BRW recently released its annual Top Places To Work in Australia, so, naturally, I went through the list with a fine tooth comb to find out exactly how they got there. Creating an amazing workplace is something that is of high priority to me, as it should be for every business. Your team is everything. They choose to come and spend the majority of their day with you so I believe it is every business owner’s duty to ensure that your business is the most enviable and enjoyable place to work.
Most businesses on this list were also on it last year, with Atlassian ranking #1 again. Here are a few tips that I’ve taken away from the best performing workplaces that you, too, can easily implement into your business:
- Egalitarian structure – the days of a pyramid style hierarchy are gone if you wish to top this list. An egalitarian workplace is one where employees share responsibilities and work as a group. Managers sit alongside administrators in the office and everyone shares the same facilities. In these types of businesses, the no-hierarchy structure means that decisions often happen much faster. One top business said, “We don’t talk about managers and employees, we talk about everyone as a partner in the business. Everyone is treated the same, everyone has the same size desk, but that means you are expected to contribute to the business too.”
- Flexible work hours – with the prevalence of cloud based computing becoming more and more mainstream, the ability for team members to work offsite and with flexible hours can be very important. Take for example, a parent who needs to drop off and pick up their kids from school, or a parent with a newborn that would work better on their own time (which may very well be at three in the morning). Oh, and let’s not forget parents (again) who, by working from home, are able to save on hefty daycare costs.
- Working in smaller teams – Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, coined the term “pizza teams”, meaning 2 pizzas should be able to feed your team for lunch, and if not, your team is too big.
- Stand up meetings – years ago, a business coach told me about the concept of quick daily stand up meetings (per department). I thought he was joking, until I implemented it. He called it the “10 minutes at 10 to 10”. When you sit down, you begin to relax and become more social. However, as soon as you stand up and chat, your meetings will become very direct and efficient. I also take all of my business phone calls standing to achieve the same ‘state’.
- Reverse mentoring – my favourite new concept, where graduates teach managers about social media and new trends like Xero and cloud computing. Business is now very driven by the digital space and who better to educate on this than the younger generation?
- Fun times – lastly, one common theme was the amount of toys and extra curricular activities provided. Things like table tennis tables, pool tables, drinks fridge, but also weekly massages, personal trainers and catered lunches. Now, these can get a little costly, but they can definitely all be entertained on a spontaneous basis.
Running a successful business is about continuous change and innovation, not only from a strategic board level, but also within the trenches. In order to build a great business, you first need to create a great team.