Perks with Purpose
i.e. Why I love working for a company that takes care of me.
There’s an interesting parallel in culture right now of consumers wanting to keep brands honest, and employees wanting to keep their employers honest. If a company claims to believe in equality, but only men speak in meetings or lead projects, they’ll be called out as they aren’t truly letting diversity shine. If a company provides health benefits, but inhibits employees from taking time for appointments, they aren’t actually promoting a healthy work-life balance. If a company offers snacks but they’re unhealthy, what good are they really doing?
The mission we set at enso six years ago to create positive impact at scale feels especially relevant, and is inherent to everything we do — from the type of projects we work on to the healthy lunch choices we make. As an employee, I benefit from a culture that revolves around innovative ways of creating impact, both for our clients and for our team.
Our company has a lot of perks on paper — each one of them aligns with the idea of keeping the company true to our own mission, so that we are positively impacting employees’ lives. Is there a magic formula for creating a system of “Perks with Purpose”? Probably not. But even though I’ve only been at enso a little over a year, I sure think we do a pretty good job of it.
Here are just a few of the perks with purpose that have made me feel happier and more fulfilled than ever:
When we moved into Frank Gehry’s old office, we democratized the entire space. You can sit next to the Founder or a Coordinator any day of the week. The thought that went into creating our layout centered around the creative energy needed to work in our industry — there’s a standing desk area, tons of natural light, plants in every corner, and a beautiful mural painted by our friend and inspiring artist, Yumi Sakugawa.
Daily lunch and healthy snacks
Enso provides a healthy lunch daily from local restaurants and caterers. Everyone is encouraged to eat lunch together at a communal table, and we’re always inviting friends within our network to join us. Enjoying meals as a team creates opportunities to talk and bond as people outside of conversations around work. If any food is left over, our amazing Ops team makes sure it’s donated to a local homeless shelter.
Inspiration and growth
You are both encouraged and sponsored to grow your work-related passions at enso. Last year, I went to the Create & Cultivate conference to learn more about social entrepreneurship and influencer marketing, something that excites me both in and out of work!
Entrepreneurship is central to the cultural and character of the people who work here, so we’re also supported in starting our own side projects. Take Community Lead Carla Fernandez, who cofounded The Dinner Party and continues to pursue that dream while working at enso. As a coworker, I’m so proud of and inspired by what she’s accomplished that I’ve started my own personal project: making my dog a pupfluencer superstar (seriously, check out his blog)!
We are incentivized and encouraged to bike, walk, Bird Scooter or take public transportation to work. This is meant to breed an active lifestyle and reduce our carbon footprint by encouraging more sustainable green means of transportation.
Work from anywhere Wednesday
Every Wednesday, ensonians are encouraged to work from anywhere: Santa Barbara, the Beach, or even just their couch! This provides a break from commuting (which can be awful in LA), and a solid day of uninterrupted work time outside of our open office. Switching things up creates a mental break from the week, and leads to more productive, happy employees.
Annual team retreats
We are truly treated like a family, and annual all-company retreats are planned with employee’s interests and needs in mind. Each of these events bring us closer as people and teammates, and the better we work together, the better work we can do for the world.
Outside of the client work we do, we try to volunteer together on a regular basis. Last year during the California Wildfires, we sent a group to help pack sandwiches for displaced families, while the rest of us used our creative-advertising minds to fundraise in a couple different ways. Every year a group of us works with Defy Ventures, a mentorship program for entrepreneurs in prison. We also attend rallies and marches together, such as the Women’s March.
There have been many studies on the emotional and social benefits of a dog friendly work environment: less sick days, boost in morale, more physical activity and improved working relationships between team members. All of those things ring true at enso. As a proud dog momma (if you haven’t met Watson yet, you must), I can attest to him stepping up as an emotional support animal for the whole office.
We talk and think a lot about how to better treat each other as human beings. We have an evolved Maternity (and paternity!) package, provide sustainable Conscious Period and Lola products in the bathrooms, and workshopped Unconscious Bias training last year where we learned about the biases we bring to every day projects and hiring based on gender, sexual orientation, race and class.
If a project of ours earns a positive headline, we write that line on a cake and smash it on a representative from that team’s face. So often work is forgotten about post launch, but the entire agency rallies around celebrating each other’s work and the impact we’ve made in the world. The smallest projects are celebrated along with the biggest, and everyone is included from Operations to Brand Impact to Creative.
Culture of transparency and appreciation
Every other week we have an all company “State of the enso” (SOE) meeting, where we review project updates, client opportunities, internal cultural efforts, financial updates, or anything else our team wants to discuss. Sometimes, they’re more business focused; other times — like after the Vegas shooting last year — we just sing songs together and bond. These meetings foster a sense of belonging, community, and closeness that carries into the rest of our culture and grounds us as a team.
At the end of every SOE, there’s a small “trophy” ceremony that celebrates individual employees in three different growth areas: mentorship, teamwork, and self expression. These are passed from ensonian to ensonian, and in my year+ at enso, everyone has gotten a trophy at least once — we’re all excited to both give and receive them.
The larger our team becomes, the more I think about and appreciate the benefits of working with a forward thinking organization. Here, I am enabled to have a healthy work life balance, feel supported in any (positive) endeavor, and am constantly pushed to be my best self. As enso grows, I will grow with it, because pushing a company to be better pushes me to be better as an individual, and better individuals create better teams. Better teams can further create better work, because a collective of supported individuals who are brought together as a family have a lot of power for positive impact.
Looking forward, there’s still so much growth left for enso, but I can see how impactful these perks have already been to my daily life. Hopefully other brands, companies, and the world can invest in perks with purpose and grow with us too!