What’s The Deal With All The LEGO®?

  • 5 Min Read

What’s the deal with the LEGO®??  (best read aloud using a Jerry Seinfeld impersonation)

By now, you’ve most likely seen many D2L’ers proudly sharing the LEGO® version of themselves via their social media accounts, or at their desks within our offices. You may have even seen some other companies in the K/W region follow suit. But what IS the deal with the LEGO®? Let me tell you more about that.

In 2015, our Product Development team was looking for a way to recognize contributions in their department, specifically when a new feature or product was shipped to a customer. In the past, we had done some smaller events to promote these achievements, but there was no lasting memory of it afterwards. Much of what you create in a software role is virtual, so having a physical recognition method would add a nice touch. A few of our employees wanted to model the way some of their previous, much larger, companies had done this kind of “ship it” type awards. But it had to be different. It had to be D2L-ified.

Enter LEGO®.

The concept started relatively small. Let’s get every Product Development employee a LEGO® figurine of themselves, a personalized base with D2L and their name on it, and order some bricks every time an employee was part of something that shipped. For the individual, it’s a nice way to remember and recognize some of their contributions at D2L. For others in the department, especially those who join later, it’s like a legacy of who did what before they joined. “Oh, you worked on Daylight??”.

Within a subculture like Product Development at D2L, the LEGO® was sure to be a hit. It’s not for everyone mind you, but you’ve got a pretty good chance that a lot of those employees grew up playing with LEGO®, and this would be a nice extension. But a funny thing happened next. The HR team saw the LEGO® figurines, thought about the alignment to recognition concepts that typically sit in the HR portfolio, and immediately wanted some of their own. Our Customer Experience teams soon followed, then Marketing, the rest of Corporate, and Sales. Now EVERYONE has their own LEGO®. Again, LEGO® won’t be a “thing” for everyone, but everyone knows what it represents.

So, if you’re not in a Development type team, how do you get LEGO® bricks? Depends on the team, and what’s important to them to recognize. Across all of D2L, on your employment anniversary, there’s a new X Year brick for you. In some areas, when you design or complete an internal program (like our Leadership Exploration And Development program, LEAD) you get a brick to commemorate it. In Recruitment, when you directly source a candidate that is hired, you get a “sourcery” brick (no, not like magic, though some would say we do pull off some near miracles with the amazing hires we make).

Our recruitment team even started bringing some career themed LEGO® bricks to our Career Fairs to share in the fun, and let prospective hires build a LEGO® style resume as a bit of a conversation starter.

So, what does recognition LEGO® mean to those at D2L? Here’s what some of our D2L’ers had to say:

“LEGO® has been a nice small way of celebrating the accomplishments of the team.  Its neat to see some employees get excited over the bricks they get as a recognition for the contributions they’ve made and to mark milestones in their career here at D2L.  Software moves so quickly, we often forget about all the different parts we have contributed to.  The LEGO® structures that employees build are a nice reminder of all the hard work that been done.” – Software Development Manager

“On the whole, the LEGO® is very cool and a lot of people like them.  I shared my 10-year brick tower on Facebook last year and had a ton of people saying how cool D2L was.” – Sustaining Analyst

“Who knew that LEGO® would become such a big hit across the entire company!  LEGO® brings people together, generates some healthy competition, recognizes dedication to D2L and allows everyone to be proud of their accomplishments.” – HR Business Partner

“What a fun way to recognize 2 epic years of sales at D2L, these small things make a big difference in the workplace culture!” – Sales Executive

“I’ve tried so many different kinds of recognition elements over the years, but this one is the one that hit the balance between meaningful, simple and fun. In the product teams, it’s fantastic to award new bricks every quarter as recognition of the accomplishments and people really are attached to their Lego. It ultimately becomes a simple daily reminder of an employee’s fingerprint on the company of what they achieved and how they had a direct impact on millions of learners.” – Chief Technology Officer

Is LEGO® the magic bullet to employee recognition? Nope. Does it make employees stay with their employer for longer? Nothing to prove that. Do most of our employees enjoy the concept, and proudly display their mini-me LEGO® figurine at their desk, using all kinds of interesting configurations? You bet they do. Can any company take this concept, and make it work in their organization? Probably not. It’s not impossible, but for us at D2L it grew organically from our employee base, and that’s why it works. If you like the idea, the old saying is that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. We’re tickled you like it. We like it too, so thought we’d share a bit of our D2L culture with you.

If you’re interested in getting your own LEGO® figurine, you’ve gotta earn it. You can start by jumping through hurdle #1, which is applying to D2L and ultimately getting hired here. Once you do, we’ll have a LEGO® person with your name on it waiting for you.

“LEGO®® is a trademark of the LEGO® Group of companies which does not sponsor, authorize or endorse this blog”

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