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  • Larry Alton 9:00 am on July 31, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Cliques in the Workplace 

    Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

    Cliques in the WorkplaceUnfortunately, you didn’t leave behind the cool kid’s lunch table when you left high school. In the adult workplace, there are still cliques, there are still mean girls, and gossip can be just as devastating. It might come with new buzzwords, like “water cooler conversation,” but the reality is that humans (regardless of age) are social creatures and naturally want to form groups. However, we’re also competitive and that can come out fiercer than ever in the real world.

    As a manager, it’s your job to make sure each of your employees can enjoy a positive environment that allows them to flourish, do their job, and enjoy coming to work.

    Like it or not, part of your job is playing social director as well as interior designer. Part of your role is making sure every worker feels welcomed and valued, both from yourself and from everyone else in the office. It’s a tough job being Mama or Papa Bear, but you’re in this position because you have what it takes.

    Playing social director

    There are many ways to encourage holistic socializing both at work and beyond the office hours. For some offices, this means a standing Friday night happy hour at the bar across the street, but you’ve probably noticed that the same people keep showing up (or not showing up), so you’re really just providing an extra avenue for certain cliques to get together. That can be a good thing, but you’re not making serious strides in encouraging the outsiders to join.

    Instead, consider a social function that’s not geared towards the most social butterflies and which doesn’t encourage drinking alcohol. Maybe a lunchtime park cleanup crew, philanthropy group or “club” that welcomes all and tries out a new activity each week or month. You can welcome suggestions by asking everyone to anonymously make recommendations based on something they like, then draw from a hat. Not only will this provide an eclectic range of options, but everyone will also be exposed to a brand new hobby or passion.

    Designing spaces

    The popularity of the open office plan was created to encourage random conversations, creative thinking and a more social area to get work done. However, for some workers a non-stop open space can be distracting and even induce anxiety. Plus, there are some jobs (such as engineers and writers) that really require more private and quiet time for optimal concentration. Instead of a totally open office plan, aim for an open social area.

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  • Enrique Dans 9:00 am on July 14, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    We are what we share 

    Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

    Editor’s noteEnrique Dans (@edans) has let us republish this article from his blog where he talks about the importance of sharing. 

    We are what we shareMy column in Expansión, Spain’s leading financial daily, is called “You are what you share” (pdf in Spanish), and asks some questions about what lies behind a very common activity among consumers of online information, but is not so natural for people who have simply transferred their habits from the analogical world: sharing.

    Sharing information is a much more interesting and complex activity than one might at first imagine. More than a mere gesture, it is actually a different way of managing information in an environment within which managing information efficiently has become a major challenge. It’s a very simple thing to do, and really only involves installing a button on your navigation bar and then acquiring the habit of using it regularly, but it has enormous potential. In the first place, it marks a step from being a mere consumer of information to taking a more participative approach: from unidirectional to bidirectional. And it also marks a change in attitude toward being somebody who uses information efficiently, given that the habit of sharing involves creating an archive. In many cases, the reason for sharing is not simply to give something useful to those on the other side of the screen, but provide benefits to oneself in the form of feedback and information management.

    But something subtler is going on as well: what we share says a great deal about us. Somebody who only shares news about certain topics will inevitably become associated with them. Somebody who only shares jokes will be seen as jokey—or worse—depending on the quality and the quantity.

    Creating an archive to share information on the social networks or information management tools can become a way to establish a personal brand, a way of being associated with certain topics and trends. Information sharing can be a powerful tool, and although it is still misunderstood by many—who see it simply as a way of attracting attention—it has huge potential benefits. Below, the text in full.

    You are what you share

    Sharing is an inherent part of living in society. Considered a basic function associated with the development of language, sharing turns us into active entities in the way that we treat information: we don’t just “find ourselves with it” in some passive way, but instead we can consciously decide to circulate it, or at least to store it for later use.

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  • Larry Alton 9:00 am on June 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    How to manage virtual employees 

    Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

    How to manage virtual employeesThere’s no one best approach to managing virtual employees, but there are sets of best practices you can adopt in a trial and error system. It depends on numerous things like (of course) individual employees, your industry, the tech savviness of workers, how you train and prepare them and what goals you have in mind. As more companies are seeing the appeal of virtual offices, from much lower overhead to happier employees, this is one trend that isn’t going anywhere.

    The simple truth is that, just like a “regular” office, there are workers who will thrive in a virtual setting and those who won’t. The perfect situation is to have some workers performing virtually and others in traditional settings, matching each worker with the best environment for them. If you can swing this, that’s great but that also requires knowing which workers are best matched for which environment.

    If you’re just delving into the world of the virtual office, keep these tips in mind. They won’t work every time and for every employee, but they can help you figure out the right next move.

