Business, Management and Leadership Ideas

20 Most Recent Ideas

  1. Improve HR with a Rotational Onboarding Program and Peer-to-Peer Hiring

    One important initiative at ING has been a new three-week onboarding program, also inspired by Zappos, that involves every employee spending at least one full week at the new Customer Loyalty Team operations call center taking customer calls. As they move around the key areas of the bank, new employees quickly establish their own informal networks and gain a deeper understanding of the business.

    We have … [ Read more ]

  2. Give Your Employees Meaning to Improve Turnover

    At Zumasys, in addition to the typical corporate benefits, every employee gets three to four weeks of vacation, complementary access to the company’s two-bedroom Vegas loft, and the opportunity to qualify for a tenure-based international travel program that, each year, gives four to six employees a week off with pay and a $4,000 stipend to travel to the destination of their choice. The open-book financials … [ Read more ]

  3. Institutionalize an “Astonishment Report”

    At the end of their induction period (generally three months), new hires are required to write (and discuss with their boss) a short report documenting anything and everything that they have found interesting or surprising since joining the company.

  4. Getting a Fresh Look at Your Products and Services

    Every three months, a group of people from the organization—younger people, junior people, but never the same people—sits down and looks at one segment of the company’s products, or services, or process or policies with a question: If we didn’t do this already, would we go into it the way we are now? Every four or five years, that company has systematically abandoned or at … [ Read more ]

  5. A Better Employee Suggestions System

    AT&T has built a digital infrastructure enabling all employee suggestions to be logged online. A small, dedicated team regularly reads and triages the suggestions, sending each promising one to a designated leader or expert who is obligated to consider it and respond. Employees can see the progress of each suggestion and log comments. Other companies have developed systems that enable employees to “vote up” or … [ Read more ]

  6. Why You Should Interview People Who Turn Down a Job with Your Company

    Successfully competing for top talent involves both selling jobs to the best candidates and retaining the highest performing incumbents. In order to be seen as an employer of choice with a compelling value proposition for employees, many companies measure turnover and conduct exit interviews with departing employees to gather feedback about the experiences people had working there and the reasons why they’re leaving. But a … [ Read more ]

  7. Identify Customer Pain Points

    One of the best ways to find out where consumers’ pain points (and thus your opportunities) are is to talk to your frontline people. Your retail and call center people have heard it all; once every quarter, spend half a day asking them what challenges your customers face, and then focus your innovation investments on findings ways to address those issues.

  8. Weekly Coffee Break with the CEO

    We started a weekly coffee break with our CEO where six people get to sign up to informally discuss a specific topic with her. Not only does this give employees valuable face time with her, but it's also been fantastic for Julia because it’s a new way for her to talk to a broader cross-section of the team and get their thoughts on topics that … [ Read more ]

  9. Provide Regular Guidance for Managers

    We’ve rolled out a weekly(ish) email for leaders at Eventbrite that summarizes all the things they need to be thinking about in terms of managing and messaging to their team. We break it down into a few sections: things to know, things to do, things to share. It sounds simple, but let’s be real, leaders are an important and expensive investment, so you want to … [ Read more ]

  10. Learn and Earn

    ipd Company, a small auto parts company in Portland, Oregon, pays its employees to read. And, not just business books, but a wide range of self-improvement books. And, not just books, but also tapes and audio/video seminars.

    Richard Gordon, president of ipd, started the "Learn and Earn" program in 1988 when he began to wonder, "what would it be like if our people read the same … [ Read more ]

  11. Make Your Remote Team Members First-Class Citizens

    If a benefit, perk or experience is created for your in-office team members, find a way to create parity for those who aren’t in person. That means mailing items given to your in-office team to remote workers — or if you cover lunch for your in-office team, send your remote team a gift card or stipend for food delivery. […] If your leadership team has … [ Read more ]

  12. “Rule of Two” for Promotions

    When George Halvorson was chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, he instituted a “rule of two” to encourage diversity and help avoid the “just like me” bias that’s prevalent in many promotion decisions. For appointments at the VP level and above, Halvorson encouraged leaders to bring three candidates, and no more than two of them could have a similar demographic profile—for example, sex or race. … [ Read more ]

  13. A Living Archive of “Introduce Yourself” Emails

    As outlined in the [company's] Day One Document, a hire sends an “Introduce Yourself” email at the end of the first day. It’s a scripted greeting to the company from the new hire sharing a bit of background and trivia. “Everyone who starts with the company sends one out. It also includes a photo and a link to three questions on Barista, Percolate’s internal Q&A … [ Read more ]

  14. Encourage Learning Experiments

    Ongoing learning and experimenting are key to personal and corporate growth. Whether this is formal or informal, it should be encouraged throughout the organization. One way to do so is to regularly ask employees what they have learned recently and how they have attempted to apply that learning in their work. Then share these experiences with the rest of the organization. Be sure to share … [ Read more ]

  15. Create a “Manager’s Letter”

    Peter Drucker’s thirty-year-old concept of creating a “manager’s letter” probably remains the best performance-management technique to use with senior executives. Each executive writes an annual letter to her superior, spelling out the objectives of her own job and those of the superior’s job as she sees them. She then sets down the performance standards she believes are being applied to her. She lists the goals … [ Read more ]

  16. Hiring Tips

    Because you may have a long list of candidates, you should batch calls as often as possible. For example, set aside 15 minute segments in a 3 hour block daily. In a first-pass, I always ask:

    1. “Walk me through your resume”, to understand if the candidate is actually interested in a startup via a clear story, or just shotgunning their resume;
    2. “If you left a
    [ Read more ]

  17. Stay Interviews

    There are many ways to invest in employees you fear may be looking to leave: pay increases, promotions, special projects, etc.  One technique is to use what are called “stay interviews.”  Instead of conducting only exit interviews to learn what caused good employees to quit, hold regular one-on-one interviews with current high-performing employees to learn what keeps them working in your organization and what could … [ Read more ]

  18. Salary Bands

    As you think about building out a team, you’ll want market data to ensure you’re making hires within the right salary bands. It’s much easier to have a conversation with a candidate when you have market data vs. what you’ve just heard from your peers. Creating salary bands with multiple seniority or experience levels early on will help navigate tricky internal equity discussions down the … [ Read more ]

  19. A Compensation Philosophy

    Why is it so important to have a philosophy around compensation early on? As a company is growing and establishing its culture and values, it needs to make sure that its compensation philosophy is aligned with the company’s overall mission and values. For example, a company that identifies with “transparency” as a value, needs to make sure that its compensations practices are transparent. Anyone involved … [ Read more ]

  20. External Talent Needs Management, Too

    The corporate use of external talent across sectors and geographies is more common than ever. Talent can provide companies with access to new capabilities and technologies; it can enable faster and more agile response to markets; it can be used to test new opportunities before making major investments; it can be used to respond to demand peaks and to attain scale quickly; and, perhaps most … [ Read more ]