Category Archives: 1. The Scoop

Dealing with Toxic Co-Workers… Downside of Informal Work Protocols… Résumé Tips for Remote Jobs

Dealing with Toxic Co-Workers 

The workplace is rife with conflicts among coworkers, from minor inconveniences such as disruptively loud speaking to the more serious breaches of being interrupted, ignored, or taken advantage of. Behavioral experts offer suggestions about how to deal with the common phenomenon.

  1. DO confront colleagues about bad behavior. Don’t avoid dealing with difficult colleagues, but when you do, lead with a compliment, not a criticism. For example, if a coworker has not carried his or her fair share of a project, don’t start with “We’re all stuck doing your portion of the work. That’s so unprofessional.” Instead, open on a positive note. “I was pleased when you were assigned to the team because of your ability to XX.” Then focus on a specific behavior. “I’ve noticed that XX has been doing your weekly reports. We’d all like to hear your perspective.
  2. Bring annoying colleagues closer rather than pushing them away. Avoidance is not the best strategy when dealing with people who make us angry. Say an individual regularly hijacks meetings or goes behind your back to get his or her way. To mitigate such behavior, ask that “bulldozer” to help make sure everyone’s voice is heard during a meeting. “You know how Greg never takes credit for his accomplishments. Why don’t you make sure everyone knows how hard he’s worked.”
  3. Align yourself with others the office pest bothers. Form alliances with workplace colleagues who have also been affected by an office bully. Experts say that having broad social connections rather than relying on a single best work friend helps form a united front of colleagues who, together, can better bring the problem to a manager’s attention.

Source: West, T. (2022, February 19.) How to deal with office jerks. The Wall Street Journal. https://www.wsj.com

Downside of Informal Work Protocols

Few workers miss long commutes or trekking through winter weather while decked in work attire. But while remote work offers many benefits, it comes with some distinct negatives, too.

A lack of formalities such as clear start and stop times sounds great on the surface. However, a Harvard Business School study revealed that remote workers actually work longer hours.

The around-the-clock workday allows employers to monopolize their employees’ time throughout the day and night, making it more difficult for workers to maintain a formal end to their day or ask for time off.

Another loss to workers caused by the casual workplace is the elimination of managerial hierarchies with clear pathways for advancement. Many workplaces have done away with middle management positions, instead having lower level workers report directly to top-level leaders. This flatter organizational structure particularly affects junior employees because their managers delegate more responsibilities onto them without giving formal promotions.

Finally, working remotely has particularly hurt workers at the bottom of workplace hierarchies. These employees may be hesitant to report harassment or to push back against bad behavior without the formal reporting procedures that are routine in an actual office.

Perhaps worst of all is that in the casual workplace, young employees do not interact with managers who ideally would model appropriate workplace behavior.

Source: Spiers, E. (2022, February 7.) What we lose when work gets too casual. The New York Times. https://www.nyt.com

Résumé Tips for Remote Jobs

To convince a potential employer that you are capable of being a productive addition to a business even when working remotely, your résumé must convincingly illustrate that you have the skills to work in a hybrid or fully remote function.

Use these strategies when applying to remote or hybrid positions.

  • Describe any remote or hybrid roles explicitly: Remotely managed multiple projects for team leaders in four U.S. cities.
  • Highlight relevant skills: Ability to manage time efficiently without oversight.
  • Show you can collaborate virtually: Mentored peers on using Slack.
  • Demonstrate self-motivation: Initiated system to reduce overstocking by 15%.
  • Spell out tech skills: Digital competencies include fluency in Slack, Microsoft Teams, Basecamp, and Google Drive.
  • Project collegiality: Took on team leadership of project when colleague fell ill, leading to team being recognized in all-hands meeting.

Source: Samuel, A. (2022, February 17.) Looking for a remote job? It’s time to update your résumé. The Wall Street Journal. https://www.wsj.com

 

 

One-Page Résumé Still Rules the Job Search… Be Your Own Best Friend… Do Happy Animated Instructors Improve Virtual Learning?

One-Page Résumé Still Rules the Job Search

Despite major changes in the workplace, recruiters still rely on the single-page résumé as the gold standard for evaluating potential hires, according to research conducted by the online job posting site Monster.com.

In its Future of Work report, Monster found that résumés are the single most effective tool for weeding out candidates. In fact, only in-person interviews surpassed the résumé as hirers’ favorite way of evaluating candidates.

Interestingly, the time-honored document’s design and formatting have not changed much. The candidate’s name at the top with bulleted points listing work experience remains the gold standard. And despite the number of word processing tricks now available, simple is best, the survey found, primarily because résumés must be readable to both humans and applicant-tracking technology. That means foregoing fancy fonts for basic typefaces such as Calibri, Georgia, and Times New Roman.

Source: Beltran, G. (2022, January 22). The pandemic changed everything about work, except the humble résumé. The New York Times. https://www.nyt.com

Do Happy Animated Instructors Improve Virtual Learning?

Studies—and our own teaching experiences—confirm that students better connect with instructors who are animated and display positivity, thus providing more motivation to learn. But what about how students connect with computer animations of an instructor during video lessons?

