Reaching new heights on Hive’s employee (hiking) experience

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It’s my first day at Hive, and I’m excited but nervous.

A lunchtime calendar invitation pops up in my diary for a ‘Commercial Team Building Away Day Briefing’… that was quick! Away days already? Sign me up, usually they involve trips to fancy hotels, free food and planning workshops – don’t they?

I realised very quickly this wasn’t going to be a typical team away day. Hive doesn’t do things by halves, and before I knew it, three months later, I was on my way to the Lake District to undertake a huge professional and personal challenge with some of my favourite people.

If I’m honest, I thought about dropping out in the weeks leading up to the hike. I’m not the most physically fit person, and although I love to challenge myself, this was unfamiliar territory. Everyone else seemed excited and competitive. The #commercialhike Slack channel was full of memes, weather reports, packing lists & flapjack recipes.

All I kept thinking was “Will I be able to keep up with everyone?” and “Will I make it round?”, I grew up in the Scottish Highlands and Yorkshire Dales – hillwalking should be a breeze, yet I felt unprepared. But I wanted to spend time with my team, and I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.

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Customer Success Executive, Donna Petrie

Making an alpine start

Meeting at 6am, we made the two hour drive across to Coniston and prepared to set off on the Coniston Round.

Six hours on foot, 2500ft to climb, and approximately 12km to walk. “Could I not just sneak off to the pub? Would anyone care if I changed my mind?”

I had a stern word with myself and realised other team members were equally apprehensive. I wasn’t the only one, and we were going to have to help each other. This reassured me. It’s impossible not to fall in love with the Lake District scenery, and although the task ahead seemed daunting, I wondered how hard it could really be. A few leg-stretches later, and we were on our way.

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Our guides Dan and Sig from Challenge the Wild immediately put everyone at ease. Some strode off ahead, and I soon found myself at the back of the pack.

“It’s not about speed, it’s about making it round – and you will”, Dan told me. I found myself apologising for slowing people down and for being phased by the terrain; “NEVER apologise, take your time” – Dan was an absolute hero the entire way. He kept us all calm and focused, and for the most part, I managed to keep up and re-group with everyone regularly.

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Facing fierce elements as a team

Every single phase of the hike felt like a small victory. It was structured in a way that made it difficult, but achievable.

Steady inclines. Steep climbs off the paths. A fairly flat walk around a lake. Then came the hardest and steepest climb up to the first peak. As we made it over the ridge, IT WAS SNOWING!

For the second and highest summit, the group let me lead the way to the top in recognition for my effort. This was a strong motivational tactic too, it was probably my fastest climb.

Each step needed focus – you can’t fall. Walking down was almost as hard as climbing up. It was obvious some members of the team found it easier than others, but the way we regularly re-grouped meant we had opportunities to check in and help each other out.

We shared food and water, pulled each other up the rocks when legs turned to jelly, told stories and jokes and kept each other going. It was team-building in the simplest and best sense – working together in the most spectacular setting to get around the route safely.

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Hive is all about employee experience. We exist to help organisations implement positive change in the workplace. What better way to invest in employees than to take time away from the workplace and overcome an enormous challenge as a group?

I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to take part in the hike, and for Hive to invest in us as a team, and individuals. I got more out of the experience than I ever imagined I would. I spoke to team members I didn’t know that well, I learned new things about people I see daily, all while overcoming an enormous personal and professional challenge.

Yes, it was tough, but 100% worth it. Our Commercial Director, Al Scott, asked if I’d do it again. “Yes – but maybe with a bit more training!”

We all earned the pub grub and pints that night. We all felt a bit more like a family. I came back to work this week re-energised, focused and ready to give my all – not just for myself and our customers, but for the team I’m lucky enough to work alongside.

Bring on Everest next year!

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Fancy joining Team Hive?

Check our Careers page for current roles and to find out a bit more about our company and culture.

And if you’re looking for a slightly alternative employee engagement initiative, check out Challenge the Wild and get ready to reach new heights with your team.

Donna Petrie is our Customer Success Executive – she works side-by-side with our awesome customers, helping them create workplace change with Hive. Connect with Donna on LinkedIn.

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