We’re at an interesting point in time when it comes to business culture. People with many backgrounds and experiences are working together more now than ever before. Some team members are young who have never worked at an in person job and have always had a cell phone. Others are older people who started working before laptop computers or the internet even existed. Some employees have only worked in at big corporate companies, while others have been at startups. These people all have different working styles. They are now collaborating together, via the tiny camera on their computers.
Variations make communication differences quite interesting to observe. You probably have some coworkers who will only call you if there’s a scheduled meeting on your calendar. Others may send you an unplanned message, asking if you have time to talk, even when there’s no meeting scheduled. And, then there are a handful that will call with no notice. These differences are driven by multiple factors, including generation and work experience.
Similarly, people have different habits when it comes to written communication. Some people prefer email, while others like Slack. Within email, there are fairly distinct differences. Some emails are sent from one person to another single person. Others include many extra people as a carbon copy, for informational purposes. Some emails will have recipients included as a blind carbon copy, to reduce the number of replies. And, other emails will add additional people to existing email chains.
Over the years, I’ve started to believe that there is an inverse relationship with email and the size of the company. In other words, the smaller an organization is, the more recipients will be included on a single email. People at startups tend to copy many people at once. This keeps everyone up to date, and is seen as being more efficient. Within a large company, it’s more common to see email chains that include only the bare minimum number of people. The sender doesn’t want to involve anyone who doesn’t need to be on the email.
The same trend seems to also be true in meetings between two companies. A small company will bring many attendees to a meeting in an effort to show that the company is legitimate. A large company will send one or two representatives, who serve as the sole points of contact.
No matter the venue, one thing hasn’t changed. Praise in public, and criticize in private. Calling someone out in a meeting in front of others does nothing but hurt your relationship with them. If you’re asking a colleague for something via email and aren’t getting the results you want, call them or email them — directly. Don’t copy additional people. Even if you aren’t trying to put them on the spot, this is how it will likely feel. No one wants their shortcomings to be pointed out in front of others. Adjust your approach, and you’ll get better results.
We’ve known that remote work was the new normal since early 2020. But, signs are beginning to emerge that we may never go back to the way things were before. Amazon recently announced that they are pausing the construction on multiple buildings, including office buildings in Washington and Tennessee. While some companies are continuing to recall employees, this change is definitely a sign of the times.
Unemployment continues to remain relatively low at 3.6 percent overall, and Amazon has over 70 thousand job openings currently posted on LinkedIn’s career site. Pausing the construction may be in part due to less than favorable news shared on a recent Amazon earnings call. But, it could be argued that it’s more than this.
We are relying on Amazon more now than ever before, from ordering everyday items online to grocery delivery, and streaming services. Amazon’s success is very much dependent on technology. And, as such, it is dependent on technology talent.
Before the pandemic, the best technology workers needed to be flexible with regards to location. Often, tech talent would relocate to San Francisco, Seattle, or New York in order to be competitive. But, remote work has introduced a new dynamic. Tech workers are moving away from big, expensive cities to the suburbs. And, some are returning closer to their roots. Moving away from the city allows workers to both save money, and to have a better quality of life.
Tech talent is hard to find and to hire. Companies are paying high salaries for niche skillsets. And, Amazon knows that. They also know that tech workers want the option to work from anywhere. In addition, studies have shown that money is no longer the most important factor for many employees. Employees are much more concerned with work life balance.
It makes sense that Amazon would stop building more office buildings. It saves them money. It allows them to hire workers anywhere. It’s a win-win for the employer and the employee.
In addition, when employees do come together in person, it’s different than in the past. Employees are no longer sitting in their cubicles all day. They aren’t going to drive an hour round trip to be isolated at work. They can do that at home. If they’re going in person, it’s to work collaboratively with their team.
Collaborative work requires a different type of workspace. For companies who are still building, they’re considering a more hybrid building model. Others are renting space in coworking buildings like WeWork.
Either way, the old building is history. The sooner that more businesses realize this, the more likely they are to be competitive with hiring. And, in turn, they will be more competitive in business. Employees want more balance and more control over their daily lives. They have more choices than ever before, and they know it. It’s time for companies to realize that there’s no looking back. This is the new normal.
Lately, quite a lot of focus in the news has been on topics that evoke fear. The stock market is down. Hiring may be slowing. Prices are skyrocketing. The labor shortage still exists, and supply chain issues have not been fully resolved. We’re living inside of a system with uncertainty. And, the uncertainty creates fear. But, it could be argued that uncertainty was there all along.
Uncertainty and fear are often the products of the unknown and of change. These feelings can lead us to try to find, or to stay in a stable spot. We may remain with our current employer for the job security. We may try to minimize the change we introduce into our lives. This makes sense. At times, it can be a matter of survival.
But, in the way business works today, uncertainty may become a normal part of working. Let’s back up a little. Just a few generations ago, a stable corporate job would last for your entire career. If you were pragmatic, you’d get one job and slowly climb the ladder at your company one step at a time.
This has evolved. For many career paths, the way to the top now comes through a series of job changes. Whether you’re switching companies or career fields, the road is no longer a linear one.
