Monday, November 25, 2013

Press Release: John Ancelet & tech360 reach social media milestone: surpass 75,000 followers on twitter and flipboard, within 1 year.

DALLAS, TEXAS – Nov 25, 2013 – Over 75,000 followers for John Ancelet & tech360 on twitter and flipboard within 1 year.   tech360 is an I.T. staffing firm using Data and Analytical Based Hiring Decisions to help companies gain a competitive advantage through Hiring.

For link of all tech360 social media outlets:

tech360 & Betterhiring webpage

Twitter Links:

BetterHiring Twitter Link John Ancelet Twitter Link

Flipboard Links:

for CIOs & IT Executives for Healthcare & ITLeadership & Management GuideRecruiting Tips, Articles & SuggestionsHR Innovation, Knowledge & Insights

Better Hiring using Predictive Analytics

Who We Are

It all started with the simple fact that hiring good people is hard.

Most managers and companies think they are good at Hiring; research shows they are FAILING. The common practice of hiring for aptitude (skills, experience and knowledge) is no better than the “flip of a coin”. While aptitude is very important, IT IS NOT a good predictor of job success.

Why is it so hard to hire good people? The short answer is that most managers rely on gut instincts instead of using data and analytical based hiring decisions. Better Hiring using Predictive Analytics is not just a tagline, but our framework for improving companies and having a meaningful impact on lives.

tech360 is headquartered in Dallas, Texas with a second location in Chicago, Illinois.

Thought Leadership for Talent Acquisition

Finding, acquiring and retaining the right talent continues to remain top challenges identified by C-suite leaders at companies of all sizes. 

tech360 is delivering innovative ideas and concepts that are backed by our extensive collection of research studies and experience-based white papers.  

We are intriguing, challenging and inspiring managers and companies to reexamine their current methodology for hiring.

Our purpose is simple: become an authority and leader on talent acquisition by delivering answers to the biggest questions on the minds of our clients and the industry.  

What We Do

We Staff I.T. We do Contract, Contract-for-Hire and Direct Hires. tech360 has developed a Data and Analytically Based Predictive Model that significantly improves the Hiring Process.

We’re a diverse group with a mission and purpose to significantly improve the Hiring Process by helping companies Hire more Top Performers and Decrease their Failed Hires.


John W. Ancelet, Jr.

972-360-8131 ext. 310

Press Release: John Ancelet & tech360 reach social media milestone: surpass 75,000 followers on twitter and flipboard, within 1 year.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

5 Habits of Successful HR Pros

I have had the true pleasure of working with, meeting and interviewing a wide range of amazing HR Professionals. So when Glassdoor asked me what the top 5 habits of successful HR pros are – I jumped at the chance to share a few key themes that stand out to me when it comes to what HR pros do right.


First and Foremost, they really, really care about everyone in the company! I have seen some amazing HR professionals who stop everything to listen and react to employees. What are the hallmarks of these folks? They get cards, pictures and updates from employees as to major events in their lives. These folks can walk the floor and know all sorts of people, stories, and they take time to stop and listen. They make sure the HR delivery model makes everyone successful, and genuinely appreciate employee feedback.


There are more than 21 functions within HR – but not all deliver the same value to an organization. Successful HR pros know how to focus themselves and their teams on the top things the will help the organization, as opposed to the other 20+ things that everyone wants to do.

Study HR

The other behavior I have seen is a true passion to never stop learning. The folks I know at the top of the HR game are always reading, going to classes, symposiums, HR events and so on. They also share that knowledge! They are not afraid to forward an article around, or offer a unique tidbit.

Study the Company

One of the absolute coolest things I have seen done is a fortune 200 SVP of HR walked into a room of HR professionals (of that company) – and asked them how many of them had listened to the earnings call the day before. When no one raised a hand, he proceeded to recap the call and explain some of the key business issues. Afterwards, he made it absolutely clear that if he took time to listen to the call, they should too. He wanted a group of HR Professionals who were fluent in financials, business models and the operations of the company. Why is this key? This knowledge is crucial to operations, and he made sure his HR team knew everything possible about the business, not just the “fun” HR stuff.

Have Confidence

This is the secret of the club. A number of times I’ve heard CEOs say that their CHRO is their confidant, coach, or the person they can bounce personnel issues off of. To play this role to a CEO, you have to have integrity, listening skills, and be supportive; all while exuding confidence in the advice you offer. Based on what I’ve seen, the closer you get to the senior leadership level – confidence becomes more and more key.

via 5 Habits of Successful HR Pros | Glassdoor Blog.

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5 Habits of Successful HR Pros

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo"s Unexpected Advice on Preserving Startup Culture in Your Company

Startups are fast-moving and exciting, with a culture of getting stuff done. So it’s one of the biggest shocks for startup founders to see that culture change as the company grows, and naturally founders often get nostalgic for the days of yore.

Founder of Evernote Phil Libin has seen his company skyrocket to a billion dollar company in six short years, ballooning its headcount from 45 people in 2010 to pushing 400 just three years later. Growing concerned over what that precipitous employee growth meant for Evernote’s company culture, Libin reached out to Dick Costolo, CEO at Twitter, who’d gone through it before.

As Libin recounted to PandoDaily, he asked Costolo how to preserve the startup culture at Evernote that had made it so successful. And Costolo gave him an unexpected response that stuck with him, shaping his views on scaling company culture.

Don’t, Costolo said.

“You can’t preserve the culture, if you try to preserve it then you’re locking it into place, it starts to stagnate,” Libin said, recounting Costolo’s advice. Your job is to evolve the culture in a particular direction, Costolo explained, not preserve it.

One company that’s attempting to avoid stagnation by intentionally evolving its culture is Zappos. Like every grown-up company, Zappos has seen the effects of having a headcount over 1,000 people, but they’ve come up with an unorthodox solution to the problem.

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh had a fascinating insight that he put into action, which spawned a $350 million infrastructure project in downtown Las Vegas. Hsieh learned that when companies grow, productivity per employee generally goes down. But every time the size of a city doubles, productivity per resident increases by 15 percent.

That fact spurred Hsieh to intentionally evolve Zappos culture in a new direction — in the future, Zappos would be more like a city than a company.

Instead of building a new company headquarters cloistered away in a leafy suburb as Nike, Apple, and Google have done, Zappos would move its new headquarters into downtown Las Vegas and be a member of the community there. It wouldn’t have a lavish office with all the amenities so you’d never have to leave. Rather, the office would have minimal services in order to encourage employees to go out into the city, where fortuitous collisions and diverse social interactions can fuel innovation and creativity.

Just as communities adapt and change along with its people, so too does company culture. As Hsieh told Fast Company, “Culture is to a company as community is to a city, just at a different scale.” And Libin is adapting to Evernote’s new scale by being intentional in his approach to its culture, making an effort not to lose the benefits of how startups work.

Holding too tightly onto a company culture in an evolving business is like holding onto that favorite sweater that you’ve outgrown. What had been a great fit in the past doesn’t mean it’ll work for you in the future.

via Twitter CEO Dick Costolo’s Unexpected Advice on Preserving Startup Culture in Your Company : iDoneThis blog.

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Twitter CEO Dick Costolo"s Unexpected Advice on Preserving Startup Culture in Your Company

5 Ways to Build an Extraordinary Team Culture

Employee teams are one of the best ways to get things done in any business. When you take a group of independently talented people and create a team in which they can merge their talents, not only will a remarkable amount of energy and creativity be released, but their performance, loyalty and engagement will be greatly improved.

