Workplace Hiring in the New Gig Economy

Workplace Hiring in the New Gig Economy

Nowadays, many workers are like stereotypical musicians looking for gigs. It’s true that the template of working fulltime for a company is still standard, but today people have so many other options. Because of the Internet and the use of special apps, people can do freelance work in a variety of ways. They can do these things to supplement their income or even just do these things on a full-time basis.

If you’re running your own company, you need to understand how this new employment options can affect your hiring process. This gig economy isn’t a fad, just like the use of the Internet and apps aren’t fads either. Some, like Intuit CEO Brad Smith, think that by 2020 about 43% of all professionals will be working gigs.

What does this mean for your company? One quick conclusion you can make is that with so many workers opting not to work fulltime, you may have found it more difficult to find new workers to fill out your positions for an extended period of time.

Using Contractors

Instead of having a regular W2 employee, you may need to think about dealing with 1099 contractors. These are workers who don’t have to go to the office and work on a defined schedule. Instead, they can stay home or work in a remote location and simply provide the service or work needed by their parent company.

These 1099 contractors don’t have income tax automatically withheld from their pay. They also don’t get benefits such as workplace insurance that the company may provide for their regular employees.

But the freedom afforded to 1099 contractors provides a very tempting offer for many workers. What this means is that you may want to think about offering similar arrangements with some of your employees, as they may quit and become contractors for another company instead. Some of your positions may also be filled with contractors as well.

Self-Employed Service Providers

These self-employed service providers are similar to 1099 contractors, except that they can work for several companies at once. They can provide specific services such as website maintenance, SEO, or writing blog articles.

If you need the services of these types of professionals, you may find them on sites like Freelancer.com. You may also find them on networks such as LinkedIn and even on Facebook. Hiring these services is like using another company for your security or your maintenance.

Hiring New People and Retaining Your Employees

With the availability of employment options like these, companies must not just find a way to hire people among the dwindling number of workers who still prefer to work fulltime. If you’re running your own company, you also need to make sure that your current employees remain at their jobs so you don’t lose all that knowledge and experience.

So what can you do to attract new workers and keep the current ones? Here are some ways that can help:

  • Emphasize what makes your company culture unique. Point out what values your brand promotes so that workers can view joining your company as a sign of support for these values.
  • Meticulously list all the benefits and perks of being your company’s employee. Mention how you offer insurance if you do, and how your group of employees help out one another.
  • In your websites, feature photos and testimonials from your employees. It makes your company more real, and not just another faceless corporation. Post videos of employees hard at work or having fun. Let them tell potential hires about what they love about their job—and this also reminds these same workers why they shouldn’t quit!

Three Ways to Build Trust in Remote Teams

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Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.
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How is Coworking Great For The Los Angeles Tech Scene

100 Shared Office And Desk Space to Work in Los Angeles

Check out these 100 coworking spaces in LA.

Co-working spaces have started to take off recently, and it’s all thanks to the need of business locations. A city like Los Angeles tends to have very high rent and purchase prices for real estate, and that means you need to find a great way to acquire new business locations. But if you’re a business or a freelancer that needs a business presence yet which lacks the necessary amount of money, it’s super hard for you to get the job done properly and not worry about possible problems.

And that’s where the need for co-working places comes into play. These locations are very different when compared to a regular office for example. And that’s because there are multiple businesses all residing in a single place.

How is co-working great for the Los Angeles Tech Scene?

Tons of startups want to grow and evolve. And they can totally do that with the right amount of help and support. Even freelancers need a proper business location as they want to avoid working from home. Juice bars and coffee shops are ok for them, but they can end up being problematic as time goes by. You are much better off going for a shared workspace. You do have plenty of space to share with others, yet at the same time, you can fulfill your tasks and just enjoy your time without that much of a problem too.

The Los Angeles co-working spaces are designed with affordability in mind. They are quite affordable, way more affordable than a rental. That’s why most freelancers and startup owners gravitate towards such a place. They also encourage networking, which is why a lot of people enjoy co-working in the first place. It just offers you a way to connect with business professionals in the same industry.

