Colleagues of the Future will be From Virtual Teams

With the myriad changes sweeping the workplace, virtual teams look like the New Economy phenomenon that is here to stay. Organizations need to implement the right policies to get the most out of this system.

The most visible and most powerful technological tool of the recent past, the Internet, has brought about changes on a scale and dimension that is, to put mildly, phenomenal. This present-day revolution has spawned many by-products, among which the virtual workplace is one. A virtual team is quite easily understood, as can be inferred from the term:

  • They are linked via the Internet and any member of the team may be located in any part of the world
  • It is a team whose members don’t work in a common location such as an office
  • Virtual teams do not meet each other on a day-to-day basis
  • They are bound together by a common organizational goal, but not always by common work schedules
  • Virtual teams work in different shifts based on their geographical location

Advantages of Having Virtual Teams

Virtual teams evolved precisely because they carry a few distinct advantages for people who take part in it.

  • They save its participants enormous commuting time, which can be used constructively for work
  • Virtual teams save the organization substantial amounts of money on transportation costs for employees who need to be plied to office on a daily basis
  • Very importantly, an organization that has a policy of facilitating virtual teams can draw the best global talents from those people who cannot or are unwilling to relocate
  • They engender better work-life balance of members of virtual teams, since such employees get to spend a good deal of time at home.

Factors To Note While Assigning Virtual Teams

 

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Talent Management is the Key to Organizational Success

Key Takeaway:

No resource is of greater importance to an organization than its people. An organization that has a talented employee and knows how to use it for its good and the talented employee’s is a winner.

Talent management. That quintessential, most valuable element of an organization’s strength is sometimes overlooked. This is because organizations sometimes become too busy to identify and nurture the talent it has on hand. Many organizations make the mistake of scouting for a commodity that they have in their own midst without realizing it. They end up paying a steep price.

But first, what is talent management? Talent management may be described as the ability of an organization to spot and develop special abilities in its employees.

Processes Involved in Talent Management

Talent management is a clearly defined process:

  • Recruiting talent by using various yardsticks
  • Understanding why talent is required for a set task or requirement
  • Identification of talent by assessing the employee in relation to metrics-based performance of specific tasks and completion of goals
  • Communicating the purpose of talent-finding to the employees
  • Training and coaching to exploit this talent and bring this in line with the organizational goals
  • Constantly monitoring how talent management is faring in relation to the desired results sought
  • Rewarding good performance that is got out of talent management.

Elements of Talent Management

Although by nature talent management is never fixed and keeps changing and evolving in relation to circumstances; a few tools can be used for assessing its effectiveness:

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Social Media at work: Quandary for organizations

Allowing use of social media at work is a major decision for many organizations, considering that its pros and cons weigh almost equally.

The social media being the double edged sword that it is; allowing its use at work is a “shall we, shall we not” sort of conundrum for most organizations. While on the one hand, their use can be a tremendous fillip in some ways to the organization; in other situations, they retard productivity.

Advantages of Allowing Social Media at Work

The use of social media at work brings great benefits for organizations in many ways:

  • Social media is more powerful than any other medium when it comes to branding the organization;
  • A good or bad word about the organization on the social media has serious consequences for the organization’s reputation;
  • The ease, power, depth and breadth of its reach are unparalleled;
  • It is an invaluable tool for some kinds of work, such as recruitment, which rely primarily on contacts.

Disadvantages of Allowing Social Media at Work

The disadvantages relate more to the inappropriate use of the social media than the media themselves:

  • By nature, social media, like games are addictive. They make many employees hook on to them and affect their productivity;
  • Allowing social media at work allows employees to create false identities and aliases and use them to tarnish the organization if they want to settle scores;
  • Social media platforms are often linked to external sites, whose injudicious use can harm the organization’s IT infrastructure, even when they have firewalled them.

What is the Way Out?

 

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Sexual Harassment is a Serious Workplace Issue that Needs to be Handled with Firmness

Key Takeaway:

Sexual harassment is a very major issue at the workplace. It requires tact and courage on the part of the victim, and willingness on the part of the employer to deal with it.

One of the most serious issues at the workplace; sexual harassment is one of the foremost work-related issues of our times. The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) describes sexual harassment as the following:

“Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

  • Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment, or
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting such individual, or
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, oroffensive working environment.”

Whenever an unwelcome sexual suggestion is made by a person, it qualifies as an act of sexual harassment by the person upon whom this advance is made. The qualifying and operative expression is “unwelcome behavior”.

What Kinds of Acts Qualify for Sexual Harassment?

A huge number of acts and behaviors fall in the bracket of sexual harassment. These are just some of them:

  • Sexually suggestive signals
  • Making sexual gestures with hands or through body movements
  • Hugging, kissing, patting, or stroking
  • Giving personal gifts
  • Touching an employee’s clothing, hair, or body
  • Telling lies or spreading rumors about a person’s personal sex life
  • Sexual comments about a person’s clothing, anatomy, or looks
  • Asking about sexual fantasies, preferences, or history
  • Actual or attempted rape or sexual assault
  • Unwanted pressure for sexual favors
  • Result of sexual harassment at work

Consequences of Sexual Harassment

The victim of sexual harassment can suffer in a number of ways when subjected to sexual harassment:

  • Poor productivity
  • Feeling embarrassed
  • Feeling ashamed
  • Abstention from work
  • Depression
  • Loss of sleep

What is the Remedy?

