“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, which in turn leads 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 they want and whenever they want. This works for a number of reasons, mainly that employees feel like the organisation 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 every day 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:
One of the most surprising elements of Virgin’s company culture is the annual leave policy. Virgin have introduced unlimited annual leave for its employees. Branson got the idea from Netflix, who had introduced a unlimited annual leave days to the company. As they introduced this, the productivity, creativity and motivation simultaneously increased along side the change in policy. So your brand may not be a multi million pound company, however you can introduce flexibility in smaller ways such as introducing flexi-time or changing up your policy. Introduce flexibility into your workplace and watch productivity increase.
This may be a pretty old-school method of motivation, but Virgin have 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 sure fire way to motivate employees – each employee is an individual with 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 important, as you can tailor your working style to work for each of them.
Virgin have made sure to have regular training sessions for its employees. Training increases motivation across many companies. It leaves employees feeling excited, and with a higher understanding of the brand itself. It also can show employees that you care about their career development, and that you’re willing to help them improve.
Branson is a famous advocate for the autonomy style leadership. He gives employees the freedom and responsibility of big projects, and puts his trust in their decisions. In putting trust in your workforce and allowing them to make important decisions, employees will feel more responsibility for the brand and recognise that the work they do is important. This means productivity will increase dramatically as each employee will feel more dedicated to the brand itself.
Do you implement any of these techniques to your workforce? If so, have you noticed an increase in productivity? Tweet us at @UndercoverRec and let us know!