Five things you can do to make your business an awesome place to work

By Naomi Simson | Jan 31, 13 07:27 AM

Naomi Simson's business RedBalloon has been in the BRW Best Places to Work list four years in a row - she knows a thing or two about how to create an awesome environment.

I could talk about sleep pods, flexi days and free lunches, but honestly the employee experience runs much deeper than that. To make your business a truly great place to work, here are five tips. But be warned, it won’t be achieved with a trip to Ikea for funky new furniture, or by installing a vending machine in the kitchen.

1. Invest time and energy in creating your (business) values – and then embrace and live by them. Once you have your values in place this creates a perfect grounding for everything people related.

2. When recruiting, think of HR as an experience – not how you use humans as resources, but rather how those people are able to experience and engage with your business. That’s why we call it Employee Experience at RedBalloon, not HR.

3. Invest in yourself and your people leaders – you can have all the ideas and new innovations in the world, but if you aren’t engaged with what you are trying to achieve, you won’t get buy in.

4. Be authentic. In a workspace, that means allow people to come to work as themselves and not their job titles – people will always have good and bad days and managers need to accept that. Apply the same authenticity to your personal life. (Apparently 90 per cent of all men on first dates are dishonest to some degree…)

5. Get to know who your people really are and what makes them tick – how do they like their coffee? Do they even drink coffee? What are their pet peeves? Do they like private or public recognition? The more you know – the more it actually shows you care about them as individuals.

You need to be a smart business leader – and operator – to build a business full of smart and happy people. As a leader you have a responsibility to work harder on yourself than on your business. Only then will you be able to create the team you deserve. Because after all, they are a reflection of you – so if they’re not what you want them to be, perhaps it’s time to take a good hard look in the mirror.


Naomi Simson is the founder and CEO of leading online gift retailer, RedBalloon. Naomi is also a  mother, author, blogger and a truly passionate individual.

Naomi is a Premium member of Business Chicks, connect with her here.

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