Posts

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.

B_txt_10

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

 

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:

B_txt_14

Sources:

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

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

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

The Road to Sustainability in Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Request a free demo:

B_txt_14

Sources:

 

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

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

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

How and Why Is Engagement Linked to Burnout

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

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

The Costs of Employee Burnout

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

How to maintain high engagement without burning out in the process

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Request a free demo:

B_txt_14

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:

B_txt_14

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.

B_txt_10

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

 

Work-Life Balance for Parents: Is it Achievable?

Work-life balance has become an obsession for everyone nowadays. There are numerous articles, research papers and self-help books that are offering people advice on how to begin or develop a better balance between their personal and work lives. Unfortunately, the advice given in these reading materials are generally focused on the idea of making changes on individual levels, team expectations in relation to your job attributes or even organisational contexts that affect you only.

In a research paper published recently by Human Relations, they have discovered that our very own upbringing can have a powerful influence on our career and life decisions. Subconsciously, we learn and mirror our parents’ behaviour in terms of work-life balance. The research conducted by Human Relations had 148 in-depth interviews with around 80 parents working in London for law and accounting companies. An equal number of men and women were interviewed with ages ranging from 30 to 50 years old and with positions in middle or upper management roles. In the case of male participants in the study, the majority of them had a stay-at-home wife, but in the case of female participants, this wasn’t the case at all. It is also important to know that most of the participants were coming from middle-class families who were typically formed from a stay-at-home mother and a working father.

The principles and ideas they share are in a direct correlation with the deeply ingrained routines and ideas coming straight from their parents.

Replicating the Parental Model

The majority of male participants have been reported to have a work-life balance similar to the family they grew up in. Like their fathers before them, these men are the sole breadwinners in their household. This has made them internalise the work ethic and has ended with them working very long hours. As mentioned above this effect was stronger for men, due to the fact that both men and women in the study have designated the same-sex parent as their role-model.

Given the fact that these people have seen their parents working hard throughout their childhood and adolescence, their professional careers were inclined to follow in the same footsteps. Although they were able to rationalise and acknowledge the fact that their compulsive work ethic had negative effects on their personal lives it was very difficult for them to change their behaviour both on and off work. Even remotely trying to act divergently, this ‘pre-disposition’ continued to be seen in their actions.

Breaking Off the Parental Model

Worryingly enough, there are fewer cases in which participants have said that they have rejected their parents’ work-life balance. In most cases, this was an intentional act of breaking the ‘status-quo’, but there were a few cases in which participants wanted to distance themselves from their parents’ model even though they wanted to follow up in their footsteps.

Like every human being on this planet, some participants have started to question the influence their parents have had on them, after pondering on failures, regrets or traumatic experiences they might have picked up along their adult life (i.e. a close friend or relative getting sick). After such an experience, participants had a tendency to overhaul their entire schedule and refuse to no longer work weekends or even leaving their employer and finding themselves an environment with a more manageable schedule.

In the case of women, there were two groups that were identified as serious in their significance: women who wanted to be more close to their families because they had workaholic mothers and women who wanted to be more actively involved in the workforce due to their regret-filled stay-at-home mothers.

Parents who actually manage to achieve a rewarding work-life balance do not designate all their time and effort into making their children happy. Interestingly enough, these parents strive on raising children with a strong sense of responsibility who will eventually grow into respectable and responsible adults. These are the parents who ask their kids to help around the house by giving them chores. They establish a clear set of consequences if the kids do not follow through with their tasks. By enabling their children to value hard work and also, this being of quintessential importance, experience disappointment, their personal development will be more easily done.

Neglecting Themselves

Adults often forget about taking care of themselves. This statement is even truer when you’re a parent. It may very well be a cliché, but more often than not clichés are true so it is pretty clear that if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to help the closest people to you. Sometimes it may seem near impossible to have some well-deserved ‘me time’, especially if your schedule throughout the day has left you overtired or stretched to the very last drop of energy.

There are a few successful parents in the study that have discovered that taking care of themselves offers them the best chance at being efficient and productive over long periods of time. Relaxation and sleep may be essential, but exercise plays a decisive role nowadays. Physical activity not only improves overall health levels, but it is the key towards finding the right balance between work and family time.

Post-Work Guilt

Somewhat surprising, many parents wouldn’t want to be working full-time, but unfortunately, the current economic and social climate doesn’t offer the possibility of one to stay home or even work part-time. 44% of working mothers have reported they would be thrilled about the idea of working part-time. As mentioned above, this would not be financially feasible. Parents who succeed in today’s working environment have ridden themselves of guilt over the fact that they are working full-time. They feel there is no point in wasting time and energy over-thinking this problem. Coming up with the best plan for their scenario seems like the next best thing (i.e. working flexible hours, full-time job with kids somehow has to work).

