Strategies & Tactics

In Brief: Employee Caregiving Challenges; Eccentric Interview Questions

March 4, 2019

[jake hukee]
[jake hukee]

How Brands Capitalized on the Polar Vortex

It’s difficult to find the humor in a polar vortex rocking the Midwest with record-shattering cold temperatures and wind chills nearing minus 60.

However, many brands took to social media to try and liven everyone’s spirit during the dark time, reported AdAge.

Some used their platform to offer friendly reminders of how their product can serve as a remedy for freezing temperatures.

Insomnia Cookies tweeted “Retweet this warm cookie front to beat the #PolarVortex,” accompanied by an image of a chocolate chip cookie over a weather map of the U.S., while Potbelly noted that Midwesterners can use their delivery option to obtain “warm sandwiches” and “hot soup” without leaving the house. 

Others, like Florida’s official tourism company, took the event as an opportunity to be a bit snide. Using their Twitter account Visit Florida, they shared a video of swaying palm trees with the caption “Not today, #PolarVortex.”

Many Employers Are Unaware of Employee Caregiving Challenges

A Harvard Business School study found that employers often underestimate the caregiving challenges their workers face.

The research shows that three out of four U.S. workers have caregiving responsibilities — from looking after newborn or sick children to helping elderly relatives — with the majority noting that it hinders their productivity. Yet, fewer than a quarter of employers think caregiving affects worker performance. And 52 percent of employers surveyed do not measure or realize the extent to which their employees are burdened by care.

Instead, they view workplace performance issues as signs of an uncommitted employee; employers identified unplanned absences and missed days of work (33 percent), late arrival at work (28 percent) and early departure from work (17 percent) as the top three behaviors that undermine career progression.

“It is clear that firms can gain a competitive advantage by investing in a care culture, writes Joseph Fuller of the Harvard Business School. “But first they need to recognize the problem and implement a deliberate care strategy to support their employees.”

Report: Workplace Theft Is on the Rise

According to a story in The Atlantic, a troubling trend has been plaguing the workplace recently: employees stealing goods from their employers.

The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners found that theft of “non-cash” property — anything from a marker in the supply closet to boxes of them off the company loading dock — jumped from 10.6 percent of corporate-theft losses in 2002 to 21 percent in 2018.

The Atlantic said that workers have reportedly confessed to taking everything from lightbulbs and toilet paper to Oreo cookies, Windex glass cleaner (smuggled out in a water bottle) and an artificial Christmas tree. In addition, white cellophane tape tends to vanish before the holidays, while stationery items frequently disappear in August before school starts.

A possible reason for the uptick in theft? Remote work policies. As the divide between home and work blurs, with full-time employees now spending an average of 3.3 hours a day working from home, some employees no longer see taking company property as stealing.

Why Some Hiring Managers Ask Eccentric Job Interview Questions

In getting ready for a job interview, most candidates prepare their answers to typical questions à la “Why do you want this job?” and “What are your strengths and weaknesses as a worker?”

However, sometimes hiring managers can throw their prospective employees a curveball.

In a Fast Company piece about eccentric job interview practices, Michael Pearce, a health care recruiter with Addison Group, says that he asks potential hires such oddball queries as “What’s your favorite board game?” and “How do you make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?”

For Pearce, the way a candidate answers these unexpected, outside-the-box questions offers insight into their personality and thought process.

Regarding the board game situation, Pearce says, “If a candidate chose Risk, it highlights to me that they’re methodical and strategy focused and would best fit into a role that requires those skill sets.”


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