Archive for the ‘Employees’ Category

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If we’re honest, most of us privately wonder if those we lead are being straight with us –especially when it comes to how they feel about our leadership.  (Yes, some leaders worry too little about this!). I recently observed a Town Hall meeting where a new leader had just been promoted to run his division.  In his introductory remarks, many – including me – were struck by his declaration, “One of the things you’ll find is that I’m very self-aware and open to feedback.”  At the back of the room where I stood, I could see the rolling eyes.

Over my 30 year career working with leaders, I’ve heard many declare such self-enlightenment. Borrowing Margaret Thatcher’s observation, if you have to declare you are self-aware, you’re not. It’s been nearly two decades since John Kotter’s landmark study revealing that effective managers know the impact of their decisions on others. But since then, subsequent research suggests that our level of self-awareness hasn’t improved all that much.

In the case of the speaker, I introduced myself after his remarks, and asked him, “So what have you done to become so self-aware and open to feedback?”  Proudly, he responded, “I make it a priority to get a 360 feedback review every year.”  I probed further, “And what kinds of things have you been able to improve in your leadership as a result of all that feedback?”   With remarkable sincerity, he said, “Well, for example, last year I received feedback that our staff meetings were too long so I shortened them by 30 minutes.”  I now fully appreciated all of those rolling eyes.

It turns out, you don’t need to collect formal 360 feedback to learn how others are experiencing you . I’ve observed leaders who genuinely care about how others experience them consistently do the following four things to stay sharply in tune with how their influence is landing on those around them.

Ask for pushback. The basic skill leaders need to keep intentions aligned with impact is the ability to credibly solicit dissent and feedback.  Whether in meetings, or one on one, insights about how others experience you are revealed in the degree to which they feel comfortable pushing back when what they experience doesn’t sit well. If you don’t have people routinely offering dissenting ideas, or raising concerns about actions you are contemplating or have taken, you should worry. No news is not necessarily good news.  After meetings where particularly difficult issues or decisions are discussed, one leader I work with asks a few members of her team, “How do you feel that went, and what could I have done differently?”  Her team has come to realize she genuinely wants pushback and accepts it graciously.  The ability to initiate such conversations is at the heart of receiving honest feedback. Too many 360 feedback processes have become replacements for great conversations instead of instigators of them, because they allow people to hide behind the anonymity of the tool.  But effective leaders simply ask for that feedback on a regular basis in more intimate settings where the conversation can enhance the relationship.  .

Read cues and faces.  The greatest “mirror” reflecting back how others experience you are the faces of those around you.  If you learn to read them, they can provide a steady stream of useful feedback about how your words and actions are being metabolized.  When people look down or avoid eye-contact with you, when otherwise engaging colleagues suddenly become quiet, or when normally even-keeled colleagues get defensive, pay attention.  While people may withhold verbal feedback, their faces and bodies will often tell a different story. Don’t ignore these critical cues. Offer your observation graciously. I observed one leader do this masterfully.  When moods or countenance took a sudden shift, he would simply ask things like, “Tell me how I should interpret your silence,” or “You suddenly seem to not want to look directly at me. I’m concerned something I’ve said isn’t sitting well. Can you help me understand if that’s true?”  These tactful observations invited others to share what was happening internally, and in turn, helped the leader adjust.  Allan and Barbara Pease, in their landmark book, The Definitive Book of Body Language, suggest that because more than 65% of interpersonal communication is non-verbal, spotting the contradictions between someone’s words and body language will dramatically increase your ability to accurately perceive. There’s a wealth of calibrating feedback all around you reflecting back how your words and actions are being received. If you harness it, you’ll not only sharpen the connection between your intent and impact, you’ll deepen the trust between you and others as they observe you changing behavior based on what you learn.

