Building an incredible company isn’t about the building you own or the equipment you use. It’s not even about the technology you have or the IP that you own (although that’s important). Instead, it’s about people.
Compare Google to Kodak. Kodak decided a long time ago that it was going to value hierarchy and structure over innovation and free thinking. Everything in the company was determined by the board, and what the board said was Gospel. Google, on the other hand, isn’t like that at all. It shirks hierarchy in favor of interactive conversations with staff across the whole company. It wants to leverage brains – lots of them. And it’s prepared to turn its back on the old ways of doing business and enter a brave new world.
The disparity between Google and Kodak tells us a lot about the sort of things that are valuable in the modern workplace: creativity, trust and investing in employees. Here’s what some successful entrepreneurs have to say about how they created a great company culture.
Trust Your Employees, Says Andrew Berkowitz
Andrew Berkowitz owns and runs a company called TeamSnap, a software company that provides services to sports teams. But it’s not his product that is the mind-blowing part of his business; it’s the way his people are organized. Employees at TeamSnap have no set working hours, there’s no vacation policy, there’s no sick leave, and there’s no PTO policy. All meetings are open and available to anybody who wishes to attend, and there is transparency in everything, even at the top of the business.
This might sound like madness, but according to an article at www.entrepreneur.com, it actually works. Giving people autonomy helps people behave and act in a more natural way. The people who are attracted to the firm are those who want to do the best they can. Berkowitz says that he’s found that his staff organize their time in ways that are best for the company and its customers. Mind blown?
Create Spaces For Work And Play, Says Sara Sutton
Sara Sutton is the founder of a job portal company. From day one, she wanted to create a business environment with an amazing culture. She quickly realized that it was hard to build a great company where the only thing that anybody did was work. Work, she decided, wasn’t enough to bring people together on a personal level and create the types of partnership necessary to develop next-generation products.
She, therefore, started experimenting with different tools around the office and used sites like arnoldsofficefurniture.com to find office setups that would facilitate collaboration. Before long, she had a whole set of tools in her arsenal for bringing team members closer together. Now she says that she hosts regular coffee talks, allowing team members who wouldn’t ordinarily talk to one another to get chatting.
Invest In Employee Career Paths, Says Marti Wolf
Marti Wolf is the chief culture officer at email marketing service, Mailchimp. He says that the best way to create a great company culture is to invest in your employees. It helps them stick around and gives them a reason to work as hard as they can towards their goals. It’s far more fulfilling this way, he says.