Get access to the exclusive HR Resources you need to succeed in 2018.
Sign up for free email newsletters and get more SHRM content delivered to your inbox.
Is your employee handbook keeping up with the changing world of work? With SHRM's Employee Handbook Builder get peace of mind that your handbook is up-to-date.
Build competencies, establish credibility and advance your career—while earning PDCs—at SHRM Seminars in 14 cities across the U.S. this fall.
Gain the skills you need to rise to the next level in your career. Jon us at SHRM's Leadership Development Forum, October 2-3 in Boston.
Concealing Identity Has an Economic Impact; HR Teams Rank Low In Analytical Skills
Members may download one copy of our sample forms and templates for your personal use within your organization. Please note that all such forms and policies should be reviewed by your legal counsel for compliance with applicable law, and should be modified to suit your organization’s culture, industry, and practices. Neither members nor non-members may reproduce such samples in any other way (e.g., to republish in a book or use for a commercial purpose) without SHRM’s permission. To request permission for specific items, click on the “reuse permissions” button on the page where you find the item.
Concealing Identity Has an Economic Impact
Being forced to hide personal information, such as sexual orientation, can be emotionally stressful. However, researchers also have found that it can negatively affect employees’ productivity and interactions with co-workers.
For employees, the strain of constantly monitoring what they say takes its toll on their work, says Clayton R. Critcher, assistant professor at the University of California at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.
The research adds an economic perspective to what has been primarily a moral debate over the treatment of gays and lesbians in the workplace, he says.
"Employees perform best when they feel comfortable being open about themselves and their identities at work," says Critcher, who conducted the study with Melissa J. Ferguson, associate psychology professor at Cornell University.
They conducted three studies in which some participants were instructed not to reveal their sexual orientation during mock interviews. In the fourth study, the researchers measured whether the participants’ intellectual, physical and interpersonal skills were degraded by concealment. In one study, the participants who concealed their sexual orientation performed 17 percent worse on a military spatial intelligence test than those who went through the interview without instructions to conceal. In another experiment, participants told to hide their sexual orientation exhibited 20 percent less physical stamina. In other tests, participants responded with more anger to a snippy e-mail from a superior and demonstrated poorer performance in executive cognitive functioning.
"Given that people’s sexual identities will inevitably enter into workplace dynamics, sexual orientation should not be treated as a possibly taboo secret but as a type of acceptable and welcome diversity," Critcher says. "If these norms can be made explicit early, such as in job applications or the interview process, gay and lesbian prospects can proceed openly and honestly in a way that will allow them to perform to their potential."
The study, "The Cost of Keeping It Hidden: Decomposing Concealment Reveals What Makes It Depleting," was published online in June 2013 prior to publication in the
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.
HR Teams Rank Low In Analytical Skills
HR departments around the world are viewed as having lower analytical skills than other departments, leaving them ill-prepared for the era of "big data," concludes a study by the American Management Association (AMA) released in October 2013.
In a survey of 789 business professionals in more than 40 countries, only 27 percent ranked their HR staff as being "experts" or "advanced." In contrast, 58 percent gave finance departments the highest rankings, while 51 percent placed executive teams in the top categories.
Half of the surveyed business professionals—they were largely managers and directors—believe that HR professionals have only a "basic" ability. (HR professionals made up the largest subgroup of survey respondents—18 percent.)
"Professionals at all levels have to know what questions to ask and how to make wise choices based on data," says Robert G. Smith, AMA senior vice president.
The survey shows that analytical skills will become even more important in the next five years, requiring companies to ramp up training and development to hone those skills. A lack of resources and corporate culture are the biggest roadblocks preventing organizations from fully leveraging big data, the study found.
"It used to be OK that only a handful of experts in a company had analytical responsibilities, but no longer," he says. "Every function must have the right people with the right skills."
The study, "Conquering Big Data: A Study of Analytical Skills in the Workplace," was conducted for the AMA by the Institute for Corporate Productivity.
For examples of how HR departments are using big data, read
HR Magazine’s October 2013 cover story, "The Benefits of Big Data."
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please sign in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
Join us for the largest and best HR conference in the world, June 23-26, 2019 in Las Vegas.
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 10,000 companies