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What Makes A Good Boss, and How Do I Become One

Is your boss someone you enjoy working for?  Do they make a difference in your day-to-day life? Is he or she someone who is respected by the company’s employees, and does the company benefit from this person being at the helm?

More often than not, the answers to these questions determine whether an employee will stay with a company or leave for another one. Having strong leadership is so critical to maintaining a productive work environment, we must ask ourselves, “What makes a good boss? And how do I become one?” In this blog, we’ll discuss the attributes of a boss who becomes a magnet for driven, loyal, and dependable talent.  We’ll also review some of the best practices for leaders-in-training.

“People don’t leave companies, they leave bosses.” 

There is a popular saying in the HR world: “People don’t leave companies, they leave bosses.” Great leaders inspire loyalty and hard work. Bad leaders drive talent away from the company thus reducing productivity among the team that remains with the company. 

A good boss makes everyone around him or her better, and they inspire them to do great work. He or she is a role model not just in their technical ability but in how they treat others with honesty, humility, respect, grace and empathy.  

A good boss also creates a motivational environment where employees want to grow in their career, are safe to take risks and feel inspired to try new things. A good boss refrains from micromanaging but offers the right amount of encouragement and guidance when needed.  

Great leadership brings out the best in people by communicating clear goals for what needs to be accomplished, motivating their team with encouragement and support, and demonstrating trustworthiness by ensuring every person feels valued at work each day. 

How are good bosses made?  

We’ve heard some of the traits that make a great boss, but how do we create one or become one ourselves? 

If you are looking to build your leadership capacity and strengthen your leadership skills, consider participating in a leadership development program. The offerings in this area and the various skills assessments instruments available are almost endless. Even the most skilled well-regarded professional will still need the right transition process when he or she steps into a leadership position where they are managing others. 

Investing in one of these development programs can help ensure that new supervisors and bosses are equipped with the skills and mindset appropriate for the role. There are many leadership courses available to help you grow as a manager and leader, but there is no one-size fits all model that will work in every situation. It’s important to invest time and research before deciding which leadership development process would best suit your needs. 

Effective leadership and management is an art, not a science, which means there are many ways to get it right. The best way to learn leadership skills is to do it.  Leadership courses available online are a good place to begin your leadership journey, but you’ll also need to follow through with what you have learned in real life. Application isn’t easy, but it’s necessary to help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. Through experience, you’ll learn which leadership areas require the most attention.

Great employees are looking for great bosses! Investing time into developing yourself professionally will make all the difference between a mediocre supervisor and a phenomenal asset for the company.

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5 HR Trends for 2022

What will happen in 2022 with the ever-changing workforce? With the rapid pace of current events, it’s difficult to imagine what life will be like in the upcoming year.  One thing is for sure: Human Resources is undergoing a transformation and it’s no easy task to keep up. The average age of workers is rising, more of them are working remotely, and millions are entering the workforce at a time when automation is replacing human labor faster than ever. In order to succeed in this rapidly changing world, your company needs to be prepared for what’s coming by understanding these trends now. 

In 2022, here are just a few of the major shifts that can have an impact on your company’s most valuable asset – its people. 

  1. Automation will continue to pick up speed across all industries – including HR.

HR as a profession continues to change fundamentally as technology advances at a breakneck pace. As technology changes and in some cases replaces job roles, companies will need to be prepared with robust training and hiring strategies to accommodate  new skills necessary for success. 

  1. The gig economy will continue to grow.

Around 330,000 new gig economy jobs were added in July 2021 alone. While this monthly total ebbs and flows in reaction to developing regulations in this relatively new field, one thing is for sure: the gig economy is here to stay, albeit maybe not always in its current form. What should employers take away from this? A flexible schedule is a powerful job perk. 

  1. Flexible work arrangements are becoming more common. 

As evidenced in the previous trend, younger workers, for example, value flexibility more than just about any other traditional job benefit, including salary. The only other perk millennials value more is work-life balance, which is of course quite dependent on the flexibility of their jobs. Employers should evaluate the nature of flexible work schedules & locations to determine if it would be a good fit for their companies. 

  1. Workers’ rights continue to be redefined as technology changes the nature of work.

Largely driven by trends like the ballooning gig economy, growing reliance on remote workers, and greater flexibility in schedules, the nature of work is changing dramatically in a short period of time. Changing regulations are inevitable as the lines blur between home and office, and working hours and off hours. Companies need to keep up with these developments to prevent potential legal challenges further into 2022 and beyond. 

