The corporate life is commonly structured with layers of hierarchy that can be stifling to operate in. Some of us here may then wonder, “How do we break out from that norm?”
In an interview with Marcus Ting from Grain’s People Operations team, he shared with a worried look, “In the past, some of our employees were fearful of saying the wrong things that they only focused on giving politically correct answers. We don’t know where that came from but it sure got us to start looking into it.”
Feeling insecure may be normal. It shows that you’re human. But that could also prevent employees from feeling safe and in turn, compromise their performance at work. So, when he noticed the gap, he feels “the urge to break the barrier by tearing down the hierarchal status in order to foster stronger bonds across the organization.”
Grain started this mission by incorporating a series of activity clubs such as karaoke, mah-jong, badminton and basketball to allow their employees across departments to come together and have fun collectively. Marcus cheerfully expressed, “sometimes it’s so fun that while we’re playing basketball and badminton, the employees can throw the ball at and “smash” the CEO!”
Another interesting initiative that Grain implemented was to assign and sponsor designated lunch buddies. On a rotational basis, HR will randomly select a couple of employees from different departments and sponsor their lunch if they make the outing work out. Not only does that allow people from different departments to know each other better, it’s also a great way to tell them that the company cares, doesn’t it?
It is true that working in a Food and Beverage company requires quick turnaround and often, fast decisions. But with the right team spirit infused into the culture, work can be fun and productive at the same time.
While delivering great results, we all want great memories at work too, don’t we? It can happen once we start to break down silos and build communities like what Grain did.