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Inspiration at Work: Importance and Significance

Inspiration at work is always an added bonus. When we are inspired, everything we have to do simply clicks. We feel that our work has purpose and all of our skills are being used in the best way possible. In layman’s terms, we are doing what we are supposed to be doing. Unfortunately, inspiration can come and go as it pleases; it can vanish into thin air. This usually happens when your boss gives you a negative review on some of the work you’ve done or you’re simply content about a particular task at hand. Even if you are one the few people that have a job that they love, it’s in our human nature to experience periods of time when we have to dig deep to find some excitement about your job.

Todd Thrash and Andrew Elliot, two psychologists who have been studying inspiration in the last few decades, have spotted 3 elements which occur the moment a person is inspired:

  1. The person sees new possibilities.
  2. Receptive to outside stimuli.
  3. Energy and motivation.

Inspiration does not represent a static state of mind, which is fortunate for us because it means people can cultivate it. Although we cannot force inspiration upon us, we can create an environment that favours inspiration.

Feeling stuck is a normal reaction when you don’t feel inspired. The key here is not to wait for positivity to hit you because your inaction is your worst enemy in this scenario. Studies in cognitive behavioural therapy have concluded that people’s behaviours alter the way they feel and think. Consequently, when people act differently they feel differently. Instead of waiting for a change coming out of thin air, try and put yourself in motion somehow. You are in control of your work environment and not the other way around. This can help you discover new methods in which you can solve your duties.

Continuous learning is very important. If you have a good number of years of experience and have excelled in your field, it is somehow natural to think that you may not require additional training or learning. However, researchers have discovered that when we stop believing we require further expertise we become more close minded or as it also known ‘earned dogmatism’. If we train ourselves to always be fresh and on top of things the more likely we are to get inspired. Given the fact that nowadays it has become more and more difficult to have some time for ourselves, it is absolutely vital we devote at least a few hours a week for enlightenment purposes only in order to assure ourselves of longer periods of inspiration and engagement. For example, Bill Gates used to take a few weeks of work twice a year just to map out new ideas.

Making new friends is always a good idea. When we spend time with people they affect our mood and energy, whilst also having the same conversations with them week in, week out. It is recommended to start and meet new people. It is important you try and meet people who can challenge you mentally and do things differently from you. These types of people can stimulate new ideas with the added bonus of learning from their vast experience.
Furthermore, think about friends whose qualities you admire tremendously. Try and focus on qualities, not perfection. They do not even have to know you are trying to emulate them in certain aspects. It is actually better to be a distant observer due to the simple fact that you can extract and dissect the necessary information much easier.

When questioned, most entrepreneurs and business people say that their passion and inspiration derives from their desire to serve their customers, to lead a company in an upward direction and to support the development of a product that may revolutionise the market. Unfortunately, inspiration and passion can fade away and, of course, people start questioning themselves. It happens over the course of one’s life, to discover that their once meaningful job has become close to meaningless. It begins with the slow erosion of spirit and enthusiasm due to the fact that there is no longer any purpose in their work. People start feeling trapped, restless and they see no end in sight.

This happens because people start confusing the achievement of daily goals with accomplishing truly meaningful work. Thus, they continue to worry and set goal after goal, until they realise boredom has set in. When this happens, it is imperative that people respond to this problem through a conscious choice on how to solve it. More often than not, people don’t realise they are fed up with their job because they lose track of what is meaningful about their work. In their attempt to separate their work and personal life, some people go to such an extent that they do not bring their values into the office environment. Even more so, they engage in activities that clash with home persona.  Some people discover that their work has become their life, even though their family is what they value most, but they still work 12+ hours and miss birthdays and holidays in order to be successful at work.

Like all things in life, there is no one-size-fits all solution. There is no one method that can bring back your passion and inspiration. There is a combination of strategies that can guide you towards the path you desire, but that must be discovered on your own, due to our uniqueness. The only common trait in everyone’s strategies should be reflection – evaluate where you stand at the moment, where you’re headed and what you really want to become.

