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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Three Hiring Dynamics That Matter Most

 By Dr. David Solot, Vice President of Client Services at Caliper

Here’s a simple fact that can't be argued with: Technological advances have changed the business landscape dramatically and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. With automation replacing so many task-oriented jobs, it’s no longer enough, from a hiring standpoint, to pursue applicants based on their technical qualifications.
Savvy recruiters are already moving away from the old keywords around task-related expertise and are instead seeking ways to identify what were once called “soft skills” or “people skills.” Of course, it's also not enough to write “must have people skills” in a job posting and then wait for a flood of top candidates. You have to know what people skills look like before you can spot them.
“Skills” in this context, refer to how well people react and respond to the stimuli around them. In the new age of task automation, that means we’re looking for employees who interact positively and constructively with their work environment, their responsibilities, and their stakeholders. So instead of using the word "skills" to describe an applicant’s relationship with these stimuli, it might be better to use "dynamics."
With that in mind, here are the three major dynamics to evaluate when hiring a new staff member:
1.     Personality and Company Culture 
By looking at a person’s motivations, interests, and behavioral tendencies relative to the environment, you can get a sense of how well a new hire will fit in with the corporate culture and where there may be friction. Assuming it’s not an altogether bad fit, such awareness can lead to the development of an onboarding plan that helps the employee assimilate to the prevailing environment and become a good citizen of the company as soon as possible.

2.     Personality and Job Match
When you gain a deep understanding of your new hires’ natural tendencies and motivations, you will see which areas of the job may come easily and which might cause difficulty. Armed with this insight, hiring managers can customize a learning plan designed to augment each employee’s strengths and help compensate for limitations.

3.     Personality and Team/Manager Fit
There are two important factors at play here: One, people are not hired in a vacuum (That is, their peers and their manager will have strengths, limitations, and behavioral tendencies as well.). Two, introducing new personalities always changes the team dynamic. By discovering the similarities and differences between the new hires, their managers, and their team members, it becomes possible to not only focus on developing personal success behaviors, but also to define team roles so that everyone is aligned for maximum performance.

To use this hiring approach effectively, it falls upon management and human resources leaders to explore, understand, and define their corporate culture, their existing staff dynamic, and the job itself. With that accomplished, you’ll be able to target your interview questions and even begin to hire more strategically in the automation age.

David Solot, Ph.D., is the vice president of client services at Caliper, a global employee-assessment and talent-development consulting firm based in Princeton, NJ.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Three Tips to Improve Your Corporate Wellness Program

By Emma Maurer, Director of Enterprise Health for Peerfit,

Corporate wellness programs play a vital role in office culture today. When done well, they can improve employees’ overall happiness and well-being, increase engagement in the company’s mission and goals, and bolster employee morale.

However, these programs have a reputation for being expensive, failing to produce real engagement, and requiring tons of paperwork that HR professionals don’t have the time to complete.

As a result, organizations have deferred to selecting programs that don’t meet the needs of their employees. They find something to check the wellness box—a big box gym subsidy, wearable fitness devices or on-site fitness center—and then move on. While employees have a wellness option, it’s doomed for failure. Without engagement, the benefits of a wellness program are not fully realized.

Strong corporate wellness programs do exist, and they aren’t out of reach for companies today. Below are three ways to improve your corporate wellness program and create a workplace that is engaged, productive, and healthy.

1.     Appoint a wellness champion
All successful wellness programs have one thing in common—they have an owner to manage the program. This task typically falls on the shoulders of the HR department and can be viewed as an extra burden for HR professionals who already have many responsibilities.

Instead, organizations should designate a leader for the wellness program—a person who serves as the champion for the program and helps direct strategy and execution toward program success. It can be someone within the HR department or an employee who’s passionate about wellness. Either way, someone with expertise in this area will ensure that the program runs smoothly, and this person typically has more success in terms of employee engagement.

2.     Tailor the program to your employee group
It’s important to understand the qualities of your staff and their regular behaviors when developing your wellness program. For instance, if your employees work the night shift, it would be really unfortunate if your on-site fitness center is only open during the day.

Find something that can be customized to your employee group and their preferences. If you’re unsure of what their preferences are, just ask. Employee interest surveys are a great way to get feedback and find out what employees want out of a wellness program. Then you can build a program around their interests and suggestions.

3.     Choose a program that offers personalization and variety
Wellness isn’t a one-size fits all solution, yet many wellness programs take this approach. What employees crave is something that is personalized to their fitness levels, schedules, and workout preferences. Find a program that offers something for all of your employees and allows them to add variety to their workout routine.

