Written by: Dimitar Popov
One thing that I’ve noticed at Nestle, which has been very different from my previous work experiences, is the importance of employee-to-employee as well as employee-to-manager relationships outside of work. It seems like every week management or employees organize casual after-work events where large groups of people socialize and develop relationships.
The first week we went to a Korean BBQ in Koreatown (the greatest thing ever – if you ever get the chance you must try it) and an Irish Pub/Bar (Side note: L.A.’s Koreatown has around 350,000 people living in less than 5 mile square radius – crazy tight!). It was a perfect opportunity to get to know some of my coworkers on a more personal level.
The second week, one of the managers held a cookout. Everyone brought family, kids, and friends to the event making it very pleasant. The house where we had the barbeque was once on a house make-over show – so I guess you could say it was sort of a big deal.
Some other work-related after-work events have been: a kickball league (after which every kickball player gets specials at a bar), a golf league (T expenses covered by Nestle), and many happy hours. It is common for management to pick up the tab at these events.
This is definitely my favorite thing about Nestle. Although employees maintain a distance with their managers and are very respectful, management supports social and informal gatherings that make this relationship less official and a lot of more friendly. It makes the workplace a much more comfortable environment and it eliminates intimidation typically caused by titles.
As an intern, I’ve gotten to bond with coworkers and supervisors on an even greater level than the average employee. This is due to an HR effort called the Buddy-Intern program. Each intern is assigned a Buddy – a coworker, typically from similar background as the intern (my buddy is an OSU grad) that helps the intern adapt to the company culture. A Buddy is given a budget that is to be spent strictly on fun events outside of work. So far me and my Buddy (her name is Hannah) have gone to an Incubus concert (coincidentally, my favorite band), and bowling (yes, even in California, where there are limitless opportunities to have fun, people choose to go bowling – which can only mean that bowling really is that fun!). Even though it was my 4th Incubus concert, the show was still incredible. It was at the Hollywood Bowl, an open amphitheater that sits in the hills beneath the Hollywood sign (really cool at night). The other interns and their Buddies came as well and the 6 of us had a blast. Before the concert we picnicked, ate sushi, cheese and crackers.
This weekend we are going to a place called the Getty and we’ll hopefully be taking a Surfing lesson sometime in August. Man, I love the Buddy program! Too bad it ends once you get a real job… I wonder if they’d let me intern twice…
Something else that’s helped me develop relationships with coworkers and supervisors at Nestle is being a Buckeye. There are a lot of Buckeyes around here… seriously, it’s kind of bizarre. Just in my department, 30-40% of the employees are OSU alums. I guess that makes sense… since OSU does have one of the Best Logistics Programs in the nation. My boss’s boss, the Director of Logistics, is the biggest Buckeye fan I’ve ever met. He goes back to Ohio to watch every home game. I’m happy with this, as I get brownie points for being a Buckeye.
That’s it for now. Next time i’ll probably give you a little more detail on my projects. I’m halfway through my internship, so things are beginning to get a little tough. Due dates are approaching and I’m getting pretty busy with work.
I’m still working on getting together a Flickr page where I can post all my pictures… be patient!