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People Geekly #43

Issue No. 43, brought to you by Culture Amp
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This is the forty-second issue of Culture Amp's weekly email updating you on all the best #peoplegeek news around.

 Tweet of the week (2.5 sec)

"Salary and possibility bring employees in, culture and climate keep them (or drive them away). That's most important #bowtieconvo"

Aaron Bretz  (@AaronBretz)

Barbara Beskind has always been interested in innovation and invention. As a young girl during the Depression, she would build toys out of junk. At that time, university was not necessarily woman-friendly, and now at age 91, she has finally found a spot helping design tech at IDEO. IDEO, known for developing the first Apple mouse, has employed Beskind once a week to innovate tech for the elderly. "People who design for the elderly think they need jeweled pill boxes or pink canes. We need functional equipment," Beskind says. 

Salary Transparency (3 min)

One of the big taboos of corporate culture is disclosing your pay to coworkers. Some companies are deciding to change that. Dane Atkinson, CEO of New York analytics startup SumAll, talks about their transparent salary policy. The company keeps a Google Doc of all employees’ salaries and any one of the 40 employees can look it up at any point. If they feel they are being underpaid, Atkinson takes a meeting and discusses the concern. Often the meeting doesn’t end with a raise, but at least the employee knows exactly why their paycheck is what it is. Whole Foods also has a transparent salary policy and has since 1986.

Frank Costanzo compares hiring an HR team to several Hollywood films about sports teams and their beloved coaches. Costanzo discusses the difficulties around hiring for a job, as not everyone wants to work, whereas when the team coach is looking for local recruits for his big college team, everyone wants in on the action. He also points out how a real-life HR team must be built to withstand chaos and the constantly shifting workplace landscape. But like a football coach, the person building the HR team must be able to assess candidates for team fit, and potential career development. 

We've all heard of startups with great cultures, but what happens when you don't have the luxury of starting from scratch? Steve Blank weighs in with some useful tips. He centers his approach on building innovation through a combination of "values, stories, heroes and rituals." Blank argues that culture change is possible in all organizations, via a "combination of hacking the culture and reinforcing it by changing the incentives."

Fixing Pinterest (7 min)

Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann and co-founder Evan Sharp have been working to build a more diverse company culture. Vauhini Vara documents their journey and discusses the challenges leaders are facing as they strive to balance diversity and inclusion goals with other business demands. “Sharp says he and Silbermann realized that they had neither given employees enough reason to care about diversifying Pinterest nor defined their goals.”  In other words, the intention was there, but the sense of urgency had become stifled by other business objectives. To rectify this, Silbermann and Sharp have turned to data science and inclusion labs.


San Francisco: For this month's San Francisco Geekup, we are partnering with our friends at Udemy to share with our community what we learned at HR Tech, what people are talking about, and the future trends that are emerging in the people space. Hope to see you there.

Chicago: We are taking our People Geekup on the road with Chicago the first cab off the rank. If you are a People Geek in the Midwest, join us on the 28th of October and meet some of the People Geeks from Culture Amp. 

New York: Culture X Design Unconference New York is now sold out! We have enabled a waitlist if you'd still like to get a ticket or be notified when the videos from the day are being made available.

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