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Virtual Workplace? For Real! #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Looking for a full recap and resource links from this week’s #TChat Events? See the #TChat Recap: “Putting a Face on Remote Work.”)

Distributed workforce. Virtual team. Telecommuting.

Whatever term you use to describe remote work models, the concept continues to gain momentum in today’s business environment — and with good reason.

High-speed connections, mobile technology and cloud-based collaboration tools now make it easy and cost effective for people to “go to work” anytime, from almost anywhere.

XJyGYBut infrastructure and good intentions, alone, don’t guarantee that virtual organizations will be productive and profitable. So, what does it take? That’s the focus of  #TChat Events this week, as we look at why and how successful virtual teams really work.

And what better way to explore this topic than with an entrepreneur whose business is driven entirely by remote contributors? Our guest this week is Mike Hostetler, Founder and CEO of appendTo, a highly successful web engineering firm, powered by a far-flung workforce.

“Sneak Peek” Hangout: Trifecta of Awesomeness

To kick-off this week’s discussion, Mike joined me for a G+ Hangout, where he outlined the “trifecta of awesomeness” — three key reasons why the virtual workplace is taking hold:

What are your thoughts about how to build and manage awesome virtual organizations? This week, we’re seeking wisdom from the crowd — so share your ideas and opinions with the #TChat virtual community!

#TChat Events: Why Remote Work Continues to Rise

#TChat Radio — Wed, Jan 15 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Tune-in to the #TChat Radio Show

Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Mike Hostetler about what it takes to create and sustain successful virtual workplaces. Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Jan 15 7pmET / 4pmPT

Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and Mike will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where the entire TalentCulture community will join the discussion. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we address these 5 related questions:

Q1: What are the pros and cons of virtual workplaces?
Q2: How do remote work models affect employee and customer engagement?
Q3: What factors should leaders consider when creating virtual teams?
Q4: How can recruiters identify traits of successful remote workers?
Q5: How can we apply technology to foster virtual collaboration?

We look forward to hearing your ideas and opinions, as talent-minded professionals who care about the human side of business.

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, and on our LinkedIn Discussion Group. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions.

We’ll see you on the stream!

#TChat Road Trip: Going To The Next Level Together

There are many possible paths through life and career. Every so often, we’re presented with a decision: Take one path (maybe it’s a new job with an existing employer), or choose another route (maybe it’s an uncharted role at a new company with no clear business model or understanding where it is headed).

More than three years ago, I chose the second path — launching a talent-focused management consulting practice, creating #TChat as a TalentCulture community beacon, and embarking on a life at the crossroads of social media, knowledge sharing and collaboration. And what an incredibly interesting and rewarding journey it has been!

There have been too many high points to mention — the exhilaration of weekly Twitter chats; the roller-coaster dynamics involved with growing a professional online community; the great times Kevin W. Grossman and I have had connecting with many of you at live events — SHRM, HR Demo, Recruiting Trends, HRO Today, HR Tech, HR Evolution and so many others. It’s fun to push the technical limits with experimental “simulcast” chat/radio shows, and other new ways that connect our global community with the best minds and forums in the HR and social media realm.

Along the way, we’ve had the opportunity to meet hundreds of HR practitioners, business leaders and social influencers, both via #TChat and in person. I became a blogger – contributing to many niche blogging communities with whom I’ve been fortunate to forge strong social partnerships. These three years have opened my eyes and heart to new ideas and friendships that have enriched me more than I could have imagined.

Throughout this TalentCulture adventure, I’ve been guided by a vision of community, leadership, learning and innovation in HR. It’s the same today as it was the very first day — everyone is invited and everyone’s unique voice matters. Together, we’re exploring innovative topics – emotional intelligence; collaboration; evolving social and HR technology; the multi-generational workplace and the natural tensions that exist among Boomers, Gen X and Millennials; as well as the role that trust, influence and intent play in today’s most innovative organizations.

We had the courage to take this winding road, to live this social experiment, and we did it without a safety net of financial support. Like many bootstrapped ventures, we lived an online experiment, while sometimes risking our own security during past three years. We became, and are, the #1 and longest running Twitter Chat focused on “The World of Work” in the HR, Leadership, Innovation and Social Business niche. And I am proud of the way we navigated to that destination. This “organic” effort was the right approach. It gave us the freedom to stretch our limits, and really listen to our inner voices — even when others cautioned us that this endeavor was a huge time sink.

I’ve learned a lot during these past three years:

1) Patience.  It takes time to create a community that’s designed to be a metaphor for the social workplace. It takes take time to connect, share, and earn trust. Initiative is imperative — but when relationships are on the line, patience can be even more important.

2) Courage. We didn’t chase after easy money. We stayed with a bootstrapped, organic growth model — and it gave us the freedom to find our true voices and passion. We believed that the community would guide us, even when the road wasn’t clear. And the community has risen to the challenge.

3) Perseverance. It isn’t easy to work 10-20 hours a week or more without compensation. But we stuck to it. We kept showing up. That commitment has made it possible for us to arrive at this third anniversary of #TChat.

4) Engagement Through Trust. Since Day 1, everything we’ve done has focused on engaging with a larger community of HR practitioners, workplace visionaries and leaders. This is a big open tent, filled with people from a vast spectrum of expertise and interests. That’s what makes it such a vibrant, interesting place to be! What makes it possible? Mutual trust. It’s our foundation — and it’s the thing I value most. Above all, we are a community of trust.

5) Learning And Moving On. Through the years, I’ve discovered that growth means leaving some ideas behind. From time-to-time, we need to mix things up, as we continue our mission of serving this eclectic community of practitioners, partners and constant learners.

Change is in the air again, as we look ahead and consider new ways to serve our community’s mission.

This week, which marks #TChat’s third anniversary, presents us with another set of paths. We can continue the community as is, without funding. Or we can embrace a new model that involves careful monetization to fuel additional growth. The second path will give us the financial support we need to add new capabilities for better communication and interaction, integrate new channels for commentary and thought leadership, and create new opportunities to engage with and influence a broader “world of work” for the benefit of all. I’m excited by the challenges these choices present, and I’m eager to move TalentCulture to another level in its growth. But most of all, I’m humbled to lead such an extraordinary community at a time when the very nature of work, itself, is being reinvented.

For three years, we’ve been engaged in an experiment to understand how social innovation can transform work culture, evolve leadership practices, develop trust, and inspire continuous learning. Now, we’re ready to take our first steps toward the next horizon. We hope you’ll join us on that journey. The road ahead may not be entirely clear, but the path is wide, and there’s room for all.

The adventure continues!

Image Credit: Pixabay

Empowering Employees in 3D: Webinar with Virgin Pulse

When people go to work, they don’t leave their lives behind — so why do employers expect them to?

This kind of one-dimensional thinking is exactly what led us to the dismal workforce engagement levels we see today.

Fortunately, there are ways to turn this around. Research and real-world examples reveal that when employees are encouraged to develop in mind, body and spirit, they become more focused, productive and committed to their work. It sounds like common sense, but putting it into practice can be a challenge.

VirginWebinar (2)So, what’s the secret? How can business and HR leaders more fully engage employees through cultures that celebrate the “whole person”?

Learn from experts at a special webinar on Thursday, November 7, at 2pm ET/11 am PT:
“Total Quality of Life: A Roadmap for Employee Engagement.”

David Coppins, President, Virgin Pulse Client Services & Member Engagement, and Meghan M. Biro, CEO of TalentCulture will share insights to help you:

•  Build a compelling case for “total quality of life” initiatives;
•  Create a winning employee empowerment strategy;
•  Drive authentic engagement across the workforce.

Virgin-Pulse

Register for the webinar now

“Igniting employee passion and performance should be within every company’s reach.” Meghan says. “We’re thrilled to work side-by-side with Virgin Pulse in helping business leaders learn from one another about how to successfully transform their cultures. It’s all about changing lives for good — across the world of work.”

Throughout the webinar, attendees are invited to join members of the TalentCulture community on Twitter, as we share ideas and questions using the #TChat hashtag.

Don’t miss this dynamic informative event! Register now, and join us November 7th.

Participating Organizations

Learn more about Virgin Pulse, and follow @VirginPulse on Twitter.
Learn more about TalentCulture, and follow @TalentCulture on Twitter.

Engagement As Energy: #TChat Lessons From #HRTechConf

“Employee engagement?”

She furrowed her brow and challenged our use of the term. And that’s when things got interesting.

Or maybe that’s when things got accurate. Historically accurate. Holistically accurate. Painfully accurate.

Meghan and Kevin LasVegas HRTechConf 2013 (2)“Why are we using that word? When employees meet each other in the hallway, do they ask each other ‘Are you engaged today?'”

All of us on the panel shook our heads and smiled. She continued, “No, they don’t. What we’re really talking about is improving individual and organizational energy, drive and focus.”

We all nodded.

The “she” in this story is Marcia Conner, collaborative learning thought leader, author and Principal of the SensifyGroup. She was one of five panelists at a very special “live”  #TChat roundtable in a jam-packed Peoplefluent booth at this year’s HR Technology Conference & Exposition in Las Vegas. (And by the way, thank you, Peoplefluent for hosting the event!) Others on this stellar panel included:

Employee Engagement: Why Should We Care?

TalentCulture at HRTechConfMy TalentCulture co-founder Meghan M. Biro and I gathered this panel of smart HR executives and industry influencers to look closer at employee engagement employee energy, drive and focus, which has become the holy grail of HR and business leaders, through every aspect of the talent lifecycle — from recruiting and onboarding, to continuous development and performance management.

Again we ask the question: Why? And why so much fuss over something so seemingly out of HR’s control? We’ve seen the dismal research results for years. We keep sharing industry jargon surrounding this issue. And yet most initiatives designed to improve the status quo haven’t moved the needle much, if at all.

Engagement — energy — whatever you choose to call it — is a problem that isn’t going away anytime soon. Nor is it likely to be resolved without continued awareness and dedicated effort. But there’s a lot at stake for those who crack the code, and that’s why the smartest employers remain focused on finding solutions.

So we shouldn’t be surprised that employee engagement is a top priority for all three of the practitioners on our panel. They recognize that emotionally connected individuals simply perform better, day to day. In turn, this increases productivity, improves performance, reduces attrition and boosts overall business results.

Employee Engagement: What Matters Most?

