I saw a SLAM (
@STREBSLAM) performance in Williamsburg yesterday. What a great way to spend the day!
Read the Review in the NY Times – Daredevils Take Flight and Land Safely Near Your Lap
‘Forces!’ at the Streb Lab for Action Mechanics
Watch this video by founder, Elizabeth Streb, about STREB: Streb: How to Become an Extreme Action Hero
Here are some of my own videos from the show:
#fly #streb #steps #extremeaction #slam #brooklyn #dance
Workers in Poland and the UK enjoy the most vacation time, while the United States, China, and Canada are offered the least amount. UK workers are guaranteed a minimum of 28 days off per year. While the UK already enjoys an above average holiday schedule, some companies offer unlimited vacation time. Is this policy the ultimate workers’ paradise, or an employee nightmare in disguise? It really depends how the company handles the policy.
Work cultures that offer unlimited time off can be high pressure and result only working environments. You are expected to produce the desired results whether you are in the office or travelling with the family. Since the jobs market is tight many employees want to ensure they remain employed and will bring work with them while on holiday.
According to Mercer, even though the economy remains sluggish the interest in balancing life and work continues to grow. Companies recognise that happy and healthy employees are more productive than stressed and burned out workers. Since many companies are only handing out low raises, if any at all, they are looking for other ways to motivate employees, such as implementing flexible working hours and unlimited time off.
While being able to vacation when you want sounds like a dream come true, is it really? It really depends on the company and its culture. For example, often people dread going back to work after a vacation, because they know nobody has been doing their job while they were away. This work culture can force employees to bring work with them on vacation, which is not really leisure time at all.
On the other hand, there are ways to make unlimited time off work for both companies and employees. Apolinaras Sinkevicius, director of operations at Pixability does not want his employees working long sustained hours without a break, because long hours translates into mistakes and lowers product quality. To force his workers to take more time off Mr. Sinkevicius introduced a new policy. Any worker who takes ten consecutive days off is offered an additional two weeks of vacation time.
This policy works for the worker and the company. The employee gets the down time he needs to recharge his batteries and the company gains because it forces managers to cross train employees. No worker becomes indispensable. The worker returns from vacation refreshed and is not faced with an avalanche of work waiting for him, because his back was covered. The company gains because the worker will be renewed and more productive.
Another way companies make the unlimited time off policy work is by holding monthly raffles. The winner is forced to take a week off, and then must tell everyone what he did on vacation. This forces the employee to do something interesting. After all nobody wants to come back and say they watched TV for the week.
Unlimited time off if not handled correctly means employees are working when they should be on vacation. This is because many companies offering unlimited time off thrive in a results only culture. Many workers dread coming back from vacation because they know a mountain of work awaits them. However, companies who cross train employees create a culture where workers can actually enjoy their leisure time, because the person on holiday knows their work is being done. When the holiday ends they are ready to go back to work, because are well rested, and more productive as well.
About the Author:
How2become was established by Richard McMunn in 2005, who was working as a Fire Officer for Kent Fire & Rescue Service at the time. Since writing his first book, how to become a firefighter, Richard has gone on to author various titles spanning across multiple careers . The company has grown and developed into the UK’s leading careers information and development website. Connect with How2become on Facebook
An increasingly growing number of companies, including Xerox, Lowe’s, UPS, Four Seasons, Turner Broadcasting, and others are outsourcing their most important decision – who to hire – to computer software. Traditionally, companies make their hiring decisions based on the applicant’s education, experience, and their own intuition. However, hiring based on a hunch is not a great predictor of how the applicant will actually perform once on the job. This is why big data is one of the hottest trends in HR technology right now.
Big data refers to the process of capturing, curating, storing, analyzing, and visualizing data sets so large and complex, they cannot be handled with traditional software tools. Companies that use big data to make hiring decisions analyze statistics about employee turnover, performance, and employee assessments to understand what type of people will be most successful at each job. They then use their findings to implement hiring assessments, such as Cream.hr, that screen job applicants for the identified traits.
Here are a few stories from companies who successfully used big data to meet their hiring goals:
Decreasing Employee Turnover
To staff its 48,700 call-center jobs, Xerox used to look for applicants who had call-center experience. However, many call-center employees quit within six months, before Xerox had a chance to recoup their $5,000 investment in training each new employee.
After applying the big data approach and looking at what makes a call-center employee stay for longer, Xerox found that personality is what really matters – creative people tend to stick around while inquisitive people often do not.
After implementing a hiring assessment that looks for these specific personality traits for all call-center applicants, Xerox’s turnover rate dropped by 20% in only six months, according to Wall Street Journal.
Josh Bersin, CEO of Bersin & Associates, recently shared a story about a large service provider that hires thousands of salespeople every year. Executives at this company believed that top performers came from brand name colleges, had a high GPA, and demonstrated leadership ability in prior positions.
After analyzing data about turnover, sales performance, and productivity from thousands of salespeople over several years, they found that only six key criteria mattered for top performers, including having no spelling errors in their resume, having a college degree (doesn’t matter which one), and excellent multi-tasking skills. Meanwhile, attending a brand name college, having a high GPA, and demonstrating leadership did not matter.
The company altered their hiring process significantly to assess applicants for the criteria found through their data, and within the next six months, experienced a $4.5 MILLION increase in revenue over their traditional run rate.
Decreasing Worker’s Comp Claims
Waste-disposal firm Richfield Management LLC was looking for a way to screen out applicants who were likely to get hurt and abuse worker’s compensation, so they turned to research. Richfield found that applicants who scored low in emotional stability, work ethic, and attitude toward drugs and alcohol were most likely to get hurt.
After implementing a hiring assessment to look for applicants who scored high on the assessment, Richfield’s worker’s compensation claims have fallen by 68%, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Under today’s economic pressure to cut costs and boost productivity, companies that leverage big data will far outperform those who do not, according to McKinsey’s Big Data research. When done correctly, big data not only saves companies a lot of money, but it also levels the field for employees. Not every potential employee attended a brand name school, maintained a 4.0 or has an ultra-specific degree, but that does not mean they are incompetent. Big data allows employers to hire for traits that actually matter for the position.
About the Author
Neil MacGregor is the Co-Founder of Cream.hr, a psychometric pre-employment assessment platform that determines top-performers based on a powerful proprietary algorithm. It predicts job performance by measuring crucial traits and overall intelligence.
Charlie Brown, Linus and Sally discuss their plans for Thanksgiving.
If you haven’t read “Digital Capitalism” by Dan Schiller, you should. The book contains very interesting insights into the impact of the Internet on education.
Networks are generalizing the social and cultural range of the capitalist economy as never before, which is why Schiller refers to this new period as one of digital capitalism.
One of the Internet’s primary features stems from its unique – and, in its original military context, unlikely – ability to further the goal of information sharing by facilitating common use of once-unbreachable individual domains. Its distinctiveness, and its attraction, lay mainly in its unparalleled ability to span between hitherto isolated computer resources. (9)
During the mid 1990s, however, the sweeping process of commercialization impinged dramatically on the Internet’s scientific and educational function.
