Workbridge Associates: Where People Meet Performance

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Category: Office Bonding (89)

  • The Growing Demand for Data Scientists

    Article by Scott Brosnan, Practice Manager in Workbridge San Francisco 

    Companies are using data to better understand consumers and the immense amount of new data pouring into their system. They know that this just might be the most important driver of business for success in today’s world. Whether it is a small startup or a multi-billion company like Netflix or Facebook, data is at the core in making better business decisions. Companies now save every detail about every click of the mouse. Online companies are able to track the browsing patterns and habits of their users. This allows them to use that data to attract new users with similar profiles and characteristics of existing users. 

    There is a growing demand for individuals who can analyze this data and derive insights from it. This trend will continue to grow as more companies are trying to find ways to capitalize on this information. Companies are willing to (or having to) pay top dollar for individuals that possess these abilities.

    A recent McKinsey report revealed some staggering statistics in the data science field.  There are roughly 140,000 people that are working as data scientists right now, and by the year 2018 there will be a shortage of 150,000 to 190,000 people with data science abilities. The field is just so new that it is a simple supply and demand issue. Every company is trying to make more sense of their data and find ways to most effectively use it. There are just not enough people with the skill set to keep up with the demand. 

    Most data scientists right now have studied mathematics, statistics or computer sciences.  Unbelievably, up until 2 years ago there was no data science or data analytics programs or major option in any university or school. One of the best indicators for the increasing need for data scientist, are the number of programs that are popping up around the country. We have seen programs begin at University of California, Berkeley, University of San Francisco and Indiana University.

     

    As more and more companies look to take advantage of their data, the demand for data scientists will continue to grow.

  • Creating the Perfect Company Culture

    Article by Jaime Vizzuett, Practice Manager in Workbridge Orange County

    Recently, I sat down with the CEO of a startup to talk about their future growth plans, and during our conversation he stated something I thought was crucial to his success. He said he is building an environment where employees are dreading Friday afternoons and are looking forward to coming in Monday mornings. Of course, in most cases, employees look forward to Fridays and dread Monday mornings. Regardless of the industry, position, or size for that matter, one of the most important parts of building a company is culture. Because of the industry we are in, I have been fortunate enough to see companies flourish, and others crash. I say ‘fortunate’ because regardless of the success or lack thereof, there is always something to learn.

    One thing I have learned is that a happy employee is a more productive employee. In a study done by Jim Herter, a coauthor of the New York Times bestseller, found that unsatisfied employees led to poorer performances. It is clear that when people don’t care about their job or employers, they tend to mentally check out, which inevitably leads to a lack of performance. I believe it’s a general consensus that humans tend to give better results when they are excited about what they are doing. As an employer, there is only so much you can control, but the one thing you can control is the work environment. That being said, one of the major contributors to a culture is the management or leadership of a company.

    As managers, you are exposed to a plethora of different personalities. Therefore, it’s important to make sure the leaders in the company are approachable and there to ensure that the employee’s job has a purpose. At the end of the day, an employee is going to take and stay at a job primarily because of who leads them. I am sure every company’s goal is to increase retention and decrease employee turnover, because not only is turnover costly financially, but it can cost you talent. Building a great culture will not only help with turnover, but also attract great talent and eventually your company will sell itself. Let’s remember that good talent is difficult to find, and talent is not going to hang around in a depressing, isolated, and lackluster culture.

    We are all people here, and want to be treated like such, so knowing who works for you is another crucial part building a culture. I am not saying you need to know every employee's life history, but simply make them feel appreciated to the point where they don’t feel like a walking money sign. In addition to that, employees are the biggest part of a culture, so bringing someone on board with the wrong attitude or mentality can ruin that. Remember, it only takes one bad seed to ruin the bunch. So if this means tweaking the hiring process, company BBQ’s, or an old-fashioned walk around the office, then so be it. Employees should be the number one priority for an employer, because no one wants to work for someone that doesn’t care about their well-being. The bottom line is that it pays to invest in your employees, because they are the ones that build a company.

    Let’s not forget that working adults spend more time at work than anywhere else, so do whatever you can to make them excited about coming into the office. I know none of this is breaking news, but it could mean the difference between the next Facebook and another start-up shutting its doors. If you feel like your current culture is non-existent, or repressive, then it’s time for a change.

