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Work Sucks, But It’s Our Fault

Burnout and dissatisfaction at work are nothing new. In fact, a recent Gallup study found that more than one-half of American workers feel disengaged at their jobs. Too often we look at work as a necessary evil. We have to do it to pay the bills, but it’s not really something we’re passionate about. 

Meanwhile, business owners and leaders are left scratching their heads wondering why their employees are unhappy and unengaged. The business suffers as a result. So what’s the solution? How can businesses create a culture that engages and motivates employees where productivity and creativity actually thrive?

Our Guest: Dr. Tiffany Slater

On our latest #WorkTrends podcast, I spoke with Dr. Tiffany Slater, CEO and Senior Human Resources Consultant for HR TailorMade. Dr. Slater believes that the people you work with are the single most important element to building a thriving future for your business. Happy people make the world a better place.

What does it mean that people suck and why should we blame ourselves? Dr. Slater explains:

I know that sounds crazy as an HR person for me to say that but you have to say the whole thing together.  People suck and it’s our fault. As leaders, it is our responsibility to make sure that our team has everything that they need to be successful. And when they’re not successful the first thing we have to do is look at ourselves and ask if we did all that we could to make sure that they were successful. So that’s why people suck because a lot of times we don’t do our part.

Employee Performance

There are so many factors that play into a person’s ability to perform at their best. So how can business owners or leaders identify those factors and ensure that people are performing at the highest levels? Dr. Slater:

Make sure the work environment is conducive to being successful as a team member. I think the most important thing is that we create an environment that people actually love. The days are gone when people are just happy to come to work for a paycheck. People want to like what they do and where they do it.

Dr. Slater adds:

Make sure that people understand what value they add to the organization. Making it very clear what an individual’s role is in the overall success of the organization motivates people to want to work at their highest level.

Hiring People Who Don’t Suck and Firing People Who do

Hiring the right people can be challenging, time-consuming, and expensive. Equally as challenging is knowing when to fire someone vs investing the time to discover ways to help them perform at a higher level. So how do we hire people who don’t suck? Dr. Slater:

We hire people that don’t suck by making sure that we ask the right questions up front, and making sure that upon their onboarding we have a plan already designed to support their success.

And when do we fire people who do? Dr. Slater adds:

We shouldn’t just fire people that suck. So obviously there will be times when it’s necessary but that should not be our first response. We should always look to discover what we can do to help that individual to perform at a higher level. And if we’ve done that once or twice then we should start considering if it’s the right fit and if they truly just suck.

Joy in the Workplace

Bringing joy into the workplace leads to better business results and higher employee performance. Dr. Slater explains.

If you will create a joyful work experience for your team they want to stay. They want to work in your organization. Additionally, they want to help the organization to be successful because they understand that the organization’s success is also their success. So creating joyful work experiences is truly the key to a successful business. And I would be willing to bet that it is the key to making the world a better place because happy people make the world a better place.

I hope you found this recent episode of #WorkTrends informative and inspiring. To learn more about Dr. Tiffany Slater and HR TailorMade, please visit https://www.hrtailormade.com/.

Subscribe to the #WorkTrends podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. Be sure to follow our #WorkTrends hashtag on LinkedIn and Facebook, too, for more great conversations!

Why Employees Need Leaders to Lead by Example

We bought mental health tools, but has everyone bought in? Many companies understand the importance of promoting mental health in the workplace. As a result, they have enacted programs and policies designed to put the well-being of their employees first. A recent MetLife survey found that at least 68% of respondents working at companies with more than 100 employees report having a wide range of programs designed to prevent mental health problems. 

To make the most significant impact, a sharper focus on support should become a key aspect of a company’s culture. But cultural values, and the effectiveness of any company initiative, can only be established with buy-in from all parts of the company – management especially. So now more than ever, employers seeking to improve employee mental health must first improve their understanding and involvement in mental health initiatives. 

This article will discuss the role managers play in employee well-being and how to lead by example. First, we’ll look at how employers can impact employees, both positively and negatively. Then we’ll examine how employers can maximize their positive impact as they lead by example.

Understand the Role Managers can Have on Employee Well-being

While most managers aim to support their employees, they may not be aware of how their managerial style can affect mental health. A 2020 study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment, & Health found that in workforces where leaders and managers whose “quality of leadership” has higher levels of traits perceived as fair, empowering, and supportive, employees have a lower risk of reporting mental distress. Similarly, teams that embody these same traits show a more “protective, prospective effect on employee mental health.” 

On the other hand, passive leadership predicts higher levels of role ambiguity, conflict, and overload – all of which lead to psychological work fatigue and have been shown to influence overall mental health negatively. 

Without a doubt, managers play a huge and direct role in the mental well-being of their employees. However, managers also play a more indirect role. The example they set for employees may increase – or inadvertently decrease – how likely they are to engage with mental health resources and initiatives. Employers that show little buy-in to health initiatives may unwittingly diminish the perceived importance of these programs, thereby limiting employee participation. The stigmas associated with mental health mean that many employees may not be initially willing to bring mental health conversations into their workplace. They may require the encouragement of their managers before they can do so. 

Support Your Employees and Lead by Example

HR professionals are acutely aware of leadership’s important role in bolstering workplace wellbeing. According to Unmind’s 2022 Mental Health Trends Report, 76% of HR professionals believe senior leadership needs to boost their well-being IQ. To drive real, long-lasting change, workplace leaders must work on supporting the policies they seek to implement. You can accomplish this by being seen modeling healthy behaviors, creating open channels of communication, and continuing to learn.

Model Healthy Behaviors

Modeling healthy behaviors can be one of the most effective ways to show your employees your commitment to mental health. Unfortunately, according to a recent MetLife survey, only 1 in 3 employees believed that their organizational leaders lead by example when it comes to mental health. This included sharing their difficulty with stress, burnout, depression, and other mental health problems. While it can be difficult to talk about personal mental health challenges, doing so is one of the best ways employers can continue to destigmatize mental wellbeing. 

Modeling healthy behaviors such as those described above, in conjunction with others such as establishing breaks, encouraging time off, and creating divisions between home and work can underscore leadership’s commitment to inclusivity and communication. Most importantly, doing so may give employees the push they need to open up about their issues, thereby allowing managers to help them or guide them to the resources they need. 

Create and Maintain Channels of Communication with Employees

Opening up about personal mental health is only one part of the solution. Managers must also strive to create and maintain open communication channels with their employees. This will help them feel comfortable sharing and ultimately resolving their challenges.

Encouraging discussion and openness is a critical component of supporting employees. But unfortunately, not everyone feels comfortable or has had a positive experience opening up.  A recent survey by Mind Share Partners found that less than 40% of employees feel comfortable talking about their mental health at work to other colleagues, their managers, and HR. Furthermore, only about half of the respondents (49%) described their experience as positive.

Managers must assure their employees that opening up about mental health will be met with support and care.. Letting them know that leadership is an ally in combating – rather than a contributing factor – to workplace stressors. The Mind Share report also found that employees who did feel supported by their employers were twice as likely to talk about their mental health at work. In addition, employees reported higher job satisfaction and were more likely to stay with their company. 

Keep Learning

Unfortunately, the ongoing shifts in workplace dynamics suggest that mental health in the workplace will only continue to garner importance. Despite this, most managers lack formal training on mental health issues, which means that even though employers might be willing to help and support employees, they may be unable to do so. 

Formal training sessions and making mental health support resources available to all levels of leadership will help employers deal with employee mental health more effectively. Training and support will also tell employees that their issues will be taken seriously.

In leading by example, employers are taking on a more dynamic and effective role in supporting employee wellbeing. While it may not always be easy, doing so is the best way to drive real change and create an open, healthy workplace where employees can thrive. 

6 Ways Employee Recognition can be Established in a Fair Climate

Sponsored by: Cristaux International

Kids are known for complaining when things aren’t fair. Although professional adults may not be as obvious as children, they do the same thing. Perhaps people worry about fairness because it is crucial to happiness. Any organization can find great success and growth by developing a fair recognition climate, but where does one start?

Fairness incorporates objectivity and human emotions. It’s a tricky balance to hack, but the tips below are meant to help leaders set up fair and effective recognition programs. With a clear strategy and positive culture, a company can grow from the inside out.

Why is Fairness Important to Recognition? 

Fairness helps cut bias and gives employee recognition credibility. By practicing fairness, more team members are inspired to take part in programs and opportunities. This buy-in is essential for including all employees and growing your whole team. Whether developing in-person or remote employee recognition, it’s important to make it accessible and encouraging for everyone. 

A fair recognition climate is a determining factor in establishing and strengthening corporate wellness in your company. It has many benefits considered by itself and from an overall corporate perspective.

 

Fair Recognition Programs

Overall benefits of corporate wellness (©Cristaux.com)

 

6 Ways to Establish a Fair Recognition Climate

There are countless ways to build a fair recognition climate. It largely depends on resourcefulness, planning, and inclusivity. When creating new initiatives, consider the team’s goals and the company’s capabilities. With creativity and collaboration, any organization can develop recognition programs within its means. Fairness is essential to effective recognition. It’s important to use the following tips and to see what works best for your team.

1. Use Employee Data

Choosing award recipients is often the most difficult part of recognition programs. To show fairness, use employee data and talent analytics to guide the decision-making process. Additionally, consider developing programs that are entirely objective. For instance, a years-of-service program celebrates employee anniversaries. This recognition is ideal because it can be achieved by all employees and allows leaders to remain objective.

It’s important to keep track of different data sets including employee start dates, reviews, and quotas. Different information can inspire diverse programs like sales recognition and customer service awards.

2. Allow Everyone to Achieve

Recognition must be a level playing field. From veteran staff members to new employees, everyone must be able to be recognized for a program to be fair. Imagine that an organization is putting together an annual awards program for its employees. Some staff members may not qualify for a specific category, so they must be considered for other awards. For example, new hires can be recognized as emerging leaders. Managers can be honored within their departments.

3. Recognize Consistently

Making recognition a routine for one’s company helps develop positive traditions. Consistency is key to building fair recognition. By sticking to a schedule, everyone shares the same expectations. Also, regularity encourages more people to achieve. Team members learn the routines, see others being celebrated, want that for themselves, and work harder.

Therefore, employee-of-the-month programs are so popular. They capture the importance of consistency and create a structure for employee recognition.

4. Show Appreciation

While recognition honors achievements, appreciation is often unprompted by behavior or actions. Instead, it may look like a catered lunch for a holiday. Small moments like these include staff members who may be struggling to go above and beyond. Also, it shows unconditional support and helps foster a culture of gratitude. Taking time to give genuine thanks goes a long way.

5. Celebrate Diverse Accomplishments

Supporting diversity in the workplace is crucial for growing modern businesses. This way, team members have many ways to succeed within their organization. For instance, consider honoring different departments or soft skills like teamwork and time management.

Consider recognizing personal milestones in addition to professional ones. By doing this, leaders show appreciation for the complex individuals they work with. Examples of what to celebrate include completed education outside of work and growing one’s family.

6. Recognize in Different Ways

Some employees prefer public recognition, while others opt for something more private. Get to know your team by talking with them or sharing a survey for them to complete. Consider asking how they would like to be recognized and what gifts they would like to receive. This way you can be more effective by personalizing your recognition efforts for each person. 

Fairness Makes Recognition Fruitful

The best recognition programs are fair, enjoyable, and inspiring. However, they look different for each unique organization. Like Rome, recognition programs are not built in a day. Take your time to develop what works best for you and your people and see the benefits pour in.

An Empathetic Workplace – 4 Practical Tips

As a business leader, you want to keep employees engaged at work and encourage company loyalty. How does the empathetic workplace blend in with those goals? How can you create a culture that makes people care about their jobs? The key is making empathy your central focus by starting with a top-down approach.

When leadership makes employees feel respected and valued, they provide a space where employees can bring their whole selves to work. In turn, their teams are happier and more motivated. Employers who want to facilitate a compassionate company culture need to improve communication, boost transparency, listen to employees, and include more stakeholders in the decision-making process.

