FEBRUARY SPECIAL DAYS
February 1-7 – International Coaching Week
February 1 – Freedom Day & G.I. Joe Day
Personality Testing — On Again/Off Again
The use of personality testing to assess the quality of job applicants and employees has been an on-again, off-again practice -- with interest growing recently. But there was a reason the use declined once before.
No doubt as far back as the Stone Age, observers were struck by the performance differences among individuals: Some worked hard at everything and got a lot done, others did not.
The search to explain why was not very systematic until the field of personnel and industrial psychology began around World War I and dedicated itself to that task.
Employers typically described the most important factor leading to different performance outcomes as "character," but researchers would later begin to refer to it as personality -- a pattern of responses associated with an individual's disposition -- that persists across contexts and over time.
Systematic efforts to assess job applicants for hiring, and then internal candidates for promotion and advancement, using personality flourished in the 1950s. Companies such as Sears, Roebuck and Standard Oil of California pioneered these approaches. Some, like Procter and Gamble, used it to predict who would get to the top ranks of the company when hiring entry-level employees.
What did companies look at to predict who would succeed as a manager?
General Electric became one of the leaders in what became known as "trait-rating" psychological scales for assessing individual candidates for managerial development. Personnel psychologists, working for employers and in universities, were actively involved in designing these tests.
By 1954, 63 percent of large corporations were using standardized tests of personality for hiring decisions, and twenty-five percent of the companies used them as part of their promotion process to assess potential for leadership positions.
But the psychologists studying employee selection began to have their doubts as to whether personality truly did predict much about future job performance.
By the early-1960s, the consensus among researchers was that personality was not a useful criterion for assessing individuals. It's not clear whether employers paid much attention to the researchers, at least initially. But within a decade or so, personality-based assessments had largely disappeared from the lists of "best practices" in human resources.
Given this, it was something of a surprise to outsiders ¿ at least to me ¿ to discover the resurgence of interest and research on personality as a predictor of job performance that took place in the 1990s.
In brief, the resurgence was based on new techniques, which concluded that the earlier studies discrediting personality were not as persuasive as they appeared at the time.
These reinterpretations were followed by a veritable explosion of new research showing relationships between personality and various aspects of job performance. (The aspect of personality most consistently associated with performance, by the way, is "conscientiousness.")
A host of new and existing vendors around the same time began to offer new personality tests that were said to be important predictors of a range of job outcomes. To what extent these new offerings were spawned by the new research isn't entirely clear.
They clearly tap into the long-standing employer belief in the role of "character" and may also have been pulled along by the popular business literature about the importance of organizational culture and having employees who "fit" with the values of the organization.
It was particularly interesting given this resurgence of research to read conclusions about the usefulness of personality measures in Personnel Psychology from a panel of five prominent personnel psychologists, all former editors of research journals where the new personality research had been published.
After reviewing all the research, they conclude that personality explains so little about actual job outcomes that we should think carefully about using it at all for employment decisions, according to "Reconsidering the Use of Personality Tests in Personnel Selection Contexts," authored by Frederick P. Morgeson, Michael A. Campion, Robert L. Diboye, John R. Hollenback, Kevin Murphy and Neal Schmitt.
The least valid of the personality measures are the ones most employers are likely to use: published tests that individual candidates complete themselves. In addition to their low overall predictive power, the other concern about these tests, expressed by some of the editors more strongly, is that it may be easy for individuals to "fake" their responses.
A cynic might look at this assessment, written in the fall of 2007, and observe that it is essentially the same as the assessments of personality research from the early 1960s: Does scientific knowledge progress at all?
If it wasn't useful in the 1960s and isn't useful now, why was there a resurgence of interest in it?
In fairness to the researchers, their interest is, at least in part, in understanding whether relationships exist at all and not just whether those relationships are big enough to be practical and useful.
It does seem, however, that an awful lot of research firepower was directed over this period at an old target that was not very promising to begin with, especially given all the new developments in the world of work that are under explored.
For practitioners, however, the conclusions from these editors are remarkably useful and unambiguous: Don't rely on personality to assess employees.
From Human Resource Executive Online, October, 2007
NOTICE TO ALL EMPLOYEES!
All personnel will now be required to look happy while working. Company-approved supplies will be provided to each employee at little or no cost.
* Workloads getting to you?
