How to Maintain Company Culture with Remote Workers

How to Maintain Company Culture with Remote Workers

Remote work is the future; it’s anticipated that by 2020, over 50% of employees will be working remotely. To remain competitive as an employer, it’s important to be prepared for this new workforce. You’ll quickly find that one of the biggest challenges with this transition is keeping your company culture healthy and consistent across all the various teams and time zones. Here are five ideas that can help you maintain your company culture – even with the addition of remote workers.

Design a thoughtful employee experience

You can’t copy and paste your existing employee experience for a remote workforce. There are many aspects of the standard employee journey that are challenging for remote hires. For instance, a remote employee can’t go out to a welcome lunch with their new team. They also don’t have the opportunity to turn to their deskmate with a question or have a casual water cooler conversation with a company leader.

That’s why there needs to be an employee experience that’s specifically designed for your remote workers, while still being true to your company culture. To help you visualize what this might look like: consider the remote worker’s onboarding experience, which can have a significant impact on an employee’s tenure. You can schedule video calls with the team, send the new hire a fun welcome gift, or have the CEO record a personalized welcome message. These thoughtful gestures can have a positive impact on the remote employee’s employee experience.

Take advantage of technology

There are a growing number of tools that make scaling a company culture across a remote workforce more manageable. Everything from communication platforms like Slack to video conferencing services like Zoom are integral to staying connected with people who aren’t physically in the office every day. There are even technologies like Donut, which regularly pairs up team members who don’t know each other well for virtual or real “coffee dates.” We use all three tools at HealthJoy to make sure all our employees feel connected.

Just make sure to take the time to train the rest of your team on how to use these tools as well, if they aren’t already familiar. You don’t want to encourage your remote employee to use one of these platforms, only to discover that his or her teammates are unfamiliar with how to utilize them – which can put everyone in an uncomfortable situation and block your remote worker from being successful in their roles.

Be considerate

Having remote workers requires the rest of your team to be extra considerate of their colleagues. There are small but significant things everyone at the organization can do to make sure remote employees feel included in the culture. If your organization values idea sharing, for example, you may want to think about how you can promote this on video calls. It can be awkward for a remote employee to chime in during a brainstorm if multiple people are talking at the same time or are having conversations on the side. So create a space for those who aren’t in the office to contribute to the discussion.

Or, if your company is big on being respectful of each other’s time, be especially thoughtful when scheduling time on your remote colleague’s calendar. Be mindful of any time zone changes, include a video link in your invitations, and make sure your meetings are necessary. Being considerate in these minor ways add up to making a big difference, and your remote colleagues will appreciate you all the more for it.

Celebrate your remote workers

Company cultures become stronger in times of celebration. Unfortunately, it’s easy for remote workers to feel left out of the fun. There are many creative ways to address this. For example, you can rotate the times that an all-hands meeting is hosted so everyone has a chance to join regularly. Or you can fly your employee out for a big company announcement so they can celebrate significant milestones with the rest of their teammates.

Also, don’t forget that your remote employees need to be recognized for their contributions, too. Whether it’s a shoutout on Slack or a personalized email, remember to thank them for their hard work regularly. And, if applicable, make sure they’re included in any recognition programs by nominating them for awards or putting the spotlight on their recent projects. All of these actions will help your remote workforce feel deeply rooted in the company culture.

Communicate, communicate, communicate

Communication is key to maintaining a cohesive company culture. But the need to over-communicate becomes even more pronounced when collaborating with remote workers. You may find it helpful to create a document that codifies communication guidelines for your employees. These guidelines can cover everything from Slack etiquette to best practices for providing project updates. Having a single source of truth for communication with remote employees will ensure everyone is consistent in upholding these best practices.

Also, if you’re managing a remote employee, be sure to check in with them frequently. You don’t have as many opportunities to chat with your remote employee over lunch or see them around the office. So you need to be intentional about reaching out to see how they’re doing and providing relevant updates – even beyond your one-on-one meetings.

There are so many benefits to welcoming remote employees to your company: you gain access to a much larger talent pool, you’re likely to have happier employees due to the flexible work environment, and you’ll attract a greater diversity of people to your organization. It takes time to build out the processes, structure, and culture needed to accommodate remote workers, but making these preparations in advance will set your company up for success when remote work becomes dominant.

A Marketers Approach to Writing Job Descriptions

A Marketers Approach to Writing Job Descriptions

Job descriptions are usually the first interaction a potential employee has with a company. It can set the tone for a candidates perception of a company but many times its an afterthought. When writing job descriptions, you have to ask yourself, does it reflect your brand and company culture? Most job postings you read are quite frankly boring and overly formal. Yes, you have to list the basics like job requirements and duties but are you striking an emotional code with the reader? Here are a few tips from a marketing perspective for writing job descriptions.

