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  • #2: Rethinking ambition: 40% of employees decline promotions due to their love for current jobs; A kind leader increases performance by 278%.

#2: Rethinking ambition: 40% of employees decline promotions due to their love for current jobs; A kind leader increases performance by 278%.

The best countries for a happy retirement; 3 tips for less drama & healthier conflicts at work.

Welcome to the second edition of Hacking Work International Newsletter!

What to expect every Thursday:
News on the global labour market; latest trends in leadership and organisational culture; valuable insights into the professional and educational environments; modern perspectives on jobs, and the way we work.

In today's email:

Rethinking Ambition: employees choose life over money

"Rethinking Ambition" - that's the title of Randstad's prestigious Workmonitor - a global survey of 27,000 people in 34 different countries, conducted annually since 2003. The study discovered that more than half of the employees, 57%, would not take a job that would harm their work-life balance, including flexibility like working from home. Additionally, 55% would decline the job if they were not given a much higher salary.

Last week we presented a study by Ford Motor which concluded that more than half of employees would be willing to give up part of their salary for a better work-life balance, globally. This data shows us more and more clearly that employees are no longer driven solely by earnings, but are looking for a healthier work-life balance. 

Generative AI accelerates organizational change

Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) is profoundly influencing organizational culture: the percentage of organizations intending to transition towards data and analytics has surged from 21% last year to 43% in 2024, as revealed by a survey conducted by Wavestone.

Many leaders see Generative Artificial Intelligence as a highly influential technology and are investing in it. Out of the companies surveyed that are experimenting with Generative AI, 60% believe that increased productivity is the main advantage of adopting this technology.

Be kind to your team - it will make them more generous and productive

Workplace kindness improves engagement, satisfaction, and productivity. Studies reveal that acts of kindness in a professional setting lead to a 278% increase in generosity among employees, 26% more energy, 36% more work satisfaction, and 44% greater commitment to the organization.

The importance of kindness extends beyond just improving morale; it also has tangible health benefits and reduces stress, a major concern in modern work environments. By fostering a culture of empathy, gratitude, and recognition, organizations not only improve their employees' mental and physical well-being but also enhance overall productivity and engagement. Such a culture is instrumental in creating a supportive, inclusive, and highly productive workplace.

Byte-sized news

Google is cutting 100 YouTube jobs in addition to the over 1,000 workers it let go of last week as part of ongoing layoffs. The affected employees of YouTube will be given the chance to apply for other roles inside the company, although there is no assurance that they will get one.
The personal data on Facebook is shared with 200,000 companies for targeted advertising. Basically, companies learn about your preferences and what you want to buy when you interact with content on the platform. According to the Consumer Reports study, an average user's personal information is provided to over 2,200 different companies. 
The DPD chatbot "has been laid off". Its job was to provide technical support to DPD customers. However, due to vulnerabilities, it has been trained by an angry customer to compose a poem about the failures of the automated support service. Initially, after failing to get information about the status of a parcel, the customer asked the bot to tell him a joke. He then gave it all sorts of tasks, including composing the poem. Eventually, the chatbot was disabled and "is currently being updated", the company said in a statement reported by ITV. 
The new BMW "employee" is 167 cm tall, weighs 59 kg, and never gets tired. The humanoid robot will be used in automotive production and assembly as part of a partnership with Figure, and it is planned to operate continuously with only a five-hour recharging interval. BMW Manufacturing expects that this will provide the company a significant competitive advantage, allowing it to respond more swiftly and efficiently to the changing demands of the automotive market.
40% of employees love their current jobs so much that they turn down promotion offers, according to a recent global study conducted on 27,000 individuals across 34 different markets. Approximately one-third of participants never aspire to become managers, cherishing their current roles and being cautious about the potential impact new responsibilities could have on their jobs. In essence, career success today is beginning to take on different meanings, with flexibility and the balance between professional and personal life emerging as top priorities.
The history of inclusion is unfolding in Spain as Mar Galcerán becomes the first parliamentarian with Down syndrome in the regional parliament of Valencia. This milestone represents a substantial stride in recognizing and integrating individuals with disabilities into politics and the broader public sphere. A member of the Popular Party, Mar Galcerán has actively championed the rights and inclusion of individuals with Down syndrome, amassing over 20 years of experience as a public servant in Valencia.
The Dominican Republic is embarking on a trial of a four-day workweek without salary reductions. The experiment, set to commence in February and last for six months, will reduce the standard workweek from 44 to 36 hours. Distinguished companies, including the National Health Insurance Agency, are part of this initiative. The results will undergo analysis by a local university, with a specific focus on changes in employees' health and the work-life relationship. This initiative mirrors similar examples in the UK and the US, along with recent legislative changes in Chile aimed at reducing the workweek.

Best countries for happy retirements

Retirement is becoming an increasingly significant global issue as the population ages. Natixis conducted a recent study on 44 countries, considering four major criteria: health, quality of life, material well-being, and finances in retirement.

Norway is the best country for retiring, followed by Switzerland, Iceland, and Ireland. These countries ranked high in all four categories. Norway is distinguished by its long life expectancy, low unemployment, and well-funded pension system. Switzerland has an imposed private pension system that provides a decent income for seniors. Iceland has a healthy and long-lived population, while Ireland has a high level of material well-being.

