Articles Tagged with: Tripartita

Managers Own the Job of Creating Great Teams How Netflix reinvented HR, bit by bit. PART FOUR.

This time, before while you are reading, try and replace the words in bold.  Any questions? Remember, the purpose of these articles is to practice usefull language, in an environment where it’s ok to make mistakes. We want to practice, practice, practice.  So… send us your work, and we will correct it!


How Netflix reinvented HR, bit by bit. PART FOUR.

Go to the original article here.

Managers Own the Job of Creating Great Teams

Discussing the military’s performance during the Iraq War, Donald Rumsfeld, the former defence secretary, once famously said, “You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.” When I talk to managers about creating great teams, I tell them to approach the process in exactly the opposite way.

In my consulting work, I ask managers to imagine a documentary about what their team is accomplishing six months from now. What specific results do they see? How is the work different from what the team is doing today? Next I ask them to think about the skills needed to make the images in the movie become reality. Nowhere in the early stages of the process do I advise them to think about the team they actually have. Only after they’ve done the work of envisioning the ideal outcome and the skill set necessary to achieve it should they analyze how well their existing team matches what they need.

If you’re in a fast-changing business environment, you’re probably looking at a lot of mismatches. In that case, you need to have honest conversations about letting some team members find a place where their skills are a better fit. You also need to recruit people with the right skills.

We faced the latter challenge at Netflix in a fairly dramatic way as we began to shift from DVDs by mail to a streaming service. We had to store massive volumes of files in the cloud and figure out how huge numbers of people could reliably access them. (By some estimates, up to a third of peak residential internet traffic in the U.S. comes from customers streaming Netflix movies.) So we needed to find people deeply experienced with cloud services who worked for companies that operate on a giant scale—companies like Amazon, eBay, Google, and Facebook, which aren’t the easiest places to hire someone away from.

Our compensation philosophy helped a lot. Most of its principles stem from ideals described earlier: Be honest, and treat people like adults. For instance, during my tenure Netflix didn’t pay performance bonuses, because we believed that they’re unnecessary if you hire the right people. If your employees are fully formed adults who put the company first, an annual bonus won’t make them work harder or smarter. We also believed in market-based pay and would tell employees that it was smart to interview with competitors when they had the chance, in order to get a good sense of the market rate for their talent. Many HR people dislike it when employees talk to recruiters, but I always told employees to take the call, ask how much, and send me the number—it’s valuable information.

In addition, we used equity compensation much differently from the way most companies do. Instead of larding stock options on top of a competitive salary, we let employees choose how much (if any) of their compensation would be in the form of equity. If employees wanted stock options, we reduced their salaries accordingly. We believed that they were sophisticated enough to understand the trade-offs, judge their personal tolerance for risk, and decide what was best for them and their families. We distributed options every month, at a slight discount from the market price. We had no vesting period—the options could be cashed in immediately. Most tech companies have a four-year vesting schedule and try to use options as “golden handcuffs” to aid retention, but we never thought that made sense. If you see a better opportunity elsewhere, you should be allowed to take what you’ve earned and leave. If you no longer want to work with us, we don’t want to hold you hostage.

We continually told managers that building a great team was their most important task. We didn’t measure them on whether they were excellent coaches or mentors or got their paperwork done on time. Great teams accomplish great work, and recruiting the right team was the top priority.

Jamie Oliver’s hints as to how not to waste food

Do you already follow any of these practices?

Anything surprise you?

Go to original video by clicking here (to see English subtitles!)

This is a little gem for vocabulary… so, let’s start the competition.

Try naming the different foods as he goes along.  Too many?  Too easy? Too difficult?

Change the challenge… tell me… what VERBS does he use?

I realise that we’re doing a bit of publicity for Hotpoint here, but I think it’s a worthwhile exchange for spending a little time with Jamie!

Don’t forget to comment or to send your papers to your teacher or to: (if you don’t currently have a teacher with us, that’s not a problem, we’d love to help you out at enjoying your English).


Everybody has an ongoing say vs. PIPs

How does your annual review change your working habits? This is the thought behind this article, and NETFLIX set out to save time and uncomfortable situations.  I think they did it, and it makes sense.  Enjoy this part of the article, below.  Remember, you can access the complete original article here.

