Company culture promoting innovation and creative thinking in engineering teams
Management

How Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer Unlocks Creativity in His Engineers

CTO Mike Schroepfer shares how Facebook has built a company culture that promotes innovation and creative thinking among engineering teams.

Facebook’s C.T.O., Mike Schroepfer, has developed an engineering culture at Facebook that’s open, collaborative, and creatively autonomous一values that are key to driving a real-world impact. 

Here’s how he does it: 

Remove roadblocks that hinder creative thinking

Many assume that one cannot teach creativity. But Schroepfer believes that leaders can help remove the common roadblocks that restrain employee creativity. This way, employees can open up new value propositions and an abundance of opportunities. 

He recommends staying curious: “Ask questions even if you think you know the answer. Creating anything interesting requires teamwork, so any time you help someone do their best work is time well spent.” And in the process, if you encounter a problem, don’t be afraid to test your ideas. Make stress testing a norm in your operations.

The Facebook C.T.O. believes that creative engineering happens when people don’t feel bound and have the freedom to think, imagine, and create. And for creativity to flourish in a business environment, team members need to internalize a company’s vision and strategy. 

Build a company culture where information flows freely

There is no set model for problems that arise during projects and no step-by-step process to obtain answers in today’s world. Hence, the ability to utilize resources creatively becomes vital. And this can only be made possible through open communication and free flow of information. 

Schroepfer believes leaders must provide team members with as much information, context, and clarity as possible so that they can do their jobs to the best of their abilities. People are as innovative as you allow them to be. And thus, if you let your team chase their ‘aha moments,’ you’ll soon find yourself with a more dynamic and creative workplace.

In addition, organizations should have a robust training program to help managers learn how to push aside roadblocks, give feedback, and support teams to operate effectively and collaboratively at scale.

Share your optimism with the team and equip them well

Leaders should channel their positivity to the employees. They should leverage technology to enable team members to participate in the decision-making process fully. This way, they’re motivated and aligned with the company’s mission. 

Schroepfer explains: “The most important thing in my life is people, and at Facebook, people are at the center of everything we do. I try to help my teams see the potential for technology to bring communities together in new ways and enable them to build deeper connections. I’m very optimistic that technology can pave a path for a better future. And I share this optimism with my teams as a way to motivate them to come to work every day and make a real difference in peoples’ lives.”

It is equally important to equip your team members with the right tools and technology to enable them to think and create collaboratively at scale. Training programs and workshops are great ways to hone employee skills. 

A good leader seeks to engage their team and work together towards a shared objective. Where engineers are required to recognize, validate, and solve problems independently or through day-to-day teamwork, engineering leaders, on the other hand, need to make a material impact through transparency, vision, and strong mentorship. Efficient unblocking rituals, cultures promoting open communication, and a positive outlook can help upcoming remote engineering leaders around the globe achieve just that. 

Read the complete article. 

Want to drive more impact as a remote engineering leader? Here’s how Turing can help you: The company’s automated platform enables you to hire and manage senior, remote software developers vetted for a Silicon Valley bar at the “push of a button.” With Turing.com, firms can hire from a talent pool of 600K+ developers with strong technical and communication skills who work in their time zone.

For more information, visit the Turing Hire page.

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By August 2, 2021
Employers and employees in a remote work tug of war
The Future of Work

The Great Remote Work Standoff: Employees Want Remote Work, Will Employers Listen?

Ninety percent of employees want to continue with their remote working jobs. Yet, a large number of employers still want workers back in the office, full-time.

Do your employees favor remote work? If so, are you in agreement? A poll by the Best Practice Institute revealed that 83 percent of employers want workers back in office full-time, while just 10 percent of employees share that preference. 

In this article, we study the growing disconnect between employees and employers on the future of work and hear what experts from Amazon, Cushman & Wakefield think:

Only 10 percent of employees are interested in returning to full-time office work

Studies show the newly-theorized “COVID Anxiety Syndrome,” characterized by fear of public places and obsessive cleaning, may prevent people from reintegrating into daily life even after COVID subsides. Moreover, returning to work is sparking panic among such workers, with 66 percent of employees concerned about the health risks it could pose. 

Workers across pay grades and industries like software development, analytics, legal administration, and corporate office work are also expressing worry over the time and effort needed to revert to working at the office. For most people, remote work is a significant change from white-collar, in-office culture, which always considered personal responsibilities secondary to work. Whereas when people work from home, they typically have the freedom to adapt their work to the realities of health, family, and even disability, allowing employees to balance their personal and professional lives. 

