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Company Culture: It's More Than Beers With Your Co-Workers

This post was updated in November 2017 with new information.

Recently, a company I work with was building their Company Page on Stack Overflow and lamented to me that they didn’t have any cool pictures of employees drinking beer and hanging out. They saw a number of different companies display those types of pictures and felt that they wouldn’t be able to compete. This company was falling into a common trap in today’s hiring marketplace: thinking company culture revolves around cool perks, drinking beer, and hanging out with your co-workers.

3 Reasons Why Your Tech Department Should Be Blogging

If you're debating the need to create a company blog, you're not alone. You may be thinking, "Isn’t the market oversaturated?" "Would anyone even care about what I have to say?" "Will I be able to think of enough ideas to post once a week?" There are no cut-and-dry answers to these questions, but it’s certainly worth a shot to try and find out.

Blogs created by specific departments within your company are a great way to convey your employer brand, connect with your candidate pipeline, and recruit the best talent. Most companies have their marketing or human resources team blog about things like company announcements or new hires, but what about the technology and IT departments?

London's Tech Scene: The Next Silicon Valley?

London has always been an area of innovation, growth and adaptation. But over the past eight years it has developed into one of the largest tech startup cities in Europe. London’s “Tech City”, located in East London, is just one of the large hubs of technology. As of 2012, there were over 300 startups and large tech brands located in the area. In addition, the UK currently has the largest digital economy in theG20, which is greater than China, Germany, and even the United States (home of Silicon Valley).

It’s clear that London has been right at the forefront of this digital change. But how did this come to be and why are so many employees and companies flocking to London?

How to Hire for Fit: 4 Ideas to Build a Successful Tech Team

Unicorns! 10x Engineers! We only hire the best! The War for Talent!

Hiring quality developers is a hot topic, and you can’t move for guides on how to get the very best to work for you. But hiring is only part of the problem. In order to be successful, a business needs to be able to build highly productive, durable teams that can adapt to changes in the business over time. To do this, good recruitment is essential, but good retention is much more important. Sometimes this is called "hiring for fit."

A strong culture is essential for retention because it binds people together. Life is easy when all the graphs go up and to the right, but it is during the periods of slow growth that you really need the team to pull together, and it is culture that will get you through. 

I define culture as simply what is rewarded, what is tolerated, and what is punished. It is a company’s leadership, formal as well as informal, that sets and sustains the organizational culture. In order to maintain a strong sense of culture, it is essential to consider the cultural fit of those entering the organization.

Hiring for fit means hiring for softer attributes, very different to the skills typically selected for in a software development interview. I’d like to share some ideas on how to do this.

Technical Change: 5 Reasons Why Recruitment Videos Matter

I recently attended Enhance Media’s 12th Annual Online Recruitment Conference here in London, and there were some great presentations and insights leaving me with a lot to think about. One of the presentations that really stood out for me was one from the Strategic Sales Director at Google, Alex Lowe.

Amongst many mind-blowing stats about the future of technology and recruiting, Alex spent a lot of time talking about the predominance of YouTube videos worldwide. At last count, YouTube attracts more than 1 billion unique users each month. In other words, it’s highly likely that the candidates you’re trying to attract are spending a good chunk of their time looking at videos.

To me this was very interesting, we’ve only recently started experimenting with our own recruitment video here at Stack Exchange as a way to attract new candidates to join our growing company.

4 Ways to Increase Productivity When Employees Work from Home

Whether it’s bad weather, a sick child, or a full-time remote employee, there comes a time when everyone needs to work from home. But this doesn’t mean that productivity inevitably falls through the floor. In fact, research has found that, when executed correctly, working from home can actually boost an employee’s productivity. As a manager of a remote team (or even a “sometimes remote” team), there are a few things you can do to optimize productivity and efficiency, no matter where people are physically located.

Here, 4 easy ways to get the most out of your work-from-somewhere-else employees:

Ask Stack: Answers to the Top Three Questions from the Recruiting Trends Conference

Last week, some of our team at Stack Overflow hit up the Recruiting Trends Conference in Las Vegas. This annual event brought together more than 200 in-house recruiters from all over the country to put their heads together and talk about…well, what’s trending in recruiting space.

While there, we represented Stack Overflow in the expo hall and sat in on a variety of presentations. Our favorite was the “Recruiter Group Therapy” session, where Chris Murdoch of IQ Talent Partners just asked the audience, “So what’s bugging you about your job? What challenges are you facing?” The next hour was spent passing the microphone back and forth among the entire audience so we could ask, respond, and advise each other. Through this session and a few others, we noticed a few questions that kept cropping up among attendees, so we wanted to pass along our take on these in case they may help you now or down the road.

How to Define Your Company Culture Across Different Offices

Company culture can be a powerful force. In addition to helping you recruit top talent, your company’s culture can help keep productivity high and turnover rates low. Beyond that, culture is part of the secret sauce that makes your company unique. Once you’ve created a great culture, the challenge becomes maintaining it as your company grows and expands across different physical locations.

We’ve hit that hurdle recently here at Stack Exchange—at the start of 2012, we only had about 30 employees. Now, we’ve upped that number to nearly 100, and we have bigger satellite offices in Denver and London. As the office guru of our Denver locale, I've tried to help our team here embrace the culture that is distinctly Stack Exchange while still hanging onto our favorite local pastimes. This, we’ve learned, is easier said than done. But we think we’re starting to get the hang of it, so in case you’re going through a similar expansion, here are a few tips on unifying your company culture across space and time zones.

How to Move Your Company from a Mansion to a Castle (And Keep Everyone Happy)

Lots of companies have growing pains, but startups and tech companies tend to feel them more acutely because the growth is so fast. Going from 5 to 45 employees in just two years brings a unique set of challenges. One of the biggest headaches can be managing the space, and when a company (like Stack Exchange) is headquartered in a city where real estate is at a premium (like New York), space constraints become something you’ll have to deal with sooner rather than later. This leaves you with three options: cram more people into your space than you initially anticipated, plan out an expansion or build-out within your existing space, or move to a whole new space.

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