Saturday, July 25, 2009

"Stop whining, be glad you still have a job."


Business Times p.B1

Saturday, July 25, 2009



By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM

'Stop whining, be glad you still have a job'


Then they pile on the work, remove the praise and freeze the pay.


Such actions from "jerk bosses" (we defined jerk boss last column) is a sure-fire formula to lose their productive and contributing employees as soon as economic times become brighter or as soon as a chance to jump ship presents itself. You could not extract more loyalty, commitment and productivity from your employees if you have such a high-handed attitude. They might even have left your company long before they physically resign from the job.


So how do organizational leaders retain their best talents? A Disney executive once said: "Disney paid $7+ billion for Pixar today [January 25, 2006]. We already own the rights to several Pixar cha­racters. Basically we paid $7 billion for the 400 brilliant, creative people who work there. You see, we all [our competitors and us] have access to the same technology. We all have access to money. The only differentiator is the people. We paid $7 billion for the people and what we hope they'll be able to create for and with us in the future."


In their book, Love 'Em or Lose 'Em, authors Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans wrote, "Our approach to engaging and retaining talent is not something you turn on and off, syncing to the latest economic blip and the corresponding concern about keeping talent. It works best when it's authentic and perennial, when you clearly believe in it and demonstrate it daily in your actions with the people you want on your team."


Mesdames Kaye and Jordan-Evans asked over 17,000 people why they stayed in an organization for "a while" (yes it's a relative term). They confirmed the most common reasons employees remain at a company (and what will help retain them). The same answers came up again and again throughout every industry and at every level. The differences between functions, levels, genders and ages are minor.


According to their study, here are the top 20 responses:


• Exciting work and challenge

• Career growth, learning and development

• Working with great people

• Fair pay

• Supportive management/good boss

• Being recognized, valued and respected

• Benefits

• Meaningful work and making a difference

• Pride in the organization, its mission and its products

• Great work environment and culture

• Autonomy, creativity and sense of control

• Flexibility: work hours, dress and so on

• Location

• Job security and stability

• Diverse, changing work assignments

• Fun on the job

• Being part of a team

• Responsibility

• Loyalty, commitment to the organization or coworkers

• Inspiring leadership


The authors also noted that "If pay is seen as a non-competitive, unfair or simply insufficient to sustain life, it will be a large dissatisfier. Your talented employees will become vulnerable to talent theft or will begin looking around for something better, especially in a favorable job market."


"But here's the rub. While it can be a huge dissatisfier if inadequate, it won't keep people who are unhappy in other key areas. So if your talented people are not being challenged, or grown or cared about, a big paycheck will not keep them for long."


Notice that all of the above are the call of the organization leaders—they will be there only if management, from the very top to the frontline—make them happen. Be sure that your compensation is fair and competitive—then focus on what else you can do to keep them.


You may start asking your high productive/high potential employees what will keep them stay and happy. This is a good place to begin appreciating your employees—conduct stay interviews—to prevent exit interviews.



Saturday, July 18, 2009

Are you a "jerk boss"?


Business Times, p.B1-2

Saturday, July 18, 2009




By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM

Are you or do you have a 'jerk boss'?


Although we seem to have a never-ending problem of unemployment and underemployment, the more pressing predicament in this crucial economic time we are in is unmotivated employees. They stay with you, but they are not there. They simply fulfill the minimum requirements of the job, they stay within the limits of your Code of Discipline and they do not cause any trouble. They are not as productive and innovative as you want them to be.


A more troubling situation in a recession such as we are in is critical turnover or companies losing their best, brightest and most promising employees. Especially when they are not going anywhere and they are simply pissed off working in your company.


Managers and leaders are so busy with paper work, continuous quality improvement and certifications, endless meetings and implementing company policies, procedures, systems and codes of discipline, they forget the human beings working for them.


In his book, The No Asshole Rule, author Robert Sutton asks: Which of these effects of jerk-like behavior do you see in your organization? Which have you experienced yourself?


