March 1, 2016 | Workplace Culture + Practices
I love movies. Always have. Movies provide an escape. They also provoke and compel and invite me to think about life. The 2016 Oscar nominees resonated with me with deep and important themes that I can readily connect to real life—the resilience of Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in The Revenant; the courage of the young Irish woman in Brooklyn who searches for a new life in another country; the passion with which the team of journalists seek truth in Spotlight; and, finally, the beautiful love between two people as expressed in The Danish Girl.
Resilience, courage, love, and passion… these are words full of expression and emotion that I consider important characteristics for a vital and high-functioning workplace. When I think about my own workplace, I see these demonstrated in every department, at every level. I work in Human Resources, which of course slants my view on reality. But hey, you can accuse me of rose-colored glasses all you want. I know what I see. Every day, at my job.
RNRG is a tenacious, resilient company that has been in the business of manufacturing products for the renewable energy industry for over 30 years. Working in the global energy sector, RNRG has experienced firsthand the challenges of working in a sometimes volatile industry during a time of economic and legislative uncertainty. In recent years, many companies have necessarily folded, consolidated, been bought out, or morphed into entirely different businesses.
But RNRG still stands tall. We are kicking off 2016 with vitality and momentum, an uptick in sales, and an ambitious product roadmap in front. How have we started to turn the corner? There are multiple factors involved. I could mention the criticality of listening to customers when developing a robust product mix or the importance of clearly defining a market lifecycle. I could emphasize our rigorous strategic planning efforts to set goals or our intentional work with leadership development and building accountability into everything we do. But at the very core, I believe, are our people. Those who have stuck with us for over a decade as well as those who have joined us recently—each member has lent a diversity of thinking, energy, enthusiasm, and an ongoing passion for our mission.
Peter Drucker’s adage “culture eats strategy for breakfast” is no joke. Theory gets translated into practice every day at RNRG, where our employees bring heart and soul to their jobs. In turn, our company provides a reason for employees to do their best work. Company culture is a true partnership between employer and employee during good times and hard times. RNRG’s sights have always been set on a long-term mission of making our planet a safer, healthier place to live. Like the movie characters that DiCaprio, Ruffalo, Ronan, and Redmayne portray, our team’s resilience, passion, and courage have helped guide us for the past 34 years.
In 2016, 33 of our nearly 90 employees will celebrate being with the company for at least ten years. Long tenures may not always be encouraged in today’s corporate world—employees tend to get complacent and grow more cynical. I sometimes see that in our company. However, when I do, I ask the employee, “So, when is your sabbatical?” You see, after ten years, employees get a six-week paid sabbatical to get refreshed and reinvigorated. It does wonders, I am told. My sabbatical is coming up this year—I wonder… will my rose-colored glasses get even brighter?