What Does Company Culture Mean To You?

Someone asked me recently if I wake up excited to go to work in the morning. Believe me, I never expected to answer yes to that question as an employee at a firm that provides IT solutions. But, honestly, I do – and it’s all because of the culture.

I was curious to know how other people define company culture, so I gathered feedback from people in my network. But first, here’s what company culture means to me –

If you follow my company on Facebook, you know that working for MATRIX entails office tailgating, pie contests, happy hours, baseball games, cookouts, bean bag toss tournaments, chili cook-offs, bowling competitions, holiday parties, March Madness brackets, birthday celebrations complete with singing and homemade treats, and much more.

As a 22-year-old recent college graduate, I know I’ve hit the jackpot.

But those aren’t the things that define my company’s culture. After spending a year with this community of people, I know that these are the factors that define MATRIX:

  • Work climate. In my opinion, a great work climate incorporates a collaborative team of employees backed by a team of shepherding leaders. Every company has a range of different positions and levels within itself. It's important to have a working environment where the newer team members are able to learn from those with more experience, and feel comfortable asking them for guidance. The support we get from our leaders at MATRIX is overwhelming. They encourage us to take risks, and always go to bat for us. The leaders set the tone for every company, so it's essential that they create a positive atmosphere.
  • Volunteering together. Everyone hears how important it is to give back to the community. Today charities make it easy to donate through mobile apps and SMS. But there’s something special about volunteering with the people that you do life with every day. Our team regularly serves in a variety of ways – preparing meals for those in need, walking in the Race for the Cure, fixing up low-income residences, working at clothes drives for foster kids, collecting school supplies, serving at food banks, etc. Volunteering together strengthens us a community.
  • Personal interest. It’s one thing to have daily small talk with your co-workers, but at MATRIX, people really care about each other. Having a leader in your office check on you every day makes all the difference. And they’re not just checking on your work – they’re asking about your daughter’s birthday party or how you’re settling into your new house. One conversation like this can easily turn a bad day into a good one.
  • Laughter. I think the thing that makes me most excited to go to work is knowing that I will laugh throughout the day. We work in an environment that encourages people to be themselves, and we have a lot of vibrant personalities. There’s nothing better than good humor in the workplace.

When I posed the question to people at other companies, this is what I got back:

What does company culture mean to you?

“It’s how we interact with each other. My company has a real family feel, which is great. We all know each other and feel free to be ourselves.” – Estevan Molinar, Auditor, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

“A corporate culture is simply a reflection of its character. It is measured by the emotional state that employees occupy the majority of the time. Culture should be viewed and measured by its leadership as being binary. It is either ‘incredible’ or it is ‘not incredible’. There is no middle ground. That way you know what character and emotional state ‘you’ must have ALL the time.” – Jeff York, Chief Sales Officer, Paycom

"The common buzz words we use to describe company culture, "great work/life balance", "established company", "family values", "startup environment", are used by everyone.  There are only a few answers that most companies use to describe what sets them apart. The only true differentiator other than your product or service is your people. No one else has your people. So a culture that celebrates the individuals in your organization on a regular basis, tells the day-to-day stories, and encourages its entire workforce to share what's great about the people they work with in online conversations creates a more engaged workforce and allows job candidates to more appropriately opt into the organization." – Craig Fisher, CEO, TalentNet

Follow MATRIX on Facebook to see more examples of a great company culture.

Ok now it’s your turn to give a response -

What do you think is most important for a company culture? What’s your favorite thing about your company culture?

About the Author: 

Jennifer is the Community Manager for MATRIX. She is experienced in social media management, content strategy and copywriting. She recently graduated from the University of Oklahoma and is now building her network in Dallas. Her goal is to bring a new form of creativity to the recruiting business.

You can find Jennifer on LinkedIn, Twitter, or email her at Jennifer.Bradley@MATRIXRes.com.

Posted in: 
Job Seeker

Family Road Trip Apps and Tech Create Vacation Memories

Family road trips create vacation memories to last a lifetime and great technology and apps can help make them wonderful experiences. Our family just took another massive cross-country road trip this summer from Houston, TX to Rye, NY. Having road tripped around 1/2 of America, we have found that our tech gadgets and favorite apps make the planning and day-to-day travel easy and convenient. Keeping three children happy, the husband relaxed and juggling the trip logistics requires many arms and legs so we have to round up any help we can get.