The Importance of Empathy

Traditional work methods got flipped upside down at the start of the pandemic, creating additional stress in people’s work and personal lives. Research conducted by Qualtrics found that 42% of employees experienced a decline in mental health after the start of COVID-19. This stress caused a decrease in work performance, with 20% of people saying it took longer to finish tasks and 12% saying they struggled to juggle workplace responsibilities.

Creating an empathetic workplace can help ease some of the stress employees are feeling. Recent research from Catalyst shows how empathy can improve workplace performance. The survey found that 76% of people with highly empathetic leaders reported feeling more engaged at work, while less than a third of those surveyed with less empathetic leadership reported engagement. So what does this mean for you? If you want your employees to do their best work, creating an empathetic workplace isn’t an option. It’s a necessity.

How to Create an Empathetic Workplace

Empathy has the power to transform your workplace. However, it takes more than one initiative to make empathy the cornerstone of your company culture. Here are four things you can do to continuously foster compassion and create a company culture grounded in empathy:

 

1. Implement an Open-Door Policy

Opening communication lines across the company is a great way to show employees that they’re in an environment that values empathy. When appropriately implemented, an open-door policy can improve communication across all levels of an organization and establish trust among employees. Rather than keeping workplace issues to themselves, employees with this policy will feel more comfortable discussing problems with managers. This allows managers to address concerns before they become major stressors.

For an open-door policy to be successful, you need to encourage upward communication. If this is a new concept for your workforce, you may need to prompt workers to provide senior leadership feedback. One way to get the ball rolling is by asking employees for feedback in annual surveys and addressing the survey results in a companywide meeting.

 

2. Be Vulnerable

To effectively lead a team through a crisis, transparent communication is key. Yet very few leaders keep employees in the loop. In a recent survey conducted by Leadership IQ, only 20% of employees said their leaders always openly share ongoing company challenges. When employees are left in the dark, anxiety and fear can develop, causing them to consider looking for new career opportunities. On the other hand, when leaders openly share company challenges, employees are 10 times more likely to recommend them as great employers.

So how can senior managers and CEOs practice vulnerable leadership? You could try discussing challenges you or the company are facing and victories you’re incredibly proud of. By opening up to your team, you make it easier for them to open up to you.

 

3. Listen More Than You Speak

To be empathetic, you need to become a better listener. This means keeping an open mind, recognizing how your employees are feeling, and trying to understand their perspectives. While you don’t have to agree with everything said, ensuring your team feels heard can make a world of difference. In fact, employees who feel heard are 4.6 times more empowered to do their best work.

Try to listen more than you talk. Your goal should be to avoid interrupting employees while they speak. Paraphrase what was said after they’re done to show that you are listening. Although you may disagree with what was said, it’s still important to validate the other person’s perspective and let them know you understand where they’re coming from.

 

4. Talk With Your Team Before Making Decisions

As the world returns to normal, you may be wondering what your work environment should look like. Some employees may be eager to return to the office, while others enjoy working from home. Before creating a return-to-office plan, talk with your team about their preferences.

Employees will have their own unique qualities that dictate which type of working environment suits them best. As an empathetic leader, it’s important to keep each individual’s unique characteristics in mind while creating a plan that works for them. The world of work has been permanently altered, and there’s no longer a one-size-fits-all strategy that works for everyone.

If you want employees to care about their jobs, you need to care about them. By creating an emphatic work environment, you can create a space where employees feel safe bringing their whole selves to work.

Ways to Help Veteran Employees Thrive

Sponsored: Orion Talent

I am a staunch advocate of veteran hiring. It is a smart business decision with a positive impact on everything from profitability to innovation to competitiveness. Not only are you hiring men and women with state-of-the-art technical skills and proven leadership skills far beyond that of their civilian peers, but you are also accessing resilient soft skills. Combined, these skills will help shape the future of your company.

While many of you are already on board with hiring veterans, I know retaining veterans is an entirely different animal. In a recent conversation with Meghan Biro, we talked about how many companies don’t transition service members to civilian roles very well. According to SHRM, the average annual employee turnover rate is around 19% making it a formidable hurdle for talent acquisition leaders. When we consider veteran employees, the percentage jumps to nearly 50% leaving their first post-military position within a year.

Much of this turnover can be attributed to a lack of support. Or, an undefined career path, feeling uninspired, or skills misalignment. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Luckily, these issues can all be addressed through a well-planned veteran onboarding and retention plan.

Help Military Veterans Thrive with These Five Strategies

1. Mentorships 

Mentorship is an excellent way to provide your new veteran employees with a connection to another veteran. They can serve as a resource, guide, and advocate in their new role. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs offers a wealth of information on retaining veterans, including information on setting up a successful mentorship program. 

Listed among the benefits of veteran mentoring are an increase in morale, and productivity. In addition, retention, better adaptation to workplace culture, better career development, and promotion of diversity. These voluntary relationships are also a great way to transfer institutional and cultural knowledge.

Technology powerhouse Siemens has been successfully executing its veteran mentorship program for years. Orion Talent has worked with Siemens to hire nearly 2,500 veterans since 2010, and among their veteran retention best practices is a military peer mentorship program. Mike Brown, Global Head of Talent Acquisition of Siemens, explained their program.  “When other military come in now, they get paired up. And I think that really helps with their transition.” 

2. Employee Resource Groups

Similar to the retention benefits of mentoring veterans, creating Employee Resource Groups or Veteran Affinity Groups also offers increased employee engagement and job satisfaction. The VA calls these voluntary groups a “critical element to retention advocated by study respondents”  in their Veterans Employment Toolkit. ERG programs can also include career development, advocacy, community service, and social activities. Make sure to give your veteran employees the time and space to participate in these groups, especially as they onboard.

An additional benefit of veteran ERGs is that they help build your company’s reputation in a job market where candidates, veteran or civilian, are seeking purpose-driven work. They also increase workplace agility as your org chart is flattened in an ERG. Collaboration and innovation often follow!

3. Career Pathing

When I speak with men and women transitioning into the civilian world, their desire for a clear career path stands out. Their military career progression was clearly laid out, with defined goals and requirements. In civilian terms, you can think of this as career pathing. When you hire a veteran for a Junior Electrical Engineer position, you could lay out a plan with steps and milestones to reach Senior Electrical Engineer and then Project Manager, for example. 

Laying out these career paths pays dividends in terms of engagement and retention. Employers also experience higher performance and productivity rates. This Mercer study shows that 78% of employees would stay with their current employer if they were given a clear career path. 

4. Upskilling

Offering continuous development and ongoing education to your veteran employees is a powerful retention tool.  

Not only are you illustrating your investment in their success by providing these programs but you are reaping the rewards. Aside from increased retention, benefits of upskilling include increased employee satisfaction, less need to hire train new employees, and becoming more competitive in your industry.

“Our experience shows that when veterans receive tailored preparation for future roles, it leads to a better fit, a better transition, and ultimately better retention,” explains Laura Schmiegel, SVP, Strategic Partnerships at Orion Talent. “This helps companies save time and money in employee turnover, and it means they get to keep some of their best talent.”

As Meghan discussed in her recent article on veteran hiring, workforce partnerships can play an important part in upskilling. Strategic workforce partnerships like the Department of Defense Skillbridge program allow you to recruit veterans and gain access to their existing expertise while upskilling and reskilling them at the same time. 

5. DEI Initiatives

The veteran population represents a 43% diverse workforce and should be an integral part of a company’s DEI initiative. As with any other group in your initiative, you will want to consider how to prevent bias towards your veteran employees. Unfortunately, some old biases may linger, and your DEI strategy is the place to nip that in the bud. 

This HR Exchange article by LaKisha Brooks explains, “These judgments are often harmful to diversity initiatives because they limit our ability to see people as individuals with unique talents to contribute. For example, bias against veterans includes assuming they have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Bias can also include mental health problems just because of their military background, assuming they have a particular personality type, such as being rigid or stern…It’s essential to put assumptions aside and ask meaningful questions to learn the truth instead.”

These five veteran retention strategies will help highlight to the veterans at your company that yours is a workplace that sees them for the unique individuals they are with valuable skills worthy of investment. But, you don’t have to take on all five at once. Choose one, and make it amazing! Then move on to the next retention strategy. Your veteran employees will be proud to call your company home.

 

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. 

Business Needs vs. Employee Needs: Finding the Happy Medium

It’s been a hard year and a half, and as the pandemic continues to fluctuate, illness and lockdowns have taken their toll. The effects extend into the workplace, too, as companies struggle to find a happy medium between employee needs and business needs.

During this time, employees reevaluated what a workplace means to them and how job satisfaction plays into their overall happiness. Many employees found that they’re happier when they don’t have to commute, dress up, or stick to prescribed business hours. Others are ready to get back to the workplace where there are fewer distractions and more in-person collaboration.

Many businesses, on the other hand, are eager to get back to an in-office model without Zoom meetings. Managers want to communicate quickly with employees at their desks, instead of via chat. It’s understandable but short-sighted for employers to try to get back to a pre-pandemic way of operating. As the health implications of COVID-19 can’t be undone, neither can the effects it’s having on the workplace, which is why the need to find a happy medium is important.

These changes create a need for HR teams to adapt to the realities of these changes. Therefore, it’s time for businesses to adapt their return-to-office plans to ensure that they are employee-centered. Now more than ever, balancing employee needs against the needs of the business is imperative.

Listening to Employees

Work-from-home employees are not shy about their preferences and pain points around remote work. Coworkers commonly talk amongst themselves about how much they like not having to dress in full business attire or commute. They also expressed frustrations around digital communications and how, since they’re online, the workday can stretch beyond regular hours.

Before putting forth a return-to-office plan, businesses must listen to what employees truly want. To avoid turnover, some employers plan to skip a return-to-office life altogether, especially since a lack of remote work options is a deal-breaker for many employees and may send them searching for a job elsewhere. Many employees have already made that step, citing lack of remote work options as the main reason for seeking other opportunities. Notably, according to a survey by ResumeBuilder, 15% of workers are planning to leave their jobs before December.

What is the best way to find out what employees need to be happy in their current positions? Ask them. Hold a company-wide meeting to discuss what they like about working remotely, what can be improved, their thoughts on returning to full-time office work, and any questions they may have.

HR teams should leverage anonymous channels like digital surveys to make sure every voice is heard. These tools are perfect for individuals who are not comfortable speaking up in a large group, or for those who worry that their opinions will reflect poorly on them. 

Company leaders should also trust employees. They know how they work best, as well as the ways working from home affects their work-life balance. HR teams know happy employees are more engaged, produce better work, and stay in their positions longer, creating positive business outcomes.

Balancing Employee Needs With Business Needs

While keeping employee needs top of mind is essential, HR professionals must also evaluate how best to serve the company. If remote work begins to negatively impact employee and company performance, that can’t be ignored. Conversely, if an organization consistently meets KPIs, is growing, and employees are engaged, there’s no need to return to the office five days a week.

Instead of assuming performances and company operations will improve in an office setting, HR teams should strive to find balance. There’s no need for extremes. Companies don’t need to decide to keep operations fully remote or shift them entirely back to the office.

Over the course of the pandemic, it’s become clear what job functions need to be performed in person versus remote. Some team members can complete all of their job functions from home, while others have duties that require in-person work.

Companies should try to strike a balance and meet their employees in the middle. Offer a schedule that accommodates working from home alongside in-person work. For example, some organizations can easily let employees work from home three days a week, while requesting in-person attendance for meetings.

Companies can also strike a balance by easing the dress code to make going into the office feel more comfortable. Additionally, they can find cost savings by allowing employees to work from home. Businesses should evaluate whether they can stagger when different staff members come in. By doing so, they can use a smaller office space, saving on rental costs and utilities, among other expenses. At the same time, employees will appreciate the flexibility of being able to choose to work from home on a regular basis.

Looking to the Future

Before implementing a return-to-office plan, HR teams must equally weigh the needs of the business against those of their employees. Therefore, it may be tempting to develop this kind of plan quickly. However, HR teams must take time to listen to employees and measure their needs alongside business goals. This will create a happier and more effective workplace for everyone.

