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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Managing Hiring + Talent

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Managing Hiring + Talent

In this week's Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup, we're featuring insight into managing hiring and talent. Enjoy!

1) What to Look for When Hiring Your Startup Team from Inc.com

“There's a multitude of ideas to consider when building your team, and far more information than can be discussed in a single article. But if you keep these five basic suggestions in mind, you should be able to create the world-class team you had always dreamed of, and on a budget you can afford in your startup's early days.”

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Innovative Hiring, Talent + Culture

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Innovative Hiring, Talent + Culture

In this week's Talent and HR News Weekly Update, we're featuring insight into innovative hiring, culture, talent and more. You may even ask yourself a few questions after reflecting on these good reads. Enjoy!

1) 7 Ways Leaders Can Shape A More Meaningful Startup Culture from Forbes

“It doesn’t take a genius to realize that it’s going to take more than a beer keg and an in-house masseuse to drive sustained performance of your startup. Beyond the perks and window dressing that business leaders adorn their exposed-brick workspaces with, what can be done to solidify certain ways of working that guide behavior to tangibly drive the results you’re looking for? Most articles out there about startup culture focus on some of the very important basic foundations that help align people in organizations: Creating a clear and compelling vision that creates a fire in peoples’ bellies about what you’re trying to accomplish. Articulating an intentional strategy where every individual can clearly see how their day-to-day behaviors support the bigger picture. Creating a non-negotiable set of core values that help members of the group understand what’s important and help guide decisions at the point closest to the issue. Right now, some of you may be saying to yourselves, “We’ve done that. Now what?” Well, let’s go there.”

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Talent and HR News Weekly Update: Getting - and Keeping - the Right Employees

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Talent and HR News Weekly Update: Getting - and Keeping - the Right Employees

Attracting new employees is hard enough. It's a huge investment, and you could spend months or even years trying to find that diamond in the rough. Now that you found that diamond, it doesn't end there. Retaining the right employees is a whole other beast. This week's Talent and HR News Weekly update features the latest thinking around getting - and keeping - the right employees. 

1) So You've Hired Someone Great--Now What? from Inc.

"Over a recent breakfast meeting, a colleague, Marisa, was discussing her company's challenges in integrating newly hired people into their culture. She went on to describe candidates who aced every round of interviews and had buy-in from all levels of the company. In her opinion, such high-performers should successfully and seamlessly integrate into the organization's culture without assistance. She was perplexed why some of her new hires hadn't lived up to her expectations--failing to assimilate or just not turning out to be the motivated personalities she saw in the interviews."

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Why HR is Important to Your Business

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Why HR is Important to Your Business

When thinking about "business," what comes to mind first is finance, selling goods and services, advertising...Human Resources is not necessarily at the top of the list. Yet it's a necessary function to keep a business running because no matter what, there are people involved in a business. And not only is it necessary, it's important. Below are some thoughtful pieces around why HR is important to your business. 

1) What Organizations Need Now From Human Resources from Forbes

"The job of Human Resources today is to make people and organizations grow, yet it has only marginally evolved since its inception around the end of the nineteenth century. Starting as 'Personnel,' to protect women and girls in industrial environments, it gradually morphed into other realms including employee hiring, firing, attendance, and compensation. Motivation, organizational behavior, and selection assessments were added to the mix in the 1960s and ’70s. Over the last decade or so, the title of H.R. Business Partner – essentially a business-focused H.R. Manager role – was introduced with little impact."

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Culture + Talent: Q&A with Cathy Atkins from Metis Communications

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Culture + Talent: Q&A with Cathy Atkins from Metis Communications

We often sit down with leaders of growing businesses to get their take on culture and talent. I recently spoke with Cathy Atkins, co-founder of Metis Communications, a public relations and marketing firm. Cathy has more than 17 years of experience helping companies get in front of the right audiences at the right time. With a mission of “doing our best work ever,” Metis works closely with high-growth, emerging companies that need a true business partner to help them build influence and create measurable results. The “Metis way” is something the company’s team embodies daily, which Cathy hopes will have a long-lasting effect in redrawing the boundaries for PR and marketing.  Here’s what Cathy has to say about culture and talent at Metis.

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The Value of Local Learning: RecruitDC

imagesRegardless of the business you're in, learning has to be a regular part of your routine. Otherwise you miss technology, innovation and quite simply, what's happening all around you. It's one thing to engage in online content, but another to hear it live, engage, ask questions and hear what others think about what you just heard.  But while conferences have value well beyond our online selves, they're often overwhelming or hard to navigate. That's where local comes in. Every locale, every geography has its own set of challenges that make doing business there hard. And DC is no different. Besides the government shutdown, (the small issue you might have heard about on the news), the uniquenesses about where I live and work most days play heavily into how I do business.  While understanding what global colleagues face is important, it's often more productive and easier to learn here at home.

