Artisan Blog

Reducing Our Footprint at Work

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Reducing Our Footprint at Work

We only have one earth, and all professionals and businesses share a responsibility to do what we can to take care of it. When we become more mindful of our environmental impact and make more efficient use of our resources, it’s good for the soul, good for the planet, and often good for the budget. We can take inspiration from some of the world’s largest companies and their efforts to be better global citizens. In celebration of Earth Day, here are a few tips for reducing our ecological footprint at work.

Cut the Commute

Whether it takes the form of encouraging ridesharing and mass transit or going partly or entirely remote, reducing time on the road is great for the environment, as well as for stress and spending levels. If you must commute to work, make responsible and productive use of your commuting time, and seek out the wealth of local transportation apps that provide the best options.

Do an Energy Audit

Account for the ways you use electricity in the workplace. Can you switch to more energy-efficient light bulbs? Do simply switch off lights when they’re not in use or leave it for someone else to take care of? Can you rely less on heating and air conditioning? Slight reductions in energy use make a big difference when we all do our part. And, cultivating a more mindful and responsible attitude toward energy can improve all aspects of your work…… awareness is key.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Promote and participate in a workplace recycling program. Avoid buying new supplies until you’ve made full use of what you already have. Whenever you can, make do with less. Oftentimes the most familiar environmentalist wisdom remains the best.

Know Your Supply Chain

You know your business, and you know it doesn’t exist in a vacuum. How well do you understand the processes that surround it, and the full impacts they have? Sustainable procurement is an often-overlooked opportunity to build more environmental responsibility into the business processes that will impact our future.

Change Your Lunch Habits

It’s getting cooler, and easier, to go vegetarian or vegan. Some workplaces are implementing no-meat policies. With remarkable advances in meat substitutes, low-impact diets offer increasingly nutritious and delicious alternatives to fast food. Pay attention to improving what you eat on the job, and you’ll look better, feel better, and help reduce the burden on our species and our planet.

At Artisan Creative, we believe that great work springs from a holistic approach to building careers and lifestyles that serve our true desires. Contact us today to learn more.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 517th issue of our a.blog.

 


Managing a Remote Team

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Managing a Remote Team

Remote work is on the rise. Taking advantage of the increasingly robust connective and collaborative capabilities of digital technology has been statistically shown to reduce employee stress, improve employee engagement, and save time and money for companies.

It just requires an ever-so-slightly modified style of management.

Digital nomads will play increasingly important roles in the future of business. If you’re a manager, it’s time to prepare yourself to help foster success for employees and contractors who work mostly or entirely off-site. Here are some key tips for managing a happy and productive remote team.

Start With Onboarding

From your onboarding and training processes onward, make sure your expectations are clear and that remote work best practices are baked into the culture of your business and enthusiastically embraced and understood by your team.

Facilitate Transparency

When employers, managers, and professional collaborators can’t hold regular in-person meetings, clear systems for accountability and transparency are crucial. Make it easy for remote team members to track and report on their work and to reach out to others for help as soon as they need it.

Use Technology and Stay Connected

Even if different members of your team live in different time zones, they need to be able to communicate with each other, as everyone must feel connected. For example, Zoom and slack can help you hold weekly video meetings, even if they’re simply status check-ins. Use the most appropriate project management software to track responsibilities and accomplishments and to enhance off-site collaboration. Build a strong company culture, encourage your team to support each other and take pride in what they do together.

Hire People You Can Trust, and Trust Them

The people who are best suited to remote work are generally highly motivated self-starters. They take responsibility without too much guidance or external discipline. They communicate clearly, sincerely, and consistently.

Take extra care to only bring in those who can contribute their best efforts to your team without peer pressure, micromanagement, and constant attention. Then, let them work. When managing a remote team, instead of being a taskmaster or a disciplinarian, be free to serve as a resource and a positive example of how people can work closely together without the need for geographic proximity, cubicles, or Casual Fridays.

Artisan Creative runs on the efforts of a tightly bonded and highly successful remote team. We have been a remote workforce since 2009 and understand better than most, the unique challenges of managing a remote team and how the right approach can set you up for success. We’d love to share our expertise with you. Contact Artisan Creative today to learn more.

