Workplace Insight https://workplaceinsight.net Fri, 21 Feb 2020 09:00:51 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://workplaceinsight.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/cropped-Insight_logo_only-3-144x144.jpg Workplace Insight https://workplaceinsight.net 32 32 What happens when leaders have too much charisma? https://workplaceinsight.net/what-happens-when-leaders-have-too-much-charisma/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=what-happens-when-leaders-have-too-much-charisma Fri, 21 Feb 2020 00:55:24 +0000 https://workplaceinsight.net/?p=51217 When a leader with charisma becomes so strong and confident that they dominate their teams to the extent that others simply never question their decisions, you’d better hope that that leader is always right and is leading you in the right direction. Sadly, the opposite is usually true. Leaders who cut themselves off from bad […]

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charismaWhen a leader with charisma becomes so strong and confident that they dominate their teams to the extent that others simply never question their decisions, you’d better hope that that leader is always right and is leading you in the right direction. Sadly, the opposite is usually true. Leaders who cut themselves off from bad news or challenge, quickly lose sight of the real drivers of success, or the drivers of failure, and a slow and tortured decline usually ensues. They even become blind to the dangers facing them, person-ally, because of excessive confidence.

Diverse views, born of genuine diversity in the team, are key to agility and innovation, which are more critical in an age of rapid change. If a charismatic leader uses their charisma in the wrong way, they might encourage team members to think that disagreement is disloyalty. Leaders who use charisma in the right way will encourage team members to speak up, in the knowledge that this serves two useful purposes. First, it is most likely the best way to improve outcomes for the team. Second, it will help people to feel valued and keep their levels of motivation high.

Blind followers who are loyal to their charismatic leader will almost certainly lead to poor decision-making

Blind followers who are loyal to their charismatic leader will almost certainly lead to poor decision-making, and even allow for unethical behaviour by the leader. Too much charisma can dilute good judgement, because it can be based on emotional manipulation, which disallows more rational points of view, or causes people to keep quiet when they know they should be speaking up.

Glib charm can make people think that some leaders are charismatic, and this can hide their worst tendencies. Being highly manipulative, or hugely egocentric, might not sound like terrible sins, but they are when put to the wrong purpose. Charismatic leaders who are well-balanced can inspire us to work together for a common cause, they can create a great sense of team among high-performing individuals, and they can enable huge levels of agility and creativity by fostering trust and dialogue.

At their worst, charismatic leaders – bereft of humility – may develop tunnel vision and cut themselves off from what matters most in their organization. They will be unwilling to learn from their mistakes and become unresponsive to team members or other stakeholders. There’s always a danger that charismatic leaders who lack ethics could be committing all kinds of violations. Team members may turn a blind eye and fail to report transgressions.

Even when things are going well, if a charismatic manager leaves, this can be hugely disruptive to the team. Overdependence on a leader can inhibit the development of a competent successor. Charisma alone is not enough Charisma without ethics can lead us to dangerous and dark places, at worst, and charisma without the other essential skills of management can lead to us being seen as inefficient as managers, with good cause.

The dark side of charisma is about a lack of balance, both in the skills of charisma, and in a lack of other essential management skills. Most of these skills are essential soft skills, and, most organizations are sadly doing too little to help us develop those skills. It is up to us as individuals to take the initiative and educate ourselves.

 

Charisma alone is not enough

Of course, charisma alone is not enough to be a good leader. There are plenty of other skills that you need in management and leadership to complement the skills of charisma. If you can improve your charismatic presence, you will be far more likely to motivate others and encourage high levels of discretionary effort from them. This, of course, is one of the primary tasks of a manager – to achieve critical goals through the efforts of others.

There are people who are appropriately charismatic, but who lack the ability to problem-solve, or develop a strategy, or don’t know enough about the technical aspects of the job that their team is required to do, and lacking these skills may negatively impact on their effectiveness as a leader. However, with the right charismatic skills, such a leader would still be able to draw on the knowledge and expertise of others to cover those shortfalls.

