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Understanding Digital Distraction and Its Harmfulness

The fear of digital distractions ruining professional and personal lives has become global. This problem is as real as any these days. Just think about the hundreds of times people touch or check their phones on a daily basis, how people panic when they temporarily misplace their device, the weird sensation of the “phantom vibration syndrome” and how just by seeing a message alert can be even more distracting than the message itself.

These types of behaviours can have real-life consequences. For instance, some people may be offended if someone all of a sudden stops talking to them in order to answer a text. Even taking a moment to answer a message can hinder your thinking process and prevent you from deep thinking on the task you had at hand.

In all fairness, this is just one side of the story. It must be stated that emerging technologies nowadays keep humans connected on a level never seen before. But this tells only part of the story.

Workplace productivity has been one of the main issues for HR professionals since the beginning of organised labour. Every organisation seeks to maximise its return on labour whilst also minimising wasted time. Advances in the field of technology have helped that ‘quest’ in many ways, but they have also complicated an underlying and very old problem. Emails and applications such as Slack allow employees from various parts of the country or even the world to get answers, solve problems and collaborate in real-time. Nonetheless, given our ‘always online’ culture, communication technologies have stopped being helpful, but rather more of an impediment.

In a recent study, it has been revealed that 84% of email users keep their inbox open at all times, with 70% of these emails being opened within 6 seconds of being received.

Given peoples’ proficiency at responding to emails and messages, most of them have sacrificed their most important ability: doing their job properly. Much of what people do requires deep focus and time to think. Having the email open all the time and answering to them as quickly as possible steals focus. Even more worryingly, is that some employees may become frustrated with the work they actually get to accomplish in one day. But just how bad are emails and other communication technologies?

In order to discover the answer to this question, anonymous data has been collected from over 50,000 white-collar workers and the results were flabbergasting. The majority of them were struggling with the distractions and interruptions that took place in the workplace. It is clear that people all around the world are having difficulties keeping up with the pace at which things are happening.

Recently, a company in New Zealand decided to try a productivity experiment and had switched to a 4-day, 32-hour workweek. According to the company at-hand, “workers said the change motivated them to find ways of increasing their productivity while in the office. Meetings were reduced from two hours to 30 minutes, and employees created signals for their colleagues that they needed time to work without distraction.”

The New Zealand study brings to light very important lessons that numerous organisations can apply worldwide with or without the 4-day workweek. If companies create the right environment for employees to focus without distractions, productivity levels rise.

Many experts in the field of productivity have suggested batching communications into specific blocks during the day, while others have suggested committing to at least an hour of focused work without emails and phones.

White-collar workers such as writers, designers, developers, and project managers, unfortunately, depend on collaboration, quick communication and access to information in order to meet the demands of their roles and deadlines.

Communication tools facilitate getting the information needed, but they are also a constant source of interruption to our focused work. When we looked at the data, we found that the average white-collar employee “checks in” with communication tools every 6 minutes.

How can we expect workers to accomplish focused work when they only have a few minutes in between answering e-mails and messages? The short answer is that we cannot.

As we look at the full breakdown, the picture is even bleaker. Thirty-five percent of workers check their emails and messages every 3 minutes or less, while only 18% can go more than 20 minutes without being reeled into a ‘digital conversation’.

Even more worrisome, it has been discovered that people who use Slack—a popular team chat tool meant to reduce e-mail use—actually switched to communication tools more often. Rather than streamlining their communication time, Slack users on average spent only 5 minutes in between messaging check-ins, while non-Slack users could go 8 minutes.

The technology that we use to improve work is hurting our ability to get work done. The constant communication interruptions are not only diminishing productivity but also hindering workers from doing their best work and growing in their careers.

Data gathered shows that 40% of white-collar employees never get 30 minutes straight of focused time in a workday, which means that nearly half of them rarely get time for deep work and concentration. In fact, the study revealed that the average white-collar taps out at around 40 minutes of focused time free from any sort of communication. In other words, 40 minutes was the longest stretch of time most people could afford going without checking their emails or phones. A willingness to change and better time management should put anyone of the right path to avoid any digital distraction.

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://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com/2018/08/07/truth-digital-distraction-workplace/

https://www.fastcompany.com/90437023/is-digital-distraction-as-bad-as-you-think-it-is

https://www.inc.com/shama-hyder/how-digital-distraction-is-killing-creativity-what-to-do-about-it.html

Workplace Fatigue: Simple Hoax or Real Threat?

We all had days in which it’s barely 2 o’clock, lunch is barely over and you are absolutely exhausted. While this feeling is absolutely normal after lunch, what do you do when this feeling follows you all day, every day? Workplace tiredness doesn’t necessarily mean physical exhaustion but focuses more on the mental side of things.

This state does not appear solely due to low energy levels, but it also signals a clear lack of motivation. Due to this continuous state of fatigue, people can hardly concentrate and stay organised. If these circumstances keep on longer than a few weeks, in spite of enjoying adequate sleep and feelings of anxiousness and depression start to settle in more and more, then burnout is on its way.