Look at how this vocabulary is used, can you make sentences with it, or use parts of the sentences for yourself?

  1. To measure performance
  2. to get rid of someone
  3. Performance Improvement Plans (PIPs)
  4. To figure out how
  5. Why bother?
  6. play out
  7. shortcomings
  8. consistently rewarded for being great at her job
  9. skills no longer apply
  10. severance package
  11. People were asked to identify things that colleagues should stop, start, or continue


What do you think about eliminating PIPs in your company, as HR?

What would you think of having informal 360 reviews, as an employee?



How Netflix reinvented HR, bit by bit. PART TWO.

Tell the Truth About Performance

Many years ago we eliminated formal reviews. We had held them for a while but came to realize they didn’t make sense—they were too ritualistic and too infrequent. So we asked managers and employees to have conversations about performance as an organic part of their work. In many functions—sales, engineering, product development—it’s fairly obvious how well people are doing. (As companies develop better analytics to measure performance, this becomes even truer.) Building a bureaucracy and elaborate rituals around measuring performance usually doesn’t improve it.

Traditional corporate performance reviews are driven largely by fear of litigation. The theory is that if you want to get rid of someone, you need a paper trail documenting a history of poor achievement. At many companies, low performers are placed on “Performance Improvement Plans.” I detest PIPs. I think they’re fundamentally dishonest: They never accomplish what their name implies.

One Netflix manager requested a PIP for a quality assurance engineer named Maria, who had been hired to help develop our streaming service. The technology was new, and it was evolving very quickly. Maria’s job was to find bugs. She was fast, intuitive, and hardworking. But in time we figured out how to automate the QA tests. Maria didn’t like automation and wasn’t particularly good at it. Her new boss (brought in to create a world-class automation tools team) told me he wanted to start a PIP with her.

I replied, “Why bother? We know how this will play out. You’ll write up objectives and deliverables for her to achieve, which she can’t, because she lacks the skills. Every Wednesday you’ll take time away from your real work to discuss (and document) her shortcomings. You won’t sleep on Tuesday nights, because you’ll know it will be an awful meeting, and the same will be true for her. After a few weeks there will be tears. This will go on for three months. The entire team will know. And at the end you’ll fire her. None of this will make any sense to her, because for five years she’s been consistently rewarded for being great at her job—a job that basically doesn’t exist anymore. Tell me again how Netflix benefits?

“Instead, let’s just tell the truth: Technology has changed, the company has changed, and Maria’s skills no longer apply. This won’t be a surprise to her: She’s been in the trenches, watching the work around her shift. Give her a great severance package—which, when she signs the documents, will dramatically reduce (if not eliminate) the chance of a lawsuit.” In my experience, people can handle anything as long as they’re told the truth—and this proved to be the case with Maria.

When we stopped doing formal performance reviews, we instituted informal 360-degree reviews. We kept them fairly simple: People were asked to identify things that colleagues should stop, start, or continue. In the beginning we used an anonymous software system, but over time we shifted to signed feedback, and many teams held their 360s face-to-face.

HR people can’t believe that a company the size of Netflix doesn’t hold annual reviews. “Are you making this up just to upset us?” they ask. I’m not. If you talk simply and honestly about performance on a regular basis, you can get good results—probably better ones than a company that grades everyone on a five-point scale.


An Honour Policy for Time-off? Really?

How Netflix reinvented HR, bit by bit. PART TWO.

You can catch up on PART ONE and read the beginning of this article.  I believe it’s worth it.

Link to the original article.

Vocabulary to investigate before reading (links with meaning and pronunciation):

Food for thought:

  1. Would you consider this to be a reasonable policy to put forth in your company?
  2. Have you heard of any other company doing this?



With these two overarching principles in mind, we shaped our approach to talent using the five tenets below.

Hire, Reward, and Tolerate Only Fully Formed Adults

Over the years we learned that if we asked people to rely on logic and common sense instead of on formal policies, most of the time we would get better results, and at lower cost. If you’re careful to hire people who will put the company’s interests first, who understand and support the desire for a high-performance workplace, 97% of your employees will do the right thing. Most companies spend endless time and money writing and enforcing HR policies to deal with problems the other 3% might cause. Instead, we tried really hard to not hire those people, and we let them go if it turned out we’d made a hiring mistake.