 

We hope you've enjoyed our 516th a.blog.

 


Digital Spring Cleaning

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Digital Spring Cleaning

Happy Spring! Today is the first day of spring, the vernal equinox when the sun’s rays shine directly on the equator, and our days begin to get longer.

Spring cleaning is in the air, and this year we are focusing not only on de-cluttering our home offices and work stations but also focusing on our digital clutter and noise!

Multi-version files, copies from years ago, duplicate images, a multitude of apps, and incessant notifications lead to not only a cluttered digital space, but also to a cluttered mind leading to distraction and reduced productivity.

Below are several tips to help you with your digital spring cleaning:

Managing your smartphone

Moving all apps into a folder, alphabetizing and deleting those no longer in use is scary, yet liberating. In his article Beautilty, Jason Stirman describes the step by step to do this task.

Duplicate Files

If you aren’t already using proper naming conventions, start now. It’s too easy to get bogged down with multiple file versions with slightly different names. Choose a file naming convention process and stick with it. Whether you start with the name or date, stay true to it and implement it across your team or department.

If things have gotten out of hand, manual intervention may not be possible. In this case, duplicate file management apps like Gemini or a variety of version control options such as Git, SVN, and others will solve your problem. If you are a creative, use Adobe Bridge or DAM to manage those assets on an ongoing basis.

Backup and Delete

Once your files are organized, then back them up to the cloud, or to a drive. Back it up and have the peace of mind that you can always find that one elusive file. Delete all non-current files as well.

Say Goodbye

Turning off notifications, and unsubscribing from emails and newsletters that are overflowing your inbox will give some breathing space. Whether you change the frequency of newsletters or divert them to their own folder, change this flow of digital noise to something that is both manageable and realistic for you. You can use Unroll.me to batch unsubscribe and remove email subscriptions you no longer need.

Inbox Zero

It’s hard to start, however, once you achieve inbox zero, you’ll never want to go back. A few easy steps can get you organized and help build a workflow so you can get to inbox zero. Tools like Sanebox help manage all those LinkedIn invites, or Basecamp notifications.

 

We hope you've enjoyed our 513th a.blog.  Please connect if you are looking to hire your dream team, or looking for your next job opportunity.


Rise of AR & VR in Recruitment

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Rise of AR & VR in Recruitment

Virtual reality, augmented reality, and other emerging exponential technologies have the potential to change the ways we work together and do business. As they become permanent fixtures in our technological landscape, these new tools will enhance and influence the reality of how managers and recruiters hire, train, and build teams.

VR, AR and the like will create exciting possibilities in recruitment, for those who know how to best make use of them.

Recruitment Made Immersively

Job interviews, particularly for offsite or virtual positions, will increasingly be conducted using AR and VR. Such interview experiences can be more exciting and engaging for candidates than a standard skills assessment or phone screen. They can also allow recruiters to better predict which candidates possess the right "soft skills" and intangible qualities that might make them the ideal match for a position.

VR experiences, as part of a well-rounded interview process, can help determine how different candidates may react to real-life on-the-job challenges, or gauge their comfort level in difficult situations.

Exciting interactive experiences can provide a huge advantage at job fairs, trade shows, and in other highly stimulating environments where candidates' attention comes at a premium. VR and AR can also be used to stage immersive virtual office tours, so candidates can get vivid, three-dimensional awareness of what it's actually like to work in the employer's environment.

Gamification

When hiring for positions in web development, engineering, marketing, and other fields requiring some tech savvy and a level of comfort in the digital realm, some businesses and hiring managers are experimenting with cutting-edge recruiting and application practices. A few are turning their hiring processes into games. The applications of AR, VR, and other immersive technologies in gamified recruiting and onboarding could set off a wave of HR creativity and ingenuity.

In one high-profile example, the auto company Jaguar Land Rover joined forces with the experimental pop group Gorillaz on a recruiting app. This had some success at finding fresh engineering talent and the publicity doesn’t hurt, either! This savvy stunt could prove to be a watershed moment in technical and creative recruiting.

