Is It Time to Take Your Organization Virtual? Here Are the Signs It Is
The on demand skills based economy is here. With today’s top talent adapting to the new climate of the workforce, organizations now must find new ways to engage and retain their staff while bringing in the best talent available as needed to survive and thrive in complex economic times. The workforce has taken their careers and income earning opportunities into their own hands and crave the flexibility that virtual organizations provide. Whether you need to incorporate contract or freelance work into your operations or want to give flexible working arrangement incentives to your existing permanent team, there are many benefits to taking your business virtual.
Below are a few signs it may be time to take your organization virtual.
Your Industry Has Already Shifted
Does the competition incorporate contract and temp work for their teams to execute projects and deliverables? Do they have satellite offices with less overhead dispersed throughout a greater geographic region than you? You may be paying for more office space than is required or missing opportunities for growth by not shifting alongside your competitors that are gaining more market share through virtual teams and contracted project management.
Accessing the Best Ability When You Need It, Cast a Wider Net for Talent
Human capital is and always will be critical for organizations to grow. The top talent of today’s workforce is already embracing the shift of the gig economy for their careers. Contract and freelance work for projects may be one of the only options for reaching some of the most talented professionals that you do not have access to in traditional employment engagements. Leverage the strengths, talents and skills of top performers available to compliment your permanent staff. Changing up your business model to attract and leverage the best talent available for your organization is critical and inevitably necessary. There are specific projects or initiatives that do not require full time engagement, try contracting out this work with the support of your existing team.
There is Flexibility to Be Gained by Both Sides with Less Commitment
A short term project to gauge ongoing working compatibilities allows each side to have less binding ties than an official employment contract. By allowing both sides to test the waters, there is flexibility to expand working relationships or simply part ways conveniently for both parties.
You Already Leverage Collaboration Tools in the Cloud
The cloud is here to stay and the same tools that are used for internal personnel communications and document management, have made their way into the workforce. The same affordable tools already invested in, can be leveraged by personnel logging on from anywhere. Programs such as Office 365, Dropbox, Slack and Google Drive allow teams to collaborate from dispersed locations in different time zones to accomplish tasks and achieve goals remotely. Implementing electronic systems and procedures will be necessary but also provide the necessary guidance and structure to improve operational efficiencies and help designate roles and responsibilities between members of the virtual team.
You Want to Incorporate Work from Home Policies as an Incentive
More and more companies are realizing the benefits of an engaged workforce by offering the flexibility to incorporate part time working from home policies. As with any incentive, it has to be carefully managed so teamwork can be developed through defined deliverables with accountabilities in place. Conference calls, in person meetings, team brainstorming sessions can help teammates engage virtually while allowing them designated time to manage their personal and professional lives more flexibly.
You Need to Scale with Speed Affordably
Small dispersed teams optimally performing are considered a threat in today’s workforce. With the right mix of trust, relationships and business process, virtual teams can deliver unprecedented results with the right controls and check and balances in place. Having a plan in place with defined goals and objectives so the project delivery can be optimized by the virtual team’s performance will be a key to the team’s success.
Your Management Team has the Soft Skills to Manage Virtually
Teamwork and accountability can be fostered through well-defined objectives and project management milestones. Team engagement through regular meetings that encourage brainstorming, strategic discussions, presenting and reporting will help make the virtual team successful. Periodical in person face-to-face meetings and engaging collaboration tools that allow you to share mini bios and personal pictures can help develop comrade from teams that do not regularly work together. Leaders of virtual teams need to have the right balance of soft skills and technical aptitudes to adapt their management style accordingly.
Is it time to take your organization virtual?
About the Author
Eric Apps is a seasoned technology entrepreneur, lawyer and early pioneer of today’s growing modern workforce methodologies. Eric has owned, operated and held board or senior management positions in several public and private technology companies. Today he is partnered in Aluvion and Organimi, Canadian law and technology firms, where he is an early adopter and advocate of building virtual teams and services to grow his companies. By leveraging the power of new technologies to streamline workflows, while utilizing a virtual network of highly skilled, and highly responsive professionals to develop his companies, Eric is a thought leader and advocate for the growing freelance/gig based economy.
360-degree feedback can bring up a whole host of areas for improvement and help establish goals to be worked towards. Developing based on feedback is important for anyone, regardless of their position, experience level or objectives: managers are no exception.
We explain how the feedback managers receive can establish specific leadership training plans to help improve skills, performance and daily practices. This can help both inexperienced or first-time managers and those just looking to take their leadership skills to the next level and improve how they lead their team.
Upward feedback & where to go with it
Gaining feedback on daily practices, performance and skill sets can be an incredibly useful process. 360-feedback encompasses upward feedback from your team members, helping you to gain perspective from those who work closely with you. Hearing the views of those who work with you every day and have an acute awareness of your leadership style is a great chance to take a step back and re-evaluate. But, of course, once the feedback has been given, the process doesn’t end there. Using feedback for leadership training means that managers are able to work on the specific things that would improve both their leadership qualities and general interactions with their team on both a daily and a long-term basis.
Keep your team!
It’s often said that people don’t quit their jobs, they quit their bosses. If there are multiple issues within a work environment but people generally like their manager, and are satisfied with how they’re being led, they’re less likely to leave their position. Ensuring that managers are not only listening to but acting on the feedback which they receive from their team makes it clear that the team’s views are valued, and means that managers will be able to use the feedback given to communicate with and work more effectively with their team. Managers will be on the road to improvement, and team members will feel both valued and more satisfied, be less likely to leave their position and begin to work more effectively with their managers.
Engagement & team spirit
After the leadership training has taken place, it’s likely that team morale will increase, communication will improve and employee engagement will be on the rise. It’s not just managers that will improve from leadership training either. Research from the Journal of Business Strategies found that leaders who were able to impact the long-term cohesion of their teams could account for more than 25% of the team’s overall performance. Effective leaders will keep their team communicating well and keep engagement levels up by giving them useful and motivating feedback, and making the organization a positive and impactful place to work.