But clearly the best answers won’t come from a one-size-fits-all approach. We know that more emotionally committed employees invest more discretionary effort at work — and some individuals are more committed than others. It’s always been that way. A myriad of variables determine commitment. But if employers pay attention to the most important factors, perhaps commitment (and by association, energy, drive and focus) will improve. That’s the goal.

Meghanandfriend (2)All three of the practitioners on the panel shared examples of how they’re addressing key factors to influence engagement levels across their organizations. The initiatives range from community building, to culture immersion (at Buffalo Wild Wings, one restaurant at a time), to coaching and mentoring, to performance-specific rewards and recognition, to highly configurable collaborative communication platforms.

None of these ideas were lost on the TalentCulture community, as the #TChat Twitter stream lit up with questions and comments throughout the live discussion. It was truly an engaging meeting of the minds.

And that’s when Meghan and I suggested we focus all of that energy and drive into one grand, collective #TChat hug. A figurative hug of course — but a group hug nonetheless. C’mon, bring it in…

 

 

Violence On The Job: It Pays To Prepare #TChat Recap

“Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable.” ―Gen. George S. Patton

This week’s #TChat events coincided with the anniversary of a difficult date in U.S. history — September 11. As our nation considered lessons learned from terrorist events 12 years ago, our TalentCulture community came together to crowdsource ideas about a topic that is vital every day of the year: How to prevent workplace violence, and prepare for incidents that may occur.

Workplace Violence Stats

Learn more – read “Stopping Workplace Violence” at CFO Magazine

According to OSHA, workplace violence includes a range of behaviors that put workers at risk while on the job — from verbal threats and abuse to physical assault and even homicide. How prevalent are these harmful incidents? Some notable facts:

• Each year, more than 2 million Americans report that they have been victims of violence in the workplace. (See details from the U.S. Dept. of Labor.)

• A surprising proportion of incidents are fatal. As the adjacent image illustrates, nearly 20% of on-the-job fatalities are associated with workplace violence, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

• Workplace violence is estimated to cost employers a whopping $120 billion a year. And of course, the human toll is incalculable.

For these reasons alone, workplace violence is a growing concern that deserves serious attention.

Violence At Work: What To Do?

To lead this week’s conversation, we welcomed two experts:
• Tom Bronack, President of Data Center Assistance Group, specialists in enterprise resiliency.
Felix Nater, Founder of Nater Associates, a business security advisory firm.

On #TChat Radio, Tom explained that companies can achieve more effective compliance and recovery through a strategy of enterprise resiliency — combining all recovery operations and personnel in a single entity that speaks the same language and uses the same tool set. Why is this important? As Tom noted during the #TChat Twitter discussion:

Felix emphasized the need for proactive violence prevention programs in the workplace, explaining that preparation can decrease incidents by improving problem solving and conflict resolution. He also noted that broader awareness is worth the investment of time, energy and resources to identify threats and mitigate risks. During the Twitter chat, he suggested a handy mnemonic:

He also cautioned us that results come from solid planning, in concert with effective execution:

Tom and Felix inspired many participants to join the conversation last night. Thanks to everyone who contributed opinions and insights! Highlights are captured in the Storify slideshow below, along with resource links from the week. We invite you to review these ideas and share them with others. Who knows? You could be a catalyst to make your organization a safer place to work!

#TChat Week-In-Review: Violence Prevention In Today’s Workplace

SUN 9/8:

Nater and Bronack_KK2

See the preview post and videos

#TChat Preview: TalentCulture Community Manager Tim McDonald introduced the topic, in a post that featured brief “sneak peek” G+ Hangout videos with both of our guests. Read the Preview: “Workplace Violence: Myth and Reality.”

MON 9/9:

Forbes.com Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro outlined 5 ways that organizations can be proactive in maintaining a safe workplace culture. Read: “Is Your Workplace Prepared For Violence?”

WED 9/11:

TChatRadio_logo_020813#TChat Radio: As a prelude to our open Twitter chat, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman, talked with Felix Nater and Tom Bronack about best practices in workplace violence prevention and preparedness, while community members added their thoughts on the #TChat Twitter backchannel.

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, I joined Felix, Tom, Meghan, Kevin and our entire community on the #TChat Twitter stream for an open discussion focused on 5 key workplace violence questions. For highlights from the conversation, see the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Highlights: Workplace Violence & Preparedness

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/tchat-insights-workplace-violence-and-preparednes.js?template=slideshow”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Felix Nater and Tom Bronack for joining us this week. Your insights are raising awareness and providing solutions that make the world of work a more secure, productive place for us all.

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about workplace safety? We’d love to share your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week, we tackle another timely topic in today’s workplace: Creative ways to leverage big data in recruiting top talent. This promises to be a really interesting peek into candidate profiling. So save the date (September 18) for another rockin #TChat double header. And keep an eye out for details in the next few days.

Meanwhile, the World of Work conversation continues! So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, on our LinkedIn discussion group. or elsewhere on social media. The lights are always on here at TalentCulture, and your thoughts are always welcome.

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: Graeme Lawton via Flickr

Who's On Your List? Advice For Rising Stars From Yum! CEO

Written by Bob Burg

In his excellent book, Taking People With You: The Only Way to Make Big Things Happen,” iconic Yum! Brands Chairman and CEO, David Novak explains the importance of getting inside the heads of those we wish to influence. In other words, it’s not enough for us to want or desire a goal — we must know what motivates and drives the people we wish to take along with us.

It starts with genuine interest and caring about their needs, wants, goals and desires. But even that is not enough! Why? Because the following error can render our ideas nearly useless. According to Mr. Novak:

“One of the biggest mistakes leaders make is not thinking through all the people they have to lead to get where they want to go.”

He recommends that we ask ourselves who we need to affect, influence or take with us in order to be successful. As a former marketing executive, he compares this to a marketer trying to identify potential customers. And he believes that this list is absolutely essential.

When suggesting likely candidates, he casts a broad net: “your boss, your coworkers, people on your team, people from other departments whose help you’ll need — even people from outside your organization, such as shareholders, vendors, customers or business partners.”

Implications for Intrapreneurs

What does this mean for those among us who operate as “intrapreneurs” — those who work in an entrepreneurial way as employees of larger organizations? If you’re determined to make things happen as a leader (whether you have a formal title or not), but you don’t take Mr. Novak’s advice to heart, be prepared for a sudden halt in your progress.

His advice reminds me of a leadership failure or two from my past. In those situations, I’m fairly sure I persuaded those I targeted. However, my list was too short. I left out key “needed people,” and never even tried to obtain their buy-in. This wasn’t intentional; it was more a matter of not thinking things through and considering all the people whose commitment I would need. And inevitably I paid the price.

Network Relations: Connecting The Dots

Those were painful lessons, but I needed to experience them in order to grow. Or perhaps I could have avoided the pain, if Mr. Novak’s book had been available at the time. I’m not sure I would have understood without my first-hand experience as a reference point. But if there’s one thing better than learning from our own painful experience, it’s learning from someone else’s wisdom (which, most likely, was based on their own painful experience).

So, in that spirit, I encourage anyone who is on a path to intrapreneurial success to be sure and dot the I’s and cross the T’s — not just in terms of selling your vision, but in selling it to everyone who needs to be sold.

BobBurgHRHeadshotLearn More! Listen now to Bob’s 1-on-1 chat with David Novak, “Taking People With You,” where he shares numerous hard-hitting, valuable ideas from his book.

(Author Profile: Corporate speaker, Bob Burg, is coauthor of the International bestseller, “The Go-Giver.” His newest book, “Adversaries Into Allies” is scheduled for a late October release. Bob was a featured guest on #TChat events in early September, where he helped our community focus on ways that intrapreneurs can create business value within organizations. To learn more about Bob and connect with him on Social Media, visit www.burg.com.)

Image Credit: Pixabay

Who’s On Your List? Advice For Rising Stars From Yum! CEO

Written by Bob Burg

In his excellent book, Taking People With You: The Only Way to Make Big Things Happen,” iconic Yum! Brands Chairman and CEO, David Novak explains the importance of getting inside the heads of those we wish to influence. In other words, it’s not enough for us to want or desire a goal — we must know what motivates and drives the people we wish to take along with us.

It starts with genuine interest and caring about their needs, wants, goals and desires. But even that is not enough! Why? Because the following error can render our ideas nearly useless. According to Mr. Novak:

“One of the biggest mistakes leaders make is not thinking through all the people they have to lead to get where they want to go.”

He recommends that we ask ourselves who we need to affect, influence or take with us in order to be successful. As a former marketing executive, he compares this to a marketer trying to identify potential customers. And he believes that this list is absolutely essential.

When suggesting likely candidates, he casts a broad net: “your boss, your coworkers, people on your team, people from other departments whose help you’ll need — even people from outside your organization, such as shareholders, vendors, customers or business partners.”

Implications for Intrapreneurs

What does this mean for those among us who operate as “intrapreneurs” — those who work in an entrepreneurial way as employees of larger organizations? If you’re determined to make things happen as a leader (whether you have a formal title or not), but you don’t take Mr. Novak’s advice to heart, be prepared for a sudden halt in your progress.

His advice reminds me of a leadership failure or two from my past. In those situations, I’m fairly sure I persuaded those I targeted. However, my list was too short. I left out key “needed people,” and never even tried to obtain their buy-in. This wasn’t intentional; it was more a matter of not thinking things through and considering all the people whose commitment I would need. And inevitably I paid the price.

Network Relations: Connecting The Dots

Those were painful lessons, but I needed to experience them in order to grow. Or perhaps I could have avoided the pain, if Mr. Novak’s book had been available at the time. I’m not sure I would have understood without my first-hand experience as a reference point. But if there’s one thing better than learning from our own painful experience, it’s learning from someone else’s wisdom (which, most likely, was based on their own painful experience).

So, in that spirit, I encourage anyone who is on a path to intrapreneurial success to be sure and dot the I’s and cross the T’s — not just in terms of selling your vision, but in selling it to everyone who needs to be sold.

BobBurgHRHeadshotLearn More! Listen now to Bob’s 1-on-1 chat with David Novak, “Taking People With You,” where he shares numerous hard-hitting, valuable ideas from his book.

