PH: A holistic approach

This year Project House is turning four, and we have been getting ready for our next business phase.  After partnering with more than 65 clients, designing and delivering countless projects and solutions, and onboarding over 40 PH team members, we wanted to take stock of what we’ve built so far and where we want to focus next.    

Following our own advice, we enlisted some extra muscle from an energetic and empathetic business coaching team.  Together we have spent the summer diving into our project stories, mining our business data, brainstorming creative ideas, and answering tough questions about what drives our business and inspires us. We have enjoyed highlighting which services give us the best opportunity to thrive and provide value, as well as reminding ourselves what makes PH so unique.   

We are proud of being a part of a business community that acknowledges the considerable impact that happy, motivated, healthy, and comfortable employees have on productivity, retention, achievement, and financial success.  

What we’ve discovered is that we are drawn to ensuring our clients are successfully empowered with effective and practical solutions: 

  • Sustainable and positive management practices and systems to engage people better 
  • Beautiful and practical spaces where individuals and teams can thrive 
  • Tools and facilitation to maximize employee strengths and talents 
  • Strategy to align brand and culture across key business areas. 

This isn’t a wholesale change from what we’ve been doing, but at the same time it feels like a shift into a holistic approach where all of our experience, skills, and values click into place.  What does Project House do?  We help leaders create productive and engaging workplaces. 

We are excited by our ability to combine best practices, tried and true solutions, creative ideas, and industry innovations into achievable and customized solutions. 

You will start to see this focus in our branding, in the work we take on, and in the types of workshops we provide.  And as always we welcome your feedback, questions, encouragement, and referrals!   

Next up?  Crystal and I are heading to Amsterdam, where we will participate in the Smart Workplace Design Summit, a conference that celebrates the powerful combination of HR and Workspace best practices.  This is a perfect fit for Project House, as it aligns exactly with our design and solution-focused business model.  We can’t wait to tour innovative offices and exchange ideas with a range of speakers from across Europe, and come home inspired! 

Stay tuned for more, and as always, THANK YOU for being part of our business journey.   

Embracing Conflict

As a kid, I was very uncomfortable with conflict. I wanted everyone to get along, and when they didn’t, it made me uneasy and anxious. I often tried to solve problems that weren’t really mine, and was eager to build bridges between people in an effort to keep the peace.

Early in my career, as a newly promoted manager in video games, I continued to struggle with conflict, as I interpreted all argument as discord, and I believed it was my responsibility to maintain harmony within the team in order to keep people motivated and moving forward. Once, in a technical team meeting, a discussion about how to approach a challenging new feature turned into a particularly heated argument. As was normal for me, I waded in and tried to diffuse the tension before it got out of hand. A software engineer (who I have since thanked) turned to me and told me that, by trying to make everyone get along, I was in fact blocking creativity and the healthy flow of ideas.

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The Story of The Baker

A story we often tell when we get asked what Project House is all about, is one about a Baker who loves to bake pies.  We’ll call him The Baker.  The Baker made pies all of the time.  His pies were well-loved by his family, who demanded pies for every conceivable occasion.  His pies were delicious and better than anything available in a shop.  Over time,  The Baker started making pies for his kids’ fundraising events, for his friends and their friends, and before he knew it, his pies were in such high demand that he had a business on his hands and he needed to hire some helpers and find a community kitchen space several days a week just to keep up with the orders.

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We Love Being Part of Your Team

Last year, one of our clients went through a significant leadership change. We had enjoyed a great relationship with this client, and we felt trusted and effective, providing strategic and operational support regularly and easily. When our primary senior contact informed us he was leaving the organization, we wondered if our work with this client would continue, or if the new leader would be looking to make their mark by handling these pieces differently. We focused on ensuring a smooth transition from one leader to another, making ourselves available to bridge processes and systems, and support continuity.

After this initial transition period, once the new leader had an opportunity to assess their own goals and priorities and set their own tone with the team, he reached out to us. Happily we were asked to step even further into the organization, to spend more time 1:1 with employees, and to make ourselves known and trusted members of the team.

Months later, we are still spending regular time in this client’s office, dipping in more often when there’s a big project to deliver.  We are able to support them in a way that is effective and positive for us as well as the team, sharing our expertise and learning from each other.  When a challenge looms, we can head it off at the pass, or lend our extra muscle in the moment, before it gets too big to handle neatly.  We can help support and nurture the team culture as it evolves.

When this client grows to a size where they need to hire full-time employees to take over some of our services, we may shift into a more traditional consulting role where we lend a hand occasionally in areas where we can add value.  It will be great at that stage to already know and understand the business and to have developed trust with the team.  We will be able to provide training and support, and know that we’ve made a positive impact on the business at its various stages.

We love getting calls from clients who have a big challenge that needs tackling.  By giving us an opportunity to work closely with your team early on, we can help you mitigate risk and solve small problems before they escalate.  We can get to know your employees at every level and we can see your culture in action We can share our skills and experience, earn your trust, and become a valuable member of your organization.  All without breaking the bank or working more than you need.

What sets us apart: Combined Creative Services

Illustration by Jeremy Enecio for Fortune

One of the most unique and exciting aspects of our company is that we can combine our services in order to expand our offeringsWe love innovating within our projects to discover creative solutions that integrate HR, Design, and Web.

