bswift: Fun at Work

Fun At Work

Fun at Work: 2016 Award Winners

The winner of the 2016 "Fun at Work" Award is:

Provident Bank of New Jersey
Jersey City, NJ

Congratulations Provident Bank of New Jersey!

“For more than 175 years, The Provident Bank has been committed to our customers, communities and employees, and fun is definitely part of that experience.”
–Rhonda Silverman, HR Operations Analyst

Provident Bank is involved in community outreach through programs like Read Across America, Hammer for Heroes and volunteering at their local soup kitchen. Fun office events include holiday window decorating contests, themed cookouts and employee sports leagues.

What really put Provident Bank over the top was their Recognizing Outstanding Commitment (ROC) employee recognition program. Watch their Fun at Work video submission to learn more about their ROC program and to get a glimpse at some of the great folks at Provident Bank who make their culture one we give two big thumbs up to!

Congratulations on winning the 2016 bswift Fun at Work Award and a $250 gift card for future fun events!

Fun at Work: 2015 Award Winners

The winner of the 2015 "Fun at Work" Award is:

Ulta Beauty
Bolingbrook, IL

Ulta Beauty is the largest beauty retailer in the United States and the premier beauty destination for cosmetics, fragrance, skin, hair care products and salon services. Since opening its first store 25 years ago, Ulta Beauty has grown to become the top national retailer providing All Things Beauty, All in One Place™. Ulta Beauty employs over 22,000 people nationwide at its 800+ stores, distribution centers and corporate office. The company strives to bring possibility, inspiration and the joy of beauty to its guests and communities.

Here are some of the fun activities at Ulta Beauty:

  • Charitable giving: The Ulta Beauty family is committed to its long-standing partnership with Breast Cancer Research Foundation® and to enhancing the education and well-being of women and girls throughout its communities. Associates have fun as they give back by sharing their time and talents, from volunteer opportunities benefiting women and their families, to fundraising events to advance research directed at the prevention and cure for breast cancer.
  • Associate groups: At Ulta Beauty’s corporate office, associates bring their passion, creativity and fun to all through the experiences its associate groups provide. These cross-functional teams boost associate engagement through seasonal events, wellness activities, green efforts and more.
  • Grand Openings: The fast-growing retailer, which opened its 800th store in May 2015, celebrates across the business as it reaches each 100 store milestone. Each store receives a surprise shipment complete with party décor and treats to host a fun day in recognition of the great collaboration, hard work and commitment it takes from its team to make it happen.

Fun at Work: 2014 Award Winners

At bswift, we take "fun" very seriously (check out our "Fun at Work" page to see how serious we are). In 2010, we launched the Fun at Work Award in order to formally recognize other companies who embrace fun in the workplace like we do. We asked people to email us about their fun company culture and then bswift's Fun Committee, led by Chief Fun Officer Patrick McGarrity, judged the entries. The now annual effort has been a great way for us to learn what other companies are doing, elevate the "art" and importance of fun, and share some great ideas for creating a great place to work. So without further ado…

The winner of the 2014 "Fun at Work" Award is:

The Cheesecake Factory
Calabasas Hills, CA

The Cheesecake Factory is known for its expansive menu, generous portions and 50-plus varieties of cheesecakes and desserts. The company is also known for creating a fun workplace for its 33,000-plus staff members throughout 180 restaurants in the United States. Take a look at how The Cheesecake Factory incorporates fun "The Cheesecake way."

Making Work Fun: Every six months, the company revamps its menu and has an “all staff” meeting with each restaurant’s team. Unlike a typical meeting, the company creates action-packed events with themes and costumes. Throughout the year, The Cheesecake Factory adds fun aspects to the workday. Notable activities include:

  • Iron Chef Battles and "So You Think You Can Cook" contests for which employees submit new recipes to be cooked for the CEO
  • Competitive games against other companies such as Ping-Pong, Dominos, paint ball, and volleyball
  • Involvement in the community, including Peanut Butter Drives, sending care packages to troops in Afghanistan and Relay for Life Walks

Making Wellness Fun: The Cheesecake Factory transforms wellness into an engaging pursuit with its Life Ingredients Challenge. For this challenge, employees learn health-related information and set wellness goals. In Mach 2014, the company organized a Wellness Summit that all of its wellness vendors and partners were invited to attend.

Making Open Enrollment Fun: The company introduced its new online enrollment solution with a fun Open Enrollment "kick off," complete with team jerseys, a football-themed information meeting and a tailgating party.

Fun at Work: 2013 Award Winners

GN ReSound
Bloomington, MN

GN ReSound, a technology leader in hearing aid solutions in Bloomington, MN, puts a new spin on having fun at work. The company has fun by recognizing fellow employees, customers, and Hearing Health Care Professionals. In 2013, GN ReSound launched the Moments Movement, a campaign which was initially kicked-off to employees who are encouraged to share their moments and win prizes.

What is a Moment?

GN ReSound defines moments as the incremental, yet impactful, steps taken every day that help patients reconnect with the world around them. Moments are subtle reminders that the work they do matters!

How Does it Work?

GN ReSound employees submit moments on behalf of coworkers via email or notecard. Both the employee and participant receive an entry in a raffle for prizes and a balloon with a letter from the word “moments.” Employees then team up with each other to spell the full word “moments” and can submit a photograph of their team to receive bonus entries. In just four weeks, GN ReSound employees submitted over 600 moments of recognition.

Giving Back

It doesn’t end there. GN ReSound is now encouraging their customers to submit Moments like this via the Moments landing page. For every moment submitted, GN ReSound donates to its New Moment Maker Grant. Customers can apply for this grant which is good toward continuing education, mission trips, or other business-related needs directly on the landing page.

