Karyn Buxman

Catching Up With Karyn

When Humor is Part of The Corporate Culture

I had the chance to sit around the table with the most fun bunch of people recently. They weren’t humorists or comediennes—but they were funny as all get out—kind of like Seinfeld meets healthcare. And they love their work.

Moe Green, founder of Classic Care Pharmacy started his business 10 years ago with a handful of people. Today he has over 120 employees and services 125 long term care facilities. The corporate culture is fun, and his staff and his customers are raving fans.

While having lunch with two of the team (Judy and Girish) they told me they hate to miss even a day of work. “There’s something going on everyday, and most of the time it’s fun!” they said. Apparently the rest of the staff agrees with them. The camaraderie and team spirit is palpable when you walk in the office.

As far as retention goes, people who come on board tend to stay on board. “We don’t brag too loudly to others about how good we have it here,” teased a couple of gals following my after-dinner entertainment. “We don’t want a bunch of other people vying for our jobs!”

From chatting with Moe, two keys to Classic Care’s success became obvious. First, he’s a firm believer in empowering his people. “When issues come up, I let them make decisions. There’s rarely an issue that is life or death.” Engaging his employees in company matters helps them to feel ownership. Once a month he holds a “State of The Union” address where he collects all 125 people and gives them updates on what’s going on and gets their feedback. And all of the executive team have an open door policy.

Second, fun is part of the corporate culture and it begins with the interview process. Moe is looking to hire for attitude and if the interviewee isn’t comfortable with the joking and teasing that goes on with the interview committee, then it’s made clear that this is part of the culture. If he or she feels uncomfortable, then perhaps they would be better off working elsewhere—the company isn’t going to change its culture just because someone doesn’t want to play along. Throughout the year, employees spend time together at potlucks, bar-b-ques, sports and just hanging out. They are an extended family.

The weekly executive meetings usually include gales of laughter. “Sometimes staff will come over and close our door because we’re laughing so loud,” Moe admitted.

What’s the result of all this? It comes as no surprise that Classic Care Pharmacy Ottawa was just named one of The Top 10 Employers in the National Capital Region (based on engagement, leadership and over-all employee satisfaction). This award was not just for healthcare but for businesses across the province. And Classic Care continues to grow at an astounding rate: 30% in the last 10 months!

When humor is part of the corporate culture, businesses can enjoy tremendous financial success—but that’s not all. George Burns once said, “Do something you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” It seems that Classic Care employees will never have to “work” again—and with clients as fun as Classic Care, neither will I!

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