Human Resources Today

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Strategy and Planning

8 Employer Brand Lessons Learned While Working with Agency Partners

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8 Employer Brand Lessons Learned While Working with Agency Partners

Going it alone can be valuable when you’re short on resources, and long for talent. But for many organizations, working with an external partner can provide in-depth, rigorous experience when you don’t have it in-house. Depending upon an organization’s goals, there is a whole list of reasons why you might take this step

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Moments That Matter in the Candidate Experience

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Moments That Matter in the Candidate Experience

Recruiting has fundamentally changed with the rise of the social web and technology. Candidates expect to easily access information about your company through a variety of resources, as well as more personalized communication, interaction and transparency. Candidates scrutinize your company in new ways and make more informed decisions than ever before.

This means you must work smarter to meet your candidates’ needs without knowing when they’re ready to make a decision or influence someone else’s. Today, it’s more important than ever to build a strong employer brand and provide a positive experience for candidates to compete for top talent.  And that means you have to be just as detail-oriented and scrutinize every element of the employment experience. Just like a candidate.

In comes the moment of truth …

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The Gap: Increasing Employee Retention through Increasing Its Minimmum Wage

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The Gap: Increasing Employee Retention through Increasing Its Minimmum Wage

As part of my morning routine, I was sifting through emails on my iPhone today when I came across an email from Gap Inc. with the subject line, “Gap is doing more…” I normally delete these sorts of promotional emails, but this subject line was catchy enough to get me to click through. I assumed it was some sort of corporate social responsibility effort, like reusing waste products from the supply chain or partnering with a non-profit. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it had to do with increasing the minimum hourly rate of their employees to $9 in 2014 and to $10 in 2015. As a customer and former employee of the Gap, I applaud the company, and it’s not necessarily because I feel strongly one way or the other about the minimum wage debate. To catch you up to speed on the minimum wage debate, here are a few quick facts:

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The Path to Startup Culture: Q&A with Roundtable Companies' Corey Blake

 

At exaqueo, we’ve always believed that the earlier you define your culture, promote that culture –the good and the bad – and hire to it, the more effective the role talent can play in your growth.

Today we’re continuing our series on companies not only passionate about culture but making the effort to pull that through. Our goal is to show you talent not only matters but can be the difference between success or stagnation.

This week I sit down with Corey Blake, President of Roundtable Companies, a storytelling and publishing company that develops and distributes books that change the world.

Susan LaMotte. exaqueo (SL): You’ve had a [excuse the pun] storied career. And now as a company founder, you’re paying close attention to the careers of others. In your mind, why does talent and culture fit matter?

Corey Blake, Roundtable Companies (CB): Talent alone can be a disaster. We actually hire based on culture fit more than anything because there is plenty of talent available. The combination of the two sets the stage for us all to pull the rope in the same direction and create work that matters.

SL: It’s always surprising when you find diversity of talent with similar behaviors. As you’ve gone through this process to understand and strengthen your culture, what have you learned the most?

CB: Investments in culture require faith because they produce results that can often be difficult to measure. But every time we invest in culture, we generate more happiness among our people who then turn around and serve our customers with more enthusiasm, dedication, and brilliance. Lesson learned: investing in culture requires a leap of faith.

SL: That leap of faith isn’t always perfect though, right? Tell me about a time you felt company leadership went wrong. What did you do?

CB: As the CEO, I was handling too much of the day-to-day operations earlier this year. But as an entrepreneur, I'm not best suited to management. I was cranky and financial fluctuations gave me anxiety that I spread all over. My other executive team members sat me down and we had some tough conversations on how to make the necessary shifts so that I wasn't infusing our culture with fear and anxiety.  Our conversations around my anxiety resulted in us making a major shift. We moved me out of operations and our VP moved into the COO role. He is steadfast and our staff responds to him beautifully. That shift gave our staff more comfort (because I am too much of a roller coaster), while it freed me up to get back to my own zone of genius which is being an entrepreneur and building something new. Since then I have spearheaded the launch of our community. An all around win.

