Does Everything at Work Seem Urgent? Let’s Fix That

Three years ago, the pandemic lockdown triggered a wave of relentless workplace change. Over time, we’ve all had to revamp our attitudes, expectations and behaviors when it comes to productivity and how we get work done. Yet, some people treat nearly every action item as an urgent priority. And this mindset isn’t serving anyone well.

Why is workplace urgency still so widespread? And how can we let go of this counterproductive behavior? Experts say progress is possible, if we wake up and deal with the problem when it arises. But that’s not always easy, especially in our new work environment.

What’s Changed? Where We Work

  • Globally, 16% of companies now rely on a fully remote workforce, with 62% of employees saying they work remotely at least part of the time.
  • Employees see multiple benefits from this increased flexibility. Although remote work no longer looks the same as it did in the early days of Covid, surveys say that up to 90% of employees feel they’re at least as productive when working from home.

What exactly is behind this enthusiasm for remote work? It’s not just about less commute time and improved quality of life. It’s also about efficiency and effectiveness. For example, many remote workers experience fewer interruptions and enjoy more freedom to engage in “deep work.” But that’s not all.

Does Distance Diffuse Urgency?

I suspect many people prefer working at a distance because it also helps them feel less susceptible to what #WorkTrends podcast guest Brandon Smith calls “the urgency epidemic.” In other words, too many managers say a task is “urgent” when a rush really isn’t required. This is an especially irritating aspect of office life. And it’s all too common.

Think about it: When was the last time you faced an unnecessarily urgent work demand based on a leader’s unrealistic expectations? Yesterday? Last week? How did you respond?

Brandon sees this pervasive sense of urgency as a sign of managerial dysfunction. He should know. He’s an expert on leadership communication. So that’s why he wrote the book, The Hot Sauce Principle. He’s on a mission to help managers recognize this problem and help their teams heal from its toxic impact.

An organization’s most precious resource isn’t money. It’s time. So, as Brandon says, when everything at work is always urgent, it creates “a Petri dish for anxiety.” And over time, if employees and managers aren’t careful, it leads to a decline in efficiency and quality of work.

Unfortunately, this is rampant in today’s work settings. But it clashes with remote and hybrid work cultures in multiple ways. Here are Brandon’s tips to help us all understand and resolve the “urgency epidemic.”

How to be Productive Without Making Everything Urgent

1) Realize that time pressure creates stress

Time management has always been a challenge. It turns the clock into an ever-present source of stress. Yet too often, managers use urgency as a tool to get things done. The result: People become so overwhelmed with stress that their efficiency slips and their quality of work declines.

2) Think of urgency as hot sauce

I love a strong visual metaphor. Brandon’s hot sauce concept is perfect. While conducting research for his book, employees told him it felt like “hot sauce was being poured on everything.” What a powerful way to describe the effect of unnecessary pressure!

3) Honor the line between motivation and migraines

Most managers use urgency as a motivator. That’s not always a bad thing. In the right circumstances, it can inspire teams to come together and align around a common goal. It can shape a sense of mission and purpose when working on a short timeline. But it can’t be the norm.

When everything is treated as urgent, it can trigger needless headaches, missteps and disengagement. It’s just not reasonable to work full-tilt in crisis mode all the time.

4) Understand urgency’s diminishing influence

If you’re a leader, think back to your early training. You were likely taught that a sense of urgency is a powerful way to drive an immediate response. Urgency can convince people to jump into action or to change their behavior.

However, modern employees aren’t as readily motivated by urgency. These days, change is a constant — in teams, in technology and in culture. Introducing urgency to the mix doesn’t add value. In fact, it just creates more chaos.

5) Don’t let yourself become numb

We’ve all heard of the boy who cried wolf. If a manager says everything is urgent, eventually nothing seems urgent. Determining which projects are actually urgent becomes impossible, so people simply give up.

Clearly this creates problems for work productivity. But it also undermines a manager’s authority and credibility. Again, the key is for leaders to carefully choose which tasks deserve immediate attention.

6) Pick only five targets

This is my favorite recommendation. Brandon says managers and business leaders should limit how many projects they categorize as “urgent” at any given time. He suggests no more than five to-do items.

As he says, “The best teams, the best departments, the best organizations are executing off of three to five priorities … let everything else just be relief from the heat.”

The Bottom Line

To be sure, continually labeling projects or tasks “urgent” is not a best practice. It may be effective in the short-term. However, it’s also a highly effective way to erode your work culture. That’s because urgency pushes boundaries, and boundaries are critical for a healthy work culture. That’s especially true in today’s new remote/hybrid world of work.

So if you’re a leader, don’t be the kind of person who wants your team to drop whatever they’re already doing to rush in and put out the latest fire on your to-do list. Acknowledge the lines between life and work (unclear as they may be), and home and workplace (virtual or not).

Resist the urge to constantly reorder your team’s priorities. Don’t blindly insist that your priorities are more important than theirs. Regularly take a moment to read the room — even if the room may be distributed across multiple locations. I bet you’ll find that your team starts achieving more and you’ll all be happier for it.

7 Employee Appreciation Ideas People Love

Content Impact Award - TalentCulture 2022

Employee appreciation is naturally top-of-mind for employers during the holiday season. But employees actually prefer recognition throughout the year. In fact, according to a HubSpot survey, 39% of employees don’t feel appreciated, and nearly 7 in 10 think better recognition would boost their performance.

So, what can you do to help your workforce feel more deeply appreciated?

Some organizations rely on standard, old-school methods like plaques. But a more personalized approach is far more effective. A thoughtful token of appreciation is worth much more than its monetary value, alone. It tells people they matter. And that kind of message lasts long after it is received.

Here are some meaningful ways to show your team members just how grateful you are for their contributions.

7 Ways to Elevate Employee Appreciation

1. Give Hard Workers a Break

When you recognize employees for an extraordinary effort on a project or success in achieving an important business goal, don’t just say thank you. Reward them with some well-deserved time off.

In going above and beyond, employees often put in extra hours working on weekends, at night, or in the wee hours of the morning. Along the way, they’re likely to lose precious sleep or family time. By letting them redeem some of that time you can help them relax and recharge after an intense work effort. Even one day away can make an impact.

Providing time off is easy. And if you toss in a bonus gift card or cash for these employees to spend on activities they enjoy, that break is likely to be especially memorable.

2. Spotlight Your Stars on Social Media

Want people on your team to feel like stars? Showcase top performers on social media for the world to see. Share photos or video clips of them on your organization’s accounts and express your gratitude for their unique contributions in an uplifting caption.

