Why a Strategic Planning Day Benefits Your Company Culture
By Alayah Walls
Company culture is an extremely important component of the workplace today.
Great company culture promotes unity and can really encourage employees to be productive and innovative, while still being passionate about their work. It's an expression of your company's unique personality.
We've all seen the ping pong tables and napping pods in start-ups and the tech offices of Silicon Valley. But there are so many different ways to positively affect company culture. One of my favorite ideas is a weekly office massage (what do you think, NeigerDesign?), but improving company culture doesn't have to mean spending money on fancy perks.
There are very simple (and many free or affordable) ways to improve company culture. Some suggestions include:
- Creating a fun company video
- Carving out time every week to discuss recent projects (what went well and what didn't), something your employees might have learned, and something they're looking forward to in the next week
- Instead of meeting with a colleague in their office, try going for a walk to talk somewhere outside
- (This should go without saying...but) Bring your pet to work day is a surefire and priceless way to improve company culture
In addition to some of the examples above, NeigerDesign has a day we call Summer Fun Day. Once every summer, we step away from the office and use the day for strategic planning, learning, team bonding, and even a couple of surprise activities. Last year, the team met with design departments at Chicago museums to gain new perspectives, and the year prior everyone made their very own glassblown bowls! We've found that this is a great way to boost our company culture. Here's the rundown of our most recent Summer Fun Day.
NeigerDesign Summer Fun Day 2017
The theme of this year's Summer Fun Day was “EthniCity: Xpress Your Heritage,” which was applied in two different ways throughout the day.
First, the team shared their own “Xpress Your Heritage” posters over breakfast at Hashbrowns Cafe. The posters were a creative visual representation of each team member's personal heritage in the context of the city of Chicago.
The team also used the theme to explore and learn about the different cultures throughout Chicago. But before doing this, we sat down in the public library for some strategic planning.
During this portion of the day, we took the time to assess the company's goals, progress, achievements, and possible improvements. Then each team member read a blog post that they wrote about a work-related topic most interesting to them. This provided the opportunity to critique and expand on each other's ideas, as well as hopefully implement them in the future.
Then we were off to explore the art and history of Mexican culture (and get some design inspiration) at The National Museum of Mexican Art.
And more Mexican culture, of the culinary variety, at 5 Rabanitos.
...and even more Latino and Mexican-American culture roaming the streets looking for the famous murals of Pilsen.
Then we switched gears to explore Italian culture for one of our sweet surprises, Italian ice, at the long-standing Mario's Italian Lemonade in Little Italy.
We finished Summer Fun Day with one last surprise—bocce ball at the beer garden of Kaiser Tiger.
Some of the benefits of a strategic planning day for your company culture include:
- Hearing and acknowledging employees' ideas for improvement
- Employees feel that their happiness is valued
- Finding inspiration in a new environment
- Team bonding and fun activities
Don't forget to create some hashtags for your team to use on social media. This will help to improve company culture by encouraging employees to be involved and excited about whatever team building activity you choose to do!
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Nice to see a design firm putting the FUN in design.... the best!