Just this past weekend, we hosted our second resident services holiday party at HCA: a make-your- own-pizza themed extravaganza at the home of a long-time colleague. We know what you’re all thinking: pizza parties. Those glorious, grease-laden, soda-swishing sports team, birthday or fundraiser events you used to go to in middle school, before you knew – or cared — about preservatives. Like baseball, pizza is an American pastime.
A lot has changed about pizza over the years, and it’s come a long way from its juvenile conditions of yore. We’ve got gluten-free crusts, creative and unlikely toppings combinations and other artisanal influences that have turned this savory pie into an entrée of choice for both grown-ups and kids alike. Yet thankfully, all the things that made pizza great – the memories of celebrations, family and friends, youthful fun – haven’t changed at all. The messy, imperfect process of pizza making encourages humility and a shared nostalgia that supersedes professional hierarchies and personal differences. It makes us all more vulnerable, and in essence, creates the perfect conditions for a successful team-building event.
Feeling skeptical? Don’t believe us? Here are 3 more reasons why a make-your-own-pizza party is an effective alternative to other team building retreats and exercises:
Pizza making is fun.
Paul Spiegelman, chief culture officer at Stericycle, once said, “When fun is a regular part of work, employees get to know each other as real people.” Pizza making may be less performative than the “Pajama Days” or “Dress like the 70s days” that Spiegelman advocates, but it’s just as fun! It’s messy. It’s kinetic. It’s way more hands-on than your average dinner a”air. You can even make smiley faces with your toppings.
Pizza making is democratic.
Whether you’re the CEO or the newest intern, your access to top- pings, your likeliness to get sauce all over and the unpredictability of your final product are equal. You decide what goes on your personal pizza just as others will decide what goes on theirs. Last but not least: it’s always lame to eat your pizza with silverware, regardless of your place within the professional hierarchy.
Pizza making is introvert-friendly.
As Susan Caine points out in her New York Times best-selling book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts, the American preference for extroversion has shaped many of our social and professional traditions, leaving many of our best resources untapped — or worse — drained. Forming a pizza doesn’t necessarily require a crowd of people or an explosion of conversation. You have the option to gather your co-workers around to vote on chicken sausage versus pepperoni, or you can contemplate this toppings conundrum on your own.
Surrender to the power of pizza and make your next team-building event a cheesy one.