Archive for May, 2014

The Working Wardrobe

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From Casual Friday, to Business Casual to Casual Everyday it can be hard to know what to wear to work these days. With so many offices leaving the dress code up to the employee fashion-lovers can rejoice with the opportunity to add some pizzazz to any old Monday! However, many experts have questioned whether or not a lack of professional attire leads to a more relaxed attitude toward the job.

Judah Kurtz, Human Resources expert based out of Chicago, sums up the situation: “Dress codes have most certainly relaxed over time, particularly since the introduction of ‘jeans Fridays’ and dot-com era casual attire. What is considered appropriate varies by company and culture, as well as what parts of the house are strictly internal versus client/public facing.”

The benefits of relaxing the dress code and giving employees more freedom are plenty. It allows employees to have a more unique sense of identity instead of getting swallowed up by the corporate culture. This might allow them to be more confident, express themselves more in other areas and feel more relaxed and grounded throughout the day.  Studies have shown that when we look good on the outside we feel better inside so why try to inhibit that?

It is different for every company and every industry but here are a few general tips to keep in mind while planning your office wardrobe:

  • Understand what is appropriate in your industry: A casual dress code in a financial institution might be entirely different than a tech start-up. Always keep your industry in mind when you decide to experiment!
  • Dry your hair: Never show up to the office with wet hair! This might seem arbitrary but Nicole Williams, career expert at LinkedIn, warns “it makes you look like you don’t have your life together, which translates to not having your career together.”
  • Accessories matter! Pay attention to your purse and briefcase. If your personal things are spilling out of it and it isn’t clean, it will present an overall unprofessional image.
  • Abstain from clothing with obnoxious logos: You don’t need to use your wardrobe to advertise anything you might like in your personal life. Leave that in your personal life.
  • Use your best judgment: Always err on the side of caution! If there is something you aren’t sure of, save it for a night out with your friends instead of “Casual Friday.”
  • Never let your outfit outshine your work: Remember, you are there to work; not to show off your fashion sense. Your wardrobe should always be secondary to the job!

Here at Treehouse Partners, we have a very relaxed dress code and have found that being comfortable allows us to work that much harder! What is the dress-code like at your office and how does it affect the work environment?





Trend or Not?

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As we get deeper into 2014 it is enlightening to reflect on expected hiring trends in this new year and see if they are coming to light. Even though it is still early in the year it is easy to see if some of these trends will prove true or not in the coming months.

At the beginning of 2014 a study based on surveys of 2,201 hiring managers and human resource professionals from Fox Business made several specific predictions on what the hiring market would look like. For example, it was predicted that sales and technology positions would be jobs that companies are trying to fill the most. Part-time hiring was also expected to rise with 17% of employers predicted to recruit part-time workers throughout the year. Skills gaps are also expected to widen with half of human resource managers saying they have positions that they can’t find qualified candidates for.

In these first four months of 2014 we have seen signs of all of this prove to be true. Which trends are proving truest for you in your business?

Read the article here:

The Employer’s Guidebook to a Successful Internship Program

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As May rolls around college students everywhere are looking for that great internship opportunity this summer. As an employer, an intern can be a great low-cost way of adding value to your company. It also gives you a chance to convert a great prospect into an eventual full-time employee and train them from the very beginning.

However, a primary concern many employers face is whether or not they will be able to effectively manage their interns and assign them work that will not be a waste of time for all involved. Luckily, many experts have weighed in on this subject and there are plenty of great tips to turn your internship program into one of great benefit. Here are just a few to get you started:

  • Assign your intern one single manager: Students can accomplish big goals with the correct guidance. The easiest way to do this is assign them a one-on-one manager in your company who enjoys working with students.
  • Make sure your intern has at least one dedicated project: Instead of giving your intern various random tasks that won’t add up to much, give them an overreaching project. This gives them focus and lets them know they will actually be adding value to the company in the end.
  • Encourage your intern to ask questions: Treat your intern as any other employee. Allow them to be a part of meetings and have an open-door policy for them to ask questions. They will be much more willing to work harder for you when they know you care about what they are doing and want them to succeed.
  • Be honest about job opportunities within the company: Many students take on internships in the hopes they will be offered a full-time job with the company upon graduation. If you know this isn’t possible let them know up-front. However, let them know that the experience and connections they will make from working with you will give them a better chance of getting their dream job. Always take an interest in their career because that is the reason they are giving their time to you.
  • Get to know your intern: This could be your intern’s first taste of the professional world. Make it a great experience by including them in lunches, have weekly meetings and check-in with them often on how they are feeling.

Here at Treehouse Partners our internship program is a large part of our business. We have had much success with bringing in students from local universities to enrich their resume and add value to our company. We have utilized many of the tips above, especially getting to know our interns. We always include our interns on ice cream breaks, lunches and meetings in order to make them feel like part of the team!


Flexibility: Charting New Waters

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Being at the helm of a team that includes remote workers and those with flexible schedules can feel a bit like being the captain of a ship with no crew. When you feel like yelling, “All hands on deck,” how do you know who will show up? And how will you even know that they have if they do? When your first mate has to log on from her home computer and your deck hands are flexing late that day, how do you still run a tight ship that can navigate rough seas?

A recent piece in The Guardian speaks to the what-not-to-dos for employers who are managing flexible workers. The top takeaways? Communicate well, early, and often; build your team through trust, connectivity, and equality; and embrace the logistical, motivational, and productivity benefits for all.

Read the article here:


Unlimited Vacation for All

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The dreaded feeling of realizing it is only July and you are down to one vacation day might be a thing of the past. Many progressive companies are instituting a new policy called the “unlimited vacation day honor system.” However, this isn’t just for the trendy tech start-ups who want to abandon all policies. Large, established companies such as Best Buy, Netflix, and Zynga have all dropped the old 2-week vacation policy.

This doesn’t exactly mean that employees can take off whenever they want for as long as they want. However, it allows employees to take off when they feel they need it and gives them the flexibility and freedom to know they have that option. It is a way to treat employees as adults and institute an overreaching philosophy of get your work done, however you are going to do it the best.

In an article from CNN, benefits expert Bruce Elliot at the Society for Human Resource Management, states “studies have shown that employees are more productive in more-flexible working environments. They’re more engaged, and turnover is lower.”

Ilya Pozin, CEO of Open Me and columnist for Forbes and LinkedIn, lists these reasons why the unlimited vacation day policy is a step in the right direction:

– It establishes employee responsibility: Offering unlimited vacation days is a way to show your employees you trust and respect them.

– Acts a recruiting perk: This is a great way to interest potential job candidates and set you apart.

– Keep employees engaged and productive: Allowing employees to take off when they need it most encourages a more productive work environment.

– Eliminates a sense of hierarchy: Gives your entire staff a fair shot at a flexible schedule.

Flexibility is something we value at Treehouse Partners. Working in Los Angeles we see all different companies with creative policies that have led them to be successful and innovative.

Have you instituted this policy in your business? What benefits have come of it and drawbacks, if any?