Archives For Multi-Generational Office

Teamwork is so important that it is virtually impossible for you to reach the heights of your capabilities or make the money that you want without becoming very good at it.” –Brian Tracy

improving company culture

Once you have completed the hard work of recruiting and hiring it is now important to create, or expand on the essential – and sometimes overlooked – process of team building. A team that garners an attitude of trust and respect is tantamount to success.  If your employees know that they are all working toward the same goal, the individual efforts can quickly turn into fulfilling group collaborations.  Here are some suggestions for improving company culture to bring your team together.

Physical activities

The engagement of physical activities with your employees is an excellent way to not only promote health and wellness, but also promote the bonding that is unique to exercising with others. The experience of joining together in this setting can easily translate to the work environment and allow for your employees to trust each other in a different way.

The range of physical activities is extensive and can range from an office hike (if you have a smaller team) to large interdepartmental softball teams. For example, the J.M. Smucker Company holds bowling nights and softball games for its employees, and TIAA-CREF employees can play up to six sports on site. Getting people to work together on teams outside of the workplace is awesome for improving company culture. 

 

Attend a Speaking engagement

There are a multitude of speakers that discuss topics that can be transformative professionally and personally. Choosing a speaker that will educate your team in your field or that will enhance their personal lives is an excellent way to join together and encourage collaboration. A great way to gauge interest is to poll the work-force to see what kind of speaker or what specific speaker would be most appreciated. Successful personal and professional speakers include Eric Thomas, Ray Lewis and Steven Covey.
 

Surrounding area tour

Touring the town or city that you live in by boat, bus, or walking is a great way to get to know your environment with your employees and explore common areas of interest. It is especially welcoming to employees that you have relocated or that are new to the area. If you’re in a city, visit the historical district. If you’re in a rural area, take a farm/woods/park tour.

 

Scavenger Hunt!

Working together on a scavenger hunt is an excellent way for your team to collaborate as well as allow individuals to reveal their different skills sets under the high pressure circumstances. Everyone’s strengths and innovations are clearly on display during this challenging and surprising game, and it is a great opportunity for your team to gain new perspectives of one another.

The most comprehensive scavenger hunts ask participants to take photos of certain items with team members and give points for each photo taken. High scoring photos might include, “Team members with a Speed Limit sign that is not a multiple of 5.” Low scoring photos might include, “Team members assisting someone with their groceries.”

For a great Chicago Scavenger Hunt, please visit NewHire’s valued client, Windy City Fieldhouse.

 

Supporting your team members personal endeavors

If members of your staff are pursuing acting, sports, or another personal hobby, attending their event is a great way to recognize who they are as individuals outside of work, as well as build camaraderie. A show of appreciation for your team after work hours is a great reflection on how much they are a valued not just for what they do but for who they are.

 
Not only does team-building drive growth and productivity, but it also makes hiring and recruiting much easier, as it helps your company gain positive reviews on websites which are often visited by job applicants. These are a just a few examples on how to foster team work in your organization. Do you have any fun things in mind for improving company culture?

gen yChange is upon us, and like all change, you have the choice to fight it or adapt to it.  With the workforce shifting every day towards a younger generation and their expectations of the workplace, business owners are finding the established ways of doing things are being challenged.  There’s a demand for a new workplace that’s being shaped by a new generation who are motivated by a new set of priorities.  It would be easy to attribute this desire for change to the naïveté of a coddled generation, but like a cold in a classroom, Gen Y are just the carriers of the new order.  Soon these changes will be the new standard, and even the old guard will have to adjust.  Here’s what to be on the lookout for:

1. Work-Life Balance – what’s happening?

Technology – email, smart phones, and social media – has made it a matter of fact that we’re always within reach of our managers, co-workers, and clients.  The hard line that used to separate our work and personal lives is now a faded smear.  However, with France and Germany leading the way, and Gen Y providing the grassroot demand for change, that hard line is about to be redrawn.  The days of expecting your employees to answer work emails at 10pm from their kitchen table because you think it’s important, will soon to be a memory.

