Study: Bad Moods Lead to Bad Passwords

Study: Bad Moods Lead to Bad Passwords

Cybersecurity has emerged as one of the most significant challenges of the digital workplace. Moreover, it is an issue over which organizations don’t always have full control, as it depends to such a great degree on employee behavior. New research from the University of Delaware’s John D’Arcy shows that employees’ moods can influence their cybersecurity habits, for better and for worse:

According to the survey, employees in better moods are more likely to have a positive attitude about security and are more likely to follow policy. “On the flip side, if they’re in a bad mood, what you get can change from day to day,” D’Arcy said. “That makes it more likely that they will violate policy.” …

The team also examined what might cause some of these mood changes in the workplace, and ironically, sometimes the cause of the employees’ bad moods was the security policy itself. The research team calls this a security policy “backfiring.”

“Sometimes if they’re dealing with security requirements that they think are too restrictive or are a hassle, that can have a negative impact,” D’Arcy said. “It’s like too much security puts employees in a negative mood, which then again makes them less likely to follow policy.”

This finding may seem ironic, but in fact it makes perfect sense, because there’s nothing employees find more frustrating than workplace policies that get in the way of them getting their work done.

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After the Election, What Should CEOs Tell Employees?

After the Election, What Should CEOs Tell Employees?

CEOs are human beings and have their own political beliefs, but they also oversee employees whose politics can vary widely and differ greatly from their own. Emotions have run particularly high throughout the US presidential campaign that concluded in last Tuesday’s election, and we are now hearing from the companies we work with that many of their employees were stunned by Donald Trump’s victory and have had extreme emotional reactions to it. This Chicago Tribune feature on how local employers have been handling the aftermath of the election gives an indication of what leaders are dealing with:

Philippe Weiss, managing director of Seyfarth Shaw at Work, the law firm’s Chicago-based workplace consulting arm, said some Clinton supporters were calling company employee assistance programs and “reporting depressing thoughts or even sinking feelings of doom” after nights spent in a “Facebook-fueled sadness spiral.” One marketing firm, he said, reported that employees were experiencing stress reactions such as heart palpitations, shortness of breath and sweaty palms.

On the victorious side, some Trump supporters were celebrating, Weiss said. He described a cargo hauler based south of Chicago that reported “high-fives and cheers as well as some over-the-top gloating,” including terms like “losers.”

Given these extreme reactions, many CEOs are now deciding how to communicate with their workforces about the employees are experiencing. But before any communications are sent, CEOs need to realize that what they say either has the opportunity to refocus their workforce and move them forward or to alienate their workforces and create a productivity drag.

The past few days have given us a couple of high-profile examples to learn from. GrubHub CEO Matt Maloney attracted some controversy with an email to all employees on Wednesday denouncing some of the Trump campaign’s rhetoric and seemingly urging employees who agreed with it to resign. As Ross Kelly explains at Chief Executive, that email prompted some backlash:

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If You Want to Inspire Your Employees, Get Some More Sleep

If You Want to Inspire Your Employees, Get Some More Sleep

You’ve already heard about the value of a good night’s sleep and the dangers of sleep deprivation to your physical and mental health. If you’re an American, you may well be ignoring those warnings: According to the Centers for Disease Control, 50-70 million Americans suffer from some kind of sleep disorder and several recent studies have found that around a third of us regularly get less than the recommended amount of sleep. High-powered CEOs boast of their ability to function on four hours or less a night and indeed, perhaps they can, but those among us who don’t need much sleep are pretty rare: A solid seven or eight hours a night is what most people need.

From an organizational perspective, as McKinsey highlighted in a report earlier this year, sleep deprivation hurts performance and productivity in a whole host of ways, impairing employees’ ability to solve problems, think critically, learn, help others, and make good decisions. Unsurprisingly, it also has a significant detrimental effect on our leadership abilities. Highlighting his latest research at the Harvard Business Review, management professor Christopher Barnes adds that poor sleep habits can even make leaders less charismatic:

Unfortunately, sleep deprivation undermines both the experience of positive emotion as well as the regulation of emotion. As a result, sleep-deprived leaders are less likely to show positive emotion to their teams, and sleep-deprived team members will be less likely to experience positive emotion. Our hypotheses predicted that sleep deprivation of both leaders and team members can undermine attributions of leader charisma. In other words, sleep-deprived leaders are less inspiring, and sleep-deprived team members are harder to inspire.

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