Behind the Deals: Team Building Competitions

Banding together with coworkers to battle other local companies in non-work-related competitions simultaneously builds camaraderie and the opposite of camaraderie, loathing. Here are some of the recent contests Groupon employees have participated in:

**Bike to Work Week:** Over the course of three days, all of which must be within the same week, two companies compete to see which can convince more employees to claim that they rode their bikes to the office. The winning company keeps the other company’s bikes.

**Blood Drive:** After donating blood, representatives from two companies race to consume the cookie they were given in exchange for their vital fluids. If both finish the cookie at the same time, they must give another quart of blood to earn a second cookie and race again.

**Battle of the Books:** The first company to have one employee name a real book wins.

**The Newlywed Show:** Companies cover all expenses for two randomly selected employees to get married, go on a honeymoon, and live in a remote cabin for six months. Everyone always wins because learning that business is all about building lasting relationships is the most important lesson of all.

New G-Team Cities Launched

We’ve bragged about our G-Team before. They’re Groupon’s philanthropic arm that features campaigns from local organizations promoting social good. We’re happy to announce they are expanding their national presence this week with launches in 11 new cities: Ann Arbor, Colorado Springs, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Fort Worth, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas and San Diego – bringing G-Team’s total markets served to 39.

Some of the campaigns featured this week include a partnership with Horizon House by funding a shower/laundry services for shelter residents, raising money for a court appointed advocate at Voices for Children, and funding tandem bikes for blind children with Houston Lighthouse.

Each new city has something special to offer and we wanted to share a few facts about them that you may not know:

Ann Arbor: City Motto: Strength Through Alliteration

Colorado Springs: City Flag: A farmer being respectfully trailed by three bear cubs.

Columbus: Biggest Export: Ceramic Pizza Stones

Dallas: Birthplace of: Gladys The Singing Tree

Denver: City Nickname: The Gateway to Denver!

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Groupon Engagement

When a Groupon employee uses a Groupon to propose to another Groupon employee, not only do the eyes involuntarily cross at the concept, but the heart swells from happiness.

Self-proclaimed “huge nerds”, Tabitha (Customer Service) and Zach (Editorial), purchased the Wizard World Groupon the second it went on the site. There was no need to roll a perception check, they knew it was the right thing to do.

With the video help of another Customer Service representative and friend, Haily, they were able to capture the adorable proposal at the Chicago Comic Convention with a perfect celebrity cameo at the end. Tabitha told us:

It’s hard to hear, but it starts “Tabitha I love you so much,” and ends with “Will you marry me?” I can’t remember the middle part, because I was feeling too many feelings.

Congratulations, Tabitha and Zach!

Behind the Deals: Recycling

To piggyback on the “green” trend, Groupon has recently replaced its garbage barges with a comprehensive recycling program. Here’s a look at what employees are encouraged to reuse:

**Soda Cans:** We cut the crowns off so the base can be used as a pencil holder and the tops can be used as homemade Pogs.

**Tissue Boxes:** We unfold them to use the cardboard as a canvas for the lifelike paintings that accompany every deal on the site.

**Computers:** Any computer that is more than six months old is used for batting practice for the company softball team.

**Desks:** The desk of any employee who disappoints the Management Council is used as kindling to stoke the fire inside the employee.

**Garbage Barges:** These are now our floating offices anchored outside our Chicago headquarters.

9/11 Day G-Team Campaign


Kyle Klatt brings us news of an inspiring G-Team campaign that asks, “What will you do to remember?”:

Groupon’s G-Team is excited about a new partnership with MyGoodDeed and HandsOn Network, the volunteer activation division of Points of Light Institute.  During the week of September 5, the G-Team will feature campaigns in 31 different cities to help raise funds for service projects happening the weekend of 9/10 and 9/11 in honor of September 11th.

The powerful campaign, themed “I will (pay tribute),” features relatives of 9/11 victims and survivors of the attacks, along with celebrities and others encouraging people everywhere to engage in good deeds and voluntary service in honor of those who perished in the attacks in observance of the 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance. Each shares their good deed plans for 9/11 and urges others to join them by saying, “I will,” the initiative’s call to action to “remember by doing.”

