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Words to Describe Company Culture: Work Hard Play Hard

Reading Time: 4 minutes

‘Work hard, play hard’ often rolls off the tongues of our storytellers when describing the “fun” side of their organization. The phrase aims to communicate the balance of hard work and meaningful, light-hearted relationships with colleagues.

But ‘play hard,’ in particular, can mean different things at different companies. Does the fun typically happen during work, or after hours? Are team members obligated to go, or do they choose to take part? Does it center around alcohol, or is the “play” more well-rounded?

How stories can show off your work-hard-play-hard culture:

These questions are why candidates need more than just a statement on a career site. It is the stories that bring that bring ‘work hard, play hard’ to life that give it true meaning. And it is the stories that help candidates opt in and out, based on how they’d fit in with that culture.

Let’s try it out:

Combining personal and professional passion

We spoke with individuals from a large defense contractor. When the solar eclipse was approaching in the summer of 2017, semiconductor engineer Maggie R. was nervous that no one else in the office was going to be interested:

This story demonstrates that this organization’s passion for science goes beyond just the work they do; it is a passion that brings them all together outside of the office, too.

Celebrating when you ‘work hard’

For the Frontpoint Security sales team, ‘working hard’ came in the form of a heated sales competition. Check out Robert’s story of how they celebrated when his team won:

‘Required’ fun once a month

Once a month, The Motley Fool puts every employee’s name in a hat one time for every year you’ve been a Fool (10 years = Name gets put in 10 times). If your name is drawn, you’re required to take two weeks off within the next month, and get some money from the company to use however you’d like.

Check out how different Fools have spent their Fool’s Errand:

Help a colleague check something off their Halloween bucket list

Nina from DCU had always wanted to dress as Cruella de Ville for Halloween with her children dressed as dalmatians. When she mentioned this to her team, she was ecstatic when a few of her colleagues agreed to dress as dalmatians for Halloween that year in the office.

Unbeknownst to Nina, her team had spread the word throughout the office. Watch below to see what they did next!

Work Hard, Play Hard, Show Better Culture

There’s nothing wrong with having a work hard play hard company culture, but there is something wrong with saying it…without sharing the details! Candidates are looking to understand how they’ll fit in with your team and their version of playing hard might look a lot different from your team’s.

Implementing a stories-based approach will allow you to still say ‘work hard play hard’ while at the same time demonstrating what that means to your team on a day-to-day basis for potential candidates to get a glimpse of.

Want more examples? Download our eBook loaded with videos from progressive companies that are going beyond “Work Hard, Play Hard.”