Love Your Colleagues: Work Life Is More Than Just What You Do

13 April 2016


Recent events, both sad and touching, have reminded me how important my colleagues are to my work life. That all the great things I get out of working here, all the pleasure and enjoyment I take in coming to work, is so much more than just the tasks I complete. People make my work life what it is.

Love your colleagues, and you’ll love coming to work every day, working alongside them, catching up over a Starbucks, or jumping on a call with them.

Love your colleagues, and that red-eye home from a week-long user conference won’t be such a soul draining chore; even if you just spent long days of that week-long conference, day in day out, living out of your suitcase, side by side with a colleague, you’ll be glad to sit next to them on that flight and enjoy some slower paced time with them.

Love your colleagues, and you find the time to volunteer alongside them at your company’s charity, like I do at ours, Ceridian Cares. Or you give up your lunch break to help plan, organize, and run fun events with them like our Fun at Work committee that puts on board game nights, shuffleboard tourneys, gingerbread house decorating competitions, impromptu dance offs, and whatever else comes into our heads.

Love your colleagues, and you feel it that much more if something happens.

When Dave MacKay, one of my colleagues, passed away, amidst the shock and sadness, the stages of grief, and all the different forms it takes, I was struck by the inspiration for this post – how much he was loved at Ceridian.

Which got me thinking. How special is it to build and be a part of a team that can foster these strong feelings? I’d say very. They have to fit together in a special way to achieve what Dave and Ceridian have. Dave was instrumental in strengthening the aspects of our culture that makes our teams as close as they are, as great as they are. Some lessons I’ve learned from his efforts:

  • Trust. There has to be trust in relationships to get to a level of openness between colleagues, staff, and management. Trust that when it’s time to be heads down on point, I can be a task-master. Trust that feedback delivered is received as constructive or that something told in confidence remains so.
  • Communicate. People like to communicate in all different ways. When is a quick bullet list email fine, what needs a proper meeting in the office with the door closed, when does a quick call work best? Who likes to talk, who likes to listen? Who likes the spotlight? Who hates it? There’s no ‘best’ style but recognizing not only your own communication style, habits, likes and dislikes, but those on your team goes a long way.
  • Values. The right mix of core convictions with commonly held values help teams gel; at Ceridian, our clearly defined core values are actively promoted and incorporated into how we manage the business.

Without these building blocks you are going to have misunderstandings, teams that don’t communicate well don’t work well, teams that don’t trust certainly can’t grow their relationships to what I’ve seen and felt at Ceridian.

There are tools, like Ceridian’s TeamRelate, that help. There are talent management practices to help businesses attract and retain not just great talent, but the right talent. There are lessons learned on growing employee engagement to apply. And there are leaders like Dave.

I mentioned earlier recent events both sad and touching; a touching example was just the other day. My daughter came home from surgery (nothing serious!), and the first knock at the door was a surprise flower delivery and a card full of well wishes for her from the Ceridian family.

Love your colleagues, and they surprise you with their generosity of spirit, kindness, and care.

Love your colleagues, and chances are, you will love your work life.

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