News and advice on management and the business environment — December 2016

More than a quarter of Canadians routinely go to work tired, while the majority of CFOs say functional expertise is more important than soft skills.


Workplace fatigue is a problem for nearly 30% of Canadians

More than a quarter of us routinely go to work tired, according to research from the Conference Board of Canada. In a national survey of 739 Canadian workers, 27% say they are fatigued most days or every day during a typical workweek, while just 29% of men and 15% of women say they never go to work tired. Among those exhausted employees, 42% say their performance dips somewhat or significantly, as their fatigue changes the way they think, react and display emotions at work.

“The harmful effects of fatigue are numerous, and in some cases, comparable to the effects of alcohol,” says Mary-Lou MacDonald, director, workplace health, wellness and safety research at the Conference Board of Canada. Work stress and job demands are the main causes of poor sleep for 28% of respondents, while others cited stress from home demands (26%), physical health problems (9%) and bad habits, such as caffeine before bed or too much screen time.


Fraud on film

Deep web

New Zealand held its inaugural International Fraud Film Festival last month, with the aim of increasing fraud awareness and how businesses and the public can help prevent it. The two-day Auckland program of feature films and documentaries included Deep Web, on the vast, unseen area of cyberspace notorious for criminal activity; The Captain and the Bookmaker, a documentary about South African cricket captain Hansie Cronje’s on-field fraud promoted by bookmakers; and Chancers, where filmmaking itself is used as a way to evade tax.


Social media reveals weekly stress patterns

Workplace stress is highest on Monday, declines slightly through Thursday, has a steep “Friday dip” and picks up again on Saturday and Sunday, according to an academic analysis of social media. Researchers studied more than two billion tweets from nearly 47 million people over a year and a half in an effort to document weekly trends in emotion and stress and estimate the restorative effect of weekends. The paper, published earlier this year in Applied Psychology, suggests that managers would do well to go easy on staff at the beginning of the workweek when stress levels are highest.


Hard skills trump soft skills, say CFOs

Potential staff or senior-level finance hires need to be equally adept at both specialized and nontechnical skills, according to 43% of Canadian chief financial officers surveyed for Robert Half Finance & Accounting. The majority of CFOs, however, say that when they are evaluating a job candidate, functional expertise carries more weight than so skills.


Hiring managers’ wish list

If you’re planning on making a career move in 2017, here’s what you can do to increase the likelihood your application gets noticed, according to CareerBuilder:

• customize resumé to position: 63%

• list skill sets first on the resumé: 41%

• include a cover letter: 40%

• address application to the specific hiring manager: 22%

• include a link to your blog, portfolio or website on your resumé: 16%