All Posts in Culture
No one puts a system for diversity recruiting in place when they start their business. We all just try to do our best to hire talented people we’ll get along with, and hire them fast. It’s only later that so many companies realize with a shock that all their colleagues look alike.
We always made an effort to include many voices at Table XI so we never had a totally homogenous team. But as we grew, we realized we needed an actual strategy for recruiting diverse candidates, not just good intentions.
Everyone deserves an inclusive workplace. To be seen for who you are and made to feel a part of something is a fundamental courtesy every business should extend to each team member. And most want to — even a business entirely motivated by profit can recognize the statistics that show employees perform better when they buy into a shared sense of mission.
So, why are so many companies terrible at creating an inclusive culture?
Recently, our old colleague Greg Baugues chatted with the guys at Ruby Rogues about a subject we think is one of the most important facing our industry today: the prevalence and stigma of mental illness in the developer community. A programmer who struggled for a long time to identify and deal with his own ADHD and Type II Bipolar, Greg has given several talks about his own experiences and how to get help if you or a friend is suffering from depression or another kind of mental illness.
The polar vortex has blasted Chicago. The blizzards have bamboozled Atlanta. Sunshine and highs in the 60s have nearly torn San Diego apart...wait...
Winter is terrorizing most of the country, but luckily we live in the 21st century, and there's an app for that. These 11 tech tricks will help you survive February from morning to night.
As we close out 2013, we wanted to take a look back at the year that was. We think we upped our game this past year, improving our business, growing our office, and participating in many new events and organizations. Take a look at some of the year's highlights below, and once again, thank you to everyone who's been with us for the ride!
It's no surprise that here at Table XI we're full up with tech-heads. If you've got a gadget-lover that needs some love this holiday season, consider these five techie gifts (plus two bonus ideas for the more analog-minded).
Romo the Robot, $149.99
Meet Romo, a robot that “uses your iPhone as his brain.” Fit your phone onto Romo and “teach” him to do different things, like smile when he recognizes your face, or push things from one side of a table to the other.
What makes a good Vine video? I've found it's helpful to think backward. If a friend visited the office, what would I be certain to point out? Is there anything particularly ridiculous or hilarious that I couldn't describe to a stranger? Or finally, is there something I really want to see happen that I can set up under the auspices of, "Hey, can you help me shoot a Vine?"
As a format, Vine is best-suited for capturing small, microcosmic moments (like, say, when it snowed for the first time this year and minutes later an office-wide Nerf battle erupted—Vine gold).
You’ve seen this on every website for every tech company: “Our company cares about its people.” It’s so ubiquitous that everyone’s eyes skate right across it. The meaning is lost.
However, Table XI’s people-caring efforts are a bit different. If you’ve had a chance to explore the Culture page on our website, you’ll notice the section at the bottom, “Adventures Powered by Table XI.” This section highlights several team members who have traveled abroad and/or worked remotely, continuing to contribute to the company while being away from our main office in Chicago.
Table XI has no formal policy around living abroad and working remotely, but our COO Mark, CTO Matt, and CEO Josh believe strongly that happy employees work better. They apply that idea to this subject in a very real way.
After working as Table XI’s Director of Delivery for a little less than a year, last spring I dropped a few big bombs. First, I let Mark, Matt, and Josh know that I planned to move to Seattle, where I’m originally from. All three immediately suggested that we try to figure out a remote-work situation. Given my short tenure with the company, I was thrilled that they’d even consider this an option. In a stunning surprise to all (including me), a few weeks later I discovered I was pregnant and laid that news down, as well.
As the Director of Delivery, along with serving on the management team and participating in recruitment, resource management, and other operations responsibilities, much of my role falls in the Delivery Assurance bucket: project management, business analysis, and quality assurance. All of this requires a ton of collaboration with other people in the office, and at first, the difficulties in working remotely loomed large. But rather than shy away from the challenges that my working from Seattle might bring, the TXI leadership did what they do best—try to find a solution that works for everyone. We discussed some tools and processes that would help me remain effective despite the time difference and distance, and agreed to give the new situation a solid three-month trial.
TXI continued to be supportive as I moved to Seattle with my husband, set up my home office, and went to the 4,400 doctors’ appointments required of a pregnant lady. As my son’s due date grew closer, I faced the great questions that confront every pregnant, working woman. Will I work or will I stay home once the baby is born? How will I manage the intense focus and energy my job requires and also take care of an infant? How will I take care of an infant at all?! (That question comes to EVERY pregnant woman, working or not!)
In January my son was born and I went on maternity leave. I’d been honest with TXI that I might not be returning, and set a date to discuss my plans with them halfway through my leave. I decided that the best thing for our family would be for me to work part-time, around 30 hours per week. I wasn’t sure if TXI would go for it—after all, most tech companies laugh at the thought of part-time requests—but I put a proposal together and arranged a call to go over it.
Nervously, I laid out my reasons to Mark, Matt, and Josh and waited for them to respond, saying I understood if they needed to discuss separately before giving me an answer. Instead, they immediately accepted my proposal and stressed how thrilled they were that I was returning. Each of them expressed how much I had been missed, that the work I do is valued, and that they wanted me to find a working situation that would lead to health and happiness. (Insanely awesome, right?!)
I’ve been back at work for about three months now. I work six-hour days Mon–Fri, 10am-4pm Chicago time (8am-2pm Seattle time). Working fewer hours every day of the week versus three longer days is better for my role, since I can check in on various projects and initiatives daily. I pick my son up from daycare after work, and we spend our afternoons together. Once in awhile a meeting pops up that requires me to rearrange my schedule, which is easy to do with advanced warning.
Now, as I approach my two-year anniversary with TXI, I continue to be impressed by the effort our company puts forth in caring about its people. The flexible work environment attracts and retains people like nothing else. People stay at the company longer (our attrition rate is very low), and they tend to be more productive and happier. If TXI had been inflexible, I most likely would have quit and found something else, and been just another part of the mass exodus of new mothers I’ve seen leave other tech companies. Instead, we found a way to make it work, and we all won: I continue to provide value to TXI, TXI continues to employ me, and my baby benefits from a mom who’s professionally fulfilled AND excited to play everyday at 2pm.
Many working moms talk about The Dream: working part-time in a rewarding job while also getting extended time with the kiddos. At Table XI, The Dream is alive and well.
Sign up for our monthly newsletter to stay up to date on the latest tech tips from Table XI and to receive exclusive invites to events