Here are five steps for building an extraordinary team culture:

1. Create a Team-Oriented Organization

Make teamwork one of your core company values, and put a clear emphasis on self-managing teams that are empowered to make their own decisions. Don’t just talk about teamwork. Show your employees the seriousness of your commitment by giving teams the authority to get their jobs done on their own terms, while ensuring they accept responsibility for the results.

2. Assign Serious Team Goals

Give your teams really important assignments and projects, not just planning for next summer’s annual company picnic. Bring teams in when you’re looking at new trends in the market, or need to see things through new eyes. It’s important to mix it up and not have the same people making the same decisions all the time. Ask them to challenge the status quo and the conventional wisdom. This will help to keep your company fresh and ahead of the game.

3. Encourage Informal Teams

More work in organizations is accomplished through informal teams than formal ones. It’s therefore in your interest to encourage the proliferation of informal teams throughout your company, addressing any and all issues and opportunities that capture their interest. When your employees are able to tackle concerns themselves, without elevating every little decision to top management, you’ll have a much more efficient organization.

4. Cross-Train Employees

When employees understand how different areas of the company work, they are more apt to make decisions that benefit the company as a whole, rather than solely their own department or group. Give your employees the opportunity to learn other people’s jobs. Some organizations go as far as switching employee roles on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. And don’t forget your managers. Have top executives spend a few days working on the front lines with customers or directly with your product. They’ll have a new appreciation for what your regular employees go through on the job.

5. Provide Team Resources

No matter how talented a company’s individuals might be, teams cannot be successful without the proper resources. Teams need a designated and available place where they can regularly meet. Nothing much can be achieved in an over-crowded lunch room. All employees need to be given adequate time to devote to their team meetings, with no grief from supervisors. And make sure to supply your teams with an appropriate budget if required, and the permission–with guidance–to spend it as they see best for the company.

via 5 Ways to Build an Extraordinary Team Culture |

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5 Ways to Build an Extraordinary Team Culture

Corporate Culture and the Hiring Process

Working in Human Resources and having a passion for corporate culture means supporting companies doing their due diligence to weed out any bad hires during the hiring process. What lengths would a company go to in order to protect their culture? Recently, a client shared with me a small company’s interview process. Here are the interesting steps this company takes to ensure their new hires are a match made in corporate culture heaven:

Who let the dogs out? Let’s kick off the interview process by interviewing with the furry, four-legged employees. At this company, if the owner’s dogs don’t like you, you’re in the doghouse. Maybe not, but you are definetly not getting hired.

We want money, that’s what we want. Or 3 years of W2′s, 2 months of your last pay stubs, and if you filed any 1099′s we would like to see those as well.

Puff the Magic Dragon lived by the sea. But he isn’t working for me. Why? Because we are putting you through a drug screening test that includes taking hair from the root.

Conjunction Junction, what’s your function? To hook up people with jobs and make sure they pass our grammar and mathematical tests, even if the position doesn’t include any math.

Heal the world, make it a better place. For you and for me and we won’t have a case. As in, please sign this mediation document that says you can’t sue us for any reason upon termination.

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Hope you have been Mr. Rogers nice to your neighbors because our background check includes the names and numbers of your: neighbors, 3 previous bosses, 5 colleagues, any direct report that you oversaw in the past 10 years, any associations or affiliations you have had in the past 5 years, and an investigative consumer report.

Rate me, rate me again. As part of the interview process, there’s a personal evaluation in which you must rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 in terms of skills like communication, technological, and teamwork.

Some candidates try and some candidates lie, but this company won’t let them play. Because we are living in a corporate cultural world, you have to know your material, girl.

via Corporate Culture and the Hiring Process – Blogging4Jobs HR, Recruiting, Social Media Policies, Human Resources, HR Technology Blogging4Jobs.

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Corporate Culture and the Hiring Process

How Space Planning has changed the working environment

With employee retention being the driving force in business today, the goal is to create a more work friendly environment. An encouraging byproduct of this mind set is that we are seeing the average rentable area per employee decrease from approximately 250 rentable square feet to approximately 200 rentable square feet – a twenty percent (20%) reduction!

Coming up with a strategy for your organization that will meet your short and long term goals involves identifying the desired culture of the company, for both today and tomorrow.

Here is a list of current trends to consider for your facility and how it relates to the culture of your company:

*Trends away from high panel cubicles to just above desk height.

*Consider stand up workstations for some areas to increase productivity.

*Create collaboration pods and huddle areas.

*Build break rooms that are open to the work space and located on window lines.

*Include the “Hotel Cube” concept: multiple employees share a cubicle on alternative days.

*Move management away from private offices and into cubicles.

*Construct internal offices to allow the natural light from exterior windows to permeate the work space.

Studies have shown culture is affected by the design and layout of a company’s office space. We are seeing drastic changes in the working environment including fabrication of hard walls, conference rooms, kitchens, millwork, and reception area’s by a manufacturer called DIRTT. DIRTT stands for Doing It Right This Time. DIRTT Systems are the leading provider of pre-engineered, pre-manufactured, esthetic, functional and durable systems. DIRTT products incorporate unique design throughout the workspace while also leaving the space flexible and adaptable as changes arise in the future. Furthermore, the expense of the DIRTT system carries through to the tenants books and in the event the tenant relocates at the end of the term, all materials can be relocated to the next location. The DIRTT systems are more expensive up front than typical framing and drywall construction, but with the expedited assemble/lead times and flexibility for modifications in the future, the benefits far outweigh the front-end expenses.

via How Space Planning has changed the working environment | Cresa San Diego Blog.

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How Space Planning has changed the working environment

Survey Says: Only 5% Have Amazing Cultures

A few months ago I gathered a little bit of data from readers (and webinar attendees) about organizational cultures. My hypothesis was that most organizations didn’t do culture very well. Anecdotally, I hear a lot of people complain about their cultures. They put up with them, but they don’t love them. So did the data support my hypothesis? Here are the results.

Below are the four choices I offered in the survey, along with the response rates from the 131 people who responded:

Toxic–I’m getting out as fast as I can (17%)

Mediocre–Livable, but not inspiring (39%)

Positive–Not perfect, but good place to work (40%)

Amazing–I can’t imagine wanting to leave (5%)


So how do we interpret these results?

Well, it makes sense that most people fell in the middle–those are the easier responses. You have to have a strong opinion about your culture to choose the outlier answers. I did expect more mediocre than positive, but they turned out to be equal, covering almost 80% of the responses.

But notice that Toxic (17%) is three times higher than Amazing (5%). That’s not cool. Interestingly, the number for toxic (17%) is approximately the same percentage that is reported out in employee engagement surveys for the number of people who are so disengaged they are actively sabotaging their own workplace (19% in the last one I saw). It doesn’t make sense to me that we put up with almost a one in five chance of landing at a company with a toxic culture (just like I don’t understand 1 in 5 actively disengaged). Granted, this is a very small data set, so there are no hard and fast conclusions here. But still, the high number of “toxic” responses caught my attention (and made sense, given my hypothesis).

And another way to look at it is this: 95% of us don’t love our culture. That number doesn’t sit right with me either. I’m not sure what the ideal number would be. I don’t expect every culture to be amazing, but 5% still seems disappointing. And as I have learned from working with Fitness Australia, the power of an amazing culture is something to be reckoned with. This is why I feel like in our economy we are leaving significant money on the table by not actively improving our cultures. It takes time and energy. The results you get DO require an investment here. But given how few companies seem to have amazing cultures, it strikes me that you can gain a serious advantage over your competitors if you successfully managed to push your organization in the green bar on the chart.

via Survey Says: Only 5% Have Amazing Cultures.

