Which Hogwarts House Does Your Company Belong In?

In the spirit of Fantastic Beasts taking the theatres by storm (okay, maybe I’ve seen it three times), Smart Savvy thought to take a deeper dive into the world of Harry Potter (okay, maybe it was only my idea) through a corporate lens, of course. All four Hogwarts houses have very specific traits, characteristics, and colours that identify their people — much like the identifying corporate culture of each workplace (only minus the wearing of colours…and having a Quidditch team). Each House is uniquely distinct and attracts different personalities. Gryffindors are lions: brave and courageous, daring to do things others would shy away from (like facing Voldemort, for example). Hufflepuffs are as gentle as they sound — they’re kind, trustworthy, and just (not to mention they’ve produced the least amount of dark wizards out of all the houses #peacekeepers). Ravenclaws are sharp like their name, a house of intelligence, wit, and wisdom. Lastly, Slytherin has a bad rap but actually possesses admirable qualities such as determination, charm, and ambition.  Where Other Companies Were Sorted… So at this point all JK Rowling fanatics are thinking, where does my company and culture fit? Where would the sorting hat send me and my colleagues? Luckily for you, our friends over at Venngage created a sorting quiz — think Pottermore, but for businesses — and even sorted companies based on that company’s response or their Glassdoor/culture reviews. If you’ve ever doubted that Slytherin is the evil house, think again: Tech Company Culture Hogwarts Houses | Make an Infographic And Smart Savvy is… After much humming and hawing (how does that sorting hat do it?) and wanting to answer with TWO answers for most questions, Smart Savvy landed in the Ravenclaw crew. That’s right, we’re witty and we know it....

The 5 Components Of Corporate Culture That Employees Want

Fitting the job to a person is important enough, but fitting a person to a corporate culture is where the real matchmaking in recruitment occurs. Do they allow dogs in the office? Are leaders the ones who run meetings, or is there a conch so everyone gets their say? Are there casual Fridays or is every day suit and tie day? Here at Smart Savvy, we’ve asked thousands of candidates what they want from a corporate culture, and I’m sure you’ll be unsurprised to find that some consistent themes emerged from the data. The people want five major things from a corporate culture, and leaders should focus on building and shaping these areas of their internal brand:   Vision People don’t respond to tasks or to-do lists, they respond to purpose. They like to know where the company is going and why and how they fit and contribute. A corporate culture that has a shared and purposeful vision fuels motivation and gives an understanding of the desired state or destination. With a clear vision your staff will work hard to make it happen.  Keep your company people-centric, and keep your people vision-centric.   Communication Despite it being overused, we’re going to say it anyway: communication is key and you can’t overcommunicate.  It’s always relevant. Employees want a corporate culture that listens but also cheers loudly; one that gives feedback and gives room for autonomy; one that is honest but not defeating. Employees crave honest, valuable, empowering communication from both their colleagues as well as their leaders. The days of painting a rosy picture are long gone; people would rather face issues (both good and bad) head on, in the open, and with immediacy. As Career Cast says, “Show me a company with great communication, and I’ll...

The One Skill Every Leader Needs To Master

What are you like to work with? Have you ever wondered? Are you moody? Inconsistent? Intense? Approachable? Do you think you know? Have you ever asked someone? I was recently re-reading a favourite article (if it were a paper copy, it would be heavily earmarked) on the six habits of highly empathetic people. And it occurred to me that a lot of the ways we talk about “leadership” (developing it, being it, honing it) presumes a one-size-fits-all view of ‘who’ a leader is… Sure, the best leaders generally share a number of traits: Good communicators Trustworthiness Experience Knowledge Visionary …But with every team being made up of a number of personalities, I wonder: Am I a different leader for each of my staff? Am I a tailored coworker for every teammate? The article, which I highly suggest you read, defines empathy as “the ability to step into the shoes of another person, aiming to understand their feelings and perspectives, and to use that understanding to guide our actions.” That’s where empathy takes its leap from kindness or pity  (i.e. making small talk with the new marketing coordinator is friendly, not empathetic). Bill Drayton, founder of social entrepreneurship and the Ashoka Foundation, believes that “in an era of rapid technological change, mastering empathy is the key business survival skill because it underpins successful teamwork and leadership.” No doubt, the word empathy is buzzing for a reason – people are figuring out what works in the modern, team-oriented, open-space office – and interpersonal relationships are key. Here are some of the top empathetic traits laid out in the article and how you can apply them to work: 1. Be Curious About Others You’ve spent a lot of time strategizing the best roles for your department. You’ve made some bang-on hires and now...

