Monday, February 24, 2020

Self-directed learning

self learning

Traditional education is not always the route followed by some of the most successful people. Some examples of self-directed learners who don’t have a degree are Bill Gates, Henry Ford, and Mark Zuckerberg.
Nowadays, even people with degrees need to continuously keep pace with the new technologies in their industry and self-directed learning is how they do it. There are several habits that you can acquire to ensure that you never stay behind in your field. 

1.    Take the initiative


You don’t need others to tell you what learning needs you have; you are solely responsible for identifying which areas you want to enhance. You need to formulate your own goals and choose your learning resources. 

2.    Make your goals realistic


In order to stay motivated, you need to set yourself some goals. They must be specific, realistic and time-defined. Self-directed learning is usually done after hours and you will need to make sure that you manage that time correctly and realistically. You cannot learn by cramming the brain in a short time with lots of knowledge, the brain needs time to process information effectively. 

3.    Participation ensures learning


Active learning or participation helps you to better understand what you are learning. If your course requires problem-solving then doing the exercises and getting help if necessary, allows you to apply the skills better. If, however, your course requires a lot of reading, concentration, and note-taking are important.

4.    Focus your study time 


You need to prioritize your study time on learning the most important aspects of what you are studying. In your spare time, you can brush up on other aspects of the course. 

5.    Motivate yourself


Unlike college students who are motivated because of their grades, you will have to find other means of motivation. It could be your next successful venture, or how much you want to be ahead with new technologies.


Sunday, February 23, 2020

Having peaceful mental health in the workplace

mental health in the workplace

Your workplace may be where you earn your income and create lasting friendships, but it can also be a place of work-related stress. Deadlines, pressure and the fast-paced business world often lead to anxiety and depression.
If work-related stress is left untreated it can lead to problems like increased employee absences, but for some employees, it can lead to them leaving their job and the danger of future unemployment. 

Mental health triggers in the workplace


The triggers for mental health can vary, but the most common are:
  • ·       Job expectations and demands
  •      Bullying in workplace
  • ·       Relationship issues with coworkers
  • ·       Performance concerns
  • ·       Insecurity about the job
  • ·       Efforts are not acknowledged
  • ·       Non-recognition of the symptoms of poor mental health


How you can improve your mental health at work


1.     Communication and support - Talk with a trustworthy person who can offer you support if you are stressed but also friendship. Have a support network away from work too.
2.     Keep active – Exercise is one of the best ways to relieve stress so make sure that you do so at least a couple of times a week during your break.
3.     Short breaks – These are an invaluable way to destress during the working day. You need to take at least ten minutes every hour away from a computer screen and one longer 20-minute uninterrupted break during the day.
4.     Offer and ask for help – If you can’t cope or don’t know how to do something ask a colleague to help instead of stressing. Help others when they are in need, the benefits to your mental health are incredible.
5.     Avoid alcohol – Non-alcoholic beverages are better for work lunches and functions because they don’t increase anxiety or change the mood.
6.     Meditate – Meditation is a wonderful way to begin or end the day as it prepares you for the day ahead or the evening round of family commitments.
7.     Have goals – Have a list of short and long-term goals and work toward them, crossing them off the list as they are accomplished.
8.     Take up a relaxing activity – While at work you can solve puzzles during one of your breaks, care for the office plants, or make tea for your co-workers; anything that relaxes you.
Employers need to ensure that their employees have access to support.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Building state talent through participation

state talent through participation

Countries have a responsibility to ensure that their young populations, often highly talented and knowledgeable, can make a difference within their communities. Unfortunately, even though their contributions often help to bring about integral changes in the way of thinking and how their community functions, their achievements are often overlooked and they are also often ignored when it comes to the decision-making process.

Today, young people are more at risk of facing unemployment and discrimination, while many also do not have access to valuable education and healthcare. 

What can be done to encourage state participation? 


Youth-focused policies globally, and especially within Commonwealth countries, over the last four decades, have focused on helping young people have access to better education and health. Initiatives are focused on making the youth aware of issues such as climate change, human rights, the role that sport can play in development and peace and the importance of education.
Awareness encourages the exploration of solutions and an increased desire to participate in local, national and international governance and organizations. These organizations need to not only recruit talented people but also need to retain them since talented people are head-hunted by businesses too.
Besides offering attractive benefits packages, state participation can be increased by ensuring that employees have the opportunity to grow within their job while also making contributions that are deemed significant. 
Leadership development programs allow managers to see which state employees are capable and in which area allowing for succession planning, ensuring that there is always a talented pool of people for succession as others retire.
Besides the commitment to learn and grow their talent, state employees also need to be offered alternative work schedules, especially if they have young children or care for elderly parents, and to also be able to participate in development programs regarding their professional abilities.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Collaboration skills, the key to success

successful collaboration

Just like in other aspects of our lives, at work, we are required to work collaboratively. As a reliable member of a team, we need to build trust and prove that we can meet the priorities and expectations of the rest of the team. 

