I was listening to an interesting podcast between Joe Rogan and Silicon Valley Billionaire Marc Andreessen, founder of Netscape and now Duolingo, the largest language platform on the planet. Andreessen was one of six inductees in the World Wide Web Hall of Fame announced at the First International Conference on the World-Wide Web in 1994.
Prior to COVID his 500 + team was headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania working solely from the office. Now, they are all remote workers and like most companies in this predicament they needed to find ways to glue their culture together. Two years on Marc has learnt that the most valuable play is off-sites. Taking the money they save on real estate and putting that towards getting the team connected at events.
But, there has been one big change to their conference agenda – everything!
Instead of those 3 days being about content, it’s about connections. Instead of those three days being about sales and product marketing, it’s about giving your staff the tools to thrive and not just survive. Those three days are for social bonding, free time to get to know each other, to create new connections and reinforce old ones. Most importantly it’s to form and reinforce the sense of community, group cohesion or cult as Marc explains with a laugh. It’s about saying ‘Hey, we are all in this together, our mission is bigger than each of us individually’
Those 3 days are about inspiring the individual and teams to stay united, to stay focused to stay apart of the community because as we are finding out when they leave and go back to sit in four walls by themselves, they need the juices to stay productive, creative and really just stay!
Interesting coming from a tech company.
Last week I was having lunch with a partner of one of the Big 4 consulting firms discussing how we can improve culture for better staff retention. I asked what it cost the firm when they lost someone, and when the reply came back I almost choked on a edamame bean.
When you put this in perspective some of these companies are unwilling to spend more than a couple of hundred dollars a year on staff wellbeing and some $0.
The evidence couldn’t be clearer, investing in wellbeing is a cost saver and when we look at the latest report from Deloitte and seeing that workplace mental ill-health is associated to $12.8 billion you can see why it’s needed.