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

Millennials aren’t the worst offenders when it comes to checking their phones and electronic devices, a new survey says. Plus, Canadian companies are closer to going fully paperless than their global counterparts.


Will the real tech-addicted generation please stand up?

Millennials have a bad rap for constantly checking their phones and electronic devices, but it turns out they aren’t the worst offenders. More than half (52%) of those between the ages of 50 and 64 and 45% of those aged 35 to 49 say they’re distracted by their devices during mealtimes, compared with 40% of those between the ages of 21 and 34, according to a global survey by research company Nielsen. Even those who are 65 or older are more likely than young folks to be preoccupied with technology, with 42% saying they bring their devices to the table during meals.


Paperless by 2018

Stack of paper

Canadian companies are closer to going paperless than their global counterparts, according to a report from Xerox. In a survey of 600 IT executives from the US, Canada and Europe, 44% of Canadian respondents said they will fully digitize seven key business processes — invoicing, contracts, customer engagement, HR onboarding, new product development and vertical and operational processes — within the next two years, the highest across all countries polled. Still, more than half (55%) of global respondents say their company processes are still largely or entirely paper-based. The key reasons Canadian executives cite for printing documents are hard copy reference (69%), signatures (65%) and sharing (48%).


Female leaders boost bottom line

Companies with more women executives are more profitable, says the US-based Peterson Institute for International Economics. It surveyed 21,980 firms from 91 countries and found a correlation between the number of women executives and company earnings. According to the study’s authors, “This correlation could reflect either the payoff to non-discrimination or the fact that women increase a firm’s skill diversity.”


So much for holacracy

A bad manager is better than no manager, according to Gallup. It suggests that the employee exodus experienced by online shoe retailer Zappos after it eliminated its management hierarchy last year “makes clear that managers have a vital place in an organization.” Gallup found engagement rates plummet to a mere 2% when employees are ignored by their managers — compared with 45% for teams led by ineffective managers who focus on weaknesses and 61% for teams led by talented managers who focus on strengths.


I’d rather be travelling

This probably comes as no surprise coming off tax season: deadlines are a top source of work stress for professional and business service workers. In a CareerCast poll of 834 workers in different industries, the most common factors influencing job stress were unpredictability (26%), workplace environment (21%) and deadlines (20%). Travel was rated the least stressful, with just 1% of the response.