Even after factoring in part-time jobs, Americans work an average of 38 hours a week. Compared to other developed nations, the U.S. is on the higher end of that range. The Netherlands averages 29 hours per week, with the four-day workweek considered almost standard there. Denmark workers average 33 hours a week, with a right to at least five weeks of paid vacation a year. Many of the European countries that average lower hours per week than the U.S. have federal laws put into place that require employers to provide a greater work-life balance for their workers. Annalyn Kurtz reported on this interesting global comparison in a recent CNN slideshow.
Many people have an opinion on what the "secret" is to great company culture. We commonly hear about flexible work hours, perks such as free food, and unlimited vacation days. Carmel Deamics recently wrote about how several company culture consultant differ on what "good culture" means. A culture that matches the business strategy is "better" than one that just throws perks at their employees to keep them happy. Deamics wrote, "Successful company culture isn't about healthy positivity- it's about strategy. For every Zappos and Google, with their touchy-feely workplace environments there's an Oracle or a Mircosoft, which may suck to work at but sure make a ton of money." It's a really interesting take on how a company's personality doesn't always have to be super cheery; some people, hopefully their employees, may prefer it that way.
Asking for employee feedback is worthless unless action is taken on the feedback received. Dave Conrad of Augsburg College recently provided some great advice to company leaders in this PostBulletin piece. He writes, "I would even say that it would almost be better for management to say nothing at all about getting ideas and feedback versus 'pulling the rug out' from under well-intentioned workers who want to help." Conrad also provides the results of a recent survey that shows that 78% of managers believe they're open to new ideas, while only 43% of employees agreed. There's an obvious issue in how actions are actually perceived among leaders and their staff.