30 Δεκ 2010

There’s more than Facebook and Twitter

A wealth of new technologies is improving the learning experience.

The interactive nature of Web 2.0 can revolutionize lifelong learning, said Joan M. Falkenberg Getman, senior strategist for learning technologies at Cornell University.

“Web 2.0 is about being not passive but actively engaged with services, resources and each other,” Getman told participants at APA’s 2010 Education Leadership Conference. Those qualities, she said, can be leveraged to support lifelong learning that goes far beyond formal online courses. Now, thanks to such sites as YouTube and Flickr, “anyone can teach anyone anything” in a way that enhances learning much more than passively sitting in a classroom, she said.

Web 2.0 services can also help educators and learners achieve specific goals. Delicious.com and other social bookmarking sites, for example, can help learners organize information. Users can bookmark sites, organize them into collections and share them with others if desired.

To facilitate collaboration, students, teachers or groups of researchers or practitioners can create “wikis” — easy-to-create websites that allow multiple users to upload resources, e-mails and anything else having to do with their projects and make them public or accessible only to a select group. (For example, check out PsycLink, APA’s new practice wiki.) For simple communication between students and instructors, videoconferencing and Skype can help.

Web 2.0 can also enable the creation of communities that come together for collective learning, said Getman. LinkedIn, Facebook and Ning, for example, allow users to build their own social networks.

Fast feedback is another strength of Web 2.0 tools, said Getman, citing blogs as an example. “Blogs are increasingly being used to give students experience with public opinion,” she said, explaining that students learn how to engage in debate and handle all sorts of comments. Another tool for instant feedback is VoiceThread, a site that allows users to post materials and invite others to add text, audio or video comments. Such tools broaden feedback beyond the instructor, said Getman. “It’s group learning,” she said, “and there’s a record of it.”

Other tools help instructors make concepts real for students. If students need to practice particular skills, for instance, services such as the MERLOT Information Technology Portal are repositories of tutorials and other resources.

Creating virtual worlds is another option. At Loyola Marymount University, for example, a schizophrenia simulation lets students experience what schizophrenia is like. Getman herself helped create a virtual world that brought together engineers and law students to discuss a real-world class action suit.

“Cloud computing” provides Internet-based alternatives to familiar resources. Instead of Photoshop, for example, users can take advantage of a service called JayCut. Instead of PowerPoint, they can use SlideRocket.

Educators shouldn’t use these new technologies just for their glitzy appeal, Getman warned. “Pedagogy comes first, then technology,” she said.

Πηγή: American Psychological Association "Monitor on Psychology"

Boosting morale

In one of the latest dramatic acts of employee disgruntlement, in August, JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater — in frustration over a passenger hitting him in the head with a bag — cursed into the plane’s loudspeaker, grabbed a beer and exited the aircraft by deploying the emergency slide. While Slater’s actions were clearly extreme, his outrage sheds light on the importance of employee health.

Worker discontentment is taking a huge toll on quality of life both inside and outside the workplace, according to a series of studies examining overall life satisfaction globally and published in the book “Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements” (Gallup Press, 2010).

Employees who said they like their jobs are twice as likely to be thriving in their lives overall — reporting strong relationships, effective money management, good health and engagement in their communities — as those who are disengaged and unhappy at work. Unhappy employees in the study not only dreaded the work day, but they were also twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression. These disengaged workers also reported higher stress levels than happy workers and were at greater risk for heart disease and other health problems due to spikes in the stress hormone cortisol, which boosts blood pressure and blood sugar levels and suppresses the immune system.

“[For many of us] Our careers are such a foundational part of our identities and how we think about ourselves,” says psychologist Jim Harter, PhD, one of the book’s co-authors and a chief scientist for workplace management and well-being at Gallup. Of course, work is also where most of us spend much of the day and is an important source of socialization, he says.