Case in point: if you're a recruiter or recruiting leader here in DC, your candidates have a different combination of challenges than they might somewhere else. Commute + security clearances + transience. Oh, and did I mention income? Six of the ten wealthiest counties* in the United States are in the DC-metro area. Consider how that impacts your compensation strategy. And that's why local learning matters and why I'm proud to be a part of RecruitDC.

A local, grassroots conference, RecruitDC takes universal challenges local. And this Fall is no different. Our sell-out conferences (2x a year) highlight the classic needs talent leaders face here.  November's event will feature big data, mobile recruiting and building influence and trust on the job. If you're a local HR leader, it's a can't-miss event. So the next time you're creating your professional development plan and trying to learn on a small budget, think local!

And if you're local to DC, I hope you'll join me on November 14. Grab your tickets before they sell-out!

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*The latest Census data puts the top five median incomes by county as DC-area counties. I'd show you the data of their latest study but it's not available because of...you guessed it, the government shutdown.

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exaqueo is a workforce consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to scale the right way.

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5 Reasons Recruiting Is Like Dating

Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 2.19.58 PMThere's a great scene in Sex and the City where Charlotte proclaims she's exhausted with dating. Constantly trying to find "the one" is tiring. And while there's no real limit on the time we can take to find the right spouse or partner, if you're a recruiter, you don't have the luxury of taking your time. The proverbial clock is always ticking. It's a constant game of matchmaking and starting over again. Sometimes a good metaphor can be the best training. So when founders, new CEOs or leaders in growing companies toil over hiring, I encourage them to think about it like dating. It makes it easier to understand the struggle, the exhaustion and the hilarity of it all.

Here are five ways recruiting is like dating and the accompanying lessons you can learn.

1. Good looks only get you so far

When you're across a room or a bar, you need a reason to approach. And attraction is often it. But once the target opens his/her mouth, it could be all over.  Or, maybe the good looks carry for a few months before you realize you can't stand to be in the same company as him/her. Sometimes it takes a little time to figure it out. But when you do, you know it, and you wonder why it took you so long.

Lesson: A great resume doesn't mean anything without a conversation. Credentials may get your attention but they won't (and shouldn't) keep it.

2. A little feedback goes a long way

Ah, the relationship that ends for no reason. Or at least you have no idea what the reason was. A few great dates, flirty conversations and then bam. Suddenly, you get a thanks but no thanks text, email or post-it note with no other explanation. Hours upon of hours of Sunday brunches and girls' nights are spent discussing the "why" factor.  Most of us aren't interested in begging for a relationship life jacket, we just want to know why.

Lesson: You don't need to write candidates a long rejection letter, but at least share a snippet of clarity around why they weren't selected. No one ever wants to swim in an unknown ocean of self-doubt. A quick plunge is easier to recover from and then you can adjust your search strategy next time.

3. You can't ever have it all...

I'm a well known neat freak. I obsess over the Container Store and am known to often exclaim "everything has its place!" when referring to my home. My husband on the other hand...not so much. But six months into the relationship I decided that didn't matter.  All of the amazing things about him outweighed his inability to be able to help his clothes find their way into dresser drawers. It's not that we don't find ways to um, manage this drawback, but there are so many other awesome things about him. (And yes, I know. He can hate my neatness too).

Lesson: a long laundry list of must haves in a job description means it might take a long time to find the one. Consider what you're willing to give up to fill the role sooner rather than later.

4. ...but, being specific is always better

Sure you can't have everything, but having some clarity about what you must have is key, right? If you're asked "what's your type?" and your answer is vague, those blind dates are going to have a low success rate. Sure, your roommate can find you a 5'6" blonde who likes sports. But how does she react in public at the game when the ref makes a bad call? You'll yell "that's my girl" or slunk down so no one sees you.

Lesson: Fit is everything. Be clear on the criteria that are non-negotiable and actually influence performance. Do you need someone in your newsroom who can handle pressure. Absolutely. Is it crucial they also have a ten years of experience in the industry? Maybe not.

5. The honeymoon period eventually ends

Ah, the blissful six months when your new infatuation can't do anything wrong. And then she has a meltdown or you find out about the ex-girlfriend he might still have feelings for or he looks at other guys in a way you had never noticed before. Perfection fades and reality sets in. And how you handle reality is the real test of long-lasting bliss.

Lesson: Everyone is on their best behavior in the beginning--from interview to week one on the job. So ask about a candidate's worst qualities, how he handled failure or what he thinks of the worst parts of the job he's applying for. Get the reality on the table up front.

Whether you're on the market or blissfully settled down, it's all about information, communication and being clear. You don't need a self-help book, just a real, honest assessment of what you want and need. And then say it.

We're the ones that have to save ourselves.

http://youtu.be/-JVeFRRLdAc

 

exaqueo is a workforce consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to scale the right way.