Here is the new low-cost, company-approved solution to cope with multiple priorities and assignments!
Each employee will be supplied 2 paper clips and rubber bands. (See Figure 1.)
Assemble items as shown in Fig 2.
Apply as shown in Fig 3.
Enjoy your day. This new office equipment will help you to reach the end of a productive work day with a smile on your face!
Employees’ Financial Literacy Boosts Profits
Providing employees the tools to become financially literate about the basics — knowing how to manage personal savings, understand credit, and create a spending plan gives employees confidence, helps improve productivity — both affecting the organization’s bottom line.
"It’s also the right thing to do as stewards of employees well-being." said E. Thomas Garmen, president of the Personal Finance Employee Education Foundation (PFEEF) he formed in 2006.
He hammered home the value of employee financial literacy during a recent Society for Human Resource Management webcast.
Thirty million U.S. workers say they are seriously financially distressed and dissatisfied with their finances, he said. These "financially unwell workers," he said, are passive, unengaged in their work, confused and anxious about mortgage and college loans, vehicle and credit card payments, and more.
"They need help with paying down their bills," he observed. "Employers often recognize these issues but don't do anything. They're not sure what to do."
"It's about the basics," he said: offering benefits information and education, credit counseling, a credit union, retirement education, financial advice and financial coaching that changes behaviors.
Workplace education programs and advice have been underutilized and employees do not know how to help themselves, Garman said during the presentation.
But he cautioned employers not to offer that advice themselves. Instead, he said, give workers easy access to financial programs and a provider that focuses on the basics.
Demand more from your current financial program providers and insist on a coordinated, quality program that emphasizes a spending plan, credit management and saving, he said. Look at the mix of programs your provider currently offers and try to fill in the gaps with what works best for you, he said.
"Go cautiously and select some providers that will promise, and then deliver on those promises, and let that program grow," Garman advised.
Garman also noted that PFEEF offers free online personal financial wellness planning tools and subsidizes employers' costs of conducting research on financial education. A PDF version of the webcast can be found at www.shrm.org/webcast/08August/garman.pdf.
From HR Magazine, October 2008
Severe Attitudinal Opposition to Learning
By TRAINING SYSTEMS’ own Rita Rizzo CMC
Nothing happens in isolation. When society is facing a major trauma or change, it is reflected in all areas of human functioning, and is even evident in the training room. With the current economic crisis, and the election of President Obama, learners are tense, and they bring that tension with them into the classroom. They are wary about how changes will impact them personally, and their heightened suspiciousness manifests, at times, as a resistance to learning.
There are five factors present in training that can work in combination or as singular considerations that cause attendees to experience severe attitudinal opposition to learning.
Lack of control: When training is mandatory learners feel their control slipping away before they even step into the classroom. Many find themselves attending a class they don't feel they need, and they have little to no interest in the subject matter. Adults almost never like to have it pointed out that they have a learning gap, and no one likes to be forced to fill a gap that they haven't yet acknowledged in themselves.
Have an ax to grind with other learners: Learners find themselves sitting close to others that they don't trust. This causes them to shut down, or makes them angry when others express views that they feel are inaccurate, or worse yet, downright dangerous. Again, they begin to feel that changes may result from the learning that will impact negatively on them.
Nobody knows the trouble I've seen: Often, without giving the trainer a chance, oppositional learners will decide that the SME standing before them hasn't a clue about the reality of their situation or their workplace. This attitude manifests in a rousing round of "stump the trainer" where obstinate learners will challenge most everything the trainers says in an attempt to discredit the presenter.
Security is threatened: The subject matter indicates that major changes are afoot in the work environment, and that these changes will undermine their job security. Learners may be frightened that their workplace will no longer value them if the intended transforms take place.
Values collisions: It is painful to be asked to abandon your time tested beliefs, especially if you are a person of a certain age. Asking learners to think differently about themselves and others is sometimes akin to trying to teach a pig to sing. It simply annoys the pig and frustrates the teacher, but the pig never learns to sing. People form biases to protect themselves, and when their prejudices are confronted they fight fiercely to depend them. Asking one to abandon the marching orders that have guided them well through life is often a useless request.
In short, fear, frustration, and anger are the dynamics that underlie an unmovable opposition to learning. When faced with these factors, the savvy trainer will remain patient, minimize disruptions created by oppositional learners, and provide high levels of reassurance to learners they are safe in the classroom, and will be treated with respect despite their negative attitudes.
