Typically, when a company describes itself as a family, it seems hokey and forced—no one can really like their co-workers that much, right?  And if I’m being honest, thinking about working every day with my own family makes me cringe.  Though there are some gripes from business reviews and organizational culture writers about treating employees like our own flesh and blood, there’s no doubt in the value of a familial atmosphere in the workplace, especially when it comes to small businesses.

This past weekend, Accuserv’s employees and their families were invited to celebrate the Christmas season at a venue in Louisville, complete with dinner, dessert and a special visit from Mr. Claus himself.  While the most perfectly cooked beef tenderloin and a plethora of cheesecake were among the highlights of this holiday festivity, it was very clear that the real excitement could be seen in the animated conversations and the chorus of greetings and laughs heard throughout the room.  Accounts Payable was mingling with Senior Account Executive.  Project Coordinator was regaling Sales Director with stories from last Christmas.  Chief Financial Officer was sharing a toast with Warehouse Manager.  And in those moments, titles and roles did not matter.  Not only were employees captured in their true form outside of the office, but their spouses, significant others and children were all celebrating being part of the Accuserv family, as well.

Sometimes it’s easy to look at an organization from the outside and deem that its value rests in hefty employee salaries, extended time off, or even the size of the office building.  What is so often overlooked is the company culture and the true importance of fostering a sense of family and teamwork that not only helps a business work toward its common goal, but motivates each employee to strive toward their own personal goals within the company.  The beauty of a small, close-knit business is knowing your co-workers on a personal level, and caring enough to push them to their highest professional level.

Accuserv started almost 20 years ago with four employees, in a tiny office, with more financial obligations than resources.  The core business was as crucial as it is with any start-up, but what was different about Accuserv was the principle that if we treat customers and employees like family, the money will come and we will grow organically into something phenomenal.  Even after increasing employee numbers tenfold, knocking down a few walls, and finding profits year after year, Accuserv still operates on the belief that customers and employees alike should be treated as our own kin.

The most priceless moment at the holiday party came a little later into the night as everyone was finishing with dessert (or perhaps even seconds or thirds).  A distant jingling echoed through the banquet hall, followed by a hearty belly laugh and the all-too-familiar, “ho, ho, ho!”  Santa Claus (bearing a striking resemblance to our warehouse director) walked through the grand double doors and took his seat in the velvet chair next to the oversized tree—presents stacked all the way up to the lowest branches.  Procurement Specialist’s daughter, IT Director’s son,  Director of Distribution’s trio of youngsters, and the Chief Executive Officer’s new grandbabies—all Accuserv family—one by one, stepped up to sit on Santa’s lap.  Mr. Claus took a moment to chat with each child before his Office Coordinator Elf passed him a meticulously purchased gift with each child’s name on it.  The reactions ranged between pure, heartfelt gratitude and America’s Funniest Home Videos.

It wasn’t long after the kids had ripped into their gifts that all Accuserv family members, young and old, wanted a turn to take a picture with Santa.  Although the older crowd didn’t get hand-picked gifts, we all got something more that night.  It wasn’t about our different roles, our different salaries or our different backgrounds.  It was about what a difference it makes when effort is put into treating employees and their clans like family.  It wasn’t about what Accuserv does as a company, it was about who we are as a culture.  -J

For more Accuserv Christmas party photos, check out our Facebook page.