Using Impraise, it’s never been easier for managers to develop. Feedback comes in the form of both real-time updates and reviews where questions can be tailored to find out exactly what skills or traits can be improved. Once feedback is received, it’s collated into an automatic report identifying exactly which skills and practices require focus. Now it’s time for improvement: continuous feedback that carries on long after the review process gives team members the opportunity to continue the conversation and provide real-time feedback on their manager’s ongoing development.
Using upward feedback for manager training means team members know their input is valued
Successful leaders interact with employees in a way that significantly increases employee engagement and performance
Employees communicate better as a team as a result of more effective management
Good leadership training based on team feedback will lowers turnover rates
About the Author:
Steffen Maier is co-founder of Impraise a web-based and mobile solution for actionable, timely feedback at work. Based in New York and Amsterdam, Impraise turns tedious annual performance reviews into an easy process by enabling users to give and receive valuable feedback in real-time and when it’s most helpful. The tool includes an extensive analytics platform to analyze key strengths and predict talent gaps and coaching needs.
The biography of Hollywood legend Jerry Weintraub is truly extraordinary. He was a American film producer and actor whose films won him three Emmy’s. Weintraub is also known for being a talent manager (one could say a recruiter) and concert promoter. The list of musicians he represented includes: Elvis Presley, John Denver, Frank Sinatra, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, and The Four Seasons. In many ways Jerry was the “Godfather” of concert promoters and a true showman.
Further, Weintraub is also known for producing films such as Nashville (1975), Diner (1982), The Karate Kid (1984), Vegas Vacation (1997) and the Ocean’s franchise (2001). More recently, Weintraub was the executive producer for a couple of HBO series – The Brink and Behind the Candelabra (both 2013). In 2011, HBO broadcast a television documentary about Weintraub’s life, called His Way. Weintraub was an amazing story teller and his book When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead: Useful Stories from a Persuasive Man and documentary are worth checking out for sure. I want to focus on one of my favorite Weintraub stories that hits home [as the time it was written we get ready for Thanksgiving 2016].
Weintraub Refused to Go Quietly
As the story goes, in 1969, Weintraub was living in New York on 54th Street and awoke at three o’clock in the morning to proclaim, “I just had a crazy dream” to his wife Jane Morgan (an enormously talented singer in her own right whom he managed). Jane said, “What was the dream?” Jerry proclaimed, “I saw a sign in front of Madison Square Garden that said ‘Jerry Weintraub Presents Elvis.’” Jane then said, “That’s crazy. That’s nuts. You know, you don’t know Elvis and you don’t know Colonel Parker. You know, how do you expect to do this?” Jerry then quipped, “I don’t know them now but I will.”
For the next year from 1969-1970 Jerry’s first phone call of the day, at 8:30 in the morning, was to Colonel Tom Parker and (as reported by Weintraub in his memoir) here’s how it went.
JW: Good morning, Colonel, this is Jerry Weintraub. I want to take Elvis on tour.
Colonel Parker: What are you, crazy? Why do you keep calling here? You’re wasting your money. First of all, Elvis is not working right now. Second of all, if he were working I have a lot of promoters that I owe dates too. A lot of producers I owe dates to. And it’s not gonna be you. It’s never gonna be you.
After a solid year of rejection one morning, in 1970, Colonel Parker had something different to say than the usual dismissive “No” “not interested.”
Colonel Parker: You still want to take my boy on tour?
JW: Yes, very badly.
Colonel Parker: Okay, you be in Las Vegas (in two days) at 11:00 o’clock with a million dollars and we’ll talk a deal.
Weintraub Gets a “Yes” Finally
The year was 1970 and, therefore, securing 1 million dollars in two days had long odds. Jerry didn’t have a million dollars and, in fact, owed a bank about $65k. By sheer persistence and phoning practically everyone he ever met or knew within a 48 hour period, low and behold, he found a wealthy business owner in Seattle, WA that said “Yes.” The Elvis super-fan, from the Pacific Northwest, was willing to wire Jerry a million dollars site unseen for a chance to fund an Elvis concert tour. Weintraub showed up in Las Vegas at the bank 2 days later and worked out a deal with Colonel Parker.
Elvis proceeded to put on an incredibly successful and lucrative concert tour. The tour would also be remembered for providing concert goers with reasonable ticket prices. As the tour came to a close, Elvis, Weintraub and Colonel Parker cashed in on the tour for sure.
What’s more, at the conclusion of the tour Colonel Tom Parker took Jerry to a back room (behind the stage) and proceeded to reveal a huge pile of cold hard cash. Jerry proclaimed, “What’s this?” Parker exclaimed: “This is the money from the t-shirts, the hats, the buttons, and so on that have been sold throughout the tour.” Jerry then said, “We didn’t have a deal for the merchandise.” Parker then said, “You are my partner 50/50.” He then took his cane and smacked the table and said, “Half is mine and half is yours. Are we good?” After the tour with Elvis, Weintraub went on to have a storied Hollywood career partnering with some of the biggest stars in music and television.
The Power of Persistence is Undervalued
It’s funny how we often only see the ‘final product’ of a person or group’s success and assume that they must have had amazing breaks, luck, or connections to get where they are at. What’s often lost, by people, is the struggle of how difficult it is to achieve truly extraordinary things. It takes persistence and sheer will to do hard things. Often many obstacles must be conquered along the way.
George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Andy Garcia, Julia Roberts, and Matt Damon (just some of the star-studded cast of the Ocean’sfranchise) have all commented on the amazing power Jerry had of getting everyone to a “Yes” when the odds were incredibly long to do so. In order to get all of the A-list actors to align their schedules to shoot the Ocean’s movies was nearly impossible. The odds of any other producer being able to make it happen would probably be about 0%.
However, Weintraub would call each cast member and tell them when the dates were for shooting and when they would inevitably say, “Jerry I can’t do it I’m busy during that time… no seriously I’m out.” Jerry would respond with, “Yea, I know you are busy but everyone else is in and you will be able to do it.” Famously he would tell each actor that all the other actors were all “in” even though they had said they were “out.”
Through sheer force of will Weintraub made it happen. There’s a lesson here.
