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via hisdustantimesGrooming Employees in Soft Skills Helps Improve Productivity

Workers with well-honed soft skills – time and stress management, problem-solving, communication and good teamwork – tend to work at better firms and fetch higher wages, a new study conducted in India suggests.

Employer surveys suggest that this set of skills is just as highly demanded as technical know-how, researchers said.

Achyuta Adhvaryu, assistant professor at the University of Michigan in the US, analysed whether providing soft skills training to female garment workers in India could improve their workplace outcomes.

“We found that despite a high overall turnover rate in the industry, more treated workers are retained,” Adhvaryu said. “And treated workers are 12% more productive than those who did not receive the training in soft skills,” said Adhvaryu.

The programme Adhvaryu and colleagues evaluated aimed to empower female garment workers with training in a broad variety of soft skills, including communication, time management, financial literacy, problem-solving, decision-making and legal literacy.

To assess the programme’s impacts, the researchers conducted a randomised controlled trial in five garment factories in Bengaluru. Workers enrolled in a lottery for the chance to participate, and then were chosen at random to take part in the programme. Those who were not randomly selected served as controls.

Nine months after the programme ended, productivity gains, along with an increase in person-days due to retention changes, helped generate a whopping 256 % net return on investment.

“Wages rose very little – about 0.5% – after the programme period, indicating that the firm keeps most of the gains from the increased productivity of labour,” said Adhvaryu, who collaborated with Namrata Kala of Harvard University and Anant Nyshadham of Boston College in the US for the study.

via CNBCMillennial Employees Are A Lot More Loyal Than Their Job-Hopping Stereotype

It turns out that cool workspaces and free artisanal lunches aren’t necessarily key in turning millennial hires into loyal employees.

The oldest millennials came of age during the dot-com boom, when jumping from start-up to start-up in search of a better opportunity was the norm. And they’ve developed a reputation for job-hopping and being unattached to large corporate institutions. But when it comes to what they want most in a workplace, they’re not much different from baby boomers and Gen Xers, who employers traditionally have pegged as more loyal workers.

Millennials in the Workplace

Almost 90 percent of millennials surveyed in a new study said that they would choose to stay in a job for the next 10 years if they knew they’d get:

  • Annual raises
  • And upward career mobility

Most millennials are planning to stay in their jobs for at least six years, and 77 percent would be willing to take a salary cut in exchange for long-term job security, according to a survey provided exclusively to CNBC by Qualtrics, a Provo, Utah-based survey software firm, and venture capital firm Accel Partners (a Qualtrics investor).

“Millennials want stability — yes, that may shock you, but it’s true,” said millennial attorney James Goodnow, 35, co-author of Motivating Millennials. “Many baby boomer executives think millennials are just cashing in on a short-term gig so they can scrape together enough money to go hike Mount Kilimanjaro or buy an unlimited annual skydiving pass.”

What is the longest you would stay at your current job even if you liked it?

  • 39 percent said six or more years
  • 68 percent said at least three years
  • 16 percent said one year or less

Why did you leave a job you liked?

  • Better opportunity elsewhere: 36 percent
  • Needed to relocate: 24 percent
  • Went back to school: 16 percent

Only 3 percent answered, “I don’t like to spend too much time at one job.”

The Qualtrics-Accel Partners survey, which surveyed almost 1,500 millennials about what they look for in an ideal workplace, offers some insight for employers looking to hire and retain workers from the country’s largest labor force.

Here are a few myths the research suggest should be busted.

1. Millennials always have one foot out the office door.

“These stereotypes are stifling for millennials, who are seeking business where they can grow and develop as professionals,” Goodnow said. “This ‘they’re probably leaving anyway’ mentality creates a self-fulfilling prophesy where business leaders don’t invest in their youngest workers, who then leave as a result.”

2. The mission of a company means more to millennials than traditional workplace benefits.

“The notion that millennials place a premium on their employer’s mission is clearly an over-generalization, said Larry Yu, marketing partner at Accel. “People value career trajectory and compensation more. It shouldn’t be a surprise. This generation is getting to the age where things like owning a home or starting a family is more top-of-mind.”

Other data from the survey shows that investing in millennial employees during their first 90 days on the job is key to retaining them. Companies need to try harder at giving millennials a valuable reason to stay, which should go way beyond free food — it’s about upward mobility.

