CASE STUDY: How DemandJump Broke Down Interdepartmental Barriers with its First Ever Team Building Event
How do you help colleagues and remote employees from three different departments build an even stronger rapport and engage in a constructive, non-work-related activity together? Here’s how Indianapolis-based DemandJump did it.
“I’m an Enterprise Business Development Representative in charge of generating new interest in DemandJump and setting meetings with prospects but I am also a member of DemandFun – essentially, our party planning committee.”
– Dan Mochel, Enterprise Business Development Representative, DemandJump
THE CHALLENGE – Help multiple departments and remote employees get to know each other better, build a rapport, and engage in a constructive, non-work-related activity together
- DemandJump is comprised of three different departments as well as a number of remote employees
- Needed a team building activity that could help colleagues in different departments and locations get to know each other, build a rapport, and engage in a constructive activity together
DemandJump is a company comprised of three different departments and includes a number of remote employees. While the company has its DemandFun team, which plans quarterly all-hands meetings for its staff as well as social events and team activities, Co-Founder and CEO, Christopher Day, wanted to mix in something a little more formal – and tasked Dan Mochel with putting it together.
“While our team gets together regularly in a social setting, very rarely would I define what we do as actual team building,” explains Dan Mochel, Enterprise Business Development Representative. “The majority of the time it would be going out and having cocktails and dinner or going to baseball games. Most of it I wouldn’t categorize as team building, but more like team bonding.
So, Christopher Day, our Co-Founder and CEO, came to me with the idea of team building instead of just social bonding. He said that it was something he really wanted to emphasize and try out since it was something we hadn’t really done in the past,” he continues.
With that in mind, Dan set out to plan and execute a team building event that would help bring colleagues together.
“The biggest thing for me was to just help bring together people and teams who don’t necessarily interact or work with each other every day,” says Dan. “We have three separate teams here at DemandJump – our Sales and Marketing team; our Engineering and Products team; and our Customer Success team. They’re all physically in the same office but separated from one another. So, my main driver for this activity was to try to ensure that people who don’t necessarily interact on a daily basis get the opportunity to build a rapport and do something constructive.”
But as he set out to start planning DemandJump’s team building activity, Dan realized he hadn’t ever done anything quite like this before – and, on top of that, was working with a tight timeline.
“My first thought was that it sounded like a lot of work that I’d never done before,” says Dan. “At first, it was really stressful. It felt like a little bit of a daunting task because in addition to that, I really only had about 10 to 14 days to make it happen.”
To make matters even more challenging, Dan was facing the added pressure of planning a team building event for a large group of colleagues – including remote employees who were traveling to attend in person.
“In addition to our local staff, our remote employees were also going to be there,” says Dan. “They come in once every three months or so. And, so, our entire team was going to be taking part. We had more than 30 employees coming to participate in the event.”
With that in mind, Dan started doing his research. He came across Outback Team Building and Training, reached out, and was quickly connected with our Employee Engagement Consultant, Melissa Bowen.
THE SOLUTION – A virtually-hosted Wild Goose Chase activity that would help colleagues get to know each other in a fun and outside-the-box way
- Enlisted a virtually-hosted Wild Goose Chase team building event
- Participants had fun, communicated, collaborated, and got to know each other better as they participated in a 90-minute, fast-paced scavenger hunt
During their first conversation, Dan briefed Melissa on exactly what he was looking for when it came to DemandJump’s team building activity. Together, they decided on a Wild Goose Chase.
“The idea for a scavenger hunt actually came from our CEO,” says Dan. “And based on that criteria, Melissa recommended we check out a Wild Goose Chase. Not only did it sound super fun and like something everyone would enjoy participating in, it also offered a ton of flexibility and options, which was another thing that alleviated some of my stress.”
And following some deeper discussion about the various options available for DemandJump, Melissa and Dan opted for the virtually-hosted version of the Wild Goose Chase.
“I knew that we had a large group and I felt like some direction and instruction would be really good,” says Dan. “But I didn’t think, for one, that having a host would be possible because we were so close to the event date. And also, since we only had about 90 minutes total to do the event, it didn’t seem entirely necessary to have someone come in.
So, when Melissa mentioned the virtual hosting, it seemed like it would be the easiest option for everyone. It gave us everything we needed from our team’s standpoint in terms of support. It was the best-case scenario for us,” he continues.
Given that this was Dan’s first time putting on a team building event of any kind, let alone a virtually-hosted one, he naturally had some trepidation in the early stages. But his worries were quickly relieved as he collaborated closely with Melissa to work through all the details.
“I was just a little bit nervous at the beginning about connectivity and functionality and things like that,” says Dan. “But heading into the event, I wasn’t really worried about it. Melissa was a fantastic help and she was very thorough in explaining what the virtually-hosted experience would be like as well as everything I needed to do on my end a few days before the event, the day of, and during the activity.
She was very, very clear and concise on what I needed to do and was very organized, which was super helpful. So, by the time the actual event day showed up, I knew exactly how everything would go. The work that Melissa and the rest of the team did just completely eliminated all of the concerns and worries that I had prior to and on the day of the event,” he continues.
