Richard Branson is spot on when he writes, referring to company culture, that incorporating “play” is not just about perks like beer on tap and Foosball tables.
The linchpin in any joyful and productive culture goes way beyond just the cool ‘stuff’… games, beer, nap-rooms, free snacks, and a 24 hour a day gourmet cafeteria. Those are all nice things, but are absolutely NOT a company’s ‘culture’. Nor do these things guarantee, in any way, the manifestation of an incredibly bonded, effective, happy, and productive employee base. Ask the leadership at Zenefits, who had all these fun perks, how it worked out for them.
The cornerstone of Hubble’s values and culture are ‘empowerment, experience, and empathy’. Argarwal recognizes cool stuff is nothing more than a means to an end, and that companies that throw perks at employees expecting great joy and productivity are in for a bumpy ride and a huge disappointment. Culture is so much more than perks.
And, just as clearly, corporate America does not ‘get’ this concept. More that 80% of the American workforce is unhappy in their jobs, and this is reflected in a loss in productivity amounting to $500,000,000 a year in the US. That’s half a Trillion Dollars…gone, wasted, vapor!
A truly great company culture is based on trust, respect, empathy, passion, kindness and joy. In short, things that have nothing to do with fun ‘stuff’, and everything to do with how people are treated and valued. Is there dignity and respect in the workplace, or is there disdain, judgment, and disrespect? This isn’t a trick question…it really is this simple. At Quantum Leap Consulting we have been working with Fortune 500 companies for 26 years, helping them to show their employees that they are appreciated, understood, and valued.
The sooner business leadership in the US recognizes the value and applicability of the principles embraced by companies like HubbleHQ, Virgin, Zappos, Adobe, REI, Twitter, and a handful of other cultural standouts, then the sooner we can save a half trillion dollars in revenues every year…and have a much happier and fulfilled workforce.
Add to that huge issues most companies face today… finding and hiring the right people, keeping valuable employees, increasing productivity, efficiency, and bottom line profits, and the answer becomes even more clear, and simple. Literally, every issue noted above, and many more, are solved when a company creates a culture of joy, trust, empathy, and empowerment…every one. Note I said “create”. It is in the power of every leadership team in every company to create and manifest the joyful and productive culture I talk about here, and like the culture Tushar Agarwal and his team have created at Hubble.
It is a choice, pure and simple…and the benefits - should a company’s leadership decide to create and implement a truly appreciative, respectful, culture - are nearly boundless, and will solve many problems that plague corporate America today. A positive, productive company culture can be created by any company.
Right on, Tushar, and kudos to Richard Branson for embracing joy, dignity, and respect as the cornerstone for any company to become a truly great company!
- Dennis Ford, President / Owner, Quantum Leap Productions