  • The Mutual Benefits of the Mentor/Mentee Relationship

    Article by Andrew Kim, recruiter in Workbridge Orange County

    When I sit down for the first time with a job seeker, the first question that comes out of my mouth is, “What are the three most important things that you have to have to be happy in your next job?” Aside from salary and location, the next most frequent response I receive from both my junior and senior level candidates can be summed up as the opportunity to learn/exchange skills in a collaborative team environment. Or, to put it more succinctly, having the chance to mentor and to be mentored.  

    The job seekers I speak to often point to a fear of asking for guidance or not trusting co-workers due to office politics for reasons they don't seek out a mentor. While the mentor-mentee relationship has almost been disregarded as a relic of a past where tactile skills such as masonry, carpentry, or blacksmithing were learned through years of hands-on experience passing from a master to an apprentice, today’s preferred and digitalized method of self-reliant learning goes through an endless library of Youtube videos and Wikipedia articles. While this access to information appears to be an infinite and remarkable resource for gaining knowledge, it doesn’t suffice for the just as important component of acquiring skills by learning, doing, getting feedback, and setting goals with someone that has been in your shoes and can get you to that next, desired level. We often forget that the so-revered tech idols such as the Jobs’, Gates’, and Bransons of the world created revolutionary products and companies by not only being avid students of the masters of the past, but also by bouncing around ideas, information, and inspiration from the most innovative thinkers of their day. All of this stemmed from a shared fanaticism for business and technology that transcended a personal fear of being judged by colleagues. Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, echoes this as the desire that “leaders who are ambitious for their company rather than for themselves seek to develop other leaders.”

    What this mutually altruistic endeavor of mentoring and being mentored has shown is that there is a positive impact on both the mentor and mentee’s career progress, as well as an added benefit to the company as a whole. Sun Microsystems conducted a five-year study following the careers of over 1000 employees participating in the company’s mentorship program to specifically study whether or not there were quantifiable benefits to mentorship. The statistics were conclusive in showing that both mentors and mentees were approximately 20% more likely to get raises than those co-workers not in the program. Additionally, mentored employees were promoted five times more often than those without. And even more surprisingly, while 25% of mentees got raises during this time period, 28% of mentors did - and these same mentors were six times more likely to be promoted to a higher job. What these statistics show is that even in competitive job environments, the willingness to invest in one another pays off in significantly positive dividends for all parties involved and builds a stronger company culture from within.

    So, do you have a mentor or mentors at your current place of work?Have you been actively seeking a mentor/mentee out? If not, you could provide a major benefit to yourself, your mentor, and your company by starting a mentor relationship today.

  • Job Search & Resume Critique Workshop at TurnToTech

    Recently, Workbridge New York put on a job search and resume critique workshop for several students and recent graduates from TurnToTech. TurnToTech is a local engineering school here in NYC with a focus on mobile software education.

    When our team of recruiters arrived to TurnToTech Monday afternoon, they gave a quick introduction about Workbridge Associates and what we do. Then the recruiters split up into three different stations for the students to rotate around. At the first station, recruiters walked the students through various job search sites and new ways to find job postings online. Recommended job sites included: Indeed, Simplyhired, We Are Made in New York, LinkedIn, and Joel on Software.

    At the second station, recruiters met one-on-one with the students to discuss their resumes and provide a few good examples of junior and mid-level iOS Developer resumes. They conversed about several different features of the resume, including what employers look for when they’re looking to fill an iOS Developer position versus other coding positions. They touched on the importance of having any apps that you've created and uploaded to the App Store featured on your resume when applying to an iOS Development position, just as it's important to have your Github account listed under your contact info if you’re applying to something like a Ruby Developer role. They also suggested the students include a “skills” section on their resumes to highlight and showcase any technologies they are familiar with and have used.

    The third team discussed the importance of a sending a “Thank You” note after interviewing with someone. You can fit all of the qualifications for the position, but unless you’re interested, it wouldn’t make sense for an employer to hire you. Whether it’s a formal letter or an email, keep thank you notes short and sweet, and make sure to proof read them before sending. For employers, it’s often the thought and interest in the position that matters the most. 

