Employee Screening: Advantages, Disadvantages and Limits

In an earlier blog post, we explored what we might learn from the devastating and, as we now know, intentional crash of a Lufthansa jet in March 2015. As the investigation unfolds, the facts coming to the surface suggest that a more rigorous employee screening and monitoring process likely would have saved the lives lost on the tragic flight. Continue reading

Can social media help you do your job better?

Although first and foremost associated with entertainment or socializing with friends and family, social media now pervades nearly all aspects of the modern workplace. From recruitment to training to promotions, social media is an integral part of how people carry out their everyday work, but does social media necessarily help us do our jobs better? Continue reading

Lessons from Clinton’s Email Errors

Since it is common to have one’s personal and work email streamed into a single email program, like Entourage, sending work emails from a personal account and vice versa is common. Moreover, at times the line between a personal and work email may also be difficult to discern. If you’re planning a birthday party for a co-worker, do you use your work or personal account? If you’re emailing condolences to an employee because they just informed you that their father passed away, do you use your work or personal account? These are ambiguous situations. Continue reading

Leveraging Social Media as a Recruitment or Job Search Tool

Two decades ago, recruiting job candidates typically took place in person at a job fair or via a print-based advertisement, usually in a major newspaper. Today, few jobs are found in newspapers and while job fairs still exist, they serve many purposes that extend well beyond recruitment. From employment-focused sites, like Mediabistro and LinkedIn, to more multi-purpose social media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, recruitment is increasingly taking place online. Continue reading

Lessons from the Germanwings Investigation

When a Germanwings plane crashed into a remote mountain range in the Alps, speculations focused first on the possibility that the crash was an act of terrorism and second, on mechanical failure. In the days following the crash, however, the investigation revealed that in this case, neither a political motive nor technical error was to blame. Instead, the culprit in the Germanwings case was purely human. While the airline, owned by Lufthansa, was quick to defend its hiring, training and employee monitoring policies and to place the blame on the shortcomings of a single employee, the case raises compelling questions about whether or not the company could have done a better job screening, training and monitoring employees and whether or not a more rigorous process might have saved the 150 lives that were tragically lost in the crash. Or course, Lufthansa is likely not the only airline currently asking these questions. Continue reading

Lessons from the Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers Lawsuit

In March, people around the world watched as Ellen Pao’s lawsuit against Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers unfolded in a California courtroom. The details of the case are now widely known, even by people outside the business and high-tech sectors. Pao, now interim chief executive officer of Reddit, alleged that she experienced gender discrimination at Kleiner Perkins Caufiled & Byers where she was overlooked for promotions, given mixed messages about her performance, excluded from company activities, and forced to listen to lewd and sexist banter. While Pao ultimately lost the case, the high-profile lawsuit exposed much about the inner workings of Silicon Valley business culture. Among other things, the Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers lawsuit revealed the extent to which performance reviews matter. Continue reading

Is Worker Retention Really a Problem?

Since the late 1950s, Paul Schweitzer of Gramercy Typewriter Co. in New York City has been fixing typewriters. Of course, his company has changed over the years—today, he has few typewriters to fix. Indeed, many of the typewriters he does fix are found on movie sets staged to recreate what offices once looked like rather than found in actual offices. As Schweitzer points out, machines are not the only thing that have changed since the 1950s. Continue reading

Instructional Design: Learning from Social Media

Learning is no longer assumed to be a discrete experience that can only take place in a classroom or at a training center. Most students and workers now accept the fact that learning is for life and further accept that learning is no longer location bound. At the same time, social media platforms continue to expand opportunities to acquire and share information. Indeed, many learners already use social media platforms to facilitate informal learning. But what are their advantages and limitations? Can they be used in formal learning situations? Continue reading

The Ins and Outs of Internship Programs

Interning is a major step in the career path of many young people. Indeed, some young people even choose a college or university in a large urban center, like Chicago, New York or Los Angeles, in order to increase their internship opportunities. While some internships can be used for college credit and others provide a small amount of compensation, many more are arranged informally and carried out without college credit or compensation and often with no external checks and balances. Continue reading

Creating a Culture of Assessment for Creative Workers

While they may not recognize it, most educators and trainers are constantly assessing the impact of their course delivery. This may take place in a conversation with a colleague over coffee after teaching a class or facilitating a workshop. This may take place when they ask students or workshop participants for feedback using informal methods (e.g., a conversation on a break or after class). And it may take place in a journal used to reflect upon course or program delivery. Despite the fact that most educators and trainers are engaged in these activities, they may or not consider such activities part of their assessment work. Continue reading