Thanks for dropping in on this month’s This Week in HR series. This edition, we offer 4 recent articles that provide some insights on hiring and firing practices, paternity leave, and taking time off work. Enjoy!
‘Give Away Your Legos’ and Other Commandments for Scaling Startups
Molly Graham from Google covers what rapid scaling feels like as an experience, the toughest phases of growth and how to survive them, and how you can anticipate the biggest challenges before they really hurt your momentum and your chances for long-term success.
Assembling a great talented team right from Day 1 is of utmost importance. Hiring is a network effect—the initial team and culture will determine what the future team members will be like. Do also remember to take time to hire and fire fast. When you find a “cancer” spreading within the team, remove it fast to ensure that this positive network effect will not be corrupted as the team grows.
Gordon is the co-founder and CEO of Talenox.
The Guilt-Inducing Psychology of Unlimited Vacation Time
“Because people aren’t told ‘you get X days per year,’ they have no idea what’s okay to take, and then end up not taking time off that they could because they don’t want to be seen as slackers. While Green agrees that unlimited-vacation policies treat employees like “adults,” what happens when employees kind of, sort of, want to be treated like children?”
While some argue for an unlimited vacation policy, others argue that the concept is untenable for creating positive business outcomes. High-profile companies such as Netflix, Virgin, and LinkedIn see the positives—they have begun to adopt such a policy in the hopes of attracting quality talent and improving employee performance.
Other companies believe that such a policy may mislead employees to think they have “endless vacation time”, which would result in decreased productivity and poor attitudes towards work. Employees who take less time-off may also start comparing themselves against peers who are more liberal with the policy. Ultimately, not every company suits such a policy. For companies starting to consider it, first define what “unlimited vacation time” really means. Perhaps consider changing its name to “flexible leave”, then ensure all employees take a certain number of days off, and provide clear guidelines on what kind of leave is approved and what isn’t.
Jesslyn is the Head of Marketing at Talenox.
How to Hire the Right Person
I’ve had my fair share of good and bad hires. I’ve been asked countless times how to determine if a candidate is the right one. I’d usually say “trust your instincts” or “just my gut feel”. The key attributes that a hiring manager/interviewer must have during an interview are humility and creativity. There are many questions to be asked of the candidate; so avoid boring questions like “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” or “Tell me more about yourself”. Instead, take the candidate out for a walk or a coffee (perhaps an office tour or the nearest Starbucks), watch how they interact with others i.e. barista or receptionist, and you’ll be able to get a better sense of their personality, through how they treat the wait staff, or how they react to that loudly crying baby at the next table.
Another key thing to watch for is whether the candidate is able to get beyond the rehearsed answers. Never ask impossible questions to make yourself feel smart. Instead, creative and unusual questions like “What is the biggest misperception your ex-colleagues/friends/parents have about you?” are able to reveal a lot about the candidate. Finally, get another team member (preferably from a different department) to help with the interview process. This might be able to help the hiring manager confirm if their gut feel is accurate or not. Most importantly, engage in a real conversation with the candidate. Enjoy the process and ensure the candidate is at ease. The interviewer might just hit the jackpot!
Nic is the User Happiness Lead at Talenox.
The Shameful State of Paid Paternal Leave Worldwide
‘A new analysis released by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) shows that “almost two-thirds of the world’s children under one year old—nearly 90 million—live in countries where their fathers are not entitled by law to a single day of paid paternity leave.”’
Even though the idea of equal parenting rights and responsibilities has gained popularity in recent years, many countries have not caught on to it in black and white.
And why not? A better work-life balance leads to happier employees which means better productivity, a more positive work environment, and could contribute to a lower rate of staff turnover. All good for business and economy. In addition, the fact that men and women are treated equally in the workplace sends a strong optimistic message of equal opportunity and respect as well.
If you haven’t already, why not start looking beyond the stipulated 2 weeks paid paternity leave for the fathers in your company? If manpower is already spread a bit thin, consider implementing a flexible work arrangement such as a work-from-home policy. This would ensure that fathers get to spend time with their children while making strides with their work.
Yan is the Editor at Talenox.