The Weintraub Way for Business & Recruiting
When recruiters or business professionals are told “No” this can lead to cracks in their resilience, resolve, and self-confidence. We can begin to think we aren’t good enough, don’t have the necessary skills and abilities to do awesome things and, therefore, become unmotivated and depressed. But the Weintraub Way is to turn that negativity on it’s head and go in the opposite direction. When people say “No” or “It’s not going to happen” maybe you should double-down. The thought should be “Oh, it’s going to happen all right.” One of the great motivators for the human spirit is the ability to overcome obstacles and ‘win over’ the folks who aren’t on board with what we are ‘selling’. What is more, there is little in life that compares to the incredible high of ‘proving everyone wrong’ and accomplishing big things despite those that don’t believe.
There’s little doubt that there had to be mornings, in the 300+ phone calls that Jerry made to Colonel Parker, where he doubted his abilities and his power to persuade. But he didn’t let it hinder him or his ‘dream’. In the end he made the deal and was a key player in one of the most successful concert tours of all time. By sticking to a plan and being determined to see it through (no matter how difficult things get) individuals get a true sense of accomplishment. There is no substitute for the euphoria that comes from “Beating the Odds.”
So, you might be asking, “What the heck does this have to do with Thanksgiving?” Thanksgiving is a time for reflection. This year I’m going to think about how glad I am that over the years I’ve been told I couldn’t do something. Even though I didn’t appreciate it at the time, hearing this skepticism has likely helped light the fire within me even hotter. The fire to prove the doubters wrong is powerful.
I’m Thankful For…
When you sit down for Thanksgiving this year with your family and friends take a moment to say thank you to those that have told you “No” or openly questioned your ideas, motives, abilities, or work ethic. It’s highly likely that those folks, that you may have perceived as shutting the door on your ambition, have helped to make you the success you are today.
Thanks Jerry Weintraub for sharing with us this incredible anecdote about the power of perseverance, pride, and not taking “No” for an answer.
In your own experience, are you able to pinpoint particular times when someone doubted you or said “No”? Did the rejection serve as a motivation for you to work even harder to prove them wrong? Have you ever thought to be thankful for those that weren’t on board with what you were selling? What other forms of motivation do find the most useful?
Sports Officials & Professional Recruiters – Kindred Spirits?
Professional recruiters have a tough job. Recruiters are often tasked with trying to get several moving parts to work together to achieve the goal of connecting the ‘right talent with the right opportunity at the right time.’ It’s a lot like herding cats I suspect.
Sports officials also have a very difficult job. They are tasked with judging sporting events play by play and the scrutiny of their work is on display every day, every week, heck by the hour for the entire public to see and often criticize. Given all of the emotions that go along with sporting events (at all levels from Pee Wee to the Professional ranks) often reactions to officiating isn’t terribly rational. Often fans, coaches, parents, and players aren’t well versed in the rules and so aren’t particularly adept at knowing or applying them. Not to mention the nuances of rules and interpretations of those rules. The rule-book isn’t black and white–a lot of grey in there. And, yes sometimes officating feels a lot like herding cats.
Also, what’s often lost is how much preparation it takes to be a good official and the dedication and passion these folks have to be at the top of their games. The constant pressure sports officials are under is intense and can take a toll. Recruiters–ever feel intense pressure in your job?
I’ve been a football and basketball official for 14 years as an avocation – aka a ‘side hustle’. As I’ve moved up the ranks and met some amazing officials I’ve noticed several key traits that make them great. What’s more, it’s clear to me that some of these traits translate very easily to the world of professional recruiting. Could sports officials and professional recruiters be kindred spirits? Perhaps.
So, here are four traits that make sports officials great and will also make recruiters and talent managers be at their best.
The best referees/officials have amazing people skills. Officiating requires that folks have the ability to get along with all types of people and personalities. Sporting events have all kinds of small constituencies that all need to be dealt with in a professional way–including coaches, players, athletic directors, game-day personnel, and fans. If you aren’t into people you won’t go far in officiating.
Talent Managers must also have great people skills and be able to communicate effectively with a diverse group of folks. Recruiters too are often balancing diverse groups (i.e., your customers/employers, candidates, and recruiting managers). Must know your audience and what type of communication strategies will work with different people.
Calm in the Storm
Sporting events are often highly emotional for all involved–except the referees. Officials have to be that ‘calm in the storm’ and be absolutely relaxed, cool, and collected. This isn’t always easy of course, but officials have a job to do that requires intense focus and concentration–it’s critical to put the distractions aside and focus on each play. The best of the best do this very well.
Further, when that really tough play/situation arises in a game and the coaches and players are going crazy the officials job is to quiet the situation and rule to the best of their abilities. When the storm hits effective communication with your partners, in order to be sure everyone’s angle/perspective is respected and heard, is also critical.
Recruiters are often dealing with emotional situations as well as folks deal with the stress of obtaining a job. The whole process of getting a job and trying to fill a job with a good candidate is potentially stressful. The best recruiters are the ones that can be the calm in the storm and effectively lead everyone to the goal: to connect talented people with the right opportunities at the right time. Recruiters ‘grease the skids’ between talent and opportunity and make sense of chaotic situations.
Really great sports officials are incredibly prepared for each game and work many long hours in preparation for game-day ensuring that it will go as smooth as possible. As Seahawk QB Russell Wilson says, “Separation comes from preparation.” Prior to game day officials will often spend several hours watching film, going through a thorough pre-game, and studying rules and rule interpretations. This is done in the off-season as well as during the season. All of this preparation often leads to games that are officiating effectively and smoothly. Further, the more practice and preparation that officials do the more ‘natural’ the mechanics become–leading to getting a higher percentage of calls correct.
For professional recruiters there are a plethora of areas where preparation will help people be the best they can be. A few key questions could include:
How well do you know the customer/employer and what are they looking for?
How intimately do you know the job description and the nuances of what the hiring manager is looking for?
How hard have you worked to learn as much as possible about the candidates you are trying to connect with opportunities?
Are you confident your candidates will be a good cultural fit?
Are you listening to all sides and acting accordingly?
Preparation is a key factor in recruiting.
