The local Best Place to Work event was held recently, and I’ve been thinking a lot about the companies that everyone see as attractive to work for. For example, Google is often discussed as a company with a great culture. In many of the “top ten best practices for business” articles, you’ll find a mention of Google and other similar companies. Everyone seems to adore the scooters, free lunches, and other perks that come with being an employee of these types of organizations.
But do you know what most of those “best place to work” lists don’t mention?
Somehow, despite all the amazing products and services that come out of Google, people seem to forget that there is a lot of work and effort represented in those tools. People actually sit down, think up solutions, write code, have meetings, etc. They work.
That’s one thing I sometimes find interesting. When people talk about wanting to work at XYZ company, they say that from examining the culture, benefits, etc. There’s never a clear insight into the actual taskings, action items, etc.
Creating a great place to work
I ran across a great article a while back where the person being interviewed (he works at one of those “best place to work” establishments, by the way) threw out this answer (emphasis mine).
What advice do you have for peers as they seek to fill the skills gap and foster job growth at their organizations?
In terms of filling the skills gap, it’s about creating a workplace where special people want to show up and do great work. The only way to win the talent war we are currently in is to start with great people to begin with. This means you have to have a culture where people want to show up and volunteer their best. After that, it’s about taking the time to really invest in people so that we can close whatever gaps are present. We need to hire people who have the capability and then invest in that capability so that they can follow through and deliver. Source
Notice he didn’t say “create a culture where people have fun and play table tennis all day.” He wants a workplace culture where employees want to show up and work their tails off to serve customers, accomplish goals, and meet deadlines.
Sometimes I wonder if we should be higher on those “best place to work” lists, but then I think about this side topic and realize that no matter what, we try to create a place where people actually like coming to the office. It’s worked well for us so far, and I don’t see that changing any time soon.
What are your thoughts?