Giving Back This Holiday Season

As marketers, communicators and sales pros across Canada wrap up their work for 2014, set up their out of office replies and change their voicemail, we wanted to take a moment to feature some of our favourite companies and how they are giving back this holiday season. Communica Public Affairs Communica is making donations to charitable agencies in Calgary and Vancouver, and directly helping to provide some holiday presents, food and good cheer to others in our communities. In Calgary, Communica is again working with the CUPS Adopt a Family team to bring Christmas to two families. We have provided funds for CUPS to provide Christmas gifts, grocery gift cards and a cash donation for a family of four as well as a single-parent family of eight. In Vancouver, Communica staff are sponsoring a family of two – a mother and son – through the YWCA. That sponsorship also includes Christmas gifts and a grocery store gift card. We at Communica are pleased to be able to share our good fortune with others, and that is particularly true at this special time of year. Happy Holidays everyone! Teekay Corporation At Teekay, we support various community initiatives that are close to our heart: the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, Variety – The Children’s Charity, Junior Achievement of BC, Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, Vancouver Maritime Museum, and Free the Children, to name just a few. However, around Christmas, the focus turns to some sparkle! We sponsored a tree at the BC Children’s Hospital Festival of Trees, giving back to the local community in support of children’s health. Last year $148,000 was raised from this event alone from all sponsors. The Teekay team decorated a beautiful Frozen tree (what kid doesn’t love Frozen?) The tree lighting ceremony is...

Is It Time to Fire Your Boss? Dec05

Is It Time to Fire Your Boss?

Do you have a boss that’s never present—a vacant chair (physically and metaphorically) that’s unavailable to answer questions, share advice, and doesn’t pick up their phone when it rings? Or, possibly worse, do you have a boss that’s always present—unnecessarily inserting themselves in situations, breathing down your neck, and never empowering team members to discover success on their own? Last week we introduced media guru Tom Giersimczuk’s novel adage “would you hire your own boss?” The answer is (unfortunately) not always yes, and it could be for a number of reasons. We do a lot of interviewing and we hear about a number of Horrible Bosses.  In this second blog series, we’ve combined Tom’s insights with some of our own to share 10 signs that you should consider firing your boss: Ursula Un-Present Do you walk by your boss’s office ten times a day trying to catch them between meetings to get approval on a project? Do they blow off your weekly check-ins week after week? Do you send emails with no response? “Ursula – you’re fired.” Peter Platitudes Does your boss act like there is an “I” in team? Do they take credit for your work, undervalue your contributions or steal your opportunities to lead projects? “Pack your things, Peter.” Stacy Status-Quo You know that leader that is either not physically or mentally present? While they are hanging out keeping a seat warm, you struggle to push through new initiatives. Their go to answer is “this is how we have always done it” which can be extremely frustrating.  “We’re terminating your position, Stacy.” Alex Always-Working Do you receive calls from your boss before your morning Nepresso? Or does your boss send through last-minute requests when you are cuddled up with a glass of...

Who To Hire? Oct16

Who To Hire?

“Life is like a box of crayons. Most people are the 8-colour boxes, but what you’re really looking for are the 64-colour boxes with the sharpeners on the back.” John Mayer, Singer-Songwriter I’m perpetually surprised by how few companies seem to know “who” they need. Some can identify a needed skill or two but often those are the exception rather than the rule. And the temptation in a time consuming job seach is to take a narrow/linear approach to finding ‘the right person’. Mistake. Potentially costly. Possibly fatal. The adage, “hire for character, you can always teach skill” is a useful framework particularly when hiring someone who is responsible for critical deliverables like media relations, research or marketing strategies. A great character hangs from the solid framework of a balanced ego – all the positive “self” qualities: self-aware, self-motivated, self-restrained, self-confident. The balance is maintained by a reasonable sense of judgment or perception – an ability to gauge yourself in relation to others in diverse situations – and a desire to self-correct. You don’t have to be right 100% of the time (because you won’t be!), but you should always be willing and able to correct yourself when you’re wrong. On the other hand, an imbalanced ego creates a framework with potential weaknesses – all the negative “self” qualities: self-centered, self-seeking, self-righteous, selfish, and sometimes self-conscious. Unfortunately, these are often compounded by a lack of perception and an unwillingness to self-correct. With a balanced ego to anchor them all, desirable characteristics like curiosity, creativity and eloquence, become further assets for your company. The curiosity of a balanced ego is inspired by ideas and plans generated by others not just themselves. They are capable of focusing their creativity on other people and their projects, not...