And finally, effective referees have the ability to show empathy to all the people that they come into contact with during a sporting event. The ability to ‘put themselves in the shoes of others‘ is critical for officiating. Sports are incredibly impassioned and everyone involved has so much invested in them that to effectively manage these events requires the ability to look at the game/contest from the perspective of others. The best officials listen very well and are aware of their ‘tone’. Sometimes, the best way to ‘communicate’ with a coach that is upset is to be a good listener and acknowledge that you understand why he is upset. People need to be heard and believe their concerns are important. Further, empathy is about being self-aware and understanding how your behavior impacts others. Also, self-awareness is knowing what you can do to manage difficult situations. Clearly there are things that can escalate conflict and other strategies that help to put out the fire.
In recruiting it’s important to display empathy to all parties involved. The best recruiters have the ability to empathize with their customers and candidates and evaluate their tone to ensure they are handling situations effectively.
I think it’s safe to say sports officials and professional recruiters are kindred spirits indeed.
A little bit of conflict between members of the C-suite is inevitable. When each member has different priorities and business objectives to the rest of the C-suite, it’s possible for this conflict to cause problems. Part of the tension is caused by a lack of consensus on business growth. According to recent research by Epicor, this misalignment of goals could lead to business problems if left unchecked. But if differing viewpoints are channelled positively, using technology and data to inform decision-making, suddenly ideas can foster growth and innovation rather than continue to be a source of conflict.
So what else could be contributing to conflict within the C-suite? One theory is that the CEO occupies a lonely position compared to the rest of the C-suite and has very little insight into the inner-workings of the internal departments within the business. CEOs tend to be more concerned with their “outward selves” – answering to stakeholders and explaining numbers to the board of directors.
Rob Morris, managing director and general manager of intellectual property at leadership consultancy firm YSC believes CEOs may feel the burden of growth more than other members of the C-suite. He refers to the CEO operating “like an island, despite the stereotypical image of a CEO projecting confidence and stability”. A recent study in Harvard Business Review examined how the burden of being responsible for tough business decisions can make a difference. It found that “93% of CEOs require more preparation for the role than they typically get” and are typically unready for the “loneliness and accountability that lies ahead”.
A variety of new technology roles could also be aggravating the tension within the C-suite. As a Wall Street Journal article reports, CIOs and CTOs are struggling to “differentiate their responsibilities”. The article goes on to say, “With so many roles, even other C-levels may not know where to turn to address a particular IT-related issue or problem. And the overlaps and conflicts may well lead to infighting”.
But while it is normal to have differing opinions and views – it is when these conflicts turn unhealthy and start becoming a strain on maintaining strong and healthy business operations that it becomes a problem. As Morris says, “conflict in a healthy team climate can lead to more effectiveness, but when the conflict remains hidden, confined to disagreements between only one or two key stakeholders, it can quickly become dysfunctional”.
So how can disagreements be turned into opportunities for innovation? Ideas and opinions can be shut down if they lack enough clear data to back them up. Having access to real-time information and insight can solve this. This means that key business discussions can be based on detailed metrics rather than simple “hunches” or gut-feelings. Senior business executives can then propose new ideas based on facts in front of them changing the conversation from perceived issues and problems to actionable steps designed to promote business growth.
As the Epicor research reveals, it is natural to have different ideas from other members in the senior team. But it is equally important to be aware that the battles should not be based on biased agendas that can only hinder business growth.
Some CEOs have already noted the positive impact the use of data can bring to ease the burden of managing business growth. The research, which questioned over 1,800 business leaders, revealed that 40% of CEOs agreed that access to information is of very significant importance to them, compared to 34% of CFOs, COOs and CIOs on average. Furthermore, 35% of CEOs agreed that having the right technology has made growth possible. Interestingly, one-in-ten blamed a lack of technology in hindering business growth.
“It’s essential to be able to interpret the data you have, and make good strategic judgements based on that data. But alignment of goals and information is key if the use of data is to be effective. Like rowers in a boat, C-suite members need to work together, if they are to make conflict a force for healthy business growth,” says Morris.
Still, whilst there are many benefits to using data to inform decision-making, challenges remain. A report has found that it’s possible for C-suite members to suffer from an “information overload” when the data cannot be used effectively, because there’s just too much of it and they lack the technology to make sense of it all. C-suite members must foster a culture of “collaboration and transparency”; using relevant information to build trust and tackle business challenges together.
The emergence of technology and the differing opinions within the C-suite are bound to crank up the tension amongst executives. But a failure to see the wider repercussions on the business can be disastrous. That does not mean differing opinions must be stunted. A healthy conflict based on data and facts can turn a tense situation into a positive experience for the business.
The journey from conflict to healthy debates must start with the provision of accurate and relevant data. So how do businesses achieve this?
If it’s important that C-level executives are exposed to the same information, in real time, the provision of up-to-date data via intelligent software becomes invaluable. The latest enterprise resource management systems (ERP), for example, can be accessed anywhere. So, whether it’s the CEO at a stakeholder meeting, or a COO discussing plans with teams, it is possible for them to base their business decisions on the same information. Once they are aligned in this way, they can discuss business priorities and concerns more effectively, changing the conversations in the boardroom and positively impacting the whole business.
Seventy nine percent of today’s graduates consider a company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) commitments when deciding where to work, according to a recent Cone Communications study.
Once they arrive on the job, they want to be involved in doing good from the start. The Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) 2016 Giving in Numbers study states, “Employee volunteer participation rate with their company’s community efforts continued to rise to 33% in 2015 from 28% in 2013.”
Businesses know that investing in good is crucial to attract and retain top talent, and most business leaders expect this trend to increase. Brands of all shapes and sizes are embedding CSR into their operations, aligning business with purpose.
Mark Shamley, CEO of the Association of Corporate Contributions Professionals (ACCP), highlighted the growing role of CSR as an integral part of business: “I expect that CSR will become even more entrenched throughout companies. Rather than having CSR sit off to the side, more and more companies are weaving CSR into their operations.”
There’s a difference between paying lip service to corporate citizenship and really walking the walk — and employees catch on quickly when efforts aren’t authentic or geared to their needs. How can you embed CSR in ways that are empowering and personalized to your employees? Here are some examples we found working with Corporate Philanthropy programs of all shapes and sizes:
Volunteer on the Clock
If you give employees the opportunity to volunteer during work hours, you show that you respect their time and are willing to invest in doing good in the communities your company serves.
