According to the third annual professionalism poll conducted for the Center for Professional Excellence, professionalism is more prevalent in existing employees than in new hires. Consistently, managers were less likely than the HR respondents to report a lack of professionalism. When managers specified the employee segments that most lack professionalism, they pointed to younger employees. The generation gap in behaviors and expectations discovered in earlier studies continues with this study.
Despite the apparent generation gap, the majority of both managers and HR respondents feel that the definition of what is professional should not be subject to change. The attitude appears to be that young employees should learn to conform to current standards of professionalism rather than the standards being modified in response to larger societal changes.
The predominant qualities associated with professionalism are: interpersonal skills, appearance, communication skills, time management, confidence, being ethical, having a work ethic, and being knowledgeable.
The quality of Interpersonal skills involves several dimensions. It includes etiquette, being courteous, showing others respect, and behavior that is appropriate for the situation. Similarly, time management encompasses being punctual as well as using one’s time efficiently.
The differences that exist between HR and manager respondents are predictable. Managers more often than HR respondents name work ethic (managers, 32.7% vs. HR, 14.2%) and time management (managers, 27.2% vs. HR, 20.8%) as qualities of the professional. Managers are more likely to see these qualities in existing employees than HR professionals are to experience them in the interview process.
The qualities that define being unprofessional tend to be the mirror image of the qualities of the professional. Again, managers name the same qualities as do the HR respondents. The qualities named most often as unprofessional by both types of respondents are: inappropriate appearance, lack of dedication, poor work ethic, sense of entitlement, disrespect, poor communication skills, unfocused, and a poor attitude.
Again, the differences that do exist between HR and manager respondents are understandable. Managers are notably less likely to mention sense of entitlement (managers, 9.1% vs. HR, 22.7%) and communication skills (managers, 11.2% vs. HR, 21.0%). A sense of entitlement is probably more apparent during an employment interview than once the person is hired. Someone with poor communication skills may get no further than an interview.
State of Professionalism
For a sizable percentage of respondents, the state of professionalism in employees has decreased over the past five years. A third of the HR respondents (33.1%) and a fifth of the managers (21.2%) feel this way.
The good news is professionalism has increased for 16.0% of the HR respondents and 27.2% of the managers. This could be one good result of a bad economy. When asked why they believe the presence of professionalism has increased, respondents most often observe that the poor economy and consequent downsizing has increased the pool of applicants from which to choose.
After two years when nearly 40% of the HR respondents indicated that IT abuses have increased, the percentage feeling this way has increased to 51.8% this year. About a third of the managers (34.3%) report an increase in IT abuses. Comments by the managers suggest that, while this problem encompasses most of the workforce, it is still the younger employees who are most likely to be engaging in this behavior.
The IT problems being witnessed are similar for both HR and manager respondents. The most common abuses are excessive twittering/Facebook (managers, 79.4%; HR, 82.5%), inappropriate use of the Internet (managers, 86.9%; HR, 78.1%), text messaging at inappropriate times (managers, 79.4%; HR, 81.9%), and excessive cell phone usage for personal calls (managers, 64.5%; HR, 65.0%).
Worst Problems in New Employees
Managers were asked about the worst problems they see in new employees once they are hired and working. The four mentioned by a fifth or more of the managers are: lack of urgency in getting a job done (32.6%), a sense of entitlement (27.2%), poor performance coupled with a mediocre work ethic (23.0%), and poor attendance (22.2%). Often cited with the lack of urgency was employees exercising poor time management.
The final set of mistakes examined was activities or shortcomings that can lead to an employee’s dismissal. For both HR professionals (50.7%) and managers (43.6%), the most common factor that causes an employee to be fired relates to attendance. Poor attendance includes being tardy, leaving early, and numerous absences.
How many IT professionals does it take to fix an issue? The answer is five, working a combined average of 100 hours a week to fix unexpected IT issues, proving why IT continues to focus on IT efficiency.
One IT professional averages 20 unexpected issues per week, putting out fires such as dealing with network slowdowns/outages, poor performing applications, unanticipated change requests, or equipment failures according to a survey by independent market research firm Kelton Research commissioned by TeamQuest Corporation.
Daily business hiccups affect the efficiency and productivity of IT. Dynamic IT environments demand that IT use its resources wisely as business leaders focus on exploiting the benefits of cloud computing and virtualization to better serve customers and boost profitability.
One of the presumed benefits of the cloud is freeing IT staff to work on strategic initiatives such as planning for cloud initiatives or understanding the risks associated with BYOD. However, with 30% of an IT organization's time spent on maintenance and mundane tasks, companies too often compensate by over-provisioning, wasting energy and money. IT is faced with a growing service demand from the business and consumers.
Study Reveals Talent Squeeze is Globalizing; Shortage, Motivation and Retention of Talent Emerge as Top Challenges
Despite stubbornly high unemployment, with recent reports of job gains showing a modest decline in the U.S. unemployment rate, human resource (HR) professionals around the globe have continued concerns about attracting and retaining top talent. This talent paradox, combined with dynamics of four distinct generations in the global workforce, points to the need for more effective and adaptable talent strategies and rewards programs.