There is no shame in feeling tired at work; there may be some stressful situation at home or simply you did not get enough sleep the night before, it happens. Nevertheless, when the relentless feeling of tiredness has set in for weeks on end then it is time for people to take action. This is your brain trying to tell you that something needs to change in what and how you do things. You might be overworked, stressed or generally unhappy with the state of affairs surrounding you.

Recent research has revealed that fatigue still ranks amongst the top symptoms for both anxiety and depression, with the added bonus of having a better understanding of why our bodies “ask” for more rest. Obviously, these fatigue periods start with a very stressful event that activates the “fight-or-flight” response in our bodies and we start releasing a lot of adrenaline, amongst other hormones. The hormones released in the body alter physiological traits such as heart rate, given the fact that cortisol levels are up whilst serotonin and dopamine are on the back foot. Studies show that there is a clear correlation between stress and neurogenesis (the process of creating neurons) in the hippocampus, which ultimately leads to numerous depression symptoms.

Given all these changes that are happening internally, the theory states that fatigue is simply a coping mechanism. When stress hormones are produced, they usually start the process of “circuit breaking” and simply block glucose intake by receptors in both the hippocampus and the amygdala. Even though this protects the brain from way too much excitement, it does make it incredibly harder to remain happy over longer periods of time and do everything you have planned.

Work fatigue – Slippery Slope towards Burnout

Ironically, the main issue here isn’t that these elements make people feel tired at work, but that they can become so aggravating that the road to burnout becomes shorter and shorter. Burnout can be explained like a constant state of fatigue combined with a deep sense of cynicism, lack of ambition and accomplishment.

A sudden burst in fatigue can mean that people require more time to decompress, rest, and enjoy life. That might mean that the manager may have to offer more resources, more flexible or slowed scheduling, informal get-togethers, or just being more approachable by all members of staff. More often than not, people assume that they’re tired for various other reasons, such as not exercising enough, drinking a bit too much on a night out, etc. They could also say nothing about their prolonged state of exhaustion due to existing stigma around mental health and the desire to look strong and in control.

Managers should also factor in the negative influence on productivity levels and decision making that fatigue can have. The worst thing management can do in this situation is to start pointing fingers and openly criticise people, before even trying to find out what is the source of the dip in productivity. However, this does not mean that accountability should be eradicated, but done after rigorous talks and one-on-one meetings.  Some managers just assume that employees just do not want what is best for them in order to succeed. Everyone deserves a second chance to fix their mishaps and mistakes, while management should focus on eliminating stressors that usually come from operations and organisational culture.

One last thing that a manager should definitely take into account is that every person is unique, which makes the process of identifying stressors even more difficult.  What is stressful for someone may be a cakewalk for someone else and vice versa. Thus, while it’s more than ok to set general goals and standards, managers should be interested in knowing each member of his or her team in order to fully understand what makes them tick and what makes them doubt themselves. Hard work must be put in to create a real and meaningful work relationship so that when employees have a stressful situation on their hands, they’ll be more than comfortable to share their experience and, it goes without saying, that friendship is one of the best stress relievers out there.

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

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.inc.com/wanda-thibodeaux/science-explains-exactly-why-stress-makes-you-so-exhausted.html

https://www.fastcompany.com/90426942/why-youre-tired-at-work-all-the-time

https://www.fastcompany.com/40541783/tired-at-work-for-no-reason-your-brains-trying-to-tell-you-something

Why Team Building Is An Essential Investment

Team building does not have the best reputation nowadays. Most people imagine being stuck with their co-workers for 1 or 2 days doing meaningless exercises that technically are supposed to increase productivity and collegiality.

Even though its reputation for being ineffective, team building has become one of the most important investments organisations can make for their employees. Despite the negatives emotions, it gives people, team building does build trust, alleviates conflict, boosts communication and enhances collaboration. Effective team building is what every company is looking for because it means a higher level of engagement in employees, which is fantastic for the bottom line. It can also be extremely fun if it’s done right.

It is clear as the light of day that the most successful team-building activities are the ones that make employees feel at ease and not all as having to go to work. Activities that are not at all subtle about aiming to reveal leadership and talent are obviously lowering enthusiasm amongst participants. By simply just spending time together and sharing experiences into completing a common goal allows co-workers to bond in a more natural way and it is by far more effective.

Unsurprisingly, happiness and learning have been correlated to work very well together. Most of the time, all companies have to do is introduce their employees to new things and activities which will, more often than not, will generate a feel-good factor which obviously translates into good news for the organisation. In the majority of cases, exercises that are out of the ordinary get people to work together in various new ways.

What is the purpose of team building?

Numerous analyses have revealed that people who participate in team building feel more positively about their team. This positivity is manifested in various ways such as more trust in their co-workers, more satisfaction that they’re part of a certain team and a lot more confidence that the team will achieve its targets.

Furthermore, employees that complete team building sessions together have better interactions: they communicate, coordinate and manage conflicts better. These processes are key in accomplishing the team’s ambitions.