Adultlike behaviour means talking openly about issues with your boss, your colleagues, and your subordinates. It means recognizing that even in companies with reams of HR policies, those policies are frequently skirted as managers and their reports work out what makes sense on a case-by-case basis.

Let me offer two examples.

When Netflix launched, we had a standard paid-time-off policy: People got 10 vacation days, 10 holidays, and a few sick days. We used an honour system—employees kept track of the days they took off and let their managers know when they’d be out. After we went public, our auditors freaked. They said Sarbanes-Oxley mandated that we account for time off. We considered instituting a formal tracking system. But then Reed asked, “Are companies required to give time off? If not, can’t we just handle it informally and skip the accounting rigmarole?” I did some research and found that, indeed, no California law governed vacation time.

So instead of shifting to a formal system, we went in the opposite direction: Salaried employees were told to take whatever time they felt was appropriate. Bosses and employees were asked to work it out with one another. (Hourly workers in call centres and warehouses were given a more structured policy.) We did provide some guidance. If you worked in accounting or finance, you shouldn’t plan to be out during the beginning or the end of a quarter, because those were busy times. If you wanted 30 days off in a row, you needed to meet with HR. Senior leaders were urged to take vacations and to let people know about them—they were role models for the policy. (Most were happy to comply.) Some people worried about whether the system would be inconsistent—whether some bosses would allow tons of time off while others would be stingy. In general, I worried more about fairness than consistency, because the reality is that in any organization, the highest-performing and most valuable employees get more leeway.

The company’s expense policy is five words long: “Act in Netflix’s best interests.”

We also departed from a formal travel and expense policy and decided to simply require adultlike behaviour there, too. The company’s expense policy is five words long: “Act in Netflix’s best interests.” In talking that through with employees, we said we expected them to spend company money frugally, as if it were their own. Eliminating a formal policy and forgoing expense account police shifted responsibility to frontline managers, where it belongs. It also reduced costs: Many large companies still use travel agents (and pay their fees) to book trips, as a way to enforce travel policies. They could save money by letting employees book their own trips online. Like most Netflix managers, I had to have conversations periodically with employees who ate at lavish restaurants (meals that would have been fine for sales or recruiting, but not for eating alone or with a Netflix colleague). We kept an eye on our IT guys, who were prone to buying a lot of gadgets. But overall we found that expense accounts are another area where if you create a clear expectation of responsible behaviour, most employees will comply.

Is Stress Real?


I love this website, making the viewer see the world through comedy and with a less or more critical eye.  Sarcasm is indeed a very powerful tool.

Questions for thought:

  1. What do you do to deal with stress?
  2. Do you think that these thoughts are common?
  3. What would your recommendation be, if it varies from that of the presenter?
  4. Care to share your thoughts on the video?




Transcription for vocabulary:


The constant demands of modern life can seem mentally and physically overwhelming at times.

But is stress real or are you just weak and pathetic?

This is The Whole Body.

Juggling your many responsibilities may leave you feeling trapped and paralyzingly anxious.

But what you call stress is nothing more than a manifestation of your personal frailty filtered through your inability to function like all other normal people do.  The simple fact is, the shortness of breath you get when thinking about the pressures of your life, this only happens to you. Everyone else is totally fine.  You may think that you should be concerned about a bad breakup or a big project at work, but that is not how normal people react to those things.  None of your coworkers are worried about getting fired.  Nobody around you gets upset about their relationship with their parents, just you. Life throws the same problems at everyone.

Here is a normal person dealing with those problems, and here is you, not doing that at all, even though everyone else can.

When confronted with a demanding situation, the human body doesn’t get tense and jittery at all, only you do, because you’re a coward, who can’t deal with real life, and that needs to change.

Take a deep breath.  Isn’t that nice?  That’s how everyone except you feels all the time.  It’s that easy.  Even for big problems like war and disease, why do you care? You’re not fighting in a war. And even people who are don’t get upset about it like you do.  So you may think you have innumerable problems and obligations crushing you, but here’s the good news, you don’t.  Nothing is a problem.  Problems aren’t real. They only exist because you think about them.  And this weakness you have is causing you real problems, things like insomnia and high blood pressure that nobody else has to deal with. So when it comes to moving past this imaginary thing you call stress, all you need to remember is that the only thing wrong with you is you.



