A company is only as strong as its internal culture. When trepidation begins to creep into the fabric of the business, employees lose their dedication to management and their boss, potentially causing seismic shifts in the company’s very foundation. Worried, unhappy and disgruntle workers lead to a drop in productivity, an inferior quality of work and, eventually, a loss of customers and sales revenue. Yet why do so many companies fail to maintain employee happiness? The front-end dollar amount does cost more. However, by investing in a company’s culture, it may cost more on the front side, but productivity improves, as does the bottom line of the business. To understand the potential of a successfully implemented internal culture, here are eight examples of companies with fantastic cultures.
Adobe Flash might be on its way out, but the tech company remains as strong as ever. This has much to do with how it treats its employees. In fact, Adobe proves how important it is to go out on a limb and trust workers to excel in their job.
Adobe is known for offering challenging projects to its employees. The company doesn’t stand over the shoulder of workers, micromanaging everything. Instead, the company simply offers motivation and support. Like many other tech companies, such as Google and Apple, employees at Adobe receive excellent benefits for working with the programming giant. However, unlike many other tech companies (especially Apple), the company doesn’t rule with an iron fist. It has avoided this micromanaging aspect and instead relied on trusting hired employees to do their work.
There is a reason why Adobe has a minimal turnover rate. Apple, on the other hand, often experiences a massive turnover rate for low to middle-level employees. This is due to the pressure put on them by management and the extreme micromanaging tactics implemented. Adobe believes the best way to produce programming for a creative professional is to let its own professionals remain creative in the design process. To help with this, managers are not overseers, but instead coaches, there to offer support and help when necessary.
When looking at companies with excellent employee culture, it is vital to include Google. There is a reason why movies and television shows often highlight the inner workings of Google and people trying to find a job with the company. Now, what Google does may only work with a larger enterprise coming with a substantial bankroll, but it is possible to duplicate some of the benefits and services the company provides its employees.
For starters, employees can eat for free on the Google Campus. The company provides an assortment of worker parties, events and trips, not to mention on-site workout centers, outdoor areas and the most of Google is pet-friendly, so workers can bring their dogs with them. Google understands the attachment people have with their pets and how beneficial it can be to allow pets on site. Pets are also stress relievers for many people, which can help improve productivity.
Google is one of the largest and most profitable businesses in the entire world, so there are times it may struggle a bit with maintaining a perfect internal culture, especially with additional satellite offices around the globe. However, for such a major corporation, it stands as the flagship for businesses at the enterprise level for how to treat employees and build a strong, fantastic culture.
When looking for examples of how to run a company inside and out, REI, the outdoor gear company may stand as the very best. From how it markets itself to the way it treats its employees and cultivates a fantastic culture, few businesses do it better than REI.
REI understands many of its employees enjoy spending time in the great outdoors. Due to this, the company provides everything from equipment giveaways when employees successfully pitch an outdoor adventure all the way to providing profit benefits to workers, as those working for the company are member-owners.
To make sure REI understands the needs of its employees, the company holds regular town hall meetings where workers can offer anonymous questions and comments in order to indicate concerns or what the employees might think would work to improve overall performance and happiness with workers.
REI may not provide the same extensive benefits as other companies, but it does establish the importance of knowing the feelings of a worker and doing what is necessary to keep them happy. By giving employees an open opportunity to present their ideas, both good and bad, it ensures workers do not feel suppressed. All of this goes a long way in cultivating a fantastic internal culture.
4) Southwest Airlines
If there is one industry constantly on the losing end of public relations and disgruntle workers, it is the airline industry. That is why Southwest Airlines stands as a beacon to the rest of the industry. Not only is customer loyalty high, but workers themselves are happy as well (which is just one of the reasons why customers continue to come back).
One of the biggest reasons Southwest Airlines stands out is employees have permission to do whatever it takes to make a customer happy. Most other airlines are handcuffed to specific rules and regulations set out by the board of directors. Southwest gives employees the freedom to assist travelers (which always increases the stress level of customers) in ways other airlines are not able to do. When customers are happy, it makes it easier for employees.
Southwest knows the common goal is to develop a relationship with not only its customers but also its employees as two. By setting out to go the extra mile for both, it puts a smile on the face of both worker and traveler. There is the old retail adage of “the customer is always right.” There’s nothing that says the worker can’t always be right at the same time.
Just like the airline industry, oil companies generally do not receive a good amount of favorable press. Typically, when an oil company makes its way into the news, the story revolves around pipes bursting in the ocean or skyrocketing gas prices. While Chevron may not be a stranger to PR issues, it does understand the importance of treating its employees right.
