How Managed By Q Creates a Positive Company Culture
Below is an article originally published by PowerToFly Partner Managed By Q here. Go to Managed By Q's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
"Company culture" is a buzzword we've all heard by now. As the name implies, it's a nod to a company's way of being—how their values and expectations shape the employee experience. Fitting in with the company vibe can make a huge difference when it comes to your professional growth and career happiness, but culture can be notoriously difficult to gauge. When you are interviewing for a job, how do you get a sense of how a company lives their values and the cultural expectations they have for their employees?
To help guide job seekers, we tapped career experts who are immersed in the topic. These eight interview questions will help you get sense of a company's culture and whether it's a good fit for you.
What do most employees do for lunch?
"I love this question," says longtime HR mentor and career coach Nicole Drummond. "Are people eating sad salads at their desks? Or do small groups go out and get lunch together? Is there a dining area where people gather, even if it's just for 30 minutes? It's a question most people don't ask, so it's a great way to gauge the culture."
A worthy follow-up is to ask about any regular social events. Connecting with fellow employees plays a major role in work happiness. Go beyond the water cooler and ask directly about routine get-togethers and other opportunities for fostering authentic connections.
Can I take an office tour?
This is a simple question that can reveal much about life at a particular office. Do you see closed cubicles or a collaborative, open-air setup? Take note of the dress code; are employees in straight-laced business attire or more self-expressive clothing?
An office tour is also an ideal time to ask the interviewer about what work styles the company supports. Is it a strict in-office, 9-to-5 policy? Or do employees have the option to, say, take their laptop to a local park to meet deadlines in the fresh air? Is working remotely on the table? You won't always know until you ask.
How are employees recognized for their achievements (and failures)?
What happens when someone slam dunks a project?
"Is it just kudos on Slack or in an email, or is it a shout out at town hall?" asks Drummond. "Celebrating each other's successes, for me, is a big thing. We all want to be recognized; it can sometimes feel better than a raise!"
On the flip side, what happens if you flop? A smart way to find out is to ask how they handle letting someone go, adds Drummond. On that note, if an employee is struggling to meet expectations, what kind of support does HR provide?
What you're really trying to figure out with these questions is if the company encourages employees to try new approaches and take reasonable risks.
How does this role fit into the overall company goals?
Instead of asking what the company values are, which might elicit a generic response, ask specifically how the job you're interviewing for plays into their big-picture objectives. In what way does it support the grander vision? This tack clarifies the impact you'll have at the company, while simultaneously highlighting their values.
What is one characteristic all employees have in common?
Ariel Lopez, founder and CEO of 2020Shift, says this question will probably catch the interviewer off guard. (In a good way).
"Maybe it's something fresh and unexpected, like a great sense of humor," she says. "You might get a cliché answer, like 'team players who are self-motivated,' but you might also get something more genuine and telling about the company culture."
What are the growth opportunities like?
This is a biggie. A solid culture fit goes hand in hand with feeling supported to learn and grow.
"Definitely ask what they look for when promoting individuals, and also what they look for in managers and their executive staff," says Lopez. "If you can speak to people already in those senior positions, it'll probably give you a pretty good idea if you can actually go through that glass ceiling or not."
Inquiring about professional development and mentorship opportunities is another way to get a feel for the company's stance on employee growth.
How do they embrace diversity and inclusion?
Unfortunately, sometimes "culture fit" is a subtle way in which employers practice unconscious bias (especially for candidates from non-majority backgrounds).
"This happens all the time," says Lopez, whose company focuses on helping tech and digital media companies diversify their recruitment process and retain minority talent. "Underrepresented groups are uniquely affected."
This is precisely why diversity and inclusion practices are important to explore during the interview process. Lopez suggests asking for a specific example of how the company maintains an inclusive environment.
What would your employees have to say about the company?
"This is one of my favorite interview questions because it really catches people on the spot, so they don't have time to give a canned answer," says Lopez.
Perhaps the best way to do tease out company culture is to connect with a past or present employee. Drummond recommends setting this up on your own—if you ask the interviewer, it'll be tough to decipher if the person they send you to is being genuine.
"Seek out another individual contributor who works there; it doesn't necessarily have to be someone on the team you're interviewing for," says Drummond.
Whether you go through a shared connection or you send a cold email to someone you found on LinkedIn, what you're trying to uncover is what it's really like to work there. Lopez also says there's real value in chatting with former employees, who are more likely to speak openly about their experience.
When you are able to get a sense of a company's culture you will be better able to start your new job with confidence, knowing that you will be joining an environment where you can thrive.
Below is an article originally written by PowerToFly hiring partner Managed by Q and published on July 24, 2018. Go to Managed by Q's page on PowerToFly to learn more.