Tech:Family Road Trip Apps

A Tech Savvy Car: helps the time pass quickly (usually family budget friendly so consider for the next round). Most cars now have smart phone charging plugs, GPS, DVD players and some like our Chrysler Town and Country Mini Van even feature 110 volt power outlets. Having your smart phone charged for quick access to google maps and key travel apps is a must

A Wireless Hot Spot: allows mom and dad to keep in touch with family, friends and work. Teens can even catch up on summer reading lists. We love our Verizon Hot Spot since it has powered our connections nationwide

A Smart Phone Camera: creates valuable memories of the kids and “the world’s biggest chair”. While we use our Go Pro camera for cool adventure shots, for everyday use we need something fast and simple to capture those spontaneous shots and videos. Our new Nokia Lumia 928 phone is perfect for taking family road trip photos.  When traveling, life is so much easier when you only have to carry one device. With the Nokia 928, we like how the 8.7 MP PureView camera keeps the shots and videos steady with its optical image stabilization. Our shaky cam days are over and our family and close friends will be forever grateful

Portable DVD players, iPads, iPods and Leapsters: keep the kids busy, but we try to balance the video games with reading, math, family car games (animal, mineral or plant guessing) and even singing (but, no show tunes!). Make sure you inventory all the devices and chargers as the family moves place to place and consider investing in a multiple device travel charger to organize the chaos

Apps:

Apps make family vacations so much easier. You can find apps for everything from planning, logistics, to sharing the latest video adventure. On a road trip, locating gas, bathrooms, and restaurants along the way keeps your vacation stress free. We are so happy that we have apps that can handle these often dire situations.  While we have written about some of these apps before, we must sing their praises again since they saved our sanity. All apps are free and available for both Android and iOS unless noted.

Here are our top 5:

Gas Buddy: check out current gas prices, and find nearby stations which is useful while back roading to see the country side

Waze: use the free GPS app for navigating cities to avoid major traffic jams. Users fuel this app with current tips

Squat and Sit: find clean bathrooms across the country. You can even add your own ratings~ do we have some stories to share! Meanwhile, the app’s name gets the kids laughing if you need a diversion

Food Tripping: locate restaurants, farmers’ markets, juice joints, artisanals, and any local healthy alternatives to fast-food chains. This app worked great for our family since we like to sample each region’s cuisine and eat organic when we can.  If anyone has food allergies, be sure to read: Apps To Help with Food Allergies and Asthma

Joya: share vacation videos with friends and family while on the road regardless of file size. Within seconds, the video is in the hands of your friends and family with a simple click on a url. This means no more missed vacation highlights or spontaneous family dance moments

For actual trip planning check out our post: Great Travel Apps To Plan Family Vacations. Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing adventures from our road trip family vacations so check back for more fun soon!

About the Author: 

Suzanna Keith ~ @skconcepts is an experienced marketing professional who believes in leveraging revolutionary insights and ideas to grow extraordinary brands. Her expertise includes researching consumer insights and building on these insights to drive long-term strategic direction in all aspects of brand management. Prior to starting her own consulting company Skconcepts, Suzanna served as Brand Manager for Mitchum AP at Revlon in NY, NY. Originally from Bristol, TN, Suzanna graduated from Bryn Mawr College and received her MBA in marketing from New York University. Suzanna is currently EVP for OnlineMomMedia, consults for FaceForward.com, writes the blog Techandtravelmom.com and also blogs for GoGirlfriend.com. Along with her husband and three children, Suzanna splits her time between NY and Texas.

Catch up with Suzanna online:

Techandtravelmom.com
Twitter: @skconcepts
Facebook: TechandTravelmom
Pinterest
Google+
Instagram
Onlinemommedia
Stumbleupon
LinkedIn

From: http://techandtravelmom.com/2013/07/tech-mommy-great-family-road-tripping-tech/

Posted in: 
Fun

The Key to Any Successful Career

“Networks are like contraceptives. To be any good, they need to be in place well before you need them.”
– Dolly Parton

One of the biggest buzzwords of today, no matter what field you’re in, is networking.

“Come to this happy hour, it will be a great networking opportunity!”

"Do we have any networking events coming up?”