Modern Offices

Sometimes the best way to advance in your English is to think new thoughts with similar vocabulary. So… why don’t you share your first impressions of these modern offices?
Ask yourself some questions first:
Is this very productive?
What was the client’s reaction?
Can you describe the offices and the motivation behind the concept?


The Importance of Services in E-Learning

The majority of people prefer learning in an actual classroom to learning on their own, in front of a computer.

From a student’s point of view, I understand that one may prefer a teacher. So I have to ask myself, why?  It may seem obvious, but the idea stems from the concept that nowadays, without any apparent obligation, we use the computer more and more in our free time, not only for working purposes.  We use the computer because we want to.  In the past, people resisted reading a book or the newspaper on the computer – not anymore.  I have not heard that comment for quite a while (“I prefer the scent of the paper”).

I’m sure that if you look closely at your daily routines, both personal and to do with work, you can easily see where technology has won the battle.

So, I ask again, why isn’t this the natural tendency with language training?

Because it shouldn’t be.  I firmly believe that one should not forget the value of a good teacher and a good professional.

Click to continue to read article

Did you know that more (three times more!) Europeans move to the USA than the other way around?

Before Reading this article, think of questions for yourself to answer as you read (I suggest writing them down first), according to the title.

Need help with the question?

  • Who?
  • What?
  • Where?
  • When?
  • Why?
  • How?

My questions:

  • Who moves to the States?
  • What motivated them to move?
  • Where exactly were they moving to?
  • When did this take place?
  • Why do we think that it could be the opposite?
  • How do the Spanish statistics uphold when comparing to Europe as a whole?

My questions to you, as observers:

  • Were you surprised by this?
  • Do you know anybody who has permanently moved to the United States?

My thoughts or observations before reading:

  • Does this have to do with the crisis that we are slowly coming out of now?
  • Has this always been the case?

3 Times As Many Europeans Move To The US, Than The Other Way Around

by Tyler Durden

Thu, 06/14/2018 – 05:00

Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute,

In last week’s column comparing median income numbers from country to country, we found that, by the measure the OECD uses, median incomes in the US are the seventh highest in the world (not counting some tiny city states.) Even after including income from welfare programs, the median income of the US is about equal to that of Austria and Denmark.


These numbers include incomes from welfare programs, so it may very well be that the US’s relatively pro-market institutions really do lead to higher incomes for many millions of people — even including people in the lower third of incomes. Breaking out states showed that some regions of the US compare even more favorably.

The response to the article, of course, was predictable. Advocates for converting the US even more into a European style welfare state chimed in — in social media and in the comments section — with claims that European countries have higher life expectancy, lower crime, and are just generally better places.

This is often true, although comparisons don’t favor European welfare states nearly as much when we break out the US by states. Many US states compare quite well in terms of crime and life expectancy.

“On paper” comparisons, often favor the European welfare states.

When it comes to making comparisons of this nature, however, it’s always important to take a look at where people actually choose to live.

This has long been a useful tool in comparing US states, of course, and there’s been a long trend of people moving from high-tax states in the US to low-tax ones. When choice exists, many people vote with their feet.

And while it’s much more difficult and expensive to move from, say, Belgium to the United States than from California to Texas, the choices migrants make nevertheless can provide us with useful information. These moves tell us the demonstrated preferences of the migrants.

So, how many Western Europeans are moving to the United States, compared to migration in the opposite direction? A new report from the Pew Research Center titled “Origins and Destinations of the World’s Migrants, 1990–2017,” gives us some of the answers.

According to Pew’s helpful interactive map, Western Europeans move to the US in far greater numbers — both proportionally and in absolute terms — than Americans move to Western Europe.

