Category Archives: 3. News You Can Use

Young Workers’ Loneliness Affects Companies

Even before COVID-19 forced employees to work from home, many millennials and Gen Z hires experienced loneliness and emptiness on a professional level, according to a recent survey. Using the well-established  UCLA Loneliness Scale, health insurer Cigna surveyed more than 10,000 people and found that more than 80 percent of Gen Z and 69 percent of millennials not only considered themselves lonely but found that their values conflicted with their company’s.

The reasons for loneliness, at least, are likely a result of isolation due to communication styles, researchers conjectured. Younger workers tend to forego telephone calls in lieu of electronic messaging via text and e-mail, which limits one-on-one contact. The preponderance of telecommuting further adds to the sense of isolation, the survey’s authors speculated.

Another finding saw a connection between social media use and loneliness. Heavy social media users were more lonely than light social media users, confirming the theory that having hundreds of friends on social media does not help individuals feel more connected.

Related research has found that lonely workers take more sick days and miss more work as a result of stress. They also are less committed to their work and therefore often receive lower performance ratings. Loneliness can be nearly as contagious as the flu, making the problem one that managers need to heed, especially in light of the pandemic.

Discussion

  1. What problems can you foresee if a manager approached an employee to discuss that individual’s feelings of loneliness or mental health?
  2. What are some ways companies can help their employees avoid alienation and loneliness?
  3. What can employees do to help themselves feel less lonely and isolated on the job?

From The Wall Street Journal

The Collision of Religion and the Workplace

Dealing with religious matters in the workplace is such hot-button issue that a Harvard lecturer labeled it “one of the last taboos.” Yet deal with the matter businesses must, because religious discrimination is a reality that managers are being forced to confront. The problem is that most companies do not have policies in place to do so.

Recent cases about religious discrimination in the workplace have made their way to the Supreme Court, reinforcing the urgency of this situation. One of the most high-profile suits involved a 17-year-old girl whose job application was rejected by Abercrombie & Fitch because she wore a hijab. The fashion retailer claimed her religious headdress went counter to its dress code and brand identity because Abercrombie’s image is clearly defined to market to “cool, good-looking people.”

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the young woman, citing Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which states it is illegal to “refuse to hire… because of … individuals’ race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” However, on appeal, the decision was reversed in favor of Abercrombie. The basis of the reversal was that the woman should have made her need for religious accommodation clear when she originally applied for the position.

This back and forth highlights just how problematic the issue is. Many organizations feel justified to create policies that reinforce their brand, as Abercrombie did. However, employers’ policies do not trump the individual’s right to religious freedom, and that is where the problem lies.

Legal experts note that the law does not require employers to honor every request about religious issues an employee requests; they just have to make “reasonable accommodations.” In the end, however, experts point out that employers always look for a good fit with their employees. Experts point out that employers always look for new-hires who get along and can work with their existing employees. The question is whether this understandable desire for “finding a good fit” could lead to discrimination, and whether “reasonable accommodations” is easy to define.

Discussion

  1. What could be the advantages of hiring people from minority religious affiliations and backgrounds?
  2. What might be potential challenges?
  3. Why do you think more issues surrounding religion in the workplace are cropping up now?

From Harvard Business Review

 

 

Why Company Culture Is Important to Job Seekers

The term “company culture” is bandied about in the business world. But what is it, and why does it even matter?

A company’s culture refers to the way an organization presents itself to its stakeholders, including staff, and often includes components that affect workplace atmosphere such as work environment, flexibility, mission, and ethics. It’s similar to a personality—some will be attracted to it, others repelled. For example, if a company’s culture values a workplace in which all employees collaborate in an open workspace, that company’s culture will clash with an individual who works best alone. However, if an organization values community volunteerism and a potential hire possesses a solid volunteering track record, the two can be a good fit.

 

When an employee and a company are a good fit, the employee will be happier on the job and perform better. It works the other way, too. If the employer and employee fit is poor, the result will be subpar for both, so it pays for job seekers to research a company’s culture and look for elements that lead to a good fit.

 

Below are questions to consider when examining a company’s culture.

 

  • How does the company describe itselfto the world? What words does the firm use to explain who it is, what it does, and why it does it? The way an organization talks about itself is a good measure of the way it operates.

 

  • How do employees refer to their organization? Are current workers positive ambassadors of the company? What employees say about their firmshows a lot about how a potential hire can expect to feel working there.

 

  • Is turnover a problem? If a company churns through people, it’s likely that the culture is not supportive or worse, hostile.

 

We spend too many hours at our jobs to work in an organization that isn’t a good fit. Researching company culture before onboarding pays long-lasting dividends.

 

Discussion

 

  1. What are some ways to look into a company’s culture prior to an interview?
  2. During an interview, how could the job seeker learn more about the organization’s culture?
  3. How can you define what kind of a culture will be the best fit for you?

A company’s culture refers to the way an organization presents itself to its stakeholders, including staff, and often includes components that affect workplace atmosphere such as work environment, flexibility, mission, and ethics. It’s similar to a personality—some will be attracted to it, others repelled. For example, if a company’s culture values a workplace in which all employees collaborate in an open workspace, that company’s culture will clash with an individual who works best alone. However, if an organization values community volunteerism and a potential hire possesses a solid volunteering track record, the two can be a good fit.

When an employee and a company are a good fit, the employee will be happier on the job and perform better. It works the other way, too. If the employer and employee fit is poor, the result will be subpar for both, so it pays for job seekers to research a company’s culture and look for elements that lead to a good fit.

Below are questions to consider when examining a company’s culture.

  • How does the company describe itselfto the world? What words does the firm use to explain who it is, what it does, and why it does it? The way an organization talks about itself is a good measure of the way it operates.
  • How do employees refer to their organization? Are current workers positive ambassadors of the company? What employees say about their firmshows a lot about how a potential hire can expect to feel working there.
  • Is turnover a problem? If a company churns through people, it’s likely that the culture is not supportive or worse, hostile.

We spend too many hours at our jobs to work in an organization that isn’t a good fit. Researching company culture before onboarding pays long-lasting dividends.

Discussion

  1. What are some ways to look into a company’s culture prior to an interview?
  2. During an interview, how could the job seeker learn more about the organization’s culture?
  3. How can you define what kind of a culture will be the best fit for you?