    1. Provide structure

    This can be in the form of daily or weekly check-ins via chat, video conferencing or phone calls. Nearly every worker still needs their company to provide structure in some regards, but don’t do so just for the sake of it. If some workers do best at midnight and others at 10am and the needs of the company allow for that kind of flexibility, let your employees take advantage of virtual settings.

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  • Rodrigo Escobedo 9:00 am on June 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    4 principles to achieve motivated teams 

    Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

    4 principles to achieve motivated teams When you start working in a coaching process, you use different tools that help boost the team’s alignment with the new work philosophy and the culture that the employer or manager wants for their company. Specifying a vision, mission, cultural values or points, job descriptions and their respective KPI’s, procedure manuals and other tools are really helpful in meeting this challenge.

    However, the current team commonly finds the process exhausting. Taking the team out of its comfort zone is too much for some members who, given the changes, decide to jump ship. In the case of employees who decide to stay, it is important that employers or managers recognise that members are going the extra mile and seek out additional reinforcements to keep their team motivated and achieve greater commitment to the company.

    When thinking about incentives for our employees, the first thing that comes to mind is… money! Although money is attractive for some people, there are 4 principles which we should focus on to achieve greater engagement, generate more trust and increase motivation in the current team:

    Power

    Power means that your employees have the authority to take decisions that are important to their performance and to the quality of their working lives. In companies people are usually given responsibility without authority. This limits the individual’s decision making and ultimately generates frustration. Empowering your employees means that they can decide and then receive feedback. Let them take responsibility and have complete authority over their decisions and their outcomes.

    Information

    This means data, statistics, KPIs, revenues, profitability, customer reactions, etc. Just as many Mexicans are demanding access to information from our government, your team must also have access to your business information. This information must be accurate, current and understandable for employees.

    The more transparent the leader of the company is about its information, the greater the possibility that employees will effectively contribute to achieving strategic business goals. Thus the employee will be able to link the company’s progress towards its various goals to his or her personal contribution to each of these goals.

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  • Pedro Amador 9:00 am on June 12, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    10 tips for treating an employee well 

    Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

    10 tips for treating an employee wellManaging employees is by no means easy and people often have to do it without any previous formal training. So I wanted to share ten essential tips that will enhance how you treat your employees, ranked from the least to the most important:

    1. Employees are persons
    2. Given the above, it’s worth pointing out that employees are persons
    3. Just as a suggestion, bear in mind that employees are persons
    4. After doing the above, I might mention the idea that employees are persons
    5. Have we grasped that employees are persons yet?
    6. This tip I learned on my last Masters: employees are persons
    7. I’d also point out that employees are persons
    8. For those of you who may be a bit absent-minded, try to remember that employees are also persons
    9. The most important thing is that employees are persons
    10. The last point is crucial; we are all persons

    It might seem a bit daft, but you should never forget these tips. Employees are persons with values, beliefs, dreams, relatives and so on, and every day you need to align the tasks you ask them to do with company strategy.

    Once you’ve taken this decision, you can then follow the steps set out in any good leadership manual:

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  • María Teresa Farfán 9:00 am on June 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    7 types of workers in the company 

    Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

    7 types of workers in the companyKnowing how our colleagues work enables us, as a company, to shepherd them towards attaining their objectives and to make full use of their contributions.

    It is important to ascertain which team members may have specific aptitudes for certain jobs, such as concentration, the ability to work for hours on end, to interact with others, etc. This allows each leader to know his or her team and to distribute the work as efficiently as possible.

    As a leader, have you ever asked yourself what your team’s skills are? In a recent e-book, PGI classified the most common types of remote employees: How do they behave? How do they perceive their work?

    This e-book recognises 7 different types of remote employees, which I list below. How can each one capitalise on the advantages of an Enterprise Social Network? 

    1. The 24/7 Worker:

    We all know someone who answers emails at whatever time of day. This worker is a highly-dedicated stress junkie, so he exploits the advantages of an internal social network more effectively, since it will allow him to communicate with his colleagues at any time.

    2. The Multitasker:

    He’s the one who always has more than one tab open on his browser, at the same time as he’s sharing information via his smartphone and checking tasks pending on his tablet. This type of worker has to be constantly on the go, so the benefits of a multi-platform enterprise social network will help him to attain his work goals and to focus on his setting.

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  • Ana Asuero 9:00 am on May 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    How to solve Internal Communication problems with Enterprise Social Networks 

    Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

    How to solve Internal Communication problems with Enterprise Social NetworksDid you know that 60% of organisations’ problems are brought about by poor internal communication? These lead to conflict and situations which are detrimental to efficiency, productivity and the work environment. Zyncro seeks to solve these problems in companies by using social technology and implementing a new form of communication and collaboration between teams: Enterprise Social Networks.

