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Creating the Perfect Internship Programme

For the majority of young adults, an internship represents that first step, the initiation phase where you go from being a student to a professional worker. Internships are meant to help young people apply what they’ve learned all their lives and apply them to the real world. It has become a bit of an urban legend, that an internship at a respectable organisation means more than the actual degree.

However, reality has the tendency to prove us wrong most of the time. In the past few years, numerous internship programmes have come under intense scrutiny for being a very legal way of exploiting young people by paying them close to nothing, if they actually decide to pay them anything. Then again, it must be said that not every organisation looks to take advantage of young adults and offer them internships where they are being used. You might be one of the lucky ones who can say that your internship programme was meaningful both professionally and personally.

Ideally, it is best to recruit interns that are geographically close to your base of operations. Drafting young people from local universities is just common sense. Alternatively, if you recruit someone from a different location to work for a summer, it is highly unlikely they will return to you for a full-time job if you offer them one.

There are a number of factors that must be weighed in when it comes to recruiting the best and offering them the best conditions to thrive.

Firstly, it is highly recommended to recruit early in the year. If you plan to organise a summer internship, if you start looking in the spring then all the best talents are already taken. Fall seems like the ideal time to start recruiting if you wish to have the best possible students available. Obviously, this requires being proactive as an organisation.

Secondly, make their first day amazing. Keep in mind that they are most likely nervous about their first day and they didn’t sleep too much due to their anxiety. Some of the following things may help ease them in: someone greeting them as soon as they come in, make sure their offices are properly set and ready to work and take them to lunch.  Furthermore, if you will have interns in various departments try and create opportunities for them to meet. This can be easily done by creating training and social sessions for them in order for them to get more accustomed to their surroundings.

  1. Offering your interns actual work

Everyone is scared of going to an internship and all they will have to do is deliver coffee. Some of the best ways in which to offer them meaningful work is to assign a project that will impact the way business is done. Give them the possibility to present their ideas and solutions in front of the executives and shareholders. You will be surprised how many good ideas may come from someone who is new in the place of business. More often than not, interns’ ideas are being implemented and have something extra to add to their CVs. Moreover, it gives the manager a clear idea of who they can recruit full-time after they finish their studies.

  1. Continuous feedback

Although it is fairly important to offer your interns meaningful work, it is as important to give them continuous feedback. Do not drop a project on them and then check their work in their very last day. For example, L’Oreal offers ongoing feedback considering it an integral part of the development of all their employees, either temporary or full-time. And that is not all. Interns have the possibility of providing feedback as well. L’Oreal considers that there should always be a dialogue between interns and managers, thus leading to better engagement levels and productivity.

  1. Compensation

In an article from the New York Times, it has been brought up to everyone’s attention that there are violations of labour laws when talking about unpaid internships. A few of the rules that are in place at the moment state that the internship should be related to an interns’ academic capabilities, interns should not displace full-time employees and that the company cannot obtain any immediate advantage from an intern’s work. In layman terms, internships should benefit interns, not organisations. All in all, the criteria mentioned lead towards the idea that internships should be financially compensated. After all, a successful internship must be a win for everyone involved in the process.

  1. Closing time

Request a summary of your interns’ experience at the end of the programme. This is a win-win situation for both parties. The interns have the opportunity to reflect on their experience and what they have learnt, whilst providing you with valuable information on how to improve office relations, communication, etc.

If there are interns who have impressed during their time at your organisation make sure to make them offers for a full-time position before they go back to school. This is a crucial step because not only does it offer you with a young and consistent new employee but it may also drive other interns in the future to seek your programme.

In their last day, offer them a small token of appreciation. It could be a keychain, a hat or a coat with the company logo on it. If he or she had a great experience within your organisation they will wear it proudly (plus, a little bit of advertising goes a long way).

Most companies think that when interns leave that is a job well done. This could not be more false. It is essential you keep in touch with them. Managers should make sure that whoever worked the closest with an intern touch base on a monthly basis. It is also important for interns to know that the work they have put in the projects they have been assigned is developing nicely.

Finally and this is more food for thought than anything else. Just think about how you would like to be treated if you were embarking on your first internship experience. You know very well what the difference is between being treated as an equal or as a ‘servant’. By applying just some of the ideas discussed in this article your organisation will see an increase in demand for students to come and take your internship programme.

There is a real value in providing companies with the tools to carry out regular organisational assessments and this is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.fastcompany.com/40556255/how-to-build-an-internship-program-that-works-for-the-interns

https://www.cio.com/article/2902929/hiring/looking-to-build-a-great-internship-program-read-this.html

https://readwrite.com/2010/05/27/5-tips-for-creating-an-interns/

Why Are Employees Leaving their Jobs

Retaining your top talent is every bit as important as attracting new top performers due to the simple fact that a high employee turnover is very costly to every organisation. Hence, managers should always be open and communicative with their employees and do their best to understand why their employees stay and what do they stay for. In the case of those who leave, they should find out why they quit.

A company can ‘achieve’ a high employee turnover for numerous reasons such as following their loved ones to their new job, or they stay at home with their newborn children, they seek a better position in another organisation, they wish to further their studies or they simply change their career field.  These types of events in an employee’s life are difficult to predict by the organisation because they revolve around events that occur in everyone’s life at one moment or another.

However, the majority of reasons why companies have a high employee turnover rate can be managed by the employers. To be more specific, organisational aspects such as workplace environment, culture and the perception an employee creates in relation to his job and responsibilities represent elements that factor in how an employee is affected.

As mentioned earlier, the best way in which to retain your top employees is to keep a close eye on what they think and what they want out of their professional life. Do they believe their work matters? Do they feel they need more of a challenge because their work right now seems dull to them? Is the communication style in the office suited to their needs? All of these questions should help out managers determine how happy and engaged their employees are.

