Building An EPIC Experience With The Epic Experience Team
About 30 years back, EPIC Creative was built by an old-school hippy on a solid foundation of peace, love, and understanding. “Do good work, charge a fair price, and be nice to people,” was (and still very much is) the company jam. I can’t imagine any bank manager in their right mind approving loans for a business model rendered in tye-dye and bubble letters, but here we are. And it’s served us well—and successfully too.
But unlike a hippy who’s content to while away the day on the couch shoveling pizza rolls into their maw, creating a vibe—creating a culture—isn’t a passive activity. It’s something we work on every week.
To be clear, this isn’t a blog about the significance of company culture or how to create one; if that’s what you’re looking for, you can read one here, here, over here, this is a good one, here, right here, over here, here’s one, here’s another, there’s another one right here, over here, here, here, here and here. Needless to say, we’re all stocked up on culture content. No, this is about our culture and the work of the EETeam (that stands for EPIC Experience Team).
How it started
EE started about a decade ago as a small group holed up in a closed-door, windowless conference room. It’s a fairly anxiety-inducing scene if you think about it: What are they talking about? Who are they talking about?! What are they planning? A counter-intuitive concept for an agency that prides itself on transparency. Of course, nothing sinister happened in those meetings outside of planning a few agency-wide, mid-day funnel cake parties (because nothing says “nimble agency” like 80 people with the funnel cake sweats trying to meet deadlines). Shortly thereafter the team grew to about a dozen folks, occasionally soliciting opinions from coworkers and team members, but still meeting mostly in secret. I’m not knocking the small group; why would I? I was in all those meetings, and I was quite vocal too. However, none of us are as smart as all of us.
How it’s going
Today the EE is a thriving democracy. EPIC Experience Team meetings are open to anyone and everyone—and, most importantly, the group has an impressive budget (an absolute imperative for a productive group and impactful outcome). The concept is simple: if you have an idea, are willing to do the work to bring it to life, and the idea aligns with our agency’s core values, EE is here to help support you, workshop the concept, and make it happen. And cool things have very much happened.
Today the EE is a thriving democracy. … Many of the perks we benefit from started with the EETeam.
Many of the perks we benefit from started with the EETeam. At the start of every year (or on your first day) employees are given annual Wisconsin state park passes. That was an EE idea. Pancake breakfasts, cookouts, happy hours, and potlucks: obviously EE. Offsite gatherings, raucous quarterly agency-wide meetings, and an annual holiday party … that’s EE. Volunteer opportunities throughout the community and region? All EE. They lead the celebration of birthdays and anniversaries. They were instrumental in acquiring an industrial-grade coffee machine and hiring a chiropractor monthly. They pack our conference rooms with fresh fruit (and troughs of junk food). And, because none of this is rinse-and-repeat, EE conducts an actionable, annual survey dedicated to shaping the quality of life, work/life balance, and internal culture—the results of which are shared agency-wide.
Is any of this billable? Does any of this advance the business? Well, technically no. But as a wise old hippy once said, if you take care of your employees, they’ll take care of your customers. It’s not such a far-fetched concept. It’s more like: far out, man.