Inspiration isn’t elusive. It is within our grasp if we search for new opportunities from which we can extract new ideas and insights. Even though sometimes it may not feel like you’re getting the best deal out of a situation, it will still push you to new boundaries and experiences which will inevitably lead to something that resembles inspiration.

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/2002/04/reawakening-your-passion-for-work

https://hbr.org/2017/09/how-to-rediscover-your-inspiration-at-work

https://www.inc.com/kevin-daum/8-ways-to-be-re-inspired-at-work.html

Remote Work – Better for Productivity?

Few people know that the 8-hour work schedule has its origins from the times of the Industrial Revolution and not the Information Age. During the second half of the 18th century, the standard norm was workdays of 10-16 hours due to the fact that factories required to be run 24/7. This type of schedule had become absolutely brutal and exhausting for workers, but change only started to happen with 1817 when Welsh activist Robert Owen advocated for 8-hour workdays, his slogan being: “Eight hours labour, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest.”

Close to a century later, in 1914 to be exact, the 8-hour schedule became the norm when Ford Motor Company started working on 8-hour shifts whilst also doubling workers’ wages. The result was obvious for everyone to see, a dramatic increase in productivity. Nowadays, it may seem unfathomable to work for more than 8 hours, but history offers us a lesson into how things have developed along the way. At the moment, we may witness another disruption into the workday schedule. In a recent research revolving around this issue, it was suggested that in an 8-hour shift, the average worker is productive for a mere 2 hours and 53 minutes.

It is becoming more and more obvious to many of us that the modern workplace is not the well of productivity everyone hoped for. Furthermore, for many of us, the workplace is actually filled with distractions of all natures. Combine this with the everyday hassle of commuting and you got yourself one long day of work. Of course, situations such as these can be avoided through a flexible schedule arrangement, this being an option more sought after than ever before.

In one of the most recent FlexJobs surveys on remote work, it has been discovered that 66% of professionals they’ve interviewed said they would be more productive if they could work from home, rather than the office. The most common reasons why they favoured working from home:

  • 76% wanted fewer disruptions from co-workers.
  • 70% reduce stress levels from commuting.
  • 69% wanted to avoid office politics.

The survey also revealed something incredible, only 7% of the people interviewed said that they are productive during regular office hours. If only so very few people are productive during their regular schedules, then there is something inherently wrong with our traditional workplace model.

In the past, there were fewer distractions and fun past time activities. Also, there was no internet and the sheer volume of information that we are being bombarded with. Due to these changes and shifts in programmes and schedules, there are people that don’t fit into the normal productivity ranges. There are people who are at their best really early in the morning, while others’ productivity goes through the roof during night hours. That is why it is a bit foolish to expect that all your employees to give their best during the 9-5 programme.

Your average worker gets disrupted every 3 minutes, and recovering from that is time-consuming. We need, on average, about 23 minutes to return to a task after being disrupted. Furthermore, discoveries in the field of neuroscience have all but confirmed what we were all thinking: the human brain cannot concentrate for 8 straight hours.

One of the career specialists at FlexJobs, Brie Reynolds, said that given the meteoric rise in remote work and freelancing, workers have become more aware of the future of work environment. This has risen from a simple combination of factors that encompass demographics and remote-friendly technology. Millennials have been growing up with technology by their side, so it is more than natural for them to expect they can work remotely. There are companies that now offer flexible hours to their new employees. And if your job requires the simple use of a laptop, then you can basically work full-time for any company in the world. At the moment, what we are experiencing in the workforce, is a hybrid model where people work alternatively from home and from the office.

For employers, Reynolds has a simple suggestion: “crafting remote programmes which help employees be at their productive best, whilst keeping the good parts of in-office interactions.” For the time being, the hybrid model seems to the best approach, given the simple fact that many companies are still struggling with coming up with the necessary tools and programmes in order to make remote work a success for their operations.

