Deep-rooted culture. Shared values. Common goals. Teamwork. Family. Friends. Commitment. These are just some of the things that make us successful.
When we hire a new employee, we look so much further than the basis of “Can this person do the job?” We bring people in who we’d like to have a beer with, someone who we can connect with, someone who can be our new friend. I love new friends and I love making our newbs feel welcome and part of the “ETE Fam.” That’s what we are: a family. Our family wins together, we care about each other, we celebrate success together. But that also means that we struggle together, we support each other when the going gets tough and sometimes we even bicker with each other.
Last night a group of our technicians went on a team building excursion. This group of guys have been overwhelmed lately. Besides working remotely, they have not had the time to bond, or even just talk about anything that wasn’t work. I could feel the stress throughout the days. Attitudes were short-fused. Accusations were mumbled. But last night, we were a team. We laughed and joked and it felt great. And today, they shared pictures and laughed again. They are ready to tackle even the toughest claims today as a team, because they are friends.
As of this writing, I am currently covering for a good friend who is out for an extended time. The portion of her work that I’m covering is not my favorite; I actually kind of despise it. But I said yes. I said yes not because I had to (even though I didn’t really have an option), I said yes because she is my friend and I want her to return to something less than a crapshow.
The benefits of building a work family go far beyond just being able to have a good time. Check out these priceless perks:
Investment: I am invested in the success of those I care about. I want to do my job to the best of my ability to make my co-workers job easier. I am invested in the team and our responsibilities and know that if I fail we all fail. I do not want to be the reason my family doesn’t hit the mark. I care deeply and therefore am invested in the relationship.
Accountability: We win together. Which in turn means we can lose together. I will go above and beyond and try my best because I do not want to let down my teammates. It is easier to blow something off if you have no connection to the person that it may affect.
Stress Relief: Overwhelmed? Had a tough customer? Feel like you’re spinning your wheels getting nowhere? Sure, you can take it home with you and unload on your spouse, but they really won’t get it. They aren’t there doing the same job. They can sympathize and give you advice, but they are just a sounding board for your frustration. Being able to vent to your friends that are in the same quicksand as you can be validating, cleansing and downright therapeutic. These vent sessions also pave the way for a productive conversation about how to make things better. Collaboration is key.
Longevity of your workforce: It’s one thing to love your job. It’s a totally different and more meaningful thing to love your job and love the ones you spend your days with. Sure, you could go do something similar somewhere else, but you are less likely to look elsewhere because you are more than a team, you are friends and if you are lucky enough you are a family.
All work and no play make for a boring day. Foster a work environment that allows for relationship building. Give people the opportunity to really know each other outside of the 9 to 5. When I work with my friends it feels a whole lot less like work and more like a grand adventure.
Let’s go climb that mountain.