Quicken Loans gives all of their team members eight hours of paid volunteer time each year which they can use to explore non-profits in their cities and find ways to make a difference in the community. This commitment to CSR pays dividends for Quicken, where over half of the lender’s employees are millennials. Fortune named Quicken on its list of 100 best places to work for Millennials and 98 percent of young employees say “I feel good about the ways we contribute to the community.”
Pick Your Cause
People want the ability to make a difference in the causes closest to their hearts. Having a single company wide cause does not meet the needs and preferences of all employees. Giving employees the opportunity to choose makes all the difference.
JetBlue decided to honor their crew members’ commitment to giving back by launching Community Connection – a crew member volunteer program designed to align corporate giving with individual crew member passions. To date, JetBlue crew members have volunteered over 400,000 hours of service, resulting in more than $1.5 million of in-kind donations impacting their local communities.
Consider Your Skill-Set
Nielsen’s Wendy Salomon, VP, Reputation & Public Affairs sees an increase in companies moving from old-school philanthropy to “skillanthropy” or skills-based contributions. Examples include a consumer packaged goods company addressing access to healthy food, a bank educating vulnerable populations on financial literacy, or a shipping company getting supplies to storm-battled regions.
“There is a particular “stickiness” when skill-based programs are part of a CSR portfolio, as they allow the company to shine a light on the good it does in the world and the expertise it brings to the marketplace day in and day out,” said Salomon.
PositiveNRG, NRG Energy’s Philanthropy Program, shows the benefits of skills based philanthropy. In their work with FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a robotics and STEM education program. NRG employees use their real-world expertise to mentor FIRST teams. This multi-faceted approach to giving-back brings everyone together as valuable contributors and allows NRG to make more significant advances for those they serve.
If you’re not sure how your program stacks up, ask! Survey employees to get feedback on what they like and don’t like about the way your programs are run now. Find out what you can do to get them more engaged. Be prepared to adapt as you go because even with the best plan in place your programs will continually evolve, just as the needs of your business and community change. When you really meet the needs of your employees and the community at large, you’ll reap significant benefits.
Versaic’s program management system is behind many of the best-known corporate philanthropy programs from some of the biggest brands around. You can schedule a free demo here.
There is a lot of truth in the saying that great companies are built upon great people. However, the reality is, of course, more complicated than that. The world’s leading companies are a powerful blend of people, vision, capability and culture. These things work together like the mechanics of a rocket, generating and maintaining irresistible momentum.
But how do you ignite the rocket?
It starts with the fuel, exceptional people. Without exceptional people, you will struggle to build departments that smash through goals or spark entrepreneurial commitment.
Yet how is it possible to attract top people to an environment that has not already been built into the kind of engaging, highly professional workplace that world class candidates come from and demand?
This chicken and egg scenario ranks as one of the most difficult strategic challenges in HR, and it is especially pertinent to the fast-moving world of HR in the tech industry, where workplace expectations are always growing.
The first thing to understand is that top performers do not avoid challenges. In fact, they seek them, and being open about the challenges that await them is something that will help attract the very best.
Finstar Financial Group is a private equity firm focused on the future of financial services, founded by Oleg Boyko. We believe in our businesses and that we are building the foundational elements of a modern, digitally adept, high-speed world. We have lofty ambitions, and we make these ambitions clear to the people we hope to attract. In fact, our ambitions do not end with revenue and profit targets: they are driven by a vision for the future of financial services.
We aim high when targeting the people we want to join our team, casting our net worldwide in our search for the best possible candidates. This sense of purpose and ambition has allowed us to attract first-rate minds from top tier companies.
We have now built a virtuous circle: by attracting top managerial talent, then constantly challenging them – insisting on the highest standards when doing so – and freeing them to achieve their goals in their own way, we have stoked their entrepreneurial spirit, and they tend to energetically and rigorously attack their targets. This has created a positive, exciting and goal–focused environment for all employees. It also, of course, makes Finstar Financial Group and its portfolio companies evermore attractive places to work, helping us draw in more great talent from around the world.
“The greatest adrenaline hit for any Marketeer is to make a difference through their contribution. Bringing together knowledge from a past life’s conquest to unifying and motivating the wonderful and enthusiastic minds of a new organization is all part and parcel of that contribution. However, the contribution itself has to have a focus from which it draws its energy. In this case, we look to the Brand in question Finstar. A global titan within its own right, but with the prowess and agility of any new start up. With the help, assistance and guidance from the HR team you begin to understand the organization better, its ambitions and the almost blank canvass with which to mark out your approach. Most well-seasoned individuals and newcomers alike begin scanning the paperwork to find out where they sign! Though only at the initial stage of my journey with the organisation, I foresee it being a long and fruitful one, as well as becoming a key contributor to the well-oiled machine that is Finstar.” – Arun Varma, Chief Marketing Officer.
“I found a unique multi-cultural combination of talents in Finstar Financial Group. The company offers you a challenge of combining the skills and disciplines learned in large international corporations with the high flexibility and agility needed to adapt to rapidly changing technologies and customer expectations, so as to keep our competitive edge.” – Gauthier Van Weddingen, VP, Deputy CEO Operations.
“Creativity and ingenuity in all the aspects aligned with robust and conservative corporate standards and best practices, the possibility to combine the non-combinable while exploring the most elegant and very often, unique recipes in this “fusion cuisine” of innovative IT developments, financial retail services and business effectiveness, all these multiplied by the global scale and multicultural nature of our company – this impresses indeed. The kaleidoscope of different jurisdictions, approaches and mentalities, the possibility to work with extremely qualified professionals from all over the world create the unique experience and knowledge base, together with a desire to use it for the company’s growth and to confirm again and again that we all are real FinSTARs!” – Dmitry Kobzar, Head of Legal Department DFI.
Ultimately, this process of embracing lofty goals, setting our talented hires exacting challenges and stoking their entrepreneurial instincts has allowed Finstar to solve the HR conundrum of attracting the type of executives who create the attractive working environment which such exceptional people are attracted to. We now have a virtuous circle in place that has sparked the stellar growth that sets Finstar Financial Group apart as a high-flyer in the FinTech world, delivers value to our stakeholders, and makes each of our offices a cutting edge, innovative and challenging place to work.
