Connect with us

Business Entrepreneur

According to Harvard smarties, productivity is contagious

(ENTREPRENEUR) According to a new study out of Harvard, the easiest way to increase productivity is to sit next to someone productive. That seems too easy…

Published

on

work productive perks

Always trying to be productive

How can a business improve worker performance? Let me count the ways. There are trainings on every topic under the sun, technology and tool upgrades, worker incentives and a commitment to a positive employee culture – but these things are often costly, and never guaranteed to work.

bar
Sometimes, according to a new study by the Harvard Business Review, all you need is a good understanding of your employees’ strengths and a willingness to rearrange the furniture.

The study

The study analyzed two years’ worth of data on over 2,000 employees at a large tech company with offices across the United States and Europe, and found that who you sit next to influences how you perform – and certain configurations can actually boost performance and work quality.

First, the study organizers used five different data sources to understand employees comprehensively:

1. A “master file” with info on hiring, termination, compensation, and job description.

2. Two “engagement surveys” administered across the whole company.

3. Monthly reports outlining the location and assigned desk of each employee

4. Building maps and floor plans of the offices

5. Worker performance data, divided into three measures:

Productivity: average amount of time taken to complete a task
Effectiveness: average daily rate at which a worker couldn’t complete a task on their own
Quality: client satisfaction with the result, on a five point scale

Part two

They then used the information they gathered to categorize each worker into one of three categories: “productive workers, who completed tasks quickly but lacked quality; quality workers, who produced superior work but did so slowly; and generalists, who were average across both dimensions.”

In the study sample, about 25% were productive workers, 25% were quality workers, and 50% were generalists.

Finally, they observed the “spillover” of each performance measure. How much impact did neighbors have on an employee’s overall performance?

The answer in some cases is quite a lot.

They found that “the best seating arrangements had productive and quality employees sitting beside each other, because each helped the other improve.” Basically, each worker tries to catch up to the other in the area they’re usually weaker in. And interestingly, it doesn’t work the other way – the productive worker doesn’t get less productive, and the quality worker’s quality doesn’t suffer. The negative spillover just isn’t there.

Spillover also doesn’t exist between two similar workers.

Two productive workers don’t get more or less productive when seated near each other. And generalists didn’t seem to be affected at all, since they were average to begin with.

Notably, the study found that “these effects occurred almost immediately but vanished within two months,” so this isn’t a long-term solution for a struggling business. It suggests that employees didn’t truly learn strengths from each other; instead, they likely fed off a kind of indirect peer pressure.

No free lunch

Nonetheless, the study indicates that conscientious spatial management can improve performance, if an organization invests time and energy into developing employee categories, and classifying each employee accordingly.

From there, a simple rearrangement could mean higher profits, and more control over productivity outcomes. No such thing as a free lunch, as they say – but this comes pretty close.

#Productivity

Staff Writer, Natalie Bradford earned her B.A. in English from Cornell University and spends a lot of time convincing herself not to bake MORE brownies. She enjoys cats, cocktails, and good films - preferably together. She is currently working on a collection of short stories.

Business Entrepreneur

Amazon on a collision course with politicians as they strengthen their monopoly

(BUSINESS) E-commerce has come a long way in the last decade, specifically led by Amazon, but are their controlling ways putting them on a collision course with regulators?

Published

on

amazon

In March, Amazon stopped replenishing weekly purchase orders for tens of thousands of vendors in a move that has stirred up some trouble. The tech giant has once flexed its power over first-party sellers over their platform. And it’s not the first time.

Amazon originally sent out to vendors as an automated message citing the hold up in orders as a technical glitch. The following day, vendors were told the change was permanent. The affected vendors were categorized as making $10 million or less in sales volume per year and not having managers at Amazon. Vendors selling specialized goods that were difficult to ship were also a factor.

The effects can have remarkable effects on the market as Amazon’s algorithms decide who is able to sell what to whom via their near-ubiquitous platform. According to John Ghiorso, the CEO of Orca Pacific, an Amazon agency for consultation and manufacturers representatives, the decision is driven by financial data such as total revenue, profitability, and catalog size.

In a response from an Amazon spokesperson, the change was made in order to improve value, convenience, and selection for customers. The mass termination of purchase orders and the delayed response from Amazon herald the transition to the One Vendor system, putting vendors in an exclusive relationship with Amazon. This system will merge the current Seller Central and Vendor Central.

Amazon’s message is loud and clear: they will do what’s in their best interest to mitigate the market for their convenience. One may be reminded of the anti-trust lawsuit against Microsoft in 2001.

The lack of warning didn’t do them any favors either.

