It’s no secret that the last decade of employee retention strategies has been all about workplace perks. From catered lunches to unlimited PTO, travel stipends, and free transportation, offices are going much further than free coffee to ensure employees stay happy and engaged at work each day.
Don’t get us wrong — at Front, we love some flexible vacation and a tasty breakfast burrito to start the day. But creating a truly happy workplace — where employees are genuinely excited to be there — means thinking beyond Bose headphones and an ergonomic standing desk.
At Front, our mission is to build a happy workplace and help other teams to do the same. So we were honored to have been recognized as number three on Fortune’s Best Small Workplaces list, number nine on Fortune’s Top Places to Work in the Bay Area, and number 25 on Glassdoor’s 2019 Best Places to Work.
We believe that workplace happiness comes from a unique combination of things — but it’s all about the way you interact with your team, your goals, and the values you uphold every day. Here are a few of the ways we’ve worked to make Front a happy workplace.
Anchoring on a clear mission
At Front, our mission is simple: “work happier.” When our co-founders, Mathilde Collin and Laurent Perrin, started the company, they wanted to actually make a difference in people’s lives. As a company, they wanted to create a work environment where employees thrive.
But on top of that, Mathilde and Laurent believed that as a software provider, they could improve workplace environments on a massive scale by creating a product that makes people more productive, more informed, and more engaged at work.
By anchoring our initiatives on this mission, our team has something to stand behind and feel passionate about.
Practicing collaboration & transparency every day
Every employee at Front uses Front for their individual and team email — which means a few things:
Every Fronteer has unrestricted access to our shared inboxes (Twitter, support, sales, live chat, NPS surveys, customer feedback, etc).
Many Fronteers grant their manager access to their individual inbox, which makes it easier to keep them informed and up-to-date (and is a game changer when that employee takes PTO!).
Any Fronteer can share a draft of an email, loop colleagues in to view or edit through chat, and can even assign emails and tasks to others right from their inbox.
By design, Front enables collaboration and transparency among our entire organization. In an environment where relevant information and access are readily available to everyone, workplace politics are practically nonexistent.
We consider ARR per employee a solid way to measure our productivity, and as of now we are 55% above the benchmarks — meaning it’s fair to say the benefits of using Front have made us all the more efficient. Because of this increased efficiency, Front frees up our schedules and gives us the gift of time (around six hours per week). And honestly who wouldn’t be happy to have an extra six hours every week?
Incorporating core values into daily work
It’s one thing to have core values, but it’s totally different to actively practice them. Ninety percent of American companies say that they have a set of clearly defined core values, but when HR teams were interviewed about their values, only 11% said their employees could recite the majority of them.
At Front, our core values are collaboration, transparency, high standards, care, and low ego. They’re simple, and we try to infuse them in to every aspect of our days. We give our teammates access to our work and OKRs, practice radical candor when we give feedback, and even share our mistakes and learnings at All hands meetings, to name a few.
We also recently published The Front Culture Book, which helps the team understand how to put our values into practice.
As a reflection of our mission and values, we care deeply about creating an inclusive workplace where anyone can belong and be professionally fulfilled. There is still a lot we need and intend to do to create a more diverse workforce, but our values have given us a strong foundation to build upon.
We are proud that 44% of our employees identify as women. And with the hiring of our first CFO, Jenny Decker, we brought our leadership team to equal gender representation. Jenny said it best: "Open and inclusive leadership teams tend to lead to open and inclusive products. We take feedback from customers of all sizes. We pay attention to all customers. It lends itself to a better and, quite frankly, more inclusive product, and a very happy workforce.”
Building a place where you want to work
We’ve all heard the adage, “if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.” Mathilde and Laurent took it quite literally in creating Front. Mathilde explains in the Front Culture Book:
As far as I can remember, growing up in France I’ve always been stunned by the number of people who seemed to be dispassionate about their jobs. It felt so normal for everybody around me to dread the next Monday, to complain about the long hours and to resent their boss. I understood their feelings: they sounded truly miserable. But I couldn’t get myself to accept the idea. I thought: if I’m going to spend half of my waking hours doing one thing, I certainly hope I’m going to like it! That’s what I wanted for myself, and for the people around me.
When your organization practices what it preaches, it’s much easier to stand behind your company’s mission. And when your top-level management demonstrates your company values daily, it’s only natural that your team will feel more comfortable, engaged, and happier at work.
Interested in becoming a part of Front? We’re hiring! Check out our open positions and let’s talk.
Written by Paul Chalker
Originally Published: 17 April 2020