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Showing posts from April, 2015

Study: Our Favorite Braggarts Are Never Humble About It

Ah, the humblebrag. The art of bragging while simultaneously trying to sound humble. Well, a new study says that humblebragging is actually far worse than straight-up, in-your-face bragging. So let's just tell everyone up-front how completely amazeballs we are, and be done with it already! At work, trying to land a spot on The Humblebragging Hall of Fame might not be the quick ticket to job advancement after all. Simply put: Nobody likes a braggart. However, we really don't respond well to the characters in our lives who consistently manage to humblebrag in 140 characters or less. Two business professors from "a school" in "Cambridge, Massachusetts" that we didn't even want to go to, we just sent an application in for fun (cue eye roll...) looked into the state of online bragging-disguised-as-self-loathing. They found that on Twitter at least, humblebragging is the best way to end up being disliked and thought of as incompetent. The study revea…

Dear Professional: Thanks For Remembering To Say, "Thanks"

Have you noticed how nobody bothers to send a "thank you" note anymore? From kids' birthday parties to the occasional graduation present to the random job interview, we can largely forget about being thanked these days for doing our part. Curious, I went online to do some research (really, there's no need to thank me...) and here's what I learned. First off, my research turned up a startling number of young parents who view thank-you notes as just a bunch of old-fashion nonsense. Who has time anymore to sit down and write a simple note that will probably come of as trite and meaningless? We hosted the party, so why should we waste time sending guests a "thank you" email for showing up with a gift? If we remember to utter a passing "thanks" in-person on our way to grab more paper plates for the gluten-free birthday cake, then that's more than enough.*** Really? Has saying "thanks" become that thankless of a job? The "to…

Workplace Trends: An Office Chair That Hides You

Ah, the open office environment. It's like sitting in a churning sea of humanity where no burp, slurp or hiccup goes unnoticed. Plus, your co-workers always know when you're working, because they can see you sitting there in your chair. Well, not anymore. Welcome to the age of the hide-me-chair! With so many office employees losing their cloak of invisibility (e.g., cubicle walls), it was only a matter of time before some enterprising design company came up with a solution. Now office dreamscape designer Steelcase is here with something it calls the Brody. The Brody? Really? Okay, let's ignore the name and talk about what it is, and all the cool stuff it could do for us at work. Basically, the Brody is an office desk surrounded by a funky-looking, IKEA-ish partition that looks suspiciously like a...cubicle. Here, watch a super-tiny, off-center Mashable video about it. (I've given up trying to re-size and center it, but I'll keep trying!): Oh, I see. The Bro…

Employees Blame Technology For Slowing Them Down At Work

Do you feel like you're always working, but never getting very much done? If so, you're not alone. Too much technology, and too much red tape, keep slowing us down at work. But technology, and more of it, is supposed to make our lives easier! Too much technology, however, does not compute for employees. A new SAP/Knowledge@Wharton survey of almost 700 corporate employees finds a full 60% of respondents blame technology "for inhibiting their ability to meet strategic goals." Gee, anyone who has ever used the self-checkout line at the grocery store can tell you that. However, 40% surveyed said that looking for ways to simplify the technology has been "a low priority" for their company. Too much paperwork is an on-going problem for the workplace, too. A new ServiceNow survey of nearly 1,000 managers finds that 90% are doing too much administrative work, no matter the size of the company. This paperwork includes filling out forms, writing status updates, …

No Kidding, Tomorrow Is Take Your Child To Work Day

Do you know that tomorrow is National Take Our Sons And Daughters To Work Day? Here are five tips for making sure our co-workers don't have a tantrum about it. Taking our kids to work is a great way to show them a real workplace in action. Some workplaces go all out for this annual event by offering seminars on everything from writing your first resume to how to apply for your first job to meeting a real-life HR lady. It's just what every 10-year-old dreams about, right? Do you know that NTOSADTWD used to be called Take Our Children To Work Week? Yes, this event used to last for an entire work week. Kids were wandering into the average workplace for five days in a row with a parent, complaining about how they feel like they were just here and how it's going to be boring. Welcome to the working world, kids! Anyway, the name of the event was eventually changed to last one day only, and here we are again, on the eve of celebrating NTOSADTWD 2015. By the way, the acronym d…

