I’ve got a friend who works at a bad company. For various and sundry reasons, they don’t feel it’s the right time to make a move to a new job. Interestingly, It used to be a pretty good company. Over the years the company grew from a small outfit to a fairly large business with dozens of locations across the world. As much as the owner/founder tried to maintain the small company culture, the environment, as one would expect, became much more corporate with all the good and bad that brings. Then the hammer really fell. The owner/founder decided to act on their exit plan which, unfortunately, led to a private equity buyout. This is what turned it from a fairly average company, at least as it relates to the quality of the employees work life, to the miserable experience typical of a private equity buyout.
As I’ve been through a private equity buyout with all the misery involved, I’ve become somewhat of a therapist for my friend. I’m sure it’s not healthy for me as it occasionally forces a relapse of my private sector PTSD. It does allow me to really reflect on their experiences over the years as it relates to my own. I started to think about the idea of a perfect company. A perfect company is like a perfect relationship, it doesn’t exist. That being said, some can be much closer to a person’s ideal than others. Also there are some traits that are fairly universal insomuch as that they benefit the majority of people. I really started to think about what makes the perfect company, at least from a quality of life perspective. I came up with a list that I think will work for most people.
Before I go into the list, I do want to make a point about the uniqueness of companies as it relates to the uniqueness of people. For some people, those who are very type A as an example, they may thrive in a highly competitive environment that demands 60–80 hour work weeks. They may be workaholics who love the thrill of a “kill or be killed” culture. Obviously, for the majority of people, this is simply not the case. In this article, I’m talking about the elements that benefit everyone, no matter if you are a CxO bound ladder climber or a clerk who wants to do nothing more than push papers and go home at five.
TRADITIONAL “BIG THREE” EMPLOYER BENEFITS