Blog

Welcome to the Elysian Blog. Find a selection of insights to enhance your learning and support your business strategy from top industry experts

30
Oct

How to Conduct Better Meetings

Photo Credit: Adam Tinworth via Compfight cc All the Charts, Tables, and Checklists You Need to Conduct Better Meetings The ripple effects of too many meetings can be astonishing. Take this quick and horrifying data, it shows how a weekly excom meeting at one company generated a total of 300,000 person hours per year to support it: Time is an organization’s scarcest—and most often squandered—resource. To demonstrate just how poorly most organizations manage this precious commodity, we used data-mining tools to analyze the Outlook schedules of everyone in a large company. What follows is real data from that company and how its weekly excom meeting rippled throughout the organization in a profoundly disturbing way. ONE WEEKLY EXCOM MEETING ACCOUNTS FOR 7,000 HOURS A YEAR (executive time) 11 UNIT MEETINGS to prepare 20,000 hours a ...

29
Oct

77% of workers don’t take their full allotted lunch break, a recent survey claims. Are you one of them? Photo Credit: Elvert Barnes via Compfight cc UK-based AirConUK.co.uk conducted a survey amongst 1350 workers in office and industrial environments, finding that only 23% actually took their full lunch break. Research has found that workers have a higher rate of productivity after taking a break and those who don’t take the time have lower concentration and work slower in the afternoons. The survey also found that another 23% chose to eat lunch at their desks or work stations while 36% chose to end their lunch break early. Additionally it revealed that 41% admitted they didn’t take tea or screen break during the day and 18% didn't take a lunch break at all. From the selection of ...

29
Oct

Major Shift in HR’s Role Predicted

Major changes in the world of work will occur over the next decade that will require a tectonic shift in the concept of HR as a profession, a group of high-level HR professionals, academicians and other thought leaders are predicting. Progress within HR has occurred at a “glacial” pace and isn’t keeping up with the rapid acceleration of change in the world as a whole, said John Boudreau, research director at the Center for Effective Organizations at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. “There is this tipping point. This profession is in danger of simply not being relevant to the demands that are going to be there for it and the opportunities that are going to be there for it,” said Boudreau, who presented the findings of a two-year inquiry involving ...

29
Oct

How to save face after you've lost it at work It finally happened. You snapped and yelled at that annoying co-worker, or your boss finally got under your skin so much, you actually cried. Now come the feelings of shame, embarrassment, and, "What do I do now?" Losing your cool at work can be a problem. In the best-case scenario, it leaves people a little unsettled. More serious emotional outbursts can threaten your job and your career, says psychologist Casey Mulqueen, director of research and product development at leadership training company TRACOM Group in Centennial, Colorado. Determining the damage done, making it right, and getting your cool, calm, and collected cred back requires some strategy and work. STEP ONE: TAKE STOCK OF THE DAMAGE The first step is to take an objective look at the situation ...

28
Oct

Do you remember when you were young and you hung on every word your mum/dad/grandparent/ teacher said? They knew everything! An answer for whatever you asked - Why is the sky blue? Where does the sun go at night? Thanks to Google, today's parents can look even more knowledgeable. As the child of the family things are sorted out for you and answers are provided and everything else is someone else's responsibility. The same can be true when we enter the world of work. Someone is there to show you how to do it, explain when you don't understand and everything else outside of your task is someone else's responsibility. Or is it? As a Director of a rapidly expanding company I had to interview many people to pull together the right team. ...

25
Sep

Employees are more likely to lie about an absence if the cause is mental health rather than physical health related, according to research from healthcare provider AXA. The report found that more than three-quarters (77%) of employees would tell their boss the truth if their sickness was due to a physical ailment such as back pain, flu or an accidental injury, but only two in five (39%) would tell the truth if they had to call in sick because of stress, anxiety or depression. The problem was worst in SMEs, with only 37% of SME employees claiming they would tell their boss if they were absent because of mental ill health. In larger firms 44% of workers felt comfortable confiding the real reason for such an absence to their manager. Emma Mamo, head of workplace ...