    Workbridge Associates had a great time discussing NY tech job search strategies with the students from TurnToTech. If you have any questions regarding your job search, feel free to reach out to any of the recruiters at Workbridge Associates, they would love to help! Also if you’re interested in learning more about TurnToTech, visit their website or email them at [email protected]

  • SF Brings Cheer to the Ronald McDonald House

    Recently, our Workbridge San Francisco office went out to the Ronald McDonald House to bring as much St. Patrick Day cheer as they could. The team was definitely looking the part as a cheerful crew, as they were dressed in character, wearing green and lots of it! They arrived ready to roll-up their sleeves and get to work! Kendal, the supervisor at the Ronal McDonald House, divided the jobs into three areas: crafts, baking, and cleaning. Although, by the end of the day, everyone was pitching in to help in all areas. 

    There was a sweet aroma of baking cupcakes and cookies filling the air. The green icing, green M&M’s, and of course green sprinkles were all key pieces in bringing out some Irish cheer. The Workbridge team worked hard, carefully decorating each cupcake and cookie with a unique St. Paddy's Day touch. The finished product resulted in a delicious reward. The families were in for quite the surprise when they arrived home.

    Two brothers, Ryland and Trent, who decided to hang out with the Workbridge crew, illustrated such a strong resilient sense of hope. Trent, 8 years old, was staying at the house with his family, and he proudly showed off his fresh scars from a recent surgery. His smile was so strong and hopeful. After hearing their story, a few members of the crew took them outside to play.

    The Ronald McDonald House works to keep families rested, healthy, strong and by pulling together during their time of need. The House offers a home-like environment where family members find comfort through supportive staff, volunteers, and other families in similar situations. When families stay close to their hospitalized child, the child heals quicker and the family copes better. Giving the families a distraction from a long day of supporting their loved ones, they were greeted with hot cookies, tasty cupcakes, and festive decorations.

  • Volunteering at the West End House

    On a rainy day in Boston, our Workbridge Boston office traveled to Allston, MA to bring some sunshine to the kids at the West End House Boys and Girls Club. Founded in 1906 to aid immigrant and urban youth, the West End House provides leadership and life skills, academic support, college preparation, sports, fitness, nutrition, and visual and performing arts programs for just $15 a year. Today, the club has over 1,500 members, many of which are decedents of the original members who came to our country from the Dominican Republic, China, Vietnam, Haiti, and Cape Verde.

    When the crew first arrived, they met with Aviva Berezin, the club's Community Engagement Coordinator, and a curious young girl named Ava. Ava is the self-appointed volunteer greeter at the Boys and Girls Club. She always introduces herself and loves to be with the groups. After learning some history about the club, Aviva went over the Activity Bored with the recruiters.

    For the first hour of each afterschool day, everyone must be in their designated homework “Power Hour”. The WEH takes education seriously, in order to be a member you must be attending school. Workbridge was told that some of the classmates even tattle on each other if a day of school is missed. After homework, the kids can choose from a variety of activities: gym, art, swimming, or music.

    The building is equipped with a huge swimming pool, a music room filled with equipment, an art studio complete with a black light room, a fitness center, full size gymnasium, and a dance room. The team was mildly jealous of the facility. After meeting with some of the teachers, two of whom they discovered are original members of the club, the recruiters split up into smaller volunteer groups. They helped during gym time, with homework for grades 1-3 and grades 4-5, art, and food prep.

    Our recruiters were a little nervous about homework help. After all, none of them had done long division in a very long time. Nonetheless, they braved the challenge and helped the kids as best they could.

    Believe it or not, the West End House serves over 1,200 meals a week to their members and they do it all with only ONE chef, Lisa Smith. It's safe to say she needed some help. Recruiters Liam Pushee and Julia Croyle, along with Marketing Specialist Liz Polom helped prep roasted garlic and applesauce that would accompany the pork chops being served the following day.

    During gym time, the recruiters got a bit of a workout themselves. After playing basketball, they participated in sprints and wall-sits. 

    Usually, when school programs are cut, art is the first to go. This is a shame because the art room was full of creative minds. These kids were full of talent. Occasionally, the art will go on display and even sometimes sold. One girl was working on a landscape piece that was going to be auctioned off.

    Needless to say, the team at Workbridge Boston had amazing time volunteering at the West End House. To find out ways to get involved, visit their website at www.westendhouse.org.

