Last month I went to the first of hopefully many more NewCo Toronto Festival. An innovative event that was aiming to demonstrate successful companies in Toronto show off their office space, talk about their work environments and tell their stories. The 4 businesses I went to were Achievers, Nudge, Facebook Canada and Fitzii.

There are lots of things I learned last week, but here are 5 takeaways that stood out.

  1. Employee recognition/support and company culture is the be all, end all to business success. David Brennan of Achievers says “don’t waste pennies on trinkets or mugs, invest in your employees and don’t think of it as an expense”. Make it your mission to have them come to work happy and leave happy. Your employees determine your success and longevity.
  1. Every business starts with an idea. You can hear from Nudge, their first business adventure started in an upstairs garage. If you don’t try, you’ll never know. Nudge was also the recent Startup Canada Innovation Award winner.
  1. Facebook Canada believes in a very open workspace, where collaboration is encouraged over coffee, lunch or even a bathroom break. Little to no doors or walls helps ensure ideas flow through the space freely, Facebook is always thinking ahead. Facebook Canada also admits that going with a mobile app wasn’t on their radar at the time mobile was coming out. They were focused in another direction but when they realized what was happening, they pulled everyone together to redirect and get on board with the mobile app that 80% of users use today.
  1. Fitzii operates with no management. That means everyone is trusted to create and be accountable for their own work. They even determine their own salaries. Obviously this requires immense trust and faith and Fitzii makes it work. Difficult conversations come from coworkers, so there is a different level of ownership in your achievements or lack of. This showed me that with the right mindset and coworkers involved, the sky is the limit for potential. It’s an inviting office with happy coworkers, doing a fantastic job helping other companies attract the right talent.
  1. Lastly, I believe that companies who hire the right talent and practice what they preach, can do even greater things……..and have happier employees. Visiting these businesses really showcased that and in every session I felt a great sense of teamwork.

Congratulations NewCo on a successful event and looking forward to 2017.