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People Geekly #38

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Issue No. 38, brought to you by Culture Amp
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Welcome

This is the thirty-eighth issue of Culture Amp's weekly email updating you on all the best #peoplegeek news around.

 Tweet of the week (2.5 sec)

"This one tip is the cornerstone of effectively leading others: Be Tough-Minded on Standards and Tender-Hearted with People. #Leadership"                                  doug conant  (@dougconant)

Vacation donation (1.5 min)

Google, known for its many perks including up to 25 days off for employees, has recently instituted a new vacation-related policy. After an employee used up all their paid time off to take care of a family member, a teammate suggested donating part of their own vacation time to the one in need. This was the start of Google’s vacation donation system. “What's cool about it, is that it came not from people in the operations department, but from one of your families saying 'This is important.' And so we built it into the system, so that everyone can benefit from that idea, not just one person,” says Laszlo Bock, Google’s head of HR. 

Distinction (3 min)

In a world of perks, perks and more perks, companies need to differentiate themselves somehow in order to attract the best potential employees. Companies need to think about how they differentiate themselves when marketing, so why not apply that principle to culture differentiation? Zappos, Vanguard and even Amazon have very distinct cultures that interest prospective employees. Companies with clearly defined cultures are not only good for attracting and keeping top workers, but also good for the customer as well. 

50 Engineers (5 min)

WhatsApp has surpassed 900 million users, earning a “congrats” from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. While the company serves millions, it operates with only about 50 engineers. Recently WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum spoke at an event in San Jose about how the company manages to do this. The secret, turns out, is that the engineers utilize a lesser known coding language called Erlang. Erlang is special in that it can handle communications from a huge number of users. The downside to using this not-so-popular language is that there aren’t all that many coders who know it. 

Mailchimp talks about their process for hiring people - rather than hiring skills. It’s easy to see what technical skills a person has but harder to see “soft skills” - personalities, and perspectives that influence their performance and the way they communicate with their team. Mailchimp suggests hiring diverse people who have the ability to adapt easily and the grit to overcome adversity. They also suggest looking for people with unique interests, humility, energy, and a collaborative mindset.

Sweden's six- hour day (9 min)  PICK OF THE WEEK

Sweden is making headlines in cultural circles after several Swedish companies have decided to move to six-hour work days. The Svartedalans experiment involves nurses at a retirement home moving from eight-hour days to six. The experiment, which started in February and will continue into 2016, is viewed as a success as nurses are less stressed and able to help give better care to the elderly in the home. Toyota service centers in Gothenburg have been working on six-hour work days for more than a decade, showing more productivity as well as happier employees.


Events

Tonight is the night for our San Francisco People Geekup. Only a handful of tickets remain for what’s sure to be a great evening of connecting with the SF people geek community.

Culture Amp is partnering up with CULTURE LABx in October to run a two hour workshop on the topic of people analytics. This interactive session with our data and insights team will run through how you can use data to measure the success of your company’s culture initiatives, something which we are sure if of interest to all of the subscribers of the people geekly.

After selling out in San Francisco earlier this year, Culture Amp is happy to announce that it's bringing the Culture x Design unconference to New York. The idea is to get #peoplegeeks together so we can learn from each other with a combination of keynote speakers and unconference sessions. 

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