Earlier this week, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy sent a company-wide memo explaining return-to-office plans.
Fortune 500 communications consultants analyzed the memo for Insider.
They said Jassy displayed transparency and empathy – key ingredients when managing uncertainty.
The pandemic fundamentally changed where and how we work, and CEOs – including Amazon’s Andy Jassy – are still grappling with how to communicate uncertainties to their teams.
In a recent company-wide memo, Jassy nimbly explained why Amazon’s leadership has taken so long to decide when employees should return to the office. He declared that decisions on who would return to the office and how often would be made by team leaders. The letter follows similar notes from other top companies, such as Apple, Google, and PwC, that have been rolling out their own return-to-office policies.
Communications consultants who work with Fortune 500 companies said Jassy’s memo was a case study in transparency and navigating uncharted territory.
Suzanne Bates, the author of “Speak Like a CEO” and a managing director and partner at the leadership consultancy BTS, called the memo a blueprint for other companies seeking to mitigate a crisis.
“It’s powerful, timely, authentic, and empathetic,” Bates said. “It’s a lesson in that you can’t just make a decision if you want employee buy-in and leave it at that. You have to explain your reasoning, your process.”
As with many companies, Amazon has delayed its decision on returning to the office. In June, employees were told they’d have an answer in September. Then the decision was delayed until January 2022. Jassy began the memo by acknowledging the back-and-forth and empathizing with employees who are coping with paralyzing uncertainty. This is an effort to reestablish trust, Bates said.
“We’ve never been through something like this before, and hope we never encounter it again,” Jassy wrote in the 850-word memo. “When are we really going back to the office, what will that really be like, how will I allocate my time between the office and home, how will others do it?”
When employees “see a question that looks like a question they’ve been asking, they know that the CEO is hearing the voice of the employee,” Bates said. “They think, ‘The CEO is attuned to what we’re talking about.'”
Eric Yaverbaum, the CEO of Ericho Communications, mentioned how Jassy then pivoted to showing vulnerability. Jassy said that he, like many leaders, didn’t have all the answers.
“Look, there are a lot of question marks. And he outlines those. He gives people context. What he methodically lays out is his direction, while leaving room to make adjustments,” Yaverbaum said. “That’s a smart move.”
Both Bates and Yaverbaum said that in a time of such uncertainty, it’s important for a leader to showcase their process of thinking. It may reassure those who might feel as though the situation is out of their control.
Delegation and gratitude
The central question of the memo – when will workers be able to return to the office? – is expected to be determined by directors. Bates said that having the actual decisions be made on a team-by-team basis gives employees the feeling of more agency.
If employees feel like they have no voice in a process, it creates chaos, she said. Jassy delegating that responsibility to managers gives employees the chance to have a say in the process.
In a situation that’s evolving in real time, delegating is a powerful tool for leaders, Bates and Yaverbaum said. Both consultants also agreed that Jassy clearly and carefully outlined the next steps. He asked employees to have patience, thanked them, and gave a specific date by which they would hear about new developments.
“Leadership has got to be empathetic. If you’re not understanding life through the lens of everyone else, you’re not going to get very far,” Yaverbaum said. “His memo shows empathy.”
Bates said Jassy could have mentioned that he’s still concerned about on-the-ground workers’ safety. She said including that specific topic would be her only tweak.
“Overall, this memo is a really good guideline for CEOs to pay attention to,” she added. “They should ask themselves the question: ‘Are we communicating this way enough with our employees?'”
Hiring private contractors can be tricky when it comes to properly filing taxes and worker’s comp insurance.
If a contractor functions like a full-time employee, misclassifying them which invite hefty penalty fees.
If you operate in multiple states, adjust your policies to follow the state with the strictest laws.
Jessica Stuart learned the hard way the risks of relying on independent contractors. In 2016, her Washington, DC-based production company, Long Story Short Media, filmed in 40 states and hired local crews for each project. The next year, it got slapped with an insurance audit, requiring Stuart to get proof from each of her vendors that they all carried workers’ compensation insurance – or be on the hook for back payments.
