The office doesn’t sound like the place to be when you need some downtime, but Business Chicks thinks that for employees to perform at their best, they have to feel their best – and that includes being well rested. The women’s networking group was recently voted as one of the best places to work for relaxation, but that’s only a small part of what makes this company a great place for personal and professional development. We spoke with Samantha Lopez, head of operations, about diversity, productivity and employee growth.
Business Chicks was recently voted as the best place to work for relaxation. What are some ways you encourage employees to take a break when they need it?
We work in such a fast-paced and dynamic environment, so the design of Business Chicks headquarters was paramount. We wanted the space to feel like an extension of your home. At the heart of the office is the Business Chicks kitchen – we encourage people to take lunch breaks every day – and we also designed a relaxation room, which has a bed if anyone feels they need to recharge throughout the day. We have a chef come in to our headquarters to cook amazing food for us, a yoga instructor to facilitate classes and a massage therapist each week – the best!!! We’ve held meditation classes before and also have a work-from-home policy that gives our team the flexibility to work remotely when they need to.
What are some other policies or perks that make this one of the best places to work?
We believe that our people come first; you can’t build a remarkable team without having a company culture to match. We’re so fortunate to have some of the most phenomenal global speakers grace our stage through our event offerings so our team are encouraged to attend each of these events. Our maternity leave policy is a ‘you decide how much time you need’ policy. Each person’s needs are different, and I believe more companies need to start adopting this mentality when implementing policies.
Business Chicks has a mostly female staff. How do you balance creating a business that is ‘for women, by women’ with encouraging diversity?
I always employ for the right ‘cultural fit’ when looking for new people to join the Business Chicks team. It’s not about gender – it’s about mindset. We have nine core vales that we live by, one being: ‘pragmatic, not dramatic’. We can’t afford to have people in the business who don’t have the same values and vision. One of my favourite quotes by Seth Godin, who has spoken at one of our events before, describes this perfectly: “A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.”
The organisation has various events throughout the year to promote success and career development. What are some programs you have to encourage staff to develop themselves?
We have welcomed a number of incredible speakers to our stage over the years, and we encourage our team to take advantage of these amazing opportunities to learn from some of the best. We also run a number of internal workshops for our team, and have brought in a few experts to share their knowledge on topics as diverse as personal wealth building or the power of meditation. We also run workshops tailored to specific training needs and allocate a professional budget for each team member to use for external training and development. I believe it’s important to invest in your team, as a business will only grow if you have innovative thinkers.
Is there anything about being a member-based organisation that affects HR policies, or that makes this role more interesting?
We have more than 37,000 members globally, and I believe we have a responsibility to inspire a different way of leading. We do things differently at Business Chicks, and our HR policies reflect this too. We want to continue be a to be a company that other’s respect and look to as pioneers in this space.
What are some aspects of you role that you think are unique to this business, or that you didn’t expect?
It’s more than fulfilling a job description. The business moves at such a fast pace, and we’re constantly innovating and looking at ways to be better. My role is different from day to day. One day I’m recruiting a new person to join the team, the next I’m setting up the business structure for our expansion into the US. I love the challenge and diversity of the role and our CEO, Emma Isaacs, is an incredible lead and mentor. She encourages each of us to strive to be greater and to not play it safe. I’m so grateful to work in an environment where I can push myself out of my comfort zone.