In order to do this, we need to enhance our collaboration skills so that we can engage efficiently and productively within and outside our organization. 

The elements of healthy collaboration


·       Everyone knows their exact role within the collaborative process and there are clear definitions.
·       Information for the completion of tasks must never be withheld and that requires open lines of communications at all times.
·       Goals and methods for completing tasks must be agreed upon by all members before moving ahead with them.
·       All contributions must be acknowledged and credit must be given where it is due.
·       Obstacles and problems must be identified immediately and resolved as a team.
·       Even the leader has to place the goals of the group above any personal recognition as collaboration is all about team effort.
·       Collaboration can easily be destroyed by grudges and other misunderstandings so apologies should be forthcoming as should forgiveness.

Essential collaboration skills


There are a number of skills that are essential for successful collaboration:
1.     Communication is not always as easy as it seems. It requires that we pay attention to verbal and nonverbal signs and to only respond to the issues at hand. It is all about perspective sharing and not about imposing viewpoints.
2.     Emotional intelligence helps us understand the hidden needs that can be addressed to allow better collaboration among individuals.
3.     Open-mindedness and respect for each other are essential since team members are likely to be from all walks of life.
4.     Understanding how to use collaboration and productivity software so that all team members can participate, even from afar, and they make for easier message and file sharing within teams.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

New-age technologies and skills required

new age technologies


Even though new-age technologies are threatening to cause disruptions in the jobs market, AI technology will not be able to offer the creativity and critical thinking abilities that humans have. There are some skills that will ensure that you are employable no matter what. 

The top skills that you require in this digital age are: 

1.    Understanding and managing your emotions


Even though the new intelligent machines will be able to identify problems and offer solutions emotional intelligence will be required for the collaboration required which includes to motivate the team, interact with others and boost morale. Empathy and intelligence are also vital characteristics of emotional intelligence. 

2.    Cultural diversity requires tact


Global interactions require that employees have a cultural intelligence so that insensitive collaborations and communications can be avoided. Cultural understanding or cultural intelligence is essential in the digital age. 

3.    Tech knowledge and its application


It is not enough to understand the various technologies, but today every person needs to also know how to adapt these to better improve your business. One example is how chatbots are helping change communications in business allowing better customer service because of advanced data analysis. Today everyone needs to be a geek.

4.    Collaborating from afar


In this digital age, virtual collaborations allow people to communicate and keep in touch at any time and from any place. Therefore, you need to know how to make virtual calls and share knowledge without actually having a physical meeting. 

5.    Problem-solving has changed


The traditional way of solving problems entailed identifying the problem, collection of data and then the decision-making process followed. Now a critical approach is needed to analyze problems in an uncertain world of constant change. People who can show critical problem-solving skills during unclear situations will be sought after.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Employee Wellness in Companies

employee wellness suyvey

Employee wellness is far more important now than it has ever been before as people spend more hours at work to meet the pressures of demanding jobs. Rising health issues and healthcare costs are making it essential that companies find the right balance of engagement and motivation to make these programs successful. Organizations can do employee wellness surveys and plan the programs based on the survey results.
Wellness includes both physical health but also maintaining a healthy balance between the body and mind. When planning on creating a wellness program there are a number of things that need to be kept in mind. 

Awareness and availability


For most employees finding time to be aware and act on their wellness goals is a challenge because of the demands of their working day. When the wellness program is on-site, it makes it easier for them to commit.
Most diseases are preventable if a wellness program is followed. Since old habits are hard to kill, education and commitment are a major step toward essential lifestyle changes. Awareness through education is essential in a good wellness program. 

Unique and challenging 


The programs need to be unique and should also evolve with the latest trends so that they don’t become boring. 



Offering incentives to employees in the form of rebates for healthcare deductibles may be a way to encourage participation in a wellness program. This allows for behavior modification and a healthier lifestyle.

A worthwhile investment


Employers that offer wellness programs are offering their employees, their most valuable asset, a chance to perform at their optimal health. Other benefits of implementing a wellness program for companies include:
·       Talented workers are drawn to the company
·       Employee turnover is reduced
·       Absenteeism is reduced
·       Decision making and productivity are improved and the time spent on the job is better utilized
·       Higher morale among employees
·       A healthier workforce with reduced healthcare costs

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Conflict with co-workers

Hardly a rare occurrence, conflict in the workplace, no matter the company culture, is not such a rare thing. The stress of working together with people in the office will inevitably cause tension and disagreements, after all, most people see their colleagues far more than they see their family and friends during the week. 

Resolution of conflicts and the way that the situation is handled is important in ensuring that the professional environment at work is retained. 

Here’s how to handle conflict with co-workers in the best possible way. 

1.    Address it as soon as possible


Most issues start off as small and build up into bigger ones because they are not addressed on time. If you notice that there is a problem, take it up with your coworker so that it doesn’t grow. However, if you have a sudden argument, it’s best to wait until you have both calmed down before attempting to resolve the issue.