There’s a tendency to value quantity over quality, but that doesn’t need to be the case. Instead of employing multiple providers, look for one provider that can offer your employees a number of fitness options.

Corporate wellness programs can have incredible benefits to employee morale and productivity, and should therefore be a top priority for organizations today. If your employees are happy, your business will thrive, and that’s something that we can all get behind.

Emma Maurer is director of enterprise health for Peerfit, which helps companies redefine their wellness programs by personalizing fitness experiences to drive engagement.  

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Cyber Bullying in the Workplace is More Common – Stop it Now

Cyber Bullying in the Workplace is More Common – Stop it Now

By Joseph Carson, Chief Security Scientist, Thycotic

Sharing photos from office party shenanigans is enough to make HR reps cringe. Unfortunately, that’s far from the worst-case scenario when it comes to online impropriety in the workplace. Online bullying incidents have become more common due to the widespread popularity of social media networks. Adding fuel to the fire, acrimonious political debates of the past year have spilled over into social and work environments, and these can quickly spiral out of hand, especially online.

What is cyber bullying?

Cyber bullying in the workplace is a type of willful and repeated harassment against another colleague that can result in workplace dysfunction, psychological damage or even physical violence. Cyber bullying can be difficult to expose as it is typically carried out on personal accounts and devices. Some online forums allow anonymous handles and avatars, but even when users are identifiable, their behavior is often less inhibited than it would be in person. Cyber bullies may contact their victims outside of work hours and work locations, but incidents instigated by an employee or client should still be considered workplace cyber bullying. 

The act of cyber bullying can take many forms including emails, text messages, social network posts, messages or images that denigrate or expose the victim, and hacking into a victim’s accounts. Specific ploys such as “doxxing”(publishing a victim’s address and other sensitive information) and “catfishing” (pretending to be someone else to lure in or humiliate the victim) are especially targeted and harmful.  

Not just a high school problem

Many people mistakenly believe that such bullying only occurs among adolescents. In fact, it occurs across all age groups and backgrounds. In the workplace, it is often used to manipulate decisions, relationships, and status.     
Cyber bullies tend to target those who are most vulnerable; there have been several cases in which bullies drove victims to deep depression or suicide. The consequences for these individuals and their families are tragic. The repercussions for the company whose employees are affected by bullying are extensive and severe.

How to handle cyber bullying in the workplace

Many companies have not yet identified meaningful ways to deal with cyber bullying. It is important for companies to take a firm stance now and make sure that cyber bullying is explicitly addressed in company policy. It’s also critical to openly acknowledge the seriousness of cyber bullying and to encourage reporting and advocacy. Employers should not ignore bullying of any kind; all instances should be addressed immediately upon discovery or reporting. 

Here are a few ways to discourage cyber bullying:
·       Foster a positive and kind work environment and emphasizing that professionalism is expected from all employees at all times.
·       Educate all employees about cyber bullying and the organization’s policies against it.
·       Provide straightforward reporting mechanisms and follow through on all reports in a timely fashion.
·       Provide support and help to victims and ensure their safety at work.

Defense is the best offense

There are also strategies that individuals can use to reduce the risk of encountering bullies online. Limiting online activity, avoiding oversharing online and checking privacy settings are just a few. When discussions become heated, calm down before responding. Block offending accounts to stop troubling conversations before they escalate. Try to promote positivity and kindness in all online (and real world) interactions.

Cyber bullying is never the victim’s fault. Sometimes, being careful isn't enough. In the event that you are attacked online, do not respond immediately. If the attack goes against the online forum’s policy, report it to the social media platform, site moderators, or internet service provider. If the bullying is work-related and violates your employer’s policy or standards of conduct, report it to a supervisor or HR representative. If it is threatening or illegal, report it to law enforcement as well. Always record and keep copies of harassing interactions as evidence; take screenshots of online conversations and images in case the attacker deletes their posts later. Finally, if you see others being cyber bullied, report it. 

Research and advocacy resources
Bullying in a Networked Era – A review of academic research on cyber bullying, compiled by The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University – The web site of researchers Sameer Hinduja and Justin W. Patchin includes blogs, presentations, research, and legal information. – Lady Gaga’s initiative to empower youth                                                – White House website against bullying

About the Author
Joseph Carson is a certified information systems security professional (CISSP) with 20+ years of experience in enterprise security & infrastructure. An active member of the global cyber security community, Carson is the chief security scientist at Thycotic, a leading provider of password management to more than 7,500 organizations.