“I started Virgin with a philosophy that if the staff are happy, customers will follow. It can’t just be me that sets the culture when we recruit people. I have a really great set of CEOs across our businesses who live and breathe the Virgin brand and who are entrepreneurs themselves.”
Sir Richard Branson knows that happy staff means a more successful brand. It’s been proven that happy workers are 12% more productive than unhappy ones. It’s no secret that the Virgin company culture is something to be envied – employees are happy, comfortable, and well looked after, leading to a higher quality, motivated workforce. So, what tips can we take from the company culture guru Branson?
Flexible working has been a hot topic of late – with many businesses arguing that having a flexible working schedule will mean your employees will be more motivated and productive. Virgin introduced a flexible working policy, meaning employees could work from wherever and whenever they want. This works for a number of reasons, mainly that employees feel like the organization trusts them – which makes them feel like a trusted and important member of the team , boosting happiness and productivity with it. It also removes some of the everyday stressors that employees typically have to deal with – in both personal and professional life, meaning their focus will be purely on their work.
2) Annual leave:
The annual leave policy is one of the most surprising elements of Virgin’s company culture. Virgin has introduced unlimited annual leave for its employees. Branson got the idea from Netflix, who had introduced an unlimited annual leave day to the company. As they introduced this, productivity, creativity, and motivation simultaneously increased alongside the policy change. So, your brand may not be a multi-million pound company. However, you can introduce flexibility in minor ways, such as flexi-time or changing your policy. Introduce flexibility into your workplace and watch productivity increase.
This may be a pretty old-school method of motivation, but Virgin has still adopted this method to motivate employees. They offer a discretionary bonus to high-performance employees, meaning employees are always aware of their performance. No, this isn’t a surefire way to motivate employees – each employee has different ways of working – and this means bonus-driven work can sometimes have the opposite effect to what you were aiming for. This means that getting to know employees is essential, as you can tailor your working style to work for each of them.
Virgin has made sure to have regular training sessions for its employees. Training increases motivation across many companies. It leaves employees feeling excited and more understanding of the brand itself. It can also show employees that you care about their career development and are willing to help them improve.
Branson is a famous advocate for the autonomy style of leadership. He gives employees the freedom and responsibility of big projects and trusts their decisions. By trusting your workforce and allowing them to make crucial decisions, employees will feel more responsibility for the brand and recognize that their work is essential. This means productivity will increase dramatically as each employee feels more dedicated to the brand.
Do you implement any of these techniques in your workforce? If so, have you noticed an increase in productivity? Tweet us at @UndercoverRec and let us know!