Do “connected” people have an advantage at work?

"John, Congratulations!  See what Mr. Big is up to... You and Mr. Big are now connected...."

Sound familiar?  So what's the big deal?  Is this just another time-waster, narcissistic activity?

Or do "connected" people really have an advantage at work?  What's a "relevant" or "real connection" anyway?  

The real answer is that a "connection" is nothing more than a real relationship.  And it takes time, authenticity and a willingness to give, to build a real relationship. The fact is, people who are more truly "connected" seem to get lucky, land on their feet more often in times of great chaos, and adapt to major changes more easily.  Why is that? How can you get some of that goodness and "insurance" for yourself?

Growing your network of colleagues and connections helps you pack your parachute for a soft landing, no matter what.  It’s also fun and easy to do.  Even if you think you are an “introvert.”

Here we are back at the home office.  Dead of Winter.  Deep in projects and racing towards “Q2” numbers and deadlines.  Do you have time to spend on networking?  Why bother?  You’re not in “sales” and you don’t have that “extroverted personality” that seems to thrive on networking.  And besides, you are too busy on your deadlines and projects for anything that “squishy” and non-core to your work.

Here’s the news flash:  You can’t afford to stay as isolated and heads-down as you’ve been.   But how can you start?  Especially if you’re more “introverted” than not.

If you’re constantly expanding your network of colleagues and relationships at work, you are in good company.  58% of those across the WorkersCount community report that they make a concerted effort to reach out to others at work.  Why should this matter?

It matters because expanding your circle of colleagues makes you a stronger team member in your core group or department.  How?  You have access and relationships with others outside of your team.  This makes you a “connector” -which is a valuable and powerful role to play. It makes you much more aware of the bigger picture at your company, and again it makes you a much more valuable team member when you “see the whole field” –instead of just your small section of the world. 

Most importantly, it makes you a “known quantity” outside of your core working group or department.  This is really important when you start to think about lateral or other changes inside the company (or outside).  You also start to build a wider reputation outside of your company as these “extended network” co-workers depart to other companies.  You are at the top of their minds, should a need for someone like you arise there.  And that’s always a great phone call to receive!

Here’s a great way to get started.   Make it a point to volunteer for projects that involve cross-functional or cross-organization teams.  This will force you to meet others outside of your core role and group.  You can start to build real relationships working together.  You’ll learn more about their world (if you ask) and you’ll build credibility and trust with them as you work together.  You add to your “connections” and network without doing much outside of your comfort zone.  Consistently offer to provide valuable insight about your “side of the world” to your new colleagues, and they will likely do the same.   You will find that you start to be “requested” on these team projects and you are more valued in your own group as someone with “understanding” of the greater picture.

You don't need hundreds or thousands of contacts to make this work. You may only need a dozen or two to make your network effective. Building a wider network isn’t necessarily hard work.  It’s a little bit of work done consistently over time.  Keep volunteering for those projects.  Keep meeting people and offering to add value.  Keep putting them in your contact list and staying in touch via LinkedIn, Facebook, by following them on twitter or internally.  Send them good ideas, articles and other valuable insights whenever you can, to show them that you understand their world and are offering something valuable.  This will make you a “connector” and build a wider external reputation. 

This is how you assemble your parachute.  So that if the plane you’re flying in develops engine trouble (for any reason), you have more options and a great network to help you out.

By staying active in the WorkersCount community you can find where people like you thrive, and where they struggle.  From insights like that, you can call on your network (be it large or small) and get help to find the right place for you. And we hope you also reach out to help others find their "best place" if you're happy and excited about where you've landed.  

It's paying-it-forward time.

Come check-in at WorkersCount today.  Vote your sentiment. Make your voice heard.  Drive a better workplace for you and for your peers at your company and others.

Your voice counts.




What do you do with your 3 hours and 51 minutes each day?


How much time do you *really* spend working per week?

Google today introduced an “addition” (also being referred in snarky fashion by some bloogers as “addiction”) to their service that reports “account activity” usage to users. 

Hmm.  That means I can now track just how obsessive-compulsive I am being about work.   But I love my work!  What's the problem?

How much time do you think you spend “at work” or online doing “work” things per week?

Would you be surprised to know that the average Google user has this type of graph? 

At work:  23 Hours on Google apps

At Home:  62 Hours on Google apps

Out:   83 Hours (presumably not on Google apps)

How do you compare??   Are you "always" plugged-in and checking work-related email and texts?  

Ok let’s break that down:

7 days at 8 hours of sleep is 56 of those “Out” hours, meaning that all but 27 of your waking hours are on Google’s apps.  An average of 231 minutes or something around 3.8 hours per day.  I suppose this means that you are “on” during meals, drive time etc.  Do your friends and family sometimes get annoyed because your "best friend" seems to be  your phone or tablet?  

