Effective talent management is especially important for our headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, because every year in Malaysia, there is phenomenal brain drain: 1% of the population leaves for more lucrative opportunities in places like Singapore, London or the United States.
For many years, we’ve studied what makes company culture and human minds work, so that we could attract the best employees and help them work at their best.
We’ve studied the top practices, invented our own, experimented with different policies and designed beautiful work spaces.
Our company culture is now celebrated and recognized as one of the world’s greatest workplaces:
- We were the first Asian country to win WorldBlu certification for a democratic workplace and employee happiness. We’ve won it now for 10 years straight;
- Our company culture and office design have been recognized by the likes of Huffington Post, BBC and Inc. Magazine;
- We just got certified by “Great Place To Work” as one of the best employers in Asia.
As a result, we’re able to attract people from all around the world to move to Kuala Lumpur.
We have employees from over 40 countries (46 to be precise, including England, Russia, Brazil, the United States and Portugal), and they’re working at their highest level of performance.
So how did we create a company culture that attracts international talent from around the world? And how do we get them to stay here and harness their productive power?
We used a framework with five major points that I’ve listed below.
Think In Terms Of Possibilities
I started Mindvalley with 700 USD, and ended up building a 40 million company without any venture capital, loans or investments. We accomplished this not by focusing on reality but by focusing on possibilities.
Many people would have said that building the world’s greatest workplace in Kuala Lumpur was unreasonable, but successful people don’t think in terms of what is; successful people think in terms of what could be.
Therefore, it’s very important that you go beyond the logical direction of your company culture. You should have a big goal that inspires your employees to achieve that shared dream.
Hire For Attitude, Train For Skill
There’s a story about Zig Ziglar, one of the world’s best salesman, who went to a company and asked executives to name every attribute of the perfect employee. Out of a list of 114 attributes, 107 were attitudes.
Executives described the perfect employee as “motivated, creative, happy and engaged.” That’s why we hire for attitude and train for skill. Putting more weight on the interview than the resumé ensures that your hires will contribute to your overall company culture.
Build Leaders, Not Workers
Every company should have high expectations of their employees. We ask our employees, no matter what their role is in the company, to go beyond their job descriptions. We ask them to think like innovators and act like leaders.
When you’re building up your company culture, it’s important to recognize that the goal of leaders is to create other leaders.
By giving access to educational tools like books and courses, by designating five hours of pay for personal improvement, you’re giving them the opportunity to invest in themselves and offer you more value in their positions.
Happiness Is The New Productivity
A 2008 Gallup Consulting study concluded that employee engagement is the main force that drives business outcomes, and that engaged employees are more productive, profitable, and customer-focused.
Not only does creating a good environment attract and retain talent but our brains are hardwired to perform their best when we’re feeling happy: doctors make accurate diagnoses 19% faster if they’re happy, optimistic salespeople outsell pessimistic salespeople by 56% and students perform better on tests when they’re primed to be happy.
When you make happiness and caring part of your company culture, you create an environment that supports productivity and engagement.
Love Week is our annual cultural ritual at Mindvalley; a week where employees anonymously give gifts, social support and appreciation to their colleagues. Love Week has spread to many other companies because they’ve found that it’s increased profitability and forged stronger friendships among employees.
Give Your Employees The Happiness Advantage
More so than wealth, sunshine or healthy habits, the happiest (and therefore the most productive) people have great social support. In the “Very Happy People” Harvard Study, the happiest and healthiest people tended to enjoy more support from their friends, partners and children.
Knowing this, we designed our work environment, from the open and bright design of the office to our weekly scheduled social events, to encourage people to feel more engaged and open with their colleagues.
Indeed, Gallup found that when employees have friends at a company, they are more likely to stay at the company longer and feel more engaged in their work.
In the book Good To Great, the authors explain, “The people we interviewed from good-to-great companies clearly loved what they did largely because they love who they did it with.” Culture days, socials and celebrations all give people the chance to get to know each other outside of the workplace, leading to friendship.
By creating beautiful and comfortable spaces, your employees will become happier and healthier, leading to less sick days and higher productivity.
Go Beyond Monetary Compensation
Like many other companies, when we have a big quarterly success we celebrate it through raises and bonuses. Profit-sharing can definitely help motivate employees — but we also recognize that money isn’t always the main motivational factor. More than ever before, people are prioritizing benefits over salary.
All generations now want flexibility, whether that’s in how many hours they work, when they work, or where they’re able to work from.
At Mindvalley, we allow people to work from home and exchange holidays for leave, which gives people the flexibility to visit their families. Through flexible, human-focused policies, you’ll be able to attract international talent.
Invest In Your Employees
Allowing entrepreneurship and encouraging growth within our employees has caused us to expand beyond America, to Asia, the Arab world and Europe. Many of our employees have started their own businesses, or they’ve become bestselling authors and motivational speakers. When you support your employees’ growth, they’re able to become high performers, leaders and innovators.
Understand That People Flourish With Praise
Richard Branson once said,
“Like flowers blossom on water,
people flourish on praise.”
We consciously practice appreciation and celebration as both a personal habit and company-wide policy.
We have a system, “1Up Emporium,” where our employees send virtual awards and complimentary notes to each other. There are many different websites and apps that can help you apply this system to your workplace.
Because praise is incredibly easy to give, sometimes we forget how much it means to the other person and how much it can improve our company culture.
Don’t Complain, Innovate
Constructive criticism is necessary to grow and improve as a company. We deal with mistakes and the negative not by complaining but by trying to suggest new courses of action.
Focusing on a solution not only makes the company run smoother, it also improves employees’ problem-thinking skills.
We also set our goals with innovation in mind, through the MTO model developed by Raymond Aaron. MTO stands for Minimum, Target, Outrageous. By setting goals at these different levels, we’re able to balance “dreaming big” with “being realistic.”
When we hit an “Outrageous” goal, we celebrate but if we don’t hit the minimum, we learn from our failures so that we can hit our goals next time.
Focusing on solutions and innovations will keep you relevant in the modern ever-shifting environment.
Care About Your Employees, Not Just The Bottom Line
If you want to attract and retain talent, then you need to make people feel like they are significant. People don’t want a paycheck; they want to feel valued for their work and recognized as individuals.
That’s why we ask every new hire to list out their goals, and post them to dream boards across the office — but only after I’ve read through each list.
Employers who don’t care about their employees have high turnover rates, lower engagement and subpar company culture. Get to know what’s important to your employees, so you’re able to create a company culture where everyone feels valued and supported, in turn increasing individual engagement and development.
Inspire Your Employees To Care About Bigger Problems
Most people aren’t happy because their problems aren’t big enough: people who are uninspired and disengaged from life tend to have small problems, like family discord or relationship issues.
But when we focus on bigger problems, such as solving world hunger or global warming, we stay motivated and committed toward bringing positive change.
This strategy works whether you’re a personal growth company or a hotel chain, a smaller company or a large company. Richard Branson is successful in large part because he applies this practice to companies of more than 50,000 people.
You must help people see their work as fulfilling a larger vision.
Remember Reality Is Only What You Decide Is True
Having a great corporate culture is no longer optional if you want to attract talent and retain your employees.
Your company culture might shift over the years, but the five points from this basic framework will help you attract brilliant minds, stay innovative and focused on your company’s goals.
A study of managers showed that those who expected that their employees were motivated by money had mostly employees motivated by money working for the role. Interestingly enough, managers who expect to have employees who are motivated by meaning, had inspired individuals motivated by meaning executing the role to the best of their expectations.
So ask yourself if your company culture is based on old rules, or the new reality that you want to create.
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How would you like to improve your company culture and productivity? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.