Meanwhile, countries preparing for the „Silver Tsunami” are expanding their workforce. Raising the retirement age is a controversial measure, yet it relieves pressure on pension fund systems. Immigration may bring more workers into the countries, increase pension contributions, and boost productivity, which generates additional revenue to fund them.

an ingfographic that answers the question about what are the best countries for retirementt

Etiquette courses for employees who may have forgotten proper workplace behaviour

According to a survey conducted by Resume Builder on a sample of 1,548 leaders, six out of ten companies will provide mandatory office etiquette training for all employees. Besides experienced employees readjusting to office life, newcomers to the workforce appear to face challenges in understanding how to behave in a professional setting.

There are specific soft skills that leaders hope employees will develop through these courses:

  • Engaging in polite conversations

  • Adopting a professional style of dress

  • Writing professional emails

  • Accepting constructive criticism

  • Making polite eye contact

  • Taking appropriate lunch breaks

Tips for less drama at work & healthier conflicts

Even though it may seem counterintuitive, a conflict-free work environment can hide some unresolved issues that, over time, have the potential to transform into tense situations. Yet, when a conflict escalates and turns to be dramatic, the tension becomes toxic. We therefore seek a balance between conflict management and avoiding drama in the work environment. Here are three basic approaches:

  1. Discuss issues: When problems arise, be they software errors or inefficient processes, it is crucial to openly and constructively address these issues. It is beneficial to engage in open discussions about the challenges faced, identify their causes, and seek the most productive solutions.

    Avoiding honest dialogue can lead to the escalation of problems and the emergence of passive-aggressive behaviour. However, these difficult conversations become problematic when someone insists on changing things that are already working well.

  2. Provide constructive feedback: If you are supervising someone and fail to communicate that they are not meeting expectations, you deny them the opportunity to make improvements. Engaging in an open and constructive discussion about their progress can prevent the emergence of drama and significantly contribute to the efficiency of the team.

    Instead of adopting a negative attitude towards a colleague, proactively initiate a discussion about the aspects you have observed and the desired improvements. Additionally, it is crucial to maintain receptivity when receiving feedback, refraining from becoming defensive. It's important to recognize that a suggestion for improvement does not necessarily imply any form of dislike or malice from either the boss or colleagues.

  3. Respect others' boundaries: To ward off professional burnout, it is vital to establish clear boundaries. Conflict can surface when these boundaries are not respected. Engaging in honest discussions about availability and expectations can avert misunderstandings, fostering a healthy balance between one's professional and personal life.

    To sustain productivity, it is crucial to take breaks. Maintain a well-defined balance between work and personal life to steer clear of unnecessary drama; refrain from consistently sharing personal issues. While at work, concentrate on tasks, enabling you to fully appreciate your leisure time later on.

These tips are a practical guide to improve the dynamic of the team and to avoid unhealthy conflicts. Having an open discussion and a constructive approach are things that can transform the apparent problems into growing opportunities.

These tips serve as a practical guide to enhance team dynamics and mitigate unhealthy conflicts. Engaging in open discussions and adopting a constructive approach are actions that can transform apparent problems into opportunities for growth.

30 minutes of daily exercise can save your life

Prolonged sitting in the workplace comes with an increased risk of death, according to a new global study of half a million people. Particularly, compared to workers whose jobs sometimes include movement, individuals who work exclusively at their desks had a 16% higher risk of dying and a 34% higher chance of dying from cardiovascular causes. 

Chinese company accused of relocating headquarters to lay off employees

The relocation forced employees to spend four hours on the road every day commuting, including three kilometres on foot on mountain trails. Former employees say the decision was aimed at forcing people to resign without any claim to financial compensation in the context of restructuring. And it seems to have worked: in the end, 14 of the 20 employees resigned. The situation was aggravated by poor conditions at the new headquarters and limited access to public transportation. 

Despite the accusations, management says this was a temporary measure, justified by high rent costs and the renovation of the head office. Employees dispute the CEO's statements, claiming they were not informed the transfer would only be temporary. The case raises serious questions about ethics and employee rights, especially as the company is now considering suing its former employees over how the allegations have damaged its reputation. 

Lack of trust costs us innovation

The ability to reset after late-life setbacks and a sincere passion for what you do can prevent burnout after 60 years of work.  That's the common thread running through the remarks of Charles Munger, Rosalynn Carter, and Dr. Gladys McGarey, all of whom worked until their 90s. 

Since 1964, the proportion of workers 75 years of age and older has doubled, while 48% of workers under 30 experience burnout. Genes play a role in longevity, but passion and meaning in life also play a significant role. Dr. Thomas Perls stated, "Having a purpose and being passionate can also lead to a degree of resilience."

"If you burn out, relight the fire," says Dr. Gladys McGarey, 103. After working in the medical sector for almost 80 years, she still gives consultations, gives talks at conferences, and in podcasts. Additionally, she launched an Instagram account that has nearly 47,000 followers. 

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The newsletter is written by the Hacking Work team: Cristina, Ioana, Izabella, Andreea, Ionuț, Loredana, Tibi and Doru.

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