Above And Beyond the Norm: Adobe’s Company Culture

by | Nov 26, 2019

Businesses across the country are jumping on the new wave of overhauling their company cultures. Entrepreneurs are starting to see how much an exciting work environment stimulates productivity and loyalty in their team members. Owners mimic the likes of Zappos or Google and attempt to create a work-life balance that takes the stress away and brings joy back to the workplace. At Newsletter Pro, we run masterminds and boot camps that center on this exact topic, and at every event, we field questions that allow others to mirror our successes and learn from our failures. But while we take great pride in our culture, and always will, there’s one company that is a model for successful business cultures everywhere.

Above And Beyond the Norm: Adobe's Company Culture

My Garage Is Better Than Your Garage

When Adobe started in 1982, technology looked different than it does today. I’m sure many of you can look back and picture what your first computer looked like. Maybe it was a bulky PC that ran so hot you could cook an egg on it, or maybe it was one of the Macintosh LCs that could easily be confused for a weight scale. Just as you started with one of these old relics, so did Adobe with their business origin. The long list of Silicon Valley garage moguls includes Adobe’s creator, John Warnock, and when he envisioned a company that specializes in printing software, the last thought on his mind was what the employee snack bar would look like.

Fast forward over 35 years later, and Adobe is considered one of the best places to work in the world. They feature an amenity list that includes a medical room, a mother’s room, a fitness center, wellness programs, sports courts, game rooms, dry cleaning, bicycle repair, an employee garden, and onsite haircuts, to name a few. It’s been ranked in the Best Workplaces for Women, Millennials, and those in the Bay Area. Adobe ranks No. 3 on PEOPLE’s 2019 Companies That Care list. Their large number of culture awards generates over 320,000 eager applicants every year. Above all else, 92% of their employees say Adobe is a great company to work for. All the accolades are impressive, but how do they do it? They start by avoiding culture pitfalls.


Commodification Is The Enemy

Somewhere along the way, the intent behind culture became muddied. Companies across the country stopped looking at their work environments as a way to increase employee enjoyment and started seeing perks as a means for retention. While a great culture can certainly increase overall satisfaction and mitigate employee departures, it’s not the Nerf gun wars that keep workers at their jobs. The knowledge that their employers value their best interests just as much as the work they do is what retains employees.

Culture is not something you can systematize. It’s bred from intent. When Adobe created their work environment, it didn’t stem from a cost-benefit analysis that factored in the price of a massage room to the revenue loss of an employee leaving. You can tell by the type of perks they offer that it’s because they genuinely care for their employees. From that desire to serve their employees comes retention, and of course, recruitment. If you want to be the best, you have to attract the best, and that means shelling out some dough now and then. Adobe does that and then some.

Bring The Real

work life balance

It’s one thing to offer paid vacations, but it’s something else entirely to take feedback and go above and beyond to put it into action. Maternity leave is a hot topic in the discourse on employee benefits today, and Adobe does not shy away from helping their workers raise families. They boast 130 days of fully paid maternity leave, no questions asked. But they don’t stop there. Each employee who’s away for over 90 days can go through a welcome back program that allows them to transition back to a daily schedule. While the company boasts all these features, including lactation rooms, there’s one section of motherhood that’s often left out. Women who travel for work face complications of how to feed their children while away from home. That’s why Adobe offers Milk Stork — a service that will ship breast milk back home — for free.

Culture Success Is Business Success

Every business culture should be different and contribute to a diverse landscape of unique workplaces. The early human cultures weren’t built from someone acting on behalf of others; they were cultivated by the people who lived in them. Are you creating an environment that your employees can’t wait to come back to every day? If you want to jump on the culture revolution train, don’t implement the same systems everyone else does. Listen to your staff and create something truly unique, not for your teams but with your teams.

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