Sunday, 30 July 2017

Pat on the Back: How You Can Retain Skilled Workers

Regarding that money matters to top employees, not getting enough recognition for their hard work, more so than wanting a bigger paycheck, is what's likely to send them looking for a new job, new research finds. The study from Korn Ferry revealed that highly skilled professionals such as engineers, researchers, IT developers and specialized physicians value recognition and meaningful work more than high salaries. Specifically, more than fifty percent of the highly skilled employees surveyed said the top reason they would leave their current employer is their organization's unwillingness to recognize the value of their expertise. "All too often, employers don't see the true value of these highly skilled employees until they leave, at times taking with them the knowledge and intellectual property that makes the organization successful," said Cori Hill, Korn Ferry lead for high potential development, in one statement. "To retain members of this group, employers should offer them opportunities to continue to learn, to gain recognition by sharing their expertise across the organization, and resist micromanaging their day-to-day efforts." The research along the line shows that being able to work in a job that offers them an opportunity to perform consequential and worthwhile work is what most of the highly skilled professionals desire. Nearly 70 percent of those surveyed said the promise of meaningful work is what would sway their decision most on where to work. Just 4 percent said better compensation is the top reason they would pick to work for one organization over another. "It's important to understand that highly skilled professionals still want to be compensated fairly, but they see pay as table stakes," said Hill. "And more, they are more connected to the work than the paycheck, and focus on the outcomes of their efforts." While being able to climb the corporate ladder is what matters most to some professionals, it isn't what highly skilled employees value in their jobs. The study on this note found that 49 percent of those surveyed said being recognized as subject-matter experts is what they value most in a job, with 42 percent saying it's the ability to grow their professional skills. Only 7 percent of highly skilled professionals said a promotion was what matters to them most, with just 2 percent saying it was getting a raise. "Professional development and opportunities to hone their skills are real drivers for highly skilled employees," Hill said. "One idea organizations could implement is to form a focus group of these professionals to formulate development paths that would provide true impact." Furthermore, more than three-quarters of those surveyed said there isn't a clear path for advancement for highly skilled professionals, while 78 percent said their organization does not have a way to reward them other than a raise or promotion. And while all these is said, the study's authors believe employers would be wise to not put all of their attention into trying to bring in employees with high potential. “Too often organizations spend most of their efforts on attracting and developing high-potential talent – those employees they see as future leaders – at the expense of investments in highly skilled professionals and individual contributors," Hill said. "Highly skilled professionals are the backbone of organizations, the star performers, the 'Steady Freddys' who keep companies running day in and day out." Finally, the study was based on surveys of 992 professionals and executives.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Google Play Music and YouTube Red may merge into the single streaming service we all desire

A new mega streaming music service may be coming to your phone soon. In a panel discussion at the New Music Seminar conference in New York, a YouTube exec has confirmed what we all hoped would happen one day: YouTube Red and Google Play Music are planning to merge. As first reported by The Verge, hip-hop guru and YouTube’s global music chief Lyor Cohen plainly stated, “The important thing is combining YouTube Red and Google Play Music, and having one offering,” in response to a question about YouTube Red’s waning popularity. That would come as welcome news to users who struggle to navigate between the two services. Starting since its inception in 2015, a YouTube Red subscription has come with a free subscription to Google Play Music, and vice versa. However, you need to operate two apps to enjoy both services, and many subscribers might not even realize they have a subscription to the other. The only reference to the perk on either site is in the FAQ section, which, let’s face it, most people don’t read. Cohen’s comments aren’t a complete surprise, but they do represent the first confirmation that the two services are indeed moving on a path toward consolidation. Now back in February, Google combined the YouTube and Google Play music teams into a single unit, but was characteristically coy about whether the two services would ever merge, saying, "Music is very important to Google and we’re evaluating how to bring together our music offerings to deliver the best possible product for our users, music partners and artists." And so far, it's unclear where Google stands in the streaming music game, since it hasn't released subscriber data for either service. However, it isn't taking the pressure from Spotify and Apple Music lightly. Earlier this year, Google teamed up with Samsung for an exclusive partnership on the Galaxy S8, making it the default music player on the phone and upping the free song storage limit from 50,000 to 100,000. songs In one statement, Google said users would get “plenty of notice before any changes are made.” Google Play Music offers access to some 40 million songs for streaming and offline listening, while YouTube Red brings ad-free background play and video downloads. Both services cost $10 a month following a free trial period.
How it could play out: As to this regard, the streaming music wars are a hotly contested battlefield, but Google hasn’t yet leveraged its YouTube advantage to its full extent. A merged YouTube Red and Google Play Music service with a universal app that offers a seamless listening experience would offer something Spotify and Apple Music doesn’t: a large video library. While both Apple and Spotify offer limited access to music videos, shows, and live clips, they pale in comparison to YouTube's breadth. A simple, single service would instantly rocket Google Play to the head of the streaming music pack. Thanks for reading....
This story,was originally published by PCWorld.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Despite Gig Economy Challenges, Self-Employment Continues to Rise

