A "Family Atmosphere" in the Workplace?

I generally get concerned when hearing about a business that cultivates a ‘family-like atmosphere’. Although noble in intent, the fact is that you are a business – regardless of your intentions or the size of your operation. I can list case after case where a business owner who wanted to create a ‘family’ atmosphere ended up getting burned by the eventual employee who becomes disgruntled at work.

And think of the phrase – “we’re like a family here”. Families have break-ups, problems and issues – and so do businesses.

So when I read this article in the Wall Street Journal, I had reservations.

Decagon Devices, a Pullman, Wash., scientific instruments and sensor maker with about 70 employees, won a Top Small Business Workplace award from the WSJ.

Decagon’s CEO, Tamsin Jolley, admits that she had to let some employees go. Although those employees fit in with the corporate culture, they simply weren’t doing the job.

It’s a short but interesting read. And what I particularly appreciate about Jolley’s comments is when she says

“…it has do to with the value we place on employees…I think it also facilitates communication and employee input across all areas of the company, because employees that know each other well are more willing to speak up and share their ideas with each other.”

THAT’S a good corporate culture. Not necessarily creating a ‘family’, but creating a workplace conducive to communication and productivity.

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