Looking for a fresh idea to boost engagement and encourage conversation between your employees? This tip comes to us from Tom Jonjak, Director of Staffing at engineering consulting firm bb7.
Company Growth Can Lead to Increasing Anonymity
bb7 has experienced a period of rapid growth over the last year – exploding from 45 employees to more than 100. Growing pains in a corporate environment often include a loss of connection between coworkers as more people are added.
As Tom pointed out, “We have to make sure that people understand what everyone’s capabilities are and that we shouldn’t pigeonhole each other [or ourselves] into doing just one thing.
That becomes more challenging as you grow larger – to be able to recognize the specialties of 100 different people.”
This was a point of concern for bb7 because they “are trying to maintain a ‘small business’ feel with proper checks and balances but limited red tape so we can keep accelerating our clients’ products to market.”
So bb7 preempted the problems associated with a loss of connection between coworkers [and the company] with one ingenious idea.
Solution to Employee Anonymity? Blind Biographies
“We keep biographies for all of our employees in a public file so that everyone can read and see who everyone is and where they come from… for example, we have people from NASA and other major companies all over the world that have chosen to come here just to focus on product development… so it’s hard to know where everyone comes from or what everyone does.
So every Monday morning we post a ‘Person of the Week’ and put up a blind biography.
People say, ‘oh, that’s gotta be Bob!’ or, ‘this is Mark,’ but it almost always ends up being someone you never would have guessed. It blows people away.
‘Wow, I didn’t know he or she’d done that in the past!’
This has been a really nice addition while we’re growing the group.“