TIME policy

Google Joins Chorus of Companies Backing LGBT Bill

The Equality Act has a growing list of corporate supporters

Add Google to the list of major companies voicing their support for proposed legislation that would ban discrimination against members of the LGBT community.

The online search giant on Tuesday joined the likes of Facebook, General Mills, and Nike in publicly backing the Equality Act, a landmark anti-discrimination bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last week. The Equality Act seeks to expand existing civil rights protections against racial and gender-based discrimination in the workplace and other public spheres to include safeguards against sexual orientation and gender identity.

“Diverse perspectives, ideas, and cultures lead to the creation of better products and services and ideas,” a Google spokeswoman told Fortune in an e-mail Tuesday. “And it’s the right thing to do. That’s why we support protections for LGBT Americans as outlined in the Equality Act.”

Other companies to announce support for the bill include Apple, American Airlines, the Dow Chemical Company [fortune-stock symbol=”DOW”], and Levi Strauss.

Fortune reached out to a handful of other large U.S. companies on Tuesday to ask about their respective stances on the Equality Act. An IBM spokesman said the company is still reviewing the proposed legislation. “IBM has a long standing commitment to equal opportunity, including LGBT employees,” the spokesman added. Fortune will add other firms’ responses as we hear back.

An increasing number of large corporations have embraced LGBT rights over the past few months. Earlier this year, tech companies Salesforce and Apple — whose CEO, Tim Cook, is openly gay — along with GE were among the most vocal critics of the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which opponents argued allows for discrimination against gay and lesbian employees. Walmart has also become an outspoken supporter of LGBT rights, particularly in its home state of Arkansas, where the nation’s largest private employer was joined by rival Target in speaking out against that state’s religious freedom bill. Walmart and Target did not immediately respond to Fortune‘s request for comment on the Equality Act.

TIME Careers & Workplace

The 2 Biggest Reasons Why People Quit Their Jobs

Getty Images

Go back and read your interview notes

In the first entry of Diary of the Happiest Employee on Earth, we read about a welcome party to honor a newly hired employee on their first day. In contrast to organizations that celebrate when people are leaving, this company celebrates the arrival.

It’s always been a mystery to me why we have celebratory lunches when people leave a company — especially those who choose to take their talents and go elsewhere. Like to a competitor! I have to buy you lunch and we’re never going to see or hear from you again? Why don’t we celebrate people on their first day? Balloons! Banners! Bagels!

There seem to be many instances in which, if companies would do the opposite of what they do now, it would make for a happier employee and a happier workplace. Take the problem employee, for example, which I wrote about in a previous post. Who really was the problem? The employee or the employer? Managers are so busy trying to document the problems rather than doing something simple to understand the situation — especially when it is a new employee.

That simple thing: Go back and read your interview notes.

You took notes. I know you did. Whether they are on paper, a napkin, your phone, or on some monthly report you produce (the one that makes you feel important but no one else reads) — you took notes! There were things about this person that excited you. There were things about this person that got you thinking about all kinds of new opportunities/projects/initiatives.

What happened?

When I talk to frustrated/former employees, especially newer hires, here are two reasons I hear over and over for why people moved on:

  1. I’m not doing the work I was hired to do
  2. I’m not doing any of the cool new things that were discussed during the interview process

Directions change. New leadership shows up. A hiring manager is buried in their own work and the arrival of the new employee becomes the opportunity to finally fight fires. We get it. We all get it. There’s only one problem –

Fires don’t get extinguished. More fuel gets added and the new employee begins their journey down the path to hell.

So, what’s a manager to do? For starters, keep those notes handy. And look at them regularly. Like maybe before that regular status meeting you hold every Monday morning to talk about the same things? Ask yourself, Is Johnny doing what I hired him to do? Is Suzie doing the cool stuff we talked about during the interview process?

To keep employees happy, productive, and not taking their talents to a competitor, there can only be one right answer to these questions: YES.