As the case may be currently, the trend of Americans choosing to work for themselves doesn't appear to be dying down anytime soon, a new research finds. The study from MBO Partners revealed that the total number of self-employed U.S. workers rose to 40.9 million in 2017, up 2.8 percent from last year. Independent workers now represent 31 percent of the U.S. workforce. The research shows that, at one time or another in their career, 40 percent of all U.S. workers have worked independently. The percentage is predicted to continue climbing in the coming year. The study's authors predicted that within the next five years, half of the U.S. workforce will have experienced working independently. Gene Zaino, CEO of MBO Partners, said the research shows definitively that independent work is the way of the future. "Even against a strong economy, independents, particularly in skilled labor markets, choose this path over traditional employment," Zaino said in a statement. "Sixty-five percent of all independents say that independent work was their choice entirely, and this number will continue to rise as organizations compete in a war for top talent in highly competitive fields such as engineering and computer science." The research shows that the number of people working independently on top of a traditional full-time job is what's driving the growth in the independent workforce. There are currently 12.9 million side-giggers, those who work occasionally as independents and at least once per month, up from 10.5 million in 2016. The number of full-time independent workers, 16.2 million, and part-time independents, 11.8 million, both dropped slightly from a year ago. While being self-employed was once something employees were forced into when they couldn't find traditional work, now many independent workers are finding it to be more fiscally rewarding. And more on this, the research also found that 3.2 million full-time independents make more than $100,000 annually, up 4.9 percent from 2016 and an annualized increase of more than 3 percent each year since 2011. Additionally, 36 percent of independent workers earn more money working on their own than they did when they worked in traditional jobs. Besides the financial gains some are seeing, not having to report to anyone is a top reason why many professionals are choosing to become self-employed. The study found that three-quarters of independent workers said they choose this line of work so they can be their own boss, while 64 percent said they did so because they don't like answering to a boss. In addition, 74 percent said they wanted to become an independent worker because of the flexibility it affords. "The motivations for working independently are as much psychological and emotional as they are financial," the study's authors wrote. Working on their own isn't without its difficulties. The research discovered that 50 percent of those who are self-employed said not having enough predictable income is the largest challenge they face, while 33 percent said not being able to plan for their retirement is the biggest issue. Furthermore, 32 percent said they worry about being able to find their next job, and 31 percent think a lack of job security is the greatest challenge to working on their own. Apart from the difficulties that come from working independently, many self-employed workers plan to continue down this path. The study found that just 10 percent of full-time independent workers plan to seek a traditional job in the coming year. "Independents want to continue to pursue the type of work they choose and love," the study's authors wrote. "Year in and year out, most independents say they plan to continue to stay the course as an independent or even build a bigger business." In the end, the researchers say, the structure of work in America is changing and the barriers between working a full-time job and working independently are eroding. "For an increasing number of Americans, it’s not simply a matter of having a payroll job or working independently; many do both, or are comfortable with switching as circumstances dictate," the study's authors wrote. "As companies continue to place a premium on skills, flexibility, and performance, confident independents will find that they have more options." The study was based on surveys of 3,008 U.S. residents over the age of 21. The results were used to size the independent workforce and profile motivations among independent and traditional workers.
Thanks for reading