“[Millennials] want to be at a place where they own their own career trajectory,” said Mike Maughan, head of brand growth and global insights at Qualtrics, who notes that millennials’ desire for long-term stability may have come from negative experiences they’ve had or heard about from their parents, and seeing the impact on their ability to save for retirement. “It’s not that they want to be CEO or be a CEO tomorrow, but they want a seat at the table and want to feel like they’re part of something.”

“These stereotypes are stifling for millennials. …  This ‘they’re probably leaving anyway’ mentality creates a self-fulfilling prophesy where business leaders don’t invest in their youngest workers, who then leave as a result.”  -James Goodnow, millennial attorney and author of Motivating Millennials

Some millennials do see a connection between smaller firms and more opportunity to make significant contributions and move up.

Tim Minerd, director of content at Oasis, a start-up that facilitates short-term vacation rentals, says that working at a firm where he gets to make decisions alongside the CEO is a welcome change from his work history at larger agencies. “I put a lot of value on seeing day-to-day that I have an impact on the company,” said Minerd, 31. “That’s just not the case when you’re at a big firm, a large multinational with thousands of hotels around the world where I would be focused on one small component of the marketing equation.” He added, “I’ve learned in the past two years what would have taken me four or five at a larger agency.”

Many legacy corporations are creating small, teamlike divisions to replicate the nimble advantages deployed by start-ups and are now having some success in attracting millennials.

Millennials in the Workplace

Sahab Aslam, a 31-year-old with a background in computer science and engineering, wasn’t looking for a job in the financial sector when she attended a conference a few months back — she was still finishing her graduate degree. But what she heard at the Prudential Financial booth about the firm’s Life Technology Experimental Lab (eLab) — a nine-person division of Prudential’s life insurance group — intrigued her.

“One of the things I really liked about it was that they were open to ideas. [With previous employers], my role was usually driven by a few people; you work a lot and you don’t’ get to contribute on that scale,” said Aslam. She applied for and accepted a data scientist job four months ago with eLab, one of a few smaller labs across Prudential, which was launched last year to help the insurance giant cater to younger life insurance customers with more of a technology-driven start-up culture. “Here I get to share my opinion, and it’s a great opportunity to make a big impact,” Aslam said.

At big four accounting firm EY, millennials make up almost 75 percent of its workforce. EY tries to get recent hires out serving clients as soon as possible, a way to help them feel as if they’re directly contributing to the company’s purpose.

“The intent is not to hide younger people behind closed doors. We have them in the field, which gives them a much better sense of, ‘Wow, I’m contributing to the firm’s purpose, working with clients,'” said Dan Black, EY’s Americas recruiting leader. “If you can provide a millennial or a Gen Zer with the opportunity to do some of or more of the things they want to do — to contribute to the bottom line or bring their full selves to work — they’re willing to stay.”

The key, say recruiters, is to clearly highlight early in the hiring process what the opportunities are for rising up the ranks in your organization. Because companies that don’t will find themselves on the wrong end of millennial job-hopping.

“Millennials have the least amount of patience,” said David Glickman, CEO of Ultra Mobile, a Los Angeles firm where millennials make up about 75 percent of his 360-person workforce. “If they’re not getting [what they want] sooner rather than later, they will move onto another opportunity that gets them higher probability for getting that quicker.”

— By Maggie Overfelt, special to CNBC.com

via b2community : 3 Reasons Why Failure is the Best Thing for Your Career

Stepping into the working world for the first time is not easy. I remember during my final year of study, applying for any job listed on the six job listing sites I followed.

By the end of the year, I had an email folder called ‘Rejections’ that had 64 emails in it. Those were just the responses. I did not hear back from the majority of publications.

My final year was spent trying to figure out what was missing off my CV. What experience had I missed? What internship had I not done? What course module should I have instead chosen?

This same feeling was felt by the majority of those in my graduating class. I was one of the fortunate. I stumbled across a role in Marketing for a conference company. I interviewed the week after my graduation ceremony and started the following Monday.

I was doubly lucky that I had also found my passion at the same time, Marketing.

Thinking back now, we were conditioned to think we had to be perfect, and thus put incredible pressure on ourselves to find that graduate position that would ignite our amazing careers.

Learn from Failure

Sarah Robb O’Hagan, CEO at Flywheel Sports, named among Forbes “Most Powerful Women in Sports” and recognized as one of Fast Company’s “Most Creative People in Business”, has just released her new book “Extreme You: Step Up. Stand Out. Kick Ass. Repeat.” In the book, Sarah discusses this very issue – how as a society we are conditioned to think we need to be perfect and failure is unacceptable.

