What’s behind the big red door?

On entrance to Australia’s renowned online gifting retailer RedBalloon, visitors push through a grand old red door not to be greeted by red balloons, but a fluffy Head of Security named Dexter – who happens to have his own Twitter account and has made appearances on national TV and metropolitan newspapers for his good looks.

To the left of the entrance, sits Chief Experience Officer Naomi Simson in her striking red attire about to leave for a speaking engagement, her desk is on par with the rest of the open plan office.

No barriers exist in this workplace. The office is filled with 48 enthusiastic RedBallooners sitting on red chairs, with distinguished teams. There is no HR Department, but an Employee Experience Team dedicated to ensuring working for RedBalloon is a great experience in itself. There is also no such thing as a Call Centre, but a handy Pleasure Relations Team whose job it is to ‘give people a good time’. This team of eight forms the front line to the RedBalloon customer experience.

Straight ahead in front of the entrance hangs a flat screen featuring rolling images of RedBallooners enjoying themselves, experiences and team events and the scoreboard of ‘days out’ – how many people have purchased a RedBalloon experience since the business started in 2001. The number rests at 627,200 and counting! Each RedBallooner is well aware of the Big Hairy Audacious Goal (or as they refer to it – BHAG) to have given 2 million people a RedBalloon day by 2015.

If you were to be a fly on the wall in this place, you would see that the RedBalloon value of having a sense of humour and fun is alive and well. Each trimester the teams take part in games aligned to the theme.

RedBalloon operates in trimesters (four month periods). Each trimester has a theme, and all employees take part in a game to achieve a particular business outcome. The Sneakys’, was one of the many internal campaigns that involved each team in the business driving online exposure.

The Corporate Team were seen in the background of Sunrise TV displaying signs saying “Sunrise, are you mixing business with pleasure?” Employees engaged in guerilla marketing tactics to brand RedBalloon in public places all around Sydney.

Employees were even seen embarking on treasure hunts wearing crazy outfits in the city and all efforts were broadcasted on Youtube, The Facebook page and on Flickr. This material is also used in CEO Naomi Simson’s professional speaking engagements and on the company website.

CEO Naomi says “people often say I would celebrate the paint drying – we love to celebrate and bond at RedBalloon” RedBalloon employees celebrate the end of financial year and reaching targets, also anniversaries, experiences sold, BHAG developments. The most recent was horse riding in the Blue Mountains followed by Abseiling, Whale Watching and Cooking Classes.

What kinds of things does your business do for fun?

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