Rooted in Values

March 29, 2024

While working for a previous employer, our CEO had the entire organization go through a “Values” exercise. At the time, there were about 500-ish employees spread across the country. The exercise took serval months of planning, collaborating and compiling patterned responses from employees with different job roles, skill sets and geographies. What resulted was pretty incredible: a set of five values that was developed by the employees, for the employees.

Developing company values doesn’t have to be difficult – anyone can do it.

A few months ago, one of my colleagues threw a recurring meeting on the calendar titled “FA Internal Development” intended for a small group of us to craft an onboarding process for our FarmAssist team.

The brainchild of said meeting is Rebecca Hicks, a FarmAssist AV programmer/field engineer, Star Wars enthusiast and K-POP fan. On a day-to-day basis she’s either designing complex Q-SYS systems, writing code or commissioning projects onsite. Her job is not HR, onboarding, training or internal process developer. But… she went ahead and did it anyway.

She created a Google doc with tabs that say things like “Onboarding Checklist”, “New Hiring Plan” and “Culture Statement”. And she did this in her spare time (which is a joke because she doesn’t have any). I’m going to butcher what she told me, but it was something like, ‘we’re letting down our people by NOT having this. Our employees deserve better.’ And she’s right, they do. It’s just that up to this point no one had done it yet.

The Farm has 26 employees. It’s not like we’re this giant well-oiled machine with an actual HR department… or even person (thank you Tom for being IT, HR, Finance and Operations). We have a somewhat organized onboarding process – complete important paperwork, sign up for benefits, order lots of clothing with rooster embroidery. But the reality is that hiring and onboarding is so much more than paperwork and cock hats.

It’s about culture. It’s about people. It’s about shared values.

Together, Rebecca and a few others crafted a “Company Culture Statement” with associated values for what they are looking for in FarmAssist – our technical services division. I said, hey wait a second, why stop at FarmAssist – these values apply to me… they probably apply to the whole dang company. So here goes – this is what we, at The Farm not only believe in, but what we live by.

Culture Statement
At The Farm AV, we are committed to fostering a vibrant and healthy workplace that thrives on the principles of lifelong learning, innovation, curiosity, integrity, open communication, and work-life balance. Our culture is the backbone of our success, and we actively cultivate an environment where every team member feels empowered, supported, and motivated to excel.

  1. Lifelong Learning
    We embrace the concept of lifelong learning as a fundamental pillar of our culture. At The Farm, curiosity and the pursuit of knowledge are essential for our personal and professional growth. We provide opportunities for ongoing education, skill development, and knowledge-sharing. We encourage our team members to explore new ideas, learn from experiences, and stay ahead in the ever-evolving AV landscape.
  2. Innovation and Experimentation
    The Farm team is united foremost by our passion for problem-solving. We rely on the free exchange of ideas and solutions to constantly improve our work, embracing the challenge of contributing to the collective knowledge of our industry. Our drive for innovation is fueled by a shared commitment to pushing the boundaries of AV technology and leading the cutting edge of what this industry can achieve. We actively cultivate an environment that celebrates experimentation, understanding that this must be a safe space for those experiments to fail – because we know firsthand that the lessons learned through failure are often vital for success. Thoughtful risk-taking and continuous improvement are recognized here as integral parts of our professional journey and, more importantly, our personal growth as individuals.
  3. Humility and Curiosity
    We emphasize the importance of humility and self-awareness. We recognize that individual and collective success is best achieved when we remain open-minded, receptive to feedback, and willing to challenge our own assumptions. At The Farm, we value collaboration over competition, understanding that a healthy team dynamic relies on a culture of mutual respect, acknowledging the strengths of each team member, and fostering an environment where everyone’s contributions are valued. In this environment, acknowledging ‘I don’t know, but I can find out’ to our industry partners is essential to strengthening our relationships with them, as well as upholding our reputation as experts in our field.
  4. Professional Integrity
    Integrity is the bedrock of trust with our clients and among our team members, as well as the foundation of our credibility in the AV industry. This commitment to integrity begins with taking immense pride in providing superior services and products that our industry peers can depend on and setting the industry standard with our quality of work. Crucially, it also means recognizing that some mistakes are inevitable – and that embracing and taking responsibility for resolving them is the only way to maintain our high standards. We at The Farm understand that in order to embody this value, we have a responsibility to foster an environment where individuals feel empowered to act with integrity without fear of repercussions. This approach yields a culture of honesty and accountability, strengthening our internal bonds and reinforcing the trust we’ve earned from our colleagues and clients.
  5. Healthy Communication
    Clear and effective communication is the cornerstone of our thriving workplace here at The Farm. We prioritize transparent, honest, and respectful communication at all levels of our organization. Whether sharing ideas, providing feedback, or addressing challenges, we encourage an open dialogue that builds trust and strengthens relationships. Through active listening and thoughtful expression, we create an environment where suggestions and concerns are always thoughtfully considered and are considered crucial to guiding company decisions.
  6. Work-Life Balance
    We understand the importance of maintaining a healthy work/life balance. At The Farm, we recognize that peak performance is sustainable only when our team members have the time and space to recharge and live life outside of work. We promote flexible work arrangements, encourage employees to set boundaries, and provide the support needed to maintain a fulfilling equilibrium between professional and personal life.

At The Farm AV, our culture is not just a set of ideals; it’s a lived experience. We are committed to upholding these values, because they are all integral to our individual and shared success.

A genuine workplace culture can’t be manufactured. It’s something you feel. It’s something each and every employee emanates whether they know it or not. It’s eerily contagious if you’re lucky enough to have it and annoyingly enviable if you don’t.

I’m grateful every day I get to work with such amazing people. Products and technology come and go – but the people, the people who share your vision, who are open to all your wild, crazy (and sometimes terrible) ideas and who most importantly, share your values… that’s what makes it all worth it.

-Kelly Perkins, Marketing Director