Invite your leaders and others to congratulate featured individuals in the comment section. Your “stars” will love the attention as it spreads across social media for others to see. These interactions also increase visibility for your business in all the right ways.

This kind of public recognition is personalized, community-minded, and compelling. Above all, it can boost an employee’s pride, confidence, and morale in ways that private recognition can’t touch. 

3. Create Customized Rewards

Are you thinking of giving top performers a framed certificate, a trophy, or maybe a cash reward? Instead, why not appeal to their particular interests? How do they spend their free time? What hobbies or passion projects matter most to them?

For example, do you have fitness freaks on your team? Reward them with a gym membership, a network pass, or a subsidy.

Maybe some of your people are into group activities. Why not share experiential rewards with them? For instance, you could arrange an outing at a local bowling, bocce, or Topgolf venue.

Or for those who love outdoor adventures like hiking, fly fishing, or river rafting, you could go all out and book a fun vacation package like this: White Water Rafting Montana.

Imagine how thrilled people will be with rewards that fit their interests. Whatever your budget, this is a highly effective way to keep employees motivated and reinforce your relationship with them.

4. Treat Your Team to a Tasty Meal

Everyone loves to eat. And there are endless ways to show employee appreciation with the gift of free food. You could send each employee a gift card to their favorite restaurant. Or to celebrate as a team, why not organize a surprise lunch out?

If your people work remotely, you can arrange to have a meal delivered to everyone’s door at the same time on the same day. Contact a restaurant each employee loves and order their favorite menu item. Or send a gift card to everyone in advance. This is an easy, cost-effective way to bring people together for a casual meetup. And don’t forget to send a heartfelt thank you note to each recipient, as icing on the cake.

5. Celebrate Everyday Efforts

To build and sustain a thriving workforce, look for ways to celebrate individuals and teams on a frequent basis. Ask for your workforce to be your eyes and ears to nominate people who deserve recognition for everyday accomplishments, little wins, and hard work, as well as big achievements. And encourage everyone in your organization to celebrate others, as well.

Genuine, ongoing praise is a powerful employee feedback tactic that drives engagement and job satisfaction. It also models the kind of spirit you want to see at the core of your culture.

Also, don’t forget opportunities to celebrate birthdays and other personal milestones. Let your employees know these aren’t just “checklist” items, but heartfelt gestures. You’ll see them smiling more often and sharing appreciation with peers.

6. Highlight Employee Excellence in Internal Newsletters

Internal newsletters and intranets are great for informational updates, but they’re just as powerful for employee appreciation. It pays to think creatively about how you can acknowledge your best performers through these channels.

You could dedicate a regular column in one of these vehicles to highlight stories about the hard work and accomplishments of top performers. These stories are an excellent way to boost morale and inspire top talent to remain engaged and keep aiming high.

7. Make The Most of Anniversaries

Some organizations treat anniversaries as just another day. But wouldn’t it be great to work for a company that celebrates every year of your employment as an important milestone?

The average employee turnover rate remains 20% higher than pre-pandemic levels. In this tough talent market, why would any employer let an anniversary go to waste?

Each year matters in the life of an employee. Whether they’re new to your organization or they’ve been on board for a long time, every member of your team deserves a celebration dedicated to their service. This kind of recognition can take many forms. But whatever you do, be sure to sincerely acknowledge people for their loyalty and their role in helping your organization advance its mission.

Final Thoughts

Great companies embrace employee appreciation as a crucial way to boost motivation, minimize turnover, and set their organization apart from competitors. Appreciating employees doesn’t need to be difficult, but it should be timely, sincere, and relevant.

Even if your budget is limited, there are endless ways to acknowledge people while reinforcing your organization’s goals, values, and culture. Why not think outside the box and show your appreciation in a truly unique way? All it takes is your commitment, consistency, and some thoughtful planning.

The Digital Workplace – What’s Ahead

The pandemic has affected the way we live and work and accelerated our transition to the digital world. In 2020, 30% of employees were working remotely, and 60% had the opportunity to combine remote and office work. Companies had to rethink their development strategies and create digital workplaces (DW) so that employees could work safely from home. Two years later, with vaccines helping to restrain the pandemic and offices reopening, organizations have to reimagine their digital environment to keep the office and remote workers connected.

So what is happening with the digital workplace in 2022 and how can managers adapt to the new realities?

The Concept of a Digital Workplace

This term has been around for over 10 years since DWG founder Paul Miller coined it. The businessman explained it as the virtual digital equivalent of a physical workplace.

It is also regarded as a business ecosystem of technologies and cloud solutions that:

  • Eliminates communication barriers between departments.
  • Provides remote secure access to corporate data.
  • Allows you to work remotely with documentation and easily share files.
  • Helps to communicate with colleagues who connect from different locations.

To build and use a digital workplace, you need a whole range of tools:

  • Business applications
  • Communication platforms
  • Personnel management software
  • Software for sharing documentation 
  • Cloud storage tools
  • Content management systems
  • Productivity tools and other technologies

Various programs and applications create the digital workplace infrastructure.

The concept of a digital workplace


The digital workplace creates a virtual hub. Employees complete tasks, no matter where they are or what devices they are using. Expanding the boundaries of offices happens due to cloud platforms. They allow specialists to connect to their workplaces over the network.

Why Do You Need a Digital Workplace?

The digital workplace has become not so much a necessity, but a steppingstone for business development. The popularity of smartphones and the introduction of AI and digital tools have prepared people for a new format of work. There have appeared new categories of applications for communication between employees of distributed teams. The transition to the gig economy has made it possible for businesses to hire specialists from any location in the world.

The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated these trends. Consequently, businesses have had to scale up their digital workplaces at short notice. Some firms managed to reduce the transition from a couple of years to just weeks. The digital workplace has helped to keep businesses afloat amid isolation and social distancing. In a unified digital workplace infrastructure employees were able to quickly resolve important issues. They could:

  • Coordinate and store documents. Before lockdowns and quarantines, employees had to personally come to their colleagues to approve and sign documents. During remote work, organizations switched to online coordination via email, instant messenger, or through special software like Power Automate.
  • Schedule meetings. A unified digital workspace allows you to view the schedule of colleagues (vacation, business trips), coordinate the schedule for booking meeting rooms, and plan joint video meetings.
  • Manage corporate data. Software solutions provide synchronization of data and files used remotely by several employees. Platforms ensure that every worker has up-to-date information that they can access at any time and from any device.
  • Work on a flexible schedule. Fixed work hours are becoming obsolete. For enterprises, it is not the place and time of work that matter, but quality and efficiency. In the digital workplace, employees have 24/7 access to corporate tools and data.
  • Find the necessary information. Often corporate data and files are stored in different systems: in the cloud, or on a server. Employees have to spend minutes/hours searching for the right document. There are no search problems in the digital workplace. Separate tools like DokoniFind help them to find files of any format from different sources.