(Author Profile: Corporate speaker, Bob Burg, is coauthor of the International bestseller, “The Go-Giver.” His newest book, “Adversaries Into Allies” is scheduled for a late October release. Bob was a featured guest on #TChat events in early September, where he helped our community focus on ways that intrapreneurs can create business value within organizations. To learn more about Bob and connect with him on Social Media, visit www.burg.com.)

Image Credit: Pixabay

Intrapreneurs: Creating Value From Within #TChat Recap

How can a culture of intrapreneurship help companies retain top talent, while serving customers more effectively? That was the focus of our community conversation at last week’s #TChat forums. We understand that the concept of intrapreneurship is new to some of our participants. So, let’s first look at its history and meaning, before we summarize the week’s events.

Innovation With Infrastructure

The term “intrapreneur” first appeared in a 1978 article written by organizational design experts, Gifford & Elizabeth Pinchot. A recent FastCompany article defines intrapreneurs as people who work within existing organizations to accelerate change, while simultaneously creating business value.

In another FastCompany article, Hilton Worldwide VP Jennifer Silberman takes a more expansive view, noting that intrapreneurs are integral to corporate responsibility initiatives. She says, “the intrapreneurial mindset helps drive innovation and uncover opportunities within the challenges of operating in a changing world.”

David Armano, EVP, Global Innovation & Integration at Edelman, describes intrapreneurs as people who have entrepreneurial DNA, but choose to align their talents with a large organization, rather than creating one from scratch. Of course, successful intrapreneurs are valuable employees, because they’re a source of sustainable competitive advantage.

More and more companies are leveraging intraprenuerial talent by establishing initiatives and cross-functional teams to design and launch new products, services and systems. Project leads are given autonomy and resources to generate and develop concepts. In return, they “own” their endeavor’s success or failure.

According to Douglas Brown of Post University, an intrapreneurial role can lead to greater job satisfaction, because individuals are able to perform in a leadership capacity, exercise creativity, build credibility, and make a meaningful impact on the business — all within a reasonably safe environment.

Fueling The Intrapreneurial Fire

GoGiver

Learn more about The Go-Giver

So, how can organizations nurture an intrapreneurial spirit in employees? And how can each of us tap into our “inner entrepreneur” to create business value?

Helping us explore those questions was the week’s special guest, business author and commentator, Bob Burg. Bob is widely recognized for his ability to bring complex concepts to life in ways that are entertaining and easy to understand. In this case, Bob asked us to consider behaviors that distinguish “go-getters,” “go-takers” and “go-givers.”

Go-getters are people who take action. Go-takers also take action, but feel entitled to receive without offering value in return. Meanwhile, go-givers focus on actions that continuously add value to others’ lives. Bob’s book, “The Go-Giver” outlines 5 powerful principles that contribute to success:

• The Law of Value – Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment
• The Law of Compensation – Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them
• The Law of Influence – Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first
• The Law of Authenticity – The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself
• The Law of Receptivity – The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving

This lighthearted video reveals more about the 5 “Go-Giver” laws:

Celebrating “Go-Giver” Intrapreneurs

In a recent Huffington Post article, Wharton professor Adam Grant emphasized the importance of Recognizing Go-Givers. This is just one way companies could build a culture that supports creative contributions. Our #TChat Twitter participants offered hundreds of other suggestions. (For highlights from the conversation, see the Storify slideshow below.)

Thanks to everyone in the TalentCulture community who shared opinions and ideas at this week’s #TChat events. We invite you to review the resources below, and continue this discussion about innovation from within!

#TChat Week-In-Review: Entrepreneurs In Your Organization

SAT 8/24:

Bob_Burg_TChat Preview

Watch the #TChat “sneak peek” video now

#TChat Preview: TalentCulture Community Manager Tim McDonald the framed the week’s topics in a preview post, featuring a “sneak peek” video with guest Bob Burg. Read: “Corporate Entrepreneurs: Best Of Both Worlds?”

SUN 8/25:

Forbes.com Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro challenged business leaders to rethink the ways they engage with their most creative employees. Read: “5 Ways To Unleash The Power Of Your People.”

MON 8/26:

Related Post: Hans Balmaekers, Founder of intrapreneurial incubator sa.am, offered relevant advice to young professionals who are looking for entrepreneurial opportunities. Read: “Want To Be Your Own Boss? Try This First.”

WED 8/28:

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to the #TChat Radio show now

#TChat Radio: In a thought-provoking warm-up to our community Twitter conversation, Bob Burg spoke with radio hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman about how intrapreneurs fit in today’s workplace, and how organizations can create an environment that supports those endeavors. Listen now to the radio show recording.

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, I moderated an open discussion with Bob and our entire community on the #TChat Twitter stream. For highlights from this dynamic session, watch the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Highlights: Entrepreneurs In Your Organization

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/tchat-insights-intrapreneurs-taking-entrepreneurs.js?template=slideshow”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Bob Burg for generously sharing your expertise about the importance of creating value in business and in life. Your practical wisdom is deeply relevant and helpful to all of us.

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did last week’s events prompt you to write about intrapreneurial values, behaviors and success? We’d love to share your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: This week, we leap into a jam-packed fall season for #TChat events, starting with the topic, “Recruiting IS Marketing” with David Bernstein and Chris Fields, It’s one week you don’t want to miss! So plan to join us, and check for more details here and on TalentCulture channels.

In the meantime, the World of Work conversation continues — even on Labor Day! So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, on our LinkedIn discussion group. or elsewhere on social media. The lights are always on here at TalentCulture, and your ideas and opinions are always welcome.

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

Corporate Entrepreneurs: Best Of Both Worlds? #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Want to see full highlights from this week’s events, including resource links? Read the #TChat Recap: “Intrepreneurs: Creating Value From Within.”)

Earlier this month, we kick-started a community conversation with Marcia Conner about ingenuity in our personal and professional lives — looking at how each of us can benefit by channeling our inner “McGyver.” More recently, we drilled down on the concept of disruptive innovation — how radically new ideas and technologies continue to create new business opportunities.

This week, we invite you to help us connect those two dots, as we explore what’s possible when organizations actively nurture an entrepreneurial culture. So-called “intrapreneurship” isn’t a novel idea. However, at a time when employee engagement seems stuck at low ebb, a dedicated effort to drive internal innovation can help retain top talent, and simultaneously create a competitive edge. But how?

To lead this conversation, we’re excited to welcome one of my favorite business authors and commentators, Bob Burg. Bob writes extensively and speaks enthusiastically about what it takes for organizations and individuals to leverage their strengths in today’s world of work.

For a glimpse of Bob’s view of intrapreneurship, watch this brief #TChat sneak-peek Hangout:

This week’s #TChat forums promise to be dynamic and informative. So bring your best ideas, questions and concerns — and let’s continue the conversation!

#TChat Events: Entrepreneurs Inside Your Organization

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show

#TChat Radio — Wed, Aug 28 at 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT

Bob joins our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman to talk about how intrapreneurs fit in today’s workplace, and how organizations can create an environment that supports those endeavors. Listen LIVE and dial-in with your questions and feedback!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Aug 28 at 7pmET / 4pmPT

Immediately following the radio show, Bob will join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, where Dr. Nancy Rubin will moderate an open discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. Anyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we address these questions:

Q1: How can entrepreneurs find happiness in a corporate workplace culture?
Q2: What’s the difference between a “go-getter” and a “go-giver”?
Q3: How do companies attract, hire and retain “intrapreneurs”?
Q4: What can business leaders and HR gain from being intrapraneurs?
Q5: What technologies today enable intrapraneurship, and how?

Throughout the week, we’ll keep this discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed and on our new LinkedIn Discussion Group. So please join us share your questions, ideas and opinions.

We’ll see you on the stream!

Flexible Work And The Power of Choice #TChat Recap

Working “In The Zone”

Think for a moment about your ideal work scenario. Look beyond the substance of the work, itself. Instead, focus on structure, and flow, and surroundings. Think about the “how” and the “when” and the “where” that make it possible to perform well.

What does it feel like to operate in your most productive way? And how often do you actually achieve that level of focus and energy? Is something standing between you and your vision? If so, how could you or your employer close the gap?

Of course, each of us has a unique work/life narrative. And there are countless ways to create an effective fit between professional responsibilities and personal pursuits. But anything is possible, as long as we’re empowered to make choices that work for us and for those who need our talent.

Straight Ahead: No Boundaries

Did I just hear a chuckle from the cynical side of the house? Granted, I see blue sky in the forecast. But this week’s #TChat forums indicate that flexible options aren’t just an isolated phenomenon or a passing fancy. Instead, soon we should expect many more workers to find  flexibility within reach. Why? Consider these points:

1) The concept of work, itself, is being radically redefined — as Jason Fried, founder of the productivity application company, 37Signals, explained in this compelling TED Talk:

2) Employers are waking up and recognizing the business value of flexible work options. And, as many #TChat participants suggested, ROI can be measured in multiple ways. For example:

(For more thought-provoking tweets, see the #TChat highlights slideshow at the end of this post.)

3) Our expert guests are evidence that flexible options are gaining credibility and momentum. Both are leading the way in today’s work/life fit movement. They shared real-world perspectives about why these initiatives are gaining traction, along with tips to “make it work.”

Lisa Horn, Co-Leader of SHRM’s Workplace Flexibility Initiative and a SHRM Senior Government Relations Advisor;
Susan Lovegren, SVP of HR at Plantronics, a leading-edge technology company that offers “Smarter Working” choices.

(Hear details in the #TChat Radio show listed in the week’s resource list, below.)

4) The backlash has begun. You know a business practice is becoming legitimate when  nay-sayers appear at the gates. Ironically, just this week HR Executive Online reported on “next wave” research: “Non-Remote Workers Jealous of Telecommuters.” Why leave anyone behind? As our #TChat Radio guests explained, even when telecommuting isn’t practical, flexibility can come in other forms.

5) Key takeaway — change is a two-way street. Whatever is ahead in the realm of flexible work, it’s clear that change is needed on both sides of the employment contract. As this nested tweet suggests:

Thanks to everyone in the TalentCulture community who contributed opinions and ideas at this week’s #TChat events! We invite you to review highlights in the slideshow below, along with other related resources — and we look forward to expanding this conversation, as work/life blend issues continue to shape today’s workplace!

