With so much conversation about the gig economy and moonlighting, does a career mean what it once did? While the steps to build a career may be different than they were twenty or thirty years ago – get a job, stick with it, and turn it into a career by default – I would argue that taking a career-minded approach to work, no matter what form it takes, still has value. Some find solace in longevity and consistency, while others prefer to hop from position to position.
Once you’re working with a company, what keeps you there?
Careers can be built on a number of different jobs at a number of different companies. It’s truly becoming more of a choose-your-own-adventure approach. Once you’re working with a company, what keeps you there?
Perk paradise – don’t believe the hype
In Silicon Valley, where iconic employer brands surround us, I often say that a person is only a lunch break away from the next offer or two. A lot of media attention focuses on companies offering the latest “perks” and many of the candidates I speak with are coming from something akin to “perk paradise.” But, perks rarely come up from potential hires during the interview and onboarding process. If a candidate is persuaded by massage chairs and laundry service then they’re probably looking for the wrong reasons. In fact, we released a study, called Work in Progress, that outed technology as the new “hot perk,” ranking higher than access to food and beverages, slick office design, or on-site amenities.
Besides access to technology, what does come up consistently – and ultimately makes or breaks an employee experience – is the company culture, with an engaged employee base at its core. It’s the potential for career development and learning opportunities, a culture that rewards critical thinking, and office camaraderie that nurtures a community where people want to work. What’s more, is the belief and common understanding that the organization is doing something big and all employees feel that they are a critical part of that trajectory.
In brief, I think the biggest perk is setting up employees to make an impact – in an environment that provides a culture of learning – with access to self-service technology, great leadership and the ability to grow.
Operational excellence can make or break a billion dollar business
Operational excellence is probably one of the most mundane topics, but it might just be the most important way to keep employees motivated, engaged and focused on the prize. We work in an exciting tech industry with “billion dollar ideas” but it all comes down to – Is your company well-run? If an organization is well-run, there is little room for distraction. Sometimes it’s as simple as:
- Do meetings start with an agenda and end with actions or do meetings just bring people together to nod at each other and do it again the next day?
- Are budgets transparent and utilized towards a common and agreed upon goal, or is it a black box?
- Are employees and managers having effective 1:1s, like Adobe’s recently open-sourced Check-in process?
- Is there a rhythm to quarterly or yearly deliverables, or are objectives and tactics in a constant state of chaos?
Even in today’s ever-changing and always-on digital workplace, the term well-oiled machine still stands up.
The companies and cultures that demonstrate operational excellence will differentiate themselves from the pack and ultimately provide a platform for future workers to make their mark.