Goldman Sachs, McKinsey and Apple all have reputations for hard-driving work cultures. Is a strenuous work culture just a fact of life when working for a top firm?

Miller: The underlying company culture in a lot of these companies was misguided. It was assumed that because other companies that overworked their employees achieved success that they too would have to overwork their employees to be successful. However, it turns out that if you treat your employees well, you can also do extremely well, and everyone will have a better time along the way.

Jones: The truth is this, the best people play to win because winning makes them happy. Getting the win means cycling through “tough, stressful, exciting, fulfilling, grueling, demanding, fun.” That’s all part of the path; it’s expected and makes the win that much sweeter.

Is anonymous employee feedback, such as Amazon’s Anytime Feedback Tool, an effective way for a company to gather information and learn about the performance of its employees?

Chapman: Anonymous feedback tools are helpful, but they can’t be your only source of information. At Rubicon Project, we try to strike a balance between formal and informal feedback solicitation. In terms of informal solicitation, it can be as simple as an honest conversation where you ask team members how they are doing.

Miller: Anonymous employee feedback is an effective tool to help encourage people who may not be comfortable with openly sharing their thoughts. It is an essential part of getting the right amount of info, but it must be placed in context, and it should be used as a part of a larger feedback strategy.

Should highly competitive firms or startups try to enable any sort of work-life balance?

Miller: It has now been proven by a new generation of companies that you can treat your employees well, create a positive working environment, and still be high performing. Work-life balance is essential to this. With the ongoing war for talent, benefits beyond the traditional are the next wave of being able to hire competitively. They are essential to attracting and retaining the best.

Jones: Innovative technology companies like Amazon, Apple and even here at ZipRecruiter only play to win. And if you’re not down with the path it takes to get there, maybe you should reconsider the industry you’re in.

If you’re ok with that, then it is the company’s silent obligation to you to support you through life occurrences, family building and other personal issues. And they should do it with no qualms or quarrels because at the end of the day, you’re both playing the game for the same reason: to win.

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