     

  • Workbridge Los Angeles Bakes Cupcakes for Ronald McDonald House

    Recently, Workbridge LA volunteered at Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House. The team arrived with grocery bags full of cupcake ingredients including frosting, festive sprinkles, marshmallows, and spring-themed candies for decorating. They had the entire four-stove kitchen available exclusively for their afternoon of baking. Once the office washed their hands, they dove right into cracking eggs, mixing, and pouring the batter into the cupcake tins. The smell from the freshly-baked chocolate, strawberry and Funfetti-flavored cupcakes was intoxicating.

    Throughout the afternoon, families and children popped in to investigate the delicious smell. While they baked, the team got to know some of the residents. Arseli, a 12 year old girl from Guam, was so appreciative of the care and hospitality that she and her family had received at the Ronald McDonald House.

    Once the cupcakes were cool enough to frost and decorate, the recruiters of Workbridge LA got in touch with their inner pastry chef. The variety of cake flavors, frostings, and decorations meant that there was a cupcake for every child to enjoy. At 5pm, the residents started trickling down to the kitchen. They chose their favorite flavored treat and visited with the recruiters as they ate.

    The Ronald McDonald House serves as an amazing national charitable organization for families and children in need. They provide housing facilities while loved ones are undergoing care. The purpose is to make the families and patients as comfortable as possible during a devastating and stressful time in their lives. A big thank you to the Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House for giving Workbidge LA the opportunity to volunteer!

  • Telecommute vs Office Commute - Weigh In!

    Article by King Bea, Sourcing Specialist at Workbridge Associates Orange County.

    My 20lb dumbbells sit in the corner of my room, gathering dust and indenting the carpet underneath. The fitness application on my iPhone would be my best point of reference as to the last date of their usage. In fact, I don’t believe I’ve ever used my dumbbells as more than just a daily reminder to exercise. They're more of a symbol of an idea. Originally, I purchased the pair because I thought owning them would make exercising more convenient and that I could be more productive with my day. Oddly enough, I’ve found that I prefer to boost my heart rate away from home, away from my room, and apart from these cursed dumbbells. (Yes, I’m actually going to bridge the gap between dumbbells and telecommuting, but remember, this is a blog post. An anecdotal one for that matter.)

    Telecommuting can be defined as simply working from home or a remote location, separated from a centralized office space. With numerous studies on work-life balance, environmental benefits, psychological factors, differences of occupation, etc. on the table, the final verdict on remote work is still up in the air. Just like any idea or opinion on best practices and how work should be accomplished, there are those throwing rocks at each other on either side of the fence. What we do know is that roughly 20% of the global workforce telecommutes with India leading the charge. In the US, telework accounts for about 16% of the total workforce; California has both the largest percentage of teleworkers in a Metropolitan area (San Diego) and the fastest growing area for telework (Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario). Not surprisingly, Silicon Valley’s percentage is on the upswing. Across the board, telecommuting has sharply increased throughout the United States. From a personal perspective in the IT industry, my candidates are more incentivized to consider a new role if the opportunity offers some form of telecommute throughout the week. Moreover, there is a general consensus that software engineering is an occupation that can be based, in part, away from the office.

    Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo!, had such disdain for the concept that she eliminated the company policy altogether after being appointed. HP CEO Meg Whitman followed suit thereafter. Both women were proponents of a collaborative and ultimately innovative workspace that could only be realized by being in close physical proximity to your colleagues. On the other hand, Richard Branson, entrepreneur extraordinaire, condemned the Yahoo! move as a "backwards step in an age when remote working is easier and more effective than ever." Both a Stanford and Beijing University study reported an increase in productivity and efficiency in a randomly assigned control group. The New York Times published an article by Jennifer Glass that defends telework in an article entitled, “It’s About the Work, Not the Office.” The rise and popularity of collaboration software such as GoToMeeting and Cisco’s WebX should not be ignored either.

    I am not a true telecommuter since I drive to our Orange County office daily. However, 100% of my work is done for our San Francisco and Silicon Valley offices. In essence, I am using the “work dumbbells” that sit in my room and so far, I have been relatively effective in my role. However, I believe that the quality of my work is partially dependent on those physically around me. I hold myself accountable to their presence. My work ethic is strengthened by an office space and the individuals with which it is filled. What motivates you to pick up the dumbbells? Are you camp telecommute or team office?

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