However, team building may not directly improve team performance. Despite a better line of communication and more trustworthy workers, team building by itself doesn’t have a direct impact on performance. The reason for this is simply because performance relies on so many other factors besides team interactions that it shouldn’t be the only thing a company does if it wishes to improve performance levels.

When is team building the most effective?

Amongst team building activities, some are more effective than others. What sets apart most sessions is this: team building activities that focus on achieving goals and/or clarifying roles have the most beneficial impact. Achieving goals refers to define and clarify both individual and team objectives, and planning what actions need to be taken in order to turn objectives into reality. Clarifying roles purely means team members discuss what is and isn’t their task and understand their duties better.

On the other hand, team building exercises focused on improving interpersonal relations or solving already existing problems bring smaller, but still relevant benefits. Improving interoffice relations sees team members work on their trust among themselves whilst also building connections on a more personal level. Solving problems means identifying what doesn’t necessarily click between team members and planning on how to improve future situations.

Organisations must always remember that team building is not a splurge but merely an investment in the future! For example, one of the partners of NASCAR was invited for a day out on the tracks. 350$ for each employee wasn’t the most expensive nor cheap investment but at the end of the day, everything made sense. Everyone felt appreciated, given the fact that they were going around the track at over 233 kilometres per hour.

Daily Team Building Opportunities

Team building can include the daily interaction that employees engage in when working together to carry out the requirements of their jobs. This form of team building is natural and which can be assisted if the team takes the time required to come up with their own set of norms. The criteria help group members know how to appropriately interact with each other and the rest of the organisation.

Team building can also involve structured activities and exercises that employees on the team can lead, one way in which team criteria are established. As an alternative, with the proper budget and benchmark, managers can contract out for facilitation with an external resource. External facilitation, by an experienced person, can give your team building a boost.

No matter how an organisation chooses to build their group of employees into a team, the resulting bonds will enable them to accomplish the work and goals of the organisation more effectively than a group of people who don’t really know each other. As long as the company’s focus is dedicated to team building opportunities that lend themselves to the accomplishment of the actual work of the team, you are effectively building a team.

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.thebalancecareers.com/what-is-team-building-1918270

https://scienceforwork.com/blog/team-building/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/brianscudamore/2016/03/09/why-team-building-is-the-most-important-investment-youll-make/#1ba7fb90617f

Perfectionism: Perils and How to Overcome it

Perfectionism can have a positive and negative impact on a person’s performance at work. On the one hand, it can make you to perform at a high level and deliver quality work. However, it can cause unnecessary anxiety and slow you down. But is it achievable to utilise the positives and keep the negatives under control? What are the techniques necessary to master perfectionism and keep it in check?

It is common knowledge that perfectionists are their own worst enemies. If you identify as a perfectionist person, then you realise that you may have the ability to perform at a higher level than others may can.

Unfortunately, perfectionists know that top performance comes at a cost. They are often experiencing immense levels of stress that affect all other areas of their lives.

It must also be stated that most perfectionists also experience burnout, they tend to get so exhausted mentally and emotionally that they do now want to continue in their professional endeavours.

Even though it may have negative effects, perfectionism is part of the human condition. Every person that has ever existed has had the desire to better themselves, in regards to their own capabilities. Derived from that desire does perfectionism spring, but as stated above, it can be toxic. In a 2007 study done on suicide, it has been revealed that more than half of the people who died were described by their friends and family as being ‘perfectionists’.

Canadian researchers Gordon Flett and Paul Hewitt have discovered that there are 3 forms of perfectionism that are scientifically recorded: self-oriented, other-oriented and socially prescribed perfectionism with the latter being the most damaging of them all. Besides the negative impact on a person’s mental health, perfectionism can affect the body as well. Due to the constant stress and dissatisfaction, it can lead to unimagined chronic conditions, back pain and IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome) related problems or it can lead to addictions such as drinking, smoking and substance abuse.

What can you, or other people, do to change this mindset? There are many ways in which perfectionists can fuel their drive and ‘control’ their actions.

1. Realistic personal goals and expectations

Recognise that you are already enough and you don’t have to be perfect to continue making progress towards your goals.

By setting more realistic goals, you will have eliminated excess energy that would go towards reaching the impossible, and have a more balanced personal and professional life.

2. Challenging the inner critic and disperse negative thoughts

Don’t let your motivation be the reason you fail. It’s important to use a rewards system and positive feedback to achieve your goals rather than allowing your inner voice to destroy your emotional wellbeing.

Shut down the negativity, amplify your intuition, and allow positivity to drive you on the road to success.

3. Prioritising self-care

Put on your own gas mask before trying to help the person next to you, as they say on airplanes. Engage in therapy, re-connect with an old hobby, continue reading and meeting friends so that you can take better care of yourself and others.

4. Practicing saying no as often as possible

Perfectionists often struggle with saying no to new opportunities due to their high drive, however, setting healthy boundaries is the very thing that leads to sustainable energy.

Stop taking on extra tasks that aren’t directly related to your work so that you can invest in your own wellbeing and continue working on what truly matters.

5. Time off is not time wasted!

It’s easy to look at relaxation as a waste of time when you’re a perfectionist. However, it’s important to remember that sleeping and engaging in light-hearted activities is a healthy and necessary way of refreshing your motivation.

