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Workaholics and Their Toxic Mindset

In the United States, the 5th of July is also known as National Workaholics Day. This day has been set more as a means of creating awareness for what is also known as ‘the addiction of the century’. Unfortunately, people still do not know what workaholism is in a time when society praises ‘busy’ people and also view it as an important status symbol.

However, there is a difference between workaholics and hard workers. For example, workaholics are those employees who cannot stop working long hours, even during weekends and vacations. They are physically addicted to their job. On the other hand, hard workers do not put themselves in these types of situations. Of course, they may stay overtime from time to time in order to ensure a deadline is met, but they do not start neglecting their health, their friends and their families.

This issue is of a serious concern to an organisation on multiple facets. On an individual level, workaholics, besides neglecting their health and personal lives, also experience lower levels in regards to job satisfaction and obviously makes it harder for them to achieve a healthier work-life balance. Given the fact that workaholism is an addiction, it is very much similar to alcoholism and other similar addictions in the sense that little enjoyment is had while working. Thus, the organisation may have numerous overworked and unhappy employees.

In a clear domino effect, those unhappy employees will surely affect teams and the company culture in the process. Given the fact that workaholics are always looking to one-up everyone else and they become an issue in terms of teamwork due to the fact that they can’t and won’t work well in a team. Their approach is sometimes extreme and it can usually be seen by a disregard of social norms in terms of collegiality. So what are the differences between hard workers and workaholics?

It is worth mentioning that the difference cannot be summed up simply by the number of hours put in. The problem here revolves around the implications it has on their lives. In a 2015 study published in the “Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services”, it has been revealed that workaholics encounter several problems such as social, psychological and physical complications due to their addiction to work. Additionally, the study discovered that these people are at a huge risk of burning out, are closer to depression, a weaker immune system, very little life satisfaction and deteriorating relationship problems. And the more workaholics work, the consequences are getting bigger. The stress that results from these consequences leads to less productivity. Consequently, less productivity results into longer hours at work. Hard workers, on the other hand, are passionate about their work and always maintain a good work-life balance.

What if you love your work?

Interestingly enough, the majority of workaholics know that their behaviour is detrimental to their job performance and health, but their defence almost always revolves around how much they love their job. The stress and problems that result from workaholism lead to numerous health issues. In an interesting take regarding this problem, studies have been done in order to assess if there is a difference between engaged and unengaged workaholics. The results pretty much speak for themselves. Both sets of workaholics have experienced a higher number of psychosomatic health issues such as headaches, digestive system problems and also more mental health problems i.e. depression, mood swings, sleep deprivation. Unsurprisingly, unengaged workaholics are at a 4.2% higher risk of experiencing these medical complaints. The number itself does not seem like a lot, but when it comes to health risks, it could be a game changer.

Additionally, engaged workaholics have shown more resourcefulness both at home and at the office. They are being offered more social support, from everyone ranging from spouse to manager. Their communication skills are also better developed, with time management skills also in the green.

A proactive mentality is usually a characteristic of employees who have been blessed with intrinsic motivation can help themselves in terms of taking action when they experience even the slightest health problems. On the other hand, when it comes to people with extrinsic motivation, anxiety may transform a workaholic into an even more passive individual who will dwell even more on their unhealthy habits.

Of course, managers are recommended to intervene in such cases. Helping employees discover their intrinsic motivation can help them re-engage with their job and co-workers, who in turn will provide support. Intervention can mean anything ranging from offering them challenging and feasible tasks, discussing their professional development to things such as autonomy and feedback regarding their work.

In the end, the challenge lies in identifying the compulsive workers and prevent the consequences this type of behaviour may have. In layman terms, the focus should be on employee engagement and their ability to ‘switch off’ after office hours. It will definitely help all members of staff to be and feel happy both professionally and personally.

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/2018/03/how-being-a-workaholic-differs-from-working-long-hours-and-why-that-matters-for-your-health

 https://www.inc.com/carolyn-cutrone-the-difference-between-workaholic-and-hard-worker.html

http://www.businessinsider.com/the-difference-between-hard-workers-and-workaholics-isnt-hours-worked-2017-7

 

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

The surprising psychometric profile of an HR leader

Extract from an article published in People Management Magazine:

“People Management partnered with a new entrant to the UK assessment market – Great People Inside (GPI) – to piece together the essential validated psychometric dimensions of HR directors. It was a process that began with Tim Baker, consultant in the HR practice at Odgers Berndtson, designing a bespoke assessment based on his widespread experience of which requirements were most relevant to HR roles.

