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Pouya Alaeiilkhchi

SFU Student Undergraduate
Applied Sciences › Mechatronic Systems Engineering | Beedie School of Business › Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Co-operative Education

Co-op Work Term Number
Position Title
 
Why is Company Culture Important?

Working at Copperleaf Technologies as a co-op has been a transformative experience that deepened my understanding of the importance of a great workplace culture. My work was fully remote with optional visits to the office. Previously, I found working from home to be quite challenging due to a lack of a strong corporate culture. However, I did enjoy working from home at Copperleaf. The company has created an environment that embraces working from home culture with face-to-face online meetings and encourages in-person gatherings to meet fellow employees. The culture at Copperleaf is a force that propels individuals towards their 7 pillars: Deliver Exceptional Value, Provide Extraordinary Experiences, Be Open, Be Agile, Be Respectful, Always Improve and Create Joy. While these tenets are highly valuable, any company can share a well-written cultural statement. It's not the statement that is important, it's creating and maintaining the culture.

Within my first day, dozens of people messaged and welcomed me to the company. Copperleaf promotes recognition and celebration of joyful events, without pushing for a culture of hustling and overworking yourself. There is an online portal that lets employees know of new hires, and upcoming birthdays, and an avenue to give shout-outs to colleagues that went above and beyond to help. I noticed many chat groups for different hobbies, departments, etc. They promoted question asking, I always knew where to do so, and asking questions across different departments allowed me to interact with over 50 people during my 8 month co-op. While having a few portals and avenues to celebrate and ask questions is helpful, it isn't enough to sustain a company culture. Thus, Copperleaf ensured that culture also was set through corporate training and continuous meetings throughout the year to interact and familiarize employees with their workplace culture. In addition to these training and meetings, Copperleaf also hired talent that already had a natural alignment with its 7 cultural pillars.

During the corporate training, I noticed how unique our training materials were. They encourage human interaction. Most of my training was done through instructor-led meetings. However, what was unique is that these live sessions were thoroughly thought out so that new employees met colleagues from different departments and teams that they may never come across. It allowed us to have a point of contact for questions. Every single meeting at Copperleaf started the same, the first 5 minutes we would have a little friendly chat, it was part of the culture. It helped me to get to know my colleagues at work and who they are outside of work. 

Copperleaf offered a two-part cultural training. During the first part, we employees read through the tenets, their descriptions, and the positive impact that's led to Copperleaf's culture. In the second meeting, we had a 2-hour interactive session with breakout rooms to understand the culture. In my first breakout room, there were 4 of us. As I was trying to have a conversation, I noticed a confused participant. Naturally, I went to help them, and they welcomed my help. I noticed their work title: "Chief Executive Officer." I was surprised, I had just helped the CEO in a cultural training. He never took charge of the meeting, he simply was there to learn and understand how to make the Copperleaf Culture better and why it stands out. He wanted to know us and learn from us. So I asked him, how do you ensure the culture stays strong? He responded by staying true to the tenets at all levels and hiring for the culture. He made it clear, that everyone is hired not just for their skills, they are also hired based on how well they fit into the culture.

How to Asses Workplace Culture Before Joining?

I discovered Copperleaf's brilliant culture through:

Copperleaf.com: Corporate websites can be helpful to find out what they value, their vision and their mission. However, on its own lacks feedback and possibly credibility. Thus, using third-party websites to check for employee feedback is crucial. 

Glassdoors.com: This website helped me read previous and current employee feedback about Copperleaf's culture. I was quite surprised at their rating of 4.6/5 with over 100 reviews. I read through each review and saw how it matched with my core beliefs and aspirations. 

The Interview

The interview process is a place to not only showcase your skills but to also understand the fit of the company. During the interview, I paid close attention to the conversation between the interviewers and their conversation with me. They were kind, joyful, and to the point. They listened and made sure I was heard, they did not cut me off and gave me time to think through my thoughts. 

I also asked direct questions from the interviewers about their workplace culture, and how it has impacted them. I highly recommend asking important questions that would help you determine if a workplace is right for you. 

What to look for:

When assessing company culture, it's important to look for aspects that align with your values, work style, and career goals. Not everyone will enjoy the Copperleaf culture as I did, for some it might be too many activities, and for others too few. That's why it's important to know what you value, and how the company's culture aligns with your values. 

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Pouya Alaeiilkhchi

SFU Student Undergraduate
Applied Sciences › Mechatronic Systems Engineering | Beedie School of Business › Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Co-operative Education
visibility  220
Feb 27, 2024