Thursday, December 29, 2011

Start the New Year with Progress

To get yourself and your team off to a good start for the new year, focus on progress. Our research discovered that fostering progress in meaningful work is the most important way to keep people highly engaged at work — even if that progress is a "small win."
We call this phenomenon the progress principle; it works because people want to feel that they are contributing to something that matters. The new year presents a great opportunity for managers to put the progress principle into action.
  • First, note the progress made by your team or organization over the past year — the major accomplishments and the small wins, too. And communicate the list broadly. All too often, progress gets ignored as people move from one task or project to another. Simply noting what was accomplished and how it contributed to the goals of the organization can have a big impact on how people feel about themselves, the organization, and the work they do. Wesley, a researcher at a chemicals firm that participated in our study, made clear how much it meant to him when his VP did this at a holiday celebration: "We had a wonderful Christmas celebration, during which time our VP and Director of R&D reflected on our terrific achievements over the year."
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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Listen Up, Mr. Scrooge! PayScale Compensation Plan Advice

What We Would Teach Ebeneezer Scrooge About Compensation

“Bah, humbug! Why should I pay my people another dime?”
Beware, Managers, don't follow Scrooge’s miserly ways when it comes to compensation. As the classic tale goes, through various ghostly visits, our friend Mr. Scrooge learns to get into the holiday spirit and finally rewards his hardworking employee, Bob Cratchit, with a raise and a "discussion of his affairs." How would PayScale advise Scrooge to adjust his compensation philosophy for long-term success?

Here are a few compensation tips for Mr. Scrooge and miserly managers everywhere to keep the spirit all year long.
Read the full story:

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A New Idea to Combat Workplace Stress: Mental Health Days

According to a WHO Health and Work Performance Questionnaire that assesses sick days, depression was cited as the number one reason for absenteeism on the job. And a February 2010 issue of the Harvard Mental Health Letter found that depression and anxiety were among the top five reasons for absenteeism.
Americans are clearly suffering. According to the National Comorbidity Survey Replication, about 26% of American adults aged 18 and older suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in any given year.
Wouldn't it be great if America's workers could take time off to rest, manage their stress, or even see a mental health professional? I am proposing that businesses should institute two or three paid "mental health days" a year as part of their employee benefits package.
Over and over, we psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health professionals hear people say: "I can't take another day of work," or "I'll go crazy if I have to return to work tomorrow." The list of remarks illustrating the sense of dread that many people feel about their workplaces could go on and on.
Read the full story:

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays from all of us at Insightlink Communications!

We wish you all a safe, peaceful & prosperous 2012.

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

The Beginning of the End of the 9-to-5 Workday?

The traditional eight-hour workday may soon be the exception rather than the rule. New evidence shows that we’re reaching a tipping point in terms of workplace flexibility, with businesses seeing the wisdom of allowing employees — young ones especially — to work odd hours, telecommute and otherwise tweak the usual 9-to-5 grind.
One of the top 12 trends for 2012 as named by the communications firm Euro RSCG Worldwide is that employees in the Gen Y, or millennial, demographic — those born between roughly 1982 and 1993 — are overturning the traditional workday.
The Business and Professional Women’s Foundation estimates that by 2025, 75% of the global workforce will be Gen Y. As early as next year, this group of younger Americans will comprise 60% of the employees at companies like Ernst & Young. And increasingly, companies are creating workplace-flexibility programs because it makes good business sense, not in the least because that’s what their employees are demanding.
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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

10 Predictions For How The Workplace Will Change In 2012

It’s that time of year again when we reflect back on our hits, misses and lessons learned over the past 12 months. While this is important, I think it is just as useful (and perhaps more fun) to look forward and predict what the New Year will bring.
I think that 2012 will be a fascinating year for business as concepts that may have been considered “trends” over the last few years become solidified as standard operating procedure and new ideas that challenge our ways of thinking emerge. Here are 10 predictions to show you what I mean.
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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

5 Signs that Employees are in Survival Mode

Today’s workplace is a reflection of the times: uncertain and unstable. As employees navigate this short-term, fast-paced, tension-filled terrain, they develop an attitude that creates an uneasy environment:  survival mode.
The workplace used to be focused on the planning and execution of short, mid-range and long-term growth objectives. It was a place where careers were born and legacies were created. A place that encouraged teamwork, unity and advancement, fueled by collaboration, partnerships and client relationships. Today, long-term business goals have been eclipsed by short-term personal goals: survive the unknown long enough to stay in the game. For employees this means adapting to a role where time management is unmanageable and where everything is a priority.
As you think about the dynamics in your workplace, watch out for these five signs that your employees are in survival mode:
See the list here

We Can’t Allow the Payroll Tax Cut and Unemployment Benefits to Expire

Allowing Them to End Will Threaten the Economic Recovery

The Senate overwhelmingly approved a bipartisan compromise Saturday to prevent the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits from expiring at the end of the year. The House will hold a critical vote on the measure later today.

If the House doesn’t approve the measure, the current payroll tax holiday will expire at the end of the year. As a result, taxes will go up for 160 million workers, starting with their first paychecks of 2012. The typical middle-class household tax increase in 2012 will be about $1,000. The combined effect of this across-the-board middle-class tax increase on consumer demand would seriously threaten the fragile economic recovery.

Congressional inaction through 2012 would also cause unemployment insurance benefits to run out for more than 5 million workers. The unemployment rate is still 8.6 percent, and for every one job opening, there are four people actively looking for employment. Cutting off unemployment benefits would not only create vast uncertainty and hardship for affected families, but it would also cause the economy to lose about $50 billion in demand, which would further hinder the recovery and cost more jobs.

Read the full story:

Monday, December 19, 2011

Improving A Leading Indicator of Financial Performance: Employee Engagement

I don’t think there’s any question that engaged employees are more productive. Research by the Gallup organization shows that they are also “…more profitable, more customer-focused, safer, and more likely to withstand temptations to leave. The best-performing companies know that employee engagement improvement strategy linked to achievement of corporate goals will help them win in the marketplace.”
Over the years Gallup has supported organizational efforts to improve the level of employee engagement and created some metrics that help business leaders determine their ratio of engaged vs. not engaged employees. According to Gallop, their “…engagement ratio is a macro-level indicator of an organization’s health…”
You might be interested to know that Gallup identifies that world-class organizations have a ratio of 9.57 engaged employees to every employee that is not engaged. The average organization is 1.83:1—that’s a big difference.
After more than 30 years of in-depth behavioral economic research involving more than 17 million employees, this is what the Gallup organization says about engaging employees:
“Actively disengaged employees erode an organization’s bottom line while breaking the spirits of colleagues in the process. Within the U.S. workforce, Gallup estimates this to cost more than $300 billion in lost productivity alone. In stark contrast, world-class organizations with an engagement ratio near 8:1 have built a sustainable model… As organizations move toward this benchmark, they greatly reduce the negative impact of actively disengaged employees while unleashing the organization’s potential for rapid growth.”
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Friday, December 16, 2011

