Whatever Next #7: The importance of facing properly an offboarding process

About people leaving, load performance, procrastination, personalization, Facebook, and other topics.

Hi @ll! I hope you’re all safe in these uncertain times. Welcome to my humble newsletter, where I will be sharing different topics that I found interesting.

Opinions and selection of topics are my own.

👋 Thoughts about facing an offboarding process

This pandemic year is very complicated for many companies, and still might be next year. This situation usually ends in a lot of changes, and good people are leaving. We’ve seen lots of layoffs during this period, e.g., we saw recently LinkedIn, Yelp, Optimizely, or Skyscanner. In the first newsletter, I shared this layoff tracker where you could have a quick vision of what’s going on.

In this newsletter, I wanted to dedicate a time to reflect on how to deal with this process in the best way possible. It isn’t easy to retain talent. When based on a complicated situation, companies are forced to make difficult decisions, seems more important to give it the proper time to prepare the whole process, thinking not only in the close present but in the future. I don’t want to focus on the process itself (transition or handoff, risks, etc.), but on the attitude, respect, empathy, and gratitude for the work done.

When a colleague has to leave, it is essential to end the relationship positively, no matter whether it is voluntary or not. Regarding the first ones, think about the benefits of rehiring. Not only could you avoid the training and learning curve (culture, processes,etc.), but you also benefit from the grown experience, expertise, and contacts people have gained while away. There are high possibilities that if they return, they come back better than they were when they left.

This HBR article talks about this need for an employee offboarding process, with particular attention on a possible rehire, based on the author's personal experience as an employee and employer.

During my short experience, I have seen many mates leave, some of them direct reports. And I’ve seen a few interested in joining again months later. That probably means that we did well. By the way, as I saw people open to come back, I saw managers blocking it. When people voluntarily leave, others could take it bad. This is something to take care of.

And what happens when you have to end a relationship with an employee, forced by major causes? Even in the worst situations, an offboarding plan is needed. And again, supporting, and feeling empathy is the proper way to face the situation. Firing people generate tension in the whole organization. And never forget that the people who leave may have personal relationships with other colleagues who stay. Be smart and invest in a good relationship for the ones who leave and the ones who continue. Also, in this HBR article, you’ll find some recommendations for treating people with fairness and compassion.

As I used the example of Linkedin, which is going to reduce 960 positions, let’s check its communication: A Message From Our CEO Ryan Roslansky. Some may see in this kind of transparency a productivity risk, and it is a probable impact, but the major impact will probably come due to the wrong work with their employees that was done previously and during the process. It doesn’t hurt to show real gratitude. And it is also key to own and control the communication. In this kind of situation, there’s nothing worst than hallway comments or gossip.

🚀 Shopify and their invest in load performance

Some days ago, Shopify’s CTO published these metrics about the impressive templating optimization work they had done. Graphics showed vast improvement.

After this communication, also shared by Shopify’s CEO Tobi Lutke, Ilya Grigorik, a well-known web performance engineer and book author, analyzed it deeply. If you’re interested in these topics, it worth your time.

While websites continue to improve features and experiences, performance is always a topic to keep an eye on. I have always had lots of discussions regarding this topic, but while load time affects to the customer experience, it is clear that it has an impact on the whole journey. This is an old article, but it works on giving an idea of how important are these metrics for your website.

🧠 Beating procrastination

Why would you delay something that you think is important to do? It doesn’t make sense, isn’t it? Maybe you’re one of the few people that always do what they say they are going to do. But for the rest of the human beings, procrastination is a real challenge.

Just check this video about the master procrastinator, at least for enjoying the laughs.

In fact, procrastination is not a consequence of laziness or an instant gratification monkey. Our brains are programmed to procrastinate. It is also a learned habit. And as it happens with any habit, it can be changed. Almost 40% of our activities are based on habits, and we can change habits by integrating new habits that would override old ones.

There are different tricks to overcome procrastination. One of the biggest reasons to procrastinate is that we are tackling something big thing, sometimes intimidating. In this situation, it helps to break it down into small pieces or actions. This is because of the Zeigarnik effect, from psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik.

It turns out that we do remember unfinished or interrupted tasks better than completed tasks. When our mind opens a task, it needs to finish it. That is how it works, and what the doctor found studying how the waiters of a cafe managed the orders (this is what I listened to in a course).

