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Compartmentalisation and its Benefits

Compartmentalisation is an aspect which, whether we like it or not, applies to everything regarding our day to day lives. Given the fact that we are now connected to the whole wide world 24/7, it has become more important than ever to set boundaries and also respect them, which is, of course, no easy task. The obvious downside of not compartmentalizing and creating boundaries is that it inevitably leads to an ever-growing feeling of resentment over time. Sticking to your list is of the utmost importance.

Psychologically, compartmentalisation is seen as a defence or coping mechanism of the mind in order to protect itself which does not make it for a good read. In layman terms, our brains try to deal with various conflicting ideas at the same time. To put things into perspective, here a few examples: a person who lives the office in the evening and doesn’t want to think about work for the rest of the night because he wishes to enjoy some quality family time at game, a doctor who is religious and had to separate his or her beliefs in order to practice medicine at the highest standard or in even more extreme cases (because those exist too) soldiers who need to detach themselves from the traumatic events they have encountered in order for them to continue to operate in future battles.

In terms of coping strategies and exercises, they are mostly effective for a short period of time with both positive and negative aspects. It is beneficial for a person to compartmentalise, but you do not want to overdo it. To put things into perspective, the soldiers that have been mentioned above that are repressing their combat experiences, the moment they return to their normal lives back home, they experience numerous flashback episodes that are putting a huge strain on their mental health, especially in the cases of soldiers with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Shell Shock as it was once known right after World War I.

As with every existing idea or suggestion, there are arguments and counter-arguments for carrying through with something or not. There is sufficient scientific data that leads to the idea of the multiple benefits of de-compartmentalisation. The theory in which people leave their personal lives in front of the office door sounds pretty amazing, in any way you like at it. However, in real life this actually means not bringing our entire personality and mentality to work. To be honest, a clear-cut delimitation between personal and professional is almost impossible for our minds to execute. Furthermore, social media is not helping anyone remaining 100% professional given the fact that most of us are connected on Facebook and/or Instagram with our colleagues.

Recent research has revealed a fact that always seemed as an added bonus at the office and that is to have workplace friendships, due to the simple fact that it leads to a significant increase in engagement, satisfaction and productivity. In 2014 survey where 716 working Americans were part of it, 71% of them loved their job given the fact that they had friends in the workforce, whilst only 24% of people surveyed enjoyed their job without having any friends.

To strengthen this point, in the New York Times bestseller ‘Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements’ the author has said the following after analysing data gathered from Gallup studies from 150 countries: “Those who [have a best friend at work] are seven times more likely to be engaged in their jobs, are better at engaging customers, produce higher-quality work, have higher well-being, and are less likely to get injured on the job.”

Somehow, unsurprisingly, women have the ‘upper-hand’ in this matter, with 63% of office friendship being female-female. Furthermore, men also have fewer close friends outside of the office than women.

Learning to Compartmentalise

As stated above, compartmentalising requires isolating separate tasks in order for you to focus on each one exclusively.

The process of keeping work responsibilities and your personal life separate is definitely challenging, simply because this separation includes thoughts as well as actions. If, for example, you’re reading a bedtime story to your children in bed whilst also mentally composing an email for a client, you are creating a tremendous amount of stress and you will fail to offer your family the attention they deserve.
Compartmentalisation skills can be strengthened through the establishment of a time period that acts as a buffer between home and work life. If you commute, try to switch off by rewinding everything you did that day, plan ahead for the next day and realise that the work day is over. If home and family issues are the ones interfering with your work, use the same technique during the morning commute.

Prevent Multitasking

Even after you’ve established a strong mental separation between home and work, you can easily get distracted by the mere temptation of multitasking.

As compelling as multitasking is, it isn’t always the most effective way of operating. Some studies even have suggested that productivity falls up to 40% just by switching tasks.

If you’ve always been used to juggle numerous tasks at once, it can be fairly difficult to break that habit all of the sudden and change the way you work. Due to the fact that modern technology is one of the main factors of wanting to multitask, simply start by avoiding any type of screens you have while away from work.

One of the major distracting factors are social media apps like Facebook and Twitter. It would be wise to either turn off their notifications or installing apps that automatically block their activity during working hours.

