Blog Archives

Culture and the Company It Keeps

In January, I will be hosting a seminar discussing “How to Create a Killer Culture,” and thought it would be apropos to start the mind working in that direction.  I recently watched the “Best Practice HR Tips from Liane Hornsey, Google VP Operations”.  Laine and her interviewer do a fabulous job of demonstrating how effective it can be when a company creates their “ideal” cultural values; lives by those values; and assesses performance based on those values.  Ms. Hornsey describes the reputation of Google as a place where people want to be: “it doesn’t happen by accident, it is by design.”  She went on to describe the ideal values within the Google culture, which seem complex at a glance… and it all begins with their famous lengthy hiring practices.  Where Laine went through 14 interviews (across multiple countries), she has shored that up to now be between 4-8 interviews.  They use 360-degree hiring tools which essentially allow for assessing how upper management, peers, and employees of that individual will all work together.  A separate Culture and Change Management Survey conducted in 2013 showed that only 53% of businesspeople view culture as an important part of the leadership agenda at their company…yet only 35% agreed that their management does an effective job of managing culture.  However, when listening to Laine, I was completely convinced that Google has Culture Management handled.  They have a clear understanding of expectations (informal dress code and work hours, formal decision-making); which are evaluated and adjusted on a daily basis.  She describes the approach to their management as “common sense” in how they balance management layers; allow for promotion rotation to develop skills and increase knowledge of the team; and create expectations based on time in a position.  What resonated the most with me what how they focus on results (output) rather than hours worked in a day.

As my mind is decompressing the 11+ minutes I spent with Laine Hornsey, I do wonder what the employees think. Does Google really live this culture on a daily basis? Does your company have an outline of their cultural values? How do you keep that alive?

–Laura Brand


Outsourcing your Business, Payroll

I’m often asked what I do, and why. So, here I am: creating a blog to tell anyone, who wishes to listen, all about the life and times in the “HR” world. [I have spent many years in the “recruiting” world which falls under the same umbrella.  Recruiting is a 2-glass-of-wine conversation, which I will reserve for later].  When I say to others “I represent a PEO“, the look on their faces is absolutely priceless…I know they are thinking “A p-e-huh?”; but their PC question comes out “What, exactly, is that?”

A PEO is a Professional Employer Organization. The most understandable way to describe the PEO is this: when you work with me, you become part of the “SEP Plan” (“somebody else’s problem” plan). I literally take on your “problems”: risk, compliance, personnel, Benefits Administration, insurance, payroll, taxes, filings, training…the list is long! One study I ran across showed when organizations outsourced multiple functions (listed above) to a single vendor, they saw an average 32% stronger cost efficiency than businesses using multiple vendors (thanks to PricewaterhouseCoopersLLP for their whitepaper on the costs of HR and Payroll). What would you do with that savings? Many people are familiar with the outsourcing of Payroll, but not many people understand the tax benefits and how much risk they can avoid by bundling everything with a PEO.

Feel free to reach me with questions, comments, or anything you deem appropriate.