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Why Company Culture Matters

Corporate culture, organizational culture, company culture – you can call it whatever you like, but all of these basically amount to the same thing and these are values and traits that a business will do its best to promote and instill in its employees. The right culture will definitely mean an increase in customer service, perhaps productivity as well, but most importantly of all it can translate to the overall impact of the company’s brand. And later on, it will eventually have an effect – good or bad – on your business profit margins.

Apple

When you think of Apple products, the first words that would probably come to mind are innovative, stylish, and user-friendly. Those are also the very values that the late Steve Jobs had worked extremely hard to instill in his entire workforce. Everyone knows Jobs as a perfectionist and a harsh critic, but in the end his forceful ways still inspired his employees to be like him and to strive for his goals. His hard work – and his employees’ hard work – paid off with all Apple products remaining to be on the top of their respective niches.

Google

Their offices, their company culture, and their employee’s lifestyle within company premises have been frequently documented over the years. You get to see cool offices and people coming to work in laid-back attire and even skateboarding to their offices. All these may seem like laissez faire management but it’s not. It’s actually a very calculated move on the search engine giant’s part – and one that’s paid off as well.

Google encourages innovation in its employees. It gives free time for employees to work once in a while on whatever projects’ taken their fancy. But they are also very strict with their work schedule and goal management. Everyone in the company definitely didn’t skateboard their way to their positions. If you take a look at their resumes, you’ll see that every one of them is backed by serious credentials that only the complete dedication to work can bring.

Zappos

Established as an Internet shoe store in 1999, Zappos eventually became an online retailing behemoth as well as a byword for excellent customer service. It started to see profit since 2006 and in 2008 grosses $1B in sales. The figures on how great and how it will continue to be great can go on and on, but for its CEO Tony Hsieh all these are because of one thing: happiness. More to the point, he believes that the business has always been able to achieve its goals – no matter how lofty they seemed at the start – simply because the company focused on the most important thing, and that’s making both customers and employees happy.

Hsiesh says that building the right culture depends largely on having committable core values for employees. Basically, it means values that don’t ask people to be saints. One of these core values for Zappos is humility, and the company goes as far as conducting real-life tests to determine if an applicant has this value as well as choosing to fire an employee or not hiring an applicant if this value is not present.

How to Choose the Right Company to Work For

With the economy in the dump worldwide many people are desperately looking for work and will take almost anything that comes along, but the fact is that no matter what you do 40 hours (or more) of your week are going to be spent at your job. That’s a lot of hours, to be sure, and so if you can you should really make sure that your new job is the right ‘fit’ for you.

Let’s face it, even if you like what you do working at a place that you don’t like is akin to eating your favorite breakfast cereal with water instead of milk; sure you can do it but it’s not very satisfying and takes all the joy out of it. Plus it’s a soggy mess.

With that in mind, here are 5 key aspects you should keenly look at before starting any new job.

1) The Company culture. This is very important for a number of reasons. If, for example, you’re an outgoing and laid-back person but the company is buttoned-down and rigid you’re going to have problems fitting in. If you like casual Friday’s and they have a strict dress code you’ll soon find yourself resentful and unhappy.

2) Company Management.  If we’re being honest dealing with management is always a bit of a problem but some companies make it easier than others. For example, some have policies that make approaching management and voicing new ideas or grievances a lot easier. Some don’t however, and if you work for a company that puts management on a pedestal you better be prepared to sign yourself up for primal scream therapy pronto.

3) The Products and / or services you sell. Another deal breaker, if your new company sells products that you wouldn’t even give to your mother-in-law you may soon find yourself regretting your decision to work there.  Being able to take pride in what you do is an essential part of happiness on the job.

4) The Industry you work in. Similar to your products and services your company sells, if you work in an industry that is negative your work life will be negative also. If you’re a fervent non-smoker, for example, you probably won’t be happy working for a tobacco company. If, however, you do smoke and they have ‘free cigarette Fridays’ then by all means go for it!