25
Sep

Ask yourself: 1. How committed am I? This one trumps all the rest, and getting to a meaningful answer involves some serious self-honesty. Commitment comes from motivation—the fuel you need to get really good at something. One of my mentors liked to say that working journalists had to publish 100,000 words (that’s roughly 140 one-page stories in Forbes) before they got the hang of their craft. Analysts at investment banks suffer two years of 80-hour weeks learning to build financial models; neurosurgeons slog through 12 years of training; Yo Yo Ma has practiced cello for something like 50,000 hours thus far (nearly 14 years worth of 10-hour days). Michael Jordan is so competitive that, during his Hall Of Fame induction speech in 2009, he chided his coach for playing team mate Leroy Smith ahead of ...

11
Sep

Most multinational organisations have been recruiting and running graduate development programmes for many years. With greater resources and a wealth of experience to be gained, they naturally attract the ‘A’ graduates and can be highly selective in who they take. I want to focus our attention for a while on how ANY business can attract, nurture, develop and retain graduates. I believe a great starting point is to look at what the current ‘attitude’ is within management. We are looking to bring in fresh, dynamic, aspirational new blood, we are hoping that they will help us to develop new business, new products, grow, improve, keep up-to-date, innovate, etc. Well that’s what we should be thinking; yet many graduates find it tough going in their first job and in fact, have often moved on quickly within ...

28
Aug

Plan to Succeed

£24 Billion, the amount of salary budget that disappears down the corporate drain due to our attendance of unnecessary meetings every year; money that is unlikely ever again see the productive light of day. Yet we constantly find ourselves, and our employees, with outlook calendars clogged with hours of mindless discussion, repeated justification of actions taken. We’re in danger of getting sucked into a repetitive cycle of broken promises, missed targets and reactive measures that offer no sustainable comfort or increase in the financial bottom line. How can you escape this endless time-wasting and instead enhance your productivity, improve your employee’s performance and ultimately increase your business success? Well here’s the irony, you need to have a meeting. Yes you heard me correctly, a meeting, but not like any we have attended ...

28
Aug

Google co-founder Larry Page made the shock announcement that the company's new corporate name would be Alphabet. Page and Sergey Brinn will run the new company, with Sundar Pichai becoming chief executive of the "newer slimmed down Google". This is a very exciting new chapter in the life of Google - the birth of Alphabet. We liked the name because it means a collection of letters that represent language, one of humanity's most important innovations. In a blog post, Page said that he and Brinn wrote in the original founders' letter 11 years ago that "Google is not a conventional company. We do not intend to become one." He added: "Our company is operating well today, but we think we can make it cleaner and more accountable. So we are creating a new company, called ...

28
Aug

Despite intentions, passive-aggressive behaviour is usually far from subtle. In the workplace, though, it shows up in a seemingly innocent statement, such as, "It doesn't matter to me, I’ll do whatever you want," when in reality, it actually matters very much to that person. Passive-aggressive behaviours range from the fairly mild to the more caustic (sarcasm disguised as humour), but the net result is the same: It breeds mistrust, anger, resentment, and ultimately, disengagement. That kind of behavior costs the U.S. economy up to $370 billion per year in lost worker productivity. As professional coach Kate Nasser writes, "Passive aggressive is less direct, not less aggressive." As with overt hostility, Nasser says it’s important to address it head on. THE MANY SHADES OF PASSIVE AGGRESSIVENESS In order to attack passive-aggressive behaviour successfully, you first have to ...

27
Jul

Focus on Your Strategic Voice

This July saw the first of Elysian's free HR Strategic Positioning events launch at The Cheltenham Chase Hotel with HR & OD professionals from Education, Public Sector, Manufacturing and Retail coming together to share experiences and explore new and powerful ways to ensure their departmental voice features clearly in their Business’s strategic conversations. We’ve increasingly heard from our clients that they are often competing with commercial priorities to get HR onto the agenda with the senior team. For many, it seems there is often a more important or urgent issue to address and the people agenda is getting pushed down the list. With such an important agenda we found right from the start of the day that participants quickly started tackling topics including HR strategy, corporate performance, growth and expansion, management development and succession planning. ...