“It took us down this massive rabbit hole,” she said, “looking at: Is it 52¢ or $100 that we owe to Montana, because we filmed there for two days?” Many companies rely on employer of record firms – like TriNet or NPI – to avoid headaches. But if you plan to handle compliance in-house, here’s what to know.
Know your ABCs
Federal and state worker-classification laws vary widely, so consult with a lawyer who’s well-versed in the rules everywhere you operate, said Tracey Diamond, a labor and employment attorney at law firm Troutman Pepper. In some states, independent contractor relationships are subject to the “ABC test,” meaning you must show that a) the contractor’s work is not under your company’s direction and control, b) it is outside the course of your company’s usual business, and c) the contractor has an independent business to do that work.
Beware the permalancer trap
If a contractor works for you full time and has no other clients, and you’re exercising control over that contractor’s work, it’s time to consider reclassification, said Craig Gehring, cofounder and CEO of MasteryPrep, a test-preparation company in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, that employs about 50 staffers and 150 contractors.
“Let’s say we have this person who’s writing items for us every day, and they’re following all our guidelines, and they’re coming to all of our company meetings. They’re just an employee at that point,” Gehring said. “Let’s not try to figure out how we can color outside the lines.”
Gauge your risk tolerance
Hiring independent contractors instead of employees can save you 15 to 30% on payroll taxes and benefits, said Richard Reibstein, co-head of law firm Locke Lord’s independent contractor compliance practice. But if you’re caught misclassifying, what you’ll owe in back taxes, benefits payments, fines, and federal penalties could easily obliterate those savings. And that’s if you don’t get sued. If you operate in multiple states, Gehring advises mitigating that risk by tailoring your policies to the one with the strictest laws.
As for Stuart? Well, she’s found that strict compliance has been well worth the cost. Her company still hires contractors, but it now has 27 full-timers on its staff. Monthly overhead has more than doubled since 2016, but profit margins have also increased. “It was an investment,” she said. “But in terms of the trajectory of the company, we’ve grown exponentially ever since.”
LinkedIn recently released its 2021 Top Startups list featuring businesses that are hiring remotely.
From Daily Harvet to Cameo, here are 33 companies hiring with remote work availability.
Looking for a new gig? You’re not alone. 55% of us are planning to find a new job this year, according to a recent Bankrate survey, and the phenomenon even has a name: The Great Resignation. One big reason why many employees are looking to make a change is the need for flexibility – both in terms of hours and working location. Remote jobs typically offer both in spades, and who doesn’t love being able to put on a load of laundry between conference calls?
LinkedIn just released its 2021 Top Startups list, ranking companies that are providing the benefits and perks employees want most now.
“In addition to remote and hybrid models, many of the companies are supporting their workers with WFH stipends, increased mental health benefits, virtual trainings, and upskilling opportunities to help people succeed in this new normal,” said LinkedIn Senior Editor at Large Jessi Hempel.
The majority of the startups listed are embracing remote and hybrid roles. Of the 50 startups, 33 are actively hiring remote roles, and some companies have quite a few jobs available.
One of them is Gemini, a next-generation cryptocurrency platform currently hiring more than 325 remote roles. “We see hiring remote employees as an opportunity not only to expand our talent pool but also to expand diversity of background in the crypto industry as a whole,” said Gemini’s Director of Talent Acquisition Jonathan Tamblyn. “By hiring for skills, knowledge, and potential first rather than geography, we are able to hire employees that represent the populations we want to empower through crypto – particularly women and minorities – who have traditionally been underrepresented in the industry.”
Another company is Gong, a revenue intelligence platform based in Palo Alto, California, that has more than 425 remote roles open now.
“Hiring remotely has enabled our team composition to reflect the diversity of our customers and hire in communities where talented residents want more opportunities to shine professionally,” said Sandi Kochhar, chief people officer at Gong.
Here’s a look at all of the companies from the recent LinkedIn Top Startups list that are hiring remote positions. Good luck! You got this!
Better is a fintech company located in New York City aiming to improve the home buying and financing process. Remote jobs available include mortgage underwriter, senior UX writer, and creative designer.