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Dealing With Difficult Employees When You Don't Have Time

There's a great scene in Shrek when Lord Farquaad breaks off the legs of the Gingerbread Man, basically torturing him for information. Gingy refuses to divulge anything until Lord Farquaad goes for the jugular reaching for his candy buttons. "NO! Not the buttons! Not my gumdrop buttons!," Gingy cries and gives in. This is how leaders of growing companies deal with talent problems. You wait until it's going to cause you real pain. Fundraising or new hire? Client problem or co-worker disagreement? Valuation or toxic employee? When you're focusing on getting investment, customers, attention and Board approval, there's no time for talent. Until there has to be.

But you don't have to wait until it's gumdrop buttons serious. You can manage talent while you're running a business.  And you can handle difficult employees before you get to the point where you're ready to break their legs off. Or where your other employees just want to run.

Deal With It Now

If there's a problem, deal with it in 24 hours. Don't cancel an investment pitch for a difficult employee, but don't ignore the problem for days or weeks either. That demonstrates to other employees that the behavior is tolerated. It also means you forget what exactly happened and move on to putting out other fires. No matter how busy you are, ask the employee for time to talk in the next 24 hours and make it happen.

Give Regular Feedback From Day One

If you bring employees on board, focus on execution and never give them feedback on what's working and what's not, the first time you tell them there's a problem, it's defensive city. They're surprised, you're annoyed and the chasm of communication breakdown gets wider and wider.

From day one, tell new employees when they'll get feedback and how it will be delivered. Share things they are doing well and things they need to improve on. And then actually do it. Regularly. It makes it easier when things get tough, for the tough messages to be delivered. Employees will be used to the conversations -- even if they're on the fly -- and be prepared to ask questions and won't be caught off guard.

Use Your Culture to Make Your Case

Without values modeled by the leadership team, culture is just a collection of silly perks and CEO sound bytes. If you have a set of values and what exaqueo calls work rules, you can always point back to them as a guidepost of how business gets done in your organization.

For example, let's say transparency is one of your core values and you have an associated work rule that describes how and when employees need to be transparent. Then, when an employee hides something or doesn't want to admit there's a problem, you point back to the work rule. If they can't adapt, they're out. Otherwise your trading commitment to culture for one person.

Don't Hide Behind Technology

As founders or leaders, we're always on the fly. I'm writing this blog post from an airport lounge! But that doesn't mean I should text an employee if there's a problem, or shoot off an email, hit send, and shut down the computer. Feedback has to be a two-way street real-time. A ten-minute phone call now will save you five emails later and an employee so frustrated, stewing about the feedback that he doesn't focus for the rest of the day. Always direct, always in-person (or on the phone)--the only way to give feedback.

Give Employees a Chance, But Not More Than One

An employee who makes a mistake can learn and change. A toxic employee can't. That's why multiple chances don't work. Don't count to three or give start-up employees long leashes. You don't have time for that. Instead, be clear about the problem, connect it back to your culture and be honest that you don't have time for it to happen again. Encourage communication--if they aren't sure what to do, ask! But don't give out chances like candy.

You may be able to ignore or de-prioritize difficult employees until they cause a major problem. But waiting means the problem is now big enough to really impact your business.  Do you have time for that? Don't cut off your legs to spite your face. And by all means, don't wait until it gets this serious.

http://youtu.be/FpBJih02aYU

 

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exaqueo is a workforce consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to scale the right way.

 

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Talent and HR News Roundup: Supporting Your Employees Edition

Last week we talked about the oft-overlooked yet major necessity in startup and high-growth companies: employee feedback. This week, we're taking that a step further. Feedback is just the baseline requirement with your employees. You also owe them some support, coaching and development along the way.  That's not to say they shouldn't take ownership of their own careers and development. They should. But you need to show them how.  Supporting your employees is part of your job even if your company is three people. This week we've rounded up some advice for you as managers and some links to pass along to your team. Feedback is the beginning, follow-through, learning, growth and development is another.

For your team:

1) Four Ways to Advance Your Career at a Startup at The Daily Muse

"At a start-up, there’s always way more to do than people to get it done. So, think about the types of people your company would hire if the company was twice the size, choose an area that you’d like to learn about, and suggest a project to the founders. For example, if your company has talked about building out a sales team in the future and you’d love to get exposure in that area, offer to test out the viability of sales as a customer acquisition strategy. As long as you’re still performing in your core role, your manager will probably be happy to have the extra help—and you’ll have the chance to build out a new skill set."

2) Why Your Boss Still Hasn't Promoted You at The Fast Track

"Do you take feedback well, or get huffy and pout or gripe about any criticism? You’ve got to develop thicker skin the higher you go on the career ladder, so an inability to accept feedback professionally could be sending the message you’re immature and not ready to play with the big kids."

For you:

3) Managing with Empathy at Medium

"As you might imagine, the work days at Obama for America (the president’s 2012 reëlection campaign) were long, with good reason. But it takes its toll on people over time. My colleague Lauren Peterson came up with the idea of guaranteeing folks two nights each week that, no matter what, they’d be out the door by 8 p.m. We quickly adopted this on my team and referred to it as “time to do human things”. A few people asked me if they could come in at noon instead. That let them pay bills, buy groceries or just get some much needed sleep. The “in by noon” option quickly became the more popular choice."