Why you should embrace it:

Don’t be scared of the sudden communication blackout that happens when your employees punch-out; it’s the trade off for a healthy work-life balance.  Studies show that this balance results in higher productivity, higher job satisfaction, lower turnover and associated replacement costs.  And it makes sense.  That time away from work allows employees to relax, recharge, and refocus.  When they return to work, their energy and engagement levels are at peak performance levels.  So in exchange for not interrupting their leg day at the gym or a Dr. Who marathon on their couch, they end up being better employees when they’re actually at work.

2. Social Recruiting – what’s happening?

Our newfound connectedness is fueling one of the more important trends in hiring: social recruiting.  If you want to see just how far you can push that envelope, take a look at the latest move from Tony Zsieh at Zappos.  Unlike traditional efforts, social recruiting requires consistent and continuous engagement with your audience, even when you’re not hiring.  In essence, you’re pulling back the curtain that hides the whos, hows, and whys of your company in order to build a more personal relationship with an audience that includes increasingly more Gen Y candidates.

Why you should embrace it:

Gen Y wants that personal touch from their employer.  They want to see the social causes you support, the issues you address, and the employees you honor.  It’s a move away from the faceless corporations of old, towards companies that seem like fun places to work.  By building up your social presence, you’re conveying that your company values more than just balance sheets and profit statements.  Even if you’re not hiring, the social infrastructure you’re laying down is keeping a host of interested candidates on deck.  When you are finally ready hire, these are the candidates that are going to be the most enthusiastic and motivated to join your company.

3. Corporate Culture – what’s happening?

A lot of what I mentioned above is just a reflection of your corporate culture. You can present an image on social media, but if you’re not actually delivering on it in the workplace, then you’re dropping the ball. That’s the difference between attracting the best candidates and retaining your best employees.  For many in Gen Y, the culture fit between an employer and themselves has supplanted wages and benefits as the dominant factor in choosing who to work for.  As a result, companies are tailoring their recruitment process to screen for those who are a cultural fit for their company.  They understand that where there’s a poor fit, they can expect to see low morale and high turnover.

Why you should embrace it:

If you’re a small business or in a competitive industry, you should be celebrating this shift.  The standard used to be that companies lost out on talent if they couldn’t compete with the compensation packages that their competition offered.  Now that Gen Y is a growing share of the workforce, you have another option to snatch away the type of high-performing talent that used to be out of reach.  Instead of focusing on paychecks, you can focus on creating a workplace that’s more fulfilling and rewarding than your competitor’s.  Embrace the idea that work can be a place you look forward to going to everyday.  Target the candidates whose desires and aspirations are aligned with your company’s mission.  Create an environment that nurtures and rewards the personalities of your employees.  Moves like these are what will make your company stand out and, in turn, attract the best candidates.

4. Flexibility – what’s happening?

Making slight accommodations for employees is nothing new.  Sometimes an employee needs to come in late or leave early for personal reasons.  Most employers are pretty liberal about working around the sudden hiccups of life because that flexibility was meant to be the exception to the rules.  Going forward, you can expect that flexibility to be the norm.  The onus won’t be on employees to arrange their responsibilities around the company’s hours, but rather on employers to offer a certain level of freedom to their employees in order to accommodate their lives.

Why you should embrace it:

Gen Y was brought up to embrace their individuality, and they carry that mentality to work with them.  The one-size-fits-all work schedule harkens back to the days of Henry Ford and rote assembly lines, not the modern workplace where employees are seen as valuable contributors.  Don’t think of flexibility as Gen Y trying to play by their own set of rules, but rather as Gen Y maximizing their productivity.  If you subscribe to the new demands for flexibility, then you’re setting up windows of time where you allow your employees to figure out what their most productive schedule is.  That’s a direct benefit to your company.  Dollar for dollar, hour for hour, when employees have some freedom to their schedule, they produce better results.  That’s why there’s a growing niche of companies who are experimenting with the standard work schedule, offering policies like unlimited vacation time and compressed work weeks.

5. Reputation – what’s happening?

Remember when the only insight you had into a company was from well-crafted commercials, or some ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of the new cat orphanage for abandoned cats who don’t read good?  Those days are over.  Companies can’t hide behind an image and mascot that they paid a public relations firm to research and cultivate.  Websites like GlassDoor and Indeed are giving current and former employees an outlet to opine on their experiences at work.  Good or bad, these reviews shine a light on employee-employer relationships that doesn’t get covered anywhere else.  These days, it should be considered due diligence for a candidate to research the kind of reputation a potential employer has.