Agile performance management is a collaborative, continuous feedback and development practice that is steadily replacing traditional performance management.
Traditional performance management has proven to be insufficient to assess and enhance an employee’s contribution. Its primary focus is setting up a series of processes to measure the employee’s performance over the whole year. These processes end up having an unanticipated effect of managers focusing on employee’s weaknesses.
It is difficult to distinguish performance, except for the truly poor performers or high achievers. Being a year long process, below par or mediocre performers can’t be identified early on. Once a year performance review, with little to no feedback, gives no scope for development to the employees or the managers.
There needed to be a more dynamic performance management practice that could evolve and adapt according to the changing environment.
Elements of Traditional Performance Management:
Traditional performance management (TPM) reviewed employees annually or biannually. They were given a feedback for their overall performance of the year.
It set rigid goals for everyone for the entire year, that did not account for any changes. Employees were reviewed at the end of the year. They couldn’t fulfill these goals as unforeseen changes were not considered. This hampered their reviews to a high extent.
Spoon feeding was done on a large scale. Employees were believed to be inherently incapable of setting up their own goals.
Communication was a one way process. Employees felt their work is being dictated to them. Not only was this unproductive, but also created resentment at times.
Earlier, employees worked under tremendous pressure. Their performance review was largely dependent on their ability to deliver on time. Race to fulfill quantity often compromised on quality work.
Thus, Agile performance management was introduced. Its three key aspects are regular feedback, communication and coaching. These aspects bridge the gap between goal setting and performance evaluation.
Agile performance management focuses as much on the process as the end goals. Continuous improvement is the key.
Let us look at a few ways to introduce agile performance management in your organisation:
Incorporate regular 360° feedback
In an age of instant communication, feedback should be given on an ongoing basis. A constructive feedback helps employees understand their strengths and weaknesses. Managers can help employees address the issues that hamper their productivity.
Similarly, employees can give regular feedback to their managers. It is the virtue of highly effective managers that they accept these feedback and improve themselves as well.
The stakeholders/customers too can share their expectations. A 360° feedback mechanism is highly beneficial for everyone involved.
Keep goals flexible
Employees are as different from each other as apples and oranges. Everyone works at a different pace. Individual goals should be assigned for individual development. These should be aligned with team goals for consistent growth and development. In case of any change in direction, they should be flexible enough to adapt to that change.
Agile performance management lets employees find out their capabilities. Together they can determine a time frame in consensus for achieving their goals. This authority brings in a sense of accountability and boosts performance.
Focus on consistent development
Now, managers’ focus on consistently developing their employees through various means. It could be regular feedback, training or even recognition for their work. Developed employees are able to perform better and increase productivity.
Supportive Leadership to increase 2 way communication
Employees should be given an opportunity to voice their doubts. A 2 way communication ensures that the managers and employees are on the same page. There is a clear understanding of what is the purpose of their work and what is to be achieved. This ensures they do not deviate from the end goals and work hard to achieve them.
Agile performance management is changing the way organisations are looking at assessing & enhancing employee contributions. Not only build your softwares in an agile environment but also manage the employee performance with agility.
About the Author
Yatin Pawar leads the Marketing and Content writing efforts at Amoeboids Technologies for UpRaise. Fascinated by all things Marketing, everyday he seeks to learn best practices and new concepts to help his company grow. A voracious reader, Yatin enjoys reading fiction, fantasy and mythological novels in leisure.
I believe we are living through one of the best times in the history of work. Thanks to the advancement in technology and instant access to information, our generation has a greater sense of empathy, ethics, and values. In the past, job seekers would be looking for a place that would pay them well and give them good benefits. Now, job seekers are looking for organizations that have great cultures. Companies need to offer individuals a sense of belonging and a mission to accomplish something remarkable. With no culture, an organization, is not sustainable in the 21st century. I have come up with five elements that are essential to building and sustaining great organizational cultures. Those elements are: purpose, ownership, community, effective communication, and good leadership.
Purpose: Going back to the premise that we have a greater sense of ethics and empathy. We are less selfish, and we want to be a part of solving a problem greater than ourselves. We need to understand the why of what we do. Companies now need to have a strong mission statement where they can share the why with their team members. A great example that comes to mind is SpaceX, a company that builds rockets for space exploration. This is their mission statement: “SpaceX was founded in 2002 to revolutionize space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets.” Now… that’s a mission statement! That’s something bigger than anybody.
Ownership: The second element in building a great organizational culture is ownership. Ownership is about giving people the opportunity to be accountable for their results without being micromanaged. Giving people the autonomy over their time to accomplish their goals. Basecamp is a company that builds software for project management. They are a great example of a company that promotes ownership. They have an office in Chicago, but everyone has the chance to work from wherever they want. The CEO doesn’t know how many hours his employees work. They just set expectations and give people the opportunity to build their own schedules around their projects. But how do you keep people engaged with a sense of purpose? Well, you do that through the third element, community.
Community: Community is that sense of belonging to a group of people that shares the same or similar principles, goals, and values. Community is a place where there is camaraderie. Focus Lab is a branding and design agency that understands community. They have company standards instead of values. Their argument is that you can’t change a person’s values when they walk into your company, but you can uphold everyone to specific standards. Some of their standards are: work to live, ask more questions, and never stop learning. The culture of their company breaths these standards through their work. Building community is something as simple as having lunch and learns, hangout times on Fridays, and company trips. It varies from company to company. Community, is unique to each organization.
Effective Communication: The fourth element in building a great organizational culture is effective communication. Effective communication sounds like common sense, but through my work I have realized it is not common practice. It means consistency in processes and investing time learning the personalities and communication dynamics of team members. Google created a research project called Project Aristotle, where they found that the most collaborative teams are the ones where everyone speaks equally. In many of their engineering teams they have a list with checkmarks to make sure everyone is speaking the same number of times during their meetings.
Good Leadership: I would say this is the backbone of the cultural dynamics of any organization. The leader has to be constantly be pushing the mission, standards, community, and processes of the company. Without effective leadership the other four elements cannot thrive. People want leadership with integrity and compassion. People want authenticity. People want a leader who is clear on expectations. People want to know they have a leader who cares about them.
