I don’t know how to explain it but I get a natural high when I have the chance to interact with companies who ‘just get it’ when it comes to culture and engagement. FatWallet is one of my new favorites and I figured I’d spotlight some of their coolest ideas.
I had the pleasure of touching base with the founder, Tim Storm (aka Chief Mucky Muck), and the Director of Operations, April Kunzelman, just days after they were recognized as the 20th Best Small Company to Work For in America. Their philosophies about onboarding, Core Values, and ‘work not sucking’ were dead on.
Employees are called: Walleteers (and there are 54 of them)
Fortunes Best Places to Work Ranking: 20th in Small Business Category
Why I like them: The founder, Tim Storm, woke up one day and decided that ‘work shouldn’t suck’. Now he works hard to make sure it doesn’t.
Also, I freaking hate that so many companies use the fact that their employees have to be on the phone supporting customers as an excuse for having a crappy company culture. FatWallet offers 24/7 support and still keeps their employees happy and engaged. Booyah!
Core Values: Balance, Commitments, Change, Passion, Integrity, Fun and Respect.
Lets face it, lots of companies have core values but the best companies actually live by them. Here are some of the things FatWallet does to integrate the core values:
- They’re posted all over the office in fun and creative ways
- Quarterly Initiatives are built around the core values
- Employees are hired and fired based on these values
- Employee driven recognition program includes being able to hand out “core value stickers” when employees are caught living them. These stickers have become coveted and are proudly displayed.
**If you think your employees would mock this all over the place you aren’t doing a good job with your core values because in companies where the core values are a way of life it’s a huge honor to be told you’re living them.
My Favorite Policy: I’m in love with the “No-Miss” policy and wrote about it extensively in this blog post. You should read it.
Fun initiatives: Yes, they have team outings, game days, competitions, etc. but my favorite fun initiative is as functional as it is fun – the onboarding process. Built around the philosophy that we should spend more energy welcoming employees into the company because the sooner they’re comfortable with their surroundings the sooner they’ll be able to work to their full potential, they’ve built out what must be one of the most awesome first days at work ever.
When new hires pull into the parking lot there is a huge sign welcoming them and directing them to their “first day” parking spot. As they enter the lobby there is a huge purple cow with another welcome sign that has been signed by all of the employees. A complete first-day schedule has already been created and all of their equipment has been set up for them (you’d be surprised how many companies suck at this). The new hire is invited to a themed party that afternoon for lunch. Later in the day the new hire completes a scavenger hunt to get to know the office lay out and the members of the teams. The day ends with a social hour.
Seriously, this onboarding rocks.
Employee Engagement: They have employee engagement surveys but their Director of Operations, April, said that, “…if I’m no seeing problems before the survey comes back then I’m not doing my job.” She’s constantly keeping a pulse on the company by creating ongoing relationships with employees, over-communicating, and being the bridge between employees and leadership. She truly believes that she’s a resource for them and exists because of them. She’s serious when she says, “They don’t work for me. I work for them.”
Helping Employees Achieve Success: Two years ago some of the Walleteers were introduced to the book “The Dream Manager” by Matthew Kelly and fell in love with the idea of helping employees achieve their dreams and goals. They now have an entire program in place that helps employees set personal goals and then achieve them. Some employees want help getting out of debt, others want to learn to ride a motorcycle. No matter what the goal is, helping employees fulfill it will lead to more well rounded employees who are happier with life and happier with customers.
Where you can find more: On the FatWallet Youtube channel of course!