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Gen Z: How This New Generation Is Changing the Workplace

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Generation Z includes people born between 1996 and 2010, following the millennials (whose generational boundaries depend on the source, generally spanning the mid-1980s to late 1990s). These groups have both similarities and differences that employers need to understand before the first wave of Gen Z college graduates hits the job market.

America Ferrera: My identity is a superpower – not an obstacle

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In today’s companies, especially given the newer generations of workers, many individuals do not fit neatly into the same shapes as their predecessors a few years ago. Whether it is a fast or slow process, people change over time and work places have to adapt to that. Here is the story of one individual who wants to shift beliefs and narratives in her entire industry.

America Ferrera is an American actress, producer, director and activist. She believes that stories have the power to make people better, so she shares with the world her own life story, in order to demonstrate that someone’s physical attributes, financial situation, or culture are considered obstacles only in their mind. She considers that you only have to change your attitude instead of changing yourself.

As a 9-year-old girl, her dream was to become an actress, but everybody told her that she can not be successful in Hollywood because she is “too poor”, “too fat”, “too brown”. Also, her manager said that she had unrealistic expectations. At that moment she felt that her identity was an obstacle. Consequently, she started putting effort in changing herself according to society’s expectations.

Ironically, her first role required her to be exactly who she was, a curly, fat, poor Latina. After that movie’s success, she realized that people wanted to see stories about people like her, but it took four years to get another role.

She was the main character in the popular TV series Ugly Betty.  Ugly Betty was seen in the US by 16 million viewers and was nominated to 11 Emmys. But despite its success, there were no other roles played by a Latina actress on American television for years.

She constantly accepted failure as her own and felt deep shame because she could not overcome the obstacles. Then she realized that she wanted to adapt to the system, by accepting that it was not possible for her to exist in her dream.

“Change will come when each of us has the courage to question our own fundamental values and beliefs, and then see that our actions lead to our best intentions.”

Like many people, America Ferrera found herself in the middle of a clash – between the safety of what’s always been done and the unproven novelty of something new. Oftentimes, this clash may not yield the results one would expect, however Ferrera pushed on. Her story can be a valuable lesson for those individuals who struggle to fit in at work.

While simply changing things for the sake of change is not in and of itself positive, certain forms of change are almost always positive. Introducing new mentalities, attitudes and mindsets that do not fundamentally alter the way things are done, but simply add another layer, is usually a healthy and sustainable way of going about change.


Video source: Ferrera A. (2019), My identity is a superpower – not an obstacle, TED Talks

Academic Interview: Randa Hariri

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HaririBack in 2017, the Performance Magazine editorial team interviewed Randa Hariri, Ph.D. and Director of Strategic-Operational Planning & Performance Evaluation Department/Assistant Professor at the Dar Al-Hekma University, Saudi Arabia. We aimed to get insight from a seasoned scholar on how PM can improve.

Performance management has to undertake a paradigm shift from adopting a judgment and accountability approach, to following an improvement and enhancement approach.

Employee of the Month: Silvana Badita, Research Analyst

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Join us in our journey to interview some of the most extraordinary individuals that continue to make The KPI Institute a role-model for others to follow. In today’s edition, we will be featuring September’s Employee of the Month, Silvana Bădiță.

1. What is your role at The KPI Institute and what makes it special?

I have been working as a Research Analyst at The KPI Institute, for about a year. Some of my main responsibilities are to document KPIs, to conduct primary and secondary research on performance management-related topics, to provide support in the form of research customization for different functional areas, as well as provide assistance in consultancy projects.

This variety of tasks contributes to creating a special dynamic in my daily activities, which opens up a great opportunity to develop my skills and competencies, and to acquire more expertise in different functional areas & industries.

A truly special feature of my work is that I’m guided by inspiration and creativity, which gives me tremendous satisfaction.

Moreover, another aspect that makes my job special is that I’m encouraged to think outside the box, in order to find the best solutions to today’s organizational challenges. This provides a valuable perspective on discovering the things that really matter in the field of performance.

2. What do you find most challenging at The KPI Institute?

A particularly important aspect of my work is translating the theoretical side of research into practical changes, which can then aid an organization’s development and performance.

This is equal parts challenging and riveting, for the same reason – it’s not often easy to see how an idea on paper can be transposed into reality. However, when you do manage to do it successfully, it offers an exhilarating sense of success.

3. What would be the three main career lessons that you have learnt thus far?

  • Never stop learning – do not become complacent – this is very important to always keep at the back of your mind because otherwise, you will not be able to adapt to the requirements imposed by today’s constantly changing society.
  • Set clear and measurable results – it is important to understand how your activity contributes to the organizational results, so do not overshoot your markers – aim for pragmatism, not grandeur.
  • Work as a team – I think this aspect is often underrated and it is a great shame because goals become more aligned when you work as a team. Teamwork leads to a greater chance of achieving your common goals.

4. If you could interview one person, either from the past or present, who would it be and why?

Considering that I am passionate about creating organizational cultures that are based on the continuous employee commitment to achieving higher levels of performance, I wish I could interview Daniel Pink, to learn more about people’s intrinsic motivations and what drives us.

Employee of the Month: Alex Podariu, Head of IT & Graphic Department

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Join us in our journey to interview some of the most extraordinary individuals that continue to make The KPI Institute a role-model for others to follow. In today’s edition, we will be featuring July’s Employee of the Month, Alexandru Podariu.

1. What is your role at The KPI Institute and what makes it special?

I am currently employed as the Head of IT, at The KPI Institute. My day-to-day work includes anything and everything that has to do with ensuring our digital footprint, services, and websites are updated and run smoothly.

I enjoy my role here because we work on extremely eclectic projects, which always provide me with something new to achieve or put together. Things never get boring working in IT here.

2. What do you find most challenging at The KPI Institute?

Since we tackle so many different projects, there’s a never-ending source of new things to do every day. It would be nice sometimes to be able to plan tasks in advance, but I cannot complain too much – the constant shift in tasks keeps me on my toes.

What’s more, due to this, I get to expand my knowledge and use many different tools, gadgets, instruments, and technologies in various work endeavours that I get assigned to.

3. What would be the three main career lessons that you have learnt thus far?

  1. Never call it quits – even when a situation looks dire and you have no idea whether there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, keep going. You might need to pause for a brief moment and rethink your strategy, but as long as you stay focused, you’re golden. Also, never forget about the IT rubber ducky!
  2. Keep learning new things knowledge doesn’t end when a project is finished; knowledge ends when you cease to be interested in perfecting your craft. At least in my area of specialization, there is no finish line. We keep going and going. Each task is something new – either an update to an old solution or a completely novel discovery altogether.
  3. Continue to optimize everything – the biggest “sin” I see people in IT commit is not giving optimization its due respect. Your website’s loading slowly? Optimize it! Your game’s not loading correctly? Recheck optimization! Your program’s stuttering? Optimize the code! Optimization is the difference between a choppy and smooth interaction.

4. If you could interview one person, either from the past or present, who would it be and why?

I think the person I’d be most inclined to talk to would be Elon Musk. The man has no chill. The man perseveres, trudges on, and never gives up regardless of how many naysayers he encounters.

In my opinion, that level of determination is incredible, and I’d like to know how he managed to inculcate in himself such an attitude.

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