Job market continues to improve as unemployment claims sink

WASHINGTON -- The outlook for the job market is looking brighter.
Far fewer people are seeking unemployment benefits than just three months ago -- a sign that layoffs are falling sharply.
The number of people applying for benefits fell last week to 366,000, the fewest since May 2008. If the number stayed that low consistently, it would probably signal that hiring is strong enough to lower unemployment.
The unemployment rate is now 8.6 percent. The last time applications were this low, the rate was 5.4 percent.
The big question is whether fewer layoffs will translate into robust hiring. It hasn't happened yet, even though job growth has increased in recent months.
The four-week average of weekly unemployment applications, which smooths out fluctuations, dropped last week to 387,750. That's the lowest four-week since July 2008. The four-week average has declined in 10 of the past 12 weeks.
"Labor market conditions have taken a turn for the better in recent weeks," Michael Gapen, an economist at Barclays Capital, said in a note to clients. "Payroll growth should improve in the coming months."
Read the full story:

Thursday, December 15, 2011

PwC Survey: Millennials at work 2011


From LinkedIn:

Four years ago, we began a study into the future of people management with our report, ‘Managing tomorrow’s people – the future of work 2020’, which explained how globalism, technology, and sociopolitical and demographic changes would influence the way businesses operate in the future. The follow-up report, ‘millennials at work: Perspectives of a new generation’, was published in 2008 and highlighted the characteristics of the newest generation of workers. This latest report aims to provide some insight into the minds of new graduates from around the world entering the workforce for the first time. CEOs are becoming increasingly concerned that they will soon be unable to find the talent that they will need to succeed, with a shortage of suitably skilled workers their single biggest worry. Businesses are competing fiercely for the best available workers and for the talent that will replace the retiring Boomer generation in the coming few years. Every year, more and more of that talent will be recruited from the ranks of millennials. As they begin their working lives, what are the hopes and expectations of this generation? And most importantly, do business leaders and HR teams need to revise their current strategies accordingly? PwC commissioned Opinium Research to carry out an online survey of 4,364 graduates across 75 countries between 31 August and 7 October 2011. 1,706 of these respondents were PwC graduate recruits or responded through PwC’s website. Overall, 1,470 PwC employees and 2,894 other graduates responded to the survey. All were aged 31 or under and had graduated between 2008 and 2011. 75% are currently employed or are about to start a new job. 8% were unemployed at the time they filled in the questionnaire. The rest were self employed or returning to full-time education. 76% of those with a job said it was a graduate role, while 12% had a job which did not require a degree. Quotes from the millennials who participated are included throughout this report.

Download the presenation:

What Great Companies Know About Culture

Even in this unprecedented business environment, great leaders know they should invest in their people. Those companies who are committed to a strong workplace culture tend to perform well, and now they are featured prominently in a new ranking recently released by Great Place to Work Institute. Among the top performers on the 2011 World's Best Multinational Companies list are culturally-strong technology companies such as Microsoft, NetApp, SAS, and Google.
But is there a direct correlation between employee investment and the balance sheet? As Prof. James L. Heskett wrote in his latest book The Culture Cycle, effective culture can account for 20-30 percent of the differential in corporate performance when compared with "culturally unremarkable" competitors.
Read the full story:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

How to honor your workers’ dignity

My work has brought me up close to leaders of all kinds. They all report the same major leadership challenge: knowing what to do in charged, emotional situations. Despite collecting degrees and intellectual capital, they rarely feel confident when facing people who are outraged, who think they are being treated unfairly and whose unacknowledged grievances have made them irate fighters. They don’t know what to do when facing people who have experienced repeated violations of their dignity.
While I witnessed the powerful impact that a violation of dignity created, I also saw how ill-equipped most future leaders were in handling these emotional upheavals. Their default reaction was to use their authority and position power to control the situation, often leaving the aggrieved people angrier, more resentful and less willing to extend themselves in their jobs or roles. Their dignity violations remained unaddressed, contaminating the work environment.
People in leadership positions need to be educated in all matters related to dignity, both the human vulnerability to being violated and the remarkable effect it has on people when they feel seen, heard, understood and acknowledged as worthy. The emotional impact of treating someone well and honoring the person’s dignity has benefits that are incalculable everywhere people cluster — in families, communities, workplaces, churches and nations. It’s the easiest and fastest way to bring out the best in people. The opposite is equally true: Treat people as if they don’t matter, and watch how fast a destructive, if not violent, emotional storm erupts.
Read the full story:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

US companies blame unemployment on skills gap

Drew Greenblatt has been looking for more than a year for three sheet-metal set-up operators to work day, night or weekend shifts.

The president of Marlin Steel Wire Products, a company in Baltimore with 30 employees, Mr Greenblatt says his inability to find qualified workers is hampering his business’s growth. “If I could fill those positions, I could raise our annual revenues from $5m to $7m,” he says.

He is offering a salary of more than $80,000 with overtime, including health and pension benefits. Yet in spite of extensive advertising, he has had no qualified applicants. He is trying to train some of his unskilled staff but says none has the ability or drive to complete the training.

Mr Greenblatt’s predicament speaks to one of the biggest economic debates about today’s 8.6 per cent US unemployment rate: is it merely a cyclical problem that will shrink as demand recovers? Or is it something deeper and more structural, a “mismatch” between the skills workers have and those companies need?



Diversity in Workplace Enhances Bottom Line

Newswise - The more diverse a company's workforce is, the more loyal, happy and productive its employees tend to be, according to a new study led by a Ryerson University professor.
The commitment to diversity must be more than superficial, the researchers say.
"There are organizations that are doing what research and popular practice tells them to do. They are showing pictures of diverse workers on their website and say they have a commitment to diversity, but they're not really going beyond what people may see as simply window dressing," said Kristyn Scott, lead author of the study, The Diverse Organization: Finding Gold at the End of the Rainbow, and a professor with Ryerson University's Ted Rogers School of Management. "That's contrasted with an organization that has woven diversity into every fibre of its corporate culture and business practices."
Scott and her co-authors, Professor Joanna Heathcote of University of Toronto at Scarborough, and Professor Jamie Gruman, University of Guelph, conducted a review of about 100 studies, mostly from the U.S. but some from Canada and elsewhere, from 1991 to 2009. They evaluated the studies based on six key advantages of corporate diversity as outlined by Cox and Blake's framework, a U.S.-based study published in 1991, which are: recruitment, greater creativity, problem-solving, flexibility (better reaction to change), cost (employee turnover) and marketing (i.e. - stronger financial performance).
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Friday, December 9, 2011

Benefits of 360° Feedback

The 360° performance assessment survey is a proven way to provide employees with  constructive feedback from the people they most usually interact with in the organization: managers, peers and direct reports all provide their input on a subject's performance and competence. There are many distinct advantages that can be realized from this type of assessment, and the technique has been gaining popularity among businesses of all sizes.