Choose the right title for the job

A job title is like the subject line of an email; if you use the wrong title, no one will bother opening it. A job title is also how someone will identify themselves both internally within the company and socially with their peers. Just think of the last social event you went to with people you haven’t meet. Many times, what do you do for a living is the best question people will ask someone.

Titles should be concise, easy to understand without corporate speak. Titles like “Entry Level HW Computer Technician/System Services-Rep” (as seen on IBM) or “Security Engineer Level III “ are filled with corporate speak. Terms like “level III” might mean something to your company internally but mean zero to someone looking from the outside. You can always give more clarity within the job description. Also tells the relative seniority consistently through all job titles to make it clear where the role fits in your organization. Try and use the least amount of words possible when picking a job title.

Give people an idea about a jobs day-to-day activity

Be open and provide enough information on what a person is expected to be doing within a role. Let them know about projects they will participate in, the team they are working with and talk about the company culture. Try and paint a picture for people on what they will be doing on a given day, even if every day is expected to be different. Job activities vary as much as personalities do, the ideal candidate it a perfect match between the two. You can use a short paragraph to tell a short story to help people envision themselves in a role.

Explain the company culture and environment

One of my first jobs in tech was with a food broker, even though my role was technical, the environment and culture were very different from most white collar positions. We had areas in the buildings with forklifts and semis driving in. The atmosphere was a dynamic blend of people from different cultures and backgrounds. Highlight what makes your company unique, and somewhere people would want to work. Is your office quiet or a loud manufacturing plant? Are you more likely to have a company outing to a sporting event or Comic-Con? Most companies like to cover these topics on a website career page but remember, many times jobs are posted outside of your website, so touch on your culture.

Layout your “must have” skills

Now, once you got them interested in your job listing, got them excited about the job and your culture, it’s now time to make sure they are qualified. Make this section easy to scan by using bullet points. They should figure out in seconds if they are eligible.  Begin by listing out your “required skills” for the position. This can include experience, licenses, education, training, skills, and achievements. Follow up this section with “preferred skills,” those nice to have that isn’t mandatory. This will give people an idea if they are providing anything unique to the table.

“I don’t even have any good skills. You know like nunchuck skills, bow hunting skills, computer hacking skills. Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills!”  

                          – Napoleon

Money isn’t everything

78% of workers base their acceptance or rejection of a job offer in part on the benefits package. The job market for many positions is hyper-competitive, and people want no only a good culture but great benefits as well. Of course, you need to offer excellent health, dental, and vision insurance, and the HealthJoy app would be the cherry on the cake.

You also need other benefits that employees crave, the 2nd biggest being flexibility and improve work-life balance. When posting your job, make sure to list your best job perks. These can even include glimpses to a fun job culture like company sponsored happy hours, snacks and free lunches.

Watch what you say when writing job descriptions

Words matter, if you can access the help of a professional copywriter, do so. If your company is smaller, seek help from a freelancer. Nail down a compelling template that sets the tone you want to present. Your tonality should match your culture. You can also try automated tools like Textio.com, which tells you how effective your writing will be at recruiting and avoid pitfalls like gender leaning words.

How To Welcome A New Employee To The Team

How To Welcome A New Employee To The Team

Starting a new job is overwhelming to say the least. In your own experience, you may recall facing a whirlwind of paperwork, instructions, and introductions to new faces. A new hire’s first day of work sets the tone for their entire tenure with a company. Notably, those who report a positive onboarding experience have higher rates of employee retention, productivity, and engagement throughout their employee lifecycle. This means early impressions matter a lot, and having a solid onboarding strategy will pay dividends. Here are some tried and true ways to welcome a new employee and get excited about their new role from day one.

Designate a welcome team

Walking into a room full of unfamiliar faces can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Creating a welcome team as an internal initiative can make the process of diving into a new environment much easier for recent hires. Concerning team responsibilities, small gestures can go a long way. Make sure someone is ready to greet the new employee at the door, lead them to their desk space, and give a tour of the office. It’s also important to have their workstation established in advanced and fully stocked with the tools they’ll need to do their work. Throughout the day, the team should remain proactive in helping the new hire adjust to office life, perhaps striking up conversations or answering questions to help them feel as comfortable and welcome as possible.

Let everyone know they are coming

You should publicize a new hire’s arrival within the company on their first day. Whether it be over your company’s messaging platform, the PA system, or email, a company-wide announcement will guarantee that everyone gets the memo. A welcome message doesn’t need to be complicated– a simple statement including their name, role, department, and perhaps a fun fact or two is plenty of information for company members to spark a conversation with their newest co-worker.

