Iconic landmarks. Incredible tourist spots. Top attractions. No, we're not talking about listings on TripAdvisor. The places we're talking about are more likely to be found on Glassdoor- the World’s most captivating workplaces.
Employee Experience Tourism (EXT) is a term we coined and use within our work to describe the growing trend of visiting famous, iconic and high-performing companies. Business professionals take part in immersive learning experiences inside progressive and well-known brands to understand how they deliver exceptional experiences for employees and the kind of business results most organizations can only dream of.
That’s just the start though. Given the scale and investment in these ultra-progressive and futuristic workplaces, organizations are now attracting regular tourists too. A number have already built visitor and information centres to cater for a new level of interest and demand to get a taste of some of the World's greatest places to work. Let’s quickly explore just a few companies that are already bringing in the tourists.
So, where’s proving popular this time of year?
A company delivering an EX that attracts 2 million job applications per year will find itself on most wish lists. Google, and it’s Googleplex, is the type of workplace you would want to show off to your mum and dad. Many Googlers do. Maybe that is the benchmark here, are you happy to bring visitors and give them the tour? Not because you’re not humble or anything, but just because you are so proud of the place you call ‘work’.
With a wide range of perks, leading-edge buildings, and state-of-the-art technology, Google has already been subject of many books and even a major Hollywood movie. Clearly, the company knows what it’s doing. Ponder that for a second. A major Hollywood movie with A-list actors and it is based pretty much entirely on the experience of working at a company. A corporate recruitment video par excellence. It may have been slammed by critics, but a 2-hour showcase, which made $93 million for the film studio, is not a bad return at all, but it is easy to see that the return was much greater for Google.
Next up is a 5 billion-dollar spaceship – Apple Park. It is certainly eye-catching in its Cupertino neighbourhood and is billed as one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the world. The park features an auditorium, wellness centre, cafes, and a visitor centre. On the inside, there is a pond, scenic walks, orchids, and gardens. With 12,000 employees, this is nothing less than a garden city and it is no wonder people are queuing up to visit.
Whilst we could spend our entire trip exploring the workplaces of California, variety is the spice of life. Let’s hop on a plane and get to the next location, which is home to the creators of one of the best social media apps in the World right now, WeChat.
Tencent, the company behind the wildly popular app that boasts 1 billion users, has upgraded its offices this year. In contrast to the suburban examples we’ve already visited, this HQ is built into the urban area.
It’s a huge ‘vertical campus’ in Shenzhen, China. Elevators controlled by facial recognition are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the experience at this company. The design impressively connects two vertical towers, which have links at different levels. These links bring employees together to enjoy culture, health, and knowledge experiences including Tencent University, sporting facilities (gym, pool, running track, basketball), exhibition spaces, rooftop gardens, and dining facilities.
I've sampled some truly awesome employee experiences and workplaces of all sizes in the last couple of years. What stands out is possibility. It is possible to create a vibrant and iconic work environment in any context. We may not all have billions of dollars to spend, but with a little care, creativity and imagination, it is more than realistic to create an inspiring workplace that keeps employees coming back for more, and bringing new fans of the business with them too.
Ben Whitter is the Founder of WEEI, and can often be found working with and exploring some of the World's top brands.
Ben helps companies of all sizes to elevate the 'experience' of work, which creates more of the good stuff; fantastic business and human results .
You can connect with Ben on LinkedIn, WeChat or Twitter.