Mobile Recruiting

Nine out of ten job hunters now make use of mobile devices during the course of a job search. It is imperative that hiring managers and recruiters provide first-rate mobile experiences to draw in the best talent.

For mobile recruiting, AR is particularly promising. Imagine being able to engage with potential candidates as they walk past your offices, or test their aptitude for crucial tasks as they tour your facilities.

Assessments and Training

AR and VR can also be of use during onboarding and training and well beyond. They can accelerate a new hire's acclimation to new responsibilities, help teach and test specialized skills, and keep your team safe and well-informed on the job.

AR, VR, and their technological cousins are already becoming parts of the fabric of how we live, work, communicate, and collaborate. Used to their full potential, they can streamline your management procedures and help you take your team to the next level.

At Artisan Creative, we've seen the workplace change in myriad ways, and we've seen some patterns stay consistent. Contact us today to discover what exciting opportunities are in store for your team, your business, and your world.


Selecting Your Recruitment Partner

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Selecting Your Recruitment Partner

Challenges around staffing, hiring, and human resources are ever-changing. They take time, money, know-how, and people power. Sometimes they can distract from other priorities your team needs to be focusing on. That's why many businesses work with recruiting partners, outside agents with specific experience in finding, vetting and placing talented job-seekers.

As a business decision-maker, you have a range of recruiting partners to choose from. When evaluating your options, it's crucial to ask the right questions in order to find the recruiters and agencies that best suit your needs.

Specific Industry Focus

To get the best results for your search and to fill the roles you need to fill, specificity is your friend. For every industry, there are recruiters who exclusively focus on that area. For example, if you are focused on creative work, your most effective partner is one who lives in the creative space, who knows how that world works and thrives in the creative culture and lifestyle. This holds true for whatever business you're in. You may decide to work with a generalist agency with different areas of focus, make sure the people you engage with directly have an intimate understanding of your work and the people who do it.

Track Record of Success

Good recruiting partners take pride in the work they've done for other clients. When gauging potential partners, check out testimonials on the web or ask your peers and colleagues for advice and referrals. If you're unsure, schedule a call or meeting and ask for years of experience, case studies, processes and results for roles similar to yours.

The Candidate's Perspective

When evaluating how a recruiting partner picks and matches their talent, consider the candidate’s point of view. Are the recruiter’s processes optimized to bring on board and successfully vet that specific skillset? Does the recruiting firm’s core values, culture, marketing, and mission fit with the attitudes of the talent you want to attract? If you need candidates with particular skills, or who can pass a particular background check, can you rely on this agency’s expertise to bring you those candidates? Connect with someone who is an expert in searching for candidates you’ll love to hire.

Harmony of Process

When considering a recruiting partner, find one with a rich talent pool of readily available candidates, as that's only half the battle. You'll also want to ensure that the recruiters understand the rhythms of your hiring process and can work smoothly on your terms. Will you need to staff up quickly on short notice? Your recruiting partner should be able to find and vet appropriate talent on tight turnarounds. Do you favor a slower, more thorough hiring process, with multiple rounds of interviews? Look for a recruiting partner who will work with you diligently to find the exact talent you need. Would you rather outsource an entire project to an external team? Make sure your recruiters have the connections in place to make that happen.

Get It in Writing

Feel free to ask tough questions of your potential partners, and make sure you're both clear and concrete on all details and machinations of your agreement. How does the process work? How is communication handled between you, your recruiting partner, and the people they place with you? If difficulties arise, who takes responsibility for what? Business relationships go best when everyone is in sync from the start. Good recruiting partners will align with your values, answer all your questions in the spirit of full transparency.

At Artisan Creative, we have 23+ years of experience in creative and marketing talent, a strong network of a.players, and a passion for exceeding client expectations. Contact us today to start the conversation.

We hope you've enjoyed our 506th a.blog



New Hire Onboarding Best Practices

Thursday, September 20, 2018

New Hire Onboarding Best Practices

Today, creating and maintaining a great company culture is top of mind for many firms, and is one the highest reasons for candidates to select one company over the other.

