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People Geekly #29

Issue No. 29, brought to you by Culture Amp
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This is the twenty-ninth issue of Culture Amp's weekly email updating you on all the best #peoplegeek news around.

 Tweet of the week (2.5 sec)

"“Diversity isn’t a ‘problem.’ It's an important talent *strategy*.” —Denise Young Smith, Apple VP HR #FortuneTech"

JOHN MAEDA  (@johnmaeda)
Employee ranking (2 min 45 sec)

Proponents of ranking employee performance often advocate for it with the belief that it helps motivate poor performers, but a new study suggests that is not the case. In the study one group of sales workers was shown how their sales ranked compared with their colleagues. Another group was not shown a comparison, but only their individual results. The study found that "sales representatives who did not know how they ranked achieved higher subsequent sales than those who were aware of their comparative ranking. The results of the workers who had received high rankings neither improved nor worsened.” The professor who did the study believes that “competition in a collaborative environment doesn’t work well.” If you still think ranking employees is a good idea then giving individuals their results rather than as a group ranking might be the way to go.

Here we take a look at some gender diversity initiatives that are getting results. With larger tech companies reporting on their diversity stats - and with lots of room for improvement - it’s easy to forget that some companies are doing great things in this area and are sharing how they’ve managed to improve their numbers. There are some inspirational approaches here from eBay's Women's Initiative Network that encourages women to continue working at eBay until they moved into leadership roles, to Etsy’s grants for women to join a summer Hacker School (now called The Recurse Center) program to learn to code. We’re of the belief that the more companies that share what’s working, the better off the industry is. This applies to all aspects of diversity, and not just gender.

Self management (5 min 35 sec)

We recently wrote about alternative management structures, but this is not just a new fad that only tech companies have been implementing. The world’s largest tomato processing company, California-based Morning Star, has been operating with self-management for over two decades and to great success. This article begs the question, will the world of work be better off by developing all of our people to learn leadership traits, or should we continue to promote the select few chosen ones into leadership positions?

Empathy (5 min 40 sec)

In this Q and A with Stewart Butterfield we learn a lot about what fostered his entrepreneurial spirit, but the thing that stood out for us was Butterfield’s emphasis on empathy as a quality he hires for. "If you can empathize with people, then you can do a good job,” Butterfield says. "If you have no ability to empathize, then it’s difficult to give people feedback, and it’s difficult to help people improve. Everything becomes harder.” While still on the subject of empathy, this NY Times piece on how empathy is actually a choice is worth a read.

Culture counts (6 min)

Here’s an interesting answer to the question: “Does culture matter to investors?" This joint piece of research between Culture University and Stamford Associates concludes that investors think it matters a lot. According to the study: For 75% of respondents it is an important factor in their valuations.  60% have had a personal experience of an investment they were involved in being positively or adversely impacted by culture.  Over 80% of buy and sell decisions are influenced by culture. You can see the full report here.


Lever is hosting an event in San Francisco this Wednesday evening over food and drinks, with networking from talent leaders from companies like Lyft, Tesla, Twitch, Namely, and many more.

LinkedIn is hosting their first ever non-technical hackathon, can you guess what the subject is? Changing the way HR is viewed in the eyes of the world. This exciting opportunity is open to undergraduate and graduate students in the Bay Area on the 31st of July.

Udemy for Business is tackling the topic of HR innovation with a focus on data, analytics and people. It's on in San Francisco on the 6th of August where a panel of experts from organizations such as Pinterest, Twitter and Zendesk discuss the latest big-data applications that are making HR more innovative and efficient.

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