4) How to Write a Love Letter to Your Future Startup Employee at Tech Cocktail

"... explain how you will show employees how your startup values their talent, work ethic, and dedication. Consider the following questions for inspiration writing this section: What about the employee’s work ethic do you appreciate? Why do you value your talents? These questions will help you explain to your future employee why they will be an asset to the company and how you will reward them for their hard work and dedication."

 

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exaqueo is a human resources consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to grow in the right way.

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Talent and HR News Roundup: Supporting Your Employees Edition

Last week we talked about the oft-overlooked yet major necessity in startup and high-growth companies: employee feedback. This week, we're taking that a step further. Feedback is just the baseline requirement with your employees. You also owe them some support, coaching and development along the way.  That's not to say they shouldn't take ownership of their own careers and development. They should. But you need to show them how.  Supporting your employees is part of your job even if your company is three people. This week we've rounded up some advice for you as managers and some links to pass along to your team. Feedback is the beginning, follow-through, learning, growth and development is another.

For your team:

1) Four Ways to Advance Your Career at a Startup at The Daily Muse

"At a start-up, there’s always way more to do than people to get it done. So, think about the types of people your company would hire if the company was twice the size, choose an area that you’d like to learn about, and suggest a project to the founders. For example, if your company has talked about building out a sales team in the future and you’d love to get exposure in that area, offer to test out the viability of sales as a customer acquisition strategy. As long as you’re still performing in your core role, your manager will probably be happy to have the extra help—and you’ll have the chance to build out a new skill set."

2) Why Your Boss Still Hasn't Promoted You at The Fast Track

"Do you take feedback well, or get huffy and pout or gripe about any criticism? You’ve got to develop thicker skin the higher you go on the career ladder, so an inability to accept feedback professionally could be sending the message you’re immature and not ready to play with the big kids."

For you:

3) Managing with Empathy at Medium

"As you might imagine, the work days at Obama for America (the president’s 2012 reëlection campaign) were long, with good reason. But it takes its toll on people over time. My colleague Lauren Peterson came up with the idea of guaranteeing folks two nights each week that, no matter what, they’d be out the door by 8 p.m. We quickly adopted this on my team and referred to it as “time to do human things”. A few people asked me if they could come in at noon instead. That let them pay bills, buy groceries or just get some much needed sleep. The “in by noon” option quickly became the more popular choice."

4) How to Write a Love Letter to Your Future Startup Employee at Tech Cocktail

"... explain how you will show employees how your startup values their talent, work ethic, and dedication. Consider the following questions for inspiration writing this section: What about the employee’s work ethic do you appreciate? Why do you value your talents? These questions will help you explain to your future employee why they will be an asset to the company and how you will reward them for their hard work and dedication."

 

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exaqueo is a human resources consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to grow in the right way.

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Talent and HR News Roundup: Supporting Your Employees Edition

Last week we talked about the oft-overlooked yet major necessity in startup and high-growth companies: employee feedback. This week, we're taking that a step further. Feedback is just the baseline requirement with your employees. You also owe them some support, coaching and development along the way.  That's not to say they shouldn't take ownership of their own careers and development. They should. But you need to show them how.  Supporting your employees is part of your job even if your company is three people. This week we've rounded up some advice for you as managers and some links to pass along to your team. Feedback is the beginning, follow-through, learning, growth and development is another.

For your team:

1) Four Ways to Advance Your Career at a Startup at The Daily Muse

"At a start-up, there’s always way more to do than people to get it done. So, think about the types of people your company would hire if the company was twice the size, choose an area that you’d like to learn about, and suggest a project to the founders. For example, if your company has talked about building out a sales team in the future and you’d love to get exposure in that area, offer to test out the viability of sales as a customer acquisition strategy. As long as you’re still performing in your core role, your manager will probably be happy to have the extra help—and you’ll have the chance to build out a new skill set."

2) Why Your Boss Still Hasn't Promoted You at The Fast Track

"Do you take feedback well, or get huffy and pout or gripe about any criticism? You’ve got to develop thicker skin the higher you go on the career ladder, so an inability to accept feedback professionally could be sending the message you’re immature and not ready to play with the big kids."

For you:

3) Managing with Empathy at Medium

"As you might imagine, the work days at Obama for America (the president’s 2012 reëlection campaign) were long, with good reason. But it takes its toll on people over time. My colleague Lauren Peterson came up with the idea of guaranteeing folks two nights each week that, no matter what, they’d be out the door by 8 p.m. We quickly adopted this on my team and referred to it as “time to do human things”. A few people asked me if they could come in at noon instead. That let them pay bills, buy groceries or just get some much needed sleep. The “in by noon” option quickly became the more popular choice."

