• Survey Finds Creative Excuses for not Showing up at the Office

    Yesterday's blog reported on a recent study on work/life balance by Citrix with Wakefield Research to get a glimpse of modern office life. Respondents were asked about excuses given to avoid going into the office. Instead of saying "I'm sick" survey respondents offered the following excuses:

    • "My bicycle ran out of gas!"
    • "It's cloudy outside"
    • "My numerologist told me not to come in"
    • "My cat hid my car keys"
    • "I have a hangnail"
    • "All my clothes are in the washer right now, I have nothing to wear"
    • "Stumbled on the love of my life"
    • "Drank too much Sunkist and was too tired to come in"
    •  "Toenail issue"
    • "Allergic to office"

    See more excuses in the attached file.

    Why do you think employees offer excuses, instead of saying, "I'm sick"?

  • Study Reveals Workers Need a Break from the Office

    Citrix, recently conducted a study on work/life balance with Wakefield Research to get a glimpse of modern office life. One of the top frustrations identified by more than 1,000 employees surveyed was "a boss that takes credit for our work." In order to avoid the boss, 30 percent planned their own vacation time opposite their boss' vacation to maximize time away from their manager. Obviously, some employees are dreaming about working for a new manager. When asked about TV bosses, office workers would most like to work for Gibbs from -NCIS‖ (20%), Miranda Bailey from -Grey's Anatomy‖ (15%) and Buddy from -Cake Boss‖ (14%).

    Workers care about their work, with 72 percent saying they would respond immediately to an urgent work email while on vacation. They are willing to work outside the office, with 64 percent of workers who have never worked remotely willing to give up at least one significant benefit in order to work from home just one day a week. Maybe people working at home do so because they can relax while on the job. Those that work from home dress casually. "Nearly half (49%) of those who have worked from home say they're most likely to wear jeans and a t-shirt when on the job - on the couch." (See more results from the survey in the attached file.)

    Which TV boss would you most like to work for? Why?

    • Gibbs from -NCIS
    • Miranda Bailey from -Grey's Anatomy
    • Buddy from -Cake Boss‖
  • Create a Visual Resume

    Some people are supplementing their traditional resumes with visual resumes. Three sites that visualize your resume for free are Vizualize Me, Re.Vu, and ResumUp.

    Vizualize.Me "enables people to express their professional accomplishments in a simple yet compelling personal visualization." You can connect your Vizualize.Me account to your LinkedIn account, which makes building a Vizualize.Me resume easier to build.  When complete, you can share it on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Also, you can order a t-shirt with your resume timeline on it!

    Re.Vu (pronounced "review") offers a "dynamic, interactive, and visual resume." Enter the information, or link to your LinkedIn account and let Re.Vu get the information automatically.

    ResumUP "is a service for personal data visualization aimed to set a new standard in career management, online and social recruiting," as seen in this video.

    Have you considered supplementing your traditional resume with a visual resume? What is the future of resumes?

  • Top Cities for New College Graduates

    New college graduates must decide where to work and where to live. Apartments.com, a leading Internet apartment listing subscription service, and CareerBuilder.com, the nation's largest online career site, compiled a list of the "Top 15 Best Cities for Recent College Graduates."  Entry-level jobs, higher starting pay, lower metropolitan unemployment, and cheaper rents for a one-bedroom apartment were considered. Young professionals have the best chance of starting their careers in these 15 cities.

    Are you willing to relocate to find a job? Choose a city. What are the job opportunities in your current field? What is the unemployment rate? What is the average annual entry-level salary? What is the average annual one-bedroom rent?

    Sources: Blog at http://www.apartments.com/blog/apartments-com/apartments-com-and-careerbuilder-reveal-fifth-annual-top-10-best-cities-for-new-grads/ and Press Release at http://markets.financialcontent.com/streetinsider/news/read?GUID=21417267

  • Microsoft Surface Challenges Apple iPad

    Microsoft introduced a tablet challenger to the Apple iPad (June 18, 2011). Microsoft, a software company, makes money by charging licensing fees to hardware manufacturers who put Windows operating system and other software applications on their machines. Apple makes money by making the software and the hardware for its gadgets. Thus, for the first time in its 37-year history, Microsoft will manufacture a computer.

    Producing its own tablet is a major turning point for Microsoft.

    Is this a new strategy or a new tactic for Microsoft?