Monitor how you narrate the story.  Leaders are notoriously bad observers of their own reality.  Absent a way to calibrate, we are naturally inclined to interpret how things are going in overly positive ways. Pay attention to your inner narration of what’s happening around you.  If that voice is working to convince you things are fine, step back and re-assess.  Beware too many self-generated messages that sound like, “You know, I think that presentation went really well…so what if they didn’t have any questions,” or “Don’t worry, they understand that you get a little impatient sometimes, but they know it’s because you really care,” or “I can’t believe they think I’m indecisive! You can’t rush the creative process!”  When the voice in your head is working to self-justify or self-sooth, hear it as an alarm indicating you are likely working with incomplete data.  The alternative narrations can be equally destructive.  The harsh voice that criticizes, “You idiot – did you really just say that to your boss?” or “Nobody is going to take you seriously” can be equally faulty. If your narrator’s voice leans to heavily in one direction, force yourself to consider what interpretations you could be missing to develop a more balanced perspective.

Know and permit others to name triggers.  All leaders have buttons that get pushed, and when they do, trigger unproductive behavior.  Some leaders react defensively when confronted with mistakes.  Others become sarcastic or passive-aggressive when they don’t get their way.  And some become harshly impatient when things don’t move quickly enough.  Whatever they are, self-aware leaders know their triggers, and let others name them. One leader I worked with became painfully verbose when he was anxious.  During meetings where contentious issues were being discussed, he would launch into lengthy diatribes in an unconscious effort to calm his discomfort with conflict.  One of the ways he worked to improve was acknowledging that he was aware he did it (which his team greatly appreciated). He asked them to simply hold up their hands when they felt he’d gone on too long.  The first few times people raised their hands, he struggled to shut up. Someone on the team finally said, “If you want us to help you stop rambling, you have to agree to actually stop talking when we raise our hands.”  He did.  He eventually learned brevity, and to emotionally prepare before meetings by writing out concise statements he could employ as needed. Great leaders also apologize when triggered, cleaning up emotional messes.  So if you aren’t regularly apologizing for moments when your triggers get the best of you, chances are you aren’t aware of what they are, or don’t see the painful repercussions they leave behind.

Knowing how others experience you is fundamental to influencing effectively.  Assuming that you’d “just know” if others were bothered by something you were doing, or that because you’re a “good person,” others are giving you the benefit of the doubt, are dangerously presumptuous approaches.  You don’t need a formal 360 process to find out how others experience you. Rest assured, your people are talking about you. You should get in on the conversation. And, pay attention to, and act upon, all of the data you are already getting.

 

This article was written by Ron Carucci from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

5 Ways to Make Your Employees Happier in 2019

Thursday, January 24th, 2019

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It’s no secret that a happy workforce is a loyal, motivated one. If you have reason to believe that your employees aren’t all that satisfied with their work experiences, it’s critical that you focus on addressing the issue immediately.

With the current strong job market, there’s a world of opportunity for your most valued players to take their talents elsewhere if they’re not content where they are. Here are a few things that you, as a business owner or manager, can do in the new year to raise your employees’ satisfaction quotient and entice them to stay on board.

1. Give them a voice

We all have opinions, ideas, and concerns — in life and at work. And it’s important to make your employees feel like the things they say are taken seriously, whether you’re talking about a senior manager or an entry-level administrative assistant. If you send the message that everyone is welcome to share thoughts freely, your workers will feel more valued and respected.

2. Be generous with time off

U.S. companies are notoriously stingy when it comes to paid time off — so much so that 73% of workers would welcome more time off over a holiday bonus, according to LinkedIn. By giving employees ample opportunity to recharge, pursue hobbies, and take care of life’s many obligations, you’ll make their jobs less stressful in the process.

3. Offer some scheduling leeway

An estimated 70% of U.S. employees are dissatisfied with their work-life balance, according to FlexJobs. If you want your workers’ outlooks to improve, think about the different ways you can offer them more flexibility on an ongoing basis.

This could involve letting them set their own working hours (within reason) or allowing those whose jobs can be done remotely to work from home. Extending that courtesy shows that you respect and acknowledge the fact that your employees have lives outside the office, and if you give them enough leeway, they’ll not only grow more content, but most likely return the favor by being flexible when you need it.