However, in a recent Gallup survey, it has been revealed that although remote work is on the rise the United States, employees that work exclusively from home are the least engaged. The reasons for this are isolation and ambiguous job descriptions. There are some companies that have been successful in implementing a proper remote work programme. These organisations, as pointed out by Gallup, were disciplined in creating proper plans and processes for this to work. Some of the techniques they have used include:

  • Face-to-face meetings with remote working employees.
  • In-depth training programmes.
  • Implementing a ‘buddy system’ for new employees during their first few months.

Implementing successful remote work programmes is going to require a lot of work for your organisation. However, given the fact that more and more talented workers want flexible working hours (and it cannot be negotiable), you simply cannot ignore this trend.

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:

http://fortune.com/2015/08/04/brian-shapland-productivity-at-work/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/irisleung/2017/08/31/report-only-7-of-workers-feel-productive-during-regular-work-hours/#10571760744e

https://www.inc.com/melanie-curtin/in-an-8-hour-day-the-average-worker-is-productive-for-this-many-hours.html

How to Stop Thinking about Work

For many people, work has become synonymous with their personal lives. Whether employees love or hate their current job, they most likely are thinking about what they have to do, even in their off hours. There are times when planning and organising future moves is helpful and useful, but when you do something for too long it may become detrimental to your personal life and health.

If you have had nights in which you cannot fall asleep because you are stressing out over what you have to do at work and start ignoring your friends, which may be the sign that you are in way over your head.

In layman’s terms, bringing work back into your home can transform you into a very tensed, boring, stressed-out and sleep-deprived person. If any of these thoughts have invaded your mind lately…

  • The business will fall apart in my absence.
  • There is a definite crisis at the office.
  • I’ll definitely receive a very important email anytime soon.

… you may require a real break from everything starting from the office environment and even the city where you do your business. It sounds easier said than done because fear plays an important role in achieving a healthy work-life balance. In order to start coping with this situation here are a few suggestions of what you can do:

Bypassing the brain in order to relax

The vast majority of people can agree that smartphones make our lives just a little bit easier. Unfortunately, they have become problematic for many employees who cannot resist the temptation of checking their emails and workload. Because we have incorporated smartphones into our day-to-day business activities, they activate the Zeigarnik Effect – which represents the difficulty with which people forget something that has been left incomplete. This is a real psychological justification why people struggle to switch off during vacations. However, there are ways in which we can reduce the Zeigarnik Effect to become part of our private lives.

  1. Sports – Taking up tennis, or going out with your friends to play a game of football can set your mind free of the incomplete activities you have going on at work. Basically, everything that necessitates constant focus in order to keep your mind busy on something new and fresh.
  2. Turn it off – If you know that physical exercises cannot make you give up your gadget, it’s time to switch it up a notch: turn it off or give to your friends or family to hide it. At some point, the brain will give up on trying to solve those problems.

Focus on future actions instead of work

When employees are out of office, some of them are experiencing what is called informally as ‘fear of missing out’ or FOMO. People tend to think that while they are out of office something important is going to happen and they are not there to experience it. Obviously, this leads to people obsessively checking their emails and forgetting to relax.

The solution here is pretty straight forward. People have to start focusing on things they are about to do in the near future rather than what they are going to miss out on. For example, if your plan is not to think about work you already lost the battle because you’re actually thinking about work. Instead, aim your attention towards a dinner party you’re about to attend or all the time you get to spend with your children. For better results keep it as specific as possible. For example, instead of thinking of ‘family time’, think about how you are going to take the kids to see a movie or go with them to the park and play.

In conclusion, try and set yourselves up for success. Try and put away anything work related when you get home. If that means you have to turn your phone off or leaving your laptop at the door as soon as you get home then by all means, just do it. Make it difficult for you to access work-related actions, given the fact that you will think at least twice before accessing it.

