Silicon Valley is often packaged as the best of the best in terms of employment.
It has the best healthcare packages, forward-thinking HR departments and a community-culture where everyone helps everyone else.
And while it may seem like the Holy Grail of workplaces, there are some grey areas that have been brought to light.
Despite that however, there are still plenty of lessons we can all learn from its examples – it is the Hollywood of tech after all.
If you’re a small UK business owner listen up; these are seven lessons you’ll want to pay attention to.
1. Build your network
Anyone who’s ever landed a job in Silicon Valley will tell you that networking is vital for your success. These are the people who you will bounce ideas off and could unlock the next step in your career – whether you know them yet or not.
To open doors for yourself you need to open doors to others and be willing to give a little to gain a little. This community will become your work family, so make sure you treat them with the respect they deserve; they’re sure to help you out too when you need it.
2. Transparency is key
There have been plenty of incidences where shady happenings behind the closed doors of a Silicon Valley corporation have reared their head in a PR nightmare. This is why aiming to be a transparent company is key.
Your customers need to know what’s going on with your company to be able to build loyalty to your brand. If you’re withholding information that relates to them and it eventually comes out, it’s only going to push them away.
Make sure you’re transparent both with your customers and with your employees – the former will be more likely to stick with your brand and the latter will be happier working for you as a result.
3. Perks will only get you so far
Speaking of employee satisfaction, it’s important to make note of the things that matter.
While the dozens of ‘millennial’ articles will tell you the most important thing to them is bean bags, ping pong tables and snazzy blenders, the reality is a very different story.
To make your employees’ experience with your company a happy and fulfilled one, it’s worth actually speaking to them about what they’d like from you.
You can load up your office with as many gadgets as you like, but these material possessions will be nothing more than a minor perk when one of your employees is offered a better deal somewhere else.
4. Environment is important
However, that’s not to say you should throw all your employees in a white-washed office with no stimulating material and expect them to do a fantastic job.
Giving employees the bare minimum of an environment doesn’t suggest that you’re going to make their working life as enjoyable and comfortable as possible – nor does it give them incentive to stick around.
Consider investing in ergonomic furniture that will be truly appreciated, or even adding some décor and plants to the office. While you don’t have to install a pinball machine, it does make a difference to put some thought into their comfort.
5. Treat everyone respectfully
One of the most important lessons any small business owner can learn is that careers are changeable. The rate at which employees are ditching the 9-5 and heading in full force towards the start-up lifestyle means that one day your employee could become a successful entrepreneur whose services you require.
This is most obvious in Silicon Valley, where a colleague becomes a boss on a regular basis. With this in mind it’s important to treat everyone with respect – otherwise, you could find yourself in a sticky situation one day.
6. Embrace innovations
If there’s one blatant lesson we can all learn from Silicon Valley it’s that we need to embrace innovation. The tech capital of the world is always one step ahead of what will pioneer not only the tech industry but every industry.
That’s why it’s important not to shun tech when it’s presented to us but use it to better your company and your processes.
One such example is automation; do you really want to be stuck in the middle ages manually entering information when a computer can save you time and do it all for you? Us neither.
By embracing tech you’re improving your business as you go, meaning you allow opportunities to fail, which is vital for any start-up.
7. Enjoy it
All too soon you’ll be looking at your retirement package and wondering where the time went, and you don’t want to spend it looking back wondering how much time you actually enjoyed what you were doing – and how much you spent scared you were going to fail.
There’s a lot of time for fun in Silicon Valley, whether it’s with their unique staff events or through employee catch ups that embrace the quirky (walking meeting anyone?) for now, simply make sure you have time to enjoy what you’re building and the people who are helping you do so.