After work last Tuesday, I had a bunch of Steiner Sports employees over to my house to play basketball. There were interns, salespeople, managers, executives, men, women - whoever wanted to play some ball.
For three hours or so, we played dozens of games, dividing the teams every which way - as you usually do in pick-up games. Every team had a good mix of employees from across the spectrums of age and department.
One of that night's players came to me after we were done playing and asked me if she could write a blog based on the experience.
Take it away Liz!
My name is Liz Martin and for those of you who do not know me, I am the Director of Team Partnerships at Steiner Sports.
It occurred to me as I stood on the sidelines of our (essentially) quarterly staff basketball game, that our company really is like none other. Our CFO Kelvin had just blocked a really weak shot put up by our CEO Brandon as he barreled through the lane. One of our summer interns collected the loose ball and found a wide open member of our web team who nailed the open jumper … where else could you find such a diverse collection of individuals from one company all coming together in this way?
Some of Brandon’s past blogs have touched upon having an open door policy and treating your employees well … in this case, it wasn’t just lip service. The kid from Brooklyn who never lost his love for a game was now sharing that love with "kids" less than half his age.
The whole night gave me a greater appreciation of the company I work for.
Don’t get me wrong - it’s not all fun and games. But at the end of the day, when you can set a hard screen on your CEO and then box out your CFO, it sure makes it a lot easier to walk in their office and have a conversation with them.
Brandon here again. I was so pleased when Liz sent this to me. Every time we have a new hire at Steiner, I have them come into my office and I point at my door and ask, "What's that?" When they say it's a door, I ask: "What is it?" When they say "Open," I tell them to always remember that.
But Liz is right - having an "open door policy" is about more than just telling employees they have access to you and the other executives. It's about showing them they have access by doing things like playing basketball with them. By throwing on your old gym shorts and boxing out with them, and shouting with them, and sweating with them.
Lots of companies try to foster a "We are family" feeling among employees. But I'd like to think that at Steiner, we really achieve it.
Is your company culture similar?
I worked in a kitchen when I was growing up, 80-90 hours a week, at Camp Sussex. There’s a lot of opportunities like this. Is that work nothing?
When did you do something for the first time and how great was the feeling?