Create a visual reminder

While verbal or written announcements can help build awareness of a new employee’s presence, a single visual reminder is worth a thousand words. The recent trend of tying balloons to a new employee’s desk or chair is a powerful way to make them feel welcome and special, but also easily identifiable to coworkers who are eager to greet them. The gesture is the perfect way to send the message that the arrival of each new employee to a company is something to celebrate.

Less paperwork, more on-the-job training

Ideally, onboarding paperwork should be emailed to new employees and completed before their first day. Companies today are leveraging technology to offer onboarding portals, welcome emails, and engaging video tours to new employees before they even set foot in the office. These virtual tools have become a powerful way to give employees a taste of the company’s values, culture, and history.

By taking care of the administrative details beforehand, new employees can spend their time in the office engaged in more valuable activities, like training and face-time with coworkers. Simple tasks, setting up email accounts or using Slack, can require more instruction than a seasoned user might realize.

Depending on the size of the company, the new hire’s direct manager might be responsible for showing the new employee how to master the various tools and technologies their job requires. Otherwise, you should assign a veteran employee within the company as a mentor for the new hire. As a point-person, mentors can also be helpful for advising on things to do in the area or tips on how to commute between places, which are invaluable to employees who have recently relocated for the job.

Take them out to lunch

Lunch is an excellent time for managers to get to know new employees and gain a sense of what motivates them, what their goals are, and how to help them best succeed in their new role. On the flip side, new employees will also benefit from the valuable one-on-one time during which they can draw inspiration from their manager’s career path, history, experiences, and wisdom. Besides, lunch can be a great space to help fill in gaps in a new hire’s knowledge. This might include crucial insight into team dynamics, workplace culture, or new company developments. No matter what the topic of conversation is, going out to lunch with a new employee will get the ball rolling on building rapport that will spark employee engagement and productivity in the long run.

Provide a first-day agenda

Faced with a bunch of new tasks, a to-do list or agenda can help guide new employees through the storm. Listing essential agenda items, organized by category (administrative, training, meetings, personal, etc.) can help the new employee know what to focus on despite having many tasks vying for their attention at once. A more detailed first-day schedule might include chunks of time devoted to the activities outlined above, including a lunch break with the manager or time spent for introductions around the office.

Welcome a new employee with a little gift

Employee welcome packages, also known as “onboarding kits,” are a game-changer for onboarding efforts. These kits often include some company-branded gear, like t-shirts and mugs, a handwritten-note, various gadgets, and other office essentials. These welcome gifts guarantee that employees feel appreciated from the moment they sit at their new desk.

What’s more, welcome gifts can be practical for building a company’s internal brand. Based on the ethos of the kit, employees will gain insight into the company’s overarching culture and core values. Whether the company is sleek and refined, quirky and eccentric, or artsy and creative, a welcome gift is a perfect canvas for a company to show off its personality to newcomers. The collection of different items, guides, and tools represent what the company is all about. This isn’t to mention the benefits to employee engagement that come with receiving a gift. The relatively small gesture of providing a welcome kit can boost an employees enthusiasm and excitement for joining the team and lays the foundations for them to become champions of company culture over time.

Final Thoughts

The purpose of the onboarding period is not just bringing new employees onboard the company administratively, but helping them get on board with the company’s values and goals. The right mix of welcome activities, mentorship, and recognition can be enough to set employees on a path to becoming the next great advocate for your company’s culture and mission. All employees deserve a chance at a work-life that is personally and professionally fulfilling, and companies can achieve this through the impression they make on their people beginning on day one.

Why Your Mobile Workforce Needs On-The-Go Benefits

Why Your Mobile Workforce Needs On-The-Go Benefits

In the air or on the road — many of today’s workers are often on-the-go. In the last decade, the smartphone has given employees constant access to their company’s internal systems and has changed the workplace forever.  Direct access to emails, video conferencing and internal office apps have created instant communication. Companies like WeWork have even given employers the ability to virtualize their offices. Whether it’s a jet setting programmer or a sales team that is prospecting new potential clients, a mobile workforce can be found in nearly every industry. A 2017 Gallup report found that the number of American employees working remotely increased to 43 percent in 2016 from 39 percent in 2012.

Having a mobile workforce unleashes productivity by being located closer to where the employee is most productive and saving them commute time. It also translates into less office expenses for the employer. According to a report by The Economist, employees who identified their organization “pioneers” in the use of mobile technologies scored 16 percent higher for productivity than others who described their organization’s use of mobile technology as “bad.” If a company wants to succeed, embracing a mobile-first outlook including employee benefits is the way to go.