4) How to Write a Love Letter to Your Future Startup Employee at Tech Cocktail

"... explain how you will show employees how your startup values their talent, work ethic, and dedication. Consider the following questions for inspiration writing this section: What about the employee’s work ethic do you appreciate? Why do you value your talents? These questions will help you explain to your future employee why they will be an asset to the company and how you will reward them for their hard work and dedication."

 

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exaqueo is a human resources consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to grow in the right way.

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Talent and HR News Roundup: Startup Leadership Edition

Talent and HR News Roundup: Startup Leadership EditionA key part of growth for every startup and high-growth organization is talent. The people. That's how we make our living here at exaqueo. But sometimes the best examples are right in front of us -- growing startups every day. This week we've been paying attention to some of those leaders and pass along their lessons in growth, innovation and scalability to you. Here we pass along four stories and four different perspectives on startup leadership, growth and what to consider to get to your end game or end goal -- whatever that might be.

1) The Rise of Female Chief Operating Officers: Meet Jen Consalvo at Forbes

"Outside of corporate life, the challenges are different but still there. I see far more male-dominated startups, fewer female-led companies getting funded and lots of gender issues play out across the startup world. Because there are no corporate policies making it really clear not to offend people, startup world is a bit more like a school playground – and people get really stupid. It’s forced me to look honestly at my own behavior and attitudes and admit when I’m trying to fit in with the status quo versus speaking out to create change."

2) When Startups Pair With Big Corporations Everyone Wins at Fast Company

"Really, though, the ultimate benefit to partnering with corporations boils down to two words: exit strategy. Not every founder is looking to sell, of course. But if you are, cultivating a corporate partnership is a great way to start. Building a relationship with a corporation that respects the startup’s value proposition -- and receives benefit from it -- is a great way to plan a future acquisition, especially for serial entrepreneurs."

3) Startup to $850,000 in Under One Year at Under30CEO

"A year and a day before I spoke with Michael Mogill, Crisp Video Group was born.  Only 366 days later, the company has grown to 8 employees and is projected to earn $850,000 in revenue for the year of 2013. Having success as an entrepreneur is nothing out of the ordinary for Mogill, who at the age of 12 launched a web design company out of his parents’ home.  'I’d have web design clients come to my house and my mom would let them in the front door.'"

4) Lauren Thorp of Umba on Taking Small Steps Toward Your Passion at TechCocktail

"For me the first step in becoming an entrepreneur was I had to get happy. And that meant quitting my job," says Lauren Thorp in this video on her startup leadership philosophy.

exaqueo is a human resources consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to grow in the right way.

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Work Rules: What They Are and Why You Need Them

Work Rules: What They Are and Why You Need ThemEvery company wants to be cool in some way -- more specifically, be known for something: a great place to work, a cool thing to be part of, a place people brag about joining. That's where the values come in. Whether valuable or not (pun intended), core values are the hot topic when it comes to culture. You have to have them. And whether you're Toms Shoes, Whole Foods or Teach for America, your values set the stage for your business.

While values and culture creation is the first step, it's not the most important. Enter work rules.

What Are Work Rules?

"Work rules" is a term we've developed here at exaqueo. Work rules are a way to make what a company values real and hold employees accountable. You can have the best list of core values ever, but if you don't hold employees accountable and align the way you do business to them, they don't mean anything.

Here's how it works:

Take one of Whole Foods' core values: "supporting team member excellence and happiness." Sounds good, right? But what exactly does that mean? How is that manifested in the day to day operations of a Whole Foods store?

It could mean personal support -- doing right by each other when it comes to learning and development, lots of time off, special dispensation for family needs, stipends for personal interests. Or, it could be about the business -- supporting team members who need help stocking shelves or find themselves overwhelmed with a line of customers at customer service.

You Have to Define Your Values

Specifically, what do they look like in practice? And at Whole Foods, this particular value is focused more on workplace happiness than happiness outside of work.

Nothing wrong with that -- in fact, their clarity is commendable. As an current or future employee it's clear what they mean by happiness. I can expect very fair wages. I shouldn't expect extra time off.

Another example of a value many companies might have is "customer service." But what kind of customer service is valued?

That's where work rules come in.  Maybe the focus is on deep customer relationships and problem solving. Or it could be about fast service, getting customers served efficiently and correctly. Either way, work rules help you better define what great performance looks like in your organization, and that makes hiring and performance management better. And it helps your company stay focused.

If you're wondering if it's worth it, if there's real, monetary value in this, let me know. I'll send you a real-world example from one of our clients.

If you need the motivation to get started, ask yourself how important talent is to growth.

There's your answer.

exaqueo is a human resources consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to grow in the right way.

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Why Hiring the Best Can Make Your Company Fail

I once had a very successful startup founder say to me, “I don’t get it. I hired all of the smartest people I could find. And they all hate each other now.” There’s a clear path to startup success: killer idea, strong funding, high growth, impressive valuation. But many startup founders get to that point and finally turn around and look at the company they’ve built with disappointment. The culture’s not there. Teamwork’s sorely lacking. And debates are getting more heated and more personal.

