11 companies that put Employees First: Green Goldfish Project Top Ten List #1


Share on LinkedIn

Little things can culturally make a big difference

The Green Goldfish Project is an attempt to crowdsource 1,001 examples of marketing lagniappe for employees. Companies that put “employees first” through actions, not just words. For every 50 examples collected there is a Top 10 list that is created.

[Bonus: In honor of ‘Back to School’, I’m giving away free copies of the book “What’s Your Purple Goldfish?” between 9/5 – 9/9. Click here on Amazon to get a copy. Feel free to tell a friend or 3,000]

Without further adieu, here is the first list from the Project:

10. Standing for Values: No BULLSHIT @atlassian

Atlassian (#47) has 5 core values

Rule #1: Open Company, No Bullshit

Atlassian embraces transparency wherever at all practical, and sometimes where impractical. All information, both internal and external, is public by default. We are not afraid of being honest with ourselves, our staff and our customers.

YouTube video on their values:

9. Serving those who serve @SqueezeIn

Squeeze In (#11)

Hi Stan!

My name is Shila Morris and I am one of the owners of the Squeeze In, along with my husband Chad, and parents Gary and Misty Young. Squeeze In is 3 (soon to be 4) breakfast lunch restaurants in Truckee California, and Reno Nevada. We very much believe in the power of laigniappe and focus most of our attention on giving the ‘wow’ experience to both our guests, and our associates.

I think a good example of how we offer ‘green goldfish’ to our associates is that we are closed only 2 days a year. Thanksgiving and Christmas. However on Thanksgiving, we open the doors to one of our locations and have an exclusive employee thanksgiving breakfast for not only our staff, but their friends and family as well. They can come in, bring whoever they want, and relax while we the owners serve up their drinks (lots of mimosas and bloody marys), cook their breakfasts, and clean up their mess, while they get to enjoy a totally free, totally private event. Its a way for us to show them that we know how hard they work, and what better day to show appreciation and thanks. Its a very well recieved event, and something everyone looks forward too.
Good luck on your quest and feel free to check out our website to find out more about our family and business.

Shila Morris

8. Trust Pay @HCLTech

HCL Technologies (#1)

Recognition for added value.

Vineet Nayar developed a clear point of view on compensation and recognition during his twenty years with HCL. “The industry used to pay 30 per cent variable compensation to the employee linked to the company’s performance. We found the idea quite ridiculous, because if you are a software engineer you have no meaningful in?uence on the performance of the company. So we said we will turn all that into ?xed pay – ‘trust pay’ as we call it. Now, having established that, we switched to value: We said now we will start measuring you on the value created for the customer.”

HBR video:

7. Breakfast Tacos and Margaritas @WeberShandwick

Weber Shandwick (#25)

Submitted by Keith Green and taken from a post by Mihaela Lica Butler:

Weber Shandwick Dallas is this year’s best place to work, according to the Dallas Business Journal. The company won the recognition after an independent survey of Weber Shandwick Dallas employees covering topics such as personal growth, professional opportunities and employee recognition.

Weber Shandwick provides employees in its Dallas office with numerous benefits, including breakfast tacos, margaritas (hopefully not for breakfast) and Putt Putt tournaments. There is also a health program that reimburses employees who invest in health and wellness activities (if they still manage to go on after all those margaritas). Last but not least, employees are offered opportunities to pursue professional goals through additional paid days off and tuition reimbursement.

6. Thinking inside the Box @Reebok

Reebok (#4)

Some organizations have a company gym. Others may subsidize or pay for gym fees. Reebok took this to the next level in 2010 by converting a brick warehouse at Reebok’s headquarters into an employee exclusive CrossFit “box” or workout center, with six coaches and extensive equipment [named CrossFit One]. About 425 employees at Reebok are taking part in Canton. This benefit reinforces the company’s new mission: to get consumers moving. Participants lost over 4,000 pounds collectively during 2011.

YouTube video on CrossFit One:

5. The Summer Sublet @ctpboston

CTP Boston (#33)

This cutting edge agency in Boston has a fun program called the Summer Sublet. The principals of the agency give up their offices for the summer and trade places with staff. Names get drawn from a hat and office preference is based on the order of selection.

4. Helping with Travel in a Time of Need @NuStarEnergyLP

NuStar (#10)

As part of its employee support network, the fast-growing energy company makes the corporate jet available in times of crisis. In 2010, when an employee working on a construction project in the Caribbean needed medical attention for a pre-existing ailment, NuStar jetted him back to the states to see his personal physician. The company also dispatches the plane when needed to send employees to support a coworker in need — flying employees from headquarters, say, to support a colleague in another location who had a death in the family.

