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People Geekly #73

Issue No. 73, brought to you by Culture Amp
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 Tweet of the week (2.5 sec)

"Mission-driven startups will have an easier job of attracting the best & brightest as employees look for more meaningful work"

Charlie Kim (@charlieykim)
The People Geekly is sponsored by Culture Amp, a platform for companies that put culture first. Sound like you? Take a tour of the new insight reporting.

Tony Stubblebine, Founder of CoachDotMe asks the question, “Do company’s have too many employees?” The context stems from a conversation he had with a friend who wondered, “The general consensus is that of our 4,000 engineers, only 400 do anything. The problem is that nobody knows which 400.” Stubblebine says he doesn’t think that there are 3,600 lazy people faking it every day at work, but rather that there are 3,600 people who aren’t being given the chance to work at their full capacity. One of the problems with startups, he says, is that success is measured by how many employees a company has. And so he asks, “...if companies gave themselves permission to have fewer employees would they actually allow those employees who remained to be happier and more fulfilled?”

Are noncompete agreements hurting companies? This is the question asked by author David Burkus.  He believes that noncompete agreements harm not just companies, but employees, and entire regions. He cites research done by AnnaLee Saxenian that explains why Silicon Valley exploded in tech, where other tech regions (Route 128 in Boston for this example) fell behind. The reason - the state of Massachusetts allowed noncompete agreements, where California outlawed them in 1872. Burkus argues that by allowing employees to take information with them to other companies, companies in a sense, “cross pollinate” the region with knowledge. 

Running Fair Meetings (5 min)

Renee Cullinan of the HBR cites a recent poll that asked, “When you have a contribution to make in a meeting, how often are you able to do so?” The results showed only 35% said they felt able to make a contribution all the time. The people left out, are often introverts women and remote workers. There is an unconscious bias at play for each group. For introverts, it is the idea that smart people think on their feet; for remote workers it is the old “out of sight, out of mind” adage and when it comes to women, the bias is that men have more to contribute. To overcome these biases, Cullinan suggests reframing the conversation to hold men responsible for making space for female counterparts; enforce the ground rule of not talking over each other during meetings and foster a culture where men and women call each other out when something is not right. 

According to Sasha Wright, a feminist and scientist, traditionally gender equality in the workplace has involved women acquiring masculine traits. She believes the system would work better if, rather than change women, society changed the workplace to be more feminine. Wright addresses three things women have been told to avoid - mentioning their own shortcomings when speaking with authority on a subject; the use of certain words and punctuation ("sorry," "just," and exclamation points) and crying at work. She says these are all things that should be viewed as vulnerabilities that make for a better workplace culture. (At Culture Amp, one of our values is "have the courage to be vulnerable"). She notes that this concept of vulnerability must start at the top or it may not work. 

Jordan Husney, of Parabol, Inc, recounts a recent experience he and his colleagues had with a company trying to address its problem of attrition - lack of transparency. The problem came from the top with leaders who didn’t trust each other. And so began the issue of fixing their transparency.  The first thing they did was conduct an exercise based on a study by Arthur Aron which is “One key pattern associated with the development of a close relationship among peers is sustained, escalating, reciprocal, personal self-disclosure.” Once the team started sharing openly, self-interest dropped and they began working more like a team.  Transparency creates trust, enables feedback loops, and leads to better outcomes. 



May 30th - Vancouver, BC @ Lululemon
June 28th - New York, NY @ LMHQ

Other Events: 

June 2nd - Our friends at Udemy in New York are hosting an event called "Reinventing the People Experience" in New York City. 

May 25-27th - Culture Amp is proud to be sponsoring this year's Greenhouse Open in San Francisco. Our Director of Insights, David Ostberg, will be part of the “Performance Hiring at Different Stages: People Metrics and Analytics” Session at 2:30pm on Thursday May 26.


If you’d like to host a People Geekup in your city, send us a note! We'll be in touch.

For more Culture Amp news, check out our Culture First Blog, our Insights Blog and PeopleGeeks.com.

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