What does it mean to be mission-driven? How do you take a philosophy for how to do business and make it tangible, so that, the leaders and team members of FMS understand, feel and experience what it means to be a part of something greater than themselves? Employee engagement events are part of our story and even more importantly, crucial in the culture that we have created. In line with our 3rd core value, “I always get better,” embedding our mission into everything, even the FMS FUN, has been an evolving process for us.
Our annual FMS Leadership Retreat is a great example. It began as a simple concept: once a year, take all of the leaders of the company out into nature for a weekend, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and create space for deeper relationship building and team bonding. In the beginning we focused on being a part of the story. Story-telling is such a big part of FMS – it’s how we engage people, learn from each other, and honor each person’s experience and ideas. That first year, our small group of 35 leaders, shared experiences of how they came to be a part of FMS and what FMS means to them.
Over the years this model has evolved and become more sophisticated as we have grown as a company. 2017 marked our 7th year for our Leadership Retreat and now we have a planning committee, a theme for the weekend, an agenda, and group activities that are all designed ahead of time to cast the vision of FMS for the next year. We are intentional about designing activities that inspire our leaders to remain true to our roots and culture and find ownership in their role and future at FMS.
Amazing things can happen when you simply create space. Folks from every walk of life spend 3 days together in the middle of the woods. We share transportation, we share lodging, we share meals and we share lots of ideas. We create the experience of the “we” and bring the mission to life.
Out of the discussions at our retreat, came an idea about how to the share the spirit of our Leadership Retreat with the entire company: an annual Appreciation Day for all of our employees and their families as a way to celebrate and thank our folks who clean buildings day in and day out. The idea has evolved from a few carnival games and activities for kids into a full-fledged Family Festival complete with food, games, inflatables, arts and crafts, and even health screens and information booths on community resources. Just like our Leadership Retreat, the Family Festival has grown in size and scope and the focus has become more intentional, again bringing the mission to life and creating that experience of true community, the “we.”