A friend of mine was hired as a trainer for an educational software company. Now, the last time I looked up the word “training,” the dictionary talked about teaching someone a particular skill or type of behavior. Sharon spends almost 75 percent of her time trying to sell software packages to school districts.

Sharon is not a salesperson. She’s an educator. She’s miserable. Her boss is also not happy with her performance. Of course she’s not: she hired, a trainer not a salesperson. Sharon doesn’t even answer calls from her boss any longer. She lets them go to voicemail. She’s also looking for a new job.

A few weeks ago, I noticed an employee at one of my clients made a move to a new company. He had been with the client for a very long time, took a new position, but stayed a very short time.

I asked, Why?

Simple, he said. I wasn’t doing anything I was hired to do, my budget was taken away, and I was fighting other people’s fires.

Mike went to his VP on numerous occasions. He was upfront about his unhappiness. He brought up what was talked about during the interview/hiring process. Fortunately, Mike is smart and has an in-demand set of skills. He found a new position quickly.

Problem employees. Unhappy employees. Retention issues. The answer is often right there in those interview notes. They need to be kept — like, forever. They need to be referred to — like, often. Especially in those times when an employee’s performance is being questioned.

Pretty simple idea, you would think. And yet, when I offer this suggestion, you would think I just handed that person the largest-ever winning Powerball ticket. (Okay, a little extreme, but you get my point.)

Oh and one more thing: if you’re gonna tell people, This is a fun place to work … then live up to your word!

This article originally appeared on Recruiter.com

More from Recruiter.com

TIME Companies

Boss of Turkish Firm Shares $27 Million With Employees

Nevzat Aydin
Johannes Simon—Getty Images Nevzat Aydin of Yemeksepeti.com speaks during the Digital Life Design conference (DLD) at HVB Forum in Munich, on January 24, 2012.

Meet the world's best boss

Most employees fear layoffs if their company is sold, but one Turkish company has instead given its workers a big post-acquisition payday.

After food delivery company Yemeksepeti was bought by Germany’s Delivery Hero in May, chief executive and co-founder Nevzat Aydin carved up the $27 million he made from the sale between his 114 employees. The average bonus of $237,000 is nearly 150 times the average current monthly wage at the company.

In an interview with CNNMoney, a spokesman for Delivery Hero said the size of the individually-determined bonuses was influenced by their impact on Yemeksepeti’s success, the number of years they worked for the company, and their potential for the future.

“The success of companies like Delivery Hero and Yemeksepeti is based on amazing company cultures where tremendous people always walk the extra mile,” he said.




The Hot New Luxury Car Isn’t a Car at All

The 2015 Ford F-150
courtesy Ford The 2015 Ford F-150 starts at around $26,000, though a new Limited model will soon debut for more than double that.

Upscale pickup trucks listed at $50,000+ are hot sellers

The blue-collar, middle-class, mid-priced pickup truck still exists. But it’s becoming more the exception than the rule.

In June, the average price paid for a new Ford F-series truck—the best-selling vehicle in America for more than three decades—topped $44,000, an increase of $3,600 over last year.

That’s the average price per transaction, mind you. As the Wall Street Journal noted, many Ford trucks are priced well above average, and a new Ford F-150 Limited model will hit the market later this year with a sticker price above $60,000, “a larger starting price than a Porsche Cayenne sport-utility vehicle.”

The fancy new Ford pickup will have “fiddleback eucalyptus” wood trim and massaging seats, among other features. What’s perhaps more surprising than the fact that such amenities are available with what has traditionally been the vehicle of choice in blue-collar Middle America is that the high price point for Ford’s pickups is hardly an anomaly.

In 2011, 29% of heavy-duty Ram pickup trucks sold for $50,000 or more, up from 22% the year before. The Laramie Limited trim Ram 3500 truck starts at roughly $55,000, and has an MSRP over $70,000 once all the extras are added in.

Data collected by The Wall Street Journal indicate that the average transaction prices in 2015 for the Ford F-150, GMC Sierra 1500, and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 are all above $40,000, and 22% of pickup trucks are selling for more than $50,000. That’s up from just 9% of pickups being purchased for $50,000 or more in 2010.

