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Handling too little work and too many employees [article]


Due to specific circumstances that Covid-19 pandemic has brought to us, most companies are faced with the next economic downturn. Many HR departments are faced with unprecedented challenges and the need to appropriately answer them applying adequate solutions in order to keep the company afloat.

When utilizing available short-term fixes does not deliver positive financial performance for the company, no matter how hard we try, we face difficult decisions such as reducing the labour force. The entire process hinders the professional and personal lives of laid-off individuals. Not only do they change their relationship to the employer and may develop a negative attitude towards it, but this whole situation also affects the company's public image in general. Consequently, it may have an impact on those who stay as well as the company's ability to attract talents once the hiring process will be enabled again.

Even though this step can be rather difficult for the companies and their employees, the implementation of certain practices may alleviate the situation in the interest of both parties.

In order to make sure the company keeps a positive image on the market as well as it’s remaining staff motivated and without fear, employers may invest in an outplacement program. This service provides care for laid-off employees in the process of entering the labour market. Its implementation has several advantages that make it crucial during the change of the company's structure and reduction of its number of employees. It gives former employees the opportunity to start a new professional journey while having the wind at the back from external associates. Participants are guided through discovering new possibilities and prepared for the realization of their best potential in a new environment. Engaging such a program shows that the company truly cares about the person as a human being and preserves a good relationship even during the hard times. It also gives the existing HR department more room for coping with internal changes in procedures and adapting its goals. More importantly, outplacement supports its work by providing a clear framework for the rest of the employees. By sending the message that the company is actively seeking and impacting harsh circumstances, it is reducing their feelings of uncertainty, insecurity and anxiety. Finally, it keeps a company's negative perception on the market low and opens the door for future rehiring or talent acquisition.

The best results come to the fore when a program offers an individual approach with particular directions and activities depending on the interests of the individual. In order to check out tailor-made approach aimed not only at IT companies and their employees but at employees in firms in any other industry giving them the opportunity to discover new possibilities inside and outside the IT world, feel free to contact us here. We will be glad to provide you with more details on the possibilities of using the program according to your needs and circumstances.

M.P.
HR Consultant

The first step to solving most of your teams’ problems [article]


When discussing the most important features of someone's work, feedback tends to be one of the highest needs regardless of tasks or organizational level for employees worldwide. Firstly, feedback serves employees to achieve their goals and increase their self-efficacy in immediate tasks, but it also has self-esteem-related and social purposes i.e. it helps employees bolster their confidence, ascertain their image of themselves as well as the impression they leave on others (Ashford, Blatt, and VandeWalle, 2003; Wu, Parker, and De Jong, 2014). If the right feedback is given to the right person by the right person, it can lead to greater satisfaction, performance, and greater overall organization success.

Since there is great importance of feedback on the wellbeing of individuals, teams, managers, and organizations in total, it can be seen that a lot of circumstances can go terribly wrong if the process of giving feedback is not appropriate or if the feedback is not total, transparent and relevant . While standard, result-oriented performance appraisals are important so that everyone is on the same page regarding the overall, measurable success, there is more to assessing work performance than checking up on numbers, and there is more to check up on your employees than simply “talking to them”. In this text, we want to address one of the well known but sometimes misunderstood technique called 360-degree feedback survey.

Collecting feedback is not an easy task, and collecting accurate feedback is even more dire one. Although managers are generally adept at discerning the levels of competence of their employees, they still have troubles with differentiating between them, especially if their employees are modest about expressing their knowledge or skills, or if the manager is not that familiar with their work. On the other hand, the employees can more easily compare their work to the work of their peers but sometimes tend to overestimate poorer performance either due to social constraints or different evaluation standards. 360-degree feedback, also known as multi-rater feedback, multi-source feedback, or full-circle appraisal, involves collecting perceptions about a person’s behaviour and the impact of that behaviour from the person’s superiors, direct reports, peers, fellow members of project teams, clients and/or outside associates. This technique, for starters, has a proven track of alleviating the above-mentioned biases (Atkins and Wood, 2003) and subsequently helps your organization in a number of different ways.

Whether or not the 360-degree feedback should be used for performance appraisal is still a burning topic (e.g. Maylett, 2009) where most agree that it is NOT a good way to measure employee performance objectives, nor a way to determine whether an employee is meeting basic job requirements, basic technical or job-specific skills. Instead, it should measure behaviours and competencies, grant feedback on how others perceive an individual employee, and focus more on how the employee affected the work of other employees then on whether the work was accomplished. In this way, it can help the person improve their competencies, and as a result, their job performance.

