Category Archives: 1. The Scoop

To Hug or Not to Hug?… Millennials Take a Gloomy View of Business… Promotions Are a Gender Thing…

To Hug or Not to Hug?

With #MeToo accusations popping up regularly, the etiquette around hugging at work is unclear. To one, a congratulatory hug may be a sign of warmth; to another, it may signify a power play. What to do?

In many industries, hugging between clients or colleagues is fairly common. In fact, in long-term relationships between, say, a sales rep and a client, a handshake instead of a hug could be interpreted as coldness.

Still, some organizations steer clear of the workplace hug, especially since a federal court ruled that hugging might constitute creating a hostile work environment. Women in particular may wish to stay away from hugging in the workplace to appear more professional. Another reason to avoid friendly embrace: Research shows that not everyone wants or needs to feel affection at work.

A few pointers from experts:

  • Supervisors should never hug anyone they manage.
  • Everyone should avoid giving a hug if unsure how the other individual would react.
  • Hugs should always be brief.
  • Non-huggers should feel free to set boundaries with their more affectionate counterparts.

The good news is that a firm handshake can be effective at creating a bond between people.

From The Wall Street Journal

Millennials Take a Gloomy View of Business

In its seventh annual survey of millennials, Deloitte’s research unearthed the generation’s dimming view about the nature of work, politics, and the future of industry. Specifically, the survey found that millennials

  • think business ethics are declining as a result of the disconnect between what millennials believe responsible businesses should do and what businesses think they should do
  • feel unprepared for the advent of the evolving workplace and consequently appreciate and prefer organizations that train and support employees in anticipation of these changes
  • view the gig economy as a good way to supplement or replace traditional jobs
  • value good pay, positive workplace cultures, diversity, and flexibility on the job
  • consider positive workplace factors key to their loyalty.

The report states: “The message is clear. Young workers are eager for business leaders to be proactive about making a positive impact in society—and to be responsive to employees’ needs.”

From Deloitte

Promotions Are a Gender Thing 

Research has now confirmed that when promotions are given out, the sexes stick together: men promote men, and women promote women.

The survey, conducted by Fairygodboss, Female Quotient, and Progyny, found that managers tend to promote workers who are “similar” to themselves. The researchers noted that this propensity may be one of the causes for the gender pay gap, since the majority of managers are still male.

The survey also found that women were less likely to have asked for a raise than their male counterparts, and that more men claim their careers take precedence over women’s because they are their families’ primary breadwinner.



“Find Your Passion” is Bad Advice… How to Shine at Work…

“Find Your Passion” is Bad Advice

If you’re waiting for the appearance of a passion that leads to career happiness and success, stop—and get busy instead.

The misguided mantra to “find your passion” distracts people from actively cultivating interests, say researchers from Stanford and Yale. They claim the word “find” suggests a magical process uncontrolled by the individual. However, the research showed that passions or interests are developed by investing time and energy into discovery rather than waiting for the proverbial lightbulb to appear.

The study measured mindsets linked to “theories of interest,” specifically the effects of fixed mindsets, or the belief in innate interests, versus growth mindsets, or the belief that interests are acquired. The study revealed that people with a fixed mindset who have the belief that passions simply appear tend to be less curious than people with a growth mindset, who view acquiring interests as a process that unfolds. This more take-charge process is more likely to lead to a satisfying career.

From Quartz Media

How to Shine at Work

What do employers value in employees? The attributes below are characteristics that will help any worker stand out on the job.

Punctuality shows respect for others’ time.

Focus demonstrates self-discipline in a time of countless distractions.


Eagerness means taking on additional responsibilities and looking for learning opportunities.

Integrity makes an employee trusted and credible.

Objectivity removes emotion from business dealings so that actions are fair.

Flexibility is essential in a world that is volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous.

These attributes add up to professionalism, the underpinning of all successful careers.

