Fortune Magazine recently asked 90,000 millennials about how happy they are at work, and the company that notched the top spot wasn’t Google or Facebook, but a little-known home renovations company in company in Chester.
Taking a tour of Power Home Remodeling feels like … any other workplace in America: lots of garden-variety office workers pecking away at their keyboards in cubicles.
I asked spokesman Bennett Andelman if I could ask five random cubicle workers if they thought they were the happiest young people in the country. Would they all agree?
“Yeah, I think so. I mean, I hope so. But I definitely absolutely think so. Yes. I do,” Andelman said.
He took me to five random employees and they did what you’d expect: they said they loved their job, as their superior loomed close by.
“I came here and I felt ‘what is going on in this place that I can’t put my finger on?'” Andelman asked.
It’s a question that remains largely unsolved.
Workers at Power chatting on phones with customers about door and window purchases, toggling between two desktop computer displays in giant hushed rooms, doesn’t exactly scream “innovative workplace.”
But Andelman points out that about half of its employees were hired after being referred by a current or former worker, so it feels less like work and more like hanging out with your best friends – at least that’s how he puts it.
Keeping millenials happy doesn’t have to take ping-pong tables, nap pods and free snacks, he said. It just takes friends.
“If you ask them, ‘who are your greatest friends?’ And they will tell you that most of the great friends are at Power,” Andelman said.
As you shuffle past some of the happiest millenials in the country, you’ll spot a few of them minimizing their resumes, some others gazing at what looks like two Excel-style spreadsheets and others still shoot you a look that says “don’t believe the hype.”
But some contend they are genuinely content. Take Jackie Hunt, sales support agent at Power. It was her first job out of college. “It’s a wonderful place to work,” Hunt said. “We don’t have that stuffy office feeling. We come in, we have fun, we get our work done, we work hard, we walk in smiling every day,” Hunt said.
Her fish, in a little bowl next to her computer, doesn’t share her enthusiasm, Hunt points out.
One unusual company perk that might be adding to the sum of employee happiness: the company pays for a 4-day all-expense-paid trip to Cancun every December.
Some 1,250 employees are invited to the work-subsidized Mexican retreat.
“We make it feel like spring break for 30 year olds, and we spare no expense to do it,” Andelman said. “We bring in entertainment from Snoop Dogg, to, last year we brought in L.L. Cool J and Sublime. This year, who knows? It’s a surprise to everyone who’s coming.”
Happiness, it seems, is buoyed by 90s pop stars.