The Internet had been overlaid on a domain – education – that was already awash in change. Indeed, it was becoming apparent that the entire established system of skill formation and knowledge creation was heading for a makeover. Where once had existed nonprofit institutions, increasingly, there were now commercial vendors. Where once had existed relatively autonomous instructional and learning processes, increasingly, there were now attempts to cater more directly to labor markets. The system of educational provision was being reoriented toward familiar corporate practices that were foreign to the bulk of earlier educational endeavor: growing utilization of casualized labor, productivity enhancement measures, and product development based on profit and loss potentials. A concurrent and related reform, toward school-to-work programs, lifelong learning, and “new partnerships,” symptomatized an intensifying vocationalization of the educational process. (144)
Recurrent education – lifelong learning, its proponents termed it, as if human beings were capable of anything else – instead became the watchword. What Newt Gingrich called the “responsibility of the learner” indeed would be paramount; individuals would have to master whatever skills they might come to need – or take the consequences. Thus a program that had been initially introduced as a paternalistic measure was transmuted into a neoliberal justification for increased insecurity. (159)
In this rapidly changing and consistently difficult context, administrators bruited a standard set of institutional strategies. One was a much-vaunted New Partnership with industry. By 1986, in an unprecedented “cooperative boom,” the number of joint ventures between industry and academe reached “all-time highs” and embraced “large and small businesses, public and private colleges, major research universities and local community colleges in every state.” (161)
Universities it must be stressed, were active parties to the growth of these knowledge factories. Academic and business enterprises had enjoyed long and often mutually profitable associations. They shared board directors who helped to determine policies for both institutions. And they shared professional personnel who intermingled through scientific, scholarly, and trade associations. (162)
Perhaps more significant was the internal reorganization of the university that accompanied its programmatic enlargement of profit-oriented ventures. True, only a small fraction of university research projects would end up generating significant commercial revenues – perhaps one in four hundred – but the scramble to increase royalty revenue and, indeed, the New Partnership overall, vitally influenced the evolving shape and character of the university. (163)
Administrators often sought to portray reorganization that ensured as an effort at cost efficiency. Yet the term actually portended a radical overhaul of governing priorities, as higher education’s cost structure, program goals, and educational practices began to be continually reviewed and altered. (164)
The chief impact of ‘the second information revolution’ will be…on education,” wrote management guru Peter Drucker in 1997: “In thirty years, education will look wholly different, not only in delivery but in content.” The issue, therefore, was not simply the installation of bundles of inert wiring and computer equipment. It was, rather, adaptation to the ensemble of changed socioeconomic relationships that was energized by emerging network applications. (170)
With the growing importance of education and training for modern industry, the fiscal crisis afflicting universities, and the proliferation of information technology throughout the home, the school, the factory, and the office, the stage was set for networked educational markets to burgeon. At every level, from preschool and remedial to doctoral and crafts-based education, and in an endless variety of genres and formats, both old and new, networked educational provision furnished alluring prospective entry points for profit-making companies. (171)
Unfolding was a generalized process of institutional change. Management guru Peter Drucker declared, in a widely cited verdict, that universities on the old model “won’t survive.” While textbooks ran chronically short in poor school districts, and while some 200 traditional colleges shut their doors over the decade to 1997, politicos and corporate executives prattled on about the need to wire up additional “cyberschools.” “We want to redesign the entire learning process to fit the Information Age,” summarized Newt Gingrich. (200)
Watch: Annenberg Research Seminar – Dan Schiller, University of Illinois, at Urbana Champaign
Election Day is this week and there are a lot of great resources available that can help teachers create engaging lesson plans.
The Newseum’s site has an interactive timeline along with other digital resources –
Check out Read-Write-Thinks resources for Election Day –
Rock The Vote’s History of voting!
Electoral College Kids Civics Lesson Cartoon – Schoolhouse Rock
Research today is a skill that is taught to students as part of information literacy units; however, I don’t think students understand the difference between “Googling” a topic and researching it. Yes, a lot of information is publicly available, however; a lot of peer-reviewed research, published in academic journals, is not. Writing a research paper used to involve going (yes a verb) to the library, researching a topic, taking notes from resources you were usually not able to sign out of the library and then assembling those notes into a coherent paper, with an argument, and proper citations.
Writing research papers today is still easier than it used to be. Most schools subscribe to electronic databases students can access online. We need to teach students how to do research electronically and how to avoid copy and paste disasters. Educators should stop accepting the excuse that students don’t understand in-text citations; letting students off if they have a reference page.
Great resource from Dartmouth – What is an academic paper?
- Academic writing is writing done by scholars for other scholars.
- Academic writing is devoted to topics and questions that are of interest to the academic community.
- This brings us to our final point: Academic writing should present the reader with an informed argument.