Know and Understand Your Work

As vital as compartmentalisation is, there will be times when you will have to accept that you will need to multitask or that you cannot ignore external distractions. Usually, this is the case when there are major developments either positive or negative in one aspect of life or another.  If you manage to compartmentalise even 25% of your time, there will be a noticeable improvement in your work-life balance.

Just as the saying goes: ‘One thing at a time’, can be extremely useful even though it’s an old as time cliché.

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.lifehack.org/789803/how-to-compartmentalize-time

https://www.inc.com/marissa-levin/focusing-on-whats-in-front-of-you-how-to-become-an-expert-at-compartmentalization.html

https://www.bustle.com/p/11-successful-women-on-how-they-compartmentalize-8380044

Employee Loneliness and its Impact on Organisations

Loneliness is a painful and complex emotion. Loneliness has more to do with a person’s quality of social relationships rather than their quantity.

Loneliness has been studied for decades in psychological literature when it comes to social or personal lives. But how much research is there on being lonely in the workplace? Not a lot, which comes as no surprise.  As awareness about loneliness increases — British Prime Minister Teresa May appointed a minister for loneliness earlier this year, it’s important to understand exactly how people experience loneliness in their jobs. How does it affect their work? How does it shape their relationships with their colleagues? And what can employers or HR departments do to help a lonely employee?

In general, it was discovered that lonely employees tend to isolate themselves, they begin to feel less connected to their organisation’s values, and can be seen by colleagues as more distant and less inclined in discussing both work-related and personal matters.  These findings add to the voluminous research literature showing that the behaviour of lonely people has the effect of increasing their own loneliness. Even though the person may desperately wish to connect or re-connect with others, they see their environment has become threatening. Thus perpetuating a vicious cycle where loneliness leads to greater social vigilance. As a result, lonelier people are more likely to pull away.

In a research study conducted by California State University and the Wharton School of Business which has surveyed 672 employees and their 114 supervisors from 143 work team units have found that “an employee’s work loneliness triggers emotional withdrawal from their organization, as reflected their increased surface acting and reduced affective commitment.” and “The results also show that co-workers can recognize this loneliness and see it hindering team member effectiveness.”  Researchers have concluded that”…management should not treat work loneliness as a private problem that needs to be individually resolved by employees who experience this emotion; but rather should consider it as an organizational problem that needs to be addressed both for the employees’ sake and that of the organization.”

The company’s culture plays a crucial role in expressing the values and norms about the emotions that are allowed to be expressed at work. In our study, we found that a stronger versus a weaker emotional culture of sharing love (e.g. expressions of affection and compassion among employees) diminishes the negative relationship between workplace loneliness and affective commitment to the organisation.

Look for reasons to show your appreciation

Global research shows that people who feel appreciated are most likely to produce the best work. Let people know their value to the organisation, the culture, the team, and to you, as a manager or employer.

If you think workplace loneliness isn’t an issue you need to be concerned about then think again. Healthy workplace relationships are beneficial for employees in many ways. They help people to deal with work-related frustrations and stress, whilst simultaneously encouraging bonding through sharing successes and positive experiences.

However, it seems that employees are getting lonelier and lonelier. Despite the rise in popularity of open-plan offices specially designed to foster interaction and good communication, a recent UK-based study done by Totaljobs found that more than one-third of employees report having no strong relationships at work. As people spend close to a quarter of their lives at work, job isolation can have serious and very complex implications.

The case of cultural fit

If most people in an organisation or team share similar attitudes and personality traits, a person who differs in these respects may start to feel isolated and will struggle to bond with colleagues or even have a sense of belonging.

Another aspect of organisational culture that can prevent employees from forming relationships is represented by the lack of ‘psychological safety’; a quintessential element for effective teamwork. In companies or teams that do not meet the necessary psychological safe requirements, team members do not feel swayed to take social risks, such as revealing emotions, for fear of disapproval by colleagues.

In teams or organisations where a ‘openness’  isn’t promoted or associated with psychological safety, the potential for building relationships tends to be limited; employees are likely to keep to themselves, restricting how much they reveal about themselves to their colleagues.