This is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company’s employees to thrive in 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.themuse.com/advice/3-ways-to-stop-thinking-about-work-when-youre-not-there

http://lifehacker.com/how-to-stop-working-when-youre-off-the-clock-1798470779

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/work/how-to-stop-worrying-about-work-and-unwind-on-holiday/

https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/science-explains-how-to-end-your-compulsion-to-work-on-vacation.html

Gamification and HR

As we all know, young adults have been introduced to the world of computer and video games early on in their lives. Nowadays, mobile games are a must on smartphones, the more complex, the better. HR and gaming have started working together for some time now, with the purpose of making otherwise dull processes more interesting and increase engagement levels. Founded in 1948, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), has recently revealed there are 2 types of gamification:

  1. Structural gamification – applying gaming rewards such as badges, levels, leaderboards, etc to job-related activities.
  2. Serious Games – where a simulation is created for specific purposes such as training or sales simulation.

Although the whole process of gamification is definitely attractive, it requires serious financial investments in order to increase the visibility and importance of the HR department in the organisation. In general, employees tend to not appreciate anything coming from HR, but for sure they like games. Combining the various and tedious HR processes with games, almost instantly boredom is transformed into fun times and great engagement. Gamification has been discovered to work best with organisational practices such as: recruitment, training, referral recruitment, development and wellness. Of course, there are some instances in which games are not recommended at all, for instance, administrative processes. The risks in this instance are tremendous due to the simple fact that companies can suffer greatly. Administrative processes should be done successfully by everyone.

Here are some of the ways in which gamification can speed up various HR processes at the work workplace:

  • Training: Turn your company’s training into a game. Employees will have to work through numerous tasks in order to obtain points and badges in order to ‘level up’.
  • Cultural Alignment: Employees will be rewarded with ‘culture points’ if they live by the organisation’s core values. Offer people the chance to notice other employees that go the extra mile in regards to cultural aspects.
  • Wellness: It is essential that employees are using wearables such as Fitbit. From the data collected from these wearables, employees have the chance to earn wellness points and actually make a competition out of it with the others. This method helps a lot with morale and engagement.

At their very core, people are competitive, they like to challenge themselves one way or another. Based on this idea, every employee wants to be valued for the work and effort he or she puts into the company. HR departments are struggling annually or biannually to collect performance reviews from employees. If the organisation decides to make a game out of it, engagement would soar through the roof. While they complete their paperwork, employees can also see the progress of their colleagues. This way, people get motivated to move faster and be the first ones to finish.

In a recent Gallup research, it has been discovered that more and more organisations are interested in implementing gamification. In the same study, it has been shown that only 31% of employees are still engaged at their job. And, perhaps not that surprising, millennials are the least engaged. Here is where gamification can come in. By using it and deploying it efficiently, engagement levels could rise but it can also act as a magnet for young talents. Given the fact that millennials will represent 75% of the workforce by 2025 it is of utmost importance that organisations start to treat this matter as seriously as possible.

In order to address the low engagement levels, many Fortune 500 companies have launched their pilot gamification programmes. Here are some examples:

Learning at Walmart: Using short games to bolster safety training

In 2015, Walmart started using gamification in order to offer their 5,000 partners from 8 Walmart distribution centres the best possible safety training. The stakes for Walmart were high because they were addressing one of their bigger issues: a scattered workforce that had to adhere to the company’s safety procedures. The gamification of safety training exercises has been incredibly beneficial. Walmart saw a 54% decrease in incidents in their 8 distribution centres, whilst employees loved the competitiveness and togetherness the games brought. Soon after the programme started, employees started talking not only about the games itself but of the importance of safety protocols. Given the fact that gamification has an ‘emotional aspect’ to it, it is obvious it can have important benefits to employee behaviour.

Internal Collaboration at Qualcomm: Gamification used to increase collaboration between employees.