#TChat Week-In-Review: The Flexible World Of Work

SUN 8/18:

Forbes.com Post: To kickstart the conversation, TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro challenged business leaders to recognize the value of flexible work options. Read: “5 Reasons Why Workplace Flexibility Is a Smart Business Strategy.”

MON 8/19:

#TChat Preview: Our Community Manager, Tim McDonald, expanded on the week’s topic and events in his preview post: “Reworking The 9-to-5 Office Job.”

TUE 8/20:

Related Post: TalentCulture blog contributor, Heather Huhman, offered a snapshot of today’s flexible workforce trends with an infographic post: “5 Reasons To Hire Flexible Talent.”

WED 8/21:

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Listen now to the #TChat Radio show

#TChat Radio: In a highly informative warm-up to the Twitter conversation, Lisa and Susan joined our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman to discuss key issues and opportunities surrounding flexible work options, and how the concept translates into organizational life at Plantronics. Listen now to the radio show recording.

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, our entire community gathered on the #TChat Twitter stream for an open discussion about work/life fit from many points of view. To see highlights, check out the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Highlights: Workplace Flexibility As A Business Strategy

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Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Lisa Horn  and Susan Lovegren for generously sharing insights about flexibility initiatives and work/life blend issues. You’ve opened our eyes to new aspects of this critical business trend.

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about flexible work arrangements or work/life fit issues? We’d love to share your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week, our “summer restart” series concludes, as author Bob Burg joins us to  look at entrepreneurial endeavors within corporate environments. So plan to join us, and check for details this weekend on TalentCulture social channels.

In the meantime, the World of Work conversation continues everyday. So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, on our LinkedIn discussion group. or on other social channels. And feel free to explore our redesigned website. The lights are always on here at TalentCulture, and your ideas and opinions are always welcome.

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

5 Reasons To Hire Flexible Talent

Having a hard time finding the right employee for the job? You may be looking at the wrong group of candidates. According to recent reports, hiring within the flexible job market has steadily increased over the past 12 months. In addition, employers plan to hire more flexible workers this year than any other year before.

So, why is it in your best interest to consider flexible workers?

This infographic, compiled by Hourly (an employment network that quickly matches people who are interested in flexible positions with the right opportunities), illustrates why the flexible talent pool is the group to watch. Some noteworthy takeaways:

  • 40% of employers plan to hire temp workers this year, and more than 80% plan to increase their flexible workforce;
  • 25 million Americans work part-time, 20 million telecommute, and 10 million are independent contractors;
  • 39% of temporary workers will transition into full-time jobs.

If you’re an employer, what role do flexible workers play in your talent strategy? Or, if you’re on the other side of the table, as part of the flexible workforce, tell us how flexible options have helped or hindered you.

Check out the full infographic below, and share your thoughts in the comments section!

What do you think? What are some other reasons to hire flexible workers?

(Image Credit: Nicole LaPointe-McKay)
(Note: Gumby is a trademark of Premavision Inc/Clokey Productions)

What Can Swarms Teach Us About Teams?

You may not work in an emergency room — but your organization may want to function like one. As critical issues arise, the ability to quickly shift resources and refocus energy can have a keen impact on continued business success.

This kind of workforce agility helps organizations meet challenges swiftly and succinctly. Which begs the question: Is your organization ready for a work swarm?

Swarming: A Closer Look

Borrowed from the rhythms of nature, the notion of “swarming” to assemble a cross-functional or cross-departmental team, could be considered a key factor in an organization’s ability to develop and thrive. Gartner described a work swarm as a “flurry of collective activity” to deal with non-routine workplace problems or opportunities. (See that discussion here.) Without this option, organizations can fall short in their quest to respond to stressors (or opportunities) in quickly changing internal and external environments.

Developing an ability to swarm is just as much an orientation toward the work itself, as it is a problem solving technique. Swarming needs talent and skills to flow quickly toward projects, as it capitalizes upon an agile culture and a fluid talent stream. This requires a modern view of organizational boundaries and talent utilization. There are challenges to swarming — and the process may not prove appropriate for all organizations. However, it may be an interesting option to consider.

Putting Swarm Theory To Work

Here are some ideas to keep in mind:

1) Apply open-system theory. Work swarming requires talent to flow into the organization, as well as within its borders. Early structure theorists (See Katz & Kahn) discuss open-system theory. However, applications of that view seem more possible with the advent of relevant social networks.

2) Let internal structure flex. To enable swarming, the structure of an organization would need to become increasingly fluid. Talent within the organization would be allowed to cross functional lines more easily and routinely.

3) Seek diversity. Including a considerably wider range of knowledge bases when forming a team to problem solve is desired – as solutions can come unexpectedly, from a loosely “related” discipline or function. These sources can include suppliers and others in close proximity to core problems and customers.

4) Remember roles rule. Becoming crystal clear concerning the roles of team players is key. Role clarity can help focus more energy toward the actual content of the problem or issue – and help team members attack their portion of the task at hand more readily.

5) Utilize social platforms. Crowdsourcing platforms (both internally and externally focused) can be utilized to facilitate the problem solving process – where stubborn organizational challenges can be posted and exposed to greater numbers of potential contributors. (Learn more about Innocentive here.)

6) Curate talent communities. Building a pipeline of talent is imperative with swarming – but this should be developed in a manner that is meaningful. Mapping the skills and strengths of potential team players within relevant industries, becomes a critical goal. Furthermore, teaming applications can also help document the evolving skill sets of potential contributors.

Have you utilized swarming techniques to speed problem solving at your organization? If so, how well did it work?

(Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared as a LinkedIn Influencer post. It is republished with permission.)

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Quantum Change: Embracing Innovation #TChat Recap

Last night at #TChat forums, we came, we saw, and we disrupted. But this wasn’t random disruption. It was organized chaos — all in the name of knowledge sharing among talent-minded professionals. (For tweet-by-tweet highlights, see the Storify slideshow below.)

Business technology analyst Jim Lundy helped lead the TalentCulture community conversation this week, as we explored the most disruptive innovations on the horizon, and discussed their potential impact on the world of work.

As Jim explained in a blog post yesterday, innovation is at the heart of how we measure companies today. Organizations must have a robust approach to managing innovation. Although disruptive innovation is based on technology, its success actually depends upon how well people understand and apply it in real-world environments.

What Is Disruptive Innovation?

The concept of disruptive innovation was first coined by the soft-spoken Harvard professor Clayton Christensen in 1997. Think of it as technology that transforms a market or sector by introducing simplicity, convenience, accessibility and affordability where complexity and high cost are the norm. At first blush, a disruptive innovation may seem inconsequential or unattractive, but ultimately it can radically redefine whole industries or sectors.

In this brief video, Professor Christensen describes how he introduced the theory to former Intel CEO, Andy Grove:

The Value of Innovation: Big Dollars In Disruption

Disruptive Technologies_NewYorkTimes_McKinseyGlobalInstitute

See the disruptive innovation chart and article at the New York Times

What does all this mean, in terms of business benefits? A new McKinsey report examines the economic impact of 12 emerging disruptive technologies — led by the mobile Internet and knowledge work automation. As the New York Times illustrates, by 2025, these 12 technologies are expected to create a whopping $33 trillion a year in global business value.

Linking Disruption With Employee Engagement

Why and how can leaders encourage employee engagement via disruption? Recently, TalentCulture founder Meghan M. Biro examined this question, in response to a Gallup poll that indicates 70% of American workers are either actively or passively disengaged at work. Business collaboration and knowledge sharing tools can make a big difference in supporting connections and professional development that help employees feel empowered and appreciated.

In addition, talent strategist Gary Kastenbaum recommends that business leaders approach employee engagement with a disruptive mindset. He outlines three guiding principles:

  • Lesson 1: Corporate social responsibility programs and cause marketing are linked and drive employee engagement.
  • Lesson 2: Engaged employees are proud of your organization’s values and they are loyal to your company.
  • Lesson 3: Engaged employees are recruited, not created.

What do you think of this framework for “disruptive” engagement? How far into organizational process should “disruption” reach?

Big Issues — Big Ideas

This week’s events challenged each of us to take a fresh look at our personal and organizational attitudes, values and behaviors when it comes to technology and innovation. But we’ve only just begun to push the envelope! Thanks for contributing your thoughts and concerns — we look forward to hearing more from you on this topic. In case you missed any of the #TChat action, we invite you to review highlights in the slideshow below, along with other related resources.

#TChat Week-in-Review: Technology Disruption and Adoption

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Read the Preview Post now

SUN 8/11:

#TChat Preview: Our Community Manager, Tim McDonald, outlined the week’s topic in the preview post: Tech Disruption: Too Much Of A Good Thing?

MON 8/12:

Forbes.com Post: Several previous posts from TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro underscored technology advancements, and their implications for today’s workplace. Read:

•  “5 Trends Defining The World of Work and Leadership in 2013”
•  
“Your Employees Are Engaged: Really?”
•  “Employee Engagement: Every Leader’s Imperative”

WED 8/14

TChatRadio_logo_020813#TChat Radio: This was a fascinating warm-up before the main Twitter chat event! Our radio hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talked with Jim Lundy about today’s hottest technology advancements, and their impact on business organizations. Listen now to the radio show recording.

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, Jim joined the entire TalentCulture community on the #TChat Twitter stream for an open conversation about disruptive technologies in today’s workplace. If you missed the action, or want to review highlights, check out the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Twitter Highlights: Technology Innovation: Disruption and Adoption

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Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Jim Lundy for generously sharing insights about today’s most innovative workplace technologies. It’s exciting to peek into the future of work with experts like you!

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about innovation, disruption and corporate culture? We’d love to share your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week, our “summer restart” series continues, with a look into the strategic business value of workplace flexibility. So plan to join us, and check for details this weekend on TalentCulture social channels.

In the meantime, the World of Work conversation continues everyday. So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, on our LinkedIn discussion group. or on other social channels. And feel free to explore our redesigned website. The lights are always on here at TalentCulture, and your ideas and opinions are always welcome.

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

 

Tech Disruption: Too Much Of A Good Thing? #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Are you looking for a full review of week’s events, including resource links? See the #TChat Recap “Quantum Change: Embracing Innovation.”)

Innovation at the speed of business.

That sounds like a tagline for countless high-tech vendors, doesn’t it?

Once upon a time, it was a strategic call-to-action for organizations seeking competitive advantage in the digital age. But what does this catchphrase imply today, for a global workplace that’s more turbo-charged than ever?

