3 Tips on Company Culture From "The Year Without Pants"

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As part of our series of must-read books for HR leaders, we're taking a closer look at "The Year Without Pants: and the Future of Work" by Scott Berkun. Berkun lifts the veil on Automattic, Inc. — the team behind the successful blogging platform WordPress — and shows how their innovative culture is a crucial pillar of their success.

Here's what HR leaders can do to ensure their company culture impacts their organization's success.

1. Question Tradition

Berkun notes that one of the biggest cultural challenges organizations face is that they often do things simply because it's according to tradition. For example, why does the workday start at 9 a.m., require you to wear a tie to board meetings or use a specific type of technology?

The benefit of discussing an organization's culture and perks is that there are no sacred cows — anything can be evaluated to determine if it helps workers get more done. From there, it's possible to eliminate what doesn't work, experiment with new approaches and build a culture and menu of perks that serves your talent's most urgent needs.

2. Eliminate Stress

Fast Company reports that employee stress costs approximately $300 billion per year. Organizations that manage to reduce or eliminate sources of stress may get better results over time. Benefits like remote work or unlimited vacation time give employees more control over their schedules and lifestyles outside the office, while eliminating barriers to getting work done quickly and efficiently.

Perks such as catered lunch, on-site daycare or even services to help take care of laundry or car maintenance can have a quantifiable impact. What's critical for organizations that are embracing new perks is to roll them out in a way that makes sense for the business.

3. Offer Flexibility

Automattic, Inc. was one of the first businesses to offer remote work, which remains a top trend today. Even as it becomes more common, there are still challenges. For instance, certain people don't know how to forge relationships or manage time, and managers are anxious about being responsible for employees they can't meet with physically.

Still, Automattic, Inc. had great success tapping into the flexibility that remote work offers. HR leaders aren't tied to the local talent pool. Instead, the best employee is now within reach, whether they're based in Kansas, London or Dubai. On a practical level, the results speak for themselves. For example, Flexjobs reports that 93 percent of employees are more productive when they work remotely.

Explore whether remote work is possible for certain roles or teams at your organization, and if needed, roll out an experiment on a limited basis. There are many collaboration tools that can move workflows into digital spaces.

Investing in your organization's culture can transform the way you work and help you attract and retain the top talent in your space. However, this starts with understanding the people you really want to hire, and then constructing a culture that helps them be their best.

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Other articles in this series:

3 Lessons From "The Year Without Pants"

4 Interview Techniques From "The Year Without Pants"

3 Tips on Leadership and Change Management From "The Year Without Pants"