Whether you’re at a startup or a large corporation in Korea, “hoesik” (회식), or company dinner, is likely a regular part of your work culture. For those who are new to this concept, a hoesik usually involves dinner and drinks with colleagues, and are meant to be a casual way for teammates to bond and strengthen their relationships.
At Buzzvil, we’re all for building relationships, but we think Korea’s hoesik culture could use some revamping. So we like to get a little creative with our monthly hoesik.
If you’re outgrowing the routine of traditional company dinners, here are four ways to refresh your hoesik culture:
Team activities and games are great for recreational team building. They’re also an opportunity to mingle with colleagues that you may not regularly work with. Go with a leisure activity that’s simple enough for everyone to participate.
For example, we all had a blast at our Buzzvillian bowling competition in April, even our gutter ball gurus!
And we don’t mean leave the office to make a beeline for the restaurant. After hours of being glued to our desks, we could all use a little fresh air. Take your team hiking. Spend an afternoon biking or playing outdoor sports. Stop and smell the flowers.
For last month’s hoesik, our team took advantage of the warm weather to have a picnic at Olympic Park, which is only 3km away from our Seoul office.
You might be thinking that planning a less conventional hoesik sounds like a lot of work. That’s where your task force comes in. Get a group of dedicated people together to take ownership of roles such as scheduling, budgeting, buying supplies, etc. Creating a task force engages your team in building up your company culture, and you’d be surprised at how willing people are to contribute their time.
If it’s too much of a commitment, you can also rotate the members of your task force so that more people can get involved and more fresh ideas can circulate over time.
This one is a no-brainer, but the best way to know what your team likes is to ask them! Ask your team to offer ideas for your next hoesik or suggest activities they enjoy, so that you can cultivate a list of possibilities to draw from. Most importantly, listen to your team’s feedback. You may not be able to please everyone at all times, but be open to new ideas.
Hoesik culture is slowly shifting in Korea, as more companies are venturing away from the traditional hoesik and exploring new avenues for team bonding. This Korean webtoon by IDINCU tells the story of how they came up with their “Monthly Refresh.” We’ve also heard of companies that go to baseball games or museum exhibitions for their hoesik. One idea that’s on our own wishlist is to have our team hoesik at Lotte World, since it’s right in our front yard.
Perhaps these photos from our picnic last week will spark some inspiration!
Our RELATE series is all about our people and team building. We know how important it is to get connected, so we like to work AND play as a team. To learn more about Buzzvil’s core values, take a look on our website.