At the beginning of April, AllSquares flew to Darwin in the Northern Territory for 3 days of celebration and team bonding (read: laughter, cheesy sunset group photos, awful banter and a lot of alcohol) following a huge 2021 of team growth and general success.
Historically, Jules and I have rewarded the teams achievements with end of quarter days out in Melbourne (think Go Karting, Lawn Bowls, Holey Moley, Whiskey Tasting and Winery Trips) but given the year we all endured in 2021 and the inability to do these things, we rolled everything into one, ‘lets go wild’ trip interstate.
No one at AllSquares had been to Darwin before and we’d all been sucked in by the infamous CU in the NT tourism campaign so the decision was unanimous…Northern Territory here we come…
So, 10 Recruiters boarded an early morning flight to a town famed for its hot and humid weather, its cold, frothy beers and its population of crocodiles.
What could go wrong?
Surprisingly, nothing. It was without doubt, and I am sure Jules would agree, the highlight of our AllSquares journey to date and proved to us we should be incredibly proud of what we have built over the last 6 years. Our accountant may well have a heart attack when reconciling the receipts but sometimes you cannot put a ROI on belly laughing with your team in an Irish Pub in the early hours of the morning.
You can get to know people pretty well after spending 8 hours a day, 5 days a week with them in an office (or over Zoom) but the truth is, I suspect that the team bonded more in those 3 days, than they would have if they’d have spent another 12 months with each other in the office every day and that was a big takeaway for me. A happy, bonded team, who all enjoy each other’s company is absolutely priceless.
My biggest, and perhaps least surprising takeaway, was that Barnes looked absolutely wonderful dressed as the Warrington Crocodile Dundee. So good in fact, this is now his weekend side gig. You can message him on Linkedin for private parties….
I’m very vocal about how proud I am of the culture we have and the camaraderie and team spirit that is plain to see but I am very conscious that Jules and I, as the Founders, cannot take the credit for team culture and in a business as small as ours, each and every employee is a Cultural Co-Founder of AllSquares. I love the term ‘Cultural Co-Founder’ (an article I wrote on this a while back is here) and something that still plays a part in the interview process. Will this person contribute and help us grow the amazing culture we have already? Will they bring something unique and different personality-wise whilst maintaining company values? I can honestly say that the answer to each of those questions is a massive FUCK YES.
In recognition to our values, at the end of each quarter we award the Akeem Award (IYKYK) to someone who has not only performed well, but also demonstrated all company values. Our 3 day celebration started with our end of quarter presentation to the team and the awarding of the Akeem to Rich Barnes. Very much deserved, even before he spent the day on a boat in 38 degree heat, wearing a leather waistcoat.
The trip was also an opportunity to welcome the latest recruit, Kelly Ly into the AllSquares family and, as expected, she has glided seamlessly into the team.
After only three days of working alongside her colleagues, some might have come away on a trip and kept a low profile but, thankfully, not Kelly. Her banter is sharper than the teeth on the alpha crocodile we met floating down the Adelaide River and she was the first to bring out the shots on both nights out. Anyone who has grown a team knows the challenges of finding people who can contribute both culturally and professionally and Kelly is an absolute superstar who is doing both already. I’m so pumped that she is at AllSquares!
On the flip side of awesome people joining, it hurts a lot when awesome people leave, even if it’s temporary and the trip to Darwin was also a goodbye to Reuben, who has jetted off to England for 5 months to fulfil his dream of playing Grade A Cricket abroad.
He has promised us he won’t fall in love with the bleak, cold weather and return to Melbourne and AllSquares and I really hope he does because he’s another one who has been a massive contributor to the culture we have and someone I have loved working with. He’s picked up tech recruitment like a duck to water, as I am sure anyone who has come into contact with him in the last 9 months would agree.
In conclusion, the trip to Darwin was worth every penny and then some. Amazing city, amazing hospitality, amazing weather, lots of amazing things to do, all experienced with our amazing team.