5) The Size of the company. This depends on what role you see yourself playing in the overall scheme of things.  If you’re content being lost in the herd then working for a company that employs hundreds or even thousands of people may not be a problem, but if you want to make a difference (even if it’s small) you probably should work for a smaller company where your voice will be heard.

No matter where you work if you feel valuable and appreciated you will be happier and more satisfied no matter the product or service. If you don’t, even working for a teeth whitening company won’t keep a smile on your face.  Choose wisely and good luck.

How Not To Get Burned Out at Work

Working hard at a job or to find a job can be rewarding in itself but this is only one aspect of who we are. For women who are juggling a career and family life, it is important that working to earn money is approached in a balanced and healthy way.

Balance. What does this mean?

The essence of a well-balanced life is about everything in moderation. We can gauge just how balanced we are by asking one simple question: “Am I living in the present moment?”

All too often we hear that women are natural multi-taskers. While many women are able to handle an amazing assortment of tasks competently, many find that their life represents an endless string of deadlines to be met, both at work and at home.

If you are not finding the time to do things that you love, sigh with (a little too much) relief when the kids go to bed or find work-related issues dominating your time at home, then chances are you are not living in the present moment. This can be an exhausting way to live and further, it is likely that despite your hard work and dedication, you are not achieving optimal results for your efforts. How can we do our best work when we are worn out or stressed?

Living a life that is balanced requires a very simple approach. It basically consists of implementing a few essential self-care rules:

  • Eat 3 proper meals a day
  • Eat 2 healthy snacks a day
  • Get at least 8 hours of sleep each night
  • Drink 4 glasses of fresh water each day
  • Get 30 minutes of exercise each day- this can be as simple as walking around the block twice.
  • Initiate 4 social contacts a week- phone a friend for a chat, meet a friend for coffee.
  • Change out of your work or job-seeking clothes when you get home- this creates a comfortable divide between the workplace and home.

When you get these basics in place you will find that you are better rested, have ample energy and are better positioned to achieve greater outcomes in the workplace. Most importantly, when we are able to work more productively, we tend to be more appreciative of the joys that both our job and home life have to offer.

Set yourself the goal of living by these basic self-care principles over the next 14 days and observe the changes that take place. Remind yourself that you are doing great! Keep up the good work and make sure you stop and smell the roses along the way.

Four Tips to Be More Productive at Work

Being productive at work is something that almost everyone struggles with from time to time. For most people it’s only an occasional issue, but for others, it can be a challenge for most of every day. There are lots of little tricks that you can employ to increase your focus to get more done in each day. Here are five easy tips that would almost seem like the opposite.

1. Do Not Check Your Email Constantly

It’s much better to have two or three relatively set times to check your email each day than to stop what you are doing each time the email alert dings. You will actually spend less time overall in your day if you have set times to go in check your email, respond to the ones that need your attention, and file away the ones that do not.

2. Take Occasional Short Breaks

It might seem more efficient to sit at your desk all day, but that’s not actually the case. Getting up, stretching your legs and taking a quick walk to get some coffee, use the restroom, or grab a quick snack can completely refocus you back to the work at hand. They key word here is “short.” These breaks need to be no longer than 5 minutes. But just those few quick minutes can get your blood flowing and your brain pumped up to get back work to in a focused manner.

3. Set Goals for Each Day

Every job comes with a million little details that must be done. The phone needs to be answered. There are emails to be responded to. These little things can get in the way of the bigger jobs that need your attention. In order to stay productive, it’s good to make a list of the things you need to do that day. That way you have it right in front of you what is really important. Each time you cross off a job, there is a little feeling of satisfaction.

4. Take A Few Minutes To Surf The Web

Every couple of hours, it can be a nice gap in your work to stop and visit your favorite sites. Read a quick blog post or a gossip column and you can return to the important duties that you need to be focused on. Giving your brain a few minutes to relax and focus on something pleasant will make it easier to concentrate on the things that might be boring and hard to focus on.

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