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Survey Says: Only 5% Have Amazing Cultures

Culture, Keep Core Values, But Embrace New Ways to Work

As a member of Gen Y, I like it when companies cater to Gen Y. Nothing makes me happier than someone making my life easier. But as millennials enter the workforce, more companies are jumping through hoops I find surprising to accommodate younger workers’ demands for faster promotions, greater responsibilities and flexible work schedules — much to the annoyance of older co-workers. Confused as to whether they’re catering too much to the newest employees in the workforce, I interviewed Shelli Greenslade, senior consultant in Aon Hewitt’s leadership and talent practice to find out whether these companies are taking it too far and how all companies with multiple generations in the office can find a balance.

Shelli Greenslade, senior consultant in Aon Hewitt’s leadership and talent practice.


Workplace cultures need to adapt to the younger workforce and tougher competition in this economy, but how much should they adapt? Where do they draw the line and stop catering to the Gen Y and changing their culture too much?

Greenslade: There’s a balance to be struck with this issue. Academic research has shown that there is not much difference in Gen Y and past generations when they were at the same age. The difference with Gen Y is that they have grown up in the digital age, utilizing technology in nearly every aspect of their lives. The influence of technology has created new expectations, goals and outcomes for both organizations as well as their talent. Instantaneous feedback, opportunities to correct or erase mistakes, ability to source people and/or resources at the swipe of a finger, having visibility and a network of people anywhere in the world you choose to share it with, these are all representative of Gen Y — and sets the context for change in most organizations today. In our work with clients, we have seen many organizations trying to embrace and leverage Gen Y’s technological savvy through reverse mentoring, rethinking development programs and providing choice and flexibility in IT. These are good efforts, but only a starting place. The real challenge is for organizations to maintain the core values of the business and its talent, while at the same time encouraging innovation, risk taking, collaboration and high performance at all levels. For many organizations, this is a departure from the more hierarchical structures and models that are in place today.

Where companies need to adapt is continuing to welcome diversity and inclusion, in embracing new ways of working — the how, when and where work gets done and by whom. Talent management strategies will need to account for movement in, out, up, down and across with the new generation, who expects that they will work for several different employers throughout their careers. Work must be “meaningful” to be appealing, and once it lacks meaning and/or new learning, millennial talent is more likely to move on. Thus, organizations will need to provide clear opportunities to learn and grow on the job and ensure that they communicating these opportunities as such.

We predict a shift from fitting people into a model to one of fitting the model to the individual. This has implications for talent strategy, including attracting and sourcing talent, development, performance management, succession planning and reputation.

Employer brands and employee value propositions will continue to be important differentiators for millennials moving forward, so organizations will need to adapt their messaging and media accordingly. Perhaps most important, organizations need to live up to their promises. Today, this failure to do so is most clear in gender diversity at the top levels and in high potential pools, followed by promises for accelerated career advancement and flexibility. When organizations do not live up to their promises, the damage can be widespread. Technology is both a tremendous asset and a huge risk, thus striking the balance is critical.

Culture does not change overnight. There are foundational elements that all successful businesses will need to maintain even in times of significant change. The legacy and the history of the business will need to be passed down. The wisdom of current leaders and clients alike will need to be transferred, to continue to guide and shape the organization. Organizations will continue to need stewards of their culture, who are respected, have presence — visible, social and networked — and who can serve as leaders and role models for others in the business. Respect, results, common purpose and values will need to be part of any successful organization.

What big things in learning and development is Gen Y shaking up?

Greenslade: Increasing preference for using technology-based learning solutions, more social learning, more learning via informal networks, pressure to shorten training — attention span —  more use of Internet-based resources — for example, going to YouTube to learn how to operate a computer program rather than taking a company-provided seminar.

Millennials are much more experiential and this preference impacts how they learn. We also see that this group is more “learning focused” than perhaps other generations. Desired development happens through collaboration, reflection, discovery — not telling them the answer —  learning from leaders, teaching each other — up, down, sideways and up — and in dynamic contexts — giving people time to think.

Is this for the best?

Greenslade: Mostly yes, as it’s accelerating the adoption of newer technology-based solutions which can reach a broader audience, for less cost, than more traditional methods. It also mimics the way the younger people experience life. What is missing, of course, is the “human factor” that will remain important in the future. The ability to see and experience someone or something in live action, to get at the nuance and subtlety will be more difficult to achieve in a tech-only learning and development context. Often it is the activities surrounding a learning event — networking dinners, ice breakers, post-session outings — that promote connectivity and result in higher performance.

What should be management’s approach when Gen Y keeps asking “why”?

Greenslade: Take the opportunity to share wisdom. Pause, consider the question from a younger person’s perspective, play devil’s advocate, ask “why not” — get them to articulate an answer.

Why does Gen Y ask “why” so much?

Greenslade: To gain clarity, to challenge assumptions that they do not agree with — particularly at the outset — to demonstrate their competence — or perceived competence — and likely as a result of growing up in an era of “helicopter parents” who watched out for their every move.

via Keep Core Values, But Embrace New Ways to Work.

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Culture, Keep Core Values, But Embrace New Ways to Work

5 Fresh Trends To Fuse Fun And Work

Edison’s point is well taken, but I doubt he ever worked in any of the deadening cultures most of us have had to suffer in at some time during our careers. I’m not asking for rainbows and unicorns, they call it work for a reason. But the fact is that leaders can add some zing, zest and just plain fun to being at work. And numerous studies have shown a lively, personalized workplace culture improves business performance (and profits).

I’m talking about fun, but this is serious business. Global employee engagement is stuck at an anemic 30 percent. This is a red flag for HR and Leadership. It’s our job to help create happy employees.

Here are 5 ways savvy leaders make it happen

1) Personalized employee engagement. Nothing makes work more fun than real engagement. It creates a bond between the enterprise and it’s people. When people are engaged, they dig deeper and suddenly work becomes a lot more fun. But what engages one person can leave another cold. So leaders must use technology to create personalized profiles of each employee. What are her hobbies and passions, where is his heart and soul, what thrills and delights her? And where do these passions intersect with the culture and employee needs? Find that sweet spot and the fun (and stellar results) will flow.

2) Use the HR technology tools. HR Technology, used correctly, are manna from heaven for HR pros and Leaders. They allow us to build a community that not only enables great performance, but makes it much more social and fun. Again, it’s all about personalization, drawing out the best in people, getting their creative juices flowing, their hearts racing. Games are turning out to be amazing tools for adding fun to a culture if utilized with a strategy for adoption. Smart leaders use all the smart tools at their disposal to create fun whenever possible – with a strategy that authentically mirrors the plan for leaders and employees to get to productive work.

3) Exercise your inner comedian. One of the great unsung leadership tools is a sense of humor. Watch the way good (there are a few left) politicians, comedians and actors use humor to build a bond with their audiences. A good joke, a sense of fun, a surprise, a prank – they instantly lighten the mood, lift morale, and unite people. Find ways to bring humor to your workplace culture. Strong communication and a genuine employer brand is a good place to start. Find a voice for your company that is informal and engaging, and has a sense of humor. Consider Naming A Chief Humor Officer. Caveat: don’t force it and don’t get corny about, both are cringe-worthy and counterproductive.

4) Be holistic. Employee performance soars when people are happy and healthy. This means fitness that is linked to rewards, good food, basic human understanding and recognition for good work. If someone is going through a rough patch in their personal life, offer to help but know when to give them a little space. Conversely, celebrate success and milestones that happen outside the workplace. Everyone will have a lot more fun if they feel they can be themselves at work.

