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#TChat Preview: Create A Transformative Onboarding Experience For New Hires

The TalentCulture #TChat Show is back live on Wednesday, June 4, 2014. #TChat Radio starts at 6:30 pm ET (3:30 pm PT) and the convo continues on #TChat Twitter chat from 7-8 pm ET (4-5 pm PT).

Last week we talked about how to visualize real-time talent alignment, and this week we’re talking about how to have a transformative onboarding experience for new hires.

According to the Talent Board’s 2013 Candidate Experience Awards report, based on data from nearly 50,000 candidates from over 90 progressive companies, new hires are sometimes met with less-than-ideal onboarding processes. They’re usually bombarded with disparate paperwork on the first day, as well as left with many questions about everything from benefits to job responsibilities.

Nobody wants to do their “day 1” paperwork from a cold, dark office. They want to do it from the comfort of wherever that comfort derives. They want to get on with the cultural immersion — and get to work.

A good onboarding experience is crucial to the success of every new employee. Since a new hire will decide within the first year if they want to stay with the company or not, the ability to deliver an effective and inviting onboarding process is key to improving employee morale and retention.

A happy candidate experience makes for exceptional hires and happy customers.

Join #TChat co-creators and hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman as we learn how to have a transformative onboarding experience with this week’s guests: Todd Owens, President & COO at TalentWise; and Wendy Matyjevich, SPHR, Managing Partner of Human Capital for BlackRain Partners.

Sneak Peek: How To Have A Transformative Onboarding Experience For New Hires

We look forward to learning more from our guests, Todd Owens and Wendy Matyjevich, to learn more about creating a better onboarding experience for new hires.

Related Reading:

David Smooke: Hiring Culture: Creating A Recruitment Ecosystem

Meghan M. Biro: The Onboarding Experience Matters To Your Future Employees 

David Obelcz: Five Keys To Onboarding That Drive Employee Engagement 

Abigail Tracy: Offer Your New Hires Training, Not Free Donuts

Jim Dougherty: Company Culture Is Part Of Your Business Model

We hope you’ll join the #TChat conversation this week and share your questions, opinions and ideas with our guests and the TalentCulture Community.

#TChat Events: How To Have A Transformative Onboarding Experience For New Hires

TChatRadio_logo_020813 #TChat Radio — Wed, June 4 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with our guests Todd Owens and Wendy Matyjevich.

Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter Chat — Wed, June 4 — 7pmET / 4pmPT Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and our guests will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where we’ll continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: Why should candidates be treated like paying customers? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q2: How should companies react to changing modern-day job seeker & employee engagement demands? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q3: How can recruiting and onboarding be transformative for candidates & new hires? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q4: What practices help leaders ensure a compelling and sustained company culture? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q5: In what ways does a collaborative onboarding platform change engagement? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, and in our new TalentCulture G+ community. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions. See you there!!

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday.

To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

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5 Steps To A Completely Aligned Workforce

“What on earth is Talent Alignment?”

If I had a dollar for every time I heard that question, it honestly wouldn’t matter because it’s an answer I love giving.

Talent Alignment is a goal-based, totally transparent series of processes that will change every facet of how you recruit, onboard, manage and lead your employees.

Think of talent alignment as a playbook for your entire organization that everyone can see in real-time. In many organizations today, that playbook is hidden or non-existent and seeing results of your entire organization in real-time.

Right now, many organizations have a talent cycle but it’s a vicious one. Vicious is disconnected, fractured and frustrating to top talent – in short, it’s a talent management, communication and culture problem all rolled into one. Here are the ways you can take your talent cycle from vicious to virtuous:

Step 1: Recruit Smarter

Knowing you need to hire and knowing why you need to hire are two separate things. Using talent alignment within your company makes it easy to see which holes need to be filled. All of the sudden, your job requirements are more focused and specific, your onboarding process is streamlined and your employees aren’t threatened by the new addition, because they know exactly what she is working on…and towards. It also gives HR and recruiting a seat at the table in terms of the strategic mission and vision for the company.

Step 2: Communicate Better

The key is to link your teams’ everyday efforts to overall goals, and to make it easy for managers and employees to visualize how work flows up to larger company strategies. By aligning all the middlemen you can ensure your team gets the right message every time. This approach empowers employees because they know precisely how their daily tasks fit into the larger picture.

Step 3: Build Trust

Companies that show what the goals are and individual accountability to reaching them can more easily pick out all-start employees, connect their employees in ways never possible before and create an open and trusting environment. Gossip, backbiting and the glass ceiling aren’t issues when goals and achievements are out in the open. Performance and engagement become natural by-products when alignment and transparency are “baked in”.

Step 4: Get Rid Of Pointless Tasks

A recent survey of more than 2,000 workers showed a whopping 98 percent think annual performance reviews are unnecessary. About a quarter of that group were HR professionals. This is waste of time and money. Today’s workforce works faster, smarter and in more places than the workforce that implemented annual reviews. Stop this senseless practice and use the budget and time for transparent reviewing. A continuous feedback loop between colleagues, leadership, and employees allows your HIPOs to get even better and your less productive staff matriculate or “self-select”. Research suggests that transparent review processes and a continuous feedback loop between managers and employees may even make adequate performers up their game.

Step 5:  Nurturing, Training And Growth

Performance. Each team member should know their results compared to expectations. In “The 3 Signs of a Miserable Job,” Patrick Lencioni says that we engage in our work when we can measure it.

Behavior. Most leaders don’t subscribe to a Machiavellian approach to performance. We know that the means are often more important than the ends. We need to sustain performance, our health and our relationships.

Engagement. Emotional connection to the organization and to the team drives commitment, quality and culture. Team members who hide from tracking objectives are either scared or apathetic. Either reveals development opportunities and succession potential.

Alignment. Organizations need empowered and independent thinkers…within the framework of the organization’s goals. Structure brings freedom and innovation. In crew, each rower does his part by following the cadence of those ahead and modeling for those behind in the boat.

Our workforce needs empowered and independent thinkers…within the framework of the organization’s goals. Structure brings freedom and innovation. Just like memorizing a playbook before the season, a virtuous talent cycle based on alignment allows us to improvise, commitment to organizational goals allows us to be entrepreneurial, reallocating resources, budget and shifting goals whenever and wherever they are needed, coming full circle.

(About the Author: Andre Lavoie is the CEO of Clear Company, the first talent alignment platform that bridges the gap between talent management and business strategy by contextualizing employees’ work around a company’s vision and goals. You can connect with him and the Clear Company team on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

ClearCompany is the first Talent Alignment Platform that bridges the gap between talent management and business strategy by contextualizing employees’ work around a company’s vision and goals. Our patent-pending portfolio technology empowers organizations to maximize the strategic contribution of hiring, learning and performance initiatives by realizing the potential of their most valuable asset: their people.)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

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How Transparency Positively Impacts Your Workplace

There’s a basic social contract that exists between workers and their employers. Employees rely on their companies for their living and for a stable work environment where they can thrive. Businesses depend on their workforce to provide the talent and manpower necessary to develop products, serve customers and generate revenue.

It sounds simple, but this arrangement actually requires quite a bit of trust on both ends. For their part, corporate leaders must count on their workers’ honesty and integrity as they give employees access to a whole range of company resources, put them in direct contact with clients, set them to work with sensitive customer information and give them the keys to the office. For the most part, this contract works, and the corporate world keeps on running.

In fact, openness and honesty with employees – which is a natural offspring of this trust – might be even more significant than a foundation that allows basic business operations to occur. According to Fortune, transparency is a key factor in developing positive customer relationships. Part of the reason it’s so important is that greater information about the way the company is running and what its goals are can empower employees to do their jobs better, and this capability leads to better products, higher-quality service and engaged workers.

Transparency In The Workplace

In addition to being open with customers and the public about company operations, fostering greater transparency within a business can contribute to a positive employee culture. Simply demonstrating that executives and stakeholders trust their workers with information about the organization’s successes and failures, strategies and goals helps to build up that social contract of trust and responsibility. Of course, there must always be prudence in determining how much and which information to divulge to the entire company, but greater transparency tends to make a positive impact on workers.

Fortune explained that transparency involves factors such as practices, policies, algorithms, operating data and future plans. It means giving staff members the information they need to develop a deep understanding of what their company stands for and what its objectives are. This, in turn, can foster work pride and inspire innovation, loyalty, independence, positive co-worker dynamics and passion to meet common goals, the source added.

Supervisors who think their company is plenty transparent might want to reconsider. Referring to a recent poll, Forbes magazine noted that 71 percent of employees felt that their managers failed to spend enough time explaining goals and 50 percent said that their organizations were held back by a lack of transparency.

Sharing More information 

One place to start is with employee engagement survey results. Many leaders collect information about their workforce by distributing questionnaires and analyzing the responses, but workers are rarely informed about the results. Sharing this data not only helps create an environment of inclusiveness and teamwork, it also brings staff members on board to help solve some of the problems they identified. Letting them know the enterprise’s strengths is a great idea, too, since it can encourage them to continue doing whatever makes the company strong.

Fortune observed that technology makes it easier for leaders to employ resources like surveys and use them as tools to increase transparency. Rather than merely soliciting feedback, the point is to develop constructive conversations about ways to improve. Welcoming employee ideas and providing avenues for them to contribute to problem-solving initiatives builds a strong business community and enables companies to benefit from the collective wealth of knowledge and brain​ power in their workforces.

As Forbes put it, every organization must determine how much transparency is right for its unique situation, but ignoring transparency completely is most likely a costly error.

