Korn Ferry: A Client Story
Korn Ferry looked to Happyly to create an innovative series of events for its remote-first workforce that focused on mental health and physical well-being
"I very much appreciated this day of wellness! I can completely understand why this type of gathering is crucial for our well-being and optimal performance."
—Korn Ferry Employee
Korn Ferry is a global organizational consulting firm that helps clients design optimal organization structures, roles, and responsibilities, hire the right people, and advise them on how to reward and motivate their workforce.
Korn Ferry had recently shifted to a remote-first work arrangement for all of its employees, and Vice President of Global Benefits, Brian Bloom, was looking for new and innovative ways to bring co-workers together in person, with a focus on mental health and physical well-being.
After Happyly successfully planned and facilitated an off-site day with wellness, service, and connection activities for Korn Ferry colleagues in Philadelphia in June 2023, Bloom contracted Happyly to create a series of events for 13 more locations on a tight budget in fall of that year.
In order to help Korn Ferry teammates unlock deep, human connections through purpose and meaning, Happyly needed to design an itinerary that would allow teammates to gather across business lines, encourage relationship creation, and support local communities through volunteerism.
The itinerary also needed to be replicated in 13 different cities across the U.S: Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York City, Chicago, Minneapolis, Atlanta, San Francisco, Denver, Dallas, Boston, DC, Houston, and Austin. (That number would become 14 with the addition of an event in Los Angeles in January 2024.)
Keeping everything on budget was another major consideration. Bloom was tapping into Wellness Dollars available through the company’s insurance provider to pay for everything, and a clear health and wellness impact needed to be shown.
Happyly handled all of the planning and communications for Korn Ferry’s series of Wellness, Service, & Connection Days.
Happyly secured venues and caterers in all 13 locations, and developed and executed a series of email invitations, RSVP notifications, and reminders for the attendees. The team was on site at each location to emcee the event and facilitate activities.
The custom itinerary created by Happyly was thoughtfully designed to support individuals' mental and physical well-being, develop healthy relationships and group dynamics, and promote a positive connection to the company.
An event day kicked-off with team-building activities and sharing circles that provided opportunities for colleagues to see each other and feel heard. Research shows eye contact releases chemicals in the brain, specifically phenylethylamine and oxytocin, that promote feelings of connectedness, bonding, and commitment.
Three Giveback Activities during the event allowed for active participation and togetherness. Attendees packed snacks for children experiencing food insecurity, made paracord lanyards for deployed military service members, and wrote letters of affirmation to survivors of domestic abuse. Volunteering together has been shown to strengthen relationships among colleagues and foster a powerful sense of belonging at an organization.
Learn more about the benefits of corporate volunteering in our white paper, “The Employee Volunteer Discrepancy: How to Increase CSR Participation by Eliminating Areas of Friction.”
Attendees also sat down and enjoyed a healthy meal together. Sharing a meal not only creates opportunities for continued conversation and bonding among coworkers, it also bolsters individuals' mental well-being. Studies show those who dine with others are less likely to report feeling lonely, and more likely to feel happy and satisfied with their lives.
The off-site events culminated with an all-abilities yoga session, to get attendees moving together. Group physical activity improves markers of individual health by reducing stress and improving the cardiovascular system, and it releases endorphins and other brain chemicals that have been shown to improve mood and promote team cohesion.
Korn Ferry Days of Wellness, Service, & Connection were a hit! Happyly was able to deliver white-glove service on budget, thanks to a replicable itinerary featuring vetted activities facilitated by the Happyly team in each of the 13 locations. The research-backed programming allowed events to be uniform and ensured consistent individual and group outcomes, without feeling repetitive to organization leaders who attended more than one event.
Attendees were emailed a survey after each of the events, and 96% of respondents reported being happy with the experience overall. Participation during the activities across all 13 of the locations was above industry benchmarks—even for the yoga sessions. “Really enjoyed the breathing meditation, [it] helped calm my mind and be present. Was really great to connect with others in a beautiful venue. Also loved yoga and the giveback [activity]. Thank you!” commented one attendee.
Feedback from Korn Ferry team members at all levels of the organization was overwhelmingly positive. One staff member shared, “I very much appreciated this day of wellness! It was inspiring and uplifting. I can completely understand why this type of gathering is crucial for our well-being and optimal performance. The venue was great, all activities were fantastic… The yoga [session] was a lovely way to end this fantastic day. Please, more of these for our KF teams!”
National Account Executive Mark Butler wrote via email, “Thank you for hosting a very enjoyable and inclusive event today at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. I met many more great people than I would have remaining home today. It was nice to get out and away from the remote office. The activities, fellowship, and food were just what I needed.”
Ned Philie, President of North American Professional Search and a Managing Partner for Korn Ferry in Boston, said, “Thanks for providing such a thoughtful and meaningful experience for our Boston colleagues. We could honestly benefit from one of these gatherings every week!”
There was a tangible impact on local communities, too. Thanks to participants’ efforts at each of the 13 Korn Ferry events, the company donated 409 uplifting, handwritten notes to domestic violence survivors, 409 handmade paracord lanyards to military service members, and 1024 snack packs to Title 1 elementary schools for distribution to children experiencing food insecurity.
Shortly after the thirteenth event, Bloom, the VP of Global Benefits, reached out to Happyly and said, “I miss being on the road with the Happyly team. We put on quite the show!” Happyly has since been contracted by Bloom to plan and facilitate another series of events for Korn Ferry in 2024.
How Engaged Are Your Employees?
Today’s employers are facing a crisis. Only one in four employees currently feel connected to their organization. Learn more about the implications and how you can improve engagement in your company in our white paper, "The Employee Connection Report: How to Build Connection in a Disconnected Workforce."