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3 Companies That Do Culture Right and What You Can Learn From Them (Infographic)

Looking to improve your company culture? Google, Pixar and Patagonia have found formulas that work.

Kim Lachance Shandrow



In-office meditation rooms, rock walls and nap pods are all cool, but there’s so much more to creating a winning company culture than providing gravy perks like these.

To us, company culture is more of a positive collective state of mind, a shared organisational outlook that brings out the best in your employees, reinforces your mission and rocks your common goals. It’s also the attitude, personality and heart and soul of a business. It values people over product.

Related: 5 Inexpensive Ways to Create a Company Culture Like Google’s

If your company culture is a soul-sucking drag – or, worse, outright toxic – chances are it’s not too late to turn it around, especially if you’re in a position to catalyse change. Even if only in your corner of cubicle land.

One of the first steps you can take is to examine the top notch cultures of some of today’s most successful companies. And, when you’re feeling brave, gently nudge the powers that be at your business to explore and hopefully emulate them, too.

Take Pixar, for example. The phenomenally successful digital animation studio is built upon a culture of exceptional creativity, innovation and imagination, but its secret sauce really lies in truly, deeply caring for employees and their well being, something it didn’t always do.

In his book Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration (Random House, 2014), Pixar president Ed Catmull describes a terrifying crisis that forever altered the company’s once notoriously workaholic corporate culture.

When the company was hustling to complete Toy Story 2 on time, an overtired employee forgot his child inside of a sweltering car instead of bringing him to daycare (the infant fell unconscious but later recovered). It was a wake-up call. From that point on, Catmull dedicated himself to encouraging a company culture that puts employee health and happiness first, movie deadlines second.

For more on how Pixar  – and Google and Patagonia – foster company cultures that embrace balance, fun and freedom, all while still pushing productivity, check out the infographic from below. We won’t tell if you print it and put it up in the staff nap room.

Creating a corporate culture

This article was originally posted here on

Kim Lachance Shandrow is a Los Angeles-based tech journalist who specializes in writing about iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android phones, as well as social media marketing, startups, streaming TV, apps and green technology. Her work has appeared on NBC’s The Today Show,,, and in The Los Angeles Times and The International Business Times. She also consults for Ameba, a Canadian multiplatform children’s streaming TV startup.

How to Guides

(Infographic)This Is How Millennials View Work

It’s no secret that “millennial” is a somewhat loaded term that comes with a fair amount of contradictory baggage.

Nina Zipkin




For every think piece that characterises that cohort (those born starting in 1981) as progressive, optimistic and innovative, there is one that describes them as sheltered, entitled and underemployed.

With millennials on track to make up 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025, a recent study by Bentley University in Waltham, Mass., explores the millennial approach to work. The study polled more than 1,000 U.S. individuals aged 18 to 34.

Related: Hello to You: The Millennial Women in the Workforce

While millennials are known to always be glued to their phones and devices, 51 percent surveyed prefer to talk with their co-workers face to face. (Only 19 percent said they like e-mail best and 14 percent prefer texting.) And they’re even willing to put restrictions on their social media time: 66 percent believe that employers should limit time spent on social media sites in order to get more done during the day.

They’re also more loyal than they’re given credit for. Eighty percent believe they will stay with four or fewer companies over the course of their career. Sixteen percent expect to stay with their current job for the rest of their working life.

For more about millennials’ opinions of employee loyalty and long-term goals, as well as the importance of health care and working for an ethical company, check out the infographic below and Bentley University’s study.


 Related: How do I encourage my employees to adopt lifelong learning?

This article was originally posted here on

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How to Guides

How to Structure Salary Packages

How to design and implement remuneration structures that work.

Juliet Pitman




Most small business owners find it difficult to structure remuneration packages that meet their organisation’s objectives and ensure that the company is able to retain key talent. Getting it right is critical. “The need for remuneration policy, strategy and systems to underpin business strategy has never been greater,” says Dr Mark Bussin, executive chairman of 21st Century Business and Pay Solutions.

“There is no such thing as the ‘best’ policy or strategy. There are so many different ways to determine remuneration and in different situations or circumstances, you may make different choices,” he says. He advises business owners to take several factors into account.