(About the Author: David Bator is passionate about programs that move people. As Vice President of Client Strategy at TemboStatus he works with growing companies everyday and helps them bridge the gap between assessing employee engagement and addressing it with action. For the last 15 years David has worked with the leadership of companies large and small to build programs that leverage strategy and technology to deliver extraordinary value for employees, customers and partners.)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

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#TChat Preview: How To Visualize Real-Time Talent Alignment

The TalentCulture #TChat Show is back live on Wednesday, May 28, 2014. #TChat Radio starts at 6:30 pm ET (3:30 pm PT) and the convo continues on #TChat Twitter chat from 7-8 pm ET (4-5 pm PT).

Last week we talked about the inspire or retire leadership theorem, and this week we’re talking about how to visualize real-time talent alignment.

Employee turnover is a common challenge for organizations of all shapes and size and industries. It’s an overgrown and thorny path that leaders and HR teams walk bare foot daily, with no compass to guide them. This wild “talent cycle” can create poor climates and cultures where your people are forced to scramble and hire reactively each time an employee makes a move toward the door.

Focused on the people not the processes combined real-time talent alignment technology allow leaders to better visualize their human capital investment, while simultaneously engaging employees and driving performance.

Join #TChat co-creators and hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman as we learn more about visualizing real-time talent alignment with this week’s guests: Andre Lavoie, CEO and co-founder of ClearCompany; and Matt Norman, a leadership and sales consultant and a Dale Carnegie Training franchise president.

Sneak Peek: How To Visualize Real-Time Talent Alignment

We spoke briefly with our guests, Andre Lavoie and Matt Norman, to learn more about real-time talent alignment. Check out our YouTube Channel for videos with other #TChat guests!

Kevin Wheeler: Moving From Transactions To Engagement – 4 Recruiting Trends

Afton Funk: From Short-Order Cook To Chef: Talent Alignment Gets You There

Abigail Tracy: Offer Your New Hires Training, Not Free Doughnuts

Meghan M. Biro: How To Succeed At Real-Time Talent Alignment

China Gorman: How Great Companies Attract Top Talent

We hope you’ll join the #TChat conversation this week and share your questions, opinions and ideas with our guests and the TalentCulture Community.

#TChat Events: How To Visualize Real-Time Talent Alignment

TChatRadio_logo_020813 #TChat Radio — Wed, May 28 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with our guests Andre Lavoie and Matt Norman!

Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter Chat — Wed, May 28 — 7pmET / 4pmPT Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and our guests will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where we’ll continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: Why are organizations reactive vs. proactive when hiring and retaining talent? (Tweet this Question)

Q2: How can companies better align recruiting & onboarding to improve long-term performance? (Tweet this Question)

Q3: What role does learning and development play in real-time talent alignment? (Tweet this Question)

Q4: How can companies build and sustain a desirable, stable culture? (Tweet this Question)

Q5: How can business leaders promote a vision of continuous workforce performance? (Tweet this Question)

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, and in our new TalentCulture G+ community. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions. See you there!!

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday.

To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

Photo Credit: Olly 2 via bigstock

Working Remotely: Is Staying Connected 24/7 A Good Thing?

Technology has given us the ability to stay connected 24/7 which is a blessing and also a curse. One of the downsides is that the lines between work and down time have become increasingly blurred. Many companies feel that employees should be available nights, weekends and even on vacation. Some provide employees with smartphones with the understanding that they will be accessible whenever they are needed.

Not all employees object to this. The majority of respondents to a recent Gallup Poll said that being able to work remotely after hours was a good thing. With 42 percent saying that being able to stay in touch with the office during down time was a “strongly positive” development and 37 percent saying it was only “somewhat positive.” However, only about a third of respondents said that they “frequently” connected with work after hours.

Whether they object or not employees who spend more hours working remotely outside of normal working hours are more likely to experience stress. Despite this, for most of us being connected to our job almost constantly is the norm.

Still there are a few leaders speaking out again the current 24/7 work cycle. Earlier this year, Arianna Huffington spoke passionately at the Wisdom 2.0 Conference about the need to step back. She talked about waking up in a pool of blood after cutting her eye and breaking her cheekbone when she collapsed from exhaustion in 2007. At the Huffington Post, she established a policy of disconnecting from the office where employees are not expected to answer email after hours or over the weekend.

Some European countries have made radical changes. The German labor ministry voted in guidelines which prevent ministry staff from being “penalized” for failing to respond after hours. Some German companies, including Volkswagen, BMW and Puma, restrict after hours email. VW even stops forwarding emails to staff shortly after the work day has ended.

In France, employers’ federations and unions signed a “legally binding agreement” that requires employees to disconnect from the office after working hours. This agreement affects the French offices of some non-French companies including Google, Facebook, Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Meanwhile, in Sweden the city council in Gothenburg voted to try out a six-hour workday with full-pay for its staff.

Are these changes a preview of what’s to come in the US? It doesn’t seem likely. Does this mean that employers should be forbidden from contacting employees after hours? In our culture of staying connected 24/7 that doesn’t seem likely either. But there should be some room for compromise.

Is it urgent every time our smartphone bleeps or buzzes? Probably not.

(About the Author: Annette Richmond, MA is a writer, optimist, media enthusiast and executive editor of career-intelligence.com. Having changed careers several times, including working as a career coach, she has a unique perspective on career management. When starting career-intelligence.com over a decade ago, her goal was to provide a one-stop online career resource.

In addition to being a writer, speaker and consultant, Richmond contributes career-related articles to various other sites including ForbesWoman. She holds a BA in English from Sacred Heart University and a MA in Applied Psychology from Fairfield University. She resides in Rowayton, CT, with her husband, Eric, and their four-legged kids.)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

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The Flip Side of Employee Engagement

In a world where Gallup pollsters say 71% of American workers are “disengaged” from their work, “employee engagement” is clearly an issue needing to be addressed.  There have been numerous posts on TalentCulture about employee engagement, and Meghan M. Biro recently published an article about it in Forbes.  Dan Pink’s book “Drive” talks at length about the science of what motivates us. (Oddly enough, it’s not money, at least, money does not motivate the kind of work that really matters these days, like problem-solving and creative/visionary thinking.)

Since more and more of our work falls into “creative” categories, and emotional engagement is key to maximizing creativity and thus productivity, and money doesn’t motivate these tasks, how do we get to a place where employees are more engaged at work?

Instead of starting from zero and looking for fixes, I suggest looking at a workplace where “employee engagement” is already at 100% all of the time: a major symphony orchestra.

I once had the privilege of playing in the Boston Pops, where total “employee engagement” was standard procedure. In that culture, we weren’t concerned so much with “how to get it” as we were with making sure nothing got in the way of it. And the biggest issue was not employEE engagement, but “employER engagement.”

If you have ever wondered why major symphony orchestras take so long to find music directors, it’s not for a lack of applicants for the job. The issue is finding someone who can handle being a manager in a 100% employee engagement environment. This is a lot harder than you might think.

As an orchestral musician, I often observed young wannabe maestros as they were given their shot at the bigtime with a guest conducting stint. It was amazing just how many of them could not do the job. It wasn’t because they lacked musical talent or skill. What was lacking was an ability to accept the massive energy of the “engaged employees.”

You see, for many of these wannabe maestros, whenever the music got too loud or too exciting, amazingly, they just would slow things down, as too much excitement would exceed their need-for-control comfort level. Yes, this certainly sounds crazy; after all, in the music business, emotional excitement is itself the product. But I saw this self-defeating phenomenon happen over and over again. They actually resisted “employee engagement.”

You will see this “emotional fractal” occur in all kinds of situations.  Many people just assume that having things “under control” is equivalent to being productive and doing their job as manager, when in reality it saps energy and sabotages employee engagement. For example, in a recent 60 Minutes program, Sergio Marchionne talked about the previous regime at Chrysler having their executive offices in a far off penthouse suite. In rescuing the company, he moved the executive offices into the same area as the engineers, where they could get access to the CEO without any bureaucratic interference. Again, employee engagement can only occur if there is employer engagement willing to accept it, and not slow it down or prevent it.

You would think that the acceptance of massive employee engagement energy would be an easy and obvious thing to do, but for many people, it isn’t. When someone gets into a serious management role for the first time, it is rare that they have had any real long term gut-level preparation for the job. For example, they may not be used to trusting people on such a grand scale. They may be overly concerned about what their own boss thinks of them. They may be more concerned about loyalty to the past, “following standard procedure,” or “mistake prevention” than they are about overall productivity. They may not be able to handle the social discomfort stemming from their newfound power over former colleagues, or they may unwittingly abuse their power without realizing how it can affect worker attitudes. And perhaps most of all, the ability to graciously accept the gift of people coming to work every day and giving you everything they’ve got is not something we pick up in gym class. It’s a quantum leap in how one looks at the world.

Everyone who steps into a management role is a unique individual with their own set of past trust violations, issues with authority, shame issues about mistakes, confidence here and insecurity there, and inexperience with handling power, not mention just plain old fear and other human foibles. They may not be ready to handle the overwhelming amount of emotional energy that a team of “engaged” workers wants to throw at them. The natural response is always to slow things down.

Addressing these issues at their core emotional level gets into the realm of “touchy feely,” where many managers, especially those who have more technical skills than people skills, feel uncomfortable. But “engagement” is no longer a nice thing to have, it is now essential to your bottom line.  So if your issue is a lack of “employee engagement,” this is probably just an inevitable result of an emotional bottleneck occurring at the management level, and that is where the problem should be solved.

In many learning environments and business cultures, stress, anxiety, and bureaucratic distancing often lead to emotional numbness, so the trust, openness, connection, and personal recognition that so many workers seek from their boss are rare commodities. Leaders who inspire their team by offering these emotional responses (despite all the stress of their role) are generally seen as mystical beings who are “born with it,” but it is a skill that can be cultivated in anyone, given proper training.

