Investing in our employees

It’s common sense that an organization is only as good as the people it employs. At Genius Plaza we embrace this idea, and encourage the growth, security, and success of each teammate. We call ourselves a family and a social enterprise, and in order to do so, we aim to build business practices that support our family members.

A major factor we’ve found missing in modern benefits packages is paid leave for new parents. It may shock you to see the real statistics: just 14% of the US workforce is offered employer-sponsored paid maternity leave.

What are the thought factors behind this? Why do employers seem so hesitant about paying employees when they or their spouse have given birth? Thanks to research by Boston Consulting Group, we can shoot down the major misconception: profit.

In fact, of companies that offer paid parental leave, 92% said they were able to increase or maintain profit levels under the new policies!

How does this work, when you are losing an employee and paying them to stay home? It’s simple, really – it costs more to replace your teammates than it does to show your current ones that you care about them.

When employers increase parental leave, the affected teammates are far more likely to come back to work, and be happier at work. Morale increases when your company treats its constituents as a family, and not as chess pieces.

Not only retention, but attraction – 77% of job seekers and workers said the company’s parental leave policies affect their choice on whether to work there!

This trend has increased slightly in the past decade; from 2010 to the present, we’ve gone from 11% to 14% of United States employees covered by these plans. It’s hard to fathom why so few companies seem to realize the benefit of offering great benefits!

We hope that Genius Plaza’s fully paid time off policies can be an inspiration to other organizations. At the least, we hope prospective job seekers will recognize what a family-oriented social enterprise looks like, and to ask themselves what is important when considering a new opportunity.

Building diversity into your hiring process

I once worked with a manager who would only interview candidates who graduated from his prestigious alma-mater. He ended up with a team of brilliant, but similar-minded clones, who knew all the same processes and techniques, having studied under the same professors. This led to an increase in immediate productivity as everyone knew how to follow the current procedures, but when it came time to brainstorm new ideas: dead silence.

The team fell into a niche, and when new objectives arrived, and technologies changed, the team couldn’t break out of their comfort zone. They went from being a high performing team, to a dead weight in their department that struggled to adapt. The company lost hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of dollars trying to reprogram and restructure the department.

Subjectivity in the hiring process can lead to an increase in uniformity among teams, which has been proven to decrease creativity and lead to lower long-term performance.

Focusing extra attention on bringing in a diverse workforce can lead to long-term financial performance, and yet we find that companies often struggle to reflect this in their hiring practices.

How can you change your hiring processes to embrace, and even seek-out teammates of different skillsets, thought processes, and backgrounds? Here are some tips from our team at Genius Plaza:

Structure the “culture fit” conversation: Positivity, eagerness for the job, alignment with the company mission, experience working in similar environments. Culture fit is crucial in the hiring process and each individual success. Use these and similar factors that are based on solid criteria for evaluating the candidate, instead of “does (s)he feel right for us” or “does the team like this person.”

Blind-review of applications: Have your HR or Recruiting team present candidate applications without names or locations attached, to ensure each candidate is reviewed objectively.

Embrace relocation: Don’t eliminate candidates who are not in the area, if they make clear they will relocate. It may add some additional time to their start date, but they are bringing a new perspective and ideas with them. With the average cost of replacing a low performer landing in the thousands of dollars, it can be worth it to pay a bit more up-front to bring someone from afar.

Diversity job boards: Utilize job boards that focus on hiring women, veterans, or diverse candidates, to turn your applicant flow into a more reflective pool of the population. Big-name job boards may land you hundreds of applicants, but every recruiter knows that one strong candidate is worth a hundred mediocre ones. Our CEO Ana Roca Castro likes to remind us that recruitment of diverse candidates sometimes may be tough, so you need to look harder.

Work with International Students: Working directly with colleges can help find fantastic international students for Internship and Co-Op positions, or during their authorized practical training period after graduation (for F-1 visa students).

At Genius Plaza diversity is one of our core values. We are proud of our record and recognize we need to continue to make diversity and inclusion a priority each and every day. For us it is part of our corporate culture, a competitive advantage that drives innovation and allows us to better serve educators and students.


-Scott Kattrein

Talent Manager at Genius Plaza