If your company is a startup, there is at least one thing that will hold true for quite some time: resources (i.e. ca$h money) will be scarce! And while this is especially true in the early, uncertain days of your company, receiving millions of dollars of investor money doesn’t necessarily make this challenge easier. As a company grows and/or takes on a large amount of investor money, it should actually become more focused on resource allocation in order to achieve its goals as efficient as possible.
Investing in sales and marketing or product are obvious choices when setting the budget, and there are endless other items, projects, or hires on the proverbial “wishlist” that usually companies just can’t afford because of the amount of cash in the bank. But there is one line item that I insist you make room for no matter what:
I’m lucky enough to work for Terminus, a company that is very intentional about creating an amazing culture for its employees. It recently paid off, as Terminus won #1 Best Place to Work for a medium sized employer in Atlanta!
Now, let me be super clear about one thing: the main reason for achieving a great culture and winning this award is the amazing people in the company and the core values they follow. BUT, it doesn’t hurt to have some cool company provided perks! Here are a few of the culture focused perks we budget for currently:
- Team Lunches – Once a week, we provide lunch and the entire company eats together in our community kitchen. It’s a great way to talk with people outside of your department that you might not interact with often. This is probably the easiest to do if you are small and budget focused because it won’t cost that much!
- Monthly Department Outings – We give department leaders a $50 per person monthly budget and require them to take their team out for a fun outing (literally – we have someone who manages the department leads and ensures they are scheduling team outings). It can be a simple happy hour or team trip to a sporting event, as long as the team gets out of the office on a weekday to have some fun.
- Beer Fridge – Need I say more?
- Quarterly Company Outings – These are the most expensive individual line items, but totally worth it. Every quarter we plan a company outing where the entire company is strongly encouraged to attend. What’s great about these outings as it allows everyone from c-level leaders down to interns let loose for a day and celebrate the previous quarter’s successes. And if there is alcohol involved (and let’s be honest, there always is…), we pay for our employees’ Uber home through our company account. Safety first!
I totally understand that some culture budget items are just not feasible for all companies. If that’s the case, host a team outing at someone’s house for a cookout! Do something that at least sets the habit of getting your team together outside of the office on a regular basis.
We’re diving into 2017 budgeting at Terminus, and I’m really excited to make culture a large focus of our budget allocation. Since our company culture is truly the only sustainable competitive advantage we can control in our company, it would make sense to invest accordingly, and I would advise others to do the same!