In order to determine if your employees are happy with how things are going one solution is to simply ask them. Take the necessary course of action and carry out stay interviews in order to evaluate why employees stay with your organisation. Pay close attention to the factors that determine them to keep working for the company and then enhance them if possible. No employee leaves because they have it too good, everyone wants to leave for a reason. Discover those motives before it’s too late.

Offer your employees the best possible opportunities for them to do their job within the organisation and your retention levels will soar.

Firstly, let’s talk about salary. Let us not kid ourselves; salary is important, of course, but it does not represent the number one why employees leave. In a recent Gallup study, it has been revealed that salary cannot buy employee loyalty. In their findings, only 22% of respondents have even mentioned salary as the number one reason for their departure from a company. The rest of the respondents have stated reasons that are within a manager’s reach to change or influence for the better.

As a manager, there are a few things you can do in order to reverse the decision of employees who wish to leave.

1. No Opportunity for Advancement

From an evolutionary standpoint, the human race has always been looking for new ways in which to better itself. Being humans themselves, employees are always on the lookout for opportunities to advance their skills in order to advance their careers. In particular, employees from Generation Y and Z wish for their employers to provide them with the necessary tools and training programmes so that they can improve themselves. Consequently, if they start to feel that their job has become routine or their managers show little to no interest in their progress, their natural reaction will be to leave. This represents one of the best predictors of high employee turnover rates. Employees want to have opportunities through which they learn and hone their skills. In Gallup’s Q12 engagement survey, employees who agree with the following statements are more likely to say they feel they have the required opportunities to move up the ladder.

  • “In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.”
  • “My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.”
  • “At work, my opinions seem to count.”
  • “There is someone at work who encourages my development.”

It comes to no surprise that 92% of these respondents have stated that they see themselves working in the same company one year later.

2. Professional Relationships

It becomes more and more evident that employees do not leave a company; they leave their teams and managers. If an employee has a conflict with the manager, then there is only a matter of time until he or she leaves. At the same time, it is also true that if an employee doesn’t manage to make any friends at the workplace or have someone for a quick chat during breaks, most likely his engagement and happiness levels are low and may be looking to relocate.

3. Flexibility

Given the unpredictability and the need for alertness in today’s society, the majority of employees struggle to juggle their jobs with their busy personal lives. As a result, people are actively looking to work from home or try to adjust their hours and schedules accordingly, obviously without jeopardising both their professional and personal lives.

53 % of respondents in the Gallup study mentioned earlier have said that for them a great work-life balance and wellbeing is very important, especially for female employees. Furthermore, 51% of employees said they would make the switch to a new job if they had the possibility of a more flexible schedule whilst 37% of them would relish the opportunity to work from home at least half the time. In these ever-changing times, managers must show their employees they matter and find solutions in which employees feel they have control and that it also makes sense business-wise.

There is a real value in providing companies with the tools to carry out regular organisational assessments and this is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/311292

https://www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/why-are-your-employees-quitting-a-study-says-it-comes-down-to-any-of-these-6-reasons.html

https://www.thebalance.com/top-reasons-why-employees-quit-their-job-1918985

Building a Strong Emotional Connection with Consumers

Companies that are looking to make a lucrative organic growth are making major investments in the optimisation of end-to-end customer experience. In layman terms, this refers to every aspect of how customers interact with a brand and its products and promotions whether we are talking about on or offline. However, most companies still lack a clear strategy and objectives that connect all the aspects of a customer’s journey. Due to this lack of vision companies risk expending vast amounts of money and human capital without getting back any financial gain.

Most companies nowadays are too busy tracking customer activity across their stores, unrealistic measurements for and gathering huge amounts of data from social media, call centres, e-commerce sites loyalty programmes and so on. In this case, their goal is to improve customer satisfaction every step of the way. However, overall customer satisfaction levels are already pretty high and rarely represent a competitive advantage.

Thanks to the research done by Harvard Business Review (HBR) over numerous brands and industries, has revealed the fact the most efficient way to boost customer value is by connecting with them on an emotional level. This indicates the need to use ‘emotional motivators’ i.e. fundamental emotional principles which are often unspoken. Just to name a few we have the need to feel secure, the desire to have a sense of belonging or to succeed in life.

On the basis of customer loyalty, emotionally connected clients are at least twice as valuable as satisfied customers. Emotionally connected customers will buy more of the products or services you offer, they will visit your place of business or stores more often, they display low price sensitivity, they will recommend you more to their family and friends and even follow your advice. Here are a few examples:

Airbnb: Travellers who crave a more personal experience, then, the sharing-economy icon definitely hit an emotional chord through the use of principles such as of mutual trust and respect.

Starbucks: Given the fact they have created a sense of community in their coffee shops, the company has developed a deep and strong bond with their customers to become the perfect place between home and work.

Patagonia: This socially responsible retailer started connecting with like-minded customers and initiated supporting causes they are really invested in. Given its activist spirit, this is echoed in every aspect of the organisation, ranging from logistics to fair wages.

In all fairness, all the marketing tools available now have acted as a catalyst for brands and their customers. If we take a closer look at the leading marketing campaigns involving technology, we can clearly see that emotional marketing is further enhanced by digital tactics. This leads to brands building their reputation and awareness even stronger and with the added bonus of creating special bonds with their long-lasting customers.

The digital advantage

Contrary to popular belief, by embedding technology in our daily marketing campaigns does not mean brands give up on human connection. Through the use of new emerging technologies, organisations have discovered a more personal way to reach and persuade costumers. Messages that make people smile, cry or grimace are what lead to likes, shares and lifelong customers; and the opportunities that the digital era presents bring emotional marketing to new heights.