Human Resources is traditionally thought of as the department that creates policy and process for employees. They live by the book (the employee handbook) and support employees when issues arise. However, the HR department has changed.
In the last five to ten years, due mostly to an increasingly competitive hiring environment, HR has stepped away from its role of policymaker to take on an entirely new employee benefit—their experience. In taking ownership of the employee experience, the term Human Resources is being phased out and departments that serve this function are now known as the People team, People & Culture team, and Employee Experience team.
But putting employees first takes much more than a name change. Managed by Q's new VP of People Maria Dunn has over a decade of experience working on teams (Recruiting, Human Resources, People & Culture) that have prioritized their employees. She talks about the shift teams need to make to create an environment that will attract and—more importantly—retain and grow its talent.
Focus on your greatest asset
"I've always believed that people are a company's most valued asset," says Maria. Throughout her career, Maria has brought a people-focused approach to all of her roles. One of her first positions was as recruiter for a global staffing firm during the recession in 2009. Here, she realized her passion for helping others succeed, as she provided coaching to help candidates secure long-term positions from temporary roles. "This is when I learned what great HR does," Maria recalled.
Two years ago, Maria joined Managed by Q as the Director of People for Q Services, our service company that provides cleaning, maintenance, and administrative support. Q Services was founded on the Good Jobs Strategy, which aims to create superior value for employees, customers, and investors by combining investment in employees with operational choices that increase employee productivity, contribution, and motivation. This people-oriented approach was built into the fabric of the business, but its operations were scaling faster than management.
With over 800 hourly employees distributed across four cities, Maria's approach was simple. "Instead of sitting in a room with operations leads trying to figure out what our Operators needed, I went out and asked them myself," she said. "I invested a ton of my initial time talking to our hourly Operators, the ones actually doing the work, about what they needed from us. What I found is they needed the basics: clear expectations and believable management." Within a year, Operator engagement scores had soared and retention had improved. Another year later, the business became profitable.
To be successful, the People team needs to deeply understand what their business does––how it makes money, who its customers are, how the product works, and what sets it apart in the market. "When you embed yourself in the departments you support, that's when you can really make an impact," said Maria. "If you are responsible for change and are looking for answers, go directly to the source, talk to the employees who interact the most with your customers. They have more answers than you think."
Build real connections
For employees to tell their People or HR teams what's really going on with your business, they need to trust you. According to Maria, you need a very high level of situational awareness to be a true agent of change in a company, which you can't achieve from surveys and observation alone. "The most successful People leaders are those who can build and maintain trust," she says, which also reflects Q's overall culture of building trust through transparency, learning, and giving direct feedback.
Prior to joining Managed by Q, Maria was hired to open a remote technical support center for a growing start-up. In addition to hiring, Maria was responsible for building a team culture from scratch, while also bringing the company's values to its first satellite office. In just eight months, the support team scaled from 20 to 100 employees, and experienced zero turnover in its first year of operations. But after a few years of continued growth, Maria found herself on the team that was responsible for assisting the company through an eventual shutdown.
The people who helped build the culture alongside Maria were learning that not only were their positions going away, but so was the company they loved. "It was a challenging time, but I made a choice to stick with the employees and stay by their side through the process. They needed honest answers, even if it was 'I don't know,'" Maria recalled. "Don't give your team a BS answer that they'll see right through. When you're consistently providing them with the truth, your bond is much stronger. It's a powerful thing."
Cultivate, don't create
The People team has the most unique vantage point in a company—by providing services to all employees, they can provide impartial insight to decision makers. In working with each department, they are also able to cultivate a community that will drive both individual and company-wide growth and help refine and focus a company's singular culture. This is certainly the case for Maria at Q, who is focusing on how we can amplify our culture. "We are in our fourth year at Q and we have a solid foundation. It's time to take it to the next level and raise the bar," said Maria. "A lot of our departments have done a great job creating culture within their teams, now our team needs to bring it all together at a higher level."
As Maria enters the second half of the year, she is focused on fostering an environment of understanding, empathy, and fun. To achieve this will ensure a great employee experience, and promote a workplace that clears the way for employees to do their best work. If the "HR" teams of today can put their people first, work to cultivate an inspiring work environment, and ensure that internal culture is a reflection of a company's external brand, they will not only positively impact team productivity, but they will be able to attract and retain top talent that will bring their business to the next level.
And They're Hiring!
Dan Teran, and his team have grown Managed By Q exponentially since launching in 2014 from a small room above a garment factory in New York City's Chinatown. Today, they serve over 1,000 offices nationwide, and their commitment to hiring, training, and retaining the best workforce nationwide hasn't changed a bit.
Dan is looking for people just like you to join his rapidly growing team. Click here to see all of their current openings, and don't forget to press 'Follow' so you're the first to know of new listings and upcoming events!