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  • Only a minority of workers surveyed think they have good work-life balance, and they cite the constant access to technology as a primary culprit, according to a recent survey conducted by the Harris Poll for Workfront. The "Work-Life Imbalance Report" points out that a combination of demanding bosses, the constant need to work outside of normal hours and inflexible schedules regularly intrude on personal time. As a result, many employees have missed major life occasions, such as birthdays and their children's events, and most feel that the concept of the family dinner has essentially been ruined. Citing other research, Workfront notes that studies show that employees are more focused when they receive appropriate amounts of downtime. The company suggests that employers should establish acceptable times to send and receive emails (and when not to send messages), and should encourage their staffers to use all their available paid time off (PTO). "Technology is infused throughout our modern lifestyle—be it in the home or at work—but we need to be conscientious about how and when to use it," advises Joe Staples, CMO of Workfront. "More times than not, there are no parameters set by employers on what they require from employees after hours. So the default can be an always-on lifestyle—with a potential for burnout." More than 600 workers took part in the survey.

  • Money isn't everything, but it certainly can help solve a lot of problems. So it's good to know that nine of the 15 employers on Glassdoor's recently released "America's 15 Highest Paying Companies" are technology firms. Other organizations on the list are also constantly seeking top IT talent and are clearly willing to pay for it. The tech companies featured here include an Emmy-award-winning streaming media powerhouse, a virtualization giant and a Web browser pioneer. Tech "salaries are high largely because of shortages of the highest skilled employees needed to advance business into new realms," according to Glassdoor's accompanying report. "Booming demand for software engineers, database administrators and data scientists has far outpaced the supply of these skilled, hard-to-find employees. With companies scrambling to poach these valuable workers from competitors, a bidding war has pushed tech salaries to unprecedented heights in recent years." Glassdoor based its list on compensation data collected from its site users, focusing on companies with at least 30 salary reports.

  • You don't have to immerse yourself in JavaScript or C# to become an in-demand IT professional. In fact, the following 10 skills are considered the hottest right now, in terms of rising demand among employers, according to recent research from Dice.com. The professional communities and job board site based its list on the skills cited as requirements by employers over the past two years, determined by the number of job postings in which the various skills appeared. The list covers the range of trends that are affecting technology now and will in the future, including data management, application development, analytics, software development and online content. (They even include a derivative of a programming language that's more than four decades old!) In addition, one particular skill addresses a trend that Baseline has reported on frequently: the growing alignment of IT and marketing to drive business growth. For whatever technology and business purposes they serve, the skills on this list have risen in terms of ranked demand (times mentioned in job postings) by an estimated 1,800 positions, with the top fastest-growing skills climbing well over 2,500 job slots between 2013 and 2014.

  • Anyone who's ever been interviewed for a job has probably been asked at least one really tough, seemingly oddball interview question. You know what we're talking about: the kind of inquiry that seemingly comes out of nowhere for no apparent purpose. If you're interviewing for an applications development opening, for example, a hiring manager may ask, "What flavor of ice cream would you be?" Or "What's the fastest time you've ever solved a Rubik's Cube?" Or "How many grains of sand would it take to fill a 20-ounce bottle of Coke?" The job candidates on the receiving end of such questions may think they are intended to cause instant panic, but they'd be wrong. Responses to the ice cream question, for instance, will reveal something about a candidate's personality. And the other two questions speak to a potential hire's analytical skills. After conducting a recent survey, CareerBuilder has come up with the following tough but purposeful interview questions. On the surface, they cover everything from pets to outer space to snack foods to Disney characters. However, upon closer review, they also help employers evaluate an applicant's organizational capabilities, problem-solving skills, self-awareness and creativity, among other traits. Nearly 2,200 HR and hiring managers took part in the research.

  • Professionals rarely get ahead by simply being capable "doers." They advance by establishing themselves as organizational influencers. In the recent book, Persuasion Equation: The Subtle Science of Getting Your Way (Amacom/available in May), author Mark Rodgers reveals how professionals can gain traction for their proposals, providing insights into how to turn a potential "no" into a likely "yes." To achieve this, professionals must introduce distinctive—and even bold—ideas that stand out among all the others being presented to management. They also need to earn the buy-in of those within their organization who are already considered major influencers, regardless of their rank. And professionals have to support their proposals with clearly defined strategies and metrics to make them bulletproof. In addition, there are subtle qualities of persuasive people—such as the way they conduct a meeting or engage a colleague in a one-on-one discussion—that help build collective support for their ideas and proposals. The following steps to becoming an influencer are adapted from the book. Rodgers is a principal partner of the Peak Performance Business Group, a consultancy and training company that specializes in effective persuasion and communications.