A Culture of Inclusion: Growing Workplace Diversity and Belonging

First of all, diversity is an important issue for any modern business. But it's not enough to hire people of different nationalities, races, genders and sexual orientations – everyone needs to feel like they are truly welcome, safe and free to be themselves in the workplace. "[A sense of] belonging … and inclusion should be a big focus for employers in this regard, because it ensures that all employees, regardless of their background and experiences, can be connected with equal opportunity and create a healthier, more successful future together with their employers," said Alexandre Ullmann, head of human resources at LinkedIn, LATAM. "When people are comfortable and can express themselves in an authentic way, they are more likely to perform better, which increases engagement and contributes to the organization as a whole," added Miguel Castro, senior director and lead for the Culture & Identity, Global Diversity & Inclusion Office at SAP. This is especially true of workplaces with an LGBT-inclusive environment. Castro... along the line noted that inclusivity has a significant impact on an organization's bottom line and is linked to an average individual productivity increase of 24 percent, according to Out Now Global. Similarly, a 2016 study by The Economist found that the majority of its survey respondents believe diversity and inclusion promote better talent management (71 percent), employee satisfaction (64 percent), collaboration (57 percent) and corporate reputation (57 percent). Yet, there is still much progress to be made. Just over one-third of The Economist's survey respondents reported strong progress on advancing LGBT inclusion in their companies, and 63 percent say the onus rests on the C-suite and senior management to improve the situation. Now, without going too far, here are some simple steps you can take as a leader to promote an inclusive company culture.
1. Start from the top As with any facet of company culture, creating and encouraging a sense of belonging in your workplace starts from the leadership level. The company's founders and executive team need to have a desire to build a diverse culture and hire people who are open to working with people of all different nationalities, skin colors, genders and sexual orientations, said Eloise Bune, CEO of ScribbleChat. "If diversity is not a company goal … it just won't happen," she said. "People tend to hire people like them so they are comfortable and rarely challenged. It is human nature." "A healthy business begins with a healthy company culture," added Jason Beckerman, CEO of Unified. "We strive to provide all of our employees with the tools and skills necessary to shine, and that starts with letting your employees know that yes, you can be exactly who you are here." Once your company's leadership sets the tone, it's easy to extend that attitude throughout the organization. "What is great about creating a culture of belonging is that it can be fostered peer-to-peer, bottom-up and top-down," said Ullmann. In addition, Ullmann also recommends taking a close look at your company's recruiting tactics to make sure you're approaching hiring with the goal of fostering diversity and inclusion. "Make inclusive recruitment an integral part of your company's DNA to amplify your company's future, cultivate your workforce and invest in the community as a whole," he said.
2. Provide safe spaces for employees On this note, inclusive workplaces go the extra mile to consider the safety and comfortability of all employees, especially those from marginalized groups. For example, gendered bathrooms have the potential to make transgender and gender non-conforming employees uncomfortable, especially in light of controversial bathroom bills in multiple states that could or already do impact transgender rights.Now, one easy way to signal a progressive, inclusive workplace is to offer unisex bathrooms in your office, said Bune. On a broader level, inclusive spaces can be created simply by spending time with one another. Bune said the ScribbleChat team makes a point to all eat lunch together. This "leads to really interesting conversations," and creates a "safe place to share and be heard," she added. If your company is bigger, creating an in-office support group or network for diverse employees can help them connect with others who share their experiences. "Employee networks can create a safe, open environment to spark conversations and discuss the topics that are important to the community," said Castro
3. Connect with employees (but make sure you are sensitive) One of the major best ways to signal to your employees that it's OK to be themselves is to connect with them on a personal level. Be transparent with them about your own life: "If you are real with them chances are you will get the same in return," said Bune. Simple gestures like asking about "spouses" or "partners" (rather than assuming someone's sexual orientation and using gendered terms) can encourage LGBT employees to open up about their personal lives and feel included in non-work discussions. But in anycase, it's important not to be insensitive about their identity. "Be sure to treat LGBTQ employees like everyone else in the office and do not ask inappropriate questions like, 'How did you come out?' unless you have a close relationship with the person," she said. "This is a very personal question." Ullmann advised giving employees an outlet for connecting with others and sharing their stories. "Whether it's an employee survey, company all-hands discussions or campaigns, giving your employees multiple ways to share their feedback, their perspective and their stories will create an open dialogue that can lead to more positive outcomes," he said.
Some Real-life examples of successful diversity programs
Our sources shared some of the efforts their companies are making to make diverse groups of employees feel safe, supported and celebrated in the workplace:
LinkedIn: LinkedIn has a global employee resource group called "out@in," which provides executive sponsors and a strong ally community for LGBT employees, said Ullmann. The company's recent #ProudAtWork campaign encouraged employees, executives and LinkedIn Influencers to share their stories about belonging in the workplace.
SAP: Inclusion is a top priority at SAP, which offers a companywide virtual training program called Focus on Insight, which educates employees about diversity and inclusion. According to Castro, the company also encourages participation in employee-driven events like SAP's "We Are One" initiatives (focused on sharing diverse life experiences), and it sponsors/participates in annual Pride parades across the globe.
Unified:Unified targets at fostering "great people from all walks of life with impactful, inclusive cultural programs including mentorship, executive town halls and peer awards," said Beckerman. For Pride Month, the company put together a few celebratory initiatives, including an employee viewing of HBO's documentary "The Trans List," an informational session hosted by the Ali Forney Center (a community center supporting LGBT homeless youth), and treats from NYC's famous Big Gay Ice Cream Truck. Unified also offers its Leadership Empowerment And Development (LEAD) Program, an initiative to support and educate strong female leaders in the workplace. An inclusive culture is a work in progress, said Ullmann, and you should constantly be revisiting your policies and programs to create a more tolerant, diverse environment. "There is always something that can be improved upon," he told Business News Daily. "Make it your company's priority to take action to close any gaps so that all employees feel like they belong and are supported to thrive. Thanks for reading....