Influencing customer insights

When you’re designing a campaign revolving around emotions, the message has to reverberate with the desired target audience in order for it to be effective. Nonetheless, it is pretty difficult to build up such a campaign given the fact that every consumer in the customer journey is at a different point in their lives with unique priorities. Given social media websites and numerous apps, very specific customer data is now available allowing marketers to tailor the campaign for their customers on a very deep, personal and emotional level.

Reaching the target audience

Given that our lives have changed considerably in the past 10 years, we are now living in a mobile-first world. This translates into less physical interactions with them in the stores.  A big part of connecting with consumers on a more personal level is by reaching them where they are. It’s the organisation’s responsibility to discover what kind of device their audience is using more often and which content platform to they seem more in touch to i.e. Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook.

Harbouring customer loyalty

It is clear as day that campaigns that makes people angry, happy, sad, anxious or frustrated stay in the minds of the customers and will make them come back for more.

The moment when branded content is being distributed between family and friends and is also very engaging and entertaining, customer loyalty grows exponentially. When an organisation shares content with their customers either through Facebook or Twitter, we can clearly see the ‘art’ of creating an emotional campaign by combining it with science. These types of tactics have become one of the most effective ways in which to boost customer loyalty over decades.

If you are a believer in the idea of the digital era that is destroying the relationship between brands and their customers you may want to think again. Emotional and digital marketing are more intertwined than you may think. Campaigns that make people engage on an emotional level such as laughing, crying or smiling will continue to come out and they will grow in numbers, thus leading to an unprecedented level of engagement which can only be obtained through cut clear digital tactics.

There is a real value in providing companies with the tools to carry out regular organisational assessments and this is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:
HBR.org

Forbes.com

MarTechToday.com

Bad Employees and their Toxic Effects

The saying goes that one bad apple can ruin the whole bunch. Interestingly enough, it is the same with employees. The effects of bad employees or ‘hurricane’ employees, as they are also known, can be visible in companies of any size and industry.  Even though this type of person initially impresses in the interview phase, underperforming employees now represent a serious threat to your business.

But just how dangerous are these employees? Well, given the 2013 CareerBuilder survey done on 6,000 hiring managers and HR professionals, it has been discovered that 27% of U.S. employers who had employed a ‘bad apple’, claimed that one bad hire eventually cost their business more than $50,000. This is a financial strain no business should bear. Additionally, the majority of businesses have more than just one bad employee in their ranks.

Recent research done on how contagious ‘hurricane’ employees can be, has revealed that even the most ethical of employees may begin embracing misconduct if they work alongside a dishonest individual for too long. It may be nice to think that the honest employees would instil some moral values into the dishonest employees, that is rarely the case.

For managers and executives, it is extremely important to realise that the money involving an underperformer go far beyond the effects it has on that particular employee– bad behaviour can easily ‘spill over’ into the minds of the other employees through basic peer effect. If organisations choose to under-appreciate the consequences of these spill-overs, a few ill-mannered employees can infect any strong corporate culture.

Nevertheless, through observing similar behaviour among staff, it does not explain how and why this similarity even occurs. Co-workers could behave similarly because of peer effects – in which workers learn behaviours or social norms from each other – but similar behaviour could arise because co-workers face the same incentives or because individuals prone to making similar choices naturally choose to work together.

Below, you take a look at some of the more hidden ways in which bad employees can hurt businesses, and why it is imperative to let them go in order to reach personal and company goals.

  1. Negative organisational reputation

One of the most destructive ways in which ‘hurricane’ employees can harm organisations is by destroying its reputation. A business’s reputation takes years on end to establish, and, unfortunately, one poor-performance employee may derail all of that hard work for quality products, services, and professionalism.

It goes without saying that unprofessional customer service or products lacking that lack that level of excellence expected from any business could leave clients and customers disgruntled. Furthermore, this makes them associate poor service and bad quality with the brand. A damaged reputation takes years to bounce back from and in some extreme cases, it is irreversible.

  1. Low levels of employee morale

Besides the fact that bad employees hurt a company’s bottom line, they also drive employee morale to worryingly low levels. This may even occur in the best performing employees. In this scenario, the rest of the team has to pick up the pace due to one’s person unproductiveness, which, consequently, causes the top talents to become disengaged, dissatisfied, or even burnout. This may sound eerie but only one member on the team may cause the entire staff to become frustrated, angry and detached, leading, of course, to cohesion and morale issues, extreme defensiveness and, in some particular cases, a tendency to ignore creative ideas.

This is definitely a case in which managers must take the tough decision and remove harmful employees from the office environment in order for the HR department to focus its efforts on finding a team member willing to work hard.

  1. Daily interruptions

‘Hurricane’ employees also have the tendency to refuse thinking for themselves and solve their problems independently which, in turn, causes workflow interruptions for managers and executives alike. Instead of focusing on issues such as performance and engagement, managers are forced to hand-hold the harmful employee through menial daily tasks. The damage this type of person may do is not only contagious, but it often shows in team performance. In a recent study done at the Rotterdam School of Management, has revealed that one negative employee can “literally cause” a 30% to 40% drop in performance levels.

Of course, this leads to losing productivity at management-level as well, because managers are unable to implement new ideas and initiatives due to the constant supervision they have to undertake with the ‘hurricane’ employee. Even though firing someone who isn’t performing at normal standards is an uncomfortable experience altogether, managers have to ask themselves if they are willing to lose professionally due to one individual. The moment when a manager starts to think about what is best for the organisation, the decision will become all the more clear.

By understanding how and why co-workers make similar choices about committing misconduct can steer managers into preventing misconduct. Misconduct is a product of social interaction and given its nature, knowledge and social norms it may be difficult to spot at first. Generally speaking, if managers can achieve the level of understanding required to why co-workers behave in similar ways has enormous implications for understanding how corporate culture is shaped and how managers can help steer it in the right direction.

