Having a good working relationship with your co-workers can never be a passé. Organizational leaders should not shy from devising quirky-little icebreaking strategies to improve inter-employee relationships.
FreshBooks, a Toronto-based accounting firm, realized that it needed to come up with a creatively effective way to facilitate and build inter-office relationships. Consequently, the company came up with a rather quirky way to do so. The manager of the company encourages its employees to go on blind dates with one another.
This kind of blind dating is expected to improve the employees’ morale. Mary Grace Antonio explains her idea, “I like to meet everyone that shows up. And as the company grew, I noticed that more and more people just didn’t know each other’s names anymore, which, for me, I thought that was crazy because I love this really tight-knit community that we build at FreshBooks, and I wanted to keep that up.” “There are people from all different departments that sign up – even execs sign up for these blind dates,” Antonio continued. “Then I try and mix and match people who wouldn’t usually be working together.” She explained that she came up with the idea of arranging blind dates amongst her colleagues last summer. Which means that the top-level employees could be set up with any of their 250 colleagues who report to them.
The CEO of the firm, Mike McDerment iterates his belief in Antonio’s method, “We believe culture is strategy, and having people connect with folks they don’t necessarily work with actually helps build the ties that keep the organisation strong and keeps information and ideas flowing.
“Two FreshBookers went on a blind date and, actually, they’re both in charge of hiring people. So, they ended up discussing a lot of different methods that they use to assess talent.”
FreshBooks also maintains that the dates are not to incite any office romance but exclusively for business.
“After the first round, we sent out a survey to see how many people liked it and 100% of people who joined said they liked it,” Antonio said. “Some said it felt awkward… like a real first date!”
FreshBooks’ dating plan may not be encouraging office romance but most employees reportedly experienced first-date jitters.