What can be done to prevent workplace loneliness?

So, knowing what we do about workplace loneliness, what can be done to prevent and reduce it? There are numerous steps that can be taken by employers and employees.

A key approach is for employers to focus on hiring for culture fit. By assessing the fit between candidates’ personality characteristics and the organisational culture, employers can minimise the risk of hiring those who are going to struggle to fit within the company.

Finally, employers can also help to promote workplace relationships through various teambuilding exercises or adopting a transformational leadership style that is based on interpersonal trust. Of course, employees themselves can have a huge impact on loneliness through day-to-day interactions with one another. Unfortunately, is often difficult for employees to open up to colleagues about loneliness, for fear of the admission being met with ridicule and isolation. It is therefore important for employees to help identify any colleagues that may be struggling at building lasting relationships with other members of the team.

Finally, employees should contact their employers or managers if they have any suggestions for improving relationship-building, which in turn will lead to a tremendous increase in employee well-being and productivity.

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://good.co/understanding-workplace-loneliness/

https://www.inc.com/todd-nordstrom/feeling-lonely-at-work-it-could-be-destroying-your-potential-heres-what-to-do-about-it.html

https://hbr.org/2018/04/the-painful-cycle-of-employee-loneliness-and-how-it-hurts-companies/

 

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

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

 

Being a Great Leader: the fine line between Confidence and Skepticism

You’ve probably heard, over and over again, about the importance of self-confidence for a leader. Confidence gives you charisma. It makes people follow you. It makes friends trust you and enemies fear you.

It’s pretty hard to imagine Caesar or Napoleon telling their people “Well, we could try this, but I don’t guarantee that it’ll work.” So why should you, if you aspire to become a great leader?

But let’s leave confidence aside for a minute. There’s another element which most leaders of today are lacking. Have you ever had a boss who thought he knew all the answers to every question? Who never admitted he was wrong or, even more, that idea didn’t even cross his mind? Of course you did. In one word, do you know what that guy was missing? It was skepticism. Will all the praise of confidence and self-esteem, almost everyone forgot the importance of a certain dose of self-doubt.

Being a little skeptical about your own opinions is such an important factor these days. While everyone has an opinion (and everyone thinks that their opinion is the right one), those who can be skeptical about their own beliefs have a great advantage: when a problem arises they won’t take anything as given, but they will try to make up their mind, starting from zero, about what would be the best solution. That includes asking every employee’s opinion on the subject matter, because the skeptic knows that he is just a human being, fallible like any other. From this type of behaviour, two big advantages emerge: the employees will appreciate their leader for respecting them and the final solution to the problem will have a much, much higher chance of being the right one.

Well, but it seems pretty impossible to be skeptical and confident at the same time, right? Indeed, but that might not be needed. Here’s my piece of advice: whenever a problem arises, adopt this two-step approach in solving it:

Step 1– Total skepticism.
Do not take anything for granted. Search the internet for similar problems that other companies had and look at how they’ve handled them. Take notes. Now take what you’ve learned about it and present the information to your employees. If possible, ask each and every one of them how would they handle this. Finally, make a decision based on all of their insight.

Step 2 – Total confidence.

Once you’ve made that decision, stick with it until the end. At this point, you know you’ve done your best, so there’s no reason to be insecure. Your people also have to feel they they are going in the right path, so make sure you radiate confidence. Act like nothing can stop you and your people anymore from reaching your objectives.

Doesn’t look so hard anymore, does it? And while this two-step approach is meant specifically for leaders, it can be a great idea to use the same pattern in making any kinds of decisions, the results will be great nevertheless.

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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How to keep your Employees energised

Top organisations around the world are starting to manage employee energy like a highly important strategic asset. They know that the ever-increasing pace of advancements requires more and more human energy. Any entrepreneur will tell you that it takes a tonne of energy to grow and build a business. The key is to manage it; sometimes you have to exert energy, other times you need to conserve it to go the extra mile, and after a sprint you need to replenish it. When teams are energised, they feel like they can achieve almost anything. But when there’s an energy gap among employees, it’s up to you the leader to bring back the necessary level of energy. You have to show the kind of energy you want to see. At the beginning it’s important to assess where your employees stand. Think about when they were at their highest energy levels, when they had a perfect day, what does the average day look like. These things will help you take things forward. Here are some of the best hacks in order to maximise human energy:

1Spend time engaging with people.

