This is the 13th issue of Culture Amp's weekly email updating you on all the best #peoplegeek news around.
"The women and men who wrote the nearly bug-free code that controlled a $4Bn space shuttle and the lives of astronauts worked 8am to 5pm."
Does your company allow your managers to give references for former employees? Liz Ryan argues that the question is a great way to find out whether a company values the people who work there. "If you hire managers, eventually you have to let them manage," Ryan writes. "If you don’t give references for people who worked for your firm, then you’re saying that your paranoid fear of a defamation charge trumps your ethics." She suggests a policy of "no references" is beneath most great HR people, "never mind the wonderful people who work for you."
The team at Mule lays out the argument for diversity in a pretty straight-talking way (we approve!). First up, Mule decided from the outset that they would consciously maintain a diverse workforce - after all, it helps them build better products. They're quick to point out that "not once, have we not hired the best person for the job." So how do they do it? "The point is to foster an environment where different viewpoints are not just welcomed, but encouraged. And when women apply here they see themselves reflected in who’s interviewing them, making this feel like a more welcoming place." But it's about much more than putting people at ease. "When you don’t see yourself reflected in those positions of authority, you begin believing they aren’t accessible to you." It's a simple point, but one worth repeating, until that time when we don't have to.
Companies are losing their key new hires because of bad onboarding experiences. According to Keith Ferrazzi, the solution may lie in technology. "One of the greatest obstacles to effective onboarding is the time (or lack thereof) managers have to properly assess, coach, and engage their new talent," he says. That's where "digital behavioral assessments and interventions" can help focus on improving and measuring employee behaviors related to: job specific knowledge and skills, core role competencies, relational integration with the team, and work habit improvement.
No dickheads, please (17 min)
Check your intentions (5 min 25 sec)
Want an honest culture, without the risk of everyone hating each other? Domino has some advice on how it has cultivated a culture where people can be direct with criticism and make it genuinely constructive. Critical and negative feedback is essential to drive improvement, even when it may not be deemed the "nice" way to do things, but ultimately it's a fine balance. It all comes down to intention - "when providing feedback, check your intentions, and make sure you are trying to be helpful or constructive."
The founder of OMATA, Rhys Newman, has some great advice for building happy, creative teams that essentially boil down to creating an awesome company culture. The TL;DR can probably best be summarised by the heading "No, dickheads!" But there's some practical stuff to help steer the way to avoiding being one. "Say good morning and good night" is a great one, and takes little effort. "Be optimistic and laugh more," because after all laughter deflates conflict when a moment becomes too serious. "Build great walls" is also something practical any team can implement - that's a wall that is visual, crackling with creative energy that also can simplify thinking and inspire. There are a lot more tips to mull on.
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