Your problem is that you’ve hired too many good people.

Founders often hire to one principle: get me the best. They want the programmer or developer with incredibly mad skills. The ones who are sought after by bigger, more established startups. The ones who are so good at what they do, founders let everything else slide.

There’s a risky proposition to hiring stars...read more of my post over on Tech Cocktail.

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This post originally appeared on TechCocktail written by Susan LaMotte, the founder of exaqueo. A human resources consultancy, exaqueo helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to grow in the right way.

 

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Talent and HR News Roundup: Technology and Tools Edition

Talent and HR News Roundup: Technology and Tools EditionWhen you make strategic recommendations for a living, it goes without saying that you have to know your technology and tools. The organizations relying on exaqueo for broad guidance also need help with execution. And that often means bringing in help in the form of technology and tools. What we're seeing in the market lately is a real trend in personalization -- HR and talent technologies that help startup and high-growth companies start to execute on HR and not just play pretend. This week, we've gathered a few sources to help pique your interest. And when you need our help, just shout.

1) What IT Recruiters Know About You at CIO:

"RemarkableHire uses what it calls 'social evidence' that people are knowledgeable in a particular skill by looking, among other things, for recognition by their peers and indications that they've provided the best answers to questions posted online. 'We look for signals within the content that someone has expertise in a particular skill,' says Rothrock. The company then provides skills proficiency ratings of one to four stars for each subject."

2) The Candidate Experience: The ROI of a Powerful Movement in Talent Acquisition at the Human Capital Institute:

"TalentCircles has been designed with the candidate experience in mind -- it's a people-centric engagement tool that empowers the recruiter to deliver on candidates’ expectations.  Our holistic approach, a talent engagement platform, optimizes both the candidate’s and the recruiter’s experience."

3) What We're Up To: Bios And Jobs at Kin:

"Everyone has a story, and Kin’s bio pages gives your team a way to share theirs. Employees can provide their story, social networks, and personal links, and Kin will do the rest by providing contact information and a link to that team member’s job description. What’s nice is a user can quickly navigate through the entire company using the simple and quick navigation at the top of the page."

4) Social Performance Management: A Webinar from Teamly and Tibbr:

"Regular checkins between managers and their direct reports are a great way to provide continuous feedback, and means there won’t be any surprise when it comes time to do the annual review. But most companies don’t operate this way, preferring to leave everything to the end of the year and do a 'thorough' review instead."

exaqueo is a human resources consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to grow in the right way.

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Talent and HR News Roundup: Building Your Team Edition

Talent and HR News Roundup: Building Your Team EditionStartups and high-growth companies always struggle when they hit the bumps in the road recruiting and managing talent.  Part of the challenge is that most founders aren't experts in people and human capital management. Like finance, sales and product development, managing the strategy for a growing team is a specific area of expertise. In this week's news roundup we focus on some great articles about building your team, steps to avoid and the perspective of the job seeker.

1) Zynga Layoffs: What Happens When Startups Grow Too Fast at Entrepreneur:

It's tempting to move quickly and grow fast. After all, you have products and services to push. And let's be honest -- you need to make money.  The first default might be to hire, hire, hire. But expanding your workforce too quickly can have negative consequences.

2) Edward Snowden: No Degree, Lied on His Resume, Promptly Hired for $122K a Year... at The HR Capitalist:

When you're growing quickly, it's easy to bypass steps that take extra time and take bigger risks. But when it comes to talent, bypassing background checks or thinking employment law doesn't apply to you is a huge mistake -- one that even big companies make.

3) The Secret to Building Dream Teams at Talent Management:

Just like job seekers think if they talk, they can interview, managers and startup leaders think hiring is as simple as asking a few questions. It's actually more of a science than you think and the bigger you grow, the more important it is.

4) 3 Steps to Negotiating a Startup Job Offer at The Daily Muse:

If you're trying to figure out how to convince that perfect candidate to join your company, get in their head. What are they thinking about when deciphering and negotiating the offer?

exaqueo is a human resources consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to grow in the right way.

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Meet exaqueo

It's often said that companies -- especially consulting firms -- don't take the advice they dish out. Well, we've broken that mold at exaqueo. We have core values and work rules just like we build for our clients. And as we grow our team, you can bet we'll build our own employer brand that accurately captures what it's like to work at exaqueo. Until then, we're thrilled that MeetAdvisors has profiled our business in its community blog. Take a look and learn more about our successes, our failures and our passion for helping startups and high-growth companies build cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. MeetAdvisors: exaqueo

 

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Where Business Meets Behavior

Earlier in my career, I tried to explain my fascination with work to people. I started working at 14 and had more jobs by 22 than most people have their entire lives. I blame my parents, partly.  They made the mistake of teaching me the value of hard work. What I started to understand--as I moved from lifeguard to customer service representative to telemarketer--that the success of the work we do is based on how we behave and interact with each other. 'Where Business Meets Behavior' became my personal tagline but I've been struggling to describe why I live at that intersection for many years.  Purzue recently gave me the chance to share my obsession with all things talent.  Here's an excerpt:

Purzue: Many businesses search for the perfect candidate. How important is workforce diversification?

