Client Resources

Do Perks and Benefits Outweigh Salary?

By Catherine Lang-Cline

What we are seeing more and more often are people looking for jobs that offer them a better quality of life. That quality of life does not always equal who is offering the highest salary. Many individuals in the new workforce are looking for employment that fits with their lifestyle. Work that is enjoyable, reflects their beliefs and allows them to do other things than work.

What are some of the things that people are looking for? To no surprise, healthcare is a must. After that, people are interested in things like flexible work options, working remotely, on-site amenities like gym access or dry cleaning services, unlimited vacation, on-site childcare, and in-office meal options.

Knowing that this is what attracts good candidates, what can you do when some of these things are not in your budget? If you are one of the companies that are still trying to figure out healthcare, see if there are groups in your community that you can join and be a part of a larger group to get more affordable pricing. Chambers of Commerce in your area are one option to look into to get more affordable coverage. Look at other groups you could be already affiliated with or could join that could help offer discounts.

Flexible work options could include part-time workers, 4-day/10-hour work weeks, and allowing employees to work certain days or hours from home if their role allows. Working remotely could also help in cases of emergency childcare needs like last minute school closings or illness. You may not be able to have a lot of amenities on site but can you have free gym memberships? Can you arrange weekly dry cleaning pickup? As far as meals, let’s assume that you do not have a full cafeteria, but is your office located in a place when food options are nearby or walkable? If not, maybe pizza delivery may be in order on occasion.

Unlimited vacation can be tricky. That comes down to trust and trusting the people you have hired are still able to do their job and work will keep moving forward if they are not in the office. Are they people that you know will get the work done regardless of how much time they are actually in the office? Having goals and numbers to be accountable for might be your answer here. “Facetime” doesn’t always mean that someone is being productive. Can you put together a scorecard for them for accountability and check in weekly? Allowing this might get you both what you want.

Employing people becomes more and more challenging as the bar tend to be raised continuously as people fight to get talent. Really think about, or even ask, what your employees think are the most important benefits they need and go from there. What would really make them stay with you? As you are going through your list, it is worth mentioning that no one ever stayed at a place of employment for the bean bag chairs or the foosball table.

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Think we can help you or your organization? Contact us at www.portfoliocreative.com Also check out the Portfolio Creative blog and sign up to receive expert hiring tips from our pros.

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Catherine Lang-Cline is President and co-founder of Portfolio Creative, an Inc. fastest-growing company for six years. Portfolio Creative helps companies connect with creative talent in all areas of marketing, design, advertising, and digital roles for corporations, retailers, and large creative agencies. More information is available at portfoliocreative.com

This article may be reprinted when the copyright and author bio are included. ©2018 Catherine Lang-Cline, Portfolio Creative, LLC.

#SheMeansBusiness Presents: Women at Work

Recently, Facebook stopped by our office to learn more about our Co-Creators, Kristen and Catherine, for their #shemeansbusiness series.

Watch the full video below!

The Best Results Come With a Referral

By Catherine Lang-Cline 

Staffing Success recently published an article about how creative people are in high demand. We could not agree more. With every company needing a person with a skill set that addresses the many changes that are going on in technology and how we sell things, the need for web and mobile development, web production, user interface, and interaction design, and creative development has reached new heights.

About half of the companies out there can get a referral from someone else for people with these skills. What about the other half? That is where we hope that companies like ours can help. One of the reasons we started this company is that we thought we knew everyone in town that did creative, but over the last decade, we have met thousands more really, really good creative people. 

How does that help you? Definitely ask around for a referral. If that comes up empty, reach out to a well-respected company that either specializes in the project you want to accomplish or reach out to a service company/recruiting company that can find you the perfect person. What a well-respected company that specializes in what you are looking for can do is really understand your need and be connected with the exact person that will fit your project and your culture. Their reputation should be based on who they can find. Think of it as a group of people that can offer you even more referrals on who the best people in town are. Far better than an online job posting that connects you to people you don’t know.

What are the hardest roles to find?