(About the Author: Justin Locke spent 18 years playing bass in the Boston Pops, and his musical plays are performed all over the world.  As an author, speaker, and coach, he shares a pragmatic artistic approach to personal growth, “people skills,” and managing “top performers.” For more, visit his website at www.justinlocke.com.)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

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Developing The Next Generation Of Leaders

Good Day! I’ll be the guest host this Wednesday, May 21, on the TalentCulture #TChat – show which includes #TChat Radio and #TChat Twitter Chat – Wednesdays from 6:30-8:00 pm EST. The radio show is from 6:30-7:00 pm EST and the Twitter chat is from 7pm-8pm EST. Before I host I would like to share some information with you about myself.

I am passionate about…

developing emerging, enduring, and experienced leaders and teaching them how to develop themselves using a disciplined and deliberate approach. All leadership begins from inside a person and must be developed and grown as they grow into emerging and enduring leaders. I believe that leadership principles are timeless and apply across all spectrums of life. I believe leadership begins inside of you. Leadership starts with a condition of the heart – the desire and passion to make a difference before it moves to the brain to implement a plan to make a difference. It is an inside-out process and is shaped by your values, character, choices, opportunities, experiences, and your worldview. Leadership is about you, the people you influence, and a belief that you can make a difference and have an impact.

Second, my next passion is for developing the next generation of leaders who will be the leaders in the military, in government, in business and globally. These leaders will lead in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous or VUCA world and must be prepared for leading in chaos.

What do I mean by a VUCA?

  • Volatile means that the speed, size, scale of change in the world today has a great impact on events around the globe almost instantaneously. An example is the rate and pace of stock market changes and the effect it has on personal and corporate wealth.
  • Uncertainty means that world events are unpredictable and this unpredictability makes it impossible to prepare for unknown world events. An example is the effects of Arab Spring and governmental changes in the last four years.
  • Complexity means that the chaotic nature of the world combined with the volatility and uncertainty of global events creates an environment of confusion and difficulty for today’s leaders.
  • Ambiguity means that there is a lack of clarity or transparency surrounding world events. It is hard to predict what threats are in the world if you do not know the who, what, or why things are happening.

We will need leaders who can meet and adapt to new challenges, build strategic partnerships, build and sustain human capital organizations, and have the courage to act and react to the challenges. In addition to these requirements, we need to continue to develop leaders who are flexible, adaptive and are globally and culturally aware. This next generation of leaders must understand how to build and maintain trust, keep their integrity, and continue to build their credibility by developing their character.

An authentic character is the outward expression of our purpose, values, and beliefs. Your character comprises your beliefs, motives, values, desires, behaviors, and principles that drive and shape your actions as a leader. Character authenticity is living on purpose, keeping true to your values and beliefs, and not compromising them at the altar of Society. Your character is tested in the crucible of life and is forged through adversity.

I believe authentic leaders…

inspire people to greatness. Inspiration is the ability to breathe life into someone or an organization. Inspiration is a positive influence – a positive reinforcement – we give our people. It ignites desire, ignites creativity, and ignites innovation in inspired people. Leadership is not what I do it is who I am. There is no escaping who I am. My leadership is the embodiment of my heart, mind, body, and soul. It is an amalgamation of my life’s purpose, my values, my ethics, my core beliefs, my life philosophy, and my worldview.

One of the topics we are going to discuss on the #TCHAT show is the Inspire or Retire Theorem.

Inspire Or Retire Theorem

The Inspire or Retire Theorem wraps up my F(X) Leadership framework and my theory of you are the key to your leadership. The function of (x) is you.

InspireOrRetireTheorem

 What If The Leaders In Your Organization

•  Knew the organizational vision, goals, values and the impact their leadership had on the success of the organization
•  Knew success as a leader included knowing themselves, their team and the organization
•  Knew a leader must have high moral and ethical values and that character counts
•  Knew leaders are responsible for their actions and their words
•  Knew they needed to continuously develop, grow and reinvent themselves to meet the challenges of the future
•  Understood their role in developing other leaders
•  Understood character, courage, commitment and communication are key components of leadership
•  Understood they are responsible for their leadership development
•  Understood they are the key to their leadership

The Inspire or Retire Theorem answers all the above questions in a mathematical mnemonic that encapsulates my leadership responsibility to the people I lead and the organization I serve. It was designed as a visual representation for me to remember to always Inspire or Retire.

I look forward to sharing time with and discussing your views on leadership, leadership development, and developing the next generation of leaders.

(About the Author:  Thomas S. Narofsky is the Founder and Chief Inspirational Officer for the Narofsky Consulting Group, a leadership development, team effectiveness, and executive coaching consultancy. He the developer of the F(X) Leadership Model, the Inspire or Retire Leadership Theorem, and author of F(X) Leadership Unleashed!, and soon to be released book, You are Unstoppable!.

He also served on the United States Air Force Enlisted Board of Directors which focused on professional development, training concepts and long-range strategies to provide continuous, career-long enlisted deliberate development by integrating education, training and experience to produce a skilled and adaptive work force. He has conducted worldwide professional and leadership development seminars with U.S, Korean, Japanese, Australian, British, Canadian, Belgian and German enlisted forces. His military decorations include Defense Superior Service Medal and the Bronze Star.

Thom is an adjunct professor at Bellevue University in the Arts and Sciences Department. He holds a Master of Arts in Leadership, a Master of Science in Information Technology Management and a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies.)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

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Pay Attention: 3 Corporate Culture Shaping Techniques

Employee Engagement (defn.): employee’s investment of time, energy, creativity, knowledge, skills and abilities to fulfill expectations of work assigned.

Business/Corporate Culture (defn.): the philosophy, values, behavior, dress codes, etc., that together constitute the unique style and policies of a company.

The above phrases are defined numerous ways by numerous sources. The above definitions include the factors that comprise Employee Engagement and Business/Corporate Culture. They are offered because culture and engagement are causally related.

Business culture stimulates the quantity and quality of employees’ engagement. This means engagement in performing their individual job. It means engagement in contributing to team projects, objectives, and goals. It certainly means engagement in fulfilling company requirements and obligations.

The more an employee appreciates, identifies with, and receives energy from the business culture, the more eagerly she engages: in her job, with her team, for the company.

If that is true — and it is — so is this: keeping the business culture timely and vibrant keeps the engagement by employees meaningful and intense. Let’s look at 3 Culture Shaping Responsibilities every leadership team owns if they want to keep employees engaged, especially increasingly engaged.

1. Pay Attention To The Big Picture

Pay attention to the needs for your big picture culture and pay attention to the wants for your individual employees culture. Include both in your business culture. The topmost leaders of the business can’t help but see and focus on the big picture. Success in the specific industry and the current economy may require a culture that is intense, independent, and entrepreneurial. Or success may be better generated by high levels of teamwork and measured progress. Or success may come from a think-tank strategy that keeps the business ahead of the competition. More than likely, business leaders already have this in mind as part of their company definition.

Just remember to pay attention at the individual level as well. What kind of employee best serves your business? That is answered, of course, by their specific skills and abilities, their work habits and their views of individual success and satisfaction. Social media? (Un)structured work-environment? Health & wellness offerings? Creative opportunity?

The goal is to fit together individual wants with business needs to form a seamless and satisfying corporate culture. That culture encourages employees to engage in their work because they want to.

2. Pay Attention To Your Culture

Pay attention to making your business culture “front of mind consciousness” throughout your company. Culture can be like vision: put into a neat phrase, engraved on a pretty plaque, hung up somewhere and forgotten. The frequently and regularly managers and employees should talk about the business culture — in real terms, in real time. Business culture is meant to live, breathe, and change as the business situations change. That happens when culture is embedded in communication, when people constantly talk about what’s going on. Try these:

  • Have “Culture News” as a 5 minute regular agenda item for meetings. The team can decide what to do with it. Just be sure it’s talk about the corporate culture.
  • Invite informal feedback that essentially answers this question: “What do you like about our company culture?”
  • Invite informal feedback that answers this question: “What don’t you like about our company culture?”

The purpose is more to bring individuals’ awareness/appreciation of culture to the forefront. If the culture vibrates positively, they will make added effort. That’s engagement. If there’s no vibration, the sooner you find out, the sooner you can make the changes.

3. Pay Attention To Your Behavior

Pay attention to behaving the culture. In her discussion of culture change, Nancy Rubin cites “Guiding behavioral principles: how [leaders] expect all associates to behave” as a critical element.

Take that one step further: expect leaders and managers to pay attention to their own behavior. Guarantee that leadership behavior matches culture expectations. Employees are quick to emulate their managers’ behavior. They are even quicker to notice when the walk doesn’t match the talk.

Becoming a more effective leader involves more than defining the culture. It requires more than espousing the culture. It demands living the culture for the workforce to see. Because seeing is believing.

Paying attention to a vibrant business culture results in vibrant engagement by the workforce.

(About the Author: As an Employee Engagement and Performance Improvement expert, Tim Wright, has worked with businesses and national associations of all sizes. His company, Wright Results, offers proven strategies and techniques to help businesses increase employee engagement, improve personnel performance and build a strong business culture by focusing on performance management from the C.O.R.E. For more information, visit www.wrightresults.com or connect with Tim here: tim@wrightresults.com)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

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#TChat Preview: Inspire Or Retire Leadership Theorem

The TalentCulture #TChat Show is back live on Wednesday, May 21, 2014. #TChat Radio starts at 6:30 pm ET (3:30 pm PT) and the convo continues on #TChat Twitter chat from 7-8 pm ET (4-5 pm PT).

Last week we talked about the talent-centric recruiting experience, and this week we’re talking about the inspire or retire leadership theorem.

Yes, that’s what we said. The first part of this theorem is a reminder that from the junior employee to senior management, leadership is everyone’s business. When organizations are in a VUCA environment (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity), they are usually flatter and everyone must lead.

You’ll learn more about the theorem soon, but until then, inspirational leaders encourage their team by example and allow their people to take the lead in accomplishing the organizational vision.

The most significant contribution we can make as leaders today is to leave a legacy of inspired leaders behind to take care of tomorrow. We can leverage our skills, talents, and experiences to transform our people into leaders.