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:

B_txt_14

Sources:

https://www.inc.com/amy-morin/the-5-things-successful-parents-give-up-to-reach-a-work-life-balance.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/amymorin/2014/01/20/the-five-things-successful-working-parents-give-up-to-reach-a-work-life-balance/#59e263a157ea

https://hbr.org/2017/10/your-feelings-about-work-life-balance-are-shaped-by-what-you-saw-your-parents-do

Emotional Control during Difficult Conversations

It’s hard not to get emotionally involved when you’re in a tense conversation. A disagreement can feel like a threat. You might be afraid of having to give up something — the idea that you’re right, your point of view, the way you’re used to doing something, or even power – and therefore your body hypes you up for a fight by triggering your sympathetic nervous system.  There is no need to feel guilty, this is the natural response, but the main problem is that our bodies and minds aren’t good at differentiating the threats presented by not getting your way on a job-related issue and being chased down by a wolf. Your heart and breathing start to spike, your muscles tighten, the blood flow from your organs decreases, and thus you’re likely to experience an uncomfortable all-around feeling.

All of these combined does not put in the right frame of mind of resolving a conflict. If your body goes into what Dan Goleman would call “amygdala hijack,” you may lose access to the prefrontal cortex, the all-important part of your brain responsible for rational thinking. Obviously, you need rational thinking when dealing with a difficult conversation. Due to the fact that you are losing the ability to think clearly, chances are your conversation counterpart notices these signs of stress — your face turning red or the pace of your speech speeding up — and as a result of mirror neurons that cause us to apprehend the emotions of another person, your colleague is likely to start feeling the same way. Consequently, the conversation inevitably derails and the conflict intensifies.

Every manager fears emotional outbursts. Whether we’re talking about tears or full-on rage, the full extent of emotions can leave both the manager and the employee feeling embarrassed and stressed. How can you manage to stay calm and at the same time get your point across? How do you prepare yourself? Can you somehow minimise the chances of an employee getting emotional? Learning to handle emotional conversations in a productive way is the mark of a true manager.

Luckily, there are ways in which you can interrupt this physical response and manage your emotions, for a more productive discussion. There are several things you can do to keep your cool during a conversation or to calm yourself down. It is essential you start off with a positive. Especially if you think the conversation is likely to be emotional, plan to start with a positive. This will set the tone for the entire conversation and can help the employee engage with what you’re saying later, even if it’s hard to digest.

Breathe

Through simple mindfulness techniques, you can manage tense situations and none is more straightforward than using your breath. If you start noticing you’re getting tense, try to focus on breathing pattern. Acknowledge the sensation of air coming in and out of your lungs. Feel how it passes through your nostrils or down the back of your throat. This will take your attention off the signs of panic. Some mindfulness experts suggest counting your breath.

Acknowledge and define your feelings

Another useful tactic comes from the renowned author of Emotional Agility, Susan David. When you start feeling emotional “the attention you give towards your thoughts and feelings may crowd your mind and judgement,” says Susan David. In order to distance yourself from that feeling, define it. “Call a thought a thought and an emotion an emotion,” says the author.  When you manage to distance yourself from these emotions, thus making it easier to let them go — but don’t bury them or let them explode later. Sometimes expressing your emotions is all that’s needed to make an employee feel like they’ve been heard. If tears are involved, empathy is the recommended course of action. If your employee is angry, acknowledge and understand their frustration, but if that anger becomes insulting, calmly make it clear that you will not tolerate violent language or threatening behaviour.

Take a break

This is an underused approach. The more time you give yourself to process your emotions, the less intense they will be. So when things start escalating, just excuse yourself for a moment — get some coffee or water, go to the bathroom, or take a brief stroll through the office. It is essential to give a neutral reason for why you want to pause the conversation — the last thing you want is for the other person to think that things are going so badly you just want to escape.

Keep in mind that you’re probably not the only one who’s upset or angry. Your counterpart may very well express anger or frustration. While you may want to give them the above advice, no one wants to be told they need to breathe more deeply or take a break. You both may require just a little bit of time alone to vent. Of course, that’s usually easier said than done. It’s difficult not to yell back when you’re being screamed at, but more screaming isn’t going to help. At the same time, don’t act aloof because it’s important to show the other person that you’re listening. If you manage not to feed your counterpart’s negative emotion with your own, it becomes more plausible for them to calm down.

