1-800-GOT-JUNK?, (http://www.1800gotjunk.com) headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, is a company devoted to junk and its people. How do they do it? Here´s a portion of a Q & A with the company´s spokeswoman, Lindsay Peroff:
First, what´s with the blue wigs?
The blue wigs are part of our fun culture. If you can’t sport a blue wig in public, you probably won’t enjoy working at 1-800-GOT-JUNK? We don’t like to take ourselves too seriously. Even Brian [Scudamore], our Founder and CEO, has been known to sport a blue wig or cheese head hat for no reason during the weekday. This allows employees to feel more relaxed so they can get their work done. This creates a corporate culture in which people actually enjoy coming to work to everyday. Besides, are you ever going to forget someone who is sporting a blue wig?
Who sponsors the award you received for "best company to work for"?
It is prepared by Watson Wyatt Canada and put out by BC Business Magazine.
Why was the company featured on Oprah?
We have been on the Oprah show once and will be appearing on the Dr. Phil show for the 4th time this year. We are all about helping people get things accomplished and overcoming obstacles in their lives. Both Oprah and Dr. Phil are known for helping their guests. We had approached these shows and let them know that at anytime, we would be happy to de-clutter one their guest´s lives that was in need of help.
How could junk be about people?
As our founder says, it is about what we are building together and HOW we are doing it…not just about WHAT we do. Together, we are building something that none of us could have done on our own. It is a great feeling to be part of something in which your opinions, ideas and suggestions are taken to heart by the leadership team of the company. Frequently we have “Vision” meetings during which Brian asks our feedback on how we want the company to look, feel and act as we grow. There is also a culture committee that is committed to incorporating the needs of our quickly growing number of employees so we always remain on the same track. With regards to our customers, Brian Scudamore makes his philosophy clear on one of the latest quotes found on the Starbucks cups. It says, "It´s difficult for people to get rid of junk. They get attached to things and let them define who they are. If there’s one thing I have learned in this business, it´s that you are what you can’t let go of."
One of the most difficult HR functions is finding the right people. How does the company know who the right people are?
Culture, culture, culture. It is all about cultural fit. At 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, when we are looking to fill a position, we begin with group interviews. We do not offer one-on-one interviews for the initial meeting of a potential employee. The reason we do this is so that we are able to see how they interact with several people. As we have a very open office concept (even Brian and the leadership team do not have offices, but sit out in the open with us), this cultural trait is important for us. The first interview we simply wish to get to know someone, without worrying too much about his or her background, work experience and skills. You could be the most headhunted VP in the country, but if we do not feel you would fit the company culture of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, then you will not be invited back for a second one-on-one interview. One example of this was when we were looking for a director for PR and an applicant was insisting upon a private office. This was obviously not a fit for our culture. We do not want to feel like employees must be knocking on doors to speak to the leadership team.
We go so far as allowing each department interview their potential new co-workers. Each of our departments has a slightly different culture. There is no point of having the HR department interview for a position when we are the ones who need to know that we can work with them. Each company will have its own culture however. We do not assume ours is the only one. It is simply the one that works for us. When Brian says it is all about the people, he means it. This is the one thing he tells entrepreneurs whom he mentors. Be slow to hire and quick to fire.