The post was originally featured on James Lawther’s Squawk Point:
After studying 1,001 examples of companies that give little unexpected extras to employees, here are 5 easy ways to increase engagement from the new book, “What’s Your Green Goldfish – Beyond Dollars: 15 Ways to Drive Employee Engagement and Reinforce Culture”
You never get a chance to make a first impression. Employees make a conscious decision during their first few months whether they will stay for the long term. Getting off on the right foot is key.
Example: Intel’s (#534) new hires have dedicated greeters and gifts waiting for them when they arrive on their first days as a part of their hands-on new employee orientation.
According to Louis Brandeis, “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.” If you want a strong culture, keep things open by default.
Example: If you join Marina Maher Communications (#749), don’t expect a title on your business card. “In our 28+years, we’ve never put titles on business cards,” said Maree Prendergast, managing director-human resources and talent. “We always thought that limits people.” In fact, its philosophy is “good ideas come from everywhere,” said Marina Maher, founder of the PR agency. (Source: PR Week)
No longer an extra, flexibility is an expectation. Flexibility is about control and everyone wants flex. According to the Center for Talent Innovation’s research, if there’s one work perk that rises above the rest, it’s flexible work arrangements. The CTI study showed that 87% of Boomers, 79% of Gen X’ers and 89% of Millennials cite flex as important.
Example: Patagonia Inc., (#35) based in California, attracts outdoorsy types with its athletic clothing brand and laser-like focus on work-life balance. Time away from the office isn’t just tolerated here, it’s required, says Rob BonDurant, Patagonia’s Vice President of Marketing and de facto culture guide. Its 1,300 employees enjoy what the company calls “Let My People Go Surfing” time — a period during any work day where employees can head outdoors to get their creative juices flowing. Of course, they can’t abandon their duties or ditch a meeting, but popping out for an impromptu climb or bike ride is encouraged. Patagonia’s flextime policies — which originated from Yvon Chouinard, an outdoor enthusiast who founded the company in 1974 — are good for employee morale and invaluable to the company.
In the words of BonDurant,
“The time we spend outside the office helps us manage the storytelling process around our products. We’re designing ski and surfing apparel, we need to be traveling and trying things out.” (Source: Entrepreneur.com)
Most managers take an, “if, then” approach to recognition. Shawn Achor believes this paradigm needs to change, “…from thinking that encouragement and recognition should be used as rewards for high performance as opposed to thinking that encouragement and recognition are drivers of high performance.” (Source: The Happiness Advantage)
Example: Every week The Nerdery (#305) agency compiles a video of shout-outs, with employees publicly praising their fellow nerds for going above and beyond. Five shout-out recipients are chosen for free lunches the following week. The weekly shout-out video is played for all at the Friday afternoon Bottlecap Talk, where the agency celebrates the successful launch of a recent project with a show-and-tell demo led by the rockstar developers who made it happen. (Source: Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal)
5. Team Building
A team that shares together stays together.
Example: According to Rob White, CEO and Co-founder, Zeus Jones (#300), “Most Fridays, we have what we call ‘Beer and Tell,’ where one or more people share what they have been doing with everyone on staff. The beauty of being a small company is that we can still all fit in a room, and celebrate the work, and the little or big successes of colleagues. In addition to our work for clients, these successes include new staff welcomes, engagements, pregnancies, babies, new pets and even winning debates with AT&T over cellphone bills. Big successes are celebrated with champagne — we write the occasion on the cork and keep all these marked corks in a jar.” (Source: Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal)
Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – A video on Patagonia’s Yvon Chouinard. Yvon talks about leading an examined life and doing business the right way: