Fitting in Like a Puzzle Piece: FMP’s Culture from the Perspective of New Hires

May 15, 2019 in
By Shareen Marhoumy

In last week’s blog, we introduced the truism “when in Rome…”, which suggests being flexible and adapting yourself to the customs and values of the people around you. Building off of that discussion, I wanted to explore culture from the perspective of new hires- using my recent experience and that of two other new FMPers. While our experiences speak to how we’ve adapted to FMP, the same lessons are true for new hires entering into any organization. 

Over the past 10 years I have made a couple of career changes and moved a lot, so adapting to new environments has become second nature for me. I believe being adaptable is useful in almost all situations (and it is actually one of FMP’s values that I identify with the most); however, I also believe that if you are able to fit into an organization like a puzzle piece and don’t need to adapt to their culture at all, then you’ve hit the jackpot. Being able to truly connect with an organization’s values can make all the difference in how satisfied a person will feel about their job (and their life). This means that showcasing an organization’s values should be a key part of the recruitment processes- allowing talented individuals insight into the values and culture before they decide to accept a position.

As a fairly new employee who started working at FMP about 6 months ago, I’ve already had the opportunity to not only benefit from, but also contribute towards, several pieces of FMP’s culture. This includes coordinating pet supply donations for a local animal shelter with our Charity Committee, joining the Work-Life Effectiveness Committee and writing content about health and wellness in our internal e-newsletter, playing second base on our (insanely talented) Softball team, attending the Adobe e-Learning Conference in DC, and receiving training on multiple e-learning development systems that I have been wanting to learn how to use for years. When I was hired, the initial plan was for me to spend 100% of my time on-site with one client; however, after the government shutdown and unforeseen changes to the project, FMP leadership instantly made sure I had other options, and since February I have worked on 10 different client projects and gained more experience than I could have imagined when I first started back in November 2018. 

I mentioned earlier that one of FMP’s values is Adaptability. I learned very quickly that I wouldn’t need to adapt to the culture at FMP the way I have in my previous roles, as I felt very comfortable from the start. I’m a quiet and introverted person, but I do enjoy being social and crave variety in my daily life, so it’s exciting to know I found somewhere I not only feel like I fit in, but also offers a wide range of opportunities for me to grow professionally. That said, I still find myself adapting every day while working with various clients and systems.

FMP also recently hired two new amazing team members, Joseph and Alexandra, so I decided to ask them a few questions to learn more about FMP’s culture from their fresh perspectives.

When did you start working at FMP?

Joseph: My first day was on March 25th, 2019.

Alexandra: Two months ago – I’m still super new! 

What stood out to you most about FMP’s culture while you were onboarding?

Joseph:Everything I learned about FMP through informational interviews and the hiring process has been embodied in every interaction I’ve had with my new colleagues. Everyone was not only friendly, but incredibly brilliant and willing to take the time to answer any questions I had. Whether it was related to projects or just general FMP questions that I had, every single person took that additional time with me, which left me feeling like I made a great choice to join the firm.

Alexandra:How incredibly prepared everyone was for my arrival. I’ve worked at places where the first day is usually a lot of sitting around because no one is really ready, but it was the exact opposite at FMP! I had a full week of activities and meetings, a desk and technology ready for me, and I got thrown into a project on my very first day! Not only that, but because of the way FMP involves many people in the interview process, it seemed like everyone already knew me and was excited for my arrival. It made me feel very valued and I appreciated it a lot.

What was different about the culture in your previous role(s)? 

Joseph:I worked for an awesome non-profit organization that focused on community well-being. The one drawback about the culture there was how laid-back everyone was- to the point where deadlines were missed and there was a general sense that it was okay. I appreciate the professional demeanor that FMP holds towards the work and the services we provide to our clients.

Alexandra:How quiet and focused everyone is. I came from CNN, where the open plan offices are loud and bustling with activity (and you could get caught on camera at any time!). But FMP is so, so quiet. Often consultants are at client sites or working elsewhere, and those in the office are very focused on their client work. None of this is a bad thing, just definitely something to get used to!

Did you need to adapt at all to fit in with FMP’s culture? 

Joseph:Not really. I believe FMP does a great job in selecting those that fit with the culture here during the hiring process. I believe the best way to learn is by asking questions and gaining experience in whatever competencies that you want to develop yourself in. FMP does an amazing job in satisfying all of those factors and is something that is encouraged at the firm.

Alexandra:I don’t think I have had to adapt to anything specific to FMP, because the company and its people have been so welcoming. I think there has been a bit of an adjustment to the consulting mindset, but I am enjoying the challenge. 

Which FMP value is most important to you?

Joseph:I’m going to cheat on this one and pick two values that are important to me. The first is Authenticity– in which all of the people I have met and work with are genuinely invested in sharing their knowledge relating to the projects/tasks I am working on. The second would be Partnership– in which the firm works collectively to produce highly viable deliverables in order to produce effective business outcomes for our clients. As a recent graduate who is still in the early phases of my career, I couldn’t be in a more perfect work environment where results are expected, but are done so through a “flat” org structure that promotes collaborative efforts. This has allowed me to provide contributions where I can, but to also learn from colleagues that I aspire to emulate from in a practitioner’s viewpoint.

Alexandra:Creativity. I love how our mantra is basically “Figure it out!”

So, there you have it- from the mouths of 3 new hires! While cultural fit may seem too nebulous to define and discuss during recruitment, our experiences highlight how important this element can be as someone transitions into the organization.

For more information on how you can improve your selection or onboarding processes to help candidates and new hires smoothly assimilate into your organization’s culture, please contact!