Why you should embrace it:

For a generation that demands more from their employers than just a paycheck, this honest look behind the curtain is just another tool at their disposal for evaluating whether an employer is a good personal fit for them.  Does the company respect its employees or treat that like disposable tools?  Are they fair or abusive? These are the types of questions that Gen Y wants answered before they commit to work somewhere.  As an employer, you should be keeping tabs on your reputation because it’s actionable information that impacts how most candidates – especially those in Gen Y – will view you.  You can either address any criticisms that seem to be endemic to the company, or incorporate the positive feedback when you’re defining your corporate image.  Either way, you’re strengthening your company and making it a more attractive place to work.

 

Gen Y is not some aberration in the history of human advancement.  Yes, their motivators and priorities have shifted away from what their parents and grandparents expected, but that’s nothing new.  Every generation has broken rank with the conventional wisdom of their predecessors.  But as Gen Y grows and becomes the dominant hearts and minds of the workforce, their sensibilities are the ones you’re going to have to cater your recruitment process and workplace culture around.  Don’t try to write-off the trends they’re bringing with them under the misguided assumption that Gen Y just doesn’t know any better.  Instead, embrace that shift so that you’re in a position to bring on the best and the brightest that their generation has to offer.

As a Recruiter, I have spoken to many candidates over the years that are in full time positions but are actively seeking the same role at another company. Though I have not kept a tally, I feel comfortable stating that the majority of the people that I have interviewed have shared that even though they were satisfied with their compensation, they want to leave their role because there is no room for growth. They believe they have learned all that they can learn, and they are ready to move to the next phase of their career. Though an employee wanting a change of scenery may be inevitable and it could be just a canned answer that some use during interviews, there are things that can be done to delay or even squelch the wandering eye of the employee that you have invested so much time and money in.

Add responsibilities:

Employees like to feel that they are growing and moving forward in their role. They like their hard work to be recognized both monetarily and with an opportunity to decide if they would like an increase in tasks. Some are perfectly happy doing the same job to the best of their ability, but others are bogged down by routine and will quickly feel stagnant – prompting their next move. It is important that you recognize the needs in your employees and give them more to do if they have been successful thus far and would like to take it on.

Mentorship:

Creating a relationship between yourself and your employees or pairing staff members together is a great move for building strong relationships in your company and rapidly increasing the development of your new hires. If new employees feel that they can safely and comfortably ask questions of your seasoned hires it will be beneficial to their confidence and growth. In addition, the ones that would like to be mentors will receive satisfaction from sharing their expertise.

Conduct anonymous feedback surveys:

It may be tough to do in a smaller corporate environment but this can be an excellent way to gauge how your employees are really feeling about their time in your organization. If it is made clear to them that there are no negative repercussions for honest and careful feedback it could do wonders for their relationship to their work, and it could be an opportunity for you to make your team stronger then ever.

Seek out career/professional development:

Working with your employees to locate relevant and interesting professional development conferences or classes is a very proactive way to show your employees that you want them to grow and are interested in them applying their new knowledge to their work.

Conduct quarterly or monthly conversations not reviews:

Holding more frequent conversations about your employees’ contribution to the team is a great way to let them know that you recognize their talents and are truly interested in their experience. It is a great way to have more informal conversations about their accountability and how you both feel things are progressing.

Spend more money, spend more time!

These suggestions may seem just like more time and more money, but the cost of losing employees to preventable circumstances far outweighs a bit more investment in your current hires. It is in everyone’s best interest to collaborate on lasting tenure in your company.

Do you have additional suggestion to maintain your hires? Please share below!




The term “Core Values” has been so overused that it has almost become meaningless.  But the reality is that a handful of timeless, fundamental principles of behavior tell everyone in your company what it means to be part of the organization.  These principles are the foundation of your company’s culture – the shared understanding of who we are as a group of human beings, and what’s most important to us.

core values

Take a look at the following set of Core Values, which come from a wildly successful San Francisco-based maker of ‘green’ cleaning products called Method.