The proposed primary use of 360-degree feedback, therefore, is to raise awareness of individuals’ strengths and rooms for improvement and to use this data for employee development foremost. This technique proved to elicit tremendous results when paired with systemic coaching and continual training (Luthans and Peterson, 2003). This, of course, can be extended to overall team performance, and it greatly helps managers and/or HR personnel to ensure that critical job-related behaviours are being developed and evaluated. As a further extension, this technique is an excellent addition and could play a major role in achieving a specific business strategy and culture change by clarifying the behaviours that are required to support these initiatives. Once an organization has clarified its strategic direction and determined its business objectives, a 360-degree feedback process can be a key element in refocusing the workforce to attain changed organizational goals through changing their behaviour (Lepsinger and Lucia, 2009).

Based on this and additional scientific research, as well as applied best practises, we have developed our Total Feedback service on 360-degree feedback technique. Generally, once the basic tenets are adopted, the process is simple to imagine but very difficult to conduct, organize and coordinate if you do not have a specialized platform designed for this purpose. Our survey is conducted entirely via online questionnaires so geographical or other spacial restrictions are of no concern for us nor is the large quantity of data that needs to be collected, collated, analyzed and reported.

It is important to know exactly where everyone stands in a company, how others see them, and what you can do to advance the overall performance and harmonious working environment. Getting unambiguous and relevant feedback is a high goal for most employees and leaders alike, and it is especially so in a time of crisis, such as we are facing right now concerning COVID-19. In times when HR and social activities of companies are hindered, and when there is a risk that your employees start feeling insecure or lack feedback, we offer the possibility to assess exactly how your entire team feels about each of its members, what roles they take up in the eyes of others, and what their strengths and opportunities for advancement actually are.

We would be more than glad to share more information about this as our related services which can provide you with a comprehensive toolset not only to weather this crisis but to simultaneously improve your success and come on top. Therefore, do not hesitate to contact us.

J.G.
HR Consultant

Sources of information:

Ashford, S. J., Blatt, R., & VandeWalle, D. (2003). Reflections on the Looking Glass: A Review of Research on Feedback-Seeking Behavior in Organizations. Journal of Management 29(6) 773–799. doi:10.1016/S0149-2063(03)00079-5

Atkins, P. W. B., & Wood, R. E. (2002). Self- Versus Others’ Ratings As Predictors Of Assessment Center Ratings: Validation Evidence For 360-degree Feedback Programs. Personnel Psychology, 55(4), 871–904. doi:10.1111/j.1744-6570.2002.tb00133.x

Lepsinger, R., & Lucia, A. D. (2009). The art and science of 360-degree feedback. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Luthans, F., & Peterson S. J. (2003). 360-degree Feedback With Systematic Coaching: Empirical Analysis Suggests A Winning Combination. Human Resource Management, 42(3), 243–256. doi: 10.1002/hrm.10083

Maylett, T. (2009). 360-Degree Feedback Revisited: The Transition From Development to Appraisal. Compensation & Benefits Review, 41(5), 52–59. doi:10.1177/0886368709337922

Wu, C., Parker, S. K., & De Jong, J. P. J. (2014) Feedback seeking from peers: a positive strategy for insecurely attached team workers. Human Relations, 67(4). 441-464. doi: 10.1177/0018726713496124

Career FFWD: Should I Stay or Should I Go? [article]


We spend 8 hours a day working. If we count the travel time, we can conclude that we spend a lot of our available day-time at work. Thinking that way, job satisfaction can be viewed as a factor that affects not only our professional success but also our overall life satisfaction.

Furthermore, a time of crisis that we are now facing, challenges many of employees and particularly emphasizes career issues, such as how to remain competitive on the labour market and how to keep a job or find a new one. Those who think ahead may ask themselves questions such as: how to take advantage of this situation to be promoted to a higher position or enter another industry, e.g. the IT industry?

The important note is that all of us are faced with the need to take continued care for our own personal job satisfaction, which is not an immutable variable, but rather the variable that varies across various internal and external characteristics and contexts. How to stay satisfied even when the context changes rapidly and crises as Covid-19 occur?

First of all, it is shown that individuals with an internal locus of control (Hewston, Stroebe, 2003; Rotter, 1975), who believe that they can influence their own life, show higher levels of job satisfaction, greater work performance, and, also, greater work motivation than those with an external locus (Ng, Sorensen, Eby, 2006). So, instead of relying on an external locus of control and attributing reasons for (dis)satisfaction to external factors beyond our control, we need to take care of ourselves and use this situation to our advantage. How is that possible in these difficult times?