  • Overall tech employment is soaring, and the number of IT workers now exceeds that of the dot.com peak in 2000, according to recently released research from Janco Associates. Demand remains strong for tech talent across-the-board, especially for those skilled in computer systems design, data processing and hosting. Hiring managers are scrambling to fill tech positions, and, as a result, salaries are increasing for IT staffers, middle managers and executives at both large and midsize enterprises. "The recovery is well under way for IT pros and should continue for some time," says Victor Janulaitis, CEO of Janco Associates. "Hiring is up across the board, as many CIOs have been given the green light to start hiring, and many have open requisitions they cannot fill because of a lack of qualified candidates. … CIOs are now starting to look for lower and mid-level project leads and managers. This is definitely a signal that job prospects will continue to be positive for IT pros." The research is based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Janco Associates' salary survey, which included technology professionals representing more than 900 companies.

  • Organizations are increasingly committing to innovation and are seeking employees who are willing to challenge the status quo and traditional thinking, according to a recent survey from the Business Performance Innovation (BPI) Network. The accompanying report, "Innovation. The New Competitive Equation," indicates that companies are moving beyond mere lip service, and are making innovation part of their enterprise strategy, while focusing on "change agent" qualities as part of their talent development and performance evaluation efforts. They also view a number of emerging technologies--especially big data analytics, collaborative tools and the Internet of everything--as prime disruption drivers. "The shift toward innovation as a leading success factor for business is increasingly accepted within boardrooms and C-Suites around the world," according to the report. "In today's innovation economy, institutions of all types and sizes are challenged to rethink and redesign the future. To do so, they must embrace innovation-driven business cultures, processes and platforms, break down barriers to change, and empower innovation leaders and thinkers across and beyond corporate boundaries." More than 200 global executives took part in the research.

  • The fact that toxic employees exist certainly isn't news to anyone who has worked in virtually any type of organization. These troublesome individuals have been analyzed, studied and written about for decades. Nevertheless, they continue to wreak havoc on both their co-workers and their managers, and they consistently undermine both morale and productivity in their organization. A new report from learning and talent development firm Cornerstone OnDemand, "Toxic Employees in the Workplace: Hidden Costs and How to Stop Them," snaps the issue into sharp focus and provides insights into how to deal more effectively with "bad apples." Among other things, the report points out that the problem extends beyond the direct costs of dealing with toxic employees. Hidden costs also exist. The study, based on a behavioral analysis of 63,000 hired employees and 250,000 specific observations, points out that good employees quit at a much higher rate when they have to work with an intolerable co-worker. Additionally, the onboarding cost of hiring a toxic employee is considerably higher than for other staff members. "Hiring is a very complex process, and a candidate who gave a stellar performance during the interview may turn out to be a poor fit," warns Adam Miller, founder and CEO of Cornerstone OnDemand. "Science-based assessments help … to identify applicants who are not only more qualified for the job, but also a healthier, long-term fit for the organization." Here are some key points from the report.

  • The majority of HR managers queried acknowledge that they've occasionally misjudged a job candidate's capability to fit in with their organization's professional environment, and these decisions have often led to employees either quitting or getting fired, according to a recent survey from OfficeTeam. In many cases, a company's culture can affect the overall job experience as much as the work itself or the salary. So it's up to professionals to understand the key qualities that determine their job satisfaction. For example, some individuals may prefer to join an organization in which assignments and office hours are highly structured. Others may favor a place that embraces employee autonomy and risk-taking—and pays little attention to when team members arrive and leave. Other cultural influencers include corporate values, career advancement opportunities and out-of-office social activities. To get a better sense of what to look for, we're including the following questions to ask yourself about what you seek in company culture. (They are adapted from OfficeTeam suggestions.) "Employers often focus on ensuring a skill fit when recruiting," says Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. "But a corporate culture fit is equally important and more challenging to gauge. Both hiring managers and candidates [should] ask questions during the interview to check that their values align." More than 300 U.S. HR managers took part in the research.