What’s more, the average prices for the pickups mentioned above are up roughly 50% compared to the typical prices paid for these models as recently as 2005.

Rising pickup prices, as well as pickups and SUVs accounting for a larger percentage of overall sales, have pushed overall average new car transaction prices upward. In June, the average new vehicle purchase price was $33,340, according to Kelley Blue Book. That’s an increase of 2.5% over the same month in 2014. The average price paid in June for a Ford, mind you, was up 4.6%, thanks partly to an increase in those pricey pickup purchases.

As for why so many drivers are interested in trucks that cost more than a Mercedes or Lexus, some auto experts see the luxury pickup as the perfect option for well-heeled but down-to-earth business owners who want to splurge and show off while staying true to their roots. “These are successful blue-collar entrepreneurs,” John Krafcik, president of the car-buying site TrueCar.com, told The Wall Street Journal. “There is a lot of social status and manufacturers have found a way to tap into it.”

TIME twitter

The 1 Most Interesting Thing We Just Learned About Twitter

<> on November 7, 2013 in London, England.
Bethany Clarke—2013 Getty Images Twitter's app on November 7, 2013 in London, England.

Twitter must look abroad for ever-important user growth

Twitter on Tuesday posted second quarter earnings of $0.07 per share, beating expectations of $0.04 per share. That good news sent Twitter’s stock up over 4% in after-hours trading early Tuesday afternoon.

But Twitter’s full earnings presentation reveals something else interesting about the service: Americans have pretty much stopped signing up for it.

The number of new American Monthly Active Twitter Users has been gradually getting smaller for a while now, even flatlining once before at the end of last year. Now that’s happened for a second time, with no new U.S. user growth from Q1 2015 to Q2 2015:

 Monthly Active Users
TwitterTwitter Monthly Active Users

That lack of American growth doesn’t mean Twitter isn’t making any money from the U.S. — domestic revenue hit $321 million this quarter, up 53% year-over-year. But it’s a sign that Twitter must increasingly look to foreign shores for more user growth, a metric closely watched by Twitter investors.

Twitter’s international growth figures are a little healthier on the surface, with the company adding 8 million international monthly active users in Q2 from the previous quarter. But Twitter says the lion’s share of that increase came from users who only engage with the service over SMS text messages, not the full mobile app. Those users, who mostly reside in less-developed countries that lack advanced wireless broadband infrastructure, will likely be more difficult for Twitter to effectively monetize.

TIME Personal Finance

How Much Money You Need to Save to Become a Millionaire by Age 65

Getty Images

Put aside a set amount of money each day

If you want to get rich, start investing — and start as early as you possibly can.

“Becoming rich is nothing more than a matter of committing and sticking to a systematic savings and investment plan,” writes financial adviser David Bach in his book “Smart Couples Finish Rich.”

“You don’t need to have money to make money,” he writes. “You just need to make the right decisions — and act on them.”

To illustrate the simplicity of building wealth over time, Bach created a chart (which we recreated below) detailing how much money you need to set aside each day, month, or year in order to have one million dollars saved by the time you’re 65.

The chart assumes you’re starting with zero dollars invested. It also assumes a 12% annual return.

The simplest starting point is to invest in your employer’s 401(k) plan, points out Ramit Sethi in his New York Times bestseller, “I Will Teach You To Be Rich.” Next, he says, consider contributing money towards a Roth IRA or traditional IRA, individual retirement accounts with different contribution limits and tax structures.

While the numbers in the chart below are not exact (for simplicity, it does not take into account the impact of taxes, and 12% is a high rate of return), they give you a good idea of how coming up with a couple of extra dollars each day can make an enormous difference in the long run, particularly if you start saving at a young age.

Next time you consider running to Starbucks for a $4 latté, think about this chart and consider redirecting that coffee cash to your savings:

Mike Nudelman/Business Insider

This article originally appeared on Business Insider

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TIME windows 10

Microsoft Out-hypes Itself With a Windows 10 Music Video

TOBIAS SCHWARZ—AFP/Getty Images A man shows Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system at the CeBIT technology fair in Hanover.