Image: from Worship of the Golden Calf by Frans II Francken, Public Domain

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Poor health means today is “first productive day of year” https://workplaceinsight.net/poor-health-means-today-is-first-productive-day-of-year/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=poor-health-means-today-is-first-productive-day-of-year Fri, 21 Feb 2020 00:15:31 +0000 https://workplaceinsight.net/?p=51208 Today is the first productive day of the year for UK employees, according to new research which claims 38 working days were lost, on average, by each employee last year due to physical and mental health related absence and presenteeism. The study puts the cost to businesses and the economy of these lost days (which […]

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healthToday is the first productive day of the year for UK employees, according to new research which claims 38 working days were lost, on average, by each employee last year due to physical and mental health related absence and presenteeism. The study puts the cost to businesses and the economy of these lost days (which in reality are of course spread out across the whole year) at £91.9bn in 2019, an increase of more than £10bn on 2018.

Almost three-quarters of this amount (£68 billion) can be attributed to preventable factors such as poor mental wellbeing and unhealthy lifestyle choices, health insurer Vitality says in its annual Britain’s Healthiest Workplace study. In 2019, the research team from RAND Europe, the University of Cambridge and Mercer surveyed nearly 26,400 employees and 130 businesses across the UK. They say the first productive day has moved back from 1 February in 2014 to 21 February now – an increase of 15 working days.

 

Rise of presenteeism

The study showed a further rise in presenteeism, where employees turn up for work but are unable to give their best performance due to mental and physical health concerns. Almost half (45 percent) of UK workers admitting to suffering from presenteeism in 2019, up from 29 percent in 2014, highlighting how critical the issue is for British business. Young workers (18- to 25-year-olds) appear to be particularly vulnerable (55 percent compared to 38 percent of employees aged 45 or over).

 

Mental health issues

The results suggest rates of depression have more than doubled in the past five years with almost one in 10 workers now affected (8.5 percent), compared to 4 percent in 2014.

The study also indicates the importance for businesses of further addressing workplace mental wellbeing, with workers’ stress, depression and anxiety costing the economy £30 billion last year. The results suggest rates of depression have more than doubled in the past five years with almost one in 10 workers now affected (8.5 percent), compared to 4 percent in 2014.

Again, employees aged 18 to 25 seem most likely to struggle with their mental health, with 15 percent saying they suffer from depression and 35 percent saying they have felt unwell because of stress in the workplace. This is far higher than the over-50s group (with 4 percent citing depression and 32 percent workplace stress).

The study also showed that across all UK employees, those with higher rates of stress and anxiety made unhealthier choices overall, being more likely to smoke, binge drink and have unhealthy diets.

 

Solving the productivity puzzle

The study found examples of businesses making significant progress on the health and wellbeing of their employees and, in turn, the productivity of the business. These businesses not only had health and wellbeing schemes in place but a high uptake by employees. Three quarters of employees who engage in health and wellbeing initiatives reported a positive impact on their health, yet awareness and uptake of such schemes is low (28 percent and 29 percent respectively).

Commenting on the results, Neville Koopowitz, CEO at Vitality, said: “Every year the results of Britain’s Healthiest Workplace find the costs to business from ill-health and presenteeism are spiralling upwards.

“Despite this, many businesses continue to ignore the role of health and wellbeing and its intrinsic links to productivity. It’s no longer enough to create a health and wellbeing programme for employees and hope they’ll make use of it. The businesses that not only prioritise it but also properly consider how they engage their employees to improve their mental and physical health can see productivity increase in their workforce by as much as 40 percent, which is no insignificant number.”

To take part in the next survey, register here.

Image by photosforyou

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Technology jobs fall by half in six months https://workplaceinsight.net/technology-jobs-fall-by-half-in-six-months/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=technology-jobs-fall-by-half-in-six-months Fri, 21 Feb 2020 00:10:11 +0000 https://workplaceinsight.net/?p=51212 A new analysis of the UK’s job market claims there were 52 percent fewer available jobs listed for professionals with technology skills at the end of 2019, compared to six months earlier. Accenture’s UK Tech Talent Tracker analysed data from LinkedIn’s Professional Network. This shows 78,000 job vacancies advertised that require skills in emerging technologies, […]

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technology jobsA new analysis of the UK’s job market claims there were 52 percent fewer available jobs listed for professionals with technology skills at the end of 2019, compared to six months earlier. Accenture’s UK Tech Talent Tracker analysed data from LinkedIn’s Professional Network. This shows 78,000 job vacancies advertised that require skills in emerging technologies, down from 162,000 last June. This decrease was driven by a 64 percent reduction in the number of advertised jobs for data analysts.

