Monday, February 20, 2012

Is Employment at Will a Good Thing?

Employment at will sounds like a good thing. Right? It sounds like you have a choice. Well over the last several weeks I have heard cases from both sides of the fence. A group of girlfriends living in LA struggle will the "at will" law everyday. Their hotel chain employers (as they are waitresses and hostess) fire them at the drop of a dime and without reason. Making it difficult to understand what they've done. On the other hand, a group of HR executives I work with still feel that there are several people (specifically older,minorities) that are low performers but even with the"at will" they can't let them go.

So is the Employment at will law helping enough or hurting employees too much already?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

You’re loosing buddy!

We are all driven by different motivators (for example, affiliation, power, competition, recognition) but research illustrates that we all work all little harder when we think we are slightly behind. From the NBA to the manufacturing line people and teams that are slightly behind have boasts in their motivation and performance. Jonah Berger from Wharton School of Business suggests that managers should capitalize on this finding by using competitive feedback as an incentive tool. However, there is a caveat. Managers shouldn’t over use competitive feedback. There is a tipping point where employees who constantly hear that they are slightly behind become demotivated and give up trying.

*For more information on this entry see Harvard Business Review, October 2011 issue

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Stop Bullying Before it starts with a SMILE

Want to stop help to bullying? A recent study at Vanderbilt University found that children who perceive that their fathers don’t spend enough quality time with them are more likely to bully other children. So, what can you do? Go home after work, smile when you enter the door and spend some time with your kids. Just think what you’ll be doing for so many kids.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Do you believe in the Crate & Barrel method?

Companies like Crate & Barrel and Enterprise Rent-A-Car have passionately believed in hiring from within. Employees are hired directly out of college and work their way up the corporate ladder (if they don’t burn out first). Although infrequent some knowledge gaps are brought in as external hires. Promotions are based on past results and the use of assessment is unheard of or even frowned upon.

Enterprise in 1975

What do you think are the issues with this approach?
What are the advantages?
Does your company use this method?

Early days at Crate & Barrel

Monday, October 24, 2011

Interventions increase EQ and decrease stress

The below article was recently published in the Journal of Applied Psychology. This article sparked two major thoughts. I have historically believed that individuals can change their behaviors but not their attitudes (there are exceptions). This article suggests that these participants were able to increase their emotional intelligence as well as sustain it for over a year. In addition they were able to make an internal chemical changes  (i.e., cortisol levels). This illustrates a deep change that is far beyond just a behavioral change. Secondly, this study illustrates the power of training and that techniques and interventions can be used to help people reduce stress and decrease cortisol levels without the use of medication.

So use you brains, follow your hearts and get off the meds.

Kotsou, I., Nelis, D., Grégoire, J., & Mikolajczak, M. (2011). Emotional plasticity: Conditions and effects of improving emotional competence in adulthood. Journal of Applied psychology, 96(4), 827-839.
This study aimed to investigate (a) whether it is possible to increase emotional competence (EC), as measured by two versions of the TEIQue - self-report and informant report; (b) whether this improvement results in better mental, physical, and social adjustment; (c) whether this improvement can be maintained 1 year later; and (d) whether these benefits are accompanied by a reduction in stress-hormone secretion (i.e., cortisol). One hundred and thirty-two participants were randomly assigned to an EC-enhancing intervention (in group format) or to a control group. Participants in the intervention group underwent a specifically designed 15-hr intervention targeting the 5 core emotional competencies. Results reveal that the level of emotional competencies increased significantly in the intervention group in contrast with the control group. This increase resulted in lower cortisol secretion, enhanced subjective and physical well-being, as well as improved quality of social and marital relationships in the intervention group. No significant change occurred in the control group. Peer reports on EC and quality of relationships confirmed these results. These data suggest that emotional competencies can be improved, with effective benefits on personal and interpersonal functioning lasting for at least 1 year. Moreover, improvements in EC emerged with a strong coherence among self-reported and informant measures.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Ethical Issues at Work…Now What?

Review the Evidence: Avoid jumping to conclusions. Keep notes about the situation including conversations and situations where you suspected unethical work behavior? Keeping track of what you see can help you form a conclusion and provides invaluable documentation if you decide to report the situation.

Seek Help: Get a second opinion from an outside source or someone you can trust. Although be wary of who you confide in, and be wary of politics.

Confront the Problem: In some cases you may want to talk directly to the person. Don’t make accusations. One drawback of confronting the person involved is that they may get you more involved in the ethical issue. In some cases, the evidence will lead you to take it directly to authorities.

Extricate yourself: If you believe the unethical behavior is continuing “get out”. Careers will recover with a switch but they won’t recover from unethical practice if you before a part of it. Leaving isn’t a decision to be made lightly. It may be difficult to find another job. While jumping ship may require an awkward conversation or revised career plan, sometimes you have no choice but to leave.

Blow the Whistle: After you’ve decided to leave you have to decide if you’ll report the issue. Whistle blowing can be hurtful to the messenger in many cases. A serious analysis of the pros and cons must be conducted before reporting an ethical issue if you think if could hurt you or possibly a client. As difficult as turning in a former boss or coworker may be, it is occasionally necessary. If something really horrible is going on and you simple walk away, you’re compromising your own sense of professional responsibility.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Decreasing your EQ with Botox

It is no surprise that emotional intelligence is an important factor in day-to-day life. Executives and stay at home mom’s alike are starting to understand how EQ may be as important as IQ in their own success, as well as the success of their direct reports and children. Most people wouldn’t go out and purposely try to decrease their EQ, right?

A recent study from the University of Southern California and Duke found that women and men who received muscle-deading agents like Botox were unable to recognize the emotions of others. When we see a face we unintentionally mimic others facial expressions. Individuals with Botox were unable to mimic others facial expressions; unable to cognitively recognize their emotions.

Wisdom comes with age. So, don’t try to backtrack your face cause you may be losing more than just a few wrinkles.