Psychological, sociological and economic research has also shown that having happy, healthy and engaged workers is also good for a company’s bottom line. (Visit the APA Practice Organization’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program website for a database of research on the topic.) The Gallup study reports that among the least happy and least engaged employees — those with the lowest well-being scores — the annual per-person cost of lost productivity due to sick days is upward of $28,000. The sick-day lost-productivity cost among the happiest and most engaged workers: $840 a year.

“People who are more psychologically well and happier tend to be better producers,” says Tom Wright, PhD, an industrial-organizational psychologist and management professor at Kansas State University who studies the role of psychological well-being in job performance, employee retention and cardiovascular health. Not only can also psychological well-being benefit organizations by reducing lost productivity due to sick days, but organizations can also benefit from the fact that healthy employees tend to work both harder and “smarter” on the job. According to Wright, “psychologically well employees tend to be more focused on work activities and not waste as much time on daydreaming and other non-productive activities.”

The benefits to psychological well-being do not end with performance. In a 2010 Organizational Dynamics (Vol. 39, No. 1) article, Wright found that for every one-point increase — on a seven-point scale — in an employee’s reported psychological well-being, the probability that an employee will stay with their current organization doubled.

Time isn’t money

What works best to promote employee health?

Giving employees some control over their jobs helps, suggests psychological research. For example, a 2009 study by Arla Day, PhD, an industrial-organizational psychology professor at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, suggests that employers give workers some control over their time and more flexible hours. In the study of 106 Canadian health-care professionals, Day and colleagues found that allowing workers to schedule their own hours and manage how they approach work tasks reduced employee burnout (Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences, Vol. 26, No. 1).

It’s also critical for organizations to find a way to give employees a voice, says James Campbell Quick, PhD, professor of organizational behavior and leadership at the University of Texas at Arlington. Although the company has suffered some setbacks due to manufacturing problems, Johnson & Johnson has kept its 114,000 employees connected by keeping a focus on small units within the corporation.

“Johnson & Johnson operates less as a large corporation than as a herd of small companies,” Quick says.

For small workplaces, keeping a focus on employees may mean hosting regular staff meetings where employees can discuss work issues and suggest improvements. Large organizations can do this through anonymous employee surveys. No matter how it’s done, however, “it has to be about talking to people, listening to what they say back and really hearing them,” Quick says.

Harter agrees, adding that individual managers play an important role in engaging employees in the workplace by providing flexibility and helping them craft career-development plans. Providing employees with the opportunity to use their strengths can also help prevent burnout and improve a company’s bottom line, according to global data gathered by Gallup, published in “StrengthsFinder 2.0” (Gallup Press, 2007). Compared with employees who do not get to focus on what they do best, people who have the opportunity to use their strengths at the office are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs and more than three times as likely to report excellent quality of life.

“We can minimize a lot of the negative stress by thinking about the whole person and how they can best utilize their strengths and individual talents,” Harter says.

Individual accountability

The onus for improving both worker satisfaction and worker well-being doesn’t rest just with employers. Employees must take the initiative to use such workplace practices as flex schedules wisely and find effective coping strategies — such as exercise and relaxation techniques — for their specific on-the-job stressors. “The individual is the first point of change,” Wright says.

Some organizations put mechanisms in place to help employees decrease their on-the-job strain. In an as-yet-unpublished study presented by Day at the APA-National Institute on Occupational Safety and Health 2009 Work, Stress and Health Conference, employees from 14 organizations spoke with a trained facilitator once a week by phone about how to best manage workplace stress and balance work and life responsibilities. The facilitator led one-on-one discussions on how the employees’ workweek was going, brainstormed ways to defuse stressful situations and encouraged the workers to make time for exercise and relaxation. After 12 weeks, participants reported significant improvements in their engagement, as well as decreased levels of stress, burnout and absenteeism compared with a control group.

“We found that just having these weekly phone calls significantly increased the number of ‘me-time’ activities individuals took part in to recover from a day of draining work,” Day says.