Keep your impatience in check

Finally, the demon you will have to wrestle the most with is your own impatience for getting the result you want. You will need to be patient and let the situation unfold itself. When you think you know exactly what is wrong with the other person’s thinking, your best approach is to ask them questions that will enable them to see other possibilities, ones that are much closer to your point of view. Don’t slip and tell people what is wrong with their thinking, because their brains will shut down and you have to be patient with silence. Silence is a good indicator that what you said or asked made the person stop and think about their ideas and arguments. The best thing you can do is to be patient and allow the person’s brain to process the information.

Don’t take it personally. Watch out for your own defensive mechanism, especially if the employee has said something in the heat of the moment. Remember that frustration is usually the cause of such outbursts at the office. You’re not going to solve the underlying issues or maintain a positive relationship if you barrel through the conversation when you’re completely worked up.

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.

B_txt_10

Sources:

https://hbr.org/2017/12/how-to-control-your-emotions-during-a-difficult-conversation

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20141028170158-2763533-how-to-manage-your-emotions-in-difficult-conversations/

https://www.insperity.com/blog/10-tips-for-keeping-your-cool-during-emotional-conversations-with-employees/

 

Building Trust and Credibility with your Customers

Customers’ happiness is always going to be tricky to achieve and maintain. Although the global economy is growing and thriving in certain industries, Forrester, a market research firm, has discovered that companies shouldn’t rest on their laurels. In fact, according to the Forrester report for 2018 that next year will be a “year of reckoning” for many brands as they face the facts that consumers might not love them as much.

Interestingly enough, customer experience scores have stalled in recent years, without a single brand improving their trust and experience scores from 2016.

One of the main reasons for the halt in customer experience is that clients are interacting with brands more often. More interactions mean more opportunities in building brand loyalty, but it equally provides more opportunities to create unhappy customers, which is what seems to happen. Customer confidence is at a high level at the moment, which means they are more than willing to spend, but unfortunately they don’t trust the vast majority of companies. Customer experience is one of the best ways in which to boost trust. Top survey responses say treating employees well is what drives the experience and helps customers trust a brand, offering the best services and listening to customers concerns and issues.

The Forrester report also revealed that personalised companies will thrive. Instead of trying to serve everyone, brands will have to learn from successful of companies like Facebook and Starbucks and start serving a more narrow set of customers. The most successful companies realise they can deliver more value by focusing on the unique needs of specific customer segments instead of trying to provide everything to everyone. Companies that are suffering in their customer experience scores are Walmart and Amazon due to their numerous products and services.

Transparency Is Crucial

Transparency is a core competency that should no doubt come naturally. Yet so many businesses are struggling coming to terms with what it really means.

Customers and clients are smart and they know when you’re being truthful or when you’re trying to trick them. Honesty is the best policy and they’ll appreciate and admire your company even more when you admit to a mistake or avoiding the topic altogether.

It is recommended that you don’t try to cover up errors. Discuss about the matter at hand, explain how you wish to handle it and thoroughly explain what steps are being taken to prevent any future errors. To implement transparency effectively leading by example is quintessential. Your employees will admire you even more for being honest.

Consistency Brings Harmony

Consistency goes hand in hand perfectly with maintaining great service. Strong internal expectations lead to great external results.

From a business point of view, consistency should exist in every aspect of what the company does:

  • Employees should provide equivalent levels of service.
  • Equipped with all the tools it needs, your sales team should address questions and queries in the same way.
  • The company should stay on course with the current state of products and services, rather than constantly shifting gears to try new tactics or initiatives.

Develop a powerful measurement in order to assess whether something is working. If it isn’t viable anymore, there should already exist a plan B or C.

From a leadership standpoint, consistent performance shows employees what you expect from them. For example, if you miss a meeting without a good reason, don’t be surprised if they consider doing the same when interest serves them.

Great Service Matters

According to the survey done by Concerto Marketing Group and Research Now, when customers have faith in a brand, 83% of them will recommend that specific organisation to others and 82% will continue to use that brand on a regular basis. Although there is hardly any mention about the time you went above and beyond for a client, you’ll definitely hear from the displeased ones if you failed to make a deadline or delivered a product that didn’t operate by the books.

Earning the trust of a customer with great service is an essential first step. How would you want to be treated if you were the client? The hard truth is that service should come naturally, instead of being strategically planned. The more you plan for great service, the less time you’ll actually have to deliver it.

Sure, there will be times when you’ve tried your best and can’t seem to make any headway with a particular problem. But you want to strive for responsiveness and always exceed expectations.

Sealing the Deal

Maintaining solid business relationships does not mean your customers or clients have to like you. Everyone wants to be liked but it is impossible to be liked by every person you come in contact with. However, creating customers and clients for life is more about them entrusting you to deliver on your promises. It takes a lot of effort, but in the end your hard work will pay off again and again, with repeat business, even more referrals and knowing you met and exceeded your customers’ expectations.