4. Be more available

If you own or manage a business, your days are probably jampacked with more tasks and meetings than you can count. And while you can’t necessarily take the time to sit down with each of your employees on a daily basis, you should make a point of being available when workers are struggling or encounter pressing issues that warrant your attention. To that end, encourage employees to reach out and ask for guidance, as needed, so they don’t feel like they have to handle their challenges alone.

5. Foster career development

Nobody wants to feel stuck in a dead-end job. If you want your employees to feel better about coming to work, give them something to look forward to. Allow lower-level employees to shadow higher-ups to learn the ropes and dabble in new things. When possible, give your workers time off for professional development, whether in the form of taking classes or attending industry conferences. If you show your workers that you’re looking to help them grow, they might get more excited about the potential your company has to offer.

Happy employees tend to be loyal employees. If you want to retain your staff in the coming year, focus on making their work experiences more satisfying. It’s certainly a worthwhile investment.

The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

 

This article was written by Maurie Backman from The Motley Fool and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

4 Ways To Get The Most Out Of Your Employees

Thursday, January 10th, 2019

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The greatest investment companies can make is in their people. 

As the older generation departs and the new era of workers take over, companies are struggling to adapt to the reduced tenure an employee has with a company. The typical baby boomer stayed with a company for an average of 20-years while the new generation only stays for around two. 

The idea of working for one employer until retirement is non-existent in today’s workplace. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the new generation of workers holds an average of 11.7 jobs with 27% of people changing jobs every year giving them the chronic job hopper title. 

Job hopping is defined as spending two years in a position before seeking out another position, typically for a higher salary or a better cultural fit. Companies are failing to accept the new job hopper mentality preventing them from getting the most out of their current talent. Instead of focusing on keeping current talent they’re investing more in recruiting new people to keep up with turnover.

According to a report published by the Society of Human Resource Management, companies spend an average of $4,426 per candidate with more than 50% of turnover happening in the new hires first year of employment. Companies lose $11 billion every year due to turnover because they’re neglecting current talent and focusing on attracting new.

Here are four ways companies can get the most out of their current talent

Cultivating Open Communication With Clear Expectations

Setting expectations doesn’t solely revolve around the goals of the actual position but also expands to cultural expectations, understanding the hierarchy and the contribution to an overall purpose.

Flattening the layers of the hierarchy and eliminating the micromanagement associated with them increases involvement and performance. Phil Shawe, CEO of TransPerfect, has found “when employees feel connected to the company and their management, they’re naturally more loyal.” He said, ”fostering a close-knit management team tends to inspire people to always consider the big picture and the overall well-being of the company when approaching business decisions.”

Keith R. Sbiral, a certified professional coach with Apochromatik says “open communication is a key component of a driven team.” Keeping employees involved in projects and processes keeps them motivated while increasing trust. Setting clear and specific expectations is one of the most impactful things managers can do for their employees.

Promoting Entrepreneurial Mindsets

Many companies are resistant to nurturing an entrepreneurial mindset in their employees for fear they’ll lose top talent. The reality is, a true entrepreneur is going to leave a company regardless how great their position is. Companies who aren’t afraid to let their employees leave show their current team they value their growth and development.

Hult International Business School describes an entrepreneurial mindset as “people with an appetite to do things differently and a talent for coming up with fresh ideas.” Employees that are given the freedom to think outside of the box are more innovative in finding more efficient ways of doing typical tasks.

Susana Yee of Digital Everything Consulting hires people who are hungry to create, grow and learn. She coaches them to better understand their thought process to solutions. After discussing possible solutions, she gives them “as much freedom as they want to solve those problems” empowering them to achieve more than they thought possible.

Fiona Adler, Founder of Actioned, fosters an entrepreneurial mindset through ownership and accountability. She created a system using a shared spreadsheet where everyone writes out their top actions for the day. As each person completes their top actions they cross them off keeping everyone updated on their own tasks. This helps to show how each person is contributing to the project. Every team member is held accountable for their daily tasks making them more deliberate about what they’re going to do for the day.

Investing in Their Development

A business is only as strong as their weakest employee. Gallup found that 87% of the new generation values professional career growth and development opportunities, yet 74% don’t feel they’re reaching their full potential.

