At CityMax.com, a build-your-own-website service headquartered in Vancouver, new employees always start on Fridays, not Mondays as most companies do. This is a cool idea that makes sense. Work is less hectic, everyone is in good spirits, and most are ready for the weekend. Friday is a good time to make introductions and allows new hires to get down to business the following Monday.
Does this practice make payroll and benefits a little more complicated? Maybe. New hires arriving at the start of a new pay period is nice and clean, but that’s not what’s most important. A positive first day experience is what matters.
CityMax.com also welcomes each new employee with balloons, streamers and a greeting card signed by the entire staff. Their staff even includes two Directors of Greeting (DOGs) named Jack and Farley.
By lunchtime, “the comfort level is through the roof,” says co-founder and president Dean Gagnon. That’s when new hires are asked to relate an embarrassing story about themselves to the group. “It gives everyone insight into the new person,” say Gagnon. From their first Friday on, CityMax.com employees seem to really like where they work. In 2009, CityMax.com was awarded the #2 Best Company to Work for in British Columbia by BCBusiness Magazine . (Strangeloop Networks, another web services company, was #1 that year.)
Once they start, CityMax.com employees are then required to start their own business. If you want to learn more about that, visit their career page.
There you will find all kinds of employee perks and insights into the CityMax.com work culture. I like what CityMax.com has done here, because it is so focused on what might appeal to potential employees. Some of the company’s credentials are present, but for the most part, company info takes a back seat to all the reasons why this is a great place to work. They even get specific, offering recent employee highlights:
- An elite training seminar with Harvard Business School’s Dr. Francis Frei
- Pancake breakfast at a local eatery to watch the 2010 Olympic torch relay
- Lunch with self-made multimillionaire Robert Herjavic from TV’s Dragon Den
These are real differentiators. Suddenly I’m left with an impression that CityMax.com may in fact be different from all the other web services companies with a ping-pong table and well-stocked kitchen.
So here’s this Friday’s lesson (courtesy of Citymax.com).
- Make your work culture unique.
- Make sure you demonstrate how your work culture is unique.
- Make every new hire feel welcome, rather than simply entered into the books.