Billionaire Branson Grants Unlimited Holidays Oct02

Billionaire Branson Grants Unlimited Holidays

This past week, headline-maker Richard Branson once again graced business news sites everywhere with his unleashing of unlimited holidays. Virgin employees are now granted undocumented, uncounted, and unlimited vacation days. It was all triggered by Branson’s daughter Holly, stating her friend’s company “experienced a marked upward spike in everything – morale, creativity and productivity” after adopting a have-your-own-holidays buffet. Virgin’s policies are modeled after those of Netflix: a place where employees are wholly responsible for their vacation time and no one is officially tracking holidays. (Except, maybe, the co-worker beside you who’s noticed that you’ve taken much more time off than they have.) There is one pre-requisite for vacationing: you can’t leave behind a laundry list of to-do’s for others on your team and your work must be completed before you jet-set off. However, “completed work” is a fairly subjective standard to qualify someone for “I need a day/week/month off to snooze under a palm tree in the Bahamas.” Unlimited holidays is certainly a great measure of trustworthiness in the workplace. Employers are placing the company’s success and reputation in their employee’s hands; some will be responsible and take appropriate holidays, but will everyone? Leaders must put (absolute) faith in their employee’s honesty and judgment calls. On the other hand, holidays are no longer what they used to be. Technology follows us wherever we may go and we can easily work from our smartphones or tablets at a beach-side tiki hut in a tropical destination. Vacay days no longer necessarily mean leaving all work behind but perhaps bringing work alongside us in our pockets or our purses. (The question is whether we want to or not…) Valid points have been made about Branson’s ground-breaking adoption of this policy. Who says 40 hour weeks is...

Work Friends Beat Out Free Massages

Working hard or hardly working? Turns out if you want the former, you should encourage your employees to have a best friend in the cubicle next to them. Rather than distracting them with small-talk or chit-chat, workplace friends actually boost employee engagement and loyalty. Officeteam recently released survey results that may make managers think twice about the makeup of their teams. They show that employees prefer having an office BFF to a fantastic benefits program. That’s right: people surveyed prefer meaningful workplace relationships over a free flossing at the dentist. Employees who have friends waiting for them with open arms rate their job satisfaction 50% higher than those who only have friends waiting at home. One may assume having a best friend at work would simply mean merrier employees: whistle-while-you-work, “give world peace a chance” types. But while visiting the water cooler in my own office, a new reality struck me: friendships at work display whether there is trust or a lack of trust in the workplace. It measures faith in co-workers—will they support each other when they take a risk or do they have to watch your own back? Strong relationships encourage patriotism both to and within the company. Best friends at work make for employees that are best friends with their work. Even BuzzFeed agrees, sharing the ’21 joys of having a work BFF.’ Do you agree with the survey results? Do you think employees are more likely to stay at an organization if they have a work BFF? Join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag:...

LoveMonday #59: The Big Sell May20

LoveMonday #59: The Big Sell

Selling is an art form – no question. When you walk into an interview, you sell yourself. When you meet with a client, you sell the business. And when you invest your time in regular and meaningful interactions, you sell the relationship. If you’ve ever been the one to “go dark” in any kind of union (employee/employer; contractor/client; recruiter/job hunter), then you know how detrimental a lack of communication can be to the health of your associations. A quick touch-point, like a check-in or email, can do wonders to keep your relationships on track and reinforce that those vital ‘next steps’ are coming. Who should you reach out to this #LoveMonday? It’s the little things that count, even at work. Here’s how to really reward your employees – one small CONSISTENT, SPECIFIC and SINCERE act at a time. [VIDEO] … Sales is a core part of any business, but how well do you understand the process and the people who excel at it? In this article, Mark Suster offers up the skinny on sales (for the non-sales minded). … “You can’t possibly know you want to work for my company, unless you know A LOT about my company.” Are you putting enough work into getting the job? Your resume alone won’t cut it. … Don’t leave another voicemail or write another email without reviewing this: “What part of this message is of value to me?” The example may be extreme, but we’ve all been guilty of this communication blunder. … Stick your gum under your desk and you’re liable to be called into HR. Stick your gum on this guys’ head, and it’s called, Art. Just what Vancouver needed or germ-ridden...

Get on Board: Cultural Fit Matters Jan22

Get on Board: Cultural Fit Matters

What if I told you, as a job candidate, that besides a skills and experience checklist, you’re also being measured by a cultural fit cheat sheet? And sometimes it will take three or four interviews for a company to figure it all out? CEO, Kristine Steuart reveals some of those behind-the-scenes team-building details in her latest post for the Allocadia Leading in Change Series. In it, Steuart describes the process her and her partners stick to when bringing new people on board (a timely topic, considering their recent appointment of SAP-vet, James Thomas, to the role of Chief Marketing Officer). When I read the post, I couldn’t wait to point out a few of the big candidate a-ha’s I saw in her post. I’ve seen one too many marketers nearly at their wit’s end in the midst of a complex recruiting process. The problem? They think the drawn out hiring process is all about them (and their perceived shortcomings), when in fact, it’s all about the company. The long and the short of it is this: if you are applying for jobs in a vacuum of skills & qualifications -i.e. if you are forgetting about the goals, culture and people of an organization – than you are doing nothing to prove your fit. Here’s what you can learn from Allocadia’s hiring process – and how it translates to your own “cultural fit cheat sheet” for getting the job:   1. Don’t be shy about working within your network (they are working within theirs) How can you compete with the friend of a trusted friend who’s got the skills and already passed the pre-screen test of someone they wouldn’t mind eating lunch with? You can’t. The job goes to them. When candidates ask me if it would be too pushy/presumptuous to let...