5 Great Companies Who Have An Even Better Company Culture

Posted in: Business

In today’s working world, cufflinks are traded for blue jeans, and desk lunches are being swapped out for lunches prepared by chefs.

That means if you’re still sitting in a cubicle farm wearing itchy dress pants, your company just might be guilty of having a culture that hinders your happiness, productivity, performance and overall well-being.

It’s true. After years of research, today's CEOs are finding out that the best way to remain successful and to keep their employees in the long term is by creating a culture that encourages creativity, relaxation, transparency and just plain, old fashioned fun.

So instead of daydreaming your way out of your cubicle, why not check out these five companies who have amazing company cultures and open your eyes to how great coming to work everyday really can be?

Image source: www.sas.com

“95 percent of my assets drive out the gate every evening.  It's my job to maintain a work environment that keeps those people coming back every morning.” - Jim Goodnight, CEO, SAS

1. SAS treats employees like their most valuable asset

How could one company top Forbes’ “Best Places To Work” chart consecutively for the last ten years? According to Jim Goodnight, the CEO and founder of SAS, it’s all about making his employees feel like they’re his most important asset. What makes SAS’s company culture so killer isn’t just the great perks, but their commitment to making their employees feel like their work truly matters.

That’s why, when the economic downturn hit in 2009 and all of their competitors were enforcing massive layoffs, SAS refused to layoff a single employee. Instead, he put his trust into his employees to work harder and make it through the tough times as a team. The result? Yet another profitable year for SAS (their 33rd consecutive year, to be exact).

Image source: www.sas.com

SAS’s university-style campus includes ton of green space between its buildings to encourage employees to get out and enjoy the fresh air during a busy workday.

While Jim could easily forego his impressive list of employee benefits and simply pay higher

salaries, he sees his company’s perks as a symbol of his appreciation for his team’s hard work. In the end, for Jim, his motto is “Treat employees like they make a difference and they will.”

Most impressive perks:

  • Free access to a massive gym with tennis and basketball courts, a weight room and a heated pool.

  • A free on-site health care clinic, staffed by physicians, nutritionists, physical therapists and psychologists.

  • A free “work-life” counseling course that helps employees manage the stresses of everyday life more effectively

  • SAS “35-hour work week” motto helps their employees maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Image source: PINTEREST

2. Google turns company culture and employee happiness into a science

When you have a data-driven company, what better way to optimize your employee’s happiness than through data? An employee’s career path is scientific from the start with Google, thanks to their People Operations Department. Google tests just about everything within their company to optimize their people and their performance, and here’s how it’s helped them:

  • Creative freedom leads to innovation: Google’s famous “20% time” rule allows employees to spend one day a week on side projects of their choice. Although it has recently had some rules built around it, at it’s core, it’s still sparked a ton of crazy innovations like Google Glass, Gmail and driverless cars.

  • Encouraging social interactions makes employees happier: Google knows the importance of socializing during the work day, which is why they conducted a study to find out how they could encourage it. Their data found that a 3-4 minute line for lunch at their infamous cafeteria is the optimal waiting time for meeting new people and having time to eat lunch. They also figured out that long lunch tables lead to more interaction between employees.

  • Giving mothers more time off leads to higher retention: To improve their retention rate among women (they were leaving the company twice as fast as men), they increased their maternity leave plan from 12 weeks to five months for mothers. The result? A 50% high retention rate!

  • Setting a solid foundation creates better managers: Once Google realized that managers had the largest impact on employee performance, they started Project Oxygen in 2009 to build better managers. Through thousands of interviews, performance reviews and analysis reports, they came up with some ground rules for all of their managers. Project Oxygen boasted a huge improvement in more than 75% of their poorest-performing managers.

Most impressive perks:

  • An office environment like no other with spaces dedicated to napping, eating, reading, exercising and everything in between (see above).

  • Free breakfast, lunch and dinner that’s organic and chef-prepared.

  • Free health and dental insurance, haircuts and even dry cleaning.

  • Life-enhancing programs like their Mindfulness Training program.

Image source: Custom spaces

3. LinkedIn focuses on transparency and a laid back atmosphere

How do you maintain a laid back, start-up atmosphere with a company that’s quickly growing past 5,000+ employees? For LinkedIn, it’s simple - stay focused on creating a transparent environment. First off, LinkedIn makes sure there are no barriers between employees, managers, execs and each other. To help make that possible, every two weeks the CEO and exec team meet with all employees for one hour to answer any questions they have. They’ve even been known to surprise their employees during these meetings with things like flash mobs and iPad minis.

And what’s a laid back atmosphere without a little humor? LinkedIn maintains a sense of humor by hosting random contests like their “Space Lift” office-decorating contest where employees go so all-out that they one once turned their space into an 18-hole golf course. Talk about a fun place to be! Even on Glassdoor, one employee reports, “Pretty much everyone around is a friendly, down to earth human being. I feel like I can talk to my manager openly and frankly without any BS. That's the biggest perk in the world.”