24
Jul

As of September, one of the largest companies in the world will do all of its employees and managers an enormous favor: It will get rid of the annual performance review. Accenture CEO Pierre Nanterme told The Washington Post that the professional services firm, which employs hundreds of thousands of workers in cities around the globe, has been quietly preparing for this “massive revolution” in its internal operations. “Imagine, for a company of 330,000 people, changing the performance management process—it’s huge,” Nanterme said. “We’re going to get rid of probably 90 percent of what we did in the past.” The firm will disband rankings and the once-a-year evaluation process starting in fiscal year 2016, which for Accenture begins this September. It will implement a more fluid system, in which employees receive timely feedback from their ...

24
Jul

How Stories Affect The Brain

Why are stories so attractive to the human brain? Researcher Paul J. Zak, Ph.D may have at least part of the answer. Zak is the Director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies at Claremont Graduate University. He has been studying how our brains react to stories. In his study, Zak used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and blood tests to see what was going on inside the brains of people who watched a simple short film. The film was about a father wondering how to deal with his son’s cancer diagnosis. A control group watched a different short film, one where a father and son take an uneventful walk through a zoo. The results showed that the power of a good story comes down to two neuro-chemicals: cortisol and oxytocin. Cortisol Cortisol is a ...

24
Jul

Life is stressful enough and allowing a toxic individual to ravage your immediate environment can cause havoc in your mental well-being, which can lead to physical challenges. A bad state of mind not only affects your physical well-being but makes it difficult for you to respond calmly under pressure. Ninety percent of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions, so your ability to perform effectively can be affected if you do not adopt strategies that will allow you to deal with toxic people. 1. Successful People Establish Boundaries There is a fine line between being friendly and allowing somebody to lead you down a path that jeopardizes your ability to remain effective. Successful people understand this and do not allow the toxic among them to take charge, but rather choose to set effective boundaries. 2. ...

22
Jun

Long-term Sickness Absence Rises in Manufacturing

Employers ‘struggle’ to manage growth in mental ill-health at work Two fifths of manufacturing employers saw an increase in the number of work days lost to long-term sickness absence in the past year, the biggest rise in five years, according to research from manufacturers’ organisation EEF. Overall sickness absence in the sector remains low at 5.1 days (2.2 per cent) but the research revealed a “marked difference” in the causes for absence. Results in the 2015 Sickness Absence Survey, published by EEF and Jelf Benefits UK, showed that back pain and musculoskeletal disorders are still the main cause of long-term absence (38 per cent) for most employers. However, one in four companies surveyed said they now lose more working days to stress and mental health disorders than musculoskeletal causes. The survey suggests that employers and GPs ...

15
Jun

In this article, New Study Reveals HR Strategy Tied To Company Performance, Mike Etting of SAP, confirms (as the title suggests) that HR strategy is tied to performance. It is not surprising that a better prepared workforce delivers better results – indeed it is refreshing that a global study has been able to provide evidence of this relationship. High performing companies make HR a strategic priority, they are adaptive and agile in redefining their business models and responding to market opportunities and pressures. These companies are forward looking and are prepared to react quickly to workforce trends such as losing core know how and leadership experience, or finding enough people with the right capabilities at the right time or meeting he demands of the millennial workforce. What Mike Etting is describing is strategic ...

15
Jun

Motivating Beyond Money

Despite a growing body of research to the contrary most organisations remain fixated on incentive and punishment as the key methodologies for employee motivation and engagement. Many leaders find it hard to imagine an organisational context where money isn’t the driving force behind the motivation of their people. Whilst money will remain the primary reason why most of us decide to work it actually isn’t an effective motivator nor is it actually very effective as a means to drive higher performance. If you see organisations like an engine, any engine needs fuel. The traditional fuel that powers that engine was incentive and reward or punishment and fear. The features of this engine design were bonus schemes, performance awards, KPI based management, disciplinary processes and even anger/aggression. What we’re seeing today is that the ...

