May 27, 2022

3 ways our annual employee recognition celebration builds up our culture


Birthdays off, wellness stipends, a work-where-you-want hybrid policy. At treetree, we’re constantly innovating to make life (not just work-life) better for our team. 

But in 2019, we never could have guessed that spontaneous deskside banter would spark an annual employee recognition celebration that embodies our company values, lifts our people and celebrates each other’s strengths.

Why living out your company’s values keeps culture alive

Organizations with highly engaged employees see their leaders actively living out their intended culture and putting their values at the center of business decisions. 

And with the Great Resignation on the rise and employee engagement seeing its first decline in a decade, it’s not hyperbole to say that employee engagement is more critical than it has ever been.

Engaged employees have less absenteeism and turnover, are more productive and drive more profit. And the list goes on. Authentic and nurturing workplace culture is a game-changer that more and more organizations are investing in.

How we keep our values at the core of our culture

It’s about leaning into our values every step of the way—from how we operate to who we recruit. We are an agency that celebrates the employees who foster action, embody gratitude and lead with courage. Oh, and values are at the core of our party perks, too.

Enter: The Branchies.

In 2019, our CEO overheard and encouraged a tree’s in-the-moment idea for a company awards show. And so, the Branchies—yes, inspired by the Dundies—took flight.

Here’s how it works.

Each year, the agency casts nominations for fun, memorable moments and events that deserve recognition. For example, best in-person get-together, best typo or trees choice award for their favorite project. And in addition, trees nominate their peers who most embodied our core values: action, adaptability, courage, curiosity, gratitude and resourcefulness, with the finale Heartwork Award presented to the person who showed the courage to go all-in.

Here’s what this year’s winner of the Butterfly Award for Adaptability, Imogen Moran, had to say about her first Branchies.

“I have pinch-me, how-did-I-get-so-lucky moments all the time working at treetree. When I heard about the Branchies, I honestly thought: What a fun way to recognize my talented coworkers that I’m in awe of every day. Then I saw the nominations and was shocked to see my name associated with several categories. What?! I was over-the-moon excited and humbled just to be recognized. The beautiful award sits on my desk and is a great reminder not only of a really fun evening but that the small things we do each day make an impact—and treetree recognizes and celebrates that.”

3 ways our annual employee recognition celebration builds up our culture

1. The awards acknowledge individuality and passion. They aren’t just about the work output, but peers seeing a special spark in each other. Being nominated for showing courage or curiosity or gratitude says: I see you.
2. The committee involves people from cross-functional departments. Anyone can volunteer for the Branchies committee (provided they can keep a secret or two). It fosters teamwork, collaboration and a shared goal.
3. It keeps our company values top of mind. To keep track of nominations throughout the year, we have a Slack channel dedicated to Branchies suggestions (best Zoom interruption, anyone?). Much like when you have a daily gratitude practice that turns your focus toward things to be grateful for throughout the day, we are constantly on the lookout for next year’s nominations.

Here’s what this year’s winner of the Eagle Award for Courage, Susan Veoni, had to say after attending her first Branchies.

“treetree is dedicated not only to making its clients shine—but its people. The Branchie Awards capture so much of what treetree stands for: reflection, partnership and gratitude. It was an honor to receive the Eagle Award, representing strength, courage and leadership. While everyone on our team embodies this value, I was truly humbled to have been selected this year by my peers. The beautiful trophy is a daily reminder of how special this agency is for building such a supportive and collaborative team.”

2022 Branchie Awards recap

Personified values? Check.

Hidden local gem setting? Check.

Handmade, custom awards? Check.

It was, without a doubt, a night to remember.

Let’s congratulate our winners:

  • Antelope Award for Action, Bethany Beaman
  • Butterfly Award for Adaptability, Imogen Moran
  • Beaver Award for Resourcefulness, Jen Hamilton
  • Buffalo Award for Gratitude, Julia Jones
  • Raven Award for Curiosity, Lora Winning
  • Lion Award for Courage, Susan Veoni
  • The Heartwork Award for the Courage to Go All-In, Emilyjo Levy

Here’s what this year’s winner of the finale Heartwork Award for the Courage to Go All-In, Emilyjo Levy, had to say after attending her first Branchies.

“For someone who believes in the power of charging forward with their heart, this was an absolute honor. I’m so grateful to feel that my peers and leaders see me for who I am—which is the same person at work and in life. When you are nominated and voted on by colleagues, you can reach a next-level gear that powers you up to keep going, striving, learning (and resting) and believing in the work you do. I’ve never felt so encouraged, seen or empowered. treetree is not a utopian dream—it’s really smart leaders who understand how to make their employees shine as brightly as the agency’s work.”

We’d like to give a special shout out to this year’s committee members and emcees Bethany Beaman, McKenzie Poelking, Matt Jeffries, Carolyn Chester and Emilyjo Levy who brainstormed, concepted, planned, coordinated, budgeted, branded, handmade awards and shined so very brightly.

Ready to see what life is like as a tree? Explore our opportunities for open positions.