Πηγή: American Psychological Association "Monitor on Psychology"

The Pursuit Of Happyness - Job Interview

Μια εξαιρετική ταινιά και μια πάρα πολύ καλή σκηνή συνέντευξης

21 Δεκ 2010

Six Steps To Becoming An Evidence-based Manager

Έχω αναφερθεί αρκετές φορές σε αυτό το blog αλλά και στα μαθήματα για την σημασία του Evidence-Based Management. Πρόσφατα ξεκίνησε την λειτουργία του ένα blog πάνω σε αυτό το θέμα από συναδέλφους στο εξωτερικό.
Μία από τους πρωτεργάτες του κινήματος η Καθ. Denise Rousseau αναφέρεται στα 6 βασικά βήματα για να γίνει κάποιος Evidence-Based Manager.

Six steps are the basic building blocks in becoming an evidence-based manager. These steps are basic elements in our Evidence-based management courses. Evidence-based management is a decision-making process. Its decisions follow a well-established process and integrate the best available information from science, your organization and its stakeholders, and your expertise. It means actively managing your professional decisions and on-going attention to the information you use to make them.

Περισσότερα εδώ.

13 Δεκ 2010

11 Δεκ 2010

Η εκπαίδευση στελεχών στην Ελλάδα...

Τα τελευταία 10 χρόνια ασχολούμαι αρκετά με την εκπαίδευση στελεχών (executive training) τόσο από την θέση μου στο παν/μιο (π.χ. μέσα από τα μεταπτυχιακά προγράμματα μερικής φοίτησης ή το Ανοιχτό Πανεπιστήμιο όπου οι φοιτητές είναι και εργαζόμενοι, αλλά κυρίως μέσω συνεργασιών με οργανισμούς του ιδιωτικού κυρίως, αλλά όχι μόνο, τομέα όπου εκπαιδεύω στελέχη τους σε θέματα Οργανωσιακής Συμπεριφοράς/Ψυχολογίας) όσο και νωρίτερα δουλεύοντας την PwC και στην Εγνατία Τράπεζα. Έχοντας λοιπόν εκπαιδεύσει κάποιες μάλλον χιλιάδες στελεχών πλέον, θα ήθελα να μοιραστώ κάποιες εμπειρίες...

Η επιστημονική έρευνα έχει αποδείξει με μεγάλη ότι για να είναι επιτυχημένη η εκπαίδευση στελεχών απαιτούνται κάποιες προϋποθέσεις, που δυστυχώς απ' ότι βλέπω οι περισσότερες ελληνικές εταιρείες (ειδικά στον βωμό της απορρόφησης των κονδυλιών του ΟΑΕΔ-0,45%) φαίνεται να τις ξεχνούν (ή εσκεμμένα να τις αγνοούν).

Πρώτη βασική προυπόθεση είναι η παρακίνηση των συμμετεχόντων... πώς ορίζεται η παρακίνηση στην εκπαίδευση στελεχών; Κατ' αρχήν οι συμμετέχοντες, θα πρέπει να θέλουν να εκπαιδευτούν. Ο συμμετέχων που παραβρίσκεται σε ένα σεμινάριο, επειδή τον υποχρέωσαν να πάει, γι' αυτόν η εκπαίδευση ουσιαστικά "πέρασε και δεν άγγιξε"σε ένα μεγάλο ποσοστό ως και 90%. Αφήνω ένα ποσοστό 10% μήπως ένα πραγματικά εξαιρετικός εισηγητής καταφέρει να τον ταρακουνήσει. Δεν είναι όμως πολύ μεγάλο το ρίσκο / κόστος για μια επιχείρηση;