Glossier is a makeup and skincare company based in New York City that was started by beauty editors and is primarily direct-to-consumer but has a growing physical footprint. Remote jobs include lead front end engineer and creative operations project manager.
Brex is aiming to be the “all-in-one” finance option for businesses – offering high-limit credit cards, business accounts, a rewards program, expense tracking, and more. Small office hubs are located in San Francisco, New York City, Salt Lake City, and Vancouver, B.C. Remote jobs include art director and manager of social and community support.
Attentive is a personalized text messaging platform built for innovative e-commerce brands based in New York City. Remote jobs include mid-market sales manager and web marketing manager.
Outreach is an integrated business-to-business platform helping companies drive sales based in Seattle. Remote jobs include corporate counsel, and product and senior email deliverability specialists.
Gong is a revenue intelligence platform based in Palo Alto, with more than 425 active remote roles. Remote jobs include senior user researcher and in-house counsel.
Based in New York City, MikMak is a digital platform for consumer product companies that enables multi-retailer checkout by shoppers and insights solutions to help brands better understand customer behavior. Remote jobs include VP of sales operations and director of product marketing.
Located in Alpharetta, Georgia, Gravy is a “virtual retention” startup helping subscription-based businesses retain their customers through remedying failed payments. Remote jobs include account manager and sales development representative.
Daily Harvest is a plant-based meal delivery service providing a range of smoothies, flatbreads, desserts, snacks, and more through a subscription-based model. (You may have seen their mouthwatering ads on Instagram recently!) The company is based in New York City. Remote jobs include software engineering manager and senior strategic analytics associate.
Based in Chicago, Cameo is a video-sharing platform where celebrities and public figures send personalized video messages to fans. Remote jobs include QA automation engineer and lifecycle marketing lead.
A tech wellness company in Los Angeles, Therabody is best known for the “Theragun,” a popular massage-therapy device intended to reduce muscle tension and accelerate recovery. Remote jobs include a quality manager and a copywriter.
Ramp is a corporate credit card company based in New York City that helps business owners save money via expense management, savings opportunities, receipt matching, and other services. Remote jobs include demand generation lead and product and regulatory counsel.
GitLab, a DevOps platform, helps companies deliver software faster and more efficiently from its headquarters in San Francisco. Remote jobs include backend engineering manager, pipeline execution, and senior technical content editor.
Based in Palo Alto, Medable is a global platform aiming to get effective therapies to patients quickly, minimizing the need for in-person clinical visits. Remote jobs include HR systems manager and android developer.
Based out of Denver, Colorado, Guild Education works with employers to help them provide strategic education and upskilling programs for employees. Remote jobs include vice president of operations and technical marketing operations manager.
Drift is a conversational marketing platform based in Boston that is designed to enhance the digital buying experience, including features like an AI-powered chatbot and customizable live chat widgets. Remote jobs include onboarding manager and manager of conversation design.
Headquartered in New York City, Ro is a health care company that provides virtual primary care services by connecting telehealth, diagnostics, and pharmacy delivery. Remote jobs include associate director of member experience, systems and platforms, and associate manager of offline marketing.
BlockFi is a financial services company where clients can buy, sell and earn cryptocurrency, based in Jersey City, New Jersey. Remote jobs include manager of retention and loyalty marketing and director of program management.
Scale Al, which is based in San Francisco, is a platform that helps machine learning teams process their data faster and accurately and helps companies supercharge their artificial intelligence efforts. Remote jobs include an IT operations manager.
Hawke Media is a marketing consultancy working to grow brands of all sizes, industries, and business models in Santa Monica, California. Remote jobs include content editor, social media, and influencer marketing manager.
Based in Denver, Boom Supersonic is developing a high-speed airliner built to transport passengers at twice the speed of traditional planes. Remote jobs include senior creative director and recruiter.
From Bend, Oregon, dutchie is a technology platform that enables cannabis dispensaries to set up e-commerce operations. Remote jobs include strategic finance associate and manager of database reliability.