But it wasn’t just the functionality of the event that made Dan nervous. He was also faced with the pressure of making sure that his team actually enjoyed the event and took value from it.
“I was pretty worried about people having fun,” Dan elaborates. “This was the first team building thing that we had done, and it was explicitly asked for by my CEO. I just wanted to make sure that everybody had a good time and enjoyed something different with their coworkers.”
By the time event day rolled around, those concerns had been put to rest.
“I was very, very worried about that beforehand,” Dan admits. “But once I started working with your team, all of that trepidation went away and it was very clear to me by the time we got to event day that everyone was going to have a great time and that it was something everyone would remember.”
And to help make sure their Wild Goose Chase was as effective as possible in achieving the company’s goals of helping the entire team to build a rapport and do something productive together, Dan used his understanding of his colleagues to strategically build teams.
“When putting the teams together, I purposely tried to put people together that I knew may not have been as close or hadn’t really had many interactions with each other,” Dan explains. “When you do that, when you put people around colleagues that they generally don’t spend a lot of time around, you can just tell that they become more comfortable.”
THE RESULTS – DemandJump’s virtually-hosted Wild Goose Chase hit the mark, checking every one of the company’s boxes.
- “10/10” feedback from the customer
- Tangible results including increased camaraderie among colleagues throughout all three of the company’s departments
As event day got underway, Dan was thrilled to see that his colleagues were absolutely loving their Wild Goose Chase.
“It was a blast!” explains Dan. “I was shocked by the number of things people are willing to do if you just go up to them and tell them you’re going on a scavenger hunt. Members of the public were really willing to help our teams with their challenges. I think that was one thing everyone on our team was kind of blown away by. It was super fun. You could tell everyone bought in pretty much instantly because we all started in our office and within the first couple of minutes, everyone was running around trying to take pictures of things. It was such a fun event.”
As it turned out, the Wild Goose Chase even brought unexpected benefits for the team, including a whole new way of seeing their hometown of Indianapolis.
“It was really fun just being creative in a place that we walk by every day and don’t really think about,” Dan says. “It was great using the different challenges in the Wild Goose Chase to explore the city. It made it super fun, and everyone had a blast.”
And while he had felt confident coming into the event that his colleagues would have a great time, Dan was relieved to see that everyone really did enjoy themselves.
“Anytime you do an event with 30 people, it crosses your mind,” Dan explains. “Everybody has different likes, dislikes, and comfort levels with doing new things. So, that was definitely something that I was thinking about, just hoping that there wouldn’t be people who didn’t want to do it. But all of that worry was eased when I saw the total number of people who attended and how much fun they were having.”
He adds, “The overall attendance at this event was by far the biggest I have ever seen at an event I’ve planned since I’ve been with DemandJump, which is almost two years.”
In the event, Dan found the experience of running a virtually-hosted event to be seamless and smooth.
“It was actually even smoother than I had hoped for,” says Dan. “I was curious what it was going to be like – whether the user experience would be easy or not. And it was very, very self-explanatory, very simple. But again, the team beforehand did a great job of explaining everything, so it was even simpler than I thought it would be. The app worked great.”
And when it comes to picking a highlight from the event, Dan says there were plenty. Eighty, in fact.
“I’d say there are about 80 highlights!” exclaims Dan. “And we’ve got 80 pictures of them sitting in a Google Drive on our server right now. After the event, everyone wanted to see each other’s photos, so we took all the photos that had been taken and shared to the Outback app and uploaded them to a place where everyone could access them. Even to this day, people just go in and grab a funny photo they find from the event and throw it in the company’s Slack channel. And, so, even weeks after it happened, people are still remembering it and having fun with it, which is more than I could have asked for.”
Dan was also pleased to share that the Wild Goose Chase event lived up to the expectations of his CEO.
“I know Christopher, our CEO, was absolutely thrilled with the way the event went,” Dan says. “He was so excited about it and he wants to do something like that again.”
And most importantly, the event was successful in achieving DemandJump’s goals. In fact, Dan reports there has been a tangible difference among his colleagues.
“There is definitely a noticeable difference in the office,” Dan says. “People are going out for lunch together. And where people might’ve just smiled and said hi to each other, they’re now actually conversing and talking about things or coming over to difference sides of the office just to say hello. It’s little things, but you can definitely tell that everyone has been a lot more comfortable with each other after the event, which is more than I could’ve asked for.
Even though I can’t necessarily quantify it, I can definitely see that things have become more comfortable and more collaborative and overall even better,” he continues.
Following his experience with the virtually-hosted Wild Goose Chase team building activity, Dan rated his experience a “10/10” and had positive feedback to share.
“I would absolutely recommend Outback to a friend or colleague or anyone looking to do this,” he says. “And I say that for a few reasons. Number one is that the events are great. It’s really fun. And it works. But also, your team and your company are fantastic. They’re so easy to work with. They really take care of a lot. I feel like you guys did almost all the heavy lifting when it came to things that needed to be done or all the different things to worry about when planning an event like this. And the price point is just perfect for something like this.”