Using Pew’s numbers, there are now 2.9 million people living in the US who were born in Western Europe. It’s imprecise, but for the sake of ease, we might say that as of 2017, Western Europe has sent 2.9 million Western-Europe-born people to the US. But during the same period, the US sent only 690,000 people to Western Europe.3 Part of this could be attributed to the fact that the overall population of Western Europe is 30 percent larger than that of the United States. (There are 419 million Western Europeans, and 323 million Americans.)4 But when we adjust for population, the difference is far larger than a mere 30 percent.

There are 6.9 Western-European migrants (to the US) per 1,000 people living in Western Europe today. By contrast, there are only 2.1 US migrants (to Western Europe) for every 1,000 people living in the US today.

These numbers vary considerably by country:

To make the method here clear, let’s use Ireland and Spain as examples.

According to Pew, 140,000 people now living in the US were born in Ireland. That’s a pretty small number in the big scheme of things, but compared to the total number of people in Ireland (4.7 million), it’s really quite large. This comes out to 29.4 Irish migrants (to the US) per 1,000 Ireland residents.5 At the other end of the spectrum is Spain. There are now 110,000 people living in the US who were born in Spain. But Spain has a much larger population of 46 million people. So, there are only 2.3 Spanish migrants (to the US) per 1,000 Spanish residents.

How does this compare to Americans living in Europe? Broken out by country, the results look like this:

(Taking all destination countries in Western Europe combined, there are 2.1 US migrants (to Western Europe) per 1,000 US residents.)

We can see, not surprisingly, that these migrants are not distributed evenly. The country with the most US-born migrants in Europe, both proportionally and in absolute numbers, is the United Kingdom. There are 190,000 US-born migrants in the UK, which comes out to about 0.5 per 1,000 US residents. The only other country that comes close is Germany with 0.4 US-born migrants (to Germany) per 1,000 US residents. All other Western European countries come in far behind Germany.

But even when Western Europe is combined together, we find that Americans move to Western Europe overall far less frequently than Western Europeans move to the US.

The UK case especially stands out as an example of the lopsided differences in US-Europe migrant exchanges.

With an overall population of 65 million, the UK is the birthplace of 750,000 current US residents. In contrast, with a population of 323 million, the US is the birthplace of only 190,000 people living in the UK.

Put another way, the UK has sent 3.9 people to the US for every one person the US has sent to the UK.

Expanding the Picture

Our conclusions don’t change much if we add in other wealthy countries that are likely to be attractive to Americans. If we include Australia and Canada in our analysis, the situation remains the same — even though these countries pose no language barrier to Americans. According to the Pew report, Canada has sent 890,000 migrants to the US. But the US has sent only 310,000 people to Canada in return. Meanwhile, the US population is about nine times as large as Canada’s population. Australia has sent 90,000 people to the United States. But, even though the US population is 12 times larger than Australia’s, the US has only sent 120,000 people to Australia.

Other Considerations

These numbers, of course, can be affected by factors other than a mere desire to move from one place to another. It may be that, due to legal reasons, it is especially difficult for an American to move from the United States to, say, France. It may very well be that Western European governments go out of their way to keep American migrants away. Or the prevalence of English as a second language throughout Europe may make it easier for Europeans to move to the United States, than vice versa. It stands to reason that far more Germans receive English-language instruction than Americans receive German-language instruction.

Ultimately, however, if Americans were truly motivated to emigrate from the US and take advantage of Europe’s allegedly far-more-humane institutions, then the language barrier would not be sufficient to hold back the enormous numbers of Americans clamoring to escape the US. And certainly, this rationale doesn’t apply at all to Americans looking to move to Canada, Australia, Ireland, or the UK. And yet, we find that the flow of migrants from the wealthy non-US parts of the world is significantly larger than the flow of migrants in the opposite direction.

None of this, however, should be interpreted to mean the United States is a paradise or without blemish. After all, far from proving perfection, comparisons like these could merely be illustrating that the United States is only relatively less awful than other places — at least in the opinion of the people who actually migrate to the US. Those who don’t migrate, of course, have demonstrated a preference for staying where they are. Moreover, its also abundantly clear that some areas of the United States are far more pleasant to live in than others. And that reality certainly leaves plenty of room for improvement.

But if Americans are going to be lectured on how much more wonderful life outside the US is, these critics at least ought to be asked to comment on why it is that so many more Europeans are moving to the United States, compared to the other way around. 


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