There is a real value in providing companies with the tools to carry out regular organisational assessments and this is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.inc.com/will-yakowicz/one-toxic-employee-will-spoil-whole-bunch.html

https://hbr.org/2018/03/research-how-one-bad-employee-can-corrupt-a-whole-team

http://www.businessinsider.com/4-unexpected-ways-bad-employees-destroy-companies-2016-9

The Road to Sustainability in Business

Are you a firm believer that sustainability is important for the company, but that it’s always someone else’s task to handle it? Unsurprisingly, you are not alone. Although most organisations talk about carrying sustainability programmes —integrating environmental and societal affairs into their business culture — very few companies actually walk the walk. Coming as no surprise to anyone, carbon emissions emitted by the world’s largest corporations are increasing, and only 1/3 of the 600 largest companies in the United States have some kind of systematic sustainability oversight at an executive level.

Companies that are actually interested in winning the sustainability battle have already created opportunities for their stakeholders in order for them to own sustainability. These organisations have decided that sustainability is not someone else’s problem. There are a few ways in which a company can stop with the rhetoric and actually take ownership of sustainability.

For example, there is psychological ownership and it refers to feelings of attachment and connection that we develop towards an appealing matter such as a person, company, or even an idea. Recent research has revealed that feelings of organisational ownership can lead to greater levels of job satisfaction, engagement, profits and productivity. This causes ownership to be an impressive approach for those who wish to galvanise a company around sustainability. Daily confrontations with the already inevitable climate change and other serious issues that may cause us harm, the majority of us have an unquenchable thirst to do something about it but we do not know how.

In terms of attracting and retaining top talent, organisations may offer good pay and benefits, but they could not stop there. They can also offer an interesting perk such as working towards a higher objective. Employees nowadays are looking to feel good about their work and wish to make a larger contribution to the world. They believe that by being part of something meaningful is really rewarding. Through sustainability, they get the chance to feel better regarding their job within the organisation.

Their feeling of happiness represents a firm’s bottom line. Employees who are the most committed to their jobs put in 57% more effort on the job and are 87% less likely to resign this according to the study done by the Corporate Executive Board.

Sustainability can be intertwined into a corporate culture. Michelle Montakhab, the Vice President of People and Culture at Nutiva, has said that their company that has hired no less than 60 people in the last year. Montakhab has stated that people have mentioned the company’s social policies numerous times, one example being that 1% of their sales go to sustainable agriculture, as a reason they want to work there. New employees quickly learn how sustainability works at their California headquarters due to the simple fact that new hires end up with their lunch waste on their desk because they didn’t sort it properly.

Christopher Crummey, the worldwide director of sales at IBM, has said that companies that engage in social and environmental stewardship also benefit from higher employee engagement levels which are directly translated into cultural engagement. Innovation is directly involved in how organisations engage their employees.

In another example, the sustainability chief at the Old Mutual, a financial services company, has organised a meeting with over 40 future leaders and revealed to them that, through their loans and other services used, they were having a tremendous impact on their customers. Managers could see first-hand how through their daily activities, they were changing lives for the better. This insight offered to the managers, led their teams to believe they came into work to do more than just add numbers. It was a very effective way in which they realised their business was about more than making money, which is the type of information that allows companies to begin the conversation around ownership of sustainability.

And there are many ways in which to stimulate a sustainability ownership experience. In the case of Marks & Spencer’s company-wide “Make Your Mark” initiative, have paired employees with young people who were looking for a job and who required help to develop their skills and confidence. At the beginning of the campaign it was seen as just a small initiative, but it has become an integral part of Marks & Spencer’s culture, with an incredibly long list of employees waiting to become ‘buddies’ with young people. Furthermore, the company offers autonomy to local stores in order for them to come up with campaigns better suited for the communities’ needs, which in turn makes the shop floor employees take ownership of sustainability.

And research is backing up this idea. A LinkedIn and Altimeter combined study has revealed that when employees feel inspired and empowered, they were 20% more likely to remain at the company. Employee turnover still costs companies between 70% and 200% of an employee’s annual salary, according to numerous data calculations.

However, most employees apply a cost-benefit calculus (the aforementioned ‘what’s in it for me’) to decide how to act and please their superiors. Due to the fact that the business world is dominated by maximum profits, this calculation often influences employees to in a manner in which their organisations uphold. This leads to employees’ values coming in second place. A recent study of young employees has discovered that in many instances, employees get to the point in which they suspend their own values temporarily with the belief that a commendable result will justify the questionable means by which it was achieved. These types of employees were never offered a chance by the company to voice their ideas, values and to question the work they were asked to do.

It is of great importance for company executives and managers to lead by example in sustainability initiatives and programmes because research shows that stakeholders, including employees (which are a tremendously important aspect), are generally sceptical in regards to a company’s motivations for getting involved in sustainability initiatives. Some employees are or may be persuaded to put aside their scepticism and embrace such initiatives only when they are absolutely convinced that the organisation has sincere motives for making a difference. In layman terms, when it comes to sustainability, leaders’ actions are more valuable than words and play a quintessential role in signalling and passing on organisation values to employees.

There is a real value in providing companies with the tools to carry out regular organisational assessments and this is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

 

https://hbr.org/2018/02/how-to-make-sustainability-every-employees-responsibility

https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2014/oct/15/employee-engagement-millennials-social-responsibility-innovation-value-social-responsibility

https://ssir.org/articles/entry/engaging_employees_to_create_a_sustainable_business

How and Why Is Engagement Linked to Burnout

Preventing burnout is a better solution than waiting to treat it after it becomes a problem. The personal and organisational costs of burnout can be extensive in terms of physical health, work performance and psychological well-being. As an organisation, taking steps to minimise the risk of burnout before it happens is a more rational strategy. Building engagement is probably the best approach to preventing burnout. People who are engaged in the workplace are far better at coping with the challenges they encounter, thus making them more likely to recover from stress. So thriving at building an engaged workforce, before any major problems arise, represents a fantastic prevention method.