Gentlemen, Please Step Up

Practically daily, the media report on another addition to the #MeToo movement. According to The Wall Street Journalopinion columnist Peggy Noonan, the reason is that too few men are gentlemen.

Noonan does not defend predators—men bent on sexual assault and rape—but separates those acts from general boorish behavior. Men can be grabby creeps, slobs, pigs, Noonan writes. But those problems might ease if men behaved courteously and honorably, showing dignity and respecting the dignity of women.

Noonan notes that on one hand, social media have created the forum for a lack of decorum that brings out the worst in male brutishness. On the other hand, there may be hope, she writes: The Internet is laden with definitions of what a gentleman is and how to be one.

From the The Wall Street Journal

Dating Coworkers a Sticky Wicket… Commas Count, Court Rules, and Company Pays… Tricks to Stoke Memory

Dating Coworkers a Sticky Wicket 

Office romances have been around for, well, as long as there have been offices. Recent research indicates that around 40 percent of workers have dated a colleague. With the national conversation revolving around workplace harassment, companies and employees are trying to navigate the treacherous waters of what’s okay and what’s not when it comes to dating a coworker.

Some organizations are putting regulations on their books prohibiting relationships between managers and their direct reports. Others are codifying relationships with so-called “love contracts,” which require colleagues in a relationship to sign a statement in which both parties agree to behave professionally at work. At Facebook and Google, employees are allowed to ask a colleague out once. If the request is rejected, no more asking is allowed without HR stepping in.

However, micro-managing human relations can be a no-win situation for organizations—having too many rules surrounding adult relationships makes it difficult to attract and keep employees, say HR managers. Still, having some policies governing these interactions offers workers clarity and employers a way to protect themselves and their staff.

From the Wall Street Journal

Commas Count, Court Rules, and Company Pays

The omission of the much-debated Oxford comma in a Maine labor law resulted in a court ruling costing a local dairy $5 million.

The problematic punctuation—which is the comma placed after the penultimate item in a list of three or more items—was absent in a law governing overtime and caused confusion about how to interpret which activities were exempted from overtime pay.The problem began when the employer claimed its drivers were exempt from overtime pay, citing Maine’s labor law, which stated that overtime rules did not apply to:

The canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution of:

(1) Agricultural produce;

(2) Meat and fish products; and

(3) Perishable foods.

The drivers claimed that the phrase “packing for shipment or distribution” read as a single act, and that since they never did any packing, they argued they should not have been exempt from overtime. The judge reviewing the case agreed and wrote that if the list of exemptions “used a serial comma to mark off the last of the activities that it lists, then the exemption would clearly encompass an activity that the drivers perform.”

Subsequently, the company settled the case–and the Maine legislature added clarifying punctuation to its law.


Tricks to Stoke Memory

A memory champion has advice for those of us who leave our keys in the car (running), forget to return an e-mail, or can’t remember why we’re in a room. Memory champ Nelson Dellis shares his tips.

  1. Make it memorable. Associate the detail to remember with something exciting or special to make it real instead of abstract. For example, if you need to remember to pick up a pizza, imagine sizzling hot cheese burning your mouth.
  2. Create a memory palace. A memory palace is a series of pictures you imagine superimposed onto a place you know well. If you need to remember items on a grocery list, imagine bread covering your office desk and make up a story for why it’s there. When you dredge up the image of the desk and see the bread all over it, the story will be there to help you recall the item on your grocery list.
  3. Fabricate fantasies. Connect tasks you need to do and create a whacky narrative out of them. For example, if you need to remember to call the IT manager and schedule a meeting, make up a story: The CEO stole all the company computers and you need to meet with the IT person to discuss how to handle things. The crazier the story, the more memorable it becomes.
  4. Pay attention. Turn on laser focus when you know you need to remember something. Say you need to remember someone’s name. Tell yourself “This person’s name is X, This person’s name is X.”
  5. Practice daily. Anything you want to excel at requires practice, and memorization is no exception. Avoid relying on lists and instead force your memory to do the work.

From Fast Company