Microsoft Word Matters – Most Popular Corporate Software

MS Word “After Web browsers Word is the most-used app on the planet; it’s still the platinum standard in word processing. Nothing else even comes close”(PCMag, March 2013).

Microsoft Word is a word processing program developed by Microsoft.”  It’s been in existence since 1983, and since that time has undergone 14 revisions, the most recent being Word 2013. It is the most widely used word processing program, with Word files being used as the “go-to” format for sharing documents (e.g. by email) because almost every computer user can access a Word document by using MS Word, a viewer or word processor that imports the Word format.

Its basic features include utilities for manipulating and editing text, as well as a spell checker, thesaurus, and dictionary. It appears as a deceptively simple program, but it has a high degree of functionality.
» Read more

Time Management Scale – The Utility of ATOMS

time managementThe importance of effective time management skills in the workplace has been highlighted by issues including increasing workloads, less funding and greater diversity in the client base. A situation has been created where health professionals need to achieve more in less time, making good time management skills essential. The importance of these skills has been endorsed by graduates, supervisors of recent graduates, experienced practitioners, and educators in the industry.

To that end, researchers at Sydney University investigated the most effective way of evaluating time management skills that would be suitable for an academic environment and clinical settings. They used the Australian Time Organisation and Management Scale (ATOMS) (Covic, Adamson, Lincoln & Kench, 2003).

» Read more

Employee Engagement Essential in Professional Services Firms

employee engagementThe importance of employee engagement has been discussed in previous posts. Recent research indicates that nowhere is employee engagement more important than in professional services firms. While these firms are necessarily primarily client focused, ultimately the success of professional services firms relies on the success of their employees’ work. And the most successful employees are engaged employees.

In fact, in professional services firms employee engagement is a strategic business initiative.

» Read more

English Second Language Training and Support

In Australia, on average 15 percent of all school students come from a non-English speaking background. In some states it is much higher: in New South Wales this figure is almost 25 percent English Second Language Students, as it is in the Northern Territory, and in Victoria it is 20 percent. According to Adriano Truscott, president of the Australian Council of TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) Associations, Australia has an “outstanding tradition” in teaching English as a Second Language (ESL).

It is therefore vital that we have a great system for tracking the progress of our English Second Language Students (ESL) students, to cater for the needs of our high number of ESL students, as well as to safeguard our reputation as a leader in this field.

» Read more

Multimedia and multi-tasking

Brunken and colleagues (2002) investigated multi-media learning and the processes that make it work. In two experiments they showed that the multimedia format facilitates learning through the processes of the dual coding effect and the modality effect.

The dual coding effect refers to the effect by which learning is improved when related pictures are presented at the same as text based information, and the modality effect shows that learning is enhanced when information is presented through the visual and auditory modalities simultaneously.

» Read more

Job performance in the global economy: how the meaning of job performance varies cross-culturally

In the Australian work context, together with other similar individualistic Western countries (such as the USA and UK), job performance is typically assessed in terms of task (in-role) behaviour – i.e., how well an employee performs their duties;  organisational citizenship behaviour – i.e., going ‘above and beyond’ role requirements such as helping other employees with their workload; and counterproductive work behaviours – i.e., absenteeism and poor work practices.

In this global economy it is important to be aware of how job performance is assessed in other cultures, particularly more collectivist culture such as many Asian and Latin American countries.

» Read more

The hidden costs of employee disengagement

A recent research poll of Australian workers has found that more than 80% of Australian employees feel disengaged and work, with more than 20% being actively disengaged, that is behaving in ways that are actively harmful to the organisation.  They estimated that disengagement costs Australian organisations at least $33.5 Billion a year in lost productivity.  It also has other negative social effects outside the workplace, with disengaged employees taking out their negative feelings on their families and having more health problems.

As discussed in our earlier blog How engaged are your employees, employee engagement refers to the extent to which  employees believe in the values and mission of the organisation, are committed to their work and will act in ways that further the organisation’s interests.  It integrates the well known constructs of job satisfaction and organisational commitment.

Engaged employees are focused and connected at work, supportive of organisational goals and are willing to “go the extra mile” at work.

» Read more

Work safety needs a human touch

Most organisational occupational health and safety (OHS) interventions focus on controlling employee procedures and the physical work environment in an effort to maximise workplace safety.  While such efforts are important, they do not take into account the human factors related to work safety, such as individual and group attitudes and the influence of management.

Recent research involving members of the RightPeople team has found that there is an important interaction between management attitudes, work pressure and individual attitudes in determining whether an employee will follow safety procedures.

» Read more

Safeguarding our workforce

Australia’s Aging Workforce

The ageing of Australia’s workforce is one of businesses’ major emerging challenges.  By 2044-45 it is estimated that 25% of Australians will be aged 65 years or over, which is approximately double the present population.

