Want to work at Image Group? Develop a thick skin.
The 20 employees of this Vancouver-based distributor welcome us with a breakfast party complete with local food (bagels with smoked salmon, onions and capers) and local drinks (beer mixed with Clamato, a tomato juice blend only found in Canada). With all the employees seated around the company's showroom table, the ribbing and good-natured teasing among the staffers is rampant. Some are making fun of one guy for losing money at the company's horse-racing staff outing. Others are critiquing the bar skills of the guy mixing the drinks this morning. And just about everybody chimes in to give a good ribbing to the guy who says he "threw his club further than his ball went" during Image Group's most recent golf outing.
Indeed, the trash talking is just about constant. And every single employee loves it – especially Laura Hansen, the company's president. "The people are absolutely my favorite part of this company," says Hansen, who began the business with her husband 20 years ago. "We look for people who are flexible and enjoy our culture. Basically, we look for somebody who doesn't have a carrot up their ass."
No doubt, she's found the right people to fill out her colorful company. Image Group has an extremely laid-back culture, complete with dogs in the office every day and celebrations to honor just about every occasion imaginable. There are barbecues, bingo games, bowling outings, trips to casinos, horse races, and parties for birthdays, anniversaries, and on this day, just to celebrate Friday.
The company is throwing a Friday morning party to ring in a long weekend celebrating Canada Day. They're mixing beer-and-Clamato cocktails (which none of the Road Tour crew had tried before) and thoroughly enjoying each other's company. "We're all a little bit crazy here, but we just love spending time with each other," Hansen says. "It makes work so much better when that's the environment you're working in."