The Culture of being cool

Friday, June 30, 2017

What exactly makes a cool workplace? 

It has long been said that if you love what you do then you never have to work a day in your life. Whether you prescribe to this belief or not, it's no secret that happier employees are more likely to be loyal to your company and produce a better standard of work. For this reason we are seeing more and more companies inventing innovative new ways of keeping their employees happy, healthy and motivated. However, you don't need to be a Fortune 500 company to see the benefits of this. Learn how the pros have been driving excellence and how you can apply it to your own business. 

Know Your Employees 
By far the best way to start is to ensure that you properly understand your employees. Know what kind of people they are. What do they do on their weekends? How are their families doing? Who are they barracking for on My Kitchen Rules? These questions will yield some of the most powerful information for you to utilise. On top of that, it also builds a strong company culture. 

In the constantly innovative realm of Silicon Valley this approach has long been practised by Google. The company is committed to empowering their workforce and has even gone to the length of hiring a team of social scientists to fully understand their employees. In addition to this they also hold weekly TGIF meetings whereby half an hour is committed to delivering company news and the other half to a Q&A session where all employees can directly pose questions to the CEO. 

The results speak for themselves. It makes team members feel safe to take risks, it makes them more dependable, it clarifies goals and gives meaning to their work. It's no surprise that with an ethos like this Google has long ranked first as Fortune 500's best company to work for. 

The best thing about this is that you don't need to hire a team of social scientist to dissect the inner workings of your employee's minds. Getting to know your employees can be as easy as sitting down and getting a cup of coffee. If that's not feasible, write up a survey and distribute it. Find out not only what makes them tick, but also their thoughts regarding the company. What do they think of working for you? Do they have any concerns? Do they have any aspirations? These are the small details that make a big difference. 

Develop a Fun Culture 
It may be a place of business but that doesn't mean that you can't have fun from time to time. The more you break down the perception that work has to be a chore the more likely an employee will be willing to turn up on time and with the right attitude. 

Let's take American biotechnology firm Genentech for example. On April Fool's Day 2015 the company decided to have a bit of a laugh by posting a phony article on their intranet informing that goats would now be used to do the company landscaping, adding that employees would be able to adopt the goats and that research had proven that the creatures were more productive when they interacted with humans. Want to know the icing on the cake? The company actually brought live goats into the workplace. The stunt was an astounding success with many employees raving and stating it demonstrates why they love working for Genentech. 

April Fool's Day pranks can be tricky enough to pull off in a personal setting let alone in a professional business environment. That being said for those who dare to think outside the box and be a bit brave with their strategies there are definite advantages to be gained. 

Develop Unique Company Perks
Is there anything you can offer your employees that they can't get anywhere else? Offering unique company perks can make you stand out, help retain employees as well as become more attractive to prospective job seekers. 

It's no secret that Google is king when it comes to company perks. The plethora of benefits include three free gourmet meals a day, unlimited snacks, free massage credits, nap pods, unlimited sick days, onsite medical facilities and so much more. Perks such as these are not financially feasible for most companies but Google also has some low-key benefit that can be more easily mimicked. Communal bikes/scooters, rec rooms, fitness classes and allowing pets to be brought to the workplace are all examples of benefits that can be replicated without to large a financial burden. 

Paid Volunteer Work 
Another trend that has been popular amongst top rating workplaces is the introduction of paid volunteer work for employees. This has been successful way to boost employee morale by allowing and encouraging them to pursue their philanthropic interests. 

The Boston Consulting Group is a great example of this in action. Their employees are able to take a Social Impact Leave of Absence from anywhere between three to twelve months. Their work has gone on to benefit causes such as the World Food Program, the Gates Foundation and the Clinton Health Access initiative. 

Many can easily overlook the importance of creating a 'cool' workplace however it is a pivotal part in running a thriving business. Take a page or two out of the books of these industry giants and see what you can apply to your own business.

The Culture of being cool

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