Developing a strong onboarding plan is one way to communicate company culture with new hires and potential candidates. However, some companies mistake orientation with onboarding. While they are clearly linked, they serve different purposes and are two sides of the same coin.

Onboarding vs. Orientation and Training

Most companies have an orientation system and training in place to help candidates learn the nuances of their specific roles and meet team members during the first week.

Onboarding is an on-going plan that continues long after the initial orientation period has ended. It’s intended to help a candidate’s long-term success to continually grow in their role.

An additional component of a successful onboarding plan is to give your new hire the chance to talk to their manager about opportunities, challenges, or concerns they might have at the 3 and 6-month points in their new role. Creating an open dialog allows for a safe space to discuss the job from their experience, and share lessons learned and best practices to make them more productive.

Often, unless given an opportunity, a new employee will keep to themselves, fly under the radar, when in actuality proactive communication could improve the situation for everyone involved.

It is also a good opportunity to communicate company expectations, vision and core values, and create clarity around setting short and long-term goals and understanding as to how and when they will be evaluated.

Tips for Onboarding:

  • Develop a real plan--Don't assume that new employees will find a way to get what they need or want. Make a schedule to meet with new hires at regular intervals and stick to it.
  • Tell them about it--Make sure your new hires know that they will have chances to talk with you about how things are going for them. Ask them to complie a list of  questions to discuss together during your meeting.
  • Follow through--Don't let your onboarding plan fall through the cracks if a new hire is doing well. Even if it’s just get together to share how great it's been so far, you can take the opportunity to let your employee know that they are valued and that you recognize that they are doing well at this early stage.

 

New hires need to know how they’re doing, how they are contributing to the team's success, and that they’ve made the right decision to join your company.  Give all your new hires a chance to feel great about their role and you will reap the rewards of a happy and productive workforce.

 

At Artisan Creative, we believe creating a strong culture helps with hiring and retention.  Contact us today to learn more.

We hope you've enjoyed the 489th issue of our a.blog.




Project Management Triangle

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Project Management Triangle

 

"Fast. Cheap. Good. Pick two."

This is a summation of the Project Management Triangle, a framework for project scoping and resource allocation that has been in use since the 1950s, and has long been embraced by freelance software developers in particular.

The basic idea is that an emphasis on any one or two corners of the triangle requires constraints in the third. What we emphasize shows the world who we are and what we value. Project managers, hiring managers, and creative professionals must determine what areas are most important, and realize the value of compromise in some areas to achieve excellence in others.

If you are filling a role or scoping a project, or you want to make sure your clients understand your constraints and give you appropriate support, the Project Management Triangle is a useful model for negotiating fairly and setting appropriate expectations.

In any profession, it is useful to keep these rules in mind:

If you want work done at high quality, with a quick turnaround, it may be expensive.

Time is perhaps the most precious resource of all. The work that goes into completing complex projects on tight turnarounds doesn't begin when you sign the contract - it requires years of study, experience, and preparation on the part of those who complete the assignment. Under such demands, you will need to work with the best, and you can expect them to charge what they're worth.

If you want your work done quickly, and you have a tight budget, it may not be of top quality.

If you make harsh demands and don't pay well, you may run the risk of being "penny wise and pound foolish," or sacrificing big returns in the future for small savings now. You can offset this by shifting from a scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset. If you don't have a lot of money, what other sorts of value can you offer talent to get them excited about your projects and build strong, ongoing relationships based on collective appreciation? To set the stage for great work, establish realistic expectations based on mutual respect.

If you want to build something of high quality at low cost, it may take a long time.

As Billie Holiday sings, "The difficult, I'll do right now. The impossible may take a little while." If you have high expectations and a low budget, your most crucial virtues are patience and persistence. Your success depends on building long-term relationships with passionate professionals who care about your project and have the expertise to get it done.

Every project is different. That's why we use flexible mental models to determine how we can best accomplish our goals. For instance, under the "lean startup" framework, we would not gauge "fast," "cheap," or "good" in the same way as we would in a typical corporate setting. However, for most projects, the Project Management Triangle provides the most useful values system for determining the scope and setting expectations.

