Building and maintaining inter-office camaraderie is especially important for growing teams. The employee count for our sister office in Sofia, Bulgaria is targeted to reach 350 this year. New team members don’t just meet company veterans over lunch hour or coffee in the office. They also mingle over friendly (read: competitive) games of foosball in the off hours.
Founding a foosball tournament
When developers, Nikolay Andonov and Alexander Stoyanov, planned the inaugural foosball tournament, they saw an opportunity to build more then just an office-wide appreciation of the game.
“We wanted to create something people could do together. Nikolay and I already played foosball a lot, so we thought this was perfect.”
Nikolay and Alexander had played foosball together for some time and saw a competition within the MentorMate team as a way to increase their play. Little did they know how quickly the tournament would take off.
With friends joining forces to participate and play, co-workers were meeting other employees they might not otherwise see on a daily basis. Why it matters? By bringing together co-workers from different floors, projects and departments, Nikolay and Alexander helped break down silos and create greater line-of-sight and relationships throughout the company.
This side effect of the game is incredibly important during periods of expansion. As new team members are hired regularly, opportunities like the foosball tournament and MentorOpen, the office ping pong tournament, allow company culture to maintain relevance and evolve.
Better communication through competition
Players were divided in two brackets of seven teams, one for serious competitors and the other for those newer to the “sport.” In the tournament, the best 4 teams in each bracket advanced to the next round. From there, the tournament matches became direct eliminations, intensifying the competition. As the tournament continued, former co-workers became friends — setting a solid foundation for project work down the road and introducing team members at the foosball table rather than in the conference room.
Neither Alexander nor Nikolay could anticipate the success of the foosball tournament. While the tournament offers no trophies or ribbons, its rewards can be seen as friendships building the basis for powerful teams and creating even more powerful software.