Reinvesting in your company is a vital factor in any successful business strategy. It doesn’t matter if your company consists of two people or has a global staff of thousands: You are investing in your people. And it’s up to you, as management, to decide how exactly you want to go about doing that.
Will it be through stock options, catering services, parties, cool office digs, free educational training courses or competitive compensation packages? It’s a predicament that many a CEO has grappled with, because as much as you’d like to offer all these perks (and more), it’s simply not possible or fiscally responsible. So it boils down to a choice that has the potential of defining (or redefining) your company’s culture.
Netflix’s innovative and unconventional comp-based model is a prime example of how investment choices can lead to high employee retention and satisfaction. The on-demand video streaming giant promises its employees top-of-the-market compensation packages, giving them a choice between stock-focused or cash-focused salaries. And, as if that isn’t enticing enough, the company’s vacation policy is that it has no policy or formal tracking system.
The concept, which Netflix laid out in a slideshow presentation that has been viewed more than 14 million times online, was an instant hit with employees, and the market was quick to take notice. “[A] great workplace is stunning colleagues. [A] great workplace is not espresso, lush benefits, sushi lunches, grand parties or nice offices,” Netflix wrote in its presentation. “We do some of these things, but only if they are efficient at attracting and retaining stunning colleagues.”
Luckily, lucrative comp packages aren’t the only way to achieve this goal. I personally have found that money isn’t everything. Of course, salaries must be fair; your employees shouldn’t be underpaid. In essence, salary is the enabler of retention, but it doesn’t stimulate retention. The IT market is competitive. There is always going to be a company, like Netflix, that is going to offer (a lot) more money than you. You need to give your employees reason to work for you. They need to feel like they not only have a purpose, but that they belong. Here’s how you can achieve this:
Focusing on Employee Retention
At my company, we offer a couple of standards, like free food, educational events, gym memberships and easy access to top management. But what we decided to pour our hearts, souls and a big chunk of our profits into is a really cool office space.
People spend the majority of their lives in the office. It would be a shame to spend those hours in a hole. The quality of office space has always been one of our topic investment priorities, and as it turns out is key to our employee retention strategy.
Keep in mind, it’s simply not possible to make everyone happy, especially if you’re running a large, growing company. We have around 150 employees, a significant increase from 2015, when we were a small staff of 50. A decade ago, there were essentially just two of us manning the ship.
As our team began to expand exponentially, my co-founders and I found ourselves moving from a dinky 860 square-foot loft-like office space into a 3,770 square-foot unit in a well-established commercial complex. We expanded it to 9,150 square feet less than a year after moving in.
But last spring, it became clear that we were rapidly outgrowing even that spot. We decided that our next move would be for a long-term commitment, and we wanted space that would not only be big enough to someday accommodate a development team of 500, but one that would also have pizzazz. After nearly a year-long search, we settled on a 59,200 square-foot space in a new office development along a leafy riverbank, and immediately set out designing a headquarters our employees would feel like was their second home.
Creating the perfect work environment is not something to shortchange nor is it something that can be done in a week or even a month. Hand this task off to dedicated professionals. Finding a team of experienced interior designers and architects should be at the top of your to-do list once you settle on a new office location.
We tried to steer clear of trendsetters, and did not want to emulate office digs like that of Google or Facebook. Instead, we opted for something unique — a design and feel that closely relates to our own brand. Our new offices cover three floors, and includes two terraces and a large multipurpose event space, where we hold developer meetups and hackathons. In addition to themed meeting rooms, several kitchens and a bar, gym, pool table and an outdoor jacuzzi, our offices feature sleeping boxes, swings and a birch tree forest.
Having an office that feels like home will not only help increase employee retention, but will also increase overall morale, which should be any company’s key goal. Whether or not a comfortable office space is one of your business’s top priorities, focus on the perks that help employees feel like they matter.