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!
Below is an article originally written by PowerToFly hiring partner Managed by Q and published on March 22, 2016. Go to Managed by Q's page on PowerToFly to learn more.
This past week, Q was excited to announce a big enhancement to our benefits program for every Operator. Starting this summer, all Operators at Q, whether you're cleaning offices in the field or building software at headquarters, will be eligible to earn stock in the company.
An added layer of excitement to this announcement was that U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Tom Perez joined our CEO and co-founder Dan Teran to unveil the program.
Secretary Perez has been a champion of creating good jobs in the U.S. and economic upward mobility for a class of American workers who traditionally have had none.
"There's a school of thought that says the only way we can grow this economy is through low wage, no benefit jobs. I categorically reject that," Perez said.
He shares Q's belief that a long-term investment in people is how you build a scalable business model.
He joined Q at our headquarters in New York for a roundtable discussion with a small group of Operators, followed by a press conference for the broader public announcement.
The roundtable brought together Operators from across Q's business. This included two of our mentors, a supervisor, a Q handyman, an engineer, and an operations associate who was an office manager prior to joining Q.
The group represented a broad swath of many different roles at Q and brought to light some diverse perspectives on what it means to work at Q.
Kicking off the roundtable, the Secretary asked each Operator what they liked most about working at Q. To most, it's the career opportunity and the Q family that keeps everyone going.
"It feels like a family business where everyone wants to help each other out," said Ty Lane, one of Q's cleaning Operators. Ty joined last fall and quickly rose through the ranks to become a mentor within three weeks of joining.
One of Q's supervisor's Jose Lara talked about the team that's always there to back you up.
"Even when you're working around the clock on a late-night shift, there's always someone there to pick up the phone," Lara said.
A common thread of the conversation centered on how Q has been intentional about building office culture.
One of Q's founding fathers and earliest engineers, Matt Briancon, reflected back on almost exactly a year ago to the day when the entire company sat down to draft up what we call the Q Code — the set of values that embody what it means to be Q.
At that time, Q was getting big and growing fast, and we wanted to be intentional about keeping the great culture we were forming. The entire team sat around a table to write down the five things each Operator liked best about Q. From there, the Code emerged.
The conversation then shifted to talk about the big update that brought everyone together: Q's new Operator Stock Option Plan.
Our co-founder and CEO Dan Teran spoke about how Q's leadership has been thoughtful about the policies we roll out because they ultimately impact people.
"We believe deeply that only through shared prosperity can we reach our fullest potential," Teran said.
Secretary Perez joked that some may call Dan and his leadership team crazy for running a company as if it were a venture capital-funded fantasy. He then highlighted the other side of that argument, which is that research proves that long-term investment in your people is how you win.
"Low wages and no benefits is not the only option," Secretary Perez said. "When a workplace is centered around values and your employees have skin in the game, the company and employees win."
Coming back to culture, the Secretary was curious to learn more about what excites the team about working at Q.
From the engineering perspective, Briancon spoke about how he worked on other interesting projects before Q, but to him they lacked depth. When he first stumbled upon Q, it seemed that it was just a cleaning company — then he realized it was much more than what was on the surface.
Ty spoke about her bond with the customers in the office she manages.
"It's really special — I'm working at Q but working for them, too," she said.
The bond is so special they have her picture on the wall and frequently invite her to partake in their office Rock Band sessions.
Ty also elaborated on how Q has helped her grow in her career.
"Other jobs felt like high school — this job makes me feel like an adult. It's the best job I've ever had. People here want to grow," Lane said.
From the roundtable, we shifted upstairs to the future home of Q HQ (coming this fall!) for a press conference to publicly announce the new stock option program for our Operators.
With the backdrop of members of the press, the Department of Labor, folks across the tech community, and a cheering crowd of Operators in black Q shirts, Dan more formally announced the new program, alongside Secretary Perez and Ty.
"When we were just starting out a few years ago, we knew there had to be a better way. While technology was improving the lives of many, companies in our industry were increasingly viewing employees as a cost and not an asset. That view leads to bad jobs, stagnant wages, and an unmotivated workforce — it's bad for workers, bad for customers, and bad for business," he said.
That encouraged Teran to take a different path where instead of shirking responsibilities as an employer, Q chose to invest in our workforce.
Today Q's operators are W2 employees with above-market wages, Fortune 500-level benefits, a 401K, continuing education, career growth opportunities, and new programs and benefits rolled out quarterly informed by their needs.
"We've seen time and time again that when our Operators develop relationships with our clients, it drives value for the business," he said.
"We've proven you don't have to choose between a good business model and good jobs, it is a false choice, and we believe this is critical to our long-term success. We've built software to make the experience with Q more human, not less."
Q's strong belief in this simple formula is one of the driving factors behind our announcement to offer equity to every Operator across the company.
Over the next five years, Managed by Q will give 5% of the company to its Operators working in the field. The cleaners, handymen, assistants, and helpers that make Q the great company it is today.
"Real ownership in the company, for the people working tirelessly to make it a reality. Our mission at Q is to make the world work better, not just for our clients, but for everyone," Teran said.
Starting July 1st, and every year thereafter, Q will offer stock options based on experience and skill set.
"Our hope…my hope, is after building a career with Q, our Operators from all walks of life will be able to use those stock options to put a down payment on a home, pay for a full college education or make another investment in their future, we have designed the program with this goal in mind," Teran said.
One of the strongest advocates for the conscious capitalism movement, Perez stressed that companies can do well — and do good.
"The high road is indeed the smart road — it's a loyalty promoter," he said.
"Q is showing the world that in the on-demand space, you can innovate and you can ensure that innovation is inclusive," Secretary Perez conveyed.
With this announcement, Q becomes the first in our field offering equity to all employees regardless of position, with one of the largest and most aggressive programs in the world.
Teran concluded with the following remarks:
"If you want to deliver the best service, then you need the best people doing the job…and to get the best people doing the job, you just need to be the best employer. So that is what we've set out to do," he said.
Our vision hasn't changed since our first deep clean two years ago — we're building an operating system for the built world, to run physical space with the reliability of software. The only way to fully maximize our potential is to invest in the beating heart of our business: our Operators.