When employees feel valued their loyalty increases reducing the overall turnover. This doesn’t always require financial output, it can be as simple as opening lines of communication, increasing responsibility and defining their journey throughout the organization.

Matt Ross, Co-founder and COO of RIZKNOWS and The Slumber Yard believes the best investment is empowering his employees by letting them take control over a project, campaign or department. Since taking a step back from directing his employees on how to do certain aspects of their job, Ross quickly realized his employees “want to feel like they’re making an impact on the business instead of just taking and executing orders.”

Driving Growth With Gestures

Giving praise is a simple and powerful way to build a sustainable culture. A lack of recognition leads to a dying culture. Employees are no longer motivated by their paycheck alone but instead fueled by praise and incentives. Recognition comes in various forms and can be as simple as a thank you. The way a business recognizes employees is entirely dependent on the culture.

The founder of Accelerated Growth Marketing, Stacy Caprio, believes in treating her employees as “an actual person.” She does this by “asking them about their day as well as letting them know they are appreciated and thanking them when they do a good job.”

Adham Sbeih at Socotra Capital implemented a peer recognition program where employees acknowledge their peers when they do something that demonstrates the company core values. He calls it “a goodie.” It doesn’t just stop there, employees are then recognized in an email blast with a detailed explanation of what they did and how it aligns to the company core values with a $25 gift card.

Companies who invest in their employees can extend their tenure by years. Start by opening up communication and creating conversations about what they need and collaborate on creating an effective strategy.

 

This article was written by Heidi Lynne Kurter from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

If you’re reading this article, congratulations! You must have an awesome team. Managing them must be easy, right?

In fact, contrary to popular belief, managing high-performers doesn’t mean you don’t have to do anything. While you could just let them fly solo for a long time, even the best employees will need support from their managers to continue thriving at work. While high performers do show a stronger tendency than other employees to direct their own learning, a Harvard Business Review article says they expect their managers to help them grow, too.

And the help you provide must be differentiated from how you might support a lower performer because their challenges, needs, and aspirations are also different.

Here are a few quick tips that should stop them from quitting:

 

1. Show Them They’re Valued (in the Way They Prefer)

Some people like getting feedback privately, others publicly. Some prefer it via email, others in-person. And some care little about words and more about actions of thanks: bonuses, bigger projects, or leadership opportunities.

In a study on what high-performing employees value at work, compensation, bonuses, and recognition from higher-ups all fall in the top 10.

If your employee’s doing great work, make sure they know their work is valued and appreciated. And if you don’t know how they like to receive positive feedback, ask.

 

2. Let Them Lean Into What They’re Good At

Too often, we insist employees check every single rung on the skills ladder. We wrongly believe that the only way for them to advance in their career is to be good at everything all the time.

But the truth is, just as you rarely find a candidate that matches 100% of your hiring criteria, it’s rare to find an employee that truly excels in every facet of the job. And yet we focus on their deficiencies—the checkboxes left unchecked—rather than sharpening their strongest assets.

So, give your highest performers a chance to continue to excel at their strengths, and the tools they need to become an expert in their field. If they find themselves getting bored, then you can work with them to find other skills they’d like to improve upon.

 

3. Encourage Them to Be Teachers

When you have amazing employees, one of the best things you can do to keep them engaged is encourage them to teach others. Teaching helps them hone their skills even further, and validates their expertise.

There are many ways to “teach,” whether it’s in the form of an employee mentorship program, a presentation to the team, or even authoring a publication. Encourage them to share their knowledge and flex their expertise, and leave the format to them to decide.

 

4. Actively Solicit Feedback

No manager is perfect. Regularly ask for feedback on what you can do better to support their career, and be prepared to take action as a result. As their manager, you may be able to unblock them, elevate them, and support them in ways no other person in the company can.

As the saying goes, employees don’t leave companies, they leave managers. So do everything in your power to make sure they are supported, and ask for feedback to ensure you are on the right track in your efforts.

Some questions include:

  • What can I do to make working with me easier?
  • What can I do to better support you?
  • What’s one thing I should start, stop, or continue doing for you?

