It may seem counterintuitive to encourage your employees to disagree with you. You may fear that it will promote conflict in the workplace, harm productivity, or simply become a nuisance as you navigate the conversation.
However, there are benefits of teaching your staff to speak up when they think something isn’t right. If you are wondering how you can become a better manager if your employees disagree with you openly, here’s what you need to know.
In the epic words of Bill Gates, “Everyone needs a coach.” Most employee learning takes place on the job, and usually not through formal training programs. As a result, managers need to be ready to step up, guiding the development of their team on a daily basis.
However, many leaders do not spend much time coaching their staff. If you want to help your team and company get ahead, here are some tips to make you a better coach.
While an artificial intelligence (AI) does not have its own personality, per se, that does not mean they are not affected by bias. Deep learning algorithms are designed to identify patterns and use them to make recommendations, come to decisions, or render conclusions. If any part of the learning process promotes bias, then the AI ultimately develops one. And, if an AI bias occurs, it can be incredibly hard to fix.
The Origins of AI Bias
AI bias can happen for a variety of reasons. While the most obvious source is the data used by the system, other issues can also result in bias.
For example, an AI is usually designed to help answer a specific question. If that question contains a subjective component, or a concept that is open to interpretation, the company creating the AI puts their own definition on the concept. If their viewpoint is biased (even if it is unintentional) or even just poorly defined, the AI could produce unintended outputs, creating a lack of fairness or other observable bias.
When data is collected, bias can show up in one of two ways. First, if the data collection method results in an inaccurate depiction of reality, that can create bias. Second, if the data reflects existing biases that are present in society, the AI then has them as well.
Finally, when data is prepared, bias can also creep in there, even if the source data was unbiased. For instance, the attributes selected for the AI to review could create a prejudice.
Why Eliminating AI Bias is So Challenging
Dealing with AI bias is actually incredibly difficult. In some cases, the introduction of bias is not very apparent, so the designer may not realize there is a problem until they begin reviewing outputs. When this occurs, retroactively finding the source of the issue is a daunting task.
Similarly, the subjective nature of some core questions can make it difficult to determine what an unbiased outcome looks like. Along the same line, defining fairness itself is not easy, particularly since it has to be examined in mathematical terms when designing an AI. Since social context can impact the definition of fairness, and that can vary dramatically from one location to the next, the challenge is even greater.
Dealing with AI Bias in the Future
While the AI bias problem could be considered vast, researchers are working diligently to find a solution to the problem. This includes developing new algorithms that detect potential issues, including hidden biases, and processes that hold organizations accountable for unfair practices.
Dealing with AI bias will take time. However, even if it will not be solved easily, a solution is in the works.
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If you would like to learn more about AI bias and how it can impact business, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us with your questions or thoughts today and see how our deep learning expertise can benefit you.
At the beginning of the year, companies around the country plan for their technology spending. With so many emerging technologies grabbing headlines as of late, understanding which trends will likely provide your customers with the most benefit is critical, allowing you to make better decisions about spending.
Similarly, tech professionals can benefit from the knowledge as well. By learning about how the consumer markets are shifting, they can acquire skills that align with these trends, positioning themselves for a more lucrative career.
If you are wondering how the newest tech trends will impact consumer markets, here’s what you need to know.
Home Automation Makes Headway
Home automation is poised to make significant strides over the coming years. Currently, the market is filled with niche products, such as monitoring devices and smart lights. However, the call for simplification and integration is only getting louder, especially as more consumer buy into the concept in general.
People often embrace technology that has the potential to make their lives simpler or will help them save money. Since home automation can possibly do both, this is a trend with staying power.
Augmented Reality Meets Mobile Computing
Both augmented reality (AR) and mobile computing can be powerful. However, as the two come together, the potential to reshape work and life experiences as well as enhance productivity only grow.
By giving users the ability to see informational overlays placed onto the real-world, the possibility of real value is clear. Similarly, being able to visualize structural changes or products in the actual space where it will be placed could be a gamechanger for a wide array of industries.
While most people associate blockchain with Bitcoin, the technology is much more than just the power behind a cryptocurrency. Blockchain has the capacity to revolutionize several consumer markets, particularly in areas like banking, accounting, finance, insurance, and even healthcare.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has been making waves for years, and many still consider the technology to be in its infancy. Some of the more recent developments have focused on the power of consumer-facing AI, such as chatbots for customer service, giving customers the ability to get answers to common questions quickly. or voice analysis for incoming calls, allowing customer service representatives to receive call handling tips based on the system’s interpretation of the caller’s mood.
The potential for leveraging AI to improve customer interactions is there, especially as AI’s natural language processing capabilities become more robust. Precisely where it will go is still somewhat of a mystery, but no one is questioning whether there will be an impact on the consumer market.
