PsyAsia International will be suspending blog posts to our educational sites at www.assessmentcentral.com, www.psychometrictests.sg and www.psychometricassessment.com/blog until after the Christmas and New Year break while our blog writers take some well earned time off. Thank you for keeping up to date with us at our blogs during 2009 and we look forward to writing more about psychometric tests, human resource management and business psychology for our readers in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, China and worldwide. Enjoy the holidays!
Archive for December, 2009
While it’s true that many companies have been forced to make difficult business decisions this year, many employers still plan to reward their employees for hard work with holiday perks like bonuses, gifts and parties — even if these perks are scaled back a bit. These results are from CareerBuilder’s recent survey about workplace holiday giving among more than 3,000 hiring managers and HR professionals. We’ve got the lowdown on what businesses are doing about bonuses, gifts, and the oft-infamous work holiday party.
- Nearly three in ten (29 percent) employers plan to give their employees holiday bonuses this year. Among that group, 16 percent are planning to give the same amount as in previous years, while 11 percent plan to give less.
- Twelve percent of employers say they will not be issuing holiday bonuses even though they have in previous years.
- More than a quarter (26 percent) of employers plan to give holiday gifts, with 15 percent planning to spend the same amount for workers as in previous years. Eight percent plan to spend less.
- Another eight percent say they are not planning to give holidays gifts in 2009, even though they have in years past.
- Almost half (49 percent) of employers are planning a holiday party for their employees this year. Of that group, 30 percent plan to throw the same party as in previous years, while 18 percent are planning something on a smaller scale.
- Eleven percent of employers don’t plan to have a holiday party in 2009 even though they have in previous years.
“After a challenging year, some organizations are cutting back on the holiday perks that they may have offered in previous years,” said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources for CareerBuilder. “Even though holiday bonuses, gifts and parties may be trimmed back this season, employers are doing what they can to reward their workers and get their staffs in the holiday spirit.”
So with cutbacks more prevalent in the workplace, how can you make your employees happy this holiday season? What do they really want?
Here are some alternative workplace gift-giving ideas:
- The gift of financial preparedness. Help employees be realistic in their holiday budgeting this holiday season. Workers often need to budget more carefully around the holidays, so let your employees know upfront and early whether or not they can expect a bonus this season. This way, they will be able to gauge whether they’ll have that extra money for a plane ticket — or whether they’ll have to stock up on canned soups for dinner this season. Give your employees the gift of preparedness; their pocketbooks will thank you.
- The gift of giving. Volunteering is a great workplace activity all year ’round, but if you’re looking for an alternative to the typical (and pricey) holiday bash, I can’t think of a better way than helping others in need by donating time to local charities. Volunteering with your team or company still allows you to be out of the office in a social setting while fostering your holiday spirit, giving back to your local community, and making the holiday a bit nicer for someone else. Sites like VolunteerMatch let you search for volunteer opportunities in your local area. Read more tips about finding a charity here and here, find an extensive list of charities here, and check out the Better Business Bureau’s “Charities and Donors” section for more resources.
- The gift of fun. Even if your company holiday party is canceled, you can still celebrate the season with your employees with some warm drinks and hot food. Office potlucks are a great and budget-friendly way to have a low-key celebration in the office with your employees. Even better, as commuting after work hours can sometimes present obstacles for employees, you can host a potluck breakfast or lunch during the work day. As an alternative, screen a movie of your employees’ choosing, pop some popcorn and provide sodas, and have a low-key but entertaining in-office party.
- The gift of appreciation. While material gifts are nice, sometimes nothing is better than getting a bit of recognition for work well done, whether it’s for a single project or an entire financial quarter’s worth of blood, sweat and tears. As we have learned, 79 of employees who quit their jobs cite a lack of appreciation as a key reason for leaving. Remember to say “thank you” to your employees this holiday season! Even small gestures, like a card or letter with your sincere words of thanks can mean a lot to your employees. Spontaneity of gestures can also be a nice change in the work routine; grab your employees coffee and bagels unexpectedly one morning — or dream up your own creative way to say “thanks.”