But what if employees aren’t permitted to work remotely? Over half the workers surveyed by PwC said they’d refuse to work for companies that don’t offer any workplace flexibility. Forty-one percent of employees will even endure a salary cut to work remotely.

Meanwhile, 83 percent of CEOs want employees back full-time 

Despite pushback from workers, some employers are keen to reopen offices permanently. However, Sandeep Mathrani, CEO of WeWork, told WSJ that only the least engaged employees are comfortable working remotely. 

Cathy Merrill, CEO of Washingtonian Media, wrote that employees who prefer permanent WFH risk being demoted to contractors, losing money, benefits, and status. Her op-ed drew public backlash from Twitter users and Washingtonian staff, who refused to publish content for the day in protest. 

Similarly, Goldman Sachs executive David Solomon characterized remote work as “an aberration to be corrected as quickly as possible.” Urs Holzle, a senior Google executive, who once opposed remote work opportunities for the company’s lower-ranking employees, has relocated to New Zealand to work remotely. 

Amazon, Cushman & Wakefield leaders believe talent will win 

Leaders from global enterprises like Amazon, Cushman & Wakefield shared their thoughts on post-pandemic workplace transformation at Turing’s Boundaryless: #ScalingPostPandemic conference. Gabe Burke, Managing Director at Cushman & Wakefield, said, “If the talent insists on hybrid or remote working models, then most companies will eventually give in to their needs.” Hetal Shah agreed, saying, “Companies that don’t provide flexibility will see an increase in attrition. The loss of skilled employees will drive change.”

Additionally, Gabe cited a Littler survey to emphasize this disconnect: 71 percent of employers believe most employees prefer hybrid work. Yet, only 4 percent believe that workers would similarly choose full-time, in-office positions. Despite that, nearly 30 percent of employers are planning to have employees return full-time.

There is a clear gap between what employees and employers want when it comes to remote work. Some companies have already embraced the future of work while others are sticking to the in-office status quo. However, the expert consensus is that employers will eventually go remote to hire and retain the best talent.

Read the complete article. 

Turing is an automated platform that lets companies “push a button” to hire senior, pre-vetted remote software developers. Firms can hire from a talent pool of 500K+ developers with strong technical and communication skills who work in their time zone.

For more information, visit Turing’s Hire page. 

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By July 28, 2021
Investment in broadband will alter the future of work and make talent more accessible for tech companies.
The Future of Work

$100 Billion Investment in Broadband Could Create Larger Pools of Tech Talent

The American Jobs Plan will have implications on the future of work like better access to talent for tech companies & a rise in skill training for tech workers.

As part of the American Jobs Plan, the Biden Administration announced a billion-dollar investment in broadband infrastructure, which will have significant implications on the future of work; the investment could help solve the tech talent shortage problem, train the next generation of tech workers, and create diverse pools of talent. 

Here’s a breakdown of its principal implications for tech companies and workforces:

An investment in broadband could solve the tech talent shortage

Presently, tech jobs are abundant: Interviews for technical roles grew by 106 percent since the start of the pandemic. While the growth rate for other roles is 4 percent, demand for software developers is slated to grow by 22 percent. Sixty-one percent of HR professionals worry about meeting this demand with talented candidates. 

Companies adopting remote work can access a larger talent pool, bridging the gap between demand and supply. Recognizing this, top firms like Google, Twitter, Coinbase, and Atlassian have already embraced flexible work arrangements. 

However, almost a quarter of American adults—disproportionately residents of rural areas—lack high-speed broadband connections at home, preventing them from joining the remote workforce. A billion-dollar investment in broadband access for every American could change that.

The proposal will train future tech workforces

The proposal will allocate an additional $48 billion for in-demand skill training, such as STEM training. For instance, the initiative will fund computer science courses for high-schoolers and community college-goers. It will similarly train tech workers who would traditionally find such programs inaccessible, thereby expanding the talent pool to keep pace with growing demand. 

In parallel, tech companies should revamp vetting systems based on academic merit and hire from non-traditional programs, such as those the American Jobs Plan would fund. To that end, Google and Apple are already changing the paradigm by removing college degree requirements for certain jobs.

Companies will have greater access to diverse talent

The growing digital divide in the U.S. is depriving many low-income and underserved families of internet access. For example: in California, 25 percent of students—disproportionately Black, Latinx, or Native American–can’t attend remote school because they lack internet access. An investment in broadband infrastructure will bridge this divide and enable underserved Americans of all backgrounds to be part of the remote tech workforce. 

