I was recently asked to submit some thoughts on work culture from my old boss. I thought this was worth sharing.
“Culture” has always been a part of the appeal for working at any company as long as I can remember. My very first job was as a bus boy for a local pub called the Euclid Hotel. It was owned by our neighbor and all the employees were his sisters, brothers, cousins, close friends or other neighbors. I worked there for years and finally left when I moved to Boston after college.
Finding another family owned company was impossible in downtown Boston, but I did find a substitute on the Odyssey. This fine dining dinner cruise ship was privately owned and had three boats in the US; Boston, Chicago, and Washington D.C. The employees were treated like family. One summer we had a hepatitis outbreak and we were all quarantined for 30 days. The owners rented a 8 bedroom house on Martha Vineyard and offered for any employee to stay there for the month. They kept the fridge full and taps flowing while still paying us for every lunch and every dinner cruise we were scheduled to work that month. The gesture of taking care of your employees was phenomenal and hard pressed to be found elsewhere.
After leaving the hospitality industry to go into Healthcare IT, I searched far and wide for a similar feel…and ended up finding it at Children’s Hospital Boston. While the family culture was gone, it was replaced with a community culture and sense of pride. Association of working for the #1 Pediatric Hospital in the country (at the time) was something that drove loyalty and commitment from employees. Knowing what you did and how it impacted the families and patients, kept us motivated. Every Halloween I was a part of a team that dressed up and visited the kids on our inpatient and Ambulatory floors. The year I was chosen to be Batman and walked into an inpatient room where the kid was playing with his Batman toys while watching a Batman cartoon on tv will be one of the most powerful memories of working for CHB. The father and mother were tearful with gratitude and sent a thank you letter to me a few weeks later after their son had passed away. Even now I’m emotional remembering the impact we had on that family that day.
It’s now that I realize, culture isn’t just about how you are treated, but what you give back and contribute as well. maxIT has given me so much over the 5 years I spent with them…and I’ve been so fortunate to be able to contribute to that culture in New Employee Orientation every month. I still receive thank you notes to this day about what an impact NEO had on their initial impressions of maxIT. Clearly maxIT was invested in on-boarding and identifying that culture on the first day of each employee. Thank you for adding yet another wonderful experience to my career.
I can only hope that my newest employer will give me an opportunity to be a part of such a fantastic culture. I already know the culture is there, I need to get involved, volunteer…and become a part of it all first.