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Hiring for Happiness

Hiring for Happiness

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Published by Richard Burton
An outline of Happy's ideas about hiring.
An outline of Happy's ideas about hiring.

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: Richard Burton on Dec 04, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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03/01/2012

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Hiring for happiness.
 A human resources plan for Happy, Inc.
Happy 
is a company with a simple goal: to make people happier. This includes its customers,partners, suppliers and employees. This abstract and lofty goal is going to be executed through anumber of companies that will each have their own focus but still contribute to the largermission. We are starting two companies initially:
Happy Music –
This Company is focused on becoming the most successful
 freemium
1
musiclabel in existence. All of our artists’ music will be freely available to download online and they  will make money through offering premium services and products. These will include licenses totheir songs; merchandise sales, gig tickets and sponsorship deals; small collections of premiumCDs, fan-only access to premium online content and private performances. We believe thatmusic wants to be free and should be allowed to spread freely. We believe that this will create alarger, more loyal fan-base that can then be
monetized 
ensuring that the artist is able to make afantastic living and lots of people are made happier because they get to enjoy their music.
Happy Events
– This Company aims to architect the most incredible and unique parties, gigsand festivals possible. We believe that when “it comes to spending disposable income,experiential purchases tend to make people happier than material purchases”
2
.In order for us to make our customers happy, it’s essential that our employees are happy too.This paper will outline 4 strategies that we intend to implement from the outset to ensure that we can deliver on our ambitious goals. Each strategy will contain the following:
 
 A concise outline of the strategy and how it will affect the Company.
 
 An analysis of how it will affect the employees and impact on them.
 
 A cost-benefit analysis.
 
 An appropriate Human Resources Metric. After outlining each strategy in detail the paper will conclude by looking at:
 
How this will influence our relationships with our customers and suppliers.
 
 Any relevant history or background on the strategies outlinedThis paper will available on our Company blog. The four sections will be as follows:1.
 
Recruitment
– Dreams with deadlines are important.2.
 
Remuneration
– Debt makes people unhappy.3.
 
Responsibility 
– If you think it’s a good idea, go for it.4.
 
Relationships
– The Company can be a family.
1. Recruitment
Dreams with deadlines are important.Outline of the strategy 
Think and Grow Rich
, a motivational text by Napoleon Hill, emphasized the need for “mentaldeadlines” for every goal you set
3
. His belief is that many people say to themselves ‘I want to berich some day’ whereas as very few people say to themselves ‘I want to have a million dollars inmy savings account by 31
st
December 2015’. Napoleon argued that having a defined goal with adefinite due date forces the sub-conscious to find solutions and avenues to turn that dream intoreality. Dreams with deadlines are therefore very important to our company culture at Happy. We want to do two things for our employees:
1
 
The Freemium Business Model 
, Fred Wilson -http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2006/03/the_freemium_bu.html
2
 
The Relative Relativity of Material and Experiential Purchases 
, Travis J. Carter & Thomas Gilovich
3
 
Think and Grow Rich
, Napoleon Hill
 
 
1.
 
Help them achieve their own personal dreams.
This applies even if they mightnot be the primary focus of the company. For example: want to learn to kitesurf? Awesome, that might not be the focus of Happy Music but we’d love to help an employeeachieve that goal in their free time if it’s going to make them happier.2.
 
 Ask them which of our company dreams they can help us achieve.
Our hope isthat all our employees want to help us in our mission to make people happier. We have aresponsibility to help them do that.
How will it affect our applicants and impact on them once they’re with us?
 The strategy must be implemented in the hiring and monitoring processes. When we hiresomeone we need to fully understand what their personal goals are and when they want toachieve those by. Similarly, we want to make sure our employees understand the specific goalsof the company and when we want these to be achieved by. The monitoring side is dealt with inmore detail in section 3, which focuses on projects and
Responsibility 
. Therefore here I willfocus on the hiring process:
 
 
No more CVs, Resumes or Cover Letters
– Everyone hates writing them. Everyonehates reading them. We don’t want these to be part of our hiring process.
 
