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What Does It Say When Companies Take A Joke Diversity Website Seriously?

When Arwa Mahdawi attended the Stupid Hackathon for stupid ideas, she thought she had a hilarious one: a Rent-A-Minority website that spoofed the diversity tokenism rampant in the media and tech industries. It was a funny idea, but also…after 91,000 clicks, a Mahdawi realized her fictional service was being taken seriously as an option by companies seeking to increase diversity in their workforces.

Diversity’s become something all businesses want these days — or feel legally obligated to have, anyway — having been linked statistically to retention, innovation, and productivity. “I created the site because I felt frustrated with the surface-level manner in which diversity issues are often dealt with,” Mahdawi told the Mail&Guardian.

Mahdawi may have wondered at first if her comedy was too broad. It has a hilarious tagline of “Get Ethics with Our Ethnics,” and an opening spiel that starts off:

“Rent-A-Minority is a revolutionary new service designed for those oh-[expletive] moments where you’ve realized your award show, corporate brochure, conference panel is entirely composed of white men. For, like, the fifth year in a row.”

And yet, companies actually thought the site was a legitimate staffing resource. Never mind that it offers to provide minority staff like Cheerful Woman of Color who won’t make you uncomfortable by being “an angry black woman.” There’s also Smiling Muslim Woman, “certified not to support ISIS (or your money back)” and Intellectual Black Guy to “stand next to you while you say racist things at parties.” It’s all pretty hilarious.

According to Haley McEwen, research co-ordinator at the Wits Centre of Diversity Studies (Wits is a real school and not part of the joke in case you’re wondering), companies may be in search of a pre-packaged diversification solution if management doesn’t see itself as having anything to contribute to diversification, or if they’re really only interested in diversifying to avoid a fine.

Rent-A-Minority is not that pre-packaged solution.

Naomi Thalenberg

Naomi is a reporter for TINYpulse, living and breathing everything employee engagement. She does this by always keeping her workstation fully stocked with dark chocolates.

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Showing Off Your Company to Prospective Hires With Video

More and more people are searching for job online, with data from Pew Research revealing that 79% of job-seeking Americans have researched companies to work for online, and 34% saying the internet was their single more important avenue for learning about a company. It only makes sense, therefore, that companies are thinking more carefully about how they present themselves online to talent. And video is getting into the picture more and more.

Last fall, Twitter released their Periscope phone/tablet app that broadcasts your videos for 24 hours before they disappear into the ether. Facebook has started offering similar functionality in Facebook Live. There’s also Meerkat. All offer an interesting approach for companies looking to present their company culture to prospective applicants. You could also use other more traditional outlets like youtube and vimeo if you’re more comfortable with them.

Susan Vitale, chief marketing officer at iCIMS Inc. spoke to talent management, saying, “In essence, it’s a way to grab great attention for potential candidates for a brand without a ton of overcrowding or noise from other recruiting organizations or commercials and spam, if you will. You can produce a really authentic message, which is tremendously helpful for job seekers and for candidates.”

Vitale suggests five types of videos a company can broadcast.

  • Video interviews with employees who can share how great it is to work at your company.
  • Videos of the office space, particularly the entranceway and reception, to help applicants feel more comfortable when they arrive for an on-site interview.
  • Videos of the office environment that show what it’s like in your office. Include decorations, amenities, pets, whatever you think presents the space most accurately.
  • Videos of office events can reveal a lot about your company culture.
  • Talk directly to job seekers on a video, explaining to them what the interview and, hopefully, hiring process will be like once they apply.

Vitale also encourages companies to take their cameras outside the office when there’s an opportunity to show something that presents the company in a positive light.

It’s also a good idea to promote the video before broadcast and after on the social platforms your company uses. (You can save and replay a video so it lasts longer than the basic 24 hours.) You’ll also need a strategy for constructively responding to comments on Periscope, Facebook Live, or any other video platform you choose. You will get them. It is the internet, after all.

Sabrina Son

Sabrina is the editor in chief for TINYpulse news. She's dipped her toes into various works of writing — from retail copywriter to magazine editor. Her work's been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg BNA, and Tech.co.

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Something About Boomerang Employees Is in the Air

“Boomerang employees” are people who’ve left a company to work somewhere else and have now returned. The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated and WorkplaceTrends.com have recently completed a study of boomerangs and have discovered, among other things, that 40% of workers would consider returning to a former employer. And 15% already have. Why not? Maybe they left for some upward mobility that they’ve now achieved.