Can Training Boost Your Employee Moral in Economic Gloom?
Sent by Shraddha Naik to Training Ideas listserv
The economic crisis is having an unarguable effect on everyone in business. Constant media stories about banks crumbling, pensions failing and property prices dropping are making business owners increasingly tighten their purse strings and put activities deemed as non essential on hold. Training unfortunately is often included in this category.
However, this is exactly the time when a company should pay special attention to investing in key affiliates of their workforce to really set their organization apart from the competition.
Providing employees with well-structured and inspiring training enhances their feelings of being highly valued and protected in their role as it proves without doubt that their employer still believes they are worth investing in. It also helps to motivate employees by equipping them with the necessary tools to effectively carry out their roles in tough market conditions, even if that means taking on extra responsibilities.
In turn, these things work to effectively energize a business and increase productivity levels. It has been proven that employees who feel appreciated are much more productive than those who don't. So, how can those businesses trying to cut costs - but still wanting to benefit from a highly trained workforce - ensure they get the best possible return on investment via training?
The first and most vital thing they need to do is decide on the employees in which to invest. Rather than trying to train staff, industry owners need to ensure they pick the people within their organization who have the potential to make the most difference to the mood and performance of others.
This will help to ensure that both the skills and knowledge gained on the training program are widely transferred and then quickly adopted by other employees. At the same time, the person passing on the newly acquired skills will benefit from an increased sense of responsibility and importance - again a factor proven to increase productivity.
By following these simple steps - sending the right employees on the right training courses equipped with the knowledge about what's expected of them - the benefits can be huge. Effective training results in improved profit margins and a happier and more engaged workforce, which ultimately helps a business to develop a real competitive edge.
February 9-11, 2009
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www.AmericaSupportsYou.mil has a list of hundreds of organizations that support the military. The Yellow Ribbon Fund is one such group and focuses on injured service members and their families.
PODCAST: MORE GREEN TECHNOLOGIES FOR THE OFFICE, http://www.Inc.com/keyword/jun08
CLUTTER FOR A CAUSE
has great tips on green cleaning.
Going Green At Work
B.I.G. ON BOOKS is an organization that promotes literacy in underprivileged countries, primarily Africa, Eastern Europe, and Southeast Asia. You can donate books through most Rotary Clubs. B.I.G. also accepts cash donations. Send email to Steve Frantzich at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Kicking World Hunger is the biggest soccer juggle-a-thon in the world (uh, that we know of), much like a walk-a-thon, but more fun! Participants sign up to juggle a soccer ball thousands of times while raising money to provide hope for children and communities that desperately need it. http://www.firstgiving.com/kickingworldhunger
Charity Navigator (http://charitynavigator.org) is an in-depth, searchable guide to more than 5,000 charities worldwide that aims to encourage "intelligent giving". They rate charities based on their total expenses, revenues, and organizational capacity. If you want to give, but the recent slew of charity scandals has you feeling skeptical about where your money would go.
Take Pride T-Shirts (http://www.takepride.com) was founded by a group of friends who all share the belief that the more difficult the mission facing our military, the more deserving they are of our thanks and support. Each unique shirt design provides a glimpse into the life of a different US Service member who served in Iraq or Afghanistan and is hand silk-screened. The message of the shirts isn’t political, it's about acknowledging, celebrating, and taking pride in the spirit of young Americans who despite facing an extremely difficult job and unpleasant conditions, nonetheless strive to do their job well. Take Pride gives at least 20% of profits to charities and causes that assist combat veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Set a reminder to visit http://www.thebreastcancersite.com daily and click this button to help underprivileged women get mammograms.
volunteermatch.org helps you
find organizations in your area that spark your interest in volunteering.
Recycle yogurt containers and old toothbrushes!
Responsibly Dispose of Your Old Electronics
Recycle PCs, cell phones, printers, CDs diskettes, etc., with GreenDisk. For $29.95, they send a 70-pound-capacity box. When it’s full, you download postage from their website and ship it back. Your “junk” then goes to workshops for the disabled and are refurbished. http://www.greendisk.comm
Recycle PCs and other computer products at Hewlett Packard and Dell. See their websites for details.
Find local Electronics recyclers at http://www.earth911.org and http://www.ebay.com/rethink
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