Practice taking time to relax and recharge your batteries so that you can continue pursuing your dreams.

6. Everything will be done in time

You have what it takes to complete any task in accordance with the deadline. Even if it means pulling an all-nighter, you know that you’ll finish the project and it’ll be good by the time you are done.

It is important to use that knowledge to feel more secure when you get overwhelmed, don’t panic because you have all your past achievements to tell you that you are going to persevere.

7. Take breaks and recharge constantly

Instead of thinking you’ll relax after it’s done, go the extra step and schedule some relaxation. Most likely you’re probably a Type A personality who needs to prioritise self-care otherwise it won’t ever happen.

Imagine what your life would be like if relaxation was part of your endeavours.

The sooner perfectionists can adjust their expectations, the more quickly they will get rid of their headaches and enjoy life in a more meaningful way.

 

 

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

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.inc.com/tom-gimbel/why-praising-your-staff-might-be-the-most-dangerous-thing-you-do-today.html

https://www.fastcompany.com/90394590/this-is-the-negative-effects-of-praise-that-youve-probably-never-thought-about

https://hbr.org/2017/05/why-do-so-many-managers-avoid-giving-praise

Is Praise The Best Way To Motivate Employees?

It is fair to say that society has reached a point in which excessive praise is being offered to the rich and powerful. The upper tiers of our present society have been showered with awards, honours and superstar status. Billionaires and philanthropists alike are massively applauded for their work and charities which turn out to have very little impact on the world. The effects of this practice of praising excessively are worth taking into account and raise some concerns. By praising people, even though they deserve it can have a negative impact on how they behave.

Numerous psychological studies have been done on this subject and they have demonstrated that people are highly responsive to moral compensation. In layman terms, this means that when people feel they have acted well, they also feel that it gives them permission to engage in negative behaviours in the future. The reverse works the same way. If more and more studies come out and prove the accuracy of the aforementioned studies then humanity can practically see the social consequences of praise and/or blame. Too much praise could lead people to act badly, whilst blaming them when they make mistakes could lead to positive behaviour. So how many influential, wealthy and powerful people does the world need to harm society irreversibly?

Every organisation knows that culture without revenue is not feasible or sustainable. If a company wouldn’t be growing financially, there would be a complete shift in culture. It is important to have fun, but it’s never in first place. In order to get the best out of employees it is recommended to explain your expectations from them since day one. If employees understand the culture and how success is determined, they will be off to a flying start.

However, giving feedback remains one of the most difficult things a manager has to do. In a survey which amounted 7,631 people, 44% of them agreed that giving their employees negative reviews is difficult and stressful. Some quotes from the managers interviewed have surfaced the negative impact it has on them: “I just wanted to get it over quickly”, “They don’t pay me enough to do this”, “I did not sleep the night before” and “My hands were sweating and I was nervous”. Given the anxiety managers are facing when they have to offer negative feedback, 21% admitted that they avoid giving the negative feedback altogether.

In a comparative study 328 managers’ self-assessments were correlated with results from 360-degree feedback surveys. Each leader was rated by an average of 13 respondents on a variety of behaviours, including “Gives honest feedback in a helpful way.” The ones who rated that thought a person was effective in giving feedback were most influenced by the leader’s comfort and willingness to give positive reinforcement. Whether the manager gave negative feedback did not make a big difference — unless the leader avoided giving positive feedback. This was also true when we looked only at the ratings of direct reports.

When the study looked into the managers’ self-assessments, however, there was a totally changed point of view. There was a strong correlation between people who believe they give “honest, straightforward” feedback and those who give negative feedback, regardless of whether they also give positive feedback.

Leaders obviously carry some incorrect beliefs about the value and benefits of different forms of feedback. They vastly underestimate the power and necessity of positive reinforcement. However, in reverse, they greatly overestimate the value and benefit of negative or corrective feedback. In all, they misjudge the impact negative feedback has on how they are perceived by their colleagues, bosses, and direct reports. Giving only negative feedback diminishes a leader’s effectiveness in the eyes of others and does not have the effect they believe it has.

Perhaps in an effort to provide employees with what they believe is direct, honest feedback, managers who prefer giving negative feedback may come across as only looking for what’s wrong. Some employees have described this as, “Quick to criticise and slow to praise.” While the findings do not directly reveal why managers are so hesitant to give positive feedback, the study that involved the leaders suggests that there could be a variety of reasons. Perhaps it starts with the perception that the really good managers are the tough graders who are not afraid to tell people what’s wrong. Possibly they believe that giving people positive feedback will encourage a subordinate to let up or coast. Maybe they are emulating their prior bosses who gave little praise, but who pointed out any mistake or weakness. Some may believe it a sign of weakness to praise subordinates. Maybe they just don’t know how to effectively deliver appreciation or praise. Or maybe they intend to give kudos, but feel so busy that the days slip by and they never quite remember to send out that note of praise for a job well done.

