Offering $2,000 to Quit and Other Innovative Ways Companies Keep Employees Happy and Motivated Take your company culture to the next level by taking a page out of these company's handbooks.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Is your company culture worth sticking around for?
In a global survey of more than 3,000 business leaders, 67% of respondents noted that culture beats out both strategy and operations in terms of importance. And the elements of culture that matter most to your employees aren't what you might expect. While foosball tables and snack rooms were once considered to be the pinnacle of corporate generosity, today's workforce is looking for something a bit deeper — namely respect, support, and leaders who practice what they preach.
Regardless of the size of your business, it's important that you build a strong culture that puts your employees first. The Great Resignation is no joke, and if your employees aren't happy, they won't hesitate to walk out the door.
The best way to get started: look at other companies that are doing it right, and see what takeaways you can apply to your own best practices.
Here are five ways that companies have proved they can show up for their employees in big ways — and that might be worth adopting if you want to create a culture that inspires good, hard work, and employee advocacy.
1. Keep Culture Consistent
Things are always changing in business, but great culture should be a constant. When corporate America switched to remote work at the beginning of the pandemic, Canva's "Vibe Team" began establishing various measures dedicated to maintaining employee morale. This included virtual cooking and fitness classes, Zoom happy hours, and even free video consultations with a psychologist for those needing support.
We're almost two years into the post-pandemic reality, so we've had a lot of time to adjust to working from home. This adjustment meant embracing various remote meeting tools. Sure, they come in handy for client and partner meetings, but why not use these tools to encourage togetherness and improve employee well-being, too?
2. Make Mental Health a Priority
Burnout can take a serious toll on employees' mental health. To help combat it, dating app Bumble gave their 750+ staff members a paid week off this past summer, an effort that put health ahead of profit and acknowledged the mental stress of the ongoing pandemic. The week off gave employees a chance to "rest and refresh" and also served as a way to encourage everyone to enjoy life out of the office — even if the office was just a laptop on their kitchen counter.
It's selfless moves like these that make employees not only gain stronger trust in their employers but advocate for them when others ask what it's like to work there or if they should support them with their business. Take time to fully understand the mental struggles your employees may be facing so you can implement policies that truly help.
3. Resist the 24/7 Grind
Let's be honest; no one really wants to be answering emails off the clock. At Slack, despite being a standout corporate communication tool, it's actually considered impolite to send direct messages outside of work hours and on the weekends. It's part of the empathy-first company's "life balance over hard work" mentality, which actively encourages employees to mentally clock out when they get the chance.
It can be hard to log out of your email and turn off your computer at the end of the day. But if you aren't able to encourage a work-life balance among your company (and lead by example), then you're going to have a lot of overworked and overstressed employees. And that just isn't sustainable for them or your company.
4. Give Employees Agency
Zappos knows that feeling stuck at your job doesn't benefit anyone. And to prove it, the company quite literally puts their money where their mouth is. They offer all new employees a "pay to quit" bonus of $2,000 if they decide they want to leave after a few weeks of getting hired. This way, nobody has to feel pressured to stay put if they don't think they're a good fit, and those who do decide to stay are showing early commitment to being part of the team.
I'm sure we've all been there at least once - you accept a job at a company you think is going to be a great fit, only to find that once you're actually working there that it isn't exactly what you imagined. This sort of situation isn't beneficial for anyone involved - the employee or the company. And instilling a policy that allows for an easy exit can save you time and money in the long run.
5. Focus on Happiness
It's well-known that happy employees equal happy customers. For tech-giant Zoom, the adage is a fundamental part of how they operate, which explains in part how they ranked as the company with the happiest employees in 2019 and 2020. By putting employee happiness first through initiatives like clubs, parties, and volunteer days, Zoom makes sure that their workforce feels respected, in turn ensuring that everyone feels inspired to do their best.
Instead of putting performance at the forefront, think of ways to make your employees the happiest in their positions. Their happiness will influence performance, as they'll want to do whatever they can to help the company that has helped them.
Even small things can make a big difference in your company culture. Try to adopt some of the practices above, or look for other ways you can show your staff that you appreciate them as both employees and, just as crucially, as people.