10
Jun

HR Disrupted – Insight by Paul Tuck

This article, HR Disrupted: The Next Agenda for Transformation and Delivering Value, features Dave Ulrich who has been at the centre of HR Strategy for decades. During which time he has anticipated the changing shape of HR and the increasingly strategic nature of the role. The emphasis in this article is on the enabling role technology plays in transformation and creating value.  Ulrich argues that a strategic HR function needs the data, insight and a scalable platform to enable the achievement of strategic objectives. An HR function armed with insightful data, cloud based services for recruiting and managing people and the ability to engage with its people in real time is well positioned to successfully drive organisational performance.   Advances in technology also enable strong and measurable two way engagement – how employees experience ...

28
May

The Best Managers Practice These 9 Habits

Google's HR Boss Says the Best Managers Practice These 9 Habits: In July 2001, three years into the company he founded with Sergey Brin, Google CEO Larry Page decided to fire all of his managers. It was his statement against corporate bureaucracy, but it was soon reversed. And eventually Page determined that managers were a necessary evil at Google. By 2008, however, there was still a gap between many of the engineers and their managers, Google’s SVP of People Operations Laszlo Bock writes in his book “Work Rules!.” A team was tasked with bridging this gap, and in the process discovered what makes a great manager. Michelle Donovan, director of talent development, and Neal Patel, technical project lead of the human/social dynamics program, wanted to determine a way to optimize management and have ...

28
May

Wanna Know Who’s Your Manager?

Follow the Money Line! In the 1976 blockbuster movie "All the President's Men" Deep Throat is giving a paramount clue to the reporters Woodward and Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford): Follow the money. Later on they uncovered the details of the Watergate scandal and President Nixon was forced to resign. In Organisation Design workshops, I always tell colleagues or students: if you want to know who is reporting to who, follow the money-line! What does the money line actually mean? Well, let me start with defining what are the different reporting lines you might find in an organisation, and when you analyse complex organisations, it is sometimes very difficult to decipher who reports to who. Here is my The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Organisation Galaxy: 1. Functional report line. This line is the default report line, also known as the ...

28
Apr

In a report by SIMAD University, researchers identified two different leadership styles – transformational and transactional. According to the report, transformational leadership is ‘the ability to motivate and to encourage intellectual stimulation through inspiration.’ Transformational leaders aim to lead by example, encouraging employees to follow a set of values rather than a rulebook. Transactional leadership, on the other hand, is ‘an exchange-based relationship where self-interest is dominant.’ Transactional leaders adhere to set rules and regulations, motivating employees with specific task-based rewards. Although both methods are valid, they have radically different effects on employee job satisfaction and loyalty. Transformational leaders aim to lead by ...

23
Apr

In Three Critical Conversations That Boost Employee Engagement, we described three types of conversations that provide managers with valuable information about how to bring out the best in each employee. But, there are more conversations you need to have: The Expectations Conversation; The Aspirations Conversation; and, The Preferences Conversation.   The Expectations Conversation Just as you have expectations of your employees, they also have expectations of you as their manager. Think about yourself as an employee who has a manager. Aren't there things you expect any good manager to do? Aren't there things you WISH your manager would do, but they don’t? These behaviors comprise the things you expect a good manager to do — or at least a manager who knows how to bring out the best in you, and with whom you would ...

23
Mar

5 Career Secrets of Hollywood Executives

...That Work in Any Industry Hollywood is notoriously difficult to break into—and it’s even more difficult to claw your way to the top. When I started working in the business, I saw that success wasn’t just about talent and hard work (though there is plenty of that). The more I studied, the more I realized that the people at the very top of the game approached it with a different strategy than everyone else. Here are five strategies top Hollywood power players used to build a name for themselves that will work no matter what industry you’re in. 1. Take (the Right) Risks Make small bets with big risks - John Landgraf, president of FX Network     Landgraf found early success as a network executive at NBC (think: Friends, ER, The West Wing), but it’s during his tenure at ...

12
Mar

How Bullying Can Hurt Your Business

Infographic on How Bullying Can Hurt Your Business Source: InternationalBusinessGuide.org