Many businesses have an ongoing and serious challenge to hire senior staff with hard-to-find skills, as industry competition for candidate attention can be intense.  In tech, this type of employee is often referred to as a unicorn.  “…unicorn: …staff who possess a unique set of qualities that make them extremely rare and valuable. They’re hard to find, but once hired, they offer up enormous benefits in the workplace and can take your business to the next level”. (Ryan Holmes | October 5, 2016, Financial Post)

Traditional HR solutions for this problem can include setting up recruiting programs, sourcing candidates from other companies, advertising for the role, reaching out into employee networks, or hiring recruiters.  Sometimes this just isn’t enough.  What else can you do in order to make your voice heard?  Our clients need our help:  what will make a Unicorn notice them and poke their head in the door to learn more about the job?

Because Project House has HR, Branding, Design, and Web expertise, we are able to seamlessly pull these elements together for our clients, and design a business solution that maximizes our skills.

Most recently we were asked to solve the Unicorn Problem for a new client:  after struggling to attract and hire senior, experienced, high calibre engineers, they needed a solution that would target this very specific candidate and get their attention.  This was going to be much more than an HR solution; it would require the creative brains of a Marketing campaign in combination with elements of design, as well some deep-dive discovery – exciting!  We would need to dig into the qualities and common elements of this particular candidate and find out what would most attract them to our client’s business.  We would also need to find out why current star employees had been attracted to the company, then ask why they stay and what matters to them.   We’d have to go into the industry and examine what competitors were doing well, and identify unique unicorn hunting opportunities.

From this discovery phase, we typically move into a design phase, coming up with a few options for look + feel, message + tone, and we make recommendations about where to launch the campaign in order to maximize its impact and reach:  is this a print ad in an industry magazine, a polished conference booth, a unique industry event, or a billboard beside a competitor’s office?

When we meet with clients who are struggling to attract the right candidates, we dive into a number of areas of their business to see what might be going on.  Often we arrive at Employer Brand, which is a way to describe the outside world’s experience and opinion of your company as a place to work – this consists of a combination of your company’s website, social media presence, current and past employee reviews, manager skills, reputation, and more.  Ultimately we try to determine if what your company says matches how it behaves, and identify areas where we can help you bring up your game.  A recruiting campaign could be an ongoing branded effort across all of these platforms, or it could be a special one-off project to fill a critical gap.

Are you struggling to recruit and hire?  Are you hoping to land a unicorn?  We can help!

 

Heidi Eaves and Erin Brandt Speak at Pacific Dental Conference (Mar 2017)

Dentists as Employers: Rooting Out Workplace Problems Before They Happen

At this year’s Pacific Dental Conference in Vancouver,  Heidi Eaves and Erin Brandt, Lawyer at Kent Employment Law, will speak about the legal and human resources issues that dentists face as employers.

Topics will include contracts, leaves, buying/selling a business, and engagement from a Canadian perspective, and help dentists create a healthy, engaging, and legally compliant workplace.

To learn more about this event and to register, click here.

 

May 14: Acing the Phone Interview Workshop

phone interview tips tricks workshop

On Saturday, May 14th Heidi had the great privilege and pleasure to deliver a workshop for Dress for Success in a beautiful space provided for the occasion by the School of Music at the VSO. Heidi designed the workshop, called ‘Acing the Phone Interview’, to help prepare attendees for phone interviews by knowing what to expect and how to put their best foot forward.

The workshop included a variety of practical lessons, including how to research a company to understand its business and culture and your potential fit, knowing what questions will likely be asked and how to prepare your answers, coming up with your own questions for the interviewer, and other tips for how to be ready for the call. Attendees got an opportunity to practice preparing their own questions and took turns interviewing each other.  Throughout the day, there was a lot of time for q + a, storytelling, and additional insight from the group.

Dress For Success workshop attendees

 

The mission of Dress for Success is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

 

Client Spotlight: Capcom Vancouver

Benjamin Franklin quote

Project House has been designing and facilitating manager training sessions for one of our amazing clients, Capcom Vancouver, in order to provide their employees with an opportunity to brush up on their skills, pick up some new ones, gain a fresh perspective and new ideas, and to feel more prepared and comfortable in their roles.

Our session on Effective Performance Reviews took place earlier this year, and was designed to provide training, tips, and insights on understanding and maximizing the evolving performance process, including how to give great performance feedback and guide effective goals.

More recently we met with managers to deliver training sessions on Communication and Feedback, which included components such as listening, comfort zones, and effective 1:1 meetings. Upcoming sessions will take place over the coming months, and will be tailored to cover a broad spectrum of management and leadership topics.

We are excited to provide this type of training to our clients and their teams, and we always enjoy partnering with employees and getting exposure to their insights, ideas, and best practices firsthand.

leadership training

Why You Need a (Good) Employment Agreement

business set-up and best practices

Ok. You’ve started your business, you have figured out your business plan, you have found a workspace and developed some initial service or product. Now what do you need? People. How do you hire them, what are the rules, what is a simple and legal set-up for your company? And what kind of employer do you want to be? If you want to do it right, you need to figure out insurance, how to pay people, what information to get from your employees (and what information is none of your beeswax), and how to kick off the employment relationship properly, which starts with an offer and an employment agreement.

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HR is dead! Long live HR!

Free-Vectors-Crown-GraphicsFairy1

I love being in HR.  I love people, their joy, their weirdness, their excitement, their grumpiness, their unpredictability.  I love learning as well as teaching.  I love being in a room the moment someone “gets it,” especially when that someone is me.  I enjoy the effort and reward of creating, coaching, and listening.  I enjoy being surprised, breaking big problems into smaller achievable ones, providing information and guidance.  I like being involved in bringing clarity, reasonable processes, and policies that work. I like rolling up my sleeves in the grey area that is human behaviour. Read more