Technology brings changes to the workplace and to life, in general, not just by allowing work to be done more quickly by fewer people, but also because of the many social media and internet sites which now rate companies and allow employees to see that the grass is, indeed, greener on the other side of the parking lot.
Business professionals know which companies value their employees by offering a pleasant, nurturing working environment, as well as high wages.
Legacy Blueprint LLC, a Naperville-based management consulting firm, advises companies on ways to shape company culture.
“In order to build collegial, cohesive, high-performing workplaces, companies have the sacred responsibility of creating a culture that inspires employees to want to perform at their best every day. Organizations achieve their mission and goals via the culture they foster,” said Laticia “Tish” Thompson, president.
“One of the hottest topics of discussion amongst leaders today is the dynamics of managing multiple generations in the workplace. Companies need to be deliberate in creating a culture that embraces the diversity of thought, experiences and backgrounds. Yes, the lens through which people view the world will be different. But different doesn’t mean right or wrong. It’s just different,” she added.
‘Companies that invest in growing and developing their talent experience higher employee morale and engagement,” Thompson noted.
Encouraging teamwork within the firm is also essential.
“Teamwork is the key if you want a seamless experience for the consumers of your product or service,” Thompson said.
The leadership team at Chicago-based Centro, a technology company in the digital advertising space, states simply that “unhappiness is bad business,” so they do everything they can to build an atmosphere of camaraderie and friendship.
The Centro management team sees their responsibility as being much more than simply creating highly imaginative digital advertising campaigns. It is also important to them that they send home happy and fulfilled employees at the end of each day.
“If our employees are happy at work, they will be able to create wonderful things for our clients; our customers will feel this; and the corporate results will follow,” explained Leo Brubaker, Centro’s Chief Operating Officer. He spoke before the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce at its General Membership Luncheon last March.
“There are a lot of companies out there competing for top talent in every field so you have to do something different to get the talent in the door and keep it,” Brubaker said.
Consequently, Centro offers free snacks, beer and yoga classes in the office, full health insurance, a 401K, generous maternity and paternity leaves, unlimited vacation time, three-week sabbaticals every four years, a 15-minute break each afternoon for meditation, prayer or a nap, candidate referral bonuses, many health initiatives, one day off each year to “change the world” and lots of flex time.
“We don’t believe that inflexible rules drive loyalty or engagement in the workplace so our attitude is that ‘we trust you will do a good job for us so we will give you the flexibility you need to take good care of your personal life,” Brubaker said.
As Centro’s founder, Shawn Riegsecker, says, “Life is short. Work somewhere awesome.”
Perma-Seal Basement Systems, one of Naperville’s newest corporate residents, is also well-known for its positive corporate culture.
“For the past 10 years we have been helping our 250 ‘tribal members,’ as we call them, understand how they are making the world a better place by creating dry, healthy and stable homes for Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana area homeowners.” said Laura Spencer, Executive Vice President. “With everyone on the same page we can fulfill our vision to create a superior customer service experience.”
Constant education about the benefits of Perma-Seal services help employees feel good about what they are doing. There is a bi-monthly company newsletter and periodic check-ins to keep morale high. Rewards for good work like gift cards, public recognition and emails of thanks have also reduced turnover, Spencer said. The all-company family picnic, annual all-team meeting and departmental Christmas parties are also popular.
“Like everyone else, we are in a war for talent. Waterproofing is hard physical labor which isn’t for everyone,” she admitted. “But once our employees understand that they are appreciated and that they are also making the world a better place by doing this work, they are very loyal. People inherently want to be part of something meaningful, and that’s the greatest attraction for new hires.”