I think of the following elements as the traits, behaviors, and thoughtfulness I look for in employers, clients, and partners.
Work to live
Culture is the most important element to me, what all other things stem from.
A culture where people talk about and build the culture.
Every company has a culture. Great cultures have continuous discussion and effort behind them, not just quotes on a wall or notepad. In other words, culture is a priority, not an afterthought.
Alignment with values and principles (e.g., empathy, kindness)
A history of positive employee experiences (e.g., high Glassdoor rating and reviews, responses)
A commitment to and action behind diversity, inclusion, action, and anti-racism
Employees are partners, figuring it out together
We won't get everything right - when we get it wrong, we'll admit and learn why
Never stop experimenting - an environment that is constantly learning and trying new things
Company-paid retreats and team outings (not crucial, can have virtual team building)
My work is important to me - I simply want to do great work with great people, and provide great client service
To grow, build, shape, improve, empower, do something
Vision AND purpose
The company backs up its purpose with action
A generative, risk-taking culture that has a flag in the ground about what it stands for
Flexible work hours (e.g., start times) and remote work
Freedom of choice in technical equipment (e.g., MacBook preferred)
The space and time for deep thinking and reflection; fewer meetings
When appropriate, I like ideation sessions with people, where we can freely think about what is possible - the ‘and’s without the if’s and but’s
Four-day / 32-hour work weeks
Potentially, some sort of choose-your-own-schedule with smaller offices in centralized places
Supports mental and physical wellness
Work/life balance (however you prefer to call it)
Promotes from within
Internal mobility and learning
High team member retention
A mostly quiet working environment is generally preferred, or at least one with spaces for quiet concentration. Headphones help me focus in an open office.
Safe environment to experiment, fail, and try new things
No one is perfect - see the best in others. Whether spotting a typo or a larger concept opportunity, have the mindset of iteration instead of calling out errors and faults.
I believe great companies and teams foster work-life alignment, and that strategic self-care – whether sleeping enough, leaving work early to exercise, meditate, or spend time in nature – is the key ingredient to becoming our best, most productive and happy selves.
Instead of being called benefits, shouldn't these be standard for any company that cares about its people?
Family comes first
Equal opportunity company
Medical benefits (paid sick days, general, dental, vision, COVID-19, etc.)
401(k) Plan with matching from day one
Competitive compensation, based on how the role is valued (e.g., including profit sharing)
Additional benefits and considerations (e.g., health and wellness, fitness, home office allowance, transit, lunch)
Support for growth and development (e.g., books, education, courses, conferences)
20+ paid days vacation (with mandatory minimum)
Support and time right to vote
The status quo
When the highest paid person's opinion is prioritized
Cubicles; people being blocked off in their own special offices
“My door’s always open” is a sword for people in positions of power. Instead of having a door, leaders should proactively check-in with their teams.
Long meetings/conversations without putting plans to paper (unless it is an ideation session)
If I don’t understand the wider purpose behind why we are doing something, I find it hard to engage with
Huge presentation files
I am turned off by entitlement, boredom and taking things for granted – it’s our responsibility to take our work seriously, but not ourselves
I default to trust, but if my confidence is shaken, it’s hard to rebuild. Ways to lose my trust include: not following through, withholding important information, avoiding hard conversations, or treating others with disrespect.
No focus or program on diversity, inclusion and anti-racism
A history of negative employee experiences (e.g., turnover, Glassdoor rating)
"Work hard, play hard"
Unethical behavior toward employees, partners, or clients