A Complete Perspective

By using multiple points of view, 360° feedback allows a subject to gain a deeper understanding of their impact on the people they interact with daily in their jobs. Individuals tend to judge others based on their own expectations, which can result in one-dimensional opinions. Managers, for example, may rate employees based on their output, while peers may judge others based on their levels of cooperation, and direct reports may judge their managers based on their fairness. By combining the opinions from all of these individuals together, 360° assessments provide a more complete analysis than any individual point-of-view. Feedback from a group of raters also lends credibility to the results of  an assessment, making the feedback more meaningful to the subject and increasing the potential for real behavioral change.
Looking for a simple yet effective 360° feedback system? Visit and take the demo.  Hands-down, it’s the simplest and easiest to implement 360º assessment solution available. If you have struggled with the task of creating and managing a 360º assessment program in your organization, you owe it to yourself to check it out and see how straightforward it can be.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

3 questions to create powerful engagement

Engagement is employees’ commitment toward their work. It is rooted in purpose.
You can begin to establish engagement by asking employees three simple questions.
In this video, I reveal that answers to these questions knit communication and follow-through together in ways that demonstrate that a leader is interested enough to listen, concerned enough to act and willing enough to offer assistance.
Watch the video here:

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Employees 'need better career management support'

Too many businesses and organisations are failing to provide employees with the career management support they require, it has been claimed.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) says effective career management has a significant role to play in building organisational capability.
However, the body said that all too often responsibility for career support is delegated to line managers, who lack the skills needed to provide an effective employee service.
According to CIPD, businesses are missing a trick here. The institute believes that enabling people to feel positive about their career options can help improve employee engagement and overall organisational performance.
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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ten ways to create a mentally healthy workplace

1. Be proactive. Don’t sit back and wait for problems to come to you. Consider all the things that make your workplace what it is. Examine culture, norms, policies and expectations to find out what you can change to create an environment that’s conducive to promoting mental health.
2. Make it a priority. Mental health is an issue that is often overlooked by employers but it is a very real concern, as a growing number of employees find themselves overwhelmed by the pressures of their jobs, families and finances. In fact, mental disorders are the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and Canada for people between the ages of 15 to 44. Studies have also shown definitively that mental health disorders – including depression, anxiety, burnout, substance abuse -- cost Canadian companies billions of dollars annually.
Read the full story:

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

How to Make Employee Training a Winning Investment

When Javier Muchado joined Gentle Giant Moving Company in 2004, he thought he would be there for a few months and then move on. But Larry O'Toole and John "J.P." Pacocha, the Somerville, Mass.-based company's owners, had other ideas. They observed Muchado on a few jobs and recognized that he was physically strong and smart--a winning combo for a business that requires equal measures of muscle, troubleshooting ability and people skills.
Muchado--who sailed through the company's two-day training period, which focuses on basic moving skills--easily could have gotten stuck in a basic role. With his quiet demeanor and shy nature, he was often the "silent helper" on jobs and was reluctant to take a bigger role in the company. "I wanted to do small jobs, not big jobs. I was always afraid of driving [the bigger] trucks," he says.
However, with the encouragement of the company's management and some one-on-one training, Muchado began to overcome his fears, and when a co-worker was injured, he nervously stepped in to oversee the job. Since then, Muchado has taken on increasingly larger roles and received several promotions, moving from a strong, silent helper to a sought-after driver, crew chief and trainer.
Read the full story:

Friday, November 4, 2011

Fewer Americans file for unemployment benefits

CNN) - The job market may be showing signs of subtle improvement, as fewer Americans filed for their first week of unemployment benefits last week.
About 397,000 people filed for their first week of unemployment claims in the week ending Oct. 29, the Labor Department said Thursday. The number of claims fell 9,000 from the revised 406,000 in the prior week.
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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Study of workplace priorities highlights generation gap

The good news is that all four generations in the Canadian workplace value similar things. What can cause employers headaches is that they value them in different ways, according to a new study.
The snapshot of the priorities of Canadian workers shatters a few stereotypes and highlights factors employers need to keep in mind to motivate their diverse teams, said study co-author Sean Lyons. associate professor of business at the University of Guelph.
The millennial generation, workers in their 20s, are most likely to want a job that offers quick advancement, congenial co-workers and fun.
Generation X workers, in their 30s and early 40s, put the most value on balance between hours at work and their personal lives.
Baby boomers, between 45 and 60, are most likely to say they want to continue to grow and use their skills on the job and get clear information from management on what’s expected from them.
Mature workers, over 60, are actually more concerned with advancement than boomers or generation X.
Read the full story:

Monday, October 31, 2011

The McDonald's leadership story: why leaders at this Best Company for Leadership are 'lovin' it'

McDonald's is known for a rigorous, disciplined approach to running its business. But this could not be achieved without a capable team working together. It's at the core of McDonald's culture, which hires and promotes people in large part based on their ability to work in teams, says Rich Floersch, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer. The company takes great care to cultivate its leaders as well. Its accelerated development program for high-potential leaders drives impressive levels of retention, helping give McDonald's the continuity and focus for which it is famed. With an eye to the future, the company develops its leaders in the globalized, customer-centric, fast-changing markets that it competes in.
What are the leadership practices that differentiate McDonald's? It starts with having high standards. Performance management is at the core: we employ a 20/70/10 performance distribution model across the organization: 20 per cent at the exceptional level, 70 per cent significant and then 10 per cent needs improvement. We make sure we keep these standards high. Also, around talent, when we talk about people being 'ready now' and 'ready future', the 'ready now' candidate has to be someone who can be better than the incumbent over time.
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Friday, October 28, 2011

3 Great Ways to Shake Up the Workplace

Let’s face it, after feeling the impact of the recession, from salary freezes to paycuts and layoffs, change in the workplace had a bad rap. We all wanted stability and security. But now, businesses are worrying about turnover and employee engagement as more and more employees feel frustrated with the status quo. John F. Kennedy once said, “change is the law of life.” It’s inevitable. But it’s also important to remember that change isn’t always bad. Often times, it’s great. If your employees are tired of the same ole’ same ole’ at work, now may be the perfect time to shake your workplace up and make some changes for the better.
Here are three easy ways to get started before the new year.
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Thursday, October 27, 2011

How to Start New Hires on the Right Track

Assessing employees starts on Day One. Your hiring process shouldn't be complete until you have a fully-oriented employee with their own development plan -- a clear plan of action that will engage and hold your new hire accountable.
Because the sooner you set expectations for your employees, the more likely you are to have a productive team that supports and grows your business. And that isn't the only benefit. There are three primary reasons to create individual development plans for managing performance. A development plan will:
1. Set expectations for performance. It gives employees clear expectations for their results. Statements in writing mean there is a greater likelihood of meeting or exceeding expectations. Having clear goals makes them more achievable.
2. Create a coaching document and put a process in place with a road map for advancement and a schedule to review progress, which holds managers accountable for providing feedback.
3. Create a benchmark that shows growth and improvement or the lack of progress against goals. This benchmark will assist you in developing your team members at all levels. Creating a record of improvement will make it easier to adjust the job fit for the employees and to make decisions in a more timely way about where you want to invest in developing employees.
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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Put on a Happy Face. Seriously.