The 2013 "Top Five Global Employer Rewards Priorities Survey" from Deloitte, the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists (ISCEBS) and the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans reveals that HR leaders across the globe are acutely focused on talent as the top challenge and priority over the next three years. Approximately one in four respondents from all geographies surveyed, including the Americas (24 percent), EMEA (28 percent) and Asia-Pacific (24 percent) cited finding, motivating and keeping talent as their top priority.
Top Five Priorities
"The Top Five Global Employer Rewards Priorities Survey" series is an annual barometer of talent and rewards management challenges. Conducted globally for the first time this year, 27 different countries ranked the top five priorities for 2013:
1. The ability of reward programs to attract, motivate and retain employees
2. Clear alignment of Total Rewards strategy with business strategy and brand
3. Motivating staff when pay increases are flat or non-existent
4. The cost of providing benefits to employees
5. Demonstrating appropriate return on investment for reward expenditures
6. The ability of reward programs to attract, motivate and retain employees
Retirement Security: A 21st Century Retention Strategy?
From a personal employee perspective, retirement continues to be top of mind. Two-thirds (66 percent) of U.S. respondents ranked their ability to afford retirement as their top concern. This issue is so deeply felt that more than one in three U.S. employees (34 percent) plan on delaying their retirement age. This is in contrast to other regions, including EMEA where a triple dip recession looms. There, 16 percent of employees say they plan on delaying retirement and similarly in Asia, 17 percent indicate plans to delay retirement as well.
Generational Considerations: Rewards Tailored to Career Stages
The report highlights the challenges of addressing the needs of a diverse range of generations. Workforces in China, the U.S. and most of Europe are aging, while others, such as those in India and Brazil, are seeing a high influx of young employees. These changes are putting a strain on companies and their leadership to identify and implement effective rewards programs as each generation is marked with distinct values and expectations. This is reinforced by the finding that only 61 percent of global respondents either somewhat agree or strongly agree that their organization’s leadership team understands the differing generational values in the workforce; more than one in four respondents (28 percent) indicate their organization does not have the correct Total Rewards strategy in place to recruit and retain the talent needed in their workforce.
IT employment set another all-time high in February with an increase of 16,500 jobs.
The number of IT jobs grew 0.38 percent sequentially last month to 4,371,200, according to TechServe Alliance, a collaboration of IT & Engineering Staffing and Solutions firms, clients, consultants and suppliers. With the upward revision in January’s numbers from 0.37 to 0.78 percent, IT employment has grown by over 4.57% since February 2012.
57% of Finance Executives say their Companies are ‘Fair’ or ‘Poor’ at Ensuring Big Data and Similar IT Projects Yield Expected Returns
At a time when Big Data and other cutting-edge information technology (IT) is being actively evaluated in boardrooms everywhere, 57% of senior finance executives at large and midsized North American companies say their companies are either “fair” or “poor” at ensuring that such “improve-the-business” IT projects are actually yielding expected financial returns. And almost none (3%) rate their companies as “excellent.” That’s according to a new survey of more than 150 senior finance executives by CFO Research in collaboration with AlixPartners, the global business-advisory firm.
The survey also finds that more than two-thirds of financial executives (66%) give their companies a “C” or “D” when it comes to measuring financial returns from discretionary IT projects, such as Big Data ones, designed to improve or add to a company’s business and profits. (Only 5% gave their companies an “A.”)
Meanwhile, at the other end of the IT spectrum, the survey reveals that “keep-it-running” IT costs – non-discretionary support and maintenance systems – are cannibalizing funds available for business-improving IT. A plurality of respondents (49%) estimates that, over the past two years, their company has maintained approximately a 70-30 ratio of keep-it-running to improve-the-business IT spending, and of that amount, a solid majority – 63% – believes that their company’s spending is weighted too heavily toward keep-it-running IT services, and that a greater share should be directed to improve-the-business IT projects.
The survey also shows that, despite massive IT investments in recent years, companies aren’t getting enough of the kind of information they need to successfully run and grow their businesses. In fact, no less than 71% of the executives polled say their companies should have access to more robust business information for the money spent on IT. In addition to desiring more robust information on product profitability (cited by 42%) and customer profitability (41%), there was also strong interest in having better access to information about customer acquisition (33%), revenue (32%), price elasticity (31%), customer attrition (29%) and promotions effectiveness (25%).
One big reason companies are over-spending on IT or spending on it in the wrong places, reports the survey, has to do with governance and discipline around IT programs. For example, 72% of respondents said that factors other than a carefully considered business case (e.g., internal politics, personal persistence/willingness to be a “squeaky wheel”) influence the priority and funding of “improve-the-business” IT projects much more often than they should. Meanwhile, when asked who in their company should have a greater voice in whether to fund such projects, 45% said sponsors from business or functional units and 28% said the finance function. By contrast, when asked who today is primarily responsible for deciding funding, just 14% said business sponsors and only 7% said the finance function.
By the same token, when it comes to “keep-it-running” IT spending, 62% of finance executives say that kind of spending is currently either kept at the corporate level (within the IT department) or only partially charged to business units, neither of which is necessarily optimal for controlling such costs. Moreover, more than two-thirds of those surveyed (66%) say that keep-it-running and improve-the-business IT spending is budgeted together at their companies.