Poor Writing Skills Are Costing Businesses Billions

Report shows more than $3.1 billion is being spent annually on remedial writing training.

Communication is an essential skill for any business, but what’s shocking is how much time and money businesses are spending each year to bring employees up to a basic proficiency level. Writing seems to be one of the skills requiring the most remedial training.

Read the whole story here!

To Raise Productivity, Let More Employees Work from Home

by Nicholas Bloom

The study: Nicholas Bloom and graduate student James Liang, who is also a cofounder of the Chinese travel website Ctrip, gave the staff at Ctrip’s call center the opportunity to volunteer to work from home for nine months. Half the volunteers were allowed to telecommute; the rest remained in the office as a control group. Survey responses and performance data collected at the conclusion of the study revealed that, in comparison with the employees who came into the office, the at-home workers were not only happier and less likely to quit but also more productive.

Read the full article here.

WHY IT’S TIME TO MANAGE PROGRESS AND NOT PEOPLE

by 

The people we work with are not so unlike the plants the farmer grows–we can’t simply tell them to grow.

The growing happens within them, and for people to want to work rather than having to work is actually a matter of managing progress, not people.

Read the full article here

Look. Listen.

by LISA O

Have you ever had a waiter get your order completely wrong? This frustrating scenario easily can be applied to today’s fast-paced, app-obsessed businesses. Time after time, we see products and services that customers didn’t want or need. It’s a waste of time, resources, and money.

The trick to overcoming this is pretty simple: stop insisting that your business tell people what they want or need.

Instead, observe your customers’ daily lives, ask them what their biggest challenges are, and find out what they dream about. Get to know your customers like they’re your friends. Then, and only then, can you really find out what they want or need.

Want to know your customers more? Here are two well-established resources you can actually use:

5 Ways to Conduct a Successful Interview

by LISA O

An interview should be viewed as a first date, with both sides ready to impress. Even if a candidate isn’t chosen for the job, they should leave with a positive attitude about your company and its people.

Here are a few tips on how you and your interview team can leave a lasting impression:

Remember, you’re being assessed too

Unlike American Idol auditions, interviews aren’t one-sided opinion free-for-alls. How you conducted yourself during the interview will get around. (two words: social media)

This is a chance for candidates to see if your company fits their needs as much as they fit your company. Be on your best behavior and don’t let your guard down by acting too casual and unprofessional. Keep the inside jokes and questionable opinions out of the interview.

Give the candidate your full attention

Nothing short of a natural disaster should distract you from your candidate. Don’t glance at your monitor, your phone, or even your watch unless you think you’re getting to the end of the interview.

These lapses are very obvious to someone who’s giving you all of theirs. If you have a hard time letting go of your technology, conduct the interview in a tech-free zone like a conference room.

Above all other things, be prepared. Review the candidate’s resume beforehand and be ready to ask them a few questions about their experience. It’s painful and frustrating for an interviewee to watch someone review his or her resume for the first time.

Mind the time

Your candidate has taken time out of their day to visit your company and to answer personal questions about their experience. More than likely, they’re taking time off from another job.

Be respectful of their time, especially if you’ve shared a schedule with them beforehand. End the interview when it’s supposed to end; if you’re running over the allotted time, ask if they can stay later or come back at a later time.

And there has to be a dire need to cut the interview short, like a natural disaster or sudden illness. Abruptly ending the interview is jarring and leaves the interviewee wondering what went wrong.

Like a well-choreographed event, all of the scrambling and rearranging should be done behind the scenes and out of the candidate’s point of view. For example, if someone on your team must attend a last-minute meeting, have a backup ready to go.

Stay awake

Even if you’re operating on two hours of sleep, don’t even think about yawning during an interview. Perk yourself up by drinking coffee or taking a brisk walk outside.

If all else fails and you’re still fighting the yawns, be honest and have a laugh about it. It’s OK to show your human side.

No hiding

Hiring managers should always be the last person the candidate sees. Whether you’re conducting the last interview or simply escorting the interviewee out the front door, hiring managers are the spokespeople of the company and the position.

And always tell candidates what the next steps in the interview process will be and when you expect to make a decision. It shouldn’t be a secret, and interviewees shouldn’t have to ask.