Researchers at the University of California Santa Barbara sought to discover whether students developed the same strong connection with virtual instructors displaying a “positive stance” compared to teachers who showed frustration or unhappiness. The study found that while the students did indeed relate better to the happy, upbeat virtual instructor, the test subjects did a better job at picking up when a human instructor demonstrated happy or frustrated feelings compared to the AI instructor. So live instructors win over virtual ones with regard to actual learning.

That seems obvious, so why bother testing such an idea? The reason is virtual training. As organizations turn to virtual instruction to comply with the plethora of policy and regulations relevant to the workplace, learning from those videos can be improved by using better graphics and improved human animations of instructors, the researchers concluded.

Source: Young, J. (2021, January 28). When virtual animations are teaching, can they make an emotional connection? EdSurge. https://www.edsurge.com

Be Your Own Best Friend

Family and friends are great go-tos for a pep talk. But the best person to help you through life’s ups and downs is you.

Whether it be a life coach, best friend, or therapist, those people we rely on to help us through hard times simply aren’t available 24/7, especially when so many are feeling pandemic fatigue. So it makes sense to take responsibility for our own well-being. Doing so is called self-determination or the ability to use internal resources to guide ourselves through difficulties

Next time you feel low, try these self-help tips instead of reaching for the phone.

  1. Focus. Turn off external noise such as the news, friends, or chatter in your head.
  2. Reflect. Carve time out to think about what’s working, what isn’t, and where you’re headed. In the morning, set an agenda of what needs to be completed that day. At the end of the day, think about what went right or wrong. Look for one thing to celebrate.
  3. Savor small pleasures. Focus on small pleasantries like a good meal, a relaxing walk, or a nice chat.
  4. Accept sadness. If you try to squelch difficult emotions, they will keep popping up until you deal with them. Sometimes it’s best to accept that a time is difficult or that you just feel sad.

Source: Bernstein, E. (2021, December 8). Stressed out? Worn down? It’s time to become your own life coach. The Wall Street Journal. https://wsj.com

How to Show Confidence During Job Interviews… Job Opportunities Look Bright for 2022 Grads… Remote Work Costing Gen Z Valuable Life Lessons

How to Show Confidence During Job Interviews

Job interviews can be stressful for a number of reasons, but these five tips can help lessen anxiety.

  1. Prepare, prepare, prepare. Pour over the company’s website to learn about who’s who and what’s what. Findreviews about the organization using sites such as Glassdoor and LinkedIn. Reach out to contacts in your network who may shed light on the interview process. Finally, make sure to look up information about your interviewer.
  2. Create examples to highlight skills. To stand out from others being considered for the job, prepare stories of examples that illustrate desirable skills. Instead of vague answers such as I helped increase sales, provide a specific example: I helped increase sales by X percent by doing X.
  3. Practice responses. Once you have gathered a number of responses, create talking points. Then rehearse aloud until you feel comfortable retelling them.
  4. Be positive. Prior to the interview, practice active positivity. Listen to upbeat music or watch inspirational videos. Think about prior successes and use positive self-talk.
  5. Work off nervous energy. Whether it’s jogging, dancing, or lifting weights, burn off nervous energy to avoid coming across as anxious or wired.

Finally, know that those butterflies in your stomach are signs that you care about the position. That’s not a bad thing, experts say.

Source: Vozza, S. (November 16, 2021.) 5 ways to boost your confidence during a stressful job interview. FastCompany. https://fastcompany.com

Job Opportunities Look Bright for 2022 Grads  

Employers plan to hire 26 percent more new graduates this year than they did in 2021, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Job Outlook 2022 report.

Between an unemployment rate below 5 percent and more than 10 million job openings, the class of 2022 faces a rosy employment picture. In fact, 60 percent of employers surveyed say they plan to increase hires.

NACE’s annual Job Report collects data from employer members as well as nonmember companies. A total of 157 respondents were queried between August to October 2021 about hiring for the new year.

Source: Gray, K. (November 11, 2021). Employer hiring plans jump for class of 2022 graduates. National Association of Colleges and Employers. https://naceweb.org

Remote Work Costing Gen Z Valuable Life Lessons

Gen Zers overwhelmingly indicate their desire to work remotely. But experts say doing so costs the new generation of workers more than learning the ropes from seasoned employees. It’s hurting their personal growth, too.

In the not so distant past, most employees spent more time at the workplace than anywhere else. The office was where new-hires matured by learning how to resolve conflict and handle interpersonal challenges. This was especially true for workers under the age of 25, an important time for human brain development.

In-person work likewise helped young people develop by forcing them to deal with authority, cope with emotions, control impulsivity, and learn to read social cues. A mix of competition and congeniality, the pre-pandemic office provided a unique atmosphere to hone life skills while junior staff members were working side by side with more experienced coworkers.

However, being isolated and working from home has deprived young adults of opportunities to learn about human nature. To offset this deficit, more experienced workers suggest that their younger colleagues mindfully build work relationships, seek out face-to-face time, and not hide from uncomfortable situations–the very experiences that lead to personal growth.

Source: Knight, R. (October 19, 2021.) What Gen Z misses out on by not being at the office. Business Insider. https://businessinsider.com