Sarah’s book features interviews with 25 leaders in their fields, from former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to tattoo artist Mister Cartoon, where each detail their journeys to success. Each story has one thing in common…failure.

What stood out to me about Sarah’s book was her unwavering honesty. She openly admits that she was fired twice in her twenties, and details the mistakes she made. No blame. Just honest analysis of why she was fired.

“In the COO’s office, I saw my boss. He was sitting with someone from Human Resources. Suddenly my breakfast started rumbling in my tummy. Most of the next ten minutes is still a blur. I recall being told that my ‘role had been terminated.’” – Quote from Sarah Robb O’Hagan’s new book, Extreme You.

It’s very easy to accept failure and not take something away from it. The best leaders learn from it.

In a recent interview, Sarah was asked how she would now answer the dreaded interview question, “What’s your biggest weakness?”

“When you can say, ‘I had this epic failure and from it, I learned I have this weakness, which means I know how to manage this weakness’…suddenly the interviewer is like, ‘oh, that’s awesome!”

Secondly, you have taken the fear of someone finding out away and you’re owning it.”

So, for all the new graduates, here are 3 reasons why failure is the best thing for your career.

It teaches you humility.

Success is like a drug; one taste and you want more. It emboldens you. It makes you feel invincible. Success gives you the confidence to walk into that meeting room and convince your boss to support your latest idea.

It can also prevent you from taking the advice of those around you.

Change is constant. Innovations evolve. Failure teaches you to have humility. It teaches you how to reach out for help. How to identify those around you who have the skills and experience to drive you or your team’s innovation forward.

It helps you identify your weaknesses.

By facing failure head-on, you can learn from it. Confront and evaluate what you could have done better.

In Extreme You, Sarah talks about the need to “Play Your Specialist Game.” This can only be done with a frank look at yourself or your team and assessing not just your strengths.

“As Extremers, we must get over the expectation that we have been given some magic gift that will solve everything and instead develop our willingness to acknowledge and meet whatever challenges come along, including our own areas of weakness.”

It makes you a leader.

Failure will make you wiser. It ignites your ‘don’t quit’ mentality and opens up the door to the next opportunity. With every failure, you learn.

Learning from failure is more rewarding. It shapes who you are as a leader. You learn more about what your business, peers, and colleagues need from you.

It also gives you the understanding to enable others to fail. As Sarah explains,

“It’s human nature that as leaders, the further we get up, we think ‘Oh My God I’m supposed to have all the answers’. That’s what people are expecting of me. When you tell someone below you how to do their job, you are taking away the need for them to make sure they’re successful because you are bearing all the risk.”

By allowing an individual in your team to work out how to get from point A to B, they will fight harder to ensure their idea succeeds. You are helping them develop into the best versions of themselves, by providing a safe space to try, experiment, and fail.

via BW DisruptFive Colors that Can Change the Way You Work

Color psychology is a subtle yet effective way to improve employee productivity. Sometimes a touch of color introduced through furniture or accessories can go a long way in affecting your behavior and even stress levels. The tactical representation of colors not only changes moods, but also profoundly magnifies productivity.

Infusion of color and design is not just limited to the outward beauty and appearance of a space but it is also a tangible way to enhance workplace emotions. Since colors are a fundamental part of our wellbeing, why not infuse workplace with colors that help to pursuit workplace happiness. When in the process of workplace ideation, study the science behind choosing specific colors to ascertain enduring benefits.

Here are some colors to invigorate your workplace:

Red to rekindle the office spirit

To be tied to one place all day long is vexing, so it’s no wonder that highly engaged professionals move around and change postures more frequently in the day. To encourage movement, add pops of red. Red is an exceptionally powerful and electrifying color which is known for encouraging movement and boosting energy. Carpets or floor rugs are a great way to add a splash of vigor to a workplace.

Yellow to bring out your thinking hat

The solution for a collaborative workplace is to create distraction free places that foster teamwork. Only 69 percent of employees in India feel like they are able to choose where to work in the office based on t

he task. It is imperative to provide employees with the right environment that nurtures innovation and cutting edge ideas.

Yellow and orange are colors associated with creative thinking and energy, so adding pops of these colors through tables or seating in collaborative spaces, can create a spark of inspiration. Yellow being the jauntiest color in the spectrum, should be used sparingly in order to balance the vibrant mix of the space. There’s also an infusion of yellow with other citrus tones that lends to the overall workplace mindset. However, to avoid aggressive behaviorism, given the vibrant element of these shades, they might not be desirable as a main wall color.

