Monthly Archives: June 2017

Why Glad to Have a BFF at Work?

Do you have a close friend at work? Research from job hunting platformGood&Co shows that 65 percent of workers maintain a tight-knit friendship with at least one co-worker. These types of relationships can boost employee satisfaction and engagement, and it shows. Good&Co’s researchers found that 54 percent of employers believe strong work relationships help improve company culture.

“Relationships matter because they help us feel connected, making us more motivated and productive,” Catherine Fisher, LinkedIn’s senior director of global integrated marketing and communications, wrote in a blog post. “It’s much easier to share feedback with someone if you have built up a solid rapport, or ask someone for advice if you have invested in the relationship.”

The research showed that employees increasingly value a positive social and cultural environment at work, nearly as much as good compensation. About 36 percent of workers say they look forward to going to work when they work with a friend, and 31 percent feel stronger and more valued. The researchers found that people with a best friend at work are 7 times more likely to be fully engaged and productive. On the flipside, isolated workers tend to harbor negative emotions which can be counterproductive and damaging to that employee’s contributions to the overall team. An engaging, friendly environment is key to reaching out to those employee’s who would otherwise find themselves isolated and disconnected from the larger group.

Workplace friendships don’t just stay in the workplace, either. After work hours 59 percent of office friends communicate face-to-face, 50 percent speak with one another via a messaging app, and 42 percent interact on social media. Work friends, then, are often real life friends. Translating that support to the workplace can be vital for many employees.

“I’m not suggesting we all start texting our managers at any hour about our latest crush or favorite new shirt, but it does indicate that our growing workforce wants to have more of a connection,” Fisher wrote.

Managers can do their part as well to foster an inclusive social environment at work. By leveling with workers not just as subordinates, but taking a real interest in their lives, managers can begin to foster the type of culture that values social bonding. Fisher offered several tips to help managers who aren’t comfortable with becoming too personal with their employees, while also helping to ensure their millennial employees feel connected:

  • Don’t limit conversations to email or formal meetings. Take awalking meeting. Walking meetings are part of LinkedIn’s culture, and they are popular because people tend to relax during a walk, which allows for a more open and creative discussion. Plus, not having a phone or computer interrupt you every second allows you to be more focused on the person you are talking to, and ultimately more connected, Fisher said.
  • Take an interest in their personal lives. While you may not want to give relationship advice, you should have an interest in your teammates as people. Take a few minutes during every one-on-one meeting to connect on a personal level. If your colleague always jets out with her yoga mat, ask her about it. Work is only a part of who people are. If you get to know people’s other passions, it may give you a glimpse into what motivates them.
  • Congratulate, share and like. A simple gesture on social media can do wonders for employee morale. Think how great it feels to get “a job well done” email from your boss, and then imagine having the same recognition shared with your network. It feels great to get acknowledged for your hard work, and by sharing it publicly, you also help to build your professional brand.

Android 8.0 Oreo is good for business?

Google Pixel Smartphone, business technology, android oA new version of Android looks ready to make workers more productive. Dubbed Android 8.0 Oreo, the update promises longer battery life, improved messaging and time-saving gesture controls.

Here’s a rundown of the features that business users can look forward to.

Even the best business phone won’t get you very far if it’s always running out of juice. Android Oreo is expected to help your smartphone run longer by setting strict limits on what applications can do while they’re running in the background.

Specifically, the software update will cap the number of background services and location updates that can be performed at once, or in a specified period of time, which Google says will help stretch your phone’s daily endurance.

Previously, muting alerts from an Android app was an all or nothing affair. With Android Oreo, a feature called Notification Channels can break alerts down into categories so you can silence only the unnecessary alerts when you want to be free from distractions. For example, a chat app might separate individual conversations into channels, so you can choose which to get alerts from. That’s pretty handy, since a buzzing, beeping smartphone can be a real distraction. It will be up to developers to determine how each individual app breaks content down into channels, though.

Filling out online forms can be a time-consuming drag, especially when you’re typing on a touchscreen keyboard. Android 8.0 Oreo will save precious time by providing new tools to autofill common information, such as your name, address, company info, and even usernames and passwords.

Essentially, the platform will allow you to choose an autofill app as a system-wide provider of auto filing services. That means existing autofill apps will become more reliable and easier to use without the need to fuss with accessibility settings or permissions inside your Android phone’s options.

With Android Oreo, Google maps will communicate with other apps on your phone to help you get where you need to be. Say a client texts you the address of a restaurant where you plan to meet for lunch. Instead of copying and pasting that address into Google Maps, you’ll simply tap the address to instantly open the maps app, complete with turn-by-turn directions.

Gesture controls could prove to be a small, timesaver in Android Oreo. The feature will let users trigger actions in Android by drawing out shapes on screen with their finger. For example, drawing the letter C could launch your contacts app so you can make a quick phone call. That means you might spend less time swiping around your phone’s interface and more time being productive.

How often have you been in a video chat on your phone only to realize you need to send a quick text or email? In Android 8.0 Oreo, that type of multitasking won’t be a problem, thanks to Picture-in-Picture. This feature is exactly what it sounds like: It allows you to minimize one screen within another so you can still see the person you’re talking to as you text, email or take notes.