The study surveyed over 1,800 HR professionals, and among the top findings are these:

  • While nearly half of the HR people surveyed said their companies previously had policies discouraging returners, 76% said they have a more favorable view of the idea now.
  • Boomerangs now pose a serious threat to other job applicants. 85% of HR people say they’ve received applications from ex-employees, and 40% say they hired about half of them.
  • A boomerang’s familiarity with a company’s culture obviously make training and integration easier than it would be with someone new. (Some HR people do have concerns that boomerangs may return with a stigma for having left, or with old company baggage.)

It’s hard to know what one’s professional future holds. Here are U.S. News Money’s suggestions for some things you can do to boomerang successfully.

  1. Leave on good, friendly terms: When you leave, don’t quit via text and give the company a full two-weeks’ notice. It’s also a good idea to send thank-you notes to your boss and coworkers.
  2. Make sure your performance reviews shine: When you return, it’s likely your reviews will get a fresh look as the company considers bringing you back. At least make sure you’ve corrected any inaccuracies in recent reviews.
  3. Stay in touch with friends at the company after you leave: Do what you can to remain part of the company’s “family.” Pay attention to things going on there via your friends’ social media updates.
  4. Leverage your knowledge of the company’s mission when they ask why you want a new job: You already know what the company’s story is. Bonus points for letting them know you’ve stayed in the loop on current company events (which you can do via continuing friendships with coworkers).

Sabrina Son

Sabrina is the editor in chief for TINYpulse news. She's dipped her toes into various works of writing — from retail copywriter to magazine editor. Her work's been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg BNA, and Tech.co.

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How Big Tech Companies Sweeten the Deal With Perks

The competition for the best employees in the technology industry is fierce. Salaries are already getting pretty much as high as they can go, so companies are looking at perks and benefits as the way to attract and retain top talent. It’s a strategy that makes sense since, as Glassdoor reports, 57% of the people they recently polled said perks and benefits are among the top reasons they take one job and not another.

This month, Glassdoor released a Top Employee Benefits & Perks list. Here are their top 20 companies, ranked by their overall benefits packages, along with one or two signature perks/benefits from each.

1. Netflix: One paid year of maternity/paternity leave for new parents. Parents can return part time or full time and take time off as needed throughout the year.

2. REITwo days off for going outside per year called Yay Days.

3. Salesforce: Six days of paid volunteer time per year. (If they use all six, they receive a $1,000 grant to donate to a charity of their choice.)

4. SpotifySix months of paid parental leave, plus one month of flexible options for returning. Costs for egg freezing and fertility assistance.

5. World Wildlife FundTake Panda Friday off every other week.

6. Airbnb$2,000 annually to travel and stay at an Airbnb listing anywhere.

7. PwC$1,200 per year for student-loan debt reimbursement.

8. PinterestParental leave is four paid months off, plus one month of part time, and two counseling sessions to create a work re-entry plan.

9. BurtonSeason ski passes and snow days to enjoy them after major snowfalls.

10. Twillio: A Kindle plus $30 a month to buy books.

11. TwitterThree catered meals a day. On-site acupuncture and improv classes.

12. AccentureGender reassignment to support LGBTQ rights and diversity.

13. Walt Disney CompanyFree admission for employees, friends, and family to Disney parks. Discounts on hotels and merchandise.

14. Facebook$4,000 in Baby Cash to employees with a newborn.

15. EvernoteEvernote Academy’s team-building courses, including macaroon baking.

16. Epic Systems CorporationPaid four-week sabbatical to pursue creative talents after 5 years.

17. AdobePaid time off for one week in December and one in the summer.

18. Asana: External executive and life-coaching services.

19. ZillowPays for breast-milk shipping for traveling employees.

20. Google50% of salary paid to employee’s surviving spouse or partner for 10 years.

Robby Berman

Robby Berman is a reporter, father, and musician who creates and discovers good stuff for the Internet world.

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Business’s New Top Priority Is Innovation. HR’s Too.

A recently completed leadership study by CIPD, an international professional body for HR and people development, reveals that for the first time, innovation has become the leading business priority. It found that 35% of HR and 32% of non-HR leaders are now viewing the pursuit of innovation as their companies’ primary strategy. But there’s twist.

There’s a schism between the way HR and non-HR leaders think innovation can be nurtured. 26% of non-HR leaders felt that their company was in need of a refreshed people strategy, while 72% of HR people felt current policies were sufficient.

