Players who pass “GO” may not collect $200 in Stephanie Angelo’s game, but they could learn some valuable lessons about the business world.
The Chandler business consultant recently finished the prototype of a new board game she calls “Company Culture,” which aims to help businesses make their offices a better work environment for employees.
With a board drawn to resemble the classic “Trivial Pursuit,” Angelo’s game has six players moving pawns around a circular course by drawing cards.
Each card determines a player’s fate – if a bad business decision is being made, then the player moves a couple spaces back.
One card may indicate the business has employees who don’t call in sick, obligating the player to move back a couple slots.
Another card allows a player to advance several spots because their company fosters a strong sense of community.
Each card is meant to be a learning opportunity, Angelo said, since they offer a variety of scenarios that demonstrate both good and bad work culture.
Companies need innovative exercises like this game, she added, in order to stay relevant and productive.
“If you don’t keep going forward,” Angelo added, “you’re going to start going backwards.”
Players can take on roles different from their regular business status. Each player rolls a dice and their number determines whether they will play as a salaried, exempt worker or an hourly, non-exempt worker.
Angelo purposefully wanted luck to determine the roles each player was assigned. Managers and executives should have the chance to know what it’s like to navigate the workplace as a lower-level employee, she said.
“The game is meant to be played by all members of the organization,” Angelo added.
Though most board games are designed to be competitive, Angelo said her game’s objective is not really about selecting a winner.
It’s more intended to help a business make some discoveries about itself and make a plan for improvement.
A board game can be a safe, non-judgmental space for players to share problems they may see in their workplace, Angelo said.
It will hopefully trigger a discussion of issues that might not regularly come up during the workday and players can have fun seeing their colleagues struggle through the game’s pitfalls.
“You can laugh at your CEO getting thrown in jail because you didn’t do it,” Angelo said. “The draw of the card did it.”
Angelo worked in human resources for several years before starting her consulting business in Chandler. She’s helped clients from all over the Valley improve their work culture and hopes this new game will attract businesses looking to innovate itself.
“You’re always going to need something new and fresh and innovative to do,” she said, “and something that always generates new ideas.”
This isn’t the first game Angelo has designed to educate a specific audience.
A few years ago, she created “Outrage,” a board game that explores all the complexities of domestic violence. Similar to Angelo’s workplace game, Outrage had players take on specific roles and draw cards that detail realistic scenarios.
Games can be a great teaching tool, Angelo said, and allow for a chance to self-reflect in a low-stakes, jovial environment.
After playing a round of “Company Culture,” Angelo will have players complete a debriefing session by answering questions that will ideally spark more discussion.
“Things will come out playing the game that maybe your employees are afraid to tell you,” Angelo said.
“Company Culture” is not publicly available to buy and can only be played through purchasing one of Angelo’s seminar packages.
She’s already had test groups play some rounds of “Company Culture” and hopes some clients will soon be making reservations for a chance to play the game.
Of course, the ongoing COVID-19 virus pandemic has put a halt to most business operations at the moment. But bookings can still be made for when workers return to the office.
More information about “Company Culture” can be found at stephanieangelo.com.