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People Geekly #61

Issue No. 61, brought to you by Culture Amp
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This is the sixty-first issue of Culture Amp's weekly email updating you on all the best #peoplegeek news around.

 Tweet of the week (2.5 sec)

"'You need to make sure you have a company culture that is actually going to be able to execute the strategy.' –Mark Fields #IndusDilemma"

stanford business  (@StanfordBiz)

At Lever, they like to get excited about new hires. The team wants every new person to understand just how welcome, and appreciated they are. So they have a rather unique way of welcoming new people to the company - they use animated gifs. When a new hire has signed their paperwork, a manager will either yell out or announce in Slack that it’s “gif time!”
“We have so. much. fun. creating these GIFs,” says Jennifer Kim of Lever. From there, the team gathers to work out a short (sometimes choreographed) video which is in turn, converted into an exciting animated gif that is sent to the new person. The result is a much better way to express their excitement than just simply sending out an email. You’ll want to check out some of these GIFs.

Airbnb's inclusive hiring (2.5 min)

In 2015 Airbnb doubled its ratio of female data scientists from 15 percent to 30. The team initially looked at its hiring data (via Greenhouse) and realized that there were a lot of female applicants, though most were not being hired. They decided to remove names of people on projects in order to make it a more gender-blind process. So when women would come in to present in front of a panel, it wasn’t just made up of men - which can be intimidating to some.  The company also started doing a series of talks called “Small Talks, Big Data” to inspire more women to apply. 

Interested in attending a People Geekup? We’ve got events coming up in
Melbourne, San Francisco, Chicago, Denver and more. Get your tickets here.

Culture Amp CEO Didier Elzinga shares his thoughts on the importance of good company culture in times of economic turmoil. “Culture is often misunderstood as something soft and fluffy. It’s not,” explains Elzinga, “It’s about creating a company built on purpose, it’s about knowing what drives your people to turn up to work everyday, and delivering on that mission. When there is doom and gloom, culture is the one thing that will help people to stick with you, to give it their best.” He explains that it is important to keep investing in your people and culture even when things are looking rough because when things bounce back, your company will be in a better position to respond. 

Here at Culture Amp, we have teams in various time zones - some are as extreme as it gets. The time difference between our San Francisco office and Melbourne Australia office is off by a day. So it’s very important to focus on methods to keep in touch and be aware of when people are at work and when they aren’t.  Probably the most important thing is just being aware of what time it is in each place. Using Google Calendar’s time zone features is a huge help as well. From there, we use Slack for constant real-time communication and weekly meetings are held in video conferences. Another important thing we try to do is get people to make in-person visits to each office. This keeps people personally connected to each other and helps people understand what people do day-to-day. 

Julie Rozovsky spent time at Yale in several team environments and when Google was looking for people to help build “the perfect team” for its Project Aristotle, Rozovsky was hired. In the quest for building the perfect team, researchers on the project looked at data that included team member interests, hobbies, how they socialized and how outgoing or shy they were. But they found it hard to find patterns. ‘‘Just having data that proves to people that these things are worth paying attention to sometimes is the most important step in getting them to actually pay attention,’’ says Rozovsky. She and her colleagues focused on something known as “group norms” or standards and unwritten rules that we follow when we gather. After more than a year, the team decided that understanding group norms was the key to improving the company’s groups. Next they needed to figure out which norms were most important. And after that, they discovered that groups had to be psychologically safe for the participants. The research ultimately taught people at Google that people need to be fully present at work, but in order to do that, they need to feel psychologically safe. 


We’ve got a lot of People Geekups planned for 2016. If you’d like to host a People Geekup in your city in 2016, reply to this email and we will be in touch.

Melbourne on March 10th.
San Francisco on March 16th.
Chicago on March 24th.
Denver on March 29th.

If any of the events are sold out, make sure to grab a waitlist ticket as we’re looking to expand some of the venues.

Check out back issues of the Geekly and other things going on at Culture Amp over at our Blog and PeopleGeeks.com

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