Attract Talents with Crazy Perks!

While waiting at an airport, I caught up with my pile of emails and came across a very interesting article titled “15 Crazy Company Culture Perks That Paid Off”[1] written by Ilya Pozin, a columnist for Inc, Forbes and LinkedIn. I knew already that companies are coming out with more and more creative ways to attract talents and make them more productive in the workplace, but some of the perks in that article simply were just beyond my imagination. As I did with my previous blog post, I’ll analyse each of these perks and give my personal opinion on it.

 

1. Video Game Day

Staff.com is a remote company that gathers its 50 employees together at the office for one day so that they can play online (it didn’t specify at which frequency though). The company claims that this improved inter-division communication. I can see how making employees meet their colleagues from time to time can be good, however, I have my doubt on the online game factor. On one hand, it’s understandable that gaming can motivate people to get out of their place but is it the best way to build real concrete relationships? I mean, one can just play online from home! Why didn’t they go for a sports day or an excursion day where people can really get in touch with their counterparts?

 

2. International Trips

I think the keyword here is memories. If you give employees money, they’ll just spend it. However, if you bring them to a travel, then they will have a lifetime memories of it, and memories stay. I think this is a wonderful way to motivate employees to work harder and be grateful to their employer.

 

3. A Company Kegerator

Having a kegerator is definitively more glamorous than a few bottles of beers! It is a great way to make employees socialize and connect with each other, but I might disagree that alcohol can help “late-night brainstorming”.

 

4. Company-Wrapped Vehicle

Everybody loves free perks! Making your employees happy and having “free” promotion for your company, I’ll have to keep that in mind if I start my own enterprise one day.

 

5. Flexible Hours

Allowing your employees to create their own hours? I don’t see why this point is in here. I mean, it’s definitively not as crazy as the next one!

 

6. Unlimited Vacation Days

Now, THIS is crazy! Giving your employees all the flexibility they want also means a lot of mutual trust and treating them like real adults. Obviously it’s not for every employee but those who are involved will certainly feel special!

 

7. Sport Celebrations

Closing the office for one day and go watch sports together is a good way to socialize. The only condition I see here is that everybody has to be a fan of that sport.

 

8. Volunteer Days

Like perk #5, this is a pretty common practice nowadays.

 

9. Opportunities to Do Meaningful Work

This point is about giving the junior employees the opportunity to work with clients they admire, thus making their work meaningful. Not everyone has the chance to work with clients they want to work with. When this happens, I bet they feel very empowered and will gladly be even more productive.

 

10. A Company Cruise

Same thing with #2 but this company, Rain, is also including the employees’ spouse in the cruise. As I said, the memories will stay forever with the employees and this will just make them prouder about the company they work for.

 

11. Gym Memberships

I think this one is also quite common in the corporate world right now. Making the employees fit are also rendering them healthier and more productive with less absenteeism too. It’s actually a very cheap investment for companies to decrease unnecessary costs.[2]

 

12. Positive Reinforcement

MeUndies’ CEO made a quick math and found that it was more profitable to pay smokers 50$ a week for not smoking than letting them taking a break from time to time to smoke. It’s also a reason why a lot of firms are putting free coffee machines in their offices to discourage employees from getting outside to buy their coffee. It’s just that the upsides are way higher than the downsides! In the case of Me Undies, it also has additional healthy benefits. Win-win all the way!

 

13. A Bonus Plan

Instead of going for individual targets, employees receive bonuses if the company hits its target. If the targets are carefully chosen, this practice will encourage collaboration company-wide.

 

14. Fun Classes

Learning is a never-ending process. Encouraging your employees to learn will not only make them more efficient and productive at work, but also more creative.

 

15. Professional therapy

I’ve heard of companies that have on-site massage therapists but I’ve never heard of on-site motivational therapists. Unfortunately, Uassist ME doesn’t give us details on the results of this practice.



[1] http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140422154219-5799319-15-crazy-company-culture-perks-that-paid-off?trk=eml-ced-b-art-M-3-7976268910883780632&midToken=AQGsBEEwpJthuQ&fromEmail=fromEmail&ut=0UvZQJ2laQDCc1

[2] http://www.window.state.tx.us/specialrpt/obesitycost/work.php

The Art of Resilience

We had a class on resilience a few weeks earlier and that really struck my interest. Hence, I’d like to dig deeper to try to better understand this topic. Wikipedia states psychological resilience as an individual’s ability to properly adapt to stress and adversity [and that] stress and adversity can come in the shape of family or relationship problems, health problems, or workplace and financial stressors, among others[1]. Trying to better understand resilience in the workplace, I came across an interesting article on Forbes that I’d like to illustrate with my own personal life experience.

 

Here’s are the big lines of the article[2] with my comments:

1. Get connected

According to the author, Kerry Hannon, it’s very important to develop a strong network of positive relationships. Basically, this network will be there to help you and provide you support when things aren’t going for the best. This point makes a lot of sense to me. In fact, not only making new friends will create a future source of support, but you can also learn the hardships they went through, which will help you put your problems in better perspective.

 

2. Choose optimism

Needless to say, I think it’s quite obvious that optimism is a better remedy than pessimism against adversity. However, as I personally lived through that, it’s actually quite tough sometime to shift from pessimism to optimism, maybe because of the simple fact that it’s less obvious to think about optimistic things when all the bad things are fresh in your memory. However, I also found that with time, everything becomes neutral. The author suggests keeping a journal to record your feelings and good things. Putting your thoughts into writing will undoubtedly give you a more objective view on your emotions.

