Team building is useful to all companies, but essential to startups. When a company is in the early stages of its development, enthusiasm runs high, but so do pressure, expectations and stress. That’s why it is particularly important to let off steam more often, while also getting to know one another and building trust and meaningful connections within the workplace. This was the case with Sixt. And of course, you may be thinking that Sixt is an established brand and no startup at all, but the brand is relatively new to the Italian market and its employees, by virtue of the specific nature of their work, are scattered all over the Country. The company started off in Italy with 20 employees and grew exponentially, but most of its workforce has never met their colleagues face to face. That’s where we came in. We were asked to organise a team building event for them, which we dubbed Kick Off 2018.
We were given the important task of creating an opportunity for the whole of the Italian workforce to meet and encouraging them to feel and behave like a team, rather than individual workers. We needed to foster meaningful relationships within the team, and deliver the message that better results can be achieved by working together towards a shared goal. We were given a set of general ideas, but complete creative freedom, which is the ideal setting in which to work.
Location scouting and set up
Milan, as usual, presented us with a variety of excellent locations to choose from. In this instance, we chose a historic mansion, the famous “Palazzina Appiani”. This sumptuous XIX Century residence was originally designed for Napoleon to reside in whenever he was in Milan on state business. It is a veritable gem of neoclassical architecture, located in Parco Sempione, one of Milan’s largest and most popular gardens. We parked a Sixt car right in front of the main entrance, projecting the company logo on the ground. This was a simple and yet effective way of conveying the spirit of the event to our 96 participants before the real session even started. We used the logo a lot within the venue too, in the form of a large backdrop, located at the end of a long black carpet, or projected on the wall behind the DJ console in the dining hall. Upon entering, attendees were photographed against the backdrop, like Hollywood actors at an award ceremony. The event was attuned to the style of the venue (and vice-versa): elegance was the operative word. We welcomed our guests with a drink, some nibbles and soft, jazz music played live in the background. We had a gala dinner, but we eschewed the traditional table set-up that is normally used in these situations. In order to convey a sense of community, we arranged for all 96 members of the team to be sitting at the same (very long and winding) table. The table itself was black and we had it decorated with orange flower arrangements, which recreated the colour scheme of the company logo. A DJ set with live saxophone music played throughout the dinner.
The best team building activity? Just plain old fun!
What specific team building activities did we plan for this event? In a word: fun. We wanted attendees to have fun together, to mingle, to enjoy each other’s company. No trust-falls, no sporting competitions, no tug of war, no treasure hunt. Just plain old fun. The dinner was followed by a ceremony, in which the three top employees were awarded prizes. In this instance, we created our own version of the Oscars, shaped like Michelangelo’s David, as a symbol of the way in which the company is making its way into Italian culture – and the Italian market. After the awards ceremony it was finally time to party, in the same hall where we had been dining earlier on. Of course, the bar served cocktails in the company’s trademark orange colour. We achieved exactly what we were hoping for: a great party, that will be forever be embedded in the participants’ memories as a day of celebration, of human connection, of luxury and of being made to feel important, valued and cherished by their company. This is how success is built.