There’s a point for every company where it makes sense to solidify some core values.…
The Austin Startup Games
When it comes to building a great corporate culture, there are a few elements that I talk about pretty often. First, employees who play together outside work play nicer in the sandbox at work. Second, alcohol helps. Third, companies who have a strong sense of volunteerism and proactively connect with their communities have higher levels of employee engagement.
Once again, Austin Texas has found an awesome way to combine all three of these elements to create one Austi-fied event – The Startup Games. Here’s how the website describes it, “Tech startups compete in ten events for a day of networking, fun and philanthropy. Each company plays for the charity of their choice. At the end of the event, every charity walks away with money for their organization, with the largest portion of the pot going to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place teams.”
And because Austin just gets it they’ve carefully selected the games to ensure maximum levels of engagement. Games include ping pong, foosball, darts, shuffleboard, flip cup, beer pong, giant Connect4, Pop-A-Shot, trivia, CEO liar’s dic, and a mystery event. Of course, there’s alcohol involved.
Admit it, if you’re in a startup but don’t live in Austin you’re a little jealous right now. I know I am. Here’s the good news. As I was playing around on their website I realized that the guys who kicked this off want to see others bring it to different tech hubs across the country. Here’s how bringing these games to your community asap will boost your company culture:
- When you get your employees volunteering together outside of work for a common cause your company wins. Period.
- Technical employees are flocking to Austin because they see it as a place that fits who they are. But not every techie out there is going to move to Austin. If you can build a strong community for the geeks (is this phrase cool anymore) they’re more likely to come to your town. More geeks = more talent for you to choose from. It doesn’t what company the talent moves to town for, what’s important that you can convince them to stay.
- Smart employees want other smart people to bounce ideas off of. If you can expose them to like-minded people from other local companies, they’re more likely to find mentorship and camaraderie. Your employees being pushed professionally by a community mentor is career growth that costs you nothing.
- You’re getting to know the talent in other technology companies and that talent might be helpful to your company in the future either as a full time employee, consultant, or mentor.
- Finally, you’re working hard to hire the best people in the industry. It’s annoying when you realize that the tech company from down the street has snuck in and stolen one of your star employees from right out under your nose. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard the CEO of a company tell their Recruiter that a certain company is off limits because of friendships between the two places. It doesn’t mean there won’t be an exchange of talent but it’s typically done so more carefully and with more respect.
All in all, there’s no way The Startup Games would hurt the culture in the organizations that participate. If you work for an Austin startup, checkout the startup games which are kicking off on January 24. Losers might have bruised egos, but the camaraderie that will come from the day will go a long way.