Have you ever checked email during a family dinner? During a child's performance?  

If you only had 3 hours and 51 minutes to do "X" each day, what would be on your list?

Check your email?  Better check your priorities.

How would your employer react if you went online during a meeting to check your child's school Website - just to take a peek at their chorus rehearsal?  Never going to happen, right?  So what's the difference?

What does this mean to WorkersCount and our community?  It means that we had better be enjoying the work we do.   Because if Google (and your employer) has their way we will be performing more and more of our “work” in their cloud.  Which is not necessarily a bad thing.  But if these baseline stats hold, we see in this startling chart that we are spending all but 3.8 hours of our waking time there.  So we need to figure out how to say "no" to 24/7 work connection.  Even if we love our work.  

Is your "best friend" disposable?

So much for “personal time.”  Of course we all do “personal” things on gmail, docs, G+, hangout rooms, photos etc.  And yes it does include time wasting on YouTube... which is becoming more and more of a substitute or supplement for many consumers -especially Millennials- for TV.

So in summary you could use your brain to consider this mystery:

Or this one:

You pick.

Thanks Brad Goldpaint @goldpaintphotography

How does your work boost your passions and give you energy?

Let us know!   Post what you'd do with your 3 hours 51 minutes to our Facebook page.

Your friends at WorkersCount

What does your brand (and company) stand for? Do you own that?

At WorkersCount we are watching an interesting debate. 

We have been watching the recent marketplace (and worker) reaction to the latest Harris Poll of RQ (reputation quotient).  This is just one of many external/internal brand reputation "rankings" and index reports. 

 Here are their “winners” in the top segment of large brands:

At first blush, it's obviously a great line-up of brands:







Johnson & Johnson

Whole Foods



(thank you Marketing Charts and Harris Polls)

We know that many members of our WorkersCount community work for these great brands.  How do you feel about this blended external-internal "reputation" score or index?  

Is it just marketing hype or is there something deeper there?

Some of the heated discussions across twitter, Facebook and the many dozens of blogs we've been reading are about “who beat whom” and more school-yard, trash-talking friendly competition in nature. 

On the other hand, many of them are very serious, focusing on PR blunders, product gaffes and product superiority, social responsibility and community engagement wins etc.  Things that should "matter" to customers, workers and stockholders.

This includes topics that involve brand esteem or brand damage due to worker issues.  These include the highly-charged issues around labor abuses here and abroad (read: “Foxconn” etc).  

Some brands don’t seem to take a big hit in the overall brand reputation even though many workers seem to be reporting in blog posts and tweets that “all is not well” inside the beast.  And if workers are happy and satisfied, but their companies are committing grave sins, what is that all about?  And should workers at all levels care?  And how can they take direct action to reward companies that do well, and hold accountable ones that do not do well?

Does your company walk their talk?

When you look at another company (in comparison to your current one) as you consider a move, what factors are most important in your decision process?

The match between the corporate-speak and their actual behavior externally and internally

Their real life labor and community practices abroad and at home

The day-to-day experience you can expect to have right here right now

Your expected experience in your working group, with your peers and boss at work every day

The way your company’s product is respected (or not so much) by the general consumer public and the “brand” ratings and rankings

How do these things impact your well-being and satisfaction at work today, relating to your current company? 

Do they impact you a lot, or not so much?  Are you just to busy to worry about your company’s ethical practices abroad and in labor matters? 

Do you have any visibility into your company’s practices?

Does you company proactively share with you their values, practices and guiding ethical foundation for their business practices?   Is there a document? 

If there is such a policy, is it common thinking that the company adheres to it, or is this just a PR check-box that the exec team must check-off?  Real or fluff?  Is this "owned" at the executive level? The board level?

Talk about it right here.  Right now.  Every day.

This is what we want to invite our community to debate here at WorkersCount.   Check-in daily and come back often to see what's trending and what your peers are saying.

By sharing what matters to you we can enable the broad population of workers (at many levels) to make their voices heard and impact the way companies behave. 

If your company walks their talk, then we want to help you trumpet that.  If your company needs to be reminded to walk their talk, then we want to help them become more accountable, and to do better.

Your voice counts.

What do you think?

Comment here or on our Facebook page

5% of workers would give up their spouses in exchange for telecommuting

Do you ever work from home?  From the local Peets or Starbucks or even from the beach?  Where is "the office" to you?

 How important is flexibility in the workplace?  

Apparently it matters a lot!  

Here's what an independent study found they would give up in exchange for telecommuting privileges and a few comments about what that may mean about our society, our priorities, and of course, our Work, and what the "workplace" means in the new millennium.

