Bridging the Management Age Gap

Millennials are known as the generation of smartphones, over-priced coffee, and a reputation for entitlement and leisureliness. Despite this, the success of millennials is becoming increasingly apparent in the workplace. Look around your office and you’ll probably notice the ages of both employees and managers is decreasing significantly. A recent survey by office-equipment maker Pitney Bowes found that about 20% of mid-level corporate employees now report to a boss who is younger than they are.

However, in this age of entrepreneurial startups and advancing technology, different work styles and perceptions of those differences can create many challenges. For example, there is a stark difference between millennials and baby boomers. While older workers spend more time in the office within regular work hours, the younger generation often prefers getting their work done whenever, whether at home or from their laptop in a café. These kinds of philosophical differences can have negative effects on productivity. However, there are ways for younger people in authority to handle this gap. Below are a few tips on how to instill authority and respect in the workplace.

Be Mindful

Older employees can certainly be put off by having to report to a younger manager. It’s important to be aware of those feelings and acknowledge them. Don’t assume you have the upper hand due to your higher position. Express an interest in your employee and ask them for their opinions on how you can improve as a leader. They may very well have insights that can benefit you, and they will appreciate your respect for their experience and knowledge.

Give and Take

Give lessons, provide feedback, and offer firm and feasible guidelines for your employees. In return, take feedback as well. Older employees are often more knowledgeable about the company and its history. Take advantage of their deeper well of experience, both in the office and generally in life.

Do Your Job

It can be daunting being a young manager. However, instead of shying away from being an authoritative, strong leader, it’s important to keep your goals in mind and get the job done. Not confronting older employees who aren’t working to their full potential, or letting others take the lead merely to make them more comfortable, will only decrease productivity. You’re the manager for a reason; prove why.

Older employees should implement these tips in the workplace as well. Along with being mindful, providing feedback, and doing their own jobs, it’s important for older employees not to get too bogged down in ego and commit to working with a younger manager. The knowledge and experience of the older generation and fresh perspective and energy of the younger age group can be combined to contribute to the workplace in a positive manner. Getting past age discrimination – from both sides – will help everyone work together and be more productive.

 

Tasnia Nasar

Personality Tests in the Hiring Process

The vast majority of Fortune 100 companies use personality tests to separate the candidacy wheat from the employee-to-be chaff. What do these tests do? Are they worth the time and resources? And more importantly, are they effective?

Kathy Brizeli, the Senior Director of Member Services and Client Success at McLean & Company, worked in psychometrics for 12 years at Caliper. Psychometrics is one of many tests used to measure how an applicant’s traits relate to job performance. As an evaluator, Kathy interpreted assessment results and relayed them back to the potential employers for the candidate being evaluated.

“What we found out were the candidate’s innate tendencies – strengths and weaknesses,” notes Brizeli. “I would recommend their use as an additional piece of information, but never the sole determinant of a hiring decision; they should only be a piece of the puzzle. Assessments don’t necessarily consider experience or skill development.”

Personality testing is in the news: Merve Emre’s The Personality Brokers is the just-released book on how the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator was invented by a mother-daughter team in the early twentieth century. According to Emre, personality testing is now a two-billion-dollar industry.

The New Republic weighed in on the topic, saying that Myers-Briggs, taken by two million people each year “is used by universities, career coaching centers, federal government offices, several branches of the military, and 88 of the Fortune 100 companies.” CPP Inc. sells it for $49.95US. On the flip side, organizational psychologist Adam Grant wrote, “The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is better than a horoscope but less reliable than a heart monitor.”

Robyn Knezic, Delmanor’s Director of Human Resources uses the Wiley – Global Assessment Profile XT.

“We are able to see areas where a candidate excels, and where they may have challenges. Some of those areas are: verbal skills, verbal reasoning, numeric reasoning, energy level, assertiveness, sociability, manageability, attitude, decisiveness, accommodation, independence, and objective judgment,” notes Knezic. But this comes with a caveat: “I think it is important to keep in mind that the personality profile is only one piece of the process and should not be relied on solely when making a hiring decision.”

With fifteen years of testing experience, Maryann Romano, Vice President of Human Resources at Distinct Infrastructure Group, also worked with Caliper, which she says costs $600 per test. “If you are limiting it for one or two candidates, fine. If you’re filling ten candidates over six months, the costs can get significant, especially if things don’t work out for whatever reason.” She claims that personality testing has shone light on, “knowing the warts, deciding if you can live with them, how to manage them, and how they like to work.”

Meanwhile, Mardi Walker, VP of Human Resources for the Ottawa Senators shares similar experience with personality testing. “Personality testing,” she says, “has worked out well for store clerks and store associates.”