  1. More companies are going to offer unlimited vacation time for their employees. 

Millennials are continuing to crowd the workforce in growing numbers, and Gen Z is not far behind. Understanding what is important to the current and future generations of workers will determine your company’s ability to hire and retain the best talent, and younger workers tend to cite work-life balance as one of their top priorities when they choose their next workplace. 

A growing number of companies are offering the radical benefit of unlimited vacation time for their employees, and the trend may not remain radical for long. Not only is this a dream perk for many workers, but it also helps form a relationship of trust between employee and company. By trusting that your team will use their vacation time responsibly and perform their own roles accordingly, a company can demonstrate that it values their employees and their autonomy. 


These are just five of the HR trends that will continue to shape our world in 2022. By staying informed and aware, you can better prepare your company for the future. If you’re interested in learning more about how to stay ahead of these changes or want help with any other aspect of human resources management, let us know! Our team would be happy to set up a consultation so we can discuss all this further.

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Managing Mental & Physical Well-being

As a manager, nothing takes the place of being able to personally interact with each  member of your team. You’re able to assess strengths and weakness, determine work styles and you’re also able to observe habits and routines. For the latter, it’s easy to make note of incidents that deviate from that standard. For example, when your ever-punctual star player snaps a perfect attendance record and suddenly makes being tardy the norm, it’s easy to pick up on that sign and discuss it with them. Likewise, if you notice a team member who is    typically a buttoned-up employee start to show up to work unorganized with a disheveled appearance, you can interpret these visual cues and take steps to get that employee back on track.  

Now that most companies are still largely working with a fully-remote team, many of the advantages of in-person interaction have been stripped away. Your friends and colleagues have likely joked about the fact that one can hop on a Zoom meeting in sweatpants or pajamas bottoms and no shoes, and nobody is the wiser because the camera is only focused on the shoulders up. While certainly funny, it speaks to the flexibility that employees have with their habits and appearance while working remotely. It also illustrates the fundamental difficulty facing managers trying to maintain employee well-being remotely – you simply cannot trust what you see. Signs of burnout and depression can be noticed more easily during daily in person interactions in the office. When working remotely, it’s much easier to disguise these struggles as workers can roll out of bed and be “camera ready” within minutes. Even worse, if your team doesn’t hold regular meetings first thing in the morning, you may not be able to determine when a particular employee starts working at all. 


There are certain measures you can implement to help you identify and address problems when dealing with the well-being of your workforce.  


  • Establish a daily company-wide routine. As mentioned previously, a short morning meeting at the beginning of the workday can benefit you in a number of ways. Most importantly, you’ll be able to determine who is and isn’t ready to report for duty at the starting time your company has designated. If you notice habitual tardiness or absence, you can address that individual personally. But you also provide your employees with a much-needed opportunity to socialize and feel like a part of the team. 

  • Encourage or even incentivize physical activity among employees. We’ve all heard of “The COVID Nineteen,” a reference to the weight gain phenomenon experienced by many as we shut in and hunkered down to protect ourselves from the virus. Now with the end in sight and workers beginning to resume lives that somewhat resemble their lives pre-pandemic, many are looking for the motivation to get healthier in anticipation of social outings, concerts, and more. Many managers and business owners are using this opportunity to be open about their own struggles, which can provide opportunities to form stronger relationships through related experiences and office support groups. 

  • Keep it personal – always. Even if you have regular team meetings on a weekly basis, you should always plan to communicate with each team member one on one. Make time as your schedule allows you to have personal interactions with your team, whether those be scheduled as one on one Zoom calls or a less formal reach out just to gauge their happiness and wellness. It’s easy for employees to escape notice on calls featuring dozens of talking heads on a single screen. Reach out to them personally to ensure that nobody’s feedback is missed. This will go a long way with your team members.

  • Plan for informal virtual team gatherings focused on fellowship and team building. Working remotely can be an extremely lonely situation for many people. Not everyone lives with family or friends, and the lack of human interaction can wage devastation on employees’ mental health. Block out company time for everyone to gather via Zoom, catch up, laugh, celebrate  birthdays and holidays, and just generally get to know each other. If your company is large, set up breakout rooms for team members to get to know each other in a smaller, more intimate group setting. Prepare with fun questions, icebreaker exercises or topics beforehand, and let the conversation flow. 

As with all things related to management, addressing the physical and mental needs of your workforce is no easy task. Following the advice laid out above will lay the foundation for helping you manage your team’s wellness, but staying committed to these tips and executing a plan can be immensely challenging for managers and business owners juggling several other priorities. If you need a partner in developing a strategy to address your company’s unique needs, look no further than Cisso Bean & Dutch. Call (205) 542-8881 to get started today.

