Why team members at 5 Chicago tech companies love their company culture

by Alton Zenon III
July 25, 2019

With any job, it’s vitally important that you love what you do, but equally important is the environment in which you do that work. A person’s ability to reach their ultimate professional potential and be happy in the workplace is drastically affected by how much the company, their fellow team members and the overall atmosphere of the office supports those efforts. This is part of what defines company culture, and when it’s great, it can make an organization a place where those within it can thrive. 

We spoke to team members at five Chicago tech companies to learn more about what they love most about their company culture and how they’ve seen it embodied recently. 

 

McDonald’s Technology team members working at a laptop

Korrey Anderson, cybersecurity service manager of McDonald’s Technology, said there is a lot to love about the company’s culture — from team members being presented with opportunities to advance their skills, to a particular employee stepping up to the plate and going the extra mile to assist others.

 

What do you love most about your company culture, and why? 

Our culture — while being engaging, energetic and fun — is also supportive and nurturing. Personal and professional growth is not only encouraged but actively supported through mentoring, training resources and networking opportunities. McDonald’s encourages lateral movement across the organization to expand skills and knowledge and provides ample opportunities to become more involved in all aspects of the business. I love our culture because it emboldens employees to accomplish great things — both as they relate to our positions but also to our personal achievements.

Personal and professional growth is not only encouraged, but actively supported...I love our culture because it emboldens employees to accomplish great things.”

 

Tell us about a time when a teammate really exemplified your company culture and why that was meaningful to you.

During a transition period for our team, we were left short of staff and without a leader. Our teammate stepped up to fill that leadership role, keeping us focused and moving forward. He spent long nights and weekends not only on the responsibilities of his previous and interim role but also identifying new opportunities for the team to grow and expand its capabilities. 

Even while accomplishing all of this, he still took time to meet with myself and others who had no direct manager to ensure we were supported. He was always available when we needed help and offered advice for our development and growth. To him, leadership wasn’t just being in charge — it was supporting those around him and ensuring they had everything necessary to succeed. That is what I love about our culture — and the people like him who exemplify it every day.

 

 

Camelot Illinois team at outdoor event

According to Digital Campaign Specialist Kelly Hardy at Camelot Illinois, private manager of the Illinois Lottery, the company has a people-first culture that encourages everyone to live and work to their absolute best every day. She said this is exemplified through her interactions with a team member and their encouragement of one another.

 

What do you love most about your company culture, and why?

I love that Camelot Illinois works tirelessly to create a workspace that is aligned with our company goals and promotes creativity and innovation. There are constant improvements to the look and feel of the office, along with the functionality of our workspaces, that make it even more of a pleasure to come to work each day.

We aren’t just about doing the work, we’re also about building relationships, which makes for a better work environment.”

 

Tell us about a time when a teammate really exemplified your company culture and why that was meaningful to you.

We aren’t just about doing the work, we’re also about building relationships, which makes for a better work environment. Melissa Taylor [People Partner at Camelot who leads full-cycle recruitment] and I have built such a great working relationship that we’re each other’s accountability partners. Not only do we check in on what projects we’re working on and how things are going from time to time, but we also check in on our health and fitness. Melissa is really great about motivating others to be their best and recognizing them when they are.

 

Envoy Global team in group photo

Director of Product Management Greg Liegel said the culture of Envoy Global is one that is heavy on compassion and selflessness. He said that the company’s work as an immigration management platform makes that type of in-office atmosphere necessary and team members go out of their way to maintain it when it counts most.

 

What do you love most about your company culture, and why? 

Immigration can be a stressful and emotional experience — the outcome determines where people can live, what kind of work they can do, with whom they can fall in love and what dreams they can realize. What I love most about our culture is that our empathy for individuals on their immigration journey is reflected in our core values.

What I love most about our culture is that our empathy for individuals on their immigration journey is reflected in our core values.”

 

Tell us about a time when a teammate really exemplified your company culture and why that was meaningful to you.

As a company, we have to be extremely responsive and thorough in everything we do, especially given the speed with which immigration policy changes and the impact those changes can have on our customers. For the product and tech teams, that recently meant working nights and weekends to build and launch a new feature to ensure that our customers’ needs were met and that their employees were able to keep moving forward on their immigration journey. 

 

20spokes team working in conference room

20spokes is a design and development firm whose wide variety of services help companies improve their technology infrastructure and design elements. Founder and CEO Ryan Fischer said he loves two key aspects of his company’s culture: failure and team members rallying together to help one another. 

 

What do you love most about your company culture, and why?

I love how everyone on our team is able to contribute to our culture collectively. Our team is small and made of different individuals who come together to make a culture that is always growing with those joining us. 

One constant aspect of our culture is our support of failing. We always celebrate successes, but over time have found our approach to failure has been key to our team. There’s always going to be a time where something does not go as planned, but we find it more important to learn and grow from it than anything else. That has been critical to our team as we are constantly working with cutting-edge technology and new ideas. It has created a culture that can provide support when needed, and instead of stressful situations, we look at how to move forward. 

Over time have found our approach to failure has been key to our team...we find it more important to learn and grow from it than anything else.”

 

Tell us about a time when a teammate really exemplified your company culture and why that was meaningful to you.

In a very recent situation, I discovered I was going to be out sooner than expected with the arrival of my son. Not just one person, but the entire team was ready to support me. They took the initiative and started prepping immediately to make sure I was covered in the expedited time I was going to be leaving. Their willingness and thoughtful approach allowed me to put my attention where it needed to be. We have many situations where the team supports each other outside the typical day-to-day work, always showing how our team is made of good people.

 

cleverbridge team in outdoor party

Employee Experience Manager Laura Winegardner from cleverbridge, the e-commerce optimization platform, shared examples of how camaraderie is one of the pillars of the company’s culture and why she appreciates that.

 

What do you love most about your company culture, and why? 

I absolutely love the supportive relationships that develop at cleverbridge. Employees are encouraged to be their authentic selves, and this ties to developing meaningful connections — both personally and professionally. I actually look forward to coming into the office on Fridays because I know at the end of the day people will hang around to unwind and laugh together over a beer.

Employees are encouraged to be their authentic self and this ties to developing meaningful connections.”

 

Tell us about a time when a teammate really exemplified your company culture and why that was meaningful to you?

One of our employees decided to host an instructor-led paint night at the office, and she played the role of the guide. She was so excited she even practiced her composition at home to prepare — a UFO descending over a mountain range. I love that she was able to share her passion for art with us in such an engaging and vulnerable way. It felt so special to see how much joy she experienced simply being able to do something like this at work.

 

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