Ping Pong tables.
Beer Pong tournaments.
The list of weird, wild and wacky company culture phenomena we’ve already heard of is pretty extensive. Big business names like Google and Zappos draw most of the headlines.
That got us thinking, what’s workplace culture like in the rest of the world? Here’s a look at some audacious, daring, silly, and energizing culture coups from around the globe.
Canada – SURVIVOR OF THE FITTEST
Before you critique our grammar, yes, we meant to write our subhead that way. Why? Because what Nurse Next Door, a Vancouver-based franchiser of home health care services, does during its interview process is a cross between the legendary reality show ‘Survivor’ and a way to glean the candidates most willing to go toe to toe with their peers. According to this blog post, Nurse Next Door uses group interviews to find candidates who best fit the company’s culture. One of the key questions asked of applicants is which rival they would hire. If they choose the weakest, they’re out of the job. If they choose the strongest, they’re most likely hired because admiring people is one of the company’s core values.
China – FIRST NAME BASIS
Like many Asian countries, China is built on tradition, respect and authority. Often, bosses are addressed by their job title, or with a militaristic add-on. For example, as Joe Chen, Chief Executive of the Chinese social networking site Renren told the BBC, in formal Chinese workplace culture he’d be addressed as Joetsung Chentsung, with ‘tsung’ meaning general. Instead, the lighter culture he’s helped establish at Renren allows employees to simply call him “Joe.” Again, this may not be groundbreaking for American corporations but it’s a small step in Chinese business.
Sweden – TOGETHERNESS, COST-CONSCIOUSNESS, RESPECT, SIMPLICITY
Ikea puts it right out there on its website. They’re not looking for people to fill jobs, they’re looking for partners who believe in their culture and values, some of which are mentioned above. And they have a little fun helping you figure out if you’re the right fit, too. Check out this quiz. I took it, and, well, I got the brush off. Seems I’m not quite what they’re looking for. At least they put it right out there.
Hong Kong – TOP DOWN
Entrepreneur Allan Zeman doesn’t do anything bold or badass by American standards when running his Hong Kong-based businesses. What he does do is lead by example. He told the BBC that, “If the boss is good, a company is good. If the boss is bad, the company is bad.” He strives to create a company culture that feels like family with him as the patriarch, someone who is approachable AND accountable. Zeman says staffers should set expectations for their bosses, and if those expectations aren’t met, they need to decide what to do about it.
Australia – C’MON, GET HAPPY!
And then there’s this guy. The self-proclaimed Chief Happiness Officer of The Happiness Institute, Dr. Timothy Sharp had made it his mission to bring good vibes to the already cool Aussie companies he consults with. Not only does he advise businesses on how to bring more joy into their culture, he walks the walk with his business partner who’s dubbed Chief People Officer. We love the last line of her bio: “Ann holds a Bachelor of Economics from Macquarie University and a Degree in Optimism from the School of Life.” It’s important to cross boundaries when branding your business and this website sets the tone for the type of fun, collaborative, happy experiences you’ll get working with The Happiness Institute.
Have any more worldly examples for us? We’d love to learn about them. Leave us a comment below!