We hope you have fun with this.  Tell us what you think it all means!

What workers are willing to give up in exchange for telecommuting:


Some of us think this would make the world a better place anyway.


Sorry, bad trade.  Can't give that one up.


Again, might make the world a more friendly place, but sadly we won't trade that one either.


Possibly.  But this author is not the shopping type.  Except maybe at a consumer electronics store.  We'll hold judgement on this one pending input from our WorkersCount community!

A raise:

I'd take the raise.  Just saying.

Half of their vacation days:

I never use all of my vacation days, so this is a good trade for me.

Daily showers:

Perhaps the people who give up daily showers should stay at home.

Their spouse:

Not me.  I'm a sucker for a great date, and a later-in-life dad.  Can't give up the spouse and would not want to.  But I respect the idea.


What would you give up?

What do you think?  Let us know on our Facebook page!

What does an organization need to do to make us happy?

In our last post we looked at why happiness matters to you personally. 

And that’s no small thing.

In this post we’ll start to explore what actions an organization needs to take to ensure that you (and others) continue to be happy.  Of course, with your help we will discover at WorkersCount the underlying answers as you and others provide real information about life at work every day.

Having an interesting job matters!

Let’s look at what the academic research has to say.  According to Lise M. Saari’s and Timothy A. Judge’s work,   “one of the most important areas of the work situation to influence job satisfaction—the work itself.”  They call this the “intrinsic job characteristics.” This is interesting because a former boss of mine liked to say that it was a manager’s job to engineer—yes, he was an engineer—their employees’ work so that it was interesting to them.  He said it was the manager’s job often to personally take on the boring drudgery.  As a manager, I have tried to “pay it forward”.

Does your manager do this?  Have you ever found yourself doing this? 

If so, then Bravo!

In one study of workers, they ranked interesting work as the most important job attribute, and good wages ranked fifth.  Whereas when it came to what managers thought employees wanted, good wages ranked first while interesting work ranked fifth (Kovach, 1995).  

Of all the major job satisfaction areas, satisfaction with the nature of the work itself—which includes job challenge, autonomy, variety, and scope—best predicts overall job satisfaction, as well as other important outcomes like employee retention   (Fried 398 • HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT, Winter 2004 & Ferris, 1987; Parisi & Weiner, 1999; Weiner, 2000)

Work Life Balance Matters!

I don’t know about you, but I am “Always On” in my job.  However, this constant intrusion means that I need the ability to reassert my work and life balance.  Things like occasional or regular telecommuting and flexible work schedule--are important to whether we are happy or not with our jobs.

Knowing they care matters!

Herb Kelleher at Southwest Airlines is famous for saying that his business succeeded on the basis of one simple maxim: “You have to treat your employees like customers.”  Clearly, we all do our best when we feel appreciated and valued by our boss and colleagues.

Having a collaborative versus competitive environment

I don’t know about you, but I just hate workplace politics and competition.  It makes me have a terrible day, week, or even month. When groups compete for resources and jobs, it means the people in the company and the company as a whole loses. Putting it simply, being happy is not just about delivering: it’s about doing that within collaborative working relationships too.

Feeling you fit is important

We all want to feel resilient, efficient and effective.  Not surprisingly, performance and happiness at work are really high when employees feel they fit within the organizational culture.  Not fitting in a job is kind of like wearing the wrong clothes to a party.  Making matters worse, you feel like you always have to say you are sorry.  I am sure you hate it when others make your feel like you are skating on thin ice.  It is a manager’s job to make you feel like you belong and to stress the importance of diversity to their team.

Feeling you have management’s commitment

Have you ever had one of those managers that says: “we going to have to close things down if this thing or that thing doesn’t happen.”  You feel like they will be okay regardless, but that they are not in the boat with you.  Of course they claim all the credit when you succeed.  We all need it.  We need commitment to perceive what we are doing is worthwhile.  We need to feel that the vision of our organization resonates with our purpose.  According to Jessica Pryce-Jones, CEO and founder of the iOpener Institute: “without greater levels of self-belief, the backbone of confidence, there will be few people who’ll take a risk or try anything new.” And you can’t have confident organizations without confident individuals inside them.

What should I do to be happy?

Our list together will grow and narrow as you use WorkersCount.  However, today we have touched-upon six areas that matter in your workplace today.  If you want happiness, you need to take steps to make your place better or find another place that values its employees.  This is part of what we enable at

Make sure to visit, vote and share your thoughts often because you will count!



What should you be doing to recharge your batteries?


Being Happy At Work

Does it matter?

Only if you want to make more money, live longer and be a better spouse/parent/friend.