  • Web and mobile development
  • Creative development
  • User interface and interaction design
  • Information architecture
  • User experience
  • Web production
  • Visual design
  • Marketing strategy
  • Animation
  • User research

Any of those sound familiar?

Again, find a partner that would love to talk to you about the changes in technology and people that can help you get things done. Find people that have done work like this, understand work like this, and understand what a person needs to know to get the work done. This is your company, this is your money, and you want to get the right person for the job the first time.
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Think we can help you or your organization? Contact us at www.portfoliocreative.com Also check out the Portfolio Creative blog and sign up to receive expert hiring tips from our pros.
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Catherine Lang-Cline is President and co-founder of Portfolio Creative, an Inc. fastest-growing company for six years. Portfolio Creative helps companies connect with creative talent in all areas of marketing, design, advertising, and digital roles for corporations, retailers, and large creative agencies. More information is available at portfoliocreative.com
This article may be reprinted when the copyright and author bio are included. ©2018 Catherine Lang-Cline, Portfolio Creative, LLC.

 

Diversity in Creative: The Power of Conversation

By Kristen Harris

Our business is to connect clients with the best creative talent, which means we’re working with candidates and companies in the creative space all day long. 

As we go about our work, we often notice a lack of diversity in race or ethnic background amongst candidates for creative roles. Let’s just say it here–we know that this conversation can be tricky territory. But if a company is focused on change, and it’s coming from the right place for the right reasons, we support that. Our job and the commitment we make to our clients is to find top candidates for the role regardless of how they look, their name, background, physical differences, or any other trait that has nothing to do with how well they can do the job. 

At Portfolio Creative we’re in a unique position because we work with both creative talent and employers, but we don’t have all the answers. Seeking input, ideas, and support from people with different experiences than our own, recently we tapped into the power of community and conversation by hosting a Diversity in Creative roundtable as part of the Columbus Foundation’s Big Table event

We invited creatives, marketers, diversity professionals, employers, hiring managers, and community leaders to discuss this topic. While nearly all of the participants were people of color, we knew each person would bring their own unique experience and perspective. All of the attendees were incredibly generous with their time, ideas and insights. 

They shared challenges and barriers they’ve seen personally and have observed in the workplace and discussed where there is an opportunity for change and how we might go about achieving it. While each individual’s experience is unique, there were common themes about how important contacts, access, sponsorship, preparation, and acceptance are to career success whether it’s within a company or starting your own business. 

How did we have a productive conversation about a complex and potentially awkward topic? We set the stage by asking everyone to be open, honest, and a bit patient with each other. Just by hosting the roundtable, we encouraged people to get involved in a conversation about a topic that is rarely discussed, and made sure everyone around the table was engaged. And we listened. We learned from others, heard their ideas, and asked questions to better understand the issue.

So, where do we go from here? We know one conversation won’t create change so we’ll keep reaching out to the community, inviting conversation, asking questions, and listening to learn. And, as it becomes more clear how and where we can be influential to facilitate change, we’ll take action. Because conversation is great, but action leads to change.

Our Favorite Places for Offsite Meetings

Our days are filled with meetings, but sometimes it's nice to get out of the office once in a while. Below are a few of our favorite places for offsite meetings. 

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Photo by Fox in the Snow 

Fox in the Snow

[German Village] + [Italian Village

Website

 

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Photo by La Chatelaine

 

La Chatelaine

[multiple locations

Website

 

 

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Photo by Pistacia Vera

Pistacia Vera 

[MULTIPLE LOCATIONS

Website

 

 

Jenis.png

Photo by Jeni's 

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Photo by Mission Coffee

Mission Coffee

[MULTIPLE LOCATIONS

Website

 

 

 

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Photo by Zen Cha Tea Salon 

 

Zen Cha Tea Salon 

[Short north

Website

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Photo by Winans

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Photo by Bros' Coffee 

 

Luck Bros' Coffee 

[Grandview

Website

Get More Candidates with an Inviting Job Description

By Catherine Lang-Cline

You have a role to fill and you know exactly what skill sets you need. You start your long line of bullet points and it covers every single detail of what you are looking for in a candidate; the amount of experience required, software knowledge, responsibilities…. Check! Check! Check! It's perfection. Or is it completely boring?

