We've had terrific feedback from our book, The Thin Book® of Naming Elephants. One common theme is "where are the good examples?" We knew they were out there, but could not find enough to counter the many negative examples. So we put the book out and continued to collect stories and more data.
Fortune Magazine's "Best Companies to Work For" (January 24, 2005 issue, p. 78) provides some great examples. Here is a summary of some of the arrogance busting practices of the best companies.
Number One Wegman's motto is, "Employees first, customers second." They understand that an excited, engaged, educated and respected employee will treat the customers well. They back it up with educational benefits for their employees, and encouragement to do whatever it takes to make the customer happy. They also keep the hierarchy soft; employees talk directly to Danny Wegman, the CEO. They make suggestions and take initiative. They have expanded very slowly and staff the new stores with experienced Wegman's managers thereby ensuring the culture is implanted into the new store.
Starbucks gives health benefits for part-timers and full-timers.
- Valero Energy gives bonuses to all employees, not just the "Tops'"
- Whole Foods shares salaries of all employees and limits the executive pay to 14 times the average of full time employees.
- Amgen matches their employees' 401K contribution up to 5% of total compensation.
- Goldman Sachs and Station Casinos offer on-site child care.
- Proctor & Gamble teams lower level female employees with executives to help the "Tops" understand the "Bottom's" work issues.
- Medtronic has a program that allows people to spend a quarter of their time on pursuing innovation.
- Vanguard Group puts the "Tops" in the windowless offices, while the "Middles" get the windows.
- CarMax asks their people, "What are we doing that is stupid, unnecessary, or doesn't make sense?"
- SC Johnson & Son uses peer performance reviews instead of manager reviews.
- QuikTrip promotes from within and provides health insurance and tuition reimbursement for part-timers.
- Pella shares its profits with all employees, not just "Tops".
- HotTopic reimburses their employees for concert tickets if they write a report of what other concert attendees wore.
- Baptist Health Care invites employees to "name the elephant" in an open meeting on a periodic basis.
- Aflac pays for employee's kids or grandchildren's tuition if they keep a B average.
Wm. Wrigley Jr. shares 10% of cost savings with employees who make the suggestion
Granite Construction shares bonuses with "Bottoms."
Men's Wearhouse offers paid sabbaticals (3 weeks) for employees after five years of service.
- Republic Bancorp gave bonuses to customer service representatives and all employees get stock options.
- HomeBanc Mortgage gives "Bottoms" a higher percentage of profit-sharing than the "Tops".
- The American Fidelity Assurance CEO takes the time to have lunch with all new employees.