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Recruiting In A New Era. Pt. 2

With this blog, we’ll pick up where we left off last week discussing the adaptations necessary to successfully recruit in the pandemic’s wake. 


Keep an eye out for talent with adaptability. 

With the nature of many jobs rapidly changing, and with many jobs being eliminated altogether, many professionals with established careers are looking for something new. Whether they’ve lost interest in their past work or it’s simply not a sustainable financial option anymore, these are workers with an established professional history, though their skills may not entirely line up with what’s required for the role you’re filling. If someone with an impressive resume expresses interest in your company, you should give them a closer look whether or not their previous experience is a perfect match. 

Adaptability is a professional characteristic that cannot be understated. Many companies that are still thriving today survived due to the ability of their employees to adapt to a rapidly changing and complex scenario. Many employees learned new skills to address new needs within the organization, and through their adaptability they managed to keep the ship afloat. This is not the first nor will it be the last time companies face a crisis that forces them to make drastic changes in their operations and procedures. From this angle, hiring an adaptive workforce can be viewed as a form of insurance. 


Don’t lose your team in your search for a new MVP.

While it’s important to lock down the talent you need, it’s equally important to keep hold of your company’s current key players. Worker anxiety is exceptionally high during these times, and even the most valuable members of your team may doubt that their job security is fully intact. When employees sense that their jobs are vulnerable, whether those fears are real or imagined, they will begin to explore their options. In many cases, these “options” may be alluring enough to accelerate their departure from the company without any real threat to their current role. If your company is doing well, make it known to the whole team. If it isn’t, make sure you are making the importance of your team known to them. 

Is your company struggling with recruiting in 2021? Get support from an HR professional with decades of experience in talent acquisition by contacting Cisso Bean & Dutch today. 

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Recruiting In A New Era, Pt. 1

To state the obvious, we live in a very different world than we did just just one year ago. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to ripple through every last fabric of human society, and it’s clear that many of these changes are permanent. In no area is this more apparent than in the workplace – or lack thereof. With massive shifts to remote work to mitigate the impact of the virus, hiring managers are facing an entirely new list of challenges.


There’s a new talent market out there, but don’t let it get to your head.

The tables have turned immensely in favor of employers within the past year. The rapid surge in unemployment has shifted the weight of competition off the shoulders of companies and onto the shoulders of job seekers as top candidates scramble for diminishing opportunities. Suddenly, hiring managers that previously struggled to find the right fit might find themselves with multiple top tier options vying for their attention. 

While this should be used to your advantage to acquire the best talent available, you shouldn’t take your foot off the gas on any hiring initiatives that make your company more appealing in the long run. While it may seem otherwise, the pandemic won’t last forever. Hire like you’re still selling your company to a team member who could become a game changer, or else you’ll struggle to appeal to the best talent when the marketplace becomes more competitive for you. 


Working remotely is no longer a deal sweetener – it’s a must-have. 

Whether you’ve grown fond of your working arrangements over the past year or not, the remote workplace is here to stay long after the virus wanes and the world resumes a new normal. There are numerous reasons why you need to continue to offer remote work opportunities in 2021. 

  • Despite the best talent market for employers in years, your employer brand is still crucial to getting the best talent. Employers need to be empathetic and compassionate during these difficult times. Policies that help employees remain financially stable and healthy will go a long way with candidates who had opposite experiences with your competitors. 
  • You can hire nationally or possibly internationally. With a primarily remote workforce, you no longer need to limit yourself to local job markets. Previously, out-of-state talent required expensive out-of-state promises to incentivize relocation. Now you’re free to hire without regard to geographic location. 
  • Lower expenses means more money to acquire the best talent. With no need to pay for the overhead and taxes that come along with running a business from a commercial property, you have greater room for employee benefits, salaries, and more.


Stick around for part 2 next week. For help with your current recruiting and talent management, reach out to Cisso Bean & Dutch today.

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Interviewing in 2021

The year 2020 was a year of rapid transformation for nearly every industry in the world. There are few businesses whose daily routines and procedures were untouched by stay at home orders, social distancing, and the immense effort required to keep employees and customers safe. 

One major change that’s reflected across the entire workforce is the way we manage the recruiting process. Interviews via video conferencing vs. in person interviews became the new norm. In the midst of a pandemic that is raging more angrily than ever, fewer and fewer candidates are willing to risk the health of their family and friends to travel or meet hiring managers face to face. This presents challenges to hiring managers seeking the best talent, the most obvious being that it’s much easier to know and understand a person with real world interaction than it is through a Zoom window. 

