This is why you should model your startup after these giants

The start of the new year is a popular time for when many people are looking to change careers. The “new year, new you” mantra really means new year, new job.

There are many reasons why someone quits, but studies show that majority of those reasons are within the control of the employer.

Want to appeal to those fleeing their current positions and retain your current employees at the same time?

Look to the giants for inspiration.  

Google. Expedia. Starbucks. 

These giants offer common benefits to their employees and are some of the most desirable companies to work for. They have made a huge impact in these last ten years and it’s likely that your candidate would want to work there in a heartbeat. Google itself has been number one for six consecutive years on Fortune’s Best Companies to Work For.

If you’re looking to hire the best out there in this competitive market, take a tip from the big dogs because, while having a ping pong table may help, it won’t be enough to attract and retain the talent you’re after.

Here are 3 things to model after them:

Have a strong company culture

Strong work culture at your startup

It’s the reason why everyone talks about wanting to work for these corporate giants without actually knowing what it’s like to work for them.

Culture defines many aspects of how an organization does business – its goals and purposes, company policies, work-life balance. Talented individuals want to work for the best company and culture is what  makes or breaks any company. If you want the best, be the best! When a candidate can identify with a company’s culture, they are more likely to be motivated to apply and do their best work once employed.

Here’s the “secret sauce” to Google’s benefits and perks as stated on their website:

"It’s all about removing barriers so Googlers can focus on the things they love, both inside and outside of work. We’re constantly searching for unique ways to improve the health and happiness of our Googlers. And it doesn’t stop there--our hope is that, ultimately, you become a better person by working here."

Chances are that your candidates may have never heard of your company until their job search. You may not be Google, but they will use Google to look you up, see what you’re like. If your culture is not represented anywhere they can find, you ultimately have nothing to offer these candidates.

Culture may take some time to build, but with that goal in mind, the culture you create at your company will automatically make the position more attractive.

“Culture can organically happen and develop itself, but you need people actively thinking about it and talking about it on a regular basis.” – Pinterest Workplace Operations Specialist, Leslie Kincaid (

Offer flexibility

Offer flexibilty to attract best candidates

To compete for the best employees, companies who offer flexibility are doing much better than those who are too attached to the traditional 40-hour work weeks with strict schedules and no option to work from home.

Expedia has topped the list for the best place for work-life balance by offering various elements throughout their office as well as a generous travel allowance.

“Our work environment is healthy, happy and very collaborative. At Expedia you can work hard, while knowing that the organization is highly supportive of your personal time. Work-life balance and job satisfaction is a reality here!” says Expedia Market Management, Elizabeth.

Harvard Business Review conducted a survey to find what benefits were most sought after. They gave 2,000 U.S. workers, ranging in age from 18 to 81, a list of 17 benefits and asked them how heavily they would weigh the options when deciding between a high-paying job and a lower-paying job with more perks.

Not surprising, flexibility topped the charts. Respondents chose flexible hours and the ability to work from home after health insurance.

And while your company may not be able to afford to offer all the over-the-top perks such as huge travel allowances, lunches made by a professional chef, kombucha and craft beer on tap, or on-site acupuncture like the top companies can, offering flexibility typically costs the employer nothing.

Why miss out on top employees by not offering this simple perk? Studies show that employee morale is higher when employees are offered work-life balance. It’s an easy way to attract and retain a happy and productive workforce.

The Balance offers a good overview of the advantages and disadvantages of flexible work schedules. (Spoiler alert: the advantages outweigh the latter)

Offer the ability to make a difference

Many people in the workforce seek the potential to make a difference within a company. Don’t just offer the candidates work, offer the candidates to be a part of something bigger. Offer the candidates to make a difference in the world.

But you’re not building a super advanced rocket that could potentially transport humans to Mars?

We know the feeling, but let’s look at Starbucks. At the surface, they’re just a coffee shop. They sell coffee and that’s it, right? They have grown into the biggest coffee chain in the world and have made themselves synonymous with the seasons (pumpkin spice latte signals it’s autumn and red cups, winter). Do you think they’ve managed to do this just by selling coffee alone?

No, they did this by providing a whole experience fueled by passion rather than just the product, for both their baristas and their customers. They encourage their employees to make the coffee shop the customer’s “Third Place,” the place between home and work, by creating an experience as they would want it to be if they came in as a customer.

The baristas feel like it is their responsibility to play good hosts to their guests and make the customers feel right at home, away from home. Being the host causes the baristas to feel like they are a part of something bigger, something more than just serving coffee.

The Third Place is that something bigger. It’s what sets it apart from all the other coffee shops. Using this mentality is a win-win for both the Starbucks employees and the whole customer experience. Time makes some good points on Starbucks’ Model of Success.

Look beyond your product and create something your employees can be passionate about to keep them motivated to do their very best. Your clientele will notice them too and will feel inspired and more trusting of your brand, making your company a sought-after place to work.

Feature photo by Ian Schneider 

About the author

Jante Diaz

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