    The importance of communication as a strategic value

    Internal communication is one of the main tools companies use to convey their values, vision and goals to their employees. It largely determines whether staff are aligned with corporate strategy and whether teams are effective and productive enough to successfully achieve the desired profit.

    According to this interpretation, communication is a tool that supports the business plan, providing consistency and integration between goals, plans and actions. Companies which afford it this strategic importance communicate internally to motivate their employees and keep them up to speed about their successes and failures, ensure that goals and objectives are well understood by all and gather contributions to enhance corporate processes and results.

    The challenge for organisations is to grasp that investment in this intangible asset – one which enables them to convey values and capital – is not only necessary to achieve their objectives but will also transform into business, process and sales benefits. How to solve a company’s internal communication problems in 3 steps

    The problems resulting from poor Internal Communication

    Many organisations still neglect their communication methods and refuse to invest in something that they continue to view as a cost. What are the consequences?

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  • Juan Ignacio Barenys 9:00 am on May 15, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Enterprise Social Network: combined showcase and monitoring centre 

    Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

    Enterprise Social Network: combined showcase and monitoring centre

    A few weeks ago I attended a forum organised by the Spanish People Management and Development Association (AEDIPE) at which a senior Telefónica executive brought up something which has not yet been given the attention it deserves: “We no longer find the most copious, reliable and up-to-date information about our employees in conventional sources and files, but rather on social networks.”

    It would be an exaggeration to say that the information we find on social networks is the most substantial, but it is true that what you can get there is much better than has been available up to now.

    Proper design and appropriate use of the social networks environment brings us two very important advantages:

    1. Information  you do not usually get through traditional channels. For example, our competitors’ customer satisfaction, demand for and inclusion of specific professional profiles in certain projects, a customer’s executive staff mobility, etc.
    2. The prospect of directly influencing areas of interest to our company, spreading the right news stories with clear-cut messages, building corporate image or contributing knowledge to prominent open forums.

    Every day there are nearly four hundred million tweets and Microsoft says that over 80% of Internet users regularly participate in social networks.

    This two-fold opportunity – monitoring centre and showcase at the same time – cannot be handled superficially, especially when you consider that reports say that 35% of users use social networks to find a product, thus ousting traditional search engines.

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  • Pedro Amador 9:00 am on May 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Expectations or How to Setting Real Goals 

    Estimated reading time: 12 minutes

    Expectations or How to Setting Real GoalsCongratulations! Welcome to my second post! You must be thinking: – Of course! What a silly observation! – Are you sure? Have you ever stopped to think of the reasons why you like a book? Why do some of them keep you reading from beginning to end? Is it the cover, the introduction, the author? There can be many answers. Some readers may also influence other readers. Then there are some people who are so busy they never open a book. There are also people who feel obliged to read a book until the end, even if it bores them to death.

    Let me raise the following question: What is it that makes you go on reading this post? Take your time to answer sincerely. As you know, there can be several different answers, such as: I had nothing better to read, or I was bored, or someone told me I’d love this post. Again, it’s only your answer that matters. It’s important to keep your answer inside your head until the end of this post.

    What’s the proper meaning of the concept of expectations and how do we control these expectations? In order to find the answer we could look the word up in a dictionary, or we could look it up on the Internet, but it’s always better if we use an example.

    Imagine a hot summer day; the kind of day where you can’t stop drinking cold water. Once you have run out of water, you go into a shop to buy a bottle of water. There’s a sign in the shop that says: “Large bottle of water, 1 dollar.”

    You ask the shopkeeper for a large bottle. Well, what do you know? The problem has begun and it’s possible that you haven’t even realized. What is the exact meaning of “large?” Does it mean the same thing to the shopkeeper as it does to you? It’s only an example but for me, a large bottle is a 1-liter bottle.

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  • Pedro Amador 9:00 am on April 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Ten steps to becoming a toxic boss 

    Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

    Ten steps to becoming a toxic boss Are you tired of being unsuccessful? Would you like to be loathed to death but be the one that generates the most revenue? If so, you need to painstakingly stick to the following ten rules that will help you on your way to becoming a toxic boss:

    1. It´s a good idea to keep your head down. Every day that goes by without being fired for making mistakes will increase your severance package as well as the power of your kingdom.

    2. Don’t complicate your life with change. Innovative ideas come and go and there’s no reason why you should put yourself at risk for anything that scares you.

    3. Don’t share your ideas with anyone. Too many people will want to jump on the bandwagon.

    4. Of course, you should automatically pass off any good ideas that your staff and colleagues have as your own in front of your bosses. There’s no need to name names; it all happens thanks to you.

    5. Don’t show any gratitude. People are paid for their work and that should be enough.

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