Sure, all of these details are incredibly important, but does it sound interesting or inviting? Think about when you receive an invitation to an event. The details are what, where, time, and maybe who it may benefit. Party invitations include all of that too but instead, there is a line about, “Come celebrate!” or “Join us!” or “Don’t miss this!” Exciting, right?

Now a job is not a party but in order to get people interested in what is making your job description stand out over the others? The job market is tight, what would make them choose to go to your party, um... company, over another job offer? What are you offering or should be offering that would make your company the place to be?

Here are a few examples of bullet points that you could add to your next job description that will really attract candidates:

  • You can help grow
  • Collaborative environment
  • You will own… (as in be responsible for)
  • We love self-starters
  • You will work with an amazing team
  • Freedom to create
  • Free coffee!
  • Looking for people that believe in our mission
  • Flexible hours

I am guessing that you see the difference between this and a typical job description. It is basically building some excitement around being a part of your companies team. If you have a lengthy description that you really want to stick to, you could also have this welcoming invitation in a nice intro. Notice that it has nothing to do with foosball tables or bean bag chairs.

Still struggling? Not only would we love to help you re-craft your job description, we would love to help you find “the one” for your company. We invite you to contact us if you need help with this or any other workforce issues. We would be excited to help — portfoliocreative.com

Workplace Culture: It's a Reflection of Who You Are

By Kristen Harris 

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“Culture eats strategy for breakfast” (or lunch). 

This relatively common quote is often attributed to management guru, Peter Drucker, although it’s not really clear who actually said it. Really, it doesn’t matter who said it first, now people say it all the time. 

But what does it really mean?
What IS culture? 
And why is it so important?

While there are plenty, here is my definition of workplace culture: the set of norms your company and employees live by, otherwise known as “what happens when no one is looking”.

Culture is the standard of how things are done, how people treat customers and each other, the flow and pace of work. It’s all of the tiny (maybe seemingly insignificant) details that all add up to “this is how we do it here”. Culture is not what you do, it’s how you do it.

Every company and workplace has a culture, whether it’s been created intentionally or just happened over time. Cultures can be good, feel good, do good. Or they can be bad, feel bad, turn out bad. And, of course, there’s a lot of grey area in-between. 

In most cases, “good” or “bad” may be a judgment call of whether it feels right to you. If you like a laid-back vibe then a hard-charging, competitive culture won’t feel good. And, vice versa. Each culture may be right for that business, but rest assured that they are all different. Culture is a big part of what differentiates one business from another in the same industry.

Think about your favorite coffee shop. Is it a single location, down a side street, where only locals go? Or is it ultra-hip, in a trendy area, a place to network and be seen? Or is it a ubiquitous chain, found on every corner, consistent and easy to find? Each of these shops has its own culture–from the decor and how you’re greeted to what is offered, how it’s made and delivered to you. The way you feel receiving that coffee shop’s product and service is a reflection of their culture. And you probably feel more at home in one over the other. 

Culture reflects company values–what’s important to the people working there–and influences every part of your interaction. Which makes us feel more at home in one place over another.

At Portfolio Creative our culture has always been very important. Catherine and I set out to create the type of company where we’d want to work; we figured if it’s the kind of place we want to be, then our clients, talent and team members would too.

Here’s a taste of our culture:

  •  Fun – If we’re not having fun then we’re not doing it right! There’s a lot of laughter throughout the workday, even in meetings (yes, we’ve proven even meetings can be fun).
  • Friendly – We smile, say “Hi”, ask how you’re doing and actually listen to your answer. We act nice because we are nice.
  • Caring – We genuinely like each other, our clients, our talent, and all the other people we get to work with. When you really care, it shows.
  • Helpful – It’s our job to help people; we’re problem-solvers for our clients, talent and each other. If we can’t solve the problem, we try to share ideas or provide resources; no one walks away empty-handed. 