For those to which this presented a significant change, you have no doubt referenced a variety of resources provided by both your conferencing platform and thought leaders that give you the basics on how to use your software and run a meeting in plain terms. However, after nearly a year under our current conditions, it’s important to make sure that you’re asking questions that are appropriate to our circumstances. Similarly, you must be ready to provide answers to questions you’re not used to receiving from candidates.


Times have changed. Make sure your questions have adjusted accordingly. 

The year 2020 was an unprecedented challenge for workers from all walks of life, and investigating how it has affected a candidate and how a candidate overcame or responded to these challenges can be of great value in choosing your next hire. Most if not all of your candidates will have experienced some form of hardship over the past year, and how they adapted to their hardships will give you clues about their determination, resilience, adaptability, and ingenuity. 

During your interview, you may wish to ask questions such as: 

  • How do you like working remotely? 
  • Did this pandemic change your outlook on your career? 
  • What lessons have you learned in the past year? 
  • How do you organize your work day from home? 

It may seem like an odd question to ask, but you may wish to inquire about the candidate’s desire to return to working in an office once the pandemic has subsided. If you’re craving a return to in-person meetings and collaboration, it would benefit you to hire someone who will be similarly eager to resume a commute. 


Likewise, your answers should have changed as well. 

Communication during an interview is not a one-way street. While it’s true the stress of an interview is mostly placed on the shoulders of the candidate, they will have questions of their own as they investigate how your company operates. Many of these questions are uniquely dated to 2020 and beyond. 

Be prepared to answer questions such as: 

  • How are you keeping your employees safe? 
  • How does your team communicate with each other remotely? 
  • What are your biggest work related challenges in relation to the pandemic? 
  • How did your company adjust to COVID-19? 

Use your answers to these questions to show the candidate that you truly care about the health and well-being of your employees, assuming you have taken notable measures to protect them. Demonstrate how your company responded to the momentous shifts of the pandemic, making it clear that the ship sails on despite the rough waters rocking the boat. 

It’s important to note that most of the fundamentals of conducting a successful interview remain the same. Be firm in your questioning. Pre-screen everyone before you block out a section of your schedule for them. Don’t rush, and make sure your notes are detailed and thorough. And while it’s important to be empathetic to others during these unprecedented times, don’t fail to apply pressure or question further if you feel you aren’t getting the whole truth. Finally, be consistent with your screening process and interview questions for each candidate.


Under normal circumstances, a bad hire can be a painful setback. In these times, it’s even more critical that you avoid these unpleasant situations. If you need help adapting your interview process to the issues facing us in 2021, reach out to Cisso Bean & Dutch today. 


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Retaining Your Best Employees: Why It’s In Your Company’s Best Interest

Recruiting new talent is exciting and potentially beneficial to your organization immediately and, if done well, long into the future. Training them in the necessary job skills and ensuring their cultural fit are necessities.  When you put that much quality time into your people the last thing you want is for them to take that solid foundation and move it to another company—potentially a competitor—within a few months. So, how can you keep them and all your best employees? Let’s dig a little deeper. 


Let The Right Ones In.

You know what needs doing in your company and you know what kind of person can do it. You need to make sure they know it too. To do that you need comprehensive and up to date job descriptions. Vague hiring tactics without clear parameters will produce employees who don’t know how they can help advance your company’s mission and meet your goals. And that’s not their fault. This goes for new hires and for current employees—everybody needs an accurate and updated job description. A place for everyone and everyone in their place.


Let Opportunity Knock For Them.

Who’s there? The future. If your best employees can’t see their future growth within the company, or if they hit a roadblock, they will look for answers elsewhere. One way to keep them interested and growing—that benefits both of you—is career development. This can include seminars, classes, even degree advancement programs such as EMBAs. You can offer to help them with the cost of job-related classes.

Be sure to have a fair and open means of evaluating their growth and a way of recognizing their achievements. The best employees will take pride in their growth and will feel a much stronger bond to your organization.


Who Benefits From Benefits?

Sure, salary and job title are powerful motivators but—especially in times of uncertainty—your benefits offerings can really work to keep your most productive and responsible employees on the job. Health benefits are most important and essential to recruiting. Another old standby is help with retirement and matching contributions to 401k savings still have power. 

There are less traditional ways to benefit your best that work especially well with the younger segment of the workforce: generous paid time-off; flexible work hours; maternity/paternity leave; and especially today, work from home opportunities. 


Communication = Trust.

Your best employees recognize that when they do a good job its good for the whole company. When they hear positive direction and feedback from management, they develop trust. That trust strengthens their feeling of ownership in the company—it’s their company too. 