Lyra Health is an online mental health counseling platform based out of Burlingame, California, that provides therapy and mental health services. Remote jobs include event marketing coordinator and product design manager.
Getaway is a hospitality company in Brooklyn that offers modern cabin rentals that are two hours from major urban centers. Remote jobs include reservations manager and head of growth.
Based out of New York City, Catalyst Software helps sales and customer teams connect the various tools they use into a centralized data-driven view of how a client is doing. Remote jobs include engineering manager on the customer success intelligence team and sales development representative.
Rubrik is a cloud-based platform based in Palo Alto that helps companies with data management. Remote jobs include professional services consultants.
Gemini is a cryptocurrency exchange in New York City, that enables users to buy, sell and store digital assets. The more than 325 remote jobs available include engineering manager for credit cards, associate director of technical accounting, and senior software engineer.
ClickUp’s app combines task management, goal setting, calendars, to-do lists, and an inbox so that teams can be more productive. Headquartered in San Diego, remote jobs include program coaches and professional services consultants.
Superhuman, out of San Francisco, wants you to have a better, faster email experience, and they are “re-imagining the inbox” to make it more efficient. Remote jobs include senior mobile engineer and product marketing manager.
Based in San Francisco, Innovaccer curates the world’s health care information to make it more accessible and useful for providers and organizations. Remote jobs include platform data architect and senior director of healthcare AI.
Flowcode allows users to create customized, advanced Quick Response (QR) codes that never expire, making it easier for companies to directly connect their customers to digital resources. Based in New York City, the company is hiring for a remote product analyst.
Based in Palo Alto, Jerry helps car owners save money on vehicle insurance. Remote jobs include associate editor and writer/editor.
Headquartered in Atlanta and London, OneTrust helps companies manage privacy, security, and governance requirements through its compliance software. Remote jobs include UI architects.
I’ve been working as a “dancing dealer” in Las Vegas for almost four years now. A dancing dealer is a [table games] dealer who also dances. We take shifts dealing, and then we dance in front of the people in the casino. It’s our job to make sure people are having fun – whether they’re winning or losing – so that they have a great experience and want to come back.
I currently work the night shift at Circa Resort & Casino in downtown Las Vegas. I deal blackjack and roulette. I enjoy working the night shift because it means I get to spend the daytime with my two daughters, who are four and six.
I officially get off work at 3 a.m., and get home and go to bed around 4:30 a.m.
My wakeup time ranges from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. depending on the kids’ activities. It can be hard coming home late and then having to get up early, but it’s worth it.
I normally get Sunday and Monday off, and I’ll spend time with my kids as much as I can. Sometimes I’ll have a date night with my husband, but most of the time when I’m off I’m just at home, relaxing.
Dancing dealers have the same official dealer certification and skills as any other regular dealer.
Before this job, I worked in retail, specifically at Hollister, for quite some time. I didn’t grow up being a dancer, but my sisters and I used to make up dances as kids. I was also a cheerleader in school, which helped build my confidence.
As a dancing dealer, we don’t actually have routines, we just freestyle. To be in this position, I don’t think you need to be the best dancer in the world, but you need to be a good dancer.
I feel like since we’re also dancers, people sometimes don’t take us as seriously as a regular dealer – but we’re just as qualified as any other dealer in town.
In order to get certified, I had to complete a two week training and pass an audition test. We had a trainer who taught us all the steps of dealing and then we each took an in-person test with a few other people. Once we passed we were set to work in the casinos.
I love my coworkers. We’re like one big family and we look out for each other.
One of the best parts of my job is that I make a lot of friends. We’re like a big family, the 60 of us girls who are dancing dealers. Another thing I love about my job is interacting with people and hearing their funny stories.
The hours can definitely be a challenge, but I think the only real downside is that not everyone who comes in is always nice. The majority of people are nice – but sometimes you get those tough people.
I never know how much money I actually deal out in a night, because it always varies. Weekends I deal out much more. The players can put down as much as they want at a table – but every table does have a max bet depending on where you are in the casino, which is why there are specific high limit betting areas. Most people bet around $100 a game, or maybe a little more – but we do have people who play in the $1,000s.