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In the end, all of the tech trends above will have a massive impact on the consumer market, so they should remain on everyone’s watchlist. If you would like to know more, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us with your questions today and see how our tech trends expertise can benefit you.
Whether you are actively working to land a new position this year or simply want to remain apprised of the hiring climate, knowing what tech hiring managers are looking for is beneficial. By staying up to date, you can focus your efforts in the right direction, increasing your odds of securing a new role if you decide to make a move.
With that in mind, here are the skills tech hiring managers want to find in 2019.
Cloud, Cloud, Cloud
Since more businesses move to the cloud every day, it comes as no surprise that cloud-based skills are a priority. Hiring managers need to find professionals that can handle cloud computing, security, and architecture matters, ensuring their systems are functional, secure, and well-integrated into the overall business landscape.
Additionally, many organizations have cloud projects and initiatives planned for 2019, so they need to bolster their staff to make their goals a reality. This may lead them to expand their IT teams instead of merely adding the skill to an existing position.
Security is a top concern of businesses across the country. A single breach or security incident can be devastating to a company, particularly smaller to mid-sized organizations where just one event could financially doom the business or any company that does business in Europe and has to remain compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Typically, organizations focus first on maintaining the security of their existing IT systems. However, security professionals are also increasingly involved in the early stages of project planning. This allows security to be a priority for any project instead of an afterthought, creating a better end result.
Data is king for many companies, but they can only derive value from the information if it is well organized and accessible. Database management professionals are in demand as a result, so tech pros with skills in that area will find plenty of opportunities in 2019.
Precisely which skills are necessary will vary depending on the role. However, some cloud experience that aligns with database management would be an excellent way to stand out from the competition.
The world is increasingly mobile. Millennials and Gen Z often prefer their smartphones to computers, so companies are continuing to focus heavily on the mobile side of development.
Application developers will find the most opportunities if they have experience both with iOS and Android. This ensures that applications can work on the majority of smartphones, creating the most potential value. Web developers need to be well-versed in mobile-friendly design, ensuring that sites appear properly on a range of platforms.
Let The Armada Group Help You Find Your Next Tech Role
Ultimately, tech hiring managers are focused on the areas listed above, creating opportunities for anyone with experience in those arenas. If you are interested in learning more or are looking for a new tech role in 2019, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with a member of our skilled staff today and see how our expertise can benefit you.
Nearly every professional faces off against the occasional workplace crisis. At times, problems are going to arise; that’s just the nature of life. And, usually, the situations themselves are short-lived, ultimately not being nearly as problematic as they appeared to be on the surface.
But, if you feel like you are constantly putting out fires at work or that every issue is an unmitigated disaster, then something else may be the source of your troubles: you. Whether it is how you perceive the situations or the ways your choices influence your day, your habits play a critical role in your experience.
If you spend your day moving from one crisis to the next, here are some potential causes and what to do about them.
Procrastination is Your Middle Name
Waiting until the last minute to handle a task without just cause is a recipe for panic. By the time the deadline draws near, you aren’t sufficiently prepared and have to get the work handled while under the additional stress you put on yourself.
If you have a project coming up or a due date you need to adhere to, avoid procrastinating by scheduling various steps as firm appointments in your calendar. Brainstorm the entire process and then give each milestone an appointment, dedicating enough time to ensure it is complete. Make sure that the final deadline is actually before the due date. That way, if you run into trouble, you have an extra day or two to work through it.
Lack of Focus (or a Lack of Notes)
When you’re in the middle of a meeting that doesn’t have much to do with you, tuning out is a common reaction. However, not being present may mean you miss vital details that do connect to your work, and that comes with consequences.
Similarly, even if you are paying attention, failing to record critical information is a mistake. In the future, you may remember that you heard something relevant, but can’t recall what it is. Then, you’re stuck scrambling to figure out exactly what slipped your mind.
Luckily, both of these situations can be avoided with ease. When you are in a meeting, give the speaker your full attention. Silence your smartphone, turn off notifications, and otherwise eliminate unnecessary distractions.
If valuable information is shared, make sure to record it. Whether you opt for handwritten notes, a file on your computer, or even capturing the audio can work as long as you can easily review it should the need arise.
The Inability to Say “No”
At times, people are overloaded at work because of poor time management. However, in others, genuinely being overtasked can happen.
When professionals end up with a bigger workload than they can handle, they usually place blame on someone else, like their manager. But, if you aren’t saying “no” when people ask if you can take the work on, you’re responsible too.
Now, most professionals can’t say “no” in every situation, and that’s okay. When circumstances allow, make sure to set proper boundaries. And, if you genuinely can’t fit the assignment into your schedule without sacrificing the quality of your work, say so. By focusing on the fact that the increase in your workload harms the results, others are more likely to accept your answer.