3. Cruising @NewBelgium

New Belgium Brewery (#17)

Submitted by Owen Clark. This is a little outside the box, but New Belgium gives their employees a free cruiser bike on their one year-anniversary with the company. The bike is similar to the one on the cover of the brewery’s flagship beer Fat Tire. The bikes have developed kind of a cult following in Colorado, fostering the image of New Belgium as a hip sustainable company and one of the coolest places to work in the state.

YouTube video showcasing the Cruiser with a cool buzzer:

2. The power of the pen @CampbellSoupCo

Campbell Soup Company (#21)

Taken from a post at HBR by Doug Conant, former CEO of Campbell Soup Company:

In Doug’s words:

Look for opportunities to celebrate. My executive assistants and I spend a good 30 to 60 minutes a day scanning my mail and our internal website looking for news of people who have made a difference at Campbell’s. For example, as of this writing I just learned about a woman named Patti who just got promoted in our customer service area, so I made a note to congratulate her.

Get out your pen. Believe it or not, I have sent roughly 30,000 handwritten notes to employees like Patti over the last decade, from maintenance people to senior executives. I let them know that I am personally paying attention and celebrating their accomplishments. (I send handwritten notes too because well over half of our associates don’t use a computer). I also jump on any opportunities to write to people who partner with our company any time I meet with them. It’s the least you can do for people who do things to help your company and industry. On the face of it, writing handwritten notes may seem like a waste of time. But in my experience, they build goodwill and lead to higher productivity.

and the #1 example from the First Top Ten List is:

“Let My People Go Surfing” time @patagonia

Patagonia and Flextime (#35)

Taken from a post called, “Finding Success by Putting Company Culture First” by Diana Ransom

Patagonia Inc., based in Ventura, Calif., attracts outdoorsy types with its athletic clothing brand and laser-like focus on work-life balance. Time away from the office isn’t just tolerated here, it’s required, says Rob BonDurant, Patagonia’s vice president of marketing and de facto culture guide.

Patagonia’s 1,300 employees enjoy what the company calls “Let My People Go Surfing” time — a period during any work day where employees can head outdoors to get their creative juices flowing. Of course, they can’t abandon their duties or ditch a meeting, but popping out for an impromptu climb or bike ride is encouraged.

Patagonia’s flex-time policies — which originated from Yvon Chouinard, an outdoor enthusiast who founded the company in 1974 — are good for employee morale and invaluable to the company, which projects $400 million in revenue in 2011, up from $333 million last year.

“The time we spend outside the office helps us manage the storytelling process around our products,” says BonDurant, a 10-year Patagonia veteran and an avid mountain climber. “We’re designing ski and surfing apparel, we need to be traveling and trying things out.”

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra for good measure) – Google is “hands-down” the leader in doing the little extras. In fact – they are tied with Zappos with six examples in the Project. But – here is one example that extends to the afterlife:

Giving new meaning to death benefits @google

Google and the Afterlife (#41)

Taken from a post by Meghan Casserly in Forbes:

In a rare interview with Chief People Officer Laszlo Bock I discovered that the latest perk for Googlers extends into the afterlife.

“This might sound ridiculous,” Bock told me recently in a conversation on the ever-evolving benefits at Google, “But we’ve announced death benefits at Google.” We were scheduled for a talk on Google’s widening age-gap (the oldest Googler is currently 83); I wanted to know how child- and healthcare benefits have evolved as the company has scaled.

Instead, Bock, who joined the company in 2006 after a stint with General Electric, blew me away by disclosing a never-before-made-public-perk: Should a U.S. Googler pass away while under the employ of the 14-year old search giant, their surviving spouse or domestic partner will receive a check for 50% of their salary every year for the next decade. Even more surprising, a Google spokesperson confirms that there’s “no tenure requirement” for this benefit, meaning most of their 34 thousand Google employees qualify.

“But it turns out that the reason we’re doing these things for employees is not because it’s important to the business, but simply because it’s the right thing to do. When it comes down to it, it’s better to work for a company who cares about you than a company who doesn’t. And from a company standpoint, that makes it better to care than not to care.”

[Bonus Reminder: In honor of ‘Back to School’, I’m giving away free copies of the book “What’s Your Purple Goldfish?” between 9/5 – 9/9. Click here on Amazon to get a copy. Feel free to tell a friend or 3,000]

To see the entire list and / or to contribute an example, visit the Green Goldfish Project on Listly.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Stan Phelps
Stan Phelps is the Chief Measurement Officer at 9 INCH marketing. 9 INCH helps organizations develop custom solutions around both customer and employee experience. Stan believes the 'longest and hardest nine inches' in marketing is the distance between the brain and the heart of your customer. He is the author of Purple Goldfish, Green Goldfish and Golden Goldfish.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here