In conclusion, the findings suggest that if you want to be seen as a good feedback-giver, you should proactively develop the skill of giving praise as well as criticism. Giving positive feedback shows your direct reports that you are in their corner, and that you want them to win and to succeed. Once people know you are their advocate, it should also make giving criticism less stressful and more effective.

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

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.inc.com/tom-gimbel/why-praising-your-staff-might-be-the-most-dangerous-thing-you-do-today.html

https://www.fastcompany.com/90394590/this-is-the-negative-effects-of-praise-that-youve-probably-never-thought-about

https://hbr.org/2017/05/why-do-so-many-managers-avoid-giving-praise

Cultural Conflict in the Workplace

Cultural conflict in the workplace is never healthy and may lead to significant drops in productivity and morale. Managing such conflicts leads to a more harmonious workplace and, more often than not, garnering more creative ideas through multiculturalism.

Nowadays, companies have culturally diverse teams and it guarantees them success in the long term. Besides common sense, scientific studies have also revealed the fact that people with distinctive points of view and personalities increases the creativity of a team in solving their tasks. This is an honest assumption if we consider that every team member is pulling in the same direction.

A few years ago, Harvard Business School Assistant Professor Roy Y. J. Chua started to think about the impact of various cultures when working on a case study about a Chinese luxury apparel company. From his observations he discovered that there was a lot of unresolved conflict, miscommunication and tension between people of different cultures. Even when asked about their issues people did not seem to think there is a problem between them.

From his previous studies, Chua has compared the cultural problems and discrimination to hostile work environments where sexual harassment or racial discrimination were the underlying troubles. In these instances as well, co-workers’ performance and morale dipped even when they were not the targets of the aforementioned abuses. This is what is called ‘indirect conflict’ and it happens more often than companies think. For example, children who observe tensions between their parents may grow sceptical of the idea of marriage and just as citizens of USA and Mexico may have a growing hatred for each other due to the bickering their leaders have. So isn’t it possible that it could happen in the workplace?

Further Analysis Requirements

In order to further his discoveries professor Chua had decided to test his hypothesis with a series of studies. In the first study, a group of online participants were asked to make a list of their most important people on their own social media profiles, making note of their cultural backgrounds and if they were in good relations with one another. In the second part of the study, professor Chua has asked the participants to do a word association exercise in order to test their ability to connect distinct ideas from various cultures – this being the precursor to creativity on a global scale. In the exercise, they have been given the words “great”, “street” and “Berlin” and their answers should have been “Great Wall”, “Wall Street” and “Berlin Wall”. The findings from this exercise revealed that participants who had a more diverse pool of people on social media and disliked each other did around 23% worse on the test.

In Chua’s second study, he had asked the participants to think about 2 or 3 people from the same or different cultural backgrounds who have a reputation for not getting along too well with other people. Furthermore, study participants were asked to read professor Chua’s Chinese fashion house case study and then make their own suggestions for the collection that was going to be launched next year which would blend Asian and Western fashion styles. After this, fashion experts were asked to judge the creativity of their ideas. They have determined that the people with the least creative side were the ones who recalled friends from various cultural backgrounds who had conflicting relationships (e.g. 23% lower creativity score than the rest). Another interesting point discovered by Chua was that participants who saw people from different cultures having a good relationship, that it did not promote creativity, leading professor Chua to the conclusion that “As human beings, we pay more attention to negative information because it is a signal of danger. Positive information tends to be given less weight.”

CULTURAL SHOWDOWN

The experiments performed by Chua have demonstrated that for people working in multicultural business environments, it may be a slight risk but at the same time it underlined the importance of creating an environment that reduces intercultural disharmony. He went on to say “It is inevitable to have conflict when you bring people from different cultural backgrounds together,” he says. “It’s about how you manage the conflict. A lot of times managers try to put together a multicultural workplace without trying to integrate people better.”

It is fair to assume that if you were to be exposed to different work environments and ethics which differ to the ones you have grown accustomed to. This will most likely lead to wrong assumptions regarding your colleagues or managers and not with you. For instance, there may be a problem for people who celebrate Ramadan or the Lunar New Year who are living in Europe, because most Europeans do not value the importance of these holidays.

The reason this usually happens is because people have a tendency to over-value their own culture. We tend to believe that the way we do things, we communicate, we make decisions or lead is the most natural, polite, civilised and effective. Due to the clash between 2 cultures, we under-value and disapprove the new culture due to the fact that we are so set in our own ways.

There isn’t a simple recipe to manage cultural friction in the workplace, but solving it does create a harmonious workplace and the company can use the creative force which brought on by multiculturalism.

In order to manage cultural conflict here are a few things companies can do:

  • Cultural background research on all employees.
  • Remember never to pass on judgement through you own cultural frame of reference.
  • Developing self-awareness in all employees in order to be more conscious in approaching another person
  • Reconciliation is key as a leadership skill
  • Becoming as culturally competent as possible and develop traits such as compassion, empathy, behavioural and thinking flexibility and emotional resilience.

In conclusion, it is fair to assume that this information does not mean the company’s cross-cultural conflict is completely and forever solved, but it definitely is a step in the right direction.