However, the analysis identifies several bright spots around the country where demand for people with skills in several emerging technologies has continued to grow. For example, Cambridge maintains its position as the second largest AI hub in the UK, where advertisements for professionals with AI skills rose by 35 percent (13 percent higher than the national average).

Zahra Bahrololoumi, head of Accenture Technology in the UK and Ireland, urged caution to businesses that have already put, or are considering putting, a complete freeze on hiring: “The drop in available roles listed could mean that businesses are dialling back on large-scale innovation projects. The second half of 2019 was one of uncertainty for the UK and businesses practices seem to have reflected that. However, we would expect that number to bounce back throughout this year as companies look to innovate and grow through new technology initiatives.”

“There is a tremendous opportunity right now for businesses that have been proactive against the backdrop of uncertainty. Those that have sought new opportunities and embraced innovation are set to benefit in the long term,” he added. “It’s encouraging to see that specific new capabilities continue to be sought after. The key thing for organisations to do is keep faith in those projects and investments, so that they can achieve scale and integrate them throughout their business. That’s how they will see real value being created.”

 

Increasing range of skills

Despite an overall drop in available roles, UK professionals are continuing to arm themselves with tech skills, the analysis suggests. The second half of 2019 saw an 11 percent increase in the number of people with capabilities in data analytics, AI, blockchain, extended reality and quantum computing. As a result, the UK now has more than 470,000 professionals with emerging tech skills.

 

North-South talent gap is closing

London’s share of tech talent in the UK decreased from 37 percent to 29 percent.

There is also evidence to suggest that the ‘North-South’ talent gap is showing signs of closing. Birmingham has overtaken Cambridge as the UK’s fastest growing digital hub and is now home to the second largest number of accelerator programmes for the technology industry.

Both Liverpool and Glasgow also saw a significant rise in the number of tech professionals. Glasgow is living up to its position as one of the government’s quantum computing hotspots, with the fourth largest pool of professionals in the field. By contrast, London’s share of tech talent in the UK decreased from 37 percent to 29 percent.

Chris Gray, managing director and Manchester lead at Accenture said: “The growing number of people equipping themselves with skills for the future proves that the UK has maintained its credentials as a top destination for businesses looking to innovate. But even more importantly, we’re starting to see our top tech talent spreading more evenly across the country. Whether you’re a start-up looking for a home to set up shop or an enterprise looking for digital talent, you now have more options than ever. These new opportunities will inspire the next generation of tech talent and get us closer to a more diversified economy.”

Image by Gerd Altmann

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The studied carelessness of agile workplaces https://workplaceinsight.net/the-studied-carelessness-of-agile-workplaces/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-studied-carelessness-of-agile-workplaces Thu, 20 Feb 2020 06:05:22 +0000 https://workplaceinsight.net/?p=47888 In recent years we have grown very fond of borrowing foreign words to describe some of the more difficult to express ideas about wellbeing and the new era of agile, experiential and engaging work. We’ve adopted Eudaimonia from the Ancient Greek of Aristotle to describe the nuances of wellbeing, happiness and purpose. We went nuts […]

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A model of agile workplaces at Sedus in DogernIn recent years we have grown very fond of borrowing foreign words to describe some of the more difficult to express ideas about wellbeing and the new era of agile, experiential and engaging work. We’ve adopted Eudaimonia from the Ancient Greek of Aristotle to describe the nuances of wellbeing, happiness and purpose. We went nuts briefly for the Scandinavian idea of hygge to describe a copy and laid-back approach to life that we felt we’d been lacking.