SL: Now that you have the right foundation, what will you do to grow the company you want to grow?

CB: At this point, our staff and systems are working at a high level. Our future growth will come from exposure of our work through our new community. We feel we are one of the best-kept secrets in the business world and the world of storytelling, so our growth will come through the use of a bullhorn and inspiring people to share the work we're engaged in.

SL: Looking back, what advice would you give to other entrepreneurs about starting a company?

CB: At all costs remain true to your word. And do what is right, regardless of the cost. Become known for your integrity. You'll learn some painful lessons that force you to spend large amounts of money to remedy, but that will teach you how to hire the right people, how to care for your customers, and how to build systems that support doing things the right way and to an incredibly high standard. That will in turn sell your business.

SL: Well said. Thanks for your time Corey!

Corey Blake is the President of Roundtable Companies. He has been storytelling for almost two decades since he graduated from Millikin University with a BFA in Theatre in 1996. Learn more about Corey and Roundtable Companies.

Susan LaMotte is the founder of exaqueo, a workforce consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact exaqueo 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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It's Not What You Think: Las Vegas Startups

Las Vegas has a specific reputation: gambling, bars, partying, up-all-night-antics. We've all been there (or not). I won't tell if you won't. Either way, unless you're in the business of showing guests a good time, it's hard to think about business in Vegas. Until now.  Over at Forbes I just wrote about the changing face of business in las Vegas. It's not what you think. Thirteen years ago, cell phone battery dead and no ATM in sight, I walked from the Hard Rock Café to Mandalay Bay on the Strip in Las Vegas. Not my smartest move ever: two and a half miles at 3:00 a.m. leaving behind a gaggle of girlfriends who weren’t ready to end their night. I hated Vegas.

Las Vegas is defined by the Strip. It revels in its notorious, brightly lit glory from ad campaigns to pop star concerts. But tourism and hospitality make money—the Strip brought in $6.2 billion in gaming revenue alone in 2012. It’s like the sad tale of a Hollywood actress who tried to make it big and realized she could make more money as a stripper. At first she was a little embarrassed, but now she relishes walking a line of disrespect and lavish living.

If the Las Vegas Strip is the Saturday night stripper famous for her routines and earning potential, downtown Las Vegas is an aging call girl. But good investors know the difference between a tear-down and a rehab.

Enter the Downtown Project.

The founder and CEO of Umba, Lauren Thorp is like many entrepreneurs—deeply focused on growing her business and doing what it takes to make that happen. She and her husband had briefly relocated from Washington, D.C. to Menlo Park as part of 500 Startups. But she wasn’t moving again.

Lauren hated Las Vegas too. And she’d never even been there. She begged off opportunities to visit, imagining Vegas just like the media portrayed it to be. That was until investors came calling—community members, really. All from the Downtown Project.

“I’ll be honest, it was mentally confusing,” said Thorp. “How did I have such a strong opinion on a place I had never been to? We made a weekend trip after much convincing and in 48 hours we were sold. And there wasn’t even a sales pitch.”

Much has been made of the Downtown Project, Tony Hsieh’s heavily publicized venture in downtown Las Vegas. He’s moving Zappos’ headquarters into the old City Hall building, and piled $350 million of his own money into turning once-seedy Downtown Las Vegas into a business, cultural and lifestyle mecca. And while Tony may be the one who saw the potential, he’s rallied a team of builders, doers, thinkers, and huggers to bring companies, education and healthcare to drive this call-girlish investment.

It’s not about the money. It’s about the people.

If you listen really carefully you’ll hear the sound of quieting egos and a community getting louder and louder. This is the business of people. Not just startups.

Rehan Choudhry had been begging me to visit Vegas for months. A former MBA classmate of mine, Rehan runs startup Aurelian Marketing Group. Aurelian’s the agency behind the Life is Beautiful Festival responsible for turning downtown Vegas into a music, arts and learning mecca in late October.

