Yesterday, I had the luxury of spending a full day with the Great Places to Work Institute listening to some fantastic presentations on what makes some of the very best organizations tick. Aside from the obvious “that’s so awesome” factor of the idea exchange, what was most inspiring and encouraging for me were the trends that emerged throughout the day about how the very best workplaces are organizing themselves and their people.
Our presentation from my colleague Jay Goldman on the Decoded Company was really well received, and joined our compatriots at SAS and Google in highlighting how technology is shaping how people share ideas, interact, and get work done. At Klick, this is really central to everything that we do. Absolutely every program we design is supported in some way shape or form by technology and our internal business system Genome.
2) Flat organizations
Many of the companies are developing strategies to encourage flat organizations. Why? Feedback and autonomy seemed to be the dominant themes, and flat organizations encourage both. Engaged people feel like they have a voice, that their feedback and input is considered while decisions are being made, and that they are given all of the tools in order to be autonomous. Bonus points went to organizations that used technology to encourage flat organizations, feedback and autonomy (so I guess bonus points to us at Klick!).
Workplaces are multi-generational! Newsflash! Often, organizations are designed by people who are from older generations to appeal to people from younger generations. It’s not an old problem, but it was interesting to see how people were bridging the divide. The answer was invariably fun. Really really simple, but laughter seemed to be the best medicine for getting your almost-retired folks to play nice with the newest hires fresh out of school. This was especially interesting for me because I’m part of the Millennial generation (and Leerom, our CEO, is too), but I’m in a position to be able to shape the workplace, which lots of people were “future talking” about. It really isn’t something I’d considered before, and I’ve decided to read up on the differences. Not sure I buy in to this, but maybe that’s my Millennial talking.
A few things that we do that didn’t get talked about in the presentations I saw but that I think really contribute to a Great Place to Work:
We spend a lot of time at Klick trying to find creative solutions to problems. In an industry dominated by “best practices”, we pride ourselves in sometimes starting fresh. Our Culture and Engagement team is tasked not just with keeping people happy, but finding unique and creative ideas that will get people talking. Programs like Concierge, which supports people staying late with dinner, grocery service, maid service, gifts for loved ones at home or whatever their heart desires, or our Camp Muskoka weekend, where the entire company bunks together at a camp in the Muskokas, underscore our commitment not just to being a Great Place to Work but a unique, creative one too!
This was sort of touched by the Google presentation (and I know enough about them personally to know that there is much more they didn’t talk about) but data didn’t come up as strongly other places as it did with Jay’s presentation on the Decoded Company. Data really controls where and when we focus our Culture & Engagement team’s energies. From who is working late for the Concierge program to In-flight Reading on all the latest on your accounts sent to you right before you fly to see them, to the statistically best sandwich platter to order for a Lunch & Learn, data is a BIG part of how we make Klick a Great Place to Work. Hopefully next year, every one else will be talking about it too!
After an inspiring day, the very best was last! We were named in the Top 10 Great Places to Work! It was pretty awesome realizing that as the numbers were creeping closer and closer to the top of the list we were still in our seats. We are incredibly proud of our entire Klick family, and a special shout out to Jay Goldman for his fantastic presentation and the Culture and Engagement + Genome teams that makes many of the programs we were recognized for tick. 2014 is looking good!
Note: I only attended half the presentations because there were concurrent sessions!