At BFO, we work hard to make all employees feel like highly-valued family members. From the company founders to the management team to our peers, we’ve built a culture that reinforces this idea of showing appreciation at work. BFO’s culture has made it a rewarding company with a vibrant culture.

In fact, in 2016 BFO ranked #1 on the Ad Age Best Places to Work List. A big reason for our high employee satisfaction comes from the way we show appreciation for each other. Better yet, any business – enterprise or small – can do it.

Show Appreciation in the Little Things

As a digital marketing agency, our success lies in collaboration. The founders are friendly and personable and make themselves accessible to everyone in the company. Every member of the team has unique talents that contribute to the larger company success. We recognize the importance of each person on our team and project after project we see how every effort plays a vital role in achieving success.

We appreciate this in each other, but our appreciation goes much deeper than work results. We share family happenings and life events freely knowing how important they are to each individual. We celebrate good news and bear the burden of hard news together.

Successes big and small become known to all as peers give each other “Shout Outs.” Sometimes these are done at the beginning of the weekly all-company meetings and sometimes through a weekly one question survey designed to gauge our happiness with the company and our roles. The survey is completely anonymous, but does allow us to send “Cheers for Peers.” Those cheers get shared on our team chat platform for all to see. Every month those cheers get tallied and the employee with the most gets a spin on the prize wheel (they’re really great prizes!).

BFO also offers many opportunities for co-workers to have fun together and bond. Every year we have the BFOlympics, a field day of grueling events like bag toss. We play Whirlyball together (think a mix of basketball and lacrosse played from bumper cars). We also have lunch outings for new hires, office Yoga twice a week, Cubs game perks (we’re only a few blocks from Wrigley Field), and, of course, we have a Holiday party every year.

BFO Built the Company Around its Employees

Perhaps the biggest way BFO as a company shows appreciation to every employee is the way it’s built for employees. The company founders see each employee as a stakeholder and values their opinions and thoughts.

This approach manifests itself in an office designed for team communication and bonding. In the back, we have a “rumpus room” with couches, a dart board and a foosball table. Sometimes you need to step away and blow off some steam, right? There’s also a rooftop deck for gatherings.

Of course, not all BFO employees live and work in Chicago. Many work remotely but still share in the company culture as they enjoy the freedom and responsibility of telecommunicating. Despite the distance, we still work very closely thanks to communication and project management tools.

We also respect that “life happens.” When unexpected life events happen, the team steps up to support each other, not just with kind words but in the work that needs to be done. The company provides a lot of flexibility for time off during business hours for doctor’s visits, sick children, pets or even time needed for themselves. This relies on open communication and a full coverage plan for client work, but by working together and with the supports of management, we all can handle the “curve-balls” life throws at us much more easily.

Start Small and Appreciation Will Produce Big Results

At BFO, we’ve built appreciation into the very core of the organization. From its founders to its employees, daily, weekly and monthly recognition makes individual efforts known. And it’s not just work-related efforts; this also includes contributions in the community as well.

It doesn’t cost a lot to show a little appreciation. It can start with public acknowledgement at a company meeting or recognition in a company newsletter. 

How can you start to build a culture of appreciation? Remember this: while it’s great to receive appreciation, you can give it abundantly and it’s totally free.

If you are looking for a fun, challenging work environment with lots of room to grow, BFO could be the perfect place for you! Here are our current jobs openings.


Also published on Medium.