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

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.londonschool.com/lsic/resources/blog/conflict-workplace-its-personal-even-when-its-cultural/

https://www.expatica.com/employment/employment-basics/dealing-with-cultural-conflicts-at-work-422715/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/hbsworkingknowledge/2013/12/09/how-cultural-conflict-undermines-workplace-creativity/#5cf7b03e214f

The Rise of Analytics in HR

Back in 2017, in Deloitte’s Human Capital Trends report, it has been revealed that people analytics was a top trend and a top priority for every respectable organisation. 71% of companies that were surveyed for the report have stated that people analytics is of great priority.

It has become more and more evident that data analytics in HR have become to matter more than ever before. Although people skills remain a top priority for every HR manager, there are numerous companies and non-profit organisations that are using data and are calculating everything from talent acquisition and productivity to retention and job structure. This shift towards data and analytics is saving businesses tremendous amounts of money.

Furthermore, the data which is being collected is being used by analytics experts and HR managers alike to study and learn more about employee behaviour, overtime patterns, how people relate with each other in the workplace, time management – all of this to better understand their workforce and how to boost the company’s performance and production.

Oracle is another company that has been doing its very own global survey in order to better grasp where HR is in terms of analytical functionality within an organisation. Their findings have revealed that HR departments are one of the most analytical in various companies, and it’s even pulling ahead a bit in relation to the Finance department. Some HR departments are actually using the latest technology in predictive and prescriptive models and, in some specific cases, artificial intelligence.

This is an enormous shift from ten years ago when studies began to arise in talent analytics. At that time, the only player that was using sophisticated HR analytics was Google. Back in those days, there was a ‘normal’ amount of reporting that was happening, but there wasn’t anyone designated to predict. A minority of HR organisations even had an analytics employee. To better put things into perspective, ‘HR analytics’ was typically understood as a conversation about the total number of employees the company had and how to better measure the employees’ level of engagement.

Even before the surveys from Deloitte or Oracle came out, there was a definite shift in trends in today’s modern organisation. Most multinational corporations have a few employees, specifically, to just analyse data. Nowadays, there are various conferences around the world tailored to this specific topic. Organisations now alter or adapt the way they do business in order to shape growth, engagement and other variables which are considered key.

The aforementioned Oracle survey involved 1,510 respondents from 5 continents and 23 countries. Through these respondents, there were senior managers, vice-presidents and directors from HR (61%), 28% from Finance and 10% from general management. It is also important to know that all executives that have participated were from businesses with at least 100 million dollars in revenue. The detailed statistics are as follows:

  • 51% of HR respondents could perform predictive or prescriptive analytics, by contrast only 37% of Finance respondents could tackle these advanced forms of analytics.
  • 89% were in agreement with the statement “My HR function is highly skilled at using data to determine future workforce plans currently (e.g. talent needed),” and only 1% disagreed.
  • 94% of respondents agreed that “We are able to predict the likelihood of turnover in critical roles with a high degree of confidence currently.”
  • 94% also concurred that “We have accurate, real-time insight into our employees’ career development goals currently.”
  • When respondents answered this question “Which of the following analytics are you using?” “artificial intelligence” had the highest response rate, 31%. When asked to further explain how they used AI, the most common answer was “identifying at-risk talent through attrition modelling,” “predicting high-performing recruits,” and “sourcing best-fit candidates with resume analysis.”

So why is it that HR departments have become more ‘natural’ in their use of advanced analytics than Finance, which is theoretically work based around numbers? In most cases, this is because Finance organisations and the respective CFOs that have lead them found it extremely difficult to move from reporting and descriptive analytics towards advanced analytics that are being used nowadays.

The reason why Oracle has chosen to survey both the HR and Finance executives and managers is due to the simple fact that there has been a serious increase in their need to cooperate. Given the fact that most often than not employee expenditures represent a company’s highest costs and because an organisation’s financial position will always guide the size of the business, there is a clear need for symbiosis.  Fortunately, the Oracle survey has found that high levels of collaboration are already in place. In the same survey, it has been discovered that 82% of respondents agreed and strongly agreed, with only 5% of them disagreeing, that “Integrating HR and Finance data is a top priority for us this year.” However, not everything is pitch perfect. Numerous interviews conducted post-survey have brought to light the fact that there are many more opportunities to be seized further than sharing of data and cooperating on analytics.

In conclusion, it would be stretch to think that analytics will solve HR’s every problem, but they can definitely provide a deeper understanding of every department within an organisation, help train HR specialists into developing projects that can enhance talent investments whilst also monitoring and developing recruitment, engagement, development, retention, productivity and many more workplace activities.

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://bovardcollege.usc.edu/hr-analytics-are-a-driving-force-in-recruitment-retention-and-productivity/

https://hbr.org/2019/04/is-hr-the-most-analytics-driven-function?ab=hero-subleft-2

https://lesley.edu/article/how-hr-analytics-are-changing-business

Networking Particularities of Men and Women

In today’s world of the corporate ladder, it is obvious to anyone that networking is the key that ultimately leads to career advancements. For example, through your own networking you could be selected for projects and assignments that will lead in future to a promotion. However, women don’t really reap the benefits of this ‘system’ given the simple fact that they are less likely to get hired or promoted in manager roles (i.e. 79 women promoted to 100 men promoted according to a 2018 study done by McKinsey & Co. and LeanIn.org called Women in the Workplace).