No Shoes, No Shirt, No Self-Control, No Service

You're helping an angry customer who suddenly makes fun of your physical appearance, or perceived lack of education. Well, they say the customer is always right. Riiiight. I've been following the Britt McHenry story, which raises the question: What can employees do when a customer's complaint turns into a personal attack? Unfortunately, it happens -- and probably more often than we would like to admit. Here in the elitist 21st Century, it can take a backbone of steel to get through daily interactions with some customers who go off script to comment on an employee's weight, nails, assumed socioeconomic status, lack of career ambition, and so on. Ugh. It's one thing to rant condescendingly on Twitter or Facebook, where such comments are often "liked," re-tweeted and celebrated; it's quite another thing to make such cutting comments in-person, where the optics most likely will not work out in our favor. Most of us will take a job serving the publ…

Oh, Snap! Online Stock Photos Reveal Professional Stereotypes

Stock photos. They make the low-paying online journalism world go 'round. But a new study finds that professional-looking women tend to be under-represented in business stock photos. Everyone smile and say: "glass ceiling!" Researchers at the University of Washington wanted to see "how accurately gender representations in online image search results" match reality. One of the study's central questions: What turns up in Google image search when we search for professions ranging from "author" to "receptionist" to "chef," and how does the gender ratio represented in these images influence our perceptions regarding the actual number of men vs. women who actually hold those jobs? In other words, does the gender of the professional in the stock photo hold up to every-day reality in the workplace? To find out, UW researchers compared the number of women in the top 100 Google image search results representing 45 different occupation…

Employers Think They Totally Rock At Employee Recognition

So I'm sitting here scanning the cable news channels for workplace news when a MSNBC reporter says that Hillary Clinton's road trip to Iowa "produced the now-infamous photo" of Ms. Clinton ordering a chicken bowl incognito at Chipotle. Hmm. I never knew that standing in line at Chipotle would be enough to make a person wicked or notorious, which is the general meaning of "infamous." Maybe the reporter was looking for the phrase "now-famous"? By the way, does Chipotle still make customers order chips as a separate item, which is why I eat elsewhere? Hey, if I'm ordering a $7 burrito, then it should come with a handful of loss-leading tortilla chips. That's my clear position on the issue, and I'm sticking to it. We all learn something new every day. Speaking of learning something new every day, OfficeTeam is out with a new survey in advance of Administrative Professionals Week (April 19-25, mark your calendars!) that assesses the n…

Sorry Employers, Managers Just Aren't That Into You Anymore

A new Gallup report finds more than half (51%) of U.S. managers are no longer "engaged" on the job. Sorry, employees: The boss just isn't that into you, and it's hurting your job performance, too. There's an old saying that "stuff" rolls downhill, and it turns out that a manager's bad attitude has a downward, cascading effect at work! Gallup's new report, entitled "State of the American Manager: Analytics and Advice for Leaders," lays it all out on the conference room table:Day in and day out, managers are tasked with engaging employees, but 51% of managers have essentially "checked out," meaning they care little, if at all, about their job and company. And that attitude has dire consequences. A manager's engagement -- or lack thereof -- affects his or her employees' engagement, creating what Gallup calls the "cascade effect." Essentially, employees' engagement is directly influenced by their managers&#…

Psst, Here Are Some Tips For Dealing With the Office Snitch

You said something when the boss wasn't around, but somehow the boss knows about it. Uh, oh -- you have an office snitch in your midst! Let's gossip about this blabbermouth and come up with some workable ideas to shut 'er up, shall we? Most employees will encounter an office snitch as they climb the corporate ladder, and usually more than once. This is the co-worker who goes running to management to tattle on you.I just have to tell you what so-and-so said this morning while you were in the conference call. We were all sitting there, and she said... Yep, that co-worker. Why does the workplace tattletale have to spill the beans? He or she might be an unrepentant office gossip, an unabashed brown-noser, a boundary-challenged braggadocio, a passive-aggressive practitioner of office politics, a bored busybody, an in-your-face informer, or...maybe a Millennial? The reasons can be many, and varied. Whatever the reason, you have to figure out how to deal with the office snit…

