Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Starting off on the right foot

Did you know that your hiring process and the first days of work for a new employee have tremendous impact on how they settle in to their new job?

If your hiring process is straightforward and transparent, it goes a long way towards establishing mutual trust and respect from the very beginning. As we highlighted last week, communication from the receipt of the application to the scheduling of interviews is key. Is your process clear to the candidate?

Once they're in for the interview, if the hiring manager takes the time that's needed, both to get to know the candidate and to answer any questions s/he may have, you'll be much more secure in the knowledge that you're hiring the right person. We've heard of situations where the candidate didn't even ever meet the person who would be his/her new manager until after he/she was hired! This sets everyone up for potential failure, as the chemistry between people cannot be underestimated and it's only fair to both sides to have the opportunity to meet.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Brand reputation and hiring habits

Real tweet!
In all our years working and consulting, we have noticed a wide spread habit regarding hiring. We call it a habit because in our research and reading, we can find no mention of this as a best practice or in any way a recommended way of doing business. It seems to be just an ingrained, taken for granted way of hiring. And we'd like to challenge it.

The habit boils down to essentially the treatment of applicants for jobs. Ages ago before the wonderful invention of email, some companies decided not to send out "acknowledgement of application" or "thanks but no thanks" letters as a cost saving measure. Since the invention of email and the ubiquitous use of online and email applications, there is absolutely no reason not to send these little notes out. Yet many business still do not and it simply is not a good idea.

The application process is a chance for business to build a network and good-will. A fanbase, if you will. It is also an opportunity to make some enemies. These days applicants share their application experience through Facebook, Twitter and other social media. If they have had a good experience, ie the online form worked smoothly, or an email was sent to acknowledge receipt of application, or a nice "thanks but no thanks" email was sent, then they will feel good about the company and most likely share those good vibes with others. On the other hand, if they feel that their application disappeared into the ether and they received no receipt or thanks for applying note, then they are going to share their disappointment or their anger.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Some Thoughts on Technology's Impact on Work-Life Balance

iPhones galore

We've been pondering the impact of technology on the workplace every since watching Stefana Broadbent's short TED talk on "How the Internet Enables Intimacy."

Friday, August 12, 2011

The politics of the out-of-office reply

Summer... ah the time of holidays and out-of-office replies to email. These automated messages are about communication - externally and internally. Yet, like so much in the workplace, there is a surprising amount of politics involved in the out-of-office/vacation reply for email and voice mail.

We believe it is both good etiquette and good business sense to let people know if you are away. In an international world, businesses cannot assume that there is shared knowledge about holiday timings, such as duration and length. International contacts may not know that, for example, July is the preferred holiday month and three weeks the usual length of break. Similarly, in our short attention span world, contacts may not be willing to wait three weeks if they haven't received alternative contact details. Managing those external communications includes setting up good out-of-office replies.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

a space of one's own

We recently completed a treehouse for our 10-year-old daughter in our garden. It's about seven square meters of real estate located two and a half meters above the ground. It has two windows, one of which opens with a special mechanism and a door that locks from the inside, as well as being fitted with a padlock on the outside, of which our daughter is the only one with a key. She loves it and has already spent a significant amount of time out there with a friend, concocting Harry Potter-style potions.

This evident desire we as humans have for a space we can call our own got me thinking about the trend towards flexible workspaces that we're seeing in the work world. These flexible workspace initiatives often mean that people don't have an assigned desk and so desks are available on a first come-first served basis. I can understand this from a company perspective. If you have a department where people don't sit at their desks all day because, say, they're out servicing customers or teaching for most of the day, those empty desks are a waste of precious office space.  However, these plans often don't take into account the human side - how territorial people are and how they want to have a space they feel is theirs and where they feel they belong. These flex-desks can be a very upsetting thing for many people.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

values and vision: creating happiness at work

Blue sky thinking
We've written about happiness at work a few times: when we wrote about flexible working increases employee satisfaction and about counting the right thingssuch as employee satisfaction. It is a subject dear to our hearts as we are convinced from the countless studies and personal observation, that employees who are satisfied with their work are better contributors and colleagues at work and that they are happier in general.

We are also quite excited about how thinking sustainably helps both the environment and ultimately the bottom line of business. What can we say, we like things that have dual benefits! It seems to make sense to us.

So, we were quite pleased to read a recent study by Cassandra Walsh and Adam Sulkowski published in Interdisciplinary Environmental Review. Using regression analysis and other statistical methods, they found in their survey of 113 companies, that, "there is a significant positive relationship between perceived environmental performance and employee satisfaction." Or, in more concrete terms: "having a reputation for being a relatively more environmentally-friendly company can result in having happier employees." This is great news of course!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Whoever is the last to leave, don't forget to turn the computers off!

Just a quick follow on from last week's post about green buildings and work cultures. This is a finding from a staff habits survey at the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency. According to the Scotland on Sunday, they found that of the agency's 1,700 computers, 400 were regularly being left on at night and of those only 100 were deemed necessary to do so. So, at least 300 computers were being left on when they didn't need to be. Of course, many people are aghast that the agency meant to protect the environment was wasting so much energy. I think though it shows how hard it is to change work cultures and how easily we slip into habits. Sometimes, it is as simple as people not realizing it is their responsibility, sometimes it is about scheduling whereby someone leaves their computer on thinking they will be back in the office before the end of the day but isn't, and sometimes it is simply a habit. SEPA discovered these habits through a staff survey and have now taken measures to turn their computers off at night. Seems like a good idea to me!

J2 Research can help you do a similar investigation in your business. Are your employees turning off their computers when they leave?

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