ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

Online Edition - October 2000


Issue Highlight — In Praise of C-SPAN
- Peter Block explains how supporting and viewing more media like C-SPAN, free of interpretation and corporate meddling, could provide an answer to the commercialized, unintellectual broadcasting that captures most of our attention.

 In This Issue...
Love 'Em and Lead 'Em
Getting The Moose On The Table
Is Zen Your Cup Of Tea?
A Mariner's Tale

Peter Block Column
Views for a Change
Heard on the Street

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   Heard on the Street        For Those Who Don't Have Time To Read

Nap Time

  If you're feeling a little drowsy as you read this, rest assured, you're not alone. Like a large percentage of the American workforce, you suffer from a lack of sleep.

  According to the National Sleep Foundation (, 51 percent of the American workforce reports that on-the-job sleepiness interferes with the amount of work they get done. More specifically, 19 percent of workers-nearly one in five-report making occasional or frequent work errors due to sleepiness.

  Managers, take heed: Employees estimate that the quality and quantity of their work is diminished by approximately 30 percent when they're sleepy. That's a daunting number, especially when you consider that 27 percent of adults say they are sleepy at work two or more days out of the work week.

  How to deal with this problem? More use of nap rooms, and encouragement of employees to take power naps at their desks. In the future, watch for workers to be sent home to rest after a reasonable workday.

Personality Tests

  If you're considering the use of personality tests in hiring employees, consider this: The test should be used as a tool to help you screen people into your organization rather than a hurdle to keep them out.

  If the statistics are any indication, many job seekers aren't convinced of the benefits of personality tests. In a poll taken by CareerBuilder Inc. (, one-fourth of respondents said they were either reluctant to take employer-mandated tests or would refuse to take them. Of this number, 12 percent would end the interview immediately; 6 percent would refuse the test, but would want to continue the interview; and 8 percent would take the test reluctantly.

 According to Rob McGovern, chairman and CEO of CareerBuilder Inc., the key to developing personality tests that don't turn-off potential employees is to make them job-seeker friendly and not overly lengthy. "Great emphasis should be placed on communicating why the test is helpful for the job candidate," says McGovern. It's also important that time is spent communicating with the applicant throughout the testing process so they see that the benefits of using the tests outweigh the risks.

Ruthless Recruiting

  As the labor market continues to tighten, recruiting is becoming more aggressive. A growing number of recruiters are giving the whole recruiting process a bad name with their often unethical tactics.

  According to Trend Alert (, the employment market's increased competition has driven more employers to hire recruiters who will stop at nothing to bring home their prizes. Operating much like bounty hunters, these recruiters apply a battery of incredible tactics to reel in prospective employees.
For example, computer companies' recruiters may go so far as to position themselves in their competitor's parking deck, approaching employees as they leave work. And information technology recruiters visit college campuses to find undergraduates, declining to wait until students get their degrees-and you can be sure the recruiters are not working through placement offices.

 If the labor market remains in its present condition-and all signs say it will for the foreseeable future-aggressive recruiting will undoubtedly continue, with a certain percentage of workers and employers falling prey to the hard-chargers. Ethical recruiters will differentiate themselves through standards established and enforced by the emerging association of professional recruiters.

Girl Power

  There's a revolution occurring in the business world. As of 1999, there were 9.1 million businesses in the United States owned by women, employing over 27.5 million people, and generating $3.6 trillion in sales. According to the Business Women's Network, a full 50 percent of all American businesses will be owned by women by 2005. Furthermore, women bitten by the entrepreneurial bug are starting new companies at twice the rate of men.

  Marilyn Ross, author of "Shameless Marketing for Brazen Hussies" (Communication Creativity, November 2000), predicts that entrepreneurial women will change the face of business, in part because they are "intuitive, good listeners, and well-organized. Plus, we think holistically and are as tenacious as pit bulls," Ross says.

  Generating and capitalizing on free publicity, cheap advertising, strategic alliances and nontraditional sales channels are all methods women will put to use as they increase the growth rate of new enterprises. "We have just as much 'juice' as the guys and play hardball," Ross says. "We just do it differently."

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