Ready Or Not — Here Comes More Change

For better or worse, disruption has become part of our lives. Technology is advancing at a feverish pace, and a new wave of digitally-savvy workers is entering the workforce in droves. Yet at the same time, employee engagement seems to remain stuck almost in neutral. This apparent disconnect raises nagging questions about how effectively innovation really drives individual and business performance.

We Have Seen the Future, And It Is Us

Most of us agree that tools, alone, have little value. It’s what we do with them that matters. So, in a world where technology is continually disrupting our organizational workflows, what lies ahead, and how can we prepare more effectively? As the rate of innovation accelerates, can adoption actually keep pace? How can we stay ahead of the learning curve? Why does it matter? And what are the human consequences — good, bad, and indifferent?

These are big questions with serious business implications. That’s why we’ve asked a workplace innovation expert to be our guest at #TChat forums this week. Jim Lundy, founder and CEO of Aragon Research has been at the forefront of enterprise collaboration and learning technology for almost 30 years — both in product marketing and sales executive roles at vendors like Saba Software and Xerox — and as an industry analyst at Gartner and now Aragon.

#TChat Events: Fusing Technology Disruption And Adoption

This week’s conversation promises to offer a fascinating peek at what’s ahead — and why that matters for all of us in the world of work. So join us as our “Summer Restart” series looks at why and how technology disruption and adoption are essential companions in business transformation. Bring your questions, concerns and ideas, and let’s talk!

#TChat Radio — Wed, Aug 14 at 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT

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Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show

Jim Lundy joins our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman to talk about the most disruptive technologies on the horizon, and their potential impact on organizations. Listen live and dial-in with your questions and feedback!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Aug 14 at 7pmET / 4pmPT

Immediately following the radio show, Jim follows us to the #TChat Twitter stream, as we open the discussion to the entire TalentCulture community. Anyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we explore these questions:

Q1: What are the top disruptive HR technologies today and why?
Q2: How can the enterprise leverage innovation for positive workplace outcomes?
Q3: Why disruption? Can’t we just improve the process/tech status quo?
Q4: What can leaders do to encourage employee engagement via disruption?
Q5: Has innovation flattened today’s world of work for the better?

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed and on our new LinkedIn Discussion Group. So please join us share your questions, ideas and opinions.

We’ll see you on the stream!

Image Credit: CBS Television

101 Ways To Save The Day With A Paperclip #TChat Recap

“Better is possible. It does not take genius … It takes ingenuity. And above all, it takes a willingness to try.”-Atul Gawande

When I bumped into this quote, it stopped me in my tracks. It seems like the ideal way to summarize key insights from Wednesday’s #TChat events. However, the source isn’t a #TChat participant. This isn’t even a tweet. And it wasn’t written in the recent past.

Actually, it’s a quote from the 2007 book, Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance. The author is a practicing physician, whose riveting narrative focuses on finding creative ways to be more effective as a professional within a complex, bureaucratic environment. (Does that sound familiar to some of you? At least you know you’re not alone!)

Of course, in Atul Gawande’s profession, a creative approach can mean the difference between life and death. With such serious consequences hanging in the balance, fear of failure is always a factor. But unless medical practitioners are willing to take clever, calculated risks, the standard of care will never advance. As Dr. Gawande explains in an interview, “In The Belly Of The Medical Machine”

“…I work in a bureaucracy with 10,000 employees. Functioning in such a world is not all that pleasant. But there are things that you can do only if you are in such an organization. So you just need to find the patterns of what has worked. Like Warren Warwick, of Fairview University Children’s Hospital in Minnesota – he’s a great example. He lives in the machine. Through sheer force of will and creativity, he makes it work – and the patients in his clinic live longer than in any other cystic fibrosis clinic in the country. It’s stunning. It’s inspiring.”

Pioneering doctors like Warren Warwick and Atul Gawande aren’t exactly saving the day with a paperclip, MacGyver-style. But in my view, they’re the closest thing we’ll see in real life.

They’re also shining examples of the ingenious spirit that we explored this week with #TChat expert guest, Marcia Conner. Marcia is Principal of SensifyGroup, a management consultancy that specializes in elevating workplace culture, learning and collaboration. A highly regarded social business thought leader and author, Marcia is developing a book focused on the the power of ingenuity in transforming our lives at work and beyond.

Marcia challenged us all to take a fresh look at the world around us to create better ways to work. And our community responded by storming Twitter with a rush of ideas and insights to kick-start that process. In case you missed any of the action, we invite you to review #TChat highlights in the slideshow, along with other related resources listed below.

If this week’s events inspire you to put ingenuity into action, let us know where that effort leads. Who knows? You may be surprised to find that a small, smart shift in your approach can make a huge difference. The evidence shows that we don’t need to be super-human to be ingenious. We just have to be willing to try.

#TChat Week in Review: The Transforming Power of Ingenuity

SUN 8/5

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Watch the G+ Hangout now

#TChat Preview: Our Community Manager, Tim McDonald, outlined the week’s topic in a post that feartures a brief G+ Hangout with Marcia. See the preview: “Transforming Culture: The Force Within.”

MON 8/5

Forbes.com Post: In her weekly Forbes column, TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro, offered advice about why listening is more important now than ever, and how leaders can improve their listening capabilities. Read “5 Leadership Lessons: Listen, Learn, Lead.”

WED 8/7

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Listen to the radio show now

#TChat Radio Prior to the week’s Twitter chat event, Marcia joined our hosts, TalentCulture founders and radio hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman, to talk about what it means to be ingenious in our personal and professional lives. Listen now to the radio show recording.

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, the entire TalentCulture community came together for an open conversation on the #TChat stream. In case you missed the action, check out the highlights in our Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Twitter Highlights: Transforming Culture: The Force Within

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/tchat-insights-transforming-culture-the-force-wit.js?template=slideshow”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Marcia Conner for sharing her expertise and enthusiasm about how we can tap into ingenuity in our personal and professional lives. You inspire our community to keep pushing the collaborative envelope.

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about innovation, collaboration and corporate culture? We’d love to share your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week, technology analyst, Jim Lundy, joins us to look at innovations that are redefining the world of work! Stay tuned to TalentCulture social channels for details.

In the meantime, the World of Work conversation continues each day. So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, on our LinkedIn discussion group. or on other social channels. And feel free to explore our redesigned website. The gears are always turning here at TalentCulture, and your ideas and opinions are always welcome.

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: ABC / HenryWinkler-JohnRich Productions

 

Employee Engagement: Why Is Gender (Still) A Factor?

Written by Elyssa Thome

Fact: Men are more likely to be engaged in the workplace than women.

Does that surprise you? If so, you may want to take a closer look at recent research by Human Capital Institute and Acheivers. The survey was designed to find out more about the factors that correspond with high employee engagement. And the results indicate that today’s most engaged employees are males, age 50 or older, who hold senior-level positions, and have been with an organization for at least 15 years.

Implications For Women

What explains these results? There is no single answer that applies to all companies. Also, employee engagement varies from person to person, for multiple reasons. However, for any of us to engage in our work, we must feel a sense of control over the workload, and believe that our efforts have a direct impact on the company mission.

Not surprisingly, the higher we climb within the workforce, the more likely we’ll experience those key factors of control and meaningful contribution. And employees who have been in the workforce longer and have risen in the ranks to executive levels tend to be males who are 50 or older. The truth is, despite huge progress in gender equality among college graduation rates and even in the level of entry-level jobs, women are still absent from top leadership at most companies.

What To Do?

I work with powerful, fierce, dedicated women every day. They may not be top executives (yet), but they are valuable contributors, and they have tremendous potential. Imagine the impact on business performance if employees like these were more invested in making their company better.

As the U.S. Census Bureau points out, there’s a long way to go before we reach a truly equitable workplace. But we won’t arrive at that goal unless we continue to work toward progress. For example, we can rethink business practices that may erode engagement among women employees. Here are three options:

1) Support Flexible Schedules

While it may not elevate more women to the corner office, schedule flexibility does offer employees of both genders a sense of control that translates to higher engagement. Building in options to work from home or to arrange flexible hours provides a level of personal freedom and responsibility that leads to increased productivity and deeper investment in the company.

2) Promote From Within, When Possible

Don’t overlook existing talent when filling open positions. There is nothing quite as demoralizing as having an unproven manager hired over you, when you’re confident that you can be effective in that role. Investing in the development of current employees and giving them the opportunity to demonstrate return on that investment allows for individual and company growth.

3) Advocate For One Another

More opportunities for female advancement are unlikely to arise unless women proactively champion the concept. My friends and colleagues point to female mentors that provided support, confidence and guidance that led them to high-potential roles. As Sheryl Sandberg points out in her provocative book, Lean In, women have a harder time talking about their own successes, but easily promote the work of others. Use that trait for a greater good. Open the door for employees to recognize one another, and listen carefully.

Addressing women in the workplace more effectively can have a huge pay-off. You’ll likely stop losing top female talent to issues you were overlooking. Also, with a more diverse workforce, your company can expect to be more effective at driving creativity and innovation. Ensure that your organization isn’t unintentionally limiting voices. It all starts with an environment where everyone believes there’s an equal opportunity to contribute.

For more information on what makes an engaged employee, download the full report here.

ElyssaThome-blog(About the Author: Elyssa Thome is a copywriter at Achievers. She has developed expertise in numerous topics, and currently focuses on the human resource space — specifically how to create Employee Success. She has worked with and for powerful, talented, inspiring women, and she hopes to be one herself someday.)

Image Credit: Pixabay

Social Learning: The New Business Edge?

A recent #TChat Radio show really piqued my interest. The topic was collaboration and social learning, with guest, Nick Kellet. Nick is one of the innovative minds who founded Listly — a service that nurtures individual and collective growth by enabling people to discover, filter and share content easily within their digital communities.

Obviously, social learning isn’t a new concept. As Nick noted, it’s not really even “actually a thing” in itself. Rather it’s a by-product of the fact that we are social beings. Learning through interaction with others is naturally built into our work lives. And now, with content and tools that make it incredibly easy to collaborate online, social learning is gaining tremendous momentum in the digital space.

In fact, according to Bersin by Deloitte, U.S. companies spent 39% more on social learning initiatives last year than in 2011. That’s a huge jump, and it indicates how swiftly business is embracing the need to provide infrastructure for collaborative business processes.