Στα πλαίσια της παρακίνησης περιλαμβάνεται επίσης και η διάθεση/όρεξη του εκπαιδευόμενου για μάθηση. Η οργανωσιακή ψυχολογία έχει αποδείξει την σημασία τόσο της εσωτερικής έδρας ελέγχου όσο και άλλων χαρακτηριστικών προσωπικότητας, όπως η δεκτικότητα στην εμπειρία, η αυτοπεποίθηση, κλπ. Αναρωτιέμαι, λαμβάνονται άραγε ποτέ αυτά υπόψην στο σχεδιασμό της εκπαίδευσης των Ελληνικών επιχερήσεων;;; Πολύ φοβάμαι πως όχι... Τι σημαίνει αυτό; Συμμετέχοντες που πιστεύουν ότι τίποτα δεν μπορεί να αλλάξει, που έχουν αρνητική στάση απέναντι στην αλλαγή (τι είναι η μάθηση αν δεν είναι αλλαγή), που έχουν χαμηλή πίστη στις ικανότητες τους να επηρεάσουν και να αλλάξουν καταστάσεις, κλπ. Και φυσικά όλα αυτά δεν συνδέονται υποχρεωτικά με το εκπαιδευτικό επίπεδο ή την ηλικία των συμμετεχόντων. Έχω γνωρίσει μεγαλοστελέχη με μάστερ και διδακτορικά οι οποίοι έχουν τόσο μεγάλη αντίσταση/αντίδραση του τύπου "καλή η θεωρία αλλά στην πράξη τίποτα από αυτά δεν εφαρμόζονται" που είναι απίστευτο. Και έχω γνωρίσει απόφοιτους λυκείου με τρελλή όρεξη για μάθηση και πρόοδο ακόμη και σε μεγάλη ηλικία.

Τέλος, συνδέεται πραγματικά η εκπαίδευση με τις υπόλοιπες διαδικασίες της Διοίκησης Ανθρωπίων πόρων και σε ποιο βαθμό; Πώς να πείσεις έναν συμμετέχοντα, όπως μου έτυχε πρόσφατα, για την σημασία της αξιολόγησης της απόδοσης, όταν καθημερινά βλέπει να προάγονται σε θέσεις ευθύνης, όχι οι καταλληλότεροι αλλά οι "γνωστοί". Πώς να τον πείσεις όταν ο ίδιος για παράδειγμα έχει προσληφθεί απλώς επειδή είχε έναν γνωστό (και μην μου πείτε ότι αυτά συμβαίνουν μόνο στο δημόσιο...); Ο Σχεδιασμός της εκπαίδευσης συνδέεται με τα συστήματα αξιολόγησης, διαδοχής και ανάπτυξης ή όλα αυτά είναι στον αέρα;;;;;

Θα μπορουύσα να προσθέσω και άλλα σημαντικά στοιχεία. Δείτε εδώ μια μετα-ανάλυση που μελετά το θέμα και εδώ ένα integrative literature review για το ίδιο θέμα. Μπορεί να σας φανούν δύσκολες, αλλά οι μετα-αναλύσεις και τα review papers είναι βασικά εργαλεία του Evidence Based Management που πρέπει να έχουμε στο μυαλό μας (ειδικά εμείς οι άνθρωποι του HR).

Παρόλα αυτά θα ήθελα να κλείσω με μια νότα αισιοδοξίας. Η εκπαίδευση στελεχών είναι ένα μεγάλο όπλο στα χέρια των επιχειρήσεων, για την αλλαγή νοοτροπιών και την ατομική / επαγγελματική βελτίωση των εργαζομένων και πολιτικές όπως το 0,45% του ΟΑΕΔ βοηθούν πολύ προς αυτή την κατεύθυνση. Πρέπει όμως να γίνεται σοφή χρήση αυτών των πόρων, ειδικά στις περιόδους κρίσης που διανύουμε και τα στελέχη/πολιτικές HR να στέκονται στο ύψος των περιστάσεων, κάνοντας απλώς καλά την δουλειά τους.

Ιωάννης Νικολάου