This year, Google again ranked #1 for the 2nd consecutive year on Fortune Magazine's ranking of the 100 best companies to work for. It's consistently been in the winner's circle since 2007, taking the top spot four times. It's not an accident that Google is a top-rated company, since the founders and their underlings have worked uber-hard to make it that way. Perhaps it is the great benefits or extracurricular perks, like subsidized massages, wellness centers or a 7 acre sports complex.
It goes without saying that community banks just don't have the money Google has to spend on providing employees with such a litany of best-in-class benefits you'd expect from such a large, multi-national company. However, when it comes to creating a positive working environment, the stakes are high, so exploring options is important for community bankers nonetheless. A 2012 study by Towers Watson found nearly 40% of respondents are bothered by excessive pressure on the job. The study wasn't targeted at banks, but the takeaway is nonetheless valid. If employee stress and anxiety are left unchecked, the ability of staff to cater to customers and your bottom line could suffer.
Taking some tips from Google's playbook may help you attain higher levels of employee satisfaction. For instance, make it a top-down effort as you seek to achieve greatness. Look for strong banks and other companies that can serve as role models. Meet personally with executives from those companies if possible and send a team of people to their headquarters to learn what they are doing and how it makes them a top-notch employer. While Google's roller hockey rink may not be in the budget, better flex-time policies, a comprehensive retirement plan with good matching provisions and a generous vacation policy might be.
Another point is to give employees a voice and an outlet. Google allows employees every Friday to through email or in the caf? the opportunity to ask questions directly to the co-founders and other executives. This keeps the management team in tune with issues and gives employees a platform to find out more. Giving employees a voice makes them feel like they have skin in the game and commits everyone to the customer as a result. The more opportunity to be heard, the more likely employees are likely to give their all to the bank.
Another possibility is to provide discretion when possible to the workplace schedule. While banks have more regulation than Google so flexibility may not be available in all departments, it should be considered. Google gives employees a fair amount of discretion to plan their workday schedule and employees love it. While it might not be possible for a bank teller to head to the gym at 10 a.m. in the middle of a rush, staggering customer facing teams, opening up opportunities to work from home for some groups and other such structures might be options to explore.
Your bank may not be big enough to make the Fortune 100 list like Google, but there are important lessons community banks can leverage. A positive attitude towards ensuring the well-being of employees can be infectious and profitable, as it separates your bank from those you compete against.