The key is in agile adaptation and active care for one's own development and career advancement. Taking things into your own hands will certainly reduce stress, increase satisfaction with your own performance and provide some kind of career advancement, whether it is improving skills for performing your current job or acquiring new ones important for finding another job.

Here we come to career consulting, a major “tool” that supports career advancement. Career consulting is one-on-one counselling and training that helps individuals to set professional goals, identify their own strengths, make the best use of them by integrating them strategically into their own work environment or the labour market. Additionally, such a program is intended to help individuals to develop skills needed for achieving certain career goals or solving any career problem. Furthermore, career consulting includes the acquisition of both theoretical and practical knowledge, which is why it usually consists of a series of interviews, sharing educational materials, training, workshops and exercises intended for career development . Above all, career consulting promotes an active role of a client in the whole process, especially in the goal-setting. Goal-setting represents a collaborative “negotiation” between client and counsellor that encourages the client to work actively on pursuing satisfactory outcomes (Zunker, 2012). The role of a psychologist - counsellor in that part of the process is to provide a client with more detailed insight into his/her own abilities and characteristics, help him to identify the best work environment for him/her and to support him/her in making the best professional decisions, but it is not up to him to make the decision instead of the client. Goal-setting is the fundamental part of a program, which is further upgraded with training depending on the client’s needs. Individual program adaptation means that there is no one-size-fits-all solution because of the fact that each person has his/her own predispositions and interests, which means that other variables are important for his/her satisfaction, motivation and, finally, performance.

If you would like to get your own career guidelines which can help you to improve yourself at your current position, be promoted to a higher one, find a better job for yourself in the IT industry or enter it, here you can find more information about how Talentarium can help you to become “the talented one” in a company. :)

M.D.
HR Consultant

Sources of information:

Hewstone, M. i Stroebe, W. (2003). Socijalna psihologija. Jastrebarsko: Naklada Slap.

Ng, T. W., Sorensen, K. L. i Eby, L. T. (2006). Locus of control at work: a meta‐ analysis. Journal of Organizational Behavior: The International Journal of Industrial, Occupational and Organizational Psychology and Behavior, 27(8), 1057-1087.

Rotter, J. B. (1975). Some problems and misconceptions related to the construct of internal versus external control of reinforcement. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 43(1), 56.

Zunker, V. G. (2012). Career Counseling: A Holistic Approach. Cengage Learning.

The Importance of Appreciation and Gratitude [article]

What can a little gratitude do for you when the whole world seems to be crashing down? A lot as it turns out.

Gratitude can be viewed as both a personality trait or as an emotional state, however, since the trait seems to be at least somewhat trainable (Emmons and McCullough, 2003) and both are good for you, we will be talking about general “gratitude levels”. More specifically, what raising those gratitude levels could do for you, your employees and your company.

The COVID-19 crisis has left many of us feeling lonely and isolated from society and our friends and colleagues. While digital channels of communication are great for keeping us in touch, many of us feel that our social relationships are suffering throughout the periods of social distancing. As with any crisis that unfolds on this scale, our anxiety levels are rising steadily, the world is starting to look a little bleaker and many of us are at increased risk of mental health issues.

Good news is that gratitude research has shown that gratitude can help all of us deal with many of these feelings. Gratitude is one of the greatest antidotes to feelings of loneliness and isolation (Caputo, 2015). It helps us establish new relationships, as well as improves existing ones by showing it (Algoe and Haidt, 2008; Algoe, Haidt and Gable, 2008). Gratitude is also a strong protective factor against feelings of depression (Lambert, Fincham and Stillman, 2011) and helps us not to lose sight of the positive in our life (Watkins,Uhder & Pichinevskiy 2014).

In terms of general organizational benefits, gratitude has been linked with higher employee efficiency, success, productivity, and loyalty (DiFabio, Palazzeschi and Bucci, 2017). More specifically, it has been shown to help your employees feel more comfortable with asking for help and information (Edmondson, 2002) which some might find hard in a fully remote setting, especially during onboarding. Grateful employees also see their colleagues in a more positive light, which helps in strengthening reciprocity, teamwork, and organizational altruism (Dik et al., 2014). One of the big things gratitude does is encouraging organizational citizenship behaviour (DiFabio, Palazzeschi and Bucci, 2017). Organizational citizenship behaviour is shorthand for all the behaviours that are not necessarily essential for getting the job done, but are beneficial to the organization as a whole - such us behaving in line with your company values. And values, by their nature of being a set of shared informal social rules, can be especially tricky to translate from a physical office to a digital one, especially if the change is sudden like it was now.

