Five Office Ideas Your Boss* Should Know About

Workplace insights from Jon MacDonald, founder of The Good—a four-year-old, 19-person digital marketing firm aimed at sportswear and outdoors clients

By Zach Dundas October 1, 2013 Published in the October 2013 issue of Portland Monthly

Embrace slow hiring. All new employees start on 90-day temp-to-hire agreements. “If someone says they can program, they can program,” MacDonald says. “Let’s not even talk about it. Let’s look for a cultural fit. Within four or six weeks, we know. Ninety percent of the time, we’re right.” 

Give newbies buddies. New hires are paired with a “buddy” who is not their manager. “That’s the person they can ask anything,” MacDonald says, “like, is it OK to have a beer at lunch?”

Dream big. Every year, the Good’s staff creates “The Painted Picture,” an ambitious vision of where the company should be in three years. MacDonald: “There’s no discussion about how to get there—but we look back at that vision every time we make a decision, and give it to every new employee.” 

Talk a lot. The Good’s review process involves one session to set individual goals, followed by informal check-ins. Every month. 

Help people do great stuff. The Good collects a personal wish list from every new hire, and helps employees check off their desires as a performance incentive. “Someone wanted to go to cooking school, so we got him some classes and a set of knives,” MacDonald says. “If I give someone a $1,000 bonus, they’ll buy something and the money’s gone. If I give them an experience they value, it speaks to the idea of making life better.” 

* ... or steal, if you're the boss!

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