The UrbanBound Blog

What You May Have Missed in Chicago Innovation

Posted by Kinga Skowronek on Jul 25, 2014 3:41:00 PM


Innovation is changing the way we live and affecting everyone all over the world. Chicago’s getting into the tech game in a big way as Mayor Rahm Emanuel makes it his mission to grow Chicago into a leading tech innovation hub. Read on to learn about some of the tech and innovation that’s taking place in Chicago.

The Lamps in Chicago Are Watching YouChicago Innovation

The lamp posts lining Chicago’s iconic Magnificent Mile are going to be doing more than just providing light for pedestrians. According to Bloomberg Businessweek’s article “Chicago's New High-Tech Lamp Posts Will Track Everything, Always” the city is attaching hi-tech sensors to lamp posts along Michigan Avenuethat will collect data on foot traffic and patterns, air quality, sound volume, heat, light intensity and precipitation. 

"Transparency combined with accountability (anyone will be able to scrutinize the data-scooping code) should reassure skeptics," says Charlie Catlett, one of the project’s organizers and the director of the Urban Center for Computation and Data.

Although the data collection is an endeavor to make Chicago a safer and more pleasant to live in, it’s probably a good idea to think twice before walking down Michigan Avenue since the data will be viewable.


Chicago Innovations That Changed the World

We Chicagoans are very proud of our vibrant and exhilarating city! And there are many reasons to be proud; great innovations have come out of our city.

  • The Cell Phone. The inspiration came from Star Trek, but the inventor, Martin Cooper, hails from Chicago.

  • The Ferris Wheel. Considered at that time to be the proudest achievement of the modern engineering era, the ferris wheel made its debut at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

  • The Vacuum Cleaner. Before Chicago’s Ives W. McGaffey invented the vacuum, the needing to clean up meant sweeping up.

Read Blue Sky’s article  “Top 20 Countdown: Innovations in Chicago that Changed the World” for the full list.

Chicago Students Are Given Access to Technology at the Shedd Aquarium

The Chicago Sun Times features the Shedd Aquarium to show how they are helping to build Chicago’s innovation and technology hub by offering free technology access to local high-school students.  

“Sometimes if you want to do a project or have something in your mind that you’d like to pursue, if it’s not part of a school project, it’s really hard to find resources by yourself,” said Brian Gomez, a student who helped design the lab. “The Learning Lab really helps teens develop their ideas.”

The Learning Lab gives students access to Apple computers, printers, iPads and is equipped with 3D printers and it allows high-school students to explore their interest in innovation and technology.

Innovation Takes Flying Indoors at iFly

If jumping out of a plane seems too crazy for you, but you want to experience the feeling of flying then you’re in luck because iFly Indoor Skydiving has opened its doors in Chicago.

How does flying affect your thinking about risk and innovation?

“It takes a lot of trust to go in, and it’s the unknown. We're putting people in an awkward situation. It’s human habit to want to grab for something and tense up. If you’re moving a lot, it disrupts the airflow so you tend to go lower down the net, and the instructor will come help calm you down and get you into the proper body position. We show them that they can fly and just trust the air. It gets you to trust your co-workers,” answers Scott Langdon, Regional Manager.

As innovation and technology are changing the way many industries provide a service and the structure of many businesses, it is important to keep on trend. 




Topics: Chicago

The Statistics Behind the Hiring Process

Posted by Jordan Gavens on Jul 24, 2014 11:49:00 AM

Recruiting new talent is crucial for the growth of any company. New hires can bring in a refreshing sense of energy, unbiased outlooks, and unique approaches to any office culture. While every recruiter wants to find only the best for their business, they must find a way to do so without burning a hole in the company’s pocket. It is important for any HR department to follow the most efficient, effective, and especially money-conscious, hiring practices while drowning in piles of resumes and cover letters.

Sound impossible? Absolutely not.

Software Advice recently published results from their advertising cost-per-hire survey. After collecting 130 responses from recruiters and HR professionals in the United States, Software Advice analyzed the results to help determine what, on average, companies in North America are spending in advertising costs for each new hire they bring on.