It's one of those days. You argue with your spouse before heading out the door. A rude driver swerves in front of your car and you spill coffee on your lap. You arrive at work in a bad mood.
Will those negative feelings affect your productivity and performance for the rest of the day?
For many people the answer is yes, which is why taking steps to help employees start the day off on the right foot is something more organizations might want to consider.
Recent research I have done with Steffanie Wilk, an associate professor at the Fisher College of Business at the Ohio State University, examined the link between employee mood and performance on the job. We asked U.S.-based telephone customer-service representatives for a Fortune 500 company to record their moods at the start of and at various times during the day for a three-week period. After accounting for each employee's underlying temperament and the mood of the customers they were helping, we found evidence of virtuous and vicious cycles, depending on how the reps were feeling at the start of their shift.
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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Four Motivation Mistakes Most Leaders Make

Irrationality is a basic part of being human. A classic example is buying something we would never otherwise have spent money on — and will never use — simply because it's a great deal. So when it comes to motivating employees to change, it should be no surprise that leaders who rely on rationality typically spend time and energy on the wrong things, send messages that miss the mark, and create frustrating unintended consequences. Yet most do it anyhow. As part of the research for Beyond Performance, we've come to understand how leaders can leverage social-science research about decision making to motivate employees more effectively.
Employees don't care as much about the company as you think they do.
Read the full story:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Latest Game Theory: Mixing Work and Play

Companies are trying to bring more play to the workday.
Striving to make everyday business tasks more engaging, a growing number of firms, including International Business Machines Corp. and consulting firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd., are incorporating elements of videogames into the workplace.
They're deploying reward and competitive tactics commonly found in the gaming world to make tasks such as management training, data entry and brainstorming seem less like work. Employees receive points or badges for completing jobs or meeting time limits for assignments, for example. Companies also may use leaderboards, which let players view one another's scores, to encourage friendly competition and motivate performance, experts say.

This "gamification" of the workplace, or "enterprise gamification" in tech-industry parlance, is a fast-growing business. Companies have used digital games for a number of years to help market products to consumers and build brand loyalty. What's emerging is using games to motivate their own employees.
Read the full story:

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Lessons In Business From Dr. Love's Hug Orgy

There's a science to creating a world that's happier and more profitable, says neuroeconomist Paul Zak.
Over a microphone, neuroeconomist Paul Zak is exhorting 500 New Yorkers to give more love. "Everyone has to hug at least one stranger by the end of tonight," he insists, "No creepy hugs, please." We're at the luridly named "Love Night" at the BMW-Guggenheim Lab on a Friday night, to be test subjects for experiments in what triggers our brains to trust. Zak (above) wraps the guy next to him in a bear hug, and the heart-shaped, heat-sensitive cutout on his T-shirt turns neon green. That starts a hugging orgy that lasts for the next three hours.
Zak got the name "Doctor Love" from looking at how oxytocin--simply put, it's the brain chemical that makes people cuddle and bond--affects people's economic decisions. The chief-architect of "Love Night," Zak has to convince this roomful of hipsters, academics, and the most hardened of New Yorkers that a hug--or anything that jump-starts our brains' love circuitry--is a powerful thing. Applied to business, it means that when people really connect with those they work with, they'll feel more committed to the ideas that they're making happen together, Zak says. To prove his point, he greets me by sweeping me up with a hug so strong that it almost hurts.

Monday, October 3, 2011

You still need to boost your employees' morale

NEW YORK (AP) — In the early months of the recession, human resources consultants advised small business owners to take steps to boost their employees' morale, or risk losing them when the economy got better.
That advice still stands.
As the economy weakens, many small companies still aren't able to give out raises. Many are still increasing workloads instead of hiring new staffers. All this is certain to take a toll on employees' already sagging morale.
HR consultants say taking time to talk with your staff and listen to their concerns will go a long way toward helping you keep them. It might also help you make their jobs easier -- and make them more productive.
Perhaps the most important thing you can do to help morale is "acknowledging the stresses and circumstances that your employees are feeling," says Arlene Vernon, president of HRx Inc, an Eden Prairie, Minn.-based HR consultancy.
That may sound familiar, because it's the sort of advice consultants were giving out during the financial crisis. They suggested company owners walk around the office, factory or selling floor and talk to workers. Ask them how things are going. Listen to them vent about the economy. See if they have questions about the company.
These chats may not seem important, but they do go a long way toward helping employees feel better. If workers have to sit on their feelings and just put on a bright face all the time, they're just bottling up unhappiness and that can be a big morale-buster.
Employees also need to feel that they're really being listened to, not patronized. That means you need to take in what your workers are saying, and if they are upset about their jobs, see what the problem is and what you can do to help.
Read the full story:;_ylt=A2KLP4OAyIhOFDsABAfv5rEF;_ylu=X3oDMTRidmVsMTh1BG1pdANUb3BTdG9yeSBCdXNpbmVzc1NGIFVTRWNvbm9teVNTRgRwa2cDNTgzYTA4NTYtM2NhOC0zYWMzLTkwZWQtNDM3NzExZDc1ZDU4BHBvcwMxMgRzZWMDdG9wX3N0b3J5BHZlcgNiMjQ1ZDUwMC1lYmFmLTExZTAtYWU1NS1jODZhZjRkYzQ2OTU-;_ylg=X3oDMTIxcWQybmhuBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANidXNpbmVzc3x1cyBlY29ub215BHB0A3NlY3Rpb25z;_ylv=3

Friday, September 30, 2011

How to keep talent from wandering

Top sales people are always in demand. Losing them to a higher bidder or a more lucrative job is too easy to be taken lightly.
The cost of hiring a new employee for any position is significant. The many formulas that calculate such costs vary widely, but can range upward of 200 per cent of an employee's annual salary. That includes not only the tangible costs of severance pay, vacation accrual, job advertising and recruiting fees, but also indirect costs such as the staff time needed for paperwork and recruiting, and orientation and training for new hires. Other hard-to-quantify costs can include customer dissatisfaction, poor employee morale and loss of revenue during transitions.
Let's assume the average salary in a given company is $50,000 a year. If the cost of turnover is 150 per cent of salary, then the cost would be $75,000 per departing employee. For a company of 100 employees with a 10 per cent annual rate of turnover, the annual cost of turnover would be an estimated $750,000.
So, how to reduce your turnover rate? Start with a solid grip on the problem by answering these four questions.
Read the full story:
Companies lose $350 billion a year because of employee disengagement. Your company does NOT have to be one of them. Disengaged employees impact your business' productivity, level of innovation, and ultimately the bottom line.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

No such thing as a 'job for life' for young people - and HR staff - according to Hyphen

The job for life is officially over, as more than a quarter of young workers (aged 16-34) – and a quarter of HR staff - say they want to change jobs between eight and twelve times during their working lives, according to recruiter Hyphen.
The poll of 1,000 employees shows by contrast, older age groups have more loyalty to their employers. A maximum of four jobs was ranked preferable by over a third of 45-54 year olds (39%) and the 55+ age group (34.4%).
HR, sales and marketing professionals will have the most diverse CVs when they retire, with approximately a quarter (25% and 24.4% respectively) looking to change jobs between eight and ten times.
Despite this, however, less than one in ten (8.6%) workers nationally expect to stay in one job for their whole careers.
Workers in the legal profession are the most settled, with over a fifth (20.8%) expecting to remain in one job throughout their working lives.
Zain Wadee, MD at Hyphen said: "Persistent economic volatility, combined with the end of final salary pensions, increased mobility of workforce and higher expectations of employers, means a new generation of footloose workers is entering the job market. Our research shows that it is time for employers to acknowledge the job for life is dead and turn their focus to engaging and retaining their employees.
Read the full story:

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wanna Make More Money? Make Your Employees Happy

September 26, 2011
Wouldn’t it be great if you could wave your magic wand and abracadabra, up go sales and profits? If you flunked advanced wizardry, don’t worry. Believe it or not, this is a trick for mere mortals. All you have to do is make your employees happy.
Happy workers perform
In a Gallup, Inc. study of over two thousand business units on “the causal impact of employee work perceptions on the bottom line of organizations,” researchers found a distinct link between employee attitudes and a company’s financial performance, employee retention and customer loyalty.
Research conducted by the Wharton School found that Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For in America” reported 3.5 percent higher returns than their peers (Harvard Business Review Daily Stat).
Of course there’s the chicken and the egg question. Is company performance better because its employees are more engaged or is it the other way around? According to the Gallup study, the answer is clearly the former—happy employees are productive employees.
But most employees aren’t happy
Unfortunately, for the majority of businesses, employee engagement—a strong indicator of satisfaction and morale—is in the toilet.
According to a study by Mercer, a global HR consulting firm, nearly a third (32 percent) of U.S. workers are seriously considering looking for a new job (up from 23 percent in 2005). Another one in five (21 percent) don’t have plans to leave but also don’t give a rat’s buttocks about what they’re doing—just the kind of people you want on the payroll. (Mercer’s What’s Working survey)
Similarly, Blessing White, a global consulting firm that focuses on employee engagement, found that only a third of U.S. employees are fully engaged. Their research, and that of other industry experts, shows that the most engaged employees are both highly satisfied and high contributors to the organization.
In their 2011 Global Engagement Report, they summarize the level of engagement of North American employees as follows:
  • Highly engaged: 33 percent of North American employees.
  • Almost engaged: 10 percent—high performers and reasonably satisfied but not consistent.
  • Honeymooners and hamsters: 24 percent—either new to the organization in a kind of limbo or “working hard but, in effect, spinning their wheels.
  • Crash & Burners: 15 percent—“disillusioned and potentially exhausted.”
  • Disengaged: 18 percent—not contributing very much and not very satisfied; likely skeptical and may spread their negativity around the organization.
Millennials were the least engaged (only 23 percent were highly engaged and 25 percent were disengaged). Boomers were the opposite (36 percent were highly engaged and 16 percent were disengaged).
Looking at the numbers by department or function, employees in sales showed the highest engagement (38 percent in Blessing White’s highest engagement category) and IT and R&D workers showed the lowest (26 percent). Worse, 27 percent in engineering and 22 percent in IT were categorized as disengaged. Think about that next time you walk into a smart building.
So how do you make your employees happy?
Read the full story:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The importance of proactively managing workplace stress

Stress is on the rise in America. Over the last thirty years the amount of time Americans have spent at work has steadily risen. According to the International Labor Organization (1997), workers in the United States now “put in the longest hours on the job in industrialized nations…the equivalent of almost two working weeks more than their [next closest] counterparts in Japan” (p. 1).
The recent recession, which resulted in corporate downsizing and layoffs, has forced companies to do more with fewer employees – often by increasing the workloads and thus stress for the remaining employees. Although a certain amount of job stress is to be expected, stress in the workplace can be costly because it affects not just individual well-being but also organizational performance.
What triggers stress?
There are many different factors that can trigger job stress and the triggers and how people react to them can be different for every individual. Common external factors include, “work schedule, pace of work, job security, route to and from work, workplace noise, and the number and nature of customers” (Dessler, 2010, p. 309). Another study found 33% of stress was caused by factors outside the organization while 67% of stress was caused by internal, company factors. The internal factors included heavy or difficult work load, working long hours, leadership (or lack thereof), and work environment (Bhatti, N., Shar, A., Shaikh, F., & Nazar, M., 2010, p. 3).
Understanding the many causes and triggers of job stress makes it easier for managers to take proactive steps to reduce stress before detrimental consequences occur:
Read the full story:

Friday, September 23, 2011

Identifying Good Managers Through Leadership Competencies

Managers need to have certain competencies to effectively influence the behaviors of others and ultimately achieve desired results. Some competencies come naturally, while others need to be learned and practiced. Organizations should spend time thinking through desired competencies and identify appropriate training options, such as for these 12 common leadership competencies:
Read the full story:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

5 Ways To Get More From Your Employees

We all know the drill. Get up, go to work, go home, repeat. Most of us go through those motions five days a week, every week. But time spent at work doesn't have to be just the filler between leaving home and coming home. And yet, for so many workers, it is.
Enter: Managers. There are several things you can do to help your employees feel more engaged, more worthwhile and more passionate when it comes to their work lives. By incorporating just a few key strategies into your management style, you, your employees and your company's overall productivity could feel a boost.
"The more engaged employees are, the more productive and effective they are," John Palguta, vice president of policy at the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service, told “It's the 'well, duh' finding. If you've got folks who are disengaged, who don't like their bosses, who don't like their work, who just come to their job to pick up their paycheck, they're probably not giving you their best effort."
Read the full story:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Motivating and Retaining the Best Employees

To become a promising small business, CEOs need to develop the skill of hiring, training, and motivating people. This can be a time consuming and an expensive proposition for any company. How do you retain the best people and keep them motivated?
The key is to remember that when the employee’s career goals match what the company is trying to achieve, they stay and effectively contribute to the team effort. As soon as this varies, great employees who were outstanding in the past leave for another company.
Here are 10 ways to motivate and retain the best people:
Read the full story:

Friday, September 16, 2011

Tackling Two Monumental Challenges: Engagement and Meetings

It seems the nation’s top human resource executives are having a hard time getting a good night’s sleep – and for good reason.
In a new survey of nearly 800 Human Resources executives, 74% said their job stress level has skyrocketed in the past 18 months due to several key concerns including retaining top talent, developing leaders and controlling health care costs.
But above all else, keeping employees engaged and productive  was rated the biggest workplace challenge by those surveyed. That’s a repeat performance, as 2010 survey results had engagement in the top spot as well. The survey, titled “What’s Keeping HR Leaders Up at Night,” is conducted by Human Resources Executive, a leading publication in the HR arena.
Employee engagement is a huge issue at companies—big and small, but the good news is, it doesn’t have to be.
Just to give you a little perspective, my firm worked with a global, high tech company on ways to improve employee meetings. A quarterly, town hall process was underway at most of the firm’s 300 sites, but research showed lackluster results for generating interest or excitement among employees.
Uncovering root causes, we saw a few rise to the surface. First, meetings were stuck in one-way, transmit mode, which made employees feel like they were attending a lecture. Second, hefty PowerPoint presentations dominated the 60-minute sessions. The text-heavy charts laden with buzzwords and acronyms in 12-point font did more to tune out than tune in.
So we went in with a new approach to employee meetings, designed to create more collaboration and interest—and ultimately, engagement. And it worked. After a year’s time, site leaders reported noticeable turnarounds in participation, which helped to raise employee knowledge about business goals and performance.
Want the same results at your company? Here are a few tips to get you started:
Read the full story:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Hidden Costs of Employee Turnover