  • Keep Method weird.
  • What would MacGyver do?
  • Innovate, don’t imitate.
  • Collaborate like crazy.
  • Care.

If you’re like me, as soon as you read them, you knew immediately whether you would fit in this company or not.  And if you went to work there, you would have clear guideposts by which to steer every day.

Great Core Values (which Method’s certainly are) help everyone know what binds them together as people.  They usually tell us nothing about the industry the company is in.   They set the most important standards for how people are expected to operate in the company.  If you get your Core Values right, they will attract the right people to the company and repel people who aren’t a good fit.  Additionally, they will help your people make the right decision when things are unclear.

Who wouldn’t want that?  The question is how to make it happen.  To make your culture come alive, follow these four simple (but not easy!) steps:

1) Figure out what your real core values are — the principles of behavior that will get you fired if you violate them.  They already exist in your business – you just need to uncover them.

2) Get rid of the motherhood, the apple, pie and the aspiration.  Values like honesty and integrity are table stakes.  You don’t need to articulate them because every company shares them.  Likewise, claiming values that you wish your company had, but that it doesn’t have today, will tell your people that you are not sincere.  People can smell the lack of authenticity a mile away.  It disengages and even alienates them.  Make sure your values are both differentiating and real.

3) Communicate your Core Values clearly, consistently, and often.  Use every opportunity to ensure that everyone knows what they are and understands what they mean.  The best way to do this is by telling stories about situations in which someone did a great job living a particular value.

4) Make your Core Values the first thing that you consider in every people decision you make – hiring, firing, promoting, rewarding, and recognition.

The benefits of “Getting your culture right” are enormous.  Your people will be more engaged and will naturally row in the same direction.  In turn, this means that the amount of managing you do will decrease.  Your people will trust each other more, which will lead to faster, better decisions.  Those decisions will be focused on what’s best for the company, not on politics and hidden agendas.

These four steps are simple.  That doesn’t make them easy.  But if you follow them, I promise that your culture will become clearer and stronger, and soon will be a powerful asset that propels your company toward the achievement of your dreams.


Dan WallaceDan Wallace is a founding partner of Tailwind Discovery Group, LLC.  A graduate of the Harvard Business School, Dan has served as a strategy consultant, investment banker, and as a counselor and adviser to many business owners.  He also has successfully run three businesses.  He helps business owners and leadership teams put in place tools and processes that create a solid foundation for effective leadership, management and success.

Successful business interview

For a new college graduate the hiring process is stressful. The pressure of finding the right fit is felt on both sides of the desk.

As an employer, you don’t want the best talent passing over your company because you made a poor impression.

Here are a few ways to attract the best new graduates, Gen Y and other great job applicants:

1) Keep your application process simple

There is nothing more frustrating to a job applicant than a 2-hour long application process. Usually these applications are looking to screen people out before they apply, but it tends to have the unfortunate effect of screening out qualified, in-demand candidates. Applicants will move on to a less rigorous application. Save most of your screening questions for the phone or in-person interview and only leave in one or two of the most important for the application.

2) Follow up with a quick response

Many applicants dread the waiting process between submitting and hearing back from the company. If you are really interested in a candidate you should respond to them sooner rather than later. It leaves a great impression on the candidate and prevents them from taking a job elsewhere. Even if you’re not going to move forward with a candidate, do the courtesy of telling them when they are no longer in the running.

3) Talk about your company culture

Hannah Geise wrote in her article in USA Today that “researchers found that Millennials valued meaningful work over high pay.” She also notes that company culture plays a big role in their sense of accomplishment. As part of the Millennial generation, this is something that I strongly agree with. Company culture is a large factor for this new generation that is going to make up 40% of the workforce by 2020, so it’s something that all companies need to address. Something to look out for as well is the existence of websites such as glassdoor.com where former and current employees can anonymously post things about your company. Avoiding this type of bad press is crucial.

Ultimately, the same traits you look for in a candidate are what they look for in you and your company. Be professional and personable, from recruiting to the offer, and you’ll find a wealth of great candidates.