So, by now you must be thinking: ”Well, they did bother writing all the science journal references… and this does seem to have a lot of confirmed positive effects, how do I get me some of that goodness?”. Firstly, I would like to thank you for recognizing the effort that went into making sure these are science-backed claims and not some made-up self-help semi-philosophy. Secondly, one of the easiest and best-researched ways to raise your gratitude levels is through gratitude journaling (Allen, 2018).

The simple act of taking time to consider all the little things in your life and business that you are grateful for, for whatever reason, and noting them down regularly over a period of time can make you and your company more likely to experience all the goodies above. It really is that simple and it will work with just about any old piece of paper and a pen. However, if you would like to try and implement this as a habit in your company in a more structured way, we got you covered.

APPreciation is a simple web app that can help your team share what they are grateful for with each other. It allows them to give out e-rewards whenever they feel grateful for the way their teammates are behaving, like sharing knowledge, offering their support or just typing out some really great code that makes them feel proud to work alongside them. In this way it allows them to keep track of all the good stuff that is happening, while also making their colleagues feel appreciated.

Why not give it a try if you feel like your company and your employees might benefit from a bit more gratitude in their lives? For more information about getting started click here.

D.B.
HR Consultant

Sources of information:

Algoe S.B. & Haidt J. (2009) Witnessing excellence in action: the ‘other-praising’ emotions of elevation, gratitude, and admiration, The Journal of Positive Psychology, 4:2, 105-127, DOI: 10.1080/17439760802650519

Algoe, S. B., Haidt, J., & Gable, S. L. (2008). Beyond reciprocity: gratitude and relationships in everyday life. Emotion (Washington, D.C.), 8(3), 425–429. https://doi.org/10.1037/1528-3542.8.3.425

Allen, S. (2018). The Science of Gratitude. Conshohocken, PA: John Templeton Fundation.

Caputo, A. (2015). The Relationship Between Gratitude and Loneliness: The Potential Benefits of Gratitude for Promoting Social Bonds. Europe’s Journal of Psychology. 11. 323-334. 10.5964/ejop.v11i2.826.

Di Fabio A., Palazzeschi L. & Bucci O. (2017). Gratitude in Organizations: A Contribution for Healthy Organizational Contexts. Frontiers in Psychology 8, 2025. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.02025

Dik, B. J., Duffy, R. D., Allan, B. A., O’Donnell, M. B., Shim, Y., and Steger, M. F. (2014). Purpose and meaning in career development applications. Counsel. Psychol. 43, 558–585. doi: 10.1177/0011000014546872

Edmondson, A. (2002). The local and variegated nature of learning in organizations: a group level perspective. Organ. Sci. 13, 128–146. doi: 10.1287/orsc.13.2.128.530

Emmons, R. A., and McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: an experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 84, 377. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.84.2.377

Lambert N.M., Fincham F.D. & Stillman T.F. (2012) Gratitude and depressive symptoms: The role of positive reframing and positive emotion, Cognition and Emotion, 26:4, 615-633, DOI: 10.1080/02699931.2011.595393

Watkins, P., Uhder, J. & Pichinevskiy, S. (2014). Grateful recounting enhances subjective well-being: The importance of grateful processing. The Journal of Positive Psychology. 10. 91-98. 10.1080/17439760.2014.927909.

Webinar: Šok i kako se njime nose hrvatske IT tvrtke? [VIDEO]

Welcome to the first Talentarium webinar. We discussed the impact of the coronavirus on the tech market. 💻

We found out how Croatian tech companies are trying to overcome these new challenges and prepare for the crisis 📉

We want to thank our panellists for contributing:

  • Anja Rich, HR Consultant at Oracle
  • Hrvoje Kapetanovic, CEO at Undabot
  • Lovre Bošnjak, Founder at Encode Ltd
  • Matija Matijevac, CEO at MAIDEA
  • Tonči Damjanić, CTO at Bizzon

They have shared their point of view on this situation and how their everyday activities have changed by now. Everything shifted to the online world: customer relations, team support, and even the everyday chitchat that is happening in your community kitchen.

Since this is a global pandemic, you can be sure that everyone is going through the same processes and has similar worries. No one could be prepared, a lot of teams went remote for the first time and now have to learn how to communicate and stay productive.

Watch our webinar and find out how our panellists helped adapt their companies, what they think will happen to the IT sector and how the future of work will look like.