, offers key insights on shifting to a defined contribution strategy.
"HHS Says Most Enrollment Problems Are Fixed; Other Issues Begin to Surface."An article discussing how, despite the fixed glitches with the HealthCare.gov website, there may still be some issues on the horizon. Don Garlitz, Executive Director of bswift Exchange Solutions, comments on how adding a dependent in the middle of the year (i.e., through a life event) may cause additional issues to tax credit amounts, eligibility, and billing for the enrollee.
“5 lessons benefits administrators can learn from retail marketing.” Brad Wolfsen, Executive Director of bswift Exchange Solutions, shares tips on how benefit administrators can take a cue from retail to engage employees and develop positive benefit shopping experiences.
“Outcomes-based programs not widely adopted,” reports on the findings in bswift’s 2013 Wellness & Benefits Administration Benchmarking Study. Rich Gallun, bswift CEO, and Brad Wolfsen, Executive Director of Exchange Solutions, also share their insight on wellness trends, benefits administration, and defined contribution.
“Expedited ACA Website Bidding Limited Choice of Contractors.” Don Garlitz, Executive Director of bswift Exchange Solutions, shares his insight on why some companies were hesitant to bid for the Obama administration’s exchange website. He says: “It is very costly to bid and lose. As a result, you typically deal with very large companies, (such as CGI) since it is very complicated.”
“Employers could face litigation for excluding benefits to opposite-sex domestic partners,” talks about the rules employers must follow regarding benefits for legally married same-sex couples. Don Garlitz, Executive of bswift Exchange Solutions, comments: “A large percentage of our client base is made up of multistate employers, and I think it would be hard for them to offer domestic partner coverage to some employees in some states and not to others.”
“Small-group employers look to individual exchanges over SHOP,” discusses how many employers are considering individual exchanges instead of Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) exchanges. Don Garlitz, Executive Director of bswift Exchange Solutions, comments that the window shopping experience needs to improve if SHOP exchanges want to succeed.
“What to Expect After Oct. 1,” an article discussing what the opening day of the public health care exchanges will bring. Don Garlitz, Executive Director of bswift Exchange Solutions, share his comments, including “I don't think [employers] are losing sleep over it right now. My sense is that they're in a little bit of ... wait-and-see mode.”
“Computer Bugs Not Expected to Infest Enrollment.” Despite reports of technical glitches in the federally facilitated exchanges, experts in the industry offer a broader view. Don Garlitz, Executive Director of bswift Exchange Solutions, shares his thoughts on exchanges stating that they could “bring in other lines of business” like the private HIX model has done for other benefits.
"Employers Embracing Wellness Programs, But Many Plans Come Up Short, Survey Finds." Brad Wolfsen, Executive Director of bswift Exchange Solutions, comments on the positive impact of incentives to increase participation in wellness programs. The article also cites bswift’s 2013 Wellness & Benefits Administration Benchmarking Study. Reproduced with permission from Human Resources Report, 31 HRR 993 (Sept. 23, 2013). Copyright 2013 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033) www.bna.com
"Employers Embracing Wellness Programs, But Many Plans Come Up Short, Survey Finds." Brad Wolfsen, Executive Director of bswift Exchange Solutions, comments on the positive impact of incentives to increase participation in wellness programs. The article also cites bswift’s 2013 Wellness & Benefits Administration Benchmarking Study.
Reproduced with permission from Human Resources Report, 31 HRR 993 (Sept. 23, 2013). Copyright 2013 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033) www.bna.com
“Measure Now to Avoid a Flag on 'Play or Pay'.” Although many employer mandates were delayed, there’s still plenty of work employers need to do. Mary Bauman, attorney at Miller Johnson, and Don Garlitz, Executive Director of bswift Exchange Solutions, share their insight on how employers can prepare for ACA.
“Wellness Initiatives Can Reduce Employer Health Care Costs,” discusses the benefits of using employee wellness programs and technology to cut costs for employers. The article also references the findings in bswift’s 2013 Wellness & Benefits Administration Benchmarking Study.
“Study: Wellness best practices neglected,” reports on the significant wellness methods being overlooked that could help increase employee engagement and lower the bottom line. This article also cites bswift’s 2013 Wellness & Benefits Administration Benchmarking Study.