 
Small set of personal questions aimed to elicit unique responses
– Eachapplicant will be asked the following:
 
o
 
Outside of your “work”, what else are you passionate about?
 
o
 
 What do you dream about achieving some day? (Not work-related)
 
o
 
 What date would you like to achieve that dream by?
 
o
 
How can Happy help you do that?
 
o
 
 When have you been happiest?
 
 
Small set of company-related questions aimed at eliciting unique responses
– The questions will be relevant to the department. Each question also aims to get themto think carefully about whether their education or life-experience can help them in their job. We’re more interested in people’s problem-solving skills than the letters after theirname. For example:
 
o
 
 At the moment it takes an average attendee to Happy Fest 35 minutes to get fromtheir car to their camping spot. How can we reduce this to 15 minutes for Happy Fest 2012?
 
o
 
 We’re hoping to have all our invoice checking and supplier-payments happen90% faster than it currently does by June 20
th
2012; can you help us achieve thisgoal
 
o
 
 We’re trying to get 5 of our artists on the top 5 Japanese radio-stations by May 5
th
 2015; what would you do to try and make this happen?
 
 As you can each dream can be measured and has a deadline. This ensures there’s no vagueness about what needs solving on when we think it’s possible to do that by.
 
Quick video about themselves
– Applicants will be asked to upload a short, 5-minute clip about themselves. We’re interested in where they’re from, what they like toget up to, the people they care most about and their vision for their future.
 
 
No interviews -
Thirty-minute slots put both the interviewee and interviewer into anabnormal environment unlike anything in the real world. We don’t think it’s fair on usand we certainly don’t think it’s fair on the applicant.
 
Paid training month –
 We will carefully sift through the applicants’ responses to thequestions and the videos they submit to find the best batch of people we can. We willthen invite them to come and join us for a month so we can be certain that they’re goingto fit in with the culture and the team. We feel that it’s easy for people to put on a frontfor 30 minutes but much harder to do so over 30 days.
 
 
 Our hope is that by focusing on our applicants’ dreams and on how our applicants can help usrealize the companies’ dreams, we’re setting some fair expectations and doing our absolute bestto make sure our employees are happier.
Cost-benefit analysis
The hiring process we’re outlining is hopefully no more costly than a normal process. It stillinvolves sifting through a lot of information even if we do away with the covering letters andrésumés. However, our hope is that by focusing on the applicants’ personal goals and how theirskill-set can help us achieve the company’s goals from the outset we will be able to:
 
 Attract & select the best candidates
 
Improve employee satisfaction
 
Increase employee retentionIf we hire 100 people in a year with an average effective salary of $25,000 and we assume itcosts $10,000 to make a new hire; in this scenario an increase in the retention rate from 85% to95% would save us $100,000 in further hiring costs and we would gain at least another$250,000 in productivity because there would be fewer gaps in the workforce throughout the year.
Human Resources Metric: Candidate Acceptance Rate
Once the paid training month is over it is likely that the people in charge of the potential new employees won’t want to offer everyone a job. I would hope that at least 9 out of every 10applicants who reach the training month stage are a good fit for Happy so I would like to keepthe candidate acceptance rate up above 90%.
2. Remuneration
Debt makes people unhappy.Outline of the strategy 
“Money and financial problems rank as the No. 1 cause of stress.” 
4
 
 American Psychological Association's (APA) 2009 Stress in America ReportBoth the founders of Happy are students and we know how ominous debt can feel. “Collegeseniors who graduated in 2009 had an average of $24,000 in student loan debt, up 6 percentfrom 2008”
5
. We want to help our employees get out of bad debt like credit-cards and shark-loans as fast as possible so they can enjoy financial freedom and start saving for their future.Therefore, once we have a strong balance sheet and a good financial outlook we are going tooffer our employees the option of selling their debt to us. We would then reduce their salary andaccelerate the rate at which they can pay everything off by cutting out the horrific interest-rates.Once we have 20 employees on this program we will be able to approach a debt-managementagency and negotiate even better rates for our employees.
4
http://ebn.benefitnews.com/news/employees-need-help-dealing-with-financial-stress-2682850-1.html
5
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/22/education/22debt.html

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