And since the tech industry is booming in Los Angeles, it’s easy to see that the co-working spaces are amazing networking places, to begin with. On top of that, they do offer flexibility. You are free to come and work at any given hour during the day or night. And you also have amenities like coffee machines, fully equipped kitchens and so on. The only difference is that you don’t have to worry about the leasing formalities anymore. And the costs are way lower, which is what makes this entire process very convenient and amazing in its own right.

Who uses co-working spaces in Los Angeles?

It might sound a bit cliché, but every business that wants to grow and save money tends to focus on this type of spaces. And the benefit is that they can easily make quite a lot of money while also avoiding lots of expenses. Every tiny expense matters if you plan on saving money, so it certainly makes a lot of sense to use such co-working spaces.

But the interesting thing is that even some of the large organizations are coming onboard with this. It makes a lot of sense to use co-working spaces especially when they want to transition to a new building. Plus, they can cut the expenses if they want to downsize and use a smaller team, then outsource some of the other tasks.

The great thing is that tons of companies in Los Angeles see co-working spaces as an opportunity, and that’s great for them. Even companies like Merck, KPMG and many others are actively involved in using co-working spaces. So it’s safe to say that there’s a lot of interesting in using such working spaces, and it’s something that you will enjoy and appreciate quite a bit due to that.

How does this affect the rental prices?

Since we are talking about Los Angeles, the rental prices are still very high and they are not going to be lower anytime soon. There’s a huge demand for office spaces in the town, so companies that create co-working spaces are the right solution especially for smaller businesses that want to grow and which need to establish their own presence in the city.

An interesting thing about co-working spaces is that they also provide virtual addresses. That means customers or business partners can easily send inquiries or packages to the company and they will be received at the co-working space. It’s a great way to acquire a Los Angeles office address, and the best part is it costs way less than regular rent prices.

Do these co-working spaces replicate a traditional office?

In some ways they do, because you do have amenities and immediate access to features that are a part of any office. These include printers, scanners and any utilities needed by various companies. Some co-working spaces in Los Angeles have 3D printers too, not to mention they have small conference rooms too. So you can actually create or attend a conference in there without any problems.

You do have to wonder, who is the target for these co-working spaces? As we mentioned earlier, small companies and freelancers are extremely important for those persons that create co-working spaces. However, if we talk about the age range, most of the time the interested persons will be millennials. They are the ones that have lots of great ideas and which lack the funds to create a large business.

The co-working spaces in Los Angeles provide them with enough space to work on their projects, all while still being able to connect with other business professionals. However, you will also find older and more experienced business professionals and freelancers that work from the co-working spaces. They decided to opt for these co-working spaces because they offer more efficiency and a great way to generate leads and new business partners or attracting new clients.

As you can see, more and more co-working spaces are used in Los Angeles, and it’s a great thing to hear. Small and medium-sized businesses are actively focused on innovation, and they want to use all their income to grow and evolve. The last thing they want is to spend most of their money on rent, so the co-working spaces are very convenient for them!

Check out these 100 coworking spaces in LA.

Author Details
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.
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Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.

PledgeLA to Boost Diversity and Inclusion in The Los Angeles Tech Community

PledgeLA to Boost Diversity and Inclusion in The Los Angeles Tech Community

As the tech sector in LA grows due to the saturation of the tech industry in the San Francisco area, the same problems in Silicon Valley are now coming up. There’s a growing tension between the upstarts of the tech industry and the regular folks in the community surrounding this IT boom.

According to critics, what will follow in LA will be what happened in San Francisco if there’s nothing done about it. Regular people and longtime residents will feel alienated and looked down upon. They will feel like they’re being forced out by the higher rents and costs of homes as well as the prices of regular consumer goods.

That’s why more than 80 entrepreneurs and tech investors are joining Mayor Eric Garcetti and the non-profit Annenberg Foundation to launch PledgeLA. This is the LA tech community initiative that seeks to avoid what happened in San Francisco and to the people there who felt disenfranchised by the growing tech boom.