Communicate this trust by allowing employees to do important work without micromanaging them. 

Trust builds competence and loyalty.


Forty Hours A Week Is Only A Small Part Of A Full Life

As rewarding financially, psychically and in any other way their job might be, it is only a small slice of your employee’s life. So, for starters, keep regular office hours. Don’t demand nights and weekends of them. 

Additionally, find ways to share and celebrate life outside the office. Here are a few actual examples from successful companies: feature an avid birdwatcher in your company newsletter; allow employees to recruit volunteers for the local film festival; make t-shirts for a company team in 10k fun run or marathon. Easy and fun. 

And always recognize (as your employees do) that this job allows them to have a good life.


Keep Communications Open

Feedback is everywhere these days. Online reviews. Text messages. Web chats and DMs. When your employees don’t hear from you, they get worried. If it stays that way, they  may leave you. So, listen. And, be sure to give them feedback. 


Two Little Words That Make A Big Difference

You probably already guessed them. 

“Thank you.”

They don’t have much of an impact on overhead, but they can make a big difference in retaining your best employees. I can’t underscore this enough. I recall an instance in a past worklife where an associate came in to resigned. He loved his job but felt his manager did not appreciate the work he was doing. I knew that the manager valued him greatly and had him on a path to promotion. The manager had been extremely busy working on a huge company initiative and missed providing ongoing positive feedback on the employee’s performance as well as timely “thank you’s” for his work. Fortunately, we were able to retain this valueable employee. It doesn’t always work out this way. 

You can also make your appreciation known with small perks—meals, event tickets, cash—but the power of a simple and well-timed “thank you” is mighty. 

Thank you for reading this.


Would you like to talk about retaining your best employees? Contact Cisso Bean & Dutch for expert HR guidance today. 

If you need advice on how this could benefit your company, we may be able to help. Contact Cisso Bean & Dutch today to partner with skilled HR experts that can help you benefit from a vibrant company culture. 

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Motivating A Younger Workforce: Meaningful Work And More

Motivating A Younger Workforce: Meaningful Work And More  

The age gap in the U.S. workforce is currently the widest it’s been in fifty years. Why? More employees are staying in their jobs longer and longer. There could be many good reasons for this: health care costs, financial issues, job satisfaction. Whatever the reason, it leaves the younger generation of workers with the impression that there is no good path forward for them. 

Millennials currently make up more than 25 percent of the workforce in America. They are the youngest, most educated, most diverse generation yet. They have a lot to offer. Let’s create a path that benefits everyone.


Can They See The Future?

So, you’ve hired a Millennial, maybe Gen Z. In order to align these potentially valuable and productive new members of your team you need to make sure that they know where they’re going—where the company is going. Communicate your vision and direction early and often. When the path ahead is clear, they will take it. 


Values Are Invaluable.

The job and its compensation can bring them in the door but that alone may not be enough to keep them. They are looking for a position that reflects their values. They want their job to be a good fit with who they are

They want answers. What are your company’s core values? Who does your business serve? What problems do you solve for your customers? 

In addition to long established and widespread values such as honesty, integrity, respect and teamwork, a majority of younger workers are concerned with sustainability and environmental stewardship. 


To Get Respect, Give Respect.

Sure, you’re the boss, but micromanaging millennials does not work out well. They will not automatically respect you unless you give them autonomy—allow them to show you what they can do. Long term this fosters growth and builds more self-sufficient teams. 

Employees with a true sense of ownership of their job will be more motivated, engaged and excited. Focus on the outcome, not the rules or how “you’ve always done it”.

Autonomy is not the norm for most businesses, but your company can benefit greatly from allowing employees to feel trusted. Wouldn’t you prefer to have your employees telling their friends what a great company they work for rather than the opposite?     


A Generation Of Individuals.

We tend to think that all Millennials are basically the same—ambitious, confident, sheltered, pressured, and on and on, you know? And Gen Z too?

They are not. 

Some are extroverts, some introverts. Some love being outdoors, some crave video gaming at home. They are diverse in so many ways and bring with them a wide range of talents and interests. Figure out what makes them tick and align their personal goals with your organization’s goals. Jon Hainstock, co-founder of Zoomshift, suggests checking in with them and asking questions such as: “What was the greatest lesson you learned from your parents?” or “Who was your childhood hero?” Spend time getting to see and appreciate their individuality. 

They will feel valued and you will have gained a valuable insight into getting the best out of them.