If you're hiring skilled and qualified professionals for your project, or you're an ambitious creative in search of the perfect challenge, contact Artisan Creative today. Leverage our decades of business experience to build relationships that lead to mutual flourishing.

We hope you've enjoyed the 464th issue of our a.blog.

 


CA-The State of Employment

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

CA-The State of Employment

According to a recent jobs report, the state of employment in California is robust and growing.

California added 52,700 jobs in 2017, representing 36% of national growth. ("We should be, at our size, closer to 11%," State Employment Department Director Michael S. Bernick told The Los Angeles Times.) Unemployment stands at 4.3%, down from 4.6% in November and 5.2% at the end of 2016.

Professional and business services, travel and leisure, and information services all saw big gains, along with the public sector. All these have the potential to unlock opportunities for freelance creative professionals. Employers, particularly those connected to the "information economy," are staffing up, hiking pay, and opening new roles for those with the right skills, a penchant for adaptability, and are tech savvy.

Migration patterns show that, after a slump during the Great Recession, the state is once again attracting talent in search of sun, surf, and favorable circumstances. At around 51% move-ins versus move-outs, California is once again a popular destination for the upwardly and geographically mobile.

Like any boom, this one comes with some caveats. Despite an impressive recovery, California remains an expensive and challenging place to live and to work. Optimistic new Californians may encounter some challenges given the state's severe housing shortage.

To navigate the landscape of employment in California, we recommend consulting experts and taking advantage of the wealth of resources made possible by our rich information economy. Freelancers Union, AIGA or similar organizations have resources, expertise, and camaraderie available for independent contractors or those considering a switch to freelancing.

And, of course, your advocates at Artisan Creative are here to guide and help you understand the current trends to build your career and expand your network as you continue to flourish right here in California.

Contact Artisan Creative today - we'd love to show you around.

We hope you've enjoyed the 460th issue of our weekly a.blog.


3 Benefits of Working Remotely

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

3 Benefits of Working Remotely

Although some work challenges may seem best tackled by teams coming together in person, with each leap forward in virtual networking technology, colleagues in far-flung locations can come together just as productively in a virtual setting. The continuous rapid pace of improvement in this area, makes it more efficient and more rewarding for creative professionals to do their work remotely.

According to The New York Times, 43% of employed Americans do at least some of their work off-site. Those who have embraced remote work, and the lifestyle that comes with it, have discovered significant benefits.

The Artisan Creative a.team has been working remotely since 2009 and we'd like to share some of those benefits with you:

More Productivity

To work remotely is to relinquish stressful and time-consuming rush-hour commutes and eliminate workplace distractions. Remote workers can create routines, schedules, and environments that are best suited to their own preferences and patterns, which often result in getting more done, in less time, with less hassle than would be required to complete the same tasks in an office.

To work well without constant oversight requires some discipline and responsibility, and for those who excel at it, remote work can be an enormous boon to their careers, improve their results, and stimulate a new work ethic.

More Freedom

For those with the discipline and independence to live a remote work based lifestyle, traditional borders and living restrictions have disappeared.

By being adept at working off-site, building their networks, and collaborating well virtually, professionals no longer need to relocate to prohibitively expensive cities to advance their careers. Some even choose to become "digital nomads" and travel as they work, seeing the world while pursuing creative careers on their laptops and mobile devices.

Even if the corporate headquarters is across town, having the liberty to work from home, a co-working space, or a coffee shop can open new lifestyle options for those who wish to spend more time with their friends and families or simply have the space to create.

More Ease

Off-site work used to be much more of a challenge and a commitment for all parties involved. Now, with so many effective options, much of the past friction has been eliminated.

As mentioned earlier, the technology that drives document-sharing, teleconferences, virtual meetings, and location-independent digital collaboration has advanced tremendously, and it gets better every day.

There may come a time in the not-so-distant future when the majority of teams do most of their work and collaboration remotely. Already, the increase of remote work is popular with the rising Millennial Generation and represents a wider range of lifestyle choices in a highly networked global society.

Contact Artisan Creative to prepare for the future of work and learn how to thrive in a changing creative economy.

We hope you've enjoyed the 460th issue of our weekly a.blog.


