It turns out the key to start-up success isn’t just hot investors. It isn’t a slow burn rate. And it’s not always a cutting edge product. It’s building the right company culture, one founded on employee “happiness.”

Or at least so says Marc Lore, the founder and chief executive of, in a very interesting piece on the front page of Sunday Business section of the New York Times. The company, a rival to Amazon, believes that what will make it successful in the long term is a high level of employee happiness.  The piece details the pains takes to keep its employees satisfied, well beyond typical start-up perks like stock options, free meals and snacks. That includes a high level of transparency, contracts favorable to employees, and a regular “Happiness Pulse” survey to better understand how employees feel.

The piece illustrates what we’ve long believed at ThinkHR, which is that creating an employee-friendly culture is a critical factor for nearly any company to succeed. Happy workers are more efficient, pleasant, and likely to stay at the company longer. As the article describes, “Jet has a chance to thrive in the long term only if it has the smartest and most motivated employees – and if it can prevent them from fleeing at the first sign of trouble.”

Of course, building a great corporate culture takes committed management and empowered HR professionals who have the knowledge and tools to help their employees to succeed. It’s great to see the buzz about a high profile tech company (one of the so-called “unicorns”) embracing progressive HR practices as an overarching business strategy.

To read the article, click here.