Archive for June, 2018

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Standards set the bar for achievement, and in business, that bar raises and shifts position. No wonder professionals often burnout — they’re competing in a rat race, never making it out of the maze. Work culture must move from a focus on performance to a focus on learning.

The prioritization of performance over learning persists in education, where the root of the issue lies. Many studies have shown test results are not accurate indicators of student potential, talent and knowledge. Still, the goal remains to get the A and move on to the next score goal, rather than truly learning the material — as if they’re given the time to do so in the first place. When students graduate, this damaging mindset often persists in work culture.

There’s nothing wrong with challenging yourself, but without learning, you continue to fight the same fight. You lose in the end when you burn out and limit your potential as a professional. Prioritize education to achieve improved, sustainable performance over the long-term with these four tips.

  1. Ask for Feedback

Like tests, annual performance reviews rarely get into the nitty-gritty of generating improvement. This once-a-year picture usually fails the employer and employee. Feedback notes feel like a chore for both parties and don’t encourage growth or nurture development of talents.

Feedback must function collaboratively — employees want and deserve better feedback. Of all generations, millennial workers most desire regular feedback, but every worker should frequently seek it out.

CEOs should also seek feedback from their employees. More constructive, transparent and positive feedback opens the door to improved trust, communication and performance. View feedback as a learning opportunity on the road to improved performance.

  1. Focus on Learning Outcomes

Reviews measure how someone performs at a specific time, offering only a snapshot of an employee’s work while a focus on learning stretches the view longitudinally. Regular reviews help track the results of knowledge and provide a more holistic vantage point of learning through time. The focus on both performance and learning outcomes adds value to employee contribution and growth, but a broader lens is needed to nurture success and growth.

Develop a customized feedback process with your supervisor and plan timeframes during which you’ll regularly ask for feedback. Communicate your learning objectives to measure your performance more holistically and get a better view of how on-track you are to achieving your learning outcomes. You’ll feel less stressed and more focused on your professional development.

  1. Participate in Mentoring

Open up mentoring opportunities for yourself to gain knowledge and give back to those rising in the ranks. Do you admire a specific professional or entrepreneur? Arrange a time for a coffee meetup — your treat — to discuss the possibility of a mentorship.

Come to the table with your learning objectives and possible outcomes in mind. Don’t worry if what you have outlined feels abstract — this is part of the learning process. You’re gathering information and developing a pathway to learn and grow professionally.

Senior-level employees who give back usually feel good about passing on their knowledge but could stand to learn more about how they work through the process of exchange. Of Fortune 500 companies, 71 percent offer mentoring programs for employees because they realize the proven link between learning and performance.

Does the company offer mentoring programs? Why not be the first to pitch this as an idea and help set it up? Cultivate something bigger than one employee — an opportunity that benefits you in the long run, too.

  1. Pursue Enrichment Opportunities

Achieving the work-life balance feels like trying to clone a dinosaur — nearly impossible. You must make the time. Build a full life in your personal and professional worlds by pursuing enrichment opportunities.

Enrichment opportunities is a broad term, but one that encompasses endless potential. What opportunities for learning exist on the job and in your personal life? Take advantage of exercise programs, employer tuition reimbursement and stipends for night or online classes. Attend that life drawing or marketing class you always wanted to schedule.

What opportunities might you cultivate by talking to the right people and pitching the right ideas? Speak up.

Research reveals that satisfaction among employees relies on having a fulfilling experience on the job. One study found employers who deepened worker knowledge through enrichment opportunities possessed higher motivated teams and company loyalty. The workers were also more productive and happier due to benefits and programs that promoted recognition, achievement, advancement and responsibility.

It’s possible to achieve the right balance of completing duties and pursuing growth through learning. Open up the lines of communication toward a culture of knowledge and enrichment, and productivity and performance will follow. Honor quality over quantity.

Don’t let your focus on performance hold you back from the wealth of the learning experience. By redirecting your attention to creating learning objectives and outcomes, you can broaden your horizons and improve your performance over time.

This article originally appeared in Personal Branding Blog.

 

This article was written by Personal Branding Blog 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.