The Latest from Our Expert Consultants

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/ Bobby Roy

Death of a Ping Pong Table

Process Stream is extremely honored to have been recognized by NJBiz as one of the Best Places to Work in New Jersey for the third year running. After hearing the news, I was reflecting on the past few years and how our culture has evolved.

 

It all started with a ping pong table.

Ping pong tables have always been emblematic of “fun office culture.” The image is one we all know pretty well: the casual attire, the brightly-colored walls, the open office concept, the bean bag chairs in the fully-stocked break room. These furnishings are what you put in place when you’re trying to commit to building a certain kind of company. They’re the visual elements that communicate the culture you want to build, one where your team never dreads coming into work.

Process Stream has had a ping pong table for most of its existence.

Early on we decided to make building a really healthy company culture a top priority, so, right from the get-go, we zeroed in on that ping pong table. It was probably a little pricey at the time, we were just getting started and perhaps a tad too cliché, but it conveys the right message: Process Stream is going to be this kind of company, one where fun and work can intersect.

The ping pong table wasn’t the end of it. Because we really did build that culture, composed of top-flight talent that’s respected, empowered, and trusted to perform. We built a culture where people thrive and don’t get beaten down, and where experts flock because they know they can do their best work in a positive environment.

But the thing is, the culture worked so well that Process Stream started to change. Our cultural push to build a positive environment that empowered our experts led to our experts transforming the business from the ground up.

It was definitely an experience to witness our team develop their skills and expertise to such an extent that our business model had to develop with it. And we’re all the better for it. As a result of this new turn, we’ve been blessed to have grown at a nice rate, bringing in new people and promoting our veterans. In fact, we’ve grown so much that we are in the process of expanding our office.

A space, sadly, that does not have room for a ping pong table.

I must admit, it’s hard to get rid of it. I can’t count the number of ping pong tournaments we’ve had over the years, or the fruitful strategy sessions we’ve had over table tennis. It really has been emblematic of our culture – and it’s not easy to let go.

But here’s what I’ve learned over the last few years: the ping pong table was the stone in the stone soup of a positive office culture. It gave us something tangible to point to and rally around, but the table wasn’t ever the culture itself. Simply put, we’ve outgrown it as a symbol. Culture, it turns out, is something you do, not something you have.

That’s why every single day we’re out there living that culture, putting the tools in place for our experts to do what they do best. We make it a real priority, and it governs our internal and external decision-making, influencing everything from who we hire and do business with to how we position our team.

In other words, we put our culture to work instead of letting it put us to work, and that same culture empowers our team to perform at their best for our clients. It drives the kind of innovation we’ve built our business on. That’s what happens when you give your team what they need to perform.

And that’s how we got here: one of the best places to work in New Jersey for three straight years. And we’re going to keep that energy rolling as we move forward, because building a positive culture isn’t something you do all at once. It’s something that unfolds over time.

…But I sure will miss those epic ping pong matches.