Join #TChat co-creators and hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman as we learn more about the inspire or retire leadership theorem with this week’s guest: Thomas S. Narofsky, Founder and Chief Inspirational Officer for the Narofsky Consulting Group, a leadership development, team effectiveness, and executive coaching consultancy.

Sneak Peek: Inspire Or Retire Leadership Theorem

We spoke briefly with our guest Thomas Narofsky, to learn a little about the Inspire or Retire Leadership Theorem. Check out our YouTube Channel for videos with other #TChat guests!

Related Reading:

Michael Rogers: Inspirational Leadership – What 5 Things Do They Have In Common?

Jesse Lyn Stoner: How To Give Your Boss Bad News 

Peter Sessum: Military Leadership: Lessons In Military Leadership For Civilians

Kevin W. Grossman: On Finding The Leader’s Way

Meghan M. Biro: Leadership Is About Emotion

We hope you’ll join the #TChat conversation this week and share your questions, opinions and ideas with our guests and the TalentCulture Community.

#TChat Events: Inspire Or Retire Leadership Theorem

TChatRadio_logo_020813 #TChat Radio — Wed, May 21 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with our guest Thomas Narofsky!

Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter Chat — Wed, May 14 — 7pmET / 4pmPT Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and our guest will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where we’ll continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: What are the current and best leadership development approaches and why do they work? (Tweet this Question)

Q2: Why is it important to teach leaders of all stages how to develop themselves? (Tweet this Question)

Q3: How can next-gen leaders be comfortable in a volatile and uncertain environment? (Tweet this Question)

Q4: How can we train new leaders to inspire future leaders? (Tweet this Question)

Q5: What technologies improve the delivery of inspiring leadership development? (Tweet this Question)

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, and in our new TalentCulture G+ community. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions. See you there!!

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday.

To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

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Brave New World, Brave Business Leaders Needed

The first quarter of 2014 brought welcome optimism for some of the world’s major economies. On the face of things, it’s great news. However, businesses still face a battle to get back to the levels of pre 2008 performance and growth.

One thing that could be preventing them from doing so is if business leaders aren’t equipped for the brave new business world. Could Generation Y leaders hold the key?

Have Leaders Got This In Their Locker?

Concerns persist that many of today’s leaders lack the skills and knowledge needed to lead businesses in a rapidly-evolving corporate landscape. This is highlighted by the London Business School’s Lynda Gratton in her research.

The Future of Work Research Consortium, led by Gratton, found that half of the executives sampled across the world don’t think that leadership programs are currently equipping leaders with the right skills. This is a worrying trend which must be reversed.

Gratton offers great insight, setting out a clear and bold vision for the future of leadership. She explains the need to develop leaders that are able to leverage new technologies, take risks, build external relationships and champion creativity.

Failure to develop leaders with these skills and traits will stifle innovation and, with it, economic growth.

The Present: Developing Leaders Now

Companies must quickly recognize and respond to the changing business world. They’ll need to adjust talent and leadership development programs accordingly.

The first step is for businesses to identify what skills, behaviors and competencies their leaders need to possess in order to deliver strategies now (and anticipate how this might change in the future). They should measure leaders against a defined set of key skills, behaviors and competencies. Awareness of leaders’ strengths and development needs will then help companies to provide targeted support in areas where they need to shift behavior or change their approach.

Taking these steps will certainly better equip leaders now. However, the real change in leadership approach for business may only come about when the next generation of leaders take the top jobs.

The Future: Generation Y Leaders

Generation Y or ‘Millennials’ as they’re also known will, naturally, be more inclined to embrace and leverage new technologies and to champion innovation.

And, as others have noted, Generation Y workers are more collaborative and flexible in their approach. This makes them better able to build relationships and create strong, engaged teams.

I’d argue that this combined skill set and experience gives Generation Y the perfect foundation to be the bold, brave and forward-thinking leaders we need to drive future business success. Time will tell if I’m right.

(About the Author: Ben Egan is an experienced consultant specializing in communications strategies at UK-based HR consultancy and bespoke technology firm. ETS are experts in employee engagement, development and performance appraisal working with major global businesses including PepsiCo, Tesco and RBS.)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

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Reinforce Employee Empowerment Today

As a business manager or owner of a company, there are many things you can do to reinforce employee empowerment with the self-will to strive for success. This is an important and critical factor in the success of your business as well, because a motivated, empowered work force will obviously perform much better than one in which morale is low and employees harbor feelings of resentment and disillusionment.

The most important aspect of motivating your employees is showing them you value their work, input, and contributions to the business. A simple thank you of acknowledgement often goes a long way in making an employee feel as though he or she matters, and listening to their concerns also shows respect for them and your willingness to make the business better as a whole.

Don’t Make It A Thankless Job—Acknowledge Your Employees

Too many business managers today simply expect their employees to perform their duties, and offer no real incentive or appreciation. Believe it or not, a paycheck just isn’t incentive enough to perform to the best of one’s ability. Employees are not machines, they want to feel appreciated, and they want to be able to express their opinions or concerns and be treated as though their words actually mean something.

If you find that you are having problems motivating your employees, you may want to examine your own actions as a manager or business owner. If you feel that you have been doing everything you can do to motivate your workforce and it just doesn’t seem to be working, you may want to consider hiring speakers to motivate employees in business conferences. Doing so at a company event, such as a picnic or catered dinner is the perfect way to say “thank you” to your employees for their hard work and dedication while, at the same time, capitalizing on the good vibes and encouraging even more empowerment through the use of the speaker.

A Motivated Employee Is A Productive Employee

Communication is ever important in the business world. Being able to communicate your needs and goals clearly to your workforce ensures that employees are well aware of their task requirements, and can proceed with little direction required. Trusting your employees to do their jobs effectively and professionally means you are empowering them, and that will translate to improved motivation and productivity.

If you feel you are somewhat lacking in the communication department, that is nothing to feel ashamed about. Not everyone is an excellent communicator, but you can easily learn the skills needed to become one. In the meantime, if you would like to better motivate your employees but feel you don’t possess strong enough communication skills to do so, you can rely on speakers to motivate employees in business conferences.

In addition to hiring a motivating speaker, you can practice improving other areas of your management skills, including placing value on your employees, involving them in business decisions and inquiring about their input, managing employees more efficiently rather than just throwing work at them and expecting it to be done, and giving feedback on projects as they progress.

All of these actions contribute to cultivating a more effective and happy workforce. If you can manage this, you will quickly find your business will benefit from a workforce that is glad to come to work, rather than one in which morale is low and a feeling of resentment and disenchantment festers. A workforce with low morale means less productivity, more mistakes, and more employee turnover as disgruntled employees look for other employment opportunities elsewhere.

Lastly, do not forget to offer your employees some sort of reward if they’ve performed exceptionally well or completed a big project on time. This can be something as simple as a small gift, or you may elect to take your workforce to a company dinner or other sort of fun outing. Such acts are strong indicators of recognition for employees, and they will certainly appreciate the gesture as much as you appreciate their efforts.

 

(About the Author: Norah Abraham has been a freelance writer since 2005. She attended the University of Boston and graduated with a Bachelor in English Literature. She loves public speaking and motivates people in her own comic style. She loves gadgets and techie stuffs. In her career, she has written dozens of Press Releases, Articles, and Essays.)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

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Dating In The Workplace: An Employee Relations Primer

Dating someone you work with is frequently cited by workforce experts as a very bad idea. Yet 40% of workers admitted they did so in a 2013 CareerBuilder survey – and we have no reason to believe that number has gone down since then. As summertime rolls around, inevitably relationships will begin to spring up. After all, the average working American spends one-third of their lives at the office. So, what does the burgeoning office relationship mean for employers? Relationships gone sour have the potential to raise tension in the office. Couples that practice ODA (Office Display of Affection) make other employees uncomfortable. And there are bigger stakes for the employer.  The way you handle a new romance can expose the entire organization to risk or result in a great relationship you helped cultivate.

Rules Of Love

There are no hard rules when it comes to fraternization policies – but it is necessary to have something in place to guide appropriate behaviors.  Yet only 42 percent of companies have intra-office dating policies. These policies protect the company as well as the two individuals involved.  Make sure every person in your office understand the rules and how to report relationships should they become serious.

Some HR departments require written disclosures, making the involved employees officially state their relationship. Other companies “ban” fraternization. This is extremely hard to enforce because the term “fraternization” is difficult to completely define and policies that ban fraternization don’t really work. It seems great on paper, but it doesn’t account for the human condition. Your employees will date someone if they want and assume as long as they don’t display affection, no one would find out. That’s not a safe route for anyone in the office and can disrupt productivity and exclude other employees. It is best to keep HR and the supervisor in the loop to avoid your workers spending all their time trying to “hide” their relationship.

“More and more companies have implemented policies because they realize they aren’t going to stop people from having romantic relationship,” said Christine Amalfe, an attorney in Gibbon’s P.C. litigation and employment and labor law departments. Amalfe is correct, there are very few workplaces wherein HR or any other executives can forbid dating between coworkers. Nor would it be a reasonable policy.  However, if everyone on your employee relations team is briefed on the rules and communicates them to the team, both employees and management can breathe easier knowing how to deal with potential relationships.

“If you’re considering dating a coworker, finding out what the policy is before you initiate a romantic relationship will typically be better than springing it on your bosses six months in,” Eric Ravenscraft of lifehacker.com said.

Conflicts Of Interest

What if the relationship ends? Even if the relationship leads to a marriage, 44 percent of every marriage in the United States ends in divorce. Employers have to deal with couples who can’t work together even though they have to work together. Failed relationships in the workplace damage morale and the individuals risk losing their jobs. Have a contingency plan if the former lovebirds can no longer bear to work together. It DOES happen and it is important to make succession plans and keep performance reviews up to date in case reporting is called into question.