Ready to Build a Better Team? Call the Experts at The Armada Group!
Ultimately, any of the tendencies above can make you feel like you’re always putting out fires. Luckily, most are easy to remedy with a little effort and diligence. If you would like to learn more, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our staff members about your questions today and see how our workplace productivity and efficiency expertise can benefit you.
For a company to remain successful, it needs to be prepared to evolve with the times. If managers don’t maintain the proper mindsets, they can easily become roadblocks to advancement instead of champions for it. If you want to reach new heights in 2019, here are the mindsets you need to embrace to make sure that forward progress is possible.
People have a fundamental need to connect with others, but many managers try to shut themselves off from their teams, fearing that getting to close would lead to consequences. Typically, this attitude is shortsighted, as it is costing you far more than you risk by forging these connections.
When you actively strive to connect with your employees, you allow relationships to form. This can breed loyalty and create a healthier culture, as everyone will feel like they belong.
You can’t improve the performance of your business without embracing growth, and this doesn’t just include the companies. Supporting your professional growth as well as that of your team is also critical, ensuring everyone has the proper knowledge and skills to be at their best.
Make your own development a priority as this ensures your employees will have a solid example to follow. Then, provide them with opportunities too to make sure everyone can take steps forward.
Without trust, no team can thrive. Managers often worry about providing their staff with too much autonomy, fearing that, by letting go, something will go awry. However, when you give your employees some degree of freedom, they typically rise to the occasion. Plus, it frees you up to focus on your own tasks, including those that can generate growth.
Often, leaders need to extend trust first and not wait for it to be earned. By embracing this approach, your team builds confidence quickly and will strive to meet your expectations. When trust is withheld initially, it can breed discontent and anxiety, especially if your workers don’t know what they need to do to make progress. While allowing yourself to give trust when you are uncertain is difficult, it’s usually worth the effort.
Employees aren’t going to be at their best when the company’s core focus in on increasing profits. Often, workers feel little benefit from the organization improving their bottom line, so you need to give them something more if you want them to excel.
Instead of focusing on profit, adopt a purpose mindset. When professionals can work on something that is intrinsically meaningful and fulfilling, productivity and engagement rise. This can lead to growth and, subsequently, a higher level of profitability, all without making either of those a core focus.
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By adopting the mindsets above, your company can grow in 2019. If you’d like to learn more, the skilled staff at The Armada Group can help. Contact us with questions today and see how our growth mindset expertise can benefit you.
When you head into an interview, your goal is typically to make a great impression on the hiring manager. While many developers are well-intentioned when they share information, saying certain things during the meeting can cost you valuable opportunities. With that in mind, here are five things you should never say during an interview, even if the statements are true.
I Don’t Like…
During a meeting with a hiring manager, you should never say that there is a language, framework, or library you don’t like. While your intention may be to be honest about your preferences, you end up coming off as inflexible or that you may be unwilling to deviate from your usual routine or learn new technologies.
Additionally, in the eyes of the hiring manager, it automatically limits your potential and, subsequently, your value. They may fear that you wouldn’t be able or willing to take certain projects on, making you a less than ideal choice.
At My Last/Current Job, the Problem Was/Is…
Regardless of how your team or manager at your current or last job performed, bad-mouthing them during an interview is never a smart move. Even if what you are saying is true, you risk coming off as an ineffective collaborator and as a person with a poor attitude.
After Starting in This Role, I Want to Move Forward to…
Having ambition is rarely a bad thing. However, if you express a goal that is beyond the role that you are interviewing for and suggest that you want to get there fast, the hiring manager may consider this a red flag.
Ultimately, the hiring manager is concerned about filling a specific role, not the one above it. Even if you want to have opportunities to move forward, making it sound like it is a requirement or expectation that you be given a specific kind of project that is above that position, it suggests you aren’t ideal for the company’s current needs.
I Would Estimate That Amount to Be Around…
If you are faced with a question involving numbers, hedging your response isn’t a good choice. Phrases like “around,” “approximately,” or “about” suggest that you don’t know the right answer, which doesn’t make a positive impression if they are figures that you should be familiar with and work with consistently.
Unless the hiring manager requests an approximation, be specific with your numbers. Otherwise, you might not come off as competent as you actually are, and that can hurt your chances of landing the job.
I Don’t Know.
When you are asked a question and legitimately don’t know the answer, never end your response with “I don’t know.” Instead, make sure to add that you’ll find out or give the hiring manager a description of the actions you would take to get the answer.