Organisational intervention can and is more productive than individual intervention. Improvements should be made in job conditions that affect most or even all employees. Generally, these improvements should make changes in the way an organisation works, that it actually begins to change the organisational culture and climate altogether.  The importance of the burnout-engagement ‘continuum’ is that engagement represents the desired goal for any burnout case. Through this framework, people will start to consider the factors in the workplace which are most likely to enhance employees’ energy, resilience and drive. According to the survey done by Accountemps, it has been revealed that more than half of employees reported feeling stressed at work on a daily basis, and 6 out of 10 agreed that work-related pressure has increased in the last five years. Some concerned HR leaders have called this a workplace epidemic.

The Costs of Employee Burnout

First of all, it is important to understand what the true costs of burning out are. In a recent study done by Gallup, it has been estimated that employee burnout cost the nation of Germany somewhere around 9 billion euros in lost productivity every year, whilst in the United States, burnout costs have been reported to be around 190 billion dollars in healthcare expenditure, with an additional 120,000 stress-related deaths.  In fact, this burnout epidemic has become a nationwide problem in Japan, where they’ve even invented a new word: “karoshi,” aka death from overwork. The latest case was the death of a 31-year old woman who died of heart failure after doing a whopping 159 overtime hours in one month.

How to maintain high engagement without burning out in the process

Here are a few key differences that have been found between the optimally engaged and the engaged-exhausted employees.

Half of the optimally engaged employees reported having ‘high resources’, such as supervisor support, a rewards and recognition system and self-efficacy at work, but experience ‘low demands’ such as low workload, low cumbersome bureaucracy, and low to moderate demands on concentration and attention. The other side of the coin have displayed such experiences of high resources and low demands were rare (4%) among the engaged-exhausted employees, the majority of whom (64%) reported experiencing high demands and high resources.

This should provide managers with an idea as to where to start supporting employees in order to achieve optimal engagement levels. In order to promote and achieve engagement, it is quintessential to provide employees with the resources they need to do their job well, feel good about the work they put in and properly recover from work-related stress.

Many organisations, at the recommendation of their respective HR departments, offer wellness programmes in order to combat stress. While it is common knowledge that chronic stress is not good for employees, these company wellness initiatives are not the most appropriate way to respond to that stress. Studies suggest that while wellness programmes can be helpful, a much bigger concern is the work itself. HR should work alongside front-line managers in order to monitor the level of demands they’re placing on people. The higher the work demands, the higher employees’ need for support, acknowledgement and opportunities for recovery.

What about challenges and goals? Challenges, as we all know it, are motivating. However, we often forget that high challenges usually come at high cost. Challenging achievement situations not only cause anxiety and stress for most motivated individuals but also lead to exhaustion. The research on challenges and goals is mixed – for some people, chasing ambitious goals does lead to higher performance. For most people, however, challenges and goals lead them towards demotivation, take unplanned risks, or even quit.

Managers and HR leaders alike should try and help employees by toning down the demands they are placing on people. They should ensure that employee goals are realistic. Rebalancing the workloads of more skilled employees helps as well, who have been saddled with way too much work. Furthermore, it is recommended to increase the resources available to employees and this does not only refer to material resources such as time and money, but also intangible resources such as empathy, understanding and friendship in the workplace, whilst also letting employees blow off some steam from work when they’re not working.

The data is crystal clear: engagement is the key; it’s what all organisations should strive towards for both leaders and employees. But the target is smart engagement, the type that brings in productivity, enthusiasm and motivation, without any burnout.

There is a real value in providing companies with the tools to carry out regular organisational assessments and this is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://hbr.org/2018/02/1-in-5-highly-engaged-employees-is-at-risk-of-burnout

https://www.bamboohr.com/blog/examining-employee-burnout/

https://www.decision-wise.com/job-burnout-the-employee-engagement-killer/

 

Why Do People Hate Their Jobs

Have any us taken the time to look around at the people boarding the subway or bus lately? You may notice that there are very few people who look at all excited about the day ahead. If you start a conversation with one of them, you may soon find out how much they hate their job, or their boss, or their long hours (some of them possibly unpaid).

Whilst growing up, people generally had some sort of idea regarding the career path they wanted to pursue. Even though over the years that idea may have changed, most people eventually figured out which industry they desired to work in. Given how life usually works, sometimes expectations aren’t met. This can lead to numerous employees disliking their jobs. ProOpinion has recently released the findings from a business research they have done in which it was revealed that roughly 31% of employees believe they aren’t paid enough, 21% do not have a proper work-life balance and 20% have stated that the unreasonable amount of workload represents the cause of their unhappiness. Others have also said that they have experienced professional relationship issues due to incompatibility with managers and/or co-workers and a lack of job advancement.

Naturally, it can be understood when unemployed job-seekers say: “If I had a job, I wouldn’t even dare to complain! I’d be grateful for the paycheck.” It is important not to take this the wrong way because those people mean it when they say it, but beware of people who say: “I wouldn’t complain at all, a job is a job!” They most likely have forgotten how harrowing it is to wake up every morning going to a job you hate. This stressful situation can take its toll on your health, both physically and emotionally.

There are managers out there that regularly complain about unmotivated employees. But who in their right mind would want to go to work unmotivated? Managers and employees alike must realise that motivation is a feature of the environment, not the people who work in it. Improvement is key.

