Cubes on Crack, Huddle Rooms and a Beer Test highlight Green Goldfish Project Top Ten #7


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The Green Goldfish Project is an attempt to crowdsource 1,001 examples of marketing lagniappe for employees. Signature little extras that make a big difference. Companies that put “employees first” to build culture, increase retention and promote positive word of mouth. For every 50 examples collected there is a Top 10 list created.

Without further adieu, here is the seventh list from the Project from Examples #301-#350 :

10. Designing an office that inspires creativity @Schupp_Company

#321 – Schupp Co.

“We don’t create widgets,” says senior vice president Donna MacDonald. “What we create is great thinking.”

To encourage that type of thinking, Schupp created a fun environment inside a historic building at the corner of Fourth and Pine. Step inside the grand lobby, and you immediately see signs that Schupp Co. isn’t your typical office: There are comfy couches for informal brainstorming, a pool table and an arcade machine with Pac-Man and Asteroids. Inside colorful offices that were once medical exam rooms—”cubes on crack,” as Schupp calls them—employees dream up ad and marketing campaigns like “Bleed Blue” for the St. Louis Blues and the “Redbird heist,” in which a dozen 12-foot Cardinals cutouts went missing from local billboards. Schupp gives new hires $50 to decorate their offices to match their personalities.

Source: St. Louis Business Journal

Here’s an up close look at Schupp courtesy of News 5 in St. Louis:

9. Abbott Risk Consulting

#350 – Abbott Risk Consulting

The global firm was established in Edinburgh in 2002 by John Abbott, who recently allocated free shares to the entire workforce, amounting to nearly 40% ownership. “Some of our advisers have suggested I have been mad,” says Abbott, “but these staff have helped grow ARC from a company with a turnover of £1.8m to around £12m.” He says everyone’s contribution is important, from answering the phones upwards.

8. Video shout-outs and attaboys are recorded weekly @The_Nerdery

#305 – The Nerdery

Every week the agency compiles a video of shout-outs, with employees publicly praising their fellow nerds for going above and beyond. Five shout-out recipients are chosen for free lunches the following week. The weekly shout-out video is played for all at the Friday afternoon Bottlecap Talk, where the agency celebrates the successful launch of a recent project with a show-and-tell demo led by the rockstar developers who made it happen.

Source: Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal

Lagniappe: The Nerdery sings Co-Pres Maybe. Co-Pres is the title that everyone has at The Nerdery.

7. Putting the pounds behind creating “Shiny Happy People” @ShineComms

#331 – Shine Communications

The business takes its name from a quote attributed to Nelson Mandela’s inaugural address: “And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” The London workforce of 56 people is encouraged never to miss an opportunity to learn with an investment of 10% of annual profit into a bespoke “Shiney Happy People” training programme, and a Shine Business School for senior managers.

Source: The Sunday Times

6. Office space that reflects the collaborative environment needed for success @HOKNetwork

#325 – HOK

Just three years ago, HOK’s office space in St. Louis was a federal bankruptcy court with courtrooms that “looked like bad funeral-home chapels,” recalls vice chairman Clark Davis. So when executives decided to renew their lease at Met 1 and moved all of their employees to one floor, the world-renowned architecture firm did what it does best: transform the space into one of the most environmentally friendly offices in St. Louis. “We essentially created a loft-quality space inside a 20-year-old building,” says Davis.

Now the office is an airy environment with a prime view of the Arch and Busch Stadium that everyone can share. Stationed in rows of desks, architects and designers debate blueprints for a project in Saudi Arabia. “Almost everything we do is based on collaboration,” says Davis, “so we wanted to encourage communication and bring people together.” An open kitchen serves as a common meeting place. Glass-walled “huddle rooms” offer intimate spaces for employees to chat. Even 85-year-old founding partner Gyo Obata works inside a small cube surrounded by other creative minds.

