Posts tagged with "Inc. magazine"

Top pandemic employee perks: Grocery stipends, mental health hours, and pet pawternity leave

September 1, 2020

Whether or not they already have announced publicly that employees can work remotely—until year-end, for the next year, or even forever—businesses that shifted to remote work in the spring seem to have settled in for the long haul, Inc. magazine reports.

Such companies are saving money on rent, travel, and office amenities. But many aren’t keeping all of that found money: They are reallocating some of those funds to help their employees settle in comfortably, too—providing home-office stipends or discounts on ergonomic chairs, monitors, lighting, and Internet upgrades.

In addition, Inc. notes, companies also are introducing perks to meet new needs, such as those related to mental health pressures and child care obligations.

Indeed, the news outlet suggests, there are four areas in which extra employee benefits can generate satisfaction and loyalty among staff members—among them:

  1. Create options for parents. Child care benefits don’t have to be limited to subsidized daycare or babysitting—especially during a pandemic, when many parents aren’t comfortable sending kids to school or using in-home sitters. “What parents need is things taken off their plate so that they can help their kids themselves,” says Jordan Peace, co-founder and CEO of Fringe, a Richmond, Virginia-based benefits startup. That could mean offering flexible work hours, chipping in for virtual babysitting or tutoring, sending kid-focused subscription boxes with meals or activities, or simply giving employees a stipend to use for child care-related expenses.
  2. Replace office snacks with home delivery. Businesses accustomed to lunch meetings and well-stocked office pantries are redirecting that budget to feeding remote employees. Companies like SnackNation and SnackMagic will deliver packaged treats to workers’ homes; while Fringe’s platform, which allows employers to allocate points to individual workers that can be redeemed for a wide variety of benefits and discounts, offers food-delivery services, grocery boxes, and even coffee and tea subscriptions.

Alternatively, you can let employees expense meals or groceries. Wilbur Labs, a “startup studio” in San Francisco that launches and invests in tech companies, ordinarily provides at least one meal per day in its office, co-founder and CEO Phil Santoro tells Inc. Now, each remote employee instead receives a $35 daily food stipend. The company encourages staff to use it at local small businesses, especially Black-owned restaurants and grocery stores, Santoro says.

  1. Go the extra mile on health and wellness. While mental health care was already a growing trend in workplace benefits, the added stress of the pandemic and remote work have led many businesses to formalize their approach, Inc. reports.. Beyond subsidizing therapy and offering subscriptions to apps for meditation, yoga, and fitness, companies are more willing to give employees something that might have seemed unfeasible before: time away from work. Fearing rampant burnout, more businesses are experimenting with a four-day workweek, more generous vacation policies, and flexible scheduling.

Austin-based public-relations agency Kickstand Communications allows employees to step away from their screens for up to three “mental health hours” per week. The company already provided a monthly wellness stipend of $50 per person, and decided not to cut that benefit despite other belt-tightening measures earlier this year, says co-founder and CEO Molly George. She expects the company will continue to prioritize this kind of support. “There’s a kind of trap of feeling like mental health is not as urgent of a situation as it was in the beginning of the pandemic, when things were so scary and so bad,” she says. “But just because it doesn’t feel as urgent doesn’t mean that it’s not just as important as it was five months ago.”

  1. Let employees choose. One easy way to determine which perks are best-suited to your team’s needs in the current climate is to ask your employees. That could yield unexpected results: With pet adoptions on the rise, some companies have opted to pay adoption fees or grant “pet paternity leave.” Others have paid for Netflix subscriptions, matched employee donations to racial-justice organizations or COVID-related charities, or even given out stock options.

Research contact: @Inc

‘Fitting in is overrated,’ if you want to succeed, say Oprah Winfrey and Melinda Gates

December 16, 2019

A lot of career advice boils down to various ways to fit in with whatever professional group you aspire to join. That’s why mentors will suggest that you “dress for the job you want, not the job you have,” when you go out to network, and that you police your tone to sound more “competent,” Inc. magazine reports.

But at least two incredibly successful women have exactly the opposite take, says the news outlet for entrepreneurs. Sure, being mindful of others and the norms of your industry is always a good idea. But, according to these two titans, the real secret to career advancement (especially for women) isn’t fitting in. It’s being more truly yourself.  

