Being Human First at Integrated Work

Being Human First at Integrated Work

Apr 5, 2019

Being Human First at Integrated Work

By: Jessica G. Hartung 

In 1998, when Integrated Work was founded, I had a oneyear old baby, and a lot of difficult work experiences in my past.  Even then I was clear that being deliberate about our culture was job one. We focused on cultivating our company culture in the early days, and today because it helps us align our values and our behaviors, and allows us to create a great way to work in community.  

The toxic work cultures in my past emphasized only my productivity and output as a worker. I believed then, and now that we are humans first, and workers second.  Being a mom only furthered my view that it was possible and necessary to work in ways that honored our humanity.  

Our first value at Integrated Work is to care for one another as humans first.  High-quality relationships are the foundation of our success.  We bring our full selves to what we do – that is how we unleash creativity, and commitment to progress.  Establishing that as a baseline has been key to our long-term collaborations with staff clients, contractors and partners. 

We are fortunate that the diversity of our clients, their concerns, stories and positive impact in the world enriches our lives. We have worked hard to ensure that we earn that right by bringing our best selves, and showing up with compassion, humor and encouragement, even when we are tired, stressed from travel or challenged by differing points of view. Perhaps especially when we are challenged! 

In 2008, I wrote a letter to “Current and Future Staff of Integrated Work” to help share some of the why behind this value.  

Here is an excerpt: 

“…Fulfilling work is a game between the ears – it is the choices we make daily and hourly to make this moment count, for ourselves, for our clients and for the great gifts they have within to benefit the world.   

It is this for which we train, for which we hone our skills, read, read and learn some more, and schlep paper and computers across the country.  It is for this we train with constant attention to our values, and improving and deepening the strength of our abilities to use our gifts to unleash others.  

May you know the satisfaction of giving your best, your complete self to the moment, and to have that moment become a ripple of light that shines outward.” 


Being human first means ennobles work to become a place where we share our gifts and inspire others to do the same.  

This is how our value of Human First reads today on our website: 

Human First: 

We put our humanity and that of our clients, in all of its diversity, first in all that we do. We know that we all do our best work when we can be our best selves and show up with compassion and a sense of humor. 

Forged in twenty-one years of service, being human first at work is where we always begin at Integrated Work.