Let’s Get Back On The Path Forward

Here’s a simple truth. The growth of your business depends on the growth of your people. Improving their skills improves your company’s ability to serve its customers and achieve its goals. So how can you unlock their potential? By recognizing their differences. And honoring them.

As digital natives they can find information quickly. So, they tend to focus on what they need to do more than what they need to know. They learn by doing. Give them meaningful tasks.

In keeping with this active approach, provide them an in-house coach or mentor. This hierarchical relationship structure provides a clear destination and a road map to get there. Interestingly, I found in my past leadership roles that the mentor-mentee partnership worked both ways as the more experienced coaches I assigned to work with the more entry-level team members learned from them as well.

Take advantage of their comfort level with technology. Platforms such as Slack are a great fit with their desire to connect and collaborate. Let them show you what they can do. 

You provide the road, they know how to drive. And they’re ready to go.


Have questions about retaining younger workers? Contact Cisso Bean & Dutch for expert HR guidance today. 

If you need advice on how this could benefit your company, we may be able to help. Contact Cisso Bean & Dutch today to partner with skilled HR experts that can help you benefit from a vibrant company culture. 

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Company Culture: Making It Better Makes You Better

As a former Head of Talent Acquisition for a major retail corporation, questions about culture, were the ones asked most. In fact, workers today consider company culture with as much weight as they give to salary and benefits. You may have heard about the amazing cultures at companies like Google, Zappos, and REI, and you may be thinking “Sure, great places to work BUT they are bigger, more profitable and more famous than us.” Well, a great company culture does not require size, money or fame. Even businesses with a handful of employees can be great places to work. Let’s see how you can be one too.  


Great culture is no longer just a nice extra.

Workers today consider company culture with as much weight as they give to salary and benefits. They want to measure the company to see if it’s a good fit for them. And companies want to make sure that the employee is a good fit for them as well. As an example, Zappos bases fifty percent of their hiring decision on a cultural fit interview. Although culture is strongly influenced by the organization’s founder and executive team every employee plays a part in carrying it inside and outside the company.


Your company has a personality.

A company personality should be as easily recognized as an individual’s personality. Which way would you like to be perceived: eager, friendly, serious, humorous, caring, aloof? Whatever it is, your personality should appeal to your customers and your employees. It will self-select your success with both targets.

The traits that make up the personality of an individual—values, beliefs, interests, experiences, behaviors and habits—are present in companies as well. Oftentimes they are unspoken and unwritten rules for working together. When internalized, this collection of traits can make a company more efficient and help it present a consistent public image.


Make your culture deliberate. 

Companies have a culture whether they set out to create one or not. Make sure that yours is working in your favor. One way to ensure this is to proclaim and promote your core values. 

Google’s values include quickness and quirkiness. For example, potential team members are asked quirky interview questions such as “Why are manhole covers round?” or “How many golf balls can fit in a school bus?”

Zappos has 10 core values which they promote as “a way of life”.  Here are a few of them: service, growth, communication, passion and “a little weirdness”. They widely share these core values with customers and employees alike on their website and in their workspaces.

Outdoor gear provider REI has recognized that its customers and its employees don’t just love camping and hiking but they care for the environment as well. REI says its employees give “life to their purpose” of getting more people outside, operating more sustainably, and protecting and creating access to outdoor places.


Company culture is a living thing.

“Set it and forget it” are not words by which to create a company culture. To stay healthy and vibrant a culture needs periodic check-ups. These can take many forms including consistent hiring practices to ensure a good fit, openly sharing your culture and values, recognizing and celebrating achievements both large and small, and keeping communications channels open and frequent. 

Although physically difficult for many of us to practice during the current pandemic conditions, the familiar technique of “management by walking around” is a good technique for encouraging two-way communication. A great way to simulate this if your current work environment is all (or mostly) work-from-home, could be with a regular Zoom meeting about cultural issues or perhaps a Slack Channel would better fit your workstyle. 


Is bigger better?

We have mentioned a few companies with thousands of workers and millions of customers but what about smaller companies? How can they win the company culture competition?

Here are a few ways to see the big advantages of being small. 

According to Glassdoor smaller companies offer employees a more hands-on work experience, more flexibility, better access to management and a more personalized career path.  

Whatever size company you are or hope to be a part of, embrace its culture and keep it active through open and frequent two-way communication. 


Would you like to talk about company culture? Contact Cisso Bean & Dutch for expert HR guidance today.  

If you need advice on how this could benefit your company, we may be able to help. Contact Cisso Bean & Dutch today to partner with skilled HR experts that can help you benefit from a vibrant company culture.