PledgeLA Features

Features of the initiative include the following:

  • More opportunities will be provided for everyone, regardless of race, background, or gender. So even non-white women who grew up poor should have the same opportunities as the white guys who grew up rich.
  • Those who signed to the PledgeLA agreement will track civic participation and diversity data each year. That data will be made public so that people will know if a tech company is made up of exclusively white males from the Ivy Leagues and other top schools.
  • Startups and funds will report on the composition of their workforce noting various factors. This won’t be just noting age, gender, and race. It will also note socioeconomic origin, educational attainment, and even sexual orientation to see if there’s bias against hiring members of the LGBT community. Other factors will include the status in regards to disabilities, immigration, and military service veteran. Even the tenure at a firm will be noted.
  • The signatories also will come up with a proper code of conduct centered on diversity and inclusion, and diversity will be practiced in corporate hiring.

Good Business Sense

While many who signed PledgeLA did so out of a sense of moral and ethical rightness, it also makes good business sense to emphasize diversity on corporate hiring practices. A Diverse workgroup brings different points of views when it comes to making decisions. It helps with networking for sources of talent, and the diverse work group can help build a diverse consumer base as well.

LA has now become one of the top 5 US destinations for technology investment and it’s now one of the top tech hubs in the country. The top 100 tech companies in LA and Orange County has reported a 24% increase in employment within the last year.

There are a still a few notable holdouts to PledgeLA, however. Tesla and SpaceX have not yet signed on, and nor has Snap. But LA is an inherently diverse area, and such a diversity must be maintained in the tech workplace as well.

Author Details
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.
×
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.

Can You Measure Software Developer Productivity?

Can You Measure Software Developer Productivity?

The cost of software development kills innovation by limiting resources available to solve problems

THE PRODUCTIVITY DILEMMA

Let’s face it – software development is expensive.  Really expensive.  It’s not hard to understand why – software development is a complicated and still-maturing industry, and as the sector grows, it actually gets more complicated, not less, because of the acceleration of changes in technologies, programming languages, and toolsets.

As a technology consultant, one who is paid to help build expensive, complex systems, I should be happier than a fanboy on a Fortnite bender about this trend, right?  Wrong – it frustrates me a great deal.  My job is to solve problems and build things that people need, and that gets harder when funding becomes a challenge for our clients.

So here’s the question I’ve been grappling with – how can we make software development more productive to reduce costs?

There are lots of things our industry has done over the preceding decades to tackle this problem:

  • Developed working methodologies to build repeatable practices – Waterfall, Unified Process, Agile, XP, etc.
  • Created design patterns to solve common problems – MVC, SOLID, GoF, and many others
  • Leveraged lower cost resources through offshoring

None of these have been a panacea.  Look at any enterprise and you’ll find competing for SDLC methodologies, loose adherence to design practices, and the common efficiency roadblocks due to offshoring.  While these efforts have been helpful in managing cost, it is very difficult to measure the effect they have really had.

MEASURING PRODUCTIVITY

What to do, then?  More than anything, the focus of productivity has to start with the most human element of all – the individual developer herself.  The focus has to be on how to increase the speed that a developer can turn a designed solution into working code with as few errors as possible.

Anyone who has been in the software industry knows there are broad ranges in developers’ productivity.   It depends on the individual’s ability to understand programming theory, their educational background, years of experience, a personal situation at the time, how much Fortnite they play, etc.

Why is this important?  Quite simply, time is money.  The longer it takes a developer to code a solution, the more it costs.  In today’s environment of nearly full employment, demand for software developers has never been higher, which brings a lot of varied talent into the picture to meet the demand.  Anyone who has hired a developer knows the productivity gap I’m talking about – hiring is an expensive proposition and no matter how much interviewing you do, and you’re never sure what sort of productivity you’ll get until that person gets to work.

