Like most sales-oriented companies, we do incentive trips, and we also have an annual holiday party, among other celebrations.
I was named after my maternal grandfather who was a great guy and had a terrific sense of humor. In his later years, he would always say, "When you get to be my age, it's not Thanksgiving. It's ThanksLiving!"
So, I named our annual dinner at LaSalle Network, ThanksLiving. In addition, having moved back to my hometown to build my career after college, I always had family for the holiday. I see so many people who don't go "home" and instead do a "Friendsgiving."
I've never had a Friendsgiving and have always envied those who did. I've also felt sad for people who neither had family or a Friendsgiving. Thus, my thought was let's make sure every LaSallian (employee) has a Thanksgiving dinner to think about when the holiday arrives.
Just like the actual holiday, some people stay for hours and others eat and run, and that's okay. The important thing is people know we care. They have a group of adjunct family members. It's not the most expensive or flashy event, but it's an event where everyone feels connected.
I gave a toast and I begged people to not settle for surface-level conversations. Take advantage of a close-knit company and get to know what makes people who they are. Where are their grandparents from? What do their siblings do? Learning about tragedies and successes. What makes people laugh and cry.
Some will say "It's work. I don't want to go this deep in conversation with coworkers." Correction: it's life.
These are the people we spend the most time with. I want the people I choose to be with (because where you work is a choice) to know me, and more importantly, I want to know them.
It's not for everyone. Find a culture that's right for you, and dive in. You only go around once. The relationships are the experiences we can't buy.