Recently, Acceleration Partners ranked number five on the list of the 100 Best Workplaces for Women (thanks to Great Place to Work Institute and Fortune magazine). When that happened, I took a second to consider what a best workplace for men would look like. Craft beer on tap, break room TV playing ESPN, after-hours Xbox competitions — sounds like a man’s dream workplace, right?
While these perks might make for a fun place to work for a recent college graduate, a great place to work requires a far deeper definition of purpose and culture beyond superficial workplace benefits. A great company is one that can achieve solid, long-term financial success in combination with the personal and professional growth of its employees. These companies find ways to create flexibility and seamless work-life integration.
Supporting all employees — women and men — in their quests for personal and professional growth is a top priority at Acceleration Partners, and I’d like to think it’s one of the reasons the company was a recipient of this year’s award. This huge honor made me step back to consider the things we need to keep doing right. Here are five of them:
1. Measure results, not time in the office.
Years ago, I had a boss who was much happier if I was in the office early, even if I was just playing games on my computer, than if I came in at a normal hour. At Acceleration Partners, we focus on output, not input, knowing that more time does not equal more productivity. Rather than rewarding the time people put in, we reward the time they spend working intelligently and efficiently.
2. Let people work however they work best.
We provide a very flexible — but accountable — work environment. People can work when and how they want, as long as they get the job done. I can’t tell you the number of people who have cut out a multiple-hour daily commute when they join us. If those employees give us half that time and spend the other half on personal pursuits, that’s a huge win-win. Plus, people tend to be more efficient without the distractions of an office environment. Interruptions cost the U.S. economy a whopping $588 billion a year.
3. Don’t buy into balance.
The term work-life balance is misleading. It assumes everything can always be in harmony, that people’s lives are equal parts work and play. The reality is, however, that no one’s definition of balance is doing work with a baby bouncing on his or her lap. Integration, on the other hand, happens when people have both meaningful work and time to pursue personal and professional development.
4. Plan to be around for the long haul.
Too many high-growth companies don’t care about the long-term effects of poor employee engagement and satisfaction. At Acceleration Partners, we know it’s important to define our culture, consider our people and communicate our company’s vision if we want to build an enduring business. I recommend joining organizations that share those values — consider EO and the Tugboat Institute.
5. Realize that both genders need support in their personal pursuits.
People are our greatest resource, and we are dedicated to creating a superior work environment for all of our employees. Many women are hitting their professional stride right as they decide to start families, and many jobs make them choose between a career and a family. And, while it’s not talked about as often, the same applies to men. Our general manager and I work as hard as anyone, but we both also make it a top priority to be around for our families. The reason I created a culture of flexibility in the first place was so that I didn’t have to choose between watching my children grow up and having a meaningful career.
Part of our mission at Acceleration Partners is to change the traditional work-life paradigm. We may not have beer on tap or an office fantasy football league, but we do place a premium on integration, flexibility and accountability. That focus has helped us attract top talent, grow our company and even snag the number-five spot for a great place to work.