From Apple Employee to Startup CEO, a Founder Learns to Make His Own Culture

From Apple Employee to Startup CEO, a Founder Learns to Make His Own Culture

Writing at Recode, Inkling founder and CEO Matt MacInnis discusses how he discovered his own values as a leader when he left Apple after eight years to start his own company. In the beginning, he explains, he attempted to emulate the tech giant’s famous culture of secrecy, because he had seen it work so well for Apple, but soon began “to recognize that some of the default settings I had adopted were at odds with my own values”:

I did at Inkling what I had been trained to do at Apple: I strictly controlled information flow in and around our tiny organization. I had an aversion to speaking with media. I insisted that new employees sign strict NDAs. And I behaved as though our little-known brand and products were worthy of instant, outsized coverage. It was a tad nutty. …

My own move from middle management at Apple to executive leadership in a startup provided time for reflection and recognition of what is most authentic in me. While retaining some of the most valuable characteristics of Apple — a commitment to craftsmanship, strong top-down leadership and a devotion to hiring A-level players — I also forged an independent course. I found my own voice in radical openness and transparency, a hallmark of the Inkling culture.

We all eventually recognize that we don’t get to choose our core values. Rather, they choose us.

MacInnis’s experience both at Apple and as a founder speak to some of the core lessons of our latest research at CEB (now Gartner) into how organizations can effectively and design and manage culture.

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As US and UK Look Inward, Foreign Students Look Elsewhere

As US and UK Look Inward, Foreign Students Look Elsewhere

The influx of foreign students to US universities is slowing down and many are opting to study in Canada instead, Laura Krantz reports for the Boston Globe, in a trend driven partly by perceptions of growing hostility toward immigrants in the US since the election of President Donald Trump:

At the University of Toronto, the number of foreign students who accepted admissions offers rose 21 percent over last year, especially from the United States, India, the Middle East, and Turkey. Other universities across the country also saw record increases in the last year. … The increase is not all because of Trump. Canada has made international student recruitment a national goal to spur economic growth. It now has 353,000 international students and wants 450,000 by 2022. But the political uncertainty in the United States — as well as in the United Kingdom — has given Canada’s effort an unexpected boost.

Overall, the number of international students in Canada has grown 92 percent since 2008. They now make up 1 percent of the country’s population. By comparison, the United States has about 1 million foreign students and a population ten times that of Canada. The number of foreign students in the United States has been growing for years, but last year it grew at the slowest rate since 2009.

Seeing a potential advantage over the US and UK, Canada has been making a significant push to lure international talent away from competitor countries, advertising itself as a more welcoming destination for immigrants, and expressing a full-throated defense of diversity and multiculturalism. The campaign is beginning to show results, with some tech startups and talent choosing to set up shop or look for work in Canada rather than the US.

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Older Employees Value Meaningful Jobs—Just Like Everyone Else

Older Employees Value Meaningful Jobs—Just Like Everyone Else

The latest American Working Conditions Survey from the RAND Corporation highlights the finding that most US retirees would take advantage of an opportunity to return to work, and that retirement-age employees opt to remain in the workforce not so much because they can’t afford to retire, but because they enjoy working—especially as they report having more meaningful work and more flexibility in their jobs than their younger co-workers. Steve Vernon explores the study’s findings at CBS Moneywatch:

The AWCS found that more than two-thirds of older men and women reported satisfaction with work well done and felt they were doing useful work. Prime-age women reported about the same level of satisfaction, but only a little more than half of prime-age men reported these same levels of satisfaction.

Older workers are also more likely than prime-age workers to say they apply their own ideas and solve unforeseen problems, and they’re less likely to report that they perform monotonous tasks. Older workers are also more likely to report workplace flexibility than their younger peers. College graduates in particular are more than twice as likely to determine their own work schedules as their younger counterparts are.

Older workers do also have practical rationales for delaying retirement, the survey found: Doing so allows them to delay when they start collecting Social Security benefits, which increases their expected lifetime payout. Older workers may also choose to stay at work for the health insurance benefits they receive from their employer, which reduce their out-of-pocket health care costs (the largest expense for retirees), or to participate in workplace wellness programs that help keep them in good health.

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UK Study: Many Managers Struggle to Recognize Mental Health Issues

UK Study: Many Managers Struggle to Recognize Mental Health Issues

New research released by a UK healthcare provider finds that over one third of managers would have difficulty identifying mental health problems among their staff, People Management’s Emily Burt reported on Thursday:

The report from Bupa also found that a similar proportion (30 per cent) of those with line manager duties would not know what to do if somebody in their team did have issues with mental health. … Research published this week by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development revealed that people in the UK are among the most depressed in the developed world, thanks in part to job dissatisfaction. According to the data, 10 per cent of 25 to 64-year-olds in the UK are suffering from depression, ranking the UK in joint seventh place out of 25 European and Scandinavian countries.

