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Startup pays $10K for people to leave The Bay

(BUSINESS) Get paid $10,000 to leave the Bay Area? Spoiler alert: MainStreet admits it’s a gimmick… but a gimmick for the greater good.

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MainStreet employee

Decide for yourself whether there’s a touch of irony to three former Google employees in San Jose launching a company that will pay workers $10,000 to move out of the Bay Area for work. Irony or no, that’s exactly what the founders of MainStreet are offering as they rev up a combination tech recruiting/coworking start-up that they hope will shift jobs away from traditional tech centers and make them available to everyone.

The $10,000 bonus is the splashy hey-y’all-watch-this that’s supposed to get everyone’s attention.

MainStreet co-founder Doug Ludlow flat-out admitted to The San Jose Mercury News that it’s a gimmick, both temporary and payable only after a year at that. But it’s a gimmick in service of MainStreet’s mission, which has a broader, greater-good tone.

MainStreet’s plan is to recruit employees working from home, to provide training and co-working services in metropolitan hubs where they have a collection of companies seeking remote workers, and to connect those companies with those workers – all with the goal of creating more tech jobs in areas that aren’t Silicon Valley or New York (or Austin, though we’re never mentioned). Their launch language, touted their long-term mission of “creating a million new jobs in rural and suburban areas over the next decade.”

To start with, at least, they don’t mean Manor or Marfa. The MainStreet team told The Mercury News their first target is Sacramento, where they hope to have an office space open for business in a few months. Salt Lake City and Portland also get mentioned.

So you take their $10K, and you move to Sacramento. (It can’t be that bad.) What do you get out of the deal? MainStreet promises connections with companies looking for remote workers, training in best practices for working at home, and the possibility of available office space to overcome the dreaded isolation/lack of office social life that research sometimes shows can be a drawback to not braving a commute and sitting in a cubicle all day.

That office space is part of the draw for employers as well. You’re trying to staff your start-up, say, and you can’t afford Silicon Valley rents and neither can your new hires. But you can afford Sacramento and the like, so you decide to give that a shot. You decide to work with MainStreet, because they can connect you with remote workers in the area. And because you’re one of several companies that have decided Sacramento is preferable to San Jose, there’s enough of a need that MainStreet can provide a physical space for folks in your remote workforce.

Win-win, it sounds like. It does kind of remain to be seen, though. The MainStreet goal of managing a million remote workers for all the remote locations that don’t exist quite yet is lofty. But if they can follow through with support for both employees and employers, gaining the trust and buy-in for both? Well, heck. Sign me up.

With her invaluable degree in English and clips from her journalism career tucked firmly under one arm, Kim Usey relocated to Austin from New Orleans 13 years ago and has spent her time working with non-profits, rescuing dogs, raising children, and driving visitors out to Snow’s on random Saturday mornings for brisket and pork steak breakfast. She has a playlist for each of her two scenic routes if you ever want to tag along.

Business Marketing

How to make sure your newly remote team stays productive.

(BUSINESS MARKETING) The tide of change is rolling in and may never recede again, so managers should know how to handle the new normal, here’s some advice.

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managers new role

The Coronavirus pandemic has changed the way people work. Working from home is the new normal. It’s not only employees who have to think about how they perform, but managers have to learn new skills to keep their team engaged and efficient. I’ve worked on remote teams for over 6 years. Here are some things that have helped me.

Ask “What can I do to help you?”

I’ve worked with some great managers and some awful ones. The best ones had a collaborative attitude when discussing problems. Instead of laying blame, the question was “what can we do to correct this?” It takes a little longer to think in those terms if you’re not used to it, but it reduces stress. If you’re communicating through email or message apps, it pays to reread before hitting send. We’re all learning new skills in this new normal.

Make sure your employees have the technology they need

One of the companies I work for has specific programs they use and technology requirements. Before I was allowed to proceed through their final onboarding, they made sure that I could access their technology. If your team is working from home, they need to have the resources to be productive. It’s not just computers and software, but access to internet. One of my friends said that it took them over an hour to upload a 5-minute video to Facebook.

Define success; don’t micro-manage

As I’m writing this, Ask a Manager’s Alison Green posted a question about “what’s reasonable to expect from parents who are working from home. Just a reminder that managers may have to lower expectations from their team, not only for parents, but for everyone. I don’t have kids at home, but there are many distractions out of the ordinary. Managers have to accept that people aren’t going to be as productive in these not-so-normal-times. Identify priorities. Check in when you’re on a deadline. Find a balance between managing and micro-managing.