What non-HR leaders want to see in particular is a greater emphasis on diversity as an innovation driver. 31% of them want HR to focus on diversity, but only 19% of HR leaders say they are.

It’s CIPD’s recommendation that HR staff find their own ways to innovate, and that they publicize those efforts within the company as an encouraging example. The survey found a stumbling block, however: HR’s frequent failure to use analytics and to share them with others in the company. 28% of non-HR leaders didn’t know if their HR department had any analytics tools in place, and the same percentage said HR doesn’t share its data with company stakeholders if it does have it. Yet, only 12% of HR leaders felt there was any issue with their data or the way it’s shared with others in the company. CIPD suggests HR would be well served by staying on top of the ever-expanding capabilities of HR analytics tools.

The good news is that non-HR leaders and HR leaders share a common desire to promote innovation, and as Dr. Jill Miller, a CIP research advisor says, “Our survey highlights clear areas of opportunity for better collaboration and communication between HR and other functions.”

Naomi Thalenberg

Naomi is a reporter for TINYpulse, living and breathing everything employee engagement. She does this by always keeping her workstation fully stocked with dark chocolates.

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How Much Will an Education Mean in Tomorrow’s Business World?

Last week, Penguin Random House, an international publishing house, ended degree requirements for job applicants. They follow other corporate powerhouses like Ernst and Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers. While Penguin and other companies frame this change as move toward inclusiveness, it nonetheless reflects a surprising trend.

A recent survey of Australian graduate students revealed that only 71.3% had found work within four months of obtaining their degrees and for less money than they were paid in the past. Data shows new Australian graduates’ median salary compared to the average salary has dropped by 10.2%.

What’s going on?

Penguin asserts it’s not so much an anti-educational move as an innovation that will provide the company better access to exceptional talent. “While graduates remain welcome to apply for jobs, not having been through higher education will no longer preclude anyone from joining. Simply, if you’re talented and you have potential, we want to hear from you.”

Meanwhile, smaller employers have expressed concern that graduates come out of school with no real skills or, worse, having learned the wrong things. While strong in academic areas, new graduates often lack critical soft skills, like being able to get along with others, being flexible, having digital skills, and being on top of time management.

Some say it’s a reaction to a common attitude of entitlement among graduates, such as Paul Fiumara, of DFK Hirn Newey in Sydney, who feels they often “have this over-inflated view of their worth.” He doesn’t blame the students, though. He points the finger at the “bloated institutions pumping them out.”

In any event, if an education’s no longer a golden ticket to a good job, it’s a major sea change. Will families and student be as willing as they have been in the past to go into debt for a degree that won’t inevitably lead to work? With education costs skyrocketing, on the other hand, the trend does offer a better chance for the less affluent to succeed on their talent.

Robby Berman

Robby Berman is a reporter, father, and musician who creates and discovers good stuff for the Internet world.

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Trends in Employee Benefits 2016

Though it wasn’t necessarily obvious on January 1, there are some major employee-friendly trends brewing, according to some HR thought leaders. Competition for great talent is intense at the moment, and Inc. talked to some HR soothsayers about how they foresee companies upping the ante in 2016.

Help With Education Costs

Bruce Elliott, manager of compensation and benefits for the Society for Human Resource Management, sees stronger support for employee education. Last year, trendsetting PricewaterhouseCoopers announced that they’d pay up to $7,200 of an employee’s student debt; up to $1,200 a year for six years. Another interesting wrinkle is the approach taken by Starbucks, which announced a partnership with Arizona State University to pay for an employee’s pursuing a bachelor’s degree, full-time or part-time.

 

Family Leave Support

Private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company is paying for workers to bring their kids along on business trips. Companies are also taking notice of Netflix’s unlimited maternity/paternity leave in the first year or a newborn’s life or the first year with an adopted child.

Grovo’s VP of people, Joris Luijke, also sees companies becoming more deliberate about reintegrating employees back into work after an extended leave using flexible scheduling. He imagines companies allowing people to start part-time before diving completely back in.

 

More Support for Body and Mind

According to Luijke, we can expect a continued strengthening of 2015’s increased support of employees’ physical and mental well-being, ranging from reimbursement for a gym membership to providing a staff personal trainer, as Grovo does.