Supervisors Shouldn’t Date Subordinates

If office dating happens, it should only happen laterally. Dating subordinates is a bad idea – period. Some companies allow dating coworkers as long as they are not your boss. But 99 percent of organizations get it right and ban intra-office relationships between supervisor and subordinate. It can compromise credibility and lead to subordinates disrespecting their supervisors.  It is also scary territory for potential legal action. Sexual harassment, favoritism, and other risky situations can all easily arise from a situation in which two people from unequal positions are involved in a romance.

“When a supervisor and employee are dating, it can potentially decrease morale in the department and raise suspicions by coworkers of preferential treatment,” said Kristin Bowl, spokeswoman for the SHRM. According to EEOC, one-in-four women are sexually harassed at work, half of them were harassed by a supervisor.

Companies who have a no tolerance intra-office dating policy try to control human nature. In reality, however, if employees want to date, they will… you may just not know about it until it starts to impact your work environment. The best policies are the ones that don’t ban the behavior. Don’t try to control human nature, guide it. Give employees guidelines for office dating: don’t date your boss, sign a relationship contract, etc. Workplace dating is inevitable. Intra-office dating is going to happen. You can’t prevent sparks from igniting, but you can avoid a legal flameout.

(About the Author: Deborah J. Muller is the CEO of HR Acuity, a technology firm specializing in human resources applications like the HR Acuity On Demand family of applications. Muller brings more than 25 years of human resources and investigation experience to both the consulting practice and software development sides of the company.)

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

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6 Ways To Build A Better Team

Every company wants increasing employee engagement. Engaged employees are good at communicating and putting forth extra effort to fulfill expectations. I’ve recently seen articles about student athletes becoming great employees. Therefore, having an athletic mentality can help grow employee engagement. You may not want flag football in your office hallway or field hockey in the foyer. Still, it’s worth translating athlete mentality to worker mentality in your workplace.

Athlete / Worker Mentality 1: Communication

Success in any sport depends on communication. Same is true of business. Communication between the coach and the player is critical in the game’s final minutes when victory is on the line. To execute the play perfectly, team members must talk, listen to and understand one another. The same applies at the workplace: communication matters, in every direction.

Coach To Worker Mentality: Practice the skill of collaborative conversation. Then provide opportunities for your people to learn the skill as well.

Athlete Mentality - Jim LarrisonAthlete / Worker Mentality 2: Achievement

Rarely does the team that does not want to win, win. Desire to achieve is the fire in the athlete’s belly. Running an extra mile at practice, taking another 50 free throws, swinging at 25 more baseballs feed that fire. Ignite and fuel that same fire in employees and they will engage in striving to accomplish. An individual who wants quality in her work brings quality to her work. An employee who seeks improved performance calls out actions and resources to better skills.

Coach to Worker Mentality: Support and celebrate accomplishment. Make clear to the entire team what individuals/teams are working to accomplish. Publicize progress as it happens. Hype the publicity as achievement gets closer.

Athlete / Worker Mentality 3: Loyalty

A familiar sports phrase is “no I in ‘team'”. It’s putting ego aside for team success. Notable are athletes who utilize their skills and talents for the team. They put stardom lower on the priority list than victory. Loyalty to the company shows itself in full-fledged engagement employees. This leads to success that is greater than the sum of each individual’s efforts.

Coach to Worker Mentality: Encourage frequent, pragmatic discussion of loyalty. Examples: WIIFM related to work assignments, personal relevance of company values, individuals’ comfort with corporate culture. Verbalizing causes of and reasons for loyalty keeps loyalty in front of mind.

Athlete / Worker Mentality 4: Resilience

The team loses. Players learn from mistakes. Successful team moves on, preparing to win the next contest. Power to bounce back is essential to success. Resilience in the face of business setbacks is key to successful employee engagement, too. Consider how many events can knock someone off track, if not for a loop. Imagine the shortstop who’s bumbled a hot grounder or the halfback who’s fumbled a handoff. Each has to shake it off before next pitch or next play. Same with workers: shake it off, bounce back, get ready for the next play.

Coach to Worker Mentality: Learning from mistakes builds resilience. Make discussion of error and/or failure a regular behavior. Ensure this discussion emphasizes what can be learned, rather than finger pointing and blame shoveling.

Athlete / Worker Mentality 5: Confidence

Confidence boosts resilience. An athlete’s can-do belief spurs the “try again; do it better; on to victory” commitment. Confidence in ability and dedication stimulates confidence in the team. And confidence in the team increases self-confidence. A pitcher believes she will throw a strike. She also believes that if it’s hit, one of her teammates will make the out. That seamless confidence between individual and team produces wins. At work, too.

Coach to Worker Mentality: Demonstrate your trust and confidence in workers. Recognize their success and link to future possibilities. Encourage creative ideas and procedures.

Athlete / Worker Mentality 6: Awareness

Every player on a football team, a softball team, a basketball team – on any team – has specific expectations to fulfill. They are aware of these expectations. The more explicit their awareness, the better. Victory tells them they’ve performed as expected. Loss tells them the opposite. Workers need the same clear awareness of what managers, supervisors expect of them. The more clearly they know these expectations, the more likely they are to engage in fulfilling them.

Coach to Worker Mentality: When giving an assignment to new hire or veteran, be explicit in what’s expected. Ask for validation that expectations are heard and understood. As assignment progresses, verify expectations with the worker, especially if the expectations are tweaked.

Those coaching suggestions are normal behaviors a good manager possesses. It pays to keep them in mind. It pays more to put them in action. It pays to have your worker’s mentality similar to the athlete’s mentality.

Play on!

(About the Author:  As an Employee Engagement and Performance Improvement expert, Tim Wright, has worked with businesses and national associations of all sizes. His company, Wright Results, offers proven strategies and techniques to help businesses increase employee engagement, improve personnel performance and build a strong business culture by focusing on performance management from the C.O.R.E. For more information, visit www.wrightresults.com or connect with Tim here: tim@wrightresults.com)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

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Employee Issues Increase HR Tech Demand [Infographic]

The past few #TChat shows have really dug deep into the concept and issues surrounding employee engagement. Every week we’ve asked what employee engagement truly means, and we’ve looked into numerous practices that can increase engagement and retain our talent. However, it’s time to dig a bit deeper into why employees aren’t being fully engaged.

Employee engagement is a complex concept, and many factors contribute to whether employees are disengaged or not. Employee relation issues like social media abuse and bullying are on the rise, and as these employee issues increase so does the need for HR tech like workplace investigation software to tackle these problems efficiently and effectively. HR Acuity compiled this infographic to demonstrate the need for employee relations management technology. Discover employee issues that have concerned organizations, like yours, over the past year and gain a new perspective that will benefit your risk management practices.

HR_Tech_Infographic

(About the Author: Deborah J. Muller is the CEO of HR Acuity, a technology firm specializing in human resources applications like the HR Acuity On Demand family of applications. Muller brings more than 25 years of human resources and investigation experience to both the consulting practice and software development sides of the company.)

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

4 Factors That Can Ruin Your Strategy

The function of top-level management is to devise strategy for the organization. This strategy defines and directs the activities of the organization, and in broader terms defines the character of the organization. This is the universal function of the high management all over the world.

The best defined strategies in the world are useless without an implementation phase. This phase is essential to try out the strategy in the real world, and provide vital feedback that is used to modify aspects of the said strategy to make it more efficient and effective in achieving the stated goals.

However, as many mid-level managers would tell you, there is a huge gap between what is written in the strategy implementation document and the actual implementation of the strategy. In many cases, things often go smoothly with no major issues rocking the boat. However, inadvertently things happen that cause minor issues to snowball into big problems. This is where strategy implementation fails to live up to the vision of the strategy document.

The following is a list of factors that could cause the best laid strategies to fail miserably. It should be noted that in all failed projects of strategy implementation, one or more factors are always present.

No Backing From The Top

The number one reason why strategies fail to translate from paper to real world is the absence of managerial backing. This often takes the form of total silence whenever the implementation reports problems to the higher management. This silence means that no further action could be taken in the first place. Even when implementation managers take things in their own hands, management fails either to support their decision or worse: countermanding the decision, thus destroying the whole process.

This lack of support comes as a surprise to many implementation managers. After all, upper management have decided upon the strategy in the first place. Given this, it is very uncomforting not to have the support for the implementation phase.

Unclear Goals

One common mistake that many strategy documents make is having unclear goals and outcomes. This unclear position is often ignored by the policy makers who devise the strategy because they are more focused on the ‘how’ of the strategy rather than the final outcome.

This ambiguity comes to haunt the implementation process when the team decides on the appropriate technology, processes and personnel for the accomplishment of the job. Another fallout of unclear goals are faulty timelines and implementation schedules. These muddle up the entire process, and cause the whole project to fail.

Lack Of Communication

Lack of communication could cause the best laid implementation plans to fail. In many cases, this is the second cause of strategy implementation failure, and lack of communication can occur on several levels and include external stakeholders. The responsibility of communication failure could be laid at the doors of implementation managers and their contact with the strategy makers. This is often the most important area where constant communication about the status of the project and clarification about policy points is essential.

Similarly, failure to communicate in a timely manner might result in implementation team members to feel isolated from the process. In this state, people make mistakes that could have project-wide implications.

Insufficient Groundwork

Any implementation project that takes its directions from a pre-defined strategy document requires extensive groundwork. Usually, this groundwork is the part of the initial phases of the implementation process. An important thing to understand at this point is that the groundwork has to be completed before any progress on the actual implementation can be made. Failing to do so will cause numerous small issues to arise during the implementation phase.

Proper groundwork includes appropriation activities such as acquiring technology, equipment and people for the job. It also includes meetings with designated managers and stakeholders to clarify points of strategy and alert them of the timelines and their roles in the implementation process.

