There are many ways companies can foster community and employee engagement.

At DCC, we share our new office space with Results For Development Institute, an international development organization with approximately 85 employees based in the DC office. This alone adds several dimensions of fun comraderie to our work day, such as periodic cupcake parties and happy hours.

But one example of a small step companies can take to foster engagement is the weekly question that appears every Monday on the whiteboard by the coffee machines.

It’s brilliant because it’s fun – folks can ponder the question and then respond anonymously. By week’s end the answers typically run the gamut from the expected to the creative, — and have elicited more than a few editorial responses along the way.

For instance, take last week’s board:

In case it’s not clear, the question is: “Where do you wish you had vacationed this summer?”

And among the answers are:

  1. Iceland
  2. Nepal
  3. Namibia
  4. Copenhagen
  5. Croatia
  6. Hogwarts

In addition to Harry Potter’s school, someone else listed Winterfell (from Game of Thrones) – to which a coworker responded “Winter is coming.”

My own answer? “Paris,” to which the response was “Basic, but plus 1.”

Last week’s question celebrated the end of the Summer Olympics by asking, “At what sport would you win Olympic gold?”

Among the best answers:

  1. Sleeping
  2. Nagging my kids
  3. Swiping left

Finally, there’s this week’s question:

“What was your dream job as a 5-year-old?”

My favorite answers:

  1. Grocery bagger (“Me too”)
  2. Astronaut (“Plus 1,” “Plus 2”)
  3. Entomologist (“don’t know what this is now, let alone at age 5!” “LOL!”)
  4. International development program manager OBVI.


There are many easy and inexpensive steps small businesses can take to encourage comraderie and increase employee engagement.

With this simple weekly whiteboard question, we at DCC have gained insight into our Results for Development colleagues, and have grown to look forward to periodic coffee breaks that reveal the latest fun answers.

Further, this welcome break in our very busy schedules never fails to bring a smile, which helps us return to our client work re-energized.