A lightweight process for talent reviews & succession plans

How do you build leadership talent and succession plans in small/medium sized software businesses? Outlined, is an easy - lightweight - process that helps an executive team understand the capabilities of their current workforce and to think about the future leaders that can be developed from within (or need to be brought in from outside).

Scale your team with a People Service/Support Desk & Online Knowledge Base Library

Your People & Experience Team should act like a professional support team for your internal customers - the employees at your company. In line with that goal, we implemented an Online Service/Support portal and a Knowledge Base library. It has not only helped our team to scale by offering a better self-service model and by managing and improving our own work using response time KPIs and reporting. 

HR folks - Try this surprising way to make people remember your hard work

I hope that when our employees are long retired and they find themselves sitting peacefully on their porches, rocking back and forth in their chairs and reminiscing about their careers,  they remember Squarespace as the greatest time of their working life. That is my goal.

For that to be the case, two things must have happened:

Firstly, they have experienced an environment where they were able to do their life's best work. Our People team works extremely hard to create a fantastic working environment.

Secondly, they need to remember that great experience.

Got Coding Standards? Now try Leadership Standards.

How many organizations spell out what they expect from their managers?

How many employees understand what they can expect from their manager?

Most organizations provide management training, online tools, and coaching. But although managers' responsibilities are often implied and sometimes reinforced, they are rarely permanently spelled out. 

That’s why we created the Squarespace Leadership Standards - to help new (and existing) managers quickly get up to speed on how we manage at Squarespace.

Creating Different Opportunities for People to Mix

When Squarespace first started, we would gather our whole team together at one table in a cafe after work. As we grew we introduced First Tuesdays, our monthly company-wide happy hour. With the company now even larger–we are currently 360 employees and growing–we want to be more creative in the opportunities we provide for people to mix. 

This year, our Experience Team organized the first Squarespace Friends & Family Day.

A 10 second change that improves your team meeting 10x

Running a productive team meeting isn't easy.

Often, people complain that team meetings are boring and a waste of time; the topics may not be of interest to everyone in the team; some people feel excluded.

It's strange that organizations capable of measuring, monitoring and continuously improving all sorts of processes in their business, let weekly team meetings drift along without adjustments and direction and little effort to adjust and improve its effectiveness over time.  

How we received 2000+ quality applications, in 4 weeks.

 

My title is somewhat misleading, I wouldn't necessarily consider all 2000 applicants to be 'high quality,’ but at least 150 were very strong engineers and designers. We only needed five new employees, so the number of applicants enabled us to be extremely selective. 

In February, we launched our "Be A Part Of It" recruitment campaign which introduced four significant changes to our recruiting process with amazing results!

The Power of Software

Just before I left Atlassian to start my new adventure with Squarespace in NYC, I was asked to help develop a short video that explained the role that software plays in our daily lives. The video was showed during the annual Atlassian Summit.

Three tips for recruiters to better the candidate experience.

We're often most concerned about getting the best talent outcomes for our organisations - and it's easy to forget about the candidates themselves. But it's those candidates who are putting themselves on the line by entering your selection process. And most will unfortunately come away without getting the job. Recruiters have a responsibility to themselves, and their businesses, to make sure candidates gain something meaningful from the process - regardless of whether they're successful or not.

Here are three ways to improve the recruitment selection process for both candidates and our businesses:

Make your day less frustrating: meet MEAT

Remember those times when your aimlessly wonder through the office looking for a free meeting room? Then you finally find a room only to be kicked out 5 minutes later. A while back we developed an app that makes booking rooms on the run a whole lot easier; using an iPad/IPhone, it let's you book a room or see what other rooms are available.

Common language

Jenny, my recruitment manager, has just sent out a brochure to candidates without my input. The content was good, but the brochure looked crap. This hath made me mad - not so much because of the brochure's quality, but because (if Jenny had come to see me first) we could've produced a better outcome. But she didn't! When I tell her this, Jenny is equally frustrated. I never check the communication we send out to candidates, she replies. Which is, of course, true - yet it felt like common sense (at least to me) to show me the brochure before sending it out.

Familiar story, right? Regardless of what department you're working in, it's hard to determine what your employees do or don’t have the authority to do. But the solution is (or at least sounds) profoundly simple:

How organisation size crushes innovation - and what to do about it!

Remember working for that start-up? Things were good. You responded quickly to change. You could, and often did, roll out new programs within weeks or days. Your boss approved quick changes with a simple nod. And you got results - fast.   

Then you switched your start-up gig for an important role at a big enterprise. Things were different - slower, costlier, stuck in red tape, less tangible, less experimental. That's because big organisations are complex. And when humans get accosted by complexity, we get anxious. We need certainty and coordination - in the form of structures, policies, responsibilities and rules - to push that fear away.

What's the obvious issue with performance reviews staring us right in the face

They are demotivating. They are anxiety provoking. They are disruptive. What is the obvious issue that is stopping performance reviews from achieving what they are supposed to achieve? Let's have a look at the research and the science of motivation and engagement. One thing is clear, it's good to provide people with honest feedback and encourage managers to coach people to achieve (even) higher performance.

The simple question that will increase meeting effectiveness

I was walking past a meeting room the other day and looked in. A few people looked rather bored. Of the 10 people inside, only 6 look engaged. That’s a load of wasted time. As mentioned in this great adaptive path blog, not only do we waste too much time in meetings. It also affects the rhythm of your day.

It made me remember a seminar I attended a while back on running effective meetings. (Ironically, the one-day training felt like a long and boring meeting, but it did leave me with one key insight I really found very valuable).

Creative hiring - The art of reaching a large audience with little resources

Seth Godin explains that many organisations or people have great ideas. If you get your idea to spread wider, you will win (even if your or idea is similar to your competitors). Hiring is no different. You have to get your ideas to speak and reach a wide audience in order to attract the best. Our goal is that ‘every software engineer find out about our jobs’. We realized that with our small team we couldn’t rely on direct search, nor do we have budget for large scale advertising.