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15 Jul 2024

CloserStill Week: A case study in fostering culture

CloserStill Week: A case study in fostering culture
How do you shape your business’s cultural identity? Here at CloserStill Media, CloserStill Week is a way for us to bond, celebrate and develop together.

A company’s culture is like a garden. It takes time to grow, consistent work to maintain, and there are no quick fixes when things go wrong. It’s got a unique mixture of bushes, flowers and trees which each need their own kind of care and attention, and once a weed pops up, you’d better yank it out before it starts sapping nutrients from its neighbours.

Now, while a well-fed plain grass lawn is still a better garden than a varied collection of wilting wildflowers and faded astroturf, it doesn’t hurt to spice up the landscape a little – try adding some furniture, a water feature or a couple of lawn ornaments. What we mean by this is, once you’ve established a healthy culture, what do you do to really make the most of it?

In case you weren’t aware, HR Technologies UK is run by CloserStill Media, a global leader in trade shows and exhibitions. Operating in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Singapore and the USA, CloserStill runs events spanning Technology, Healthcare, Veterinary Services and plenty more (including, of course, HR!).


This July, CloserStill Media (or CSM) ran its inaugural CloserStill Week. This initiative, set up by our internal CloserTogether Taskforce, saw each CSM office the world over hold celebrations, workshops, networking sessions and plenty of other things. Together, these fun and informative activities helped us to strengthen and build upon the already fantastic culture we have here at CSM. But what exactly made the week so special? Every office in the UK and beyond each had their own unique activities and we don’t have time to talk about them all – but we can certainly clue you in on our time in the London office!


Monday the 8th
Monday was all about networking within the business. From departmental meetings spanning the company to a visit from the Young Women’s Trust, the day was spent learning about and from the people around us.

In the evening, it was time for our annual CSM Summer party! After presenting some mid-year awards to people who shine in their respective departments, we all headed down to a hand-picked venue to eat some food, drink some drinks and throw some shapes. As it was a Monday, we were all graciously granted a late start the next day!

Tuesday the 9th
Given the nature of Monday’s celebrations, a few people came in on Tuesday questioning what they should choose to put into their body. Fortunately, a series of sessions with a nutritionist had been arranged! There, we had the opportunity to learn more about our bodies and the food that will keep it working at its best (even when you have the occasional 
Summer Party).

Wednesday the 10th
Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to throw wet sponges at their boss? Well, that was just one of the features of the office funfair that ran all day. From duck hooking to cup toppling, it was a day packed full of the kind of fun and friendly competition that events professionals like us thrive on.

Thursday the 11th
With Wimbledon and the Euros in full swing and the Olympics just around the corner, we couldn’t keep out of the sporting spirit. This prompted us to hold a 
mini-golf tournament in the office, where teams emerged from the various events held by CSM to battle it out with small plastic clubs.

On the same day, a couple of sessions took place on building resilience and managing wellbeing. It’s easy to have a good time in the summer when you’re playing minigolf with your colleagues, but it’s important to build the skills to manage the times when work gets a bit tougher.

Friday the 12th
And the coup de grace of CloserStill Week was CSM’s Big Day Off! On the 12th of July, every single person in the business was granted an extra day of annual leave, essentially making it a CSM-exclusive bank holiday! It really put a cherry on top of an incredible week.


Putting together this astounding series of activities – not only in London but the world over – took a monumental amount of planning, organisation and commitment from our amazing CloserTogether Taskforce. Why put all this work in? We asked Rachel Kilmartin, the Aussie mastermind behind CloserStill Week, to tell us about it.

“CloserStill was founded on the spirit of focus, collaboration, and entrepreneurship. Our rapid and sustained growth has led to a consistent influx of new employees, each bringing unique experiences and perspectives to our team. While we have established systems and formal structures to convey our values and mission, our true objective is to empower our employees to become ambassadors of our culture. We actively engage with our team, continuously seeking their input and valuing their feedback. Every individual has a voice, and our cultural events, celebrations, and engagement opportunities are genuine reflections of our diverse workforce.”

Do you have any initiatives similar to CloserStill Week in your business? And if not, have you considered putting any in place? If you ask us, it’s well worth it – what’s the point of having a beautiful garden if you don’t host a BBQ in it now and then?

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