- The gift of friends and family. While employees may enjoy coming to work, they may in fact be longing to spend more time with loved ones outside the office, especially around the holidays. Yes, businesses are busier than ever, often juggling fewer people and more work — but your employees will enjoy and appreciate even a small break from the grind. Consider letting them leave a bit early one afternoon, or offer a flexible work option for a week or two, like coming in early/leaving early, or working four 10-hour days so they can take a long weekend. Different options will work for different types of businesses — but employees will savor the gift of more time with loved ones — and they’ll likely come back more refreshed, relaxed, and focused post-holiday.
- The gift of choice. One final idea: Ask your employees what they want this holiday season! Let them know that budgets are tight, but that you want to celebrate with them and show them your gratitude for their work and dedication. Let them brainstorm ideas, and pick one or implement them all.
What are you giving your employees this holiday season?
AS A TRAINER, I have always used various approaches to help get people engaged. We all know that this can be a difficult feet. For those of us that have been doing it for years we don’t see the big deal. It’s simple isn’t it? Ultimately you use what best fits your personality, meshes with the audience that you are presenting to, and what can ultimately reflect the message and learning you are trying to reinforce. Am I right? Media, should reinforce and appeal to the content you are presenting and ultimately to your audiences senses. In order to do this it helps to be aware of the types of learners. Before I present a few of the cartoons I love and use, here are some of the typical types of learners.
VISUAL LEARNERS: They learn primarily through the written word and tend to be readers who diligently take down every word. These people often get carpal tunnel.
AUDITORY LEARNERS: They learn primarily through listening. They focus their ears and attention on your words, listening carefully to everything you say. They like to talk rather than write and relish the opportunity to discuss what they’ve heard. Funny how an auditory learner who needs to learn through listening often talks more than listens!
KINESTHETIC LEARNERS: These learners learn better by doing. This group learns best when they can practice what they’re learning. They want to have their hands on the keyboard, the hammer, or the test tube because they think in terms of physical action. So for those of you who don’t like role-plays, shut up, watch and listen
So for all you learners, here are the cartoons that I like to use that can also prove a point for HR and Learning (dependent upon your audience, interpretation and content):
Catbert – Drug Test (left): Pretty pointed but I have used this in training to prove a point to my fellow colleagues on how confusing messages are being presented. Like some marriages, we say we love you but first, let’s get a prenuptial agreement. Definitely conditional.
Farside – Damned if You Do/Don’t (right): This one has dual meaning for any piece of content, class or organization/department. We have all been in situations where, regardless of the choice we make, the choice may not be a good one. Sometimes it is just about choosing the better of the two evils. Outside of what the cartoon states, it’s not “easy.” Do you know anyone that has never been in this situation? I don’t.
Dilbert – Ahhh motivation (left): In this economy it is difficult to keep a positive attitude. Instead of just trying to SAY that everyone needs to keep a positive attitude, why not just call it like we see it! You are in a cube, there are many times you feel undervalued and underpaid. OK, we got it out, now what do you do? Clear the air, accept it and take actions to change and improve the situation. People give you a lot of current attitudes in a classroom. The key is to call it the way it is and then move on to something productive.
Farside – What we say, What we hear (right): I think this is great for any communication, conflict resolution, or emotional intelligence type class. There can often times be a disconnect between what we say, how it is translated and what we hear. In my opinion, the key is more about identifying this insufficiency to understand others rather than just outlining the challenges that are faced in communication.
The Traditional Approach to Employee Motivation (left): One of my favorite of all time. I found this one years back and have used it in a variety of programs and presentations. The key for companies and those of us in HR and Training is that this is the traditional approach. Some individuals and brands are stuck in this mindset. We need to move away from the mindset as well change our actions toward the people we interact with.
Farside – Interaction (final): This one has some duality to it. You could use this to convey ideas on interactions between departments and people. It can help reinforce how others may not know how their actions are affecting the environment they are in. I would say that within learning sometimes we get angry at the other parts of the business and rage war. We will only interact with those that share the same perspective and if they don’t follow suit then we, subconsciously attack them for not wanting to answer our questions. You must remember that we provide value. That while we contribute to that value we do not own the value. But that’s my opinion.
Leadership can be described as a process by which an individual exerts influence to direct, manage and motivate others to fulfil organizational goals. This is an important characteristic for key members of the organization as effective leaders facilitate the completion of organization goals, while ineffective leaders are unlikely to significantly contribute to the fulfilment of goals and may even exert negative impact on the process.