Hiring managers don’t expect you to know everything. However, if you don’t follow up your “I don’t know” with something that shows you are willing to learn more and find the answer, they may doubt your commitment to doing what it takes to excel.
Want More Tips on How to Ace Your Job Interview?
Ultimately, it’s best to avoid all of the statements above during your developer interview, especially if you want to be seen as a top candidate for the role. If you’d like to know more about successful interviewing, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your questions with one of our team members today and see how our interviewing expertise can benefit you.
As the holiday season approaches, many managers look for ways to express their appreciation to their IT team. However, if you want your employees to genuinely feel valued, you have to look beyond the acknowledgements that you typically dole out this time of year.
Often, to show your staff that you value them, you need to make an effort to ensure they feel heard, and this can’t be accomplished if you only focus on it during the holidays. If you want to make sure your IT team knows they are valued, here’s what you need to do.
Say “Thank You” Often
Managers are typically overtasked. This means it is easy to forget how your team keeps projects and daily activities moving forward, as it’s just part of the day-to-day. However, by actively trying to remember to thank them for their contributions, you demonstrate that you value what they have to offer. Plus, it shows that their efforts aren’t going unnoticed and that they are appreciated.
It also helps to extend your thanks beyond yourself. Let your team know when stakeholders appreciate the results of their efforts as well, especially if they don’t have an opportunity to interact directly with other leaders or customers.
Be an Active Listener
You can’t make your IT team feel heard if you spend the entire conversation merely waiting for your chance to speak. While you plan your response, you miss critical details in the discussion, and this can cause your employees to become frustrated if their input was ignored, even if it was unintentional.
When your employees speak, make sure to focus solely on listening. Take in every word and wait for a natural pause before you even begin to formulate a response. That way, you won’t miss a vital part of the conversation and your reply can be more meaningful.
Give Them Challenges
While every IT role comes with a certain level of monotony, giving your employees a chance to stretch outside of their comfort zones or take on a challenge can actually show that you value them. By allowing them to use their unique talents to take on something new, you demonstrate your trust in their abilities and interest in helping them grow.
See Them as Individuals
In IT, functioning as part of a team is the norm. This makes praising the group more common when a job is well done since multiple people were critical to the overall success of the project.
While recognizing the team’s efforts is wise, you also want to see them as individuals. Highlight each person’s achievements to make them feel seen and single them out if they truly went above and beyond. This ensures that every employee understands that they are valued for what they bring to the table and not just what they can accomplish together.
If you would like to know about how you can show your IT team you value them this season and beyond, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us with your questions or thoughts today and see how our workplace expertise can benefit you.
As a manager, it’s often your duty to ensure the success of your team. However, when many companies bring on IT contractors, they don’t take as much time and attention with them as they do with their regular new hires.
While it’s true the company’s relationship with a contractor does differ from the one they maintain with their permanent staff, that doesn’t mean you should forgo certain steps. When you properly onboard an IT contractor, you give them the tools they need to excel in their role, increasing productivity, the quality of their outputs, and even their level of job satisfaction.
If you are getting ready to bring on an IT contractor, here is some important advice for their onboarding.
Build a Relationship
Even though a contractor may only be with your company for a short time, that doesn’t mean you should avoid making a connection. By getting to know your IT contractor, you help turn a transactional relationship into a meaningful one.
Not only can this help them feel more welcome and integrated with your organization, fostering positive feelings and potentially a greater sense of loyalty, it can also help you stay ahead in the talent war. A happy contractor is more likely to accept a position with you in the future should you have a similar project or require someone with their skill set down the road, making it easier for you to secure reliable top talent when the need arises.
Plus, if your IT contractor genuinely feels like part of your team, they are more invested in the project’s success as well as the success of everyone involved. When there is a sense of connection, most employees, whether short or long term, are more likely to go the extra mile for their co-workers and managers, enhancing productivity and the quality of their outcome.
Set Clear Expectations
When you bring in an IT contractor, you usually have a solid idea of how you want them to contribute to the organization. However, if you don’t clearly define your expectations during the onboarding process, your new IT contractor might struggle to meet or exceed these requirements simply because they weren’t aware of them.
To ensure your IT contractor is set up for success, take some time during the onboarding process to fully outline what needs to be handled and when. Create a calendar with all relevant deadlines and let them know precisely when and how they need to provide you with status updates.
Typically, a contractor isn’t fully aware of any operational standards or office norms in your organization. Additionally, they weren’t exposed to the weeks or months of planning phases that took place before their arrival, so they didn’t have a chance to glean this information over time. This means it is always best to spell everything out clearly, ensuring they understand your expectations, goals, and how their contributions align with the big picture.
If you would like to learn more or are seeking an IT contractor for your next project, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with a member of our skilled team today and see how our hiring expertise can benefit you.