How Tony Fernandes puts himself in the forefront of the QZ8501 crisis, and how he rallied AirAsia staff on Twitter is an inkling of the company's culture.
AirAsia calls their employees 'Allstars' as they value them as stars. Everyone in AirAsia, from the errand boys to the senior management has Tony's contact number. They are allowed to contact "Tony" directly to solve their problems quickly without going through layers of bureaucracy.
The company is committed to giving Allstars the career opportunities that they want. In this interview with Chris Harvey, Tony told the story of how an AirAsia Thailand air stewardess asked him if she could be a pilot. Tony said he would hire her if she takes the classes and passes the exams. She did, and now she is a full-time captain.
AirAsia rewards people who work hard and carry the right attitude. During the hiring process, they place little importance on applicants' personal background and focus more on their intelligence and drive.
Fernandes said: “We consider ourselves basically a dream factory. We deliberately decided that we wanted a company where people can pursue their passion... We want openness and we want people to be creative and passionate about what they do. In order to do that, we’ve got to inspire them.”
2. REV Asia, the home of SAYS!
Winner of the WorldBlu World's Most Democratic Workplace for three years in a row, SAYS upholds a culture of freedom and joy that have been the pillar to the company's success as Malaysia's fastest growing social news site.
A day in the office at SAYS feels more like a gathering of like-minded friends on the same mission more than anything else. Every team promotes the freedom of ideas and imagination amongst its members. They are encouraged to pursue projects they believe in and build products they personally love. Everyone can freely contribute to discussions without judgement and actively take part in their team's decision-making process.
Every team in the company has developed their own rituals, such as monthly café hops. Furthermore, the company as a whole also upholds two practices that have become a much-loved tradition.
Every Friday during 'Great-itude', everyone gathers together to share one thing that they are grateful for in the week. This fosters employees to stay connected via a weekly shared experience.
Every month, anyone in the company can send out a 'Smoke Signal'. This is a company-wide activity fully paid for by the company, from BBQ by the waterfall, laser tag, to watching a stand-up comedy show. The fact that even an intern can organise a 'Smoke Signal' without approval places immense trust in the power of every individual.
SAYS allows work from home flexibilities and at the same time builds a happy and fun office that people look forward to every morning.
3. OpenMinds Resources
At OpenMinds Resources, the team's collective goal is to create a workplace that is fluid and drives creativity. The culture is defined and steered by employees to create the workplace that they want to go to every morning. Hence, it evolves with time according to suggestions.
There is a strong sense of transparency in this online marketing and tech development agency. To avoid employees from second guessing each others perks, they publicly published the 'OpenMinds Perks'.
Transparency aside, 'OpenMinds Perks' also depicts that the company values their employees. "These perks are created to invest in the team’s well-being. We see each item as vital elements in life that influences their overall lifestyle - physically, mentally and spiritually," Jan Wong, founder of OpenMinds tells SAYS.
As a commitment to creating value for its employees, they also conduct a weekly 'RE:Source Friday'. During the one-hour session, one person in the team shares knowledge, experiences, and start a discussion on any topic they feel can benefit his or her fellow colleague. They also open up the session to startups and industry personas as a platform for mutual learning.
Mindvalley is obsessed with creating one of the world's best workplaces. They believe in focusing on employee growth and hacking productivity by investing in company culture and office design. This is to inspire employees to be creative, productive, innovative, and feel valued. With a diverse workforce of 40 nationalities, MindValley also promotes equal work opportunity for all.
In a typical work week of 45 hours, employees are allowed to spend 5 hours a week studying a new skill. This 45/5 Rule encourages their people to grow immensely in their careers and personal lives. To further support this growth, the company also provides a massive library of coaching and training materials, and access to training workshops.
Working in Mindvalley is never boring. They have a secret society called S.P.L.A.S.H (Society for Platonic Love, Appreciation, Smiles, and Happiness) that organizes weekly parties, cultural events, and even weird theme days.
"Going to work is like going home to family," Malaysiakini business development manager Nathaniel Tan tells SAYS. "People bring food and share with everyone, you really feel loved working here, that's our culture."
Malaysiakini adopts a flat organisational structure where the top management is in direct contact even with entry-level employees. Employees are free to start a discussion or obtain approval from the big boss without going through long hierarchical processes.
The team's brainstorm sessions also double as bonding sessions and typically happens over food. They've proposed new ideas to each other over teh tarik in a mamak outside of office, over mee goreng in the office canteen, and sometimes even over cendol.
Nathaniel reveals that the income difference between the highest and lowest paid employee in Malaysiakini does not surpass five digits. Half of the proceeds go back to the staff every year in the form of bonuses while the other half is used to grow the company. To date, shareholders have not received dividends.
The one thing they are most proud of is the fact that everyone in Malaysiakini do not work for money. Their motivation lies in the belief of the impact of their work by carrying out Malaysiakini's vision of creating a free and independent media.
"Working at VLT is loud, young, and energetic," CEO Warren Tan tells SAYS. The average age of the employees 27 years old, bosses acts as mentors and teammates rather than superiors, and the team has a huge sense of humour.
The digital agency has a zero policy for office politics. There is also a strong sense of support amongst the team in VLT. The team is incredibly diverse with a wide range of experience including a shoe designer, a physicist, and a licenced commercial pilot, all working together with the same purpose of impacting world-class brands.
The goal at VLT is to build products and start initiatives that leave a positive legacy for generations behind. As a reminder, they name the meeting rooms after the employees' children. Seeing their kids names on the doors also remind them that the most important thing in life is family.
VLT boasts some unique perks for employees including access to company cars and drivers for personal use, swimming pool, and even concierge and personal assistant services.
Recently, Tan turned his 35th birthday into a celebration of the VLT family. Rather than the day being about him, he brought a spa into the office to pamper the team. Everyone got free massages, manicures, unlimited lattes and frappes, ice cream, and good food all from some of their favourite stores.
Moving away from companies and into job roles, these jobs are said to have the best work-life balance:
Want to work at SAYS? Send your resume to [email protected], we're looking for writers!