Qualcomm implemented a simple and very efficient technique. In the organisation’s internal Q&A system, employees can ask and answer distinct questions and the best answers get to be voted up and rise through the rankings. Through this method, Qualcomm employees receive bonus points for their activity and level of engagement. Gathering enough points earns them badges, although there are unique badges that are being offered to people who overachieve. For example, an employee will receive points, a special badge (The Archaeologist) and for answering a question that was unanswered for 30 days. Furthermore, that employee gets recognition on the internal website and the badge will appear on his or hers profile in order to reward their willingness to help.

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.forbes.com/sites/jeannemeister/2015/03/30/future-of-work-using-gamification-for-human-resources/#1bafcb1d24b7

http://www.creativehrm.com/hr-gamification.html

https://cultureiq.com/gamification-hr-try/

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

How to Build a Strong Employee Value Proposition

Numerous managers, HR specialists and entrepreneurs struggle with the meaning of Employee Value Proposition (EVP). Most of them even confuse it with Employer Brand. Just to set the record straight EVP represents the salary, benefits and compensation that an employer gives to his employees in order to get the best out of their skills, productivity and experience, thus encouraging the continuous development of the company’s values, mission, purpose and business goals. An organisation’s Employee Value Proposition works alongside the Employer Brand and is a crucial factor when talking about attracting, retaining or losing talent within a company.

Whether they are aware of it or not, every existing organisation has an EVP and it may or may not thoroughly defined.

Traditionally, the Employer Value Proposition can be divided in 3 parts: salary, compensation and benefits. Things get even more interesting when talking about benefits. They can come in 3 forms as well:

  • Supplementary compensation – These benefits can consist of: health insurance, dental plan, company car, gym membership, flexible working hours, etc.
  • Values, mission and purpose – They definitely represent benefits for employees. If they can relate to them on a personal level, performance levels may go through the roof.
  • People and culture – Usually, it is an overlooked benefit. Great people want to work with great people. No one wants to be surrounded by incompetent colleagues. If the HR department is doing its job well, great people will definitely attract great people. Although the brand starts the culture, it can only be brought to life by its employees.

Due to a more and more tightening labour market, it has become extremely difficult to attract and retain top talent, thus the re-emergence of the Employee Value Proposition.

EVP puts pressure on the organisation, not the employee

 Due to its unique concept, EVP puts the company in the position of developing a ‘proposition of value’ to the people they want. Hence, the Employee Value Proposition may very well be the solution of fixing the problems revolving around employee engagement. The existing research done on engagement has revealed that most employees are “engageable” and very willing to cooperate.

People who have helpful managers, are well paid and their merits are being properly recognised, do not experience burnout due to exaggerated to-do lists, have the opportunity to advance professionally, they become devoted employees. If they are being deprived of these experiences, frustration instils and they leave at a moment’s notice.

Up until now, the term ‘employee engagement’ was used to criticise disgruntled employees, thus enabling the organisation to put the burden on their workers. They were expected to be ‘engaged’ and if that did not happen, instead of the company questioning itself, employees were deemed flawed.

EVP analyses the company through the eyes of possible and former employees

Current engagement programmes are tailored around surveys designed for current employees. Unfortunately, the results of these surveys do not help much because there is no outside perception from the people that might be hired or have left.

In the case of compensation, this topic tends to be terribly underestimated in the survey analysis. This happens due to the fact that the people who have chosen to remain within the organisation are being properly remunerated, whilst the top talent has left the company in search for higher wages and they do not partake in the surveys because they are former employees.

Interestingly enough, people working in marketing do not have this type of mentality. They are continuously preoccupied with what consumers think and feel about a brand, why they shop at their competitors, etc. Due to the fact that EVP has its roots from the marketing concept of customer value proposition, the Employee Value Proposition pays special attention to the ‘employer brand’ in a way general employee engagement programmes never had. This idea is especially essential now that websites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor offer people the possibility of getting information from former and current employees.

