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WORKFACT WEDNESDAY: What Work Is Today

 by Julie R. Neidlinger from the Lone Prairie blog

The concepts of what work is, has changed.

What we think work is, both in culture and how it fits into our lives, has changed in the 21st century. Entrepreneurship, including micro-entrepreneurship, has lead the way, with 21st century workers wanting to work for themselves instead of for someone else.

Concepts of co-working, a tough economy and job market, and technology that allows for a low-cost entry into owning their own business, have helped push younger workers (and some older ones) into owning their own businesses.

This drive towards entrepreneurship and making a success of a business plays into the steady increase in more hours per week being dedicated to work.

Technology has made significant changes in how and what work is done. Fewer people are required to generate the same manufactured output thanks to technology, allowing (or forcing) people to shift to urban centers and find other kinds of work. Technology has allowed human workers to be unshackled from the office, giving them greater freedom.

Work in the 21st century is about being flexible and mobile, ready for change both in skills and financial savings.

TIP TUESDAY: It’s Not Hard to Make Your Workplace One Where People Want to Work

An article in Crain’s Chicago Business explains why providing a good workplace doesn’t have to be “rocket science.”

“Once upon a time, people dutifully stuck with a job—no matter how miserable, low-paying or dead-end-ish—rather than quit and earn the dreaded ‘job-hopper’ label.

“Today nearly two out of three Chicago-area workers say changing companies is necessary for advancement—and they’re willing to take the leap. “Being loyal to a company (does) not pay,” wrote one anonymous respondent to Crain’s survey of 650-plus people here. The urge to move on (and up) isn’t isolated to Chicagoans: Nationally, one in five employees plan to change jobs in 2017, according to a recent CareerBuilder survey. That’s up from 16 percent two years earlier. If you think these numbers are skewed by the influx of millennials into the workforce, think again. Crain’s findings, published March 31, are remarkably consistent across age groups, with people 29 and younger just as eager to forward their resumes and move as colleagues who are eligible for an AARP card.”

Read the rest of the article here: http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20170407/OPINION/170409902#utm_medium=email&utm_source=ccb-morning10&utm_campaign=ccb-morning10-20170411

WEDNESDAY WORKFACT: 5 Facts About Workplace Communications

26% of employees think email is a major productivity killer.

When email became popular, it seemed like it was one of the best things to ever happen to businesses. Now that the honeymoon phase is over, the results of a study by Career Builder makes it clear that email isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Inboxes get overwhelming. Lengthy chains get confusing and make it hard for people to locate the information they need. Group emails become distractions when everyone replies to the thread with unnecessary or irrelevant responses.

43% of job seekers under 45 think texting is a professional way for recruiters to communicate with talent.

Maybe it’s because of all the emojis and OMG-esque abbreviations, but it’s taken a while for text messaging to be viewed as a legitimate way for professionals to communicate. Now that everyone has become accustomed to texting, people are beginning to change their mind, according to data gathered by Software Advice.

Job seekers and recruiters alike are seeing the upside of texting. They communicate information quickly and in small doses, while giving both parties the freedom to read and respond to the message when they have time. Texting also creates a connection that makes communication easy throughout the recruiting process. If a recruiter or employer needs to confirm an interview or if a candidate has a question, they can simply send a text.

26% of employees feel pressured to respond to work communication outside of work hours.

This stat is one of many documented in the Cornerstone’s The State of the Workplace Productivity Report. One of the greatest parts of having a wide variety of communication methods is that it makes everyone more accessible. But that can also be one of the biggest downsides.

Respect employees’ work/life balance by setting strict guidelines on when communication will happen. Let them know they are not expected to check their inbox every hour and that they won’t be called outside office hours unless it’s urgent. By creating a policy and sticking to it at all levels of the organization, employees can enjoy their personal time without feeling guilty.

Americans spend 26 minutes a day texting and send 5.3 more texts than the number of calls they make.

There are a lot of advantages to texting. Unlike phone calls, people can refer back to text to get information they may have forgotten. They’re shorter than emails and they allow people who may not be free at the same time to have a conversation. Thanks to all those pros, texting has become one of the most popular forms of communication in the U.S. (A report from Informate details the out- texting stats of 11 other countries too.)

46% of employees rarely or never leave a meeting knowing what they’re supposed to do next.

Everyone has been in at least one terribly unproductive meeting, but this stat is still surprising. Whatever the purpose of a meeting may be, it’s clearly not being communicated properly.

By having more organized agendas and establishing rules or order during meetings, organizations can ensure that meetings are more productive and effective. Keep everyone on topic and encourage people to take notes. That will help keep people focused and help them to digest the information that’s being presented. Read the full article here.

(Excerpted from an article by Erik Kostelnik for Entrepneur magazine online)

TIP TUESDAY: Get Out of Your Office!

shrm_logoThe Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has a list of “10 Things Every HR Professional Needs to Do to Succeed” – here’s #3:

Get out of your office. Be out of your office more than you are in it. Employees often think of going to HR as akin to going to the principal’s office. Not so if you’re the kind of HR leader who frequents the places your employees work. They’ll become familiar with you and more open to asking questions, and you’ll become more familiar with the context of the issues you must deal with.

In addition:

  • Employees will appreciate your presence and managers will get more comfortable with your ideas. You’ll soon be seen as part of the team rather than the HR person who hides behind the policies. This gives HR a chance to handle issues before they become major problems.
  • Create an open-door policy that allows employees to appeal adverse decisions, which allows them to ask questions, get answers and develop trust in the organization.

TIP TUESDAY: A Dozen Things an HR Manager Should Know About His/Her Business

  • The company’s current share price (if its is publicly traded)
  • Profit (bottom line) over the last two years
  • Revenue growth (top line) over the last two years
  • Key productivity (cost management) strategies
  • Primary product brands or services offered
  • How the company makes money
  • How customers are being satisfied
  • How the product is manufactured or service is delivered
  • How products/services are developed, marketed, and sold
  • Customer retention and attraction strategies
  • Key suppliers and customers
  • What gives your company a competitive advantage

(from the book, Best Kept HR Secrets” by Alan Collins.)