Using Modern Technology to Create Better Workplaces [Podcast: Part 2]

Organizations are heeding the call to transform their work culture in the new remote-first world. They are taking immediate action to better serve employees, and finding ways to maintain a sense of community while working hybrid or remote. To no surprise, embracing modern technology solutions is often the first big step to staying connected.

With that being said, when it comes to maintaining a healthy workplace balance, there is still a disconnect between managers and employees. According to McKinsey, more than three quarters of C-suite executives expect employees to return to the office for the majority of their work week. Yet, most employees prefer to work from home for the majority of their work week. Embracing new technology can offer an alternative, hybrid work balance that suits both employers and employees alike. 

Maribel Lopez and Christian Reilly on Workplace Technology Innovation

On the latest episode of the #WorkTrends podcast, we welcome returning guests, Citrix’s Christian Reilly and Maribel Lopez to discuss modern technology in the workplace.

When asked how organizations could best adopt digital transformation to keep up with the changes in work culture, Christian highlights that the succession of digital transformation in the workplace is dependent on a company’s lifespan and modernity:

“When you’re thinking about hybrid or full-time remote work, it becomes extremely cumbersome to pretend that the technology platform you use inside an office is the same as what you would use outside an office.” 

Making the move to cloud services and software as a service (SaaS), and digital workplaces are all strategies to ramp up IT modernization. Christian shares a new discovery of Citrix research, “The Era of Hyper Innovation,” and discusses the knock-on effects modern technology can have on employees.

“93% believe that increased digital collaboration has led to more diverse voices from across the organization being heard and a greater range of ideas for innovation actually being surfaced.”

Accessible and Individualized Technology will Empower Employees

In this new era of work, many organizations have quickly embraced change. Others are a bit slower to act. According to Christian and Maribel: If your organization isn’t agile, your competitors will eat your lunch. Fortunately, Maribel believes that technology can provide a powerful opportunity to level the playing field among organizations of all sizes.

“Every organization on the planet has access to amazing technology at a fairly affordable price,” says Maribel. “If you’re willing to adopt technology, then it becomes more about your product, your servicing, and your ability to understand customer needs.”

We’re also seeing greater democratization via technology. Maribel says today’s employees enter the workplace with fewer constraints. At one point in time, employees relied on their expert colleagues to help them do their job (such as typing pools – for those old enough to remember them). Now, technology empowers employees to do this themselves.

“Now every individual is empowered to take control of how they work and they have the tools to do so,” Maribel comments. “We have a tremendous opportunity ahead of us to use technology for good.”

I hope you enjoyed this 2-part discussion on #WorkTrends, sponsored by Citrix. To learn more about using modern technology in the workplace, contact  Maribel Lopez and Christian Reilly on LinkedIn.

And, in case you missed it, check out Part One of this podcast here.

Using Modern Technology to Create Better Workplaces [Podcast]

The workplace is becoming more diverse as organizations offer remote and hybrid work options and build a global workforce. With these big changes comes a call for a change in work culture. Employers need to ask themselves how they can create an inclusive, productive, and social atmosphere without the convenience of an in-office environment. The answer to this conundrum? Embracing modern technology.

By staying agile and open to the technological tools available, organizations can not only increase communication and collaboration across teams but promote a healthy and inclusive workplace for everyone, no matter where they are in the world.

Our Guests: Maribel Lopez and Christian Reilly, Workplace Technology Innovation Experts

On the latest #WorkTrends podcast, I spoke with workplace technology innovation experts Maribel Lopez and Christian Reilly. Maribel founded Lopez Research, a market research and strategy consulting firm that researches artificial intelligence, mobile, and hybrid work transformation. Maribel is also the author of John Wiley & Sons book Right-Time Experiences, a contributor to Forbes, and host of the podcast Reimagine Hybrid Work. Christian Reilly serves as VP of technology strategy at Citrix. He leads the organization’s long-term strategic technology decisions across the business and ecosystem. He is also a global keynote speaker and is widely recognized as a technology industry thought leader.

On the podcast, I asked them to share advice on how to help hybrid and remote employees feel more connected at work. The trick to achieving this, Maribel says, is using modern technology to remove communication boundaries.

“On a technology level, people need to be able to seamlessly communicate,” Maribel says. “They have to be able to connect with everybody in the organization and figure out who those people are. Basically, boundary-less communication and collaboration are key.”

Also, Maribel adds, organizations need to understand that if there’s an issue with communication, it may not be an employee’s fault. This is especially true if the tools are counter-intuitive. If organizations want to get employees excited to adopt modern technology, they need to make the tech user-friendly.

“When organizations make workplace tools more intuitive and easy to use, employees see value in them,” Maribel says. “If tech makes their jobs easier, they’re much more willing to embrace it. The biggest mistake organizations make is to hang on to legacy tools that aren’t modern.”

Getting Creative with Modern Technology Adoption

When it comes to employee adoption of technology, it’s different strokes for different folks. Some organizations are going to thrive with simple modern technology adoption, while others may thrive with something more complex.

“If we make modern technology simpler to use, then, of course, we’re going to see adoption rates increase. However, that’s not always the case,” Christian says. “For example, one organization used gamification, where employees tried to win badges for using the tech. I think there’s a fun element to that.”

When designing these systems, creativity in thinking around DEI should be a priority. Organizations must keep in mind the cultural sensitivities of employees from different backgrounds and locations, especially as the workforce becomes global thanks to remote work. Organizations can really shine here by thinking outside the box with how they show employees they care and want them included. Technology can help organizations adjust to individual working styles by offering translation transcription services, recorded meetings, and more.

“Not everybody is a native English speaker. When we think about different teams in different parts of an organization, giving them the opportunity to watch video recordings rather than be present at a live meeting allows them to work at their own speed,” Christian says. “This technology is simple to implement, but very impactful because organizations are recognizing cultural differences and that people thrive at work differently.”

I hope you enjoy this episode of #WorkTrends, sponsored by Citrix. You can learn more about using modern technology to create better workplaces by reaching out to Maribel Lopez and Christian Reilly on LinkedIn. Also, this podcast is part one of a two-part series, with the next episode coming December 3rd, 2021. So stay tuned!

 

Best Practices, Legal Requirements, and Respectful Workplace Culture

In the modern workplace, a respectful workplace culture isn’t just a cherry on top of a job role. If the work culture isn’t healthy and respectful, it could mean organizations lose their best employees and lose out on the best candidates. People don’t just want a respectful workplace culture, they EXPECT it. It’s a necessity for a high-performing workplace.

The issue, however, is that many organizations don’t realize the importance of creating and maintaining a positive culture. They also don’t understand the strong role leaders play in making that culture a reality. By empowering leaders to facilitate respect in the workplace, organizations can improve productivity and employee experience, and also protect businesses from legal issues and allegations.

Our Guest: Labor, employment, and human-rights lawyer Marli Rusen

On the latest #WorkTrends podcast, I spoke with Marli Rusen: labor, employment, and human-rights lawyer, mediator, arbitrator, author, speaker, and organizational consultant. Using her knowledge of workplace dynamics and law, Marli helps organizations create productive and healthy work environments. She reviews, analyzes, and helps resolve serious workplace issues, like misconduct allegations, employee disclosure, mental health discussions, etc.

Because of her extensive experience over the last 25 years, I wanted to get her take on how legal and societal expectations around respectful workplace culture have changed over time. According to Marli, in the last five years, a respectful culture has become a must-have at any workplace.

“Respectful workplace culture and conduct used to be an afterthought or a ‘nice-to-have,’ but has now turned into an expectation on the part of employees. And it’s now a legal requirement on the part of the courts,” Marli says. “It’s a core expectation in the employment world, and leaders should take notice of this.”

Why should they take notice? Marli says there are several reasons. 1) If an organization doesn’t take respectful conduct seriously, high-performing employees will look elsewhere. 2) If an employee sees that leaders are taking part in or tolerating misconduct, they may take legal action against them. And 3) organizations are putting themselves at risk in the “court of public opinion,” because employees can take them to task on social media. Leaders are key in preventing catastrophes and keeping employees happy.

“Leaders have a greater responsibility in maintaining a respectful workplace culture because they have greater authority. They have the power and therefore have the responsibility to exercise that to build and sustain a respectful workplace,” Marli says.

Walk The Talk: How Leaders Can Maintain a Respectful Workplace Culture

So what can leaders do to make sure they’re holding up their end of the bargain for employees? How can they best utilize their power for the good of the organization? According to Marli, they need to consider the three M’s of leadership.

“The first M is MODEL. Leaders need to model respect. Walk the talk. Show how they expect people on their teams to behave. The second M is MONITOR. Leaders need to get out there and engage and interact with employees to make sure they’re treating each other well,” Marli says. “And finally, the third M is MITIGATE. Leaders are the face of organizations, so they have to mitigate risks for other leaders. If they see something amiss at an organization, they need to speak up and help others.” 

As companies add policies to ensure a respectful workplace, they have to be careful that once the policies are written, there are plans to take action in the face of a violation. There can’t be a culture of avoidance at work, otherwise, there is no point in creating policies at all.

“In some workplace cultures, there’s a fear of holding people accountable because doing so will seem disrespectful. There is a belief that they need to make people feel good and not give critical feedback,” Marli says. “But once there’s been an objective review and allegations are confirmed, there’s an obligation to take action. Organizations must demonstrate through measured consequences that they take these issues seriously.” 

I hope you enjoy this episode of #WorkTrends. You can learn more about creating and sustaining a respectful workplace culture by reaching out to Marli Rusen on LinkedIn.

Improve Workplace Culture with a Powerful Strategy: Bystander Training

Do we need to worry about toxic workplace culture now, in the midst of an exhaustingly protracted pandemic that’s badly straining employers and employees? It’s a question a lot of HR practitioners are asking themselves: What do we prioritize right now? Do we continue with the triage of focusing on security, safety, and trying to maintain things like vaccination policies, masking policies, digital virtual work cultures, and all the workarounds that have now become part of the new way we work? Is a toxic workplace culture still an issue, right now?

Yes. It’s always an issue. Diversity, inclusion, and belonging are more critical than ever. And unfortunately, the pandemic has increased some tensions and bad behavior. Racism (and other isms) have been rearing their heads in life and in work. But recently I came across a powerful new strategy that may change how we’re addressing bad behavior in the workplace. It’s called bystander training, and it trains employees to recognize, bear witness, and speak up. It shifts the focus from reactive to proactive and may help managers and D&I departments to intervene when they can’t have eyes on the ground in 90 places at once.

By the Numbers

How rampant is discrimination? A recent Glassdoor survey revealed that bias-related behaviors shape the workplace experience for too many. The survey of over 1,100 employees found that 61 percent have either witnessed or experienced workplace discrimination based on age, race, gender, or LGBTQIA+ identity. Here’s how it breaks down:

  • Ageism: 45 percent
  • Racism: 42 percent
  • Gender discriminaton: 42 percent
  • LBGTQIA+ discrimination: 33 percent

That discrimination takes on many forms of bullying and microaggressions. (Microaggressions are those relentless, daily behaviors that may seem subtle, but can have a crushing effect). An estimated 48.6 million Americans have been victims of workplace bullying. A McKinsey study of women in the workplace found that nearly two-thirds reported experiencing racist and sexist microaggressions as a workplace reality. Couple that with the increasing stress of working during a pandemic (such as juggling work and childcare or risking safety to keep a job), and we really need to do better.

Helping the Cause

Many organizations are trying to do just that. Glassdoor also found that hiring for roles addressing corporate diversity and inclusion increased 30 percent from 2018-2019, for instance. But hiring programs aren’t enough—that aforementioned need to actually see, witness, and address requires that others participate, particularly in larger organizations. And it can’t just be a few whistleblowers or far too many occasions will be missed and far too many bad behaviors unchecked. Certainly, training bystanders is a solid approach, if done right. And it does seem that this bystander training is being done right, for a number of reasons.

1. Bystander training helps create a culture of witness and accountability. 

Bystander training encourages employees to speak up and support others’ speaking up. That can help combat the “bystander effect”—a socio-psychological observation that people are less likely to step in during a crisis if others are present. By creating a shared culture of witness and accountability, employees may not feel like the odd person out. Rather they feel empowered by those around them to take a stand, so long as everyone’s received that training. (This is yet another reason why improving workplace culture is significant.)

