“Culture Adds” and a Young Company

Addison Group is primarily a staffing company. While I work on the floor with corporate, the floor above me is filled with recruiters and sales managers. The environment is “work hard, play hard” on that floor. There are scoreboards and prizes, and their salary is mostly based off commission so there is a competitive spirit that is present the office. Due to this type of environment, people don’t often last too long on the sales floor. It is extremely common for an employee to join the team for 2 years and then settle into a different job that offers a bit more stability. For that reason, most employees at Addison are relatively young and starting their first job out of college. That same youthful energy permeates into the corporate side of the organization, which brings in a lot of employees that are looking for a good work-life balance.

During their hiring process, Addison often looks for “culture adds” or people that will bring something new and beneficial to the organization. They obviously need qualified employees, but more than that they want an employee that will push everyone to reach new personal bests and be a positive person in the office. Focusing on the person lends to a rather casual work environment. On Monday mornings, people will spend time talking to each other about their weekends and catching up before diving into their work. When I first started my internship, I was focused on working as hard as possible and working as many hours as possible. However, I realized that they do not want me to be the employee that shows up to work and has her head in her computer all day. They want to hear about my personal life and gain new perspective on problems they might be facing in the business.

With this sense of informality, there are strengths and weaknesses. Being in such a social office, there is a heightened sense of identity to that company. Afterwork activities and dinners make people extremely dedicated to their team and their work because they are connected to everyone on a professional AND personal level. On the other hand, I have seen that the sociality of the office can sometimes hinder performance. In an office with an open floor plan, there are a lot of distractions when everyone around you is talking about last night’s baseball game and their dinner plans. There is some degree of wasted productivity that goes along with this socialization. I am still trying to understand if there is a perfect balance between formal and informal interactions and I am interested to continue watching these dynamics as my internship continues.