It may have been 5 p.m. when the Road Tour pulled up to Leaderpromos in Columbus, OH, but the office was still abuzz with activity. Many of the company's more than 50 employees who work in the Columbus office were working on projects and collaborating on orders and new ideas. But it was clear that many would soon be heading to Lounge 62, a local bar that the Leaderpromos gang likes to frequent. "We could do a tour of the company, or, well, we could go across the street to Lounge 62 and discuss it there," said Joel Hoover, director of business development for Leaderpromos, who has been with the company for the past 11 years and would be our tour guide.
Ultimately, though, Hoover did show us around the impressive Leaderpromos office, and discussed the company's culture and some of the fun things the employees do. It's a place where people are good friends and can express themselves in individual ways – in fact, some sit on stress balls as chairs, others decorate their offices with games and sports paraphernalia, and others bring dogs to the office. (On this day, Bo, a golden retriever, was prancing about.) "We like everybody to feel comfortable while they're at work here," said Susie Barger, chief marketing officer. "They spend a lot of time here, so they should feel as at home as they can."
The company, which was started by Stephanie Leader in 1995 and has grown into a 75-person operation, is dominated today by young people who are all friends that hang out after work and on weekends. "We have the best people. They create the fun and energetic environment that dominates here every day," said Hoover. "I'm 45 and I'm old here."
And, with summer picnics, holiday parties, softball teams, bowling outings and kickball leagues sponsored by the company, the employees are afforded many opportunities to gather outside of work. But, rest assured, this is also a work-hard-play-hard culture at Leaderpromos. The company celebrates big sales wins with a big bell in the middle of the office. It gets rung any time somebody closes a sale of more than $5,000. "We ring it pretty often, but it's fun for everybody," said Barger. "We like to celebrate when our people do good things, so an e-mail goes out about it and everybody can share in the success. We like to support and celebrate each other."
Of course, the celebration also continues after work many nights at Lounge 62, as we found out when we joined them after 6pm. They were off the clock for the day – and, so were we.