Mental health concerns are also having a growing impact on the British workforce: A study published this month by NHS Digital showed that the number of UK employees who had taken sick leave or been put on restricted duties due to mental and behavioral health problems had increased substantially in the past two years, with these issues accounting for nearly a third of all fit notes issued since late 2014.

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California Bill Would Require Large Companies to Report Gender Pay Gaps

California Bill Would Require Large Companies to Report Gender Pay Gaps

Last month, the White House Office of Management and Budget announced that it was putting on hold a rule proposed by the Obama administration in 2016 that would have required organizations with more than 100 employees to submit summary pay data to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission each year showing what employees of each gender, race, and ethnicity earn. This reversal relieves employers of what opponents say are overly burdensome and costly regulations that would do nothing to address pay gaps.

For large employers in California, however, that relief may be short-lived. At the firm’s blog about California employment law, Seyfarth Shaw attorneys point to a piece of legislation that went to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk this week that would “require companies with at least 500 employees to compute differences between the wages of male and female exempt employees and board members located in California and file the report with the California Secretary of State,” which would then publish this information for public view:

If the bill is signed by Gov. Brown, beginning on July 1, 2019, and biennially thereafter, impacted employers will have to collect and compute:

  • The difference between the wages of male and female exempt employees in California using both the mean and median wages in each job classification or title.
  • The difference between the mean and median wages of male board members and female board members located in California.
  • The number of employees used for these determinations.

This information would then be reported to the California SOS by January 1, 2020 (and biennially thereafter) on a form categorized consistent with Labor Code Section 1197.5—the California Fair Pay Act (“FPA”).

The bill, they add, does not establish that a gender wage gap in this information is a violation of the Fair Pay Act, but opponents claim it would not need to, as it “effectively forces employers to hand over to potential plaintiffs all information they might need to file a lawsuit, without any context that would explain permissible differentials.”

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Integrity, Accountability, and Trust Are Key to Volkswagen’s Culture Change Effort

Integrity, Accountability, and Trust Are Key to Volkswagen’s Culture Change Effort

Volkswagen has been undergoing a massive process of cultural change since the 2015 emissions cheating scandal that cost the German automaker billions of dollars and severely damaged its reputation. Changing the culture of a huge company is no small feat, of course, and CEO Matthias Müller has spoken candidly about the challenges the company has faced in that process. In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal’s William Boston, Müller touches on how the change is going.

The company now holds its board responsible for legal compliance and integrity, he tells the Journal, and has changed many of its processes. New board members are subject to compliance checks to ensure they are above suspicion, and the leadership is to engage more people in dialogue to build trust throughout the organization. Some of the changes involved in Volkswagen’s transformation have included replacing German with English as the language of business at large-scale management conferences and increasing the number of women in leadership positions.

A key challenge is repairing Volkswagen’s reputation, Müller explains, as parts of the company did indeed engage in criminal behavior, which casts a pall over the entire organization. That kind of damage can’t be repaired overnight. Large enterprises like his also have a tendency to move slowly, he acknowledges, but he would like to accelerate the pace of change as much as possible.

Volkswagen’s experience at carrying out a major culture overhaul in response to a crisis carries some lessons for other organizations, which overlap with some of the insights we at CEB (now Gartner) have uncovered in our research into the multifaceted challenge of culture change.

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You May Soon Be Able to Find a Mentor on Facebook

You May Soon Be Able to Find a Mentor on Facebook

Since launching its new job listings feature earlier this year, Facebook has made a series of moves to position itself as a direct competitor to LinkedIn. Even if it has little chance of overtaking the Microsoft-owned professional networking site in the job search market anytime soon, the social media giant clearly sees growth potential in this field. Just in the past month, Facebook has integrated job listings into its Marketplace platform and revealed that it is testing location targeting for advertising, including potentially job ads.

Facebook’s latest move in the professional networking space entails testing a way to connect users who are looking for mentors or mentees, TechCrunch’s Ingrid Lunden reports:

Our first look at the mentoring service came from a source, who had found a couple of references to mentoring in Facebook’s code. They appear to be fragments from a set of guidelines for mentors, introducing them to the program[.] Later, we found that another person spotted an internal run of how the feature would look on the mobile app. It appears that the app matches a mentee’s interests up with those of the mentor’s, and by way of introduction, gives them a list of points they have in common, including friends, education, geographic location and — most importantly — profession[.]

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