Connect with us

How to Guides

3 Companies That Do Culture Right and What You Can Learn From Them (Infographic)

Looking to improve your company culture? Google, Pixar and Patagonia have found formulas that work.

Kim Lachance Shandrow



In-office meditation rooms, rock walls and nap pods are all cool, but there’s so much more to creating a winning company culture than providing gravy perks like these.

To us, company culture is more of a positive collective state of mind, a shared organisational outlook that brings out the best in your employees, reinforces your mission and rocks your common goals. It’s also the attitude, personality and heart and soul of a business. It values people over product.

Related: 5 Inexpensive Ways to Create a Company Culture Like Google’s

If your company culture is a soul-sucking drag – or, worse, outright toxic – chances are it’s not too late to turn it around, especially if you’re in a position to catalyse change. Even if only in your corner of cubicle land.

One of the first steps you can take is to examine the top notch cultures of some of today’s most successful companies. And, when you’re feeling brave, gently nudge the powers that be at your business to explore and hopefully emulate them, too.

Take Pixar, for example. The phenomenally successful digital animation studio is built upon a culture of exceptional creativity, innovation and imagination, but its secret sauce really lies in truly, deeply caring for employees and their well being, something it didn’t always do.

In his book Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration (Random House, 2014), Pixar president Ed Catmull describes a terrifying crisis that forever altered the company’s once notoriously workaholic corporate culture.

When the company was hustling to complete Toy Story 2 on time, an overtired employee forgot his child inside of a sweltering car instead of bringing him to daycare (the infant fell unconscious but later recovered). It was a wake-up call. From that point on, Catmull dedicated himself to encouraging a company culture that puts employee health and happiness first, movie deadlines second.

For more on how Pixar  – and Google and Patagonia – foster company cultures that embrace balance, fun and freedom, all while still pushing productivity, check out the infographic from below. We won’t tell if you print it and put it up in the staff nap room.

Creating a corporate culture

This article was originally posted here on

Kim Lachance Shandrow is a Los Angeles-based tech journalist who specializes in writing about iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android phones, as well as social media marketing, startups, streaming TV, apps and green technology. Her work has appeared on NBC’s The Today Show,,, and in The Los Angeles Times and The International Business Times. She also consults for Ameba, a Canadian multiplatform children’s streaming TV startup.


How to Guides

(Infographic)This Is How Millennials View Work

It’s no secret that “millennial” is a somewhat loaded term that comes with a fair amount of contradictory baggage.

Nina Zipkin




For every think piece that characterises that cohort (those born starting in 1981) as progressive, optimistic and innovative, there is one that describes them as sheltered, entitled and underemployed.

With millennials on track to make up 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025, a recent study by Bentley University in Waltham, Mass., explores the millennial approach to work. The study polled more than 1,000 U.S. individuals aged 18 to 34.

Related: Hello to You: The Millennial Women in the Workforce

While millennials are known to always be glued to their phones and devices, 51 percent surveyed prefer to talk with their co-workers face to face. (Only 19 percent said they like e-mail best and 14 percent prefer texting.) And they’re even willing to put restrictions on their social media time: 66 percent believe that employers should limit time spent on social media sites in order to get more done during the day.

They’re also more loyal than they’re given credit for. Eighty percent believe they will stay with four or fewer companies over the course of their career. Sixteen percent expect to stay with their current job for the rest of their working life.

For more about millennials’ opinions of employee loyalty and long-term goals, as well as the importance of health care and working for an ethical company, check out the infographic below and Bentley University’s study.


 Related: How do I encourage my employees to adopt lifelong learning?

This article was originally posted here on

Continue Reading

How to Guides

How to Structure Salary Packages

How to design and implement remuneration structures that work.

Juliet Pitman




Most small business owners find it difficult to structure remuneration packages that meet their organisation’s objectives and ensure that the company is able to retain key talent. Getting it right is critical. “The need for remuneration policy, strategy and systems to underpin business strategy has never been greater,” says Dr Mark Bussin, executive chairman of 21st Century Business and Pay Solutions.

“There is no such thing as the ‘best’ policy or strategy. There are so many different ways to determine remuneration and in different situations or circumstances, you may make different choices,” he says. He advises business owners to take several factors into account.

What To Consider

1. Organisation strategy.
In the same way that the vision and mission inform the strategic objectives of the company, so business objectives should inform the remuneration structure of the company. Also consider:

  • The extent to which you want a centralised or decentralised approach
  • The culture and design of the organisation

2. Where the organisation is in its lifecycle.
Industry and product growth rate and business lifecycle stage has a significant impact on remuneration strategy. For example, a company in the embryonic stage might place less emphasis on salary, benefits and perks, and more emphasis on share options and long-term incentives.