“Employers mull defined contribution model for employee benefits,” discusses how some employers are considering transitioning to a defined contribution financing structure for group benefits and cites bswift’s 2013 Wellness and Benefits Administration Benchmarking Survey.
“Employers embrace wellness but employees don’t,” cites bswift’s 2013 Wellness & Benefits Administration Benchmarking Study and discusses the importance of driving employee participation in wellness programs.
“How to Improve Workplace Wellness Program Participation,” references bswift’s 2013 Wellness & Benefits Administration Benchmarking Study and focuses on how employers are increasing employee engagement in wellness.
“The Lowdown on New ACA Fees,” co-authored by Don Garlitz, Executive Director of bswift Exchange Solutions, and Mary Bauman, employee benefits attorney at Miller Johnson, answers the questions surrounding two new charges for health benefits plan sponsors.
"My Benefits Manager Told Me, You Better ‘SHOP’ Around." This recent article mentions how Connecticut's health exchange, administered by partners HealthPass New York and bswift, is one of the few states offering multiple employee plans and coverage choices this fall.
"Greater Private Exchange Presence Eyed As CT Hires HealthPass For SHOP," an article discussing what's to come with SHOP and private exchanges. The article mentions Access Health CT's partnership with HealthPass and bswift for its own SHOP exchange and bswift's 15+ years of experience in the health care and benefits administration marketplace.
“Federal HIX delays SHOP choices until 2015,” discusses how states with their own insurance exchange marketplace are moving forward with small business health options for 2014. The article mentions bswift’s partnership with Access Health CT and HealthPass. Don Garlitz, Executive Director of bswift Exchange Solutions, says of the delay, “It is very complicated and I can see, if you don’t have all that quite figured out, a delay might be in order. It could be somewhat technological, it could be some aspect of carrier reluctance.”
“Four Myths about Private Health-Care Exchanges.” Don Garlitz, Executive Director of bswift Exchange Solutions, debunks the top four myths surrounding private health exchanges and what employers of 50 or more employees plan to do in 2014.
"Despite CMS delay, CT moves forward with HIX SHOP," an article about Access Health CT's decision to utilize HealthPass and bswift's private exchange services and technology for small businesses throughout Connecticut.
"Connecticut Partners with HealthPass to Set the Standard for State Health Exchanges," discusses Access Health CT's announcement to use HealthPass New York and bswift to build the front-end administrative platform for its Small Business Health Options (SHOP).
“HealthPass goes SHOP-ing in Connecticut,” an article about Access Health CT’s announcement to use HealthPass New York and bswift to provide the front-end and administrative platform for its small-business exchange.
"Connecticut to proceed with small business health insurance exchange," reports on Access Health CT's selection of HealthPass and bswift to operate its SHOP exchange, scheduled to open in October 2013.
"Good Design Is Good Business. Just Ask Morningstar." catches up with two speakers from bswift Summit 2012, Bevin Desmond, President of International Operations and Global Human Resources, Morningstar, and Barbara Armstrong, Principal, Kahler Slater.
"Embrace Exchange," an article about the new opportunities with exchanges. Joe Thomas, Vice President of Sales at bswift, comments: "We're working with numerous CIAB members to help them create their own private exchanges that allow them to provide competitive solutions to what the public exchanges are going to be offering."
"bswift to add 100 jobs downtown in next 3 years," an article about Chicago Mayor Emanuel's recent announcement on bswift's anticipated job growth and partnership with Skills for Chicagoland's Future.
"Former HHS Sec. Mike Leavitt hawks new breed of health exchange," announces Leavitt Partners' "Exchange in a Box" pitch for states rushing to meet tight federal deadlines. bswift, among a few other big-name software and health companies, have committed to develop the technology.
"Q&A with HealthPass NY: Decade-old small biz HIX prepares for 2014 market," a recent interview with Vince Ashton, HealthPass New York CEO, discusses its past, future, and bswift’s role as the provider for exchange technology and services: “HealthPass is positioning itself for growth in the small group market, and is contracting with the Chicago-based benefits tech firm bswift to provide the online retail platform.”
