1. Who would be more likely to remember a face? A) a man B) a woman C) neither – there’s no difference between the sexes.
B) a woman. Two Swedish researchers have reviewed 140 studies and found that women and girls remember faces better than men or boys. The interest in faces seems to start in infancy. Baby girls spend more time looking at faces than baby boys. The boys are more interested in objects that move, like mobiles.
2. You are asked to select some pictures for the walls at work. Which of these choices should improve productivity? A) Air New Zealand jets B) stags roaring C) baby monkeys
C) baby monkeys. It’s the high cuteness rating that does it. The latest study we’ve seen showed that pictures of baby animals helped the Japanese participants concentrate and made them more careful. Anything that makes us feel good seems to improve our performance, even in unrelated tasks. In another study, medical students who succeeded in anagrams were more accurate when they diagnosed patients shortly afterwards.
Off to the doctor? Take a chocolate fish.
3. Is it true that people leave bosses not jobs?
Yes. Evidence? Take the 2013 Kelly Global Workforce Index - a survey of 120,000 employees in 31 countries. Employees put almost two thirds of their satisfaction with their jobs down to the performance of their direct manager or supervisor.
4. Let’s say you want to sell your bike on Trade Me. Which ‘buy now’ price is most likely to give you a quick sale? A) $655 B) $699 C) $720
B) $699. You might expect that the lowest price would attract more buyers, but it seems not. The idea that prices ending in nine sell more is no myth. Researchers from MIT and the University of Chicago showed that buyers will pay more when the price ends in a nine. When the researchers priced identical women’s clothing at $35 and $39, they sold 24 per cent more at the higher price. It’s the power of number 9. Who said humans were rational?
5. How much time does the average New Zealand employee waste at work? A) 5 per cent B)15 per cent C) 25 per cent
B) 15 per cent - according to a survey by Ernst and Young in 2012. On average, less than 70 per cent of our time is directly adding value to our organisation. We spend the rest of the time on networking and other issues that may be important, but don’t add value directly. 15 per cent wasted! We calculated that 15 per cent is seven and a half weeks a year. (Was that calculation useful, or a waste of time?)
6. What do most employers believe motivates staff? A) Interesting work B) Being appreciated C) Money D) A secure job
C) Money. Nearly 40 per cent of New Zealand employees are on some element of performance pay. The research doesn’t back that money-based approach. Provided employers are paying what their staff believe is enough, they won’t boost motivation by paying more. Research since the 1960s shows that money is mostly a source of demotivation – a cause of grumpiness when employers are miserly.
7. What do most employees say motivates them? A) Interesting work B) Being appreciated C) Money D) A secure job
A) Interesting work. It tops the list in a much-quoted study in 1999. Employees in the study ranked appreciation of work and feeling in on things second and third. Job security was fourth. Money only made it to fifth place.