 

3. Learn something new

The author states that the process of learning will change your viewpoint and will make you spot connections you’ve never seen before. Not only do I think it changes my viewpoint, I think that the amazement I get when learning something new also fill myself with positive feelings that might help building resilience.

 

4. Think like an entrepreneur

Basically, this point is about running your career as a one-person business. The way I see this point is that when you see your job as a business where you’re the sole owner and where your bosses are your clients, this adds a extra sense of responsibility to you. This might also changes an external locus of control to an internal one, where instead of saying “it’s not my problem”, you will say “this IS my problem and I’m going to do everything to make my customers satisfied”.

 

5. Look at the big picture

This is about looking your career from a long-time perspective (5 year in the case of the article). Also, laying down your vision statement, your values and the key parts of your life is a way to keep your perspective regarding your career crisis, according to the author. From my point of view, no matter what happens, keeping an eye on your final destination will help you keep your focus on the end as much as the means by which you want to achieve your goals.

 

6. Get in shape

Ms. Hannon states that your career is influenced by everything you do to stay in shape – physically, emotionally and spiritually. However, to be more scientifically accurate, we should recall that regular exercise (which releases endorphins) contributes to:

  • Reduce stress;
  • Ward off anxiety and feelings of depression;
  • Boost of self-esteem;
  • Improve sleep.[3]

 

I have to admit that it truly feels good after a session of exercise. So, not only does exercise helps fighting adversity but it also helps to prevent against it. My final say: if there’s one thing to keep in mind when facing adversity, it’s the fact that the universe is so huge, no matter how big our problem is, it really isn’t that significant.



[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_resilience

[2] http://www.forbes.com/sites/kerryhannon/2012/12/26/6-key-steps-for-career-resilience/

[3] http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/exercise-depression

Money in the workplace

At the very first class of my exchange to Singapore, the professor made us do a simple exercise: ask our neighbor what inspired them in life. Mine was to discover new cultures, to meet new people and to uncover the marvelous things that populate this world. Obviously, I was expecting approximately the same from the other people. At my greatest surprise, half of the Singaporean male students said money inspired them in life. I dare say that was the first cultural shock I experienced since my arrival to Singapore. Therefore, I’d like to cogitate about the cultural approach to money along with its use at work.

 

Coming from a place where money isn’t that much highly admired (Quebec, Canada), I was astonished to see people openly talking about their desire of money. I knew the Singaporean approach of growth at all cost, without consideration of other aspects of life, but I didn’t know to what extent. Hearing one colleague say “I don’t care how much I’ll work, as long as I get paid well” was a big shock. No wonder, why Singapore was classified as one of the unhappiest countries in a Gallup report a year ago.[1] However, Singapore was ranked top in Asia a recent UN World Happiness Report.[2] Maybe the difference in the indicators brought a big variability in the data, maybe things changed within a year, but one thing is sure: one of the top regret people have on their deathbed is that they’ve worked too hard, generally at the expense of their family and relationships.[3] Maybe on this aspect of work, my Singaporean colleagues can inspire themselves a little bit from the Canadian work style, where more and more focus is placed on work flexibility and the ability to balance personal and professional life.

 

In the second part of my blog, I’d like to tackle the money matter from an employer’s point of view, rather than an employee’s as in the first part. In Judge and al.’s meta-analysis that synthesized over 120 years of research, the results showed that the link between salary and job satisfaction was very weak.[4] In fact, there was only an overlap of 2% between these two indicators. From this, we can see that paying people more doesn’t make them happier, which ultimately doesn’t improve their commitment at work and their performance. Another research by Booz & Co. looked into the military work to dig more on the sources of motivation. Here are their findings:

–Money encourages self-serving short-term behaviors better than it motivates lasting institutional achievement.

–An overreliance on monetary rewards invariably erodes emotional commitment.

–Pride in one’s work itself is what brings on lasting improvement in behavior.

–The informal elements of motivation are at least as important as the formal ones.[5]

 

The question now is: if money doesn’t motivate people, then what will? That’s where I found this McKinsey study about alternative ways to motivate people. Titled “Motivating people: Getting beyond money”, this article was published shortly after the last recession, when employers had to find ways to cut costs while maintaining motivation at work. The top three nonfinancial motivators are the following: “praise from immediate managers, leadership attention (for example, one-on-one conversations), and a chance to lead projects or task forces”.[6] Surprisingly, these motivators were as effective, if not more than the financial motivators (cash bonuses, increased base pay and stock options). Another thing I learned is that Singaporeans are foodies, so here’s some food for thought!



[1] http://edition.cnn.com/2012/12/21/world/asia/singapore-least-happy/

[2] http://www.asianewsnet.net/A-measure-of-happiness-in-Singapore-52744.html

[3] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2515508/Top-regrets-dying-revealed.html

[4] http://www.timothy-judge.com/Judge,%20Piccolo,%20Podsakoff,%20et%20al.%20(JVB%202010).pdf

[5] http://www.forbes.com/2010/04/06/money-motivation-pay-leadership-managing-employees.html

[6] http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/organization/motivating_people_getting_beyond_money