Just as their frequent flier miles, hotel reservations and restaurant recommendations are moving to app-based platforms, employee benefits and healthcare access is also shifting to accommodate the needs of mobile workforces. Mobile employees are often not in one place all week, meaning that scheduling even the most basic doctor’s check-up can pose some difficulty. That is why mobile healthcare access on the move is essential. Employees will love having mobile access to their benefits and healthcare providers. It is an easy way to find in-network and online doctors at any given location. With more employees joining the mobile workforce, providing mobile benefits access to employees is beneficial for employees health and for employers it also means less sick days.

A mobile workforce leaves home base often

Most people’s primary care physician is near their home for the sake of convenience. If a worker isn’t near home for most of the week, it will be difficult for them to access a consistent group of providers on a regular basis. Therefore, when they inevitably need to seek care while in another part of town or city, they may be at a complete loss of which provider to choose. They’ll be unfamiliar with the doctors in that location, and there is no comprehensive online resource to give them trustworthy recommendations. Without a reliable source of help, they will be prone to the many pitfalls of selecting the wrong doctor.

A healthcare guidance platform can save the day through the expertly crafted provider and facility recommendations that can you can access through a mobile app. These platforms enlist healthcare concierges to research and recommend physicians, dentists and other healthcare providers for needed services based on in-network status, quality, cost and availability information. Mobile workers in an unfamiliar state can become more informed about the top nearby provider options than even a local resident who doesn’t have the service. Essentially, these systems help workers who have been uprooted from their home base location to be knowledgeable about the healthcare offerings around them no matter where they happen to be.

Some mobile workforce members, however, don’t even have the luxury of being on the ground to visit a doctor in person. Frequent-flyers or road warriors will need telemedicine that enables them to access online physicians wherever and whenever they need care. Through telemedicine, workers can consult a doctor over the phone, via video, or through chat 24/7. A flight attendant with a digestive issue might typically try to ignore the problem because they know they won’t have the ability to see a doctor anytime soon. With access to telemedicine, within minutes the flight attendant can open an app and chat with a board-certified physician who can help them diagnose the issue and give them medical recommendations that improve their health right away, they can even get a prescription written that they can pick up at an airport pharmacy.

A mobile workforce has tight schedules

On-the-go workers have a busy lifestyle. They have tight schedules with back-to-back calls, client meetings or connecting flights to get to.  The lifestyle of traveling workers calls for a quick and efficient solution to health needs that fits into their schedule. With healthcare guidance, employees save hours upon hours of precious time with advice at every step of the process. Healthcare concierges will research to find the right provider and so much more, so members don’t have to. When applicable, the user will be guided to an online doctor consultation so that they don’t waste unnecessary time and money in waiting rooms or commuting to the doctor’s office. Users also have the option to chat with doctors on-demand, to answer quick questions. They will even manage the user’s insurance coverage to inform them of the cost of treatment and ensure that they recommend providers that are in-network. On top of that, a healthcare concierge will even schedule appointments for the member. If they ever lose track of their scheduled appointment they can send a simple text message to find it. All that’s left for the user to spend time on is receiving high-quality care and advice from their medical provider.

They need to navigate narrow networks

A significant obstacle faced by the mobile workforce is finding providers that are in-network and eligible for coverage under their insurance plan while on the road. People are unclear about what types of services and doctors are included in their coverage, to begin with, and it is even more daunting to ask these questions in an unfamiliar state. Luckily, healthcare guidance platforms act as an all-in-one benefits platform, so all of a worker’s insurance coverage status and details are available in one app. Healthcare concierges are experts in navigating the insurance world and will only deliver provider recommendations that are in-network. Mobile workforce members will no longer have to be careful on the road due to narrower networks that vary state-by-state but can rest assured that they are being led to the best providers their insurance coverage has to offer.

They require more effective communications

Since the mobile workforce is not grounded, they can’t rely on the large packets of benefits info that arrives in their mailboxes. They need to be able to access benefits information conveniently through the cloud and healthcare guidance platforms offer just this. Not only do users have access to an online benefits wallet containing essential information from all of their insurance carriers, but they can also track their real-time deductible spend, HSA/HRA/FSA/401k account balances, and coverage levels in an easy to understand, simple format that they carry with them wherever they are. Understanding benefits has never been so painless and convenient.

Healthcare guidance platforms will even go the extra mile to communicate relevant messages to employees through smartphone push notifications and chats. They will remind users of gaps in care and unused services and provide ongoing education about their plan benefits. For traveling employees who have a lot on their mind, these consistent reminders are invaluable and help them take maximum advantage of all the benefits provided by their employer.