Research has shown that diversity helps companies stay competitive. Innovation generated a greater portion of revenue in companies with above-average diversity, which translated into better financial performance. Firms with diverse management teams produced EBIT margins almost 10 percent higher than firms with below-average diversity.

In this manner, significant investment in broadband infrastructure and technical training could create larger, more diverse talent pools for firms to hire from.

Read about the proposal in detail.

Recently a number of fast-growing companies have begun to attack the tech talent shortage problem with novel solutions to help companies find people with specific skills. For instance, Turing.com enables companies to hire from a large, diverse talent pool of 500K+ senior, pre-vetted developers with strong technical and communication skills. Firms can hire across 100+ skill-sets such as React, Node.js, Python, AWS, Java, among many others. Finding talented candidates to fill critical roles is no longer a challenge for employers. 

For more information, visit Turing’s Hire page. 

By July 21, 2021
nurturing sound mental health in remote work
Management

Show Your Employees You Care About Their Mental Health With These Simple Strategies

Employers can help workers tackle burnout and workplace stress by following these simple strategies for sound mental health care.

Does your organization care about its employees’ mental health? Does it take measures to improve it? If yes, do your people know? Research suggests that many employees feel their employers do not empathize with their mental health. A Forbes study, for instance,  revealed that 82 percent of American tech employees felt burnout while working remotely. Eighty percent of workers said they would consider quitting their current position for a job that prioritized employees’ mental health. Another study by Oxford’s Saïd Business School found that happy employees are more productive. 

In this article, we’ll look at why employees feel neglected, what’s happening as a result, and how organizations can buck the burnout trend:

Frequent dialogue helps alleviate feelings of isolation

Remote workers report loneliness as their biggest challenge. Research shows that loneliness can drive employee burnout and turnover. Organizations should encourage casual dialogue between employees as it helps tackle the feeling of isolation associated with remote work. Managers should focus on building a culture of connection through regular check-ins. Virtual coffee breaks and “watercooler” channels can help in promoting break-time chatter and collaboration. Virtual lunch hours, where employees log-in and have their meals together, could also be an excellent way to improve social connections. Similarly, using communication platforms to create a sense of community can help develop positive engagement in remote workforces. 

Conduct regular mental health surveys and sessions

Many employees share that they don’t receive the support they need to manage work stress. Mental health surveys help identify signs of mental distress in employees and provide insight to restructure organizational policies to boost talent well-being. Frequent check-ins with experts can help prevent stress and burnout among employees. They can also equip remote employees with tools to create a healthy and productive workplace. Including mental health coverage as part of health care plans can also be an effective strategy to improve workforce mental well-being. Managers should ensure that shame and stigma don’t stop employees from using their mental health benefits to seek treatment. Rather, management should encourage and normalize the use of these services.

Encourage regular breaks and time-offs

Remote employees work the equivalent of 1.4 extra days per month compared to their in-office colleagues. What’s more, remote employees often feel guilty about taking a break from work. This inability to unplug can affect their mental health, leading to burnout. And thus, a remote work schedule must consist of breaks at regular intervals. Thirty-seven percent of remote workers said that taking frequent breaks helped them refocus and relax. Encourage employees to reserve time on their calendars for a workout. Organizations can also offer fitness stipends to help employees cover costs related to their physical activities.

Let employees choose their working hours

Rigid work schedules reduce employee creativity and heighten stress levels. Seventy percent of employees said that flexible working makes a job significantly attractive, whereas 90 percent revealed it helped boost their morale. A majority of them also said that flexible hours helped reduce stress and increase productivity. Flexible schedules allow employees to work when they are the most productive. They establish a healthy boundary between work and home. 

What’s more, they can help in reducing employee turnover in the long run. Managers should work with remote employees to set measurable and achievable goals for these schedules to run seamlessly. Goal-setting will move the organizational focus from the number of weekly hours put in by the remote employees to the weekly output they’re delivering.

Provide mental health training to managers and leaders

Remote workers often worry about their performance because of a lack of facetime and feedback. Furthermore, nearly 40 percent of global employees said no one at their company had asked them if they were doing okay. These respondents were 38 percent more likely than others to say that their mental health had declined since the pandemic. 

Managers must demonstrate empathy with their employees. They should have regular one-on-ones with their team members to see how they are holding up. A sense of community is more likely to develop in organizations where leaders share their experience with mental health. This way, employees feel that there is a genuine and collective interest in their well-being. 

