Thursday, December 29, 2011

Start the New Year with Progress

To get yourself and your team off to a good start for the new year, focus on progress. Our research discovered that fostering progress in meaningful work is the most important way to keep people highly engaged at work — even if that progress is a "small win."
We call this phenomenon the progress principle; it works because people want to feel that they are contributing to something that matters. The new year presents a great opportunity for managers to put the progress principle into action.
  • First, note the progress made by your team or organization over the past year — the major accomplishments and the small wins, too. And communicate the list broadly. All too often, progress gets ignored as people move from one task or project to another. Simply noting what was accomplished and how it contributed to the goals of the organization can have a big impact on how people feel about themselves, the organization, and the work they do. Wesley, a researcher at a chemicals firm that participated in our study, made clear how much it meant to him when his VP did this at a holiday celebration: "We had a wonderful Christmas celebration, during which time our VP and Director of R&D reflected on our terrific achievements over the year."
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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Listen Up, Mr. Scrooge! PayScale Compensation Plan Advice

What We Would Teach Ebeneezer Scrooge About Compensation

“Bah, humbug! Why should I pay my people another dime?”
Beware, Managers, don't follow Scrooge’s miserly ways when it comes to compensation. As the classic tale goes, through various ghostly visits, our friend Mr. Scrooge learns to get into the holiday spirit and finally rewards his hardworking employee, Bob Cratchit, with a raise and a "discussion of his affairs." How would PayScale advise Scrooge to adjust his compensation philosophy for long-term success?

Here are a few compensation tips for Mr. Scrooge and miserly managers everywhere to keep the spirit all year long.
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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A New Idea to Combat Workplace Stress: Mental Health Days

According to a WHO Health and Work Performance Questionnaire that assesses sick days, depression was cited as the number one reason for absenteeism on the job. And a February 2010 issue of the Harvard Mental Health Letter found that depression and anxiety were among the top five reasons for absenteeism.
Americans are clearly suffering. According to the National Comorbidity Survey Replication, about 26% of American adults aged 18 and older suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in any given year.
Wouldn't it be great if America's workers could take time off to rest, manage their stress, or even see a mental health professional? I am proposing that businesses should institute two or three paid "mental health days" a year as part of their employee benefits package.
Over and over, we psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health professionals hear people say: "I can't take another day of work," or "I'll go crazy if I have to return to work tomorrow." The list of remarks illustrating the sense of dread that many people feel about their workplaces could go on and on.
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Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays from all of us at Insightlink Communications!

We wish you all a safe, peaceful & prosperous 2012.

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

The Beginning of the End of the 9-to-5 Workday?

The traditional eight-hour workday may soon be the exception rather than the rule. New evidence shows that we’re reaching a tipping point in terms of workplace flexibility, with businesses seeing the wisdom of allowing employees — young ones especially — to work odd hours, telecommute and otherwise tweak the usual 9-to-5 grind.
One of the top 12 trends for 2012 as named by the communications firm Euro RSCG Worldwide is that employees in the Gen Y, or millennial, demographic — those born between roughly 1982 and 1993 — are overturning the traditional workday.
The Business and Professional Women’s Foundation estimates that by 2025, 75% of the global workforce will be Gen Y. As early as next year, this group of younger Americans will comprise 60% of the employees at companies like Ernst & Young. And increasingly, companies are creating workplace-flexibility programs because it makes good business sense, not in the least because that’s what their employees are demanding.
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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

10 Predictions For How The Workplace Will Change In 2012

It’s that time of year again when we reflect back on our hits, misses and lessons learned over the past 12 months. While this is important, I think it is just as useful (and perhaps more fun) to look forward and predict what the New Year will bring.
I think that 2012 will be a fascinating year for business as concepts that may have been considered “trends” over the last few years become solidified as standard operating procedure and new ideas that challenge our ways of thinking emerge. Here are 10 predictions to show you what I mean.
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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

5 Signs that Employees are in Survival Mode

Today’s workplace is a reflection of the times: uncertain and unstable. As employees navigate this short-term, fast-paced, tension-filled terrain, they develop an attitude that creates an uneasy environment:  survival mode.
The workplace used to be focused on the planning and execution of short, mid-range and long-term growth objectives. It was a place where careers were born and legacies were created. A place that encouraged teamwork, unity and advancement, fueled by collaboration, partnerships and client relationships. Today, long-term business goals have been eclipsed by short-term personal goals: survive the unknown long enough to stay in the game. For employees this means adapting to a role where time management is unmanageable and where everything is a priority.
As you think about the dynamics in your workplace, watch out for these five signs that your employees are in survival mode:
See the list here

We Can’t Allow the Payroll Tax Cut and Unemployment Benefits to Expire

Allowing Them to End Will Threaten the Economic Recovery

The Senate overwhelmingly approved a bipartisan compromise Saturday to prevent the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits from expiring at the end of the year. The House will hold a critical vote on the measure later today.

