Friday, January 30, 2015

4 Ways to Make Conference Calls Less Terrible

No one wants to sit on a boring conference call, especially when they have other work to do. But that’s the reality for a lot of people, at least according to recent InterCall research on the rise of mobile conference calls and employee conferencing behavior. With 82% of employees admitting to focusing on other work while on a call (along with other, less tasteful non-work distractions), disengagement — at least during virtual meetings — has started to become standard practice. While some may argue that these employees are still engaged in other work, it raises questions about the productivity and value of these meetings.

 

The good news is that companies can make their meetings more relevant and productive by making a few simple adjustments — even though many of them go against some familiar office habits. Read more on HBR.org

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Why Diversity matters

We know intuitively that diversity matters. It’s also increasingly clear that it makes sense in purely business terms. Our latest research finds that companies in the top quartile for gender or racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians. Companies in the bottom quartile in these dimensions are statistically less likely to achieve above-average returns. And diversity is probably a competitive differentiator that shifts market share toward more diverse companies over time.

While correlation does not equal causation (greater gender and ethnic diversity in corporate leadership doesn’t automatically translate into more profit), the correlation does indicate that when companies commit themselves to diverse leadership, they are more successful. More diverse companies, we believe, are better able to win top talent and improve their customer orientation, employee satisfaction, and decision making, and all that leads to a virtuous cycle of increasing returns. This in turn suggests that other kinds of diversity—for example, in age, sexual orientation, and experience (such as a global mind-set and cultural fluency)—are also likely to bring some level of competitive advantage for companies that can attract and retain such diverse talent. Read more on McKinsey.com

Friday, January 9, 2015

6 Rules for Effective Peer-to-Peer Communication

Effective peer-to-peer communication affects the workplace in a variety of ways, including employees' engagement, morale and satisfaction as well as the company's overall success.

Gallup’s 2013 "State of the American Workplace" observed that "regular communication from the company’s leaders and informal communication between employees will begin to breed a culture of engagement, leading participation rates of employee engagement metrics and other interventions to be more successful.”

Here are a few rules for more effective peer-to-peer communication. Read them on Entrepreneur.com

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Resolved to be healthier & wealthier? 4 habits you need to succeed


Depending on which study or urban myth you believe, the typical American gains two to 10 pounds during the period between Thanksgiving and New Year's. And there is no question that December is the spendiest month of the year. Credit card issuers can document it, and retailers count on it.

And January? That's when we resolve to lose weight and save money. Can we attack them together? Or does it make more sense to do one, then the other? While many people will make an effort (good intentions but no specific plan) and others will look for the quickest fixes (deprivation), some of us will find that the changes hoped for in January feel like a normal part of life by June. If you need motivation for making financial changes, check out just how much your debt is costing you over the course of a lifetime. And know, too, that people who exercise and pay attention to what they eat tend to be healthier and feel better.

Ellie Kay, co-author of "Lean Body, Fat Wallet," said it might be easier to do both at the same time since the same four habits are required for each endeavor. So success in one area helps reinforce the habits you need for the other. Read more on Yahoo Finance

Have a happy, healthy  and prosperous 2015!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

5 Things Leaders of High-Growth Companies Need to Know About Employee Engagement

Employee engagement isn't a buzzword or a nice-to-have -- it has a measurable impact on your bottom line.

Employee engagement isn't just a touchy-feely, feel-good thing companies do when they're feeling generous or have extra time on their hands. It's a serious profitability issue and is essential to driving bottom-line revenue.

As our CEO Chris Powell reported earlier this year, researchers from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and Warwick Business School in the U.K. found that, "employee satisfaction is associated with positive abnormal returns in countries with high labor market flexibility, such as the U.S. and U.K."

Organizations with a high ratio of engaged employees to actively disengaged employees in 2010-2011 experienced 147 percent higher earnings per share compared with their competition in 2011-2012, according to Gallup's 2013 State of the U.S. Workplace report. The report also found that these organizations had higher customer ratings by 10 percent, 22 percent higher profitability, and 21 percent better productivity.

Forty to 80 percent of customer satisfaction is affected by employee attitudes, according to the National Business Research Institute. And the Corporate Leadership Board has found highly engaged employees are 87 percent less likely to leave their employers. Read complete article on INC.com

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Is the Hard-Nosed Boss Obsolete?

When it comes to bosses, how tough is too tough?

At a time when the default mode of the workplace is one of cooperation and consensus, being a hard-edged leader is riskier than it used to be, according to executives and people who study leadership.

Last week's sudden ouster of Jill Abramson as executive editor of the New York Times —where she had a reputation as a direct, tough manager—has stoked conversations about how much a modern leader must soften his or her style to be effective.

It takes sharp elbows to climb the corporate ladder in the first place and, once in the job, leaders must make unpopular decisions, from killing underperforming initiatives to firing employees.

A couple of decades ago, ruthless bosses such as former Sunbeam Corp. Chairman Albert Dunlap, known as "Chainsaw Al," ran companies without sugar-coating their approach. Today such tactics must be used with caution, says Robert Sutton, a Stanford University professor and author of "The No A—hole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't."

