By Helen Im, MS BCBA, CCLS
Meme culture has iconized the “pizza party” as terrible bosses and toxic work culture; the quintessential two-word punchline is powerful enough to speak volumes about the priorities of some organizations. Don’t get me wrong; I love a hot slice of pizza as much as the next person, but a pizza party may not be enough to completely drive company culture in the direction you want it to go. I’ve seen the rise and fall of well-knit teams, whose threads have become so loose you would have never guessed they were once someone’s favorite winter sweater, beautiful, warm, and functional. Here at Haim, company culture is cultivated through aligning our actions with our company values. Anyone could state that their organization has a handbook that covers multitudes of these values, such as integrity, diversity, respect, and excellence. On the other hand, many of these organizations struggle to uphold these exact values. So, you may ask: how do you drive culture? How do you maintain a positive workplace that sets you apart from others? It begins with the tone that you set for your organization and the events that follow.
1. We dissect the values that we instill in our company and demonstrate them in our day-to-day practice. For example, what does “diversity” mean to you and how do you choose to integrate it into your organization? At Haim, we look forward to making sure our staff reflect the diversity of our community. We want to celebrate the differences that make us unique. Having open and honest conversations on diversity (or possibly the lack of) goes to show that you’re making an active effort to address disparities. The actions that you take to visibly show your company values demonstrate accountability for your words, making for a trustworthy relationship.
2. Haim creates a safe space in which staff can voice their concerns in a judgment-free zone. Haim listens to the needs of the staff. The delicate balance between work and life should never come at the expense of your people. Overworked and burnt-out staff leads to unhealthy outcomes, such as poor work performance, negative feedback, increased absenteeism, and overall lack of physical and/or emotional strength. Organizations should strive to create a safe space that allows staff to advocate for themselves, feel heard, and get their well-deserved rest to recharge.
3. Haim acknowledges the importance of teamwork and the valuable insight from every member of the team. To feel voiceless in an organization means to feel invisible. By giving a voice to your staff, empowers them and makes them feel like they are a vital part of a well-oiled team. Haim firmly believes that there is always room at the table and that every member of the team has something valuable to add.
Now to answer the question, is pizza enough? The answer is no; it does not stop at pizza. Company culture enters a more complex realm of true appreciation and empathy. I can speak for myself when I say that the company culture and the environment that I set myself up to be in makes the difference in the “why” in my professional career. My driving force is fully supported by a team that makes me feel cared for and listened to beyond the ooey gooey slice; I find Home in Haim.