From ownership structures to pay transparency, long-established corporates need to learn from fast-growth entrepreneurial businesses.
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Driven by rising competition from start-ups like Squarespace, major, more established brands such as Virgin, Facebook and Google are reinventing through necessity what it means to be a company today.
With flexible working hours, foosball tables in office spaces and working from home fast becoming workplace staples, it’s essential for companies to continue to innovate internally to ensure they attract and perhaps more importantly, retain the best upcoming talent.
That said, having a happy workforce has tangible benefits for companies themselves. Many organisations listed on Fortune’s Best Companies, Glassdoor’s Best Places to work and LinkedIn’s Most In-Demand Employers are also among the most successful and profitable businesses out there.
Now more than ever before, companies risk falling by the wayside if they fail to differentiate themselves from their upwardly mobile and disruptive competition, who use creative and innovative approaches to evolving their workplace culture.
The time has arrived for companies to stop paying lip service to workplace culture and start delivering business models that inspire and engage their staff. The companies that are the most agile and forward-thinking will thrive in this new reality; those that don’t, put simply, will not.
Uninspired workers produce lower quality results
Make your employee a co-owner
People with vested interests in their work will pay dividends to all – employee and employer alike. So why not take it a step further, by making all employees ‘co-owners’ of your organisation? It means you’re hiring with future ‘partners’ in mind, rather than simply ‘the muscle’ and skills.
Sadly research indicates that a staggering 87% of the global workforce are not engaged at work, but these figures could change by giving employees a stake in the company’s future. Let them think about their impact on a company and work towards making a marked difference.
Co-ownership as a model isn’t just an opportunity to inspire and engage staff. At Independents United (IU) we have an inherent believe that people who help to grow the value of a company should also be rewarded for that contribution. After all a company would be nothing without those driving it forwards.
Pitch for your pay rise
At IU we have implemented a system of what we refer to as ‘radical transparency’, where every co-owner pitches for their pay rise to their peers.
Naturally, if everyone is a co-owner then everyone should have a say in the pay rises their colleagues get. You might think the vested interests of one co-owner may impact the interests of another.
But we’ve found that far from hindering pay rises and fomenting a dog-eat-dog mentality, everyone guns for one another. Each co-owner is party to how much money is in the pot so pitches responsibly.
Pitching for pay rises calls for a culture of transparency and democracy that both permeates the company and transcends to the company’s relationship with its clients, instilling the sort of trust that builds long-lasting relationships.
So when hiring it’s imperative you’re looking for a cultural fit, rather than just a set of skills. Skills can be taught. A culture is inherent.
Transparency creates fairer pay structures
Put your faith in the person, not the job title
It’s no surprise that 90 percent of companies surveyed by Deloitte rated ‘organising the company of the future’ as ‘important’ or very ‘important.’ Inflexibility in the workplace transcends to a culture of inflexibility in the market; a disastrous situation for a company seeking to keep apace.
But there’s a massive misnomer around flexibility in the workplace. It’s about more than what hours you work or your location. Flexibility must spread throughout your business model and into how you select leads for each specific project. Do away with hierarchy. It doesn’t work and only hinders optimum business growth.
Companies need to understand that the best ideas can come from left field and not always that traditional route. Let workers feed their passion by working on projects they believe in, that they enjoy.
For example, don’t pigeon hole your HR director to HR tasks if they like to dabble in new business. And don’t prevent an executive assistance from helping the marketing team with new ideas.
Walk the walk
Practicing what you preach is a vital ingredient to success. Can you imagine an Apple employee using Microsoft hard and software? Would you dine at a restaurant whose chef doesn’t eat their own food? This principle applies to all businesses.
As a corporate venturing and innovation agency, not only do we embrace the workplace practices preached here, we also invest our profits in start-ups and even share our work space. We understand the value start-ups offer, which is at the heart of our business model.
Larger companies can no longer rest on their laurels of monopoly and heritage. They need to refresh their business ethos and fight disruption through greater agility and processes that inspire alluring workplace cultures. Don’t just read the start-up’s manual. Take a leaf out of the book.