Say hello in the morning and goodbye at night. Be approachable. Ask about their families and show them you care about other things besides work. When they miss work because their baby is sick, ask how the child is doing when they come back. Also, enable your teams to enjoy and get to know each other. One great and very simple way to do this is through team lunches and dinners.

2Honor special occasions.

Celebrate every new hire. Acknowledge special occasions and make people feel special. For example, IBM used to give a gold watch to celebrate 25 years with the company, but most people don’t stay that long anymore. Don’t wait 25 years! You can celebrate every year and every other milestones in small ways by recognizing employees’ achievements in meetings or writing them personal thank you notes.

3. Careful with work hours

In the U.S. employees who are earning a salary of less than $47,476 must track hours and be paid for overtime. It’s wise to start enforcing this rule and discourage employees from doing work off the clock. Try and explain to your people that work-life balance can and should be achieved. Talk to each and every one of them individually to show them that you really care and you may see shifts in attitude towards themselves. It is also recommended that they take regular breaks during office hours in order to unwind. Encourage them to leave their desks, go out for a walk, stretch or even find a quiet space where they can relax.


Read also: Preventing Burnout in 5 Easy Steps


4. Allow creativity

Employees need to be reminded that there is no such thing as a bad idea. Even when an idea is not pursued, it can shift ideas into new territories.

From how employees decorate their desks to how they complete assignments, allow creative freedom, as long as standards of work are met. Encourage employee input, and, however possible, provide time and resources for meaningful, work-related smaller projects.  Nowadays, companies now set aside time each week when employees can work on their own projects, as long as those efforts further the company’s goals.

Employers can’t remove all the stress of their employees’ lives, but they can make the workplace a source of purpose, focus and togetherness that can help prevent employee burnout.

5. Celebrate wins

Do fun things with and for your team. Take a break and take the team to a movie, or do some charity or volunteering work together. This can be achieved very easily and here are some examples:

  • LiveOps have random Nerf arrow attacks and paper airplane contests.
  • At AdMob and Everwise, the sales teams ring a gong when a big deal is done.

It’s especially important to do this even when times are hard. At eBay, there was a day in which they started to do a free listing day. Users were thrilled about it—they stayed up all night posting listings. The increase in volume was immense – a year ahead on volume projections. Although a great marketing ploy for the company, it was a nightmare for the people running the system. They worked tirelessly to make it through capacity problems, and when they finished they had a parade and turned the relief into positive energy.

It is essential that employees understand the long-term winning strategy you are trying to implement. Run the positives and negatives by them in order for them to analyse and understand why there is a change in policies.

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.inc.com/alison-eyring/these-5-strategies-will-keep-your-employees-energized.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/maynardwebb/2016/08/23/7-ways-to-re-energize-your-team/#5aad4d267349

http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/9711-prevent-employee-burnout.html

Organisational Knowledge and Learning

Organisational learning in companies nowadays is simply seen as sharing existing knowledge. But this should not take us by surprise given the fact that the primary focus of universities and MBAs is just that. This type of approach can be seen in training programmes and leadership development seminars as well. The modus operandi is straight forward: an expert passes on what he or she knows with people who do not possess that information already. This technique is supposed to be feasible in numerous and various situations and social contexts.

Due to this learning approach, the 1990’s have seen quite a boom in ‘knowledge management systems’. The obvious focus of these systems is clear: efficiency at scale – i.e. making existent knowledge more accessible to people who need it. In the case of employees, it could help them discover the relevant know-how in order to improve their performance.

In today’s culture of knowledge sharing, people often tend to forget about how enriching creating ‘new knowledge’ can be. Companies are struggling to cope with the increasing number of unexpected situations that obviously cannot be found in manuals or textbooks, thus compelling leaders to act on the spot, to improvise with approaches that haven’t been tested. Thankfully, due to this process, new knowledge is being developed regarding how things should or should not work in ‘clear-cut situations’.