2.    Avoid office gossip


Office gossip often leads to even more conflict, so avoid speaking about the problem with other colleagues. Firstly, its unprofessional and secondly, unfair to the person that you have the conflict with. If you need to blow off some steam, rather do it at home with family or friends. 

3.    Strategize your conflict resolution


Firstly, organize to meet and talk about the issue somewhere privately and in a face-to-face conversation. Don’t start by jumping straight into what caused the argument, but look for something positive to agree on, e.g. you both want to ensure a good working environment.
You will need to keep an open mind, otherwise, you may not find common ground. You must be prepared to listen without interrupting how your coworker also feels. Ask questions with respect.
When its time to have your say, make sure that you stay calm and avoid any emotional outbreaks. If your colleague is hostile, don’t be tempted to act unprofessionally.
If all else fails, especially if you are dealing with bias, then you should not hesitate to take the conflict to the HR department.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Have you mapped your skills with the requirements of the future?

Mapping your skills for the future is like developing a career plan. You need to determine your skills and interests, work out which career suits these and how to get the skills and training for it. 

However, once you have completed your training and are in a job you will need more than the skills that you have trained for to be prepared for the future. Skill mapping is the process that measures and improves your skills so that you will still be relevant to your employer in the future. 

Skill mapping purpose


The purpose of skill mapping is to determine more than just your technical skills, but other skills that include critical thinking. Both are essential and both these skills need to be upskilled as technology changes the workplace.
Map skilling is also used to identify any skill gaps and how to close them. One of the difficulties for map skilling in organizations is the keeping up with the pace of which employees are actually learning on the job. 

Benefits of skill mapping


Organizations can target areas where teams need skills to do their jobs more effectively and offer an impactful learning experience to employees.
Organizations that evolve and ensure that their employees continue to remain competent are the ones that are going to continue seeing growth in the future. Skill mapping allows employees to understand which areas they can improve their skills in, especially the so-called soft skills so that they can constructively improve their input.
Mapping the skills of their employees will help organizations to continue to focus on learning and development. This will ensure that they continue to innovate, remaining competitive in the future.
Therefore, if you have mapped your skills, you will know how to always be prepared for the constant changes in the workplace.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Will there be a job loss and will it affect you?

repetitive jobs

Some statistics point to more than 50% of jobs being at risk, while others speak about 25 %, because of AI and new technologies. With many jobs about to be automated, what are the true statistics about future job losses? 

Mostly repetitive jobs and those that require the least training are those that are most likely to be replaced by automated machines. 

According to statistics, the most at risk are the jobs of chefs and within the catering industry, followed by the arts, entertainment and recreation industries. Other jobs that are in the high-risk group are office administration, transportation, and production. The sectors with the lowest risk are education, health and social workers and jobs in the legal profession. 

The aim of automation is increased productivity, enabling workers to offer services of higher value to companies, while also having more rewarding jobs. 

Rather than fighting against these changes, there are ways that people can embrace them and prepare by learning skills that will be relevant to the future. 

Upskilling and reskilling are already offered by many organizations for their employees, but there are also private online courses and government programs where you can make sure that you work on the skills of the future. 

For some economists, the picture is not all about doom and gloom. They feel that automation will increase economic growth and that new jobs will be created, making up for those that are lost. 

Digital skills are the most needed for the future, and these are continuously changing. Most jobs that are being taken over by automation will still require someone with the knowledge to program, repair and train these. Besides technical skills, other human skills that need to be developed are organizational development, creativity, emotional intelligence, and leadership. 

It is most likely that if you continue to develop your skills, your job will change but not cease to exist.

Friday, February 7, 2020

How social media can make you unproductive?

social media policies

The social media channels provides the most common ways of communication, easy to share knowledge, news and what's happening around the world. However, it changes and affects each person in a different way, or ways. Social media can be very distracting, with the majority of people openly admitting that they do check it at some point during their working day. This is based on the statistics that show that the average person spends over 2 hours on these platforms daily. 

Productivity and social media


Keeping in touch with family and friends is not the only thing that people use social media for, and it has its benefits when it comes to keeping everyone informed about current events and the social media activities of a business. However, since many people abuse it, many companies have responded with firewalls to monitor how their employees use the internet at work.
Studies have shown that social media use can be addictive. Because some people cannot control their addiction, they end up spending more time using it, than working. 

How social media abuse in the workplace affects companies


If employees keep taking time off their work to check on their feeds, it creates a problem for customer service and affects the business reputation. The time wasted on social media could be used to complete tasks, and often employees feel anxious and disconnected if they find that at the end of the day, they have not completed their daily schedule. This could mean that they have to stay later to complete their work, or take it home. 

Admitting to the problem and solving it


If an employee controls their social media time to when they have their usual breaks, then there is no problem. However, if it is starting to affect their work, then like all addictions, they need to admit to the problem.
Companies that require social media engagement should ensure that they have a person or department in charge of it, by having social media policies and guidelines. Many companies opt for the unpopular blocking of social media platforms to ensure that there are no distractions. Special employee phones are also used at some companies to discourage them from looking at their personal devices, but this can be expensive for smaller businesses.