Overall, I definitely notice a difference in energy and clientele on weekdays versus weekends. Weekends are high energy and super busy, and weekdays are steady – but not as crazy.
Building relationships with regular customers is fun.
Since our casino is downtown, I think many of our customers are not as serious as on the strip because they’re gambling to have fun, not to make money or for sport.
I get return customers all the time who play with me because they like me. I have one player who comes every single night. I have another very sweet couple who are regulars, and when I deal roulette they come in and play the numbers “17” and “20” every time because those are their lucky numbers. They’ll bet the max amount and whenever they win, they tip big. The most I’ve ever seen anyone win at once is $50,000.
You have to have an always-positive attitude, but overall dealing is a fun job.
Normally we’ll do an hour dealing, then we dance for 20 minutes, then we get a break for 20 minutes. It doesn’t even feel like 20 minutes when you’re dancing on the mini elevated boxes we have around the casino. There’s always so much going on around me it makes the night go by faster.
I don’t have any signature dance moves – I just try not to fall off the box! We dance on top of boxes in the middle of the “pit” in the casino, so all the players can see us.
To thrive in this sort of position, you need to have great people skills. You can’t be shy because you’re dancing in front of a bunch of people and when you’re not dancing, you’re communicating with them as a dealer. You have to be positive and happy so that your players feel good.
To anyone who’s interested in becoming a dancing dealer, I’d tell them it’s not the easiest job, because dealing with a lot of people can be tiring. At the same time, it’s a really fun job because you’re meeting people from all over the world. I’d like to keep doing this as my job forever.
If you lead meetings at work, it’s important to ensure they’re concise and make the most of everyone’s time.
Provide an agenda, clarify action items to stay on track, and recap what needs to get done.
Check in with your coworkers to ask which meetings they think are the most valuable and productive.
If you are like most business owners, you start the day by reviewing your calendar and seeing how many meetings you have for the day. Often, there are quite a few each day, many of which are marked as urgent. This can be a total productivity killer – not to mention a mood killer as well.
In fact, meetings are one of the first things I go over when I start working with a new business coaching client because it takes up such a huge portion of their day. When I find a client who is struggling with the constant barrage of meetings and interruptions, we go through a series of questions about the meetings that they hold. Questions like:
How many meetings do you have on an average day?
Do you have to be present for all of them, or are any of them able to be passed off to one of your team members?
Do all of the meetings you currently lead or participate in add real value?
Or have they just become a dull routine?
Which ones really add the most value?
Which meetings could be canceled, or made less frequent, or shorter?
Which meetings need to be added or extended?
1. Always plan your meetings in advance
If you don’t have an agenda, don’t hold the meeting. The chances of you going off the rails and wasting time on things that don’t create value are very high. Instead, postpone the meeting until you can dedicate a bit of time beforehand to lay out the agenda.
2. Start strong
Start on time and start strong. Jump right into your agenda, and get to the point. Everyone’s time is valuable and if you spend five or ten minutes of each meeting getting warmed up an hour or more might be wasted a day on small talk.
3. Stay focused
It’s easy to get sidetracked. It’s more difficult to stay on task but well worth the effort. Follow your agenda, and if you do find yourself on a tangent, write it down as a future action item and address it at another time.
4. Give everyone a chance to speak
Beware of one or two strong personalities hijacking your meeting. This includes you! A simple trick to give a voice to the quieter participants is to give them a moment to “jot down” their ideas, thoughts, or input to be shared with you later.
5. Clarify action items as you go
Got a long meeting and don’t want to miss anything? Flag all-important action items as you go, including:
To what standard?
How to close the loop?
6. Recap after the meeting
After the meeting is over, send out a meeting recap email outlining the action items and discussion points that were covered in the meetings.
If needed, put the recap into your project management software as well.
Above all else, be consistent with your actions. A calendar full of pointless meetings is nothing to aspire to. A calendar full of well-planned out value-added meetings that will help propel your business forward is.