Explicit knowledge vs. Tacit knowledge

Today’s business world everything revolves around efficiency and how can it be measured and scaled properly. Given this specific need, the documentation regarding this matter was created in great detail so that every known situation was handled by specific actions. The best example in this scenario is the idea that all employees supposed to follow.

Nowadays, information moves at the speed of light and everything is changing constantly. Basically, the new knowledge that could be acquired comes as tacit knowledge. In layman’s terms, tacit knowledge is the information that people already have but find it difficult to articulate to themselves much less to other individuals. This type of knowledge derives from our first-hand experiences when confronted with new situations and is exceptionally valuable. If organisations can create environments in which tacit knowledge can be created and developed, workers could confront and learn enormously from the new situations created.

Workgroups vs. Individuals

The best way in which to ensure the success of tacit knowledge is to create small workgroups. In this scenario, people from diverse backgrounds and with distinct skills and perspectives can create a powerful bond, based on trust in order for them to be comfortable to try out new things, to easily accept constructive criticism and collaboratively work towards the common good. The potential within small workgroups is tremendous. If two or more workgroups are connected through a network or project with other workgroups, seeking advice and confronting new circumstances can go beyond the experience offered by an individual workgroup.

Organisations may have an overwhelming proportion of smart people within their ranks, but managers should always take into account the fact that there are a lot of smart people out there, that do not work for them. It is imperative that employees gather experience through their own perception.

Learning and Unlearning

The general act of learning is seen as the accumulation of information over time. Basically, you are just pouring information over the pre-existing knowledge you already have acquired. But things are not that simple. In the ever-changing global market, it has become mandatory for people to be willing to unlearn and even develop such an ability. Our principles and ideas are being challenged on a daily basis so it is imperative that we understand that what may have worked in the past may no longer be relevant today. If we try to hold on strongly to these beliefs without questioning their relevance from time to time, then we will never be open to new ideas, approaches that may be more feasible for the foreseeable future.

Skills vs. Capabilities

Usually, when we start working at a new job we focus a lot on acquiring the necessary set of skills needed in order to perform at the desired level. The moment we are certain those skills have been integrated, productivity and success is just around the corner. However, everything around us sometimes feels like it is passing on fast-forward, thus skills have a shorter lifespan. While skills are important in order to progress and assure your professional success, it is recommended that the focus shifts towards acquiring capabilities that could accelerate the learning process. These capabilities range from willingness, imagination and creativity to curiosity, critical thinking and emotional intelligence. If organisations worldwide understand that new forms of learning are required to adapt. Re-thinking strategies and operations will be a must.

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/1993/07/building-a-learning-organization

http://www.participatorymethods.org/method/organisational-learning

http://www.innovationmanagement.se/imtool-articles/35-ways-to-cultivate-innovation-and-organizational-learning/

https://hbr.org/2017/08/help-employees-create-knowledge-not-just-share-it

Workplace Diversity Training: How it Should be Done

Nowadays, workplace diversity has become a must to any company that wishes to expand its reach. Organisations now take part in an ever-growing worldwide economy, are they must acknowledge the fact that they need to adapt towards a multicultural workplace environment and the many benefits they can have from workplace diversity.

This issue is most often than not addressed through the organisation of training programmes. However, research done on the effectiveness of such programmes has brought up mixed results. Some studies have suggested that diversity training is efficient, while others have shown that it may as well lead to backlash between employees. All of these inconclusive results have led to widespread pessimism towards diversity training.

It is common knowledge that people/employees coming from various cultural backgrounds have distinctive ways in which they interpret languages, signs and formalities. To be more precise, these differences can be seen in the way in which culturally diverse people communicate, approach conflict and make decisions. In layman terms, having a diverse work environment is beneficial for the organisation, due to advantages in areas such as return on investment, productivity, teamwork and employee engagement. More often than not when we think about diversity, the first few things that pop into our heads is ethnicity, religion, age and gender. Nonetheless, people need to understand that diversity in itself encompasses so much more than that. Diversity can bring to light qualities different from our own, perceptions that we may have developed of others, how our initial approach to interactions differs and many other traits that separate us from everyone else.