 

Health Care Everywhere

Ron Storn of Lyft expect new approaches to providing healthcare services to an ever-more scattered workforce. Lyft, for example, has 700 people working out of over a dozen regional sites.

Storm is excited about the services of companies like One Medical Group. They operate a 24/7 virtual care clinic employees can reach via a mobile app, and offer same-day appointments with doctors in over 40 cities.

 

Saying Sooth

Making predictions about business is always dicey, especially with the roiling stock markets we’ve seen since so far in 2016. But as long as companies are serious about acquiring and retaining strong talent, we can be sure they’ll continue to search for new ways to support prospective and current employees.

Naomi Thalenberg

Naomi is a reporter for TINYpulse, living and breathing everything employee engagement. She does this by always keeping her workstation fully stocked with dark chocolates.

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What Would Deadpool’s Best-Possible Resume Look Like?

Lots of people are excited about the upcoming superhero movie Deadpool. However, to call this character edgy would be something of an understatement, and it’s not altogether clear that he’d be anyone’s first choice as a hero to call. Imagine what he’d be like as a coworker.

The resume artists at NovoResume have used their expertise to construct Deadpool a resume that frames his questionable past in a positive light, like any good resume should. They claim to have done it for the chimichangas. It would give any sensible HR department pause.

Here are a some of the red flags we’d notice right away if we worked in HR.

  • First, the fact that Deadpool’s education included Doctor Killebrew Institute of Torturous Experiments made us almost not notice he never finished high school. Not quite the educational background we usually look for.
  • Deadpool’s skills chart suggests he’s not so strong on Planning and Strategy, certainly not as good as he is with Assassination Technique and Humor and Sarcasm. A supervisor lacking in that last skill might find him or herself on the receiving end of that first one. This should get a flag. A red sticky maybe.
  • We find Deadpool’s apparent facility in five languages to be a definite asset, much more impressive than his goal of jumping universes to steal the Batmobile.

Pass.

A resume’s supposed to ultimately be an honest representation of who you really are, delivered up in a thoughtfully strategic manner. NovoResume gets it right. But this may be a time honesty isn’t so much the best policy.

Dadpool Resume

Robby Berman

Robby Berman is a reporter, father, and musician who creates and discovers good stuff for the Internet world.

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Study Examines How Long It Takes to Get a Job at a Tech Company

It may be a very good time to be looking for work if you have tech skills. According to a survey conducted by Dice.com, a record-breaking 78% of hiring managers expect to be hiring workers like you in the first half of 2016 than last year. Not that things will go more quickly as a result. In fact, according to research conducted by Glassdoor Data, it’s taking longer than it used to take to get hired — in 2009, the average hire took 3.3 to 3.7 days; now the average is 22.9 days, counting from the date of application. For software engineers, it can take up to 35 days.

The people at GetVoIP, a cloud communication advisor, have taken a look at what’s making the process so slow by studying the experience of prospective software engineers.

Of the 13 popular tech companies they studied, seven begin the long process with a phone interview. Two companies have applicants fill out an online assessment as the first step. Only one reported starting off with a Skype interview. This first step takes from two weeks to a month to set up and get done. Companies typically treat an on-site interview as the final step before hiring someone.

GetVoIP also asked applicants how they felt about the interviews themselves. With the exception of Amazon and Twitter, all of the applicants had a positive opinion of the experience. Twitter’s interview process was the least liked of all of the companies.

The most difficult interviews, GetVoIP found, were those conducted by Google, with Uber and Amazon coming in next. IBM got the nod for the easiest job interviews.

The lesson someone looking for a new job can learn from this is to calm down: Not getting snapped up immediately is not a sign of trouble. Chill, try and enjoy the process, and who knows?

Dora Wang

Dora is an employee engagement reporter for TINYpulse. When she's not busy digging into and covering the latest workplace trends, she's wrangling with her three (yes, three) cats and rooting for the Seahawks.

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How the Impostor Syndrome Affects Employers

How_the_Impostor_Syndrome_Affects_Employers_7Do you wonder if you’re attracting the right people to your company?

I mean, of course you do. You’re growing, agile, and want to develop a successful team. You want — hell, you need capable people interested in growing their careers that can deliver results. It’s hard enough to attract the cream of the crop. Don’t make it harder on yourself by passing on a diamond in the rough who might be suffering from impostor syndrome.

Vincent Rendoni

Vincent Rendoni is a reporter who is into that whole brevity thing. His working experience includes writing for charity, e-commerce, healthcare, and more.

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