The first step in improving your career, and an essential one at that, is to come to terms with the fact that you’re not happy with what you’re doing at the moment, and this realisation is not that easy to achieve. Our conscience usually tells us to stop complaining, get on with our work and to be grateful for what we have. However, we cannot force ourselves to be grateful, doesn’t matter how much we try. If people are under the impression they are in a toxic situation it may become harder for them to get out of bed, never mind doing a great job at work.

Social life is important as well
Even though having a job is a big part of our personal development, this doesn’t mean it has to be our sole purpose in life. People want jobs where they can be fulfilled both professionally and personally. When people forget about this, they tend to become dissatisfied with their current employment.

A healthy work-life balance differs from person to person, hence what is important to one person may not be as crucial to another. If you are spending too much time either at work or you continue to work from home can leave you tired, stressed out and may lead to sickness. Furthermore, it can also lead to more responsibility at work, which will only intensify the other effects.

Forbes magazine has discovered that employees want options through which they reduce the pressure that hovers over them. Some of the options available today are telecommuting and the possibility of flexible work hours which will allow employees to plan their schedules ahead in order to fit their specific needs, thus offering them the opportunity to reach the balance they desire. This does not mean that all this work has to be put in by the manager or company. Employees are responsible for their own actions and must learn to adjust their own habits by leaving the office on time and leaving job-related tasks at work. It’s pointless to think that you can achieve a good work-life balance if you don’t make time for yourself to relax and unwind.

Money isn’t everything, but it helps
When people really love what they’re doing, they may be willing to disregard a low salary if they will be working in a position they enjoy and if they will be surrounded by people who have similar interests. However, if that job starts to become a place they hate going to, frustration will start to build towards co-workers and manager, thus ending up creating a lot of tension around the workplace.

Furthermore, employees want to see their hard work is appreciated, and that may come in various forms such as benefits or even a pay raise. If they feel they are being neglected from getting a promotion, people might want to quit the organisation. However, there are other benefits that may compensate for not having a higher salary, but in the long run, they won’t be solving any problems. A pay raise shows the employee that you value his hard work and may also represent a sign of things to come (i.e. promotion). By simply repaying hard work and offer a clear path of advancement for deserving employees businesses will be able to keep their staff happy.

More responsibility shouldn’t result in more problems
Offering employees more responsibility at work makes workers feel valued and important. It also shows them that they are trustworthy and reliable. It may be a match made in heaven if this also comes with a new title and a higher pay. However, there is always the other side of the coin when employees show their willingness to work and excel in their role; they may find that they’ve taken too much responsibility on their shoulders. At the end of the day, workers may find themselves assigned to more projects than they have the physical time to finish it.

An overflow of work causes people to stress out and feel that they are letting the manager and company down by not completing all of his or her tasks. This is even more problematic when employees believe they are not being paid enough for the effort and sacrifice they put in. While it’s good and reassuring for managers to have employees they can count on, this doesn’t mean that those employees should receive all the work. It is admirable they are willing to help out, but it shouldn’t lead to health problems and general unhappiness lives. In order to keep their most valued employees happy within the company, managers need to learn how to delegate work evenly and not just to a selected few.

There are numerous reasons why people end up being unhappy at the workplace, but if we’re honest they are pretty much all connected. Incapable managers and employees always lead to a negative and toxic environment and a tremendously excessive workload. Extra responsibilities almost always cause workers to feel that they are being underpaid for the amount of work they’re putting in and it also interferes with their personal lives.

This is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

http://www.businessinsider.com/reasons-you-hate-your-job-2014-6

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lizryan/2016/11/29/the-top-ten-reasons-people-hate-their-jobs/#2352a8b81ed9

https://www.proopinion.com/en/blog/7-reasons-why-people-absolutely-hate-their-jobs

 

Sleep Deprivation and How it Affects Performance

Right after managers and employees have their first interaction, the process of forging their working relationship begins, which is a crucial factor in how they both are going to experience work, how much trust there will be between one another, and how effectively they can carry out assignments.  A new and possibly forgotten predictor in the quality of these work relations is sleep. Sleep deprivation for either the manager or employee or both could make them experience an increase in negative emotions at the workplace. Usually, these emotions are represented by hostility. Everyone reading this can remember at least one time when fewer hours of sleep translated into a short temper at the office. This is a common experience for almost everyone in the workforce and, most of the times, it is directly linked to sleep deprivation due to the fact that fewer hours of sleep impairs the part of the brain that regulates emotions.

Hostility can be dangerous for a new professional relationship. Hostility leads to the feeling of threat and can easily deteriorate the psychological safety of people in every possible context. If managers happen to yell at an employee once, it may not be an issue, nevertheless, if this a common practice in the office, employees may feel that their manager is lacking respect and empathy, hence leading to a weak work relationship.

Unfortunately, today’s business world promotes sleep deprivation as the highest ranking achievement possible. If you’re always busy and cannot be bothered to sleep then you’re definitely on the way to the top. The problem here is that science says the exact opposite, so who do we believe? It may sound tempting to trade away some hours of sleep in order to finish a few tasks, but by doing you may sabotage your own success and health. Perhaps it is time to get some sleep, or else you may face numerous risks.

At Harvard Medical School the Division of Sleep Medicine revealed the fact that short-term productivity gains from skipping sleep are quickly downplayed by the detrimental effects of sleep deprivation on a person’s mood, his or her ability to focus and access to higher-level brain functions. Interestingly enough, the negative effects of sleep deprivation are so considerable that even people who drink manage to outperform those without sleep.