Why Social Learning Is Essential: 3 Reasons

So what’s the big deal? Why is social learning suddenly such a hot business topic? Actually, I think it boils down to three fundamentals:

• Employees want to learn and grow.
• Growth contributes to engagement.
• Engaged employees stick around.

It’s just that simple.

Consider this: The Cornerstone OnDemand 2013 U.S. Employee Report indicates that 1 in 3 employees would stay at their company longer if their employer helped them develop their skills. That’s a significant number of employees you could retain — not to mention recruitment costs you could save — just by providing today’s workforce with better paths to learning.

Social learning options are an ideal way to respond to employees’ desire for development, because in addition to providing the knowledge and growth they crave, it also builds a sense of connection and belonging within your organization.

Building Competence and Connections

In responding to performance review questions, have you ever been asked if you have a best friend at work? Did you wonder why that question was relevant? It’s because employees who form bonds with their peers feel much more engaged and comfortable in the workplace. And connections that are good for individuals are also good for organizational culture. Social learning helps employees to connect — not just within their workgroups, but with peers around the globe — expanding their networks and strengthening their sense of belonging. That’s no small feat.

While the technology may be ever-changing, the concept of social learning is clearly here to stay. It’s wise to take a cue from the companies that increased their social learning spending last year, and make it a priority in 2013 and beyond. Your employees will thank you for your investment in their future — and ultimately, so will your bottom line.

Tell me: How is your organization enriching or expanding the learning experience? What hurdles have you faced? And what kind of difference do you see in your workforce? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and let’s learn from one another.

(Note: If you’re not yet one of Listly’s many ardent fans, we recommend you take a closer look. We love it at Achievers. We’ve even created a Listly-powered Achievers resources collection.)

Image Credit: Niharb via flickr Creative Commons

How To Help Top Talent Thrive

Written by Mona Berberich

Back in college economics class, I discovered a common assumption about economies of scale — actually about returns to scale. In business, we assume that if we increase factors of input by a given amount, the output will increase by that much or more. This concept seems intuitive, and we rely on it to simplify the management process and maximize profits.

Recently however, while researching how companies treat their top talent, I’ve found that many organizations apply this “returns to scale” theory to their most valuable asset — their smartest, most creative people. In other words, leaders often think that, by doubling the number people with creative abilities, the organization will be at least twice as creative. But if innovation is the goal, this theory isn’t sufficient.

Finding More Of The Right Stuff

What really matters in this equation? It’s ultimately about organizational culture. When managers create an environment that inspires the brightest and most talented people to thrive to their fullest potential, that’s when business performance increases proportionately (or more).

That said, to foster a scalable creative culture, it’s important to understand the smartest and most creative among us. What motivates the top 2 to 5% of the workforce with genius in software design, molecular engineering, and other areas of specialized expertise? Better knowledge of this will lead to a more supportive environment for top talent.

Portrait Of An Innovation Star

I’m not saying that clever people are all alike, but they do follow similar paths and tend to share multiple characteristics. For example, unlike most of us, top contributors know what they’re worth. In today’s more mobile, global world, they have more opportunities. They know their value, and they expect employers to know it, too.

They also tend to share a single defining characteristic — they don’t want to be “managed.” This requirement can be quite a challenge for business leaders. Very talented individuals often are adept at accomplishing great things on their own. They tend to have no special bond with their employer, but they know how to behave to gain funding and support. On the other hand, they’re aware that their employer relies upon them. They generate the ideas that no one else brings to the table, and often they go the extra mile to breathe life into their vision.

Often high flyers demand organizational protection and ignore corporate hierarchy. Quite frankly, they despise titles and promotions, at least in the way that most people perceive those business conventions. Being part of an organization chart is often a thorn in their side. Meetings tend to be seen as waste of time — a by-product of bureaucracy. Bottom line: They prefer immunity from organizational activities because administration is what keeps them from doing what really matters — creating change.

The smartest people often have unconventional expectations. They’re likely to assume managers don’t understand what they are doing, but they want respect for what they do. They want managers to recognize their ideas, and reward them with access to corporate leadership, information and resources. They want freedom to explore new territory, and permission to fail, because failure ultimately can lead to better outcomes. The fact is, they tend not to speak the same language as others in an organization, and often they don’t even want a public voice in the organization’s discussions. What to do? Here are several suggestions…

How Can Your Culture Support Extraordinary Creativity?

1) Be a Guardian

The most talented contributors don’t need a boss, they need a guardian — a sponsor who opens doors on their behalf. Focus on helping to facilitate their work. Give them appropriate guidelines, but eliminate rigid rules.

2) Offer Praise

Create company-wide visibility and demonstrate appreciation by showcasing your rockstars’ projects at company meetings, and in other internal communications. In addition, provide opportunities for them to meet informally with senior leadership. For example, organize lunch with your CEO or top executives (but don’t force rockstars to wear business suits).

3) Grant Operational Immunity

Exempt your top performers from unnecessary meetings and departmental administrative activities. Streamline monitoring and reporting mechanisms, and minimize structural and procedural requirements. Above all, encourage trial and error. Be prepared to recognize failure (or even celebrate it) as an integral part of learning and progress.

4) Provide Freedom to Explore

Encourage your brightest stars to use 20% of their time to drive independent projects. Grant leave of absence for professional development or participation in industry conferences. Consider providing discretionary budgets to fund exploration and ideation — whatever may sparks fresh thinking. For example, a user experience designer might expand his frame-of-reference by operating as a “visiting fellow” at multiple leading-edge customer sites. Or a biotech product developer might “connect the dots” by creating a private virtual forum where life science incubators can share insights about basic research projects.

5) Acknowledge Achievement Beyond The Organization

Rather than evaluating rockstars on typical performance criteria, consider their role in the industry at-large. Perhaps replace classic one-over-one performance appraisals with peer-to-peer evaluations. And consider metrics based on industry awards and rankings, progress in securing patents, volume and quality of articles published or presented, and other indicators of innovation leadership.

How Do You Encourage Top Talent to Thrive?

Do you have extraordinary people in your organization who need to be led in a special way? What have you done to accommodate them? What kind of issues and results have you seen? Please comment — we’re interested in your thoughts!

Mona Berberich2(Editor’s Note: Mona Berberich is a Digital Marketing Manager at Better Weekdays, a Chicago-based company that has developed a platform to help HR leaders source, screen and develop talent based on job compatibility. She is a researcher and writer covering HR, career growth, talent management and leadership development. Contact Mona on Google+ or LinkedIn or Twitter.)

 

Image Credit: Pixabay

Putting Workplace Technology In Its Place

This summer while you’re on vacation, how often will you check email? Are you even taking a vacation? If you’re anything like me, the thought of a digital-free vacation is almost more stressful than coming to work.

Our smartphones have become integral to our daily activities. I need mine to tell time and take photos — I even use it as a flashlight. (I’m obviously not leaving that behind the next time I travel.) But while there’s no question that these devices enhance our personal and professional lives, misuse can actually diminish our productivity and erode relationships.

“Be Where You Are”

A recent #TChat Radio show took on the ever-pressing issue of how to manage our digital lives more effectively. The expert guests offered great tips on staying focused and building relaxation into our routines at a time when we are constantly online. For me, the biggest takeaway is to “be where you are.” This simple statement can change your workplace and your life.

Different roles require different levels of connection. But whether you’re an ER doctor on-call, a celebrity publicist, or a product marketing manager, you need to be present and mindful of the task at hand to do it well.

Here’s what that means for me — and for members of my organization:

1) Everyone has 24 hours to reply to all non-emergency emails

Building-in buffer time levels the playing field and relieves employees of the pressure to respond after work hours. A 24-hour response policy means we can focus on immediate tasks, if needed, without constant distraction. At the same time, it means that projects aren’t delayed unnecessarily. If I’m in meetings all day, I can’t answer your email. So let’s start by assuming I’m in meetings all day. Also, a response-time buffer leads to more thoughtful, thorough emails. Given time to gather and process information, we can create well-constructed messages that answer follow-up questions before they are asked.

2) Only essential laptops should be used at meetings

Truthfully, most people do bring laptops into meetings here. But our most successful meetings are laptop free, aside from the device used to present meeting materials. Engaged group discussion does not happen if you’re checking Twitter or doing other work simultaneously. Leave laptops at the door when you need to address issues with real conversation. And by the way, if you don’t need face-to-face communication on the issue at hand, why are you having a meeting?

3) When you’re away from the office, leave the office behind

I’m not saying don’t work from home or from the road, but I am suggesting not to mix business with pleasure too often. Create a workspace wherever you happen to be working. Leave work stress and planning in that space when you leave it. Your family wants you to be part of the dinner conversation. Your friends want your mind — or whatever is left of it — with them for drinks. Your work suffers and your relationships suffer when you try to work and play simultaneously.

4) During a face-to-face conversation, don’t check your phone

This is life advice, but it’s also critical in the workplace. Checking your phone means you think someone (even an unidentified caller) deserves your attention more than the person talking to you. In essence, you’re saying that absolutely anyone deserves your attention more than the person you’re with. That can’t be true. Keep the conversation brief if you have somewhere else you should be, but have the conversation.

Remember Who Is In Control

None of these guidelines is a new concept. But they don’t have to be new to make good business sense. “Be where you are.” It’s great advice for both individuals and for organizations. Use technology’s power for good. When managed thoughtfully, these devices can help us be more productive and better connected. Just remember that you are in control.

As the future of mobile devices and other workplace technology unfolds, this conversation becomes even more important. Tell us your thoughts about technology’s impact in the comments below. And learn the perspective of these HR thought leaders in this recent whitepaper.

Image Credit: Piotr Bizior/Bizior Photography

Future Of Work: An Army Of Open Leaders

(Editor’s Note: We’re thrilled that business collaboration and learning expert, Dan Pontefract, will be a featured guest soon at #TChat events. To set the stage, Dan shares insights below, adapted from his new book Flat Army: Creating a Connected and Engaged Organization.)

Flat Army? What the heck is a Flat Army?

