Welcome to Widgeteam!
We are very happy to have you on board with us and look forward to getting to know you better! Although it may sound slightly disingenuous now, we think you’ll find that our interest in you as a person is real and we look forward to making sure your strengths are put to good use while you’re with us.
Just like you, all of us at Widgeteam were, at one time, stuck in jobs that seemed to suck the souls out of us. You know – the type of work environment where you get home and wonder how you’re going to make it through one more day.
The worst part is that, in this economy of diminishing resources, that feeling of mental exhaustion seems to be getting worse at most workplaces.
We know that feeling too. We’ve gone to great lengths to understand what contributes to those kinds of negative emotions that can permeate the work culture and have taken steps to address them. We think you’ll start to feel the change from your past experience pretty quickly.
Although it may not always feel like it, we all have the same number of hours in a day to accomplish we need to do.
Technically, “I don’t have enough time” isn’t really true but the feeling of having too much to accomplish in the time given to us is very real.
We also know that the effects of stress contribute to
- being less productive at work; and
- a compromised immune system that leads to lengthier and more frequent illnesses.
As a result, we have changed many aspects of a typical workday to help ease that stress:
- No employee may work for more than 90 minutes without taking a 10-minute break. That also means that no meeting may last more than 90 minutes. Studies clearly show that our focus on our jobs starts to decrease after working consistently for that long without renourishing ourselves.
- For the same reason, each employee must take a one-hour (paid) wellness break after no more than six consecutive work hours. Many options are available for our colleagues during that hour, including a yoga class, walking groups, guided meditation, healthy snacks and meals, and even space to take a nap! Colleagues are not permitted to do anything work-related during the hour, including returning emails or phone calls and we highly recommend that conversations be focused on non-work topics to give your minds a break for a while.
- Our Wellbeing Café offers a full array of good food at discounted prices. In your first year of employment with us, all purchases will be discounted by 20% and, every year after that, the prices will drop an additional 20% until it’s all free when you reach your fifth anniversary with us!
- We offer gym rewards at any number of facilities across town that will result in premium discounts on your individual health insurance plan, based on your level of participation.
- We have a mindfulness training requirement of 5 CEUs per year. Interactive workshops provided onsite include “Active Listening”, “Calming our Racing Minds”, “Managing Anger and Resentment”, “Growing our Patience” , “Embracing Change as a Positive” and other topics that can help you manage the distractions and stressors of daily life.
- Employees may not respond to email or phone messages when not at work, including while on vacation or while sick. Although your supervisor has the ability to override this policy on an individual, as-need basis, s/he will be partially evaluated on how often those exceptions are granted. During work hours, employees are asked to schedule times of the day to respond to emails so that everyone understands that your focus won’t be interrupted unnecessarily.
Good start? We think so and this model has resulted in plenty of satisfied colleagues. Just ask them!
Speaking of supervisors,
we strive to be transparent about what is expected of our Team Leaders and, as a result, what kind of interaction you can expect with them.
They recognize that their primary role is to be a resource to you and will strive to provide you with the tools you need to be successful in your new role.
After you finish your initial orientation, you will meet with your Team Leader once a week for the first four weeks. Those meetings will give you the opportunity to talk about what’s going well and where you might be struggling so that we can help support you as you continue to acclimate to your job, team, leaders and Widgeteam.
The two of you will collaborate on an individual plan for success for which you will be responsible, including reporting off on at successive meetings.
After that, you’ll sit with your Team Leader monthly and share the results of your work, including any barriers faced. In those meetings, we want to discover and leverage your strengths so that others may benefit from your successes.
We also want to see where you’ve taken risks, regardless of outcome. If a risk doesn’t meet with success, we all can learn from the experience and move forward accordingly so at Widgeteam we don’t hide from mistakes or so-called “failures”.
Bring ’em on!
Your Team Leader will also routinely ask you about how you perceive your contribution to the goals of Widgeteam. No matter how big our organization gets, we are dedicated to making sure each of our colleagues understands the value of their work in the larger context. If it ever feels like that value is dropping, then we aren’t doing our jobs well.
We check in with you frequently on that because the dependence we have on each other’s success cannot be taken for granted.
That dependence means that collaboration is a critical part of every employee’s role. At Widgeteam, there’s no such thing as putting your head down, doing your work and simply going home.
We each bear the responsibility of helping our colleagues get better.
We all have unique strengths that can be used to better other individuals, other teams, other departments and, as a result, the entire organization (including our customers). A critical component of your role is working with your Team Leader during your monthly meetings to identify those strengths and how best to utilize them.
We believe that everyone is critical in their own unique ways to the success of Widgeteam and, therefore, we don’t have a company-sponsored “Employee of the Month” or other recognition programs.
We firmly believe that we succeed as a team as opposed to individuals so we stay focused on how we can improve the whole rather than just the individual pieces of the puzzle.
However, we fully support collaborative efforts within teams to incentivize quality outcomes that are commensurate with our company’s overall culture. Your supervisor has a budgeted amount of money available for your team’s incentive programs and you’ll learn more about that during your orientation.
Your schedule has flexibility because we trust you and your colleagues to figure out what works best for meeting team goals while balancing your unique non-work demands.
There are consequences to all our decisions, work-related or otherwise, and we believe that your Team Leader and your team will support your needs just as they need you to help support theirs. That won’t result in a desired outcome in every instance but the collaborative decision-making process will be fair.
In other words, we have critical overarching goals for Widgeteam for which we share accountability…
we put trust and respect in the hands of all our colleagues to help make the journey the reward.
Perhaps you’ve joined us from an employer where supervisory oversight felt smothering and micro-management was routine. Let’s be clear: Widgeteam is not a babysitting service.
If you fear that you won’t accomplish your work without constant oversight, you may want to reconsider your new career with us.
As adults, our responsibilities outside of work are huge (esp. if you’re a parent or caregiver!) and you don’t have someone standing over your shoulder constantly evaluating your performance, mothers-in-law notwithstanding! We trust you to be just as responsible at work and, if everyone can do that, we can all be very successful.
To that end,
we do not have a formal evaluation process at the end of each year.
Your monthly meetings with your Team Leader serve as a check-in to gauge how your performance is progressing vis-a-vis the responsibilities of your role within your team, including your collaboration with others.
Wage increases are determined by your Team Leader according to the progress you make, not according to a preconceived timetable.
As you accomplish the goals that you and your Team Leader set collaboratively, the rewards will follow. How frequently and large those rewards are, will be a function of the choices you make as you continue to add value to Widgeteam.
Finally, one more word about your Team Leaders. In many organizations, employees are promoted solely based on their individual productivity.
At Widgeteam, we recognize that being a great leader requires tremendous skills that, oftentimes, have nothing to do with their performance in their previous role.
We take great care in selecting Team Leaders who have exhibited the components of emotional intelligence and have previously demonstrated success in building a culture of engagement and managing change.
That’s why it is so important for all of our colleagues to seek opportunities that will improve our organization. Whether or not you hope to move into a leadership role someday, your success as an individual is predicated on the success of Widgeteam.
Be vulnerable and never miss an opportunity to learn from others.
Don’t be afraid to stick your hand in the air when you have a question, whether it’s today or a year from today.
Stretch yourself to try things that make you uncomfortable – you’ll be surprised how good you are at them!
Take the time provided to you to reflect on how you feel about your contributions and continue to challenge yourself to increase your value.
Recognize your distractions as just that – distractions, and bring your focus back to what you’re working on.
Most of all, count on your Team Leaders, peers and others to help you be successful because we know you’ll return the favor!
Take good care. -Erik