"At a middle-manager level, [being aggressive] probably helps you propel your career, but you need to evolve your personality as you just get a little bit older," says Jim Lillie, chief executive of Jarden Corp., whose brands include Mr. Coffee, Crock-Pot and Coleman camping gear.

Bosses also must be aware that their roles are increasingly public, with social media and constant electronic communications exposing matters that once stayed behind closed doors, says Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of London-based advertising and marketing company WPP PLC.

"In times gone by, you might send a message internally that didn't get outside," says Mr. Sorrell. "Now, everything you write, everything that you say, you should think about it being on the front page of The Wall Street Journal." Read more on WSJ.com

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

7 Ways to Be a Better Schmoozer

With conference season in full swing, you may soon find yourself in a room full of strangers with absolutely nothing to say. Experts suggest breaking that awkward silence by schmoozing to develop and maintain mutually positive and powerful professional relationships. It’s really about networking, building rapport and making connections. “When you enter a conversation with people, you want to be thinking about, What are they working on? What do I know about that? How can I add value?” says Michelle Tillis Lederman, author of The 11 Laws of Likability: Relationship Networking…Because People Do Business With People They Like (Amacom).

Clear communication and witty anecdotes will help you win over the crowd. Here’s how to get started:

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Beyond The Virtual Workspace



Both virtual and traditional working models have strengths and weaknesses. Can a new hybrid model offer companies and employees the best of both approaches? Read more on WSJ

Monday, December 15, 2014

Employee Engagement Is A Good Start...But Then What?

In a mere 0.47 seconds, Google returns about 20,200,000 results when searching the term ‘employee engagement.’ Obviously, it’s a hot topic. And, it should be.

Employee engagement is the willingness of employees to apply their “discretionary effort” toward their work. Elevated levels of employee engagement are positively correlated with better business results. Therefore, the higher level of engagement, the better the chances of meeting or exceeding company goals and operating results.

The topic of engagement has gathered so much momentum in the past few years that most HR leaders have moved away from the employee satisfaction surveys of the past, in favor of newer, more relevant employee engagement surveys. This makes perfect sense. Research continues to show not just the value of engaged employees, but also the danger of disengaged employees. The Gallup Organization’s research suggests that actively disengaged workers spread discord among colleagues and customers and thwart organizational performance. In fact, according to its 2013 State of the Global Workplace report, Gallup found 13% of workers are fully engaged in their jobs, 63% are not engaged and 24% are actively disengaged. Read more on Forbes.com

Friday, December 12, 2014

5 Secrets Every Good Boss Knows

Trust in bosses is on the decline, according to a new survey by Interaction Associates released last month. Nearly 60 percent of the 520 managers or supervisors  polled worldwide believe their organization lacks trust.

And 85 percent of 24,000 respondents to a worldwide Regus survey last year said they wanted their bosses to show more trust in their employees who work flexible hours.

Indeed employee engagement measured just 13 percent in a huge worldwide survey conducted by Gallup in 2012.

The best bosses know the key to keeping employees engaged is by giving them the managerial support they seek.

Here are a few secrets every good boss knows about managing a modern workforce: Read them on Yahoo.com

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Top 10 Disruptions In HR Technology: Ignore Them At Your Peril

The HR technology landscape, which is now more than a $15 billion market in software, is exploding with growth and innovation.  We are tracking more than 100 new startups in social and referral recruiting, talent analytics, assessment science, online learning, and mid-market core HR systems. New tools to help manage employee communications, engagement, recognition, and workplace wellness are also red hot.

Fueled by this new cycle of innovation, private equity and venture capital firms are investing heavily in the space. The top 50 HR technology investment deals this year were over $560 million and the top 50 learning and educational tech deals were over $800 million (private equity research).

And these valuations are resulting in lots of acquisitions. Just recently Skillsoft, one of the largest e-learning companies, acquired one of the largest LMS companies, SumTotal Systems.  Earlier this year LinkedIn LNKD +1.9% acquired Bright to aid in employment matching, and two years ago IBM IBM +1.17% acquired Kenexa, to build out its talent software offering. Anxious venture firms are looking for ways to get part of this fast-growing market.

As money comes to HR technology, so do new ideas and smart people. The result:  we are seeing one of the most innovative times ever in the HR technology market. Read more on Forbes.com

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

3 Ways to Better Connect Your Workforce

See why HR leaders are turning to Enterprise Social tools to keep employees happy and engaged.

The way employees want to work is more diverse and distributed than ever before. Three generations now fill the office, each with different work and communication styles.

According to Deloitte, baby boomers prefer in-person relationships, while millennials value working from home. Millennials like spontaneous, multimedia communication, while Gen-Xers prefer email. And to further widen the gap, within the next five years, 40 percent of these workers will be contingent workers or located outside the office.1

With the combination of a remote workforce and hyper-connected customers, how do companies keep employees connected, engaged, and productive? A warning from Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric (GE) and successful business author, reads: “If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.”

It’s time for business leaders and managers to ask, “Are my customers outpacing my workforce?” Read more on INC.com