As a result, 44% of employees began to work faster, while maintaining an optimal work-life balance. According to Statista, business leaders plan to keep at least 10% of their employees “in a remote location”. This is not surprising, because businessmen see the economic benefits of this format of work. According to the survey, 72% of US managers plan to invest in virtual collaboration tools to support hybrid workflow.

What Organizations Achieved in 2020-2021

The pandemic has forced companies to either build digital workplaces from scratch or upgrade the old ones to carry out the transition to remote work. And in 2020-2021, organizations performed a large-scale transformation of jobs. They:

  • Implemented a model of work “from anywhere”. Many enterprises did not have a ready plan for how to go remote. But they quickly found point solutions on how to support hybrid workflow.
  • Moved to the cloud. When the majority of employees needed to go remote, organizations had to migrate to the cloud. Specialists could not access corporate data if the data center was in the office. The cloud guarantees that employees will work smoothly: the server will not fail, and the data will not be lost.
  • Expanded options for using virtual desktops (VDI). While individual contractors used VDI before the pandemic, more organizations paid attention to this service during the quarantine. Companies considered it the best option for quickly launching a remote work format. At the same time, an employer retains control over data and devices.
  • Implemented tools for video conferencing. Video calls via Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Cisco Webex platforms replaced traditional meetings. The culture of video communication has spread everywhere.
  • Used collaboration platforms. Firms found ways to connect remote workers without sacrificing productivity or quality of work. Communication tools Trello, Slack, and Smartsheets have become an integral part of the digital workplace.

In 2020, companies implemented temporary solutions and created “drafts” of the digital workplace. By 2021, organizations had improved the format of remote work and selected the best technologies and tools. By 2022, enterprises had faced new challenges: how to improve and automate well-defined processes, taking into account the fact that employees are returning to the office.

What organizations achieved in 2020-2021


The Digital Workplace in 2022 

Over the past two years, people have become accustomed to the digital format, so many of us perceive returning to offices as leaving our comfort zone. According to a survey by the employer platform GoodHire, 68% of employees prefer to work remotely. Gartner found that companies risk losing up to 40% of their talent if they return to a traditional physical office. Therefore, 2022 is in search of a balance between remote and classical ways of working.

1. Organizations are Introducing Hybrid Work Models

In 2020-2021, organizations were creating digital workplaces so that employees could continue to work safely during the pandemic. In 2022, managers are trying to support DW so that employees can opt for a hybrid work schedule, combining work from home and the office.

Gartner researchers advise rescheduling work for a hybrid model, taking into account the following points. It is important to:

  • Give employees more freedom and flexibility so that they can maintain a balance between work and leisure
  • Offer specialists several schedules, taking into account their preferences
  • Manage employees based on empathy

Digital workplaces support hybrid workflows through conference room booking tools, meeting platforms, or collaboration apps.

2. Companies Launch Employee Development Programs

The pandemic has taken many organizations aback as employees were not technically prepared for digital workplaces. Firms had to quickly train specialists so that they could continue to work remotely. Therefore, in 2022, companies are helping their employees to remain flexible and adapt to changing market conditions. The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation notes that 13% of Americans do not have the digital skills needed for the 21st century. 18% of people have limited skills. Therefore, organizations need to improve the skills of employees according to corporate programs.

3. Businesses are Strengthening their Cybersecurity Strategies

A centralized digital workplace makes it easier for employees to work but leaves the organization vulnerable to cyber threats. DW has many access points that hackers can use to steal corporate data. Remote tracking of devices is difficult, and remote workers are less protected from phishing and social engineering attacks. Therefore, organizations are strengthening cybersecurity strategies by improving such features as encryption, two-factor authentication, access control, and AI-assisted threat detection.

4. Managers are Looking for Ways to Increase the Engagement of Remote Workers

When, with the onset of the pandemic, employees switched to a remote format, they began to lose contact with their colleagues and felt disconnected from the organization. Despite all the benefits of the digital workplace, the advantages are leveled if the employee’s interest falls. Therefore, in 2022, managers are looking for options on how to strengthen healthy relationships with remote workers. And this is important because an engaged specialist will not quit and work 21% more productively. The digital workplace should be organized in such a way that people communicate seamlessly with colleagues using different services.

Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics, in an interview with Recode, noted that by 2025, about 70% of employees will work remotely for at least five days a month. Therefore, the introduction and development of DW become not a tactical, but a strategic decision. Market Research Engine predicts the digital workspace market will reach $39.60 billion with a CAGR of 30%.


In 2020, we witnessed the historic transition from traditional work culture to a digital workplace. It has brought mobility to the lives of employees, helping them to maintain a comfortable work-life balance. For organizations, this means more productive employees who are free to adjust their schedules. Businesses should continue to invest in the digital workplace because it is an important part of any business development strategy.

Why Trust and Transparency Matter in the Workplace

Many business experts champion trust in the workplace. They include the likes of Stephen Covey and my dear friend, David Horsager. (His 8 Pillars of Trust and his many excellent books should be required reading.) However, what is perhaps less well known is the neuroscience of trust. As a species, we’ve developed an array of neurochemical survival mechanisms. Employers often ignore these mechanisms, and as a result, miss the opportunity to build trust and transparency in the workplace. 

The Neuroscience of Mistrust

Let’s start with the opposite of trust. It is the “fight or flight” response we experience when faced with a perceived threat. These “threats” elevate the hormone cortisol, which narrows our focus to deal only with the immediate. The threat could be actual, imminent, physical, or merely a harsh interruption in our day. The problem is, our bodies can’t easily tell the difference.

Of course, cortisol has other important functions. Cortisol controls blood sugar levels, memory formation, and blood pressure. At normal levels, it keeps us engaged with the day’s activities. When elevated, cortisol puts us on “alert status” and makes trust a low priority.

Trust and the Willingness to Take Risks

In my book, The Velocity Mindset, I discussed how cortisol can prevent leadership teams from identifying and achieving objectives. Additionally, I highlighted the role another hormone, oxytocin, plays in velocity (speed with direction and alignment).

Trust in the workplace—and its neurochemical roots—are key drivers for business success. Compelling research by Dr. Paul Zak and others champions the well-established science around oxytocin and trust. According to one study, oxytocin “affects an individual’s willingness to accept social risks arising through interpersonal interactions.” Additionally, researchers have found that oxytocin “enhances an individual’s propensity to trust a stranger when that person exhibits non-threatening signals.”

