Each of Kimley-Horn’s offices has at least one vice president of fun – large offices have more – responsible for organizing entertaining office activities.
“Our people work hard. They’re dedicated. They’re intense,” said Chairman Mark Wilson. “It’s important we have that … reminder to take a break, have a laugh, enjoy each other.”
Activities at the Cary office have encompassed the conventional – family outings to Durham Bulls games – and the atypical.
One such event was a “Minute To Win It” event based on the TV game show. Contestants maneuvered a cookie from their foreheads to their mouths without using their hands and stacked tubes of ChapStick with chopsticks. Then there was the time workers donned costumes and danced to “Harlem Shake.”
“We just danced and acted silly for two minutes or so,” said Bennetta Sanders, an executive administrative assistant who doubles as a VP of fun in the Cary office. “It was very neat because a lot of the executives got involved.”
To integrate new employees into the firm’s culture, they get to take out senior co-workers of their choice “on the company.”
Each year for their first five years at the firm, new employees receive six “lunch coupons” that entitle them to take a co-worker to lunch – 30 in all.
“These lunches align with our core purpose: to provide an environment for our people to flourish,” Kimley-Horn asserted in the material it submitted to Fortune magazine, which recently ranked it No. 25 on its annual ranking of the best U.S. companies to work for. “Our goal is to allow each staff member to discover the role in which he or she will thrive, and these lunches often serve as the catalyst.”
Then there are the $50 teamwork awards that the firm hands out for work that’s above-and-beyond.
“Any employee can give any other employee a $50 bonus at any time … because they did something that was notable,” said Mark Wilson, the firm’s chairman and former CEO.
Last year, Kimley-Horn handed out 6,767 $50 awards – which averaged out to three awards for each of the company’s employees.