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People Geekly #26

Issue No. 26, brought to you by Culture Amp
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This is the twenty-sixth issue of Culture Amp's weekly email updating you on all the best #peoplegeek news around.

 Tweet of the week (2.5 sec)

"Company perks - dry cleaning, ping pong tables, free coffee - does not define company culture; core values and guiding principles.."

Vala Afshar  (@ValaAshfar)
Belonging > Fitting in (2 min 50 sec)

This is one of the best articulations we’ve seen around on the important differences between ‘fitting in’ and ‘belonging’. 'Fitting in’ is "that superficial team culture of common interests and inside jokes” where belonging is when "everyone wants me to be there, because the group wouldn't be the same without me.” As Jessica Kerr puts it, we need to aim for belonging over fitting in, in order to form wholehearted teams. "On a wholehearted team, we show up as our whole selves and put all our creativity into the team's goals,” she says. So how can we build better belonging? "Ask people about their interests that you don't share. Respect each person's experiences and opinions, especially when these are unique among the group.”

Zulily thrives on chaos. CEO Darrel Cavens says that "doesn’t mean we seek chaos, but we aren’t afraid to experiment.” As a publicly listed company he tried very deliberately to remain true to keeping things as they have always been (including the chaos), with weekly company meetings still held over four offices in much the same same way as when there were just eight employees. Cavens also makes time to spend on the fulfillment floor, helping out in the packing of goods that are headed for customers.

Graph of the week

It’s surprising to many that women enter the tech workforce at about the same rate as men, but somewhere around the mid-career point, the number of women diminishes. The problem is largely a result of culture, which constantly bombards women with the message that they don’t belong. A study recently highlighted areas that could affect a women’s outlook: "A clash with the 'ideal worker' stereotype; lack of supervisory support and a lack of role models in the workplace.” As the article says, the approach to a more equitable gender representation in IT needs to be a multi-pronged approach - "along with classroom and boardroom initiatives, what has to happen is a much greater societal shift toward inclusion and parity."

Healthy internal communication (13 min 35 sec) PICK OF THE WEEK 

With offices across four different locations and timezones, SoundCould tasked David Noël (the former VP of community) to make sure that internal communications were healthy. He started with the all-hands meeting, which no longer suited the needs of its 300+ employees. He set about making this a meeting that almost everyone felt the need to attend. He offers some great advice about what makes all-hands work best, including: take a thematic approach; prioritise the inclusion of remote employees; encourage employees to ask questions in the medium they most feel comfortable with. There’s so much great practical advice here with detail on how SoundCloud actually does it - from building an intranet to fostering real-time communication.

The issue of how transparent a company should be can be vexing, but here Yesware CEO Matthew Bellows lays out some principles to embrace transparency for a more productive workplace. Bellows argues that being transparent is effective at managing rumours, increases personal responsibility and gives teams better access to information they need. And as Bellows points out: "There's an important distinction between being transparent and oversharing. It’s like the difference between someone who is honest about how they're feeling and someone who tells you whatever is on their mind.”


The TalentOps Meetup is being hosted by AppDynamics this Wednesday evening (tomorrow) in San Francisco to talk about how they screen and scale culture. Whilst it’s all the trend to talk about hiring for culture fit, how do you actually interview for it?

The Tru Recruitment UnConference is coming to San Francisco on July 14. Limited to only 50 tickets, the discussion will be focusing on the challenge of hiring for start ups. Tickets are available for a donation and you can choose to either simply attend or lead a track on a topic of your choice.

Startups and a thriving family life: think the two don’t mix? Think again. In the business world, sometimes it can seem like taboo to talk openly about family. Join BeConnections in Boston on July 20, as they start a discussion about how to lead a successful life both personally and professionally.

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