Let’s be honest now – have you ever had a day off work when you really shouldn’t have? Have you ever called in sick when you were actually feeling ok?
Well, even if you have taken a day off work when you should have been in the office then you are nowhere near as bad as Mr Joaquin Garcia.
Mr Garcia was a Spanish civil servant who was paid €37,000 a year by a water company run by a local authority in the Spanish city of Cadiz.
He had worked for the organisation for so long that he became eligible for a long service award. The deputy mayor was due to award Mr Garcia a plaque for 20 years’ service but unfortunately Mr Garcia was not in the office.
Further investigation led to the discovery that despite being paid €37,000 a year the Spanish civil servant had failed to turn up for work for “at least” 6 years. Yes, he was employed and was being paid but hadn’t turned up for work for at least 6 years and nobody had noticed!
The water company thought that Mr Garcia was being supervised by the local authority whilst the local authority thought that the water company was supervising him. The end result was that Mr Garcia was not in the office, was not working but was receiving his full salary.
The local authority was understandably not that happy at paying somebody a full salary when that person was at home enjoying life and took Mr Garcia to court. The court found in favour of the local authority and ordered Mr Garcia to pay a fine.
Despite the local authority paying Mr Garcia for doing no work for at least 6 years, the maximum amount of fine that the company could legally reclaim was equivalent to one year’s salary.
Mr Garcia has since retired. No doubt to take it easy after all of his hard work over the last 6 years…
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Be-back-soon.jpg477848Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2019-08-30 08:33:162019-08-28 14:23:59Working from home?
What’s one way of increasing the chances of getting hold of someone’s password?
Does it involve the use of the very latest supercomputer? Does it involve some clever IT geeks hacking into a computer for you?
Or does it involve chocolate?
A bit of research published in the journal Computers in Human Behaviour attempted to find out how people are obligated by the kindness of others. Or in other words, if someone does something nice for a person, how likely is it that the person will be nice back to them?
The researchers in Luxembourg conducted a survey of random people in the street asking them about internet security including questions about passwords.
Some of the people interviewed were given chocolate and some weren’t.
30% of those that were not given chocolate revealed their passwords which to me is a surprisingly high percentage and just goes to show that quite often human stupidity is the weakest link in internet security.
For the people who were given chocolate at the beginning of the interview the figure rose to 44% and if the chocolate was given just before the question on passwords was asked an incredible 48% gave their passwords! Yes, nearly half of the people asked their passwords as part of a survey told a complete stranger their password if they had been given chocolate.
Andre Melzer, the author of the study said that “when someone does something nice for us we automatically feel obliged to return the favour”.
So, in conclusion, if someone walks up to you in the office and offers you a piece of chocolate be careful what you say…
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/chocolate.png9211637Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2019-08-24 02:55:442019-08-28 14:19:15Would you do this for a bit of chocolate?
Does your weight affect the amount of money you earn?
That’s an interesting question and researchers from the universities of Strathclyde in Glasgow and Potsdam in Germany have come up with a potential answer.
They analysed data from nearly 15,000 working men and found that men within that the recommended Body Mass Index (BMI) health range earnt more than those who were outside of the range.
Individuals who were underweight on the body mass index were found to earn 8% less than those who were in the top end of the healthy bracket. They found that the effect was more prominent in manual jobs where no doubt the extra strength of the guys in the healthy weight bracket helped increase their earnings.
What was perhaps surprising though was that there was also a difference in earnings in white-collar office jobs. They found that in the more middle-class occupations the rewards peaked at a BMI of around 21.
It wasn’t just men who were impacted though. The study also looked at the weight and earnings of 15,000 German women and found that the slimmest earnt the most and the obese the least.
Jonny Gifford, of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development was quoted in the press as saying “it is depressing that, in this day and age, looks are in any way a factor in how much people are paid”.
I have to agree with him as organisations should employ people on the basis of their abilities as opposed to how heavy they weigh.
Anyway, best dash as I’ve got a packet of biscuits to finish…
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/office-fitness.jpg433770Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2019-08-12 18:08:122019-08-17 22:03:02Pass the biscuits...
Picture the scene. It’s the first night of your honeymoon. You’ve just married a beautiful Italian Signorina called Marianna. You’re Italian and Italian men have a reputation for being some of the most romantic men in the world.
Now, even though some may say this reputation has largely been self created, there are still certain things you should do on your honeymoon and certain things you should definitely not do on your honeymoon.
Due to Italian privacy laws the individuals concerned can only be identified by their Christian names but what did Stefano do on his honeymoon that led to his new wife divorcing him one month into their marriage?
From a project management point of view there are various tools and techniques that can be used to ensure a project runs smoothly. One of these is to ensure that the team is made up of the right type of person as well as the appropriate number of people.
A well known theory behind what makes a good team is Belbin’s team role models.
In simple terms, Belbin’s theory says that people are born with certain characteristics. Belbin gave names to the different types of people. For example, a “plant” is a person that likes to come up with ideas and is usually quite creative. A “Monitor Evaluator” is somebody with a logical eye who can make impartial judgements.
Back to the one month marriage though and Stefano decided that rather than the traditional 2 person project team that goes on the majority of honeymoons he would make his a 3 person team.
To his wife’s understandable annoyance, Stefano’s 3 person honeymoon team included himself, his new wife and his mother.
The project team first started showing signs of a split when the mother-in-law turned up at the airport for the flight to the honeymoon destination of Paris.
A honeymoon in Paris sounds great until you realise that your mother-in-law is staying in an adjoining room at the hotel you’re staying at and accompanying you to every meal and romantic boat trip along the Seine.
One month after the wedding and Marianna left the marriage home they shared in Rome and returned to her home town of Naples leaving the 39 year old Stefano without a wife.
Maybe Marianna is more of a Belbin’s “Completer Finisher” than Stefan and his mum may have thought.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/belbins-role-models.png9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2019-08-02 15:24:282019-08-05 20:52:20The 3 person honeymoon and Belbin team roles...
Anyone that has studied hard for their exams will almost certainly at one time or another utilised the services of a strong coffee.
Whilst desperately trying to cram that last bit of knowledge into your brain before the exams there is often a temptation to grab a strong coffee late in the night to keep your mind awake.
For years students around the world have been utilising the caffeine in coffee to help get that extra mark or two.
Coffee is said to originate from East Africa where legend has it that a 9th century Ethiopian goat herder by the name of Starbucks Kaldi noticed that after his goats had ate some coffee beans they started bouncing around like teenagers at the local disco.
This started the journey of coffee and associated caffeine hits so loved by students around the world.
Over in Thailand though a new type of coffee has just been put on sale which has, how can I put it, but a pretty unusual processing method.
The key staff involved in the processing function are also unusual as they have massive heads and bodies, weigh on average 4,000 kg and are grey in colour.
Yes, that’s right. The key team members involved in processing coffee are 20 Thai elephants.
The new brew of coffee is “processed” by getting the elephants to eat some coffee beans and then stepping back (in fact stepping way back) and letting the natural digestive juices in their stomachs do the job of “processing” the beans before they are deposited naturally on the ground a day later.
The beans are then handpicked out of the elephant dung by people who probably don’t bite their nails before being dried and then ground into coffee.
The finished coffee is said to have a slight pooey taste smooth flavour without the bitterness of normal coffee and is some of the most expensive coffee in the world selling for nearly £150 per kilo.
It’s certainly an unusual production technique but it’s also for a good cause as 8% of the sales revenue goes towards the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, a refuge for rescued elephants in Thailand.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/ExP_coffee.jpg453806Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2019-05-24 14:15:202019-05-25 20:51:46Would you drink this coffee?
Well, if you are male and your boss is also male there could be some disappointing career news for you if you think you are better looking than your boss.
A study has suggested that male bosses are less likely to promote good-looking men who work for them.
The study by University College London’s School of Management concluded that good-looking men were considered competent by their male bosses but as a result were also seen as a threat to them and their own personal career aspirations.
This raises an interesting point. Organisations no doubt want to employ the most competent people but if a male boss is reluctant to recruit or promote good-looking men because they take the view they are a threat to them personally then it means that good-looking men could be discriminated against whether or not they are competent.
Dr Sun Young Lee, the lead researcher on the study was quoted as saying “organisations want to hire competent candidates but individuals have their own agenda. When employing someone, they do not want the newcomer to do better than them and show them up”.
“What about good-looking females” I hear you say?
The study concluded that the same prejudice did not apply to women. Being a good looking lady was not associated with competence according to the study.
The study was published in the Organisational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes journal and Dr Lee felt her results suggested that organisations should consider appointing external recruitment consultants to avoid personal preferences impacting on recruitment decisions.
One additional point though is that if you yourself are male and have recently been overlooked for a promotion by your male boss then surely the only reason you didn’t get the promotion was because you are better looking than him…
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/ExP-Blog.jpg9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2019-05-17 19:38:022019-05-17 21:33:28Are you better looking than your boss?
It wasn’t long ago that you only saw almonds in health food shops but things are changing quickly.
The health benefits of almonds are extensive. They are a rich source of vitamin E, calcium, iron and zinc to name just a few items. They can be eaten raw, made into almond oil or almond milk. They are one of nature’s super foods.
If almonds have been around for a long time, why is there suddenly such an interest in them?
If you link it to the environmental analysis model PESTEL you could argue that one of the areas within the “Social” element of PESTEL that has changed recently is that people are more health aware (if you are tucking into your burger and chips whilst reading this I should stress that health awareness doesn’t necessarily mean everyone undertakes healthy eating!)
However, it does seem that people around the world are eating significantly more almonds. So much so that there is a rush to plant almond trees.
The world’s almond crop is estimated to be worth nearly $5 billion per year and the centre of almond production is California where 80% of the world’s almond crop is produced. During the last three years alone 150,000 acres of almond trees have been planted in California.
Whilst the ever increasing number of almond eaters around the world are no doubt happy about this, there are a number of people who are far from happy.
California farmers have been removing tomato, melons and other crops to replace them with almond crops. There is a problem though as the almond tree require significantly more water than the other crops.
To produce a single almond requires about 4.5 litres of water. Multiply that by the millions of almonds that will be produced on the land and you can see what an impact it will have on the local water supply.
California has been suffering droughts for a number of years and in the past there have been certain water restrictions in place for individuals. So far, the almond growers have escaped these water restrictions but a number of activist groups have been set up and this situation could soon change.
Will we see a lot of thirsty almond trees in California in the near future….
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/almond-nuts.png9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2019-05-10 09:34:022019-05-16 14:03:30What's the link between almonds, PESTEL and water?
It sounds like the start of a riddle but there’s an important underlying message. Namely, organisations should be monitoring the environment they are operating in to see if any changes could be impacting on their business.
A classic model for analysing the impact the external environment can have on an organisation is the PESTEL model. Those of you that are thinking of studying for your professional exams will possibly be thinking that it stands for Parties, Eating, Sleeping, Talking, Entertaining and Laughing but if you’ve passed your exams then you are probably more comfortable with the fact that it stands for Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental and Legal.
Whilst all the components of this model can be important, one area which is particularly topical is the “social” component.
Within the social component one change which a lot of countries are currently seeing is people’s increased health awareness and the increase in demand for vegetarian (no meat) and vegan (no meat or dairy) food.
Ben & Jerry’s is one of the world’s leading ice cream companies and they no doubt have a very sophisticated approach to monitoring the environment. One of the more impressive things they’ve done over the last couple of years is to launch some new products which will appeal to the vegan market.
If you are a vegan, then you don’t eat meat or dairy products and whilst you are unlikely to find an ice cream made out of chicken you are extremely likely to find an ice cream made out of milk.
Ben & Jerry’s though have nicely got around this problem by launching a number of flavours of vegan ice cream.
“How can they be vegan if they are ice cream?” I hear you say.
Well, the vegan ice creams are made with almond milk as opposed to dairy milk. Now technically that means they are frozen desserts and not ice cream but I can’t see any vegan being particularly upset about that.
The non dairy range has recently expanded in the UK and Ben & Jerry’s have just launched their first coconut flavoured vegan ice cream.
It’s called “Coconutterly Caramel’d” and blends coconut-flavoured ice cream with ribbons of caramel, Fair Trade chocolate, and cookies.
“Coconut ice cream, caramel, chocolate and cookies” – I don’t know about you but just reading that description makes me feel peckish.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/ben_and_jerrys.png9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2018-12-23 15:19:102019-01-04 08:24:56When is an ice cream not an ice cream?
Advertising can have a dramatic impact on what people buy and in countries which celebrate Christmas, one of the busiest buying seasons is upon us.
It’s traditional in the run up to Christmas in the UK for the big retailers to release a major TV advert. The retailer John Lewis for example has released it’s Christmas advert staring Elton John (who reportedly received a fee of £5 million for his input).
For me though the clear winner in the Christmas adverts is the “Rang tang” advert by the supermarket chain Iceland.
The advert was originally produced by the global charity Greenpeace and highlights the destruction of the rainforest caused by the production of palm oil (palm oil is found in many everyday products ranging from food staples such as bread to cosmetics).
The companies that produce palm oil are cutting down vast amounts of trees and as a result the Orangutan apes are really suffering. In simple terms, their homes are being destroyed and they are dying as they have nowhere to live.
Iceland spent £500,000 on putting the advertising campaign together and have pledged to remove palm oil from all their own brand products.
The advert, which was voiced over by actress Emma Thompson, has run into some problems with Clearcast, the body which approves or rejects television adverts in the UK. They have ruled that it is too political and as a result it has been banned from being shown on television.
The good news for this advert though is that Clearcast don’t regulate social media and the advert has been a hit on Facebook and YouTube.
At the time of writing, the advert had been viewed over 5 million times on YouTube.
If you haven’t seen it yet, I’d urge you to watch it below as it’s a great advert which raises awareness of an important global issue.
You probably haven’t heard of Klaus Maertens but I reckon that most of you will have seen what he started.
Klaus was a German soldier who back in 1945 had a broken foot and wanted a boot without the traditional hard sole. Together with his friend Herbert Funk, who was a mechanical engineer, he designed an air cushioned sole which led to the global footwear brand Dr Martens.
Since those early days, the product has had an up and down history. In the 1970s they were very fashionable and sales grew. By the time the early 2000s came around they were having production problems and competition from other similar brands of footwear had increased.
They nearly went out of business but a swing in fashion brought them back on track and in 2013 they were purchased by Permira, the private equity group, for £300 million.
Since then their fortunes have prospered and they recently released their latest set of financials.
Revenue has shot up by 20% to £349 million and earnings were up 14% to £50 million.
Their “Direct To Consumer” (DTC) channels are doing very well and now represent 40% of their total revenue. DTC is where the products are sold directly to the consumers and not via an intermediary such as an independent shoe shop.
Dr Marten’s store count has increased by 25 to 94 and the new stores show the global reach of the brand (9 in the UK, 7 in mainland Europe, 3 in New York and 3 in Japan).
Kenny Wilson, CEO of Dr. Martens said: “Dr. Martens has delivered another outstanding year. We are an iconic brand that does things in our own unique, disruptive way and that is unifying our consumers across the globe. The business’ investment in our DTC channels, both in terms of retail stores and E-commerce, is bearing fruit, and these will remain priority channels for us.”
All in all, Dr Martens seem to be putting their best foot forward.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Dr_Martens.png9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2018-11-02 20:24:262018-11-07 07:35:55Step on it...
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