If you have a high performer on your team, get ready to do the hard work of keeping them engaged. Don’t let them be the one in five who report being likely to leave their company in the next six months. Sure, it’ll take more effort on your end—but think how much effort it’ll take to replace them.

 

This article was written by Ximena Vengoechea from The Daily Muse and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

4 Ways to Get Some Midday Motivation

Wednesday, July 25th, 2018

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Midday can be rough for people. Chances are you’ve been working for a few hours, you just ate some food and all you want is a nap. While some people can nap, I’m not one of them. I either sleep for seven hours or I don’t sleep. Period. Additionally, most people don’t have the luxury of taking a midday nap. The question then becomes, how to we get some midday motivation so we can get over the hump?

Meditate

Meditation is the next best thing to napping. Sometimes are minds just need a quick reset so we can lift the mental fog and refocus. There are some great apps you can use to find guided meditations specifically for focus. One of my favorites is the Calm app which has an entire series on meditations designed to increase focus and concentration.

Move your body

Another way to get some midday motivation is to get out of your chair and move your body. If you have a gym in your building like I do, you can hop in for a quick sweat session. If not, you can always find some fun music on Spotify and shake it out for a little while.

The idea here is that your mind will follow your body. If you give your body a quick jolt then your mind will wake up. While it’s not a long-term strategy, it does help when you’re trying to find some quick midday motivation.

Take a break

Sometimes we really just need a break in order to get some midday motivation. However, I notice that taking a break by watching YouTube videos is not helpful – at least not for me. That’s because I get sucked into a black hole and find it even more difficult to focus.

What does help me is going outside. For example, at the time of writing this, it’s currently a beautiful 70 degrees outside. The sun is also shining. I can take a quick ten-minute break on my balcony and just let the fresh air hit me.

(As a sidebar, sometimes I actually move my laptop out to my balcony. This keeps me awake midday when I’m starting to fall sleepy but know I can’t nap.)

Try the Pomodoro Technique

Some people, like myself, thrive under pressure. If I know I have to finish something by a certain time, it gives me a surge of energy and focus. For example, if I know I have to leave for SoulCyle around 5:45 PM, then I know I have to be done working by 4 PM.

Some days I actually have an appointment or engagement to attend, other days I don’t. For the days that I don’t, I trick myself into thinking I’m on a time crunch by using the Pomodoro Technique. This is when you give yourself 20 minutes to work and then a five-minute break. Each round is a Pomodoro and you continue the process until the task is complete.

Final Thoughts

While the afternoon slump is annoying, it can be overcome by giving yourself a jolt of midday motivation. Use the techniques to give yourself a little jumpstart the next time you find yourself falling asleep at your desk.

This article originally appeared in Calendar.

 

This article was written by Amanda Abella from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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As a business owner or manager, you probably have many goals. You want to attract and retain customers, increase output, and grow sales and revenue. But here’s another objective it pays to focus on: establishing a positive company culture that keeps employees happy.

Company culture is so important these days that it’s actually the No. 1 reason why millennials quit their jobs. And given the cost of onboarding and training, it often makes financial sense to encourage workers to stay where they are rather than continuously have to invest in new employees.

So what can you do, as a business owner or manager, to create a company culture that’s appealing to candidates and keeps established workers on board? Here are a few key steps to take.

1. Be open to flexible work arrangements

These days, workers of all ages crave flexibility, whether it’s the option to set their own hours, compress their workweeks, or telecommute. Not only can flexible work arrangements contribute to a positive company culture but they can also lead to an uptick in productivity. And when that happens, everyone wins.

Keep in mind that if you’re used to your employees working a set schedule, you can ease into those flexible arrangements slowly. Start by giving your most established players a little leeway, and work your way up as you evaluate its impact. The key is to be open to the idea so that your employees feel valued and respected.

2. Foster teamwork and collaboration

Encouraging employees to work together is a great way to establish a positive company culture. Therefore, make a point of rewarding team efforts as opposed to focusing only on individual contributions. In other words, don’t just give raises to your top performers, as this creates an atmosphere of competitiveness. Rather, incentivize employees to work together so they can benefit jointly.