Like many MBA types, Rehan’s career was a series of short-term wins, metrics and promotions. He never looked through a long lens of what he wanted and what he could give back. From corporate consulting to hospitality management, Rehan kept building towards short-term wins, but was never really satisfied.

“I finally realized that to be happy in business I had to both follow my passions and make my life more meaningful and the Downtown Project is a perfect example of marrying both.”

Vegas is still Vegas…but it’s getting better.

To be clear, Vegas is still Vegas. Coming out of my hotel on my recent visit, I passed a barely-clothed man wearing only a loincloth and Native American face paint. On our way to Downtown Lowdown (a mandatory monthly meeting for Downtown Project members), we passed a bearded lady. My non-smoking hotel room still smelled like stale Marlboros. There’s still a long way to go.

Continue reading this article on Forbes.

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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It's Not What You Think: Las Vegas Startups

Las Vegas has a specific reputation: gambling, bars, partying, up-all-night-antics. We've all been there (or not). I won't tell if you won't. Either way, unless you're in the business of showing guests a good time, it's hard to think about business in Vegas. Until now.  Over at Forbes I just wrote about the changing face of business in las Vegas. It's not what you think. Thirteen years ago, cell phone battery dead and no ATM in sight, I walked from the Hard Rock Café to Mandalay Bay on the Strip in Las Vegas. Not my smartest move ever: two and a half miles at 3:00 a.m. leaving behind a gaggle of girlfriends who weren’t ready to end their night. I hated Vegas.

Las Vegas is defined by the Strip. It revels in its notorious, brightly lit glory from ad campaigns to pop star concerts. But tourism and hospitality make money—the Strip brought in $6.2 billion in gaming revenue alone in 2012. It’s like the sad tale of a Hollywood actress who tried to make it big and realized she could make more money as a stripper. At first she was a little embarrassed, but now she relishes walking a line of disrespect and lavish living.

If the Las Vegas Strip is the Saturday night stripper famous for her routines and earning potential, downtown Las Vegas is an aging call girl. But good investors know the difference between a tear-down and a rehab.

Enter the Downtown Project.

The founder and CEO of Umba, Lauren Thorp is like many entrepreneurs—deeply focused on growing her business and doing what it takes to make that happen. She and her husband had briefly relocated from Washington, D.C. to Menlo Park as part of 500 Startups. But she wasn’t moving again.

Lauren hated Las Vegas too. And she’d never even been there. She begged off opportunities to visit, imagining Vegas just like the media portrayed it to be. That was until investors came calling—community members, really. All from the Downtown Project.

“I’ll be honest, it was mentally confusing,” said Thorp. “How did I have such a strong opinion on a place I had never been to? We made a weekend trip after much convincing and in 48 hours we were sold. And there wasn’t even a sales pitch.”

Much has been made of the Downtown Project, Tony Hsieh’s heavily publicized venture in downtown Las Vegas. He’s moving Zappos’ headquarters into the old City Hall building, and piled $350 million of his own money into turning once-seedy Downtown Las Vegas into a business, cultural and lifestyle mecca. And while Tony may be the one who saw the potential, he’s rallied a team of builders, doers, thinkers, and huggers to bring companies, education and healthcare to drive this call-girlish investment.

It’s not about the money. It’s about the people.

If you listen really carefully you’ll hear the sound of quieting egos and a community getting louder and louder. This is the business of people. Not just startups.

Rehan Choudhry had been begging me to visit Vegas for months. A former MBA classmate of mine, Rehan runs startup Aurelian Marketing Group. Aurelian’s the agency behind the Life is Beautiful Festival responsible for turning downtown Vegas into a music, arts and learning mecca in late October.

Like many MBA types, Rehan’s career was a series of short-term wins, metrics and promotions. He never looked through a long lens of what he wanted and what he could give back. From corporate consulting to hospitality management, Rehan kept building towards short-term wins, but was never really satisfied.

“I finally realized that to be happy in business I had to both follow my passions and make my life more meaningful and the Downtown Project is a perfect example of marrying both.”

Vegas is still Vegas…but it’s getting better.

