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Business & Workplace news this January

It’s a new year – and this means new business & workplace news for the Greater Atlanta Area & beyond.

Bitmap gets investors

Just last week the Atlanta start up Bitpay announced its plans to install Bitcoin automated machines around the Atlanta area. Bitpay who, Bitcoin what? Learn more about Bitpay here. Maybe you heard about the man whose college game day sign raised thousands of dollars (???).

Just last year this computer mined digital currency announced that they had raised 2.7 Million thanks to the investments of entities such as the Founder Fun (PayPal) and Heisenberg Capital (London based). Horizon Ventures, a Hong Kong based investment firm who manages the private investments of Sir Li Ka-King (Net Worth of 28.8 Billion) is now an investor.

Might you be paying for food & clothing - or possibly even receiving payment for a hard day’s work with Bitcoins one day???? Certainly these investors are counting on it.

Atlanta to host science festival

What do you get when a few Emory University Program Directors come together over Starbucks Coffee?? The first – and hopefully annual - 2014 Atlanta Science Festival. With sponsorship from entities such as Emory, Georgia Tech, Delta, Lockheed Martin, & Georgia Pharmaceuticals (& more!) and collaborations involving organizations like the CDC, Fernbank Museum, Woodruff Arts, The Center for Chemical Evolution, Atlanta Hawks, City of Atlanta (& more!) - this is sure to be a great event.

The overall event will encompass 50 events, 35 venues, & will also happen just next door to the Georgia Robotics Convention. Learn more about how participants, like you, will be able to explore science, technology, engineering, & mathematics.

Who are Georgia’s most innovative companies?

Is your workplace at the top?? Just last year Forbes produced its listing of the World’s Most Innovative Companies. The US has 6 in the top 10! What about innovation right here in Georgia? The Atlanta Business Chronicle has compiled two lists: List A evaluating the number of patents “actually received” by local companies & universities, while List B evaluates the patent applications put forth by local companies & universities.

  • (A) Leaders in Patents Received

AT&T Inc.
Georgia Tech
Siemens Industry Inc.
NCR Corp
Graphic Packaging Holding Co.

  • (B) Leaders in State Patents Applied for

AT&T Inc.
NCR Corp.
Siemens Industry Inc.
Georgia Tech and
AGCO Corp.

We know these companies are no stranger to innovation. One can only wonder what technology they will introduce us to next.

Your Workplace, Today . . . .

Employees discuss negative impact of social media activity recently conducted a survey on the negative employment consequences for Social Media Activity. How do your fellow American workers feel that social media may have impacted them negatively? Take a look . . .

  • 4% of American adults say that something they posted on social media, such as Facebook or YouTube, resulted in them either being fired from their job, not being offered a job, losing a promotion, or being officially reprimanded or disciplined.
  • Over 50% said they were directly told by their supervisor that inappropriate social media postings were the reason for these consequences; 39% said that they were told by someone other than their supervisor; 9% said that they had no direct evidence and were only guessing that social media played a role.

It seems that the potential impact of social media on the workplace continues to be challenging for employees and employers alike. Previous studies conducted by found that 29% of young social media users have posted a photo, video, comment or other personal information that they fear could cost them a job. 21% said that they have removed a social media post because of fear of repercussions from an employer.

Do diverse teams perform better?

A global EY Survey – “The Power of Many: How Companies Use Teams to Drive Superior Corporate Performance” brings us a few interesting findings on developing & managing teams for future competitiveness & success.

  • Of the 821 respondents, 50% feel they don't have leaders with the ability to manage and motivate these teams.
  • 85% deeming €œinclusive leadership, € or the ability to encourage teams to voice diverse perspectives and dissent, to be an effective means of improving performance.
  • 65% say that the extent to which teams are facilitated by technology rather than face-to-face interaction has increased in the past 3 years
  • The majority of respondents express a preference for face-to-face communication as the most valued method of communication.
  • Respondents discussed that they felt effective team leaders demonstrated the following:
    Provide clear direction and leadership
    Create an open and inclusive team culture
    Develop and coach.
  • Respondent’s state the high performing teams are most likely to demonstrate the following:
    Shared vision
    The right mix
    Commitment to quality and results.

Expatriates demand more!

Human Resource professionals listen up - Expatriates are speaking out! What do they want to say? Simply put, they want a little more from their employers. The National Foreign Trade Council & Cigna conducted a survey to explore just what more these globetrotting professionals desire.

  • Good news! It was found that employers are providing those services highly important to expats: general relocation services (80%), settling in services (63%) and medical preparedness (65%).
  • 59% of expats said they were unaware of their employer’s repatriation assistance and didn’t know whether their employer would track what happens to them after they return home.
  • Mobile technology was not a key factor in these expats’ communication needs, with 70% saying they relied on their laptops to access information and only 10% saying they preferred to use a smartphone.
  • 78% of expats or their family members have accessed medical care while on assignment. Expats under age 34 were considerably less informed about the specifics of their health plans. For example, their uncertainty about claim handling was four times higher than the average of other age segments, and their lack of knowledge about where to access health care services was triple that of other segments.
  • Those on assignment with spouses or partners and children were most likely to access care, with percentages as high as 91% in these segments compared to single expats (64%) and expats without children (67%).
  • Expats with spouses, partners and children back in their home country were most likely to seek routine treatment in their home country rather than locally where they were assigned. For example, only 41% of expats without family had accessed care locally while 83% of expats with spouses or family with them accessed care locally.
  • Satisfaction with their employers’ efforts was lowest from expatriates on assignment in Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East, and South America and highest in Australia and Europe.
    Human Resources related concerns:
    • Lack of understanding: E
    xpatriates state many HR personnel have likely never experienced living internationally; therefore, they may have low awareness of the type of challenges expatriates face;
    • Relocation: Expatriates cite a lack of clear information regarding this process;
    • Real estate market differences: HR representatives may not know about these differences; and
    • Responsiveness: Expatriates in various industries point out delays in response time.

* Experience vs. Expectation by regions . . . Central America and Middle East: These regions had the highest percentage of unmet expectations in relation to the quality of life €- this dissatisfaction was more than double other regions;

  • Australia and Europe: Highest satisfaction in quality of life category;
  • Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa: Highest amount of dissatisfaction related to impact on the family; and
  • North America: While overall 13% of respondents reported unmet expectations regarding their assignment benefits package, nearly double (21%) reported dissatisfaction in the United States and Canada.

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