Organizations with great customer relationships are able to grow their businesses without tricks, fee cuts or special treatment. You have to be good at what you do, obviously, but having a truly successful business is based on one very simple concept: trust. With trust, you’ll have clients and customers for life. Without trust, you may as well pack your bags and go home. Building trust takes time and a lot of hard work. But is entirely feasible if you and your team work on three of the most important core competencies: service, consistency and transparency.

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.

B_txt_10

Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesfinancecouncil/2017/11/13/ten-ways-to-build-trust-with-new-and-existing-clients/#75edfdda4b0b

https://www.forbes.com/sites/yec/2014/04/22/three-ways-to-build-customer-trust/#5e32c56f22b8

https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2017/11/14/consumer-trust-at-an-all-time-low-says-forrester-in-their-most-recent-report/#607e348c1a19

Successful Brainstorming: Possibility or Hoax?

In terms of brainstorming, people often tend to forget that in order for it to be achieved the answer is quantity, not quality. Brainstorming represents the essential first step in early stages of a new project, so it is crucial that everyone understands how important it is to be open towards all ideas and variables. Naturally, issues occur when team members feel the need to filter themselves from potentially good ideas that they may seem far-fetched or just simply because they are afraid of rejection and embarrassment.

Another common misconception about brainstorming is that employees and managers alike believe it can be done only in a certain way: the evergreen group discussion with everyone involved. It is not necessarily the worst idea, but it can have major drawbacks from a creative point of view. There is a general tendency that during these meetings, the first two ideas that get bounced around tend to be the focus of the entire meeting. In a recent study on traditional brainstorming methods, it has been discovered the fact that only a handful of people do approximately 60-75% of the talking. Logically, it can prevent other ideas from being discussed.

How to Make Brainstorming Better

There are many ideas through which brainstorming sessions can become more practical, based on individual creativity, idea generation and a better meeting experience. The following strategies will help your organisation’s brainstorming.

1. Select only necessary employees: Choose the people you need for a brainstorming session. If the meeting is filled with people who have no relation to the nature of the discussion, their contribution and participation will be zero. Moreover, more people mean a higher level of difficulty in passing along ideas given the fact that people may exhibit anxiety in explaining their ideas. A manager’s best bet here is the creative individuals who can actually carry the discussion in a productive manner.

2. Brief sessions: It is as clear as day that shorter meetings are more efficient. The current tradition is for a meeting to last for an hour. However, shortening the meeting time will entice people to bring ideas to the table much faster with a healthy disregard to keeping some ideas for themselves. Normally, a meeting shouldn’t be any longer than 30 minutes. Managers can always do follow-up meetings to discuss leftover ideas or if the schedule is too hectic then the recommendation is individual brainstorming time.

3. “Bad” ideas are welcomed: Managers should encourage their employees to speak their mind. Good ideas “happen” after a lot of other ideas have been bounced off at the meeting table. People should understand the fact that there is a very fine line between good and bad ideas. From a managers point of view all ideas are welcomed given the obvious fact that it will lead to the best solution in the end.


Read also: What Makes a Great CPO


4. Brain Writing: The general principle of this technique is to separate idea generation from actually talking. The manager shares the topic with the team, and the team members individually write down their ideas. This helps eliminate anchoring and encourages everyone on the team to share their own ideas. It also gives everyone more time to think over their ideas, which is especially helpful for your introverted participants. This brainstorming technique works best for teams who seem to be greatly influenced by the first ideas presented during a meeting. When you get your team to brainstorm ideas individually, away from distraction and public opinion, concepts are generated that may not naturally surface when in a larger setting. Individual brainstorming techniques such as this will often give you more unique ideas than when the group is left to think up topic ideas.

 5. Online Brainstorming: These days, virtual teams are becoming more and more common across all industries. The evolution of email and collaboration tools makes working remotely the norm in some organisations. Having a central location online where team members can collaborate is crucial for these virtual teams — talking here about cloud-based document storage or an online collaboration tool. One of those brainstorming exercises for groups involves using an online mind-mapping tool to answer very specific questions or simply to generate ideas that might be tangential to the main problem. What other ideas surround this concept? Map these examples out, visually.

 

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.

B_txt_10

Sources:

https://www.wrike.com/blog/techniques-effective-brainstorming/

https://www.inc.com/larry-alton/5-strategies-for-team-brainstorming-to-use-in-your-next-meeting.html

https://www.inc.com/kat-boogaard/4-easy-tips-to-improve-your-brainstorming-sessions.html