We’ve borrowed ikigai from Japanese to describe how we might achieve better work-life balance. And we’ve returned to Danish more recently for the word Arbejdsglaede, literally the joy of work.

One language that we’ve neglected so far is Italian, but there is a nuanced word with no English equivalent that might usefully be applied to the new generation of agile workplaces. It is sprezzatura, which is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as ‘studied carelessness’.

As is so often the case, this two-word translation doesn’t fully describe the nuances involved. It implies that although something is done extremely well and took some work to achieve, it is made to look as though little effort went into it. It is a sort of carefully calculated nonchalance that is an unmistakably Italian concept.

In English it is most commonly applied to the way people dress, but its uses may be more than sartorial. It is in tune with one of the main aims of the new generation of agile workplaces, which should be so carefully designed and specified that the people who use them can barely discern the work that has gone into creating them.

 

Finding the best place to work

Where once the office layout was a physical manifestation of the org chart, defined by its groupings and hierarchies with people sitting in the same place and with the same people each day, modern agile workplaces are there to provide the different settings in which people can find the best place to work and can form their own groupings based on their specific needs.

People should be unaware on one level of the amount of work that has gone (and goes) into their office, while at the same time enjoying its benefits

This can best be achieved when the organisation fully understands its culture and the way people and teams work and how that might be improved. This is no easy task, but the outcome should be a workplace that is intuitive for its occupants.

Different types of space should be created in exactly the right forms and right proportions so that the office embodies the culture of the organisation and encourages people to get the most from it. And it should exist in a state of permanent beta, so that it evolves as new opportunities arise and as the organisation grows and develops and learns more about itself and the way it uses the workplace.

It is an idea that also taps into our needs as human beings. This is not merely about our relationships in the workplace and interactions but also about the way we adapt space to our needs.

None of this hard work and expertise should be particularly apparent to the people who use the space on a day to day basis. For them, it should be instinctive and aligned with a culture that encourages them to move through the space and shape it as and when they like. People should be unaware on one level of the amount of work that has gone into their office, while at the same time enjoying its benefits. This is the essence of sprezzatura.

This first appeared on the What’s Up Blog. Images: Sedus Smart Office

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New EU AI strategy focuses on ethics https://workplaceinsight.net/new-eu-ai-strategy-focuses-on-ethics/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=new-eu-ai-strategy-focuses-on-ethics Thu, 20 Feb 2020 00:17:44 +0000 https://workplaceinsight.net/?p=51199 The European Commission has put forward a strategy to promote the development of AI and robotics while putting people first and defending European values and rights. The strategy acknowledges that AI can open up new opportunities for businesses and bring solutions to challenges such as climate change. However, it aims to address the social, legal […]

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AIThe European Commission has put forward a strategy to promote the development of AI and robotics while putting people first and defending European values and rights. The strategy acknowledges that AI can open up new opportunities for businesses and bring solutions to challenges such as climate change. However, it aims to address the social, legal and ethical impact of new technology.

“Digital technologies considerably improve our lives, from better access to knowledge and content to how we do business, communicate or buy goods and services. The EU must ensure that the digital transformation works for the benefit of all people, not just a few”, the Commission said in a statement. “Businesses should benefit from a framework that allows them to start up, scale up, pool data, innovate and compete with large companies on fair terms. Society should benefit from social and environmental sustainability, and a secure digital environment that respects privacy, dignity, integrity and other rights.”

On environmental sustainability, the Commission expects data centres and telecommunications technology to become more energy efficient, use more renewable sources and become climate neutral by 2030.

Public consultation

To help shape its policies, the Commission has launched a public consultation on how to maximise the benefits of AI while building trust and managing risks. This seeks views on a future EU legal framework, which the Commission says will focus on high-risk AI systems such as in health, policing or transportation, while avoiding unnecessary burdens that would hinder innovation.

To prevent breaches of citizens’ rights, “high-risk AI systems need to be certified, tested and controlled, as cars, cosmetics and toys are”.

“The European Union is and will remain the most open region for trade and investment in the world, but this is not unconditional. Everyone can access the European market as long as they accept and respect our rules”, the Commission said.

