By Vanessa Gresley
When starting an internship people are often focused on the outcomes, like profile pieces and resume builders, but with my internship, I left with something even more valuable: an idea of the work culture I want to maintain in my future.
I interned at Muse, a content marketing agency in Cleveland. I learned a lot about storytelling, creating a story with a client’s mission and tips on writing and creating. But another thing I learned was the importance of good work environment.
Here are a few aspects of a good work culture/environment I learned from Muse:
Weird right? How just saying hello can make a world of a difference where ever you go. Despite the simplicity of this point, I have worked in many places where you walk into work and people don’t say hello. They keep going about their day, as your about to start yours, and there is no acknowledgment. This sets the tone for the day and saying hello makes everyone feel a little more human and important. Walk-in, smile bright and say hello: that’s exactly what was done at Muse, every day. Every one acknowledged each other as the workday began and the team was getting ready to kick a$$.
It’s easy to get lost in the busyness of it all but that’s why taking time to do the simple things, like saying hello, can make your employees and coworkers feel even more valued.
Teamwork makes the dream work. I’m sure we’ve all heard that before but it’s true. Taking the time to ask and answer questions with the whole team involved gets everyone thinking which creates better outcomes for the client. When you’re stuck, you know the team is there to help and I’ve been in some environments where it doesn’t always feel that way. 86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures. Muse is successful and will continuously grow to be successful because of their dedication to continuous collaboration and communication.
I watched the team use project management systems diligently, update each other on changes and constantly stay in touch. The team worked together in “whiteboard sessions,” where they would take a topic or idea and write it out on the whiteboard. That way everyone can visualize what’s going on and give input about best practices. The team also held multiple weekly meetings to make sure the whole agency was on the same page and knew what everyone was working on.
I know what efficient teamwork looks like and it’s something I will always keep in mind.
Staying positive is something many say is “key” to a good life but it’s actually the key to a great workplace. Things go wrong all the time but it’s how you handle it that controls how you end up feeling about it. For me, it was the way the team handled miscommunication between clients that created a roadblock they didn’t see coming. The team didn’t get down about it they reconvened and collaboratively talked about ways to change the strategy to avoid the same issue. It’s never a failure with Muse, it’s about how they can improve and change the experience for the team and their clients so it’s beneficial for everyone.
Another part of staying positive is the positivity of the people around you. Working with people who bring positivity to the workplace and work to positively uplift each other is something I will look for in every workplace I go.
You always hope to get something out of an internship and I am forever grateful to have gotten great mentors, new skills and an earning for a positive, collaborative and inclusive work environment.