Culture isn’t about what you do–it’s how you do it and who you are. How everyone in the company behaves every day, even when no one’s looking. Especially when no one’s looking. 

Our Portfolio Creative culture reflects the values we live by every day. Want to see how it feels to work with people who are fun, friendly and caring? Reach out to let us know how we can help; you won’t leave empty-handed.

Why Clients (and Everyone) Deserves More Than a Text

By Catherine Lang-Cline

You know how when you read, hear, or see something that it can sometimes feel like that you have been hit like a thunderbolt? That occurred to me recently when I read that Nicole Kidman told Parade magazine that she has never sent her husband a text. "We talk all the time and we FaceTime but we just don't text because I feel like texting can be misrepresentative at times."

We all know that to be true but I am willing to take that thought one step further by saying that too much texting or email will simply erode any relationship. Speaking in terms of personal relationships first, my husband and I are very busy, there is a lot of travel, too. Therefore for speed, we text a lot. Typical, right? Just a long string of notes like:
“What’s for dinner?”
“I found my keys.”
“I love you xoxo”

Informative and sometimes sweet but after a while, it is just words, just information without feeling. The feeling comes in the face-to-face. The expression your husband makes when he sees you enter the room, the actual laugh vs the “LOL”, and sometimes it is no words and it is just holding hands. Awesome. The idea of that kind of communication makes me want to not use texting as a form of communication with my husband anymore.

Now let’s move this all to a professional arena. Clients are busy, we are busy and a client relationship can turn into a long string of quick notes, updates, and questions. Sometimes the client won’t get back to you in over a week. Ask yourself if your client relationship has dwindled to a bunch of unfeeling data. Your clients need to know you and we need to know them. We need to shake hands, let them see our faces when we are so excited to be working with them, and get to know them as people with feelings and challenges. What if you chose to cut your electronic communication with clients in half? What if you called, left voice messages, went out for lunch or coffee? Clients may still email return responses and not accept your lunch invitation but the seed about elevating this relationship has been planted. Sometimes you have to wait for it.

It might take a sliver more time to do this, you may not want to talk because you prefer the safety of a nicely constructed email, but if the result is a better relationship with your client..so worth it! Ultimately, we will all like each other. And who doesn't like working with people that we like? Let’s try it again this time with feeling.

Want to be treated like a person? You might want to contact us at portfoliocreative.com. Open, honest, helpful people work here.
 

Misclassification of Independent Contractors is Risky Business

By Kristen Harris

More opportunities for independent and remote work also means more opportunities to run afoul of employment law. There are a growing number of people who are interested and open to flexible work options and, understandably, companies want to take advantage of their skills and talents.

Upfront disclaimer: I am not an attorney or legal professional. This is general information only; be sure to consult with your own legal, tax and employment experts. Okay, back to the topic…

Businesses are utilizing a wide range of arrangments, to get work done, including full time and part-time employees, freelancers, temporary staffing employees, contracting firms, remote workers, and more. With all of these different arrangements, it can be challenging to know how to engage each person in a legally compliant way.

Today there are still only two ways to classify any worker from a tax and employment law perspective: as an Independent Contractor (1099) or and Employee (W2). Misclassification can be a serious issue, whether purposeful or accidental, so it’s important to make the right choice.

The IRS, federal and state government agencies are well aware of the temptation to ‘misclassify’ a worker by treating them as an Independent Contractor instead of an Employee. It may seem simpler, easier and advantageous from a tax perspective, but federal and state entities are continuing to crack down on businesses that misclassify workers and the consequences can be serious.

So, how do you get it right? There are two key things to keep in mind.

First of all, regardless of what the worker may prefer, the onus and the risk to properly classify workers are on the business. With the potential new tax advantages, some individuals may request to be handled as an Independent Contractor, but it’s up to you to decide if they truly qualify.

Second, the default is for every worker to be an Employee. So, if you want to handle someone as an Independent Contractor, there must be significant evidence that the relationship qualifies.