Smart Text Selection is a new feature business owners are sure to love because it makes copying and pasting text a lot easier. In Android Oreo, all you need to do is double-tap on part of an address, phone number or restaurant name and the Smart Text Selection tool will automatically highlight and copy the relevant information for you. This feature will also suggest second steps, so if you copy and paste an address, it might ask if you’d like to see directions to that address in Maps, which is a great time saver.

Android Oreo has lots of security features that business owners will like, and Google Play Protect is one of them. Google Play Protect puts security in your hands for more control and peace of mind. When you access this security feature on a device running Android Oreo, you can see exactly when the last security scan ran, as well as its results. You’ll also get warnings if you accidentally try to download an app that doesn’t look secure. Plus, the Find My Device feature (which is available on all Android devices now) makes it possible to remotely locate your phone, turn it off or on, or even erase all the data on it if it’s lost for good.

At Google I/O 2017 (the Google developer’s conference), the company announced that it’s working on a new project called Android Go. Android Go is like a pared-down version of Android Oreo, and while you probably won’t be using it in your business, it could have a huge global impact.

The biggest difference between Android Oreo and Android Go is that Android Go is built to run using very little storage space. In fact, it will only be put on phones that have 1GB of memory or less. Memory is one of the most expensive components in a smartphone, so by eliminating the need for lots of memory, Google will effectively create a cheaper smartphone that will run lite versions of different apps. Android Go phones could completely change the technological landscape of developing countries and rural areas. The low-cost phones are slated to start shipping in 2018.

Android Oreo is not yet on all Android phones yet, but it has been released into the wild. Until recently it was in beta.

What is Industrial-Organization Psychology?

Industrial-organizational (I/O) psychology focuses on the behaviors of individuals in the workplace. I/O psychologists can be great additions to companies looking to improve the well-being of their employees, as well as increase the efficiency and productivity of their workers across the organization.

As the name implies, I/O psychology is split into two parts: industrial and organizational. While the two sides of this field study similar things, they focus on different perspectives and apply what they’ve learned in different ways.

The industrial side of I/O psychology “examines specific problems and issues that companies have to deal with,” said J. Michael Crant, professor of management and organization in the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame.

Industrial psychologists can help organizations with the following tasks:

Hiring. After studying a company’s culture and work processes, industrial psychologists have a well-educated idea of what type of employee will work best with the way the business already works. Industrial psychologists can help with many parts of the hiring process, including creating interview questions that can help hiring managers identify the best candidates for certain positions. When using industrial psychology for hiring, Amy Cooper Hakim, founder of the Cooper Strategic Group, suggested considering the values, personality and motivation of the applicant.

Training. To keep things running smoothly, businesses need to make sure their employees have the skills and knowledge they need to do their jobs. Industrial psychologists can identify missing skills among employees and create effective training to help fill these gaps.

Employee efficiency. By studying human behavior from the top of the business down, industrial psychologists can identify ways to make jobs more efficient and employees more productive for the overall good of the company.

According to Crant, organizational psychology generally addresses bigger-picture issues. Organizational psychologists want to motivate the workforce and create stronger teamwork, he said.

Various studies have shown that employees who feel comfortable, safe and happy at work are more productive and efficient. If you don’t feel you’re getting everything you could be out of your employees, organizational psychologists may be able to help. These are some areas these professionals could assist you in:

Employee satisfaction. Organizational psychologists study employee behaviors and attitudes to gauge overall employee satisfaction. Using their findings, psychologists then suggest changes to improve employees’ well-being and happiness at work, which makes for more productive employees.

Work-life balance. If organizational psychologists find that employees are stressed or unhappy, they may suggest work-life balance programs to ease the stress on employees, thereby helping them to produce not just more work, but better work. Successful work-life balance programs decrease turnover rates and burnout while increasing motivation and commitment.

Decreased job stress. A major difference between organizational and industrial psychology is where the psychologist focuses their point of view. Where the industrial side works from the top of the organization down, organizational psychologists work from the bottom up. By doing this, they may be able to provide helpful suggestions on managerial practices, company organization and other elements that might be creating job stress.

If you own a small business and only have five to 10 employees, it might not be worth the investment to hire an I/O psychologist. However, for midsize and large businesses, these professionals are a valuable asset if you want to increase the satisfaction and productivity of your employees. However, depending on the scale of your company and the work that you feel needs to be done, you might not want to hire an I/O psychologist in-house. A consultant might be a better fit for you. Here are some pointers to help you identify what type of I/O psychologist is best for you.

An in-house psychologist is best if …

  • You have a large, global organization.
  • You want to develop ongoing training programs.
  • You need to do long-lasting studies of workplace culture in multiple locations.

An I/O consultant is best if …

  • You have a smaller organization.
  • You only want to study one particular area or department.
  • You need only limited information and don’t have ongoing work available for an in-house psychologist.