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Diversity, Equity And Inclusion: How To Do It Better

Your employees’ sense of belonging and their connection to your company culture are critical to problem-solving, productivity and engagement during normal times—and these are not normal times. Pandemic-related remote work has made it more important than ever that you communicate a sense of inclusion and equity. 


DE&I job openings surge.

This summer’s nationwide protests have brought the issue of DE&I to the forefront. The employment and recruiting site Glassdoor reports DE&I job openings have risen 55% since June 8, after falling by 60% at the beginning of the pandemic.

According to Daniel Zhao, Glassdoor senior economist, “In the wake of nationwide protests against racial injustice, employees are expecting employers to not only talk the talk, but also walk the walk.” Zhao continued, “While the COVID-19 crisis initially pushed companies to pull back on investments in diversity and inclusion, new economic research suggests that pressure and awareness from employees may be spurring companies to back up their commitments with action. The rebound in hiring for diversity-and-inclusion-related jobs is a meaningful signal of a deeper and more sustained investment, given how expensive and challenging it is to find, hire and retain specialized talent.”

Zhao added that although DE&I jobs have come back significantly, the number of openings is still 38 percent lower than pre-COVID-19 levels.


Diversity, equity and inclusion starts with communication.

This moment presents an opportunity to address a situation that has been neglected for too long. A Monmouth University poll from June 2020 showed that 76% of Americans called racism and discrimination “a big problem”, a jump of 26% since 2015.

Employees want to hear from management and to be sure that they are heard as well. Luckily today’s work from home environment offers many ways to reach out. It’s relatively easy to strengthen your company-wide connections through messaging apps such as Slack, video conferencing via Zoom, and your regular company email.  

Err on the side of too much communication to avoid misunderstandings, and make sure the communication goes both ways. Find out what issues and concerns are on your employees’ minds. Collect information through surveys, involve and empower individual employees to be voices for their departments. 


Make change systemic not symbolic. 

In years past DE&I has too often been seen as an add-on managed by a consultant. In order to be most effective, the initiative must be an organic part of the organization and come from a commitment at the senior level, including the CEO or someone with substantial authority. Don’t let it become a top-down, command and control style program however, empower individual managers or team leaders to interpret and implement it as an integral part of their work day. This strategy can be beneficial financially as well according to a 2018 McKinsey & Co. report which found that companies with diverse boards and executive teams were up to 35 percent more likely to financially outperform their less-diverse competitors.


Keeping track keeps it working for everyone.

Be sure to create feedback loops and accumulate relevant metrics. Managers and employees should be able to see quickly and easily how they are meeting their organizations’ diversity, equity and inclusion goals. Nicole Ferrer, managing director of Diversity Recruiters, a Seattle-based staffing and recruitment company advises elevating your DE&I program by aligning metrics to the programming. “Something needs to be measurable so that it isn’t seen as a cheerleading advocacy group or an angry group just expressing dissatisfaction, I always recommend DE&I practitioners measure retention of employees of color. If these employees are not staying, then you have a problem.”


How is getting back to work going to work?  

Whether the nine to five workday is coming back or not remains to be seen. A recent CNBC survey of executives across various economic sectors showed they expect more than half their employees to be back to the office in September. The remote way of working has gained wide acceptance and it has presented companies with an opportunity to reflect on how they are dealing with the important issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. 


Need help doing DE&I better? Contact Cisso Bean & Dutch for expert HR guidance today.  

If you need advice on how to make this strategy work for your company, we may be able to help. Contact Cisso Bean & Dutch today to partner with skilled HR experts that can help you benefit from a more inclusive work environment.

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How Has COVID-19 Affected The Workforce?

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the globe, companies are adopting different strategies to responsibly contribute to containing the spread of the virus as well as ensure that there is minimal interference with business. As a result, the hiring processes for many companies have been significantly altered or adjusted. This blog will discuss the ways in which the pandemic is affecting the ability of companies to engage full-time hires during this period, among other things.

Pandemic-specific Policies

As companies respond to the pandemic, they are developing policies that guide how they should be run given the circumstances. These policies are mostly in line with the guidelines provided by the CDC and various governments on how to ensure the virus is contained. Such policies may limit companies from engaging full-time staff as a way of protecting existing employees and adhering to the established guidelines.

Reduction of Customers

The most obvious impact from the pandemic has been the rapid downturn in consumer activity as customers seek to protect themselves and their loved ones (Maurer, 2020). This has resulted in:
Reduced business activity: Most customers are now seeking all possible means to stay at home as well as work from home. With reduced activities across nearly all sectors, many companies have less of a need for full-time employees. The reduced number of customers has consequently led to a decrease in demand for labor.