Proper implementation of strategy is as important as devising the right strategy in the first place. It is important the managers selected for implementation have a fair amount of field experience and are well-versed in avoiding the above mentioned pitfalls.

(About the author: LSA Global has been a top business and executive coaching firm since 1995. We provide business development and organizational strategies. Our services make your business boost and sustain amongst your competitors. we provide business and executive coaching to our clients and also do business consulting services to provide assistance and build new strategies in business.)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

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Want Success? Ask Questions.

By Raj Sheth

I was talking with some friends over a few drinks about an acquaintance that we all have in common on social media. He always seems to be where the action is, trying out fun new products and schmoozing with a lot of pretty awesome people. Yes, a large part of his envy-worthy lifestyle has to do with his profession, but as we talked, we realized that much of his success came because he’s simply not afraid to ask –for just about anything.

Now if you’re like me, your fear of being presumptuous or even rude will often override your urge to ask for things of others, especially those we work with. As I mulled over that conversation with my friends, I got to thinking about how many opportunities I’ve probably missed out on because I didn’t ask; situations that I could have improved, if I had spoken up.

Why don’t we ask for help when we need it?

Harris Interactive polled 1,019 employed Americans in their third annual Work Stress Survey, and found a 10% jump in workplace stress compared to just a year before. 83% of respondents are stressed at work, with “unreasonable workload” as the second top stressor. We have to get rid of this stifling idea that asking for help at work is a sign of weakness or failure. Start asking, and here’s why:

  • Here’s a fact that will blow your mind –No one expects you to know everything.
  • Showing everyone that you’ve put in extra effort, resources and work to still wind up needing help doesn’t get you any extra points, it means you’ve wasted time.
  • Managers love hard work, but they hate inefficiency.
  • Collaboration is plainly and simply a beautiful thing. Be a part of starting it.

Muse author, Jennifer Winters wrote a great piece on how to ask for help at work. Here’s what she said:

“The trick here is knowing when it’s time to suck it up, swallow your pride, and admit you’re stuck. My general rule of thumb is basically the “Three Strikes” rule. If I can’t figure something out after I’ve exhausted at least three other solutions on my own, it’s time to admit I need a little inspiration.”

Why don’t we ask for perks?

Whether it’s time off, flex work or even a bump in salary, everything is negotiable. That is to say, you also have to bring something to the table. When you honestly feel as though you have earned a freedom of some sort, you owe it to yourself and your hard work to inquire about incentives that would solicit the continuance of such hard work. This isn’t a, what came first, the chicken or the egg? scenario; the hard work and dedication is going to have to come first. If you get a big fat “No”, you have at the very least started the dialogue on how to get there. This conversation should be directed toward how your individual goals can align with the organization’s goals to obtain whatever it is that you’ve requested.

The old saying, “You never know unless you ask” is far truer than a lot of us anticipate. In an article on stay interviews and best retention practices, HR Director at Webroot, Melanie Williams reveals just how easy it can be for employees and companies to get on the same page when open communication is at play. Williams said:

“We’ve had very few stay interviews come in with pay being the thing that makes them stay or want to leave. There were not any requests that we haven’t been able to fulfill.”

Going back to the story –the opportunities that guy snags through his networking and willingness to inquire have all set him up with the experience he has needed to go onto the next endeavor. He’s experience and skill hungry, and that’s what drives him to ask.

Ask and see what happens. If what comes of it instead is collaboration or goal alignment, those are a couple of pretty great things to work with. You will either get what you ask for, or gain the knowledge on how to get it; neither will come by staying silent. While most organizations or even co-workers are out to please, they aren’t mind readers and they won’t know what’s important to you, unless you speak up and just ask.

raj_sheth2Raj Sheth is the CEO and Co-Founder of Recruiterbox.com, a web-based recruitment software that helps growing companies manage their incoming job applications.

Visit Raj Sheth’s web site →

 

photo credit: Oberazzi via photopin cc

How Do You Embrace Culture Change In Your Company?

Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts. ~Arnold Bennett

Change is hard. We all know that. Changing anything in an organization can seem like a daunting task; changing the culture of an organization can seem like an impossibility. Fear not. Others have done it and so can you. This week on #TChat guest, Tim Kuppler, co-founder of The Culture Advantage and CultureUniversity.com, will share his experience on the subject.

Changing an organization’s culture is one of the most difficult leadership challenges according to Steve Denning, author of The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management: Reinventing the Workplace.
Why is it so hard? Because an organization’s culture is made up of an interlocking set of goals, roles, processes, values, communications practices, attitudes and assumptions. Changing the culture requires a combination of organization tools for changing minds.

A successful shift in organizational culture begins with leadership tools, including a vision or story of the future. It includes cementing the change in place with management tools, such as role definitions, measurement and control systems, and it requires the pure power tools of coercion and punishments as a last resort, when all else fails.

Consultant Brad Power advises, “If You’re Going to Change Your Culture, Do It Quickly.” Power describes the way Trane, an $8 billion subsidiary of Ingersoll Rand, changed their culture quickly by using a combination of a culture survey and an employee engagement survey. The results of their assessment are used to help determine if they have created their desired culture which includes three essential elements:

  • Vision: where the organization wants to go together
  • Mission: what they do together
  • Guiding behavioral principles: how they expect all associates to behave

By Implementing these changes, Trane North America grew year-over-year operating income by over 20 percent, without any new products or services and very limited market growth.

How does one lead change? Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter cites the following six success factors that are the keys to positive change.

  • Show up
  • Speak up
  • Look up
  • Team up
  • Never give up
  • Lift others up

photo credit: SomeDriftwood via photopin cc

How I Got Schooled On Culture

I had the good fortune of having my interest in the power of culture sparked nearly 20 years ago when I was a VP with a major automotive supplier.  We wanted to foster a positive environment and build an “involvement culture.” I had great mentors and read everything I could find on leadership and culture.

I learned about “building culture muscle” through rigorous feedback and prioritization to foster ownership with groups, transparent and regular communication habits, proactive resolution of major employee frustrations, and consistent tracking of strategies, goals, and measures.

The Main Learning Years – Trial and Error

I moved through a series of roles with different regional and global groups over the next eight years, each with a different sub-culture and urgent performance priories.  One exciting principle was further building ownership with the goal of having every employee feel like they were part of team “running their own business.” We implemented extensive cross-functional team structures to support this goal.  The same fundamentals worked across the world but customization was needed for communication, and different aspects of the operating model were emphasized based on the local culture.

I learned about the importance of understanding the history of an organization, a documented vision and strategy, large group “involvement meetings” to keep a team on the same page, and innovative group reward and recognition. The learning continued through regular community service activities and employee wellness improvements to support a deeper purpose, leveraging technology to streamline work, and proactively using feedback to refine communications and drive clarity.  I also learned about the incredible power of strengths-based employee development.  

The Financial Crisis – Fear, Uncertainty & Failure

Next, the financial crisis hit, automotive volumes tanked, and my responsibilities changed to focus on managing an urgent restructuring plan in North America.  The same operating model was implemented as in prior roles but there was an incredible focus on performance.  We were bought by a private equity firm, managed a massive downsizing, restructured the global business, and I lost my job at the end of it all.

I learned about urgently driving improvement because peoples’ lives are at stake, relentlessly emphasizing performance metrics, and confronting reality in extremely difficult times.  I also learned about fear, self-doubt, sadness, and regret.

Moving to a New Organization

I was out of work for a year before landing a role as president of a great family-owned business.  It was a massive turnaround effort but most aspects of the same operating model worked in an organization where I had no history.

I learned about the importance of having only one “top” priority at a time, focusing on 1-2 key values or behaviors to improve (discipline, teamwork, etc.), and about how to hold off on sharing my ideas or proposed plans in favor of starting with a vested group and a clean sheet of paper.  I also learned about eliminating fear, growing pride, phasing improvements, hiring for cultural fit, and proactively communicating with a board / owners so they feel involved.

A World of Culture Education

I moved to consulting as president of a culture assessment and consulting firm, before a transition to independent consulting and business coaching.   It’s been an amazing experience to see cultures across a wide variety of organizations.

I learned extremely effective organizations, small or large, apply relatively similar habits to support their purpose, values, and performance priorities. The vast majority of those organizations did what I did – they pieced things together over a period of many years without following a clear framework, model, or guide to help them sequence or prioritize the work.  

The Problem

It doesn’t make sense to me that leaders should have to go through a long learning process to deal with the complex subject of culture with confidence.   Culture is a hot topic but we’re buried in the popular press of disconnected tips, keys, and levers that over-shadow fundamentals about culture and the direct impact it has on performance. Sustainable culture change takes time but the initial efforts to build clarity, alignment, and leverage your unique culture will often have a rapid impact on performance as momentum builds.

I learned the lack of understanding the subject of culture is dramatically impacting results in the vast majority of organizations. There is also a huge social impact (think about organizations in education, healthcare, government, non-profit, etc.) where meaningful change could be accelerated.

The Bottom Line and a Predication

Leaders need to:

1) See through the popular press and understand culture fundamentals

2) Focus on specific problems, challenges, or goals and identify very specific values or behaviors to evolve that have been holding back performance

3)   Apply culture fundamentals as part of clear plan to engage their workforce in solving problems, achieving goals, and improving performance with a sense of urgency

4)  Connect the right set of improvements to get over the “culture tipping point” where momentum, results, and buy-in grows.

Culture will be widely accepted as the ultimate differentiator in organizations within the next 20 years.  The focus will over-shadow strategy, talent, technology, and all other areas.

What have you learned about the subject of culture? Is it the ultimate differentiator in organizations?

HR and EAPs: From Safety Net to Safe Haven

Everyone deserves a safety net and a safe haven, even at work, and especially if you’re part of the 24% of women and 12% of men who reported at least one lifetime episode of intimate-partner violence.

