July 2011 21
Nearly 30 years later, Bananarama's haunting words once again ring true: it truly is a cruel, cruel summer...
...at least it is for those employers who say their workplaces are suffering from a decrease in employee productivity right now.
According to CareerBuilder’s recent survey on employee productivity, one in four employers (26 percent) think workers are less productive in the summer and nearly half (45 percent) think workers at their organization are currently burned out on their jobs.
Turns out, the reason employees seem burned out is because they are. (Shocking, right?)
Of the nearly 5,300 employees surveyed, 77 percent say they are sometimes or always burned out in their jobs, and 43 percent say their stress levels on the job have increased over the last six months.
The rising stress could be a result of heavier workloads. Nearly half (46 percent) of employees reported an increase in their workloads in the last six months, while only eight percent said their workloads decreased.
As if feelings of burnout aren’t enough to distract workers, summer provides its own special recipe for productivity disaster: Nicer weather, vacation-fever, and kids being out of school led the list of reasons employers felt their workers were less productive.
Productivity perceptions differ
The goodish news is that productivity is actually up from previous years...depending on who you ask: Looking at overall productivity trends year-round, 30 percent of the more than 2,600 employers surveyed say workers are more productive today than before the recession began; while 12 percent feel workers are less productive than before the recession.
Employers who saw a rise in worker productivity during the recession primarily attribute the increase to the fear of losing a job and the effects of downsized staffs on individual workloads. In addition, 73 percent are seeing the increase sustain today and 14 percent state productivity has increased even more.
“What words come to mind when I say “Gen Y”? Aaron Kesher asked the many SHRM 2011 attendees packed into the room. “Entitled!” shouted one person. “Job hoppers,” chimed in another. Soon, many in the room (many of them non-Gen Yers, with some Gen Y members sprinkled in) were shouting things like “smart,” “resume builders,” “technically savvy,” “stereotype,” “comfortable with change,” and “creative.”
Obviously, we all have specific words and phrases and ideas that match how we perceive Gen Y to think and behave in the workplace.
It may get you a cameo on a TLC reality show, but hoarding don’t do nothing for your career, y’all.
A new, very scientific survey by CareerBuilder shows hoarding can have a negative impact on your career. Nearly three-in-ten (28 percent) employers say they are less likely to promote someone who has a disorganized or messy work space.
This doesn’t bode well for the 33 percent of workers – men and women equally – who say they tend to be hoarders. And even though companies have shifted to a more digital workplace, more than half of workers (51 percent) say they still love killing trees have paper files in their office/desk.
But let’s back up a touch, shall we? What exactly makes someone a hoarder? Survey says…
- 38 percent say that, currently, between 50 to 100 percent of their desk surface is covered with work and other materials, while 16 percent of workers said 75 percent or more of their desk is covered. For shame!!
- 36 percent of workers say they have paper files from more than a year ago, 13 percent have files that are five years or older and six percent have files dating back more than 10 years. Heathens.
Is it really that big a deal? Well, yes, according to the survey. It seems employers don’t think any more of hoarders than they do of tattooed employees.
In the following interview, James D. Speros, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Fidelity, discusses the role trust and integrity play in an organization's success, a leader's role in setting the bar for innovation and creativity, and going beyond 'rocket flare' to connect with people.
How have you leveraged your brand to grow your business?
By making sure all our employees understand what the Fidelity brand stands for. There’s a lot of education and communication that we do internally. It’s not just a simple what I would call ‘rocket flare’ where you do it once and then you walk away from it. There’s ongoing communication and activity throughout the year connecting people to the tenets of the brand, letting people express what the brand means to them and how they live the brand with every interaction.
We also surround the organization visually with the green line, the simple metaphor for guidance in navigation. My fundamental philosophy is, “Leadership is the art of achieving results through people.” You can’t do it all yourself. You have to rely on your people to deliver on the brand promise and deliver results for the organization. [The role of the] leader is to provide the vision for where you need to get to, and be the champion for innovation and creativity.
What are the most important leadership lessons you've learned? Or what are the most important leadership principles that guide you?
The most important leadership lesson I’ve learned is very simple: Treating people like people, the way you would like to be treated, regardless of background; providing encouragement; and giving people the opportunity to express their opinions without fear of criticism. It’s so important to hold these values close to you and believe in them at all times. People can see through corporate messaging, and when you sincerely believe in what you do, your employees recognize that.
It’s common knowledge that getting the customer experience right is critical to business growth. So why do so many businesses still get it wrong? I recently had the opportunity to sit down with business expert and New York Times bestselling author Tim Sanders to talk about effective customer experience and customer relationship management strategies and how these apply to the staffing and recruiting industry.
"We believe in a concept called 'shadow of the leader.' We have huge amounts of transparency and communication with employees, and it starts at the top of the organization. ” - Leighanne Baker
In the following interview, The Hertz Corporation Senior Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer LeighAnne Baker discusses the Hertz concept of transparent communication and how the organization reinforces its employment brand to attract 'best in class' talent.
What is your philosophy as it relates to people and their impact on your daily business?
At Hertz we believe that the only long-term, sustainable, competitive advantage that a company can have is its people. This also includes the processes of how you get the work done in organizations. Competitive advantages like technology and supply can all be copied; you can’t copy the people side. At a company like Hertz that has 75,000 transactions a day, that equals 75,000 touch points to customers. That’s where the brand promise is delivered.
How do you engage and relate to your employees, and how do you spread that culture throughout the organization?
We believe in a concept called “shadow of the leader.” We have huge amounts of transparency and communication with employees, and it starts at the top of the organization. Site visits are also very much a part of the culture, where we do skip level meetings to understand what the issues are, what’s going well and what’s not going well. They’re actually part of the CEO’s personal objectives with the board, so there is close follow-up to understand exactly what the employees are telling us. We also have a communication tool kit that all managers receive in order to get a consistent message out to all employees. Finally, we use a third party to facilitate an internal survey to better understand our employees. The survey focuses on three platforms (asset management, customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction), and helps us keep a pulse on where employees are on the satisfaction scale.
If you’ve seen the movie Horrible Bosses, I’m hoping you did it because you lost a bet/got your money back/at least enjoyed your popcorn didn’t recognize yourself in any of the film's managers, played by Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Spacey and Colin Farrell.
If you’re not familiar with the film, which opened nationwide on Friday, here’s the gist: Three friends (played by Jason Sudeikis, Jason Bateman and Charlie Day), trapped in terrible jobs but afraid to quit due to the economy, plot to kill each others’ …wait for it…horrible bosses. As you can guess (unless you’ve never seen a Hollywood film ever), things don’t go exactly as planned, and hilarity ensues. (Or at least I’m sure what the director had in mind.)
For the most part, Horrible Bosses is a complete waste of an otherwise entertaining cast – and viewers’ time; however, if there's one redeeming quality about the movie, it's the lesson it teaches in what not to do as a manager. Despite the absurd characters and storyline, the movie brings to light one important truth: Many employers take unfair advantage of their employees’ work and time, falsely believing their employees are simply grateful to have a job.
Aside from the obvious offenses – blackmail, public humiliation, sexual abuse, cocaine-and-hooker benders - Horrible Bosses also reveals some not-so-obvious habits real-life managers need to break now (lest they don't want to stay managers for long).
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