The base of the survey started with a flashback to high school algebra. The cost-per-hire algorithm, created by the Society for Human Resources Management, calculates the average advertising cost-per-hire. Don't remeber this from school? Let us refresh your memory:

(A + B) / C = CPH
A: External Costs
B: Internal Costs
C: Total Number of Hires
CPH: Cost per Hire

Once this algorithm was calculated for each participant, Software Advice arrived at three conclusions:


1. Companies spend, on average, $86 on advertising for each new hire

Spending money on advertising for new hires is extremely important to get your company’s name out there and to get top talent banging on your door. Whether it is through job boards, social networking sites, or attending campus recruiting fairs, HR departments need the proper funding in order to bring fresh talent into the company and keep the rate of employee growth on a positive slope.

In the study, approximately one-third of respondents reported spending less than $50 in advertising costs to recruit each new hire, while the vast majority of respondents (78 percent) spend less than $500. Therefore, if you are a HR professional or recruiter and you are spending more than $500 on your cost-per-hire, sorry to say that you are an outlier and may want to take a few notes on how to decrease your cost!


2. Small companies spend more on average for each new hire than large companies

Software Advice reported that the average cost of each new hire tends to decrease as the size of business increases. Companies with 1-50 employees averaged $320 per new hire, while companies with more than 5,000 employees averaged around $40 per new hire. Onboarding can be an extremely time-demanding project. It can cost up to 1/3 of an employee's salary to onboard and train new hires, especially when that employee's job description does not have to do with onboarding. Therefore, if a small company has a flawed onboarding plan, they risk having a bad retention percentage which can be extremely costly.

When it comes to advertising budget, generally speaking, the larger the company, the larger the advertising budget. This statistic makes sense, since larger businesses hire and onboard a larger number of employees than small businesses. Results showed that companies with 1-50 employees hired, on average, 13 new employees over the course of the past year, while businesses with 10,001 employees or more averaged 2,181 new hires. statistics behind hiring process

These statistics aren’t meant to make small company’s start shaking in their boots. Small companies have a lot to offer that larger companies have a more difficult time providing. Take a look at startups. Startups, like UrbanBound, are becoming much more popular and attractive as career starting points for Millennials. They offer the opportunity to really network with your coworkers (since it is a small environment), foster your creative energy by having the ability to speak your mind, and actually be part of contributing to the growth of the company. So if you are a recruiter for a small company with a low advertising budget, don’t fret! There are thousands of Millennials out there searching for a company like yours. 


3. 72% of respondents said job boards were a primary advertising channel for their companies

Today, technology is king and every department of your company must learn to adjust around that. Whether it is using software platforms like Hireology during the hiring process or implementing HR technology, both can increase your productivity and guarantee a return on your investment by helping you to easily find and distinguish the cream-of-the-crop candidates.

Job boards are the ideal destination for HR professionals and recruiters to post about position openings. When an individual is on the hunt for a new job, the first place they look at is a job board - seeing as its sole purpose is to seep through all of the open opportunities out there. Times are changing though, and there are numerous other platforms being used to advertise job openings. The report showed that social networking sites were the second most popular mean for advertising jobs.

Small businesses in particular should get creative with their job advertising through social media or guerilla marketing campaigns. Although they are dealing with a much smaller advertising budget than larger companies, there are many unique ways to attract talent that not only can save the company some money, but can highlight the company’s creativity and make it appear more intriguing to applicants. Need some inspiration? Check out how IKEA Australia brought in 4,285 applicants without spending even a dime. Screen_Shot_2014-07-24_at_11.13.33_AM 

Businesses must keep track of their cost-per-hire metrics in order to keep their office productivity level as high as possible. Consider hiring a web-based platform like UrbanBound to handle the relocating process so that your employees can focus on getting their jobs done.

The goal of every company should be to keep their turnover rate low and retention rate high. By paying attention to these statistics and making a focused effort on budgeting during the hiring process, this should not be a problem for your company.  