Green and blue to intensify focus

Mother Nature’s palette is often considered to have shades of tranquility and calm. These are used to complement the other vibrant tints in the space. Universally, blue is used as a main color for walls as well as accents of desks and tables, primarily due to its neutrality. Every professional whether an accountant, filmmaker or doctor faces the casualty of privacy. Given the privacy crisis present in offices, the demand for focus and attentiveness is high. Shades of blue and green are popularly used for website interfaces, break rooms and large office spaces. The welcoming, voluminous and captivating nature, similar to that of the ocean, proves to be an effective concentration therapy.

Earthy brown to create stability

Brown symbolizes stability which is the core of any working professional. Even the most well designed office can make employees feel chained to negative emotions. Brown has the enigma and confidence blended with steadiness and safety. The deep chocolate brown tones have a trendy look and suit natural light. Placing a colorful vase or accessory on a plain brown surface creates an atmosphere of involvement, thereby increasing confidence and reliability.

White to maintain a state of calm

White is known to help people remain in a calm state. Often used at law offices, the color tone helps to pacify a stressful or argumentative state of mind. When discussions become heated, conference rooms can use this color to their advantage. Many corporates have tactically incorporated white in their office spaces. However, the homochromous nature might cause diversion due to lack of bustle. So best is to use it frugally.

Many factors play into corporate contentment, but the physical setting plays a significant role in appealing to human-centric emotions. One of the simplest ways to improve employee productivity is through the strategic use of color. Though colors are ubiquitous, intelligent use of color at a workplace can go a long way in creating a vibrant culture which can indirectly help your business goals.

via Free Malaysia Today : Experts Give Tips On How Jobless Grads Can Find Work

PETALING JAYA: A degree used to be the golden ticket to employment, but this is no longer the case with hundreds of thousands of graduates produced every year.
The low entry requirements and competitive fees set by most of the 661 higher education institutions nationwide have allowed many more Malaysians to arm themselves with a degree.

There were more than 400,000 Malaysian jobless graduates last year, a number which former Universiti Malaya vice-chancellor Prof Ghauth Jasmon said in an FMT report, was set to rise higher in the next few years.

This is a matter of concern to the nation, especially as according to a book published by the higher education ministry, “Soaring Upwards: Malaysian Higher Education 2015/2016”, there are over 1.253 million students enrolled in the 661 institutions.

Unemployed Graduates

While the government is trying to make sure all graduates find jobs within six months after graduation, the students themselves have to take the initiative to become more marketable, said industry experts.

Jobstreet’s Country Manager Chook Yuh Yng said while a degree can help open the door for job interviews, it might not be enough to help graduates secure the job.
This is because a degree, today, is seen only as a qualification which showed that the graduate had gained expertise in the subjects they studied, she said.

“Don’t think a degree is your passport to getting a job. It is just an entry point for the graduates to qualify for some jobs, but a degree alone doesn’t guarantee you will secure the job.”

The same was said by P Kumanan, a business development manager at an international recruitment agency.

He said not all degrees have value in the job market and in fact, only fewer than 20% of the degrees are actually valued highly. And at times, experience trumps paper qualifications, he added.

“It also depends on where they get their degree,” said Kumanan.

Unemployed Graduates

So what do future graduates need to do to ensure that once they leave their institutions, they won’t become part of the statistics on jobless graduates?

According to both Chook and Kumanan, the most optimum situation is of course, the combination of paper qualifications, experience, and language proficiency.

“Although we think there is a lot of universities, there is still a shortage of talents. For example, the market needs a lot of Chinese speakers, but there is a limited number of them,” said Kumanan.

“The level of English proficiency that is being taught in the universities, especially local universities, is not to the expectation of the market.

“So it’s important for the students to decide what the job market has to offer four years later, rather than just getting into anything that can qualify them easily.”
Chook echoed the same remark, saying that tertiary students should aim to make themselves as appealing as possible for when they enter the job market.

She stressed the importance of internship during studies, as this would tick the experience box on the prospective employee’s resume.

“It depends on how fresh graduates can position themselves for the jobs they are hoping to get. They must remember that for any job, they are not the only person applying for it.

“There is competition from their peers and maybe even from people with a little bit of experience. And maybe their competitors are even willing to get a lower salary.
“That is why it is important for them to position themselves well. They need to show that they are better than the other candidates in terms of knowledge, and internship experiences.”

Chook said internship experiences can also show employers that the candidate has most of the sought after soft-skills, such as the ability to be a good team player and to solve problems.