3. Encourage workers to take vacation

It’s an unfortunate statistic that 19% of workers today don’t take vacation because their companies pressure them not to. Part of building a positive company culture is recognizing your employees’ need to take time away from the office and making it possible for them to do just that. In fact, some companies go so far as to mandate that workers take all of their vacation time, which isn’t a bad idea. If you’re going to go that route, be sure to implement a backup system so that workers who take time off don’t feel unduly stressed about it.

4. Be generous with public praise

Though any sort of acknowledgment for a job well done is something your workers will appreciate, a good way to establish a positive company culture is to dish out that praise publicly. This will encourage others to give out praise rather than withhold it, thus adding to the collaborative environment we talked about earlier.

5. Hold companywide town halls

If your business has a lot of distinct moving parts, it helps to get everyone synced up every so often. And that’s where companywide meetings come in. These town halls give different players a chance to meet, interact, and see how their various efforts contribute to the success of the business. It’s a great way to motivate employees to work together while helping them learn more about ways to develop their careers.

It’s in your best interest to establish a company culture that draws employees in and encourages them to stay put. Not only will you increase your chances of retaining top talent, but you’ll develop a solid reputation that works wonders for your business on multiple levels.

 

This article was written by Maurie Backman from The Motley Fool and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Benedict, Renee 2

Benedict, Renee 2

Goddard Systems, Inc. (GSI), franchisor of The Goddard School, announces the hiring of Renee Benedict as the system’s Vice President of Information Technology. This being a new position within GSI’s Senior Management team, Benedict will be tasked with strategically positioning information technology as a growth enabler.

Benedict brings an extensive background in information technology (IT) with over 25 years of experience in the global healthcare and consumer packaged goods industries. Before joining The Goddard School franchise, Benedict most recently held the position of Vice President, Business Transformation at DanoneWave, responsible for leading the business process and application systems integration following Danone’s acquisition of WhiteWave Foods in Broomfield, Colorado. DanoneWave is part of the Dannon Company, maker of Dannon Yogurt. Before its acquisition, WhiteWave Foods was an independent manufacturer and distributor of plant-based food and organic milk products, where Benedict served as the Head of IT and led WhiteWave Food’s IT function.

“I am profoundly honored and eager to bring my years of IT experience to Goddard Systems Inc.,” said Benedict. “In this important new role for the company, I look forward to implementing the leading IT practices and programs that will better serve the system’s growing network of schools across the nation.”

Benedict’s global health care experience spanned more than 20 years with Johnson & Johnson where she held IT positions of increasing responsibility.  Her last position at Johnson & Johnson was Senior Director of the Global IT Enterprise Portfolio and she served in a key Chief of Staff role for the Corporate CIO.  Benedict was also a key champion and mentor for Johnson & Johnson Women’s Leadership initiatives.

“We’ve been quite impressed with Renee’s robust IT experience, collaborative workstyle, and true sense of intellectual curiosity,” said Joe Schumacher, CEO of Goddard Systems Inc. “I’m confident that Renee will be a great addition to our IT and Senior Management teams, and we are all looking forward to her contributions.”

Benedict and her husband are returning to the Philadelphia area from Colorado. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Villanova University in Villanova, PA. For general information regarding The Goddard School franchise, please visit www.goddardschoolfranchise.com.

Joe Schumacher, CEO of The Goddard School Franchise, provides his advice for recent grads who are thinking about starting a business after college.

CLICK TO READ MORE>

“Franchises that offer Millennials the flexibility to run their own business while maintaining a meaningful life outside of work will be more attractive to this generation of young business owners.” – Joe Schumacher, CEO, Goddard Systems, Inc. via Franchising USA

READ THE FULL STORY HERE >

Mistakes Aren’t Always a Bad Thing

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

“Contrary to popular belief, making a mistake at work isn’t always a bad thing.” Read why Goddard Systems’ CEO, Joe Schumacher, actually appreciates when his employees make mistakes in this Business Insider article by Jacquelyn Smith: http://ow.ly/LGU6q.