According to statistics gathered by the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence — The most comprehensive study of its kind, released in 2007, found that violence costs the United States $70 billion annually. Most of the $70 billion in costs associated with violence were from lost productivity ($64.4 billion), with the remaining $5.6 billion spent on medical care.

And think about this as well: The cost of domestic violence to the US economy is more than $8.3 billion. This cost includes medical care, mental health services, and lost productivity (e.g., time away from work).

Flashback to 1972 — there really weren’t any resources for my mother back then. She worked as a secretary for the local school district where I grew up, and every time my birth father beat her, she would wear clothing to cover the bruises and marks, constantly avoiding other’s stares and whispers, calling in sick quite a bit.

There were no domestic violence or workplace violence programs where she worked, no employee assistance programs offering counseling or shelter referrals, no assessment and action plans from human resources. She also kept it as much of a secret as she could from family and friends.

Don’t ask, don’t tell. The fear and shame that comes with abuse and intimate partner violence is overwhelming enough (intimate partner violence is another name for domestic violence) – you don’t want your employer to know for fear of losing your job. Employers don’t want to know for fear of potential violence in the workplace.

For my mother and countless others, continuous prayer and faith, support from others, and finally the personal strength to get out of the violence is what it took. Thankfully today there are so many more resources available and more and more companies have workplace violence, intimate partner violence programs, and/or EAPs (employee assistance programs).

In fact, according to EAP data from The Employee Assistance Trade Association (EASNA), “most researchers and industry experts now believe that there is enough solid evidence from high-quality research studies to ‘make the business case’ for providing greater access to mental health services in general and to workplace-based services in particular.”

This has been documented over the course of many EAP case studies and their outcomes (i.e., absence, productivity, health care costs, disability) that include companies such as Abbott Laboratories, America On Line (AOL), Campbell Soup, Chevron, Crestar Bank, Detroit Edison, DuPont, Los Angeles City Department of Water & Power, Marsh & McLennan, McDonnell Douglas, NCR Corp, New York Telephone, Orange County (Florida), Southern California Edison, the US Postal Service, and the US Federal Government.

But consider these unfortunate EAP obstacles:

  • The most common reason women didn’t contact their EAP for intimate partner violence is that they didn’t think about it or didn’t think it was appropriate.
  • Employee utilization of intimate partner violence EAP services is very low.
  • The number one concern of battered women before contacting an EAP is confidentiality — they’re afraid other employees will find out.
  • Most EAPs don’t have standardized evaluations or codes for intimate partner violence.

And consider these unfortunate executive blinders:

  • A recent survey of CEOs found that most believe domestic violence to be a serious issue, yet 71% did not believe it is a problem in their company. (The reality is that approximately 21% of fulltime working adults report being a victim of domestic violence.)
  • Over 70% of United States workplaces have no formal program or policy that addresses workplace violence.
  • Of the approximately 30% that have formal workplace violence policies in place (usually binders on shelves gathering dust), only 13% have domestic violence in the workplace policies and only 4% provide training on domestic violence in the workplace (Bureau of Labor Statistics from 2006).

Only 4%. Seems like one helluva short trip from 1972.

Although overall intimate partner violence in the workplace has declined somewhat, there’s still much work to be done even in 2014, and thankfully human resources, security professionals, EAPs and workplace violence non-profits have all made huge strides in working together to address intimate partner violence and workplace violence.

HR can and should take the lead in providing these programs. Executive management should require these kinds of programs. We need to go:

  • From Safety Net. We’ve come a long way from 1972. With all the organizations like CAEPV and many others as well as EAPs, HR and leadership at all levels weaves the safety net for victims of intimate partner violence and other security threats in the workplace. In fact, if you haven’t seen the domestic violence documentary, Telling Amy’s Story, and how it impacts the workplace, and how companies can help prevent it, I highly recommend you buy it and share it with your organizations, friends and families.
  • To Safe Haven. Everyone deserves one, just as everyone deserves a voice and a support system. Family members, friends and colleagues usually hear first when someone they know is a domestic violence victim. Being supportive and acknowledging that it’s happening to them and that it’s not okay is a start. Ensuring that there’s a safe haven for them that provides assistance, whether from the national domestic violence hotline, a company EAP or a local domestic violence shelter or support group, is where we can all help.

For more information I recommend downloading Domestic Violence: Workplace Policies and Management Strategies.  (This article about domestic violence and the workplace appears courtesy of the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence. It was written by CAEPV Executive Director Kim Wells and Stacey Pastel Dougan, Esq.)

God bless you, Mom. You made it, and you are missed.

 

Photo Courtesy of Bigstock Photo.

The Road To Organizational Transparency [Infographic]

The past few weeks, #TChat has been focused on leadership and the best ways to keep an organization running like comfortable clockwork. Whether it be wholehearted, authentic or optimistic leaders, one characteristic #TChatters valued was that of transparency. A majority of employees (60%), however, feel as though they aren’t receiving enough feedback.

Of course, transparency goes beyond the honesty of CEOs and managers. Sometimes it comes right down to goal alignment and communication. Only a small portion of companies (14%) have employees who understand the organization’s strategy, goals, and direction. When a company or organization doesn’t have set in stone guidelines, employees have little direction and, in turn, could lack involvement.

ClearCompany compiled this infographic demonstrating the rocky, but pivotal road to organizational transparency.

OrganizationalTransparencyInfographic

This infographic was originally posted on the ClearCompany blog on April 3, 2014.

photo credit: -Reji via photopin cc

Make Your Meetings More Successful (And Shorter!)

It’s 9:15 a.m. and you’re just getting into the rhythm of your day. The phone rings, and on the other end of the line, one of your colleagues unexpectedly asks you to attend a meeting that starts in 45 minutes. Although you respect your colleague and would like to support her, you had plans for your morning and are getting closer to a few deadlines of your own. How would you respond to the meeting invitation?

  1. Stick to your existing plan and graciously say “no.”
  2. Be a “team player” and let your colleague know that you’ll attend the meeting, but clearly set a boundary that you won’t stay longer than one hour because of your own deadlines.
  3. Ask a few questions about the anticipated goals and importance of the meeting, then evaluate whether your own priorities match and if the specific contributions you could make are likely to impact the outcome of the meeting. Make a committed yes/no decision based on those factors.

If you chose response one or two, you may be an over-collaborator. Response three is the preferred answer because it focuses your decision around two critical factors: your highest priorities and your value-added contributions. To get more done at work, these are the two factors that can help you escape the inertia of unnecessary collaboration and join your efforts with others only when it counts.

Routine collaboration drains time

Of course, collaboration by itself isn’t bad. Problems occur when routine collaborative efforts and unclear mandates produce a toxic sludge known as meeting soup. On a bad day, we may view meetings as the biggest waste of time in our working lives. On a good day, we may look at meetings as the chance to connect with people and discuss important matters. The reality for most of us is that the quality of our meetings falls somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. According to most estimates, managers and employees spend anywhere between 25 and 80 percent of their time in meetings. (Click here to tweet this stat.)

For a full-time employee, this translates to time spent in meetings that ranges from 520 hours to 1,664 hours (or 65-208 full working days). What’s the rationale for all the meetings? It’s the “need” for collaboration.

Selective collaboration boosts performance

To reduce your meeting clutter, make it a priority to collaborate in the right way, at the right time, with the right people. This kind of selective collaboration is about intentional partnering that boosts the chance of success by aligning the required strategic skill or resource with the essential contributors in the simplest way.

Think of selective collaboration as a career move for you, not just a chance to escape the unproductive, routine meetings and conversations that fail to push your goals forward.

Moving away from routine collaboration — even when professional or cultural norms dictate it — can deliver a greater return on your efforts because it aligns with your highest priorities and features your value-added contributions. Getting great work done by delivering clear and consistent contributions is one of the best ways for you to stay at work.

The first step is learning how to choose when, how and who you collaborate with. Yes, you’ll have to learn how to say no. Yes, there may be some short-term negative reactions to this. But your elevated contributions to top priorities should ease those concerns quickly.

Instead of relying on partnerships that are dictated by circumstance and opportunity, you’ll seek out collaboration opportunities that serve a specific purpose.

Sometimes the missing piece is motivation, and that can be found through a partnership with some individual or group who’s driven, focused and inspired. Other times, the missing piece may be technical, strategic or organizational. In these instances, the mix of skills, abilities and access to resources serves as the driver for selective collaboration.

Selective collaboration gives you a tool to accomplish tasks that otherwise wouldn’t be feasible alone. The restraint of choosing high-potential collaboration allows you to avoid wasting time when collaboration itself is a substitute for lack of creativity, vision or accountability.

There’s reciprocity with this as well. When invited to collaborate with others, accept the invitation only when the best mix of skill and contribution can be aligned in an effective way. It’s not about being selective because you “have better things to do”; you choose the moments where your impact can be the greatest.

When in doubt, you can use the following list to confirm the opportunity for selective collaboration. If you can agree with each item, it’s time to schedule a meeting.

  • I have identified a clear learning and performance outcome for this collaborative effort.
  • The outcome will clearly support one of my priorities.
  • I know what I can contribute to make the collaboration a success.
  • I understand what my collaborator(s) can deliver and their contributions make it better than going it alone.

Jesse Sostrin is the author of Beyond the Job Description. He writesspeaks and consults at the intersection of individual and organizational success. Follow him @jessesostrin and visit his site here.

Photo Credit: fmgbain via Compfight cc

#TChat Preview: How Employee Assistance Programs Engage And Nurture Talent

The TalentCulture #TChat Show is back live on Wednesday, April 9, 2014. #TChat Radio starts at 6:30 pm ET (3:30 pm PT) and the convo continues on #TChat Twitter chat from 7-8 pm ET.

Last week we talked about employee engagement, and this week we’re going to talk about how employee assistance programs (EAP) are today help organizations engage, nurture and retain talent.