The more that your career is non-linear, the more you’re introducing both change and risk. After all, you may join a new company that is not a fit. You may try a new type of role and find that it doesn’t work for you. But, many successful careers now demand this type of change to continue to grow.
As you can imagine, your current company is less likely to invest resources into you if your path will lead you outside of their doors. This forces you to be in the driver’s seat. You must make your own connections, be in charge of your own education, and make your own way. You must be the CEO of your own career.
You must also show up as a ready-made package, as if you were a consultant. It is similar to running a small business. But, it doesn’t come without risks. You may not always have the same income. Competition is higher. You must prove your value to stay relevant. In other words, the current market is full of uncertainty and change. But, this kind of uncertainty already exists in today’s working world.
If you find yourself at a point in your career where you’re ready for a change, don’t wait. Things may or may not feel more stable soon. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting you quit your job with no plan. It means that you should start taking small steps today that will lead to bigger changes later. Begin networking and interviewing for jobs. Walk yourself through the uncertainty and change one step at a time.
Have you ever had a close family member die? Sometimes, the pain of the loss is so great that it’s hard to even say to another person, “My grandfather died.” It makes it real. And, it makes it more painful. When it comes to current news events, this week was one of those. It’s hard to say much because we’re all still processing this new information, and our new world.
Typically, it can be good for a workplace to remain neutral on matters that relate to politics or religion. After all, employees and customers are made up of all different sorts of people, with different views. Remaining neutral respects the individual perspectives of everyone. It is a reminder that we live in a nation with free choice, and that our personal choices are our own.
In addition to the surprise of the court ruling, it is also surprising to see so many large companies speak out. Amazon, Apple, and Dick’s Sporting Goods have all committed to paying for their employees to travel to places where abortions are legal. Google will even permanently relocate employees to new cities without a work justification. Many other companies are offering similar commitments to their employees, including Airbnb, Bumble, Citigroup, Disney, Levi Strauss, Microsoft, and Netflix.
Initially, the wave of company responses was surprising. This seems like another politically charged issue that a company might keep quiet about. But, there’s another way to look at it. It comes down to offering all employees the same benefits.
Let’s think of this from another angle that’s less painful. In some countries, a certain minimum number of days of vacation is customary. In the United States, this is typically two weeks of vacation. In some countries in Europe, employees receive eight weeks. It would seem strange if a company offered completely different amounts of vacation to employees who did the same job. But, we’re not talking about vacation. What we’re talking about is more serious.
In this case, we’re talking about healthcare. And, healthcare is very often tied to the employer. Thinking of it through this lens, it does make sense for a company to make a decision about the type of healthcare they want to provide their employees. It makes sense that a company like Citigroup would want every employee to have the same healthcare benefits.
The past two years, it has been sad to watch our nation become more divided. With an increase in remote work, there is the possibility of moving more freely. And, the moves might bring people with diverse views together. It might help us to find a more common ground. Unfortunately, decisions like this one will continue to stoke the fire that is keeping us apart.
The one way through is together. Whether personally or professionally, try to keep the lines of communication open with those who see things differently than you do. A larger divide is not the answer.
With unemployment still relatively low, employers are continuing to struggle to find and retain great talent. The huge jumps in inflation, and the changing landscape of work, are incentivizing employees to consider switching jobs. Employees are prioritizing themselves and their quality of life more than in the past. With this backdrop, it continues to be surprising that many employers have not updated their hiring practices.
Did you know that for certain jobs, employers expect candidates to go through up to ten rounds of interviews? Many companies use testing as part of their interview process. Some ask candidates to do unpaid work as part of the interview process. And, many employers are taking months to make a hiring decision.
These same employers are blown away when a candidate turns down their job offer, or walks away midway through the process. But, what do they expect? Job seekers are being discerning, and they expect to receive the same level of respect that they’re giving.
For example, it’s not uncommon for an employer to ask a candidate to reschedule an interview at the last moment due to a conflict. But, if the candidate asks to reschedule an interview, they will most likely never hear back again. This is unfortunate, considering the candidate secretly interviewing while they’re working at their current job.
Many interviewers will grill candidates to try to squeeze them during the interview. In many cases, this is to see how the candidate responds under pressure. But, rather than simply getting a read on the candidate, the candidate is also getting a read on the company. They will walk away remembering what a negative experience it was to interview at the company.
Employers are also continuing to leave candidates in the dark for weeks or months during the hiring process. It is expected that the candidate will patiently wait until the company is ready. In reality, the candidate is moving on. They will keep interviewing at other companies until they find one that truly values their time.
When you’re the hiring manager, you want to have the control to pick the very best candidate you can find. But, when you treat a candidate in a less than desirable way, you’re giving up that control. The only candidate who will be interested in your job is the desperate one.
So, what should a hiring manager do if they want their pick? Be quick. Take weeks to make a hiring decision, not months. Be clear with your communication. Meet when you commit to meeting. Do not put the candidate through never ending rounds of interviews. And, don’t grill candidates as if they’re lucky to be talking to you.
Interviewing has become a two way street. If you want to hire the best candidates, you have to give them the best hiring experience. Otherwise, they’ll find someone who will. Candidates have choices, and they aren’t making decisions solely based on factors like money.