    What will happen to Microsoft's relationship with PC makers investing to develop their own Windows 8 tablets? Does Microsoft lack confidence in the ability of its PC partners to design alternatives to the iPad? Does Microsoft want more control to ensure Windows plays a major role in the mobile computing market?

  • Leadership Tips from David Novak, Chairman and CEO of Yum! Brands

    Below are four tips for delivering growth from David Novak's book, Taking People with You: The Only Way to Make BIG Things Happen. He is Chairman and CEO of Yum! Brands.   

    BE HUMBLE.  "Recognize that nothing gets done by you alone," Novak states.  "So you need to know who's on your team the same way a marketer knows its target audience.  Know your people cold.  What's in their heads?  What are they thinking?  And then you've got to say, 'Okay, to take them with me to achieve this strategy, what perceptions or beliefs do I have to build, change or reinforce to get them to come along?' " 

    GROW YOURSELF.  "Never stop learning," urges Novak, as he cites John Wooden, legendary UCLA basketball coach as an example.  "When he was winning national championships, he met with and studied extra-tall people and coaches of extra-tall people.  He was still focusing on growing himself.  I think when you do that, you'll end up growing your business because you'll be sharpening your skills and be able to apply that personal growth to growing your business." 

    WIPE OUT "NOT INVENTED HERE" SYNDROME. "Often when you have success, you get so insular that you don't go outside and look to see what other people are doing," Novak says.  "I tell people one of the ways you get promoted in our company is to be a know-how builder, to get knowledge from other people and make yourself (and the company) smarter." 

    MAKE YOUR CULTURE A HERO.  "When we started our company, I had a chance to do a gigantic do-over, because we had been part of PepsiCo," he explains.  "So we looked at some of the best companies in the world at that time - Walmart, Home Depot, Target and Southwest Airlines.  Every one of them said the key to their success was their culture.  You want to make it clear what you value in your company and then recognize the people role-modeling that behavior.  Then, make culture the hero of all the good things that happen in your company.  As a CEO, you have to be the culture champion."

     How can you use these four tips from a successful CEO?

    In the video, Chris Brogan interviews David Novak explains, "To find out more about who people are and what they think, one of my favorite questions to ask is, "What would you do if you had my job?"

    What do you think of that question?

  • Customer Service Most Discussed Social Media Topic

    Customer service and topics related to customer service issues account for the majority of conversations shared on social media in 2011. The research was conducted by Attensity, a text analytics service and customer experience solutions provider, and published by eMarketer. Graphics about topics of messages in the banking industry and hotels can be seen below.

    Managers know that customers will share good, as well as bad, customer service information. How should managers respond to customer service-oriented discussions? What do you think will be the most discussed topic on social media during 2012?

  • The 40-Hour Workweek

    Technology is increasing efficiency. As a result, the standard 40-hour workweek should decrease. However, many people still work more than 40 hours a week. How many hours do you want to work in a week?

  • Colin Powell on Leadership

    Colin Powell, the four-star general, former secretary of state, and national security officer shares lessons and stories for life and leadership in his book It Worked for Me. He gathered his thirteen rules from his years in public service.

    Thirteen Rules:

    1. It ain't as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.
    2. Get mad, then get over it.
    3. Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.
    4. It can be done!
    5. Be careful what you choose. You may get it.
    6. Don't let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.
    7. You can't make someone else's choices. You shouldn't let someone else make yours.
    8. Check small things.
    9. Share credit.
    10. Remain calm. Be kind.
    11. Have a vision. Be demanding.
    12. Don't take counsel of your fears or naysayers.
    13. Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.

    Colin Powell adhered to the thirteen rules in his career. Which of Colin Powell's thirteen rules will work for you?

  • Engage Employees

    Engaged employees deliver better performance, understand their role in the business strategy, have a strong connection and commitment to the company, are more involved, and strive to go above and beyond in their jobs. Aon Hewitt, a global human resources solutions company, defines engagement as the state of emotional and intellectual involvement that motivates employees to do their best work. The 2012 Global Engagement report (attached), which analyzed employee engagement trends of more than 3,100 organizations representing 9.7 million employees worldwide, found a positive shift in employee engagement worldwide. The top engagement drives across the world are career opportunities, employee recognition, and organization reputation.

    Based on this research, Aon Hewitt recommends the following actions to improve and drive a holistic engagement strategy.

