There were many questions I had regarding the organizational culture at Zeno Group I had prior to starting. The company’s mantra is “the fearless pursuit of the unexpected” and I spent the week prior to starting trying to figure out what that would look like within the office setting. In only just one week, I have come to learn that this means different things for different employees and different sectors of the group. I am a week into finding out what being “fearless” looks like for me and within my role as the Healthcare intern at Zeno.
While I had worked for a public relations agency before, I was going from a small agency with only six people in my office to a mid-size agency with close to 100 employees in my location. Zeno Group has offices that span across the globe and each office consists of employees that are split among the different business sectors that Zeno Group has clients within. Because the clients that the Healthcare department works with are companies who mostly want help regarding new medications or medical devices, the tasks that our team does differ from those of the other departments in the office and other communications firms who work on more consumer or corporate based clients. Because of this, there is an expectation that each of us do any and all necessary research as it’s important for us to understand the medical condition, what the medication or product does and the research done regarding them. Knowing absolutely everything about our client’s mission and why it is important is an obvious norm within my department.
When I was interviewing for this position, the employees I spoke with repeatedly told me that the office and overall company had a “work hard, play hard” mentality. I had just kind of brushed it off as something they were saying to win me over against any potential competing offers, but even just being a part of the company for a week, this mindset was obvious. On the first day, my manager explained to me what was so great about working there and more specifically in the healthcare department, was that the healthcare industry is not one that you just randomly fall into. Working in the healthcare industry requires a genuine interest in the industry and working specifically in communications for the healthcare industry as we are responsible for creating visibility for these products to both doctors and consumers – which can hopefully lead to the improvement of quality of life for patients. The people in my department care deeply about what they are doing and it’s extremely common for them to work later than the standard hours, work through lunch, or bring work home with them but because of this, Zeno rewards it’s employees with many fun activities and celebrations throughout the year. Within my first week there, I was already aware of an “Olympics” event, a free Yankee game, department specific activities as well as awards ceremonies to honor employees who go above and beyond.
The overall vibe of the company is pretty informal but still gives off a very professional atmosphere. People interact informally but with poise and genuine respect towards each other and to the clients. The physical set up of the office are desks grouped together into little “islands” or “pods” as people refer to them – they aren’t cubicles and everyone in a single department is within walking distance from each others desks. This allows for a collaborative environment but people also know when to keep to themselves. I have observed that certain times of the day the office is pretty much silent as people have headphones in or are so engaged in their work, and that during other instances people are conversing across the room about either work related matter or just socializing. People take a genuine interest in each other and what their coworkers do outside of the office. During the times that are more quiet, Zeno utilizes Skype for Business to send instant messages to each other to either discuss things, set up meetings or calls or just to ask a quick question. Throughout my first week, I found that using the instant messaging system of Skype for Business helped me feel more comfortable asking questions in instances of clarification or double checking as I didn’t have to worry about my “simple” question distracting or disrupting someone else.
Overall, throughout my first week I witnessed first hand that Zeno Group’s mantra – the fearless pursuit of the unexpected – is something that ever employee really takes to heart. I am looking forward to taking on more responsibility within my team and fearlessly exploring all that I am able to throw myself into.