Susan: Once you know a candidate can fit the role and is a fit for the culture you want to consider the differences they bring. This is my perspective on diversity–what uniquenesses can a candidate add to the company, the workforce and the team once they demonstrate fit.  Specifically, companies should focus on diversity of thought and perspective, diversity in behaviors–how a candidate gets work done, and a diversity of experience across industries. Some companies are so focused on hiring from competitors rather than recognizing they can often learn more and diversify the thought process by thinking outside their industry and competitive set. There’s no perfect candidate. It’s who is right at this point in time and how can we find those people.

You can read the full interview here.

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Why Start-Ups Matter to HR

Last week, my colleague Rajiv wrote about why start-ups need to care about HR.  Newsflash--that sentiment goes both ways. HR needs to care about entrepreneurs too. If you're in HR, you've heard of SHRM--the Society for Human Resource Management. You might even be a member. While I'm certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), I've let my long-time SHRM membership lapse even though my home office is only a few blocks from SHRM. Here's why--I'm an entrepreneur. My company, exaqueo, is in the business of talent. And yet I still decided the value from SHRM wasn't worth it for me personally. Or anyone on my team.  We're in the business of helping start-ups and high-growth companies solve the talent problems that impede their growth.  They need advice. They need HR. They need help. And right now, SHRM isn't the answer.

As I prepared to write this post, I turned to my colleagues in the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only membership organization comprised of hundreds of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. I asked if they struggle with HR issues.  "Who doesn't?" one answered. "Talent is everything," said another.  When I walked around the entrepreneurial event Day of Fosterly, a few weeks ago, I asked if the founders and entrepreneurs had heard of SHRM. Few had. And those that did weren't members. Fellow members in my DC Tech Facebook group were mixed on whether they'd heard of SHRM, but all saw HR as hugely important to their business growth.

It doesn't surprise me.

This morning's rotating flash on the SHRM page touts the conference and a webcast on HR departments.  The emails I keep getting throw the carrot of a tote bag if I join. I'm an entrepreneur. I don't have time for a weeklong conference. I don't have an HR department. And I certainly don't want or need a tote bag (NPR, I'm talking to you ,too.)

But, it does scare me.

In HR and recruiting we've become a content nation of boring. We cater to the middle man, the average HR gal. We talk about the same companies over and over. We rely on lists and rankings that mean nothing beyond a fluffy press release. We write the same articles over and over (with the same advice). And we do all this without regard to our audience -- small company, large company, hourly, managerial, tech, union -- it doesn't seem to matter.

The most popular articles on SHRM will make any entrepreneur's eyes glaze over. Today's "most popular" list included HSA, pension, e-Verify, FMLA...most entrepreneurs don't care or want to care about these things. It's up to us as HR professionals make them care in a way that matters to them--money, risk, talent, growth. A Q&A on social media policy? Entrepreneurs don't have time for that. They don't even have or need policies.  Content needs to cater, to be specific to this audience.

They are HR's future customers.

Entrepreneurs need to care about HR and we need to both make them care and show them we can actually help them. I did find a few entrepreneurs getting value from topics like training and employee relations with SHRM:  "I like HR people who like to do lots of training and education. So they get a good resources from SHRM," said one founder. Yes! Many start-ups hire novice or neophyte professionals who want to learn HR and can do it on the go as the start-up grows. But they have to be drawn in.

One entrepreneur shared her perspective on SHRM this way: "Keep in mind, they tend to take the most conservative stance on HR matters so it may or may not be relevant to start-up issues." This is the perception in the marketplace among entrepreneurs who do know SHRM.

HR organizations like SHRM need to think more deeply about the future of the profession and not just coast along appealing to vanilla audiences. There's a place to support entrepreneurs and their work style. Content channels? Sub groups? Communities? Places to show the value of HR to entrepreneurs so they don't ruin their businesses over talent issues.  Believe me--this is more common than you think. (A client recently told me: "I don't understand how I ended up with a group of employees who are incredibly smart but all hate each other.")

Hey SHRM!

Don't you want to be relevant to organizations in the early stage of the organizational life-cycle? If you don't, you should. Ask me how. I'm just down the street...I'll even buy you a Misha's. In the meantime, our little boutique consultancy will continue our mission to build cultures, employer brands and talent strategies...one start-up at a time.

