By Nicholas Bjorn Slettengren
Company culture is changing drastically. "Casual Fridays" are now a week long, and companies like Google are pushing the limits of employee benefits by offering perks like on-site doctor visits.
As an entrepreneur and digital agency owner, hiring the best and retaining top talent is fundamentally based on the culture our company provides. By creating a culture that blends work and non-work life, I've seen the success in the autonomy and leadership in our team that builds a solid foundation for growth.
Here are a few things worth considering to improve your company's culture.
A Creative Work Space: You don't need to be Google to have a creative workspace. In fact, having your office look less like an office is a good thing. I've found creating an environment that resembles more of a living space physiologically makes people feel more "at home" while at work. An open concept is a great place to start: Knocking down walls keeps teams more engaged and collaborative. Create lounge areas, play music to keep the office less static, and paint murals or have art around the office to inspire creativity.
An Arcade: Who doesn't love a great arcade game? They're fun to have in the office for your team and visiting clients. Typically a two-player game arcade is the way to go, as employees can team up to win or play against each other in some friendly competition. Arcade games come in a range of budgets; there are also companies that will lease them to you for a small monthly fee.
Catered Lunches: Catering lunch is a great way to add to the value of your company culture. I've found catering lunch leads to higher productivity, because fewer people leave to grab a bite. It also promotes being social in the office. Whether you cater once every few weeks or every day, eating is a necessity and your team will thank you for it.
Gym Passes: With low monthly costs and gyms becoming more abundant, fitness can become a fantastic company perk. While not all employees enjoy the same exercises, new services that provide access to multiple gyms (like Lymber and ClassPass) can make sure one-size membership fits all. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, exercise keeps people less prone to illness, which cuts down on sick days that can affect the bottom line.
Unlimited PTO: You may think offering unlimited paid time off (PTO) is out of the question. The Society for Resource Management points out there are pros and cons to this policy, but less than 1 percent of organizations have taken advantage of this perk for their employees. I've had unlimited PTO available for a few years now and can personally attest to team members usually taking less time off than in a more traditional two-weeks-per-year model. Employees have said the policy shows we trust them and offers up more autonomy in the workplace.
Work-From-Home Days: While not for every business, work-from-home days are becoming increasingly popular. I've seen companies leverage this perk to cut down on parking costs in metropolitan areas for their employees and create more room in already full office space. With account management software like Asana to internal communication software like Slack, collaboration can expand outside the office space.
A Student Loan Repayment Program: Student loan debt is ballooning out of control in the U.S. Creating a program that helps pay back some of your employee's student loans can help reduce stress, increase loyalty by reducing the burden of the debt, and help chip away at one of America's largest debt crises. Creating a student loan repayment program is not a one-size-fits-all company perk. It is up to the company to decide when to offer this incentive, and how much to pay back.
Speakers and Learning Opportunities: I've found learning to be one of the largest incentives for employees. Having a culture of learning is not just great for the team, but substantial for the company. Bringing in speakers who can elevate employee skill sets and discuss subjects like personal finance strategy will build value. We have hosted everyone from improv teachers to the co-founder of the action sports apparel company Volcom discussing building a brand. Sites that teach skills for personal development like Udemy and Lynda.com are other great options.
Culture is the thread that ties all companies together. Each company's culture is unique, and not all the recommendations above are going to be a fit. Try new things and add new perks, but don't be afraid of some ideas failing. After all, isn't it time we moved past wacky-tacky tie day?
Nicholas Bjorn Slettengren is as an entrepreneur by trade and digital marketer by evolution, with over eight years of professional agency experience he has gained a national and global perspective on the evolving digital world and is a Founder at Power Digital.