Tag Archives: employees

Blogging to Assess an Employees Performance

A couple of years ago I was applying for a job by a company in the UK. After the usual first get to know you meeting. They asked me to write a report about their website and what I thought about it.

I knew that this was a part of the job interview process so I wrote as honestly and as diplomatically as I could. Back then, I did not blog at all. Writing is not an obvious choice for me, I am much better orally speaking. I know why that is so, having kept a blog for over a year now. I am beginning to understand why writing is entirely different from speaking. It uses different parts of the brain. Which parts I am not entirely sure, but the more you activate a brain center the better it will perform. It is not as easy as it looks, but then again neither is it that hard. Without doubt, it does wonders for any plan to be able to take the effort to set it out on paper before you take any steps to put a plan into action. In fact I would even go so far to say that if we to do that with all important decisions in our life we would probably have a very different view point and live very different and probably richer lives, qualitatively speaking. If you are going to assess your employees on their writing skills you will have to create the right atmosphere. A free mind can develop very quickly (in children) unfortunately somewhat slower as an adult. So it is important that the employees do not feel that they have to write in certain way. Indeed that would be against the very essence of blogging. Forget having brain storming sessions, ask each employee to write something for you instead, that is a least the ones that cannot justify a better use of there of time than picking their nose. You will be amazed what you find…. this of course assuming that you have the more or less total confidence of your staff.

How Much more does your Youngest Employee Know about the Internet than You ?

What does it mean having a presence on the internet, can you buy a office and move your staff in. Well the answer to the question is yes. For internetholics it has been well known that you can buy virtual love to real estate on line. This can take several forms, Second life for example allows you to interact with an array of potential customers, build a virtual office, hire staff. You might well be thinking now this is great, this is just what I need, low overheads, no sloppy staff, work from wherever I choose. But there is a problem. While there are virtual millionaires on second life. Their virtual business supports a real life business and vice-a-versa.

So what does this mean, well there will be any number of businesses out there who have dipped there toe in the internet water to see what is on offer. If you really want to make that website pay for itself along with your internet connection and computers there are a number of things you will have to do.

First it is about getting as many links as possible pointing to your website. This is done by interacting and commenting in communities. Web 2.0 now offers users the chance to do traditional business but with new technology. The problem with this is that is not very well understood in general by people over 35. So the boss of your local taxi company, accountant etc does not really know what a blog is, or a virtual business etc. Now if they do not know, how can anyone expect it to be taken seriously in the company ranks. Of course you will have your office junior who will have a virtual girlfriend, do virtual sports, already spend a large percentage of his money on the internet and related hardware etc. While the rest of the your staff will struggle with an email attachment that the virus scanner has disallowed because it was told that it is possible for a photo to have a virus in it. Yes it is possible but in the whole of my 12 year IT career I have never come across it. Given that almost 50+ percent of photos on the internet are JPEGS. It is a threat but a low threat and one that we can live with. One cannot really compare it to the risk of not getting your work done for the client and the time it would involve to check every photo.

So a balanced sensible approached is needed for work and business security so it can work at an optimum. No longer can staff say “Oh I do not understand” when a web page fails to load and the message on the screen reads your internet connection is on available at this time due to maintenance work. Involving your company on the internet is fundamentally about involving your employees. We do seminars about web 2.0 but it has to come from the top down. I suggest that smaller companies get the youngest employees to tell them what they know about the internet. This will serve two purposes one you see just what the internet can do, and two you will have a starting point to building an online presence for your company.

Why your employees should stay at home

In what we now describe as ‘The Modern Age’, how are we using the benefits of technology to develop our lives?

Most people will spend at least one third of their life working. If they were to sit down and say how they would like to work, the answers would be as wide and varied as life itself.

Is our work place that varied?

With home ownership growing in the EU, we invest considerable time in making our homes a place of comfort, a place where we like to be.

Work environments, on the other hand, do not have anywhere near the same amount of enjoyment. Many companies now recognise that the place its employees spend one third of their lives has to represent the people that work there. Google encourage their employees to work from sofas that they provide, or hotspots around the company. They have a number of different distractions to keep the interest of the employees while they are at work. Employees are encouraged to work 20 percent of their own time on their own projects.

We do not go to work just to work, we go there to improve our lives. This is not just on a monetary level, but in all areas that we function, from socialising, to developing new skills. How do we, as a company, do that?

By taking a leaf from “Googleplex” the Google headquarters in Mountain View, California, that boasts free lunches, on-site dental care and dog-friendliness we can begin to provide more for our employees.

The key to doing pretty much anything in life is to have a degree of happiness. Happy employees will do anything so long as they can stay happy. The reverse of this does not bear thinking about. This ultimately changes the relationship that employees have with their employer. If we only look at the legal requirements for health and safety, the employer has to be the perfect parent. As a parent all I can say is good luck. I can give my son a slap when he is not doing his home work with out getting a legal case.(!!) So how do companies harness the potential of their employees? It requires a good relationship and good management, where both parties are working towards the same goal.

I work a fair amount from home and it means that I can plan my day and have more control over my life. Being a single parent means that I usually take a few hours off in the afternoon when my son comes home. My best work is often done in the dark winter evenings. I will often go for a morning stroll when the sun is shining and enjoy a mug of coffee the way I like it. Since I have been working from home I have never been happier or more relaxed. I am more productive and enjoy my life a lot more.

So what is the benefit for the employer?

Well, in the first place there is the cost saving, from the price of my desk, through to the costs incurred travelling to work. In the second place, the quality of work is higher due to less stress. In third place, I am willing to bet that employees will take a lot less time off work, be it through sickness or other reasons.

The technology that is available to us now means that you can communicate with anybody for very little cost. If you fancy a change or needed to,you could always go work with another colleague, be it in the workplace at work or their home.

Businesses, Employees and Web 2.0

I received details of an interesting article on how businesses are applying web 2.0 communication technology via Google News alerts the other day – Taking residence in virtual worlds (Mahesh Sharma, Australian IT). It involves two case studies – Westpac (a bank) and Deloitte Australia – and whether Second Life could be used for business needs. The experiment proved to be positive and it is expected that an extended experiment will go ahead soon.

Some of benefits that Second Life can help deliver for businesses include:

– People felt more comfortable asking questions in that environment than a normal classroom or lecture environment

– It helps overcome the difficulty of communicating to 30,000 people, and the difficulty of getting people together from different locations and time zones to disseminate information

– It as a way of getting information out without the flying, driving and time-consuming travel to a central location

Deloitte Australia has also been experimented with Facebook as a business tool.

Benefits of using Facebook internally are said to include:

– It increases engagement with the 13,000 Deloitte employees that are members of Facebook globally

– To understand what other employees are at, and create a much higher level of engagement

– It allows an understanding of how other employees are thinking

Westpac has also experimented with an internal version of Facebook.

Visit James Richards here: http://www.workconnexions.com/blog/JamesRichard.aspx http://workblogging.blogspot.com/

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