Using Workplace Fun to Boost Employee Morale, Build Trust, and Develop Camaraderie
I just returned from Houston, Texas where I attended Camden Property Management’s annual retreat. My colleague Kelli Marjolet and I were invited to partake in the festivities and to catch a glimpse of the unique company culture that has propelled Camden to the #7 spot on this year’s FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For® list. Employee morale is incredibly high at this workplace where having fun is serious business and everyone in the organization is expected to get in on the action.
Camden originally appeared on our Best Small and Medium Workplaces list, graduating to the FORTUNE list in 2009, and steadily rising in the ranks ever since. Based on everything I observed in the past 48 hours, it is not difficult to understand why.
Camden is known for fostering a culture of fun in the workplace and this is most clearly evidenced in the employee skits that are staged throughout the year. What impressed me most was how everyone (and I mean everyone!) was included in the show. Skit day fosters incredible camaraderie among employees and gives an incredible boost to an employee morale that already seems to be off the charts! And when I say that everyone gets in on the action, I mean everyone! To give just one example, I will focus on their hilarious skit that played off of The Hangover franchise.
The skit begins with a group of Camden employees, i.e. the wolf pack, taking that very first drink of the evening that leads to so much trouble. Everyone in the audience is handed a jello shot so that we, too, may join in on the adventure. Management participated in the skit as well with Camden President, Ric Ocampo, jumping in on the action with a Mike Tyson face tattoo. He is featured rocking out to Phil Collin’s In the Air Tonight, complete with air drums!
And for the grand finale, the skit ends with a montage of photos from past retreats, happy hours, and company events so that Camden employees from across the country could be also featured on screen.
Skit night is brought to a whole new level when the entire company, the audience AND the president himself are all brought into the mix. I found this very telling of Camden; they are not cultivating a culture of inclusiveness- they can’t avoid it! It is simply who they are.
Thank you, Camden, for including us in your annual retreat. I had a blast!
Tiffany Barber is the Associate Manager of Marketing and Communications and guest blogger for Great Place to Work®.