• Anne Berrevoets

Company Culture; a snug fit. Search & co-create!

In many of the events I attended as Meetings+Millennials representative, discussions I had or sessions M+M was part of – a major topic was company culture and ‘finding the right fit’.

Personally I think it is hugely important to work in a place that shares similar core values with you; where colleagues work with each other in a way that you feel is right, or feel comfortable with; where objectives are in line with your own and these are met in ways that are in agreeance with your own moral compass.

I believe such an environment allows for people to do a job the best they can – regardless of age, years of experience or job level.

I consider myself fortunate to work in an organisation which I feel ‘at home’ in;

  • we (proudly) have many different nationalities represented,

  • it’s a culture that fosters getting to know each other and to care for each other,

  • one that allows for everybody to make suggestions or bring forward ideas – regardless of hierarchies or job titles.

Greener events -> greener office

More recently, our office culture has also become more ‘green’ – something which I care for deeply and am very proud of. This is also the ‘case study’, if you will, for this blog. It is to show that you should find the right fit – but that is not to say that you cannot make this fit more snug once part of the organisation!

Several colleagues, including myself, care about sustainable efforts in our personal lives and were trying to find ways to bring our ideas about sustainability in to the work we do. In the end, I can eat vegetarian meals (with limited dairy consumption) all year to reduce my carbon footprint – however – if I can make 5.000 people eat a meal with limited meat and dairy for the duration of our conference, then we are talking a much bigger impact than my personal efforts!

By talking to each other, sharing ideas and seeing what we can do within existing budgets and plans – this year’s conference will be considerably more sustainable without having to take these decisions through policy planning phases, Management Team brainstorms or Board and Council meetings. We hope to show to the rest of our office, and our association, what you can do when you put your mind to it – to ‘green’!

Next step – showing our progress so this input can be used in the more structural discussions as of course we are aware that meals and recycling of materials are not the big(gest) issues when hosting international events.

Not only will our conference be greener, but once we started these discussions among colleague’s small things in the office started changing as well. We were not just bringing sustainability in to the work we do – but also into the place we work in! Separating and recycling of trash, considering when to print, or different choices about cleaning materials. All slowly creating awareness for sustainability with colleagues for whom this was not yet ‘a big deal’.

Finding your fit, creating your fit

At Meetings+Millennials, we hope to encourage young professionals to ask about company culture in job interviews (don’t be afraid to ask for examples – find out what’s real and what’s PR/wishes and to empower them to make career decisions based on ‘fit (which does not need to mean that everybody is exactly the same!)’. Furthermore, we want to stress to employers the importance of communicating these values to future colleagues clearly and from the start -as we hear around us (and this is mentioned in many studies also) that these are extremely important for this generation in their decision making processes. Plus, I believe you should want people in your organisation that will work with you, not just for you, and this is a great way to achieve that.

Now, you might not care so much for sustainability (although you really should ;)) but there will be something else you deeply care about, or there will be something you deeply care about in your field of work specifically. No matter your age, job level or sector – if you are in the right company you should be able to contribute to company culture. Once you’re in, that culture is yours too! If you notice there is no room for your values, the things you care about, have a look around you to see what else is out there. Because in the end company values do not stand on their own, but also influence how you as a person, and a colleague, are valued by your company and its employees.

What is important to you in life and work? Is this shared by the people you share your working life with? Sometimes the best way to find out is to talk about it! Why not try to reach out to some fellow M+M colleagues at an industry event or online.

**If you want to know more about sustainable efforts in your daily life – for me reading the book ‘Eating Animals’ by Jonathan Safran Foer was a great start to change my diet and reduce my carbon footprint.

**If you want to know more about sustainable efforts at events – there are great resources on the GMIC (Green Meeting Industry Council) website.

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