Lately, it seems like the Internet has become saturated with conceited articles with cliché titles the likes of “How I Made a Million Dollars before Turing 21,” or “10 Life Hacks to Become a Millionaire… and Awesome,” or “I’m So Cool, I’m a Millionaire, So You Should Listen to Me.”
Ok, well the last two might have been a little stretch, but you get the point — it’s getting old. However, without these fantastic, self-promoting juggernauts, the inspiration for this piece wouldn’t exist.
While the three letters C, E, and O in my title signify leadership, I in fact played a slightly modest role in my company, winning numerous number-one Best Places to Work awards the past several years — and I mean that in a good way. I didn’t go-it-alone. The real stars, who all too often do not receive due credit, are the employees. The team members who remain behind the scenes are the ones responsible for building a grassroots, bottom-up culture — the driving force behind our various accolades over the years.
Here are a few recommendations to build your own best place to work.
1. Hire right.
To become a top workplace, you have to hire the right people. That starts with implementing a solid hiring plan — a blueprint that will put you in the correct position to hire the best people for the job. Without it, you risk making a hire you are not totally committed to, just because you need to fill a role. In turn, your hastiness ends up costing several months of wasted time.
Know how to identify your “A players,” the individuals that will contribute to the company’s culture and success. When interviewing, we use the Topgrading methodology, made popular by Dr. Brad Smart. Topgrading evaluates candidates through an extensive 12-step process meant to weed out the absolute best talent and top performers.
2. Empower them.
As you continue to bring in the right people, empower them with ownership of the culture. Let them drive — you’re just there to provide gas money. Avoid forcing a culture that does not exist. Itmust be dictated by the employees. The more genuine, the more likely it will permeate throughout the entire organization. This becomes infectious, even outsiders begin to take notice and soon people will be prodding you for an opportunity to join the team.
3. Workplace versus culture
Do your best to create a workplace that employees are motivated to wake up for every morning. While workplace environment and culture are completely different, they do feed off each other. If your office is dull and lacks interaction, that’s probably not going to encourage culture.
For example, we have a full bar in the office, not just beer. This would technically be considered a perk, however, we routinely gather around our “perk” and the conversations and relationships built contribute immensely to our culture. There are a myriad of techniques to create unique office space that fit within your budget. Search no further than Pinterest.
4. Money isn’t everything.
Of course doing well financially helps, but revenue is a very small factor when judging a great place to work. It all starts and stops with the employees. Without them, you lack identity; without identity you’re just another face in a crowded field of businesses competing for talent. Hundreds of companies do extremely well financially, but people aren’t exactly breaking down the doors trying to get in. Without good employees that buy into the company, it doesn’t matter how profitable you are.
These are the practices and mindset we live by. Without them, we wouldn’t have some of the most talented and committed people in the business. Without them, we would just be another place to work — not the best place to work.
By Stephan Goss