Most impressive perks:

  • Free Tai Chi, Zumba, Bootcamp, BOSU, TRX, Power Yoga and strength training classes where employees earn points they can trade in for LinkedIn swag.

  • One Friday every month is dedicated to an "InDay" where employees get to work on a project (think community gardens and charities) outside their normal routine for the day.

  • Every month, LinkedIn hosts a variety of top-notch speakers to get their employees inspired (they’re even made available to the general public via Youtube).

  • A $5,000/year stipend for employees to take part in professional education.

  • Employees are given up to a $10,000 grant from the LinkedIn For Good foundation to help them contribute to - or even start - charitable organizations.

Image source: IInspector Insight

4. Pixar encourages collaboration to foster creativity

How is it that one production studio can be creative enough to produce 12 full-length blockbusters in a row? For Pixar, it’s all about having a culture that encourages collaboration. Each blockbuster they create doesn’t stem from one idea at the management level, but rather from 200 ideas that come from every single person on the production team. “Creativity must be present at every level of every artistic and technical part of the organization,” explains Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar.

And when it comes down to giving feedback at Pixar, it’s anyone’s game. All employees are invited to view screenings of every film at every stage (even before the story line is concrete) and share their notes with the executives. The best part? They’re actually taken into account. In fact, when Pixar was facing a troublesome time, they held a “Notes Day” where every employee submitted notes on how they think the company could operate better.

Image Source: The Dream of Pixar

Most impressive perks:

  • Instead of cubicles, animators work in little huts that they create themselves (above).

  • An impressive bar with just about every cereal ever created.

  • Secret rooms sporadically placed throughout the campus - one a fully tricked-out speakeasy bar and the other a “Thinking Room.”

  • Extra curricular activities throughout the week like an “Improv Courses for Shy People” and foam rolling sessions in their “Breathing Room.”

5. Hello Innovation actually makes working fun

When you’re greeted by “How to Breakdance” instructions and loud, thumping club music the second you step out of the elevator at the Hello Innovation office, it’s hard not to be happy.

We’re dedicated to doing the best damn work of our lives, but work is more fun when you can be yourself. That’s why you’ll often find our head engineer wearing Homer Simpson slippers and our customer service team matching in colorful onesies. We’re more than just a team of talented people, we’re a family. In fact, it’s very rare that you’ll catch us apart. We’re always enjoying each other’s company, whether it’s during an ideation session, at a Tiger’s game outing or just over the water cooler. We truly believe that our come-as-you-are environment is the key to our success.

Our most impressive perks:

  • Eat like a king with our catered lunches, weekly door-to-door organic deliveries, Nespresso machine and random candy binges (we definitely sweet tooth).

  • Stay educated with Lunch N’ Learns, or we’ll even send you to an educational event of your choice!

  • Take a break on our hammock, ride one of our bikes through the D, swing on our epic skateboard swings or put your ping-pong skills to the test on our Olympic-style ping-pong table.

  • We have no shortage of creative outlets in our office, from our skateboard swings, to our aerial drones and Red Epic camera, and even our turn tables when you need a little dance break.

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Free yourself from your cubicle. Join the HI movement.

At H-I, our culture is anything but corporate and that’s our strong point. Cubicles? We fear them. Suits and ties? Leave ‘em at home. Workplace politics? Who needs it! If you’re looking to be inspired, challenged and leave work everyday knowing you’re making an impact, you’ve come to the right place. Check out our available positions here and apply today!

What other companies out there have a kick ass culture? Tell us in the comments below!

5 comments

  • Avatar Steve Fawcett
    August 8, 2014

    Great article on companies that offer an authentically creative culture. So many think that by adding one or two non-office features that they have created an innovative culture. “Hey, we’ve got a floor like a bowling alley! Now back to work!” *whip crack*

    Love your blog!

    • Rilee Chastain Rilee Chastain
      September 10, 2014

      Thanks for the kind words, Steve! 🙂 We definitely love taking advantage of our creative space here at H-I! Our games and innovative gadgets get lots of love.

  • Avatar Ryan Wekwert
    August 18, 2014

    I’ve worked out of the Pixar office, it was pretty amazing AND an all around a dream come true. I’ve also worked out of HelloInnovation, which was pretty damn great to! In that short week long freelance project I did in the HelloInnovation space, I was impressed with how well everyone works together and the environment does play a key role in that. In the creative world we never break and we eat lunch at our desk and sit for 12 + a day, this office basically tells you to play basketball or ping pong, take a break. Everyone also knows we can get it done at the end of the day so the short breaks help the creative mind more than most think.

    • Rilee Chastain Rilee Chastain
      September 10, 2014

      Thanks for sharing this, Ryan! We love our crazy, innovative space here at H-I! The high-score on our basketball game shows that we sure do like to take breaks and have fun around here 🙂

  • Avatar Anthony Austin
    November 11, 2015

    Hello Innovation seems like an extremely exciting place to work at. I LOVE the culture of the company and I would definitely like to be a part of this Amazing team of people.

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