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People Geekly #20

Issue No. 20, brought to you by Culture Amp
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This is the twentieth issue of Culture Amp's weekly email updating you on all the best #peoplegeek news around.

"Measure and understand the gap between where your company culture *wants* to be, and where it actually is."

Keavy  (@keavy)

Employee is a dirty word in some companies. Plante Moraners co-founder Frank Moran has always loathed the “E” word. "Because we’ve always felt that it misrepresents the relationships we have with one another,” he says. "It implies we work for one another, not with one another. It implies a hierarchy, an 'I’m better than you' mentality versus the 'We’re all in this together’ sentiment we strive to embody. It has no place in the Plante Moran lexicon, let alone our culture.” Moran is not alone in his dislike, Vlad Coho of Riot Games suggests "the word is loaded with baggage….It reminds people of the power differential between manager and managed, between corporation and labor….Call me employee, and you’re only reminding me that our value systems are at odds, and that I should probably be working somewhere else.” FWIW at Culture Amp, we call ourselves Campers...

Mike Monteiro says it as he sees it. "Meetings may be toxic, but calendars are the superfund sites that allow that toxicity to thrive,” he writes. He points out that most of us don’t “schedule our work” but we’re happy to “schedule the interruptions that prevent their work from happening.” He says creating a public calendar for people to book your time is ludicrous (that time is yours!), and that most of us need to learn to say “no”. Calendars, he says, are both addictive and subtractive ("adding a meeting is subtracting from your life"). What he proposes is that we "imagine that rather than scheduling individual points in time, such as meetings, you were instead scheduling a goal.”

Successful recruiting (3 min 13 sec)

Squarespace has made a name for itself not only for its products, but for its creative recruiting campaigns, which were launched and managed with a technical recruiting team of three. Their campaign last year, which was headlined “Be Part of It”, drew over 2,000 applications. This year they’ve expanded that campaign to 'NYCommit'. So how do they do it? Here’s their top tips for drawing up a great recruiting campaign: 1. Align the campaign with your company’s story 2. Include a remarkable message 3. Prepare for Scale (assuming you get 1 and 2 correct) 4. Create a landing page (no campaign is complete without one, says Squarespace!)

We’ve covered work-life balance a bit recently here on the Geekly, but a new study sheds even more light (and evidence) on the complex web of work and family influences. The study documented what it described as a negative spiral – which "starts with a clash of priorities between work and home (for example, a mix-up over who was dropping the kids at school), this was followed by an increased risk of arguments with colleagues at work, and this strife at work then fed back and increased domestic friction in the home.” The lesson? "By cultivating a supportive, flexible culture, we can reduce the likelihood of anyone getting swamped by work and family demands, and in so doing, we all gain.” There are some other practical findings from the research such as the necessity for “detachment” - that is the ability to leave work-stress at work. It might all seem obvious, but it’s an important reminder to all of us why striking that balance is vital and the part that companies can play in getting it right.

Saying no to bureaucracy (16 min 40 sec)

As organizations grow, is bureaucracy inevitable? Not at Airbnb. Mike Smith has worked for the who’s who of Silicon Valley behemoths, which makes it even more interesting that he’s vanquished bureaucracy at Airbnb. As a company grows, Mike found that the antidote to beating bureaucracy came down to judgement - having it, hiring for it, and creating conditions that allow people to exercise it.


In San Francisco on June 26Culture Summit is a one day conference that brings together successful entrepreneurs, leaders, and culture experts to share their experiences and insights on building strong cultures that lead to successful companies.  Speakers come from companies such as LinkedIn, Infusionsoft, Culture Amp, Medium, and Nitro who are known for their extraordinary cultures and productive teams.  

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