14 Books for Creatives

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

14 Books for Creatives

Whether you listen to audio editions on your commute, use a tablet or e-reader, or relax with a cat on your lap and an old-fashioned paper edition, books are still a great source of information and knowledge for creative pros.

A book allows you to take a deeper dive into a subject and emerge with a broader awareness of how its details fit into context. When it's easier and easier to consume bite-sized bits of information, delving into a book gives you an advantage over those with less experience of focus.

And books make excellent gifts. With countless titles to choose from, they're not easy to shop for. Your favorite creative mentor, peer, or friend will be delighted when a thoughtfully chosen book drops into his or her lap.

Whether you're shopping for a designer, a developer, an artist, or a marketing executive, here are fourteen selections that will spark creative inspiration.

The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron

This revolutionary writing guide gave rise to a system of thought and a movement that has helped creative people of all types develop greater respect for themselves and their work. Its most influential exercise is probably "the morning pages," a daily three-page handwritten routine that has galvanized authors, actors, musicians, and everyday people around the world.

The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman

A favorite among UX designers, this classic takes a thorough and counterintuitive look at the familiar objects around us and wonders how they came to be as they are.

Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day by Todd Henry

You only get one chance to make the most of the creative career you pursue in this lifetime. This urgent and heartfelt challenge will embolden you to “lose yourself,” fully commit to your process, and leave it all on the field.

How To Be Useful by Megan Hustad

Hustad's book is a wry, comprehensive, no-nonsense primer on networking, career-building, doing your job, and preserving your soul. It's perfect for graduates, those mulling a career change, or anyone who sometimes wonders if he or she missed out on some essential knowledge about how to thrive in the workplace.

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

A successful novelist with a cult following among creatives in all fields, Pressfield believes that success means showing up, every day, and maintaining a regular practice, and that the only way to self-actualize as a creative is to start treating yourself as a professional.

The Comic Toolbox: How to Be Funny Even If You're Not by John Vorhaus

Some of the most useful creative inspiration has always come from jokes and humor, from looking at life sideways and shattering expectations. This is a practical and amusing guide to the functions and structure of humor, with exercises that can help you produce smarter and more entertaining work.

Place Your Thoughts Here: Meditation for the Creative Mind by Steven L. Saitzyk

A Buddhist art teacher explores the connections between creativity and meditation in a warm and compassionate book that will fascinate any creative pro with an interest in mindfulness practice.

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

This landmark study on human behavior, and how it relates to thought, is a must-read for anyone who needs to understand incentive structures and why people sometimes act as they do. Kahneman won the Nobel prize for economics and is a highly regarded psychologist.

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

This book examines what happens when we get so absorbed in our work that we lose track of time, and suggests how we might cultivate such a state of pure creative devotion.

Unsubscribe: How to Kill Email Anxiety, Avoid Distractions, and Get Real Work Done by Jocelyn K. Glei

In an always-on world of perpetual distraction, an influential blogger and editor makes a case for shutting out the noise and decluttering your digital life. You don't have to be a hardcore minimalist to get some empowering and actionable insights from this one.

Quartz: The Objects That Power the Global Economy by Quartz Editors

This coffee table book from the business blog Quartz showcases the innovative genius of product design and makes a beautiful companion to The Design of Everyday Things.

How To Get Ideas by Jack Foster

Foster is a fun, funny, avuncular guide to the art of generating fresh ideas. If you know someone who's struggling to stay creative, this book can reignite the joy of the process.

Hey Whipple, Squeeze This: The Classic Guide to Creating Great Ads by Luke Sullivan

This irreverent but practical guide to the advertising industry provides a thorough understanding of the creative business and shows how a rebellious attitude can help you do work that gets attention. The classic text has been updated to address new channels and technologies.

The Dip by Seth Godin

Seth Godin is a business and marketing guru to millions through his daily blog. This tiny but crucial book examines what happens when we get stuck in a gap between mediocrity and excellence, how to persist, and how to get out.

When you're inspired and driven to take your career to the next level, contact Artisan Creative, and join some of the most prestigious creative talent around.  We hope you enjoy the 454th issue of our weekly a.blog.



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