Tails from the first 500
We’ve hit the halfway point on the quest for 1,001 Green Goldfish. By way of reference, the Green Goldfish Project is a quest to find 1,001 examples of marketing lagniappe for employees. It based simply on the premise that Happy employees = Happy Customers. Green goldfish are the little signature extras given to employees. They help differentiate a company, increase employee retention, reinforce culture and help drive positive word of mouth.
There have been some very clever examples . . . and there have been some headscratchers. Here are 13 examples that straddle the fence:
Fake Bake and Botox Injections
#84 – Chesapeake Energy
Taken from a post by The Daily Finance, America’s second largest gas provider offers employees access to tanning beds and botox treatments. Intrigued? Here’s a YouTube video on Chesapeake Energy and its culture. I dare you not to look closely to see if the forehead of the narrator moves:
Hold the Phones, Cue the Robot
#99 – Evernote
From a NY Times article and interview with CEO Phil Libin. In Phil’s words:
We got rid of phones in the office. Just on a whim, I thought that at every company we start, and this is the third one, we’re going to eliminate one piece of unnecessary technology. So this time it was phones. We thought, why do you really need a phone? If you have a phone at your desk, it’s just sitting there and you’re kind of encouraging people to talk on it. Everyone’s got a cellphone, and the company pays for the plans. There are phones in the conference room. We’re not a sales organization, so we’re not making a lot of calls, either. If you’re at your desk, you should be working. And that’s actually worked really well. I don’t think anyone misses phones. Even though it’s one big room, it’s actually fairly quiet because no one is sitting there talking at their desk. The culture very much is that if you want to talk, you go 10 or 20 feet in some direction to a quiet area.
We have an Anybots robot with telepresence. When I’m not at the office, I can log in through a browser and I drive it around. It balances on two wheels, and it’s six feet tall. I see through its eyes and ears, and it’s got a screen, so people can see me. And so you can have casual conversations at someone’s desk through the robot. It’s got a laser pointer, so you can shoot lasers, which is just good design. You shouldn’t build a robot without a laser.
Curious? Here’s a YouTube video on Anybots . . . Your Personal Remote Avatar:
Nice benefit, I think I’ll Sleep on it
#126 – AOL
Taken from a post by EG Managed Services: At AOL headquarters in NYC, perks include access to NapQuest, a specialized room where employees can grab some winks in “nap pods”, and relax in one of many electronic massage chairs.
Here’s a CBS News video on napping at AOL / Huff Po. For lagniappe, here’s Arianna Huffington talking at TED Women about the importance of sleep. Who says women can’t sleep their way to the top:
Shhh… Clark Kent would love this benefit
#131 – PARTNERS + simons
Taken from a post at boston.com: No one in this agency has to leave the office to make a private phone call. Instead, they slip inside one of two large, soundproof tubes in the company’s coffee and kitchen area where they can chat away. The South Boston ad agency has two cellphone booths that look like something out of the transporter room from “Star Trek.’
Trudy Almquist, chief financial officer at the agency, said that employees were regularly using conference and meetings room for private calls to their spouses or their children’s schools.
“Conference room time was at a premium, and this was a better option,’’ she said. “It’s just a place to talk to your doctor, adoption agent, your spouse, or whatever you have going on in your life. It’s to have a little privacy in a public place.’’
Power to the Penn
#185 – NewAge Industries
According to an article at Inc.com, after five years at plastic tubing manufacturer NewAge Industries, each employee receives a yearly $720 charge card to use in the restaurant of the William Penn Inn, a 296-year-old landmark near the company’s headquarters in Southampton, Pennsylvania.
The Lamborghini of Toilets
Is it really any wonder that Googlers have access to some of the most high-tech toilets around? These Japanese johns offer washing and drying of your nether regions as well as the mysterious “wand cleaning.” Both the wash water and the seat itself can be warmed or cooled depending on your preference.
Here’s a YouTube video of Conan and Andy Richter at Google talking about the toilets:
A workplace with Room for your Passions
#235 – Intercontinental Hotels Group
According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, IHG illustrates the company’s culture by showcasing its “Room to Be Yourself” initiative. At IHG, you can be who you are, whether you build model planes, box or do something else in your spare time.
Here’s a YouTube video on “Room to be Yourself”:
A well endowed Reward
#252 – The Educe Group
There are lots of employee honors–including the Dolly Parton Prize for the consultant with the highest billables and the Beanstalk Award for the staffer who has grown the most. Employees enjoy personal birthday gifts (say, a spa day or a membership to a beer-of-the-month club), and team-building trips to places such as New Orleans and Philadelphia.
Source: Washingtonian Magazine
Passport Needed for this Benefit
#273 – Mark G. Anderson Consultants
Employees at this consulting firm enjoy an all expense paid trip to one of the Seven Wonders of the World for their ten-year anniversary.
Source: Washingtonian Magazine
A benefit that makes work less taxing
#292 – Goff Public
According to the Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal, this PR agency works hard to be a benefit-rich company. In addition to providing free parking and a stocked kitchen for breakfast, lunch and snacks, they provide annual tax preparation services.
Help when things get squirrely
#295 – Community Development Inc.
According to co-owner Chuck Schneider, “As the owner, I try to create an environment where we’re encouraging, supporting, fostering positive attitudes and creativity. My view is my employees are my clients, and we have to make sure they’re taken care of as much as real clients.”
The customer-service businesses can be tough, and those in the industry often liken the stress to having squirrels running around in their heads. To lighten the load, Schneider bought a stuffed squirrel, which employees pass around to co-workers who seem to be having a rough week.
Source: Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal
Compliments by customers rise to the occasion
#362 – Capital One
More than a hundred shiny, balloons tethered to a sea of desk chairs are the first hint this Capital One credit card operation isn’t your typical call center.
Each balloon represents an unsolicited customer compliment — a case where a caller is so overwhelmed by the level of service they feel compelled to tell a supervisor about it. Balloons are taken down at the beginning of every month, but it doesn’t take long before they pop up everywhere again. According to Shawn Sweeney, an executive from Capital One’s Richmond, Va., headquarters who often visits the Tampa site,
Personally, I can’t tell you the last time I had service on the phone I thought was so good, I said, ‘Can I talk to your manager?’ With that being the bar, and to walk around this floor and see that number of balloons? It’s just awe-inspiring.
This benefit has gone to the Dogs
#394 – The Honest Kitchen
According to an article in Outside Magazine, The Honest Kitchen offers monthly in-office chair massages for everyone and dog peticures for the office pups. According to their website:
Our kitchen was the location for our bi-monthly Peticures (for the office pups of course!) by our favorite pink-haired dog pedicures lady, Tess!
Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – Who says training needs to be boring? Get a taste of this extra:
#504 – Molson Coors
Molson Coors offer their own MBA, aka the Molson Beer Academy, an in-house training program that includes courses on everything from brand awareness to brewing techniques and beer tasting.