Google's new London office is due to open in 2016 - and the internet is already buzzing about what looks like one of the most VIP workspaces in the world. Mashable reports that it will have an open-air swimming pool, an indoor football pitch, a climbing wall and a roof garden - all in the very heart of London. Add to that free lunches and a design that allows employees to cycle right into the building to store bikes, as well as the major transport hub of King's Cross station on its doorstep, and you will have some very happy Google staff.
So why is this 5-star luxury so important to Google? Not only do they want to hire the very best employees, but they want to retain them too. Highly-skilled workers, especially in the tech industry, are in demand across the globe, and keeping your staff (who you may have trained up at great expense) is vital. So providing a state-of-the-art workplace shows you appreciate your team. They will stay with their employer longer, feel a greater commitment to their company, and are likely to talk about the great organization they work for.
A workspace like Google's acts as an advert for new recruits, as do the people who work there. A company's best asset is its employees, so it is important to attract the best candidates - and to keep them.
Of course, not all companies have Google's budget.
For businesses wishing to give their employees the VIP treatment, but don't have the resources for their own swimming pool, there are some simple steps you can take.
1. Ask your employees
Simply asking your employees what would help improve your working culture can lead to greater engagement and better recruitment and retention levels. Creating an online suggestion forum can yield many ways in which everyday life can be improved for staff. From free snacks, carpool boards, and Ping-Pong tables, to anti-discrimination training, management initiatives, and team away-days, small changes can make the world of difference to making your staff feel valued.
2. Create the Wall of Awesome
Dedicate the space in your office where you highlight the awesomeness of your employees and allow other employees highlight their peers in fun ways.
At Sprinklr we go as far as creating our own official hashtag we use in internal conversations to spotlight someone's success. Ours is #PureAwesomeness. We also have a conference room called Awesomeness that always makes our employees and our clients smile.
When the company rebuilt its offices, leadership wanted to showcase the Sprinklr story and essence. Employees are what makes the company, so they dedicated the whole wall to employee photos. It is a nice representation of the diversity of the firm.
We also love to highlight the personalities of our employees on our social channels through "meet the team" posts. We are proud of the passionate people who work here and want to give a glimpse of who we are to our external tribe and our customers. Here is how our community management team shared my story on Twitter.
Meet the Team! Introducing @Ekaterina, Sprinklr's Global Evangelist #sprinklrlife pic.twitter.com/1RRXIgKygV
- Sprinklr (@Sprinklr) October 9, 2014
3. Celebrate success
It sounds so simple, but rewarding success can boost employee morale and lead to more positive word-of-mouth both internally and externally. It can also mean better customer service as employees know that they will be positively affected when the company does well, and therefore feel more genuinely involved in providing the best service to customers. Rewarding success doesn't have to be about big bonuses; public recognition in the form of internal awards, or even praise in a team meeting can boost morale. Just saying, "Thank you" more often can go a long way towards helping staff feel appreciated. Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com, a brand with one of the most loyal and engaged staff of any company, says that celebrations - both big and small - are a big deal at Zappos: "We truly feel that celebrating frequently the things we achieve is one of the best motivators around for getting that kind of achievement repeated. While we rack up some pretty big bills for happy hours and parties, we believe that every one of those dollars comes back to us threefold in employee engagement, which to us is really what success is all about."
4. Rethink your pet policy
Sprinklr offices are also pet-friendly. Whenever you hear "aaawww" and "ooohhh, you are so adorable," you know that one of our hairy friends decided to do a lap around the office. Whether it is Oscar napping on top of the desk, or Bear dressed in the Halloween costume, they add a lot of lively energy to the otherwise routine day.
Oscar, the @Sprinklr NY office dog. Or should I say the official cutie of @Sprinklr ? pic.twitter.com/l5OeurnnJe - Ekaterina Walter (@Ekaterina) September 11, 2014
5. Allow for flexible schedules
One reliable way of improving employee morale, increasing productivity and improving relations between management and employees, is to offer flexible working hours. This could be anything from offering more part-time positions, job-shares, flexi-time (either with core hours or without), extended maternity and paternity leave, and working from home.
Some companies go as far as offering unlimited vacation. In this case, some employees take very little time, some take more than usual in any given year (always with a good reason or for a good cause). But companies that offer this benefit always comment on how much commitment, productivity, and energy this policy brings to their culture.
Advantages? Employees who feel trusted to manage their own time are often more loyal and work harder. The reputation for a good employment culture attracts more applicants and helps a company recruit the highest caliber employees.
A company is its employees. Staff with high levels of satisfaction perform well in their jobs and offer better customer service. Improving your business culture won't just benefit your employees: it will benefit your customers and ultimately, the organization as a whole.
Originally published in Inc.