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5 Trends in Company Culture to Watch in 2017

5 Trends in Company Culture to Watch in 2017
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Thursday, 16 March 2017 10:13 PM Current | Bio | Archive

ConsumerAffairs snagged a top spot on Entrepreneur's 2017 Company Cultures list for its performance based work environment that’s fueled by video games, team building activities and unlimited time off.

“We create a fun office environment with weekly flip cup on Friday afternoons,” said Zac Carman, CEO of ConsumerAffairs. “At anytime during the work day, staffers can take a break and play video games, challenge each other to foosball or just hang out on a comfortable couch instead of at their desk to de-stress.”

This laissez faire philosophy is partly why the third party review site caught the attention of Entrepreneur and secured a top spot on the business magazine’s 2017 Best Company Cultures list compiled with the assistance of CultureIQ.

"Great company cultures are the result of great leadership and a conscious effort to make everyone on the team feel engaged and important,” said Jason Feifer, editor in chief of Entrepreneur.

But by no means does laissez faire mean that employees do nothing.

“Our staff can take as much time as they need to recharge, but if they abuse the policy, it’s a misalignment of our core values,” said Eric Jenkins, chief operating officer with ConsumerAffairs. “Co-workers don’t appreciate that kind of behavior.”

Below are five tenets to keep in mind while transitioning to a more libertarian company culture that allows employees more freedom.

Embrace the Honor System

What the top ranking companies on Entrepreneur’s list all share in common are practices that develop a positive and unified workplace environment.

"A high-performance culture leads not only to employee engagement but also to measurable business results," says Greg Besner, founder and CEO of CultureIQ, which assisted Entrepreneur in compiling the ranking. “These organizations show us that great companies start with great culture.”

For example, at ConsumerAffairs, unlimited PTO, also known as vacation time, is an example of the freedom and responsibility allowed staffers.

Although it could be perceived as a libertarian work style, laziness is not at all tolerated. The secret to maintaining a work ethic that leads to revenues is employing high performing individuals who don’t have to be micro managed.

“Our employees can do whatever they want, including playing video games and drinking beer as long as they’re completing astonishing amounts of important work,” Carman said.

Like the company culture at Netflix, which offers one year of parental leave, the honor in the honor system at ConsumerAffairs is maintained by other employees.

“You have to be pretty responsible about completing all of your work because if you’re not, your co-workers will be disgruntled with you.You will lose that freedom and ultimately your job,” Jenkins said.

Ditch yearly company reviews

Some 66% of American workers say the annual performance review process at their job interferes with their productivity and 90% of human resource professionals don’t believe their company performance review process provides accurate information, according to a CEB survey.

“Yearly performance reviews are too critical and put employees on edge because supervisors are often subjective and not objective about their underlings,” said Carman who refrains from shackling his workers with such laborious criticism.

Quarterly individual development plans are emerging to replace annual performance reviews at companies like Consumer Affairs that are ahead of the curve.

“We use the concept of mentors and coaches to keep our employees on track,” Carman said.

As a result, ConsumerAffairs reports an annual employee retention rate of 98%.

“Individual development plans are constructive and pro-active but never critical,” Carman said. “They recognize the worker’s skill set, competencies and weakness and end with a plan on how to develop the skills needed to improve performance within a given timeframe.”

Such a plan includes actions such as suggestions for continuing education for skill development and one on one tutoring.

With millennials taking over the workforce and eventually management, it’s only a matter of time before annual performance reviews are phased out completely.

“You’ll know your company’s culture and annual performance review process is outdated when politicking takes over, communication breaks down, staff is unable to articulate the company mission and how they fit into it and you discover that two departments are trying to solve the same issue,” said Carman.

Offer competitive salary and benefits

Based in Tulsa, ConsumerAffairs placed among the top 50 in the medium-sized company category alongside tech companies such as HoneyBook, Liftoff, Metric Theory and Signifyd that are based in Silicon Valley where new trends in company culture and perks are developing almost on a daily basis.

Workers at ConsumerAffairs earn the same salary as others based in the Bay Area who are in comparable positions but without the hassle of living in the high traffic, urban environment of San Francisco.

“I worked in San Francisco for five years in private equity and one of the attributes I looked for before investing in a start up was the quality of company culture because a progressive office environment attracts top talent and helps companies stay competitive,” said Carman. “Companies need the best workers to stay profitable and successful.”

Prepare Millennials to Manage Generation Z

Companies faring well going forward in developing progressive corporate cultures will be those that cater to the up and coming Generation Z as they enter the workforce this year. This generation, born in 1994 and after, is the most sophisticated generation when it comes to technology and multi tasking.

“They have the ability to spread their attention across at least five screens,” Carman said. “CEOs are now facing new challenges in understanding how to manage the younger generation that’s nipping at our heels.”

Those five screens can include anything from smart phone, tablet, iPad, traditional television, desktop and laptop to twitter, youtube, instagram, Facebook and snapchat.

“It’s dizzying to watch younger staff get tons of work done using ten different devices all at the same time,” Carman said.

Offer Job Duties & Innovative Perks to Entry Level Workers

Companies are already cultivating more tech savvy perks like access to state of the art video games to prepare for Generation Z.

“On site, we have an Oculus VR system, PlayStation, X-Box and a Nintendo Wii along with an 80-inch projection system with speakers,” said Carman.

In addition to up to date perks, Generation Z want interesting work.

According to a study by generational consulting company BridgeWorks,

42% of Gen Z say they want to start their own business and 38% want to invent something.

Carman handles their entrepreneurial tendencies by giving his entry level staff technology based tasks they can complete alone.

“The millennials who manage them will struggle with that generation’s tendency to do it themselves and dismiss mistakes rather than tell their supervisor,” said Carman. “The solution is to give them small projects to complete alone so that they can work independently, learn the job and prove themselves in the process.”

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ConsumerAffairs snagged a top spot on Entrepreneur's 2017 Company Cultures list for its performance based work environment that's fueled by video games, team building activities and unlimited time off.
Trends, Company, Culture, Watch
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2017-13-16
Thursday, 16 March 2017 10:13 PM
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