Do you love your job?

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by Katrina on March 17, 2015

It’s easy to find examples of what companies are doing wrong—micromanaging employees, burning out workers, stifling innovation, the list goes on . . .

But now I’m looking for examples of what companies are doing right.

I’m setting up short (30 min.) phone interviews with managers at companies that

  • Foster innovation and creativity
  • Make employees happy and engaged
  • Use specific methods or management “hacks” to improve collaboration, motivation, and morale

This is all part of a project I’m involved with at my new job. (Yes, after years of being happily self-employed, I recently decided to take a full-time job. More on that in a separate post.)

To nominate your company, just leave a comment at the end of this blog post saying what you love about your workplace. Be as specific as possible. I’ll follow up with you via email to arrange a phone interview if I think your company is a good fit.

Here of the kinds of questions I’m asking managers:

  • Tell me a little about what it’s like working at your company?
  • How are management practices different from other companies where you’ve worked?
  • What methods have you used to get people collaborating across functions? Across locations?
  • In many companies, employees feel removed from the needs of the end-customer. What things do you do to foster empathy for the customer within the company?
  • Do you have any specific management “hacks” you find effective at improving collaboration, motivation, or morale?

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelly Tirman

I love my current job. Your book really hit home for me and after years at companies like Wells Fargo, Walmart and Bank of America I made a huge decision (http://www.kellytirman.com/2014/12/three-things-i-finally-did-that-made-me-happier-than-i-could-have-ever-imagined/) Shortly after I made that decision I found my current position and I’ve never been happier.

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Jami

I love my amazing company. The culture is very family oriented. I’ve never seen a company that is so close. It’s in a small town but a large company of about 400 employees. I left New York to find a better life for my family and certainly hit the jackpot with this company.

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Kristy LaFollette

You know I love what I do and have never been happier at a workplace! Here’s why I find Favorite Medium (www.favoritemedium.com) a great place to work:

1. Good work and collaboration happens everywhere, not just the office.
We’re a company with a long history of hiring staff based on talent, not where they’re located. Yes, this can pose challenging after you hit a certain number of employees who are widely distributed across various time zones. But because we all don’t have to be pinned to an office, we figure out ways to be more flexible to support our clients and each other. Most selfishly of all, I was able to move my family from the Bay Area to Portland (we had a variety of reasons for doing this) with the full support of my CEO and my team. It has brought me and my family great happiness and gratitude.

2. We keep each other honest and accountable. This is a constant learning for any company, and we’re not unique in that this is always a challenge. That said, the intent with this group unlike others I’ve worked for is more genuine and committed. It’s not easy when you have strong personalities with agendas that may be often unified, but subtly (and not so subtly) in disagreement. As we’ve doubled in size over the past year a half, we’ve brought on younger team members who need mentoring and more management, and for a horizontal, team-like structure, we’ve had to plan more around onboarding and training. All of this gets back to recognizing our current flaws and addressing them. Solutions are never a one shot deal, so you have try a few out.

3. The CEO is smart, experienced, passionate…and isn’t delusional. Leading effectively while admitting you don’t have all the answers has, to me, been such a surprise in my career. Most of the people who led companies I worked with really had a hard time with this. If they did acknowledge it, it made me respect that person and trust that they were being real with me, our team and with themselves. We still exist in a culture that demands perfection, especially “from the top.” I find this deplorable; we’re human beings for christ’s sake. We are constantly making mistakes, hopefully learning more than f-ing up. To believe as a leader that you have to do everything right in other people’s eyes (and consequently hire inadequate people to simply cover for your lack of truth) is what sends many decent companies down a rabbit hole. Consequently creating that culture (and encouraging others to do the same) is, to me, what crushes the soul, sucks life out of innovation and makes the workplace tepid and sad. I’m thankful I found a company that has a leader who possesses vision but also has his two feet on the ground. And knows how to ask for help and to delegate.

4. People are hired for roles, and roles evolve. Because we are a digital product firm, we are constantly changing how we work, the clients we work for/with and even the work itself. Programming languages of 5 years ago have been replaced with many new ones. Remember .NET and what a big deal *that* was supposed to be? Exactly. I really dig the fact my role has evolved quite a bit since I first started in summer 2013. I like to be in an environment where people aren’t given pat on the backs because they tried something different; it’s expected. I’m not saying you don’t have job descriptions because they do serve as baselines. But consider not limiting a person’s contributions simply because they have a role as Z. And again, not everything always works out and someone may not be so great at role B, but if they are eager to try, allow some opportunity to let them do it. I know not all industries are this fluid, but wouldn’t it be nice for more companies to evolve the individual’s role and not bow down to some org chart (hellloooo academia and government agencies!).

Happy to share more thoughts Katrina if you care. Congrats on the new gig too! You chose well.

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Rachel

I’m the Executive Director of a nonprofit; as the leader of my org I’m not sure it’s my perspective you are looking for – however, I have worked in dozens of jobs in my (for-profit) career before taking this job seven years ago, and each one – some good, some BAD – has informed my current management style. And, I’ve had zero turnover since I arrived. I try to stay focused on our mission, and how important the people in the office are to making that work. It’s a balancing act for sure, but that second part is key. Each day I strive to be open with my employees, include them in decisions as often as possible – they frequently have better ideas than I do! – and to be open to making changes, even it if means rethinking my own perspective. As a working mother myself, I also respect my staff enough to allow them the flexibility they need to lead full and productive lives. In our organization the work is paramount. We effect the lives of thousands of families each year, and manage millions of dollars in donations, so we can’t drop the ball. However, if you spread that ownership around so everyone feels responsible for the outcomes, then you should be able to trust your team to get it done. That, and plenty of appreciation (little things: taking teams out to lunch, closing the office early occasionally, etc., goes a long way).

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Jessi

My current situation is that I’m starting a travel company called Plango (www.plango.us) and a few months in I found out I was pregnant. I love my job and am thrilled to see the progress we make everyday to making this idea a reality. I’m lucky though to have a family that is behind me 100% and two cofounders that are nothing but supportive.

Since we’re a startup, we’re often heads down in our own work, but also try to meetup once a week if possible. The way that we stay organized is by using TargetProcess to manage our workload and HipChat to sync.

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Kathy

I love my job. The reason I love my job is because the CEO at my company is a great, logical and strategic person who always knows where to steer the ship. He never falters, and he takes the trust of his employees very seriously. He often says that he worries about his employees more often than he worries about his own future because he wants all of us to be successful.

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Wendy Walsh

I have a very unique boss in the radio industry. She’s a woman and a mother and has this uncanny way of parenting each of her employees differently. She’s very sensitive to what each of us need to succeed. In many ways we are a family and want to keep Mom happy. And, yes, she can be a both love-blob and a disciplinarian.

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Mangalam

I love my current company for its flexibility. It has helped me balance work-life. My team lead is logical and understands how to retain talent.

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jessica

I am a preschool teacher in a very progressive and open school. I miraculously got pregnant after many unsuccessful fertility treatments. I switched to teach at the school my 3 year old attends. Not only do U get a discount for his tuition, when my baby was born, they accepted her into the baby room (younger than all the others) and the teachers knocked on my door each time she was hungry to be sure baby was breastfeeding and avoided the formula I left for her “in case”. The teachers offered to switch with me when I needed to feed and my boss was/is supportive, understanding and doesn’t want my apologies.

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