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Creating the Perfect Internship Programme

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Offering your interns actual work

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

  1. Continuous feedback

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

  1. Compensation

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

  1. Closing time

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

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

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

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

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

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

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

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

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

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

Why Are Employees Leaving their Jobs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. No Opportunity for Advancement

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

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

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

2. Professional Relationships

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

3. Flexibility

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

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

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

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

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

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

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

Workaholics and Their Toxic Mindset

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

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

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

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

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

What if you love your work?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sources:

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

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

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

 

Stupid Questions: Benefits and Importance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Becoming more Open-minded

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

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

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

2. A Broader Vision

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

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

3. Perception

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

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

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

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

 

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

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

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

The Road to Sustainability in Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

 

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

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

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

CSR and Its Growing Importance

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

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

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

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

The influence of Millennials on CSR policies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

 

https://hbr.org/2018/02/more-and-more-ceos-are-taking-their-social-responsibility-seriously

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

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

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

 

Employees and Cyber-Security:Thinking like Hackers

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

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

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

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

Sharing Information

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

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

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

 IT Competitions and Hackathons

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

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

Interdepartmental Collaboration

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

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

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

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

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

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

 

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

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

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

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.

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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.

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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

Presentation Mistakes: Why it Happens and How to Solve It

At some point in your life, you must have experienced this unfortunate event. You are halfway through your presentation and things are going amazing. Your speech is fluent, the audience is engaged and you are feeling confident. But, somehow, your mind draws a blank. And your mind starts racing: “Oh no, things are getting bad! What was I about to say?”

If you relate in any way to this situation, you obviously know how awkward and cringe that feeling can be. It is also difficult to regain your rhythm. So the question now beckons; what can you do to avoid this mental mishap? Fortunately for everyone, there are a few tricks you can use and they will follow in the list below.

  1. Oversimplification isn’t helpful

Regularly, keeping things simple is one first public-speaking strategies you can follow, but there is a limit to simplicity as well. For example, if you are looking for one word or phrase to best explain various ideas you may not select the right one. Consequently, your thoughts get tangled, and your mind has to go through the whole process of unravelling each idea and then try to put them back together in the appropriate order.

Sometimes, all you need to get baffled during a presentation is to forget or cannot find the right word. This usually happens when people are trying to compress 2-3 ideas into one. That is where the mind can no longer cope. When preparing for a presentation it is essential you pinpoint every main idea and afterwards search for explicit language in order to convey it. Oversimplifying can make people struggle during a presentation in which everyone is paying attention to them.

  1. Never mention how many points you are going to make

This one is one of the most common mistakes out there. People should avoid telling the public how many points they are going to make because once the audience has a number in their head, be assured they will be counting. Being prone to mistakes due to our human nature, you may forget which exact point you were talking about and will have to encounter that awkward silence trying to remember where you left off.

In terms of strategies, people should also avoid using terms and idioms such as: “first of all”, “secondly”, “third” etc. It is recommended you keep things a little bit ambiguous by saying: “One of our strategies”, “Another one of our strategies” and so on and so forth. If you manage to keep out numerical terms from your speech you are helping your mind avoid going blank.

  1. Keep your rhythm

If you happen to stumble during your speech, do not get stuck trying to make it right. There are speakers out there that once they mispronounce a word their next thought is completely deleted from their “system” due to the simple fact that they thought about their mistake. In order to get passed the “system” failure all you have to do is reconnect with your speech rhythm. Start by breathing. When people breathe, they have the opportunity to get the body back in sync and from that their thoughts will start flowing again.

Drawing a blank is nothing to be scared or ashamed of. It happens to absolutely everyone and it doesn’t mean that you are not cut out to be a speaker. A true speaker is the one who knows how to make mistakes less often and how to recover quickly when it happens.

  1. Technical difficulties

There is nothing worse than sitting around and waiting for a presenter to figure out how to make the projector or clicker works or even worse, listening to a presentation without visual aids because he or she couldn’t make it work. Be prepared to connect to anything. Know beforehand the kind of projector, the size of the screen, and the layout of the room so you can be prepared for anything.

  1. Disorganised presentation

When people have to make a presentation, most people open up PowerPoint and start making slides.  That is a really bad idea. At first, use sticky notes to prepare your presentation’s story. It will save you loads of time and make your presentation more organised. Plus, if you want to create an emotional response in your audience use full-screen pictures. The text should just be used for facts. Animations are fun for the person making the presentation, but they don’t usually add anything valuable to it.

It is as clear as day that mistakes are inevitable; there will be a point in everyone’s career when they will have to make a presentation. Of course, for some people, public speaking is their opportunity to shine, but for others, it may seem like the perfect nightmare. Wherever you think you may have a problem, these tricks will help you develop your presentation skills.

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.entrepreneur.com/article/239443

https://www.fastcompany.com/40478112/heres-how-to-avoid-drawing-a-blank-in-the-middle-of-your-presentation

https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/presentation-mistakes.htm