Friday, 2 August 2013

Newsletter Issue 238, August 2013

Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 238, August 2013
Hi guys,
When it comes to Email, are you a Luddite or an acolyte? Or do you love to hate it? Read Email: Luddite vs Acolyte below.
When we hire, are we really hiring people with tools that are  Accurate Performance Predictors? Read on below. 
Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

Email: Luddite vs Acolyte

I read an interesting post about companies giving up email (Edmond, 29 July 2013). "Really?", I thought, so I read on. The CEO in question headed up a volunteer sports organisation in Australia, and has chopped his, and his employees time back to next to nothing by making people go and talk to each other. Apparently 66% of his company emails were in staff emailing each other.
All very well if the people you need to talk to are in the same office - even the same building - at the same time, on the same day. But even then, I would say that if you are directing someone to a website, it is more efficient to post a clickable link than to go and tell them what the link is, letter by letter (that's even providing you can remember it).
Yes, we must ensure that we remember to have real conversations. However, I think we can do the mundane things, and the tasks that need to be ticked off, via email, not matter how close we are.
And where does that leave the customers of the sports organisation? Will they telephone each one individually to tell them of their decisions? Can anyone afford that amount of time or resource these days? I would suspect not. So I would imagine that their customer emails will stay exactly the same.
While it has some merit in principle, in general I disagree with the views presented in Cameron's article. Email is a communication tool of the present, it helps us be more productive, providing we use it consciously and judiciously.
Perhaps the Australian company needed to put some thought into how and when they should use email, then invest in some training so everyone got the same message. I feel they are in limiting themselves and are in serious danger of throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
In my view, productivity comes down to good planning, and from making decisions yourself about being available or unavailable. As I work from home three days a week, and live way out in the country with no landline (would cost $10k to put it on), and a cellphone that only works outside, I can tell you that I couldn't chose to live my life as I do without email and Skype. 
If it is raining, email & Skype are my only connection tools, because I am not going to stand outside in the rain to talk to people if I can do it comfortably inside on the PC. Most of what I do is face to face as a lecturer and consultant in careers and management. 
I know that to build rapport, I need to be face to face with my clients. On the two days I come into town, I have meetings and lectures. On the other three days, I am accessible via email, Skype & cellphone. As long as I am focused on the work I need to get done, and plan my day, I don't have any trouble with managing email. During deadline times, I turn my phone to silent and turn off Outlook to prevent distractions. 
However, on the days that I am in town, I know I will get 'no' work done. Everything will revolve around people, talking, meeting, catching up, drop ins and 'by the way' conversations. That could be seen as frustrating, but I don't see it that way. I plan for it - it is when I am accessible
And the other thing I love about email is that I can bang out an email when I find something I need to do: then the person at the other end can deal with it when they get time. It is in process instead of being another thing I need to remember to do. I like that :-)

Reference: Edmond, Cameron (29 July 2013). Digital death: Should you be giving up email? Retrieved 1 August 2013 from 

Accurate Performance Predictors?

As a member of the HRINZ LinkedIn group, I was reading a member post the other day that was really fascinating. Posted by Anna Sage of Sage Advice in Wellington, it detailed the predictive validities of a variety of hiring tools:
  1. Assessment centres - potential (0.53)
  2. Ability tests - job performance and training (0.50)
  3. Structured interviews (0.44)
  4. Bio-data (0.37)
  5. Assessment centres - performance (0.36)
  6. Personality tests (0.33)
  7. Unstructured interviews (0.33)
  8. References (0.17)
  9. Self-assessments (0.15) 
All pretty poor, really, at predicting success - performance - on the job! It amazes me that we still use references, if they are less useful than 1 in 5 of being accurate. In fact, why on earth we use anything from Bio-data on down is pretty moot. CVs don't even get a rating.
But what really surprised me was the follow up list that Anna posted; her "what is most popular" hiring assessment tools with employers (in decreasing order of popularity, based on some research Anna did between 1991 and 2006):
  1. References - 93% (predictive validity 0.17)
  2. Structured panel interviews - 88% (predictive validity 0.44)
  3. Structured one-to-one interviews - 85% (predictive validity 0.44)
  4. Competency-based interviews - 85%
  5. Ability tests - 75% (predictive validity 0.50)
  6. CVs - 74%
  7. Personality questionnaires - 60% (predictive validity 0.33)
  8. Assessment centres - 48% (predictive validity 0.53 or 0.36)
  9. Online selection tests - 25% (predictive validity 0.15)
  10. Bio-data - 7% (predictive validity 0.37)
If Anna's data is accurate, then why do employers and recruitment agencies still request the same old materials and hire as they do? It beggars belief. 

Reference: Sage, Anna (July 2013). LinkedIn HRINZ Group: When psychometric testing makes the national press, it’s rarely for positive reasons. Retrieved 1 August 2013 from 

Laying Ghosts to Rest

Does your PC or laptop have 'phantom' drive letters showing in Windows Explorer? If you do, there is a way to get rid of them. 
  • Click the Microsoft key on your keyboard to bring up the Start menu.
  • In the 'search' box, key compmgmt.msc 
  • Right-click the app in the search-results box and select 'Run as administrator'
  • In the Computer Management window, double-click Disk management (under Storage). The phantom drive letter will appear at the bottom of the window
  • Right-click the drive you want to delete. Select Change Drive Letters and Paths, and then "Remove"
Easy. Thanks to Bryan Malakou, Windows Secrets reader, for this tip at, article 4: A tip on deleting phantom drive letters (20 June 2013). 

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) for you:
  • QSE, Quality Safety Environment. Have a workplace where there is good focus on creating a positive, healthy and safe climate for staff.
Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Tips, Short+Hot Keys
In this newsletter, we look at using Ctrl and Enter:
  • Access "Insert a new line or open the selected table, query, form, report, data access page, macro, or module in Design view" Ctrl & Enter 
  • Excel "Enter a formula as an array formula" Ctrl & Shift & Enter 
  • Excel "Fill the selected cell range with the current entry or make the chart active, or select the first object" OR "Make the chart active (step 6 in selecting an embedded chart with drawing toolbar turned on)" OR "Select the first object (step 4 in selecting an embedded chart with drawing toolbar turned on)" Ctrl & Enter 
  • IE "Add "www." to the beginning and ".com" to the end of the text typed in the Address bar " Ctrl & Enter 
  • Outlook "Send/post/invite all (NB: doesn’t work in Word Mail)" Ctrl & Enter 
  • PowerPoint "To the next title or body text placeholder (see note)" Ctrl & Enter 
  • Publisher "End one column of text and begin a new column" Ctrl & Shift & Enter 
  • Publisher "Insert a frame break" Ctrl & Enter
  • Word "Insert a column break" Ctrl & Shift & Enter 
  • Word "Insert a page break at the cursor's position in a document" Ctrl & Enter

Hot Linx
While pundits are complaining about offshoring, no one yet is talking about the onshoring already happening – check out
ZDNet have a list of things that you may or may not know that you can do online. A couple of these are really cool like shareyourmeal and the use of 404 for lost notices. Go to 

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here

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