While smaller businesses need to change for Amazon’s program, first-party business will revolve around larger brands like Nike with whom Amazon is maintaining a relationship.

Despite the streamlined platform Amazon is going for, the company wields power over vendors and customers alike. Capitalism is one thing, but monopolies are a whole other ball game, and politicians are finally paying attention.

Continue Reading

Business Entrepreneur

Culture Codes is the guide you need for company culture questions

(BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR) One of the biggest sellers of a company to a prospective employee or customer is their culture. Culture Codes has compiled some the biggest companies cultures in convenient decks for you to study and align with.

Published

on

culture codes

Organizational culture is a hot button of conversation. While a variety of definitions exist, one way of defining Culture is the way businesses exist – a summary of values, rituals, and organizational mythology that helps employees make sense of the organization they work in.

Organizational cultures are often reflected in Mission, Vision, and Value statements of organizations.

What many entrepreneurs or new organization struggle with as well, is how to create a culture from the ground up. What kinds of statements and values do they advocate? What are areas of focus? Who are our competitors and what can we do to create a service, product, or quality advantage?

Building a strong culture can be challenging, but a good place to start is looking at the best cultures around.

A new resource by Tettra, Culture Codes, has everything you could want to know on different companies their cultures available for you to study up.

Over 40 companies employing over 280,000 employees have created culture decks and collected core values and mission statements. Companies like Spotify, Netflix, LinkedIn, and NASA have all contributed information.

This information is great for young companies or entrepreneurs to start building a schema about what kind of culture they want to create.

Or existing established companies can look towards peers and competitors and help decide what statements they want to engage culture change on.

For job seekers, Tettra can help potential employees gauge if they are a fit for an organization, or discover that maybe an organization they dream about working for has a culture they may not jive with. And perhaps most valuably, transparently showing off your culture and allowing it to be compared means that organizations can better compete in the talent market.

Recruiters should be obsessed with talking about culture – because it keeps people in the door.

The reasons why people leave employment: work/ life balance, poor treatment, lack of training, or relationship issues with a supervisor or boss; in many ways are a by-product of organizational culture. If you want to compete in the talent market, make culture a selling point and show it off in everything you do.

Even consumer’s benefit from learning about an organization’s culture – values that indicate a commitment to excellence in ethics make consumers feel good about supporting an organization.

It pays to have a good culture. I encourage you to head over to tetra.co/culture-codes and see how companies like Etsy are keeping it real, every day.

Continue Reading

Business Entrepreneur

Simple, inspiring growth hacks from successful startups

(ENTREPRENEUR NEWS) Growth hacks – they’re not the end all be all of tech startup success, but they’ve certainly helped give a major boost to many companies that are thriving today.

Published

on

growth hack team work employees

Growth hacks – they’re not the end all be all of tech startup success, but they’ve certainly helped give a major boost to many companies that are thriving today. If you don’t know, a “growth hack” refers to a strategy used, often by tech startups, to rapidly sell products or memberships, and gain lots of exposure and a big following right off the bat. Growth hacks are usually clever, creative ways to maximize social networks, digital or literal, to gain customers quickly.

Quora recently listed a round-up of the “most ingenious” growth hacks. Let’s review three killer examples of growth hacking success:

Groupon remains one of the most obvious growth hack success stories.

In order to unlock Groupon discounts, you have to share them with your friends to reach a minimum number of people buying in.

Merchants can afford to give massive discounts, even losing profits, in exchange for the huge amount of exposure their brand gets.

Groupon and the brands offering coupons both win.

Airbnb’s business model has a built-in growth hack – literally anyone can list their apartment or house, meaning that the growth of Airbnb’s user base knows no bounds.

What is even more ingenious is that when you list a property on AirBnB, you have the option of also posting it on Craigslist.

You’d think more companies would have tried this hack by now, but apparently it took some pretty crafty coding for AirBnB’s tech geeks to figure out how to piggyback onto Craigslist’s audience.

One fabulous growth hacking idea comes from Dropbox. Refer a friend on Dropbox and get free extra storage space.

The storage space is relatively cheap for Dropbox to provide, but the referral is valuable.

This is exactly how I myself got into Dropbox, and every time I want to share a file with a friend, I recommend that they download Dropbox. As a file sharing platform, it makes sense for me to want the friends I share files with to be using the same platform.  This model has worked out so well for Dropbox that other companies are now offerings freebies in exchange for referrals.

Growth hacks won’t save a company without a solid business plan and sound investments behind it – but they can be a great way to utilize social networks to boost growth and establish a broad audience right from the start.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Our Great Partners

The
American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.

Emerging Stories

Get The American Genius
neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to get business and tech updates, breaking stories, and more!