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Humu Turns Two: To Celebrate Your Culture, Let the Team Take Over

May 7, 2019 — Written by Liz Fosslien

On May 1st, a momentous thing happened… Humu turned two!

To celebrate how far Humu has come—as a company, as a product, and as a team—we took to the Santa Cruz mountains for a day of  cooking, collaborating, and competing. But there was a twist: the whole event was self-planned. Each activity (and recipe) was facilitated by groups of Humu employees with a tiny budget—and a whole lot of enthusiasm.

Activity #1: Crowd-sourcing new recognition awards

At Humu, we know that recognition is one of the best ways to boost morale, especially when the entire team makes it a habit. We give awards at every all-hands meeting: for recruiting, for creating content, for delighting customers, and for just generally being awesome.

With all this growth (we’re twice as big as we were a year ago) we’re ready for a new award. At our anniversary event, we split into groups to propose an idea for the next great Humu award, complete with Play-Doh prototypes.

Here, Humu co-founder Wayne and engineer John show off the Great Barrier Reef award, intended for someone who courageously flagged a potential issue or pointed out a problem. This award was aimed at boosting psychological safety by making it okay to ask questions, admit mistakes, and throw out dissenting ideas.

Sales team member Forrest’s group created The Model Humun award, which would be given to the person who best modeled Humu’s values. Why a trident? Because the holder of the trident has the power to bring all living creatures of the sea together. (We take our nautical references seriously).

The winning team created the Dory award, which will recognize a person who fixes something—a bug, a creaky door, an ugly slide—that shouldn’t go unnoticed. Created by sales leader Annie and a team of new hires, the Dory award has an added bonus: the recipient gets to spin a prize wheel! What prizes, you ask? Who knows! We didn’t get that far.

Activity #2, the Humu Olympics.

We make work better with teamwork… and intense competition. But we know it’s all in good fun, which helps keep rivalries exciting instead of anxiety-inducing.

Partner experience’s Megan and engineer Annie acted as creators and commissioners of the games—here they are leading the opening ceremony. And then it was time to compete. Between untangling ourselves from “Humun” knots and voguing rapid-fire charades, the Humu Olympics was a great chance to get goofy with each other.

Sales team member Stephanie captured this victorious moment with her selfie stick after charades. Stephanie usually works remotely, so we were especially glad she was able to join us! We know relationship-building is key when remote workers visit—and a day of fierce competition is even better.

In the midst of all this excitement, we didn’t lose sight of the fact that in-your-face sportsmanship isn’t everyone’s jam—so the activities team provided alternatives. Here, Chief Privacy Officer Lea and engineer Sophie enjoy a board game.

The last Olympic event was Humu trivia. This team (who dubbed themselves “El Pentagon”)  is figuring out many pairs of duplicate names we have in the office. For a team of our size, it’s more than you’d think!

Quick trivia quiz for our readers! 1. What’s the only fish with eyelids? 2. How many main islands is Hawaii composed of? Answers at the bottom of this post.

In the end, El Pentagon took home the gold. Their prize? Wayne debit cards, approved by our legendary leader and cofounder.

Activity #3: Sharing the love

To close out the day, a gratitude exercise. One of the best ways to understand an organization’s culture is to ask: “What is something that would only happen here?”

We all answered the question, swapped responses, and read them aloud. A frequent favorite team memory? Last Halloween, when the entire office dressed up as Wayne, and Wayne dressed up as his hairless cat.

Halloween 2018: Wayne’s World

Hearing what each of us think makes Humu a special place was a wonderful way to build belonging—and helped future team members get a sense of what they’re in for. Yes, we invited folks who haven’t started yet, as we know onboarding starts way before your first day.

And with that, we all pitched in for clean-up duty. Our team-working magic had the kitchen sparkling, cars packed, and garbage on the curb in under 30 minutes.  

Want to be part of our 3rd anniversary event? Drop us a line at hello@humu.com.

Trivia answers: 1. Shark, 2. 8

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