Wednesday July 22, 2009
Jodi Goldman - Communications Manager
There are many times I hear of things that American companies do, and I smile, shake my head and think 'only in America!' For example; I was watching a TV programme about a 'dog friendly' company. Instead of children's play areas / care centers employees are all allowed to bring their dogs to the office. They had a play area outside where all the canines could play together all day. Or you could have your furry friend under your desk. Or just leave it to roam about freely.
One of the employees interviewed said that when she heard she could bring her dog to work, so was so excited and thought, 'I have got to work there!' Another said: 'when I am having a stressful day, its so nice to have my dog here, a quick pat always makes me feel more relaxed'.
That's quite a creative way to engage one's people, I am sure you will agree. The company is in a creative industry and so obviously less corporate and so can manage it effectively.
Ariel Horn, who runs The Horn Corp - a Manhattan ad agency - has found that being creative he can help the numerous unemployed ad workers in New York, as well as creating a new business model.
In a nutshell, this agency has opened its doors to any unemployed people from advertising backgrounds to use its facilities; they can bring their laptops grab a desk and use the time to send out their CVs. They can look for work in while in a structured environment.
While they are there, Horn encourages them to take part in as many brainstorming meetings with him as possible. If one of the ideas takes, it could lead to a job for Horn and his agency. Horn then hires the person who came up with the idea and pays them by the project, with no additional benefits.
Because he is making use of people from all different backgrounds he is able to make his company appear much bigger then it is.
I read the article, and there were several comments that followed. Many raised the question of whether it's ethical to be 'taking advantage' of people out of work. Many obviously countered those comments to thoroughly praise the idea.
Here is my take:
- If you talk to anyone recently unemployed, the feeling of isolation, feeling cut off from your networking groups, feeling that you are not using your skills, and ultimately the knock to your confidence is often worse than the financial implications it often has. So, I don't believe it's taking advantage, I believe it's win-win.
- There are so many incredibly talented people without work at the moment. Is there any way that following on from Horns idea, your company could create a win-win situation too?
- It's definitely the time to get creative. What can your company do to help another during this time, and how can they help you? It's hard to be creative in isolation; we need to start talking to whoever we can.
Have you heard of any positive, interesting and creative solutions to either employee engagement or business benefit you can share?