Work environments need not feel like a military camp or a ruthless command-and-control operation. The process of work should be fun, innovative, creative and very engaging. I believe that the best way to create a connected and engaged organization is by invoking a “Flat Army” mindset. Why? Let’s unpack that analogy:

To be flat is to be on a level surface, not in a hierarchy. To be in an army (from armata, the Latin term referenced in 1533, meaning a flotilla of vessels) is to be part of a large group of people who are committed to similar aims or beliefs.

An organization with a Flat Army ethos benefits from an unobstructed flow of coordinated, constructive, creative behaviors that arise from the common interests of employees, leaders, partners and customers. It is a shift from “me” to “we,” using collaborative, participative and growth behaviors. Flat Army is a playbook that moves organizations toward increased engagement and innovation.

Profile Of A Flat Army Leader

flatarmy_frontcoverIn our Flat Army model, a harmonious, connected leader creates a situation where both the team and the leader are as open as possible to performing business tasks and achieving objectives. In an environment where even mundane day-to-day tasks are conducted in this open manner, there is harmony among all contributors, regardless of rank.

Openness — both as a quality of the leader and an expectation of the team — fosters a harmonious relationship among all parties. It’s arguably a step in the right direction towards higher levels of engagement, productivity and business results. A harmonious, open leader connects with the team — parlaying the culture as if it can only be successful when all parties are united, equal in nature and committed to openness. And if we agree that leadership is for all, we also wish that everyone in an organization will participate as a harmonious, open leader.

Getting Under The Hood With Open Leaders

I define open leadership as the act of engaging others to influence and execute a coordinated and harmonious conclusion. Therefore, open leadership is essential for every Flat Army organization.

A.G. Lafley comes to mind when I think of stellar Flat Army leadership. His name may not ring a bell, but I can assure you, he sets a standard of excellence for openness and collaboration. Between 2000 and 2010, Mr. Lafley was the highly successful president and CEO of Procter & Gamble (P&G) — the consumer products conglomerate with over $80 billion in revenue and over 125,000 employees worldwide.

Throughout his decade at the helm, he helped double total sales and quadruple profits, while increasing P&G’s market value by over $100 billion. Furthermore, he helped grow P&G’s portfolio of billion-dollar brands (such as Gillette, Pampers and Tide) from 10 to 24. How did he do it?

In his book The Game Changer: How Every Leader Can Drive Everyday Innovation, co-written with management thought leader, Ram Charan, Lafley refers to the unique relationship between openness and ideas:

Open architecture is the organizing principle that enables a business and its people to open themselves up to get ideas from anywhere at any time. P&G collaborates with anybody, anywhere, anytime. P&G likes unusual suspects. It will even compete with a company on one side of the street, and cooperate with it on the other. In an open innovation system, anything out there is fair game, even if competitors are sitting on it. And that’s fine with both partners because it works.

At P&G, Lafley opened up everything. He wanted his leaders to be more collaborative, and just as importantly, he wanted his employees to be open. As a results, magic happened. He branded this open architecture “Connect and Develop” or “C&D.” The framework reached across all employees, regardless of title, and it drove not only revenue and profitability, but also employee engagement.

Lafley and Charan explain:

The single characteristic of C&D is the willingness of all people at P&G to be psychologically open and to seriously consider new ideas, whatever the source, thus building a truly open global innovation network that can link up — and be first in line — with the most interesting thinkers and the best products to “reapply with pride.”

Lafley’s leadership example demonstrates what’s possible when a harmonious environment is created through a culture of open initiative. That is Flat Army in action. And perhaps that’s a key reason why P&G just rehired Lafley last month to lead the company forward.

The Open Leader Toolkit

Hopefully now the concept of open leadership is clear. But what are these social business and collaboration tools everyone keeps talking about? An open, Flat Army environment can’t thrive if leaders suffer from technology blindness or ignorance. In truth, tools for communication and collaboration are as integral to a Flat Army mindset as they are to employee engagement and productivity.

If your organization doesn’t embrace tools that support dynamic exchange of knowledge and ideas, then be a catalyst for change. Look for ways to integrate capabilities such as blogging, micro-blogging, expert networks, discussion forums, video sharing or instant messaging into existing platforms and workflows. Start using them to demonstrate that you are a connected, collaborative and participative leader who assists your team (and your organization) in achieving their goals and objectives — even as you strive for a high level of employee engagement and customer satisfaction.

What are you doing to help your organization embrace a Flat Army ethos? I invite you to share your ideas and experiences.

Photo: Dan Pontefract, author and head of learning and collaboration, TELUS(Author Profile: Dan Pontefract is the the author of “Flat Army: Creating a Connected and Engaged Organization.” He is also Head of Learning & Collaboration at TELUS where he is responsible for the company’s overarching leadership development, learning and collaboration strategy. Visit www.danpontefract.com for more about Dan’s professional experience, and his thoughts on the future of leadership and organizations.)

 

Image Credit: Pixabay

Create A "Small Company" Culture Anywhere

What is it about small companies? Like a good restaurant or an undiscovered band, they often tend to attract a devoted following that can’t imagine going anywhere else.

Is it the quality of work? The people? The hours? The pay? What is that magical difference that makes small companies so attractive to top talent?

Does Size Matter?

The secret is culture. A strong company culture unites employees and gives them a larger purpose beyond their individual responsibilities. That’s why employees — especially Millennials — gravitate toward start-ups. They crave that “small-company” feel and want the chance to make an impact on culture.

That’s great news if your company is one of the little guys. But what if you’re at a large corporation? How can you offer employees the chance to make an impact if a reputation for process and procedure precedes you? Rules aren’t all bad, of course; structure helps turn chaos into order. But all too often when companies grow, they sacrifice cultural strengths along the way. What to do?

In today’s tough business environment, as large companies struggle to recruit, retain, and inspire top talent, you can’t afford to miss the cultural mark. Instead, why not approach culture as an ace up your sleeve?

Sustainable Advantage

A strong corporate culture can create a huge competitive edge. Driven by organizational values, business objectives, and employee engagement, it aligns your employees, creates fluid communication, and helps build resiliency that adapts to change. If you develop a unique, authentic culture, your employees can reap the benefits of a “small-company” feel, while driving “big-company” results that advance your business goals.

Want the best of both worlds? Here are 5 tips to create a unique culture:

1) Develop corporate values to align employees with business objectives and the bigger picture. Employees need to be inspired by something greater than themselves, so help them understand how their contributions affect the overall strategy.

2) Create a recognition program to reinforce behaviors that drive results. By consolidating recognition efforts with an online program, geographically dispersed employees feel more connected with your company. Recognition helps reinforce company culture — not the other way around.

3) Abolish the top-down hierarchy that’s typical at most corporations, and encourage leaders to be more approachable. When it’s clear that leaders are listening, it facilitates communication and creates an environment where employees feel free to voice their opinions. Host “lunch-and-learn” sessions or fireside chats where leaders and employees can discuss topics in an open, informal environment. Soliciting employee feedback often yields insights that help organizations operate more efficiently and effectively.

4) Let employees know their contributions matter. In “10 Reasons Your Top Talent Will Leave You,” leadership consultant Mike Myatt noted that more than 70% of employees don’t feel valued by their employers. You can turn this around in your company by introducing public recognition into your culture. Create monthly luncheons to recognize top performers. Encourage leaders to recognize employees during team meetings. These are simple steps that can make a big difference.

5) Reconsider “years of service” programs that aren’t tied to business objectives or employee engagement. Annual feedback doesn’t cut it anymore. Ideally, employees should receive recognition or feedback at least once a week, yet almost 60% of employees say that doesn’t happen. Create a positive culture of reinforced behaviors by introducing frequent feedback to complement the annual review.

Beyond The Basics

Don’t stop with only 5 steps! While these tips will put you on the right path, you won’t gain that “small-company” feel without also recognizing that culture happens organically, over time. Ultimately, your people will create your culture. Give them the freedom to express themselves. Commit to an evolving process, and see how your culture takes shape.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Create A “Small Company” Culture Anywhere

What is it about small companies? Like a good restaurant or an undiscovered band, they often tend to attract a devoted following that can’t imagine going anywhere else.

Is it the quality of work? The people? The hours? The pay? What is that magical difference that makes small companies so attractive to top talent?

Does Size Matter?

The secret is culture. A strong company culture unites employees and gives them a larger purpose beyond their individual responsibilities. That’s why employees — especially Millennials — gravitate toward start-ups. They crave that “small-company” feel and want the chance to make an impact on culture.

That’s great news if your company is one of the little guys. But what if you’re at a large corporation? How can you offer employees the chance to make an impact if a reputation for process and procedure precedes you? Rules aren’t all bad, of course; structure helps turn chaos into order. But all too often when companies grow, they sacrifice cultural strengths along the way. What to do?

In today’s tough business environment, as large companies struggle to recruit, retain, and inspire top talent, you can’t afford to miss the cultural mark. Instead, why not approach culture as an ace up your sleeve?

Sustainable Advantage

A strong corporate culture can create a huge competitive edge. Driven by organizational values, business objectives, and employee engagement, it aligns your employees, creates fluid communication, and helps build resiliency that adapts to change. If you develop a unique, authentic culture, your employees can reap the benefits of a “small-company” feel, while driving “big-company” results that advance your business goals.

Want the best of both worlds? Here are 5 tips to create a unique culture:

1) Develop corporate values to align employees with business objectives and the bigger picture. Employees need to be inspired by something greater than themselves, so help them understand how their contributions affect the overall strategy.

2) Create a recognition program to reinforce behaviors that drive results. By consolidating recognition efforts with an online program, geographically dispersed employees feel more connected with your company. Recognition helps reinforce company culture — not the other way around.

3) Abolish the top-down hierarchy that’s typical at most corporations, and encourage leaders to be more approachable. When it’s clear that leaders are listening, it facilitates communication and creates an environment where employees feel free to voice their opinions. Host “lunch-and-learn” sessions or fireside chats where leaders and employees can discuss topics in an open, informal environment. Soliciting employee feedback often yields insights that help organizations operate more efficiently and effectively.

4) Let employees know their contributions matter. In “10 Reasons Your Top Talent Will Leave You,” leadership consultant Mike Myatt noted that more than 70% of employees don’t feel valued by their employers. You can turn this around in your company by introducing public recognition into your culture. Create monthly luncheons to recognize top performers. Encourage leaders to recognize employees during team meetings. These are simple steps that can make a big difference.

