In today’s episode of The Render Podcast, we are introducing our newest series called “In Conversation With” focusing around conversations with fellow industry leading professionals that have turned into dear friends. First up in the series, Cam sat down with Alex Sutherland, Director of Sales & Marketing of Vestals Catering, to talk about establishing culture in your work environment.
Alex has over six years of event industry experience, and 4.5 of those years being at Vestals Catering. Being a new mom, she has learned how to manage that balance to stay present in both her work life as well as mom & wife life, and talks about how to navigate this when you are a leader in a company.
Undoing and ensuring there is no toxic work culture is probably the most sought after ‘goal’, if you will, in your work environment. Working for a small business can certainly have the perk of that, too.
The season that you are in for sure will impact your work life and how balanced you are feeling with the ability to manage both. If you are new into a company, you are most likely grinding it out and working hard to establish yourself in the company. Being in the events industry, it is a lot of networking, grabbing drinks, working the late events, and the early mornings the next day. This world is very dynamic and super enticing to a new graduate who has not laid roots yet and is interested in getting into this world. This world is so fun to be a part of as you get to network with your co-workers, make new friends, and learn how the events industry works as a whole.
Being in the industry, setting up those expectations of what to expect when you are in this world is going to be what makes or breaks your company from the next. People may forget what you say to them, but they will not forget how you made them feel. Displaying those expectations of what culture and healthy environment your office gives off is only going to work in your favor. You can work on establishing your business or in office culture by establishing what your Core Values are, or maybe it’s through imagery that you are displaying in your space, or the design of the overall space.
We can approach this one step further and look at your employees being humans outside of work. We have lives that happen outside of the office and as the employer or leader, your team will absolutely recognize when you recognize what is going on in their lives outside of the workplace. As your business grows and it is no longer just you working for your company, being able to recognize that your team absolutely does have things that happen outside that can impact how they are performing at work. When you are able to recognize and understand that, your team will want to work harder with you and for you. Of course performance reviews are key to running a successful business, but when you can develop empathy and know that it is not always optimal timing for your staff and to recognize and say that hey, I want you to be successful here, but more so than that, I want you to be a healthy person, that is when you will see the absolute best performance from your team. People want to work for people who give a crap!
As a leader, establishing that tone and that care for your team is so important when you want to set up a supportive workplace culture. Really truly, you are giving at minimum, 8 hours a day in your role, sometimes more than 5 days a week (hello events industry), so you are spending more time with your team and at work than you may be spending at home. So when your culture is great, your team’s performance is even greater. As leaders, if you can establish that humanity, compassion, and that care for your team, they are able to extend it to one another.
At Vestals Catering, the owner Jordan Swim works hard to establish a healthy culture from the moment you join the team. From knowing what his employees’ kids’ names, gifting when it’s unexpected, or genuinely knowing in real time what is happening in your life, Jordan prioritizes knowing about the team and incorporating that into the culture.
As a leader, you can prioritize spending one on one time with each member of your team by grabbing coffee before work or scheduling a lunch to catch up. Taking the time to spend one on one time with your team is always going to establish a positive workplace culture.
If you have remote employees, how are you going to connect with them to instill that workplace culture? Maybe hop on a call and connect with them on what is going on with their life, or send them a personable care package so they can feel included in what is happening in the office. An unexpected card in the mail is always nice, too! Lean into what makes them feel loved and acknowledged. Humanity is so dependent on connection and connectivity.
At Vestals, Alex talks about how they prioritize internal marketing. What does that mean exactly? They block off dates to ensure they are spending quality time with one another and their team. Perhaps they gather for an Easter lunch, or maybe there is a work Christmas party that everyone brings their family to. She mentions how taking the time to reconnect with one another and if you are trying to establish culture, that is marketing. Maybe plan to do an all team lunch monthly or quarterly and black those date(s) out. Do not take events and really focus on your team so it only connects you guys even better.
Be sure to check out more about Vestals Catering and if you are looking for catering services in the area for your next event! You can follow Vestals Catering on Instagram, or please go check out their newest studio space in the Design District of Dallas, Texas!
As always, we are so grateful for your consistent support and for following along with us as we introduce this newest series to you! Next week we are talking to Marsi Hubbard of Brite Beauty and we cannot wait for you to join us!
Raven Scott | Podcast & Marketing Coordinator
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