As the Road Tour came tripping into Tic Toc, (well, Andy and Joe were literally tripping over the leashes of several dogs whose owners took advantage of the company's open-door policy for canines), we're greeted in the company's cavernous "living room" by Tic Toc CEO Paul Gittemeier. The living room is part party room (there's a pool table covered with a desktop on one end, flanked by giant Star Wars figures; the other end holds a tricked-out kitchen, which this morning is serving up decadent donuts and mimosas; down the hall, you'll find a disco ball) and part conference area, noted by the cozy couches and chairs where the company's 40 employees regularly convene to brainstorm.
On this particular morning, the room is being used ostensibly for work, as Gittemeier gathers the troops for a weekly business update. Tic Toc, which operates more like a boutique advertising agency than a typical promotional products distributor, does a lot of work in the area of employee recognition programs, including awards, wellness, and retention, and it's clear that this is a company that practices what it preaches.
In between discussions about major programs that Tic Toc is creating for clients (everything from welcome kits for children at a major hotel chain to a photo caption contest for a telecommunications giant to a sweepstakes run by a cell phone provider), employee updates on Tic Toc initiatives, including a Fantasy Football League, are considered with equal seriousness.
At one point, Renee Shreeves, the company's director of human resources, stands, while holding her chihuahua, to give a report on the Tic Toc Toberthon, a wellness program whereby employees get points for doing physical activities, like biking to work, running, or kayaking. The employee with the most points will win a monetary prize. "We try to do some kind of fun competition each month to keep everyone's energy up," Shreeves says. "This is a high-energy, creative group, and they like competition."
Indeed, that appears to be the case. Another employee stands up to give her report: This one focuses on a local fair the employees all went to where they were challenged to take wacky photos of one another in various categories, such as "fried food: it's not just for breakfast anymore" and "what happens at the fair, stays at the fair." "That was a great event," Gittemeier says. "We basically just moved around the place like a herd of cattle."
Apparently, so many employees entered so many photos in the contest that the "judges" needed more time to pick a winner, the employee reported. Not all recognition at Tic Toc is of the silly nature. On one side of the living room is a large board featuring "Instastars," or employees who have been nominated by their peers for doing great work. "We get lots of nominations for this," Gittemeier says. "These guys really support each other."