It has become abundantly clear to that employees do not have to love or like each other at work, but co-existing is a must. It is imperative they cooperate and communicate efficiently, despite their differences and their contrary beliefs regarding sensitive issues that may be brought up during diversity training. Whether we are talking about a half-a-day diversity programme, or an 8-hour programme, or even a 40-hour diversity programme, won’t change an employee who doesn’t want or is not ready to open his mind and definitely longer is not better.

The effectiveness of diversity training depends on the methods that are being used – whether we are talking about quizzes, small-group discussions, instructor-led discussions or even role-playing exercises – the personalities of the people who are being trained and, of course, the way in which the outcomes are being measured.

In a recent training exercise which was analysed and shows a lot of promise is perspective-taking. Basically, this type of programme represents the process of mentally walking in a stranger’s shoes. By taking the perspective of members of LGBT or racial minorities, people were asked to write a few sentences on what type of challenges a minority may face. The first effects could be seen almost immediately, with a rise in pro-diversity attitudes. In a follow-up done 8 months after the initial training the same effects were even more present and even some crossover effects. The people who took on the perspective of LGBT members have shown more positive attitudes and behaviours towards racial minorities and the other way around.

Another type of exercise that was successful is goal setting. Even though this exercise is more commonly used when managers wish to motivate or improve someone’s job performance, this strategy can be implemented with great success by asking participants to set specific, realistic and challenging goals in relation to workplace diversity. For example, one trainee sets the goal of challenging inappropriate comments about racial minorities when hearing them in the future – while also offering the trainee all the necessary information on how to handle such situations. The goal setting exercise proves to be successful with pro-diversity behaviours being shown three months after receiving the initial training and improved attitudes nine months from initial training. The effects are noticeable and notable, given the fact that diversity training is done once maybe twice a year.

Of course, for these training programmes to be as effective as possible personality characteristics must be taken into account, due to the fact that one type of exercise may be more effective for some employees than others. For example, perspective-taking is going to be more effective for people who lack empathy. Individuals who have a high level of empathy are more than willing to engage in their very own perspective-taking. People with low empathy levels require this training programme to act as a jump-start cable.

In conclusion, ensuring effective communication in culturally diverse organisations involves a deep understanding of cultural biases and social assimilation dynamics. Other than the language barrier, there are cultural perceptions and differences that make us different from one another. Organisations that want to have a strong competitive edge in this ever-changing marketplace must carry out effective training programmes that will enable their employees to work as a collective.

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.trainingindustry.com/blog/blog-entries/multicultural-organizations-why-diversity-training-is-important-for-the-workplace.aspx

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-act-violence/201701/why-diversity-training-usually-fails-in-the-workplace

https://hbr.org/2017/07/two-types-of-diversity-training-that-really-work

Generational Diversity at the Workplace

In the last couple of years, the workforce has begun changing dramatically due to the entrance of more and more millennials. Numerous companies are struggling to understand their needs and requirements. This struggle comes from a lack of communication and comments range from:

  • “Millennials don’t care about work or the company. We would train them and after a week they quit for a job with better pay.”
  • “The meaning of work doesn’t exist to them – they are always after rewards even though they do not work to properly earn them.”
  • “Their interests revolve around time off for vacation. It’s the only thing that matters to them.”

These complaints do not seem to match your average millennial student who is about the enter the workforce full-time. Most of them are very hard-working, doing internships and working after classes. They value the work that they put in. Although discovering something meaningful in work can be a bit of a challenge, interestingly enough, millennials’ answers do not revolve around time and money. This statement can change perceptions and make people see and understand what the underlying problem is. Due to the fact that they are a different generation altogether, millennials define meaningful work differently in comparison to past generations.