    Create employee growth opportunities: With a contracted job market, employees are increasingly looking to their current employers for job enrichment opportunities. However, in developed economies, cutbacks on everything from training budgets to reductions in force have left employees frustrated, disillusioned, and less engaged. Employees around the world understand that career opportunities in the traditional sense may be more difficult to secure during a sluggish economy, but that does not change how important this driver is to them. Employers should develop more creative or less traditional growth opportunities and help employees re-navigate expectations around development that supports business needs-lateral moves, special assignments, cross-functional training, etc.

    Recognize people's efforts and performance: In today's environment, where organizations are hamstrung by sluggish sales and the continued need for efficiency gains, employees appreciate and are motivated by recognition, often simple feedback from the manager for doing a good job. Employees are motivated by nonmonetary recognition-an important factor for employers to keep in mind. This type of recognition doesn't carry a cost, and it is very important to employees.

    Connect with your employees: Communicate and promote organizational reputation at every opportunity. Employees continue to be engaged when their organizations remain focused on strategies to be successful in the current environment, and in particular when organizations link employees' everyday activities to the strategic imperatives of their organizations-even better, when they link to missions that give meaning and purpose (e.g., a hospital that saves lives, a consulting firm that improves the workplace of the future). Employees want to work for companies that manage performance in a strategically aligned way, and that are known as good organizations to work for. This represents a significant opportunity for organizations to improve the frequency, effectiveness, and relevance of their communications to employees.

    Using the top engagement drivers - career opportunities, employee recognition, and organizational reputation - outline an engagement improvement plan.

  • Express Information Visually

    TMI - Too much information. Employees are overloaded with information. So, if a manager can communicate the information in visual form employees have a better chance of understanding and remembering the information. Many companies are using infographics to depict their research. Also, magazines and newspapers use graphics and slides to visually tell a story. WIRED uses charticles (chart plus article), as seen below in "Seafood Express."

    If managers choose to visually represent information, how can they make sure that employees read the information, not just look at it?

  • Negotiation Skills Pay Off

    We all negotiate, but some people, such as CEOs, have better negotiation skills than others. Good negotiators get the job and get the raise. You can improve your negotiation skills. Professor Michael Colatrella teaches mediation and negotiation skills at the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law. In this video, he covers content from his Negotiation Seminar.

    The essential skills in negotiation are goal setting and preparation. Goals should be optimistic, but realistic. Have a number in mind for your goal, such as a $2,000 raise or two weeks of vacation. You will have less chance of being taken advantage of if you prepare. Prepare by knowing what you are worth based on your performance, your peers, and the industry. Then, have a picture of how you want the interview to end.

    Three negotiation styles are high, firm; high, flexible; and fair, firm. Studies have shown the high, flexible is the most successful. Ask for as high as you can credibly ask, based on your preparation (research). If you want a $2,000 raise, start at $5,000, and the boss might counter at something higher, say at $2,500. When you are flexible and negotiate higher, you can influence the middle.

    Do you ask for as much as you deserve? If not, how can you improve your negotiation skills?

  • Corporate Reputation is Driven by Corporate Culture

    An employee resigned at Goldman Sachs in a very public way. In March, he sent a letter to the New York Times calling the firm "toxic" and disrespectful of its clients. MWW used the open resignation letter in a survey to explore the connections between corporate reputation and corporate culture. The study found that three out of four business leaders believe corporate reputation is substantially driven by internal corporate culture, yet only 5 percent think their organization’s culture is strong enough to preclude reputational crisis. (Read the full report.)

    Listed below are some of the findings of surveyed business leaders' reactions to the scathing open resignation letter.

    • 77% believed the letter had a negative impact on Goldman Sachs’ reputation
    • Only 3% strongly believed that this was an isolated incident of a single disgruntled employee and not representative of the culture at Goldman Sachs
    • 66% expect to see more of these situations with other companies in the future

    “Nearly every week a major company is in the news with a culture related crisis, and this study demonstrates a growing acknowledgement of the connection between internal culture and external reputation,” said Carreen Winters, executive vice president, reputation management of MWW Group. “Yet all too often, reputation management programs focus exclusively or predominantly on engaging with external stakeholders. Positive, productive cultures don’t just happen; they are cultivated and nurtured over time. Communications can be a powerful and effective tool for connecting the dots between internal and external stakeholders, and for creating the kind of culture that serves as the foundation of a bulletproof reputation.”

    What is reputation management? How should managers incllude employees in reputation management programs?