A new recipe for team-building success?

Is the best way to encourage diversity and teamwork in the workplace through our stomachs?

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Companies do some strange things in the name of team-building: building shelters in the forest, high-wire assault courses, life drawing classes, improvisation workshops – you name it. But one small business reckons there’s a much easier way to get us bonding: talking about food. A new initiative set to be introduced at insurer AXA will see staff swapping their favourite recipes via a social network website, while there’ll also be various bake-offs, curry-offs and so on designed to bring out your inner foodie.

The concept is the brainchild of website MyDish.co.uk, which modestly describes it as the ‘ultimate team building tool’. Staff are encouraged not only to share their favourite recipes, but also the stories behind them (as long as they’re fit for general consumption, presumably). ‘Food is a great way to get people talking,’ explains MyDish boss Carol Savage helpfully. The website claims the scheme is the perfect way to help staff embrace cultural diversity, better understand their fellow workers and generally become nicer people. It didn’t specifically claim it could ultimately bring an end to all global conflict, but we wouldn’t be surprised.

Telecoms giant BT has been running the scheme since last year, and reckons it’s been a ‘huge success’. According to the impressively-titled 'People and Policy Director' Caroline Waters, it’s done a good job of breaking down barriers. ‘Food reveals a lot about people’s personalities and makes senior managers much more approachable to more junior staff,’ she says. ‘Everyone has got a recipe from our chairman’s favourite Pasta a la Provence or our Watchman’s Winter Warming Sausage Casserole’. The latter is apparently proving to be the most popular BT dish (and we’re sure that’s not just because it’s got a silly name).

Here at MT we recently wrote about corporate types bonding over prosecco and saffron risotto at Italian cooking school Venturi’s Table - so we can see why any food-based team-building events are always likely to go down well in your office. After all, most people like to eat, right? Although the cynic might suggest that the continued success of any scheme like MyDish would only prove that your staff like food, as opposed to each other...

In today's bulletin:
Bank fails to douse recession fears
Move the Scousers on, says Tory think tank  
Editor's blog: The price isn't right  
A question of convenience for London's businesses  
A new recipe for team-building success? 

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