Spooner Industries staff member gets to throw a pie in the face of a plant manager on Red Nose Day.

Pieing: A Novel Way to Boost Morale

Have you ever had one of "those" days? I'm referring to that day when working doesn't seem fulfilling and you'd much rather slack off, maybe even go see a comedy production in the middle of the afternoon.

In Great Britain, some people get to do this. On that island, some people even get to throw custard pies into their manager's face ─ as long as it's for a good cause.

Kate Baker, marketing manager for Spooner Industries in West Yorkshire, sent me some great pictures of employees at the head office throwing pies and otherwise clowning around on Red Nose Day (March 18). The day is set aside for fun- and fund-raising, and the receipts go to Comic Relief, a major charity based in the United Kingdom that "strives to create a just world, free from poverty" in the UK and Africa.

Kate explained that her company sets aside money for charity each year. Two years ago, employees paid to put their directors in stocks and throw wet sponges at them for Red Nose Day. (I'm trying to imagine this in the U.S.)

"We are limited to what we can do with everyone being stretched to the limit at the moment, and, with having our manufacturing facility onsite, there are plenty of health and safety issues to consider," she said.

As a result, the company revived "Punish the Management" this year because of its popularity and "low risk." Leading up to the big day, staff members were encouraged to make donations in jars displaying mug shots of their "favorite" management team member: Managing Director Mike Brook, Sales & Project Director Steve Newell, Manufacturing Manager Robert Proctor, Technical Manager Andrew Marson, or Financial Controller John Muggleston. Proctor and Newell were the winning custard pie targets with £129 and £87, respectively. All told, the day's events brought in more than £800 (US$1,200).

And the custard was flying everywhere.

No comedy production is complete without an audience.

Staff members also donated items or services to be raffled off as prizes.

"It’s really important that people in our industry see how easy it is to raise money and have a laugh at the same time,” Kate said. “It really was an enjoyable day and as well as the money raised for such a worthy cause, it was a great boost for staff morale."

Spooner Industries has almost 80 years of experience in drying, curing, baking, and cooling processes for a diverse range of industries, including paper, converting, food, and metals. Through a partnership with Anguil Environmental Systems US, air pollution control technology is now available under the name Spooner Anguil.

According to Comic Relief, this year's fundraising brought in nearly US$19 million. The group has been organizing Red Nose Day for 13 years.

Posted by L.K. Williams, EPonline on Mar 28, 2011

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