When women seek a professional mentor, the study has revealed, that they usually look for someone they want to be friends with rather than someone they can learn from. Other studies have shown women aren’t getting the tough feedback they require in order to move ahead. The best mentors will always push, dare, and confront their mentees, and challenge them to take on assignments that will further their career.

However, men look to form professional partnerships. Men have no issue doing business with anyone, even though they don’t necessarily like that particular someone, as long as that individual can help them achieve their goals. Men understand that a working relationship can be annulled when it’s no longer beneficial. Women have the tendency to be suspicious when utilising their social ties whilst also overemphasising the moral aspects of networking.

We know that social networks are critical to professional advancement. We also know that men are more likely to rise to leadership positions.

Why the difference?

Because women seek positions on an executive level they often face numerous cultural and political obstacles than men normally do, they benefit from an inner circle of close female contacts that can share private information about things like an organisation’s attitudes toward female leaders, which helps strengthen women’s job search, interviewing, and negotiation strategies.  While men had inner circles in their networks too – contacts that they communicated with most – we found that the gender composition of males’ inner circles was not related to job placement.

The Power of Direct Placement

Winning a placement within executive leadership positions straight out of masters degrees benefit both men and women alike. Early-career women, especially, can use this route to sidestep longstanding labour-market challenges, including stereotyping and discrimination, which result in lower pay, lesser advancement opportunities, and a higher rate of dropping out of the labour market altogether.

But little is known about the links between graduate school and placement into these positions.  We wanted to understand whether one’s network enables MBAs to find the right opportunities, setting the stage for successful careers.

To connect features of social networks at school to job placement success, we analysed 4.5 million anonymised email correspondences among a subset of all 728 MBA graduates (74.5% men, 25.5% women) in the classes of 2006 and 2007 at a top U.S. business school. We measured job placement success by the level of authority and pay each graduate achieved after school.

Network Smarter, Not Harder

Studies suggest that women can benefit from taking a strategic approach to networking.

First, seek quality over quantity in your overall network. Keep in mind in this context, is less a function of how many people you know but who those people are.  Identifying and connecting with people who are connected to multiple networks is a key strategy.

Related to that point is the idea of embracing randomness. The more you associate with similar-minded or experienced people, the less likely you will be to diversify your network and inner circle. Because we tend to target actively when we network, we are prone to restrict targeting to people most like ourselves.

How do you break the pattern? Try random selection. We found that the random sorting of business-school students into sections, for example, raised the odds that female students will befriend those with experience and goals beyond their own, again expanding their knowledge and contacts in career-enhancing ways. Randomness democratizes the networking process, ultimately enhancing it.

Finally, beware a closed inner circle. When your inner circle is too interconnected—the people within it are similar and have similar contacts—it can feel socially secure but fail to generate key insights and opportunities. Workplace or industry affinity groups, for example, become closed structures in many cases. There’s nothing wrong with being part of such a group, but try to complement it with others representing more diverse experience and connections.

Employers, too, can aim to create more diverse small groups, to promote the development of women. Rather than creating just an affinity group of female coders, for example, populate a separate group with members from a cross-section of the organization that increase the chances of making unexpected connections, to better inform and support individuals.

Various studies also suggest that women face a greater challenge in networking to find professional opportunities – they, more than men, need to maintain both wide networks and informative inner circles in order to land the best positions. The good news is that by taking a smart approach, women can continue to find meaningful advancement possibilities while helping their peers and more junior contacts do the same.

Recent studies suggest women require a female-only inner circle in order to thrive and a larger well-connected networking system in regards to professional advancement. Men, on the other hand, do not do so well when engaging in a same-sex inner circle at all. All in all, it can be concluded that, for women, a networking system is simply not enough. It is clear that women have to network smarter and quite differently than men. It may sound exhausting, but it’s definitely worth it.

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.wired.com/story/women-leadership-job-networking/

https://www.fastcompany.com/90277129/the-hidden-networking-gap-between-men-and-women

https://hbr.org/2019/02/research-men-and-women-need-different-kinds-of-networks-to-succeed

Top Challenges CEOs Face Nowadays

In a series of interviews conducted with CEOs of large companies in the United Kingdom, it has been discovered that close to 50% of all chief executives have stated that the role was “not what I expected beforehand.” The goal of this series of interviews was to determine what are the current challenges and best practices that CEOs should take into consideration when they accept this role in businesses nowadays. Furthermore, what happens when an organisation loses a visionary CEO? Most likely, innovation disappears and the company drifts for years out of sheer momentum and brand awareness. Organisations that go through these changes inevitably suffer the consequences and they rarely reclaim their former glory.

