Last year, after a massive growth in the number of SiteGround employees, we held several separate team building events instead of one mega gathering. You may have heard all about our fancy beachside customer care and tech team buildings. But what you missed was an almost business-like meetup of our Marketing, Dev and Creative teams, where we brainstormed ideas about the perfect format of the next SiteGround team gathering. Not surprisingly – brainstorming doesn’t sound as exciting as jumping off a yacht, does it? One year later, however, now that we saw the idea born there come to life, there is not a single doubt that it was worth every splash we missed.
The Idea: SiteGround Open Air Festival
It all started because all past team building ideas were falling short. We needed a new plan on how to gather over 300 SiteGrounders from several offices in different cities, all in one place, engage them and make something memorable, not to mention us keeping our 24/7 customer services steady in every way.
What our collective creative mind conceived then was to set up a whole SiteGround camp for a couple of days and throw our own full-swing SiteGround Open Air festival. In line with our philosophy to craft everything ourselves, though, we did not want a third-party to do it for us. All festival activities had to feature and be run by members of the SiteGround team. We wanted it to be for us, from us and to highlight our own talent, because we just have so much.
The Theme: Share. Play. Enjoy.
What we do at work every day at SiteGround actually comes down to these three things: we share skills and knowledge, we play with new ideas and challenges, and we enjoy the results of our work. The idea was for all activities during the festival to revolve around the same things and show every member of our team how truly amazing the people they work with are. We were going to share our passions during workshops, play our favorite games and enjoy lots of music and opportunities to have fun and dance, because we just love to do that.
Тhe Place: The SiteGround Camp
Always taking the unbeaten path, we wanted to build a place where we are free to explore, reconnect with each other and escape the hassle of the city. We found just the right spot on a meadow overlooking several mountain peaks and 1800m above the sea level! Now we just had to turn it into comfy festival grounds to accommodate 300 people for 2 days, with cooking and eating areas, workshop tents, plenty of field space for workouts and physical activities, two sleeping camps for the people who were going to bring their tents and a sound stage to host 3 live bands. Our hands-down amazing events team proved to be real camp wizards – because they completely transformed the place.
Next up were the workshops. At SiteGround ideas can come from anywhere and the best ones can bubble up. That’s why we did a short survey among our whole team about the kind of workshops that they would like to attend or lead themselves. On the festival day we had a total of 8 classes ranging from raw vegan desserts, Graffiti painting and T-shirt dyeing to Mind Maps and Arduino programming.
Тhe SiteGround Oath
Surely one of the main goals of the gathering was to catch up with our colleagues from different offices in different cities and remind ourselves what really makes SiteGround what it is: our values and our people. To engage everyone and pique their curiosity about their teammates we created a Team Trivia game. The challenges ranged from taking a picture with one newbie and one 10+ years at SiteGround veteran, to finding out which SiteGrounder had a famous rapper dedicate a song to him (we know, we are full of surprises). The game proved to be the perfect excuse to flood each other’s social media with photos of our team.
What is a camp weekend without a badge, right? Craftsmanship, commitment to quality, respect and care for the team, curiosity, enthusiasm, creativity, having fun and not taking yourself too seriously – these have always been the values that bind us together as a team. To highlight those once again, we turned them into special designs for temporary tattoos and stickers to give away to every team member. By mid-day even the catering and sound companies staff who were helping us with the setup had jumped in the fun and proudly wore the SiteGround marks. When you are happy and passionate about what you do, it just draws people in.
Not the Usual Technical Issues
We had invited a live band and a popular hip-hop group to play for us but the most anticipated main act turned out to be the band of our own colleagues from Customer Care and Support team. They called themselves “Technical Issues” and although only 5-rehearsals old, they blew everyone away – a solid fan base of nearly 300 SiteGrounders, cheering like they were witnessing their most favorite band in the world. There was everything: stage-dives, guitar solos and massive cries for encore. It all ended with almost everyone on stage, dancing, hugging and having the time of our lives.
The only question that rang around on our way back the next day was “How are we going to top all this fun next year?” But, like someone on the team bus already pointed out, we actually do that in the office every day. I guess it’s like that – when you’re with your kind of people, every gathering can feel like a family reunion.