That’s significant, according to her, because it’s “a very unique role in the tech industry. She said “there are no similarly powerful companies that are as unilaterally controlled.” Or put more bluntly in another part of the hearing: “There is no one currently holding Mark accountable but himself.”
He is, essentially, Facebook’s “key man,” a person who has ultimate say in business decisions and without whom the firm would be heavily impacted.
Experts told Insider that there is cause for concern around one person having control over a controversial family of platforms that affect hundreds of millions of people.
“I don’t think it’s a stretch to argue that Mark Zuckerberg is the most powerful person who’s ever walked the face of the earth, and I think that kind of power being held by one person is generally a bad idea,” Whitney Tilson, a former hedge fund manager and CEO of Empire Financial Research, told Insider.
Zuckerberg’s outsized power has been debated for years
“You typically don’t have companies like GM or Ford or Bank of America that are controlled by any one investor,” Chris Haynes, an associate professor of international affairs and political science at the University of New Haven, told Insider. “This is not the norm.”
“Having a company controlled by a single person, ‘the brainchild’ when it comes to tech companies, it does make the company much more nimble, and they’re able to really turn a dime,” Haynes said, since they don’t have to get a lot of investors on board to make a decision.
But it can also slow things down. Facebook lists Zuckerberg’s outsize control as a potential risk factor for investors, saying it “could delay, defer, or prevent a change of control, merger, consolidation, or sale of all or substantially all of our assets that our other stockholders support.”
Critics say the control can shield companies from concerns that can harm society and investors, and it can cause volatility.
“I think you’re seeing that in the case of Facebook,” Haynes said.
“Facebook is bigger than any religion in the history of the world, and there is 100% control residing in one man,” Tilson said.
Joy Poole, a former Facebook employee who’s now at the consulting firm Emergence, told Insider that lawmakers should “absolutely” explore how regulation could decide the amount of majority share CEOs have in their companies. But there may be more pressing issues.
“Mark Zuckerberg has majority control over a company with a tremendous amount of influence in the world,” Poole said. “I don’t believe for a minute though, that if he had 49% control, that we would magically find answers to the complex questions we are facing here.”
However, last week’s hearing with Haugen and her disclosure of internal documents to the US Securities and Exchange Commission could change things, Tilson said, though it’s not likely.
If the SEC investigation finds that Facebook misled investors by failing to disclose research of negative harm on teens, among other findings, then the agency could demand that he step down, according to Tilson.
“That would be the only way I can think of that would overcome his controlling voting shares,” he said.
Having a business page on the professional networking platform helps boost your company’s credibility. It’s an extra step that shows you mean business and you’re serious about your company.
If you don’t have a business page yet, or you do but it needs some attention, here are some ideas for getting that page going and taking it from good to great.
Make it look good
You need a logo and a banner or cover image. Otherwise, your page just doesn’t look complete or professional. You have to figuratively hang your shingle on LinkedIn. If you don’t have a designer, head over to DIY design sites like Canva, and stock image sites.
Next up, fill out all of the fields that will tell people about your company: Tagline, Company “About,” Website, Contact Information, and Specialties.
Post content regularly
You need to give people a reason to go to your page. Content is the way to do it. Content doesn’t have to be original articles, but those are great – and you should definitely include them in your LinkedIn content plan. Other content you can include on your page: short posts or so-called status updates, videos, polls, and photos.
If you’re posting videos to Facebook, why not also post them to LinkedIn? If your business lends itself to photos, and you are already posting to Instagram, then it makes sense to post your photos to your company’s LinkedIn page. You can also post events to your business page.
Building and maintaining an engaging LinkedIn business page is a job for more than just one person. I will confess that my own business LinkedIn page is not as robust – a corporate word that I hate – as it could be. I need to take my own advice here and enlist help. That said, you need to have more than one person in charge of your company page.
What that means is having more than one-page administrator. Page administrators can mine LinkedIn and your company for content to post. They can also invite people to follow the page and, of course, engage in any discussion that ensues.