5) Solicit (off the wall) ideas. Everyone’s idea of fun is slightly different. So turn over the workplace asylum to the inmates by establishing a mechanism where people can express their idiosyncrasies at work. How about 5 Minutes of Crazy? A weekly funercise where a volunteer (again, no forcing) leads everyone in … anything they want. Think of it as “Show and Tell” for adults. How about My Favorite Stupid YouTube Video that seems to make everyone laugh? Available for viewing on your team’s social channels of choice or maybe it lives in your social enterprise and the team can own the channel privately.

Let’s be honest, no workplace can be fun all the time. It shouldn’t be. Our careers are serious at times. But if you look at history’s most successful entrepreneurs, leaders and employees, you will see a common thread: they all love what they do. We may not achieve that perfect synergy, but getting there is half the fun!

via 5 Fresh Trends To Fuse Fun And Work.

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5 Fresh Trends To Fuse Fun And Work

Corporate Culture: Getting It Right (new book)

Interestingly, this book left me with two powerful ideas that can explain many of strange experiences during my career.

The first idea is a comparison of corporate culture with climate, which explains climate and cultural enclaves that can be significantly different from the general climate of the region or culture of larger organization. The author suggests that there is no general culture of the organization; the organizational culture is a combination of existing sub cultures.

The second idea is effect of a strong organizational culture – it helps company to succeed during stable times, but not as helpful during the time of change. This perception seem to make sense – strong culture establishes the best way to operate under certain circumstances, but the environment can change more quickly than the culture of the business.

Other interesting points from the book:

Cultural issues are contributing significantly to loss of value companies experience in M&A (one of the most famous examples is Daimler-Benz merger with Chrysler).

Culture of the organization is constantly changing independent of any management efforts, and at the same time it is very difficult to change in a desired direction. Most orchestrated culture changes are doomed into failure. (TQM culture changes – 70% were unsuccessful)

Culture change programs may have unintended consequences

Culture change is needed only when it is important for the company’s strategy and should not be implemented lightly. Sony had to change from manufacturing culture to knowledge-based culture – a reinvention of the business model itself.

A new employee needs to learn the new organization and its unwritten rules quickly – the success is higher when the employees receives help rather than navigates the process independently. Even job shift from one department of the company to another one can require learning new culture.

via Book – Corporate Culture: Getting It Right | Online Marketing Moment.

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Corporate Culture: Getting It Right (new book)

The Best Startup Perk? A 40-Hour Week

The clichéd perks of high-flying tech companies such as free meals, massages, and doggy daycare serve a dual purpose: They keep employees happy (office beer) and create an atmosphere that makes working long, intense hours seem not so bad.

A handful of tech startups have been touting a different approach to getting the best out of their workers: Make them work less. They’re making sure their employees go home on time, unplug at night, and enjoy their weekends. The approach, they say, makes workers happier and more productive when they are on the clock, which is also good for business. While there have been scattered calls in recent years to rein in work hours, the 9-to-5 professional life is all but extinct.

At BambooHR, a 50-employee human resource software company in Provo, Utah, co-founder Ryan Sanders enforces a strict 40-hour workweek. “If we see people here extra late, like 5:30, we tend to step in [and say,] ‘Hey, what’s going on?’” he says. Sanders worked long hours at tech startups until he started BambooHR five years ago. He recalls one boss offering incentives for people who logged overtime. “At 80 hours, you’d get a $400 Amazon gift certificate, to essentially work a full week extra,” he says.

The tech world, of course, isn’t the only business built on overtime: Finance, consulting, law, and medicine wring grueling hours out of staff. Labor laws don’t require employers to pay white-collar workers overtime as long as they make at least $455 a week, or $23,600 a year. Companies that strictly curb professionals’ overtime are rare, for sure. The idea “goes counter to our culture,” says Traci Fenton, founder of WorldBlu, which consults with companies that want to create more employee-friendly workplaces. “American culture, especially, is that you work all the time, and work is your identity,” she says.

But extreme hours have their own costs. “Our industry is famous for death marches,” says Rich Sheridan, chief executive of Menlo Innovations, a software design firm with about 50 employees in Ann Arbor, Mich. “Tired programmers start putting in lots of bugs,” he says, and the cost of software glitches can exceed the benefits of overtime. (Sheridan points to a software bug that caused Knight Capital’s crippling $440 million trading loss as a cautionary tale.) Menlo’s office is dark and locked by 6 p.m. Employees aren’t allowed to work from home. The result, Sheridan says, is a productive 8-hour day, happy staff, and work that pleases clients.

Some companies are taking more modest steps to restore the border between personal time and work hours. Last year Vynamic, a 75-employee health-care management consultancy in Philadelphia, instructed workers to not send e-mails on the weekends or between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. The policy, called Zmail (as in “catch some Zs”), came in response to employee surveys that showed staff were stressed out, says Chief Executive Dan Calista. When someone slips an e-mail in minutes before the 10 p.m. cutoff, it’s dubbed a “Z bomb” and frowned upon internally. “A colleague of mine sent me a Z bomb at 10 p.m. about someone’s appointment,” Calista says. “I was up for an extra hour.” As it turns out, they didn’t meet about the matter until the following week. The e-mail could have waited until the morning.

via The Best Startup Perk? A 40-Hour Week – Businessweek.

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The Best Startup Perk? A 40-Hour Week

Why your tech startup can’t hire engineers (and how to fix it)

Over the past year, I’ve had the privilege of watching thousands of engineers interview at hundreds of startups, from four-person seed stage companies all the way to brand-name corporations listed on the NASDAQ. Below are 7 of the most common mistakes made by companies when recruiting engineering talent — and advice on how to avoid making them yourself:

1. Seeking someone in your own image who is willing to work 18-hour days.

And with that, an unwillingness to look at candidates who have a different (or non-startup) background or are a missing a few buzzwords from their resume. Sure, it might work for your first few engineering hires, but scaling this hiring approach becomes incredibly difficult and brings with it huge opportunity costs. The faster you move out of your comfort zone, the better.

I know one well-known startup that has been trying to fill a role for over four months and has gone through two dozen candidates, simply because of a strongly held philosophy by the founder who mandates 80-hour work weeks — effectively eliminating most people who are married or have kids.

2. Using fizzbuzz technical coding challenges as a proxy for how effectively someone will contribute to the team and help your company hit product roadmap goals.

“Can this person meaningfully contribute to us hitting our product roadmap?” and “Can we work well together with this person?” are the two most important questions, not whether they’ve memorized an obscure algorithm from CS class five years ago.

If you’re looking for an alternative to model, check out how Stripe does interviews.

3. Failing to honestly assess where your company stands.

If you’re a 7, trying to hire a 10 can be a recipe for failure. This is especially true if you’re trying to pay below-market rates. That Google engineer making $250K/year is unlikely to take a 50 percent pay cut to join your “Uber for Laundry,” so focus your search where it makes sense.

4. Moving without a sense of urgency and speed.

If hiring is really your #1 priority, be willing to skip your monthly lunch with Mom in order to make time for a hot candidate. In general, working under the assumption that anybody good is going to have multiple paper offers in hand is a good philosophy. Start a countdown clock the first time you meet someone: you have 10 business days to present them with a paper offer or a rejection. The longer you wait, the more competing offers you will have.