Also, when you’re fighting against procrastination, one trick is to keep motivation high. And when we are breaking down tasks, they become easy and feasible to execute without fail.

Here’s another great article from HBR about beating procrastination.

🤑 Personalizing customer’s experiences

Nowadays, it is very usual to see personalization and recommendation engines in all available e-commerces. But not only the online world is aware of the power of personalization, also retailers in the offline world are working towards gaining a 360 view of their customers, and more data-driven decisions and customer journeys.

Researches show that customers respond positively to personalization and that they are expecting it. Customers are expecting a customized experience. They are even aware of and open to sharing their data with this purpose (well, there are some concerns with data privacy). You could find more insights in this article.

If you never heard about it, maybe you could be interested in knowing a little about its possibilities.

Recently Gartner published the last Magic Quadrant regarding Personalization Engines. In the following Linkedin link, you could see the evolution from last year, and the leadership position that Dynamic Yield holds and was defending for the second year.

Surprisingly, Dynamic Yield was acquired by McDonald’s last year, with the purpose of customizing the drive-thru and store experience, probably focused on its Mobile App. That demonstrates that all businesses will always have to keep learning and adapt in time, and Mcdonalds is doing it so.

😔 We still have a problem with Facebook

Yes, Facebook is still in the eye of the storm. While companies are cutting their expenses in Facebook ads, there’s still a huge controversy about their free expression ideology where the company is completely trapped.

Last Friday was the #StopHateForProfit global day of action, where brands and people joined to send Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg a clear message to adapt its policies against hate and misinformation.

I completely understand and defend their position. The things that occurred, the words that were published, are absolutely indefensible. Imho Facebook should have faced the problem in a different way. But I cannot also avoid thinking that there are political reasons behind. We are never free of manipulation. I am not convinced about the need for this public lynching of Mark Zuckerberg.

By the way, regarding the ad spending cut, I saw also this article that claims not to be fake news (but who knows, Randi Zuckerberg is in its board of directors), where they share that another reason for this cut is regulatory changes that decreased dramatically their ad conversion in the state of California.

📓 Career conversation template

Days ago, Félix López (@flopezluis) started a very interesting twitter thread about career conversation and shared a template that he built to help him prepare this kind of meeting.

The thread is in Spanish, but the templates are in English and don’t want to lose the opportunity of sharing them.

You could find it also in Github. Keep this link because it will probably be updated in time.

🤹 Adam Grant’s recommendation for work-life balance

Not much to say. This tweet reaches especially those who are parents and have experienced lockdown with kids and remote schools.

Time passes quickly. We are living the regrowth, the second waves. It worth thinking about what is coming next and how to enable the best work-balance possible. This is something that people will surely appreciate.

🏗️ Design documents at Google

If you’re interested in how Google does software design, this is a recommended read that I found on twitter shared by an Uber engineer.

Block diagram showing how various systems are related to each other. The actual text is just examples and not needed to be seen to understand the example.

📻 Podcasts & Webinars

Last Tuesday I had the opportunity to join a webinar with Mo Gawdat, former Chief Business Officer at Google X, and Solve for Happy: Engineer Your Path to Joy book author. I own the book but still haven’t read it.

While he shared many powerful insights in the webinar, he also shared that he had started with a podcast a few months ago: Slo Mo, a podcast with Mo Gawdat. He was really happy about its performance and that appeared to be in the top trending lists for a while.

The webinar was brought by ThePowerMBA. It was recorder, but I am not able to share it. But you could find this interview How to fail, with Mo Gawdat very close to the topics he shared with us. They also organized a webinar with Peter Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, that I couldn’t attend, and I still haven’t seen the recording... There are lots of learning opportunities regarding webinars and podcasts these days.

On the other hand, this week I also watched an MIT Sloan webinar with Nancy Duarte from Duarte Inc., about “Motivating Your Team With Empathy and Story”. This is an on-demand webinar, so it is open to anybody:

🎁 Curiosities

Moore's law is the observation that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit (IC) doubles about every two years. Moore's law is an observation and projection of a historical trend.

A lot has been written about the twitter hack, but this was my favorite tweet by far. Please, stay safe and wear a mask.

And… That’s it! If you arrived here, thanks for reading. I hope you like it!

Please, do not hesitate to add any comments. I am open to any suggestion so if you want to add a comment or contact me, I encourage you to do it.

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