The video opts for extreme simplicity

The Windows 10 hype machine has kicked into overdrive.

In celebration of the software update — which introduces a retooled interface, more built-in apps, and a Siri-like Cortana assistant — Microsoft has released a music video on YouTube.

The video mentions none of the new software’s features, instead opting for extreme simplicity.

A Windows logo, created by conceptual visual artist GMUNK, shimmers for one-and-a-half minutes set to music from electronic duo Odesza. The video is capped off with a blue screen that instructs viewers to “do great things.” That is, apparently, what users of Microsoft 10 can do once they get their hands on the update.

The new update has already begun downloading on some computers in preparation for its release Tuesday evening, at 9 p.m. PT and midnight ET. Windows 7 and Windows 8 users qualify for a free download of the update.

MONEY online shopping

It’ll Probably Be Years Before You’re Forced to Pay Online Sales Tax

man using credit card to make online payment on laptop
Martin Barraud—Getty Images

For that matter, you might never have to pay up.

Two separate bills working their way through Congress could theoretically close the loophole that allows consumers to skip out on paying sales tax on purchases from e-retailers located in different states. Even so, in all likelihood online shoppers won’t be forced into paying sales tax anytime soon.

Over the years, e-retailers and the consumers who shop online to avoid sales taxes have been accused of having a “free ride.” For the most part, the laws stipulate that online sellers must charge sales tax only when the merchant has a physical presence in the state where the purchase is taking place. The net result is that a consumer in state X might not have to automatically pay sales tax when he makes a purchase from an e-retailer based in state Y.

The scenario gives an unfair advantage to the e-retailer over local brick-and-mortar retailers, which obviously have to collect local sales tax. Consumers are supposed to keep track of their online purchases and pay the appropriate sales tax when filing their income taxes, but the number of individuals who do so is approximately … zero. (Well, it’s close to zero anyway.)

Amazon, all-powerful online entity that it is, has come under fire in particular for not universally collecting sales tax on purchases, and it has made agreements with states on a case-by-case basis to charge the appropriate taxes.

Even as the vast majority of Americans now pay sales tax on Amazon purchases regardless of where they live, there are still many e-retailers that aren’t required to collect sales tax on out-of-state purchases. If either the Remote Transaction Parity Act or the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2015 become law, this loophole would be closed and states could start requiring nearly all sellers to collect sales tax.

Yet, as InternetRetailer.com reported, it’s not looking likely that either of the bills will pass in the near future. What’s more, if and when either does manage to become law, in order to allow time for e-retailers to tweak their operations to be in line with new regulations, there will be a delay of at least 12 months before sellers will have to collect sales tax. E-retailers will also be given a reprieve from charging sales tax during the peak winter holiday shopping season in the first year after either bill becomes law.

The upshot for consumers is that even if one of these bills suddenly catches fire in Congress and surprisingly passes soon, “2017 would be the first holiday season it could take effect,” InternetRetailer.com states. Remember, that’s only if one of these bills passes. If neither does, then many online shoppers can continue enjoying their free ride indefinitely.

TIME facebook

Here’s Facebook’s Course To Combat Bias In The Workplace

The company is now sharing it with the public

Facebook is a prestigious Silicon Valley company where many people hope to work, and yet it has had trouble building on a truly diverse workforce despite repeated promises to do so.

So on Tuesday, COO Sheryl Sandberg shared in a blog post the company’s latest effort in that area: an anti-unconscious bias course for its employees. The company is now sharing it with the public via a new website, complete with videos and presentations on various topics.

“One of the most important things we can do to promote diversity in the workplace is to correct for the unconscious bias that all of us have,” Sandberg wrote. “At Facebook, we’ve worked with leading researchers to develop a training course that helps people recognize how bias can affect them, and gives them tools to interrupt and correct for bias when they see it in the workplace.”

Google released a similar body of resources and training materials in 2014.