We’re all just trying to do the best we can

It doesn’t matter who you are or where you work, I think it’s safe to say that we’re all adapting to these crazy times. How managers handle their teams will set the tone for years to come. If you want to keep those employees who have been hard workers, you’re going to have to adjust to give them the benefit of the doubt.

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Business Marketing

Easy email signature builder quickly updates your info

(BUSINESS MARKETING) When’s the last time you updated your email signature? That long? You might want to look at just sign, a new, quick, and easy, email signature generator.

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just sign email

The last thing any of us are thinking about right now is email. While we’re all staying safer at home, though, it’s a good time to think about all the little things that need our attention, but typically get neglected: clearing out the email inbox, unsubscribing from things no longer relevant, and updating our email signatures. Why the email signature?

Oftentimes, we change emails when we change jobs and forget to change our signatures to reflect our new address. The same is true with social media; if we happen to change jobs, due to our own choice or by necessity thanks to the virus, we may need to update our social media profiles accordingly, especially if the new job suddenly makes this a requirement.

One of the fastest ways to update your email signature is with a generator. An email signature generator can help you quickly make a professional looking signature in about half the time it would take you to manually add each individual component.

Just Sign is one of the quickest options I’ve seen. This email signature generator is ultra simple, ultra easy, and ultra effective. It allows you to add clickable social links, a profile picture or logo, and all relevant contact information. It also allows you to choose a color scheme and tailor the formatting a bit to your preferences. As you begin to add options to your signature, you can see a preview of what the final product will look like in the right-hand panel.

Just Sign welcome

This allows you to make any necessary changes before downloading the finished product. When you have your signature perfected, simply click the purple “generate signature” button and you’re ready to go.

Just Sign is an easy, quick way to check another thing off your to-do list while we’re all at home. If you have already updated your signature, you might save this link for later use as it’s a good idea to revisit your signature a few times a year. Oftentimes, I revise mine simply to keep the attached picture updated. Have you updated your signature lately? Do you plan to? Let us know what you think of Just Sign.

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Business Marketing

How one employer beat an age discrimination lawsuit

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Age discrimination is a rare occurrence but still something to be battled. It’s good practice to keep your house in order to be on the right side.

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Jewel age discrimination

In January, the EEOC released its annual accounting for reports of discrimination in the previous year. Allegations of retaliation were the most frequently filed charge, which disability coming in second. Age discrimination cases accounted for 21.4% of filed charges. As we’ve reported before, not all age discrimination complaints rise to the level of illegal discrimination. In Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores, Inc., the federal court dismissed the claims of age discrimination, even though seven (7) plaintiffs made similar claims against the grocery store.

What Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores was about

In Cesario, all but one of the seven plaintiffs had spent years with Jewel Food building their careers. When Jewel went through some financial troubles, the plaintiffs allege that they began to “experience significant pressure at work… (and) were eventually forced out or terminated because of their age or disability.” Jewel Food requested summary judgment to dismiss the claims.

The seven plaintiffs made the same type of complaints. Beginning in 2014, store directors were under pressure to improve metrics and customer satisfaction. Cesario alleges that the Jewel district manager asked about his age. Another director alleges that younger store directors were transferred to stores with less difficulties. One plaintiff alleged that Jewel Food managers asked him about his retirement. The EEOC complaints began in late 2015. The plaintiffs retired or were fired and subsequently filed a lawsuit against their company.

Age discrimination is prohibited by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA). The ADEA prevents disparate treatment based on age for workers over 40 years old. However, plaintiffs who allege disparate treatment must establish that the adverse reactions wouldn’t have occurred but for age. Because none of the plaintiffs could specifically point to age as the only determination of their case, the court dismissed the case.

A word to wise businesses

Jewel Food was able to demonstrate their own actions in the case through careful documentation. Although there was no evidence that age played a factor in any discharge decision, Jewel Food could document their personnel decisions across the board. The plaintiffs also didn’t exhaust all administrative remedies. This led to the case being dropped.

Lesson learned – Make personnel decisions based on performance and evidence. Don’t use age as a factor. Keep documentation to support your decisions.

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