Tag Archives: Career Development

Understanding the Importance of Company Culture

This Post was written by Matt Tooker
Date posted: February 14, 2018

company culture

Image courtesy of https://pixabay.com/en/architecture-skyscraper-2256489/

Here at Bridge Technical Talent we put just as much emphasis on our culture and employee wellness as we do our business strategies. More organizations are recognizing the benefits that a solid, clear culture brings and they are adjusting their practices to reflect this trend.

Why is it so important?
Everyone knows that a brand needs its own identity to stand out from the competition. As Alan Adler said, “Organizational culture is a civilization in the workplace.” It provides the boundaries and expectations of employees. Use your company culture to differentiate yourself from others.

Culture is established through the leadership of your organization. Encourage those in seniority positions to behave in a way that reflects the mission and core values. Find ways to put these into practice and before you know it everyone’s actions and behaviors will reflect the culture you’ve created. For example, we want our employees to be thought leaders, so we encourage our leadership to publish LinkedIn articles. Not only does this help position them as reliable sources in the IT community, it also sets the bar for other employees.

People will want to work when they have a purpose
Employees collaborate better because a shared belief in the mission and values promotes quality work toward a common goal. When a company’s culture is strong, they perform better. Why? Because employees, from management down, are more motivated to put their best efforts forward for that company. In fact, companies with happy employees outperform their competition by 20% and are 2.1% above industry benchmarks.

You’ll recruit and retain better talent as well. Feeling a sense of belonging at work stems from an environment that has great chemistry among the team members. In turn, this sense of belonging makes people want to stay where they are and deliver their best work.

Keep in mind, culture influences performance. It can be extremely difficult to change or modify, but the outcomes will be worth the challenge. At Bridge, our culture stems around our motto, “People are always your best investment” and we make sure our staff knows their value. We encourage them to challenge themselves professionally and give back to the community around them.   

See more of what it’s like working at Bridge by following us on LinkedIn and Twitter!

 

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Project vs. Program Management: Making the Transition

This Post was written by Bridge Technical Talent
Date posted: September 18, 2017

Image: https://pixabay.com/en/business-success-winning-chart-163464/

While program management and project management are two different roles, there may come a time when a project starts to transition into a program. When this happens, it’s important to have an action plan in place to prepare for the next steps. To better understand how to prepare, we’re exploring project vs. program management:

The Project
Projects differ from programs in that they typically have a shorter duration and a smaller team of people working on them. Projects are clearly defined and work toward producing a tangible outcome. During the project, a team focuses on planning, creating, and producing deliverables. They follow a tighter schedule and have fewer stakeholders which make the project risk easier to supervise. Project managers deal more often with resource and task management, whereas program managers work more strategically with the deliverables from individual projects.

The Program
Most of the effort in a project focuses on a single goal. On the other hand, programs usually have larger teams working toward business delivery and strategic management for a longer period of time. Programs integrate multiple related projects into one unit, usually managed with the goal of achieving an overarching objective. This goal is usually some type of benefit for the organization. Programs are more business focused than projects and have a greater number of stakeholders, which makes the impacts of any failures much greater.

Making the Transition
If you’re acting as a project manager, but your projects are now turning toward a program, you must be prepared to make some changes to the way you’ve been leading the team. In one of their papers, the Project Management Institute recommends following 10 steps:

Think:

  1. Business instead of delivery
  2. Dependencies instead of schedule
  3. Escalation instead of reporting
  4. Strategy instead of scope
  5. Conflict instead of crisis
  6. Governance instead of teams
  7. Transition instead of transfer
  8. Challenge instead of salary
  9. Relaxation instead of stress
  10. Program triple constraints (benefit, customer, and cost)

When your project is making the transition from project to program, it’s critical to identify who the leaders will be. Program managers envision the long term goals of the entire program and set the completion dates of individual projects. Project managers focus on organizing and delegating the resources, budget, and assign specific tasks to the team members. After an organized leadership, make the necessary changes to the new program’s timeline and clarify how the projects will fit into the program’s bigger picture.

After you’ve determined the leadership and followed the steps listed above, you’re ready to bring the program to life. If you’re looking for more project management advice, read our articles on adaptability in project management and how to manage vendor relationships.

