How Peppercomm emphasizes humor, bonding to foster a positive culture

The agency’s approach to work earned it a Ragan Top Places to Work Award.

It helps to have outlets at work that help relieve some everyday stresses of the job. Working on a team with a positive sense of humor can be a major help to this end. Many agencies think they cultivate a loose and fun culture, but few actually follow up on it by giving new employees the chance to get behind the mic and take a stand-up comedy class.

At Peppercomm, looking on the lighter side of life is a central part of the organization’s culture and helps inform the company’s approach to tackling larger issues and communication between team members. For this reason and a slew of others, Peppercomm has earned a Ragan Top Places to Work Award for Small Companies as part of Ragan’s Employee Communications Awards.

Expanding on new skills

“Why a comedy class,” you may ask. What does learning joke craft in a basement comedy club have to do with honing one’s communications skillset?

It all comes down to harnessing humor to figure out how it can inform interactions. Consider how standup performance doubles as public speaking — a critical part of any communicator’s skillset whether engaging clients or presenting to the company and at conferences. Additionally, the class can help new employees open up about their personal lives and get to know their coworkers in a deeper fashion, which is a fantastic way to create the conditions where culture can thrive from the outset for new hires.

Furry friends and the buddy system

Organizations with positive workplace cultures usually have policies in place that accommodate leave when a new child arrives, or other significant life events occur. Peppercomm takes this a step further, allowing all employees with new pets a week of leave to spend with their animals. It’s only fitting that a firm named after CEO Steve Cody’s late dog Pepper would have such a unique policy in place.

Peppercomm’s belief in supporting all employees to the fullest is further realized by the agency’s “buddy system”. In addition to their supervisor, each employee of the agency has a designated buddy, who is usually around the same age as the new hire and slightly higher on the org chart. The buddy is there to help guide new hires along with tips and tricks to help them not only advance their skills in their given role but also act as a resource for questions and advice.

Recognizing achievement and championing DE&I initiatives

Any great place to work will recognize its employees when they go above and beyond the call of duty. . Peppercomm archives this through its “PepSpots” program, which honors employees who excel within their roles and have a positive impact on everyone around them. Honorees are nominated by their fellow employees, and those selected are celebrated with a quarterly feature singing their praises and a pay bonus.

Peppercomm also makes a point to celebrate the diverse backgrounds and interests of its employees. While the agency has multiple niche Teams channels in which employees can bond over common passions and interests, it also has a dedicated channel that focuses on diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I). This channel shares news, history, and other resources that help all employees commit to DE&I within the workplace.

To further cement the company’s commitment to DE&I advancement, Peppercomm counts itself among the first members of the Diversity Marketing Consortium. This organization focuses on providing pro bono marketing advice and help to women and minority-led startup companies.

You can learn more about Ragan’s Employee Communication Awards, taking place on April 28 in Chicago, here.

Sean Devlin is an editor at Ragan Communications. In his spare time he enjoys Philly sports, a good pint and ’90s trivia night.

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