Effective leaders are able to influence organizational success even beyond the attainment of organizational goals. They are able to identify and direct efforts to maximize the organization’s competitive advantages by thoroughly understanding the resources available to them as well as how best to utilize and manage these resources. Effective leaders are also capable of managing the diverse workforce within an organization. They have a keen understanding of the strengths and potential developmental areas of their subordinates and implement measures to allow them to fulfil their full potential. Finally, effective leaders are cognizant with how best to motivate the workforce within the organization and utilize different motivation approaches to meet the specific needs of the workforce. For example, some employees prefer to work in a collaborative manner while others may prefer more autocratic approaches. Effective leaders would recognize such situations and take the necessary steps to ensure ideal outcomes.
Successful leadership is critical to the continued success of any organization and more and more organizations are becoming focused in efforts to identify and develop new leadership talent. In addition, with career mobility becoming the norm, organizations have placed more attention towards activities to retain the existing leadership talent within their organization.
PsyAsia’s Psychometric Assessment tools such as the Identity Self-Perception Questionnaire or the Saville Consulting Wave and proven tools to address the issue of selecting and developing leadership talent.
Attendees will be introduced to this personality assessment which produces the most comprehensive assessment of personality on the market. Key decision-makers will also have an opportunity to trial Identity.
-Overview of the Identity Self Perception Questionnaire
-Scales of Identity
-Derived Psychological Models
-Benefits of Identity
-Applications of Identity
-Comparison with other leading questionnaires
Recently, I came across an article from Fast Company written in 2007 entitled “Why We Hate HR” stating many reasons why Human Resources functions are ineffective at driving ethics, business strategy and the culture of an organization. Some points raised that were proof of this: HR people, at a Las Vegas HR conference, held education in communication at a higher value then Law, Business and Strategy. Even stating that the function did what was organizationally expedient rather then what actions were more valuable to the business. While there were many statements that were listed, one quote summarized many of the points in the article best by saying, “most HR organizations have ghettoized themselves literally to the brink of obsolescence…” ouch. A Big Lebowski ouch.
So here we are almost three years later and what has changed about the function or the people within it. I think a lot. At least from what I am seeing. While this article and those within other areas of business may find HR obsolete. I believe that this is a time where HR, HRD, OD and all the other acronyms you can list has started to see a rise in the times. In my personal opinion, I feel that HR has never been given it’s just do. But you have to get over that and suck it up because; as Tom Hanks would say there’s no crying in baseball.
Even while many of us within are doing what is needed to provide value and access, I believe that in the past, the business world has never allowed or given permission for us to be effective. It may be as if it has subconsciously set HR up for failure. Even with this past, I feel that we have the potential to be needed now more than ever. Here are some of the reasons why:
- Building the Company Brand – An employee experiences all of HR. They are often interviewed, on-boarded; take part in performance reviews and disciplinary hearings with us present. There is no doubt that with as many people that are unemployed there will be damage to a company’s brand during the off-boarding process as well. You see this person being let go is not just an employee but may have been customer and referrer of your products and services. The negative feelings at departure could turn into negativity towards the company and a severely bad attitude toward its reputation as well. When I hear negative comments about a company, I most often times hear it in context or in direct connection to HR. While HR may not have been the cause of that employee’s unemployment, they are definitely a part of that employees experience at departure. We can be the next big game-changer of the perception of that employee and all in the future. If anything, there is a possibility that we can help turn around that person’s idea and perception of the company.
- Re-Acquisition and Retention of Talent – “Gatekeeper” is often a word closely associated with HR. Within the recruiting cycle we source, attract and can even grant entrance to key positions within the company. With the unemployment rate reaching 9.5% as of October 2009 there are more people, talented and educated, that have been downsized. Many of these individuals are not only looking for security, but also the opportunity to help create value to the bottom line within the company. Regardless of industry, we are positioned to help the business and its managers understand who is out there and how to attract them. We, as HR, also have the potential to help management understand what it takes to develop and retain this talent so they can become a dedicated force that helps to build commitment to the company and marketers of its products and services.
