A nearly 100-degree heat wave may have rolled into Wisconsin on the day we rode through, but the folks at Top 40 distributor firm AIA Corporation, based in Neenah, WI, weren’t going to let that ruin their fun. The company pitched a big tent in its parking lot, fired up the grills, tapped the kegs (Ok fine, they were filled with local root beer), set up the cornhole courts, and threw a good old-fashioned tailgate party. With many of the company’s employees clad in local sports team paraphernalia, AIA used the occasion to show its lighter side.
“We like to have fun here,” Rebecca Kollman, the company’s marketing director, told us as we arrived. “We have a very interactive culture that’s based on teamwork and communication. Celebrating occasions and having fun is certainly a part of that.”
As Kollman and Wendy Eiden, AIA’s human resources director, show the Road Tour crew around their offices, it’s clear that the company’s 70 employees enjoy working here. Operating in a wide open environment, all located on one floor with lots of open space for spontaneous meetings and collaboration, employees can be found talking to each other in just about every corner of the office. While David Woods, AIA’s CEO, isn’t here when we visited, his vision for the company is evident. In a welcome video he recorded that we viewed in AIA’s main conference room, Woods told us of the tenets of his company’s core values. “We thrive on clear communication, employee empowerment, and recognition,” Woods tells us on video. “That’s what makes our company go.”
To ensure those things exist, AIA holds monthly all-company meetings where management shares information on goals and financials and everybody gets a chance to celebrate new customers and recent hires. “We always start these meetings with ice breakers, little contests to start the meetings,” Eiden says. “Also, every employee is told that they have to sit next to somebody not from their department. We want everyone to know each other and understand what everybody else does here.”
In addition to these meetings, AIA also hosts blood drives, had a picnic recently at a local minor league baseball game, and even celebrated National Pudding Day last week by bringing in pudding for all of the employees. “We always trying to increase communication and foster camaraderie,” Eiden says. “It’s fun when you like the people you work with, and we have that here.”