This merging of generations is happening amid an economic climate that has changed plans and altered expectations. In a recent research, employees from each generation were interviewed on a number of topics such as: the importance of meaningful work, what is meaningful at the job they currently have, ideal job and if they observed any generational differences in how people perceived meaningful work. In this research, generations are being defined in relation to their year of birth and their historical experiences that defined their formative years. From the following quotes, meaningful work will be explained through the eyes of each generation:

  • Traditionalists (1922-1945): “I can’t imagine going to a job that I didn’t think it had any value.”
  • Baby Boomers (1946-1964): “If there is no personal fulfilment in what I am doing well, I would be miserable putting so much time and effort into something.”
  • Generation X (1965-1983): “If my job has no meaning, why would I get out of bed?”
  • Millennials (1984-2002): “I would prefer doing nothing and enjoy going to work rather than making buckets of money and hate going to work on a daily basis.”

These results do not offer any new insight, given the fact that these comments are generally known. However, when people were put on the spot, each generation attributed different definitions to the term ‘meaningful work’. Traditionalists responded that meaning comes from work that challenges people and gives them the possibility of growth whilst also helping others. Baby boomers are known for their tendency of being goal-orientated, thus it comes as no surprise that the most common answer was “success at achieving my own personal goals, and if you’re working with other people, helping them to achieve their goals.”

Interestingly enough, even though generation X believes that accomplishing personal career goals is vital in achieving meaningful work, their focus shifted towards work-life balance. Last but not least, millennials’ desire revolves around having nice colleagues, helping others and the community they are part of “The most meaningful job is one of service – if you are doing something that benefits someone directly or indirectly, it can be extremely rewarding.”

Given all the data gathered, it can be concluded that, in general, generations mostly agree on what meaningful work is, so why is it that so many organisations struggle to reach a common denominator with millennials? One answer to this question can be extracted from the second part of the interview process and that is negative stereotypes. The research that had been conducted discovered that each generation thought that the others are in it just for the money, that they are lazy, their work is superficial and that they do not care about meaning altogether.

So it comes as no surprise that if every generation has this system of beliefs, automatically they treat each other differently. A change in mentality can be the solution in this case. If generations realise that they are all searching for a deep-seated meaning at work, the social and business climate would benefit greatly. Unfortunately, stereotypes at the workplace can lead to low performance, low engagement, low job satisfaction everything culminating into a high employee turnover rate. A lack of understanding across generations can have detrimental effects on communication and working relationships and undermine effective services.

But what can managers do to avoid these generational conflicts. Firstly, a better internal communication process through which employees can understand how their work influences the organisational mission and why every role is important. This is where the HR department can offer a lending hand by creating safe space areas in order to discuss these matters, workshops which sole purpose is to bring different generations together and share their experiences, thus leading to recognising the generational commonalities.

Although it’s always beneficial to gain awareness on workplace trends from generational research, but at the end of the day all management is individual, and effective managers understand that. The one-on-one employee-manager relationship represents the difference maker. Regardless of generation what matters most is how well you understand your employees as individuals and what drives their attitudes and engagement.

By implementing these possible solutions, managers will actually allow various definitions of meaning to rise rather than impose what is deemed to be meaningful. Hence, overcoming generational stereotypes would be easier if they grant people the possibility to develop their careers on their own terms. At the end of the day, every generation is searching for meaning, so why not do it together?

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.hermanmiller.com/research/research-summaries/generations-at-work.html

http://www.apa.org/monitor/jun05/generational.aspx

https://www.forbes.com/sites/victorlipman/2017/01/25/how-to-manage-generational-differences-in-the-workplace/#3093a9634cc4

https://hbr.org/2017/07/every-generation-wants-meaningful-work-but-thinks-other-age-groups-are-in-it-for-the-money

Unemployment: Blessing or Burden for HR?

Normally, when the economy is growing in a constant manner, unemployment extensions should disappear. However, a study done in 2016 by the National Bureau of Economic Research has discovered that even though the economy has been progressing, high unemployment rates remained persistent due to these extensions. Long-term benefits offer workers the option of either to seek employment or to extend their benefit period. Due to these choices, HR departments may end up being forced to raise wages to encourage people to start working again. Consequently, business profits drop and job creation is proactively discouraged. The obvious conclusion here is that unemployment benefits extensions have a long-term unfavourable impact on the workforce market and it also helps to develop an unending cycle of reduced demand for workers.  Inherently, Americans take pride in their work and they generally prefer to have a job rather than collecting benefits. But this issue should not be considered insignificant, because HR recruitment has become one of the most important activities in most companies.