Why is measuring productivity so hard?  Because a good measurement involves an apples-to-apples comparison between developers, yet they will almost never complete the same task to produce the same set of code.  Since every development task is different, we cannot establish a baseline for how long it SHOULD take to perform a task versus how long it WILL take a specific developer.  Throw in each person’s differing levels of experience, education, and general abilities with the discipline, and…you get the picture.

Does that mean we’re stuck with technical interviews, coding tests, and answered prayers to create a team of highly productive software engineers?  Not quite.  Agile practices give us an opportunity to solve the biggest challenge in measuring developer productivity – creating a baseline to measure the variance between the estimated and actual time to perform a coding task.

HOW IT WORKS

Every ALM tool – Jira, or otherwise – allows a Scrum team to create story sub-tasks during their planning sessions.  Usually, a developer assigned to a sub-task has an opportunity to estimate the time it should take to complete that task, measured in hours.  During the sprint, developers can then track the actual hours spent so the team can evaluate the variance between estimated and actual hours.

This variance isn’t particularly helpful as a productivity metric because the individual developer may be much faster or slower than the average, and their estimations likely reflect this bias.

The solution to this problem is to have all the developers on the Scrum team estimate each subtask duration, creating a proxy baseline and a more reasonable expectation of the task’s duration.  Then, once a task is assigned to the individual developer, the variance calculations can start to have some meaning.

What meaning are we to glean from this variance? When looking at large sets of variances (hundreds or thousands of tasks over multiple projects), we can observe patterns in individual developers’ productivity.  If they consistently take longer to complete a task than the established baseline, we can look more deeply at the data to find root causes and potential remediations.  Is there a skills mismatch, allocation mismatch, or something else?  Does the developer need more pair programming or training in specific areas?

If a developer consistently performs tasks in less time than the estimations, we have hard metrics to reward that individual and encourage continued productivity.  We can also look at the data to see how we might have other developers emulate good behaviors from these high performers.

IMPLICATIONS

I know I know – I can hear the complaints now.  A small group of 2-4 developers on a Scrum team estimating a task cannot be used as a valid baseline, you say.  It’s a fair point, but any leftover estimation bias from a small sample size of developers would be offset by the volume of variance data we would collect.  As a manager, I care more about the variance trends and less about the exactness of anyone variance calculation.

But wait, you say.  All of this supposes a developer will be truthful in reporting their actual duration on a task.  People lie to themselves and others all the time (just read “Everybody Lies” by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz) – if a developer knows they’ll be measured on variance, they’ll manipulate their actuals to improve their perceived productivity.

Again, fair point, but there is a self-policing solution to this problem.  An employee is generally expected to work 8 hours a day.  If a developer consistently under-reports their actual durations on a task, it would appear they were consistently working less than they should be.

Say a developer is assigned two 4-hour tasks, and he takes 1 day to complete both but only reports 2 hours of actual duration for each task.  We would see a report that shows him only working 4 hours that day.  With enough data points, we could easily spot a trend of under-reporting and take corrective action.

CONCLUSION

Why is all of this important?  As individuals, not just employees, we should all strive to improve ourselves every day.  That’s how society is supposed to work – we do things, we make mistakes, we learn from them and we grow in the process.  But we can’t improve what we can’t measure.  The method I describe is very easy to implement, as long as your team is following the Scrum ceremonies.  With simple metrics and trend analysis, maybe we can finally solve a difficult problem and leave ourselves more time to knock a few more things of that ever-growing to-do list.

Chad Hahn
Author Details
Optimity Advisors, Inc.
Chad Hahn is a partner overseeing the digital & technology practice at Optimity Advisors. He is an entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in strategy, business development, operations, and technology, and has started and sold two successful service businesses. He has a strong background in software engineering and enterprise architecture, with deep expertise in both traditional and emerging technologies.
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Chad Hahn
Optimity Advisors, Inc.
Chad Hahn is a partner overseeing the digital & technology practice at Optimity Advisors. He is an entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in strategy, business development, operations, and technology, and has started and sold two successful service businesses. He has a strong background in software engineering and enterprise architecture, with deep expertise in both traditional and emerging technologies.