If you’re trying to hire at the talent level that Amazon/Google/Facebook/Dropbox/Square compete for, then SPEED is your main advantage — they have the brand recognition and deep pockets and can afford to wait.

You can’t.

5. Lack of decisiveness.

There’s a big difference between making the offer when you’ve found the right house and balking because the color of the living room is wrong. Don’t hunt unicorns; they don’t exist.

6. Offering below-market compensation packages.

Pay market rates for good talent, and pay a premium for the rock stars. Simply going from $100K/year in Silicon Valley to $120K/year will increase the potential talent pool that you have to hunt from. Move up to $150K/year, and the world is your oyster.

Important: The CEO should rarely be the highest-paid person at a company.

7. Keeping the red carpet at home.

Roll out the red carpet for every person you talk to. Don’t wait until the last minute when you are sure they are “the one.” Never, ever cancel or postpone an interview because of a scheduling conflict that YOU have or keep someone waiting. You want to come off as professional and organized all the way through because it builds trust.


via Why your tech startup can’t hire engineers (and how to fix it) | VentureBeat.

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Why your tech startup can’t hire engineers (and how to fix it)

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Hey, Marissa Mayer, You"ve Got it Wrong: Telecommuting Isn"t A Bad Thing. It"s The Future

In February 2013, Marissa Mayer, the new CEO of Yahoo!, ignited a not-insignificant controversy when she announced that employees no longer would be permitted to work from home.

We think she made a big mistake. Because work doesn’t happen at work.

If you ask people where they go when they really need to get work done, very few will respond “the office.” If they do say the office, they’ll include a qualifier such as “super-early in the morning before anyone gets in,” or “I stay late at night after everyone’s left,” or “I sneak in on the weekend.”

What they’re trying to tell you is that they can’t get work done at work. The office during the day has become the last place people want to be when they really want to get work done. In fact, offices have become interruption factories. A busy office is like a food processor–it chops your day into tiny bits. Fifteen minutes here, 10 minutes there, 20 here, five there. Each segment is filled with a conference call, a meeting, another meeting, or some other institutionalized unnecessary interruption.

It’s incredibly hard to get meaningful work done when your workday has been shredded into work moments.

Meaningful work, creative work, important work–this type of effort takes stretches of uninterrupted time. It’s the only way to get into the zone. But in the modern workplace, those long stretches just can’t be found. Instead, it’s just one interruption after another.

The ability to be alone with your thoughts is, in fact, one of the key advantages of working remotely. When you work on your own, far away from the buzzing swarm at headquarters, you can settle into your own productive zone. You can actually get work done–the same work that you couldn’t get done at work!

Yes, working outside the office has its own set of challenges. And interruptions can come from different places, multiple angles. If you’re at home, maybe it’s the TV. If you’re at the local coffee shop, maybe it’s someone talking loudly a few tables away. But here’s the thing: those interruptions are things you can control. They’re passive. They don’t handcuff you. You can find a space that fits your work style. You can toss on some head- phones and not be worried about a coworker loitering by your desk and tapping you on the shoulder. Neither do you have to be worried about being called into yet another unnecessary meeting. Your place, your zone, is yours alone.

Don’t believe us? Ask around. Or ask yourself: Where do you go when you really have to get work done? I bet your answer won’t be “the office in the afternoon.”

If working remotely is such a great idea, why isn’t everyone doing it? I think it’s because we’ve been bred on the idea that work happens from 9 to 5, in offices and cubicles. It’s no wonder that most who are employed inside that model haven’t considered other options, or resist the idea that it could be any different. But it can.

The future, quite literally, belongs to those who get it. Do you think today’s teenagers, raised on Facebook and texting, will be sentimental about the old days of all-hands-on-deck, Monday morning meetings? Ha!


via Hey, Marissa Mayer, You’ve Got it Wrong: Telecommuting Isn’t A Bad Thing. It’s The Future |

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Hey, Marissa Mayer, You"ve Got it Wrong: Telecommuting Isn"t A Bad Thing. It"s The Future

The 5 Rules of Work Perks: Lessons from the Bold Italic Panel

On July 22nd, Josh Levine moderated a panel with leaders from some of the Bay Area’s most innovative companies to talk about work perks. From the nice-to-have to the need-to-have, panelists discussed their own organizational perks–and their implications, good and bad.

1. Perks are meaningless unless they are built on an organization’s mission and values.

If people are taking advantage of perks, there’s a problem. When the focus is on perks and not on the mission, something is amiss. Perks are not prizes you win for getting hired or band-aids to fix organizational problems.

2. Perks are extensions of a healthy organizational culture, not an end unto themselves.

Work culture is something you can sense when you walk into an office. It’s what employees do and how they feel–the result of smart hiring–not the extras that employees get.

3. Perks smooth the transition between work life and home life.

Integration of work and life is a reality whether we like it or not. Often, there’s no on/off switch to people’s work days. Perks help employees be more present both in and away from the office.

4. Perks can double as a testing ground for products.

At Square, the on-site baristas use the company’s credit card readers with every (paid) transaction. There’s no better brand advocate than employee-customers who experience their company’s products in everyday life.

5. People are wired to purpose.

People crave the gratification you get from being on a mission. Perks have their place, but it’s purpose that drives people to go above and beyond—through blizzards and storms—back into the office. Not on-site massage or free lunch.

via Great Monday | THE 5 RULES OF WORK PERKS: Lessons from the Bold Italic Panel.

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The 5 Rules of Work Perks: Lessons from the Bold Italic Panel

Five Self-Defeating Behaviors that Ruin Companies and Careers

In turbulent times, it’s hard enough to deal with external problems. But too often people and companies exacerbate their troubles by their own actions. Self-defeating behaviors can make any situation worse. Put these five on the what-not-to-do list.

Demanding a bigger share of a shrinking pie

Leaders defeat themselves when they seek gain when others suffer, for example, raising prices in a time of high unemployment when consumers have less to spend, to ensure profits when sales are down. McDonald’s raised prices three percent in early 2012 and by the third quarter, faced the first drop in same-store sales in nine years. The executive responsible for that strategy was replaced.

At bankrupt Hostess Brands, bakery workers refused to make concessions (though the Teamsters did), thereby forcing the company to liquidate, eliminating 18,000 jobs. By trying to grab too much, the bakery union could lose everything.

This happens to executives too. A manager in a retail company demanded a promotion during the recession, because he was “indispensable,” he said. The CEO, who had cut her own pay to save jobs, fired him instead. Greed makes a bad situation worse.

Getting angry

Anger and blame are unproductive emotions. Post-U.S. election, defeated Mitt Romney blamed his defeat on “gifts” that “bought” the votes of young people, women, African-Americans, and Latinos for President Obama. Losing the Presidency is a big defeat, but Romney further defeated future electoral prospects with public bitterness and insults. History might remember the bitterness, not his gracious concession speech.

Anger hurts companies too, especially if misplaced. Years after a tragic explosion on an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010 in which 11 people lost their lives, BP was back in the news with a record fine and criminal charges. Former CEO Tony Hayward defeated himself and damaged the company in the public mind by issuing bitter statements about how unfair this was.

Angry words leave a long trail. An employee in another company who threw a temper tantrum over a denied proposal was surprised that this episode was still recalled two years later, overwhelming his accomplishments. He was the first terminated in a reorganization. Bitterness turns everything sour.

Giving in to mission creep

Sometimes self-perpetuated decline occurs more slowly, through taking core strengths for granted while chasing the greener grass. I can’t say that this is happening to Google, a company I admire, but I do see potholes ahead — although driverless cars are an extension of mapping software close to Google’s core strength in search. But should Google expand its territory to be a device maker and communications network provider, building a fiber-optics and mobile network? This could be mission creep. Perhaps Google should focus on improving Googling.