"HealthPass New York Selects bswift to Provide Exchange Technology, Services.” Matt Dunning reports on HealthPass New York’s recent decision to use bswift for its exchange technology and services, including reporting tools, dashboards and alerts for employers; shopping tools, decision and enrollment support for employees; and analytics, benchmarking and access to aggregated group data, as well as employer billing, collection and broker commission management tools for brokers.
"Employees will need to be educated about benefits eligibility," an article about the importance of educating employees about their benefits eligibility. Don Garlitz, Executive Director, bswift Exchange Solutions, comments: "I don't know if the tracking is going to be any more cumbersome than it has been in the past, but now employers have a real incentive to make sure they are tracking correctly. And there's going to be a bit more scrutiny. Employers will have to be ready for audits...the tools are out there in the marketplace."
"Businesses prepare for health insurance shift," an article covering the Pittsburgh Business Group on Health's 13th annual symposium on September 6, 2012. Don Garlitz, Executive Director, bswift Exchange Solutions, spoke at the event, discussing how health insurance exchanges will shape the future of American health care and what employers can do to help slow the relentless growth of health plan costs.
"NAHU 2012: Health Insurance Exchanges Are Coming," an article covering the National Association of Health Underwriters' annual convention. Don Garlitz, Executive Director, bswift Exchange Solutions, predicts that many states will set up exchanges no matter what the Supreme Court or Congress do about PPACA.
"Private Exchanges and WBEs Say They Can Drive More Enrollment to State Exchanges," an article on how Web-based entities (WBEs) like bswift will not only need to offer states powerful online shopping tools, but also demonstrate a strategy for capturing market share and directing it to the exchange.
"The false alarm of ‘employer dumping,'" an article by Don Garlitz, Executive Director, bswift Exchange Solutions on whether employers will terminate their group health care plans when key provisions of the health care reform law take effect.
"Supreme Court opens day one of PPACA hearings," an article on the Supreme Court's first of three days hearing oral arguments on the constitutionality of the individual mandate provision of PPACA. Don Garlitz, Executive Director, bswift Exchange Solutions, comments: “Large employers are hoping that the employer mandate gets wiped out. They don’t want to have to deal with it.”
"Private exchanges mull ACA role," reports on how much ACA responsibility private exchanges will likely take on. Don Garlitz, Executive Director, bswift Exchange Solutions, weighs in: “The [ACA] requires the public exchange to have a board and to have a certain kind of structure — I’m not sure that a private, for-profit company would meet any of those standards, but you can set up sort of a shell.”
"Weighing the pros and cons of outsourcing," cites bswift's 2011 Wellness & Benefits Administration Benchmarking Study and stresses the importance of employing a fully-automated benefits administration system.
"Minnesota GOP Wrestles With Health Exchange Questions," reports on Minnesota Republicans' November 3, 2011 forum to determine the best stance towards state-based insurance exchanges. bswift's Executive Director of Exchange Solutions, Don Garlitz, presented on the success of the Utah Health Exchange as a model for Minnesota and other states.
"Utah guv charts steady course for health reform," reports on Utah Gov. Gary Herbert's September 30, 2011 health reform summit. Herbert says that the time for adding large employers to the Utah Health Exchange, powered by bswift, is now.
"Wellness programs need incentives, automation," reports on the findings from bswift’s "2011 Wellness and Benefits Administration Benchmarking Study." The article highlights the importance of incentives to increase employee participation in wellness programs.
"Clinging to paper-based administration hinders potential wellness savings," reports on the findings from bswift's "2011 Wellness and Benefits Administration Benchmarking Study." The article highlights how employers still lag in automating HR processes.
"Utah's Health Insurance Experiment Built Around Small Businesses," an August 2, 2011 PBS NewsHour video news story about how the Utah Health Exchange is helping small businesses. The clip features the bswift technology powering the exchange.
"Red-State Utah's Health Exchange Model for Colorado," an article providing a comprehensive look at Utah's unique approach that has put it ahead of the curve in meeting the mandate by the Affordable Care Act.
“Reform Policy News: High-Risk Pools, Exchanges, IPAB,” a round-up article featuring a link to a Politico Pro article with bswift CEO Rich Gallun entitled “Utah Exchange: Low-Cost Model Or Loss Leader?”