A prime example of valuable information that healthcare guidance platforms will communicate to users is prescription savings. They will complete a prescription savings review to find savings on a user’s medication and lead them to the best place to visit for their Rx needs. The review will match the member’s plan formulary with potential saving opportunities and complete research on nine key areas, such as therapeutic alternatives, manufacturer coupons and generic alternatives. Even in an unfamiliar city, workers will be able to know precisely where to pick up their medications and they will be notified when savings are available. That way users can minimize their efforts while maximizing savings and convenience.

All in all, mobile workforces have unique constraints on their ability to access medical care and modern app and cloud-based platforms must be leveraged to help meet their health needs as employees. It only makes sense that an on-the-go worker needs on-the-go benefits access. A healthcare guidance platform might be the perfect remedy to a traveling worker’s car sickness.

Is It Time To Get Rid of the 40-Hour Workweek?

Is It Time To Get Rid of the 40-Hour Workweek?

In the 1860s, unions began to push for employees to work a 40-hour workweek (eight hours a day and a five-day workweek.) One of the early large U.S. manufacturers to support this concept was the Ford Motor Company in 1914. Henry Ford, a pioneer in efficient manufacturing, believed that working fewer hours made people better workers. He also believed that people with more leisure time would be more likely to buy his cars. With the support of a company like Ford, more companies starting to adopt the policy, but it wasn’t until 1938 that the government got involved.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act that initially limited the workweek to 44 hours, and it was eventually lowered to 40 hours by 1940. But is the 40-hour week that was developed in 1940 still ideal for today’s workplace?  

(Image of US Census office in 1940)

What’s going on today?

According to a 2016 study by Workfront, U.S. office workers spend only 39% of their time on their primary job duties. The rest of the time is spent on meetings, random emails, socializing, and more. Research on productivity has even shown that people have a tough time concentrating for more than 20 minutes at a time. In the last few years, some tech businesses have been testing a four-day workweek concept, including Amazon, Deloitte, and Google. In 2016, Amazon launched a program to experiment with a 30-hour workweek for some employees. These employees will receive a salary of 75 percent of a full-time worker but the same employee benefits package. Clothing company Uniqlo is innovating in a different way: Their 10,000 employees have the option of working four 10-hour days—this is called a compressed workweek and gives people more days off of work but longer days.

When you add flextime and telecommuting to the mix, it’s clear that companies are experimenting more and more with non-traditional work schedules.

What do real employers think? We asked a few and CEOs and HR 

Jacob Dayan
CEO and Co-Founder
Community Tax – 100 Employees

Working 40 Hours on the industry’s schedule—40 hours from 9am-5pm every day can be a hindrance to your company in 2018. The number of hours and the time of the day that your staff should work is highly dependent on your specific industry. For example, if your customers are only calling on you after traditional work hours, it is very important that your staff shifts the way they work to accommodate this. Nothing is more frustrating as a consumer than not being able to get ahold of a company. Especially in the digital world, or the “age of convenience” as I like to say, it may be important to work 40 hours, but the time of day may have to shift to better serve your customer base.

Samar Birwadker
Founder & CEO
Good&Co – 65 employees

At Good&Co, I found that by opening up alternative working options to the traditional nine-to-five 40-hour workweek and giving employees a flexible schedule that works around their personal needs—varying start times, an option to work from home when needed and approved by managers, breaks for fitness classes or doctor appointments, etc.—we have alleviated many common pains associated with the nine-to-five schedule. It has also increased the overall quality of productivity of our employees.

This more-flexible schedule allows employees to be productive when they feel most alert (some function better as night owls, while some are conventional early birds), creating a great work-life balance based on individual preference. Furthermore, I have found that employees are more invested in the company’s growth and in tune with their coworkers’ needs when the company shows interest in their improved quality of life. We, of course, have some meetings that are required so that the teams stay on track, but overall, people have been conscious of coworker schedules and sensitive to the importance of each other’s time away from work, and there haven’t been any issues! We’re a staff of just over 65 with offices in SF, Chicago, Boston, and London.

Fred Schebesta
CEO & Co-Founder
finder.com – 250 Employees

Here at finder, we certainly don’t prescribe the 40-hour workweek. We empower and trust our crew to do and be their very best; sometimes that means working more than 40 hours, and sometimes less. We find that giving people this flexibility has an extremely positive impact on productivity.

We also make it our mission to only hire people who are passionate and driven to master their craft. We encourage the pursuit of passion projects, whether those are related to what we do at finder, or not, in office hours or out.

We do, however, sometimes have a 40-hour day—our annual Hack Day. Running for the past three years, Hack Day is a global initiative that takes place over a 41-hour period. People team up with colleagues across the world to brainstorm, develop, and launch innovations that they believe will move our business forward. People aren’t obligated to take part, but we find the vast majority do and get laser-focused on creating incredible pieces of work. Despite having only run for three years so far, we’ve already seen a number of ideas implemented as a result.

