Culture at Genesis Feed Tech
I’ve had my share of company culture experiences. As a girl who has worked in grocery store to coffee shop to nursing home to ag electronics, I’ve learned what I do and don’t like about a company’s culture. In college, they tell us to pay attention to company culture when job searching. I’ve been taught that it has one of the greatest impacts on job satisfaction. I thought I knew what that meant… However, it wasn’t until working at Genesis Feed Technologies, as an intern, that I learned the true impact of company culture.
What is Culture
Company culture might refer to attitudes of a company and it’s employees. This may also entail the core values of a company and how it makes decisions. Do they stand on their mission statement? How does a company follow through with it’s values in everyday work? I’ve come to realize that a company with a strong culture is one whose very bottom-line employees believe in their mission. Does the CEO care about the intern? Does the intern speak highly of the CEO?
I was inspired by Genesis Feed Technologies before even knowing what it was. The CEO and founder of GFT, Peter Schott, introduced me to the company and was excited as he explained what they were hoping to accomplish in the next few years. His zealous personality and passion for quality coffee distracted me from realizing that our conversation was an interview. Five months later, here I am as a data analyst and customer success intern. I went from working comfortably at a large corporation with generous pay, to interning at GFT. It was a pay decrease, less security, and no guarantee of work after college. WHY? Why would a student, young in her career, willingly choose to take the risky route?!
Because the culture at GFT is worth it.
Genesis Feed Tech’s culture is rooted in innovation. GFT is an ingredient purchasing software platform with an impressive goal to educate and enable the feed industry. Their aim is to change the conversation on how feed ingredients (like soy) are valued and traded. A commodity like soybeans is generally traded on certain grade factors, but that doesn’t mean they are graded on what factors are the most important to consumers. GFT is trying to get these commodities accurately traded for their overall nutritional value, not only on price and protein levels.
They hope to redefine ingredient trade centered around nutritional value. Animal nutritionists and feed producers are now able to make better buying decisions with the cost analysis data in GFT’s Nutrition Value Calculator. GFT has gained support from the US Soybean Export Council and North Dakota Soybean Council. This company doesn’t only want to improve ingredient trade, but hopes to improve the entire supply chain, all the way to the farmers. This company is embracing a culture of innovation to make a big change in agriculture. For more info on Genesis Feed Technology, I recommend visiting their website: https://www.genesisfeedtech.com.
The Boss Man
To help describe my experience with culture, I’ll have to describe my boss. To put him in simple terms, Peter Schott is a human who treats others like humans. He is transparent, empathetic, driven, and unforgivably unique. He practices positive reinforcement and encourages autonomous work. Before getting into details of tasks for the week, Peter always asks how I’m doing. I don’t feel like I am just a number (like in many large corporations), I feel like a valued employee. I have worked in places where my boss didn’t contact me for weeks-on-end and then only for a 30-minute chat where I sat and listened. I’m not opposed to larger companies, but there is something to be said about employees knowing they are valued. When I began to feel like just a number in my past jobs, I lost motivation and purpose in my work. I look forward to going to work at GFT. My boss treats me like I’m a real person.
People or Objects
Are you treating your employees with kindness so they feel cared about or do you genuinely care about them? In the book, Leadership and Self-deception, we learn that employees know when you’re being fake. They know how you feel about them and see right through the frilly words you speak to them. What’s more interesting, an employee knows when they are looked at as an object. If your only conversations with employees are about getting tasks completed, you may be treating them like an object without even realizing it.
Peter has told me many times that I am not “just an intern” and he’s actually given me the title “Head of Customer Success,” (yes, I am the only employee in Customer Success haha). I’ve been reminded that I am smart enough to figure something new out and have been asked for my opinion on website and logo designs. I feel very challenged and empowered in the work that I am doing. I really believe that what I’m doing matters, because my boss treats me like I matter.
Genesis Feed Tech cares about the personal development of it’s employess. 20% of my internship focusses on personal development. Part of this is meeting with industry leaders and gaining female mentors. I have had the opportunity to meet with women who are true rockstars at what they do: Koddee Furst and Cindy Peterson to name a couple. I’ve also been given the opportunity to go through an Intercultural Competency Development Course (IDI). This helped me assess my intercultural competency and provided actionable results and goals so I can continue to grow. This is important for anyone in any job, but will specifically benefit me as I work with people from other countries.
Another fun event that I’ve been involved with is the GFT Book Club! Each week, we spend at least 30 minutes reviewing chapters of a popular book on leadership. We spend time discussing a few chapters and applying it to our own lives. The emphasis on employee development shows that GFT’s culture is very focussed on employee character. I’ve learned to have humility and ask questions, yet am still challenged to figure things out on my own. I’ve never been asked to be perfect, only to put true effort into my work. GFT’s culture encourages me to be myself. I don’t have to feel like an imposter at work.
Work is Enjoyable?
To add on to the culture of being treated like humans, we also have freedom to act like humans. From casually listening to 50’s music to gathering decorations to make the office more festive, we have our share of fun. I have personally enjoyed the sprinkle of sarcasm at work. I never thought I’d see the project manager double-dog-dare GFT’s co-founder to dance at the end of a zoom call. I also never expected to learn about Star Trek as an explanation of a casual meme. We get to enjoy work and are still productive. I’ve still been able to learn a lot about animal nutrition, the feed industry, customer analytics, and all about soybeans. A little fun makes the job more enjoyable and has lifted my spirit during tasks that feel more mundane.
I Never Thought I’d Learn…
- How to make pour-over coffee
- What a bag phone is
- The difference between broilers and layers
- How to build my own desk
- How to use a label maker (as seen to the left)
- The importance of amino acids
- How to mail bulk items
- What orthorectification is
- That my opinion matters, even in a meeting full of experts
- That a walk a day keeps the bad moods away
As I continue interning at Genesis Feed Technologies, I hope to grow in the area of business analytics and customer service. Not only this, but I hope to grow as an individual. The culture at GFT can be described as innovative, transparent, connected, empowering, and having high-integrity. The people I work with daily are quality people who care about quality work. I consider myself lucky to get the opportunity to work in a place whose culture is forward-thinking, yet still thinks about its employees. I feel valued, I feel empowered, and I actually want to go to work on Mondays.
I recommend taking a lesson or two from this young company about the ways it celebrates and invests in employees.