“Health Care Reform: An Overview of the New Federal Health Care Bill and How It Will Likely Impact Employers Over the Next Several Years,” featuring the transcript of the 2010 bswift Client Conference keynote address presented by Michael O. Leavitt.
“Dependent Eligibility, Affordability Provisions of PPACA May Prove More Costly than Originally Estimated, Analysis Finds,” featuring the “bswift Special Report on the Impact of Health Reform on Employers.”
“Lean and Green: Benefits Automation System Unearths More Value from ERP,” an article detailing how Trek Bikes used bswift to do away with manual processes of moving employee information between payroll and benefits.
At bswift, we take fun very seriously. In fact, "More Fun" is one of our core corporate values (along with "Higher Standards" and "Greater Accountability"). Why? Because we firmly believe that engaging employees in a fun and appreciative workplace not only boosts morale and strengthens company culture, but it can also increase productivity and impact the bottom line.
50 Favorite Ways to Have Fun at Work
Here are some of our favorite ideas for ways to have fun at work. Some of these ideas come from bswift's Chief Fun Officer Patrick McGarrity, and many come from our buddy Scott Christopher who wrote a great book called "The Levity Effect: Why It Pays to Lighten Up." Be sure to check out Scott's book at www.levityeffect.com.
- Weekly Jeopardy: at noon once a week, gather in a conference or cubical for a couple rounds of Jeopardy (use a Jeopardy day-to-day desk calendar). The highest scorer takes the Jeopardy trophy for the week and gets to choose the first category the following week.
- Wii Bowling Tournament: create teams that allow people from different departments to get to know each other. Crown a "King Pin" and "Queen Pin" and award gift certificates prizes.
- Kids Come Into Work Day: to draw on the whiteboard, play Wii and join everyone for pizza at lunch. Employees take turns being "Camp Counselor" for an hour.
- Summer Kickball After Work: in a nearby park or parking lot. No need for formal leagues or uniforms just show up and feel like a kid again.
- Quarterly Potluck Lunch: with a different fun theme each time. Charge $3 and give the proceeds to a local charity.
- Jeans Day for Charity: sell tickets for $2 each that allow the purchaser to wear jeans to work on a specified day of the week. For example at bswift, each ticket is good for wearing jeans on Wednesdays during April. Proceeds go to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
- Michael Jackson Trivia Contest: the winner gets tickets to a local event or movie or a copy of "This Is It" on DVD.
- Executives Breakfast: upon meeting a specified departmental or company goal, get the executives to put on an apron and start frying up the bacon and flipping pancakes.
- Cubicle Decoration Contest: choose a theme and award prizes for the best cubicle decorations.
- Paint a Break Room with Chalkboard Paint: this idea comes from Whole Foods where employees can doodle on the walls and one store team leader even writes up her weekly updates rather than sending out a memo.
- Surprise Movie Outings: the bswift CEO called a mandatory all-company meeting on a Friday afternoon and arranged for temps to answer the phones. At the meeting, he announced that he was taking everyone to see a movie at a nearby movie theater. It was an inspiring movie and a good way to "rally the troops" during a stressful business season.
- Pumpkin Carving Contest: buy some pumpkins and some carving knives. Everyone votes and the winner gets a Starbucks' gift card. Extra points for those who carve the likeness of a member of the management team.
- Cinco de Mayo Party: have margaritas and a piata. Nothing relieves stress or gets more laughs that whacking a donkey with a bat.
- Ethnic Food Night: what started as a group of employees going out for Korean BBQ one night has expanded to organized outings to different ethnic food restaurants in Chicago often with a company "expert" along to explain the offerings. It's fun to a have multi-cultural employee population!
- Sitcom Lunches: weekly gatherings to watch favorite shows such as "30 Rock" or "The Office" over lunch.
- Massage Therapy Breaks: during bswift's busy season, we bring in a couple of massage therapists for one or two days and anyone can sign up for a 15 minute massage.
- Anniversary Gifts: at the bswift annual company kick-off meeting/holiday party in January, we announce the names of all employees celebrating their 5th anniversary, describe what special talents they have brought to the table and give them their choice of gifts: Apple iPod, Patagonia jacket, etc.