Millennial Employees

Between the impending retirement of Baby Boomers and the glut of recent college graduates still looking for employment, companies are finding themselves in a unique position to fill their ranks with the best and the brightest that Generation Y have to offer. Contrary to beliefs that they are the “Gimme Generation,” Gen Y is as motivated and dependable as any other generation of workers, which is a good thing because by 2025, they will make up 75% of the workforce. The key to attracting the best candidates from Gen Y is tailoring your recruitment process to play on their strengths and interests. For them, the job hunt is more about finding the company that feels right rather than looking for the best compensation & benefits package.

How to Reach Gen Y

Before your company can hire someone from Gen Y, you first need to find them. If you’re serious about attracting candidates from the most tech-savvy generation yet, you need to move away from the traditional methods of advertising your open positions (like posting in the “Help Wanted” section of newspapers) and take full advantage of more modern methods. 31% of Gen Y found their last job from an online job board compared to 4% from print advertising. Furthermore, 63% of Gen Y use either FaceBook or LinkedIn in their job search, both to reach out to and scout potential employers.[2] If Gen Y is using the internet and social media sites to find potential employers, then interested companies should be doing likewise to find Gen Y.

How to Advertise to Gen Y’s interests

Whereas other generations were more motivated by dreams of a corner office and lavish pension plans, Gen Y are more motivated by the culture of company. The majority of Gen Y says a healthy work/life balance is the most important thing they look for in a job, so interested companies need to play up those non-traditional benefits to appeal to Gen Y’s desire for a work/life balance. That means your recruitment advertising should include information on company policies like flextime, work from home, and summer hours in addition to the standard information on salary, benefits, and 401(k)s.

How to Advertise to Gen Y’s strengths

Companies should know what motivates an employee to do their job. Baby Boomers and Gen X were content to master the job they were hired for in order to ace that annual review. Unfortunately, a strictly defined set of duties is as appealing to Gen Y as going on a double date with their parents. Gen Y is the creative, expressive, individualized generation. They want to move ahead in their professional lives like their parents did, they just may not want to do it the same way. If you want to attract Gen Y to your company, your recruitment advertising should mention the various opportunities for them to contribute to the company’s growth along with the routine duties of the position.

Having grown up in a time when technology was rapidly evolving and the world was at their fingertips, Gen Y is used to making quick, fluid changes to their routine as well individualizing their experience. If you want to attract the best and the brightest that Gen Y has to offer, then you need to effectively show a company culture that embodies those same characteristics. Companies that do not embrace the changing trends Gen Y has on the workforce will fall further and further behind in the war for talent.

Sources:

[3] http://www.internships.com/employer/resources/recruit/whygen-y

Last night about 100 people, one moderator and 3 panelists addressed some of the dramatic changes in Employer/Employee relationships. The best reference of the night came from the panelist Bob Jordan (linkedin profile) who quoted Jim Collins in Built to Last: we’ll look back in 100 years at today’s employment relationships as barbaric, as just another form of slavery… the proverbial wage slave.

There was widespread agreement that the “gig” economy will explode when Health Care Reform makes insurance portable. When employees are no longer tied to the employer by the need for Health Insurance we’ll see a plethora of new employment relationships.

No one expects lifetime employment anymore. The best employment relationships are based on a mutual coincidence of interests between the employer and the employee. When the relationship no longer feels mutual it needs to change or end.

A great question from the audience hit many of us where we live. As a group, we tended to the “older” worker, people who grew up in a time where we were conditioned to believe that you’d work for the same company for your entire career. The questioner wanted to know how younger workers were coping with a work environment where they suffer no sense of loss.

I find that younger workers get the “coincidence of interest” thing intuitively. They’re always looking for the next good job; they’re looking to build their skill set. They like to try new things and like doing things their own way.

Obviously a gross generality. But… i’ve interviewed around 15,000 under 30 year-old candidates and I think that gives me the right to generalize.

Melissa Giovagnoli did a great job in keeping everyone grounded in the basic principles of networking. She knows her stuff and reminded everyone that the “empty cacophony” of Social Media was no replacement for the “true exchange of value” that comes from real networking.

Check out the MIT Enterprise Forum in your area if you’re interested in engaging conversation on timely, compelling topics.