TED Talks We believe that we should work to be happy, but could that be backwards? In this fast-moving and entertaining talk, psychologist Shawn Achor argues that actually happiness inspires productivity.
Nouns formed from other parts of speech are called nominalizations. Academics love them; so do lawyers, bureaucrats and business writers. I call them “zombie nouns” because they cannibalize active verbs, suck the lifeblood from adjectives and substitute abstract entities for human beings:
The proliferation of nominalizations in a discursiveformation may be an indication of a tendency towardpomposity and abstraction.
The sentence above contains no fewer than seven nominalizations, each formed from a verb or an adjective. Yet it fails to tell us who is doing what. When we eliminate or reanimate most of the zombie nouns (tendency becomes tend, abstraction becomes abstract) and add a human subject and some active verbs, the sentence springs back to life:
Writers who overload their sentences with nominalizations tend to sound pompous and abstract.
Only one zombie noun – the key word nominalizations – has been allowed to remain standing.
In some organizations, incompetent employees are shuffled from department to department while managers hope they either improve by magic, or “get the hint” and leave. This may seem easier than terminating the employee, but the practice doesn’t help anyone.
- Document performance thoroughly. Keep a log of the employee’s performance (and lack of performance).
- Keep communication lines open. Don’t ignore or freeze out the employee.
- Experiment with different roles. Try placing the employee in a new job.
- Watch your own attitude. Don’t gripe about the employee to the rest of your staff.
- Quirkiness. Creative, innovative employees often seem a little bit “off.” - Not tied to their job descriptions. Look for evidence of curiosity and a willingness to follow questions wherever they lead, and support their desire to stretch themselves with assignments outside the norm. - Healthy competitive streak. Performers at the top of their game tend to have a strong desire to prove themselves. - Willingness to share credit.They’re the people who are focused on results, not personal rewards, and who have leadership potential. - Discretion with complaints.
What’s the reasoning behind HR strict control of pay decisions?
- Managers can’t be trusted to spend the company’s money effectively or efficiently - Managers tend to make emotional vs. business decisions, therefore increasing company costs - Tight budget control is necessary to ensure that inappropriate decisions don’t overplay available funds.
Over time, such a restrictive environment will have negative repercussions - for the manager, the candidates and ultimately for the business itself.
Managers aren’t allowed to manage pay for their employees. They do what they’re told. This is where the finger pointing starts. - Decisions about the worth of a candidate are made by “bean counters,” outsiders, and not those better able to assess the impact of a candidate’s background and experience. - Internal equity can become distorted as policy over principle restricts managers from taking corrective action to balance pay between employee experience / performance levels. - Managers aren’t allowed to develop professionally when missing a key element of their responsibilities. The next generation of leaders is not being prepared. - Managers lose faith in Human Resources. HR becomes an adversary.
Sense-making, social intelligence, novel & adaptive thinking, cross-cultural competency, computational thinking, new-media literacy, transdisciplarity, design mindset, cognitive load management, virtual collaboration. These are the 10 skills needed for the future workforce. For a full report, see the work done by Apollo Research Institute (formerly the University of Phoenix Research Institute) looking at http://cdn.theatlantic.com/static/front/docs/sponsored/phoenix/future_work_skills_2020.pdf
So, why don’t companies just provide more opportunities to more people? It really comes down to three things:
1. Managers - In most companies, managers are still the first line of input into who gets opportunities and their recommendations may be influenced by personal bias or self-interest. 2. Lack of visibility - Although many companies track performance information about people in a particular role, they typically lack visibility into broader capabilities or aptitudes - which brings us back to relying on managers. 3. Limited thinking - Opportunities to lead don’t require a promotion or changing to a new role but providing everyday leadership opportunities requires a new way of thinking and managing people.
This is the talent crunch. It’s a complex and frustrating challenge and it’s being felt worldwide. To give a measure of the scale of the problem: more CEOs are changing talent management strategies than, for example, adjusting approaches to risk: 23% expect ‘major change’ to the way they manage their talent. And skills shortages are seen as a top threat to business expansion.
Talent shortages and mismatches are impacting profitability now. One in four CEOs said they were unable to pursue a market opportunity or have had to cancel or delay a strategic initiative because of talent. One in three is concerned that skills shortages impacted their company’s ability to innovate effectively.
Two-thirds of this potential value lies in improving collaboration and communication within and across enterprises. The average interaction worker spends an estimated 28 percent of the workweek managing e-mail and nearly 20 percent looking for internal information or tracking down colleagues who can help with specific tasks. But when companies use social media internally, messages become content; a searchable record of knowledge can reduce, by as much as 35 percent, the time employees spend searching for company information. Additional value can be realized through faster, more efficient, more effective collaboration, both within and between enterprises.
1. Shortage of skilled labour. Companies or organisations that are perceived to be attractive employers will have an easier time to recruit top talent.
2. More with less: a mantra coined during this economic downturn, there is high pressure to cut costs and increase productivity, which has made the need to get the right people in the right jobs even more crucial.
3. Growth & profitability: hiring and retaining top performers is essential for growth and to maintain a competitive edge.
4. Popularity: research on the talent market reveals that graduates and professionals want to work for companies with great reputations; they often turn to family members, friends or colleagues for advice and approval when making a decision about which employers to consider.
5. Strength: being an attractive employer provides a company or organisation more bargaining power, as employees will want to work for them more than anyone else, even those that have rare or most in demand skills—irrespective of salary levels.
Employer Branding – a five step process:
1. Research: to understand where an employer is positioned in the employment market and to determine the appropriate action plan is fundamental.
2. Employer Value Proposition (EVP): the company or organisation needs a unique employer offer.
3. Communication strategy: the development of a communication strategy is always based on research findings and a well-defined EVP.
4. Communication Solutions: the aim at this step is to express the employer value proposition (EVP) by using the right words and images, so it becomes consistent with the corporate identity and branding efforts.
5. Action: implementing all the steps and monitoring closely what works and needs to be adjusted along the way is the final stage. It is of great importance at this point that the organisation sets targets on what they want to achieve with the planned activities in a clear and measurable way.
- Technology continues to escalate the pace of change and alter the nature and structure of work itself, but the work environment and experience aren’t keeping pace. - Cost pressures are intense and increasing in many parts of the world, putting even more pressure on already busy workers to do more with less. - Companies continue to shift costs and risk to employees, especially in developed countries with high labor cost structures. - Employees, even at entry levels, are showing more interest in security and express doubts about their future in terms of retirement preparedness, career growth and advancement, and the rewards available to them for their efforts on behalf of their employers. - Employees everywhere are working more hours, taking less time off and experiencing higher levels of stress.
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