- Video Monitors: bswift has flat screen TV's throughout the office that rotate pictures from recent fun events, announce upcoming events, post "Fun Facts" and more.
- Wall of Fame: create a Wall of Fame decorated with pictures of team members, thank-you notes from clients and other feel-good postings.
- Bowling Night: to kick off the beginning a busy season or to celebrate reaching a goal, do a group bowling night with pizza, beer and a good jukebox.
- 2 Truths & 1 Lie: to start a meeting with a bang, ask everyone to come up with two truths about themselves and one lie. People must guess which one is the lie.
- Oh Say Can You See: start a meeting with the singing of the national anthem and give a prize to anyone who can sing it without missing a word (or missing the high note).
- Joke of the Day: have department members take turns telling a "Joke of the Day" at meetings.
- Song of the Day: to be blasted out at a set time in the afternoon. Try to make it describe what's going on that day, special events or just an upbeat song to fire people up.
- Trading Places: have the CEO or other high-level executive switch places with an employee for a day and cover the story in an employee newsletter or better yet on video.
- Homemade Food Contests: chili cook-offs, cookie bake-offs, etc.
- Office Book Club: that meets weekly or monthly over lunch.
- Rock On!: create an office rock band. At Bain & Company, the "Bain Band " performs at least once a year during company meetings and other special events.
- Karaoke Lunch: there's nothing funnier than watching your boss belt out "My Sharona." Have a talent contest with contestants and judges and give the winners gift cards for a free lunch.
- Ice Cream Man!: in the summer, bring in an ice cream truck or shaved ice truck onsite.
- Tailgate Party: who needs a stadium? Start the grill up in the parking lot on a Friday afternoon.
- The Great Outdoors: get a "fresh" perspective by holding a meeting outside or at a local park.
- Texas Hold 'Em: hold a tournament with refreshments and prizes on-site or at someone's house.
- Third Thursday: every 3rd Thursday of the month, go to a local watering hole to celebrate achievements, anniversaries or just making it through another month.
- Family Ice Skating: rent an hour at a local rink and invite employees and their families to come hit the ice.
- Roller Hockey: hold weekly roller hockey games in the company parking lot.
- Local Runs/Walks: encourage everyone to participate together in local runs and walks and reward participants with post-race refreshments or a picnic. This works to promote corporate wellness programs as well as have fun and develop camaraderie.
- Live Music: put a piano in the break room for whoever wants to play a few tunes or start a sing-a-long.
- Scrabble Breaks: have a game that goes on throughout the day(s).
- Trivia Breaks or Trivia Night: including questions about company products and history.This is a great way to have fun as well as make sure that folks know their stuff.
- Brainstorming Money Machine: to get the creative juices flowing in a brainstorming session, write down ideas on a white board then have everyone vote on their favorite 3 ideas. The winners get one minute in a rented money machines filled with some bills. (You don't have to actually use the ideas, but it rewards people for getting involved).
- Give Yourself a Hand: on a deadline day, hand out plastic hand-clappers at the end of the day and have everyone give themselves a hand for a job well done.
- Mini Golf: set up a mini golf course in the office.
- Hire a Comedian: Instead of using the CEO as emcee at your next company event, hire a professional comedian.
- Car Wash: get the executive team to hold a car wash and scrub every employee's car in the lot.
- Trading Places II: Have employees elect a new manager from their ranks to take the reins for a day. The existing manager does that employee's work for the day.
- Spread the Fun: be sure to share "fun " ideas company wide by covering events in your company newsletter or on your company Web site.
- Scavenger Hunt: create teams and send them on a scavenger hunt around town. The hunt ends at a local bar or restaurant for drinks and prizes.
- Take Me Out to the Ball Game: you might not be able to take employees to opening day, but you can celebrate by bringing in a hot dog cart for lunch or organizing a potluck with hot dogs, burgers, popcorn, peanuts, cotton candy etc.
- Get Organized: create a Fun Committee within departments and/or companywide and rotate membership. This is the best way to get people involved and to ensure that the "fun" is really fun and not just another set of top-down directives.