Motley Fool CEO and co-founder Tom Gardner has joined the LinkedIn “Influencer” program. Gardner published his first “Influencer” post, titled “Half Your Employees Hate Their Jobs,” on Wednesday. The post, co-written with Motley Fool columnist Morgan Housel, highlighted three changes organizations should make to improve their workplace cultures.
“Peter Drucker said that culture eats strategy for breakfast,” Gardner wrote. “Get your fork and knife and let’s get to work!”
By joining the “Influencer” program, Gardner enters a community of the world’s most profound and impactful thinkers. Notable LinkedIn “Influencers” include Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington, Bill Gates, and more. Gardner plans to write broadly about investing, general business, and other issues he and Motley Fool employees hold dear.
“We’re thrilled for Tom to become a LinkedIn ‘Influencer,’” Fool spokesperson Adrienne Perryman said. “We have a ton of respect for the community LinkedIn has created, and having Tom as a part of it will certainly help us further our mission of helping the world invest better.”
Matt Trogdon and Tom Gardner own shares of LinkedIn. The Motley Fool recommends LinkedIn. The Motley Fool owns shares of LinkedIn. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
With our company’s name taken straight from Shakespeare, it’s no surprise that you’ll find many lovers of literature here. One of the coolest – and newest – benefits to employees is the Bookie Monster program. It allows full-time employees to order any book – fiction, non-fiction, job-related or completely irrelevant – on The Fool’s tab, as a hard copy or an e-book delivered to their own devices.
Top Fools understand the importance of each employee’s personal learning journey, and it’s true that reading is knowledge. Whether it’s a book about investing or business, or a novel, we’re encouraged to delve into all topics. Studies have shown that reading can significantly boost an individual’s vocabulary, creativity, and communication skills – among many other qualities. This awesome benefit aims to shape our employees into better and smarter leaders.
In fact, many of the world’s most successful businesspeople – both past and present – have been avid readers themselves. Tom Gardner shared a few of his favorite novels with me, including Conscious Capitalism, The Davis Dynasty, and The Outsiders, which all pertain to investing. As for other topics, Tom also recommends Influence by Robert Cialdini, The Logic of Failure by Dietrich Dorner, and Tribal Leadership by Dave Logan.
David Gardner also shared some of his favorite business reads: Enough by Jack Bogle, Predictable Success by Les McKeown, Selling the Invisible by Harry Beckwith, Tribes by Seth Godin, and The Why of Work by Dave and Wendy Ulrich.
One of The Motley Fool’s core values is Innovation, so it seems fitting that we are able to expand our education in such a unique and generous way. Through literature, we can help the world invest better while simultaneously gaining a better understanding on a wide variety of topics.
If you’re interested in diving into a new book, we have lots of great suggestions based on your level of investing experience:
One Up on Wall Street by Peter Lynch
Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist by Roger Lowenstein
Value Investing With the Masters by Kirk Kazanjian
The Davis Dynasty by John Rothchild
Valuegrowth Investing by Glen Arnold
The 5 Keys to Value Investing by J. Dennis Jean-Jacques
Beating the Street by Peter Lynch
Investment Fables by Aswath Damodaran
The Vest Pocket Guide to Value Investing by C. Thomas Howard
Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits by Philip Fisher
Made in America by Sam Walton
Forbes’ Greatest Investing Stories by Richard Phalon
John Neff on Investing by John Neff
The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham
The Money Masters by John Train
Stocks for the Long Run by Jeremy Siegel
Quality of Earnings by Thornton Oglove
Investing in Small-Cap Stocks by Christopher Graja and Elizabeth Ungar
The Book of Investing Wisdom by Peter Krass
You Can Be a Stock Market Genius by Joel Greenblatt
Break Up! by Campbell, Koch & Sadtler
Investment Gurus by Peter Tanous
Value Investing: A Balanced Approach by Martin Whitman
Value Investing: From Graham to Buffett and Beyond by Bruce Greenwald
The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek
Recently I’ve noticed a few articles popping up claiming that cool offices and no vacation policy are somehow a myth, a scam, a sneaky way for The Man to keep you down. Here was the first line of one recent article: “Don’t be fooled by the perks at all those Silicon Valley (and Alley) offices — it’s all just part of a subtle plot to control employee behavior.” At The Motley Fool we have one of those cool offices and we chose not to enact a vacation policy 20 years ago, so my first reaction is to mail out some peanut butter to go with the author’s jealousy.
The focus of these negative articles is often on the game table, the casual dress, or the non-policy. Those are the outcome of what a cool office is actually about – trust and autonomy. None of the fun of a cool office can be provided without the right culture around it.
At The Fool we put a lot of time and energy in to recruiting the best employees. We are quite picky, we take our time with the hiring process, and we dislike increasing the employee headcount without good reason. When new hires arrive, we trust them to do what they were hired to do. We find that when we get out of the way, people choose their own path and create their own way of getting their work done. They tell us how they like to work and what they need. The fun toys, the desks on wheels, and the flexible hours are all what employees have asked us for. We aren’t scheming to invent ways to control employees, we’re giving them what they want to work effectively and be happy. If your study is finding that people at a company are taking fewer vacations or working longer hours, it isn’t because of the policy. The reason is you haven’t built a culture of trust.