Source: St. Louis Business Journal

Take a spin around HOK’s offices . . . literally

5. Thinking outside the box and into the Fishbowl Friday @LaBrecheMktg

#301 – LaBreche

Simple things, like our Fishbowl Friday, through which people give kudos to each other for simple, everyday things that are done extraordinarily or out-of-the-park big hits.

Source: Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal

4. 37 Signals

#343 – Taken from a Fast Company interview with the CEO of 37 Signals Jason Fried:

FAST COMPANY: You have your employees only work four-day weeks in the summer.

JASON FRIED: Sometimes people are not really used to working just four days and actually want to stay to get more work done.

FAST COMPANY: You’re saying you have people who actually want to stay the fifth day?

JASON FRIED: When we first started this a few years ago, there was a small sense of guilt in a few corners. People were like, “I have stuff to get done, it’s Thursday, so I’m gonna work Friday and just get it done. But we actually preferred that they didn’t. There are very few things that can’t wait till Monday.

FAST COMPANY: How many employees would stay to work Fridays?

JASON FRIED: I don’t know.

FAST COMPANY: Because you weren’t there!

JASON FRIED: We don’t track things in that way. I don’t look at that. I don’t want to encourage that kind of work. I want to encourage quality work.

As CEO, wouldn’t it simply be rational to let people work the fifth day for you if they wanted?

If you’re a short-term thinker you’d think so, but we’re long-term thinkers. We’re about being in business for the long haul and keeping the team together over the long haul. I would never trade a short-term burst for a long-term decline in morale.

Source: Fast Company

Here’s a look at environmental design @ 37Signal’s offices in Chicago:

3. A workplace that allow you to explore boundaries @WSmpls

#310 – Weber Shandwick Minneapolis

Much of the credit for our amazing workplace goes to our Employee Action Group (EAG). Each month, employees enjoy an EAG-sponsored event to celebrate our successes, encourage teamwork or to just have fun. The highlight events include our annual “Shankwick” golf outing and our own version of “The Amazing Race,” appropriately renamed “The Shanmazing Race.”

Our newest EAG initiative is our “No Boundaries” program. This program was designed to give our employees a chance to explore a personal passion, which may include attending “The Burning Man” event in San Francisco to spark creativity, or traveling to Honduras to work for Soles4Souls, a nonprofit organization devoted to distributing shoes and clothing to victims of abject suffering. The company provides the employees with five extra vacation days and $1,000 to pursue the passion.

Source: Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal

A video on “Making a Difference” in the community at Weber Shandwick:

2. Keeping the focus on the goal, not the clock @SoftwireUK

#334 – Softwire

A “ridiculously flexible” working policy keeps eyes on the goal rather than the clock. There are no strict working hours in the maximum 40-hour week, a common sense policy recently endorsed by a staff vote. Everyone gets 25 days’ holiday and can buy or sell 10 further days too.

Source: The Sunday Times

and the top example from the seventh Top Ten list:

#1. Semco

#340 – Semco

Semco lets employees dictate their own salary. Twice a year they are given the chance to set their compensation structure.

Great video on Semco. Fast forward to 6 minutes to see the portion about employees setting their own salary:

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra for good measure) – Here is the ultimate hiring question:

#347 – Atlassian has a recipe for selecting pontential hires called the “beer test” according to co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes.

“I ask myself would I find it interesting to have a beer with this job applicant?”

FISHERMEN WANTED: Do you have a purple or green goldfish to share? If your example make the book, you receive a free signed copy. Plus – for every example submitted I will donate a non-perishable to the Thomas Merton Center in Bridgeport, CT. Click here to submit or e-mail directly at stan [at]

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Stan Phelps
Stan Phelps is the Chief Measurement Officer at 9 INCH marketing. 9 INCH helps organizations develop custom solutions around both customer and employee experience. Stan believes the 'longest and hardest nine inches' in marketing is the distance between the brain and the heart of your customer. He is the author of Purple Goldfish, Green Goldfish and Golden Goldfish.


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