The latest superstar to offer this take is Melinda Gates, who joined an incredible roster of flourishing females  in sharing their memories and insights for National Geographic‘s new special issue focusing on the lives of women around the world. The issue was produced exclusively by women writers and photographers.

When the magazine asked Gates for her number-one piece of advice for young women, she was blunt in her recommendation.

“Fitting in is overrated,” she replied. “I spent my first few years at my first job out of college doing everything I could to make myself more like the people around me. It didn’t bring out the best in me—and it didn’t position me to bring out the best in others. The best advice I have to offer is: Seek out people and environments that empower you to be nothing but yourself.”

While superficial changes like trading in your hoodie for a suit might make sense,., Gates insists that when it comes to your fundamental character and values, letting your inner light shine beats adapting to your surroundings every time, Inc. reports. She’s far from alone in thinking that.

No less than TV superstar Oprah Winfrey backs her up. As the talk show mogul explained in a recent Hollywood Reporter interview, her stint at storied news program 60 Minutes ended abruptly when she realized the show didn’t line up with her true self.

“It was not the best format for me,” she explained. “I think I did seven takes on just my name because [my way of speaking] was ‘too emotional.’ I go, ‘Is the too much emotion in the ‘Oprah’ part or the ‘Winfrey’ part?’ … They would say, ‘All right, you need to flatten out your voice, there’s too much emotion in your voice.’ So I was working on pulling myself down and flattening out my personality—which, for me, is actually not such a good thing.”

Oprah, who is certainly not short of other opportunities, up and quit to search for projects that lined up more closely with her personality and approach, Inc. notes. That sort of abrupt departure probably isn’t possible for most of us, but we can still put the central point made by both super-achievers to work.

Indeed, according to Inc., research out of both Columbia and Deloitte shows that “covering” your true identity at work (whether that’s your sexual orientation, your introverted nature, or your emotional soul) has a negative impact on your professional performance and psychological well-being. When fitting in comes at the cost of authenticity, the research is clear: It’s not worth it.

Research contact: @Inc

Single-minded entrepreneurs who ‘go it alone’ usually are the most successful

May 6, 2019

Surprising research findings from New York University and the The Wharton School indicate that entrepreneurs who start a business on their own are more likely to succeed than those who do so with one or more partners, Inc. magazine reports.

That’s pretty much the opposite of what most aspiring founders would guess. After all, you can’t be good at everything—-so you would assume that, by teaming up with a partner who is strong in areas in which you are weak, you would be more apt to prosper.

In fact, it’s such an ingrained belief that VCs and other investors routinely choose to fund companies founded by teams rather than those with a solo founder. But it’s also dead wrong.

In an intriguing research project, Jason Greenberg of the Stern School of Business at NYU and Ethan Mollick of Wharton sent surveys to more than 65,000 businesses that had launched on Kickstarter over a seven-year period.

More than 10,000 respondents completed the survey, according to the Inc. report. The researchers narrowed their focus to projects seeking a meaningful amount of funding—the kind that could be used to start a real business, and wound up with 3,526 businesses started with either a single founder or two or more partners.

Consistent with investors’ bias toward teams rather than solo founders (and perhaps the fact that most people have more than one friend or family member), they found that companies with multiple founders were able to raise more money than those headed by a solo entrepreneur.

But that still didn’t give them a leg up. Despite starting off with a smaller stake, companies with a single founder stayed in business longer than those with two or more at the helm—and also enjoyed higher revenues.

Why are companies with single founders more likely to survive? Two or more people cost more than one, especially if the founders are drawing salaries. Even if they aren’t, office space, phone service, travel, and so on cost more for two founders than they do for one.

The researchers also pointed to some truths about leadership dynamics. Starting a company with multiple founders may bring an advantage in terms of wider expertise—but a solo founder can also hire others to provide the expertise he or she lacks.

On the other hand, it’s much easier and quicker for a single founder to think things through and arrive at a decision than it is for two people to discuss a problem or opportunity and agree on a course of action. With three or more founders, decision-making can take even longer.

And then there’s risk, Inc. reports. Starting a company is a risky undertaking to begin with. But once they’ve made that leap, many founders prefer to be conservative and hedge their bets. Two or more people making decisions together are less likely to make bold moves and take chances than one person acting independently.

Research source: @Inc