The UrbanBlog

Chicago Tech Scene: What You May Have Missed This Week

Posted by Kinga Skowronek on Oct 31, 2014 9:51:31 AM

Chicago is putting the spotlight on their tech scene! With so much happening right here in Chicago it’s hard to keep up sometimes. This week the Chicago Tech Scene was celebrated at the Chicago Innovation Awards where the city's innovaters, up-and-comers and tech enthusiasts were celebrated. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County Board President were among the many who came to honor the hard workers in Chicago. Read on to find out the news you may have missed this week.

Startup Investing Rising Rapidly in the Midwest

Chicago and the Midwest can no longer be considered fly over states. It’s not just about the coasts anymore- this year the Midwest is on track to have its highest number of funded companies. chicago tech scene

TechCrunch covers the rapidly rising Midwest investment storm in The Midwest Is On Track For Its Strongest Year In Startup Investing As “The Rest” Rises. Jonathan Shieber writes: As the most populous city in the region, it’s no surprise that Chicago is the fastest growing hub in “Silicorn Alley” in the development of its investment ecosystem. In the first eight months of 2014 Chicago saw $6 billion in exits through public offerings and sales, including the recent sales of TrunkClub to Nordstrom, and to CoStar Group. But beyond the windy city, startups are cropping up across the Midwest’s silicon plains.

Chicago has built a tech scene without all the glitz and glamour that San Francisco and New York have been offered. “If there isn’t a ton of venture capital available, then you better build [a business] with customer revenue and whatever money you can bootstrap,” says Jay Robert Pritzker, founding manager partner with The Pritzker Group Venture Capital.

It’s an exciting time to be in Chicago and the Midwest!

Chicago Tech Company Adding 500 Jobs

Coyote Logistics, a Chicago-based transportation and logistics provider, has been named

by Built In Chicago as one of Chicago’s Top Digital Companies and ranked number 25 Fortune Magazine’s Fastest-Growing Inner City Companies in America.  We’re lucky they are headquartered in Chicago, because they are adding a whopping 500 jobs after receiving a state grant.

“One of the most significant advantages to Coyote being headquartered in Chicago is it has made it incredibly easy to hire from a pool of highly skilled workers,” Coyote Logistics CEO Jeff Silver said in a statement.

Read the full story in The Chicago Sun-Times Coyote Logistics to Add 500 Jobs Here.

German Tech Startup Launches in Chicago

SpaceWays, the next-generation storage solution that makes it easy, convenient, safe, and affordable to store all your stuff, is set to launch in Chicago. This is the German-based startups first attempt to expand into the US and they chose the Windy City as their jump off point. Chicago Tribune covers the launch in Rocket Internet's SpaceWays Storage Service Comes to Chicago.

Rob Rebholz, SpaceWays Co-founder tells the Chicago Tribune, “It was all about asking ourselves where this business model makes sense,” Rebholz said. “We saw that self-storage is huge in the U.S., and Chicago made a lot of sense … [but] in terms of self-storage supply, it’s actually very limited.”

"The decision to take SpaceWays into the U.S. is based on a particular demand for the services offered by this company in this market,” said Rocket Internet spokesman Andreas Winiarski. “Our primary focus continues to be on the developing world and satisfying basic needs of consumers in fast-growing markets around the world.”

Chicago’s Top 100 Digital Companies

Built In Chicago released their annual list of Top 100 Digital Companies in Chicago. Their piece on the Chicago Tech Scene shows a steady growth in the industry going from 33,000 jobs in 2012 to 49,000 jobs in 2014.

“The diversity of digital technology companies on the Top 100 is a testament to the depth of talent in our workforce and the vitality of the City’s tech economy,” said Mayor Emanuel who announced the list along with Built In Chicago. “Chicago has nearly doubled the number of jobs in technology in the last three years, and it is companies like these that are critical to continuing that growth and helping to achieve our goal of doubling the City’s tech workforce in the next decade.”

Top 5 Fastest Growing Tech Companies in Chicago:

  1. Groupon
  2. Morningstar
  3. Here
  4. Enova
  5. CareerBuilder

Check out Built In Chicago’s awesome infographic here.


Topics: Technology, Chicago

[SlideShare] Relocation Horror Stories

Posted by Aria Solar on Oct 30, 2014 11:16:37 AM

Everyone can think of a time when a move or relocation just went horribly awry. Maybe it happened to you, maybe it happened to a friend, maybe it happened to a colleague, or maybe it happened to one of your relocation horror storiesrelocating transferees. Whatever the case, sometimes disaster strikes and it just seems like no matter what, nothing goes according to plan.

Luckily, there are a lot of steps you can take as an employer to ensure that your employees avoid some of these big mis-steps. 

For one: Don't let employees take shortcuts!

It can be tempting to take the easiest way out and just get the move over with. While this might work for some people (the lucky ones), if something does go wrong, things can really unravel, and quickly. Encourage your transferees to take the extra time and do things methodically and carefully. They will thank you for it in the longrun and processes will go much more quickly on the backend of the move. 

