This is the story of how one such new FTC tradition began. It’s called Chocolate Milk Mondays.
When I came on as CEO of FTC, I asked HR to place a suggestion box in the break room for employees to suggest ideas that they felt would make their experience at FTC a better one.
However, when our head of HR kept telling me that there were countless suggestions for “chocolate milk Mondays” in the suggestion box, I wondered what I had gotten into. As much as I wanted to honor (within reason) what employees suggested, I wasn’t sure about this idea. Surely it was just one person stuffing the box with the same idea over and over again?
But then, one evening last February I worked late. My wife and I had just hosted an all-staff Valentine’s party where we gave each member of the team in Oklahoma a heart-shaped cookie. I wanted to be the one who took the cookies to our night crew in the call center so that they wouldn’t feel left out.
As I spent some time chatting with them, it was soon apparent that it wasn’t one person who stuffed the box with the chocolate milk idea but an entire team: the night-time call center team.
They told me that their crew had asked for chocolate milk Mondays– knowing that it was a silly idea, but something they thought would brighten their day– just to see if I was listening. They wanted to know if it was really true that they could suggest anything and be heard?
The following Monday, I knew what was next. I drove to the local 7-11 and purchased several gallons of chocolate milk. I took it to the call center, and we sat down and drank chocolate milk together as a group.
The joy that followed overwhelmed me.
I heard from several employees that this act was the first time in their experience at Feed The Children that they had felt heard and cared for in such a specific way.
I heard a lot of “I’m so glad I work in an organization where the CEO knows my name.” I left that evening feeling uplifted and encouraged about the workplace culture I’m helping to create.
And so the tradition of chocolate milk Mondays lives on. Once a month, like I did this week (in the picture above), I spend some time with the evening call center thanking them for all they do for us each day at FTC with chocolate milk in hand. I don’t even mind staying late on these days because I always leave encouraged and empowered. I am surrounded by so many incredible people at FTC each day!
Who would have known chocolate milk could do all of this?
To the rest of the FTC team: don’t be afraid to suggest ideas. Who knows what might happen next? I’m listening to you.