Trying to become something you are not while there’s plenty of value in who you are can be self-defeating. For professionals, this can mean branching out into new fields while falling behind in the latest knowledge in the field that made their reputation. People can get caught in the middle — not yet good enough to compete in the new area, while losing strength in the old area.

Adding without subtracting

A related form of self-defeat is to allow bloat. Adding new items without subtracting old ones is how closets get cluttered, bureaucracies expand, workloads grow out of control, national budgets go into deficit, and people get fat. It takes discipline to cut or consolidate some things for every one added. Too often that discipline is missing.

A technology company tacked on acquisitions without integration, which made acquired companies happy. But one consequence was 17 warring R&D groups and the lowest R&D in the industry. Bankruptcy followed. Growing without pruning is bad for gardens and for business.

Thinking you’ll get away with it

Whatever “it” is — lying, cheating, foreign corrupt practices, or swallowing extra bites of chocolate — lapses cannot remain secret for long in the digital age. Believing otherwise is delusional. The mistake will show up somewhere — in routine audits, unrelated FBI investigations, smartphone photos by strangers, or the bathroom scale. In the ultimate example of self-defeating behavior, too many otherwise-intelligent politicians, military leaders, and CEOs think with their zippers, thereby jeopardizing companies, countries, and careers.

Happily, there’s a cure for self-defeating behavior: Get over yourself.

Humility prevents self-defeat. A desire to serve others, an emphasis on values and purpose, a sense of responsibility for long-term consequences, and knowledge of both strengths and limitations can make it easier to avoid these traps. Google has enjoyed outstanding success, but that doesn’t mean it will succeed at everything. The bakery union that fought Hostess into liquidation had solidarity, but perhaps it, too, should have eaten a little humble pie.

via Five Self-Defeating Behaviors that Ruin Companies and Careers – Rosabeth Moss Kanter – Harvard Business Review.

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Five Self-Defeating Behaviors that Ruin Companies and Careers

8 Strategies to Successfully Change Your Company Culture

The current pace of change in business is unprecedented, and many leaders are looking to refine — or even overhaul — their cultures to better position their organizations for success.

Change is never easy, but changing corporate culture needs to be approached thoughtfully and with resolve. Drs. Kevin and Jackie Frieberg specialize in culture, and the following strategies have been adapted from their work.

1. Creating a new culture calls for new methods. Creating a new culture will be extremely difficult if you insist on doing it by playing with the old rules. Trying to change while still using the old rules is futile — the rules themselves are part of the problem.

2. Champion the vision and re-channel the energy. When change happens, people get disoriented and fear and resistance take over. Start by communicating a compelling vision to focus employees’ attention. Give people something to aim at—be specific and avoid generalities.

3. Make your early moves bold, dramatic, and unwavering. Culture change requires a unique combination of passion, courage, conviction, audacity, and determination. Your early moves must be strikingly bold, lightning fast, and out of character in relation to the old rules. You must gain momentum quickly, and employees need to see your resolve or you won’t overcome resistance.

4. Surround yourself with talented, tough-minded nonconformists. Creating a new culture is not only about changing the rules; it’s about changing the rule makers. Surround yourself with people who are as passionate about the new vision as you are and are willing to stand up to the heat.

5. Re-engineer the reward system to reinforce the behaviors you want. Culture change won’t happen unless people see a personal return on investment for behaving in different ways. If you don’t radically restructure how you reward people you’ll fuel the fires of resistance. Change what you celebrate, honor, and who you hold up as heroes. Devote your time to those change agents and vision champions who add value.

6. Track progress, measure results, and hold people accountable. The cliché is true: You get what you measure and reward. Holding people accountable means paying close attention to what’s important. Like a rubber band, if you relax the pull of the new culture, people will revert back to old comfortable patterns. Tracking progress enables you to know where the resistance lies and where you should be allocating rewards.

7. Remove obstacles and bureaucratic practices. You’ll gain respect and credibility by breaking the chains of bureaucracy. But bureaucracy is a formidable adversary — it’s the ball and chain of ‘the way we’ve always done it.’ Your employees will have a difficult time contributing to the new cause if they are shackled by the old rites, rituals, and rules.

8. Establish concrete evidence and tangible results quickly through small wins. Tangible pay-offs fuel the fires of motivation and contain the skeptics. It’s hard to argue with success when you can measure it in hard dollars, time saved, and percentages of rework minimized. Advertise successes—many cultural initiatives fail because employees in the trenches don’t see or hear about positive results.

via 8 Strategies to Successfully Change Your Company Culture.

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8 Strategies to Successfully Change Your Company Culture

Brand is a Lagging Indicator of Culture

I am currently writing an e-book about culture, and as you might have predicted, it will include some discussion of Zappos. Zappos is the poster child for a powerful culture that drives results (I highly recommend Delivering Happiness), and here’s one of my favorite quotes about culture from Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh (source):

Our belief is that a company’s culture and a company’s brand are just two sides of the same coin. The brand is just a lagging indicator of the culture.

I love this quote for a couple of reasons. First, I have always hated the concept of “brand.” Sorry, marketers, but it just bugs me. I guess I can own this as my issue. I understand logically what brand is and why it’s important. But I always felt it was a slippery slope between “effective brand management” and “convincing me that your nicely packaged lies are the truth.” Maybe it’s the Gen Xer in me, but I’m skeptical of your story.

That’s why I like Tony’s quote. Your brand is the lagging indicator of your culture, and your culture, by definition, exists in reality. It exists in behavior. Action. Tangible things. Sure, part of your culture will be the stories you tell about it, but the stories can never trump the reality, partially because it’s how you behave with your customers and stakeholders that will define the brand (in other words, you never have been in control of your brand entirely).

So go ahead and manage that brand, but if you start by managing the culture, I think the brand management will end up being a whole lot easier.

via Brand is a Lagging Indicator of Culture.

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Brand is a Lagging Indicator of Culture

80% Of Companies Don"t Care About Company Culture - Do You?

Some believe company culture can be mandated from the top down. Some believe it emerges on its own from the bottom up. A Design Executive Officer, or DEO, sidesteps this debate. He knows it must be built–iteratively, collaboratively, and over time–from the inside out.



Culture is the unique collection of beliefs and practices that communicates a company’s values, whether or not they’ve been formalized or articulated. A well-designed culture unites stakeholders in a shared understanding of “the right thing to do.” It becomes the unseen but firmly rooted infrastructure that coaches new hires and comforts old-timers. It’s the force that attracts like-minded talent and repels those with different attitudes or behaviors. A positive company culture can boost growth, while a negative or mediocre one can speed failure.

A DEO recognizes the power of company culture, but that’s not the primary reason he embraces and builds it. For a DEO, crafting an effective, authentic, and meaningful company culture is neither a choice nor a checklist item. It’s a straightforward reflection of who he is and why he wants to lead. A strong company culture reflects the DEO’s own beliefs and behavior.

Company culture is highly subjective in its origin and evolutionary development; no template exists. In fact, copied or commanded culture is inherently dysfunctional. A culture must emerge from and accurately embody a company’s people and processes. There is, however, a progression that DEOs initiate.


