We talk a lot about the importance of having a strong company culture, so one of our new year’s resolutions is to give you an insight into the way we handle it here at Homerun. And what better way to begin 2019 than by celebrating one of our favourite things from 2018: The Teddies.
Every year our co-founder and creative director Willem comes up with some crazy ideas for our Christmas gifts. This year he surpassed himself by not only hosting an award show but creating a new design for our famous Ted T-shirt too.
Sadly Ted wasn’t available for comment, so we had a quick word with Willem instead.
Hey Willem. Could you introduce us to Ted, please?
Sure! No team is complete without its own mascot. So when we started Homerun about four years ago we were looking for a character to add some lightness to the brand. As Homerun was going to be part of the recruitment start-up world (which is pretty serious) we wanted something light-hearted to balance out our ambitious and creative DNA. So we turned to a good friend of ours, Dutch illustrator Ted Parker, and Ted (the mascot) was born.
Is Ted just for fun?
In the most serious sense, he brings in some much needed fun.. When you work for an ATS (Homerun is an Applicant Tracking System) it can be quite hard to explain what it is you do, so Ted is a great way to show what kind of company we are and why we love working on our product. He’s a symbol of our love for little big details. When you work at a tech start-up it’s tempting to only do things that scale and taking yourself too serious in the process, but Ted is all about doing the exact opposite. He might not make sense from a rational point of view, but it definitely feels like the right thing to do :)
What did the team think about him?
When I introduced him to the team, he got a much warmer welcome than I expected. For example, our co-founder Bob turned Ted into a Slackbot that enables our Customer Success team to help customers without resorting to coding, so Ted became a real part of the team. Lots of other people fell in love with Ted too — we get lots of requests for Ted T-shirts and other merchandise.
We hear that Ted was also the star of the show for your Christmas party?
Kind of…although it had a lot to do with The Office US as well. There’s an episode where they host the Dundies, a Dundie is an award bestowed annually by “Dunder Mifflin Scranton regional manager Michael Scott”. In order to maintain morale, everybody gets a Dundie. I instantly knew we had to do something similar ourselves, but in a Homerun style — a show where we could praise individual qualities while also cracking jokes.
That’s quite an old episode, right? So how long have you been toying with this idea?
About three years. It was only when I was introduced to a Dutch artist called Coodre that all the pieces fell into place. Coodre, a super talented sculptor from Amsterdam, painstakingly transformed Ted by hand from an illustration into a sculpture and at long last The Teddies Awards became a reality!
Sounds official! What are they?
Well, just a bit of fun for our annual Christmas dinner. I wanted everyone to win an award in his or her own trait-category, so a few weeks before the big night I created a secret Slack channel, where Matteo, Leonie and Gerard and I wrote a personal speech for everyone and decided which award everyone should win. Although the Ted award was the main gift, we also found a wine from the States called “Home Run”. In addition to that, we also added a new Homerun shirt: a (much requested) black organic tee with a hand screen printed skull version of Ted on the front and on the back a bigger size skull with the sentence: “Till Ted do us part”. Get it? This way we had an awesome Christmas gift pack for everyone, with a personal touch, that, just like Ted, honours Homerun’s creative roots:)
The award for most Empathetic colleague goes to… Thomas Meijers!
The award for most Balanced colleague goes to…Christopher Brown!
The award for most Friendly colleague goes to… Stephen van den Hoek!
The award for most Colourful colleague goes to… Lieveke Heijn!
The award for most Genuine colleague goes to… Leonie Sanstra!
The award for most Sociable colleague goes to… Bob Kreefft!
The award for most Reliable colleague goes to… Rita Wittek!
The award for most Insightful colleague goes to… Thomas Moes!
The award for most Charming colleague goes to… Matteo Gabriele
The award for most Positive colleague goes to… Gerard den Heeten!
The award for most Reflective colleague goes to… Toon Verbeek!
The award for most Honest colleague goes to… Willem van Roosmalen!
The award for most Ambitious colleague goes to… Yuki Kho!
Interview: Will Georgi & Yuki Kho
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