Employee turnover has some obvious costs associated with it, including recruitment, training and salary. However, every time an employee leaves, there are a variety of hidden costs you might not have considered, says Toronto-based human resources consultant Tom Armour. While you might not be writing a check for these costs, here is how turnover can drain dollars:
Read the full story:

Friday, September 9, 2011

9 Etiquette Rules That the Boss Shouldn't Break

In that corner office, you’ll find yourself balancing concerns about payroll and the supply chain with concerns about being liked by your employees and customers. Sometimes that desire to be popular can get you into trouble or land you in a lawsuit. What follows is a collection of new and old social rules you need to commit to memory.
"A business etiquette mistake can become very costly depending on how severe it is, and who you're offending," says Jacquelyn Whitmore, founder and author of several business etiquette texts, including the forthcoming Poised for Success. To help you navigate these tricky situations, we talked to Whitmore and several others versed in business etiquette to construct a list of what you should avoid in the workplace.
Read the full story:

Thursday, September 8, 2011

How Small Wins Unleash Creativity

All good managers understand the importance of making sure that every member of a team feels personally motivated and necessary throughout the workday, lest their work should stagnate and suffer. But what's the key to igniting creativity, joy, trust, and productivity among your employees? According to recent research, the single most important factor is simply a sense of making progress on meaningful work. But creating an environment that fosters progress takes some careful effort.
In their new book, The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work, authors Teresa M. Amabile and Steven J. Kramer discuss how even seemingly humdrum events can make huge differences in employees' emotional and intellectual well-being.
"There's no reason, no matter how resource-constrained an organization is, why managers can't help employees see the meaning in their work," says Amabile, a professor in the Entrepreneurial Management Unit at Harvard Business School. (Kramer, a developmental psychologist, is her husband.)
Read the full story:

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Be The CEO Who Listens To His People

No matter how great a boss you are, you are going to have some dissatisfaction from employees in how you’re running the company and how you’re treating them. Some employees will want more job perks, and some will have unrealistic thoughts about how a job should be done. The younger employees, in particular, will be inexperienced in business and not understand the realities of your industry.
Here are some ways to handle complaints from employees.
Read the full story:

Friday, August 26, 2011

Counterintuitive Problem-Solving Trick: Complain!

We’re sitting through a flight delay and my friend won’t shut up. I finally can’t stand it. “Is it possible,” I say, “that you could stop whining and complaining about your business for just five minutes?”
“I’m not complaining,” he says. “I’m problem solving.”
Fortitude in the face of adversity is usually perceived as virtuous self-restraint. Most of us try to keep our upper lips stiff: We don’t grumble, don’t complain, and definitely don’t whine. (At least not out loud.)
But that reserve could cause you to ignore opportunities to improve your business. Every day software crashes, equipment goes down, employees struggle, processes go off track… and over time you’ve learned to live with a number of chronic problems. It’s like the “Open House” syndrome: Walk through a house for sale and you notice every mark on the wall, every spot on the carpet, every scratch on the counter tops, yet you no longer see those same defects in your own home. You’ve gotten so used to the cabinet door that won’t shut properly you don’t even notice anymore.
And it doesn’t get fixed.
That’s why complaining is actually a great business tool. Complaining exposes problems — problems that cost you time and money.
Read the full story:

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Eight Ways to Communicate Your Strategy More Effectively

A frustrated CEO recently shared with me that her employees had lost their edge. They were internally focused, their speed-to-market was down, and they couldn't find a good balance between serving customers well while making healthy margins. The result was slow progress against the company strategy and an inability to profitably deliver on the value proposition. She had attempted to motivate employees and be clear about the strategy, but she was falling short and was looking for answers on what to do next. The solution in many cases is to overhaul internal communications strategies in order to convince employees of the authenticity, importance, and relevance of their company's purpose and strategic goals. Here are just a few communications approaches that will help you effectively reach your employees and encourage behaviors that advance your strategy and improve your results.
Read the full story:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The 'Virtuous Cycle' of Engagement and Productivity

Research is confirming the interconnectedness of engaged employees and profitable companies, although it may be impossible to determine which comes first -- the engagement or the productivity. Too many companies, however, put up roadblocks that hamper engagement.
By Kristen B. Frasch
It's pretty commonly understood that engaged employees and productive organizations go hand in hand. It's also pretty commonly agreed that it's difficult to determine -- in a chicken-or-egg scenario -- which comes first, engaged employees or productive and profitable work environments.
So it comes as no surprise that three recent reports -- from Gallup, Towers Watson and the Hay Group -- look at how intertwined and interdependent the two forces really are.
In interviews with close to 7,000 adult American workers at the end of 2010 and the first half of 2011, Washington-based Gallup found employees who are engaged in their work are about twice as likely (43 percent) to report their organizations are hiring as those who are actively disengaged (21 percent).
By the same token, workers who are actively disengaged and emotionally disconnected from their work and workplace (30 percent and 20 percent, respectively) are far more likely to report their organizations are letting people go than those who are engaged (13 percent).
Gallup's employee-engagement index is based on worker responses to 12 actionable workplace elements linked to performance outcomes, such as productivity, customer service, quality, retention, safety and profit.
But are engaged employees creating profitable environments in which hiring is active? Or is the productivity and hiring activity of a successful company creating engagement?
In a study co-authored by Patrick Kulesa, global research director in New York-based Towers Watson's organizational survey practice, that engagement-performance phenomenon is aptly referred to as "a virtuous cycle."
Read the full story:

Monday, August 22, 2011

How IBM Is Changing Its HR Game

As IBM celebrates its 100th birthday, many observers are rightly calling attention to the many strategic changes the company put itself through to remain relevant amidst dramatic technological and economic change. But one of the biggest transformations IBM went through is less about computers and more about culture. Over the last decade and a half, the company has realigned its HR practices and strategies to move away from the analog ways of the past and to embrace a variety of 21st century approaches, including some highly unconventional ones.
A first step in changing its HR profile occurred back in the mid-1990s when the company dropped its famous dress code requiring a dark suit and "sincere" tie in favor of "business casual." Next, the company that grew powerful in the early 20th century largely by manufacturing punch clocks got rid of "badging in" for a substantial portion of its workforce. According to the company, a full 40% percent of IBM's 400,000 global employees now work remotely.
The major reason IBM changed its HR rule book? The old one no longer fit the workforce. In the twenty-first century, the company has flourished by buying up successful companies around the world and selling off divisions that aren't thriving. That means half of its workforce has been with the company less than five years and 65% now reside outside of the United States — a dramatic change from even just two decades ago.
To maintain high worker morale, productivity, and loyalty in such a diverse and changing conditions, IBM has placed new emphasis on the "resources" component of HR in four directions.
Read the full story:

Thursday, August 18, 2011

How Leaders Turn Screw-Ups into Learning Opportunities

For many of us, screwing up is in our DNA. It happens. Call it Murphy if you like, but it happens. When this happens to someone on your team and you’re in a leadership role, however, the implications of a mistake can be far reaching.
The most important aspect of these kinds of events, however, isn’t the incident itself. As a leader, the most important part is your reaction to these events. Those reactions are what end up defining you in the eyes of your team. Allow me to illustrate.
In my younger days as a tank platoon leader, I was prone to take some pretty bold risks. On one occasion, I decided it was a good idea to abandon the plan my commander had written and lead my platoon down a different route. That route happened to go through what the map said was a swamp. It didn’t look like a swamp to me though.
I was wrong. It was a swamp. (Note: when the map says “swamp” it is a swamp). Imagine a 68-ton vehicle stuck in mud 3-5′ deep. Now imagine me standing atop said tank waiting to get chewed out by my commander. Can you say “awkward?”
Read the full story:

Monday, August 15, 2011

How To Create A Peak-Performance Employee Team

Management can be defined as getting things done through others. To be a manager you must be an expert at persuading and influencing others to work in a common direction. This is why all excellent managers are also excellent low-pressure salespeople. They don't order people to do things—they persuade them to accept certain responsibilities, with specific deadlines and agreed-upon standards of performance.
When a person is persuaded that he or she has a vested interest in doing a job well, they accept ownership of the job and the result. Once a person accepts ownership and responsibility, the manager can step aside confidently.
In every part of your life, you have a choice of either doing it yourself or delegating it to others. Your ability to get someone else to take on the job with the same enthusiasm that you would have is an exercise in personal persuasion. It may seem to take a little longer at the beginning, but it saves you an enormous amount of time in the completion of the task.
A key form of leverage that you must develop for success is other people’s knowledge. Successful people are not those who know everything needed to accomplish a particular task, but they are people who know how to find the knowledge they need.
Read the full story:

Friday, August 12, 2011

What men can learn from women about leadership in the 21st century

A new Northwestern University meta-analysis, an integration of a large number of studies addressing the same question, shows that leadership continues to be viewed as culturally masculine. The studies found that women experience two primary forms of prejudice: They are viewed as less qualified or natural than men in most leadership roles, and when women do adopt culturally masculine behaviors often required by these roles, they may be viewed as inappropriate or presumptuous.
When generalizing about any population segment, especially such large and diverse segments as male and female leaders, there is bound to be a degree of inaccuracy and stereotyping. Still, research finds that predominantly communal qualities, such as being nice or compassionate, are more associated with women; and predominantly agentic qualities, such as being assertive or competitive, are more associated with men.
For a long time, these agentic qualities have been culturally associated with successful leadership. But the 21st century is seeing the combination of new employees, new technologies and new global business realities add up to one word: collaboration. New workers are demanding it, advances in technology are enabling it, and the borderless organization of the future is dictating that future productivity gains can only be achieved by creating teams that are networked to span corporate and national boundaries.
Read the full story:

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Autonomy Enables The Helpful To Perform

If everyone in your organization only did what was written in their formal job descriptions, your business would be mediocre at best. For your business to excel, your workforce from top to bottom needs to be full of good organizational citizens. Good citizens at work go above and beyond their assigned duties to try to help fellow employees and the organization.
Employees help each other by offering advice, lending a hand, resolving conflicts, and celebrating each other’s achievements. Employees that receive trustworthy help from others feel an obligation to reciprocate, which strengthens work relationships. Good citizens in thriving work relationships will be motivated to find ways to perform their tasks more effectively and efficiently. Employees that help each other strengthen the bonds of trust with team members and supervisors, and we know trust has a strong effect on performance.
Unfortunately, good team relationships won’t matter much if employees aren’t given the latitude to improve their jobs. And good team relationships will struggle to develop when employees can’t help each other because they are constrained to “just worry about getting your job done.”
Read more:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

One Trait that Makes a Great CEO-and Place to Work

What makes a great CEO? That question came to mind recently when I read the news that Chief Executive magazine had named Alan Mulally of Ford Motor Company its 2011 CEO of the Year. It’s easy to understand why Mulally was chosen. After all, he presided over one of the more remarkable corporate turnarounds in recent memory.
But a look at the magazine’s criteria gives some insight into what makes a great CEO truly great. Some of the criteria was typical: the honoree had to show evidence of looking ahead, driving value, focusing on people, fostering corporate citizenship and sustaining business results.
But one factor was unusual: the winner had to maintain a “stable, consistent moral landscape”.
Moral landscape?
Read the full story:

Friday, July 29, 2011

If You Want to Retain The Best Young Workers, Give Them A Mentor Instead Of Cash Bonuses

If innovative CEOs want their companies to attract the next brightest minds, they should save the cash bonuses and give their younger workers a strong mentor instead.
According to the 14th Annual Global CEO Survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers, 98% of Millennials believe working with a mentor is a necessary component in development. In fact, they ranked training and development three times higher than cash bonuses as their first choice in benefits.
With social media and technology playing such a influential role in the Millennials' daily lives, the way they judge a successful organization and hierarchy will differ from their parents.
The younger generation tend not to feel as attached to the companies they work for and one in four high potential employees plan to leave their employers within the next 12 months.
They are seeking more than "just a job."
Read the full story:

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Employee engagement: Do benefits make a difference?

Mercer recently released its 2011 What’s Working—Inside Employees’ Minds survey on employee engagement. The survey asked more than 2,000 Canadian workers for their views on various aspects of the employment deal, including pay, benefits, careers, leadership, performance and engagement. The survey analyzes differences by workforce demographics and includes a conjoint analysis to determine what employees value most.
Some of the more interesting observations from the survey include the following:
  • One in three Canadian workers is seriously considering leaving his job—as such, employers may face a loss of valued talent as the economy and job market improves.
  • One in five Canadian workers is disaffected—she is committed to neither staying nor leaving the organization.
  • Base pay is at the top of 13 elements that employees value, but only 58% of survey respondents believe they are paid fairly.
  • Employee benefits rank in the lowest third of the most valued elements of the employment deal. In addition to base pay, factors such as retirement/savings, type of work, respect for the organization and incentive compensation are valued more than benefits.
To state the obvious, Canadian employers have a significant employment engagement issue. The employment deal is changing, with company loyalty at all-time lows and employees—now more than ever—prepared to vote with their feet. Getting base pay right is clearly key to winning the hearts and minds of employees, with employee benefits being somewhat of an afterthought.

Employee benefits do not drive employee engagement. It pains me to say these words, but the conclusion in itself is not startling—most of us in this business know that cash is king. However, admitting that benefits are not front and centre in the war for talent does not mean benefits are unimportant. A benefits plan has become the price of entry—you need to have a plan in place just to play the game.
Read the full story:

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Reversing Burnout

Companies with apathetic, burned-out employees are at risk of hampered productivity, while the workers themselves face health risks. Most at risk are employees who work long hours, do monotonous tasks or have been in the same job for a long time. To help, HR leaders first need to listen to what workers have to say.

