One young trader hired by a major European bank as the British lockdown began said remote working had made corporate culture even tougher to navigate.”It’s not exactly easy for your new boss to explain the specifics of office politics to you without putting their foot in it,” she said, declining to be named due to company policy.”It does feel like it’s taking longer to feel loyalty to my new employer than it might have otherwise. I feel loyal to the team but not to the wider bank.”A new joiner at a different, London-based bank said his interviewers had appeared to study his bookshelves and photos while asking questions, and that he does not expect to meet his colleagues in person until next year, although he joined in May. For Sam Thompson, who joined money saving and investment app MoneyBox, a lack of face-to-face contact did make some early interactions with colleagues feel more transactional. But he appreciated the lengths the company has gone to to make it work.”We’ve been getting Deliveroo vouchers and we’ve been sitting around our computers while talking to one another and having lunch,” he said. “It’s probably the best induction into a company that I’ve ever had,” said the Quality Assurance Engineer, who has had several jobs in six years in the industry.Founded in 2016, MoneyBox has taken on 35 new hires during the lockdown to a total headcount of 135. It initially held off from filling roles requiring interaction with multiple teams, such as developers, Jack Johnstone, head of HR and talent, said, but overcame those fears.Its approach mirrors those of major banks including Standard Chartered, Citi and Deutsche Bank, which have all rapidly redesigned their interview and orientation process.Citi hired around 3,840 new staff in its Institutional Clients Group Operations & Technology between March and August.Once a new hire is appointed, MoneyBox and the banks send out a joining manual or welcoming video along with the required technology.Virtual face-to-face meetings are held much more regularly with managers, buddy partners are formed with existing staff and an array of tech platforms are used to maintain communication.Meetings with different teams and online social events are encouraged to help staff build broader networks and replicate the ‘chance meetings’ they may have had in canteens and lifts.Drinks anyone?Andy Halford, chief financial officer of Standard Chartered, told Reuters online drinks and other social events were vital.”Some people find it easier to talk and connect when they are not ‘at work’,” he said. “We want to humanize this situation for everyone.”Professor Nicholas Bloom at Stanford University said new hires unable to meet colleagues in person would struggle with unspoken rules – from how many hours people really work to when to take a break and what to wear.For graduates, who often work long hours when joining banks or big law firms, that poses another risk. “At home it generates a strong incentive for over-communication, so endlessly sending unnecessary emails and slack messages just to highlight the fact that you’re still there,” Bloom said.Still, McKinsey Partner Alexander DiLeonardo said new hires have to work harder to network. “When you aren’t sitting next to your new colleagues or outside your supervisor’s office, you have to be intentional about reaching out,” he said. Topics : Joining a new company can be tough at the best of times, with bosses to impress, skills to learn and new colleagues to befriend.But that task becomes a whole lot harder when the “onboarding” is done during a pandemic that has forced millions to work from home, leaving new hires to judge colleagues on their taste in curtains and conduct on Zoom.The companies that get it right should have an expanded, grateful workforce, but get it wrong and new hires could find it hard to develop team spirit or a sense of belonging to the firm.
Morris, In. —The Morris Volunteer Firemen’s Breakfast will be held Sunday, March 10 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event will be held in Schad Hall. Free will donations will be used to purchase equipment for the department.
Cheryl Connor kicks off a three-part series highlighting some of the most innovative and successful examples of content strategy online by diving into inventory management solution Fishbowl and its focus on authentic thought leadership.As the head of a PR and digital communications agency (and as a columnist who produces a fair amount of content as well, in my role as a contributing writer for Forbes), I have been beating the drum for great and authentic content for a very long time. Here’s my most recent article with ideas for how to make your content . . . well, if not mesmerizing, at least highly authentic and interesting: The Kingdom of Content: What Makes It Authentic? (And Why Does It Matter So Much?) Jonathan Crowe has been spreading the anthem of authentic content in the OpenView Labs and Blog community as well: Are You Pushing Phony Content? 3 Keys to Authentic Content Marketing To keep the dialogue moving, over the next few weeks I’d like to share a series of case studies, highlighting three companies who do content exceptionally well:Inventory software provider Fishbowl Sales strategy and technology company InsideSales.com (see the full post here)SEO and inbound marketing innovator Moz (formerly SEOMoz)These three companies have programs and strategies that are highly different from one another. But all three have found unique ways to innovate programs around their strengths in content that have helped their companies grow. Perhaps you will find some inspiration for your own strategies in these three stories as well. This week I’m kicking things off with a look inside inventory management solution Fishbowl. Be sure to come back next Monday when the series continues with a look inside sales automation platform InsideSales.com’s innovative and successful content strategy. Fishbowl InventoryProvider of Fishbowl Inventory software, available as integrated inventory management for QuickBooks or asset tracking for enterprise use. Headed by David K. Williams, CEO, and Mary Michelle Scott, President. Williams and Scott are co-authors of monthly columns for HBR.org. David is a highly popular columnist for Forbes.com and author of The 7 Non-Negotiables of Winning, from Wiley & Sons, premiering July 29. Two years ago, Fishbowl was a company that excelled in software sales and growth — the company has now been an Inc 500/5,000 and Deloitte Fast 500 winner for six years running — but the company knew that it would need out-of-the-box