It would also help to have an internal communications plan that invites others in your organization to share from the company’s LinkedIn page and even write content for it. You might have people on staff who don’t have time to write a regular blog or regularly write for their own LinkedIn page, but who do occasionally want to contribute content to the company’s LinkedIn and then share that content to their own profiles. Encourage contributors within your company.
Make a content plan
I believe writer’s block largely comes from not having a plan. Thinking of the content that you want to create for your business page is a whole lot easier if you plan ahead. It’s too overwhelming if you are on a deadline to post something.
You need direction and purpose. You need a content calendar. And you don’t need to wait until January to start. Start now. Map out a month of content, or a quarter or a half year. Ask yourself things like, what holidays are coming up? What seasons? Not just winter, summer, and fall but also back-to-school or football season. What industry events are happening? What’s in the news? What should you write, post, or create, and when should you write, post, or create it?
Championing your colleagues’ ideas could help your own career as well as theirs, a study found.
People who “amplify” other people’s ideas are more admired and seemed more influential, the study found.
The findings showed you don’t need to be an “aggressive jerk” to get ahead, a researcher said.
Promoting your colleagues’ ideas over your own could boost your career, according to the authors of a recently published study.
People visibly giving credit to their colleagues were viewed as more admired and more influential by their peers, the study of nearly 2,800 people found. The person whose ideas were promoted also benefited, researchers said.
In contrast, people who often promoted their own work were disliked, a co-author of the study said.
Kristin Bain, assistant professor of management at Rochester Institute of Technology’s Saunders College of Business, told Insider the findings showed you don’t need to be an “aggressive jerk” to get ahead at work.
For the study, which was published in the Academy of Management Journal, the researchers wanted to understand the effects that amplification – which they defined as a public endorsement of another person’s ideas, with credit to the person – could have on how people were perceived at work.
They conducted three studies with 2,760 US participants. In one, participants were asked to observe a staged sales meeting in which a person’s ideas were initially ignored, before being raised again by a colleague later on.
In the second study, a person framed their own ideas using negative language. The idea was then later amplified using more positive language.
For the third, the researchers worked with a nonprofit. They asked a director to identify 22 employees who typically had less influence. Many of the employees were junior. They received training and were then asked to amplify each other’s ideas over a two-week period. The rest of their colleagues didn’t know about the study.
An organization-wide survey then measured how they were perceived.
In all three studies, both the person amplifying ideas and the person whose ideas they promoted were viewed as being “higher status,” which Bain defined as being more respected and admired. This gave them more influence at the company, Bain added.
“Status-based influence is separate from power-based influence; You’re not listening to me because you have to or I’ll fire you,” said Bain. “It’s because you respect me and think that I have good things to say”.
If a person was perceived to be too self-interested, and promoted their own ideas too much, they were seen negatively.
“A lot of our studies sort of included this comparison condition of promoting your own ideas versus promoting somebody else’s, and without fail, people did not like the people who promoted their own ideas,” Bain said.
That doesn’t mean promoting your own ideas is always wrong, Bain said – in specific contexts, such as job interviews, it’s important.
The research also didn’t show you’re more likely to get promoted just because you endorse your colleagues, Bain said – but at the very least you’re not hurting your chances.
The quality of the idea you promote matters, she said. If a person promotes an idea they know is bad, it could make them look bad, she said, adding that this needed further investigation.
Mars Inc. has ramped up its sustainability strategy across its entire global business model.
Goals for issues like carbon neutrality and deforestation are now tied to executive compensation.
Farming practices are the largest challenge for Mars due to the size and scope of its suppliers.
The multinational company Mars Inc., the parent company of popular global brands like Iams, Pedigree, and Snickers, recently announced it was increasing its sustainability targets with a significant focus on helping its suppliers around the world switch to restorative farming practices.
This month, Mars said it is mobilizing its entire business to reach the bigger goals, which include eliminating deforestation from its supply chain, increasing sustainable land use among farmers, and making Royal Canin, its largest brand, carbon neutral in the next four years.
Chief Procurement and Sustainability Officer Barry Parkin oversees the sourcing of all of Mars’ ingredients, from pet food brands like Whiskas to candy brands suach as M&M’s and Twix. Parkin told Insider the company’s decision to set new science-based targets and five-year goals well before 2050 was in response to drought and extreme weather – effects of the climate crisis – in areas like West Africa and California where key ingredients like cocoa, fruit, and nuts are grown.
“We have to work on everything,” he said. “This is an internal call to action to our 140,000 associates that we’re all working on this, not just a few people. There’s no point waiting 25 years and trying to do this all in the last five.”
Parkin also mentioned that the new sustainability targets are being incorporated into Mars’ governance and operations and will be linked to executive compensation at the same level as financial performance. “Our senior leaders are now very, very engaged on this topic and are clamoring to know, ‘What do I do?'” he said. “‘What’s my role in this?'”
While many multinational companies are focused on reducing energy use and emissions at offices and factories, Mars found 95% of its carbon footprint was from its suppliers. After switching to renewable energy for its operations in 11 countries, the company plans to make the transition in another eight countries in the next four years. “We’re contracting cheaper than fossil fuels as we go around the world,” Parkin said.
By comparison, reducing carbon emissions from suppliers is more difficult because more elements are out of Mars’ control. The company’s efforts to eliminate deforestation include “enhanced transparency and traceability” around items like cocoa, beef, palm oil, pulp, paper, and soy. It also means higher costs and “a continued shift away from purchasing ingredients based on cost alone.”
There’s also the sheer scope of where Mars purchases its raw materials. Parkin said they come from over 100 countries around the world, through thousands of suppliers, and an estimated 1 million farmers. Simplifying and streamlining this supply chain has involved a lot of work; the company spent three to four years shrinking its number of palm-oil suppliers from 1500 to 100 in order to implement better management practices and monitoring.
For Mars to accomplish its ambitious sustainability goals, it means helping implement a type of farming known as regenerative agriculture, which helps trap carbon in the soil and improve water supplies, on a massive global scale. Parkin said rough estimates suggest the current adoption rate is about 1% per year. “Frankly, the world doesn’t have 100 years to wait,” he said. “We have to find ways to accelerate some of the adoption of some of these practices. And it’s challenging because it’s farmer by farmer around the world.”
But this type of farming won’t get Mars to net-zero carbon emissions. So the company’s sustainability strategy also acknowledges the role of carbon credits, which have received criticism for overpromising and underdelivering on their claims to mitigate climate change. Mars said it is committed to investing in projects with the “highest ecological, social and carbon impact,” such as its recent investment in the 150 million-pound Livelihoods Carbon Fund 3, supporting community-based solutions for rural areas.
Sanok is a private consultant and host of the “Practice of Practice” podcast. His book, ‘Thursday is the new Friday: How to work fewer hours, make more money and spend time doing what you want,” is a self-help book that makes the case for the four-day work week.
For some, the hardest bit is getting comfortable with the very idea of working less
The book is not about changing company culture, Sanok writes. Not everyone can cut their work days down as much as they want after, all – bad managers can be a barrier, for example, he writes. A lack of financial freedom, or limited access to childcare support, can also hold people back.
The simple technique for starting: make your weekend work for you
Sanok has a simple, practical technique for anyone who wants to take a step back from work but is finding it hard to do so – start adding more value into your weekends.
Envisage your weekend plans, then add something that will make it better, such as giving yourself permission to read a book, or going for a hike, for example.
At the same time, remove something from your plans that makes you feel stressed.
That could mean, for example, ordering groceries online instead of spending a morning doing them in person, or not meeting a “toxic” person just because you feel like you need to.
Most people live their weekends as a reaction to a stressful week, Sanok said – instead, “be proactive on our weekends to think about what could this future week be if I entered into it fully recharged.”
Take small steps
If you have the luxury of taking Fridays off for a period of time, go for it, Sanok said. But for some people, just leaving a few hours earlier is progress.
To begin with, stop and work out when you’re most productive and what you want to achieve – then draw up a plan for trying to achieve it, he said.
“Having the mindset that slowing down is the key to then killing it on the other side,” he added.