Long-Term Unemployment Stigma

To be perfectly clear, there are people who desire to work but cannot find anything near their area. In this type of scenario, the extensions do serve their purpose. But as the economy continues to grow and the recruitment process has started to generate some speed, long-term unemployed people find it difficult to get a job. If a person is out of work for more than 26 weeks, then their chances of employment drop considerably due to the fact that organisations are more and more reluctant on hiring such individuals. This is another issue that the HR department has to address. In general, recruiters or hiring managers follow their instinct and have somewhat fixed ideas of what makes a good candidate. Most of them believe that if the candidate is good at what they do, they should not be dealing with unemployment and thus stigma instils. HR needs to recognise this issue and solve it as soon as possible. Given the fact that numerous long-term unemployed candidates have a strong will and desire to work and succeed, they could represent a perfect fit for many companies.

Unemployment Compensation Costs

Organisations with a high employee turnover have to pay annual compensation costs to the employees they lose. Many of these companies believe it is the price of doing business, but they could not be any more wrong. The unemployment tax varies due to the number of claims an organisation receives. In layman’s terms, fewer claims mean a lower tax rate. HR managers can make sure these claims are handled with care or even reduce these unemployment costs. If the unemployment extension continues, it can become a serious burden to companies in the future as they will struggle to reduce costs and make ends meet. Unfortunately, as long as the debate is still held up in Congress, many Americans will continue to fight hard in order to get a job.

Downside of Low Unemployment
On a national level, the Department of Labor has discovered that unemployment levels have reached a 9-year low of only 4.6%, but given America’s population the number is continuously problematic. As the US economy has grown, more jobs have become available, but, at the same time, many unemployed workers have opted to stop looking for work. Interestingly enough, this will only make the rates go even further down given the fact the unemployment rate is only taking into consideration people who are actively searching for a job. Historically, low unemployment levels have impacted companies in various ways. As mentioned earlier, low rates of unemployment are associated with a strong growing economy, but there are plenty of downsides to all of this.

1. Reduced loyalty when problems arise – even with short-term problems this may affect your company. When unemployment is low, people feel that they can find a new place to work almost instantly. This leads to a high turnover and to many employees leaving giving shorter notices as they feel pressured to hit the ground running at the new workplace.

2. Harder to find replacements – Given the fact that there are fewer applicants for your empty position, this means it will take your organisation a longer period of time to find the right person who meets all the requirements.

3. The inability to fill available roles leads to customer dissatisfaction – Organisations may end up losing valuable business if proper solutions cannot be found in the necessary time frame. Consequently, companies may eventually have to turn down new business opportunities because they won’t be able to keep up with the rising demands.

4. Growth will slow down over time – There is a possibility that the unemployment levels are only artificially low due to the simple fact that many workers opted for jobs with fewer hours and less pay. This affects the natural growth of wages and it can also incapacitate the economic growth since employees are also customers and they spend less and less.

5. Bigger training budgets – The skill gap will certainly become a problem resulting from candidates who lack the prerequisite skills in order to do their jobs. Obviously, the profit margins will suffer.

The decrease in numbers in the labour market is also due to retired Baby Boomers. Plus, the changing times that we are all experiencing. In the past, young people have already begun work, but now they are focused on finishing their degrees. Which is not necessarily a bad thing given the fact that this translates into a highly skilled workforce for the future. All in all, the unemployment level is very peculiar and problematic. The short-term figures are at a historic low, whilst HR departments are facing major difficulties in recruiting which suggests the labour market is strained. In order for companies to progress, HR specialists have to innovate in terms of their respective recruitment processes in order for the labour market to stabilise.

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 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.hraffiliates.com/unemployment-extensions-and-how-it-affects-hrs/

http://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com/2017/01/12/downsides-low-unemployments/

https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/talent-acquisition/pages/low-unemployment-rate-high-underemployment.aspxs

https://www.forbes.com/sites/louisefron/2014/08/20/tackling-the-real-unemployment-rate-12-6/#47b42c7e2473