In our ongoing Culture Collective blog series, we are sitting down with office professionals to discuss the importance of positive workplace culture. Today, we are hearing from Nicole Williams, Head of People at M.Gemi. Nicole is an HR & Payroll professional. She is a proud mom (and almost empty nester) of two amazing kids, a daughter in college and a son on his way. In her spare time, she loves to travel and explore her passion for photography.

Culture Collective: Nicole Williams quote

What are three words you would use to describe your workplace culture and why?

To start, I would say fun and collaborative. I think everybody here truly enjoys everybody they work with. It’s an environment where we love when we run into each other. It’s a totally open environment. No one on the executive team has their own office, so that adds to the collaborative side of things. We work functionally with each other. It allows us to learn a little bit from each other. The executive team actually encourages that. We find it important that you learn, not only what other people do, but why it’s important to the company. We don’t want you to be single-focused. We want you to understand the greater side of the company and how your piece fits and how everybody else’s piece fits. If you have an idea that could potentially help the company or you think could work, we want you to speak up. That’s part of our culture. 

It’s also intense. We don’t have one extra person here, so there’s a lot of work for a small group of people, but it all gets done and it gets done efficiently. 

What is your office super power? 

I would say mine is my positivity. People say that my general excitement helps in the office. I tend to bring happiness to the workplace. I bring a comfort to people and I think that helps them a lot. 

Why is company culture important?

I think company culture is critical. Work is hard and if you don’t have a strong company culture, it’s going to be hard to keep people, for one. It’s going to make any type of interpersonal communication difficult. I think company culture is where devotion stems from and I think it is driven down by the management. I also believe it’s driven up by the people you bring in. We’re a specific type of company and not everybody would ever want to work in the type of environment that we do. I think every person here drives up the culture and I think every officer drives down the culture and I think that’s what makes it work. 

What does your team normally do for lunch? 

Usually, we do our own thing for lunch, but a lot of times people will sit in the kitchen together and eat their lunches together. Sometimes we’ll bring in lunch if we’re having a meeting. Sometimes we just feel like it’s been a really long month and we all need a little bit of time together. Sometimes we’re just celebrating and we want to bring in lunch. 

What are ways your company brings your team together?

We try and do an event at least once a year with our team in New York. We have a culture committee that plans events. We try to do some educational events and then we try to do some fun things. We go out together in the evenings when we can. Even something simple, like Trader Joe’s is down the street and we’ll be like, “Oh my god, we have to go to Trader Joe’s.” We also have a company meeting every Friday and the entire team participates in that. It’s not difficult to get our whole team to come together, just because we’re a tight-knit team. 

If you could propose an idea to positively impact any company’s culture, what would it be and why? 

I think part of what makes us special is the fact that we are so close to our senior executive team. We have so much respect for the knowledge they have and they are so open with how the company is doing and our piece in it. I think any company can do really well culture-wise if they have a strong relationship with their senior team. That’s really what helps make us special and I think it would help make any company special. We feel as though we can ask our senior team anything, even if it has nothing to do with our business, but something that may have had something to do with a business they were involved with prior or just asking their opinion. They are just a wealth of knowledge and are very comfortable sharing with us their expertise and their opinion.