Next: Learn from the mistakes of others!

Poll your employees and ask them for tips to give incoming transferees. Insider information is the most valuable tool anyone can have, and your relocating employees will thank you for it. Maybe cars get towed at the drop of a hat in your city, maybe there is horrible traffic on certain routes at certain times, maybe there is a packing method that worked really well for them - the more information the better.

Click through the slideshare below to see some of the most horrifying relocation stories and ways that you and your employees can avoid them!


Want to learn about more ways to avoid relocation nightmares? Check out this eBook to make sure you aren't forgetting any relocation benefits: 

Topics: Relocation, SlideShare

A Cure for the Millennial Job Hop

Posted by Kinga Skowronek on Oct 28, 2014 2:55:00 PM

Millennial job hopping is a growing trend - US Millennials switch jobs every 2 years on average according to a study conducted by PayScale Inc. and Millennial Branding. With the job market that currently consists of 55% of 10,000 employees being Millennials (these numbers will only keep rising), the Millennial job hopping trend is problematic and troubling for employers. 

That is a lot of continual turnover in the workplace and with recruiting and hiring being an extremely expensive process to constantly go through - The Bureau of National Affairs estimates that annually  $11 billion dollars is lost due to employee turnover- it’s crucial to maintain a happy and productive company that adapts to the ever-changing workplace landscape.

Finding a cure for the Millennial job hop phenomenon and finding innovative workflow solutions are a must. This can be done very easily by addressing a few simple issues.

Why are they leaving?

Unfavorable Onboarding Experience

Making an immediate connection is imperative. Many times bad first impressions are hard to shake.  The onboarding experience is the time to make an immediate connection. Offering a pleasant and inviting environment is not hard to do. Explore what engages Millennials in your industry -  87% of employees are less likely to leave if they feel engaged. millenial job hop culture

Set goals and paint the big picture for your Millennial employees. Explain how they are a part of the company and why they are important to the growth and success-  what does that mean for them and their future. Show them their road to success and then let them do their thing.  "Millennial employees want to feel like they are part of something bigger than just their job," Tom Turner, co-founder of DSi, told Business News Daily.

"They want an understanding of how their position plays into the company's success. The culture of management has also changed. In the past, employers expected employees to feel appreciative of having a job, but now employers need to feel appreciative of having their employees. Because of this, a culture of performance where everyone understands the expectations and is held accountable for performing to them is key."

Company Culture Deficiency

As the number of Millennials is steadily growing in the workplace, its paramount to implement a culture that lets them thrive and grow. The focus of the culture you are building should rely on what keeps Millennials interested and engaged, but at the same time productive.

It’s not just about adding more company events and happy-hours, a strong company culture needs to be instilled in the office as well. Keep in mind that developing strong leaders, maintaining open communication and encouraging internal innovation and cross-departmental collaboration is important in maintaining a well-balanced structure.

Ineffective Use of Technology

Millennials have grown up in a state of constant connection with technology. They will not tolerate a workplace where technology isn’t current or ineffective.

Millennials offer a wealth of resources when it comes to technology. Utilize this aspect.

Technology can be used in many ways in the workplace- to make connections between coworkers and to encourage cross-departmental collaboration or to feel the pulse of where the company is as whole through anonymous surveys.

Current tech processes will engage Millennials to share their thoughts, ideas and suggestions.

Lack of Workplace Flexibility

There is a shift taking place in the work environment away from the daily grind of the standard 9 to 5 schedule to a more flexible workplace. Doing the same thing every day in the same place at the same time can lead many to burnout. Introducing a variety in work time or work space is a simple way to add excitement and motivation in the workplace. 

Calculate the time for optimal work-life balance for your employees and Millennials and witness the increase in morale, engagement and work-production.

"For millennials, it is more a matter of career exploration than climbing the traditional ladder," said Emily He, CMO of talent management solution Saba. "Research suggests that today's college graduates will have a dozen or more jobs by the time they hit their 30s. In an uncertain job environment, it has become societally and culturally okay that they explore. The expectations have changed. Your 20s are used as the time where you actually figure out what you want to do, so the constant job hopping to explore multiple industries is expected."

Weak Core Values

Michael Krasman, CEO and Co-founder of Urbanbound believes that not only is culture the cornerstone of building a successful company, it also gives us a competitive advantage because it creates an environment where innovation is nurtured. He advises that to successfully build the culture you want, you have to establish your core values as an individual and as a business, and make sure you hire people that share those same values. It is when these values are not only understood, but implemented, that you get the innovation you are looking for.

“A strong set of core values and the integration of them into the company's day-to-day is how we have gotten to where we are today,” advises Michael Krasman.

Millennials are slowly but surely taking over the workplace and with them comes a different way and outlook on how to engage and manage a workplace. This is why its important to put processes into place to keep your Millennials from jumping ship.


Topics: Human Resources

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