To view the moving PSA, please visit the 9/11 Day Tribute Movement Facebook page.

About 9/11 Day

The annual 9/11 Day Observance encourages individuals and groups to perform good deeds, support charities and volunteer in tribute to the victims of 9/11 and all those who rose in service in response to the attacks.

Can’t wait until next month to show your support? Join the 9/11 tribute movement at and say what you will do in honor of the 10th anniversary.

Meet a G-Team Coordinator

With the G-Team launching in more cities soon, we asked one of their Twitter-savvy team members about the role social media plays in a successful G-Team campaign:

My name is Jessica Schultz and I am one of the new G-Team Coordinators at Groupon. I consider myself a charitable chick in the fact that I am always busy participating in philanthropic work and giving back any way I can.

So far the G-Team is live in Chicago, Austin, New York, LA, San Francisco, DC, Portland, Atlanta, Boston, Minneapolis, Seattle, and Philadelphia! To manage all of the new G-Team cities, our team has grown to meet the needs. We like to call ourselves “The G-Team, Dream Team.” We help makes dreams come true–well, sort of. We give nonprofits and individuals the use of our Groupon platform for three days to reach their “Tipping Point” in hopes of raising money and connecting with local residents.

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Behind the Deals: Quarterly Meetings

Six times a year, Groupon holds a quarterly all-company meeting to explain new company policies and to check each employee for head lice. Here’s the agenda for our upcoming meeting:

  1. Firework display shown on auditorium projector screen
  2. 20 minutes of silence to honor all employees’ living fathers
  3. Introduce the Board of Directors
  4. Play name games with audience to help them remember the Board of Directors
  5. Inspire Groupon employees by telling them that everyone should feel like a Board Member. To emphasize the point, ask the entire audience to join the Board on stage for the remainder of the meeting.
  6. Acknowledge employees who grew the most since last meeting
  7. Show a graph depicting the number of watermelons Groupon could buy with last quarter’s total revenue
  8. Intermission
  9. Reassemble, this time with the Board sitting in the audience and the employees on stage. This teaches the employees that nothing in life is guaranteed.
  10. Initial firework display shown in reverse

July Photo Contest Winner!

One part marathon, one part mud bath, The Dirty Dash in Kent, Washington has crazy good times written all over it. Wanting in on the action, Becci and Christian used Groupon to score entrance into the race.

Check out their winning BEFORE and AFTER photos:


Writes Becci:

My husband and I did The Dirty Dash today in Kent, WA that we got in on for the $20 Groupon deal a few months ago.  We had lots of fun, as you can see.  Thanks Groupon for making it such a great deal!

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We call it Grouptiva (Groupon Acquires Obtiva)

Today, Groupon is announcing that it is acquiring Obtiva ( the largest Ruby on Rails software development firm in Chicago.

We’ve been working side-by-side with our Obtiva colleagues since way back in 2009, when Groupon had a handful of engineers. Today, many of our 600W development teams have Obtivians on them (and several are led by Obtivians.) We decided to stop living in sin and tie the knot.

We’re constantly impressed by how capable Obtiva developers are and we’re really looking forward to expanding the team. If you’re interested in a job in Engineering at Groupon (or a host of other departments, including Housewares and Linens) check out the open positions here.

If you’d like to send a congratulatory gift to the Obtiva team, they’re registered at Crate & Barrel and Radio Shack.

Behind the Deals: Employee Anniversaries

In addition to giving them free money just for showing up and working, Groupon ensures employees want to remain at the company with a comprehensive anniversary program. Here’s what Groupon rewards its employees with:

  • First Year: Green tracksuit with company logo and employee nickname embroidered on jacket
  • Second Year: 250 MB flash drive preloaded with your employee directory photo
  • Third Year: Watch with no hands
  • Fourth Year: Key to room filled with cases of Coke II
  • Fifth Year: Sarcophagus carved to resemble CEO Andrew Mason
  • Sixth Year: Elective surgery of the company’s choice
  • Seventh Year: Discount tax preparation
  • Eighth Year: Elective surgery of your choice
  • Ninth Year: A nine-year-old dog (49 in dog years)
  • Tenth Year: Entry into the oldest employee’s will