However, there is no clear set of rules to determine whether someone is an Independent Contractor or Employee. There are common law rules provided by the IRS but ultimately you have to make a judgment call.

You’re looking for what degree of control and independence the worker has in their relationship with you in three categories: Behavioral, Financial, and Type of Relationship. How much do you control what, how and where they do their job? How are they paid and reimbursed for expenses? Are there contracts, benefits, and is the relationship ongoing?

If you really want the IRS’s help in making this determination, you can fill out Form SS-8. Or perhaps you could just work through the questions on the form and the answer will become clear.

Wondering what the risks are to misclassifying a worker? You may be held liable for employment tasks for the worker, plus fines and penalties related to failure to withhold and remit taxes, pay insurance or pay overtime. Workers who feel they have been misclassified may also file a Form SS-8 requesting a review of their work situation.

If you realize that some of your Independent Contractors need to be reclassified as Employees, the IRS does offer an optional Voluntary Classification Settlement Program to help you get on the right track. Or, many companies avoid the risk by working with a qualified firm to assess and take care of non-employees. It’s what we do every day–we’re happy to help!

 

  

Color Coding Employees and How it Makes Handing Out Assignments Easier

By Catherine Lang-Cline

Most employers are very familiar with DISC, Myers-Briggs, and StrengthsFinder analysis testing. We at Portfolio Creative use the book “StrengthsFinder” by Tom Rath when we hire new associates. It has helped us understand people as soon as they step through our doors, as well as see where they are going to be effective on the team.

We also use a much simpler analysis that anyone can do and it is a quick read of anyone on your team, not to mention, yourself. It is called the Color Code Personality Science test and you can test yourself and your entire team for FREE here.

We love it because we can quickly understand each other, know how to respond to each other, and get the best results from each other. (Alliances may have been formed.)

Everyone is broken down into 4 simple color groups based on what is their most dominant color but every one contains some of everything, the definitions that follow that are in quotes are taken from the Color Code Personality Science website:

RED - “Red are the power wielders. Power: the ability to move from point A to point B and get things done, is what motivates and drives these people. They bring great gifts of vision and leadership and generally are responsible, decisive, proactive and assertive.” We need the RED personalities on our team. These people are the “get it done” people, just get out of their way. They like direct, short conversations and you won’t see them again until the task is completed. On time. The rest of the team knows that these three will hold them accountable to complete jobs on time, too. 

BLUE - “Blue are the do-gooders. Intimacy: connecting, creating quality relationships and having purpose, is what motivates and drives these people. They bring great gifts of quality and service and are generally loyal, sincere, and thoughtful.” We have a whole bunch of BLUE people here and considering what we do, this is great news. We deal with people and create relationships through great service. The BLUE people make it so people will keep coming back to use us.

WHITE - “White are the peacekeepers. Peace: the ability to stay calm and balanced even in the midst of conflict, is what motivates and drives these people. They bring great gifts of clarity and tolerance and are generally kind, adaptable, and good-listeners.” Need some conflict resolution? Send in the people in whose dominant color is WHITE. They see all sides of an argument, rarely get combative, they just want to see everyone get along. Typically, everyone gets along with these people. 

YELLOW - “Yellow are the fun lovers. Fun: the joy of living life in the moment, is what motivates and drives these people. They bring great gifts of enthusiasm and optimism and are generally charismatic, spontaneous, and sociable.” While you may think a YELLOW coded person could be a distraction, there really is nothing better to keep a team motivated. They can keep everyone upbeat, focused, and really help everyone see the joy in the job. Every team needs at least one cheerleader.

I am sure that you are wondering my results. I am: 
RED 44%, BLUE 42%, WHITE 9%, and YELLOW 4%. 

What this says about me is that I am driven, but I appreciate people and relationship. On the backend of that, I don’t have a lot of tolerance nor do I need to create fun moments. (Work over fun has always been a gift and curse for me.) How do I feel about that? GREAT! Because this is me and I know where I thrive and everything else...well, I have a great team to help me out with that.