Why We Need Acceptable Hours of Sleep

We all know that sleep is good for our brain and new found evidence from the research done by the University of Rochester has provided us with clear evidence on why your brain cells need you to rest. The study states that when people sleep the brain removes the toxic proteins from its neurons (by-products of neural activity while we’re awake). Unfortunately for us, the brain can only do while we’re asleep. Consequently, the toxic proteins remain in the brain cells, impairing our ability to think and no amount of coffee can solve that. These toxins slow our ability to process information and problem solving; it can also kill our creativity whilst catapulting our stress levels and emotional reactivity through the roof.

What Sleep Deprivation Does to Our Health

Sleep deprivation has been heavily linked to numerous serious health problems such as heart attacks, strokes, type 2 diabetes, and even obesity. The lack of sleep stresses us out because our body overproduces the stress hormone when its sleep deprived, also known as cortisol. Excess in cortisol levels has a host of negative effects that come from the damage it inflicts on our immune system. High cortisol in our body results in looking older, due to the fact that cortisol destroys skin collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth and elastic.

Sleep deprivation also compromises our body’s ability to metabolise carbohydrates and control our food intake. Sleeping less and less results into eating more and more and also increasing the difficulty in burning the calories we consume. Due to the lack of sleep, our bodies get hungrier much faster and that is done through the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin and it also makes it harder for us to get full because it reduces levels of the satiety-inducing hormone leptin. There is a 30% increase in the likelihood of becoming obese for people who sleep less than 6 hours a night rather than those who sleep between 7 to 9 hours a night.

Besides the fact that it may harm professional relationships, sleep deprivation can also deplete us of the very traits that make us good at our jobs. For example, workplace leaders are known for their charisma and which translates into making employees want to work for and with them. Sleep deprivation saps all of the outstanding personality traits and all we are left with is a robotic, difficult person in its place.

Sleep is a critical part of our wellbeing and without it, we get emotional, stressed-out, forgetful, disorganised people at work. We are more likely to feel helpless and be unable to perform even the most menial of tasks or change perspective when our plans go awry. It’s time we stop encouraging sleep deprivation at the workplace. It’s not doing our career or our bodies any favours.

We have an impressive assessment library with hundreds of dimensions that can be leveraged in creating a custom skills-based assessment that supports your organisation’s specific competencies and unique vision. Please contact us if you need to measure the engagement level in your company.

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Sources:

https://hbr.org/2017/08/research-sleep-deprivation-can-make-it-harder-to-stay-calm-at-work

https://medium.com/the-mission/sleep-deprivation-is-killing-you-and-your-career-fd33e16ccf7f

https://www.thriveglobal.com/stories/16762-drunk-on-the-job-if-you-re-sleep-deprived-you-might-as-well-be

 

2018 Technology Trends: The Reshaping of the Business World

We are at an interesting crossroad nowadays in regards to technology. All of the technological advancements we see around us on a daily basis have brought numerous changes to our way of life. The year 2018 will see an even greater focus on these types of advancements such as self-driving cars, drone deliveries and the rapidly evolving artificial intelligence (AI) programmes. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be a software engineer or computer scientist to become a leader in the digital revolution. What is even more vital is the ability to match technological solutions with existing business problems in innovative ways.

Given that people nowadays are using mobile apps, connected devices, wearables, social media and the list could go on and on – the level of engagement with brands is unprecedented by using a vast array of digital technologies. Given this increased level of engagement, a business’ success hinges more often than not on the organisation’s ability to create an enjoyable experience for their customers. It is also true that recent research unearthed a strong correlation between superior customer experiences and revenue growth.

The technical director for Google Cloud, Jamie Erbes, has said that: “Consumer expectations are at an all-time high, and the bar will keep rising through 2020,” and “People want products and services that offer a high level of personalisation and adapt to their lifestyle. When that doesn’t happen, they quickly move on.” Many organisations have already started to build a strong foundation for a better 2020 digital experience. So what exactly is going to change?

  1. Data is all around us and it keeps growing

We as people are ‘producing’ a fantastic amount of data as we go on with our lives. From Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to the digital footprint we create through the use of Netflix or Fitbit or even our connected systems at work. In case you were wondering, every second, 900,000 go on Facebook, 452,000 people post on Twitter, and 3.5 million people search for something on Google.

Given this fantastic rate of data creation means that every two years the amount of data is doubling. This is also known as Big Data. This massive explosion of data has made many other trends possible, and by learning how to tap into the insights will increase everyone’s prospects in just about any industry.

  1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The field of artificial intelligence or cognitive computing revolves around machines or computers that are capable of reproducing or mimicking ‘thinking’ in a similar way people do – especially when it comes down to learning. Being a computer certainly has its advantages meaning that if you teach them how to learn they will do so incredibly fast and, as an added bonus, with a greater degree of accuracy than any human being would be capable of. The indisputable result is that they will become more knowledgeable and capable and able of finding solutions to problems.

It has been predicted that by 2020 half of online searches will be done by voice with 30%(!) of them being made by using devices with no screen whatsoever. For example, this year, BMW will launch cars with Alexa pre-installed, just as Ford has done. Businesses will increasingly use AI assistants in order to manage daily schedules and offer us information when we need it. Going even further, some people are talking about the opportunity to drive sales through the use of chatbots and ‘natural’ language-capable marketing tools.

The days in which we were adding a customer’s name to marketing emails are behind us. The more customers feel treated like actual people, rather than just numbers with money, the more connected they feel to the companies that serve them.

  1. Blockchain

Blockchain represents the distributed, encrypted and ledger behind the now famous cryptocurrency Bitcoin. However, it has uses far beyond making people interested in cryptocurrencies filthy rich. Experts have been saying that it represents a giant leap forward towards information storage and security. Simply put, a blockchain is a digital file in which blocks of information are connected to one another (or ‘chained’ together) and is secured through private key cryptography, making sure that only those with the right permit may edit only the sections of data they are entitled to. In other words, anyone capable of ‘installing’ blockchain technology to current business problems is very likely to find this particular skill in very high demand.