In particular, the Commission wants to see a “human-centric approach”, meaning that AI systems should respect fundamental rights. For example, biases in AI systems used for recruitment could lead to unjust outcomes, which would be illegal under EU discrimination legislation. To prevent breaches of citizens’ rights, “high-risk AI systems need to be certified, tested and controlled, as cars, cosmetics and toys are”. For lower-risk AI applications, the Commission envisages a voluntary labelling scheme to recognise businesses that apply higher standards.

A recent report from the UK’s Committee on Standards in Public Life has also expressed concerns about lack of openness, lack of accountability and data bias in AI technology.

Relaxing some rules

Facial recognition technology poses particular risks, the Commission warns, so allowing facial recognition is currently “the exception”. The consultation paper seeks views on whether further exceptions should be allowed in the future.

The paper also proposes making some data available across the EU for businesses and governments to share, subject to personal data protection, consumer protection and competition rules.

The Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, commented: “Our society is generating a huge wave of industrial and public data, which will transform the way we produce, consume and live. I want European businesses and our many SMEs to access this data and create value for Europeans – including by developing Artificial Intelligence applications.”

Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, visited Brussels on Monday, ahead of the strategy’s launch, to discuss the plan with the EU’s digital chief, Margrethe Vestager. Despite tech firms’ concerns about increased regulation, he used an article published by the Financial Times at the weekend to call for greater oversight to help build public trust. “People need to feel that global technology platforms answer to someone, so regulation should hold companies accountable when they make mistakes”, he wrote.

The consultation is open until 19 May and draft legislation could follow by the end of the year.

Image by Dimitris Vetsikas

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Move to freelancing improves quality of life https://workplaceinsight.net/move-to-freelancing-improves-quality-of-life/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=move-to-freelancing-improves-quality-of-life Thu, 20 Feb 2020 00:15:45 +0000 https://workplaceinsight.net/?p=51193 Nine in ten freelancers in the UK feel the move to freelancing has improved their quality of life, a survey has claimed. Almost half of those surveyed by Dinghy stated that the best thing about freelancing is the flexibility – the ability to work when, where and with whoever they want. On the downside, almost […]

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freelancingNine in ten freelancers in the UK feel the move to freelancing has improved their quality of life, a survey has claimed. Almost half of those surveyed by Dinghy stated that the best thing about freelancing is the flexibility – the ability to work when, where and with whoever they want. On the downside, almost all respondents (98 percent) admitted checking emails and projects in their time off. Many felt they have to work above and beyond what is called for to make a good impression, with nearly a third saying they “overserve” all their clients by consistently overworking and undercharging.

Another big disadvantage was that nearly one in three respondents had not received payment for work they had done at some point in their careers. Well over a third of these had simply been “ghosted” by their client once they had submitted the work, leading Dinghy to call for stronger legislation on late or non-existent payments. Three in ten said the company they had been working for had gone insolvent, while 14 percent never received payment due to a dispute over the work. Despite this, three-quarters of freelancers said they felt secure being self-employed.

Finding work was also a concern, with close to half of respondents saying this was the issue that bothered them most. IR35 was another bugbear, cited by 33 percent, although only five percent were worried about Brexit.

One in three respondents earn less than £19,000 a year, while one in four earn more than £50,000.

 

Sectors and salaries

The most popular profession for freelancers was marketing, with nearly a third of respondents working in this field. This was followed by IT and tech (14.8 percent), art and design (14.5 percent) and business consulting (11 percent). One in three respondents earn less than £19,000 a year, while one in four earn more than £50,000. This may be down to experience: more than half of those surveyed only started freelancing in the last two years, while about a quarter have six or more years under their belt. Most freelancers have three to six clients at any one time (48 percent), although 42 percent said they find one or two clients is enough

The survey also suggests that old-fashioned word of mouth is still the best way for freelancers to find work. This was cited by six in ten respondents and was substantially ahead of social media, online job boards and freelancing websites.