I am reminded of a great line I once heard from Libby Sartain, former Southwest Culture guru, “Every Office has a culture. Every culture isn’t for everyone. Find the culture that fits you.”
At The Motley Fool, we know who we are, we work hard to find people that will add to our culture, and we look for every opportunity to support our team members. We do this because it works. It shows up in all our numbers no matter how you slice them. For instance, we have the highest employee engagement score by far that I’ve ever seen using the Gallup methodology.
We aren’t The Man plotting to keep our team down and take advantage of them. We are Fools working for our employees and doing everything we can to unleash them to do their best work how they’d like to do it.
The Motley Fool Wellness Program has been in place for about 2.5 years now and has created quite a culture shift within our organization. We have always been a “relaxed” atmosphere with amazing benefits (unlimited vacation, no dress code, mobile workstations, etc.) and the addition of our Wellness Program has been another staple to our fantastic environment. We have had tremendous support from our leadership team, specifically our CEO Tom Gardner. With his 100% backing, we’ve been able to grow this program.
However, our wellness program is measured to a different standard as it was not set in place to lower health care costs, reduce absenteeism, encourage presenteeism, or any general wellness metric; our program was created as an additional benefit because it was intuitive to push for a healthier and happier workforce. All the aforementioned benefits will automatically occur, but none are our driving metric to promote a healthy and well workplace.
The Motley Fool encourages a well-rounded path toward wellness, offering physical, nutritional, and spiritual benefits. We offer weekly boot-camp, yoga, meditation, and Zumba classes, while also providing on-site massage and chiropractic care. We gather three times a week to play basketball, soccer, and floor hockey at a nearby gym and Fools can buy a heavily discounted membership to said gym. The Fool also has a free on-site gym, locker room, and showers for those that need a quick exercise break, and we recently added standing desks and a treadmill desk in the office to help combat sedentary lifestyles. We’ve removed soda from vending machines, replacing unhealthy items with healthier options, while also providing free fresh food from local vendors twice weekly. We also provide health seminars on topics like stress management, healthy smoothie workshops, and body inflammation.
At our annual health fair, we bring in a wide array of vendors, ranging from acupuncturists, to physical therapists, to local farmers’ market vendors selling their nutrient-dense food. At the fair, The Fool also provides free biometric screenings and immunizations to all employees and their spouses. Lastly, The Fool employs a personal trainer that helps create individualized plans for any employee that wants one. The goal of our wellness program is to provide a variety of activities to help suit our employees’ needs in the everlasting pursuit of wellness. It is NOT to enhance our bottom dollar or to “fit in” with other workplace wellness programs looking to cut health care costs.
Are you a fitness-minded person who wants to be a Fool? We’re looking for Wellness Coordinator to keep all of the above programs running. Check out the job description to find out more and apply!
The Fool’s CEO Tom Gardner tells you Foolish ways to make your employees happy and keep them challenged.
By Tamsin Green
A great office culture doesn’t require millions of dollars (or a slide in the middle of the office). What it does require is a focus on the employee and a commitment to infusing fun into the work day. Here are a few ways to brighten employees’ days for minimal cost.
1. The Art of the Food Cart
What: A few times a year we roll around a cooler or cart with food or beverages for employees. In the past we’ve handed out ice cream treats on the first really hot day of summer, offered drinks, and most recently served hot pretzels to congratulate employees on a successful product launch.
Why: Free food is great, but in many places it’s frequently leftovers from board meetings, client meetings, donor meetings, and the like. Free food specifically for employees (especially brought to their desk) shows appreciation that room-temperature chicken and vegetables just can’t match.
Tips: The more variety the better, as it lets people choose. The cost of the more expensive Skinny Cow ice cream bars is offset by the low cost of those sundae cups you used to get in the school cafeteria.
Cost: Generally under $1 per item, plus extras (ice, dipping sauces, etc.)
2. New Employee Gifts
What: When employees start at the Fool they each receive a jester cap.
Why: The jester cap let’s people know that we’re serious about being a Foolish community. It reflects our organization’s culture and immediately welcomes new Fools.
Tips: Buy wholesale rather than retail to reduce costs and make sure you always have the item in stock.
Cost: Depends on the item, but it can be done for $3 or less per employee.
3. Mark Employee Anniversaries
What: Every year on an employee’s Fooliversary (the anniversary of their hiring date), Fools receive a gift and a balloon. For 5, 10, 15 and soon to be 20 year anniversaries, employees receive balloon bouquets.
Why: Marking employee anniversaries sends a message of recognition for the employee’s time and service.
Tip: If gifts fall outside of budgetary constraints, even just balloons can make a big impact.
Cost: Balloons can vary in cost but can be purchased for very little. A disposable helium tank costs around $30 and can fill 30-50 balloons depending on size. Gifts can vary in cost depending on your budget.