Hiring people who love what they do and removing the constraints of a typical 9-5 / 40-hour workweek has been a winning formula that has helped us grow to over 40 countries worldwide.

John Crowley (UK perspective)
Editor
People HR

Something that has always fascinated me about the idea of a “40-hour workweek,” is that the most productive countries in the world work significantly less than 40 hours per week on average.

For example, a 2015 report by TIME states that the most productive country in the world on a per-hour basis, Luxembourg, works only 29 hours per week. The same report states that the country with the most output in the world, the United States, works on average 33.6 hours per week.

Of the 35 countries listed in TIME’s report, only two of them averaged more than 40 hours per week. Korea, averaging 40.7, was ranked #30. Mexico, averaging 41.2, was ranked #35 (last place).

Companies could certainly find that they get more value from their employees by paying a decent wage for fewer hours. But as with anything, it depends on various factors. The nature of the business, the type of work being undertaken, and the type of people being employed.

Some companies might find a trial run helpful. For example, put a department of salaried employees down to 30 hours, and hire extra people to make up the ‘time gap.’ Once new employees have learned their job, measure that team’s output compared with its running costs.

Nate Masterson
Director of HR
Maple Holistics

While I think that the 40-hour workweek is still a tried-and-trusted routine for most businesses and employees in terms of work-to-productivity, I do think that there are a lot of industries which would actually benefit from having a more flexible workweek (that is, still a 40-hour workweek, just broken up into a more flexible time schedule), or simply reducing the amount of time that employees have to spend at the office and allowing them to focus on getting the necessary tasks done on time and more efficiently.

But this really depends on the nature and culture of your business or company in particular, as well as the type of work or industry you’re based in. For instance, jobs based in the creative industry or that are reliant on creative techniques as their primary source of income would definitely benefit from allowing their employees a more-flexible workweek. By giving people a set of tasks or responsibilities to have completed by a certain time, you can let workers come in and out of the office or work from home whenever it suits them—so long as you can ensure that they’re easily contactable and that they accomplish the goal within a certain period of time, you’ll have no problems.

This is also a good way to weed out slackers, as it takes a great deal of dedication to balance the freedom of not being chained to a 40-hour workweek and still ensure that you get your work done up to standard and on time. So you’re more likely to have a strong and determined crew rather than people who just go through the motions to get their paychecks. I think this opens up to a totally different point that may apply to a variety of sectors as well, which is determining whether the 40-hour workweek is really more efficient or, rather, promotes the most efficiency. The main issue with a fixed 40-hour workweek is that not everyone works the same.

While one employee may be 100% set to follow the same schedule every day of the week, others may be more efficient earlier in the morning, and prefer having more time to themselves in the afternoon—some may prefer it the other way around. Understanding how to get the best out of your employees is key to getting the best results for your business as a whole. Without having a workweek that suits their personalities or working preferences, you’re missing out on their full potential, which could have a big impact on your business’s overall performance.

Companies’ approach to the 40-hour workweek vary substantially based on many factors. If you haven’t thought about your approach to hours, now might be a good time. The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey of employees in the U.S. finds that 57 percent of millennials (employees born between 1980 and 1996) consider work-life balance and wellbeing very important to them when it comes to choosing a job.

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Tips for Diversity in the Workplace from Leading Experts

Tips for Diversity in the Workplace from Leading Experts

A business’s attention to cultivating a diverse group of employees is strongly linked to its level of innovation. Multiple and varied voices with a wide range of experiences can help companies come up with new ideas, products, and services. Forbes surveyed companies with revenues from at least $500 million to more than $20 billion, and they overwhelmingly agreed on the value of diversity. This is particularly true for the largest companies with over $10 billion in revenue. Fifty-six percent of surveyed companies strongly agreed that diversity gave their companies an edge. “Because of our diverse workforce, we’ve experienced a boost in productivity. When you can move people to contribute to their fullest, it has a tremendous impact,” said Rosalind Hudnell, Director of Global Diversity and Inclusion at Intel. If companies as big and successful as Intel believe in diversity, you better believe that your company needs to review its diversity policies.

We decided to speak with six companies and find out how they approach diversity. Here’s what we found:

Jessica Choi
Assistant Vice President of Talent Acquisition and Diversity
Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company – 1,000 employees

According to industry data from LIMRA, the average financial adviser is a 58-year-old man. The Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that upwards of 300,000 of these financial advisers will be retiring over the next ten years. As a company, Penn Mutual recognizes that we have a tremendous opportunity to reshape our field force, to make it more diverse and more reflective of the communities we serve.

