How to be like Amazon

Ever wonder where the US wants to work and why? Earlier this year, LinkedIn released its list 50 Best Places to Work, and for the first time Amazon surpassed Google as the best place to work in the United States. There are four data points that LinkedIn analyzed; interest in the company, engagement with the company’s employees, job demand and employee retention. These themes are not foreign to us, as we discuss these matters often with our current and prospective clients.

Analyzing the list provided by LinkedIn two things are evident - many of these top companies are based in California and they are tech related. The job market in Michigan is a stark contrast as some of the largest employers are related to the automotive industry. Besides the Big Three (General Motors, Ford Motor Company and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles), there are countless tier 1, 2 and 3 suppliers that are competing for the best talent available. Many of them are struggling to understand why they cannot attract talent or why they can’t seem to retain them. Some struggle with branding, and others with getting their employees to collaborate. For many years we have been presented with the declaration: “We want to be like <insert Google, Amazon or whichever the top company topped the list du-jour> !”. The challenge comes in finding the balance of fun and function which also matches the culture of the organization. Few organizations have the culture that Google or Amazon has, or any other organization for that matter. Every culture is as unique as a fingerprint and that’s where we come in.

What is it that makes those environments so memorable? What makes these companies the best places to work? There are many reasons of course, but one common theme among them is the thoughtfulness of their architectural and interior details which direct the culture and goals they are striving for. They understand that you can think outside of the box when adding whimsey into the workplace, as those elements are the ones that will get the attention of employees and potential new talent.

For instance, Google put in their now famous slide in 2008 to allow employees a fun and functional way to travel throughout the office. People still talk about that slide ten years later! In early 2018 Amazon opened the newly completed Spheres to complete their traditional ‘start-up’ style. The Spheres are home to numerous collaboration areas in additional to some 40,000 plants. Amazon could have easily just added some simple collaboration spaces, but they choose to think bigger (and most definitely outside of the box) to truly create an inspiring space for their employees.

Now few places can invest 3.7 billion dollars on their workplace, but that doesn’t mean you cannot apply the lessons of Amazon within your own budget. Don’t be afraid to embrace unique designs, furniture pieces or color palettes. Those elements, even at a small scale will leave a lasting impression helping you attract and retain the brightest and best talent.

Want to feel inspired? You can follow the Spheres on Instagram!