- Strategy, New Ideas and Approaches – Just under the surface, a new crop of HR professionals are molding and changing the landscape as we know it. All across the landscape in articles, un-conferences, on internet radio, blogs, tweets and in the marketing of HR, professionals are speaking up, being open and honest about the direction of the field and where we need to be as it relates to the effectiveness of the employees.
- Law and Benefits – Let’s face it, who knows better about how new employment law, benefits and legislation changes affect the employee and business. They need us in order to assess and evaluate what options are best available. Well maybe they don’t but maybe they do!
- Good HR can improve performance – Read the article!
With the economics of today, more candidates understand the importance of contributing to a company. Yet at the same time more and more individuals are not only wanting a great career with growth opportunities, but also a work life balance with the knowledge that a company will not only let them be a functioning employee but also a fully functioning individual. When it comes down to it, good HR is good business. These are just a few of the many reasons why I know Human Resource people are the new cool kids in town. Let’s not just show everyone how cool we are; let’s make them all see just how cool of an asset have been and will be in the future.
Much organizational decision making is done in groups with various stakeholders providing varied perspectives, knowledge and skills to the effort. Nevertheless, group decision making is subject to a particular source of group bias called Groupthink. Groupthink is a faulty decision making pattern that occurs in groups that lead members of the group to overly focus on agreement and consensus. This in turn negatively impacts on the quality of their decision making.
Groupthink usually occurs as a result of pressures to maintain harmony and cooperation within the group. This leads members of the group to avoid raising issues that goes against the majority perspective. When groups are subjected to groupthink, members of the group form a collective to actively pursue options that most of the group agrees with. This can lead them to overlook relevant information regarding possible alternatives. In addition, members of the group can become committed to a particular course of action without adequately assessing its pros and cons.
This pattern of decision making can be dangerous as significant events such as the failed Bay of Pigs invasion and the Challenger shuttle disaster have been attributed to flawed decision making processes brought about by groupthink. Organizations need to be aware of the potential of groupthink within teams and implement measures to avoid associated problems. One measure can be to have a “devil’s advocate” within a group to critique the proposed course of action and ensure that all members have a clear understanding of relevant information before making decisions.
Organizational Change refers to processes that result in changes to the existing organizational culture within an organization. Although changes to organizational culture can occur as part of the natural evolution of an organization, the term organizational change is usually attributed to an organization actively implementing changes to their existing organizational perspectives and practices.
With an ever-changing business environment, organizations may implement organizational change to improve their business functioning, efficiency and effectiveness. This allows organizations to meet new demands and challenges that the current organizational culture may be ill-equipped to deal with. For example, economic downturns may prompt organizations to streamline their operations and restructure so as to minimize their costs. Organizations may also undergo significant organizational change processes when conducting corporate acquisitions or mergers so as to assimilate employees within the new organizational culture.
The process for implementing organizational change can be difficult and requires that all members of the organization be open and committed to realising such changes. Organizations also need to be aware that organizational change processes are typically lengthy as existing organizational culture is difficult to change and employees require time to get used to new practices. Planning and executing such changes require significant effort from all stakeholders for organizational change to be successful.
Each organization possesses its own unique set of shared perspectives, values and standards which is known as its organizational culture. The organizational culture influences the manner in which the employees within the organization interact and cooperate to fulfil the organizational goals. In a way, organizational culture can be described as the “personality” of the organization.
An organizational culture is typically created by top level management who introduce rules and procedures regarding how employees should behave within the organization. This also includes how employees are expected to work to achieve the organizational goals. It is also possible for organizational “subcultures” to exist within the organization, with particular work groups or departments having their own unique perspectives and practices. The organizational culture usually remains stable over time as the desired characteristics are internalized within the employees.
Although organizational culture does remain stable over time, it can evolve and change depending on organizational demands. For example, an organization may actively implement organizational change in a bid to improve their efficiency and effectiveness. This process can radically alter the established practices of the organization and lead to the development of a new organizational culture.
Culture can drive the organization to success or hinder it in achieving its vision. It’s important to choose employees who adequately fit the culture in order to ensure sustained performance. A number of systems exist for assessing culture and these include the Saville Wave Performance Framework in addition to bespoke consultancy services offered by PsyAsia International.