For the first time in years, Cindy and I took a vacation together. That may sound odd but the reason it’s such a big deal is that we work together running Availability and one of us has always had to be at the office to take care of our weekly financial obligations (payroll, taxes, bill paying, etc.)
Fortunately for us, we have a great team who is conscientious and capable – and along with the ability to conduct business remotely we thought – “Why not?” If we wait until the perfect time to leave we never would go.
So, we took off for California to visit our son and daughter-in-law.
As many of you may know, Eli worked for us until last September when he accepted a position as a Talent Sourcer for a software company in Palo Alto California — Silicon Valley.
While making our plans, Eli asked us to arrive early evening so we could have dinner with him and tour the company he works for. The company encompasses 6 buildings in downtown Palo Alto and I believe they are approaching 1000 employees.
Dinner was prepared to order by an onsite Chef and included any beverage we could imagine. The selections had everything from basic meat and potatoes to vegan fare.
Each building had toys (think nerf guns, foosball, ping pong), lounges, video games and food and beverage facilities – all compliments of the company. Employees are provided 3 meals a day and they encourage them to bring their family in to eat with them, and we did see many people bringing their spouses and children in for dinner.
Each floor in every building has a break room full of food and beverages, including a wide variety of alcoholic beverage. If you want something that is not there, all you have to do is write down your suggestion and the next day — there it is.
There are no regular work schedules; as long as the work gets done they can come and go as they please.
There is no dress code – almost anything goes as long as they are decent.
The company provides many amenities on-site including haircuts, massages, and for those who have a vehicle – mobile oil change facilities set up in the parking lots. These services are not totally free – though the employee does not pay for them at the time of service, the cost (minimal) is added to their annual W2.
Another thing that caught my attention was the creative names for their internal departments – when I asked about their HR department Eli said they don’t have HR, they have People Ops, accounting is Financial Ops and dining services is Kitchen Ops, etc.
Eli’s isn’t a ‘Recruiter’ he’s a ‘Talent Sourcer’; and honestly what he does involves more than standard recruiting.
As our tour was wrapping up I slipped and said out loud what I had been thinking, “Why the heck does the company do all this? It has to cost a fortune! It’s almost like a geek daycare center.”
Now, Eli knows me pretty well so he let me vent and then calmly explained, “Dad”, he said “we are hiring the best and brightest minds in the world – we hire people who will literally change the world. To keep them we have to give them what they want and money isn’t everything to them, they want an experience at work. All of our competitors for the best talent offer the same thing.”
Now I’m back here in the good old Midwest and I’m thinking that maybe some of the things I learned in California can be useful for any company. Maybe you can only implement one or two of these perks or, as I think of them now, tools to attract and retain the best employees. Offer something unique in your company – it works in California it can work here!
We would be interested to know if your company offers something unique to attract and retain top talent, let us know by leaving a message below.