The Heart of Great Corporate Culture

With remote-work opportunities increasing and office sizes decreasing, the modern-day employer is emphasizing the culture-driven workplace now more than ever before.

According to a June 2019 study by LinkedIn, culture is so important that 70 percent of professionals in the U.S. today would not work at a leading company if it meant they had to tolerate a bad workplace culture. Factors such as title and salary ranked lower.

From startups to Fortune 500's, companies in the Tampa-St. Pete area have proven to be leaders of the corporate culture trend, breaking records annually.

The fastest-growing private media company in the U.S., The Penny Hoarder recently expanded offices into a new state-of-the-art space in downtown St. Pete. Along with unlimited sick days, employees enjoy yoga, beanbag chairs, artificial turf and an indoor park.

Photo courtesy of Tampa Bay Inno: The Penny Hoarder’s office is broken down into rooms either named after historical figures,(Tubman, Lincoln and Kennedy, for example), twists on personal finance (The Piggy Bank and Capital Hill) or local inspiration (the St. Pete Room). The office is decorated with local art throughout.

The Tampa-St. Pete-based Fortune 500 giant, Tech Data has a longstanding reputation for corporate culture and inclusion. As the largest company in Florida, it is an LGBTQ+ advocate both in the community and for its colleagues. In 2005, Tech Data began offering benefits to same-sex domestic partners, and most recently the company received a score of 100 on the Corporate Equality Index, making it a ‘Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality’ for the 14th year and counting. 

Company culture sets AutoLoop apart, according to the Clearwater company, which provides automotive marketing software. All 413 employees (and counting) enjoy free healthcare, weekly yoga, and access to a person massage therapist.

Both Tech Data and Autoloop were recognized as finalists for Tampa Bay Tech's "Workplace Culture Program of the Year" award, which recognizes an organization whose culture is unique, inclusive and ever-evolving, with a demonstrable impact to the business, programs or projects undertaken.

In early 2019, Inc. Magazine asked 139,251 employees around the country to rate their workplaces considering perks like paternity leave, unlimited vacation, paid sabbaticals, profit sharing, and more.

Ranked a top workplace for millennials, PowerDesign provides employees with a full on-site gymnasium and exercise classes.

Three St. Petersburg companies topped Inc.'s rankings of the Best Places to Work in 2019 including Big Sea, Power Design, and Squaremouth.

America's fastest-growing travel insurance comparison website, Squaremouth believes in complete company-wide transparency, from floor plans to financials. There are no assigned desks in the offices, and employees cannot sit in the same seat twice in a row.

Photo courtesy of Squaremouth: Out-of-the-Box Culture Earns St. Petersburg Company Statewide Recognition for 3rd Straight Year.

Perhaps the “strangest” feature: employees know each other’s salary, and major company decisions, including new hires and employee raises, come down to a majority vote.

“We built our culture to naturally promote equality and collaboration,” says Squaremouth Co-Founder and CEO, Chris Harvey. “We make sure our employees are really happy, which transfers directly to our customers.”

Of the 17 Florida companies that made Inc.'s list, five are located in Pinellas County. Raymond James, HSN, and Jabil are among other corporate culture leaders that call St. Pete home.

iQor's HQ offices in St. Petersburg include slides between floors, a space for regular cornhole tournaments, and a large area dedicated to collaboration

So, why has St. Pete emerged as a hub for companies leading culture-driven businesses?

The progressive community, cost-effective environment and quality of life assets outside of the office allow St. Pete companies to thrive inside the office.

The Numbers Just Add Up

The Sunshine City’s cost of living is below the national average, making it one of the most affordable mid-sized cities to live in the Southeast. No state income tax and low workforce costs allow employers to invest money back into their employees and company culture. 

"For a business that is growing quickly like us, being able to add operating margin by lowering expenses while also enhancing the quality of life for our employees is a win-win for everyone," Shirl Penney, Founder & CEO of Dynasty Financial Partners said.  "And as a kicker, the sunshine was free!"

Quality of Life

For most, all it takes is one visit to the Sunshine City to fall in love with the beaches, breweries, and abundant artwork. But St. Pete offers so much more that retains in-demand talent and fuels the region's growing workforce pool.

St. Pete's downtown corridor alone hosts 11 innovation labs within steps of one another. The City is home to seven arts districts (and counting), 137 parks, the longest urban linear biking and hiking trail in the Eastern U.S., and seven miles of preserved downtown waterfront.

Another Opportunity Next Door

Millennials are pleasantly surprised by St. Pete's progressive attitude and access to industry leaders that maximizes their ability to make an impact. With three of the region's Fortune 500 headquarters in the City, a thriving startup ecosystem,  and a booming downtown, job seekers can feel confident about finding the next opportunity right around the corner where  culture is equally valued.

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