Have you anything to say about your treatment from a discrimination or harrassment perspective?
Teri Lindeberg, founder and CEO of Staffwell, is a remarkable woman. She know all ins and outs of doing business in Russia. At least she wrote a great book titled Making Perfect, that is about what employees want from their employers. The book contains over 900 tips on how companies can improve their businesses based on employee ideas and feedback. Here’s the extract from the Teri’s book.
“No (X 48)! – with smiles, laughs and giggles”…”No, happy with equal male/female team – great when this is in balance and harmony”…”Not really”…”No, Thank God”…No, worried Pyotr might say something,lol”…”Have only one man – none! lots of laughs (these questions help all to systemize their thinking about work and Staffwell) – very motivating”…”Nope”
During the course of the “Tea with Teri” meetings, our Moscow office had an equal amount of men and women, and our St. Petersburg office had one man and about eight women. Most of our team found this question funny and light-hearted and I thought it was a really great way to end this exercise: on a very upbeat note.
I am also very pleased to know that no one in our company had ever felt sexually harassed or discriminated against by any other member of the team. This does occur in the work place at other companies. I have heard candidates we interview talk about it over the years and it certainly must be an incredibly horrible thing for anyone to go through. We have hired well, and have very strong rules, operations, values, and management. This matters and it makes a difference.
- To not be discriminated against;
- To not be harassed, sexually or otherwise; and
- To have gender balance in the team: an equal amount of men and women.
“No, we need a sign in reception room 312”…”No, we need to create a customer satisfaction questionnaire and what else we can do to improve our services and also one for placed candidates”…” Many companies are jealous of Staffwell because of Teri – because TerI is a person who is really concerned about the company and the people in it – fantastic for a business owner – always wants more for and from us. Very creative – very few owners are like this. Monthly awards you started, the focus on PR, feels PR initiative very smart things the PR is very good, also useful is new website and advertising campaign (Headhunter, Vedomosti, Kommersant newspapers) Also Linkedin but they are seen mostly by foreigners”…”No, likes the idea of getting origination fees and get computer analysis updated”…
Here everyone again answered no to the question – but they also used the time to get in their last remaining comments and ideas. I thought some of them were good, such as the idea of a reception sign, which we did need outside of our reception room, and which I immediately took care of.
Creating a customer satisfaction questionnaire for both clients and placed candidates was also a great idea. We had used them before in the past but had dropped the practice when we got really busy and did not have the time for it. However, I know their importance and they are consistent with our objectives to always improve our business and increase sales.
At the beginning of the economic crisis, we did move away from traditional marketing and, instead, relied solely on our Director’s team to generate new business for the company. We developed our first PR initiative for the company and hired a PR Manager, who focused on working hard to get our name out there in the market. It turned out to be a very wise move on our part as the initiative worked out well for us.
We also completely redesigned our website, creating a more clean, modern and simple design with easy functionality, and started to really network a lot through various business networking sites, such as LinkedIn. In addition, we instituted a company-wide rule that any employee could earn origination fees, should they bring a valid lead or referral to the company. This turned out to be really motivating for many and made people feel they had the ability to be more helpful.
The comments about me above are very sweet. I have been very fortunate to have a team that has always seemed to appreciate me and what I contribute to the company. It feels good, and owners and CEOs also need to feel appreciated at times, if deserving.
- A reception sign outside of reception;
- Customer service questionnaires for clients that employ the company’s services;
- Monthly awards for top performers;
- Their company to engage in strong PR efforts;
- Their corporate website to be well-designed and easy to navigate;
- To receive origination fees from the company if they generate new, valid business leads or referrals; and
- An owner and CEO who really cares about the people in the company, is creative, and who really motivates and directs them to achieve more.
“I would like to receive some sexual harassment but realize it is unlikely to happen”…” No, unfortunately”…
The smiley faces are included here as these comments were made in a joking manner with great laughter. The men in our office are really great, very funny, and actually very sweet.
- Other people in the office to find them attractive; and
- To be funny sometimes.
“No. Finds Staffwell great at anti-age discrimination, we hired her when nobody else would (as she was a PA before and of a more mature age) plusLika looked very young to be hiring for us – older candidates complain about 20-year olds at competitors interviewing them”…
We always hire for proven or potential ability. Therefore, I am glad to know that our team does not use age as a criterion in our screening process. Age discrimination is not an issue explicitly addressed in our operations manual but I feel it needs to be and it will be included in the future. At present, we have front office employees that range in age from the early 20s to the late 50s – and, hopefully, they will still be working for us when they are in their 60s and 70s!
I am glad we hired Alyona when nobody else would. I feel really good about that decision, and she has proven herself to be a very solid performer and contributor to our success.
Lika was young when we hired her. But she was also very effective, mature in disposition and had a highly professional appearance. I think you are only as young, or as old, as the age you act.
I am aware that some of our competitors have very young and very immature people working as recruiters for them. When such people interview more mature candidates on the market, the candidates often do not appreciate the fact that their time is being wasted on people who, themselves, have almost no valid work or life experience, and can be completely silly in disposition. Their doing this only makes us better and gives us a competitive edge.
- To not be discriminated against due to their age, when applying or interviewing for new jobs; and
- People that are mature, and look and act in a professional manner, to be involved in the recruitment and selection process at their company.
”No, however, Diana mentioned the GM of our building was too touchy with many of our team – would bring coffee to our team – trying to get in with them!)”…”No. However, the former, gross courier YurI was making noises like a cricket at her when she would walk by – he maybe had mental problems or was strange – but she immediately ordered him out when that happened”…
The GM of our office building was a good-looking, elderly Russian man, who was very flirtatious by nature. Personally, I enjoyed his delight in seeing me every day, as it made me really happy and happy to be in his building. However, his attempts to touch some of our team members is inappropriate behavior and I am sorry no one mentioned this to me before. Had they done so I would have spoken to the building management about it and put a stop to it.
He would also touch me at times – holding my arms when he asked how I was and how Staffwell was doing. But I found it endearing and quite friendly in a very Western way, as I quite often do the same thing with other people.
The GM no longer works in the building so the problem no longer exists. However, we still need to insert formal harassment and discrimination rules and procedures in our operations manual and encourage people to speak up, including all the way to me, should they ever feel they are experiencing it.
The other comment refers to a the very strange courier we had working for us, back in the day when we were publishing the print version of The Well, our corporate and career magazine, which he delivered around Moscow for us. He was somewhat disturbing and I could not stand him either and would order him out of the office whenever I saw him there. Thank God that era is over and he is no longer working for us.
Similar to all companies, we have had some real “winners” working for us at times, but we have really stepped up our game now and hire only top class people.
- To not be touched, in any way, by people in the office or building, that they do not want to be touched by; and
- To not have to work with, or near, odd people that act in strange ways.
“No, and better is that people don’t treat him like he is someone from the countryside. People from the regions feel very alone in Moscow”…
Being from the United States, I had only really thought about discrimination as it mostly related to race or age. It never really dawned on me that in Russia people can feel discriminated against because they come from a different city within the country. It saddens me that people from the regions feel very alone in Moscow, and I hope it is something the citizens of Russia will try to address and change over time.
I am really happy that we have a diversified team of people from Moscow and St. Petersburg, other Russian cities, former CIS countries, and other countries. We also are open to, and hire, people of differing religions, ages, sexual orientations, and also have someone with a limiting, physical disability on our team. Treating all people well and with fairness and respect, is the right thing to do, and the goodness of it comes back to those who give others such treatment.
- To not be discriminated against because they originally come from a city or region that is different than the majority of their co-workers.