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culture RSS feed Tag: culture

As IT Pay Rises and Students Pursue the ‘Big Names,’ Mid-Size Firms Work Harder to Hire

by Apr 9, 2014, 5:59 am ET

Starting salaries NACE computer 2014This year, U.S. colleges will graduate somewhere around 124,000 information technology majors.

Most of them (61 percent) will head straight into the workforce, where the average starting salary for these new grads averages $59,000. Those with masters and PhDs, and those in high-demand specialties like security, will earn much more.

Where they want to work is not much of a surprise: Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook top the list of their ideal employers, according to a Universum survey.

Besides having the advantage of an internationally known brand — of the 100 employers on Universum’s list, not one can be considered even a mid-sized company — the biggest employers have been scouting colleges for months; a few began nurturing their future candidates when the kids were still in high school. Now, with graduation looming, these employers have largely completed filling their incoming IT class of 2014.

Competing with the big name firms is not easy, agree Chris Jenkins and Lindsay Kulla. “It’s always tough competing with the Facebooks, Google, Amazons,” says Jenkins, who is senior recruiting manager for kCura, a young Chicago software firm that serves the legal industry. keep reading…

If You Want Empathy, Talk to Your Dog, Not Your Manager

by Apr 4, 2014, 5:19 am ET

giraffe empathyEmpathy is not a skill recruiters and hiring managers include on job descriptions, which explains why it’s in short supply among American managers.

How do we know this? Because the leadership coaching and outplacement firm Lee Hecht Harrison did a survey asking workers about their manager’s empathy. “How would you rate your manager’s ability to demonstrate empathy for employee situations?” was the question. Virtually non-existent, was the answer of 52 percent of the respondents.

“Empathy isn’t a weakness, but fundamental to good management,” says Kristen Leverone, senior vice president for LHH’s Global Talent Development Practice. keep reading…

Pigeon Wi-Fi, Emojified Email, Speedier Typing: April Fool’s From the Big Brands

by Apr 1, 2014, 12:28 pm ET

pigeon wi-fiAlready tired of the same old April Fool’s gags that get pulled in the office every year? Then get inspired by the pranking from some of the world’s best known brands, rounded up by the folks at Pocket-lint.

BMW, Google, Domino’s and Samsung have all weighed in this April 1st with videos and products, some of which we wish were real, and others which almost could be believable. (Into that latter category falls Samsung’s plan to outfit pigeons with wi-fi routers. Not as weird as it first seems when you consider Google is flying blimps over cities for that same purpose.) keep reading…

Love Is in the Air (and HR Is Sniffing It Out)

by Feb 14, 2014, 12:07 am ET

Jim and Pam The office weddingIf you need yet another reason to know why everyone outside of HR thinks Catbert is not a fictional character, look no further than this data point: “32 percent of HR professionals say employers have the right to prohibit workplace romance between employees.”

On this, the most romantic day of the year, a full third of HR monitors are poised to swarm the office back stairways and broom closets, and snoop amongst the flower arrangements for evidence of co-worker love. Had Toby been the Evil HR Lady Jim and Pam would never have married. keep reading…

How Cool Is Your Office?

by Sep 20, 2013, 9:45 am ET

HR Tech starr conspiracyThis week, we’re talking cool. Maybe it’s because Fall starts Sunday or maybe it’s because the coolest show in HR — HR Tech — starts a week after that. Mostly, though, it’s because this PR email came in about the coolest offices in the world, which really isn’t about the whole world, but the offices are, well, not like yours and mine.

First, though, is this advice from The Starr Conspiracy to the vendors who will be exhibiting at the HR Tech show in Las Vegas:

Don’t get caught with a pile of stress balls and a profoundly vapid event strategy.

The Starr Conspiracy is a cool marketing firm that works only for HR vendors and which had an Airstream trailer for a booth at one HR Tech show. It put together a show guide: “Burn After Reading: The Vendor’s HR Technology Conference & Exposition Manual.” It offers bits of wisdom about the four essentials of the show: keep reading…

A Simple Guide to Interviewing for Attitude

by Aug 20, 2013, 5:51 am ET

Bad attitude signMark Murphy wrote a terrific book on interviewing for attitude, which I highly recommend (also see this interview). His company, Leadership IQ, conducted an impressive survey discovering that 46 percent of new hires failed within 18 months, and that 89 percent of the time it was for attitude, not a lack of technical skills.