Organizations have a responsibility to support their employees’ mental wellbeing. Workplaces that promote mental health are likely to reduce absenteeism, increase productivity, and benefit from the associated gains. A WHO report states that for every US$ 1 put into scaled-up treatment for employee mental health, there is a return of US$ 4 in improved health and productivity. In addition, practices like flexible hours, regular check-ins, and mental health training can help create a healthy and stress-free work environment.

Turing is an automated platform that lets companies “push a button” to hire senior, pre-vetted remote software developers. Firms can hire from a talent pool of 500K+ developers with strong technical and communication skills who work in their time zone.

By July 20, 2021
Remote software developer enjoying remote work
Developers Corner

Tips for Succeeding as a Remote Software Developer

Being successful in freelance software developer jobs means setting clear responsibilities, managing finances, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance

Many people dream of working as a remote employee. Aside from working from wherever they want, remote workers can better establish their workload and terms. However, not everyone dares to leave their corporate, in-office jobs—because remote work doesn’t always offer job security.

One profession that is flourishing in the boundaryless world is software development. Even if you’re not from the US, working with US-based firms like Turing can help you take advantage of labor arbitrage and potentially earn more than local, full-time roles.

If you’re looking to say goodbye to your 9-to-5 and join the remote workforce, we’ve listed some of our top tips to help you succeed as a remote software developer.

Set Your Responsibilities Clearly 

To manage your workload better, you should first understand the scope of your skills and responsibilities. Doing this allows you to avoid any miscommunications with your client. Because you’ll have to manage your projects, this means you’re also responsible for organizing and directing your activities—as well as ensuring your work is on time, on budget, and within scope. The best way to set your tasks and manage the expectations of your clients is by formalizing your arrangement or partnering up with solutions like Turing. Turing offers developers and clients a contract that covers both their interests⁠—effectively eliminating any chances of miscommunication and allowing both parties to set the record straight. Thus, you can avoid doing tasks outside of your role and protect yourself if your client decides to challenge you legally.

Get Your Finances in Line

If you want to achieve your professional and personal goals as a remote developer, you should organize all aspects of your life, including your finances. It’ll do you well to ensure that you get paid on time as a remote employee. Thankfully, solutions like Turing have payment management facilities that guarantee on-time payments for developers.

One way to take hold of your finances is by creating a budget. Through this, you can track all of your expenses and see where you need to be careful with your spending—whether it means choosing the most budget-friendly equipment or even cutting back on your coffee expenses. In addition, having a budget allows you to fully utilize your available resources and be more disciplined when it comes to spending.

Another way to find financial success as a remote developer is by using tools that can maximize your money. One such tool is a high-yield savings calculator, which allows you to figure out which banks and savings accounts have high annual percentage yields (APY) that will allow your money to grow. Yes, you can indeed make a lot of money by being a remote software developer. But without getting your finances in order, you might not be able to maximize your profits and secure your financial success.

Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Another way to find financial success as a remote developer is by using tools that can maximize your money. One such tool is a high-yield savings calculator, which allows you to figure out which banks and savings accounts have high annual percentage yields (APY) that will allow your money to grow. Yes, you can indeed make a lot of money by being a remote software developer. But without getting your finances in order, you might not be able to maximize your profits and secure your financial success.

While freelancing allows software developers to control their schedules and lifestyles, many are still prone to overworking themselves and taking on nightmare coding projects that creep into their personal time. If you want to succeed as a freelance software developer, you should understand the importance of having a healthy work-life balance. For one, it allows you to take better care of your relationship and retain a healthy social life outside of work. In addition, achieving a healthy work-life balance can also prevent you from feeling burnt out.

To achieve a good work-life balance as a freelancer, you should set a daily schedule that allows you to put a clear boundary between your personal life and career. However, don’t be afraid to also be flexible with your schedule, since your work arrangement allows for it. Another way to create a solid work-life balance is by understanding your limitations and not putting too much pressure on yourself. While more clients mean more money and better professional stability, over-committing yourself can hamper your productivity and result in poor quality work.

If you want to say goodbye to your corporate lifestyle and thrive as a freelance software developer, be sure to heed the tips we’ve listed above. Or better yet, you can turn to solutions like Turing — which combines the flexibility and independence of freelancing with the stability and financial security of a full-time position. Turing pairs remote software developers with top US companies for long-term roles. Plus, they are continuously re-matched with clients once their engagement ends.

By July 1, 2021
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