If you’re like most people, you spend a lot of time at work.  And work doesn’t mean just “that other place” you go each morning.  Work comes home.  It chases you around on your phone via email.  It invades your evening time as you “review” or check-up on things via your laptop, tablet or phone at night and on weekends. 

So you love this arrangement, right?

Did you know that “happiness at work” used to mean something different from “happiness at home and in life?”  Today it is well-understood that job satisfaction, general happiness and good feelings about life at work are closely tied to happiness in general.  It used to be pushed aside as some squishy academic theory.  Mostly because it was hard to measure and harder to act upon.  No more.

Big corporations, smart business owners and great managers already know this.  And not just in small sectors where there is a “talent war.”  It’s time all workers figured out that their job performance, their relationships with spouses, children and others are completely tied to their feelings about work.

We all have good days and bad days at work, and at home in life.  The only way to get perspective about this is to look outwards and see how what you’re experiencing “reflects” from the views of others.  This is a scary process.  Psychologists have built entire careers on it.  Career coaches are great at it.  

 So are good, solid, smart friends.  When it comes down to it, a bit of quiet personal time, spent reflecting on what is going on (at work and at home) can help a lot. 

Are you in the right place (company, role) at the right time for you right now?  How can you find out?  If you’re lucky, you’re happy, and feel relatively good about your work situation.  And if that’s true, you probably feel pretty good about life in general.  

In that case, you’re probably also doing a great job at work.  Here’s what the bosses have figured out (or are figuring out) about “happy workers” and why it’s not so squishy anymore:

Real research is showing that being happy makes you healthier, smarter, and even more valued. How valuable is a few more years of healthy living worth? According to Alexander Kjerulf, ( people working in happy environments tend to:

Be More Creative

Have more Energy

Be More Motivated

Make Fewer Mistakes

 Make Better Decisions

Do you have that?  If you don’t, don’t you want to have that?

Here are more non-squishy facts:

Mo’ Money

A 2005 research survey in the Psychological Bulletin showed happier people miss work less often and receive more positive evaluations from bosses.   Wow, in most companies that means making more money….

Psychologist Martin Seligman suggests in his research that happiness leads to higher pay.. How valuable is a positive evaluation and a higher salary to your life at home and work?

What does this mean on a Sunday afternoon, as you figure out when to check email, review your work deadlines, carpool, music lessons, soccer/baseball and workout calendar for the upcoming week?

It means that being happy at work equals more money, better and stronger relationships with the people you love, and, not surprisingly, a longer life to enjoy the whole trip.

Kick your feet up today.  Think about some reasons to be happy. 

 If you’re working, celebrate that first, because a lot of great people are still out of work. 

 Next, think about how much you enjoy your current job, and if you do, enjoy that.

Finally, if your present job “needs improvement” (to borrow a phrase), think of some burning questions and post them on our wall at WorkersCount’s Facebook page.   “Like” the burning questions others have posted if they hit a nerve with you.

If you’re like us, you’ll find a quiet place to sit-out the rain in front of a fire, take a walk on the beach in with your dog, join a friend to watch a game.   Or find a black diamond mountain full of fresh powder to shred.   Go work out.  Bake a pie. Learn how to bake a pie.  Find a great place to sit with a friend and eat pie (after you work out).

What should you be doing today to recharge your batteries?

Let us know what you do!  Post a photo on our Facebook page.

Weekend = personal time (?) Well it should!

Weekend goodness and a couple of fun thought-exercises...

Welcome to Personal Time, the WorkersCount blog! 

If you are like most people, you need a break once in a while during your busy day.  We will try to make these short breaks a good use of your “personal time.”  Please share these posts if you enjoy them, make comments and use them to start great conversations!

This weekend we kick-off a series about being happy at work and why it should matter to workers (and bosses).  If you are both a worker and a boss, well then, you get a double-dose of thought-provoking goodness. 

We are also launching our “burning question” campaign.  We’re collecting (that’s “crowd-sourcing” for all the social and technical gurus out there) great questions that workers –at all levels- want to know.  These can be “obvious” questions that just don’t get asked (for whatever reason) or sensitive questions that you’d like to ask, but can’t – due to political or other reasons in your workplace.

Not to worry!  WorkersCount will ask them and your peers at thousands of companies (including yours) will help get them safely answered!

So happy reading and we look forward to hearing your “burning questions” so we can share them and soon ask them.

How to suggest a “burning question”

a)     Find our Facebook wall.  Post the question.  Like others’ questions. Share with friends.

b)     Write us a confidential email with your suggestions to: 

That’s it.

Now on to our regularly scheduled blog posts.

Your friends at WorkersCount.