Interviewing for attitude presents a dilemma: Most people are on their best behavior when interviewing and even during their first 6-12 months of employment.

You may not realize you have a problem on your hands until the new hire has been trained and is a fully functioning part of your team. Knowing you’ll have to begin the selection process all over again — a long and costly procedure — makes it harder to part with the employee. Meanwhile, the good-natured people on the team have to pick up the slack, putting strain on your best people and leading to harmful side effects. Burnout, discontent with management, and customer service deficiencies are likely to develop.

Since this is a major problem in many organizations, guerrilla tactics are needed. keep reading…

When You Want to Show Your Culture, Attract Attention, and Have Fun Recruiting, Here’s the Video You Make

by Aug 1, 2013, 6:45 am ET


Competing for tech professionals is tough enough for an established company, let alone a startup. Even those with a sexy idea, angel funding in place, and promises of stock option wealth have a hard time finding developers. Now imagine you’re a startup in the storage unit rental business and you need to add staff, including tech help. And, oh yes, you’re in Austin, one of the U.S. premier tech centers.

What do you do? keep reading…

Hiring for Both Attitude and Aptitude

by Jul 18, 2013, 6:30 am ET

Lately there has been a push to hire based on cultural fit, over skill set. There are several reasons that this makes sense. When you hire for cultural fit you end up with a more cohesive workforce, and it improves engagement and retention rates. Leadership IQ performed a three-year study of 5,247 hiring managers and tracked 20,000 new hires; 46 percent of them failed within 18 months.

But even more surprising than the failure rate was that when new hires failed, 89 percent of the time it was for attitudinal reasons and only 11 percent of the time for a lack of skill. Bad attitudes or attitudes that aren’t in line with the company culture will lead to high turnover. High turnover then leads to low morale, upset productivity, and high talent acquisitions costs. It’s clear then: hire the smile!

But wait, there’s another side to this equation. keep reading…

Do You Look for Cultural Fit, or for Innovation?

by Jul 5, 2013, 6:24 am ET

The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress. — Charles Kettering

There has been a lot written lately about “cultural fit.” In fact, you could say that cultural fit is the latest rage in talent acquisition.

In an article in the American Sociological Review, Northwestern Professor Lauren Rivera concludes that companies are making hiring decisions today “in a manner more closely resembling the choice of friends or romantic partners.”

The 4 Most-asked Interview Questions keep reading…

You’re Religious? You’re Hired!

by Jun 25, 2013, 5:35 am ET

Tim Tebow-PRN-099734The New England Patriots say that Tim Tebow’s “spirituality” was a factor in his hiring … as a football player. Yes, his spirituality.

Sure, a person’s personal life can play a role in hiring. But we don’t always admit it. Ron Katz and I talk about this in the video below. We also get into how Tebow’s signing may be a sign of the times in terms of:

  • The blurring of work and life
  • Employers’ greater knowledge of job candidates’ personal lives
  • The tension between hiring for “fit” and hiring for diversity

It’s 11 minutes, below. keep reading…

Cultural Fit in the Workplace: How Personality Affects Hiring and Teamwork

by Jun 21, 2013, 6:43 am ET

introvert vs extrovertPeople differ in their personalities, attitudes, and values, and an understanding of our individual personality is profoundly important in maximizing our happiness and productivity at work.

We spend a third of our lives at work, and people are moving around from job to job more frequently, seeking a company that allows them to maximize their potential, earn more money, or achieve a better work-life balance. For some, all of these factors will be equally important, while others will prioritize them differently.

Whatever our priorities, work feeds into many different aspects of our lives — it influences our self-identity, self-esteem, and opportunities for personal growth. If work was just about making money, it wouldn’t matter so much where we worked. But for most of us, it’s about far more than that. This is where cultural fit comes into play. But what exactly is cultural fit? Organizational psychology guru Adrian Furnham offers this definition in his seminal academic textbook, “The Psychology of Behaviour at Work

“A fit is where there is congruence between the norms and values of the organization and those of the person.” (page 116)

Although, as Furnham goes on to discuss, fit is not only about the person and the organization — fit to coworkers and supervisor is also of importance (that’s what we’re working on). A simple example of how an individual’s personality might determine their preferences at work is shown in the diagram above (adapted from Furnham’s 2012 work).