We then asked 24 experienced and demonstrably successful senior HR professionals (assisted by Baker and Paul McNamara at Eton Bridge Partners) to take an assessment covering their cognitive processes, behavioural traits and interests. Our subjects spanned a range of public, private and third sector organisations – from large telecoms providers to government departments and award-winning SMEs. ”

To read the full article, please access this link.

Stupid Questions: Benefits and Importance

Carl Sagan has once stated that: “There are naïve questions, tedious questions, ill-phrased questions, questions put after inadequate self-criticism. But every question is a cry to understand the world. There is no such thing as a dumb question.”

How exactly can we define an imbecilic inquisition? More often than not people who ask this ‘sort’ of questions are viewed with a deliberate display of ignorance by a supposedly more intelligent being. Do questions become invalid when they are addressed by patients with mental disabilities? The answer is different from one person to another.

Throughout our lives, the perception of what represents a ‘good’ question may vary. Our teachers and professors have always encouraged smart thinking. However, how can we make smart inquiries if we do not even have the answers even to the simplest of questions? When children are incapable of differentiating between a simple question and a stupid one, they automatically develop the habit of self-censorship and, if not addressed, may transform into complete censorship. Due to this self-imposed censorship, we deprive ourselves of information and we leave all of our doubts unresolved.

We have to accept the idea that questions are questions and nothing else even though sometimes they may seem shrewd or silly. Questions enable us to ‘fuel’ our brain and boost our own reasoning and understanding. If we manage to get off the concept of ‘stupid questions’ early on in our lives, maybe we would see less and less silence during Q&As. Failure doing so will result in a generation without questions, without a voice and worst of all without any judgement.

It is recommended to allow ourselves and others as well to ask stupid questions, because, from a business point of view, they more often than not lead to out of the box ideas.

During the final stages of an interview, people may ask questions so this represents the perfect opportunity to ask how the business does things, due to the simple fact that you are ‘new entry’ and do not know anything. Interviewers should not judge, but actually, encourage candidates to ask as many questions as possible.

Unfortunately, as we grow and develop our ideas more and more we fall into the habit of not asking simple questions because of this transition from little knowledge to a vast amount of it, and when we have reached that stage in our lives when we’re supposed to be informed we stop asking the straightforward questions because you may think people will get the impression you do not really understand what your job consists of.

Ironically, these basic questions will help you improve your work rate and performance over time so it is crucial you don’t stop being curious. Doesn’t it make more sense to ask why in order to fully comprehend what is the motive for doing what you have been asked to?

Understandably, people tend to fall into the routine of their work, but actually, it’s important to question why for the most menial of tasks, because you don’t know where a question may lead you.

Basically, the principle is the same as watching customers using your product for the first time, because, in doing so, they will see things differently than you and the team behind it. A similar example would be when an external consultant has come to the workplace and starts to assess departments and find key areas where there is room for improvement.

Of course, people are generally afraid to ask stupid questions due to peer pressure. Furthermore, they may also lack the necessary self-confidence. Whatever the case may be, not asking simple questions can leave everyone missing out on your ideas and contribution as a team player. Below, you will find a few reasons to start asking questions.

1. Becoming more Open-minded

When someone asks a ‘dumb’ question, they acknowledge and accept the fact that they don’t have all the possible answers. In a way, they reveal that they don’t know everything, thus they start being regarded more open to being questioned. People who ask questions appear more approachable and authentic. As an added bonus, there is no air of superiority coming from these people.

By asking ‘stupid’ questions you make sure that you have all the necessary facts and data in order to make decisions with a higher percentage of success. This will transform you into a trustworthy person who inspires confidence.

Consequently, people around you will become more likely to ‘use’ you as a good listener. They will know you will take into consideration their ideas and that you will question them and offer your best and honest suggestions. Leaders value open and honest people.

2. A Broader Vision

Asking ‘stupid’ questions can lead to creative and out-of-the-box solutions to our many problems. A crazy wild idea or question may be totally off the charts but may inspire someone else to come up with something brilliant. They may find a solution perhaps not as eccentric as yours, but nonetheless, a solution that solves the issue one way or another.

When you have a vision or an idea for something you start to imagine what that might be. The second part of the vision is represented by the contingency plan aka plan B. If people question someone’s plan it should not be viewed as a ‘dumb’ thing to do. It is important to see this as an opportunity to explore various contingency plans.

3. Perception

More often than not the moment when a new process is being set up, people start asking questions about it and it may seem like they are resisting change or in some cases, question someone’s authority. However, blindly following rules and directions is not always a good idea as history offers us good examples. The organisation may suffer getting the expected results and not because the change itself was a bad one, but simply because the people who are implementing the change didn’t understand why they were doing it.

