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Work-Life Integration

4 Fun Ways To Promote Cohesion Between Your Employees

Build A Cohesive Team And Have Fun Doing It!

If there were one thing that could quickly impact your business' profitability, it would be a team that doesn't work well together. It's like a chain with a few missing links. The only way forward is to repair the chain so that everything stays nicely connected and works as a single unit with one goal in mind – success. If you are looking to promote cohesion among your employees, let the fun begin! Here are four ways you can build a cohesive team and have fun doing it.


1. Use Weekly Staff Meetings to Lighten the Mood

Think back to the years when you were a director or manager who dreaded those weekly team meetings. They were boring and the only thing you could think of for the entire duration is that you'd rather be sitting anywhere but here listening to statistics and how the team needed to ramp things up a notch. This could easily be handled with a company-wide memo and so your mind starts to drift. Instead of using that weekly meeting to go over facts and figures, why not send a memo and use that time to play a game or two? Let your team get to know each other.

Pair them off and tell them to share a secret, something they've never shared before. It could be an imaginary secret; in fact, it's better if it is! The point is to make that secret so bizarre that the originator will surely hear the 'rumours' over the coming week if it was shared. There are variations of this where the secret is written down on a small scrap of paper and the group has to guess who told that secret. Make those staff meetings fun for at least part of the time. Go over facts and figures if you must, but don't lose your audience in the process! Break it up a bit.

2. Treasure Hunts Throughout the Week

This one can be loads of fun if done right. There are a number of variations to this type of scavenger hunt game, but the idea is to keep everyone searching for something in plain sight throughout the week. It could be a clock on the wall or a customer service manual on a shelf. The idea is to give them clues but not exactly what they are looking for. This is ideal for a Monday morning meeting before giving the synopsis of the week's tasks which must be concluded by Friday.

It is fun to see how your employees begin talking among themselves when putting the clues together to find the treasure. Anyone who guesses correctly on Friday afternoon receives some form of prize. It could be tickets to the cinema or dinner for two at a local restaurant. However, anyone who guesses correctly would need to be rewarded.

3. Attend Off-Site Events

If you find that your employees are simply not warming up to each other, it may be time to bring in the pros. HR team building experts can quickly assess the situation and then put together a team building package. Sometimes they encourage taking everyone to outside events and other times they recommend internal corporate team building events, which they will put together for you. It may be a day-long affair over the course of a week with each department getting their own day. They get paid for the day but aren't stuck at their workstation. Instead, they will be participating in a team building event. This is one of the most valuable team building activities because everyone dreams of a paid day off. In effect, this is just what this mini-seminar is!

4. Team Sports

Why not form a football team amongst your employees? Encourage other companies in your area to do the same. Have a weekly game and even a championship series once or twice a year. The trick is to get everyone involved in some way. Those who are older or aren't in a condition to be out there on the playing field could be scorekeepers or referees.

If there are no other interested companies, make it front-of-the-house against back-end teams. You can have your event monthly or weekly and you can play the game on company time as an added bonus. The key is to have fun and get to know others you've worked with for years and never even knew their name. In the end, it's like a variation on that old proverb. A team that plays together stays together and that's just what cohesion is all about. Play together, stay together with a single purpose in mind, success.

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Why Female Presidential Candidates Are Still Told to Be Chill, Not Shrill

The Dated, Everyday Tech Stifling Women's Voices Shows the Importance of Diversity in Tech

"You're not like other girls. You're so...chill."

I've gotten that "compliment" from multiple guys in multiple contexts — and I'm ashamed to admit that until a few years ago, I took it as one.

Occasionally I'd wonder why. After all, anyone who knows me well knows I am the Anti-Chill: a tightly wound stress ball, ready to explode into tears at any given moment.

So what was giving these guys the wrong impression? As it turns out, it was my voice. My cool, unnaturally-deep-for-a-woman, never-shrill voice.

And if I'm honest, I always prided myself on not sounding 'like other girls.' No uptalk or high-pitched squeals of glee from me. I thought I sounded smarter and more serious. Talk about internalized misogyny.

This isn't just me though. There is a societal double bind that forces women to spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about the right pitch and tone for each situation.

Just consider the advice that Democratic-debate coach Christine Jahnke gave female candidates to avoid being labeled as shrill: "… go slow and low. Very purposefully slow your pace and lower the tone a bit, because that will add meaning or gravitas to whatever it is you're talking about."

In a nutshell: try and sound chill, not shrill.

What I didn't know, until recently, is how this bias against women's natural voices is being reinforced and amplified by century-old technology. (Just one of many examples of how technology designed by and for men ends up hurting women in the long-run.)

Author Tina Tallon explains this little-known fact in her recent New Yorker article, summarized below:

How 20th Century Tech Is Holding 21st Century Women Back

With the rise of commercial broadcast radio in the 1920s, women's voices began getting critiqued. As Tallon explains, station directors asserted that "women sounded 'shrill,' 'nasal,' and 'distorted.'" So when industry standards were set, directors didn't take women's voices into account.

When Congress limited the bandwidth available to each radio station in 1927, station directors set a bandwidth that would provide the minimum amount of information necessary to understand "human" speech.

They used lower voices as their benchmark, so the higher frequency components of women's speech necessary to understand certain consonants were cut, making women's voices less intelligible.

  • Researcher J.C. Steinberg asserted that, "nature has so designed woman's speech that it is always most effective when it is of soft and well-modulated tone." He explained that if a woman raised her voice on air, it would exceed the limitations of the equipment. As Tallon says, "He viewed this as a personal and biological failing on women's part, not a technical one on his."

Why You Should Care

Women have always been told to lower their voices, but this 20th century approach to sound frequencies is still accepted as the standard, literally forcing women to lower their voices if they want to be heard.

  • To this day, many algorithms and speakers distort women's speech by limiting higher frequencies, causing women's voices to lose definition and clarity.

Tallon sums it up well:

"Consequently, women are still receiving the same advice that they were given in the nineteen-twenties: lower the pitch of your voice, and don't show too much emotion. By following that advice, women expose themselves to another set of criticisms, which also have a long history: they lack personality, or they sound 'forced' and 'unnatural.'"


----

So as we continue to grapple with implicit biases against women, from what it means to be "presidential" to who's considered an "innovative leader," let's remember the importance of diversity in tech.

Had a woman been involved in researching/setting the standards for radio frequencies, she might've been able to steer the industry towards a voiceband that would allow men and women to be heard equally well. And perhaps had a more impartial voiceband been established, I'd have heard a more diverse range of female speakers growing up, and internalized fewer biases myself.

That's why we care so much at PowerToFly about making sure cutting-edge companies have diverse teams.

Times were different then, sure, but the fact that Depression Era standards are still impacting how we hear (or don't hear) women's voices is a vital reminder that what we do today impacts our world for centuries to come.

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