“I’m just trying to build my network…” and so on.

There’s a good reason that this word is used so much - Networking will be the smartest move in your career.

70% of job positions are filled through networking. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Not through job postings. Not Internet ads. Not even recruiters. (Which is hard to admit as the VP of a recruiting firm.) We’re talking 3 out of 4 jobs! This number can’t be ignored.

It’s no secret that networking can happen just about anywhere. But take advantage of the obvious and not-so-obvious sources of potentially valuable relationships. User groups. Civic Clubs. Happy hours. Block parties. Religious groups. Your kid’s soccer game. All of these will expand your network.

A lot of blogs today will tell you to plan your “elevator pitch”. Personally, I hate that term. It feels salesy and inauthentic. You can have a conversation with someone new and talk to them about your passions and goals without it being a sales pitch. A good relationship that comes from networking is two-sided.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Be real. Change up the conversation with people you meet. You don’t have to focus on business all the time; talk about things that you actually care about. Show them that you’re an individual with real interests and not just another self-promoting face in the crowd.
  • Use social networks to build your brand and increase your reach to potential job sources. This one is obvious – social presence is everything these days. Create profiles on different social networks and make sure they represent your strengths, both personally and professionally. Don't post the same content on all of your profiles. Learn the difference between each network and share meaningful posts. Connect with people who have similar passions or skills that can learn from you.
  • Don’t be a consumer only, contribute equally. There are many ways you can cultivate your relationship with people in your network. Ask your connections how you can help them. Follow them on Twitter and retweet their content. Give them a shout out on #followFriday. Create a circle on Google+ for people you meet and +1 their posts.
  • Make networking a process, not an event. When you make a solid connection with someone, think long-term. You're not just collecting business cards to send out a mass email.
  • Stay in contact with the people you meet. Connect with them on LinkedIn and Twitter. Send a thank you note to people who give you referrals. Plan lunch with your key contacts to just catch up.

What do you think is the most important part of networking?

About the Author: 

Jon Davis is Executive Vice President for MATRIX Resources. He has 20 years of experience in leading sales teams and corporate recruiting efforts in all verticals ranging from start up companies, mid-market organizations and the Fortune 100. Follow Jon on Twitter for more career tips: @JonDavis12.

Posted in: 
Job Seeker

Approach Vacancies Conservatively

A business rushed to fill vacancies. Their hasty decisions brought more problems than they could have imagined. If they had taken their time and took a hard look at whether or not they needed to hire someone immediately, or at all, they could have avoided a bad decision. In several instances, they could have consolidated two positions and saved a considerable amount of money. They realized this when they discovered that their total of project team professionals was one more than they actually needed to maintain the efficiency and quality their clients expected. They learned the hard way that just because there is a vacancy, it doesn’t necessarily have to be filled.

Sometimes we don’t stop to ask ourselves whether or not we really need to hire someone. A vacancy provides an excellent opportunity to evaluate and even re-design the job function. Filling vacancies is important, but it can be an unnecessary expense if it is an automatic response without reviewing the current situation. If and when you determine you need to fill the position, take time to prepare.Hiring

Consider promoting from within, something hiring managers often overlook, maybe intentionally. Your best pool of candidates exists within your own organization. You know what they can and cannot do; they are not strangers to you or you to them. There is a lot to be said for giving a current employee the opportunity to move up. And doing so can do a lot to boost morale.

Let’s say one of your best employees just resigned. Should you promote from within, or hire someone new? Sometimes your answer is obvious. You may be aware of an internal candidate who is prepared to move into the job, or you may know the position requires someone with very specific experience and skills that can only be found outside your organization. Your decision on whether to look to the outside or offer the promotion to a current employee is extremely important and is one you should not take lightly. Your decision can greatly impact the bottom line and affect the way your organization operates as well as how your employees will feel about themselves, their work, the company, and you.

It’s a slap in the face to your current employees when you don’t consider them for promotion. There is no better way to build morale, increase productivity, and make the best use of personnel than the practice of promoting from within. Your current employees are a known commodity. You understand both their strengths and their weaknesses. You are better off closing the gaps in experience of existing employees than hiring from outside.