One way to introduce I/O psychology into your organization without hiring a professional on-staff is by conducting personality assessments with your employees. Analyzing the results of these tests (typically in the form of a report compiled by the company administering the test) can help managers and their teams learn how to better work with each other based on individual preferences, work styles and behaviors. Juli Weber, organizational development manager at Business News Daily’s parent company, Purch, administered a test called the DiSC Assessment to the company’s employees, which she found to be an effective tool.

“We use it to help people understand two things,” Weber said. “First of all, employees understand themselves and recognize how they communicate. Along with that, there’s this awareness that others communicate differently than you do. If I communicate in one way and I’m speaking to an … employee who speaks in a different communication style than I do, I can adjust myself to be more effective.”

Hakim added that personality assessments can be used to help screen applicants as a “multiple-hurdle approach” to hiring, or to help develop employees.

These are some common personality tests you can purchase:

  • DiSC Assessment: This test identifies communication styles in the workplace and helps employees understand how to more effectively work together and talk to each other. Learn more about using the DiSC model in this Business News Daily article.
  • Myer-Briggs: Also known as the MBTI, this test puts you into one of 16 different personality types to help you understand how you perceive the world and why you make decisions. Though this is a popular test, there is some controversy surrounding it, according to Crant, since it doesn’t always produce the same results when someone takes the test multiple times.
  • Predictive Index: The Predictive Index, or PI, is a short, simple test that helps you understand your employees’ behaviors at work. This can help you align goals and improve efficiency.
  • Five-Factor Model of Personality: The FFM separates people into the “big five” traits – extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and openness to experience.

While the data from these test results can be highly useful, Weber warns that personality tests aren’t for every company.

“You do have to be careful that [the test results] don’t become a form of segregation. You have to be careful that you’re not stereotyping,” she said. “If your culture is not where you can support that in a healthy way, I don’t recommend you bring it on board. There are probably other things you should clean up first.”

It’s important to note that attempting to analyze the results of any personality tests on your own, without the help of a professional, can lead to controversy and misunderstandings within your organization, so we advise that you consult a professional psychologist before you administer or share the results of any personality tests in your workforce. You can learn more about I/O psychology and find qualified professionals by visiting the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology website.

3 Tips for Training Leaders Working with Remote Teams

Working remotely is becoming more and more popular, which means that leadership now happens virtually for many teams. Whether an on-site manager works with remote employees or the leaders work remotely themselves, leading people you don’t see face-to-face every day requires a slightly different skill set. When you’re working across time zones and everyone’s interacting from behind their screens, communication becomes even more paramount.

Training leaders to manage remote workers effectively is vital to the success of any remote work program, according to Sara Sutton Fell, CEO and founder of FlexJobs. In general, a remote leader’s focus needs to be managing based on results and processes rather than face time, which is so often relied upon in traditional office settings.

Sutton Fell and other leaders of remote workforces offered their best advice on developing managers who work effectively with dispersed teams.

One of the most useful areas of remote leadership training is proactive communication practices amongst teams and colleagues, said Sutton Fell.

“Proactive communication – taking the initiative to reach out when an idea, question or challenge comes up, rather than waiting to be asked or waiting for a scheduled meeting – can really help to develop a more transparent, open management process, as well as build trust and prevent problems from going unnoticed,” she said.

“It’s exponentially harder for a remote leader to manage a team, compared with a leader who is managing a team in person,” added Phil Shawe, co-founder and co-CEO of translation services company TransPerfect. “To manage a team from a remote location, it’s best to make a strong effort to keep in touch with that employee.”

Leaders can proactively communicate by holding regular and individual meetings specifically to address questions and help solve problems (not just to give a laundry list of updates), and by setting guidelines so all team members know which communication method – email, phone, IM, video conference, etc. – to use in certain circumstances. For instance, Shawe advised against using email to convey “feelings” or any important updates that might invite a lot of follow-up questions.

Bryan Miles, CEO of Belay, added that remote leaders must also learn to communicate the “why” of important tasks and projects more than the “what,” “when” and “how.”

“When the leader is not accessible, any hardworking adults can fill in the blank of the ‘what,’ ‘when’ and ‘how’ when they know the ‘why,'” Miles said.

Another big piece of the puzzle is training leaders to translate the company’s culture for their remote team members. Shawe noted that creating a culture that fosters true leadership is hard enough to do when you’re in the same office as someone, and it gets harder the more remote the team becomes.

When Sutton Fell started FlexJobs as a remote company, she was very conscientious in considering how to translate the best traditional office elements and activities to a virtual environment. She advised reaching out to employees regularly to engage in casual conversations – like water-cooler conversations that might happen in the physical office.

Whether it’s once a month, once a quarter or twice a year, Shawe said remote leaders should get on the plane to attend a meeting at the company headquarters. This way, they will be able to interact with the rest of their team in person and receive sufficient training for the skills they need. In addition to this, remote leaders should use common conference (industry or internal training) to increase face-to-face opportunities.

Sutton Fell said leadership training needs to focus on “best practices,” regardless of whether the leader is remote or on-site.

“Successful leaders focus on communication and culture, challenge and empower their team members, focus on short- and long-term strategy, and the list can go on,” she said. “These are all the same approaches that I’ve used to lead in on-site roles.”