September 20, 2016, was a glorious, blue-sky day in Connecticut. While most corporate employees across the state probably enjoyed the beautiful weather only through their office windows, we took a different tack at ebbo. After finishing up any pending work assignments, the entire company headed to the great outdoors, put on game faces and prepared to do battle. It was Field Day, after all — an annual tradition at ebbo that pits teams of employees against one another in a competition for perhaps the noblest trophy of them all: Bragging rights.
One of the things that we believe differentiates ebbo from other workplaces is our ongoing focus on teamwork. That’s why we hold Field Day every year. Even as each team goes all-out to beat its rivals and be crowned the champion, we’re forming bonds that help glue our company together.
As ebbo has grown in recent years, we’ve had to update a few of the event’s components, but every Field Day follows the same outline: We work until noon, then head to a local park, where we enjoy food, drinks and spirited conversations, exchanging high fives, good-luck wishes and some friendly predictions about the final outcome. After lunch, we huddle up in preselected, cross-department teams to discuss strategies and share words of encouragement. Everyone knows that there can only be one winning team — and every person wants to be a part of that team.
Why We Hold Field Day
We continue the Field Day tradition at ebbo for two reasons, which are directly connected. The first stems from one of those sayings we’ve all heard forever. “Work hard, play hard” means different things at different stages of life, but once you reach working age, it can take on added importance.
When you work 40 hours a week, you naturally want to make the most of your free time. When you dedicate that much time, effort and focus to help a larger group of people achieve mutually shared goals, though, the idea of doing things with a purpose can start to permeate everything you do — even when you’re not working.
That mindset is invaluable to a company’s culture, but how do you encourage and nurture it in your team members?
At ebbo, we do so, first and foremost, by hiring self-starters, folks who are inherently driven to succeed at whatever they do. We’re also mindful, though, that the “work hard, play hard” axiom suggests that there’s a balance between the two options. At least once a quarter, we, therefore, set aside our work for an afternoon and hold companywide events that let everyone put their competitive natures to use in different settings. What’s great is that our team members are always up for new, fun challenges, whether it’s Whirlyball, go-kart racing or Warrior Dashes.
That feeds straight into our other major motivation for holding Field Day: The importance of fostering a positive energetic corporate culture. A recent survey of over 1,400 North American CEOs and CFOs confirmed that the vast majority believe a thriving work environment is essential to a thriving business:
- Over 90% of respondents identified culture as an important element at their company
- 92% said that improving the culture would make the company more valuable
- 70% agreed that they need to focus more on developing the culture
- Over half of them believe that a company’s culture affects its profitability, productivity, creativity, growth, and value
Creating a desirable work environment is an ongoing process, of course. In an era when technological innovations are revolutionizing the retail industry, similar advances are changing the way people, particularly Millennials, view — and weigh — their career options.
At ebbo, we constantly seek input from our team members and keep a close eye on the employment marketplace. We then use this information to adjust and adapt our policies and optimize our approaches so we can better recruit and retain top talent from all generations in today’s labor force. A friendly, open environment is a crucial part of that effort, and it’s helped us attract top experts to fill our open positions.
This Year’s Results
ebbo Field Day 2016 consisted of seven separate squads cheering and aiding their teammates in pursuit of the title. This year’s winner was determined by nine games of grit, skill, and cooperation:
- Balloon toss
- Potato-sack race
- Tug of war
- Egg-in-spoon race
- Hula-hoop contest
- Noodle relay
- Sponge run
- Three-legged race
- Jump-rope contest
The Purple team built a quick lead, due to its superior performance in the first few events. The Yellow team fought back with a strong showing in the later races, but at the end of the day, the Purple team emerged victorious, thanks to its commanding early margin.
Before we gathered together to celebrate their accomplishment and highlight the remarkable efforts of various teams in all nine disciplines, I gazed around the field for a moment to take in the bigger picture. As CEO, I was incredibly heartened to see so many smiles and so many engaged employees. As a fellow contributor to our shared corporate mission, though, I was just proud to be a part of this larger team that we’ve built and continue to build.
Embracing a high-performing, but fun mentality means emphasizing the fun portion whenever opportunities arise.
If your staff comes to work every day focused solely on high-stress deadlines that must be met for the sake of your bottom line, you can lose sight of the most critical element of a successful company — happy, well-balanced employees who root for and support one another in good times and bad. That’s why continuing the Field Day tradition is so important. Amidst the heated competition for bragging rights, we all start to realize that working here is more than just a job: Our co-workers are an extension of our family.
If you’re interested in joining the team at ebbo, check out our career opportunities here.