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Compartmentalisation and its Benefits

Compartmentalisation is an aspect which, whether we like it or not, applies to everything regarding our day to day lives. Given the fact that we are now connected to the whole wide world 24/7, it has become more important than ever to set boundaries and also respect them, which is, of course, no easy task. The obvious downside of not compartmentalizing and creating boundaries is that it inevitably leads to an ever-growing feeling of resentment over time. Sticking to your list is of the utmost importance.

Psychologically, compartmentalisation is seen as a defence or coping mechanism of the mind in order to protect itself which does not make it for a good read. In layman terms, our brains try to deal with various conflicting ideas at the same time. To put things into perspective, here a few examples: a person who lives the office in the evening and doesn’t want to think about work for the rest of the night because he wishes to enjoy some quality family time at game, a doctor who is religious and had to separate his or her beliefs in order to practice medicine at the highest standard or in even more extreme cases (because those exist too) soldiers who need to detach themselves from the traumatic events they have encountered in order for them to continue to operate in future battles.

In terms of coping strategies and exercises, they are mostly effective for a short period of time with both positive and negative aspects. It is beneficial for a person to compartmentalise, but you do not want to overdo it. To put things into perspective, the soldiers that have been mentioned above that are repressing their combat experiences, the moment they return to their normal lives back home, they experience numerous flashback episodes that are putting a huge strain on their mental health, especially in the cases of soldiers with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Shell Shock as it was once known right after World War I.

As with every existing idea or suggestion, there are arguments and counter-arguments for carrying through with something or not. There is sufficient scientific data that leads to the idea of the multiple benefits of de-compartmentalisation. The theory in which people leave their personal lives in front of the office door sounds pretty amazing, in any way you like at it. However, in real life this actually means not bringing our entire personality and mentality to work. To be honest, a clear-cut delimitation between personal and professional is almost impossible for our minds to execute. Furthermore, social media is not helping anyone remaining 100% professional given the fact that most of us are connected on Facebook and/or Instagram with our colleagues.

Recent research has revealed a fact that always seemed as an added bonus at the office and that is to have workplace friendships, due to the simple fact that it leads to a significant increase in engagement, satisfaction and productivity. In 2014 survey where 716 working Americans were part of it, 71% of them loved their job given the fact that they had friends in the workforce, whilst only 24% of people surveyed enjoyed their job without having any friends.

To strengthen this point, in the New York Times bestseller ‘Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements’ the author has said the following after analysing data gathered from Gallup studies from 150 countries: “Those who [have a best friend at work] are seven times more likely to be engaged in their jobs, are better at engaging customers, produce higher-quality work, have higher well-being, and are less likely to get injured on the job.”

Somehow, unsurprisingly, women have the ‘upper-hand’ in this matter, with 63% of office friendship being female-female. Furthermore, men also have fewer close friends outside of the office than women.

Learning to Compartmentalise

As stated above, compartmentalising requires isolating separate tasks in order for you to focus on each one exclusively.

The process of keeping work responsibilities and your personal life separate is definitely challenging, simply because this separation includes thoughts as well as actions. If, for example, you’re reading a bedtime story to your children in bed whilst also mentally composing an email for a client, you are creating a tremendous amount of stress and you will fail to offer your family the attention they deserve.
Compartmentalisation skills can be strengthened through the establishment of a time period that acts as a buffer between home and work life. If you commute, try to switch off by rewinding everything you did that day, plan ahead for the next day and realise that the work day is over. If home and family issues are the ones interfering with your work, use the same technique during the morning commute.

Prevent Multitasking

Even after you’ve established a strong mental separation between home and work, you can easily get distracted by the mere temptation of multitasking.

As compelling as multitasking is, it isn’t always the most effective way of operating. Some studies even have suggested that productivity falls up to 40% just by switching tasks.

If you’ve always been used to juggle numerous tasks at once, it can be fairly difficult to break that habit all of the sudden and change the way you work. Due to the fact that modern technology is one of the main factors of wanting to multitask, simply start by avoiding any type of screens you have while away from work.

One of the major distracting factors are social media apps like Facebook and Twitter. It would be wise to either turn off their notifications or installing apps that automatically block their activity during working hours.

Know and Understand Your Work

As vital as compartmentalisation is, there will be times when you will have to accept that you will need to multitask or that you cannot ignore external distractions. Usually, this is the case when there are major developments either positive or negative in one aspect of life or another.  If you manage to compartmentalise even 25% of your time, there will be a noticeable improvement in your work-life balance.

