We are often asked in interviews how big our project teams are and the truth is, they come in all sizes. I spent the first two years with SEI-Atlanta working on a project with at least two other consultants. I loved seeing my co-workers every day and leveraging their experience and talents to broaden my own skillset as well as to take advantage of every opportunity to do the same for them.
But for the past four months, I’ve been working on a client site as the only SEIer in a new part of the organization. This work is every bit as challenging and strategically engaging, but I am representing SEI “solo”. What has been interesting is that, even though I miss the daily interaction with fellow consultants, I feel just as connected and plugged in as ever. How is this possible? SEI is serious about keeping their employees connected and providing opportunities to collaborate and contribute. We don’t wait or hope that this connectivity will happen – we put programs and events in place to make certain this happens. There are many efforts taking place in all of our offices, but these are just a few of the initiatives going on in Atlanta:
- 6 degrees of Collaboration Lunches: One consultant thought it would be helpful to organize lunches with groups of 6 (or so) employees who don’t currently work on the same projects or with the same client. These groups are organized and they schedule their time together based on availability. It’s a great excuse to socialize with co-workers you might not normally see.
- Staff Meetings: One of the most surprising and refreshing aspects of my first few months at SEI was how much I looked forward to our twice monthly staff meetings. They tend to be like a mini reunion of SEIers and a great chance to get together to talk business and update each other on the latest goings on in our lives.
- Ladies Nights Out and Other Social Events: Having participated in our twice annual Ladies Nights Out (which involve the women of the office and the wives and girlfriends of the men of the office), I can say that they’re some of the most fun we have together as group. In the past year, the office has also enjoyed a Braves Game, an afternoon of shooting clays with the fellas, events with Advocates and their newbies, our summer picnic, a Top Golf Happy Hour, a Casino Night, bowling at Painted Pin, and the annual holiday party.
- Business Community Events: From Women in Technology (WIT) events, to Data Management International (DAMA), to the Atlanta Analytics User Group, there are always breakfasts, lunches, and meetings to attend with fellow SEIers who are passionate about an industry or focus.
- Community Service Events: In 2014 alone, SEI supported The Atlanta Community Food Bank, Camp Twin Lakes, Camp Horizon, the Drake House, Lift Up Atlanta, Trees Atlanta, The Atlanta Children’s Shelter, Everybody Wins! Atlanta, Toys for Tots, and the Atlanta VA Medical Center. And that’s just one office!
- Interviews, Initiative Team Meetings, and Lunches Just Because: There are so many other great reasons to get together with another SEIer, and these are just a few of them.
With all of this activity, it’s easy to see how SEI remains an organization full of engaged and professionally fulfilled employees. Hopefully this will provide you with a few ideas to consider if you’re ever working solo.