• Distractions from tasks because of efforts to avoid encounters with the "jerk boss"

• Loss of motivation on the job

• Physical illness because of stress

• Frequent absenteeism

• Reduction in innovation

• Inability to attract top talent

• Increased disengagements


 Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan Evans (Love 'Em or Lose 'Em) describe a "jerk boss" as acting like or looking like:


• Intimidate

• Condescend or demean

• Withhold praise

• Slam doors, pound doors

• Behave rudely

• Belittle people in front of others

• Micromanage

• Manage up, not down

• Always look out for number one

• Give mostly negative feedback

• Yell at people

• Tell lies or "half-truths"

• Act above the rules

• Enjoy making people sweat

• Act as superior to or smarter than everyone else

• Show disrespect

• Act sexist

• Act bigoted

• Withhold critical information

• Use inappropriate humor

• Blow-up in meetings

• Start every sentence with "I"

• Steal credit or spotlight from others

• Block career moves (prevent promotions or hold onto "stars")

• Distrust most people

• Show favoritism

• Humiliate and embarrass others

• Criticize often (at a personal level)

• Overuse sarcasm

• Deliberately ignore or isolate some people

• Set impossible goals or deadlines

• Never accept blame, let others take the hit

• Undermine authority

• Show lack of caring for people

• Betray trust or confidences

• Gossip/spread rumors

• Act as if others are stupid

• When feeling down, take it out on others

• Use fear as a motivator

• Show revenge

• Interrupt constantly

• Make "bad-taste" remarks

• Fail to listen

• Lack patience

• Demand perfection

• "Break promises

• Second-guess constantly

• Have to always be in control

• Add your own observation or experience here


 So what do you do in case you have a "jerk boss" or you are yourself a "jerk boss"? See you next column.


(Moje is at and


Monday, July 13, 2009

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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Engaging and retaining Netgens


Business Times p.B1

Saturday, July 4, 2009




By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM

How do we engage and retain the Millenials or Netgens


Every year in May or June, some 8,000 to 12,000 learning and performance professionals and leaders from all over the world meet at the ASTD Conference & Exposition in different major cities in the USA. Every time there are always new things to learn and discuss, better ways to do things, bigger results to achieve, new challenges and issues to address.


 This year, one main concern was the entry of the millenials or netgens or those born from 1977 to 1997 in the workplace. They provide different challenges for organizational leaders because they have different value system, needs, aspirations and work styles. They are round pegs we can't simply try to fit into the square holes (read policies, procedures, leadership styles, work ethics, systems, processes, lifestyle that we the baby boomers and generation x are used to. They are different from you and me. I know firsthand because I have two netgen sons. Notice that there are more and more 32 year olds and younger in your own workplace.


 Tony Bingham, ASTD president, quoted Rob Cross and Robert Thomas who said, "Organizations are increasingly dealing with newcomers. In the US, more than 25 percent of all workers have been with their company less than a year, and more than 33 percent, less than two years. American workers, on the average, change jobs ten times between ages 18 and 37. As a result, speeding up the network development (social connections) of new hires through more effective on-boarding has become a critical means of driving performance.


 "The first and most obvious challenge with newcomers is to jump-start their productivity. New hires are often a net drain on an organization—drawing salary, incurring training and orientation expenses, and consuming cowor­kers' time without providing much in return.


 "A study by Mellon Financial Corporation found that productivity lost due to the learning curve for new-hires-and-transfers is between 1 and 2.5 percent of total revenues. On average, the time for new hires to achieve an acceptable level of productivity ranges from eight weeks for clerical jobs to 20 weeks for professionals to more than 26 weeks for executives.


 "In today's fast-paced, competitive economy, organizations obviously cannot afford this kind of productivity lag."


 Tony Bingham continued, "And it doesn't do an organization much good if we have great systems for on-boarding, yet we fall down on retention."


 So how can we leverage social media for on-boarding and retention of this tremendous force—the netgens? Informal learning through social networks.


 Tony mentioned that in the April 2009 issue of CLO Magazine, Jay Cross talks about connections, He says, "Connections are everything. If your learning plans don't embrace the power of networks, go back to the drawing board. Learning occurs through conversations, collaboration, knowledge transfer, and other network phenomena. Learning leaders will seek out ways to increase personal network connections." One example Jay used was the creation of "easily accessible water coolers, both virtual and real."


 From these discussions, we have a greater understanding of the impact of this new generation—millenials or netgens—in the workplace and also in the greater society. Let's have a final discussion next column.


Find Moje in Twitter and Facebook using her email addy, innova­ She has a compilation of her columns at