Workers of Chevron receive covered health care and access to either on-site fitness centers or through local health club memberships. The company also provides massage and personal training services. Chevron understands that by keeping employees healthy they actually cost the company’s health care less, which in turn helps the company save money. Plus, healthy employees are less likely to miss work and are happier thanks to the endorphins released while working out (not to mention the increased blood and oxygen flow to the brain, which helps with creative thinking).
Far too many start-up businesses believe they need to have a foosball and pool table in the break room along with a stocked wine bar and pet grooming services in order to attract top-tier talent. In reality, those kinds of companies bring in a specific demographic, and at the same time Chevron brings in a top tier level of talent as well. Much of this revolves around a company understanding their employee’s demographic and what is important to them.
When looking for a poster child of companies with excellent cultures, look no further than Zappos. The company, which takes its name after the Spanish word for shoes (zapatos), has grown into a major online clothing retailer. It also has created a strong, closely knit company.
Zappos starts off cultivating its internal culture by ensuring it brings in the right employees. The company doesn’t just hire those with resumes containing the right keywords or background experience. The company begins vetting all potential candidates with a “cultural fit interview.” According to Zappos, this portion of the interview carries half the weight with regards to whether or not the employee lands the job. In fact, to make sure a prospective candidate is right for the job, Zappos offers the individual $2,000 to quit following a week of training. This way, they know they have the very best candidates who love their job and want to stay with the company.
Zappos provides raises based on employees passing skill tests and who demonstrate an increasing capability of handling work. It isn’t based on seniority. This way, office politics are completely cut out of raises.
When taking Zappos as a corporate example, it is important to look at its hiring practices. While not all businesses can afford a $2,000 payoff following training, spending the time to make the right cultural hire goes a long way in grooming and growing a happy and healthy business.
Facebook followed Google’s path in many ways, including its inner office practices. The company knew many of its employees would come from programming backgrounds where they could work anywhere an Internet connection remained present. So, to ensure happy employees could work in a comfortable setting, the company allows workers to perform their duties in an open office setting while providing a large amount of on-site food, laundry services and even a host of stock options.
Now, the tech industry is highly competitive. Due to this, stress levels may increase, which means Facebook needed to find a way to reduce stress levels at work in order to main productivity. To do this, Facebook also offers separate office units for employees who would rather work in an established room, plus a large amount of outdoor space to walk and take up physical activities. Additionally, management works right alongside employees in similar office settings in order to help level any kind of feeling of hierarchy.
Facebook demonstrates the importance of understanding the stress levels of employees and how to assist with these issues. A stressed employee is not always able to put forward their best effort at work, so cutting down stress levels makes it possible to improve productivity. Offering additional break time, gym memberships or other perks may cut stress. It will increase expenses on the front end, but the back end will surge because of it.
SquareSpace continues the trend of tech companies appearing in the top tier of employee benefits and established culture. Much of this revolves around most tech companies being on the newer side of the spectrum. More established companies come from an older way of thinking, where there is a clear chain of command, individualized work areas and strict order. With newer tech companies emerging often out of thin air, these companies have the ability to develop different work styles more beneficial to the modern, younger workforce.
SquareSpace makes an appearance on this list because it is what is known as a flat organization. This means there are very few levels of management. So, instead of multiple tiers of employment levels, most workers are at the same level. More often than not this does become a bit challenging as a business grows, as executives will need to develop working groups for different projects and selection someone to at least monitor the productivity of the given group. Even so, SquareSpace has proven maintaining a flat organization is possible, even as the business grows.
In order to facilitate a fantastic culture, the company offers free meals, monthly parties, 100 percent health care coverage and relaxation spaces so workers can go, take a nap or de-stress when necessary. Possibly most importantly, the company focuses on using a down to earth method of leadership, so executives do not come across as stuffy and out of touch. They are there to provide management assistance and to be there when an employee needs them.
SquareSpace offers the prime example of how important it is to remain approachable to all employees. If they are afraid of seeing “the boss” or executives are unwilling to dedicate time to interact with employees, it may lead to a drop in company morale, which affects the internal business culture.
There are all sorts of ways to cultivate a fantastic culture within a business. There are varying methods to do this, yet nearly every single company, from Google to Chevron, do one thing the same: they treat their employees with respect and make them feel important. When an employee feels they are respected and treated fairly, their morale increases, they are less likely to miss work and their productivity jumps through the roof. So while it might cost more money to foster an excellent working culture within a business, in the long run, it is well worth the investment.