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How to Effectively Run a Meeting

This Post was written by Scott Deutsch
Date posted: September 5, 2017

Image: https://pixabay.com/en/interior-design-tables-chairs-2591368/

Whether we like them or not, meetings are a large part of everyone’s day-to-day activities. When you’re taking the time to gather the entire team, it’s important to focus on increasing productivity by optimizing the time you have together. If you’re having trouble mobilizing your team, consider following these best practices for effective meetings:

Before the Meeting

Have a clear, organized agenda. People should know exactly what to expect before going into the meeting. You may be surprised by how many meetings begin with no real purpose and leave people feeling as if they’ve just wasted part of their day. Send out an agenda to each team member. Make sure it allocates time for project presentations, brainstorming, problem solving, and whatever else you may need. Make the meeting’s purpose clear so people know what topics are up for discussion.

Set a precedent of staying punctual. One of the best ways to ensure a productive meeting is staying consistent and punctual. If your team knows you start and end your meetings on time, they will be more likely to show the same respect and be timely themselves. There’s nothing worse than sitting around waiting to start the conference due to someone’s tardiness. Request that people arrive five minutes early and if needed, outline how long they have to discuss their projects.

During the Meeting

Follow the agenda. If you’ve gone to the trouble of outlining discussion topics, make sure to follow the guidelines you’ve set. If you’ve allotted 15 minutes of brainstorming for the first item, try not to linger on it much longer than that. People will be more energized when they see that you’re sticking to the plan and you’re ready to keep moving.

Take note of other issues. There’s bound to be a point when the conversation deviates from the main discussion topic. This is okay to a certain degree, but don’t be sidetracked for long. Acknowledge the points that have been brought up by taking note of them in the meeting’s minutes, then move on.

End with a plan. Allocate time in your meeting agenda to discuss a concrete action plan. Delegate tasks to specific people and determine due dates. By the meeting’s conclusion, each person should know exactly what is expected of them and when it’s expected to be completed.

After the Meeting

Follow up. We can’t stress the importance of this enough! Even if you had a lively, productive meeting, that doesn’t mean the work ends when the group disperses. Talking with your team at the start of the week means getting in contact again by the end of it. Use this as a way to check in on the progress of projects that were assigned during the meeting. Following up shows your team you’re organized and taking an active role in their work.

Take the time to evaluate your meeting habits and pay attention to areas that need improved. Before you know it, you’ll be executing productive, efficient meetings that leave your team feeling energized and motivated.

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Effective Onboarding: Tips for Retaining Talent

This Post was written by Darcy Uustal
Date posted: August 30, 2017

The hiring process can be time consuming, cumbersome, and expensive, which is why you want this process to be as smooth as possible. The more effective your onboarding, the more likely you are to retain your talent for the long run. Take the time to reexamine your onboarding process and consider these simple changes that are easy to make. Keep these tips in mind to ensure your onboarding process is effective for both you and your employees.

Give them a warm welcome
Your new hires have just made an important life decision to join your company, so always make sure they feel welcome! A nice welcome email before they start, including some of the key team members they will be working with, is a nice touch. Naturally, you’ll be showing them around the office, but don’t forget to personally introduce them to their coworkers.

Provide them with the proper resources
You can’t do your job effectively when you don’t have the right equipment, and neither can your employees. Double check that all badges, laptops, passwords, and network access is set up before their first day. It’s also a nice touch to make sure their desk/office is clean and prepared for them to settle into. A nice ‘welcome to the company’ sign in their working space goes a long way!

Pair them with a mentor
If possible, pair your new hire with one of their peers who performs well and has shown strong leadership skills. When they are with someone who already knows the ins and outs of the job they will feel more confident asking questions and adjusting to their new role. You can also check in with their partner to see if they are doing well. This also keeps more seasoned employees engaged and lets them know you see them as senior staff and a mentor.

Provide educational opportunities
Initial training is always necessary, but educational opportunities should not disappear after that. Employees will avoid stagnation and feel more productive if they have the ability to take part in career development programs. Offering training opportunities is important during onboarding and should continue throughout employment.

Schedule regular check-ins
In addition to a 30-60-90 day review, try setting up a time to meet with your new hire once a week. Maybe you sit down with them one-on-one every Monday to review upcoming tasks to have them summarize what they have been working on. If you can’t commit to a one-on-one once a week, set a meeting up twice per month. The important piece is keeping the scheduled time together. Doing so will help your new employee feel supported and more open to asking questions, but most importantly it shows them that you care about how they feel in their new position.

Tweaking your onboarding process can make the difference between your newest hires staying or leaving. Feeling supported in a new role, and maintain that support is key. How does your company welcome new employees to the team?

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