Many respondents said they felt pushed into freelance work by the lack of opportunity for professional growth, poor learning opportunities and negative work environment in traditional employment. Big employers should learn from this, commented Ross Pounds, Head of Content at Dinghy, by “adapting company culture to favour a better work-life balance, by offering flexible working arrangements, or nurturing employees and encouraging their professional development”.

Image by BUMIPUTRA

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Firms doing too little to tackle employee data breaches https://workplaceinsight.net/firms-doing-too-little-to-tackle-employee-data-breaches/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=firms-doing-too-little-to-tackle-employee-data-breaches Thu, 20 Feb 2020 00:08:48 +0000 https://workplaceinsight.net/?p=51187 Insider data breaches are a major concern for 97 percent of IT leaders, according to new research. About three quarters believe that employees have put data at risk in the past 12 months accidentally (78 percent) or intentionally (75 percent). When asked about the implications of these breaches, more than two in five said financial […]

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data breachesInsider data breaches are a major concern for 97 percent of IT leaders, according to new research. About three quarters believe that employees have put data at risk in the past 12 months accidentally (78 percent) or intentionally (75 percent). When asked about the implications of these breaches, more than two in five said financial damage would be the area of greatest impact.

More than 500 IT leaders and 5000 employees were polled across the UK, US and Benelux regions for the survey from Egress (registration required). Of those employees who had accidentally leaked data, four in ten had done so because of a phishing email, while three in ten had sent information to the wrong person, for example by email.

Egress CEO Tony Pepper said: “Incidents of people accidentally sharing data with incorrect recipients have existed for as long as they’ve had access to email. As a fundamental communication tool, organisations and security teams have weighed the advantages of efficiency against data security considerations, and frequently compromise on the latter.” Other common issues include “misdirected emails, the wrong attachments being added to communications, auto-complete mistakes and employees not using encryption tools correctly”.

 

Businesses resigned to data breaches

Asked what traditional security tools they have in place to mitigate insider breach risk, just half of IT leaders said they are using anti-virus software to combat phishing attacks, 48 percent are using email encryption and 47 percent provide secure collaboration tools. More than half (58 percent) say employee reporting is more likely than any breach detection system to alert them to a problem.

Pepper claimed the findings show IT leaders are resigned to the inevitability of insider breaches and don’t have adequate risk management in place. “While they acknowledge the sustained risk of insider data breaches, bizarrely IT leaders have not adopted new strategies or technologies to mitigate the risk. Effectively, they are adopting a risk posture in which at least one-third of employees putting data at risk is deemed acceptable.

Given the severe penalties for data breaches, “relying on employees to report incidents is not an acceptable data protection strategy”, he added.

 

Reckless employees threaten information security

More than three-quarters of directors admitted intentionally sharing data against company policy in the past year, compared with just 10 percent of clerical staff.

Nearly three in ten employees surveyed said they or a colleague had intentionally shared data against company policy in the past year. Of these, 46 percent said they or a colleague had broken company policy by taking data with them to a new job, while more than a quarter said they had taken a risk when sharing data because they weren’t provided with the right security tools.

Egress suggested this reckless approach may be explained by employees’ views on data ownership and responsibility. Four in ten of the employees surveyed don’t believe that data belongs exclusively to the organisation and only 37 percent recognise that everyone has responsibility for keeping data safe.

Pepper commented: “Employees want to own the data they create and work on, but don’t want the responsibility for keeping it safe. This is a toxic combination for data protection efforts. When you add their propensity to take data with them when they change jobs and willingness to take risks when sharing data, the scale of the challenge faced by security professionals is alarming.”

 

Directors disrespect data

The more senior the employee, the more cavalier their attitude towards data breaches, the survey suggests. More than three-quarters of directors admitted intentionally sharing data against company policy in the past year, compared with just 10 percent of clerical staff.

The findings suggest directors are also the most likely to take data with them to a new job. More than two-thirds of directors who had intentionally broken policy had done so when they changed jobs, compared with the average for all employees of 46 percent.