A more mature organisation might focus on ensuring salary and perks remain competitive, link bonuses to productivity improvement and have a reduced concern for long-term incentives.

3. Remuneration trends.
A trend is not necessarily best practice; but if more and more organisations are considering it, it may be  important in ensuring that your business’s remuneration is competitive.

4. Reward preferences by employees.
Different employees have different drivers and may have diverse reward preferences. A weekend away might be suitable for some, while others will prefer additional leave or pay.

Read Next: HR Dilemma: Disclosing Staff Salaries

Components of Remuneration

Traditionally there are four main components of remuneration – base pay; fringe benefits and perks; short- and medium-term incentives; and long-term incentives, but to these Bussin adds a fifth component – retention schemes.

“Every element of a remuneration system serves a purpose and it’s critical to understand what the organisation is trying to achieve with each,” he says.

1. Base salary.
This provides an employee with fair pay for a day’s work and should take into consideration the overall job requirements, accountability and complexity and diversity of the tasks required.

2. Fringe benefits and perks.
The purpose of these is to provide special payments and programmes that may set the organisation apart from its competitors.

3. Short- and medium-term incentives.  
These incentives are designed to get results and ensure successful execution of the business’s strategic plan.

4. Long-term incentives.
These are crucial for retaining employees and focus attention on the achievement of longer-term strategic imperatives.

5. Retention schemes.
This is often added when the long-term incentives are not in place or not working for some reason or another. When implementing a retention scheme you need to decide who it will benefit (scarce skills, for example). Most importantly, such a scheme needs to be underpinned by a robust business case.

Continue Reading

How to Guides

How to Successfully Screen Job Applicants

Follow these tips to ensure your interviews net you the best employees.





When interviewing potential job candidates,one of the major errors many entrepreneurs make is that they don’t know what they’re looking for. Well dressed? Tall? Physically fit? These factors are easy to identify and clearly impact the outcome of an interview, but they’re not indicators of success on the job.

So what can entrepreneurs do to help ensure they hire the right candidate for the job? The best answer is: know what you’re looking for. If you don’t know – the result? An inappropriate appointment.

1.Define the job requirements.

Even before looking at your first résumé, you need to consider several factors. Firstly, identify the specific and measurable knowledge bases, skills and abilities the available job requires. Hopefully, you’ll be able to find this information in the job description.

As you review it or create it, be very specific about what you want. For example, a “good or working knowledge of Microsoft Excel” is not sufficient to differentiate an intermediate from an experienced person. Being specific, and measurable, you could say:”Using Excel, able to add, subtract, multiply and divide figures, create multi-coloured bar and pie charts, sort and filter data, etc.”

2.Ask behavioural questions.

Ask for specific,action-oriented responses instead of vague abstractions. For instance, if you ask someone if she is successful or not, you’ll probably get a “yes”or “no” reply that doesn’t really provide any concrete details.However, if you also ask: “And could you give me an example of a particular project of yours that you completed successfully?”, you then have a response that will provide you with concrete, insightful information.

3.Observe the applicant’s non-verbal behaviour.

If the candidate sits rigidly without moving, if they don’t make or keep eye contact with you, or if they are turned away from you, these are clues that this person is uptight and not interested or able to engage you in relationship building.

If the candidate is nervous, frequently changes position and gestures in a bothersome manner, then that person is probably just anxious or worried about something. What does the candidate’s posture tell you? Is it slumped down or forward, looking lazy or tired? Rigid and nailed to the chair? Look for behaviours that express life, interest and enthusiasm without appearing too manic or too subdued.

4.Evaluate the applicant’s verbal behaviour.

Is their tone of voice loud or soft, appropriate or inappropriate to the situation? How about the types of words they use? Are they simple, simplistic, or complex and complicated? What is the pace of their speech? Is it slow or too fast? As in all these examples, a medium level of verbal behaviours is usually most appropriate; other levels might help you screen out the competition.

5.Go with your gut feel.

Finally, after assessing these important factors during the interview, identify and assess the residual feelings you have in your head and in your gut. Do you have some gnawing feeling that something may not be “right” or “good”?

Were you impressed with what the candidate said or did? Whatever you experience during or after an interview, make certain you probe your reactions to uncover your true feelings. As a result, you’ll be developing more confidence in your interview skills and discovering more concrete information to help you make an effective hiring decision.

Continue Reading


FREE E-BOOK: How to Build an Entrepreneurial Mindset

Sign up now for Entrepreneur's Daily Newsletters to Download​​