  • Reduced revenue: Reduced business activity is also leading to a decrease in revenue. With decreased revenue, engaging staff on a full-time basis may be a challenge for many companies due to the expenses involved.
  • Increased financial burden: Companies have other expenses that need to be addressed despite the pandemic spreading at high speed. Such expenses include rent and other overhead. However, with a decrease in commerce, taking care of these expenses may be strenuous for companies. As a result, supporting full-time staff may be a challenge.

Workforce Shortages

Despite massive layoffs that would theoretically contribute to the number of people available to be hired, the pandemic has resulted in a diminished workforce. There are two primary factors for this, one of them quite obvious.

  • Increased mortality rate: Regardless of the true case & mortality numbers, there is an undeniable excess in deaths for the year of 2020 compared to 2019. Though the impact has been placed largely on older adults, there has been an uptick in mortality among adults who were still active in the workforce.
  • Increased anxiety among the workers: As the full impact of the coronavirus is still largely unknown, worker fears are further limiting candidate pools. Certain industries that require close-contact exposure to others may be struggling to hire full-time staff during the pandemic.

Impact On Hiring
Efforts to contain the spread of the virus have demanded that people stay at home as much as possible. This has limited the number of HR procedures involved to make a hire. For instance, applications for certain positions have reduced as people are not actively looking for those jobs. Secondly, for some jobs, interviewing and induction processes cannot be done using online platforms (Nadeem, 2020). Some need close contact and monitoring of employees, which of course results in virus transmission. As a result, engaging full-time hires is compromised.

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Managing A Remote Workforce: 3 Tips

In the midst of this pandemic, most companies have seen most or all of their workforces shift into a remote setup if the nature of their business will allow it. For many companies, this means business as usual. In the year 2020, there were already thousands of businesses that managed predominantly remote workforces that span multiple timezones. However, for most companies, the current environment has resulted in a total transformation of the employee experience.

The shift to remote working will be most felt by managers who are used to the opportunity of poking heads in offices, stopping by desks, or calling team meetings. You’ll need to make big changes to keep your team productive, projects on track, and deadlines met. Here are 5 tips designed to help managers cope with managing a team virtually.

Communicate a set weekly or daily video meeting or call schedule to your workforce.

In the absence of face-to-face meetings or group working sessions, it’s important to stay in regular contact with your team. From an operational perspective, regular video meetings via Zoom are a great way to make sure tasks don’t fall through the cracks. They keep everyone on the same page, and ensure that everyone is working toward the same goal. From the perspective of managing your own personal stress level, they can also alleviate the anxiety that comes from not being able to visually confirm that your staff is staying on task.

Schedule weekly meetings that remain at the same time on the same days each week. Give each meeting a certain focus, and make sure each meeting has an agenda to keep the meetings productive. Consider implementing a 15-minute morning huddle by video to start each today. Just be mindful of scheduling too many meetings or making your team feel micromanaged.

Keep your company’s goals, objectives, and tasks in a centralized project management platform to track productivity.

If you weren’t already utilizing a project management platform like Teamwork or Monday to track progress and productivity, now is the time to get on board. Most businesses have several moving parts all working independently of each other, and it’s crucial to have everyone working from the same playbook. When your team is working remotely, it’s more important than ever for you to have a central hub for all information regarding your current projects.

These platforms give you the ability to create and assign task lists to your team, develop project timelines & deadlines, and track progress towards goals. They also give you the ability to track the time spent on your projects, which is necessary to gauge both the profitability of your projects and the productivity of your team.

Use Slack to increase the ease and openness of communication within your company.

Many remote workers are sorely missing the ability to pop in on coworkers to ask questions, seek feedback, and kick around ideas. These interactions don’t translate well into emails, which are tiresome to write, tiresome to read, and oftentimes still ignored in spite of all the effort. They can also lead to delays and missed deadlines when a quick question doesn’t get answered for hours or even days. If you have a larger team and you’ve been relying on emails as your primary form of internal communication, this has undoubtedly already caused you several headaches.

Acquaint yourself and your company with Slack, and you’ll wonder how you ever got along without it. Slack is an instant messaging platform that allows you to quickly exchange messages and files with teammates. You can message teammates one-on-one, or you can message people as a group. The simple nature of the platform makes it easy to pick up for new users, and you’ll enjoy an increased level of communication almost instantly.

Need help adjusting to your newly-remote business?

Cisso Bean & Dutch specializes in helping businesses adapt to challenges like the ones we are currently facing. Contact us today to partner with a seasoned HR specialist who can help you reach your “new normal” and get the most out of your socially-distanced team.