Additionally, over the last decade the average age of the Australian workforce (especially the full-time workforce) has been increasing faster than the average age of the general population (Department of Parliamentary Services, 2005).

In September 2010 there were approximately 5.8 million adults not in the labour force.  Over 3.3 million, or 57% of these people were aged 55 years and over (The Australian Institute for Social Research, 2008).  As more people move into older age groups, overall workforce participation rates are predicted to substantially drop.  Some estimates project that there will be a loss of one third of the workforce over the next two decades to retirement, redundancy and illness/disability (The Australian Institute for Social Research, 2008).

By early next decade labour demand is expected to exceed supply (Productivity Commission, 2005).

» Read more

Safety matters, just ask Orica!

Incidents such as the leak of the cancer-causing chemical hexavalent chromium by Orica in Newcastle in August last year highlight the importance of safety procedures and proper handling of health and safety incidents by organisations.

Following the leak the plant was closed for 6 months, it reportedly lost $90 million in earnings, it faced court over breaching Environmental Protection laws and the incident was the subject of a NSW Health health and safety risk assessment and two government inquiries.

The incident also forced changes in environmental protection laws, which now require companies to notify authorities immediately after an incident that poses a risk to the environment, with fines of up to $2 million for failing to do so.

» Read more

Assessment in Organisations – Current Status, Trends and Emerging Issues

Meta-analyses have revealed that the most valid predictors of job performance are ability measures (cognitive or intelligence tests) and personality assessments, particularly the “Big 5” personality traits, followed by structured job interviews.  Together, ability tests and measures of conscientiousness or integrity provide an adjusted validity of 0.65 (Ones, Viswesveran, & Schmidt, 1993; Ones & Viswesveran, 1998).  The combination of these measures also helps to reduce the impact of issues such as cultural differences in performance on ability tests and measurement error (Bartram, 2004).

In terms of ‘post-hire’ testing, research has shown that 360 degree feedback systems are one of the most popular and fast-growing types of assessments used in organisations.  These systems have evolved as globalisation and the increased pace of change in organisations have resulted in a need for flexible measures of organisational performance that assess a range of competencies rather than specific job skills (Bartram, 2004).

» Read more

How safe is your contact centre?

 

courtesy of google images

The security breaches at Sony Corp., makers of the PlayStation consoles, in April this year exposed both the wealth of personal information that contact centre staff gather from customers on a daily basis and also the potential costs and reputation damage that can result from lack of risk management and appropriate security practices.

The information stolen by hackers of the Sony Corp. systems included the names, dates of birth and possibly mother’s maiden name of approximately 100 million Sony PlayStation network customers as well as credit and debit records from over 23,000 non-US customers of Sony Online Entertainment (Edwards & Riley, 2011).  It has been estimated that financial costs (including credit card fraud, network repairs and marketing costs) will amount to approximately 50 million USD, whilst restoring confidence in the company’s network and stabilising sales may take up to 6 months (Edwards & Riley, 2011).

» Read more

Safety first?

A recent front page story in the Sydney Morning Herald (Wallace, 2011) “Injuries Show the Dangers of Childcare” highlights the serious problems that can arise when employees are unaware of, or do not follow, organisational safety procedures.

The report indicated that there were 13,300 potential health and safety breaches in child care centres in NSW in 2009-10, resulting in 1,000 children requiring medical treatment and one death.

While your business may have nothing in common with a childcare centre, it is important to realise that workplace injuries can happen in any organisation.  According to a WorkCover report, across NSW in 2008-09 there were 139 deaths resulting from workplace accidents and over 133,000 employment injuries reported (WorkCover NSW, 2010).  These occurred across a range of industries, including ‘low risk’ areas such as administration and insurance.

» Read more

How emotionally intelligent are your managers?

Leaders exert a significant influence over the satisfaction and engagement of the employees that they lead (Harter, Schmidt & Hayes, 2002). A good manager can inspire and transform a workplace; while a bad manager can derail their own efforts and those of the organisation.  Signs of derailment include failure to delegate, attitude of arrogance and insensitivity, bullying and inability to adapt to change (Kaiser & Hogan, 2007).  These can lead to reduced individual and organisational performance and have a negative impact on individual health and well-being.  See our blog on workplace bullying to understand one significant outcome that poor leadership can have on workers.

Studies vary in their estimates, but Hogan & Kaiser (2005) has advised that managerial incompetence may be as high as 30-75 per cent in America.  Friday 25th June’s edition of Human Capital Online cites research that shows that at least one in nine managers in Australia are underperforming and engaging in harmful behaviours.

» Read more

Testing for Workplace Bullies

The Australian Psychological Society defines workplace bullying as the experience of aggressive and negative behaviours towards one or more employees that results in a hostile work environment. To be classified as bullying, such negative acts must be regular (usually at least weekly) and persistent (continuing for a 6 month period or longer).

» Read more