Managers, Put Down the Predictive Apps and Talk To People

We live in the age of software tools that help managers predict which employees will leave the company. It all begs the question: Whatever happened to just talking to people? A Business Insider story tells us about a new HR app that can sift through internal paperwork and outside data points (such as job postings) to calculate which employees are most likely to walk out the door. The app can also offer managers advice for keeping these flight-risk employees. Just like movie special effects, however, this management-by-app stuff seems to be getting waaaay too easy. So easy, in fact, that it's made us lazy. After all, who needs a good movie script when we can just use a lot of CGI? Likewise, who needs to talk to employees when trendy, predictive data points can avoid the conversation altogether? I know, I know. Technology makes everything easier, and more efficient. It's the way the workplace is going, so let's just try to keep up. Step by step, app by app, we're pu…

Reddit Ends Salary Negotiation Because Women Can't Negotiate

Women tend to sell themselves short when negotiating a pay package at work. Now Reddit CEO Ellen Pao is ending all salary negotiation, because women aren't good at it. Wait. What?! Ms. Pao, who recently lost her very high-profile lawsuit against Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, apparently wants to level the playing field for women at Reddit by getting rid of salary negotiation. Here's what she told The Wall Street Journal in her own words:Men negotiate harder than women do and sometimes women get penalized when they do negotiate. So as part of our recruiting process we don't negotiate with candidates. We come up with an offer that we think is fair. If you want more equity, we'll let you swap a little bit of your cash salary for equity, but we aren't going to reward people who are better negotiators with more compensation. We ask people what they think about diversity, and we did weed people out because of that. But is Red…

Doctors Are Already Sick of Writing Employee Sick Notes

Some employers are asking doctors to write sick notes for employees who will miss work, and this workplace practice is hitting all the wrong notes with some harried physicians. Can we get a little PTO with our co-pay?According to today's news, an emerging, we-don't-think-our-employees-are-really-sick-without-a-doctor's-note "trend" has medical professionals beginning to stick their tongues out and say: "Unnnngghhh." At least in Canada. It's hard to know how many U.S. employers are busy passing notes back to the corner office, but our federal laws and Department of Labor guidelines don't seem to prohibit employers from doing it. The DOL, to its credit, does suggest employers think twice before requiring a doctor's note during a pandemic, when doctors might be more busy than usual. That's nice? But doctors -- and nurses, and receptionists -- are busy RIGHT NOW, every day, all day long, and they don't have time to waste writing ten …

Relax, All Your Power Posing At Work Isn't Doing Much

A new study finds that all the power posing we're doing at work might not be having the impact we thought. So take your hands off your hips and relax already, will you? Madonna's song Vogue always comes to mind whenever I hear the phrase "power posing" and immediately want to wave my hands in front of my face in a stop and start dance motion. Hey, I'm a child of the '80s, okay? But I'm here to write about the power posing we're doing at work every day to influence our self-confidence, as well as how others might perceive us. In a word: powerful! Five years ago, social psychologist Amy Cuddy gave a famous Ted talk that offers her stance on the benefits of power posing at work. So standing around looking confident can build our self-confidence when we don't have much of it! Even more striking, power posing might affect the brain's testosterone and cortisol levels and, in the end, could enhance our success on the job. Strike a pose, indeed! N…

Zappos Wants Workers To Love Its Boss-less Workplace

You'd like to speak with a manager. But not at Zappos, where employees are being asked to either adapt to the company's boss-less work environment or take a...severance package. Um, this isn't an April Fool's Day joke, is it? So Las Vegas-based Zappos has been experimenting with something it calls "holocracy," which eschews traditional management structure and replaces it with self-governing teams called "circles" that are supposed to spur innovation and lead (no pun intended) to better decisions. Zappos is apparently imploring employees to adapt or, well, ponder leaving. According to an article in today's WAPO:In a recent memo, which was first reported by Quartz on Thursday, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh wrote that he is offering any exit strategy to any workers who aren't sold on the unconventional idea. If they are an employee in good standing and meet certain criteria, they can leave the online retailer and get at least three months' wort…