2. Bystander training is a proactive approach.  

Taking a reactive approach to harassment isn’t always effective. It can feel disingenuous when a new policy comes on the heels of a news story, and that can erode employee buy-in and trust. It can also seem to lack the proper scaffolding: employees may wonder if there are really any tangible actions to take after that two-hour presentation concludes. As far as its impact on culture, it doesn’t shape culture so much as mirror it. If your work culture doesn’t have a specific stance on workplace harassment, you need to create one ASAP. Strategies like bystander training go a lot farther to intentionally clarify your culture and values. You’re coaching employees on what discrimination and bullying look like so they can identify what they’re seeing, and at the same time, driving home the point that those behaviors won’t be tolerated in your workplace.

3. Bystander training offers individuals options for taking action. 

Not everyone has the same instinct to intervene immediately, and that sometimes inhibits them from acting at all. Bystander training lays out the options on how to respond and addresses these factors. If an employee witnesses a racist comment, they may want to quietly tell their manager or supervisor instead of intervening. In some cases, stepping in may have an adverse effect. The point is that they know the parameters of acceptable and unacceptable, and don’t have to question their own judgment. They also know there are a number of ways to stop harassment, not just in the moment, but in a powerful, systemic way.

We often bring social blind spots into the workplace and that’s where they become an issue, standing in the way of true inclusiveness, diversity, and a sense of belonging. But when the intentional focus comes into play, one employee’s “I was just joking” is seen as another employee’s serious discomfort. The old excuses (and I’m thinking of some legendary toxic workplaces here) are seen as gaslighting and harmful smoke screens. You can’t fix it if you don’t agree it’s broken.

Bystander training creates that framework for understanding, if not agreement. It provides a forum for discussing red flags that we didn’t have the tools to address before. And in doing so, it provides another powerful strategy for improving the culture of working. This could also mean you don’t lose another terrific employee in the long run. Because instead of being harassed, they were actually heard. In a people-centered workplace culture, that’s the new bottom line.

Why Companies Focusing on Workplace Design Thrive

Companies have specific priorities to help them create traction and build better businesses. They make sure their finances are going well, remain competitive, and engage employees for optimal productivity.

However, during 2020, unprecedented shifts happened. The pandemic and quarantine greatly impacted how organizations operated. Chiefly, among those impacts, were shifts in workplace wellness programs.

Companies were in survival mode, but they also had to address physical safety concerns due to COVID-19. They had to set up work-from-home measures and help combat feelings of disconnect associated with a remote workforce. Now that we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, companies are beginning another shift from surviving to thriving. They’re expanding their typical view of employee wellness to fit long-term needs.

How to Improve Well-Being in the Workplace

Last year, we saw a rapid evolution in the workplace wellness space. Many companies are learning that employee well-being can affect engagement, productivity, and the bottom line. They’re also discovering that more than just the typical aspects should be included in their wellness programs. A modern wellness program should go beyond telling individual employees how to improve their physical health, for example.

Today, the following should be integrated into a comprehensive strategy.

  • Physical well-being | This is the most traditional aspect of a company’s wellness program. It’s related to offering activities and support that focus on physical health.
  • Mental health | Employees’ mental well-being has garnered attention and investment recently—especially in light of pandemic stressors.
  • Community and connection | A remote workforce highlighted that relationships and employee engagement need to be redefined and fostered more intentionally.
  • Telehealth and employee assistance programs | Providing remote medical resources and assistance programs helps employees overcome issues more easily.
  • Financial health | A notoriously overlooked, yet critical element of workplace wellness programs includes providing financial planning support, resources, and even extended paid leave.
  • Workplace design | Workplace design is an emerging trend that highlights how employees’ work is actually designed to alleviate stressors, improve engagement, and boost productivity.

Proof That Workplace Design Works

Companies that focus on improving their workplace design are experiencing positive results. Microsoft Japan is a great example of an organization using workplace design as a strategic mechanism to increase productivity. It implemented a four-day workweek, encouraged 30-minute meetings, and emphasized its chat messaging system over email. The results? A whopping 40 percent swell in productivity.

To determine the return on investment of workplace wellness programs such as Microsoft Japan’s, measuring employee engagement is key. An engaged workforce has a slew of advantages. These include greater productivity, fewer absences, and increased retention rates. In turn, all of these benefits of workplace wellness programs that focus on workplace design lead to a more profitable company.

Workplace Design as a Strategic Mechanism

Implementing and integrating a thoughtful and strategic work design with well-being in mind is an important step for organizations that want to be industry leaders. There are three key areas of focus that will help any company improve wellness in the workplace using creative workplace design:

1. Stay up to date on technology trends

Keeping up with new technology that enables employees to work remotely with more efficiency and engagement is key to modern workplace design. By staying abreast of emerging trends and better technology practices (such as virtual private networks and desktop-as-a-service offerings), companies set their remote or hybrid workforce up for success. In addition, setting up Slack channels or Zoom meetings that function as virtual break rooms can increase engagement.

2. Create new cultural norms

Your team won’t know how to improve well-being in the workplace using workplace design without a cultural shift that starts at the top. When leaders model the changes in a company’s modern workplace design, employees are much more likely to follow suit. Set up walking meetings, flexible work hours, and a culture of no-meeting days to combat Zoom fatigue. Also, be sure your leadership team embraces those practices.

3. Allow employees to choose wellness initiatives

Not every wellness practice suits every team member. Some (say, parents) might prefer flexible hours, but others might choose to work from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Make promoting workplace wellness programs part of the company’s day-to-day. But let your employees pick what works for their lifestyles and preferences.

Companies that pivoted to survive the pandemic must continue to be flexible with their thinking and business practices. It’s clear there’s a “new normal” for a company culture that includes support for remote work, intentional employee engagement practices, and investment in employee well-being in general. Embracing modern workplace design is the next step toward creating an organization that doesn’t just survive, but also thrives.

Image by Joel Muniz

The Nonprofit Mindset: How This New Outlook Helps Business Leaders

With people talking about a post-pandemic restart to the economy, your business might be looking to bring in a fresh new outlook. If you’ve so far struggled to find this fresh direction in 2021, you might want to consider taking a page out of the nonprofit handbook – starting with the nonprofit mindset.

We’re not talking about changing your business model, of course. Instead, consider giving your business a unique edge in your market and make the most of limited resources by thinking like a nonprofit.

How do nonprofits do that? What measures, systems, and presentation elements are immediately transferable to for-profit enterprises? Here’s how you can think like a nonprofit to ensure your business benefits from a fresh outlook.

What Do Nonprofits Do Well?

First, let’s take a look at what nonprofits do exceptionally well.

You might think nonprofits remained focused on their mission 100% of the time. And building an operation around a force for good is undoubtedly inspiring and commendable. But many nonprofits are more than that; they’re well-oiled machines doing innovative work with a percentage of the resources’ blue chip’ organizations are able to leverage.

Most notably, nonprofits excel in:

  • Offering staff unique opportunities in the workplace
  • Developing enjoyable office and on-site working environments
  • Reacting quickly and creatively to new stories (great comms departments)
  • Diversifying their funding and revenue streams

Pick up just one of these traits by looking at nonprofit operations, and your business will gain a significant edge over your competitors.

(This Donorbox article is an excellent bit of extended reading on the signs of a successful nonprofit.)

Developing Connections and Earning Trust

Nonprofit Mindset: World Help

Image: Vet Comp & Pen

While a nonprofit user base might look a little different from your typical e-commerce store or Instagram influencer’s audience, there are many transferable methods and approaches that can help form a nonprofit mindset. Taking note of how each organization uniquely addresses its audience could inspire your next campaign or website update.

Nonprofits don’t just treat their user bases as customers but stakeholders in a mission. If their customers buy second-hand items, for example, they’re buying into that mission. If they need assistance on a personal level, they’re buying into a solution that provides them with the help they need. That greater sense of togetherness helps instill trust, as does content built around it. In other words, making people (or animals or the environment) the focus of your content (instead of your products and profit motive) is a great way to earn those users’ trust and strengthen bonds with them.

While veteran compensation consultancy Vet Comp & Pen isn’t a nonprofit, it does incorporate a nonprofit mindset in its content. Looking at their website, you quickly notice the presence of previous users/customers and their feedback. This doesn’t just reinforce the legitimacy of the company and their work, but it also strengthens the connection between them and the wider veteran audience.

It’s not enough to say you’re different; you have to prove it. And the best way to do that is by incorporating impactful testimonials into your messaging.

It’s much harder to earn the audience’s trust as a for-profit business; we’re not arguing otherwise. However, the techniques nonprofits use are hardly revolutionary. Putting typical users at the front of their web design and branding, integrating themselves into online communities, and giving them decision-making powers are all easily adoptable methods that make a huge difference.

Three lessons:

  • Make mission-focused content
  • Make your team a prominent part of your website
  • Encourage feedback from positive experiences

Creating a More Organic Social Media Presence

Nonprofit Mindset World Help

Image: World Help Instagram

You might not be much of a Tweeter or Instagrammer yourself, but you probably understand how important social media is to running a modern business. However, not everyone gets it right.

Social media is an essential tool for nonprofits. It provides an inexpensive way of getting their message and mission noticed by the right audience. For-profit enterprises should emulate this strategy to diversify their digital output without adding extraordinary costs.

Social media can feel forced, so aim for a more organic presence and growth pattern. Rather than bombard your suspected target market with ads, aim for a more natural approach and let your brand speak for itself. Look at World Help and Choose Love and how they’ve put the people they aim to help at the front and center of their Instagram output. This approach makes the content feel less like advertising and draws people in with a story.

Aim for a multi-pronged social media presence. Don’t just focus on regular posts. Use Instagram and Facebook stories, for example, to react to topical issues and events. Give your audience incentives to share content (and be willing to associate yourself with other brands by sharing their content). And use live streaming as a way of connecting directly with influential members of your online community.

Yes, these are all social media basics – but the best nonprofits are getting it right every day. With a nonprofit mindset, so will your organization.

Three lessons:

  • Don’t make yourself or your business the story
  • React to topical events on social media
  • Live stream for immediate feedback

Learning to Do More with Less

Everyone knows most nonprofits lack the spending power of major brands and corporations. People also understand nonprofits doing more with less is crucial for their operation.

This is an important lesson for every small-time startup and garage side hustle out there. You might not have the funding – but drive, solid messaging, and creative thinking can get you pretty far. Even the way these organizations structure their workdays makes an impact.

Of course, the aims of a nonprofit can help it earn media coverage and praise that a for-profit business of the same size couldn’t necessarily win. However, this should signal every small business owner that getting involved in social causes and trying to make a difference works. It is not just a way to feel good about your business; it’s a way of making an impact on a bigger stage.

Investing in charity, championing social causes, and involving your team in community projects is a great way to gain free advertising and profile building for your business. After all, doing more with less is about making sure people are taking notice of you. You could follow the thought leadership route or put all your extra cash into funding good causes. Either way will earn you unique coverage in new and old media you can turn into leads.

Of course, always remember that the idea that social media has leveled the playing field is unfounded, as a significant budget will always help brands rise to the top. However, creative use of media on a low budget can help you get noticed by people who prefer content with care applied with precision.

Nonprofits are also known for making the most of potentially outdated forms of marketing, such as print content and fundraising emails. Sign up for a couple yourself and analyze how subtle copy and well-placed CTAs help them earn donations.

Three lessons:

  • Content doesn’t always require a huge budget
  • Audiences react to interventions on social issues
  • Giving back can help you earn media opportunities

The NonProfit Mindset: Making it Work for Your Business

Nonprofit organizations excel in creating a passionate community around their work and telling insightful stories. And they do all of that on very tight budgets.

Take a deep dive into their content output. Look at how they interact with audiences through social media and email. Emulate how they structure their teams and incorporate real-world customers and stakeholders in their outreach. Gain all this insight.

Then make the nonprofit mindset work for your organization in 2021.

 

Image by Aaron Amat

Leadership in Divisive Times: Dealing with Colleagues in Denial

When was the last time a colleague said something so ridiculous that it made your jaw drop? A four-year study by LeadershipIQ.com found that employers and boards fired 23 percent of CEOs for denying reality, meaning refusing to recognize negative facts about his or her organization’s performance. Additionally, our recent challenge of mostly politically-driven alternative facts and dealing with colleagues in denial can get overwhelming.

We typically respond to people denying reality by confronting them with the facts and arguments. But research suggests that’s precisely the wrong thing to do.

Research on confirmation bias shows that we tend to look for and interpret information in ways that conform to our beliefs. There is an emotional investment in continuing to believe what you want to believe. Furthermore, studies on a phenomenon called the backfire effect shows when presented with facts that cause us to feel bad about our self-worth or worldview, we may sometimes even develop a stronger attachment to the incorrect belief.

Our Mental Blindspots

These mental blindspots are two of over 100 dangerous judgment errors that result from how our brains are wired, what scholars in cognitive neuroscience and behavioral economics call cognitive biases. We make these mistakes not only in work but also in other life areas. For example, in our shopping choices, as revealed by a series of studies.

Fortunately, recent research in these fields shows how you can use pragmatic strategies to address these dangerous judgment errors, whether in your professional life, relationships, or other life areas. You need to evaluate where cognitive biases are hurting you and others in your team and organization. Then, you can use structured decision-making methods to make “good enough” daily decisions quickly, more thorough ones for moderately important choices, and an in-depth one for truly major decisions.

Such techniques will also help you implement your decisions well and formulate truly effective long-term strategic plans. In addition, you can develop mental habits and skills to notice cognitive biases and prevent yourself from slipping into them.

A Better Way to Deal with “The Ostrich Effect”

In today’s divisive world, there are two distinct types of denial: personal and professional. How we deal with those in denial on non-business matters is a personal choice. So, for this post, we’ll focus on the professional aspect of denial, or “The Ostrich Effect.” Keep in mind that these same concepts apply to professional and personal relationships and all forms of denial.

So how do you deal with colleagues suffering from the professional form of denial?

Rather than arguing, it is much more effective to use a research-based and easy-to-remember strategy I developed called EGRIP. This acronym stands for Emotions, Goals, Rapport, Information, and Positive Reinforcement.

For instance, consider Mike’s case, a new product development team lead in a rapidly-growing tech start-up. He set an ambitious goal for a product launch, and as more and more bugs kept creeping up, he refused to move the date. People tried to talk to him, but he hunkered down and kept insisting that the product would launch on time and work well. I was doing coaching for the company’s founder, and he asked me to talk to Mike and see what’s going on. During my first conversation with Mike, I explained the EGRIP concept:

E – Connect with their emotions

In the workplace and out, when someone denies clear facts they qualify as one of your colleagues in denial. So you can safely assume that their emotions are leading them away from reality. While gut reactions can be helpful, they can also lead us astray. What works better is to focus on understanding their emotions and to determine what emotional blocks might cause them to stick their heads into the sand of reality.

In my conversations with Mike, I discovered that he tied his self-worth and sense of success to “sticking to his guns.” He associated strong leadership with consistency, so he was afraid of appearing weak in his new role as the team lead. He believed team members were trying to undermine him by getting him to shift the schedule and admit he failed to deliver. This false association of leadership with consistency and fear of appearing weak is a frequent problem for new leaders.

G – Establish shared goals

Then, you must establish shared goals, which is crucial for effective knowledge sharing. I spoke with Mike about how we both shared the goal of having him succeed as a company leader. Likewise, we both shared the goal of having the new product be profitable.

R – Build rapport

Next, build a rapport by establishing trust. Use empathetic listening to echo their emotions and show you understand how they feel. I spoke to Mike about how it must hard to be worried about the loyalty of one’s team members and also discussed what he thinks makes someone a strong leader.

I – Provide information

At this point, start providing new information that might prove a bit challenging — but won’t touch the actual pain point.

I described to Mike how research suggests one of the most important signs of being a strong leader is the ability to change your mind based on new evidence. Along the way, I provided examples such as Alan Mulally saving Ford Motor Company through repeated changes. If I had begun with this information, Mike might have perceived it as threatening. However, by slipping it in naturally as part of a broader conversation — after cultivating rapport built on shared goals — Mike accepted the information calmly.

P – Provide positive reinforcement

Then, after the person changes their perspective, provide them with positive reinforcement, a research-based tactic of shifting someone’s emotions. The more positive emotions the person associates with the ability to accept counter-intuitive facts as an invaluable skill, the less likely anyone will need to have the same conversation with them in the future.

Dealing with Colleagues in Denial: A Different Approach

With Mike, I discussed where he could best exhibit these characteristics. Specifically, we talked about how to show those who might try to undermine him what a strong leader he is — and at the same time make the new product as profitable as possible. I directed the conversation toward how he can show strength by delaying the launch of the new product. Eventually, he agreed, and I praised his ability to show strength and leadership by shifting his perspective. From that point on, his team knew Mike based his views on objective data and evidence.

Next time you’re dealing with colleagues in denial, I wish you good luck. Remember that you can use EGRIP not simply in professional settings but all situations. Keep EGRIP in mind whenever you want to steer others away from false beliefs that cause them to deny reality.

 

Image by Fiskes

Building Company Culture: Embrace Failure to Sustain Performance

It’s safe to say that 2020 put company cultures to the test. Strong cultures came out of it stronger; weak cultures struggled to survive. But what is the makeup of a company culture that can endure such massive shifts in the market? What’s the secret sauce to building company culture?

Flexibility? Sure. Support? Yes. Innovation? Absolutely. But these attributes are outcomes of something more important: being unafraid of — and sometimes even encouraging — failure.

In other words, the best work often comes with some risk, yet the tolerance for risk seems to be something the business world opposes. If that weren’t true, golden parachutes wouldn’t be so common.

When there is no risk of failure, then failing is simply the result of incompetence.

Encouraging failure doesn’t mean setting people up to fall short. Instead, it means allowing people to do more — to push themselves — despite a potentially negative outcome. It’s about being unafraid to challenge employees and trusting them to bring their best. Because when new problems present themselves, all you have is your people.

Business leaders who realized that and responded by giving their workforce room to grow — and support along the way — are the ones that were able to reinvent the way they deliver value when the world suddenly changed. By allowing room for failure, they enabled more room for growth.

Unfortunately, many companies tend to be scared to let their people shine. They’re afraid of failure. When this happens, companies miss out on game-changing outcomes — like innovation.

Embrace New Ideas

Last year, Sherwin-Williams lost big when they fired an employee after he brought new ideas to the table on how the company could engage with younger audiences. Tony Piloseno was a college student, and Sherwin-Williams associate, with 1.2 million followers on TikTok.

His feed consisted of videos showcasing his excitement and passion for mixing paint. After gaining a large following quickly, Tony began signposting his account internally to illustrate what the brand could do on social media by marketing to younger crowds.

It seemed like an obvious opportunity for the company to grow its presence with an underserved demographic. But when Tony formally pitched the idea to corporate marketing, he was put under investigation by corporate personnel — accused of stealing paint and making the videos on company time.

Sherwin-Williams headquarters shut Tony down, despite having support from his immediate supervisor. Not only did the corporate marketing team dismiss Tony’s ideas, but they also schemed to get him terminated. Rather than taking a chance, the company sent a signal to the organization that great marketing ideas can’t come from employees outside of the marketing department.

While Tony’s story is a little extraordinary, employees everywhere have had very similar experiences, albeit perhaps on a smaller scale. Too often, organizations and leaders put employees in boxes. They discourage them from bringing unexpected skills or new ideas forward. Because the culture won’t give them room to try — they potentially fail.

So, how do you build a culture that embraces failure?

Do it Strategically

At the end of the day, leaders must ensure that individual productivity progresses the company toward strategic objectives. Allowing room for growth in an intelligent way means giving employees the space and tools to grow in the right areas. The good news? We don’t need to complicate this process.

This is where technology can play a significant role when building company culture.

Employers can achieve strategic alignment with employees through modern performance management tools. These tools make it easy to create challenging goals personalized to employee skill sets. And they help push the needle forward for overall company objectives. The key is to set goals that allow employees the opportunity to stretch themselves, either by sharpening existing skills or developing new ones.

Using a digital platform gives the entire organization insight into the goals set for individuals, how individual goals track with team or department goals, and how departmental goals align with company goals. Therefore, when an employee has a great idea, it’s being applied to tasks that complement overall business needs. Put simply, aligning goals to company strategy enables employees to execute the mutually beneficial vision.

Being comfortable with a little bit of risk — while leveraging technology to help employees to grow with the needs of the organization — gives workforces the ability to improve and perform at the highest level.

Building Company Culture: Fail Fast, Grow Fast

When put under pressure, any company’s ability to pivot determines overall success. Sure, new strategies can be scary. But aligning employee goals with business goals — and cultivating a culture that enables employees to try new things and rewarding risk-taking by not penalizing failures — helps companies find innovation in unexpected places.

Leveraging technology to support goal setting company-wide creates a path for sustainable growth. It also ensures that progress toward the execution of company strategy — even when small failures do occur. In the end, embracing failure is the possible route when building company culture.

Or rebuilding, as many companies will do over the next several months and years.

 

Image by Airdone

[#WorkTrends] EQ: The Key to Leading High Performing Cultures in Uncertain Times

Emotional intelligence, or EQ, has been a regular topic in the workplace for some time now. And yet, in these uncertain times and while more of us must work independently conversations around EQ have gained momentum.

So what does EQ mean in terms of today’s workplaces? How are employers taking a fresh look at emotional intelligence while adjusting to new forces in the workplace? Let’s discuss!

Our Guest: Jamelle Lindo, EQ and Leadership Coach

On this episode of #WorkTrends, Jamelle Lindo — an emotional intelligence leadership coach — joins us to discuss EQ’s impact on today’s workforce.  Jamelle has published several thought leadership pieces on Forbes, where he resides as a member of the Forbes Coaches Council. So I couldn’t wait to get our conversation started. First, I asked Jamelle to help us define today’s version of EQ: 

“Simply put, emotional intelligence is about being smart about our emotions,” Jamelle said. He then added: “And not just your emotions, but also the emotions of other people. The reason why that’s important, especially today because this is an extremely emotional time.”

“We are in a pandemic, but we still have to show up for our families, for our businesses, for our clients.”

To help us frame EQ for the workplace, Jamelle filled in some blanks: “The interesting thing about emotional intelligence? Most people think it’s one skill. The reality is, EQ is actually an umbrella term that refers to many skills that tie into our emotionality; things like empathy, assertiveness, self-confidence, and stress resilience.”

EQ’s Role in Today’s Ever-Changing Workplace

I asked Jamelle how today’s best leaders leverage emotional intelligence to support their teams in these trying times. Jamell’s answer helped put everything in perspective: 

“The most important thing that a leader can do is walk the talk; they must develop their own EQ. That starts with self-awareness, which is the gateway skill that leads to everything else, including empathy. You cultivate self-awareness by developing an ability to stop, pause, and reflect on what you’re experiencing.” After saying this sounds easy, but that most leaders struggle in this area, Jamelle gave us a startling statistic: 

“Although most of us identify as being self-aware, only 10 to 15% of us actually are.”

To learn more about how EQ plays helps your organization achieve its mission — especially in the remote work era we’re in now– be sure to listen to my entire conversation with Jamelle!

Find Jamelle on LinkedIn and learn more about his work at JamelleLindo.com.

Editor’s note: We’ve given our #WorkTrends Podcast page (and also our FAQ page) a fresh, new look. Please tell us your thoughts?

 

Image by Yan Krukov

Is it Time for a Company Culture Intervention? 5 Questions You Must Ask

When is a company culture intervention necessary? And how do you know if your company needs to hear some hard truths?

The truth is that through the decisions you make and the behaviors you reward, your company culture has defined itself. And once a company sets a precedent for culture, it is tough to rewrite the narrative. Despite what our About Us page and the first paragraph of our job descriptions say, our aspirations for a quality culture too often fail to match reality. Even worse, unintentional cultures — and unintentionally problematic cultures — stand out more than positive ones. 

So how do you know if your company culture is failing to keep its promises? How do you know if a culture intervention is required? 

Here are five questions designed to help you gauge the health of your workplace culture. Ask each to current leaders and employees willing to share their thoughts. You’ll soon know whether or not it is time for a company culture intervention.

Q1. What is Our Company Culture?

According to a recent survey by Deloitte, only 12 percent of workers understand their company culture. If you haven’t clearly defined your company culture, that data point may hit close to home as you learn if an intervention is required. Because when an unintentional culture is allowed to live and grow, you might get 20 different answers to this question from 20 different people.

You can tell employees about your ideal company culture. But if you want to know what your culture is really like, you must ask this question. Then, no matter how surprised you might be by the answers, you must act upon what you hear.

Q2. Do We Consistently Demonstrate Our Core Values?

One key driver of positive company cultures is the ability to honor and demonstrate a company’s established set of core values. Of course, this question assumes team members are aware of those core values. But if you learn they aren’t, that may tell you a company culture intervention is needed.

For now, though, let’s assume your core values are known and honored. Do our people, especially our leaders, consistently demonstrate those values? 

For instance, one of your core values is “diversity and equality.” Chances are you have data to tell you if your staff is diverse. You have more data that shows is gender parity is an issue. And yet, to get a feel for how team members really feel about this aspect of your company culture, you must ask the question. Again, get ready to hear some complex answers.

Q3. Does Your Culture Meet the Expectations of New Hires?  

When new hires face too many cultural surprises, the temptation to sneak out the back door can be all-encompassing. According to one study, 30 percent of new employees quit their jobs within the first three months — many due to a mismatch of expectations.

Yes, the best recruiting and hiring teams are careful not to oversell and overpromise. And yet, too many new team members soon notice the actual company culture isn’t what they expected. So — especially if you’re losing many new hires quickly and are getting negative reviews on sites like Glassdoor right after they’ve gone — ask this question. Who knows, just by asking, you prevent another employee from exiting out the back door.

Q4. Do Third-party Providers Respect and Represent Our Culture?

Ideally, your contractors, vendors, and service providers will respect — and represent through their actions and business practices — your company culture. For example, do they reflect your efforts to ensure diversity and equality? Could they be inadvertently exposing you to legal risk through language that doesn’t fit precisely with your messaging on the issues that matter? 

Again, ask the question. And if the answer reveals a potential problem, be ready to be part of the solution.

Q5. Do Our People Enjoy Their Work?

To thoroughly engage employees, your workplace culture must foster energy, inspiration, focus, and meaningful work. This is especially true now, as many companies remain impacted by the COVID-10 pandemic. Now more than ever, employees want to adopt flexible schedules that allow them to balance family or personal commitments with their enjoyment of work. They also want to count on wellness and mental health benefits. Most important, they want to know their boss thoroughly appreciates their work. 

People don’t stay at their jobs for the vague, fuzzy feeling they get from the inspirational poster in the break room. They stay because they want to — and because the company culture fosters their growth and wellbeing. 

Does yours? Ask the question. Then listen — really listen — to the answers.

Company Culture Intervention: Better Sooner Than Later

After you’ve asked these challenging questions — and have provided a psychologically safe environment for employees to answer them — you’ll soon know if your company requires an intervention.

And if the answer is yes? Be ready to act. Because if your company needs to start an intervention, sooner is always better than later.

 

Image by Evgenyi Gromov

[#WorkTrends] How to Harness the Workplace Power of Introverted People

Many of us might not know that Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and also Elon Musk consider themselves introverts. Like many other introverted people, they have capitalized on their ability to listen well, stay objective, and find the answers in chaos.

Given their unprecedented success, why wouldn’t we want to harness the power and potential of introverts in our workforce?

Our Guest: Jennifer Kahnweiler, Ph.D. Author and Speaker

Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, Ph.D., is one of the top global leadership speakers on introversion and is the author of a new book: Creating Introvert-Friendly Workplaces: How to Unleash Everyone’s Talent and Performance. Who better to talk about unleashing the power and potential of introverted people in the workplace, right? 

First, I asked Jennifer what drew her to this unique workplace topic:

“I worked in a lot of positions in HR and leadership development and coaching,” Jennifer explained. “And it became a consistent theme that introverts were frustrated; they often felt overlooked and ignored. Everything was designed for the people who were the talkers — the loudest voice in the room. Since the diversity and inclusion conversation is so prevalent right now, I was surprised I couldn’t find anything on introverted people in the workplace. So I became almost a zealot about this!”

We’re glad she did. Now more than ever, with increasing dependency on remote work, many people who identify as introverts are making their mark in the workplace.

The Workplace Power of Introverted People

After explaining that introverts re-energize by taking quiet time — time that allows creativity to flow, innovative thoughts to development, and also deep reflection — Jennifer jumped into how to harness the power of introverted people:

“We must be more intentional about our hiring and culture practices. When we talk about HR, in particular, we have to ask ourselves: Are we including introverts in our planning and execution? Are they part of our diversity and inclusion plan? That must happen more. That’s when we change cultures; that’s when entire organizations change.”

“It’s not just a nice to have,” Jennifer said. “Because if we only listen to the loudest people in the room, half the voices and ideas aren’t being heard.”

As our conversation progressed, Jennifer and I also talked about her key findings while researching introverts in the workplace, how introverts are adapting to remote work (including those endless Zoom meetings), and much more. Please enjoy this episode of the #WorkTrends podcast. Then take a close look at how your organization integrates and respects people on both ends of the introversion-extraversion spectrum. 

 

Find Jennifer on LinkedIn and Twitter.

 

Editor’s note: We’ve redesigned our and #WorkTrends Podcast pages (and also our FAQ page) to help you be more productive. Please take a look!

 

Image by Wave Break Media

How to Foster Corporate Altruism: Focus on Leaders First

How do leaders create a culture that features contagious corporate altruism?

Historically, shareholder capital return has been the holy grail of business success. Significant returns signal investors that the company believes in their future so much they can afford to buy back stocks and pay higher dividends, directly providing a return on investment. However, the rise of the social enterprise means changing expectations for what companies do with their profits.

In today’s business world, shouldn’t stakeholders (i.e., managers, employees) also reap what they sow?

Corporate Altruism: Demanded by the Market

Luckily, shareholder return and stakeholder return are no longer a zero-sum game. Institutional activism has made it impossible for big companies to hide from the social and environmental impacts of their business decisions, demanding transparency – at a minimum. Strategic companies are taking this a step further.

Companies that are keen to step up to rising expectations are actively looking for opportunities to take responsibility. And rightfully so: altruistic investments in their employer value, social justice movements, and environmental impact moves market price and boosts employee productivity. For example, the “Triple Bottom Line” equally prioritizes people, planet, and profit from an accounting perspective.

The case is clear: both the market and investors reward activities that improve the lives of employees, customers, and citizens. Why? Because it signals adaptable leaders who are responsive to the demands of the workforce. It is also a sign that our cultural values are also shifting.

Is it possible that the “good guys” don’t finish last?

Changing Expectations of Leaders

While this change is both rapid and significant, it is also true that we have grown accustomed to powerful leaders often being some of the least altruistic individuals we know. For example, historically, Machiavellian personality traits (e.g., manipulation) often still predict leadership effectiveness. Plus, according to the Paradox of Power, the skills that help us achieve positions of power and influence (i.e., humility and compassion) are the very skills that deteriorate once we get there – even if they’re the skills leaders need to leverage now more than ever.

Why does this matter?

Well, leaders are the “linking pins” of the employees to their perceptions of the organization. If you want to build altruism into your organization, it starts with leaders. They also happen to be one of the most significant predictors of employees’ turnover intentions and trust in the company. As the saying goes: “People don’t quit bad jobs; they quit bad bosses.” Correct: this isn’t the universal driver behind every departure. But if you have leaders with the “old guard” mentality who depend on dominance and coercion? It’s safe to say your employer brand – and consequentially market value – are at risk.

Contagious Altruism: Foster Trust and Purpose

If a company was not built from the ground up with their employer brand in mind, investing in their stakeholders can feel check-the-box-ish. The worst-case scenario (and we have all seen it before) is when an organization launches a new set of values and are caught in contradiction when their leaders are not living proof.  Indeed, the individuals who receive the most scrutiny (leaders and managers) also have the carrots and sticks to incentivize and reinforce change.

While there are many ways to continue building altruism into a shareholder-centric strategy, focusing on your leaders is one of the most worthwhile routes to change. Want to see results in both stakeholder buy-in and the bottom line?

Prioritize these four leadership behaviors:

Defining How the Business Has a Greater Purpose

One of the biggest predictors of employee satisfaction and engagement is the sense that their work is creating a positive impact. Leaders should have a strong elevator pitch about how the business emerges above and beyond the work itself. They must demonstrate how the company impacts the world in a responsible and meaningful way.

Empowering Team Members

According to Deloitte’s 2021 Human Capital Trends report, a decentralized workforce spreads ownership and engages employees in creativity and mastery of their craft. Leaders now more than ever must continue to focus on the division of labor and delegation. What can each of your team members do better than anyone else on the team? How can you leverage those strengths to improve employee empowerment?

Creating Choice in What and How Employees Contribute

The very same task can indeed be more effortful or more motivating, based on who is doing it. As you set the tone for corporate altruism, ask your team members what they enjoy doing and why. Then allocate responsibilities and opportunities accordingly.

Create a Superordinate Group Identity – A Sub-Culture

It can be challenging to unite your teams when distinctive subgroup identities exist and are conflicting (especially with the divisive political climate at play). So leaders must be explicit when defining a group identity that rises above individual differences.

There are many models for what it takes to be someone’s best boss. The overarching goal?

Ensure your organization sets the expectation that they become a social enterprise. Because two historically competing priorities – upholding employer brand and market value – are now the joint cost of admission to a future driven by contagious corporate altruism.

 

Photo by Pozdeyev Vitaly

Leadership Lessons Learned From an Emotional Inauguration Day

In every challenge faced, there are leadership lessons to be learned…

To say the recently concluded American election process was emotional would be an understatement. To the dismay of many across the globe, it often assumed the appearance of a mean-spirited reality TV show. Marred with insults, insinuations, and incendiary statements, it did not bear much resemblance to the world’s premier democracy.

Months of acrimony reached a feverish pitch that ended with what many now refer to as an ‘insurrection.’ Highly divided supporters of the outgoing President marched into the Capitol House just over two weeks ago. They plundered even as they posed gleefully in the corridors of power. There was no real joy in the happenings, however. The unruly confrontation between the mob and the police in Washington D.C. on January the 6th left five dead in its wake.

By any measure, overcoming a national disaster like this would require strong will and consistent action; it would require a different kind of leadership. If there were to be any indication that a new leadership style was emerging in the days to come, it would be apparent on Inauguration Day (January the 20th), when the 46th President of the United States of America took his oath of office. As Joseph Biden Jr. placed his hand on his family’s Bible, people across the world joined in the celebrations. They felt a multitude of emotions in their hearts, even as the sun came out on top of Capitol Hill. Maybe, they thought, this new leadership would signal new hope.

So, what were the leadership lessons that warmed our hearts? What emotions did we feel that demonstrate we can once again feel hopeful?

Respect

Kamala Harris.

The name says it all. On Inauguration Day, clad in a purple coat, she was sworn in as the first-ever female Vice-President in American history. She also assumed the distinction of being the first African American and first American of Indian, South Asian, and Asian descent to be elected to this high office. She was administered the oath by Sonia Sotomayor, the first-ever Latina Supreme Court Justice. These ‘firsts’ elicit nothing but respect for the process of democracy and the maturity of the American people. They point towards a broadening of hearts and the belief in creating a more equitable society.

Leaders must show the level of respect shown on Inauguration Day was not a one-off celebration, but an indicator that the demonstration of respect is a fundamental human value.

Concern

We all felt a sense of reassurance while witnessing the discipline with which all the attendees wore masks to safeguard themselves (and, of course, others) from the deadly coronavirus. The masks stayed on even when they socialized and congratulated each other after the ceremony had closed, showcasing their genuine concern for safety. What also touched our hearts was the regular sanitizing of the speaker’s podium, dutifully performed by an elderly gentleman, each time a new speaker took the stage.

Genuine care for one another is the mantra we need in our world – a world that has seen far too many tragedies over the last year. To prosper, one of our most essential leadership lessons learned is that we must model this deep sense of concern for others.

Pride

Twenty thousand people would typically attend a Presidential Inauguration; in 2021, mostly due to the unfortunate events of January 6th, only a thousand or so were permitted to do so. Instead of exuberant people ready to celebrate the swearing-in of a new president, the National Mall played host to over 200,000 American flags and 56 pillars of light to represent all the American states and territories. Fluttering and rising into the skies and accompanied by the Marine band’s sonorous notes, the flags and all they represented filled us with pride.

Every leader, at the beginning of each day, must ask themselves a question.

“Today, will I help create bone-deep pride in our mission and our work?”

Hope

No one can instill hope better than the 22-year-old poet and Harvard graduate, Amanda Gorman, who recited a soul-stirring poem she composed on the day of the infamous Capitol invasion. To imagine that she overcame a speech impediment to become America’s first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate is truly mind-blowing – and inspiring. The youngest ever poet to take the stage at a Presidential Inauguration, she showed us the capability, clarity, and character of our younger generation. In doing so, she gave us unbounded hope.

Even on the toughest days and in the most challenging circumstances, leaders must provide a sense of hope.

Passion

As expected, star power did not let us down. Lady Gaga, in a characteristically dramatic dress, sang a version of the American national anthem. Jennifer Lopez sang a medley of ‘This Land Is Your Land’ and ‘America The Beautiful’. Country singer Garth Brooks sang a Capella version of ‘Amazing Grace’, even taking off his Stetson during his performance. The one common thread that was binding their individual performances: the passion clearly evident in their flawless singing and brightly lit eyes.

Sometimes, we leaders forget the importance of passion – passion for our work, our mission, and our people.

Grace

At the end of the ceremony, Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, stood up. They escorted the outgoing Vice President Mike Pence and his lovely wife, Karen, down the steps of the Capitol building. It was a picture of pure grace, unblemished by any of the acrimony on full display during the election process. As they bid their good-byes, one could see the couples bonding over a hearty laugh. That moment showed the maturity of those that lead the nation last and those that will lead the nation next. In participating in the Inauguration (unlike his boss, President Trump, who chose not to attend), VP Pence let us know that defeat is only one side of the coin. The other side represents growth, something that all Americans can look forward to.

As leaders, work will not always go as planned. We must learn to follow every disappointment with grace and growth.

Leadership Lessons Learned

In a democracy – like a company – there will always be dissent. But there is a fine line between dissension and being stubbornly disagreeable. Two weeks ago, the leaders of the world’s most powerful nation led from the front and by example. After a time when hope seemed hard to find, they stirred positive emotions within all of us.

There is no doubt that this experience will drive many amongst us to keep these positive emotions burning. Burning like a glorious flame that removes all darkness, enabling us to learn important leadership lessons.

And isn’t that is what people should expect from their leaders?

 

Photo from Skypixel

Enough of the Red Tape: A Return to Common Sense

When is enough red tape and bureaucracy enough? Is it time to return to the days where common sense prevailed?

Don’t you just love the glossy annual report, no matter which company it represents? The financials change from report to report, but the descriptive material remains pretty much the same.

The company’s rosy impression almost always begins with its values, starting with Integrity and ending with People. Next comes the “meet the team” page, with the perfectly staged line-up of smiling senior executives. Then you’ll see the company’s promises to its customers (which bear a striking resemblance to the promises that friendly voice makes while the customer is on hold: “Your call is important to us. We place the customer front and center in everything we do.”).

Those annual reports look polished and perfect. Unfortunately, if you have a chance for a few off-the-record conversations, you’ll likely discover layer-upon-layer of frustrating, bureaucratic red tape. From an outsider’s point-of-view — this represents a complete lack of common sense. By “common sense,” I mean seeing things as they are and doing things as they ought to be done.

Or, said another way: To treat consumers and employees as you would expect to be treated.

The Impact of a Loss of Common Sense

Consider the global shipping company that brought me on to explore their surprisingly low Net Promoter Score (NPS) customer satisfaction rate. I was perplexed to find that the call center categorized every complaint as resulting from force majeure. Every single complaint. This made it impossible for customers to make insurance claims for damaged goods. I discovered that leadership evaluated the call center staff in terms of efficiency (time per call) rather than customer satisfaction. Clicking the force majeure button required the employee to fill out just one page, while any other option required three or more pages. Of course, they clicked force majeure.

Or how about the international company that required staff, before they could jump on a plane, to fill out a travel form for approval. Fair enough, you may say, until you learn that the form was set to auto-reset in 12 hours if approval didn’t come through. Slightly tricky, considering that most senior management works from Asia headquarters. With a 12-hour time difference, you’d stand better chances surviving Duck, duck, goose than getting your trip approved.

Lack of Empathy = Loss of Common Sense

Bureaucracy, red tape, and bad excuses have reached an all-time high. And with technology infiltrating every crack in every business — and now at home, too, piped straight into our home offices — something fundamental has vanished: empathy. Yes, I know: Empathy isn’t at home in the business world. Most executives tend to associate empathy with crying children and cupcakes. But don’t forget. Empathy is our ability to place ourselves in another person’s shoes and feel what that person is feeling. It’s sharing the customer’s pain when their case is labeled force majeure, or relating to your employee’s frustration when they still don’t have permission to travel to an important meeting scheduled for tomorrow.

In fact, I’ve come to realize that a lack of empathy typically means limited common sense within the organization. It leaves one wondering: Is this at all reparable? In the business world, can we restore common sense?

Time to Establish The Ministry of Common Sense

That’s what I wondered until, while working with Standard Chartered Bank, one of the world’s largest banks, I had a eureka! moment. One of the bank’s staff members told me: What we need is a Ministry of Common Sense. Her suggestion was pure common sense! The bank needed a place whose mandate was to receive internal issues — and solve them.

Two months later, Standard Charter opened its brand-new Ministry of Common Sense. It had its supporters, but it also garnered a lot of laughs. Who on earth would submit their common sense issues? Even worse, who would solve them?

Working in culture transformation for nearly 20 years, I’ve learned that we find solutions within the organization itself. The only thing required is a little kid to shout, “But the emperor’s not wearing any clothes!” People just need help removing their blinders and releasing themselves from their straitjackets.

For sure, they did at Standard Chartered. First in the hundreds, then in the thousands, common sense issues arrived at the ministry’s website. But it didn’t stop there. Solutions arrived, too. Employees ensured they provided every common sense issue with a solution, capable of almost immediately solving the problem. For instance, the person who received 800 emails a day and suggested the company remove the CC and Reply All functions from Outlook. Simple common sense. Email traffic dropped in half.

Or how about another company that set up a ministry, resulting in the company banning PowerPoint presentations. Wasted time dropped by 21% — and people actually began to talk to each other.

Not So Common

Through my work, I’ve come to realize: Common sense is not actually all that common.

I’m not saying that every company needs to set up a ministry of common sense. But one thing is for sure. Adopting empathy — seeing the world through the eyes of customers and other employees — is a huge part of the solution. By seeing the world from another point-of-view, you’ll be able to spot and remove one stupidity – and one moment of insanity – at a time.

You’ll be able to remove your straitjacket while rebuilding a strong company culture that puts employees and customers first. You’ll enable a return to common sense.

 

 

Named by Time magazine as one of the world’s most influential people, NYT bestselling author Martin Lindstrom’s latest book, The Ministry of Common Sense: How to Eliminate Bureaucratic Red Tape, Bad Excuses, and Corporate BS (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), is out today, January 19, 2021!

 

Photo by Tero Vesalainen

How The Best Employers Will Support Employee Health in 2021

As 2021 begins, human resources professionals are well-positioned to consider the actions they can take this year to help employees stay healthy. Here are five excellent ways employers will support employee health in 2021…

1. Investigate Opportunities to Relieve Stress

Keeping stress levels down at work can go a long way in helping people stay healthy. Some of the go-to stress-relieving activities include having on-site yoga and meditation sessions. While those can be beneficial, experts clarify that such activities alone are not sufficient.

It’s time for an all-encompassing approach concerning managing organizational changes, ensuring employees have what they need to excel in their roles and that they can adequately handle their workloads. Such aspects can keep stress levels low without sacrificing output. As people feel less stressed, their productivity will often rise, too.

Creating an atmosphere where people feel comfortable enough to admit feeling stressed is equally vital. For example, in a workplace where managers value high performance, people may worry that speaking up about feeling stressed due to their workload may lead to accusations that they are falling behind compared to colleagues.

2. Show Support During Mental Health Struggles

The COVID-19 pandemic called more attention to mental health struggles. Even for those who didn’t contract the virus, the worry and extra responsibilities associated with the global health threat caused additional burdens. Women bore the brunt of these societal issues.

A recent global Deloitte poll of working women showed that 39% noticed worsened mental health during the pandemic. Moreover, 75% said they experienced increased caregiving responsibilities, and a third reported a heavier general workload.

Regardless of a person’s gender and situation, employers should strive to stay sensitive to and aware of any possible mental health difficulties. They can support employees by modeling good self-care and encouraging workers to take breaks when overwhelmed, for example. Educating employees about the diversity and prevalence of mental health difficulties also helps decrease associated stigmas.

3. Help Employees Understand the Specifics of Their Health Coverage

Usually, people who receive health insurance through their employees either participate in traditionally fully insured or self-funded plans. Research shows that, of the approximately 150 million Americans who receive health insurance through employers, 61% do so through self-funded or partially self-funded plans. One of the main differences in the types is that self-funded plans involve paying the employer for coverage instead of a carrier.

Regardless of how an employee receives coverage, they may not understand the extent of associated benefits — especially newly available perks. During the pandemic, AXA Asia — part of a global insurance brand — expanded its free telehealth service to help approximately 6.5 million people. Some providers also have specialty content that helps people learn more about diagnoses, treatments, and preventive measures.

Human resources professionals should consider sending weekly tips about policy features or suggestions to help them get more out of the coverage. A company-wide email could be one effective option.

4. Cultivate a Workplace Wellness Culture

Many company decision-makers mistakenly believe that implementing a few minor changes is enough to create and maintain a workplace wellness culture. However, getting genuine, lasting results requires a more concentrated effort that relies on employee input.

Asking employees what they need and want will likely get better results than providing them with packaged, one-size-fits-all health solutions. For example, giving a gym membership to someone who’s intensely uncomfortable with the thought of exercising in public. Aske what they need, and you will probably get the desired results.

People responsible for improving or starting an employee wellness program should explore ways to reach people where they are, which means understanding that everyone has different goals and definitions of wellness.

5. Teach Employees to Avoid Health Scams

Learning to spot phishing scams is often part of workplace cybersecurity training. It’s indispensable now, since many scammers ramped up their efforts to take advantage of the unusual circumstances caused by COVID-19. Most people living through the pandemic have never dealt with something like this before. The associated uncertainty, coupled with the desire to stay well during these challenging times, makes some people more likely to fall for health-related scams.

In one recent example, cybercriminals created a fake version of the United Kingdom’s National Health Service website. It explained that people had to provide bank details for COVID-19 vaccine eligibility. To make matters worse, many older and vulnerable people living in the United Kingdom can get vaccinated soon and were likely not surprised to get emailed details about applying for a vaccination date. Health authorities confirmed they would never ask for residents’ bank details, however.

Employers should consider how incorporating health scam awareness into employee education could boost wellness. Suppose a person gets their bank account depleted after falling for a scam. In that case, they could go through extraordinary anxiety, periods of depression, and difficulties in getting essential items.

Employee Health: Input Must Guide Changes

These five tips encourage employers to think about how they can help employees stay healthier in 2021. However, it’s ideal if employee feedback shapes change to existing wellness efforts or entirely new initiatives.

Once employers see what workers need, want, and are likely to participate in, they increase their likelihood of bringing meaningful and sustainable results to support employee health. Moreover, workers will see organizational leaders consider their values. When that happens, they feel heard and appreciated, positively impacting morale and overall participation rates.

Photo by Ronstick

Our Now Normal: Why is There No Culture Button in Microsoft Teams?

In our now normal, company culture seems to have taken a back seat to… well, everything else. So how do we retain our best talent?

Statistics tell us that 2020 was “the year of productivity.” As the world of business moved all its staff into their bedrooms, efficiency levels skyrocketed. Gone were those unproductive hours in the air, on the road, in the canteen, and at conferences. They were replaced by an endless stream of back-to-back Zoom meetings, with hardly a minute left for a toilet break or a single creative thought. Instead, we belong to the next Outlook notification: “Reminder: Microsoft Teams meeting: 15 minutes.”

But I’d suggest that while quantifiable productivity rose in 2020, company culture went into free fall. Not an especially big deal, one might argue, as business owners found themselves caught in limbo between panic and delight. While bent over backward, they watched the bottom line swell while transportation and real estate costs plummeted.

Ironically, this new reality might spell the end of the very concept of the corporation. At the very least, it raises a truly fundamental question. One that millions of employees are secretly asking themselves behind closed doors…

Why bother working for a corporation?

Our Now Normal

Here’s the issue. As employees dropped like flies, cut loose throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the fata morgana of a “permanent job” showed its true colors: a nice idea, but with very little solid underpinning. Instead, employers rewarded employees with an unexpected bonus, a pipeline of bureaucracy channeled straight into their bedrooms. Forget about the separation of private life and work life in our now normal. Many families found themselves with multiple family members juggling multiple conference calls while simultaneously handling the baby and the toddler, the dog, the cooking, the cleaning. And in return? They heard that their salaries might be reduced, since their remote work took place in a low cost-of-living area.

Friday afternoon happy hours were a thing of the past, along with birthday songs, late afternoon hangouts, company parties, and townhalls. In their place, you guessed it: another Zoom meeting.

Some have realized that maybe it’s time to rethink the workplace. Or at least how they fulfilled their role in the workplace. Perhaps it’s time to go freelance. Not a big difference when you think about it. No concerns about distance, or the fear of receiving notice, or the monotonous workday. For many of the most highly skilled people, it won’t take very much convincing.

What is Next?

In the aftermath of COVID-19, with countries like China, Korea, Taiwan, and Australia finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, there’s been a dramatic surge in such search terms as “personal branding.”

Here’s the situation. Many employees are coming to the conclusion that a future working for one employer simply does not make sense. Instead, now they’re building their personal brand, making contacts, attracting business, and offering their services to the world at large.

I’d argue that we’re reaching the tipping point, at which the very idea of working for a corporation no longer makes sense. Why bother fighting a never-ending stream of politics, bureaucracy, red tape, rules, and regulations when you can keep a nice arm’s length from all of them? How does a good night’s sleep sound, without the constant worry of losing your job?

In sales, they say it costs ten times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. It’s at least that much in the case of employees, but most companies seem to have forgotten that fact.

Investing in Culture

Which brings me back to the beginning, when I observed that Microsoft didn’t pre-install a “culture button” in Teams: As a leader, that’s your role – not Microsoft’s (or Zoom’s, or Google’s). It’s your job to start focusing on your organization’s culture. That money saved in rent and travel costs? That money doesn’t belong to the bottom line. The truth is, it belongs to a bleeding culture in crisis.

Now is the time to reinvent what culture means. As managers and leaders, we need to be aware that many of our employees ask themselves, “Why should I, as an employee, stick with a company when the only connection I have is through the internet?”

As managers and leaders navigating our now normal, we need to ask ourselves: How can we reinvent the sort of culture that leads our best people to decide to stay with us?

 

To learn more about Martin’s new book, please visit MartinLindstrom.com/Ministry-of-CommonSense.

 

Photo by Roman Samborsky

How to Restructure Your Hiring Process for Fit Rather Than Vacancy

Few things frustrate business leaders more than a failed new hire. And yet, chances are your hiring process still focuses on filling a vacancy instead of finding a good culture fit. 

Think about it: Finding the perfect candidate for a job takes much time, energy, and money. So it is incredibly frustrating for a new hire to leave the company before recouping the investment. According to a Leadership IQ study, 46% of new hires either move on or get fired within their first 18 months on the job — and only 19% rate as an unequivocal success.

Those are certainly discouraging statistics. Often, our hiring considerations are so focused on assessing competency (i.e., “Can the candidate do this job?”) that we overlook chemistry (i.e., “Is the candidate a good cultural fit?”). When we take a utilitarian approach to the hiring process, we consider what’s on the résumé, identify the most technically proficient candidate, and then hire them.

Our long-standing hiring processes trap companies in a never-ending cycle of hiring the wrong people for the same position — all while wearing out existing team members with the start-and-stop nature of the process. That is why I approach hiring holistically, going beyond technical abilities to look at how a candidate’s personality will fit within the company’s cultural scope.

The Best Hiring Process: Find Candidates Who Fit the Culture

When my company started, it was just me, my girlfriend, and a few friends. We all trusted and felt comfortable with each other, so there was zero trepidation when making decisions and getting stuff done. When tensions did arise, it was because we’re all passionate people committed to success.

To be clear, finding a good culture fit doesn’t mean hiring people you want to grab a beer with after work (though it doesn’t preclude that). It means restructuring your hiring process from the ground up to look for more than just technical proficiency. Here are three ways to begin that process.

1. Create a “Personality Profile” of Current Employees

A few years ago, my company was in a rush to fill a management spot in our customer service department. After sifting through piles of résumés, we hired one of the first and most qualified applicants we found. A few months (and a few dissatisfied customers) later, the hire wasn’t working out — and stunted our projected growth.

The moral of this story? Get to know your employees and find out their likes, dislikes, similarities, and differences. You’ll likely start to see trends, and you can use that information to direct your company forward. This doesn’t mean every hire has to be exactly like the people already on your team. But forming a “personality profile” of your current staff will help you see blind spots or biases you can keep in mind as you bring on new hires.

2. Take a Sledgehammer to Your Current Hiring Process

Does your hiring process value chemistry and know how to find it? I’m not talking about silly concepts like “the “long flight test.” There are plenty of people I love hanging out with who wouldn’t fit in at our company. Likewise, you can probably think of people in your organization who are great at their jobs but honestly drive you a little crazy on a personal level.

Take your organization’s personality profile and intentionally apply it to every step of your hiring process. Look at the interviews that led to your best hires. What common themes emerge? How can you look for those same traits in a strategic, intentional way?

One way we’ve put this into practice at our company is through group interviews. This process lets our company’s DNA shine through, and it allows us to observe how the candidate aligns (or clashes) with our current culture and operating system.

3. Rethink What (And How) You’re Asking

According to Leadership IQ, only 11% of hires fail because they lack competency. With this kind of discrepancy, it’s probably best if the current method of interviewing — see a résumé, select a candidate — undergoes an overhaul.

That isn’t to say that companies should completely ignore competency. Instead, dedicate interview time to how candidates felt about their previous work experiences and what they liked or didn’t like about those jobs. Look at each potential hire’s analytical and problem-solving skills. Spend assessing their interpersonal dynamics. Get a read on how potential hires operate and be bluntly honest with them about your organization’s personality profile. Finally, ask for stories about how they’ve operated before in work environments like yours.

This is not a one-time restructuring of your hiring process. 

Keep everything that works for you, and learn from any hires who don’t pan out. Along the way, you’ll begin finding candidates who didn’t rise to the top of the list based on competency alone but who intrinsically gel with your organization. These are the people who last, build synergy with those around them, and become invaluable pieces of your organization’s future.

Photo by Benzoix

[#WorkTrends] Hiring Hourly Employees, Improving Candidate Experience

Hiring hourly employees — for retail, travel and hospitality, hospitals, restaurants, and warehouses — is more critical now than ever before. 

So why don’t we make the hiring process easier? And why don’t we treat those on the front lines better?

We’ve been counting on our frontline staff members, many of them hourly employees, for nine months now. And we’re about to start rebuilding workforces. So soon, there’s likely going to be a tidal wave of organizations hiring hourly employees. 

So as your company tries to beat the competition and attract the best talent, and as you work to improve your employer brand, there are two words you need to think about seriously: candidate experience. This means this week’s podcast is just for you!

Because this week on #WorkTrends, we’re taking a deep dive into the best way to provide a super candidate experience for hourly employees.  

Our Guest: Quincy Valencia of Alexander Mann Solutions

With the inevitable hiring surge soon to begin, I’m thrilled to be joined by Quincy Valencia, Vice President – Product Innovation, at Alexander Mann Solutions. Having worn many hats throughout her 20-year career, Quincy has firsthand knowledge of the challenges faced by candidates, recruiters, hiring managers, leaders, and vendors. In her current role, she leverages her passion for challenging the status quo as she designs new products that bolster AMS’s leadership position in the global recruitment industry. So who better to talk about something we don’t talk about enough: The challenges ahead of HR, recruiters, and hiring managers responsible for hiring hourly employees?

My first question for Quincy was simple: “Why do so many organizations leave hourly employees out of the candidate experience equation?” Her answer was both nostalgic and a reminder of far we need still need to go when hiring the best hourly candidates:

“It’s a vestige of old. Going back to the 90s, you had a personnel department. Everybody had the same process: People would come in, fill out the application, and you would hire. Later in that decade, technology came in, and we designed new procedures around old processes. Through the decades that followed, we’ve continued to promote the same old processes developed and designed for your salaried professionals — and not hourly employees.”

“Hourly workers have been looked at as more of a commodity — they kind of come and they kind of go. Turnover is higher. This work is not meant to be your forever job, and so that’s been okay.”

Improving Candidate Experience When Hiring Hourly Employees

After saying I firmly believe we should treat every employee as a valued member of a team — as humans — I asked Quincy why candidate experience is so vital now. Her answer was heartwarming: “Look, it is 2020. We’ve learned a lot about who really supports our businesses. And we know those people want us to treat them with the integrity, dignity, and respect they deserve. These are the people on the front lines of our economy. They are often the face of the businesses we all frequent. That should translate into your candidate experience, now so more than ever.”

Quincy added: “As our organizations are trying to grow and rebuild and survive this global pandemic, there’s a renewed focus on how we are competing for this talent. We’re having to really focus on the needs of the candidate. Fortunately, I’m seeing employers give this issue the due consideration it’s been deserving for a long time.”

So how do we improve the candidate experience? As anticipated, Quincy was ready with some real solutions to our very real challenges. “Number one is speed. Go through your application process. See how long it takes, how many broken links there are, and how many steps and clicks it takes. In a lot of cases, you’re going to be frustrated.”

Quincy continued: “Number two (or maybe 1A) is mobile. Applicants must be able to apply from anywhere. A lot of people don’t even have laptops or desktops anymore. So close to 70% of all job searches, certainly within the hourly category, begin on a mobile device. And then, number 3 is communication. Make sure you are not letting candidates go into that black hole of ‘I applied, and I’m never going to hear from you again.’”

Candidate Experience 101

Sure, some of this sounds simple enough. But how many of us are actually walking through our own application process? How many of us know how well we treat our candidates, including hourly employees? Quincy and AMS have certainly invested the time and energy necessary to understand their candidate experience — as we all should!

Listen in, and learn exactly what AMS is doing to attract, train, and retain top talent in the hourly category — and what a seamless hiring journey looks like as we approach 2021 and, finally, the end of the pandemic.

I’m grateful Quincy Valencia had the chance to stop by #WorkTrends this week and bring our front line employees front and center. I, and the TalentCulture team, thank Hourly by AMS for sponsoring this episode.

Find Quincy on LinkedIn and Hourly by AMS on Twitter.

A Special Offer: The Hourly Hiring Guidebook

It’s time to treat hourly employees with the dignity and respect they deserve. So, we’ve partnered with Hourly by AMS to redefine how great the hiring journey can (and should) be for your hourly job seekers.

Download your copy of The Hourly Hiring Guidebook: Defining a New Standard for Candidate Experience today.

And start providing a better candidate experience tomorrow!

 

Editor’s note: We’ve updated our FAQ page and #WorkTrends Podcast pages. Take a look!