Obviously, creating artificial trust in the workplace via oxytocin injections would be a short-sighted and ethical nightmare. Nevertheless, there must be practical ways to promote trust knowing that our biology.

Fortunately, trust in the workplace can be accomplished with common-sense approaches, as Horsager and others have shown. An Oxford study summarizes the key drivers and human resource practices that develop trust. These include mutual respect, open communication, and fairness, especially in appraisals of work. The study also identifies factors which decrease trust, such as a lack of transparency in decision-making.

The Risk of Betrayal in the Workplace

Trust is the gold standard. It is the glue that makes alignment and velocity possible. The benefits of increased trust in the workplace are enormous. Over the long term, it increases individual employee productivity and engagement. To paraphrase Zak, it improves collaboration and cultivates a happier, more productive workforce. On the other hand, the consequences of breaking that trust are far worse than not having it in the first place.

Studies have shown that a betrayal of trust, whether familial, cultural, or institutional, creates high levels of long-term stress, including the release of cortisol. If such responses become ingrained in an employee’s experience and memory, the chances of returning to a state of unqualified trust are slim. Consequently, employees might resist a manager or HR professional’s efforts to right a wrong or be transparent after a breach of trust. 

Though a proactive HR team may be capable of rebuilding this trust, the effort is complicated by the very neurochemicals that make us human.

Transparency: The Path To Velocity

It is not easy to win trust and transparency in the workplace. As a result, people are taking a risk when asked to make decisions that may not benefit them. The deciding factor is often how comfortable they are with those asking the question. Transparency, trustworthiness, empathy, and understanding are not just words. They are requirements for every HR professional and executive who aspires to true leadership. 

Today, it is impossible to take a “my way or the highway” approach to business. We need everyone’s buy-in to remain focused on tasks that support a purpose. Trust and transparency in the workplace, like everything else that enables leadership, begins with an understanding of what makes us human. And most importantly, it requires a willingness to work hard to gain that trust. 

Looking to Build a Strong HR Department From Scratch? Follow These 6 Steps

Building an in-house human resources department for your business, or a company where people can outsource their HR needs to you? The initial steps can be overwhelming. The best way to build a solid HR foundation is to create policies, standard operating procedures, and risk mitigation plans. Implementing policies that align with your workplace culture will improve overall employee experience and mitigate operational and reputational risk. Here are some important components to keep in mind to build the foundation for a strong HR department–from scratch. 

1. Organizational Design

Organizational design is the backbone of the company. It facilitates efficiency by eliminating double work and smooths out bumpy processes and procedures that may be in place. That’s because it delivers the proper information to the right employees at the right time. While this is a relatively new element in human resource departments, organizational design has been around for decades. A tried and true method is the McKinsey 7-S Framework created in the 1970s. You use it to see whether different parts of your organization are operating harmoniously together and find ways to improve. The structure is split into seven key components, and at the center of the framework is the company’s shared values. These components comprise of the following:

  • Strategy (your business plan)
  • Structure (how your business is organized)
  • Systems (daily activities)
  • Shared values (mission statement and goals)
  • Style (the leadership)
  • Staff (the culture and the capabilities of the staff)
  • Skills (what the organization is actually capable of)

2. Employee Compensation and Benefits

Workers search for companies that focus on well-being, meaning the best talent is looking for the best compensation and benefits. According to a recent study, 32 percent of businesses with 10 or fewer employees are now offering benefits packages. Your business should also have something to offer. Principally, the larger your business grows, the more comprehensive your compensation and benefits package will need to become. In-house HR departments should know what employees want so that they can attract and retain talent

3. Onboarding/Recruiting Procedures

Proper onboarding is important because it can cost 90 to 200 percent of an employee’s annual salary to replace them. Effective onboarding will reduce the chance of quick employee turnover while potentially increasing retention. Listen to what your employees want and give them a full idea of what their job will entail. In a BambooHR survey, of the employees who left within six months, 26 percent didn’t believe it met their expectations.

4. Occupational Health and Safety Program

According to a study published in 2018, 1,027 Canadians die a year due to work-related accidents. That’s about three people a day. Therefore, you should adhere to the Occupational Health and Safety Act set by your province and the Canada Labour Code. All employers in Canada are required to follow these by law.

5. Training and Development

When it comes to recruitment, you want to have a good training and development program implemented within your business. An IMB study showed that 35 percent of millennials felt compelled to work at a company with optimal training programs. In fact, it’s one of the top reasons they are likely to sign on with a business. Plus, 52 percent of millennials are drawn to companies that give them the opportunity to advance in the workplace. Furthermore, employees that don’t receive the training they need are 12 times more likely to quit their job. 

That’s not all. A recent study found that businesses with thorough training programs had more than twice the income per employee than those without them. The American Society of Training and Development also found that those who spend $1,500 on training generated 24 percent more profit than those who spent less. This is evidence that skimping on training affects your bottom line and hurts you financially in the long run. 

6. Internal vs. External HR Teams

There are many pros to having an in-house HR department. Specifically, it is a lot easier to cultivate a positive culture, resolve problems, and adjust practices to enable organic development. The cons of having an internal HR team are that it can be expensive. Additionally, it can be hard to find the right specialist or team that aligns with your company values.

A pro of having an external HR team is that specialist companies have in-depth knowledge and skills in specialized areas. These may include legal compliance, coaching and development, and benchmarking. It also gives companies the time to focus on their business rather than human resources and employee compliance issues. 

The cons of outsourcing your HR team are that it can feel impersonal and disconnected from the company’s culture. This department outside the company can be an issue as you are giving up control of select processes. You also won’t be able to keep track of daily startup operations and related HR concerns. What is best for your company will depend on your own set of challenges and the resources you can access.

It’s a good idea to plan and have realistic HR goals that align with your company values. As your team grows, your business needs will require some tweaking. Having a plan in place from the outset will make this process a lot simpler and allow for organic development.