To be clear, Vegas is still Vegas. Coming out of my hotel on my recent visit, I passed a barely-clothed man wearing only a loincloth and Native American face paint. On our way to Downtown Lowdown (a mandatory monthly meeting for Downtown Project members), we passed a bearded lady. My non-smoking hotel room still smelled like stale Marlboros. There’s still a long way to go.

Continue reading this article on Forbes.

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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It's Not What You Think: Las Vegas Startups

Las Vegas has a specific reputation: gambling, bars, partying, up-all-night-antics. We've all been there (or not). I won't tell if you won't. Either way, unless you're in the business of showing guests a good time, it's hard to think about business in Vegas. Until now.  Over at Forbes I just wrote about the changing face of business in las Vegas. It's not what you think. Thirteen years ago, cell phone battery dead and no ATM in sight, I walked from the Hard Rock Café to Mandalay Bay on the Strip in Las Vegas. Not my smartest move ever: two and a half miles at 3:00 a.m. leaving behind a gaggle of girlfriends who weren’t ready to end their night. I hated Vegas.

Las Vegas is defined by the Strip. It revels in its notorious, brightly lit glory from ad campaigns to pop star concerts. But tourism and hospitality make money—the Strip brought in $6.2 billion in gaming revenue alone in 2012. It’s like the sad tale of a Hollywood actress who tried to make it big and realized she could make more money as a stripper. At first she was a little embarrassed, but now she relishes walking a line of disrespect and lavish living.

If the Las Vegas Strip is the Saturday night stripper famous for her routines and earning potential, downtown Las Vegas is an aging call girl. But good investors know the difference between a tear-down and a rehab.

Enter the Downtown Project.

The founder and CEO of Umba, Lauren Thorp is like many entrepreneurs—deeply focused on growing her business and doing what it takes to make that happen. She and her husband had briefly relocated from Washington, D.C. to Menlo Park as part of 500 Startups. But she wasn’t moving again.

Lauren hated Las Vegas too. And she’d never even been there. She begged off opportunities to visit, imagining Vegas just like the media portrayed it to be. That was until investors came calling—community members, really. All from the Downtown Project.

“I’ll be honest, it was mentally confusing,” said Thorp. “How did I have such a strong opinion on a place I had never been to? We made a weekend trip after much convincing and in 48 hours we were sold. And there wasn’t even a sales pitch.”

Much has been made of the Downtown Project, Tony Hsieh’s heavily publicized venture in downtown Las Vegas. He’s moving Zappos’ headquarters into the old City Hall building, and piled $350 million of his own money into turning once-seedy Downtown Las Vegas into a business, cultural and lifestyle mecca. And while Tony may be the one who saw the potential, he’s rallied a team of builders, doers, thinkers, and huggers to bring companies, education and healthcare to drive this call-girlish investment.

It’s not about the money. It’s about the people.

If you listen really carefully you’ll hear the sound of quieting egos and a community getting louder and louder. This is the business of people. Not just startups.

Rehan Choudhry had been begging me to visit Vegas for months. A former MBA classmate of mine, Rehan runs startup Aurelian Marketing Group. Aurelian’s the agency behind the Life is Beautiful Festival responsible for turning downtown Vegas into a music, arts and learning mecca in late October.

Like many MBA types, Rehan’s career was a series of short-term wins, metrics and promotions. He never looked through a long lens of what he wanted and what he could give back. From corporate consulting to hospitality management, Rehan kept building towards short-term wins, but was never really satisfied.

“I finally realized that to be happy in business I had to both follow my passions and make my life more meaningful and the Downtown Project is a perfect example of marrying both.”

Vegas is still Vegas…but it’s getting better.

To be clear, Vegas is still Vegas. Coming out of my hotel on my recent visit, I passed a barely-clothed man wearing only a loincloth and Native American face paint. On our way to Downtown Lowdown (a mandatory monthly meeting for Downtown Project members), we passed a bearded lady. My non-smoking hotel room still smelled like stale Marlboros. There’s still a long way to go.

Continue reading this article on Forbes.

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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