Watch this short video to learn more about the Moments Movement:

Fun at Work: 2012 Award Winners

Mesirow Financial
Chicago, IL (headquarters)

Mesirow Financial is a diversified financial services firm headquartered in Chicago with approximately 1,200 employees globally. Over the past year, Mesirow Financial kept its employees engaged with numerous and varied events such as its annual holiday party featuring a band comprised of Mesirow Financial employees; the Oktoberfest fake pumpkin ("funkin") carving contest; Cinco de Mayo Fiesta; and sponsorship of the Chase Corporate Challenge, a 3.5 mile city-wide race along Lake Michigan. Some other highlights included:

Fun at Mesirow Financial
  • Heart of Mesirow Financial – Employees purchased special treats and thank-you notes for co-workers, which were delivered on Valentine's Day by two employees dressed like cupid. All proceeds were donated to charity.
  • Week of Wellness (WOW) – A week filled with wellness and fitness activities including biometric screenings, a Zumba class, a stair climb in the company's 40-floor building, a healthy cooking class, and motivational speakers.
  • Jeans for Charity – To raise money for local charities, the company collected donations from employees who, in return, could wear jeans one day during the week in addition to their jeans-on-Friday policy.

Watch for more bswift Fun at Work contests and activities.

Can't wait? Simply shoot us an email and tell us what your company is doing to make work a more fun place to be.

Fun At Work Award 2012 Winner
The Mesirow Financial Team accepting their bswift Fun at Work award at Summit 2012.

Fun at Work: 2011 Award Winners

Huntsman International
Houston, TX (headquarters)

Windsor Capital Group, Inc.
Santa Monica, CA (headquarters)

Fun at Huntsman International

Huntsman is a publicly traded chemical company based in Texas with more than 12,000 employees worldwide. We at bswift liked the originality of Huntsman’s activities, which included dozens of fun initiatives such as Wii bowling and dance competitions, lunches and holiday parties. Some other highlights included:

  • Mutt Strut – Employees dressed their dogs in costume and participated in a fundraiser for the Humane Society.
  • Painting Classes – Team members, spouses and friends took an after-work painting class together.
  • Cycling and Relay Teams – The company formed a cycling team to help raise money for Multiple Sclerosis and a team to participate in “Relay for Life” to raise money for the American Cancer Society.
Fun at Windsor Capital Group, Inc.

Based in California, Windsor Capital Group, Inc. owns and operates 23 hotels in 11 states. To address the challenge of creating a strong company culture of fun and philanthropy with approximately 2,000 employees across the country during an economically tough year for the hospitality industry, Windsor created various strategies by property including “Enrichment Committees” at individual locations. Each committee engaged employees in coming up with fun activities and challenged them to raise money for various charities including Toys for Tots, LIVESTRONG®, local schools and food banks. In addition to the fun run/walks, chili cook-offs, bake sales and barbeques, highlights of their many activities included:

  • Managers Help-Out Days – During International Housekeeping Week, managers are paired with a member of the housekeeping staff to help clean hotel rooms. Teams compete to see who can finish cleaning their rooms first.
  • Pie in the Manager’s Face – Employees pay to let their managers have it and raised several thousand dollars for LIVESTRONG®.
  • Speed of Light Contest – Maintenance engineers compete to see who can screw in a light bulb the fastest. Winners receive gas gift cards.
The Huntsman Mutt Strut at the Humane Society fundraiser.
The Pie in the Manager’s Face contest at the Embassy Suites Hotel in San Luis Obispo, CA, one of 23 sites owned by Windsor Capital Group, Inc.

Fun at Work: 2010 Award Winners

Members 1st Federal Credit Union
Mechanicsburg, PA

Runner Up:
Akron Children's Hospital
Akron, OH

Fun at Members 1st Federal Credit Union

At Members 1st Federal Credit Union, the creation of a fun work environment clearly starts at the top with President and CEO Robert Marquette. His philosophy is to dispel the traditional aura associated with the banking world and create a relaxed, approachable and fun atmosphere for Members 1st associates as well as for Credit Union members. One look at Bob says it all!

His alter ego is the "Original Advice Guy," who travels around the community assisting consumers with their financial decision. He also appears on TV ads and billboards. At Halloween, he chooses a theme and then spends three days visiting all 41 Members 1st branch locations in five counties to judge decorations and costumes and award prizes. Recently, Bob and his executive staff put on a hip-hop skit based on the song "Pants on the Ground" at the annual Associates Rally. Other Associate events include:

  • Monthly summer lunch BBQ's
  • Ice cream socials
  • Summer family picnics
  • "Associates day"
  • Holiday gala

Here's what else we like: every morning that Bob is in the office, he goes around to every department and every cubicle to say "Good Morning." If you're lucky, he'll give you a special nick name, like "Miss Tofu" for Lisa McCardell, Manager of HR Systems, Development & Operations. Lisa submitted Member 1st's Award nomination.

Fun at Akron Children's Hospital

bswift liked the originality of Akron Children's Hospital's activities, many of which occur during its "Hospital Week" (which is actually two weeks long). Highlights include:

  • Yoga & Zumba Classes — Half the fun seems to be laughing when people turn the wrong way and bounce off their neighbors.
  • Doggy Brigade & Boo Brigade — Hospital therapy dogs roam the halls with their owners; at Halloween the dogs (and owners) dress up and have a costume contest
  • Mystery Person Day — Find the employees who are secretly wearing an item of clothing with the hospital logo on it and you win a prize. Employees get to know co-workers they don't work with by asking everyone "As you a Mystery Person?"
  • Scrapbooking Day
  • Fun Day — An in-hospital carnival with games, prizes, popcorn, snow cones, relay races, chair and hand massages, etc.
Fun at Work 2010
Members 1st Federal Credit Union's CEO Robert L. Marquette, aka, "The Original Advice Guy."