Image by William Iven

 

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Look beyond the perks and reviews to get a clear view of an employer https://workplaceinsight.net/look-beyond-the-perks-and-reviews-to-get-a-clear-view-of-an-employer/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=look-beyond-the-perks-and-reviews-to-get-a-clear-view-of-an-employer Wed, 19 Feb 2020 05:02:18 +0000 https://workplaceinsight.net/?p=51174 So, your most recent dining experience wasn’t great. The service was slow, the waiter seemed uninterested, and the wine glasses on the table had red lipstick stains on them. Your first instinct is to go online and share that negative experience with the world. Whether your intention is to blow off steam or warn other […]

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So, your most recent dining experience wasn’t great. The service was slow, the waiter seemed uninterested, and the wine glasses on the table had red lipstick stains on them. Your first instinct is to go online and share that negative experience with the world. Whether your intention is to blow off steam or warn other patrons that their filet won’t be worth the price, you have a right to share your experience.

If people get worked up over an expensive meal, of course the same standard exists for employers. Online employer review sites like Glassdoor and Indeed are mandatory stops for everyone on a job hunt. Granted, it’s tough to get a holistic understanding from the reviews when a dozen of them are contradictory… and there may be a reason for that.

For those sharing their experience, 10 percent admitted they lied or stretched the truth

In our recent study, Fractl asked 1,096 people who have left online reviews about their former employers about the nature of their statements. Unsurprisingly, most people are only inclined to leave a review if it’s a negative one: over half leave 1 or 2 stars.

This is likely the reason many companies solicit their positive reviews from past employees who parted on good terms. It’s also worth noting that nothing is free and these positive reviews are likely coerced using some promise of repayment. Feel free to question the ethics of this approach in your own time.

For those sharing their experience, 10 percent admitted they lied or “stretched the truth”.Unfortunately, this statistic taints the merit of all online reviews because the respondents who claimed to have lied, said they did so in an attempt to tarnish their ex-employers reputation.

As of late, employers have begun working online review insurance into their employment documents, filing lawsuits against those who breached severance agreements by leaving reviews on Glassdoor and other review platforms.

Obviously, this phenomenon is something to keep in mind when approaching the world of online reviews, but as long as your employment contracts do not prohibit such reviews, it’s important to keep sharing.

 

The power to choose

Many companies attempt to entice their prospective hires with promises of unlimited time off, ping pong tables, and fitness reimbursement

For the 90 percent of people who were honest and fair in their reviews, they are impacting the workforce immensely. Many companies attempt to entice their prospective hires with promises of unlimited time off, ping pong tables, and fitness reimbursement. While these perks often lead to increased employee satisfaction and a healthy office culture, it’s important to keep priorities straight.

Honest online reviews renew power to the workforce. In the past, it was nearly impossible to understand the scope of the position you were accepting until it was too late. Gone are the days when a 20-something year old would get a job and remain stagnant, sitting in the same chair for 40 years. Younger people are often looking for workforce diversity, growth opportunities, and inclusive workplaces. These review platform submissions allow insight into a company’s culture before you’ve signed a contract or moved miles for your “dream job”.

It would be irresponsible to accept or even consider a position without utilizing all your resources. With the internet at our fingertips, there really shouldn’t be any limit to the amount of jobs at your disposal. Any number offers could promise the same benefits and perks, given that employee satisfaction has improved baseline corporate norms and practices. 8 in 10 employers now offer flexible work structures and competitive pay is basically a given in accepting any new position.

However, a study from Wrike found that workers tend to choose happiness over pay. In fact, Wrike’s Happiness Index found that over half, or 54 perfect, of UK full-time employees have taken a pay cut to accept a job that made them happier. Really rings true to the cliche, “money can’t buy happiness”. So, if workers are putting workplace satisfaction and happiness above their literal livelihood, these reviews are arguably the most important tool we have at our disposal.

The bottom line for candidates is this: if a company looks good on paper and hits all your marks, be sure to do research on the backend before accepting. Utilize resources provided to you by past employees who lived through the experience firsthand. You don’t have to be married to the first amazing offer that comes your way because, chances are, another company can offer you the same thing or better. The people you work with and the culture within the office will grow to be more important than the perks anyway.

Main image: The Flammarion engraving, public domain

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