When employees blindly accept to follow a new initiative for a project there can be a damaging lack of clarity in terms of direction and motivation. Our brains are wired to take the path of least resistance which more often than not leads to peril. By getting ourselves rid of the fear of questioning and actually dare to ask the so-called ‘dumb’ questions we may ensure that we are all focused and on the same path.

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://medium.com/@rjd203/the-importance-of-asking-stupid-questions-e96ba6d9551c

https://nptribune.com/?p=931

https://networkingtimes.com/blog/2016/03/15/6-benefits-to-asking-dumb-questions/

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

CSR and Its Growing Importance

It may come as no surprise that corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become a most for businesses all across the world. Organisations that are committed to CSR know that it leads to an enhanced reputation. It is of the utmost importance to establish a clear CSR strategy in order to assure the organisation’s competitiveness in the industry it’s doing business. This normally requires policies which integrate numerous aspects such as social, ethical, environmental, human rights or consumer concerns into daily business operations and the company’s core strategy.

Generally, companies are looking at achieving a positive impact on a community or society as a whole whilst also creating value for the business owners, its employees, shareholders and stakeholders.

In a study done by Kenexa High Performance Institute in London 2015, has found that organisations that had a genuine interest and commitment to CSR clearly surpass those that did not engage in such activities. Furthermore, the study has also revealed that CSR-orientated organisations had a higher level of employee engagement and also offered a better customer support service. At a corporate level, CSR brings a lot of positivity and optimism, even though at organisational level companies do not always accept their responsibilities for CSR, with plenty of businesses admitting adopting CSR purely as a marketing ploy.

At this moment in time, it is vital that we try and create a more sustainable form of capitalism if we are thinking about building a more inclusive, prosperous society and avoid the catastrophic climate changes that are getting closer and closer. The idea for CSR has been around for some time now, so how come it has become mainstream as of late?

The influence of Millennials on CSR policies

It is obvious to everyone that millennials are a growing force in the workplace. Young adults nowadays focus on a company’s impact on the environment and even urge these organisations to have a clear social mission.

Millennials are tech-savvy people, and they immediately research a company and are looking into its ethical and labour practices. Numerous millennials feel like it is their duty to make the world a better place to live in and they do not want, under no circumstances to be associated with companies which do not take responsibility for the world and the people in it.

Interestingly, in a recent Deloitte survey, it has been revealed that employee engagement is closely tied to the CSR reputation an organisation has. A whopping 70% of millennials interviewed have recognised that a company’s desire and commitment to CSR has influenced their choice to work for them. In just a couple of years, millennials will become the leading generational segment in the workforce, thus meaning that companies that wish to hire new workers will have and need to adopt CSR in order to keep the business going. Furthermore, millennials wish to actively partake in these social and environmental changes, not only consume products by companies who engage in CSR projects.

Huge companies have decided to engage in mammoth-sized CSR campaigns and that is great news. For example, Apple, which is a tremendously powerful company, can influence with its actions the whole industry. If an issue becomes a priority for Apple, it is clear that will make the ecosystem shift. At the same time, it is easier for big organisations to focus on CSR initiatives because they are less subject to quarterly pressures. It is easier to focus on long-term plans.

There is a definite need for big firms to commit to renewable energy and to lobby for the change in legislation that imposes harsher costs for fossil fuel buyers. There is also a need for big companies to commit to raise the minimum and to lobby for a change in minimum wage legislation. To say they’re not going to dump stuff in the river, or buy from those who do. The top 500 organisations’ revenues are worth nearly 37% of world GDP. Think about what would happen if we could convince 100 of them to go carbon-free and to take a less hostile view of their labour force?

An example of a better-pay practice is the behemoth Cola-Cola and its “5by20” programme. This initiative has been created to empower 5 million women entrepreneurs around the world by 2020. Recent research has indicated that empowering women can have a long-lasting effect and to name a few: increased revenues, more hired work, better-educated and healthier families – all of which lead to more prosperous and happy communities.

Whatever cause your organisation supports, be sure to be transparent and honest with your customers. Authenticity is the key to being successful at anything; otherwise, you will be labelled as deceitful and will lose the trust of your customers. Trust represents the most fragile relationship you could ever have. Once it’s gone, you’ll find it next to impossible to get it back.

In conclusion, corporate social responsibility is more than just a business trend or fad. Businesses that want to stay relevant to new generations and who want to help people in need around the world while increasing their own revenue and efficiency will benefit from embracing CSR.

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/2018/02/more-and-more-ceos-are-taking-their-social-responsibility-seriously

https://www.financierworldwide.com/the-importance-of-corporate-social-responsibility/#.WoP3VtVubIV

https://onlinemasters.ohio.edu/why-corporate-social-responsibility-matters-in-todays-society/

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/269665

 

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/