What To Consider

1. Organisation strategy.
In the same way that the vision and mission inform the strategic objectives of the company, so business objectives should inform the remuneration structure of the company. Also consider:

  • The extent to which you want a centralised or decentralised approach
  • The culture and design of the organisation

2. Where the organisation is in its lifecycle.
Industry and product growth rate and business lifecycle stage has a significant impact on remuneration strategy. For example, a company in the embryonic stage might place less emphasis on salary, benefits and perks, and more emphasis on share options and long-term incentives.

A more mature organisation might focus on ensuring salary and perks remain competitive, link bonuses to productivity improvement and have a reduced concern for long-term incentives.

3. Remuneration trends.
A trend is not necessarily best practice; but if more and more organisations are considering it, it may be  important in ensuring that your business’s remuneration is competitive.

4. Reward preferences by employees.
Different employees have different drivers and may have diverse reward preferences. A weekend away might be suitable for some, while others will prefer additional leave or pay.

Read Next: HR Dilemma: Disclosing Staff Salaries

Components of Remuneration

Traditionally there are four main components of remuneration – base pay; fringe benefits and perks; short- and medium-term incentives; and long-term incentives, but to these Bussin adds a fifth component – retention schemes.

“Every element of a remuneration system serves a purpose and it’s critical to understand what the organisation is trying to achieve with each,” he says.

1. Base salary.
This provides an employee with fair pay for a day’s work and should take into consideration the overall job requirements, accountability and complexity and diversity of the tasks required.

2. Fringe benefits and perks.
The purpose of these is to provide special payments and programmes that may set the organisation apart from its competitors.

3. Short- and medium-term incentives.  
These incentives are designed to get results and ensure successful execution of the business’s strategic plan.

4. Long-term incentives.
These are crucial for retaining employees and focus attention on the achievement of longer-term strategic imperatives.

5. Retention schemes.
This is often added when the long-term incentives are not in place or not working for some reason or another. When implementing a retention scheme you need to decide who it will benefit (scarce skills, for example). Most importantly, such a scheme needs to be underpinned by a robust business case.

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How to Guides

How to Manage Satellite Staff

Strong relationships and clear expectations make off-site workers part of a successful whole.





Mergers and acquisitions, plus flexi-time and multiple work sites, have created the need for alternative work situations – and in many cases, this means off-site teams. In the electronic age, employees at different sites can be connected by email, fax, telephone and web conferencing.

Whether your employees are working at a factory, office building or from home, addressing the issue of satellite staff is vital to your business’s success.

What type of employee is best suited for off-site work? Employees must be independent self-starters who do not need an on-site supervisor. They need to be assertive enough to state views and ask for help before situations become critical.

They must be self-critical workers who can evaluate their own work and know when input from others is needed. Most importantly, they must be able to create their own work schedule.

People working off-site or at home sometimes complain that they don’t feel part of the team. Also, developing a rapport with their supervisor can be difficult. As a result, it’s easy for milestones and deadlines to go unmet.

Unsupervised work can become distracted and less than optimal. An off-siter’s work may not be considered or valued as highly as that of on-site staff. And without an externally imposed structured day, work performance can suffer.

Communicate Clearly

How can you ensure that your off-site employees’ productivity and success don’t falter? Firstly, communicate your expectations clearly, including key milestones and deadlines. The milestones should be firm and short-term to ensure that work is acceptable, timely and co-ordinated with on-site employees.

Feedback on progress should be specific, measurable, timely and action-oriented. Your remote workers should feel that they can easily seek out a supervisor for advice and input. To ensure accountability, goals must be clearly stated and written to guarantee agreement between all parties.

Starting off on the wrong foot or in an inappropriate direction can spell disaster, especially when working at different sites. Agreed-upon standards and levels of quality will help eliminate any doubt about what’s required.

Reporting relationships should be outlined; each employee must clearly understand to whom he or she reports.

The final aspect of off-site management to consider is communication. Often email is the easiest and the quickest, but it can lead to misinterpretation. The most effective means of sending and receiving messages is a combination of email, faxes, regularly scheduled telephone conference calls, and video and web conferencing.

While the visual component of the latter can help facilitate personal relationships, nothing can replace the quality of a face-to-face meeting. To improve working and personal relationships, schedule face-to-face meetings at least quarterly.

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