Just as the saying goes: ‘One thing at a time’, can be extremely useful even though it’s an old as time cliché.

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.lifehack.org/789803/how-to-compartmentalize-time

https://www.inc.com/marissa-levin/focusing-on-whats-in-front-of-you-how-to-become-an-expert-at-compartmentalization.html

https://www.bustle.com/p/11-successful-women-on-how-they-compartmentalize-8380044

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.

 

Are Universities Worth It All?

It is often discussed among employers and business leaders alike about the existing gap between what students learn at universities and what they are actually expected to know and handle in order to be ready to perform at a good level. This issue has become especially alarming given the fact that the numbers of people graduating — and it is still growing — from university: over 40% in countries that are part of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and close to 50% in the United States.

It has become clear that even though there higher education has become a more premium feature in today’s society a recent study done The Economist has unravelled that the return on investment (ROI) of a university degree has never been higher for graduates, thus it can be concluded that the value added from a university degree diminishes as the number of graduates continuously rises.

For example, in the area of sub-saharan Africa, where degrees are comparatively rare, a university degree will boost salaries by over 20%, which, by contrast, in the Nordic Countries earnings are boosted by only 9%, where 40% of adults have degrees. Furthermore, as more and more people obtain university qualifications they have become the norm and recruiters and employers will demand them more and more, disregarding the simple fact that they are required for a specific job. It can be concluded that even though degrees can lead to higher earnings, the same employers are damaging the graduates’ mindset and themselves by limiting the candidate strictly to university degree holders. In this modern age of technological advancements and such a constant flow of information, it is difficult to demonstrate that the acquisition of knowledge historically associated to a degree is still relevant in this day and age.

In the meantime, companies are becoming more observant to what they are required to offer in order to attract and retain their best employees, those employees who have a high potential in order to keep their companies competitive and with an extremely agile workforce.

There is a debate amongst people that universities prepare young people from a social point of view. Whilst university, people have the chance to learn how to deal with different types of people and personalities helping them develop in a more complex manner. This can happen due to a couple of reasons:

  • No more direct involvement from parents
  • Young people learn to adapt, they mature mentally, slowly becoming more independent and learn to take care of themselves.

However, the aforementioned arguments do not stand as firmly as one might think. Normally, people attend university from 18 to 22 or 23 years old. In those years, students start to mature naturally due to the simple fact that they are aging. Furthermore, people tend to learn a lot at work by engaging in various work-related activities. Nobody is denying the fact that young adults mature during their university years, but they could do so by being out into the real world, independent from university. Perhaps, the process of maturing would have been greatly accelerated.

It must be taken into account as well; the ever-rising costs of university fees and not everybody could have had access to a higher education, prior to just a few years ago. Nowadays, there are a lot of free online courses which are available to the general public which can level the playing field when it comes to getting a higher paying job. However, it must be taken into consideration that recruiters and employers alike have not started warming up to the idea of online-educated people being ready to enter the workforce.

Whichever way you wish to look at things, the university learning system is simply not scalable, it is not possible. Some universities have more financial resources to help educate their students; some universities have better professors who offer a very unique style of information and the absorption of it; plus there is the other end of the spectre where you have poorly financed universities and professors who have lost their motivation to teach, to educate the young and fairly impressionable minds they have in their class. This leads to digital learning, which, for better or worse, can be scaled to some extent. It is available to everyone; there are no hidden side notes or comments that can sway the mind to go in one direction or the other, so we have to ask ourselves, how we measure the purposefulness and route through which we obtain knowledge.

This is not to say that institutionalised education is fruitless. It does offer people the chance to expand their intellectual selves, develop new skills, and discover things, people or places otherwise hardly talked about.

Whether people like it or not, profits are the main concern of almost every business in the world. Capitalism, for all its benefits, has its flaws and this is one of them. Universities themselves have begun their hunt for profits and the interest of the student has become secondary. These institutions also view their graduates’ futures quite differently from what is happening today in the world. Universities are preparing students not so much for their jobs in their respective industries but more in the area of future drastic changes, changes that may happen decades from now. Due to this type of preparation it has caused a lot of disruption in today’s workforce, given the fact that graduates not only opt to change employers but also careers entirely.

Graduates nowadays have a tendency to seek options left and right, leading to a lot of movement in the job market either being from a larger to a smaller company or vice versa, non-profit and profit, completely different industries altogether. This current generation of young adults don’t even like the word ‘career’ because it simply implies commitment to just one path for the rest of their lives. There are a lot of things universities can be better at and, to be fair, introspection does not sound that dreadful.