As people become more involved and vigilant about social responsibility and online security, blockchain will become tremendously important. For the organisations that actually have a nice story to tell, it will definitely be a valuable way through which transparency can be created and also building a brand in a way it was never thought possible before.

  1. Public Cloud

As mentioned earlier, the amount of data we create is doubling every two years. According to a recent study done by International Data Corporation, between the years 2016 and 2020, the worldwide spending on public cloud services will more than double, reaching a figure of $195 billion.

It will be a difficult and tedious task to move companies towards the adoption of public cloud services, but in order to advance IT departments and leaders will have to spearhead this necessary move.

After a couple of years in the training phase, IT employees should be ready to work side-by-side with their marketing colleagues in order to implement technologies such as AI, blockchain, and public cloud into the real world. Whether companies are ready for it or not, the technological advancements are going to be put into action. To keep moving forward, these are the top trends that organisations worldwide cannot ignore in the coming years, whether they understand them or not and they will have to be implemented so that they won’t be left behind.

We have an impressive assessment library with hundreds of dimensions that can be leveraged in creating a custom skills-based assessment that supports your organisation’s specific competencies and unique vision. Please contact us if you need to measure the engagement level in your company.

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Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2018/01/15/5-technology-trends-that-will-make-or-break-many-careers-in-2018/#71d22ce63a86

https://www.forbes.com/sites/danielnewman/2017/12/27/top-5-tech-trends-that-cmos-cannot-ignore-in-2018/#7405b7503552

https://cloud.withgoogle.com/build/leadership/technology-trends-cios-need-2018/

 

Employees and Cyber-Security:Thinking like Hackers

This year, 2017, hasn’t been the best for companies all around the world when it comes to the matter of cyber-security. Given the fact that so many attacks have occurred, many organisations have started to shift their attention towards preparing their employees for a safer workplace environment through better cyber-security programmes. This will, of course, go beyond basic training exercises on protocols and changing passwords. These types of programmes have been rendered obsolete. In order to train your employees against organised hacker attacks, they will have to learn to think just like one.

At first, it is important to understand what a ‘hacker’ means and what he or she does. The first step is to erase everything you ever heard or read about hackers. The media does have a tendency to exaggerate the term and to point fingers towards cyber attackers even when it is not the case. The view on this matter should be broadened.

It has to be said that in the digital era, hackers represent model citizens. They are professional people who are very creative and resourceful. Curiosity is their main drive and due to this quality, they see opportunity in every problem. Furthermore, given the nature of their interest, hackers realise there are few limits to technology and usually display a bit of mistrust in operating systems and know that no piece of software is immune to bugs.

Understanding all of this about hackers is essential. Numerous organisations worldwide have already introduced their employees to the ‘hacker mindset’. Early results have shown a drastic change in perception and value regarding cyber-security, this automatically leads to a better security across all departments. And as an added bonus, curiosity and resourcefulness will become second nature to the employees. There are a few easy steps to which you can start teaching your staff to ‘think’ like hackers.

Sharing Information

When something major happens in your company’s industry, it is recommended to encourage your employees to share their findings with the others. This doesn’t mean that everyone has to prepare a full 5-page report, just a few ideas that are worth mentioning. The idea behind this is to create a workplace where sharing information and thoughts are second nature.

Hackers obviously know what valuable data they are looking for and how to find it, usually searching for something valuable enough they can sell or blackmail the organisation for a large sum of money. This is important to understand when protecting your most prized possessions.

When your employees learn to share and work together to such an extent, it will help build an actual community within the organisation. It will also help create a sense of purpose around the company. Employees will become more and more vigilant of what is happening and will be more alert in detecting and responding to cyber-threats.

 IT Competitions and Hackathons

Encourage employees and even offer them leave days in order to attend hackathons, even if they go to learn and observe. Events like these offer people the chance to disconnect from their day-to-day routine and think outside-the-box in order to solve various issues, which basically describes the process of hacking. The general idea of hackathons is to enable people to flex their brain muscles into thinking in new and creative ways in order to solve problems. Through these exercises, teams manage to avoid one-dimensional group thinking and tunnel vision. Due to the complexity of the exercises, it makes participants and viewers alike more curious of the things happening around them, which is at the heart of a proper cyber activity.

If you wish for your employees to have a more hands-on cyber-security experience, you could arrange for company-wide competitions and games that will enable employees to figure out how cybercrime happens and the means to minimise or stop it. You could also use this opportunity as a means of developing a plan of action which allows security teams to respond as soon as possible. You can plan ahead of time and approve the necessary actions the company must take when malicious activity is detected.

Interdepartmental Collaboration

Introduce the idea of interdepartmental collaboration in the company’s bylaws. This will enable people from all areas to communicate more and offer support when difficult challenges arise.

Even if your organisation has the best security team there is on the market, we all know that humans are bound to make mistakes, it is in our nature. When the same people are looking at the same lines of code all day every day, it’s only a matter of time before something important gets passed them. The most security-conscious companies tend to invite security experts from outside the firm in order to help identify any mishaps the security system may have.

Given the current and future climate of business it is quintessential we learn to think like hackers. If we manage to adopt a ‘hacker mindset’, you will not feel left behind by all the technological advancements. By embracing them and recognising their power and ability to make the world a better and safer place will not be good only for security but for the business industry as well.

Great People Inside provides easy-to-use tools and processes to attract, assess, match, select, onboard, manage, develop, benchmark and maintain workforces anywhere in the world.

Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

 

https://hbr.org/2017/12/train-your-employees-to-think-like-hackers

https://www.inc.com/brian-kelly/think-like-a-hacker.html

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/232402