Improving workplace culture is a big part of our mission here at Cater2.me. We sat down with Joe Silvera, a sales consultant at TriNet, to talk about what his workplace culture looks like and why it’s important. A graduate of Rutgers University, Joe has worked in the outsourced HR field for 5 years, supporting a range of clients in the professional services space. He spends most of his time running after his two baby girls, Sally and Rae. Read more, below.

What are three words you would use to describe your company’s workplace culture?

On the sales side at TriNet, there are a few attributes that I would use to describe our workplace culture. The first one I would mention is inclusive. We try not to form cliques. We’ve hired great people and we want everyone to feel like they’re part of the conversation. The next word would be supportive. The first year in a new sales position can be daunting. The workload is immense and it’s tough to get through that without a team that has your back every step of the way. So for us, that’s huge. The last word is accountable. We don’t expect everyone to get ramped up in just a few months. We do expect that they will be self-sufficient, work really hard and follow the guidance of those who have come before them who have earned success. 

What is your office super power? 

Our office superpower is strong mentorship and training. Our team leads the company in successful mentorship. In many ways we treat it as a direct apprenticeship. So, there’s mutual accountability. This means lots of training, regular one on ones, homework, group assessment and tons of role play. The first year without a positive mentor can make the job really really hard.  

Why is company culture important?

Well, nobody wants to be miserable at work. We spend more time with our teammates than with our families. Feeling supported and included goes a long way towards workplace happiness. People don’t work for a company. People work for their manager. You can be in the best company in the world, but if the 10 people around you are toxic or exclusionary or they put you down or they’re condescending, your world can start to feel very very small and isolated. We like those conversations to be out in the light. If you’re uncomfortable, if you’re frustrated, hitting a roadblock, if something you’re trying isn’t working, we’d like to talk about that. For us, culture starts at the colleague level.

What does your team normally do for lunch? 

Mostly we eat at our desks, due to our hectic schedules. We do try to grab as many people as possible and do a team lunch once a week. We’ll go grab sushi or something like that. It may only be half the team, or a third of the team, but we just try to grab as many people as possible. 

What are ways your company brings your team together?

The thing that happens a lot more frequently is we go for coffee and a walk around the block. This allows us two or three times a week to check someone’s temperature, do a little quick mentoring, venting session, help them with things they’re dealing with and it’s a 10-15 minute time commitment. 

Our CEO works out of California, but every time he’s in New York, he sponsors a lunch or dessert for the office. So, it’s always a fun day when the CEO wants to come hang out for an hour.

If you could propose an idea to positively impact any company’s culture, what would it be and why? What is your advice to help improve company culture?

I don’t believe waiting six months or a year for a performance review is enough. Our best performing teams at TriNet have constant communication in place to keep reps and leaders close. Whether they are formal or informal meetings, speaking with your direct reports every day or two is something that helps us a lot. That, and our strong mentorship program that has elements of no person left behind. Culture isn’t something you can fix with one directive or memo. All leaders and colleagues must be aligned in an honest way and actually live the advice they’re preaching. You can tell if a director or manager truly cares about you in five minutes. We’re expecting the same respect and dialogue from all of our people and if not, that should be addressed. It’s important that all leaders are preaching the same message and living it.