Improving Employee Engagement Efforts

Most organizations realize the need for (and huge bottom-line benefits of) an engaged workforce, but the majority still struggle with it. Read more

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related Reading:

David Smooke: Hiring Culture: Creating A Recruitment Ecosystem

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

David Obelcz: Five Keys To Onboarding That Drive Employee Engagement 

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

Jim Dougherty: Company Culture Is Part Of Your Business Model

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

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

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

Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sneak Peek: How To Visualize Real-Time Talent Alignment

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

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

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

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

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

China Gorman: How Great Companies Attract Top Talent

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

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

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

Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Pay Attention: 3 Corporate Culture Shaping Techniques

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Pay Attention To The Big Picture

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

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

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

2. Pay Attention To Your Culture

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

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

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

3. Pay Attention To Your Behavior

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Skill Gap Stats: 9 Reasons To Thank Recruiters

While unemployment numbers are looking great, the same can definitely not be said for under employment. Those numbers are sky-high. Additionally, those who are lucky enough to be employed full time are keeping their titles just a little too long for their liking, largely in part because they don’t have the skills to move on up. Tenure and the “good ‘ol boy system” mean nothing if the minimum required skills simply aren’t there. While 72% of educational institutions believe recent graduates are ready for work, only 42% of employers agree, according to a McKinsey study. Tweet this stat.

Candidates and employees aren’t the only ones less than thrilled about this skills disconnect, employers are taking hard hits for every day that goes by with too few (or the wrong) people on deck. CareerBuilder conducted a study on companies losing money due to the skill gap and here are some of the findings.

  • 54% of employers currently have open positions for which they can’t find qualified candidates. Tweet this stat.

So it’s not just you, and your recruiting team doesn’t suck. Everyone is hurting to fill specific talent needs right now (or at least half of everyone anyway). The inability of companies to fill key roles is costing them more than they probably know. If you’re a company exec and you’re faint of heart, you shouldn’t read on.

  • On average, a company loses more than $14,000 for every job that stays vacant for 3 months or longer. Tweet this stat.

How many position are currently at that 3-month mark in your organization? Those costs add up quickly in a number of areas that most leaders wouldn’t have even considered. Employees are citing lower morale due to increased workload, lower motivation and more mistakes at work. Organization members aren’t the only ones suffering, your customers are too. Customers are seeing declines in customer service. When people are wearing thin, it always shows.

If you’re thinking that this mythical “skill gap” can’t possibly be the reason your recruitment team isn’t delivering is because it only exists for tech workers, you’re dead wrong. The following fields are reporting the hardest hits in lack of talent.

  • Computational and mathematical
  • Architecture and engineering
  • Management
  • Healthcare
  • Installation, maintenance and repair

Tweet this list.

So what’s behind this seemingly increasing issue in today’s workforce? While some of the causes that employers are pointing their fingers at are avoidable, there are a few problem areas that are pretty far beyond control, for the most part. Here are the reasons that employers feel are the driving factors behind the skill gap.

Let’s get this straight, employers are losing out big time, workers are getting frustrated with their lack of career advancement opportunities and there are still around 4 million unemployed Americans. Here’s one last stat from CareerBuilder’s survey findings:

  • 99% of job seekers said that they would feel more loyal to an employer who invests in training them.  Tweet this stat.

Beefing up training programs and making stronger investments in employees does seem to be the obvious answer here. The key to covering the skill gap is already on the payroll; it’s your current workforce. Find and tap into the hidden potential of your workforce by investing in training and offering career counseling. An investment in learning and development can end up not only benefiting your current workforce; it can improve customer service, increase engagement, nurture innovation and act as a strong attraction and retention tool.

(About the Author: Sean Pomeroy, CEO of Visibility Software, has worked in the Human Resources industry since he graduated from Radford University with a Bachelors in Psychology and a Master of Arts in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. After working in HR as a generalist for a government contracting company, he moved to the HR Technology arena and began assisting companies in the selection and implementation of HR software.)

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

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

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

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Brave New World, Brave Business Leaders Needed

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

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

Have Leaders Got This In Their Locker?

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

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

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

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

The Present: Developing Leaders Now

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

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

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

The Future: Generation Y Leaders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How To Create A Resilient Workforce

Written by: Michael Ballard

Resiliency is defined as, “Our capacity to bounce back.” I define it as, “Our capacity to increase the quality of our experience and the outcomes.”

Creating and maintaining a resilient workforce takes, vision, mission, diligence and resources. In a world of work that is experiencing global competition, key issues include:

  • Attracting top talent
  • Keeping talent engaged
  • Moving from training to talent management
  • Treating career development seriously
  • Acknowledging the costs and efforts to manage mental health and chronic health issues
  • Changing HR function

The potential organizational paybacks of having resiliency as a key set of factors are impressive. They enhance workplace productivity and lower costs for:

  • Recruitment
  • Safety
  • Retention
  • Chronic health issues
  • Mental health issues

Special attention to the sales force needs to be taken. In the past two decades the ability to connect with key decision makers has gotten easier due to technology. However it is now often much tougher as the decision makers have been flooded and are over communicated with. What used to take 5 – 7 calls to engage a buyer is over 11 to 19 contacts to get that first appointment.

In the world-of-work keeping staff and organizations on an even keel takes time and effort. Each client I’ve have worked with has been on a path of diligently working to gain staff, management, and supplier engagement and to ensure a high quality and congruent approach. They’ve ranged in size from small software start up with a staff of seven, to an international firm with an excess of 10,000 employees; governments, NGO’s, health care and educational organizations, and all are challenged by this.

How is this an issue?

One international client started off locally by hiring several facilitators and had 900+ employees brainstorm what key factors they wanted to have introduced, changed or released in the workplace. Spouses were also invited to participate in round three of the brainstorming session. They where prompted to discuss workplace culture and “missing links” and added insights on next steps they felt would assist their partners in being happier and more productive.

One of my smaller clients in retail made a bold category-busting move. They decided to break all industry pay-scale standards, and over time started rewarding staff who had stayed more than a year… this was 20 – 60% above industry standard. Productivity went up significantly and retention soared. Last time I knew, the owner reported that his business was at a factor of six times the national average for productivity and was at only 9% of the national average for damaged and broken products.

The clients that made successful use of technology to assist in their business, felt this helped better engage their employees. One had a toll-free line installed so staff could call to learn late-breaking corporate news. There they heard from the President, all VPs and on occasion a few key customers took turns sharing brief 30 – 120 seconds thoughts on current corporate and market place news. The organization has an FM radio station that broadcasts the key message of the day, themed on the week and the month.

An Example Of One Client’s Approach:

  • Staff developed mini educational programs 12 minutes in length, which they present at weekly meetings.
  • Leadership developed a tightly woven vision statement. It was created as a powerful message that drives the three key points of their mandate to their staff, suppliers and management team.
  • All employees conduct 15-minute meetings at the beginning of every work shift to recap key issues.

How Is This Helpful?

Having and creating from the bottom up and the top down, plus having suppliers and spouses on board helps.

