Company culture: a place where you can be a “whole somebody”
Of all the things we’ve done over the past five years since starting Pomegranite – like consistently being able to pay salaries on time every month, for example – I’m probably most proud of the company culture that we’ve created.
When Liz and I started the business, we took note of all the things we hadn’t liked about previous places we’d worked and made sure to steer away from them. We also took note of all the things we’d loved about previous work environments, added quite a few of our own ingredients, and formed a clear vision of the kind of company culture we wanted.
A place we want to show up to each day.
A place where people feel seen and valued.
A place where you can go into the boardroom and lie on the floor with your feet up against the wall if you just need a moment.
A place where you might hear an impromptu falsetto office duet.
A place where dogs are welcome.
A place where there’s space for hard conversations, openness and honesty.
A place where team members are seen as “whole somebodies”, as our business coach, Anton, likes to say.
A place where people talk to you like a human being with the understanding that life sometimes crashes into work.
A place where work-life balance is valued.
A place where we really mean that.
The trick is that company culture is not something you write in a manifesto and then you’re done, good job. It’s something you have to work on every day – especially when it’s tested.
There was a moment a while ago when a team member asked to chat and told us that they were not as happy as they could be, explaining why.
My first reaction surprised me. I felt so proud of them for voicing their thoughts and sharing their feelings. Sitting down in front of your two bosses and having a hard conversation like this takes courage. It also takes an environment where that door – and those ears – are open.
And because those things are in place, we were able to hear the concerns, really listen, and come up with solutions, together.
In my experience, while conversations like that are never easy, they tend to strengthen relationships and build trust, both for employees, because they can trust that they will be heard, and for employers, because they can trust that the team will open the door to a conversation, rather than the door to a different job.
While we may not have slides or sleep pods or a cereal bar in the office (yet), I really like what we have built – and continue to build – every day.