Want to know more about how you can best improve your onboarding process? Download our eBook to get a welcome kit for your new hires!


Topics: Response, HR

6 Tips for Millennials Entering the Workplace

Posted by Kinga Skowronek on Jul 23, 2014 5:08:00 PM

It's no surprise that Millennials have a different attitude towards work than generations past. They tend to gravitate toward a more laid back, informal work environment. While acceptable at some organizations, not all companies are going to embrace that same level of casualness. 

Millennials are a generation that have really taken to the "startup" culture. They tend to let their social life and habits bleed into those of their work life, and while there are a lot of benefits to this (such as closely knit teams, work-hard play-hard mentalities, and a strong desire to grow) not everyone shares this same attitude.

To help bridge the gap between what Millennials deem acceptable versus what Gen X or Baby-boomers are comfortable with, we have outlined 6 tips on how to amp up the professionalism a little bit more.

1. Your Reputation Precedes You - This Includes Social Media

Your reputation is one of the greatest assets you have in the workplace. Now, more than ever, your personal life is public and it is extremely easy for others to see every single thing that you do. Try to steer away from complaining about your day on social media, and especially don't complain about your job, the company you work for, fellow co-workers, or anything job-related. That will put you on the fast track to losing trust and tainting your reputation.

Maintain a positive online presence and take your first step into building a strong and impeccable reputation!

2. Get Off Your Cell Phone

Texting, tweeting, snapchatting, taking personal calls, or snapping selfies from all angles while at work millennials and the workplacewill not make your boss believe that you are contributing to well-being of the company. He or she will not be overjoyed in the fact that they hired such a social butterfly, but rather question your priorities and overall level of productivity.

Don’t look like you don’t care about your work by spending all day socializing on your phone. Instead show your boss that you are a hard worker by fulfilling your work responsibilities, staying occupied with work tasks, and delivering solutions and results. While you are at work, try to give yourself set times (for instance, a few minutes at the top of every hour) to check your phone and deal with personal tasks. 

3. Want to Leave Work Early? Tell Your Boss

Your boss is your superior and he or she has worked extremely hard to be in the position that they are in. They deserve respect. Check-in with your boss or supervisor before deciding to head out early. It's poor work ethic to go about your work day thinking you can do whatever you want. If you are just starting out in a job, you probably have someone to answer to and that person should know where you are during the work day.

This will not only show your boss that you respect them, but also prove that you are a dedictated member of the team and you value their time as much as they value yours.

4. Watch Your Language

Stay away from constantly using slang and becoming too informal in the way you communicate with your boss. Not all interactions need to be of the highest professional level, but do show that you are capable having a professional conversation on industry relevant topics and current affairs.

Make sure to stay away from slang and “text-speak” in emails. Write out all your words and form coherent, well thought out sentences. You never know who will get their hands on an email, so write every email as if anyone at the company can read them. 

5. Your Boss Doesn’t Want Texts

Remember, you’re playing in the big leagues now. Your boss and fellow co-workers don’t want to receive a text response to an email that they may have sent you. Keep things professional and courteous and answer with an email.

Build credibility at your workplace by responding to all emails in a timely fashion. Emails are a great way to keep a record of all work communication.

6. Browsing Facebook in the Workplace?

Don’t do it. Logging onto your personal Facebook page while at work and browsing through pictures of the "rager" you attended this week is not best practice for a professional setting and may hurt your reputation. Doing so may imply to your boss that you are bored with your responsibilities or that you aren’t being given enough work to fill your day. Stay on task! Save Facebook time for your lunch break.

If you feel like you don’t have enough to do there are other options:

  • Check if there are any projects you can join

  • Fill your time reading eBooks or educational websites to broaden your skills

  • Schedule time with your manager to make sure you are fulfilling all your responsibilities


Hopefully these tips have given you a better understanding of what professionals expect in the work environment and have offered ways to help strengthen your reputation. Have another habit in mind that you just can stand? Leave it in the comments section below!


Topics: Millennials

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