The elements I just mentioned are not new to people. People have always liked purpose, ownership, community, effective communication, and good leadership. It’s in our own human nature. But now we found words to describe those things to build high performing cultures. I would like to encourage each of you to be intentional about applying these elements, and building great cultures in your organizations.
About the Author:
Andy Cabistan is one of the Co-Founders of Watson Works, a culture development company helping teams communicate and collaborate better. Andy is passionate about helping companies with diverse groups of people build high performing teams. Andy is a Business Economics graduate from Armstrong State University in Savannah, Georgia, and a master’s student in the Professional Communication and Leadership program at Armstrong. In his spare time, Andy travels around the country developing leadership programs with children of military families in partnership with the Department of Defense. Andy is also active in Savannah building the entrepreneurial ecosystem. He believes that entrepreneurship, technology, and a sense of community are key factors to make economies thrive.
Can a single thought for the day inspire you and change your life? Open Colleges has spoken to 25 of the web’s top counsellors to hear their thoughts for better living. What inspires you?
Paul has been a relationship and marriage counsellor and therapist in private practice in the suburb of Macleod, Melbourne for over 20 years. He uses a range of approaches in his work, including emotion focused therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy and other couple therapies. He is a certified psychological type practitioner and uses voice dialogue in coaching clients in business and personal issues.
He also works with issues of chronic illnesses, as it affects both the sufferer and their carers, especially relationships partners. Paul has professional counseling and personal experience of motor neurone disease, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and sleep disorders and the ways in which they affect relationships.
Lisa is an experienced and certified life and confidence coach with over 14 years’ experience. Lisa appears regularly on television, print and media and has her own coaching column in the UK press.
Lisa works with her clients to become their authentic selves, be true to themselves and free themselves from negative programming and beliefs. Her formal training both in neurolinguistic programming and life coaching have enabled her to develop a holistic approach that is tailored to individuals allowing them to make an effortless transformation to their lives.
Marian is the principal of Career Avenues, a practice which offers individual career counselling for school students as well as young and older adults in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. Career Avenues was established in 1991 and aims to help people find career directions that match their aptitude, personality, values and interests.
Marian has specialised in careers psychology since the 1970s and worked for the coonselling centre at the University of Queensland, was coordinator of counselling and careers at the Queensland University of Technology, and director of the career development office at Macquarie University. She has Bachelor and PhD from the University of Queensland.
Susie is a sex and relationship therapist in private practice in Sidney. In the communication field all her working life, including lecturing in communication at university, she specialises in helping people as individuals and in relationships with a wide range of issues, including intimacy and sexual problems, communication and gender. She supervises other therapists, consults to industry on improving communications in the workplace, and gives workshops on counselling and communication to a wide range of organisations. She regularly appears in media.
Karen is a family psychotherapist with nearly two decades of experience working with diverse family situations. She has a PhD in Sociology in Parenting; she often works with couples experiencing relationship and communication problems with their young children. She has worked as the family therapist on the Today Show on Channel 9 and regularly appears on the Nine Network. She conducts presentations to parent groups and speaks regularly on many radio networks throughout the country. Karen is currently working with high profile business and celebrity clients assisting them to balance their family and work life more productively.
Desiree is the director of Sexual Health Australia and is a qualified and experienced sex therapist and relationship counsellor. Desiree was the co-host on the ABC1 television series ‘Making Couples Happy’, where she was the relationship counsellor and sex therapist of the four couples on the show. She makes regular appearances on television programmes or radio shows as an expert in relationships and sex.
She is a Bachelor in Psychology from Macquarie University, a postgraduate diploma in Psychology from Macquarie University and a Master of Health Sciences and Sexual Health from the University of Sydney. Her postgraduate diploma research was on rejection and she is currently conducting a literature review on infidelity for her PhD.
Dan is a psychotherapist and relationship counsellor with Associated Counsellors & Psychologists Sydney. He works with individual and couple to help them improve their sense of wellbeing and their relationships with others. His focus is on providing treatment for psychological issues including depression, anxiety, panic, addiction, sexuality issues, relationship difficulties, eating disorders, trauma, abuse and other issues. He works closely with clients to explore their lives and help them safely develop the capacity to reflect on and deal with their emotions. This enable them relief from inner turbulence or self-limiting experience.
Leslee is one of the most senior members of Core Energetics in Australia and an experienced body-mind psychotherapist with a private practice in Sydney and the Central Coast. Leslee is a passionate therapist wishing to inspire others to wholeness. She has extensive experience having studied a wide range of modalities over the years such as systematic or family constellation, trauma resolution and relationship counselling. Leslee brings a blend of modalities to enrich her clients’ lives. She works one on one with individuals, couples, families and groups and is able to do phone or Skype sessions.
Denise is a moderator and counsellor with over 30 years of experience in legal practice, mediation, arbitration and counselling. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Laws and a Master of Counselling degree and is a nationally accredited mediator. Denise is well known for the professional and expert quality service she has provided to her clients over many years. She is highly experienced in mediation and dispute resolution and has assisted many clients clients to achieve workable solutions to their problems.
Jacqueline is a qualified psychotherapist based in Brisbane providing mindfulness-based cognitive behavioural therapy and life coaching for people Australia-wide, whether in person, phone or online. She has completed a Bachelor of Science in Psychology at the University os Southern Queensland and done postgraduate studies in domestic violence counselling and neuroplasticity. Jacqueline’s practice, The Avidity Association came about through a passion to help people believe in themselves and their worth. Jacqueline herself struggled with poor self-image and anxiety for years, and so provides help not just from a theoretical perspective but a true passion for ensuring people find their own resilience, happiness and motivation.
Joan has worked with individuals and couples for over twenty years and has experience in private enterprise, non-profits, community, hospital, government and tertiary organisations. Her areas of specialty include anxiety, depression, loss and grief, illness, life transition, identity, relationship issues, sexuality, post-traumatic stress disorder, childhood trauma including sexual abuse for both men and women. She offers consultation and supervision and runs groups.
Joan is a registered counselling psychologist with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, a member of the Australian Psychological Society and an accredited psychodramatist with the Australian Aotearoa and New Zealand Psychodrama Association.
