With the month of February upon us, we asked Klean Kanteen Co-Owner Michelle Kalberer to share some thoughts on the role of love, respect and fun within the walls of Klean Kanteen HQ.
I walked into the lunchroom and stood in the doorway. It’s our monthly happy hour at Klean. Gold fish, pretzels and fruit are on the table and tropical IPA is on tap. Laughter throughout the room is what I observe as our staff, for this one hour, relax, re-connect, unwind, and once again listen to one of Richard's crazy jokes! There is no department separation. There is no org chart or hierarchy of staff. There is just one group of people who respect each other, trust each other, and have fun together. This is our family. We don’t have to leave love at home before we leave for work each day.
February is the month to celebrate love, and I feel so fortunate that at Klean Kanteen we have built a culture that fosters trust, instills respect, and creates inspiration. Some may think love is a concept that is fuzzy and soft, that you really can’t take it seriously at work. But love is a basic human experience and given how much time we spend at work, it’s silly to think it shouldn’t be a part of our work lives.
So, we embrace it! This does not mean we have a hug-fest every day. It means that we have ethics and values, where we treat each other with respect and understand that we are trying to be our best selves, even in times of stress. We can have a fierce conversation one moment, and in the very next moment, laugh with each other in a competitive game of Red Light, Green Light at the skating rink! This is because we behave like decent human beings that are cared for and supported.
It’s easy to love one another, because we are family.