In liberal societies, it is much easier to find legal and other options as means of combating sexual harassment. In less developed countries though, the route is more

complicated due to a variety of factors. Some of the steps the victim can take include:

 

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Pre-Employment Testing is a Good Tool for Assessing Future Hires

Key Takeaway:

If administered properly, pre-employment testing is a good means of ensuring that the organization gets the right candidate

In simple terms, a pre-employment test is an assessment an organization carries out to test the suitability of the candidate for the selected role. It is done to ensure that the candidate has the potential to fulfil the expected role. It is done to get a feel of how a candidate could fare if given the job.

What are the Kinds of Pre-Employment Tests?

Pre-employment tests consist of, but are not entirely limited to these:

  • Behavioral -integrity, assertiveness, interpersonal skills, equanimity
  • Knowledge relating to the job
  • Motivation -what motivates the candidate to perform better
  • Motor and physical abilities
  • Perceptive and rational abilities -attention to detail and ability to distinguish
  • Personality as a measure of suitability to the job
  • Verbal proficiency
  • Work skills already known and demonstrated
  • History of use of drugs or other substances
  • Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

What are the Benefits of a Pre-Employment Test?

  • It acts as a reliable filter in screening the candidate, if applied objectively and appropriately
  • In combination with a background check, it acts as a kind of lie detector in areas in which the candidate is vulnerable
  • Helps select the right candidate for a job, thereby reducing the chances of short term hires, which can be expensive for the organization

What are the Factors Concerning Pre-Employment Tests?

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Points to be Borne in Mind While Conducting Pre-employment Tests

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Positive Staff Appraisals are a Good Motivator

It is natural for high-performing employees to expect good appraisals. While monetary compensation is a good thing, a word of appreciation at a positive staff appraisal goes a long way.

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Recognition and admiration are very, very basic human needs. They are as elementary as food and water. When an employee earns recognition and good name in the organization she works for; there is a deep sense of pride and gratitude. One of the best-suited occasions to show an employee how much the organization values her work is appraisals.

Letting the Employee Know What the Management Thinks of Her Work is at the Core of Positive Staff Appraisals

Appraisals, whenever they are done, guarantee an increase in pay or other benefits to the deserving employees. In addition to it, the management should use this as an occasion to voice their impression of why they felt this benefit was justified. That is why positive staff appraisals are a great tool for letting the employee know how much the organization values the good work she put in.

So, how should positive staff appraisals be worded? There is no single formula or template for doing this and depends entirely on how the manager wants to rate the employee who is being appraised. Yet, a few words such as these can serve as a good basis to frame positive staff appraisals:

Positive staff appraisals may generally relate to, but are not restricted to the following qualities:

  • Performance
  • Integrity
  • Reliability
  • Adaptability
  • Problem solving
  • Willingness to take up responsibility and ownership, among many other such qualities.

In relation to each of these individual parameters, positive staff appraisals may be generally worded in the following ways:

 

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Putting a Performance Appraisal Toolbox in Place Helps

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A performance appraisal toolbox is an objective checklist of the ingredients that go into an appraisal. Managers have to learn what to put into this toolbox.

An appraisal is a headache for any manager. Yet, despite its being a delicate task; no manager can escape from it. Appraisals could make or mar employees’ careers. From an employee’s perspective, getting a raise that is not proportionate to her work done during the year is a bad appraisal. From the organization’s standpoint, a bad appraisal is one that rewards employees that the management thinks are poor performers. So, how does the manager draw the line? The solution is the performance appraisal toolbox.

What is a Performance Appraisal Toolbox?

In simple terms, a performance appraisal toolbox is a set of parameters that managers use to measure performance from their subordinates. They use these parameters to continually assess employees from time to time and compile to arrive at one final figure at the time of the employee’s appraisal.

A performance appraisal toolbox is a good way to arrive at a fair evaluation after measuring traits like attitude, behavior and effort for accomplishing tasks. It eliminates the aspect of impetuosity in decision-making, since it is carried out over a period of time.

Components of a Performance Appraisal Toolbox

  • Managers need to be equipped with the skills to plan, write, and execute aperformance appraisal document
  • Managers have to set realistic goals for their employees and measure performance in relation to these
  • In evaluating, managers have to ensure legal compliance and help employees set performance goals
  • Appraisals have to be give-and-take discussions rather than being one-sided
  • A performance appraisal toolbox should help deal with negative behavior from the employee
  • The toolbox should enable employees to assess their own performance, set goals, and develop new skills, knowledge and competencies

Ways to Prepare a Performance Appraisal Toolbox

Ideally, a performance appraisal toolbox should be prepared by the manager keeping these items in mind:

 

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