Our recruitment strategy encompasses three forms—we strive to educate, elevate and engage:

Educate – Many people don’t understand the possibilities of working in the industry. From a communications and branding perspective, we must share our stories and voices to those who may not know us. Sponsorship of the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship, for example, has been instrumental in allowing us to reach stakeholders and communities that we haven’t previously tapped into.

Elevate – As Penn Mutual evolves talent overall, we cannot rely solely on sharing our story. We must also elevate the company by challenging our own thinking on how we do things when it comes to our recruiting networks, training programs, etc. We’re in a relationship business, so we tend to go to people we know, and we hire people through those connections, who then go on to develop clients among their connections. We can’t keep fishing in the same pond and expect to catch different fish. As we educate our audience, we also recognize that we ourselves need to continuously learn and elevate ourselves.

Engage – Tapping into communities that we haven’t previously been exposed to is also an important key to our recruitment strategy. We are engaged with organizations such as the Chinese American Insurance Association, Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, the Urban League and U.S. Pan-Asian American Chamber of Commerce, though my experience shows that it is best to work at both the national and the local level if you really want to engage with a community. Diversity is more than just ethnicity, as well. Industry data shows that only 25 percent of advisers are female. Women are a huge market that our industry can tap into, in addition to other communities that haven’t received much exposure – multicultural/ethnic populations, veterans, LGBT and millennials. A diversified workforce is better able to respond to and understand the needs of the client.

Christine Chung
Senior Talent Manage
Fueled – 100 employees

It’s crucial to take note that there are no such thing as diverse candidates, however, an organization can create diversity amongst the type of people they welcome to their team. The market is leading us to see that D&I efforts can be encouraged through empathy, data, and strong partnerships with internal talent/recruiting teams to use the organization’s hiring data.

Once the hiring data tells its story, fixing this problem isn’t a matter of telling the hiring team that they were doing something wrong. It means looping them into the conversation and helping the team understand why there is a need for us to strive to build a better, more empowering and safe work environment. Create a culture of openness. Every organization can start by building out a D&I team.

Felicite Moorman
CEO
STRATIS IoT & BuLogics – 100 employees

  1. Have a Diverse Lead
    If you don’t have a person of color or a female leading in your organization, whatever you are putting out will fall flat. Two out of three of my VPs are women, and together my team speaks 23 languages. In a company of under 50 people, that doesn’t happen without some significant effort.

    Diversity in the workplace includes more than just people of color and women. Bringing in an immigrant who looks like other people creates diversity in your workspace because their experience in life is different. One can’t assume that diversity equates to an image. It really has to be a life experience you are looking for that goes beyond what is topical and obvious.

    2. Pay for Diversity – Equal or Better
    You have to watch your salaries across your company and ensure that you are paying your diverse talent the equivalent or better than your non-diverse talent. If you don’t have diversity in your workplace, you have to actively work for it. Don’t ever pay them less than their non-diverse counterparts. You pay them more because they are in demand, not just because they are diverse but because they fought a battle to be where they are that is beyond what other people had to fight for. They know their value. This will mean different things for different companies, but it is intrinsically important to create equity in salaries not just for women but across your company. It has to be consciously considered and addressed.

    3. Prioritize Families
    You have to be family friendly. If you want a diverse workspace, you have to have flexible work capabilities. Work has to be reinvented if we really want diverse perspective and diverse experience—and we do want these things because when we have them we literally create better products because we have a friction that doesn’t exist if eight bros go in a room and make something. If you have eight people with vastly different experiences creating anything, that thing they agreed to create together will be infinitely more valuable to the world than what eight bros can make.  

    As a family-friendly organization, you have to allow for people to expand who they are into their workspace, and you have to get creative to make it happen. If you can have a daycare in your workspace, by all means, do it. If you are a Fortune 500 company and you do not have daycare, you are foolish at best. And you will likely be left behind.

    4. Prioritize (Oftentimes Teach) Communication
    You need to teach people to communicate well. You wouldn’t think that your job as an employer is to teach people to communicate, but people need to know how to say, “I’m sorry, I said the wrong thing in that moment, and I see that I did.”

If we are creating a diverse workspace, we have to prepare for missteps—that is part of addressing the patriarchal culture we want to change. You have to enable people to apologize, and your leadership has to be able to say, “I’m sorry.” It seems like such a small thing, but so few people are capable of saying, “I was wrong, and I am sorry.” You also have to teach people to communicate when they are hurt and damaged by someone else’s false notion of their diverse experience. You need to teach people to communicate the damage caused by microaggressions. And that is hard work. That is a job within itself.

