Why every office should be a little more like a fraternity house

Every time I sit down on a plane and strike up one of those single-serving conversations with the guy in 17C, I look forward to the obligatory  “so what do you do?” question. Each time I launch in to my answer, I begin by explaining that I am a professional fraternity guy.

As you can imagine, this answer is immediately followed by laughter and sarcastic inquiries as to whether my job entails teaching bros how to do keg stands, get girls and purchase the perfect pastel polo (it doesn’t, by the way). As I begin to explain what my job actually entails, I always end up espousing the joy of going to work everyday with people who share a core understanding of the organization’s values and contribute to a positive culture.

Since graduating college, the Pi Kappa Phi National Headquarters is the only work environment I’ve ever experienced. It’s been amazing to share a vision and a culture of brotherhood with my coworkers (both male and female). Don’t get me wrong; it’s not all kumbaya, bro hugs and unadulterated successes. Just like biological brothers, there are times when we disagree, bicker and frustrate, but at the end of the day we trust that we have a common vision and a bond based on the values of the organizations. We share a faith that this culture will allow us to guide the fraternity to grow, educate our men and provide an opportunity for lifelong friendship.

After four years of growing with the organization and creating the social media culture, I am ready to head out into the world in search of my next opportunity. As I search for that opportunity (in New Orleans if anyone reading this is currently hiring), one of the most important factors in my search is finding a cultural fit. I want an office environment that feels like a fraternity. Not the hyper-masculine, binge drinking, Animal House-style fraternity, but the empowering, encouraging fraternity that understands that friendship and a shared set of values lie at its core.

I want to work with men and women who understand the values of the company, who care about one another and contribute as a team to the organization’s success.

As someone who has only had one post-college employer, I don’t know how prevalent that type of business environment is. But in an age where people have the opportunity to deeply connect to their favorite business, brand or organization, I think it is incredibly important to create that culture in order to allow employees to grow themselves, contribute to the success of the company and build a relationship with consumers.

How much stronger would our businesses be if we had an 8-week new employee education process? If socials were a regular occurrence between employees? If continued education and self-governance were mandated?

I think it’d be awesome. I think a business like that would be a place where employees thrive and consumers connect. And I’m hoping to pledge a company like that in the very near future.

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16 thoughts on “Why every office should be a little more like a fraternity house

  1. Haha just noticed that our blogs share the same WordPress template –> http://sigmanublog.com/. Great minds think alike, after all. Ha. I enjoyed the post, Bradley. Good stuff.

  2. Ben Wagner says:

    Those jobs exist, and there are many people (myself included) that can’t wait to get to work each day. Like everything as an adult, these jobs won’t just be handed to you. Every company and organization operates on their own set of values, and finding a work environment that aligns with your personal values can be a challenge. Oftentimes, those values are never made public, and a frustrating number of companies that do publicize their values don’t actually live up to them in the day-to-day operations.

    I went through Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For and read every single entry for the past 5 years. I wanted to know why people enjoyed these companies so much, and how each company treated their employees. There were many places on that list that I would not have enjoyed because of conflicting values, but it gave me a frame of reference for what was available and a handful of places that would all qualify as a dream job. Finding a fulfilling job where I felt like I was family was very important to me, and this served as a great resource. Maybe it can help you:

    http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/best-companies/

    • You’ve always been phenomenal at leg work, Benny Wags. That’s for sharing these thoughts and the Best Companies resource. So glad you’ve found a family-like fit. I do miss you though, brother.

  3. Camille says:

    This is fantastic. I will IMMEDIATELY share this my sales office. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Thanks, Camille! So glad you enjoyed it. I started in recruiting with Pi Kappa Phi and this type of culture was what made me comfortable with going out and selling our experience to other men.

  4. John Lowry says:

    Startups are a great place for finding this office environment. Sometimes all you have is a shared vision and set of values and you NEED friendship to get through long days and nights.

  5. It’s true, these companies do exist and you already have a head start by knowing that’s the kind of company you’re looking for (don’t settle until you find the right fit)! After bad experiences with previous employers, I wanted a company who respected and supported it’s employees. At my current employer, we even have “cultural ambassadors” who interview every potential candidate for their cultural fit. Many people don’t realize they aren’t just searching for a job they’re searching for a culture.

    You should pick up a copy of The Method Method, they talk a lot about the importance of company culture in the book…sounds like you would enjoy the read. Good luck!

    • Wow. I love the idea of cultural ambassadors. Do they also continue to work with new hires during the on-boarding process? It would be so helpful to have an introduction like that.

      Oh, and thanks for the book recommendation! I will have to add The Method Method to my Amazon Wish list.

  6. Charles – thanks for the post and keep up the good work! I like what you have to say. Keep saying it!

    • Thanks, Kurt! I’ll be sure to keep at it. Whitby told me a little about your blog this morning over bagels. I enjoying breezing over it and look forward to diving in.

  7. Geof says:

    What are you looking for in the New Orleans Area?

    • Hi Geof, I’m mostly looking for communications jobs. Ideally something along the lines of social media, public relations and/or marketing. Thanks for reaching out! If you have any ideas for me, feel free to email me at bradley . charlesworth @ gmail . com

  8. Shira says:

    That looks like the Pi Kappa Phi house at University of Washington!

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