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Covering Talent Issues: A Reporter's Perspective

I sit on the Board of our local talent acquisition non-profit group, RecruitDC. And since the inception, we’ve been lucky enough to have exceptional keynote speakers at each of our sell-out conferences. This year, with so many economic and government factors affecting our local talent landscape, we’re taking a different approach. Washington Post reporter Sarah Halzack will lead a panel of executive HR leaders to address some of these issues.  Halzack, a Capital Business Reporter and Web Editor for the Post, has a unique perspective on the area’s talent market. In advance of RecruitDC’s May 23rd Spring Conference, I sat down with her to talk talent, reporting and her own unique job.

Susan LaMotte: How did you land at The Washington Post? And tell us a little bit about your beat and the topics you cover?

Sarah Halzack: During my senior year at George Washington University, I worked as a research assistant for Laura Sessions Stepp, a journalist who was then working at the Washington Post and was in the process of writing a book.  When I graduated, she pointed me to apply for a job at the Post as a news aide, our most entry-level position. At that point, I was still somewhat unsure about what I wanted to do for my career; I had majored in journalism, but had only done internships in media relations. But as soon as I began working in the newsroom, I knew that I was exactly where I wanted to be.  I loved the energy of the place and I loved being surrounded by such bright and curious people. Currently, I am a reporter and Web editor with our Capital Business publication. I cover employment and workplace topics. That includes anything from how the labor market looks and what it says about the broader health of the regional economy to more HR-specific topics such as talent attraction and retention, compensation and benefits/rewards.

SL: I’m so glad the Post continues to dig into these topics especially since we spend so much time talking about politics in DC. Now, business journalism isn't as contentious as politics, but what have you learned about staying objective?

SH: Fairness is at the core of what we do in any department of the newsroom. I think the best way to achieve it is by thinking about a story from all 360 degrees and making sure you’ve been thoughtful and deliberate about what information you’ve included, what sources you’ve talked to, and whether you’ve given all the stakeholders a fair chance to comment. And I think it’s helpful to not make assumptions in reporting.  That helps ensure that you arrive at the most objective framework for your story.

SL: I think that’s good advice for business leaders too. We tend to have preconceived notions about solutions or even who to hire for a specific role! The 360-degree approach is something we could surely learn from. From the reporting you’ve done for the Post, what are some of the business trends you're seeing in our market?

SH: As we noted in the most recent edition of Post 200 (The Washington Post's annual report on the area's top businesses), it seems that many of the biggest businesses in the Washington region got a little bit smaller last year That manifested in different ways: Some shrunk real estate footprints, some reduced headcount, and others spun off business verticals. And so it seems that this year will be about adjusting and adapting to those consequential changes.  As for the local job market, the unemployment rate is ticking down slowly.  However, we are not adding jobs in the professional services sector at a fast enough pace to rev the engine of economic recovery.  Lately, our biggest job creators have been the health-care industry and the hospitality industry.  However, these are sectors that don’t tend to pay especially well, so that could weigh on income growth in this region.

SL: As part of preparing this year's Post 200, you talked about talent as a primary issue for many CEOs. What particular concerns and challenges do you find them to be facing right now?

SH: As I talk to folks in the local talent industry, a few themes emerge.  Some say that talent retention is a difficulty, particularly amid this climate of tightened budgets that might not allow as much room for compensation increases.  I also hear often that certain jobs remain hard to fill because they can’t find workers with the right skill set.  I’ve heard of and reported on lots of different ways of dealing with this—building talent pipelines with local colleges, creating internal training programs, or recruiting from unexpected places. For example, I reported last year on Merrill Lynch’s Washington office and how they are recruiting veterans, accountants and lawyers to work as financial advisers. In another story, I wrote about how Vocus was hiring a food truck for a day and giving out free pizza to lure people to apply for jobs. In other words, it seems many talent professionals are looking for outside-the-box ways to get the best people to come to their organization.

SL: There has been a great deal of conversation in our industry about a talent shortage versus a shortage of certain skills. But that’s just one of many key topics we’re talking about right now. It’s a crowded platform of challenges and I know we’ll delve into then for our panel.  Now, like many journalists, I'm sure story ideas are constantly crowding your mind. What do you do outside of work to clear your head?

SH: I perform with a professional contemporary dance company called Dana Tai Soon Burgess & Co.  We rehearse in the evenings and on weekends and perform throughout the Washington area.  It feels great to get up and do something physical after being behind a desk all day!  And dance calls for a different type of creativity than I use as a journalist, so that is refreshing as well.  I’m also a big fan of yoga. 

SL: Me too. We lead such crowded lives I find yoga a great way to eliminate all that noise if only for a hour.  And with all that you do, we appreciate you taking the time to join us at RecruitDC.  We look forward to hosting you and our panelists on May 23: 

-       Melody Jones, Chief Administrative Officer, CEB

-       Angela Mannino, SVP Human Resources, Inova Health System

-       Jeff Perkins, Chief People Officer, NPR

-       Bridgette Weitzel, Vice President, Organization Development & Chief Talent Officer, BAE Systems North America

 

 

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