5) Reconsider “years of service” programs that aren’t tied to business objectives or employee engagement. Annual feedback doesn’t cut it anymore. Ideally, employees should receive recognition or feedback at least once a week, yet almost 60% of employees say that doesn’t happen. Create a positive culture of reinforced behaviors by introducing frequent feedback to complement the annual review.

Beyond The Basics

Don’t stop with only 5 steps! While these tips will put you on the right path, you won’t gain that “small-company” feel without also recognizing that culture happens organically, over time. Ultimately, your people will create your culture. Give them the freedom to express themselves. Commit to an evolving process, and see how your culture takes shape.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Engage Your Workforce, No Coddling Required

“Doesn’t everybody love their job?”

During the heat of a #TChat event last week, our partners at TalentCulture challenged the Twitter community with that tongue-in-cheek question. And now I suggest an appropriately tongue-in-cheek response: The answer is no.

So, how do we fix it? And should we fix it?

Employee engagement moves business forward, and should be a priority for any human resources professional. But as the prevailing sentiment among #TChat participants indicated, coddling disengaged employees is not an HR function. Nonetheless, if your employees feel that they aren’t respected or their work doesn’t matter, you need to deal with larger issues than engagement scores.

It’s important to recognize employees for their contributions — in part to increase engagement, but mostly because it’s a vital factor in business success. Several years ago, Gallup estimated that disengaged employees cost the U.S. economy $370 billion annually. High employee disengagement leads to high employee turnover — which, in turn, means increased recruiting and training expenses.

So, if your company is looking to increase overall engagement in a sustainable way, it’s essential to help your workforce understand the meaning and importance of their contributions.

3 Sources of Positive, Tangible Engagement

1) Executive Sponsorship  If your C-suite dismisses the importance of engagement, that will ultimately be reflected in the attitude of managers and employees. Engagement needs to be a priority at the highest levels. Executives who live company values are leading by example. Prove to all levels of the workforce that workplace culture is purposeful — not accidental — and everyone becomes invested in making it the best it can be.

2) Clear Communication  Get the team on the same page by articulating company goals and clarifying how individual goals relate to the bigger picture. True engagement — the result of a satisfying job and not office perks — can only be achieved when employees see how their individual contributions fit into the organization’s mission, values and objectives.

3) Individual Relationships  A great first step in helping employees feel respected is actually demonstrating respect on a personal level. Employees who feel anonymous are at risk of becoming disengaged, and dragging down others’ productivity and engagement. In large companies, it can be challenging for leaders to build relationships across their span of control, however this is essential. Different people respond differently to different motivators. The key to motivating employees is to understand each person well enough to recognize the factors that will help them develop and perform at their best.

For more information on building a culture of engagement, download our 2013 Guide to Recognition.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Finding Value in Enterprise Communities #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Are you interested in reviewing all of this week’s events and resources? Read “Communities of Practice and Purpose: #TChat Recap.”)

If you know me, then you know that I’m passionate about communities — digital and otherwise.

My interest in cultivating communities is what drives me as manager at HuffPost Live and TalentCulture, and as the founder of My Community Manager. It’s incredibly gratifying to help people build useful relationships, and to facilitate an ongoing exchange of ideas that is bigger than the sum of its parts.

Digital communities aren’t just a nice idea. They’re also a huge potential source of business value for enterprise organizations, according to management consulting firms like McKinsey. Yet large companies often struggle with how to connect the social dots among their various constituents — employees, leaders, customers, business partners, and beyond.

What Makes a Great Enterprise Community?

Of course, great networking and collaboration tools are helpful in creating and sustaining any kind of social community. But it takes much more than a solid infrastructure. What does it take? That’s the focus of our TalentCulture #TChat forums in the coming week. And we’ve invited two experts to lead the conversation:

#TChat Sneak Peek Videos

Both guests briefly joined me for a G+ Hangout to set the stage. First Jeff defined key terms — explaining how enterprise communities differ from other social networking groups:

And then Maria explained why communities are essential in today’s business environment:

#TChat Events: Why and How Enterprise Communities Work

Need I say more? As you can tell from their interviews, these two experts are just as passionate as I am about exploring the benefits of business-oriented communities. And they’re eager to exchange ideaTChatRadio_logo_020813s with a circle of like-minded professionals. So please join us next week, and add your unique perspective to this very special “community” conversation!

#TChat Radio — Tuesday, May 28 at 7:30pmET / 4:30pmPT — Maria and Jeff join our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman, for a LIVE 30-minute discussion about enterprise community issues and opportunities.

#TChat Twitter — Wednesday, May 29 at 7:00pmET / 4:00pmPT — Calling all #TChatters to join us for an open online discussion on the #TChat stream. Come on over and share your thoughts. The more, the merrier!

Q1: What are the differences between social and enterprise communities?

Q2: Why has community development and management been more difficult for the enterprise?

Q3: What are best practices for enterprise community management?

Q4: What can business leaders and internal champions do to facilitate quality enterprise communities?

Q5: What community & collaboration technologies make sense for today’s enterprise?

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed and on our new LinkedIn Discussion Group. So please join us share your questions, ideas and opinions.

We’ll see you on the stream!

Recognition: Meaning and Motivation #TChat Recap

(Editor’s Note: Please welcome one of Team TalentCulture’s new editorial interns, Ana Mijailovic. She’s an accomplished university student with mad writing skills, and we’re thrilled to add her perspective on the “world of work.”)

After a week focused on recognition in the workplace — what have I learned? It’s clear that today’s workforce is increasingly disengaged, and lack of recognition is a primary culprit.

So, how can we turn that around? On one hand, a simple “thank you” is free and easy to share, anytime or in any situation. On the other hand, it’s not so free or easy for organizations to practice recognition consistently and effectively.

Case In Point

My first job was at a hospital as an office assistant. At first, I loved working there. I was excited to start making my own money, to cash my own paychecks. The tasks were fairly simple — filing patient charts, filling out medical billing sheets, making copies, everything you would expect from an administrative assistant. The repetition was actually relaxing at first, and my boss constantly acknowledged my speed and work ethic. However, after after several years, my productivity slipped. I met expectations, but without the original energy and speed.

A Problem of Motivation

What’s my point? Even when recognition “looks right” on the outside, it doesn’t necessarily empower employees. Although I loved my boss, my work environment and my colleagues, I was bored. Why? To quote the movie “Office Space,” it was “a problem of motivation.”

Motivation is largely intrinsic. In that situation, no salary increase or external encouragement could motivate me further. What I needed was a challenge. I had mastered the required skills. I had proved my competence. I was ready to reach for the next level, but that option wasn’t made available.

This isn’t uncommon. Managers are often so focused on immediate goals, they forget that many employees want to grow and develop. Offering them a new challenge is a form of empowerment. It demonstrates trust. It demonstrates good faith in the future. It demonstrates commitment to employee success. For those of us who value growth, it’s a promise that helps us keep striving to reach our full potential.

Key Takeaway: Be Mindful and Meaningful

The larger lesson is this:  Every individual is motivated by something. For recognition that really matters, managers should consider what each employee values most, and tailor recognition accordingly.

But don’t just take my word for it. Check the ideas below from this week’s guests and #TChat events. There’s inspiration and advice for employers and employees, alike!

#TChat Week in Review

SAT 5/18

Stan Phelps and Max Brown

Watch video hangouts in the #TChat Preview post…

Setting the Stage:  “Recognition Done Right: 9 Points of Light.” One of our expert guests, Stan Phelps, framed the week’s topic with real-world recognition examples from his new book, “What’s Your Green Goldfish – Beyond Dollars: 15 Ways to Drive Engagement and Reinforce Culture.”

SUN 5/19

#TChat Preview:  Our community manager, Tim McDonald, served up “sneak peek” video interviews with Stan and our other guest, S. Max Brown, Principal of Leadership Directives at Rideau Recognition Management Institute. See what they think matters most about recognition now in “The Business Wisdom of Recognition: #TChat Preview.”

MON 5/20

Forbes.com Post:  TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro examined startling workforce statistics and suggested remedies in her Forbes column, “Employee Engagement is Every Leader’s Imperative.”

TUE 5/21

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to the #TChat Radio show

Related Post:  Achievers CEO, Razor Suleman, brought a unique twist to our blog by bridging two back-to-back topics in his post, “Workspace Design: Form, Function and Positive Feedback.”

#TChat Radio: Stan and Max joined our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman for a 30-minute deep dive into issues and opportunities surrounding recognition and organizational culture, while #TChat-ters chimed in on the Twitter backchannel.

WED 5/22

Related Post:  Career management blogger, Ritika Trikha, offered different point-of-view, with advice for employees who aren’t getting the recognition they deserve, in “Where’s the Love? Recognition DIY.”

#TChat Twitter: The highlight of every week! With Stan and Max leading the way, hundreds of community members gathered around the #TChat feed for an open, thoughtful exchange about workplace recognition. The conversation was so popular that we trended on Twitter again. (It’s becoming a habit!) Were you along for the ride? If not (or if you want a refresh), see highlights in the slideshow below:

#TChat Twitter Highlights Slideshow: “The Business Wisdom of Recognition”

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Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

SPECIAL THANKS: Again, thanks to Stan Phelps founder of 9 Inch Marketing, and S. Max Brown, Principal of Leadership Directives at Rideau Recognition Management Institute. We’re inspired by your insights and passion for the power of recognition!

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about workforce recognition? We’re happy to share your thoughts. Just post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week — if you are fascinated by social business practices (who among us isn’t?), you won’t want to miss this! We’re exploring enterprise community management, with special guests, Maria Ogneva, Director of Product Marketing at Salesforce Chatter Communities, and Jeff Willinger, Director of Collaboration, Social Computing and Intranets at Rightpoint.

Until then, as always, the World of Work conversation continues each day. So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, or on our new LinkedIn discussion group. And feel free to explore other areas of our redesigned website. The lights are always on at TalentCulture, and your ideas and opinions are always welcome.

Ana Mijailovic-001Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend…and we’ll see you on the stream!

(Author Profile: Ana Mijailovic is a student at Boston University studying Economics and Business Administration. Her experiences in the classroom and in the workplace have taught her the importance of teamwork, collaboration and leadership in organizations. She is one of four bright, community-savvy interns who are contributing to the TalentCulture mission this summer.)

Photo Credit:  Stock.xchng