Tina has 26 years’ experience in transformational leadership and as an executive coach and group facilitator. Her focus is on leadership and executive development, often using 360-degree assessments to provide clients with valuable feedback. Tina coaches emerging leaders and develops current executives and leaders, coaching them in strategic leadership and people management skills. She is widely featured across popular publications including the Sydney Morning Herald, Cleo, Women’s Agenda and more.
Tina guides her clients to higher levels of awareness and performance. They report improved relationships, increased productivity and an enhanced ability to deal with rapid change and increasing complexity and ambiguity.
Jacqueline specialises in helping people to master stress. She completed the Graduate Diploma in Counselling at the Australian College of Applied Psychology and worked as a counsellor for a community counselling service and a health service. Jacqueline gained clinical membership with the Counsellors and Psychotherapists Association of New South Wales and became registered with the Psychotherapists and Counsellors Federation of Australia.
Jacqueline is founder of Wise Stress Mastery where you can find her blog and other resources. She also writes, facilitates and speaks about stress mastery for other blogs and organisations. Jacqueline’s private counselling and therapy practice of 12 years is based in the Sydney CBD.
Jill works as a counsellor and psychotherapist in her private practice in Bondi Junction and Lane Cove. She does volunteer counselling, training, and supervision in a non-profit organisation called the Mandala Community Counselling Service. She is also the vice-president of Cult Information and Family Support.
Jill is a member of the Counsellors and Psychotherapists Association of New South Wales as well as a on the National Register of the Psychotherapists and Counselling Federation of Australia.
Sherry has worked as a relationship and family counsellor for over 22 years with Relationships Australia Queensland. She also worked as a relationship educator, trainer and advanced clinical leader during that time. Currently, Sherry works with high conflict parents after separation with Uniting Care Community Queensland.
She is a clinical member of the Australian Association of Relationship Counsellors, the Marriage Educators Association of Australia and the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia.
Jane is a listener and makes no judgements and ascertains where you will need support in your life by guiding, supporting and building self-esteem. She treats each person as an individual and tailors sessions to suit personal needs.
Jane has worked in case management, business management, team supervision, corporate, government and private sectors with experience in all areas. She specialises in workplace issues, abuse, relationship and conflict resolution, grief and loss, mediation and sandplay therapy. Jane has been specialising in grief and loss and psychological abuse for many years.
Margie is a relationship counsellor, collaborative family lawyer and writer. She has been working helping people for many years and brings a wealth of experience to support those on their journey for greater happiness and wellbeing in their lives and relationships.
She has qualifications in family therapy at post graduate level as well as in somatic psychotherapy. She has also done training in various models of therapy and counselling including but not limited to psychodynamic therapy, solutions therapy, narrative therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy.
Gia is an experienced and qualified counsellor, therapeutic and remedial massage therapist, and educator. For the first fifteen years of working life she was a primary school teacher and language teacher in South Australia.
Prior to working as a therapist, at the age of 33, Gia experienced breast cancer. This urged her on a journey of self-discovery, studying more about the mind, body and spirit, which lead her to complete a Masters in Social Science (Counselling Studies) and a Diploma of Remedial Massage. She then started her own business as a therapist to help and support others with their health and wellbeing. She is now studying nutritional medicine part time.
Amanda is a leading expert in the area of grief and loss. She is the executive director of Grief Recovery Method Australia and New Zealand, with more than a decade of experience working in the counselling, education and training fields. Amanda assists people to positively action their losses and help grievers heal their broken hearts. The Grief Recovery Method is a seven step evidence-based process that helps people understand loss. It aims to help them apply the principles in their lives and allows the participants to start moving through their losses so that the memories remain but the pain of the losses is reduced.
Kati is a registered counsellor and a registered art and play clinician working with children, adolescents and adults who are experiencing anxiety, anger, depression, self-esteem and behavioural issues. Kati has previously worked with youth at Point Zero Youth Services, as well as becoming an educational group facilitator in interactive workshops throughout Sydney’s metropolitan high schools. Kati has also previously worked at South Pacific Private hospital in their intake and client care departments. Kati believes that children as young as age four will benefit from art and play therapy techniques that are used to achieve specific treatment and assessment goals, alongside theoretical models of therapeutic interventions for best practice.
Talia started out as a doctor, commencing psychiatry training before shifting to counselling. She is also a Gestalt therapist in training, due to her fascination with the human mind and view of learning as a lifelong pursuit. She also volunteers as a speaker for Beyond Blue, and is a passionate advocate for raising awareness and eliminating the stigma surrounding mental health. Talia is dedicated to assisting clients to enrich their lives. She provides the support and guidance to allow her clients to develop a greater awareness of themselves and to discover how to live in a more authentic and meaningful way.
Cait’s passion is to help people who have suffered loss. As a leading specialist in her field she has helped people move through their unresolved grief, to feel less isolated and alone. Using her training Cait seeks to empower her clients to breakthrough and rediscover the joys of a full and rewarding life. She offers grief, loss and bereavement counselling for adults, adolescents, children and families in the Penrith CBD. Her first-hand experience with grief and loss has given her the tools to help others in similar situations.
Colleen Morris is a clinical family therapist and counsellor in Geelong, Victoria. With over 30 years of experience, Colleen works with individuals, couples and families, to promote growth, wellness and potential. Her greatest achievement is a strong and happy marriage relationship to her best friend and her two beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and joy. Colleen has extensive training and certification across a wide range of areas including family therapy, mental health and relationships.
Gabrielle is a psychotherapist and writer who focuses on the very heart of living – life, death, love and loss. She works with clients all over the world via email. She is also a writer for Psych Central’s The Therapist Within. She is fully qualified in psychotherapy with accredited counselling experience. She is a member of The Australian Counselling Association and the International Society for Mental Health Online. She has been published in the Sydney Morning Herald and among other major publications.
Kim Bailey is the director and founder of All Relationship Matters. She is also a lead counsellor and psychotherapist. Kim is a warm, personable and understanding therapist. She has a unique ability to quickly identify the issues behind a person’s struggle. She is deeply passionate about her work with couples, individuals and families. Kim is also trained as a specialist couples therapist and has additional postgraduate qualifications in family therapy. Comprehensive training in these different counselling frameworks sets Kim apart from other counsellors and psychotherapists.