The aforementioned interviews have also revealed that most newly appointed CEOs find the transition period particularly challenging, even those professionals who have years of experience in this role. They have also mentioned certain aspects that new CEOs should always take into account: a correct flow of information that goes within and outside the organisation, managing time and energy accordingly and institute a clear framework in managing relationships with the board and external shareholders.

Managing Time & Energy

Stuart Fletcher, former CEO of Bupa had this to say: “Being time-constrained is a given, but the key is managing your energy. I’m very conscious of where I divert and direct my energy, where I get my energy and what saps it.” As mentioned above, older and more experienced CEOs understand the importance of time and energy management.

For example, chief executives spend a lot of time in all sorts of meeting with the board. Instead of treating board members as a drain of energy, many CEOs have stated that realising board colleagues can be a sort of insight and advice and can turn themselves into a proper source of energy. One of the CEOs interviewed has said: “It took a real mindset shift on my part but turning engagements with the board from an energy-draining exercise into a source of support and advice contributed greatly to my personal success and to the feeling that I had advocates around me.” Another important factor that must be looked into when managing time and energy is building a strong senior team as soon as possible, as Paul Foster, CEO of Sellafield has stated: “I spent too long working across multiple roles [CEO and previous role], when I should have been bringing in new hires.”

Managing Internal-External Relationships

CEOs recognise the importance of building trust with all stakeholders, with a priority focus on the board, investors and the media. Among those we interviewed, most spend on average about 50% of their time managing internal and external relationships.

Almost half of that 50% is taken up with board engagement. Nearly all former CEOs who did not focus on cultivating their professional relationships with board members yearned in hindsight that they had. Left all alone, board members can be influenced by investors or media outlets that focus on short-term goals often at the expense of strategies to build longer-term value.  This risk will be especially high with board members who do not really understand or adhere to a company’s business strategy or opportunities for value creation.

CEOs have reported that building relationships with investors and other external factors — customers, media, industry contacts and regulators — is often burdensome and time-consuming than anticipated. Rob Peabody, CEO of Husky Energy Peabody has characterised the process of managing externally as being able to “write your own scorecard”— with numerous opportunities to build support for long-term goals and build patience among investors. CEOs like Mr. Peabody are highly aware that good relationships with external shareholders are “two-way streets.” CEOs who regularly connect with investors will use their feedback to improve communication in presentations and materials regarding the company and in various media interviews.

The Information Flow

The impact of asymmetric information is most obvious and most damaging in the relationship between chief executives and external shareholders. Stock price is often driven in part by the messages a CEO communicates through engagement with investors, analysts, and the media. Learning to control this information flow is considered a quintessential factor in career longevity.

Inexperienced CEOs often revert to old, previously successful behaviours in times of stress, but eventually realize that they are no longer appropriate or effective in their new role. Survey respondents highlighted the need for CEOs to quickly adapt, clearly outline a personal strategy, and regularly evaluate themselves against it. “Am I getting the information I need from the business units?” and “Am I spending enough time on individual relationships with board members?” is important and can help identify challenges early or avoid them altogether. They also note that while the job can be isolating there is often help available. New CEOs who find that they are struggling to adjust should consider seeking counsel from a more experienced CEO, senior consultant, or coach to help guide their efforts and increase chances of success.

CEOs have a lot to manage at any given point in time given the fact that they are tasked with increasing business revenue whilst also managing employees and customers, there are a lot of variables nowadays. As a CEO you must be aware that there are many challenges throughout the day; some that can be planned in hindsight but others not so much.

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

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.inc.com/young-entrepreneur-council/the-top-5-challenges-of-ceos-and-how-to-solve-them.html

https://boardmember.com/challenges-replacing-visionary-ceo/

https://hbr.org/2019/01/the-3-challenges-every-new-ceo-faces

Anatomy of a Future HR Leader

Extract from an article published in HR Magazine:

“What should the HR leader of tomorrow look like? A seemingly simple question… The answer though is a much more complex – or perhaps alarmingly short and unilluminating – ‘we just don’t know’. And it’s safe to say that tomorrow’s world will be even more difficult to forecast moment to moment. Which means predicting the exact technical skills HR professionals will need – in a future characterised by continual reskilling and ‘agile learning’ for all parts of the workforce – will become an increasingly fraught endeavour.

The one thing we do know, however, is that to survive and thrive in the future world of work – particularly when it comes to leadership positions – professionals will need to be able to stay resilient, positive, open-minded and strategically-savvy in the face of sudden dramatic changes of direction. This was the conclusion a panel of top current and former HRDs (representing the public, private and third sectors) came to when they met towards the end of last year to discuss the topic with HR magazine; and to help compile an assessment, in partnership with psychometrics firm Great People Inside (GPI), to see whether those on track to be HR leaders have what it takes.

Our panel chose nine dimensions (see box below), selecting for each where HR business partners (HRBPs) should sit along a sliding scale of one to 10 to have HR leadership potential. Stress and resilience, engagement, curiosity and self-awareness, and a VUCA approach were qualities our panel decided the HR leader of the future should possess in particularly strong amounts  (i.e. the more resilient, engaged, curious and VUCA-ready the better).”

To read the full article, please access this link.