Core Values Series: Enjoy What We Do

To celebrate Nexus PMG’s seven-year anniversary, I’m taking a deeper dive into our core values as a company and how they are influencing, changing, and improving Nexus PMG. Our shared core values, both professionally and personally, are:

To build a better world

To be better people and continually improve, and

To enjoy what we do. 

This week, I’m taking a look at what it means to enjoy what we do. 

Company Culture 

For those that have been keeping up with my overview of our core values, a continuous theme has been the centrality of company culture in making our core values meaningful, successful and impactful. If the company culture does not support building a better world, continuously improving and enjoying what we do, the core values won’t be successful.

Enjoying what we do means different things to different people. As an owner of the company, it’s most enjoyable for me to see employees, contractors, clients, and all stakeholders that share our values and are enthusiastic about projects and initiatives that help to build a better world. That enthusiasm often shows in their work and through successful projects. Nexus PMG was built upon the enthusiasm of driving each other to succeed. In the company’s formative years, that enjoyment was shared with the three founding partners. Today, with a much larger team, we must figure out what helps individuals enjoy being a part of Nexus PMG. This means structuring teams around philosophies that promote a culture of enjoying what we do.

Back to Basics

Pick up any management textbook and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs will be addressed. It outlines basic needs, psychological needs, and self-fulfillment needs of individuals. These are the factors that motivate people. My business partner and co-founder of Nexus PMG, Ben Hubbard, is examining this subject and expanding on a modern take of Maslow’s work. While these approaches cannot capture the immense complexity of making people happy, they do help to contextualize how we’re trying to make working at Nexus PMG enjoyable and give us a broad starting point to work from. 

The physiological needs identified by Maslow center around these basic human rights and requirements are food and water, shelter, sleep, safety, health and wellness, and security. Here’s how we work to meet these basic needs at Nexus PMG.

Safety

On all infrastructure projects, safety is the priority in everything we do. This is no different whether in the office or on a project site. With most of our employees coming from large EPC backgrounds, we’re naturally well-drilled in the safety-first culture. We begin meetings with a safety topic and address safety concerns before and immediately as they arise. Safety is everybody’s responsibility at Nexus PMG with no exceptions. 

Health & Wellness

We focus heavily on health and wellness. In addition to our goal-driven and flexible work policies that make personal time easier, we’re always looking for ways to improve and encourage the health and wellness of our employees and everyone around us. We recently held a book club meeting on this exact subject. A number of the health topics that were the subject of our chosen books have been widely discussed and shared throughout the company with my own priority of getting more quality sleep as a key focus. 

Security

Security, in the modern sense, relates to financial security, among other aspects. It’s been a tough year for most if not all companies to guarantee security. But our company strategy is built on longevity. We have a long-term positive view on sustainable infrastructure at a macro level and long-term decision-making at a micro level, including diversifying into underserved markets. As an example, this year, Nexus PMG has expanded to become a provider of development capital for early-stage projects and into startup and operational optimization, particularly focused on distressed assets and platforms. 

Psychological Needs

While the needs above apply to everyone and provide a solid foundation of a safe, healthy and secure culture, psychological needs including emotional relationships, appreciation and self-esteem require a more individualistic approach. 

With every new hire we make at Nexus PMG, we determine the impact the individual will have on the team as a whole. We generally hire from larger companies, and the appeal of Nexus PMG comes from the fact that we’re innovative and entrepreneurial. We generally hire people who have realized that the large corporate environment is not ideal for them and they’re looking for a change. The nature of the people that join our team allows for collaboration and knowledge-sharing in the office through formal and informal structures, as opposed to a traditional large-corporate style of formal structures related to getting the work done. 

With the challenges faced in 2020 due to the pandemic, building a team that feels like a family has been a significant challenge. Previously, we held events and in-person meetings with new team members prior to virtual work, providing the opportunity to get to know each other. We’ve adapted to virtual meetings and for some in the company, it’s been all they know. With this change, the ability to form teams and bonds has changed. Our employee feedback shows that the strength of our teams is as strong as before. In some cases, it’s actually better. An employee at our Addison office can now work with an employee in New York City and form an effective relationship. While we have adapted, I believe the chance to build on these virtual interactions is vital. We look forward to more team building and company events in the post-pandemic world. 

Self-esteem and related needs play a huge part in enjoying what we do. In my opinion, creating a respectful culture is paramount. Respect can come in many forms. One form of respect we observe is encouraging that shortcomings be embraced and addressed rather than hidden with a mentality of “papering over the cracks.” We encourage our team members to be patient and respect differing levels of ability and experience. In communication with each other and our clients and all stakeholders, we ensure that our communication is respectful at all times. 

Status and recognition are equally as important at an individual level to maintain the drive to succeed. We have recently filled vacancies from within by promoting existing employees. While some employees appreciate the added challenge and thrive with a new challenge, others may find added responsibility daunting and need an adjustment period. The management team at Nexus PMG has created a new deep end for those that thrive with the challenge, and support systems for those who need them. Both methods have been incredibly successful at creating an environment where the newly-promoted employee is comfortable. It’s a pleasure to be able to see the enjoyment that an employee gains from the recognition as they excel in a bigger pond.

Self-Actualization

Finally, Maslow introduced the need for self-actualization, which is the individual’s need to achieve their full potential as human beings. Seeing people as our responsibility, employees are encouraged to be themselves, and experimentation and learning from failure are simply part of how we operate. Ultimately, self-actualization falls under the umbrella of our core value to build better people—or as I like to put it, to be better people and continually improve

Basic, But Better

Whether you’re thinking about joining the Nexus PMG team, considering a career move, or dedicated to strengthening your company culture, I hope learning about how we do things has helped. Of course, it’s difficult to express the dynamics of core values with static words on a page. Our core values continuously adapt and evolve as we grow the company, grow as individuals, and work to build a better world. The key is to enjoy every moment of it. 

Read more Nexus Insights.

Paul Hammond