If done properly, EVP leads to a focused approach on employee happiness

According to the research conducted by BI Worldwide, what employees cherish the most is happiness. This is hardly a new concept in employee performance analysis, because if organisations take a closer look, they do not want to engage employees but to make them happy. EVP stands for a strategic framework in which the organisation creates experiences that will trigger happiness into their employees. In layman’s terms, happiness represents the ultimate EVP.

EVP ensures success due to its roots and the responsibility it places on companies. Furthermore, in many industries, the demand for workers is so high nowadays that businesses tend to ignore this concept. In light of the fact of people spend most of their time at their job and their egos get so tangled in their work, companies should take the necessary steps in adopting EVP. The target should be that when employees think fondly of their work, their contributions and breakthroughs, their wonderful colleagues, their reliable manager, their great leaders and all the other small perks that are being offered it should result in the perfect workplace. People do not like settling for second best and organisations need to become aware of this, otherwise, their demise will be swift.

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://www.forbes.com/sites/roddwagner/2017/01/23/an-employee-value-proposition-mindset-just-might-fix-employee-engagement/#4854e36f4c3d

https://www.willistowerswatson.com/en/insights/2016/09/employers-look-to-modernize-the-employee-value-proposition

https://www.socialtalent.co/blog/employee-value-proposition-what-does-it-all-means

Does Philosophy have a place in today’s Business World?

Nowadays, it has become a common joke that a philosophy graduate’s most frequently used phrase is “Would you like some fries and a Coke with that?”, but is this an actual representation of the real world? Surprisingly, a study made by CNN has shown that only 5% of the people who recently got their philosophy diploma are facing problems in finding a job. On top of that, many renowned entrepreneurs like Reid Hoffman, Peter Thiel and Carly Fiorina are attributing their overall success to their education in philosophy.

All of this happens due to a huge shift in the business world: the abilities optimised for the globalist consumption and safe approaches of the past decade have been almost completely replaced by those required to thrive in this new uncertain and individualised business world. Therefore, abilities such as truly understanding the world, identifying the causal factors of day-to-day events, while also being able to make optimal decisions in new and unfamiliar situations have become the new  standards of performance.

How does studying philosophy develop those abilities? Well, the better question would be how could it not? Anyone who takes a peek into the area of modern philosophy would observe one common misconception: the falsehood of the fact that it’s all about wild speculation and realise that, actually, it focuses on well-structured arguments and counter-arguments. Apart from knowing and understanding what X philosopher said about Z problem – which, to some, might not seem particularly useful from a pragmatic point of view – you will also learn to identify, all by yourself, the weak spots of each and every argument. This process will conspicuously lead, in the end, to fully developed critical thinking skills. Whoever is lucky enough to have acquired this particular skillset will have no problems whatsoever in identifying and solving even the most complex organisational challenges.

Furthermore, during the process of studying philosophy, one will inevitably change their own fundamental system of beliefs about all the aspects of reality. This leads to the general mental state of constantly rechecking and analysing the truth and validity of every case in which your deductive line of reasoning could lead you to the wrong conclusions. That little amount of skepticism generates another essential byproduct: the ability to safely avoid the tendency towards rigidness of thought – a common feature of most managers in today’s world of business.

What more could this new business environment require of a potential entrepreneur or employee?

So, next time someone mentions the joke about philosophy majors, rather than getting angry, you could raise some doubts about the causal relationship between studying philosophy and earning minimum wage; maybe there are some underlying (psychological?!) causes that led them to this fallacious deductive reasoning.

 

Sources:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/295699

https://www1.villanova.edu/villanova/artsci/philosophy/academic-programs/undergrad/ourgraduates1.html

http://bigthink.com/experts-corner/why-future-business-leaders-need-philosophy

http://money.cnn.com/2016/01/29/news/economy/recent-college-graduates-job-new-york-federal-reserve/