When you are dealing with a diverse workspace, you will also have non-diverse members of that workspace who will not understand what is happening in the world. They won’t understand #metoo, and they won’t understand #blacklivesmatter because they don’t share those experiences. They may be really great at their jobs—you may still pull people in who don’t have that diverse experience—but hopefully, you make better people all around because of the friction that diversity and non-diversity create.

If you can’t get past number one and hire diverse leadership, you don’t get to play in the diverse space ever. Nothing else matters. Ask yourself if you are creating better products because of your diversity, and the answer will be yes.

Michael Maulick
President & CEO
SunLink Corporation – 100 employees

Diversity in the workplace must become part of a company’s core DNA. It takes a commitment from the top to create a culture that understands and communicates internally the business benefits of having a diverse company that reflects our customer base. Benefits include more creative problem-solving, increased product innovation, improved internal communications and, of course, enhanced recruitment. At SunLink, we make a conscious effort to mention our commitment to diversity in our job postings, where we see diversity a growing requirement for top candidates. We actively promote from within and support mentoring to ensure career success. We also embrace a gender-balanced approach to filling our speaking engagements to ensure we are elevating diverse voices in the industry.

Monica C. Smith
CEO
Marketsmith – 80 employees

Just Say No to QuotasEngagement is the Key to Diversity

My goal in life is to make a difference in this world. Marketsmith’s company motto is: “We do great work so we can do good things.” Being “inclusive” or “diverse” fits our definition of “doing good,” and goes beyond my business philosophy into the foundation of my family. My wife and I have a wonderful patchwork of gender, race and delivery mechanism with six childrenfive black and one white. None of it by design, but rather from an openness to receive. Recently, I had a conversation with our daughter after she attended a teen panel for biracial families with gay parents.

Thinking she might have questions, I asked, “What did you think of the panel?”

She answered, “It was good; they talked about things no one ever talks about.”

Having a perfect opening, I said, “I’m sure it’s hard for you that Mom and I are gay.”

She quickly replied, “Mom, I don’t care that you’re gay.” Then, just a heartbeat later, she said, “I just really care that you’re white.”

The conversation made me realize that how we navigate inclusion to ensure diversity is very personal and very sensitive. Even the best of intentions, like mine with my child, can be off. Where in my mind the challenge was having two moms, the issue in her mind was color. This kind of disconnect is hard to overcome.

So, what do we do in life and business when dealing with differences as we work toward inclusion? Like my family, my hiring for diversity was never planned. We hired smart, unusual people who wanted to make a difference in the world. Then, someone asked for our census. Never having done one before, we were amazed at our own diversity! We are made up of 54% women, 34% millennials, and 25% minorities.

Why? Because we were open to people whose only real commonality was their values, not their ages, race or backgrounds. For example, I was looking for someone with experience in financial technology and met Anil. I thought he was overqualified and a typical millennial, and he had zero experience for the role. He came from a big-six accounting firm, went back to college, and then became an administration counselor. To an HR person, all are major red flags. Yet, I saw someone who wanted to embrace people, loved the concept of technology, and volunteered to build homes for people in Nepal. I related to him on an intuitive level and gave him a shot. It went against logic, but he’s one of our strongest hires!

Hiring people like Anil who don’t “fit” is one of the most powerful tools my organization has.  It’s given us the ability to harness and innovate using diversity of thought. As a result, we are stronger, more competitive and able to meet new challenges with a variety of approaches.

Arvind Raichur
CEO & Co-Founder
MrOwl – 25 employees

Don’t look for people like you. You can’t artificially create a diverse culture. You’ll get the right talent by welcoming a wide pool of applicants and embracing the idea that the right talent comes from all backgrounds. Maybe the most obvious way to bring diversity into your workplace is to make a point to hire people that are different from yourself. This doesn’t mean that if your specialty is in finance that you only hire content writers. But if your “knee-jerk” impulse when hiring is to think, “I need a version of myself,” then stop and re-examine because you are doing a disservice to your team and most importantly to your company.

The benefit of hiring people with different backgrounds and experiences from yourself, or even from a younger version of yourself, is you’ll be bringing diverse ways of thinking about your company. Having a table full of people who each approach solving problems differently means your problems have a higher chance of getting solved because you are less likely to approach them from the same angle every time. This is important when it comes to setting your team up for success. Additionally, diverse backgrounds and thought patterns will translate to the product you create, making it more well-rounded for the consumer and giving you a wider audience to engage.

As you’re considering how to hire people that are different from yourself or even your current team members, don’t fall into the trap of hiring in order to fill certain “diversity requirements.” If you’ve built an open and inviting company culture and checked your impulse to hire copies of yourself, then your chances of pulling from a diverse pool of applicants will increase of its own accord.


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