thinking to continue such a high rate of growth. The company had always innovated in its business processes, using Pay Per Click (PPC), content marketing, SEO and social media programs to provide inside sales teams with 100 percent of their leads. The firm had also survived several jugular issues in its now 11 year history, emerging from near closure in 2004 to thrive even through the recession. In 2010, when the majority investor needed to divest himself quickly, the business made history again with a successful company buyback during a dire economy and is now 100% employee owned. In the aftermath of that miraculous incident the company began to formulate the content and communications strategies that have made this small (100 employee) company renowned round the globe.3 Elements that Make Fishbowl’s Content Strategy TickAt its core, the company’s content strategy revolves around three focus areas:1) YouTube VideosWhile traditional firms were just discovering visual social media or struggling to come up with the next “viral hit”, Fishbowl created piece after piece of content such as “Kirk’s Tackle Box” (with CMO Kirk Tanner) showing straightforward information about business and inventory management strategy in an interesting and visual way. 2) Open Partner SupportThe company created a Facebook page for customer ideas, complaints, and feedback that is wide open. Customers have become friends and partners. When they complain, they complain openly — no problems are hidden, and the customers and company (and the user community) can work together toward getting their ideas implemented and their issues resolved.3) Active BlogsFishbowl actually maintains a total of five company blogs based on various needs and interests, which helps to drive contacts to leads and leads into sales far more efficiently than the company’s PPC efforts alone. Blog articles have become increasingly meaningful and informational as opposed to what social media icon Chris Brogan labels “selly”. Customers are sometimes invited to guest post. And since websites are generally able to optimize for either closing sales or nurturing customers, the Fishbowl blog (as well as the company’s more recently created VIP newsstand) has increasingly fulfilled the role of nurturing customer relationships as the website itself is optimized to facilitate sales.Taking the Company’s Content Strategy to the Next LevelOut of these efforts, the company had achieved the position of #17 in web searches on the terms of “QuickBooks inventory management” or even the generic terms such as “inventory control”. Not bad. But here’s where the content strategy got really interesting. (Disclosure: Fishbowl is an agency client, which allowed me to be present and even participate directly in the shaping of the company’s current content strategy and some of its goals.) As the company contemplated the miracle of its successful buyback at the 11th hour, I jokingly remarked to Williams and Scott, “This one is a case study for Harvard Business Review.” Then, as the thought took hold, we remarked to each other, “Why not?” On the company’s next product press tour, there we went, tenaciously pitching our story to online editor Dan McGinn at Harvard Business Review. He was intrigued. Williams and Scott became contributing columnists. Realizing there was little to be gained by shining a floodlight on the company’s most vulnerable hours, however, they wrote openly and candidly for the benefit of other small and growing companies about their unique business strategies, instead:Why they dispensed with “hot shot” salespeople and created an “all for one” selling team. Why everyone in the company is paid a base plus commission. Why, when it comes to management positions, they believe two people are better than one.The articles went viral. Wiley & Sons contacted Williams and asked if he’d consider writing a book. The HBR blogs also led to a permanent role for Williams as one of the most popular contributors to Forbes.com Entrepreneurs with his column, “A View from the Bowl”. After Williams’s first mega viral hit for Entrepreneurs, Fishbowl noticed something extraordinary — 200,000 new visitors hit the company’s site in the space of a day. The SEO results moved from position #17 to #6. We laughed, knowing the position would surely retreat to its former rank after the remarkable events of the day. It did not. As Williams’ readership continued to soar, the SEO rank continued to climb to the #1 position, where the company has remained to this day. The business concepts Williams writes about have become synonymous with Fishbowl. In the final month prior to the official release of The 7 Non-Negotiables of Winning it has already been named to the Amazon Top 10 List for Business and Leadership. With every software purchase, new and renewing customers will receive a copy of the book. And through regional and national presentations, audiences will not only become familiar with the 7 Non Negotiables principles, they will learn about Fishbowl, as well. The concepts will also provide a new revenue opportunity for certification and training. As these businesses learn to improve their strategies and their operations through the 7 Non Negotiables, guess where they’ll obtain their business and inventory software? In most cases, from Fishbowl.How Fishbowl’s Content Strategy Has Made a Big SplashIn a nutshell, the company’s content strategy has achieved the following:A front running position as a provider of visual social media (particularly through YouTube).Long-term standing as the #1 non-paid search result for the basic terms of inventory software, inventory management, and inventory control (in a field that spans the entire spectrum from shareware to advanced MRP/ERP).A global following for the 7 Non Negotiables strategy for principles-based leadership.An energized and permanent readership for Williams’s ongoing Forbes column, “A View From the Bowl”.Permanent association around the theme phrases and principles of “Failing Up,” “Everyone Leads,” and “Building a 100-year company”.A growing following around the hashtag search term #7NNs.Successful emergence from the niche sector of inventory management into the broad and universal sector of emerging business.Not bad at all. Come back next Monday for Cheryl’s look inside the content strategy at InsideSales.com.How are you engaging in thought leadership? What are other examples of companies taking their content strategies to the next level? AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to PrintPrintShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThis