Thursday, November 20, 2014

Employee Engagement & Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Employee engagement is a workplace mantra.  Managers around the globe are starting to think about how to create a culture where employees thrive and become committed members of the team.  When a company is able to inspire its employees to adopt its goals through engagement, the company will see the benefits in productivity.  One way of doing this is to start with understanding how we as humans are inspired in the first place.  What do we need to become committed and how do employers meet that need?  If you could ask noted psychologist, Abraham Maslow, he might tell you meet their hierarchy of needs.

Who is Maslow and what is his Hierarchy of Needs?
Abraham Maslow proposed in a paper he wrote, “A Theory of Human Motivation” published in Psychological Review in 1943, that people’s motivations are unrelated to rewards or unconscious desires.  He theorized that people are motivated by what has become known as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  The hierarchy is depicted in a pyramid that contains five levels.  These levels include: Physiological Needs, Safety Needs, Social Needs, Esteem Needs, and Self-Actualization.

According to, people are motivated to achieve each of the needs in the pyramid.  After people fulfill the needs at one level they move on to the next.  To progress up the pyramid each lower need must be met.  Any time there is a failure to meet the needs at a lower level it disrupts the person’s ability to progress.  Life is unpredictable.  As situations arise these experiences can cause an individual to move back and forth between levels.

According to Maslow, only one in one hundred people ever become fully self-actualized. This is mainly due to our society which primarily rewards motivation based on esteem, love and other social needs.

How Does Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Help Us Understand Employee Engagement?
To understand how Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs relates, we need to see the bigger picture.  Let’s start with Gallup’s “State of the American Workplace”. According to the report published last year, only 30 percent of employees are engaged.  Another 52 percent are disengaged and 18 percent are actively disengaged. What exactly does that mean?  It means that 70 percent of the American workforce is not committed to their organization’s goals and values.  They are not motivated to contribute to the organization’s success.  These workers are emotionally disconnected and less productive.

According to an article in Forbes, “Surprising, Disturbing Facts from the Mother of All Employee Engagement Surveys”, the leading factor that influences employee engagement is the relationship the employee has with their managers.  Choosing the right leaders significantly impacts the workforce.

“Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.” —Sam Walton
According to a study by, “Global Human Capital Trends 2014—engaging the 21st Century Workforce”, 65 percent of executives rated “overwhelmed employees” as an urgent need that must be addressed.  The “always on” employee was built by mobile technology.  We are always connected 24/7.  The new “workaholic” lifestyle just increases with seniority and income.

In addition to employees being overwhelmed, some other reasons for disengaged employees are: workload is too high, companies that do not invest in talent development, no advancement opportunities for high performers, non-inclusive culture, transitions in leadership.

“People leave managers, not organizations.” —Anonymous
The key to engaging employees, motivating your team, and increasing productivity in the long run is to invest in your workers.  Re-design the position, add benefits that matter, change the work environment and develop your team and leadership.  It is not always easy to re-engage a disengaged employee, but people aren’t motivated by the bottom line.  They are motivated by the things that meet their hierarchy of needs.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Business & the Future of Social Technology

There are 1.5 billion social network users world-wide.  According to a global survey conducted by McKinsey&Company, businesses can, not only benefit from social media, but actually become more productive in the process.  

By utilizing web 2.0, as social media is often referred, businesses can virtually eliminate the wait time created when using traditional methods of business communications such as e-mail and instant messaging.  In fact according to the survey, 72 percent of the companies reported that they used some form of social technology in their day to day business.  90 percent of these businesses reported a benefit from the use of social networking technologies.

Who is using social networking? Not as many people as there should be.  The highest percentage of social technology users were middle managers at 65 percent.  Frontline users were not far behind at 60 percent. As businesses begin to utilize social networking technologies as a way to connect with their customers, it is fast becoming the trend in marketing and customer service. According to the survey, 35 percent of businesses are using social networking for customer service.

Depending how much Web 2.0 technologies are integrated into the infrastructure of the business, the benefits can range.  What can be said about using social network technologies in business is that the more “networked” a business is, the more benefits they will see—internally as well as in their customer base.  Customers are way ahead of businesses on the social networking front and businesses have a lot of catching up to do.

Using social networking both internally and externally in business can increase the speed at which information is obtained—as much as a 30% improvement according to the survey.  It can also reduce communication costs, decrease travel costs, reduce operating costs, and increase the effectiveness of marketing.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Sneak Peek! Adobe Creative Cloud Photoshop: Introduction

Creative opportunities abound with Adobe’s Creative Cloud.  Last year, Adobe announced that it would no longer release new versions of its Creative Suite.  The plans for a cloud based software service that was first suggested in 2011, became a reality.

The Creative Cloud has many of the same features as the suite version, but there are new features as well.  There are also new mobile apps that give the end user more power and mobility in their creative expression.

Adding to our extensive library, we have recently completed recording on courses for Adobe Creative Cloud Photoshop: Introduction and Adobe Creative Cloud Photoshop: Advanced.  These courses will be available in the coming weeks on our website:

Enjoy this sneak peek:

Want more sneak peeks of our courses? You can view the first three lessons of any course for free at our website.  Want to be the first to know when we post a sneak peek or post a course live? Follow our: New Course Showcase Page

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Multitasking: You’re not as Productive as You Think

Mobile technology enables us to be hyper-connected to the ever expanding network of social and business worldwide.  It enables us to multitask like never before.  According to a study on technology and human potential, the negative effects of this “always on” mentality is an increased loss of patience and the need for instant gratification.

As technology advances it creates avenues for getting things done.  Working on multiple projects, doing multiple tasks all at the same time—but what are the results?  In our new inpatient world, we may be watching television, while checking emails; and at the same time: surfing the net, texting with friends, scheduling appointments, and even throwing in a game of Candy Crush—after all there may be a few seconds of lag time between texts, commercials, and webpage loading.  

The question is: How much attention are we giving to each of the projects or tasks we are doing? Are we really being that productive?
“When we talk about multitasking, we are really talking about attention.” --Christine Rosen, The Myth of Multitasking
One study estimates that multitasking costs global businesses 450 Billion each year.  The research shows that people who engage in multitasking actually end up wasting 40 percent of their productive time switching between tasks.  They also have a higher susceptibility to distractions.  Why is this? 

According to a study on distracted drivers, multitasking is a myth.  In this study it was revealed that the brain does not perform two or more tasks at once—what we like to believe it can do when we multitask.  Instead the brain actually performs these multiple tasks very quickly in a sequential order.  This “attention switching” gives us the false feeling of doing more in less time.  

While the brain attempts to juggle the tasks it is given, it must also juggle the focus and attention to each task, this results in a reaction time or delay.  These delays may be a few tenths of a second or more.  That may not seem like a lot, but they do add up. 

When we multitask we are also prone to making mistakes, which then we need time to fix.  Multitasking ends up making us ineffectual.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Take Our Online Course Poll!

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KnowledgeCity is the number one way for organizations to train their departments effectively and efficiently.

Friday, October 17, 2014

5 Reasons to Learn Windows 8, Despite the Fact We Hate It

So you purchased a new computer or upgraded your operating system and, low and behold, you see a screen full of funky squares and rectangles with various icons which someone thought would be user “friendlier” than the old way. 

“But we like the old way,” You say, “and wait a minute. How do I get in this thing? Where is the start button?” Surprise! There isn’t one in this new “Metro” style user interface.  Despite your current anxiety, you fumble through trying desperately to figure things out.  It takes some getting used to, yes it does.  

Then you hear there is a new Windows in the works and you think, “I’m saved!” Guess what? The next Windows version is jumping straight from 8.1 to 10, but features of Windows 8 are not going away they are being integrated into the 10. 

Don’t worry; you will get a start button and other great features.  So despite the fact we all want Windows 8 to go away, the fact remains in its entirety or in its parts it plans to stick around.  So let’s make the best of it.  Here are 5 reasons to learn Windows 8:
  1. Gone but Never Forgotten—For Windows 10, the integration of live tiles and apps that were new in Windows 8 are a couple of the features that will be integrated in the new OS.  The Windows 8 start screen actually does have some cool features, so new is not necessarily always bad and if pieces are going to remain maybe we should learn how they work.
  2. 59 Million Devices running Windows 8—that’s right, 59 Million.  There are potentially 59 million users scratching their heads wondering, “What’s this Windows 8 mess and what have you done with my start button?”  Sounds like a teaching moment.  Learning Windows 8 could benefit the masses, well, maybe some of the 59 million anyway.
  3. New is Bad! Or is It?—Windows 8 may just be an OS that is ahead of its time. If the net share results have any say, and you may think that I’m crazy, but it has actually gone up since last year.  So either people are settling, or they have learned how to use it and discovered how awesome it is.  See for yourself the stats don’t lie: 
  4. It’s Easier to Learn than You Thinkunfortunately the integration of a dual purpose desktop didn’t work out too goodIt’s a tablet and a PC—how convenient—not.  But that doesn’t mean you should not learn Windows 8.  There are some who believe that Windows 8 has a lot to offer, but was really designed for touch.  The live tiles are great on a tablet; not so much on a PC.  Still, according to an article in InformationWeek, there is only a moderate learning curve and most people should be able to pick up basic navigation in 10 minutes.
  5. Windows 8 is not All Bad—According to an article on PC Magazine’s website, Windows 8 is not all bad.  It does have some very appealing features: faster start-up, access to skydrive, apps and better security than its predecessors.    

Monday, October 13, 2014

Learn the Fundamentals of Photoshop using the Creative Cloud

KnowledgeCity’s new course, Adobe Creative Cloud Photoshop: Introduction, will be available soon.

Adobe Creative Cloud Photoshop: Introduction is a beginner’s course which introduces students to the fundamentals of Adobe Photoshop, a pixel-based image editing software application, using the Creative Cloud. 

It is the same software used by professional graphic artists and photographers to create and modify images for use in print, multimedia and web design.

This graphic design training course includes topics on: working with the tools and the user interface, using brushes, making selections, masking, layer basics, repairing and colorizing photos, correcting and enhancing digital photographs and much more.

The course is taught by Carolyn O’Barr; a certified Adobe Education Trainer. She is a freelance graphic artist and instructor. She has taught media arts and technology at colleges and universities for 15 years, and is proficient in numerous software programs in the Adobe Creative Suite.

Carolyn works with students of all levels, from the computer novice to professionals in the workplace. She is patient and very good at taking complex topics and explaining them in a clear and concise way. She is responsible for nurturing many students who have become award winners and successful professionals.

If you are using an older version of Photoshop we have courses in CS3 and CS4 too!

If you would like to be notified when this course goes live, follow our New Courses Page on LinkedIn and be the first to know!