Ask a DEO to build her ideal company culture, and she’ll almost always start with its purpose. She’ll want to make it clear not only what the company does, but also what higher commitment it serves. If this purpose is captured in a mission statement it won’t be a bland functional promise like “Lead in customer satisfaction, product quality, and employee happiness,” but rather a more daring, sincere, and consequential statement like that from shoe and eyewear maker, Toms:

With every product you purchase, Toms will help a person in need. One for One.

This mission doesn’t spell out exactly how the company’s culture operates, but it provides distinct guidance and a clear ethic for making decisions. It’s scaffolding on which the company can layer operations, marketing, sales, or financial directives. It’s source code that can be carefully edited as the company grows and changes.

Pace and Drive

In shaping company culture, a DEO strives to support creativity and curiosity. He wants a philosophy that encourages collaboration and rewards useful risk-taking, not as attributes of selected people or departments but as characteristics of the entire company. He knows these attributes need to be baked into the culture from the top down and from the bottom up. He knows these attributes thrive in an environment that feels open, approachable, transparent, and genuine.

A DEO can’t completely control every detail of a healthy company culture, but he’ll set the company in motion, determining whether development is “fast and furious” or “slow and steady.” He’ll bolster admired activities and work to eliminate undesired ones. He’ll model how he expects others to deal with deadlines, stress, and setbacks.


As a company grows and matures, its culture becomes more independent and more shared. Defining characteristics of collaborators and partners may be spelled out explicitly, but they are confirmed and elaborated through the company’s actions. The company’s “ideal” employee takes shape through daily interactions and becomes more recognized as an important component of the culture. As Ayah Bdeir, founder of littleBits explains:

We’re a culture of people driven by a passion for our mission and for what we do. Because we’re driven by our passion to help others be creative, we accept that a solution can come from anyone–it can come from me or an intern or from user feedback. It doesn’t matter. We only care about finding the best solution to the problem.

Of course, some behaviors or qualities that are valued initially lose favor over time. A startup can honestly say, “We will share all job responsibilities.” A company of 10,000 employees cannot. On the other hand, some people-centered practices that seem unusual at first can become increasingly important over time. Companies that promoted work-life balance used to be considered naive or New Age, but in this “always on” era, work and home life blend. This once-ridiculed consideration now enjoys much wider acceptance.


A DEO will obsess over the physical environment and office ambiance because she sees them as proxies for cultural values. She knows that the office space influences everyone’s mood and mindset on a daily basis. She knows that the lobby makes a first impression on visitors and that conference rooms communicate the company’s attitude toward collaboration. She knows that the company’s brand isn’t limited to its logo, website, or packaging; it can be communicated in the office layout, in the whiteboard pen colors, in the noise level.

Because of this, a DEO may spend months searching for the right office space. She may fret over the food or restroom supplies. She may lie awake rethinking the company email signature–not to get it perfect, but to ensure that it accurately communicates the company’s core attributes.




As the culture becomes ingrained and widely embraced, the truckload of details that shapes it will no longer need a DEO’s constant oversight. An employee handbook may document the ideals, but the culture is reinforced without a rulebook. Over time, stakeholders can sense if something is out of sync with the company’s norms. They’ll point out discrepancies and add complementary elements. They’ll become the keepers of the culture.

Strong company cultures evolve and change over time. DEOs know that a company culture can’t stay fixed, but instead must respond to external changes as well as internal pressures. Each crisis, each opportunity is a chance to examine the company culture. Perhaps it can provide immediate and clear guidance. Perhaps it fuels heated debates. Perhaps it is silent. If it’s been thoughtfully articulated and widely shared, the corporate culture finds a seat at every meeting

via 80% Of Companies Don’t Care About Company Culture–Do You? | Fast Company | Business + Innovation.

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80% Of Companies Don"t Care About Company Culture - Do You?

A Google Recruiter’s Advice: How to Get My Attention via Email

Recruiters and hiring managers get tens, if not hundreds, of applications for every job opening. If you don’t want your email to get lost among the pile of applications in a recruiter’s inbox, you may need a new strategy.

In a recent interview with SavvySugar, Michael Junge, Google recruiter and author of Purple Squirrel, gives simple but impactful pointers on writing the ideal introduction email…

Be Specific

Junge says he’s more likely to click on an email that’s specific versus one that’s generic. It’s helpful to make sure that even the subject line is specific to the purpose of an email so the intention of the email is clear.

“Instead of a generic subject line, I recommend something that references the specific job title,” Junge says. For example, using a subject line like “Expert Project Manager for Position Number 428″ will make the receiver more likely to open it versus a generic “Hi, Nice to Meet You.”

Make It Brief

Short and sweet is always the better route to take when you’re writing emails, and a great introduction email is going to make a difference, according to Junge. “The idea of the email is mostly to get the person to click on the resume,” says the Google recruiter. A good email should say something like, “Hey my name is so and so, it’s nice to meet you. I’m a project manager with 10 years of experience. Here are a couple of quick highlights of my background.”

Junge recommends to then add two or three bullet points that are relevant to the particular position based on the information the applicants have about the job.

Your intro email can be brief… in fact, should be brief! Think of it this way: what does the recruiter need to know about you, and why should they keep reading?


via A Google Recruiter’s Advice: How to Get My Attention via Email | The Savvy Intern by YouTern.

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A Google Recruiter’s Advice: How to Get My Attention via Email

What Are You Learning Today That Your Next Employer Would Desire?

The title of this article is the one fundamental question I would ask everyone who is currently employed and expects to stay that way for more than another year or two.

What are you learning today that your next employer would desire?

Let’s break down this question a little bit.

First of all, it’s a mistake to assume that you will be with the same employer for your entire career. This may have been a regular thing fifty years ago, but that model simply doesn’t hold true today. This article suggests that people hold onto jobs for an average of about three years. While some will come in under that average and others will shoot over that average, neither group will have very many people who have excessively long tenures at a single company.

In other words, you should pretty much expect change in your career.

Given that as an assumption, it is reasonable to also assume that you’ll be going through a hiring process sometime in the next several years – assuming, of course, that you’re remaining in the workforce.

There’s an obvious principle that also needs to be stated here – in a hiring process, companies often rely on standout resumes and personal recommendations. Both of those things play a role when you’re getting hired at a new place.

Add all of these things together and what do you get? Every single person working today should approach their work with an eye on their resume and their professional network. Each day, you should be doing something that either boosts your resume or boosts your professional connections in a positive way – and, ideally, you’re doing lots of those things.

There are a lot of ways to do that, of course.

Within the workplace, focus on tasks that lead directly to things you can write on your resume. Don’t shy away from big projects, as big projects are great resume material.

You should also take advantage of every educational opportunity. If there is any opportunity to improve your education and certification within the workplace, you should grab that opportunity quickly.

Unless you are completely opposed to the idea in every way, you should also take advantage of any leadership opportunities that you see. People who step up to the plate to lead projects and manage small teams always look good to prospective employers.

Another useful tactic is to do everything you can to maintain good relationships with everyone at work. Those people will be migrating to different employers, just like you are, and there will often come a time where you will find yourself applying to a place where one of your previous co-workers or supervisors is now working. A positive word or two from that person will make all the difference.

So, cut out the negative talk at work. Find ways to speak positively of people and, if you can’t, say nothing at all. Save your frustration for times when you’re alone.

If you have opportunities, build professional connections with people outside your workplace. When you’re at work and you interact with people from other businesses, take that chance to get to know them a little and make their job a bit easier if you can. They’ll remember – and that can often help you in surprising ways.

It all comes back to one simple question – what are you learning today that your next employer would desire?

Your next employer desires someone that comes with a good resume and perhaps a good recommendation, too.