Hiring strangers adds a significant learning curve to everything you do as a manager. You don’t know the individual, nor do you have a true sense of his or her ability to do the job. Even if you believe you have a good understanding of the candidate’s skills and experience, there is still a lot you will have to learn about the individual’s work habits, personality, pet peeves, etc., which you already know about your current employees. Failure to consider promoting from within or only giving it “lip service” can be a costly hiring mistake.

There are times when promoting from within will backfire, but it usually beats hiring from the outside. Post the job vacancy internally first. Take a serious look at internal candidates and avoid the following potential problems:

1. Employees who are promoted only because they’ve worked with the organization a long time.

2. Pressure from someone inside the organization to see a favored, but unqualified individual promoted.

3. In the case of a supervisory position, a promotion that is based upon skill alone, without consideration of leadership abilities.

4. “Popular” people who are promoted because they get along well with people, even if they are not necessarily qualified.

5. Hiring an unproven employee that interviews well, but who may have shortcomings of which you are not aware.

About the Author: 

Carol Hacker is the former Director of Human Resources for the North American Division of a European manufacturing company, Employee Relations Manager for the Miller Brewing Company, and County Office Director for the US Department of Labor. Headquartered in Atlanta, GA, Carol has been the President and CEO of Hacker & Associates since January 1989. She specializes in teaching managers, supervisors, team leaders, HR professionals, and executives how to meet the leadership challenge. Carol is the author of over 400 published articles and 14 books including the bestseller, Hiring Top Performers-350 Great Interview Questions For People Who Need People. She earned her BS and MS with honors from the University of Wisconsin. She can be reached at www.carolahacker.com or 770-410-0517.

Posted in: 
Hiring Manager

How to job search with hashtags on Twitter and connect with real people

Job searching on social media and online search engines is common.  But it can result in an overwhelming amount of duplicate job ads from scraping services, and less than stellar response time to online submissions of your resume.

A more efficient way might be to find and connect with the individuals who post the jobs you seek on a platform where they are likely to be responsive.  This post will help you use specific terms and search methods to focus your search results and streamline your efforts.

#JOBS 

TIP:  Search Twitter for the type of job you seek and include location and #jobs.  If you use the term #jobs in your Twitter search or Google search of Twitter, you are likely to get a list of companies and recruiters who have hired for that position in the past or are currently hiring for that position.

Try this Google search: mobile app developer jobs dallas - you will retrieve a huge list of jobs, mostly from job boards and scraping services.  It is daunting and, I'll suggest, not a very focused approach.

#JOBS

Nothing wrong with job boards.  But if you search like this: site:twitter.com mobile app developer #jobs dallas - the results are several companies (actual app dev companies), agencies, and individual recruiters who have posted job openings for this skill set in the past and recently.

#JOBS

Simply adding the hashtag symbol # before the word jobs, and directing Google to search Twitter (site:twitter.com) will help narrow your results to actual people and companies.  Follow them on Twitter, interact with them, get to know them, reply, retweet, etc.  In other words, be a good networker and get friendly.  Then, if their culture seems a good fit  - and your skills do as well, let them know you are interested in possibly working with them and ask to set up coffee or a phone call.

#JOBS

Top hashtags associated with #jobs

Top hashtags associated with #jobs on 5/28/2013 per TweetArchivist.com

Most hiring companies and recruitment agencies still use job boards to post ads and collect resumes from their postings.  So applying that way still has plenty of value.  But if you want to network directly with the individuals who are posting these openings, searching Twitter and using hashtags is one way you might want to try.

Additional resources that I found interesting:

http://careerenlightenment.com/50-hottest-twitter-hashtags-for-job-seekers
http://www.socialtalent.co/resources/?p=7282 Mobile recruiting stats from Social Talent Johnny Campbell

See more at: http://blog.fishdogs.com/2013/06/how-to-job-search-with-hashtags-on.html...

About the Author: 

Craig Fisher is a recruitment consultant, social media strategist and trainer, and serial entrepreneur. He consults with some of the world’s top companies on using social media for sales, marketing, recruiting, employer branding, and talent attraction. He is a featured author and speaker in industry publications and at conference events internationally. Craig created and hosts the original social recruiting forum on Twitter, TalentNet Live (#talentnet), and the TalentNet Live Social Recruiting/HR conferences. Follow Craig on Twitter @fishdogs and @TalentNet.

Posted in: 
Job Seeker