If the House doesn’t approve the measure, the current payroll tax holiday will expire at the end of the year. As a result, taxes will go up for 160 million workers, starting with their first paychecks of 2012. The typical middle-class household tax increase in 2012 will be about $1,000. The combined effect of this across-the-board middle-class tax increase on consumer demand would seriously threaten the fragile economic recovery.

Congressional inaction through 2012 would also cause unemployment insurance benefits to run out for more than 5 million workers. The unemployment rate is still 8.6 percent, and for every one job opening, there are four people actively looking for employment. Cutting off unemployment benefits would not only create vast uncertainty and hardship for affected families, but it would also cause the economy to lose about $50 billion in demand, which would further hinder the recovery and cost more jobs.

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Improving A Leading Indicator of Financial Performance: Employee Engagement

I don’t think there’s any question that engaged employees are more productive. Research by the Gallup organization shows that they are also “…more profitable, more customer-focused, safer, and more likely to withstand temptations to leave. The best-performing companies know that employee engagement improvement strategy linked to achievement of corporate goals will help them win in the marketplace.”
Over the years Gallup has supported organizational efforts to improve the level of employee engagement and created some metrics that help business leaders determine their ratio of engaged vs. not engaged employees. According to Gallop, their “…engagement ratio is a macro-level indicator of an organization’s health…”
You might be interested to know that Gallup identifies that world-class organizations have a ratio of 9.57 engaged employees to every employee that is not engaged. The average organization is 1.83:1—that’s a big difference.
After more than 30 years of in-depth behavioral economic research involving more than 17 million employees, this is what the Gallup organization says about engaging employees:
“Actively disengaged employees erode an organization’s bottom line while breaking the spirits of colleagues in the process. Within the U.S. workforce, Gallup estimates this to cost more than $300 billion in lost productivity alone. In stark contrast, world-class organizations with an engagement ratio near 8:1 have built a sustainable model… As organizations move toward this benchmark, they greatly reduce the negative impact of actively disengaged employees while unleashing the organization’s potential for rapid growth.”
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Friday, December 16, 2011

Job market continues to improve as unemployment claims sink

WASHINGTON -- The outlook for the job market is looking brighter.
Far fewer people are seeking unemployment benefits than just three months ago -- a sign that layoffs are falling sharply.
The number of people applying for benefits fell last week to 366,000, the fewest since May 2008. If the number stayed that low consistently, it would probably signal that hiring is strong enough to lower unemployment.
The unemployment rate is now 8.6 percent. The last time applications were this low, the rate was 5.4 percent.
The big question is whether fewer layoffs will translate into robust hiring. It hasn't happened yet, even though job growth has increased in recent months.
The four-week average of weekly unemployment applications, which smooths out fluctuations, dropped last week to 387,750. That's the lowest four-week since July 2008. The four-week average has declined in 10 of the past 12 weeks.
"Labor market conditions have taken a turn for the better in recent weeks," Michael Gapen, an economist at Barclays Capital, said in a note to clients. "Payroll growth should improve in the coming months."
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Thursday, December 15, 2011

PwC Survey: Millennials at work 2011


From LinkedIn:

Four years ago, we began a study into the future of people management with our report, ‘Managing tomorrow’s people – the future of work 2020’, which explained how globalism, technology, and sociopolitical and demographic changes would influence the way businesses operate in the future. The follow-up report, ‘millennials at work: Perspectives of a new generation’, was published in 2008 and highlighted the characteristics of the newest generation of workers. This latest report aims to provide some insight into the minds of new graduates from around the world entering the workforce for the first time. CEOs are becoming increasingly concerned that they will soon be unable to find the talent that they will need to succeed, with a shortage of suitably skilled workers their single biggest worry. Businesses are competing fiercely for the best available workers and for the talent that will replace the retiring Boomer generation in the coming few years. Every year, more and more of that talent will be recruited from the ranks of millennials. As they begin their working lives, what are the hopes and expectations of this generation? And most importantly, do business leaders and HR teams need to revise their current strategies accordingly? PwC commissioned Opinium Research to carry out an online survey of 4,364 graduates across 75 countries between 31 August and 7 October 2011. 1,706 of these respondents were PwC graduate recruits or responded through PwC’s website. Overall, 1,470 PwC employees and 2,894 other graduates responded to the survey. All were aged 31 or under and had graduated between 2008 and 2011. 75% are currently employed or are about to start a new job. 8% were unemployed at the time they filled in the questionnaire. The rest were self employed or returning to full-time education. 76% of those with a job said it was a graduate role, while 12% had a job which did not require a degree. Quotes from the millennials who participated are included throughout this report.

