One of our most talked about core values is to treat each other like family. I’ve alluded to the friendship shared by the founding team, which has grown with everyone else we’ve hired. But when we struggled with the semantics of phrasing this core value, we found ourselves referring to each other not as friends but as “family.”
We could strive to be a great sports team, or a corps like the marines or simply great friends. But it’s the concept of family that resonated with who we really are and who we wanted to become.
When I’m not at Tiny Prints, there is no other place in this world that offers everything I need in life as well as home does. As a result, I’m passionate about having the very best home life possible. If we want that kind of passion in our culture, we knew we had to make Tiny Prints a different kind of family home, too.
“Is it an HR violation to want to have a company full of friends to work with? I sure hope not…”
There are many types of families. The Simpsons. The Corleones. The Kennedys. They’re all different, so we didn’t even try to define what the perfect family would look like. We knew we wanted to accept idiosyncrasies, dysfunction and differences of opinion. But also wanted to create a culture in which we care for each other, never compete with each other, treat each other with respect and value equality and integrity.
In doing so, we think friendships—true friendship—can be created. I have witnessed friendships form, and not just 9–5 work friendships—friendships turn into will-you-be-my-maid- of-honor, friendships that turn into travel companions, friendships that include standing Friday night dinner dates. Is it an HR violation to want to have a company full of friends to work with? I sure hope not, because I love having just that.
And not everyone in the family is a social butterfly, either. There are staffers who are just as dependable, who we feel just as close to us, but who happen to be private, shy or introverted. We wanted to make sure that those people thrive just as well as the most social family members in the company. And we found ways to make them feel like an important part of this family in their own quiet ways.
We are not the perfect family, and plenty of issues and dysfunction exist, I am sure of it. But by the stories I love to share about our gatherings, celebrations, parties, picnics and competitions, working fiercely together around a deadline and many other instances, I am genuinely proud of the family quality that thrives at Tiny Prints today.
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