  • When spouses understand that safety in the work place is not just “talk” and that in heavy-industry lives are at stake and that things change.
  • When sales teams is on-board with the approach.
  • When Quality Control understands that their role is about how products need to be perfect.
  • When people need strive for excellence things change for the better.
  • Use of encouraging language brought everyone into the loop on the “Language of Resiliency” and using it to change for the better.

For my clients the payoffs have included: reduced cost of production, increased quality, higher sales, more stable market share, reduced absentee rates and according to one General Manager, “more happiness” in his offices.

The cost of ignoring the warning signs and not becoming a resilient organization has many potential outcomes. All of them are expensive. I do know that organizations and individuals that embrace resiliency in the workplace respond to and resolve issues faster with less turmoil.

So, let’s get started! Want to learn more? Join me on the #TChat discussion tonight, May 7, at 7pm ET by tweeting @TalentCulture using the #TChat hashtag. For a preview of the questions and topics we will be discussing tonight click here.


(About the Author: Michael H. Ballard specializes in building resiliency by helping groups and people of all ages learn how to deal with change and adversity in the fast pace of modern life with its overwhelming situations and stresses, through Resiliency for Life™ (RFL). Michael has delivered breakthrough solutions for over 207 organizations across North America and around the world from the beaches of Bermuda to the skyscrapers of Singapore, dedicating his life to helping others prepare for, or recover from, life’s challenges. Michael delivers actionable solutions that reflect the depth of his experience, applying a practical yet science-based approach to instill a courageous point of view. His goal is to help people get back up and “dust themselves off” after an upset, develop and deepen their resiliency and out-perform their former selves. He knows what’s possible. He’s lived it. Despite his multiple battles with cancer, and a near death experience due to a failed medical procedure, Michael still reached sales success placing 7th out of 78 professionals in a year when he was off work for four months. Michael knows exactly what it takes to be resilient.)

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

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

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

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#TChat Recap: It's All About Gratitude People!

Taking Thanks To The Bank

Employee engagement doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, one of the simplest ways to start engaging your fellow employees is with gratitude, which is just what we discussed last night at the ever busy, and FUN #TChat with Lisa Ryan and Teresa Andreani. How can being grateful actually drive your organization forward?

While those of us who have been on the receiving end of gratitude in business realized how important it is to thank the people who work with and for you, it seemed that just as many #TChat-ers had suffered at the hands of a nitpicky, downright ungrateful boss or coworker. And you guessed it! The work always suffers.



It sounds like a lot of the responsibility lies with leaders but employees have responsibility too.



#TChatters Agreed That…

  • Leaders must show gratitude from the top down.
  • Nothing is less expensive than a smile.
  • Employees can benefit from showing gratitude too.
  • Gratitude is useless when not sincere.
  • Gratitude may just be the first step in becoming a better leader.

 Want To See The #TChat Replay?


Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to guests Lisa Ryan and Teresa Andreani for introducing us to gratitude as a building block for leadership. Click here to see the preview!

Related Reading:

Meghan M. Biro: Create A Vocabulary That Inspires Employee Engagement

Susan Gaier: Three Steps to Improve Employee Engagement

Melissa Dawn: The Best Ways to Reward Employees

Damon M. Banks: A Positive Workplace Culture Is Simply Good Business

#TChat Events: Employee Engagement And Putting Thanks In The Bank


#TChat Radio — Are you plugged in to #TChat radio? Did you know you can listen live to ANY of our shows ANY time?

Now you know. Click the box to head on over to our channel or listen to Employee Engagement and Putting Thanks in the Bank!

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about trends on gratitude and employee engagement? We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we may feature it!

If you recap #TChat make sure to let us know so we can find you!

We Want To See You On TalentCulture! Become A Contributor NOW! (ummm, click)

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week at #TChat Events, we’ll be talking about how a better candidate experience can create ROI in your organization with Dice! Sign up for the newsletter to get the scoop on next week’s guest, topic and questions!

Save The Date: Wednesday, April 30!

The TalentCulture conversation continues daily on #TChat Twitter, in our LinkedIn group, and on our NEW Google+ community. So join us anytime on your favorite social channels!

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Employee Issues Increase HR Tech Demand [Infographic]

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

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


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

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

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

#TChat Recap: The Culture Advantage. Quantified.

Building a Cultural Advantage with Tim Kuppler

Culture has long been thought a nice to have by stakeholders and HR pros alike, but how much of a business advantage is it really? Last night, the bright minds and leaders of #TChat worked together with special guest Tim Kuppler to answer THAT very question.

We started at the top…literally asking how leaders knew that cultural change was in order.

@TalentCove said:

A1. When they see their employees only doing the bare minimum and not going the extra mile. #TChat


@marksalke said:

A1: If every action requires someone’s approval, you might need a culture makeover.

Isn’t that the absolute truth?

These #TChatters are preaching to the choir, so how to get the message of real culture change to everyone? In fact, where would one start changing an entire culture?

A2. Monitoring employee engagement on a regular basis will help you discover what works and what doesn’t.  said HerdWisdom, quickly echoed by Clear Company who stated:

A2. Monitoring goals closely and rewarding for the completion of them.

Okay, that makes sense. Goals and engagement are both extremely important, not only from the perspective of changing the culture and really making employees feel heard.

But coming down like a hammer was NOT recommended by our culture warriors:

@lotus-yon said: A3 A punitive environment is detrimental to innovation. Leaders at all levels should empower employees to take risks.

#TChatters Agreed That…

  • Leadership is ultimately responsible for cultural change.
  • Each employee could take responsibility for their own “corner” of culture.
  • Confidence is essential for culture building
  • Failure must be allowed
  • Employees must be allowed to take ownership and lead in some cases

Want to see the #TChat replay?

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Tim Kuppler, co-founder of The Culture Advantage and for taking us on this company culture overview! Click here to see the preview!

Related reading:

Nancy Rubin: Your Corporate Culture: What’s Inside

William Powell: Focus On Your Employees, Key To Workplace Culture Success

Damon M. Banks: A Positive Workplace Culture Is Simply Good Business

#TChat Events: What is the Cultural Advantage?


#TChat Radio — Are you plugged in to #TChat radio? Did you know you can listen live to ANY of our shows ANY time? 

Now you know. Click the box to head on over to our channel or listen to Engagement and Putting Thanks.

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about trends on the workplace talent frontier? We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we may feature it!

If you recap #TChat make sure to let us know so we can find you!

We want to see you on TalentCulture! Become a contributor NOW! (ummm, click)

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week at #TChat Events, we’ll be talking about building a cultural advantage and how they can help both engagement and workplace happiness. Sign up for the newsletter to get the scoop on next week’s guest, topic and questions!

Save the date: Wednesday, April 23!

The TalentCulture conversation continues daily on #TChat Twitter, in our LinkedIn group, and on our NEW Google+ community. So join us anytime on your favorite social channels!

How Do You Embrace Culture Change In Your Company?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

photo credit: SomeDriftwood via photopin cc

How Deep Does Engagement Really Go?

A recent Gallup poll found that engaged employees display an unexpectedly strong commitment to their work. Almost two-thirds (63%) of workers whom Gallup classified as engaged in their jobs would not leave their current position if they won $10 million in the lottery. This commitment did not translate as strongly with those workers disengaged counter-parts. Only 42% of disengaged workers, and 20% of actively disengaged workers polled say they would continue to work in their current job.

Beyond the Paycheck

Looking at those numbers, we can safely say that the majority of engaged workers embrace the benefits of having a job they love, beyond the paycheck. Although the number of engaged workers who would stay is impressive, there really isn’t that many engaged workers. So, we’re really left with a slice of a slice of the workforce who would stay.

What can employers offer to make that slice bigger –to increase commitment beyond the paycheck? Companies can get extremely competitive with their compensation practices, but that won’t necessarily translate to commitment, engagement or retention. Pay is merely one piece of the puzzle.

Shared Values

The 2012 Global Workplace study by Towers Watson revealed that 27% of employees who plan to leave in the first year on the job, cite feeling disconnected to the organization. In order to establish shared values, the organization has to make it a priority to establish and communicate those values. Values, culture and mission should be a part of all recruiting initiatives, from branding efforts to the hiring process.

Workplace Relationships

67% of employees say that good workplace relationships are a reason they would stay in their current position. This has a lot to do with the environment, communication and culture that employers should be creating and fostering for their workers.

  • Employers need to put a strong emphasis on cultural fit in the hiring process.
  • Provide a safe social collaboration platform to their workforce.
  • Create an environment free of judgment and full of questions. One that is conducive to learning from one another.


Immediate and varied recognition can impact effort and retention by up to 87%. That’s a pretty drastic increase that comes along with the cheapest and easiest piece of the engagement puzzle. Recognition is so simple, it has proven benefits and it feels good to give and receive; yet leaders are notoriously stingy with their acknowledgements.

Employers at all levels of the organization need to first recognize the benefits of creating a culture of recognition. Simply acknowledging and rewarding workers can have such a dramatic affect on the entire organization. HR pro and founder of Blogging4Jobs, Jessica Miller-Merrell said:

“It Starts at the Top. Any type of culture shift within an organization must have senior leadership support. It’s that simple because without them walking the talk, the change won’t happen. No way no how.”


Soliciting feedback is considered by many employee engagement experts to be the most effective tool in increasing engagement. Employers make some valiant effort and spend some serious dough on improving the things they think are the issues.

Well, how about working on the known issues? They will only be identified through the solicitation of employee feedback on a regular basis. 33% of employees said that a lack of open, honest communication has the most negative impact on employee morale.

Don’t get me wrong, competitive compensation coupled with effective and relevant benefits are vital to keeping great talent in-house, but there’s so much more to creating an engaged, committed workforce. Honestly, compensation is the easy part, and that’s why so many companies aren’t going beyond the paycheck to ensure that their workforce is satisfied and heard.

The idea of winning the lottery is a pretty cool barometer for workplace commitment. Would you stay in your current position if you won $10 million tomorrow? We want to know! Leave a comment –would you stay or would you go?

HR and EAPs: From Safety Net to Safe Haven

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But consider these unfortunate EAP obstacles:

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

And consider these unfortunate executive blinders:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Photo Courtesy of Bigstock Photo.

The Road To Organizational Transparency [Infographic]

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

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

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


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

photo credit: -Reji via photopin cc

Make Your Meetings More Successful (And Shorter!)

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

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

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

Routine collaboration drains time

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

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

Selective collaboration boosts performance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: fmgbain via Compfight cc

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sneak Peek: Employee Assistance Programs Actually Work

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

Related reading:

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

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

Matt Krumrie: Take Advantage Of Your Employee Assistance Program

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you there!!

photo credit: BigStockPhoto

Start Your Own Engagement Revolution, Today

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Kevin KruseKevin Kruse

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

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

photo credit: Nomadic Lass via photopin cc

The Authentic Side Of Leadership #TChat Recap

The Importance of Authentic Leadership

What is authentic leadership? Well, the answer to that question is a millionfold, as we learned last night on the latest #TChat. Everyone seemed to have a definition to go into the bucket when it came to leadership that was…real. In order to be authentic, some surmised you have to be true to your style of leadership and perfect THAT, not necessarily try to fit into someone else’s definition of what leadership could, should and would look like to them.

We’ve heard that leaders should be everything under the sun; from assertive to humble, servant to conqueror, honest to canny, tyrant to buddy. Where does the aspiring leader look to find their answers? One answer may come from inside the team:

@lori~translation lady said:

A1: Authentic leadership means collaborating and empowering because you can accomplish so much more with teamwork and community. #TChat

That was echoed in many sentiments. Your team often informs just what kind of leader you need to be. In fact, the authentic leader would do well to study the “following” styles of his or her team before settling on a “my-way-or-the-highway” leadership style.

@terriklass said:

A1. Authentic leadership means being able to share all sides of us. Being truthful of who we are. #tchat

What Bubbled Up:

Regardless of varying ideas of what defined authentic leadership, there were qualities that no one could argue with (or at least no one did!). They were:

  • Honesty
  • Transparency
  • Empathy or Heart
  • Team-oriented or holistic
  • Action-oriented

What’s not in there? Careful attention to share prices and nary a mention of productivity. Efficiency is a KPI to which many leaders are held. How do we emulate the above characteristics (or allow our leaders to emulate them) while still ensuring we get our gosh-darn jobs done? That too, nearly always falls to the leader:

  • The leader is usually the most selfless person in the room.
  • A leader ensures that her team is reprimanded in private.
  • A leader keeps the workload manageable for his team.
  • True leaders use honesty to motivate the team, rather than hiding crucial information from them.

Stuff You Can Do

Didn’t have time to attend? Try these five-minute new tricks to make baby steps toward authentic leadership:

  1. Try to figure out what your team needs by watching them take criticism and/or praise. Take notes.
  2. Write down your strengths (honesty, empathy etc.) and try to trace a path to how you can use those to reach specific KPIs in your organization.
  3. Check the recommended reading and add Cy Wakeman’s books and blogs to your reading list.
  4. Make a list of leaders who have inspired you personally (3) and mentors in the public eye you admire (10).
  5. Invite someone from the first list to coffee or dinner. Pay.
  6. Watch a speech or video of a person on the second list and write down what it is that makes you admire their leadership qualities.

Did you miss all the #TChatty goodness?

Well you can catch up by listening to this week’s #TChat Radio Show or taking a look at our Storify of the #TChat conversation.

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Todd DeWett for giving us an inspiring look into authentic leadership! Check out his site at!

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about trends on the workplace talent frontier? We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we may feature it!! If you recap #TChat make sure to use this link so we can find you! 

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week at #TChat Events, we’ll be talking about wholehearted leadership and employee engagement. Kevin Kruse is going to be our radio guest and Nancy Rubin will be our moderator. See more information in the #TChat Preview this weekend, and save the date: Wednesday, April 2!

Meanwhile, the TalentCulture conversation continues daily on #TChat Twitter, in our LinkedIn group, and on our NEW Google+ community. So join us anytime on your favorite social channels.

Think you have what it takes to write for TalentCulture? Submit an application to be a contributor NOW!

photo credit: Steven | Alan via photopin cc

Prospecting LinkedIn For…Everything #TChat Recap

The Power of Professional Prospecting

If you’ve been working in the recruiting, workforce, HR or leadership space, you’re well aware of how LinkedIn can be used for…work. But there is more to the professional networking behemoth than sourcing and recruiting (not that it’s a slouch in that department either).

Professional prospecting, or “panning for sales gold” as I like to call it, was the subject of last night’s #TChat and our guest Viveka von Rosen had some incredibly interesting tidbits to share. The CEO of LinkedIn to Business and a published author (nab her book, LinkedIn Marketing in an Hour a Day, here) gave #TChatters inside information about how to use LinkedIn to unearth new deals and create additional opportunities from sales, leadership and yes, employment perspectives.

The Mainstays

“Dynamic LI profiles are ones tended to like a growing garden: with care & frequent watering” @DawnRasmussen is right. You get out of LinkedIn what you put into it. There are countless ways to update your LinkedIn profile and all of them add value to getting you MORE sales, more leads…more connections. So get in there!

Nearly everyone agreed that LinkedIn is a powerful tool, but the cons listed had to do with lack of visibility, frequent pulled support for favorite tools and an ever changing user experience. But in #TChat as in life, there were a whole lot more pros. Included in the list?

  • The breadth of information available on LinkedIn
  • The ability to find anyone via one’s own network
  • The third-party tools built to work with the platform (shout out to @rapportive)
  • The new and improved search UX

Stuff You Can Do

Didn’t have time to attend? Try these five-minute new tricks to make baby steps toward using LinkedIn for prospecting:

  1. Find and connect with those who have “viewed your profile”
  2. Search out people in your area
  3. Create buyer personas and make a target list and send personalized emails (you get 5 free!)
  4. Ask and answer questions in your chosen fields
  5. Join groups to get the inside track in your industry (you have up to 50!)
  6. Of course, change your profile URL to something recognizable
  7. Put keywords you think your target market or candidate will be searching
  8. Connect your Slideshare account and keep it updated

For the organization: Check out this article from our friends at Social Media Examiner on how to make the most of your company page. Jonesing for the unique #TChat interactions or want to see who said what?

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Viveka von Rosen for enlightening us on LinkedIn! Check out her full site at LinkedIn to Business

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about trends on the workplace talent frontier? We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we may feature it!! If you recap #TChat make sure to use this link so we can find you! 

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week at #TChat Events, we’ll be talking about authentic leadership. Todd DeWett  is going to be our radio guest, and Kevin Grossman will be our moderator. See more information in the #TChat Preview this weekend, and save the date: Wednesday, March 26!

Meanwhile, the TalentCulture conversation continues daily on #TChat Twitter, in our LinkedIn group, and on our NEW Google+ community. So join us anytime on your favorite social channels.

Think you have what it takes to write for TalentCulture? Submit an application to be a contributor NOW!

Optimism: A Workplace Necessity #TChat Recap

Bring Your Smile

Pharrell is always on the brink of what’s in and he knew that 2014 was the time to be “Happy.” Last night’s #TChat featured everyone’s (and Pharrell’s) favorite contagion: optimism.

The majority seemed to be on the same page with this one. Who knew that people like positivity? Our guest Shawn Murphy and his bright side of life attitude brought us right to the heart of the issue: “Optimism is about believing that good things are possible in the work we do.”

Bright Smiling Selfies

“Collaborating and allowing everyone to win.” @CASUDI makes a great point. All parts of an office must feel like they have brought something great to the table. Having an optimistic workplace starts with the attitude an individual brings to the office, but creating a positive work environment takes a whole team.

What can we do to bring the good vibes on? Breanne Harris of said, “Finding solutions and innovating. Stop pointing out the problems and offer solutions. Optimism is everyone’s jobs.”

And this seemed to be a recurring suggestion. While the first (and sometimes hardest step) is learning to admit to problems, what a workforce really needs is possible solutions to the issues being faced.

Transparency and Communication

And as always, creating an honest environment leaves more room for managers and employees to share all challenges being faced. Alli Polin agrees: “When people see all the cards on the table, optimism isn’t blind. Share and communicate with each other.”

Start with Your Attitude

Sure, it’s easy to say you want a more positive workplace, but when it comes down to it, if you aren’t working to make a difference, then it’s all just a pretty dream. Christopher Lind may be talking about employees, but the truth is that everyone could stand to hear this bit of advice: “Ask questions and engage leadership. Sometimes you have to make your own way and not wait on others.”

Check out Megan’s article How To Make Work Matter to learn the ways to get started in your office. Speaking of making your own way, take a peek at all that was discussed last night on last night’s #TChat with our Storify presentation!

#TChat Insights: Creating a Culture of Optimism

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Shawn Murphy for joining us! Learn more about Shawn Murphy at Switch&

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about trends on the workplace talent frontier? We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we may feature it!!

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week at #TChat Events, we’ll be getting down to what you really need to know about social media. Nancy Rubin is going to be our guest moderator. See more information in the #TChat Preview this weekend, and save the date: Wednesday, March 19!

Meanwhile, the TalentCulture conversation continues daily on #TChat Twitter, in our LinkedIn group, and on our NEW Google+ community. So join us anytime on your favorite social channels.

Notice a difference in this week’s recap? That’s because we’re on the verge of launching our newsletter. Stay tuned for sign up details and you can receive #TChat questions before anyone else, get insight from Meghan on the week ahead and more!


photo credit: peyri via photopin cc