EAP services aren’t the first thing you hear when you’re talking about talent management, but these programs are critical for businesses. They help manage costs by reducing absenteeism, presenteeism, turnover, health care costs, accidents and by freeing manager time from dealing with employee personal issues.

They mitigate risks by reducing likelihood of litigation, workplace violence and training managers to deal with complex emotional, cultural and diversity issues.

EAPs also encourage employee engagement, improve the capacity of employees and families to respond to work-life challenges, and develop employee and manager competencies in handling workplace stress and improving team performance.

Join #TChat co-creators and hosts @Meghan M. Biro and @Kevin W. Grossman as we learn more about EAP’s with this week’s guest: Mark Sagor, President of Comprehensive EAP, an employee assistance program focused on technology, life sciences, service, manufacturing and non profit sectors.

Sneak Peek: Employee Assistance Programs Actually Work

We spoke briefly with Mark in a G+ Hangout to get a better look at EAPs and how they help nurture and engage employees:

Related reading:

Meghan M. Biro: 5 Ways To Reinvent Your Recruiting Strategy

Chris Boyce: Workplace Wellness: The Story Starts With Healthy Culture

Matt Krumrie: Take Advantage Of Your Employee Assistance Program

Ellen Galinsky/Anne Weisburg: How One Company Contained Health Care Costs and Improved Morale

Team Ceridian: 5 Trends To Watch In Human Capitol Management In 2014

This topic is vital for talent-minded professionals everywhere, so we hope you’ll join the #TChat conversation this week and share your questions, opinions and ideas!

#TChat Events: How Do EAPs Engage And Nurture Talent?

TChatRadio_logo_020813

#TChat Radio — Wed, April 9 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Mark Sagor Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter Chat — Wed, April 9 — 7pmET / 4pmPT Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and our guests will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where we’ll continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community.

Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: How do EAPs help companies engage, nurture and retain talent?
(Tweet this Question)

Q2: What complex emotional, cultural and diversity issues are you seeing in the workplace today?
(Tweet this Question)

Q3: Statistically what are the advantages to having an EAP?
(Tweet this Question)

Q4: What are the most basic work-life benefits companies should provide?
(Tweet this Question)

Q5: What are the alternatives to EAPs and how are they different?
(Tweet this Question)

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, and in our new TalentCulture G+ community. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions.

See you there!!

photo credit: BigStockPhoto

Start Your Own Engagement Revolution, Today

Too often we hear the term “employee engagement” and think of it as corporate wide initiative led by HR. Or maybe it’s why we need to train the managers better, so they’ll do a better job of engaging their team members.

I’d like to humbly suggest that employee engagement is something you can lead, right now.

You can dramatically increase your own engagement at work, and even lift the overall engagement of those around, and the effects will be seen almost immediately.

First, you need to understand your own motivational triggers. Based on surveys of over 10 million workers in 150 countries, we know that Growth, Recognition, Trust and Communication are the top four drivers of engagement. But what about the individual level? Someone who is early in her career may desire growth, but another who is closer to retirement might value recognition more. To help you understand your own motivational triggers at work, I developed a free online assessment at www.MyEngagementProfile.com that reveals your personal engagement profile.

Second, be mindful of what your company and boss are already doing for your engagement. Come to work with an attitude of gratitude. Reflect on what is already being done to give information and to seek your ideas. Think about the learning and training opportunities available to you. Consider the organizations mission and goals. How do they recognize employee accomplishments?

Finally, you need to proactively partner with your manager (even if he stinks as a boss) to create a great workplace culture. You must be sensitive of busy schedules, be professional in your approach, and be positive. Consider these conversation starters:

  • “Hey, Teri, I was thinking about how we communicate on the team and had some ideas that I think can really improve my effectiveness. Do you have a few minutes over the next couple of weeks to chat about them? Would love your feedback…”
  • “Hi, Sudha, was wondering if you we could grab coffee sometime this month…I’ve been thinking about my career goals lately and want to get your thoughts on my strengths and limitations, and what career path options you think are in my future.”
  • “Hey Carmen, don’t mean to interrupt…wasn’t sure if you knew that Linda pulled an all-nighter finishing up that design work for the team. We wouldn’t have been able to hit the deadline without that. Just wanted to make sure you knew…see ya.”

Life is too short to be unhappy at work. Don’t wait for the HR department to improve engagement. Be grateful for the good stuff; become the change agent to make your culture great. You might start alone, but you will quickly friends.

by Kevin KruseKevin Kruse

Serial entrepreneur and bestselling author, Kevin Kruse, used a relentless focus on talent and employee engagement to build and sell several, multi-million dollar technology companies, winning both Inc 500 and Best Place to Work awards along the way. Kevin is also the author of several books including the NY Times bestseller, We: How to Increase Performance and Profits Through Full Engagement, which was named one of the top leadership books in 2011 by 800-CEO-Read. When not writing or speaking, Kevin is busy juggling life as a single Dad, with three kids, in Bucks County, PA.

This article is based on the new book Employee Engagement for Everyone: 4 Keys to Happiness and Fulfillment at Work byNew York Times bestselling author, Kevin Kruse.

photo credit: Nomadic Lass via photopin cc

Employee Engagement: Is There a Strategic Advantage?

According to a recent Gallup study, worldwide, only 13% of employees are engaged at work. In a 142-country study on the State of the Global Workplace, that amounts to about one in eight workers — roughly 180 million employees in the countries studied — are psychologically committed to their jobs and likely to be making positive contributions to their organizations.

Companies that understand the value of employee engagement know that motivating high performance and aligning talent with business strategy requires getting to the heart of what matters to employees. Employee engagement is largely about social connections happening in organizations and aligning work experiences with employees’ cultural needs.

How do the best places to work succeed at employee engagement?

  • They understand what employees are thinking.
  • They create an intentional culture.
  • They demonstrate appreciation for contributions big and small.
  • They commit to open, honest communication.
  • They support career path development.
  • They engage in social interactions outside work.
  • They know how to communicate the organization’s stories.

Rob Markey, coauthor of the book, The Ultimate Question 2.0: How Net Promoter Companies Thrive in a Customer-Driven World, believes he knows the Four Secrets to Employee Engagement.

Direct supervisors who set their teams up for success, observe them in action, ask for feedback, identify the root causes of employee concerns, and then follow through with meaningful improvements have happier, more engaged employees.

Bain & Company and Netsurvey analyzed responses from 200,000 employees across 40 companies in 60 countries and found that organizations that invest heavily in creating a culture of employee engagement have the following characteristics:

  • Line supervisors, not HR, lead the charge. It’s difficult for employees to be truly engaged if they don’t like or trust their bosses. Senior leaders must give supervisors the responsibility and authority to earn the enthusiasm, energy, and creativity that signal deep employee engagement.
  • Supervisors learn how to hold candid dialogues with teams.
  • They also do regular “pulse checks.” Short, frequent, and anonymous online surveys (as opposed to a long annual survey) give supervisors a better understanding of team dynamics and a sense of how the team believes customers’ experiences can be improved. What matters most, however, is not the metrics but the resulting dialogue.
  • Teams rally ‘round the customer. Companies that regularly earn high employee engagement tap that knowledge by asking employees how the company can earn more of their customers’ business and build the ranks of customer promoters. And they don’t just ask; they also listen hard to the answers, take action, and let their employees know about it.

Join the TalentCulture community this week to share your ideas on the topic of employee engagement. Radio show co-hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman will be joined by expert Kevin Kruse on Wednesday at 6:30 PM EST followed by the Twitter Chat at 7 PM.

photo credit: Laura Thykeson via photopin cc

Work: Employees Rewrite The Script #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Are you seeking highlights and resource links from this week’s #TChat Events? See the #TChat Recap: “New Rules of Employee Engagement.”)

Have you heard the news?

Unless you’ve been living in a cave far removed from the HR grid, you know that employee engagement is alarmingly low — only 30% in the U.S. and 13% globally, according to 2013 reports.

Many workplace experts have examined these engagement trends, considered the causes and suggested solutions. But there’s more to the story than that.

The definition of work is being turned on its head. People are bringing a whole new set of expectations to their jobs today.

This shift is real. It’s a force that even the most successful employers can no longer afford to ignore. And according to Josh Bersin, Founder and Principal of Bersin by Deloitte, this reality is supported by hard data from companies around the globe. As he said when he declared 2014 The Year of the Employee:

“The war for talent is over, and the talent won.”

So, what is really driving today’s workplace transformation? And what are its implications for talent strategies in high-performance organizations? That’s the topic the TalentCulture community is tackling this week at #TChat Events, as Josh Bersin shares new insights from rigorous research his team just completed.

Sneak Peek — The Year of the Employee

To frame this week’s discussion, I briefly spoke with Josh in a G+ hangout, where we talked about the fundamentals that are driving workplace change:

Related reading:
China Gorman: A Cutting-Edge Strategy: Developing Business Leaders as Talent Leaders
Aberdeen Group: HCM Trends 2014: Developing a Critical Eye for Talent
HR Marketer: What Will Happen in HR in 2014 — Perusing the Predictions

This topic is vital for talent-minded professionals everywhere, so we hope you’ll join the #TChat conversation this week and share your questions, opinions and ideas!

#TChat Events: Are Employees Finally In The Driver’s Seat?

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Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show

#TChat Radio — Wed, Feb 26 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Josh Bersin about the key talent and HR technology trends that are shaping 2014 and beyond. Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Feb 26 7pmET / 4pmPT Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and our guests will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where we’ll continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community.

Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: How are high-performing companies improving the way they recruit and hire?
Q2: How do talent analytics help employers understand workforce performance?
Q3: What are the key engagement initiatives for employers today?
Q4: As competition heats up for top talent, how are employees leveraging their influence?
Q5: What issues do employees face today that are shaping the future of work?

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, and in our new TalentCulture G+ community. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions.

We’ll see you on the stream!