The scale on the vertical axis shows the preference of each of the two personality types — introvert and extravert — for open plan versus separate cubicle offices. The introvert, who likes peace and quiet to get on with his or her work, strongly prefers the comforting seclusion of separate cubicles, and dislikes the noise and activity of the open-plan office. The higher the person’s introversion score (imagine it on a continuous line), the stronger their preference for the separate cubicles.

On the other hand, the extravert, who works best around other people, shows the opposite pattern — the more extraverted a person is, the more strongly they prefer the open-plan office. So what does this mean? keep reading…

Woof, Woof. It’s National Bring Your Dog to Work Day

by Jun 21, 2013, 5:24 am ET

If you left your dog home when you went to work today, shame on you. All Fido’s furry pals are enjoying national Take Your Dog to Work Day today.

What do you mean you didn’t know? You remembered Talk Like a Pirate day last September when you wore that eye patch. And that powdered sugar on your shirt two weeks ago could only have come from your National Doughnut Day celebrating.

So what are you, like that career coach Dan Galloway who says keep dogs six miles away, let alone take them to work.

Heck, if you have brought your dog to work today, who knows, you might have gotten them a job. keep reading…

Wall Street’s Idea of Work / Life Imbalance

by Mar 29, 2013, 2:49 am ET

bigstock-NEW-YORK-CITY-NY--AUG--Wal-26078330Maybe it’s the season, Passover, Easter, the Spring equinox. You know that whole rebirth, cycle of life thing. Whatever it is, something got BusinessInsider into taking the lipstick off the pig and showing the warts of life on Wall Street.

In 23 frames that no banking recruiter will ever show a candidate, BusinessInsider lists the kinds of Wall Street hell that would make even Dante reconsider whether he should have added a tenth circle. In its own version of “abandon all hope,” BusinessInsider inscribes its entry to the frames: “Click to see how working on the Street ruins your life.” keep reading…

We and Rackspace Help You Slide Into the Weekend

by Mar 8, 2013, 1:38 am ET

Radckspace slide runYou want to talk office culture? Having fun at work?

Go ahead and try to sell that system admin you’re courting with the foosball game in the lunchroom, and free pizza Fridays. Really?

Over yonder there in San Antonio, where salsa is almost religion and Rackspace is headquartered, they take their fun seriously. (Add that oxymoron to your list.) The Rackspace folks, who inhabit an abandoned shopping mall so big it’s huge (this is Texas after all), have posted a Google Street View of their workplace. It’s almost 28 acres, making it bigger than some neighborhoods.

Still selling that foosball thing? Well, grit your teeth, because one of the coolest features of what might be the world’s coolest workplace (not counting the ISS) is the slide between the first and second stories of the place. Which, of course, all but demands slide contests. Which, of course, Rackspace happily accommodated. Strike that. Sub in “encouraged” and made part of the whole branding thing. keep reading…

Food Issues Plague America’s Office Workers

by Feb 22, 2013, 11:18 am ET

LinkedIn office peevesBank auditor Dedan Kimenyi is irritated by “opinionated and bossy” co-workers.

Jidia Gasana, an engineer, says strong perfume in the office is her pet peeve. “It is like people douse themselves with perfume overnight,” she says.

These folks work in Kigali, Rwanda, proving that no matter where you are or what you do, there’s always some annoying co-worker around.

A U.K. food company commissioned a study of office workers in the nation of stiff upper lips finding (a coincidence you suppose?) 57% of them agreeing noisy eating to be the most offensive trait of their co-workers. (The company, Ainsley Harriott Cup Soup, makes, yes indeed, soup, which can be noisily slurped.)

Next most annoying was messiness, followed by a failure to wash up. Ughhh. keep reading…

HR Party Planners: Here’s Help From Your Secret Santa

by Nov 30, 2012, 6:10 am ET

It’s that time of year in offices all across America where Secret Santas are making their furtive appearance, and the HR department is planning the office party.

(Yes, of course, you can sit at the big table. Now, how about the Secret Santa?)

This is what stress is like in HR: First open enrollment, and then the end-of-year holidays that can land a visit from the EEOC or a process server or — JACKPOT — both. Just think of what your colleagues in compliance are doing: keep reading…