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.chronicle.com/article/Colleges-Say-They-Prepare/244376

https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2017/09/09/does-college-prepare-students-for-the-real-world/#49c0cc3a42df

https://hbr.org/2019/01/does-higher-education-still-prepare-people-for-jobs

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/

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/

Bad Employees and their Toxic Effects

The saying goes that one bad apple can ruin the whole bunch. Interestingly enough, it is the same with employees. The effects of bad employees or ‘hurricane’ employees, as they are also known, can be visible in companies of any size and industry.  Even though this type of person initially impresses in the interview phase, underperforming employees now represent a serious threat to your business.

But just how dangerous are these employees? Well, given the 2013 CareerBuilder survey done on 6,000 hiring managers and HR professionals, it has been discovered that 27% of U.S. employers who had employed a ‘bad apple’, claimed that one bad hire eventually cost their business more than $50,000. This is a financial strain no business should bear. Additionally, the majority of businesses have more than just one bad employee in their ranks.

Recent research done on how contagious ‘hurricane’ employees can be, has revealed that even the most ethical of employees may begin embracing misconduct if they work alongside a dishonest individual for too long. It may be nice to think that the honest employees would instil some moral values into the dishonest employees, that is rarely the case.

For managers and executives, it is extremely important to realise that the money involving an underperformer go far beyond the effects it has on that particular employee– bad behaviour can easily ‘spill over’ into the minds of the other employees through basic peer effect. If organisations choose to under-appreciate the consequences of these spill-overs, a few ill-mannered employees can infect any strong corporate culture.

Nevertheless, through observing similar behaviour among staff, it does not explain how and why this similarity even occurs. Co-workers could behave similarly because of peer effects – in which workers learn behaviours or social norms from each other – but similar behaviour could arise because co-workers face the same incentives or because individuals prone to making similar choices naturally choose to work together.

Below, you take a look at some of the more hidden ways in which bad employees can hurt businesses, and why it is imperative to let them go in order to reach personal and company goals.

  1. Negative organisational reputation

One of the most destructive ways in which ‘hurricane’ employees can harm organisations is by destroying its reputation. A business’s reputation takes years on end to establish, and, unfortunately, one poor-performance employee may derail all of that hard work for quality products, services, and professionalism.

It goes without saying that unprofessional customer service or products lacking that lack that level of excellence expected from any business could leave clients and customers disgruntled. Furthermore, this makes them associate poor service and bad quality with the brand. A damaged reputation takes years to bounce back from and in some extreme cases, it is irreversible.

  1. Low levels of employee morale

Besides the fact that bad employees hurt a company’s bottom line, they also drive employee morale to worryingly low levels. This may even occur in the best performing employees. In this scenario, the rest of the team has to pick up the pace due to one’s person unproductiveness, which, consequently, causes the top talents to become disengaged, dissatisfied, or even burnout. This may sound eerie but only one member on the team may cause the entire staff to become frustrated, angry and detached, leading, of course, to cohesion and morale issues, extreme defensiveness and, in some particular cases, a tendency to ignore creative ideas.

This is definitely a case in which managers must take the tough decision and remove harmful employees from the office environment in order for the HR department to focus its efforts on finding a team member willing to work hard.

  1. Daily interruptions

‘Hurricane’ employees also have the tendency to refuse thinking for themselves and solve their problems independently which, in turn, causes workflow interruptions for managers and executives alike. Instead of focusing on issues such as performance and engagement, managers are forced to hand-hold the harmful employee through menial daily tasks. The damage this type of person may do is not only contagious, but it often shows in team performance. In a recent study done at the Rotterdam School of Management, has revealed that one negative employee can “literally cause” a 30% to 40% drop in performance levels.

Of course, this leads to losing productivity at management-level as well, because managers are unable to implement new ideas and initiatives due to the constant supervision they have to undertake with the ‘hurricane’ employee. Even though firing someone who isn’t performing at normal standards is an uncomfortable experience altogether, managers have to ask themselves if they are willing to lose professionally due to one individual. The moment when a manager starts to think about what is best for the organisation, the decision will become all the more clear.

By understanding how and why co-workers make similar choices about committing misconduct can steer managers into preventing misconduct. Misconduct is a product of social interaction and given its nature, knowledge and social norms it may be difficult to spot at first. Generally speaking, if managers can achieve the level of understanding required to why co-workers behave in similar ways has enormous implications for understanding how corporate culture is shaped and how managers can help steer it in the right direction.

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

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

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

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

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

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