In mid-June, Facebook released its second annual workforce diversity report. Much like the other large companies that have also released such reports in the last two years, not much has changed in Facebook’s numbers. The company saw only a one percentage-point increase in total female employees (32%) and in women in technical positions (16%). Women in senior positions stayed at the same level — just 23% of the company. Facebook also didn’t see much improvement in racial diversity, still mostly hiring white and Asian employees.

“Diversity is central to Facebook’s mission of creating a more open and connected world. To reflect the diversity of the 1.4 billion people using our products, we need to have people with different backgrounds, races, genders and points of view working at Facebook,” Sandberg wrote.

The videos cover four areas: stereotypes and performance bias, performance attribution bias, competence/likability tradeoff bias, and maternal bias. It’s not clear how Facebook has implemented these training materials within the company, although Sandberg notes that people have asked the company to share the course with others.

TIME Smartphones

Meet the $329 Phone Everyone’s Been Waiting For

The new OnePlus 2 smartphone.
OnePlus The new OnePlus 2 smartphone.

The OnePlus 2 is the best phone you've never heard of

OnePlus, a rising smartphone star in China, released a new, top-of-the-line product this morning. It’s a smartphone called the OnePlus 2—an admittedly clever bit of mathematical marketing—and it’s billed as the “2016 Flagship Killer.”

Translation: Dear Samsung, Apple, Lenovo, Huawei, and LG: We’re comin’ for ya.

The device itself is enticing. It’s based on Google’s Android operating system, as most phones that don’t start with “i” are, and has the latest mobile innards: A Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor rated at 1.8 GHz, four gigabytes of memory, 64 gigabytes of storage, 13- and five-megapixel cameras, a fingerprint sensor, and a 5.5-inch screen (about on par with the iPhone 6). It’s a bit heavier than Apple’s model. (Is it better? I’ll leave it to Fortune’s Jason Cipriani, who will soon answer that question in a forthcoming review.)

Most important, it’s $329 without a contract. That seems expensive to American consumers used to phones (on contract) in the $200 range, but consider that the iPhone is roughly $650 without a two-year service plan and Samsung’s Galaxy S6 is $685. This is a strategy we’ve seen time and time again from Chinese manufacturers: Match the competition’s hardware and software and undercut them on price. It’s a page ripped directly from the South Korean playbook, itself ripped from the Japanese playbook. (For more on this dynamic, as well as the rise of OnePlus, read “Enter the Dragons,” Scott Cendrowski’s feature in the March 2015 issue of Fortune magazine.)

But despite the hyperbole and hyperventilation in the tech press this morning—”So good it makes me want to leave Verizon,” one early reviewer breathlessly wrote; “pushes the boundaries of what a flagship phone can be,” wrote another—the bigger strategic maneuver for OnePlus is clearly found in the business model. All smartphone makers are subject to the same hardware providers (unless they’re big enough to make proprietary components like Apple and Samsung). That leaves user experience (including customer service!) and price. What makes OnePlus different is its ability to match the former while achieving the latter,reportedly at cost. The marketing doesn’t hesitate to encourage it: “Never Settle” is the company’s slogan. “We believe that great products come from great ideas, not multi-million dollar marketing campaigns,” is a Samsung-targeted line it regularly trots out, even as it tries to reconcile both concepts in international courts of law.

It’s easy, of course, for a small company to punch up at the big giants; it’s got little to lose by starting a war with the incumbents. (Take note, 2016 U.S. presidential election contenders.) But OnePlus should not forget that those five companies—two Korean, one American, and two Chinese—comprise more than half of the global market for smartphones, per IDC’s latest estimates. While ascendant, OnePlus is still obscure to most consumers around the world, and it has yet to truly dominate its own, extraordinarily competitive home market. But with attitude aplenty, OnePlus may have already won an important battle before ever having shipped a single unit of its new model: The one for the minds of consumers who look at smartphones and see Apple, Samsung, and no one else. If this new device helps them see OnePlus, too, then it’s the kind of addition that all Chinese smartphone makers should cheer.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

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