Download the presenation:

What Great Companies Know About Culture

Even in this unprecedented business environment, great leaders know they should invest in their people. Those companies who are committed to a strong workplace culture tend to perform well, and now they are featured prominently in a new ranking recently released by Great Place to Work Institute. Among the top performers on the 2011 World's Best Multinational Companies list are culturally-strong technology companies such as Microsoft, NetApp, SAS, and Google.
But is there a direct correlation between employee investment and the balance sheet? As Prof. James L. Heskett wrote in his latest book The Culture Cycle, effective culture can account for 20-30 percent of the differential in corporate performance when compared with "culturally unremarkable" competitors.
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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

How to honor your workers’ dignity

My work has brought me up close to leaders of all kinds. They all report the same major leadership challenge: knowing what to do in charged, emotional situations. Despite collecting degrees and intellectual capital, they rarely feel confident when facing people who are outraged, who think they are being treated unfairly and whose unacknowledged grievances have made them irate fighters. They don’t know what to do when facing people who have experienced repeated violations of their dignity.
While I witnessed the powerful impact that a violation of dignity created, I also saw how ill-equipped most future leaders were in handling these emotional upheavals. Their default reaction was to use their authority and position power to control the situation, often leaving the aggrieved people angrier, more resentful and less willing to extend themselves in their jobs or roles. Their dignity violations remained unaddressed, contaminating the work environment.
People in leadership positions need to be educated in all matters related to dignity, both the human vulnerability to being violated and the remarkable effect it has on people when they feel seen, heard, understood and acknowledged as worthy. The emotional impact of treating someone well and honoring the person’s dignity has benefits that are incalculable everywhere people cluster — in families, communities, workplaces, churches and nations. It’s the easiest and fastest way to bring out the best in people. The opposite is equally true: Treat people as if they don’t matter, and watch how fast a destructive, if not violent, emotional storm erupts.
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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

US companies blame unemployment on skills gap

Drew Greenblatt has been looking for more than a year for three sheet-metal set-up operators to work day, night or weekend shifts.

The president of Marlin Steel Wire Products, a company in Baltimore with 30 employees, Mr Greenblatt says his inability to find qualified workers is hampering his business’s growth. “If I could fill those positions, I could raise our annual revenues from $5m to $7m,” he says.

He is offering a salary of more than $80,000 with overtime, including health and pension benefits. Yet in spite of extensive advertising, he has had no qualified applicants. He is trying to train some of his unskilled staff but says none has the ability or drive to complete the training.

Mr Greenblatt’s predicament speaks to one of the biggest economic debates about today’s 8.6 per cent US unemployment rate: is it merely a cyclical problem that will shrink as demand recovers? Or is it something deeper and more structural, a “mismatch” between the skills workers have and those companies need?



Diversity in Workplace Enhances Bottom Line

Newswise - The more diverse a company's workforce is, the more loyal, happy and productive its employees tend to be, according to a new study led by a Ryerson University professor.
The commitment to diversity must be more than superficial, the researchers say.
"There are organizations that are doing what research and popular practice tells them to do. They are showing pictures of diverse workers on their website and say they have a commitment to diversity, but they're not really going beyond what people may see as simply window dressing," said Kristyn Scott, lead author of the study, The Diverse Organization: Finding Gold at the End of the Rainbow, and a professor with Ryerson University's Ted Rogers School of Management. "That's contrasted with an organization that has woven diversity into every fibre of its corporate culture and business practices."
Scott and her co-authors, Professor Joanna Heathcote of University of Toronto at Scarborough, and Professor Jamie Gruman, University of Guelph, conducted a review of about 100 studies, mostly from the U.S. but some from Canada and elsewhere, from 1991 to 2009. They evaluated the studies based on six key advantages of corporate diversity as outlined by Cox and Blake's framework, a U.S.-based study published in 1991, which are: recruitment, greater creativity, problem-solving, flexibility (better reaction to change), cost (employee turnover) and marketing (i.e. - stronger financial performance).
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Friday, December 9, 2011

Benefits of 360° Feedback

The 360° performance assessment survey is a proven way to provide employees with  constructive feedback from the people they most usually interact with in the organization: managers, peers and direct reports all provide their input on a subject's performance and competence. There are many distinct advantages that can be realized from this type of assessment, and the technique has been gaining popularity among businesses of all sizes.

A Complete Perspective

By using multiple points of view, 360° feedback allows a subject to gain a deeper understanding of their impact on the people they interact with daily in their jobs. Individuals tend to judge others based on their own expectations, which can result in one-dimensional opinions. Managers, for example, may rate employees based on their output, while peers may judge others based on their levels of cooperation, and direct reports may judge their managers based on their fairness. By combining the opinions from all of these individuals together, 360° assessments provide a more complete analysis than any individual point-of-view. Feedback from a group of raters also lends credibility to the results of  an assessment, making the feedback more meaningful to the subject and increasing the potential for real behavioral change.
Looking for a simple yet effective 360° feedback system? Visit and take the demo.  Hands-down, it’s the simplest and easiest to implement 360º assessment solution available. If you have struggled with the task of creating and managing a 360º assessment program in your organization, you owe it to yourself to check it out and see how straightforward it can be.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

3 questions to create powerful engagement

Engagement is employees’ commitment toward their work. It is rooted in purpose.
You can begin to establish engagement by asking employees three simple questions.
In this video, I reveal that answers to these questions knit communication and follow-through together in ways that demonstrate that a leader is interested enough to listen, concerned enough to act and willing enough to offer assistance.
Watch the video here: