Monday, November 16, 2015

Why you need to avoid conformity in your workplace

If you want a company that pulses with creative, engaged employees, you need to avoid rigid roles and let them to assert their individuality.


Fostering diversity in your workplace is key to running a smart, innovative, and productive company. But diversity in race, religious creeds, and sexual orientation is only part of what a successful business needs.


Your company needs to allow employees to be themselves--unique individuals with a range of perspectives, talents, and skills that help them accomplish great things. If you are looking for a polished, rigid employee who can be easily typecast into a specific role, you're going about hiring and running a business all wrong.


Rob Goffee, professor of organizational behavior at the London Business School, and Gareth Jones, visiting professor at the IE Business School in Madrid, write in Harvard Business Review about how developing conformity hurts companies.


Goffee and Jones studied a range of businesses that support "self-expression, individuality, and diverse experience" in their employees and leaders. Workplaces that support individual authenticity have higher employee engagement, they found, which in turn improves the customer experience, drives creativity, and helps create a pipeline of leaders growing within the company. Read more on

Monday, October 19, 2015

How one company is thriving on a 5-hour workday

In May this year, Stephan Aarstol effectively doubled the per-hour earnings of every employee at his business, Tower Paddle Boards. Yet payroll didn't budge. Aarsol did this by exploiting the insight that, for startups, time is a more malleable resource than money. So instead of giving his employees salary raises, he reduced the company workday to five hours. 

Aarstol, you may recall, is the guy who froze during his 2012 pitch on ABC's Shark Tank, but still walked off with $150,000 from Mark Cuban. Today, he and his team of nine operate the San Diego, California-based online paddle-board business in a city where the unemployment rate is well below national average.

"Part of our brand identity to do things differently," says Aarstol. He wanted people to quit their other jobs and come work for Tower Paddle Boards. Read more on BusinessInsider

Monday, October 5, 2015

Nearly Half of Happy Employees Are Angling to Quit

Just because an employee is engaged and happy with their job, organization, pay, benefits, opportunities, management and other various work aspects, doesn’t mean they aren’t searching the Internet for a new job.

That’s according to the latest Inside Employees’ Minds Survey from global consulting firm Mercer.

The survey, which included responses from more than 3,000 workers who represent a cross-section of the U.S. workforce, found that more than 40 percent of employees who report being very satisfied with their job (42 percent) and their employer (45 percent) are actually looking to quit.

The survey finding upends the natural assumption that a satisfied employee is active, engaged and loyal.

“The survey confirms what employers have been seeing first-hand — a workforce in transition and, increasingly, one on the move,” Patrick Tomlinson, a talent leader at Mercer, said in a statement. “The new twist is that the inclination to leave is increasingly detached from employees’ satisfaction with jobs, pay and even growth opportunities. Employers need to shift their talent strategies to understand the modern terms of engagement from the most productive employees.”

Overall, about 37 percent of workers, regardless of whether they’re happy or not, are looking to leave.

Why do happy employees want to leave and work somewhere else? According to CNN Money, the survey didn’t ask the question and unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be an easy answer. Find out more at Yahoo Finance

When 'presenteeism' rises, productivity falls

Due to poor workplace well-being, “presenteeism” is a phenomenon spreading across the globe.

It describes the existence of disengaged employees who physically present themselves at work, but do not actually complete or achieve anything.

Combined with presenteeism, depression and anxiety are now the leading causes of long-term sickness absence from today’s modern workplace.

The direct health-care costs and the costs of productivity lost to presenteeism can total up to 35 percent of salaries.

Research shows that engaged employees produce more and cost less. Eight different studies by organisations, including Harvard Business Review and the World Economic Forum, show a return on investment of wellness programmes of between 144 percent and 3 000 percent.

Wellness programmes should be seen as holistic approaches to creating high-performance organisations through establishing the right workplace environments and surroundings. Employee engagement and workplace well-being relates to all aspects of the work life.

So, the question is: if we know that good health requires more than just physical wellness and that employee well-being can have a big impact on business outcomes, why do so few organisations make a serious investment in it? Read more at Business Report

Thursday, October 1, 2015

What's Holding Women Back in the Workplace?

Despite support at the top, gender equality is a long way off at most U.S. companies. A study by Lean In and McKinsey reveals why—and what employees and companies can do about it.

Why aren’t there more women in the upper ranks of corporate America?

Cue the broken record: Women rein in career plans to spend more time caring for family. What’s more, they are inherently less ambitious than men and don’t have the confidence that commands seats in the C-suite.

Not so fast.

Something else is happening on the way to the top. Women aren’t abandoning their careers in large numbers; motherhood, in fact, increases their appetite for winning promotions; and women overall don't lack for ambition and confidence that they can take on big jobs. Yet when asked whether they want a top role in their companies or industries, a majority of women say they would rather not grab the brass ring.

Those are the findings of a major new study of women in the workplace conducted by LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Co. The research, which gathered data on promotions, attrition and trajectories from 118 companies and surveyed nearly 30,000 men and women, is among the largest efforts to capture attitudes and data about working women. The study involved major North American companies and North American units of global ventures headquartered elsewhere. It reveals sharply different views of the workplace, in which women say they experience a playing field at work that is anything but level. Read more at

The 1 Sure-fire Way to Ignite Your Team's Passion

Leaders tend to be less comfortable with emotional engagement, because they have never learned what to do. Here is one simple, high-impact thing you can do to ignite your team's passion.

Engaging the heart tends to be more challenging for leaders than engaging the mind. It's the softer side of leadership, and it's harder to get your head around. Traditional leadership development programs don't emphasize the skills necessary to engage employees' hearts. As a result, most leaders tend to be less comfortable with this side of engagement simply because they have never learned what to do. Since emotional engagement creates an advantage that is very difficult for your competitors to duplicate, it's worth learning to do well.

The heart represents the emotional side of people that is based on connections. Engaging the heart creates passion. This side requires the art of leadership that focuses on relationships.

We live in a world driven by emotional decisions. Seventy percent of customers' buying decisions are based on human interactions. Likewise, employees are primarily driven by emotional and personal considerations. When people go to work, they don't leave their hearts at home. We live in a high-tech world, but leadership is still a high-touch job. Read more at

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

5 Reasons Your Millennial Employees are Quitting

Can't seem to keep your millennial employees engaged at work? It may be because of one of these 5 reasons.

More than 1/3 of the United States workforce is now between the ages of 18 to 34, indicating millennials have now surpassed Generation X to represent the largest share of the American workforce. Unfortunately, today's business leaders are not well-equipped to deal with the mindset and motivations of this new generation.

But some companies have figured it out and know how to maximize the unique talents and needs of millennials. Infusionsoft, a small business email service provider located in Chandler, Arizona, is ranked as one of the "100 Best Workplaces for Millennials" by Forbes. Game rooms and snacks are only part of the equation. The employees at Infusionsoft report enjoying a fun and cooperative work environment, feel that they are genuinely appreciated for their contributions, and also have the ability to take time off work when needed.

Unfortunately, too many companies simply assume what millennials want and barely scratch the surface when trying to recruit and keep them. Companies offer perks millennials simply don't value, while skimping on what does matter. This can create mass turnover for many companies. To stem the flow of quality employees leaving your organization, here are five reasons your millennial employees are quitting--and what to do about it. Read more at

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Goodbye nine to five, hello work-life balance

Employees want flexibility and freedom from outdated work practices. For this to happen, organizations must empathize with the individual.

So many of our current working patterns are hugely outdated. The idea of “nine to five” was conceived during the industrial revolution, prior to the invention of electricity, never mind the internet. Our culture of presentee-ism was born out of conformity, rather than evolving working patterns into what we truly need, both in terms of motivation and productivity.

Large organizations embrace a fixed regime of regimented hours and a single office space because it enables them to retain control over their workforce. Big businesses that allow employees to work from home on Wednesdays, leave early on a Friday, or work a four-day week are not offering true flexibility, they are merely extending the leash. But the tide is turning: people are now taking the matter of work-life balance into their own hands. One in seven workers in the UK has chosen self-employment as the most effective means to take control. Read more on The Guardian

Monday, September 14, 2015

De-stress your workplace

Workplace stress is a silent killer that is plaguing India Inc. Stress in the context of a workplace is anything that stretches an individual's ability to cope. But not all stress is bad. A balanced stress does drive exceptional performance. Dis-stress is when the intensity of stress is so high that an individual exhausts their coping potential. Dis-stress is the number one lifestyle risk factor among Indian workers. As per a recent study by Towers Watson, it ranks above physical inactivity and obesity at the workplace. More than 10 out of 25 people feel that excessive workload is the biggest cause while 2 out of 5 attribute it to inadequate staffing. That is not all. There are other factors like unclear job expectations, overwhelming work demands, technology that expands availability beyond normal work hours, which are identified as top reasons for stress at workplace.  Read more here.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Make your employees your brand ambassadors

Exceptional customer experience is what all companies aspire to deliver, and one of the keys to achieving it lies in having a high level of engagement between their employees and their brand.

How many businesses are aware of just how crucial internal brand engagement is to customer service and satisfaction?

According to research by communications agency Involve, almost half of marketing, brand and customer experience directors believe that their own internal brand engagement programs are ineffective.

While they understand the value of engaging their employees, they see external marketing activities as more prestigious and influential. In fact, many companies are failing to invest or measure the success of their employee brand engagement programs. Read more on

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

How to Start Fitting Work Into Life (and Stop Fitting Life Into Work)

Finding work-life balance can be challenging, especially for entrepreneurs. Sometimes, we fall prey to the illusion that personal time is another name for time we can put to better use by working. We might even feel that we'd be more productive if we could only forgo rest to work more. But our bodies will likely overrule us on that one.

And that's a good thing because the truth is, we can’t do our best work if we stay plugged in 24/7. To cite an age-old example, Isaac Newton spent plenty of time working, but he didn’t truly understand gravity until he rested under an apple tree.

What's more, there are benefits to spending time on things other than work and sleep. We don’t just take downtime to distract ourselves from responsibility: Time away from work actually makes us work harder and smarter during the hours we dedicate to working.

Work hard; play hard.

Technology has fundamentally changed the workplace: it's actually difficult to get away from work what with cell phones in our pockets and laptops on our coffee tables. However, to get the full benefits of recharging ourselves (not our devices) during our time off, we have to make sure that that time off truly is "off."

We accomplish this by being fully present in everything we do. That means no cursory glances at email under the table and no quick texts to employees when no one’s watching. Blocking off time for leisure makes this easier.

If I want to eat dinner with family, grab a drink with friends, exercise or read a book, I schedule some uninterrupted time to focus on that activity. Setting parameters helps me eliminate the guilt of not working while getting the most from my personal time.

This is more than just what you “should” do. It’s a complete priority shift. While shifting mindsets sounds like a daunting task, we can make the transition easier on ourselves by following a few simple steps: Read more on Fox News

Friday, August 14, 2015

Survey: Half of Americans worry about work while on vacation, then return stressed

More than one-third of U.S. employees (39 percent) don't believe their bosses encourage them to take allotted vacation days, and almost half (45 percent) say their bosses don't help them disconnect from work while on vacation, according to a Randstad US Employee Engagement Study released this week.

Forty-nine percent of workers who participated in a Randstad U.S. survey say they feel stressed upon returning from vacation.Forty-one percent of survey participants said work-life balance is impossible to achieve.

“Employers who proactively maintain positive relationships with employees and encourage them to utilize allotted vacation time are more likely to boost company morale, reduce turnover and increase productivity, all of which can positively impact a company's bottom line,” Atlanta-based Randstad US said in a statement about the study.

The Employee Engagement Study also found :

Vacations can be stressful: Forty-nine percent feel stressed after they return from vacation. Forty-six percent say they worry about work while on vacation.

Hold the vacation: More than one in three employees (38 percent) believe taking fewer vacations makes them look better in the eyes of their boss.

Change of plans: More than one in three employees (36 percent) have had to cancel vacation plans due to work. Read more on

Imagine that for a second. More than 40% believe that work-life balance is impossible to achieve? How on earth is it possible to engage employees under this scenario? It is any wonder then that employee engagement levels in the U.S. are at all-time lows and job burnout is soaring. But you can’t change what you don’t measure. If you’re not doing some sort of employee survey, whether satisfaction, engagement, pulse, or something else, then you have no idea how to improve things.