In addition to Caliper, Walker used Gallup’s StrengthsFinder Personality Test – what she refers to as “very intense”. “It tested arithmetic ability, a person’s honesty and integrity, and how likely they’d be to ‘help themselves to the merchandise’.”

Vered Lerner cautions if the test is not administered properly, or if the tested individual isn’t honest, “the results may be misread or misunderstood.” The CEO and Founder of Bizstance Services has been working in HR and management for over 20 years.

The employer, moreover, ought to understand that a test doesn’t reveal everything. “Not all roles require testing, and employees are complex individuals with emotions, and the ability to change and adapt, given the right conditions and support.”

– Dave Gordon

Benefits of Getting to Know Your Employees

Business is like soccer. A company is like a soccer team. A manager is like the coach. The team is composed of the employees and their positions make up the game plan. Every time you close a deal or make a sale, you win a match. Haven’t had many victories recently? Need a stronger and more efficient squad? Want to win the World Cup of business?

The answer lies within the saying, “Know those who labour among you.” Be acquainted with each employee individually – personally and professionally. Still not motivated to score the goal of familiarity? Here are some benefits of getting to know your employees:

Effective motivation
Not every incentive is stimulating in the same way to every worker. It’s a fact. Announcing an ugly Christmas sweater day might immediately get one employee planning what to wear, while a crazy hair day will be tonnes of fun for another. Everyone is different. Organizing office events and developing work incentives according to your employees’ interests/personalities will produce better responses and more excitement, leading to greater results. In return, your team will be more cooperative with company management and their increased commitment will catalyze profits and business growth.

Stronger team
When the relationship between a coach and his/her team is solely based on commands, with very little to no appreciation for each player, it’s a breeding group for resentment and loss. Put yourself in the players’ shoes and think about it. How pleasant is it to take yelled orders, without having any freedom to suggest otherwise? Not very. Now what about being able to get advice, sometimes even with a stern tone, but from an individual who you consider to be your mentor in the game and who has shown to have kind and respectable character? Sounds much better, doesn’t it? Well, it’s the same when it comes to the workplace. A boss who honestly cares about each individual in his/her office, and not just about profit and numbers, is easier to work for. Knowing the learning and communication style of each team member is crucial to a playing smooth game and achieving champion results.

Greater profitability
Even though this might be the most obvious benefit, it is far from being the least important. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each employee will result in more effective task delegation and better outcomes. Familiarity will also aid in creating a work environment where management’s interests naturally become those of the workers and vice versa. When a company has no need to waste time on dealing with internal strife due to misunderstandings, more energy can be directed towards generating sales and revenue. The healthier the connection is within, the stronger the team is – ready to face any challenge with confidence.

Business is like soccer. Know your team and you will know how to win.

 

Y. Kowlessar | DBPC Blog

Socializing With Colleagues After Work

People in an office environment typically spend 8 hours a day, five days a week with their co-workers, often longer than the time they spend with family members. Whether we like it or not, our co-workers can become a kind of surrogate family. It is natural to bond with your colleagues, but as with most relationships, this has its ups and downs. Hanging out with co-workers beyond the cubicle can easily translate into better team dynamics and a more collaborative work setting. After-work fraternizing can be fun, but even with all the pros of doing this, there are cons that must be considered as well. These tips can help you decide how personal your relationship with your co-workers should be.

 

Everyone needs positive relationships in their day to day life, whether it’s at work or home. Work relationships are important on many levels, from encouraging teamwork to landing promotions or simply making the work day more pleasant. While all of you may be battling deadlines individually, together you create a constant support system that helps greatly when things becomes stressful. The main objective of seeing co-workers after work, is to gain insight into each other’s personalities and build better teams to improve work performances. Avoid letting these sessions turn into gossip whenever possible.

 

Most companies have an annual holiday party or activity. This is the perfect time to indulge in some healthy office fun. Stepping out of the staid office environment and having the opportunity to relax and socialize with the people around you on a daily basis, can be very liberating. But don’t let your guard down, it is imperative to maintain a level of professionalism in order to uphold your reputation. Be mindful of your alcohol intake, as it tends to loosen inhibitions more quickly than one might think. Having an excessive amount to drink around bosses, clients and your fellow colleagues can lead to negative consequences and regrettable behavior. This can include discussing controversial subjects in front of a supervisor or talking about an employee in an unfavorable light.

 

Part of being a professional also involves conducting yourself appropriately inside and outside of the office. You shouldn’t swear too much. Avoid controversial jokes. A good rule to follow is not to do or say anything that you wouldn’t at the office. Socializing with co-workers has its own set of rules and practices that are far different from hanging out with friends and family, since you still have to work together every day.  It is imperative to understand even if you’re not at work your social life will still impact how you’re seen at the office.

L. Paul | DBPC Blog