What can you do today to build those things? Look for those opportunities every single day.

via What Are You Learning Today That Your Next Employer Would Desire? – The Simple Dollar.

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What Are You Learning Today That Your Next Employer Would Desire?

Cash bonuses are better than raises for getting people to work harder, say Harvard researchers

Offering workers higher salaries doesn’t increase their productivity, according to new research from Harvard University. It causes employees to assume their previous salary expectations were wrong, and that the higher offer is the market rate. Thus, a higher wage doesn’t correlate with harder work.

But workers who were given extra money after they accepted a job—no-strings-attached cash perceived as a gift, not payment for services—were 20% more productive than those whose salary was increased, even though they were all earning the same amount.

The Harvard brains behind the study—researchers Duncan Gilchrist, Michael Luca and Deepak Malhotra—employed three groups of people to do the same one-time data entry task. They hired one group at $3 an hour, another at $4 an hour, and the third group at $3 an hour—but after these workers accepted the job, they were told that the budget was bigger than expected and they would be earning $4 an hour.

“Employees who were promised $4 worked no harder than those who were promised $3,” Malhotra told the Harvard Gazette. However, “those who were promised $3 but then later were given an additional $1 worked significantly harder than the other two groups.”

The researchers say the differences comes down to the perception of gifts. If the workers know the extra compensation isn’t mandatory, they are more likely to want to reciprocate the gesture, which they do by working harder. When it comes to paying for performance, $3 + $1 only equals $4 in the right context.

via Cash bonuses are better than raises for getting people to work harder, say Harvard researchers – Quartz.

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Cash bonuses are better than raises for getting people to work harder, say Harvard researchers

Top Five Personality Traits Employers Hire Most

I know you: You’ve made looking for your next job, well… your job. You’ve scoured your resume of clichéd buzzwords, brushed up on body language and even gotten a handle on the dreaded video interview.

But all that might be for naught if you just don’t have the personality your dream employer is looking for. New research shows that the vast majority of employers (88%) are looking for a “cultural fit” over skills in their next hire as more and more companies focus on attrition rates. Lucky for you, we’ve drilled down into data from 1,200 of the world’s leading employers (think General Electric, P&G and Accenture) to find precisely the personalities big business is looking for.

Universum, the Stockholm-based employer branding firm that annually surveys over 400,000 students and professionals worldwide on jobs-related issues, has culled their data to the top five personality traits employers are looking for in job candidates in 2012. How’s that for a leg up on the competition?

“We surveyed employers to get a handle on the challenges that face them in hiring,” says Joao Araujo of Universum. “What are they looking for in employees and what are they not finding?” By identifying both traits, he says, aspiring job applicants can both identify the most sought after traits—and brush up resumes and interview tactics to best position themselves.

Professionalism (86%), high-energy (78%) and confidence (61%) are the top three traits employers say they are looking for in new hires. Kathy Harris, managing director of Manhattan-based executive search firm Harris Allied says these first-impression traits are the most critical for employers to prepare for as they all can be evaluated by a recruiter or hiring manager within the first 30 seconds of meeting a candidate.

“A manager can read you the moment you walk in the door,” she says; from the clothes you wear to the way you stand to the grip of your first hand-shake, presenting yourself as a confident, energetic professional is about as basic as career advice gets. But don’t be off-put by this commonplace advice. Harris, who specialized in high-level executive placement says even the most seasoned of CEOs can get tripped up by the basics. Universum clients agree: confidence ranks highest on the list of skills companies think employees are missing most.

“We remind every candidate of the most granular advice,” she says. The most successful applicant is the one who walks into every interview with her hand outstretched for a handshake, has done her homework on the interviewer and company and is dressed to fit effortlessly into the culture of the workplace.

The remaining personality traits that Universum clients say are critical in the hiring process aren’t ones that can be read on-sight but instead call for both resume and interview preparation. To present yourself as a self-monitoring (58%) personality type, Harris says to adjust resume language to call attention to work experience where you’ve worked independently or excelled without the guidance of direct leadership. “In interviews, chose anecdotes that show how you’ve saved, made or achieved in previous positions… and how self-motivation was critical to that success.”

Intellectual curiosity (57%) is, fittingly, a curious trait for Harris, who says she generally advises clients to tightly edit the “hobbies and interests” sections of their resumes. “I’d imagine that in looking for intellectual curiosity employers are looking for two things,” she says. “The ability to problem solve and the ongoing dedication to learning new technologies or solutions that will continue to advance in the changing workplace.” Employers are asking themselves whether new hires will be with the company for the long term, she says. An employee who will grudgingly adopt a new database is not as attractive as one who is truly passionate about learning new things.

via Top Five Personality Traits Employers Hire Most – Forbes.

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Top Five Personality Traits Employers Hire Most

5 Ways To Make a Killer First Impression

Most people will judge you within the first second of meeting you and their opinion will most likely never change. Making a good first impression is incredibly important, because you only get one shot at it.

Princeton University psychologist Alex Todorov and co-author Janine Willis, a student researcher who graduated from Princeton in 2005 had people look at a microsecond of video of a political candidate. Amazingly, research subjects could predict with 70-percent accuracy who would win the election just from that microsecond of tape. This tells us that people can make incredibly accurate snap judgments in a tenth of a second.

How can you ensure people are judging you accurately and also seeing your best side? You never want to give people an inauthentic impression — many people can intuitively feel if someone is being fake immediately. However, any time you meet someone for the first time, you always want to start on the right foot. Here are a few ways you can make sure people’s first impression of you is a good one:

1. Set an intention. The most important thing to do for giving a good impression is to set your intention. This is especially important before any kind of big event where you would be meeting a lot of people — i.e. conferences, networking events or friend’s parties. As you get ready or when you are driving over think about what kind of people you want to meet and what kind of interactions you want to have. This can be an incredibly grounding experience and works very well to focus on what kind of energy you want to have for your event.

2. Think about your ornaments. Clothes, make-up, jewelry, watches and shoes are all types of ornamentation and people definitely take these into account when making initial judgments. I highly recommend getting some of your favorite outfits or ornaments together and asking friends you trust what they think of when they see them. For many men, they do not realize that their watch can say a lot about them. For women, purses and large earrings or jewelry can also indicate a lot to a new person they are meeting. Make sure that what you are wearing and how you do your hair or make-up says what you want it to say to the people you are meeting for the first time.

3. Be Conscious of Your Body Language. Body language is a crucial part of first impressions. Everything from your posture to how you carry yourself to the way you’re angling your body. Often, simply being aware of your body language can result in immediate improvements. Another way to examine your body language is to look at yourself on a video walking around a room. Subconscious cues to keep in mind include noticing where you point your feet, the position of your shoulders, and the way you shake hands.

4. Avoid bad days. People who go to cocktail events or mixers after having had a bad day typically continue to have a bad day. If you are in a depressed or anxious mood, others will pick up on this from your facial expressions, comments and body language. If you’re having a bad day, stay home! Otherwise, find a way to snap yourself out of your bad mood. I find working out or watching funny YouTube videos before events often gets me in a more social, feel good mood.

5. Be interested and interesting. If you are truly interested in meeting people and are open to learning about who they are, they will get this in a first impression. We have all had the experience of meeting someone and knowing instantly that they were dragged here by a friend and are just waiting to get out the door and head home. When you are meeting people for the first time approach others with a genuine interest in who they are. This is often contagious and you will have better conversations and lasting connections when you are interested because they become interested.

via 5 Ways To Make a Killer First Impression – Forbes.

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5 Ways To Make a Killer First Impression