Burned out and looking for a way out? That seems to be the case for many employees.
A recent study at the University of Zaragosa in Spain found that two key factors -- workplace stress (mainly monotony and feeling overburdened) and a perceived lack of recognition -- are the prime factors in employee burnout.
At the same time, a recent study by Mercer reports that about one in three (32 percent) U.S. employees are looking to leave their jobs, while another 21 percent have rock-bottom scores on key measures of engagement.
"The business consequences of this erosion in employee sentiment are significant, and clearly the issue goes far beyond retention," says Mindy Fox, a senior partner at New York-based Mercer and the firm's U.S. Region Leader.
"Diminished loyalty and widespread apathy can undermine business performance, particularly as companies increasingly look to their workforces to drive productivity gains and spur innovation," she says.
But, there are ways to reduce burnout and negative feelings by following some obvious, but often neglected, steps, say HR experts. And unless employers change their workplace culture and philosophy, many of them may take major productivity hits because of such a situation.
Read the full story:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Loyalty Weakens at Small Firms

With small firms scrimping on employee benefits as the recovery stalls, a growing number of workers say they’re open to better offers from other employers, a new study finds.
Less than half of 1,412 small-business workers recently surveyed by MetLife said they felt a strong sense of loyalty towards their current employers, down from 62% in a similar survey in November 2008, the New York insurance firm reported. As many as 34% said they would rather be working for someone else, the survey found.
By contrast, a parallel survey of 1,508 employers found their perceptions of employee loyalty hadn’t changed, with 54% believing their workers were still fiercely loyal.
The results are part of MetLife’s annual Employee Benefits Trends report, released Monday.
About 50% of workers who said they weren’t happy with their jobs blamed company benefits, the survey found.
During the downturn many small employers cut back or held benefits packages steady, with the percentage offering certain types of benefits roughly unchanged over the past three years, the report said.
Read the full story:

Friday, July 22, 2011

Keep Your Star Employees.

From CNN/Fortune last fall, but  no less relevant in today’s business environment.

You doled out extra vacation days to make up for paltry bonuses to your top performers. After the 401(k) match was cut, you passed out gift cards to remind your stars how much they mattered. In a tough economy, it's the little things, right?

Wrong. Perks and trinkets are nice, but they won't keep your best people when things improve. Some 27% of employees deemed "high potential" said they plan to leave within the year, according to a recent survey by the Corporate Executive Board. That rate of dissatisfaction is rising "precipitously" as the economy stabilizes, says Jean Martin, executive director of the CEB's Corporate Leadership Council, up from just 10% in 2006 and increasing at twice the rate of the general employee population.


That's the bad news. The good news is that perks aren't the only way to keep your high performers engaged. They want a mix of recognition and challenges that stretch them without completely stressing them out. Liz Wiseman, a former Oracle executive and author of the bestseller Multipliers, says money "never came up" when she interviewed 75 Fortune 500 managers about the leaders who motivated them most.

Read the complete article on CNN Money.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

How to Reward Great Ideas

Projet Créatif, video game developer Frima Studio’s program for pitching product ideas, requires its employees to work for the company for a year before presenting an independent project. That was too long for David Moss to wait. Less than a year after joining Frima, Moss compiled a creative team to start designing Ravenmark, a mythological adventure for young boys set in fourteenth century Scotland.
Originally designing Ravenmark as a digital short, Moss and his team were inspired by the innovative nature of Projet Créatif to do more. "We thought, this is a creative project," Moss says. "We're supposed to be able to pitch about anything we want so let's make a TV show."
So in March 2010, the Ravenmark team presented its idea to a jury of their peers. "Everyone was kind of confused that we were pitching a television show," Moss recalls. "But by the end of the presentation, everyone's eyes lit up and they could see the potential."
Read the full story:

28% of working adults lack enough time

In a new Gallup Study just published, 28% of working Americans reported that they did not have enough time to do what they needed to do yesterday. A significant number also believe that they can’t catch up with their daily obligations.
See more on Gallup’s website here and here on Huffington Post
We’ve found very similar numbers in our Annual Employee Survey Benchmark study. In 2011,  28% of US employees reported that they continually had more work than they could finish. That number was up from 20% a few years earlier. That has repercussions, especially on levels of stress and productivity.
Outside the Gallup Poll, most studies of work and family have found that people experiencing the greatest stress tend to be those with too much work and those who don't have enough, said Heather M. Helms, an associate professor at the University of North Carolina Greensboro.
That make you think doesn’t it? On the one hand we have an increase in unemployment causing stress among those without enough work, but we also have an increase in the number of stressed workers who have too much to do and not enough time to do it. Employers need to find strategies to help workers cope otherwise they’ll see their productivity gains evaporate. A good way to start is to measure the levels of stress among your workforce and compare it to national and industry norms. In 2010, our benchmark study showed 74 % of US workers agreeing  that their work is stressful. An 8% increase from a  few years before. In 2011 the same number was 71%, showing movement in the right direction, but clearly US employers still have a long way to go.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Teleworkers are happier. Surprised?

Several recent studies on how web workers are happier than their “chained-to-the-desk” counterparts.

The research is conclusive: compared to office-based colleagues, those who are free to work where they choose are happier with their jobs. But why is this? The answer isn’t as clear as it might first appear to web work boosters. After all, ask non-experts for their opinion of telecommuting and you’ll likely get a mixed bag of advantages and disadvantages. Sure, controlling your own time is bound to be freeing and allow an easier juggle of home and work responsibilities, but what about the isolation? Don’t relationships fray without face-to-face contact, leading to misunderstandings and loneliness?

More here  and here.

Retooling Labor Costs

Joe has been a machinist for 25 years at the same company, a steady and reliable worker. Although Joe is a significant asset to his firm, his wages have gone up steadily while his responsibilities have remained largely unchanged. The result is that Joe is significantly overpaid as a machinist compared with co-workers who have been doing the same job for just two years.
Struggling to ride out the worst of the recession and credit crisis intact, Joe’s company has fired dozens of workers — and considering Joe’s salary, he would seem to be a likely candidate for the next round of layoffs. Or maybe not. Joe’s a stellar employee who knows the ins and outs of the organization, the result of his many years on the job. If management let him go, not only would the company lose his wealth of institutional knowledge, but a troubling message would be sent to the other workers — namely, loyalty goes unrewarded. At Joe’s age and tenure, moreover, there could be legal implications to such a move. In short, the company would rather not fire Joe. But what’s the alternative?
Read the full story:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Deliver Value to Your Employees—Your Most Important Stakeholders

How does your company picnic impact your bottom line? What about the handwritten note sent to an employee following a loved one’s death? Or the cupcakes brought in to celebrate a milestone? Done consistently, these little signs of celebration and appreciation build employee loyalty that actually pays dividends. As CEO of Beryl, which specializes in managing patient interactions for hospitals, I seek ways to remind employees of the critical role they play in our success.
If you want employees to take a vested interest in the bigger picture, treat them like stakeholders. When you create an environment in which “jobs” are regarded more like “investments,” employees will show up with passion, productivity, and focus, making your company more profitable.
Read the full story:

Monday, July 18, 2011

Perking up the workplace - Companies turn to incentives to hold their top employees

Who knew fresh radishes could translate to employee retention? That a juicy watermelon might equal worker loyalty?

But a new farmer's market at Eli Lilly and Co.'s Downtown campus aims to do just that.

It's just one example of perks and benefits that companies are launching to avoid what some experts say may be a mass worker exodus in the coming year.

As the economy slowly begins to recover and employees, fed up with pay slashes and benefit cuts, ponder bolting, companies will have to do all they can to keep their best workers.

Consider this: Nearly 40 percent of all employees say they hope to work for a different employer in the next 12 months, according to a study by MetLife. And 25 percent of top-performing employees say they intend to leave their current employer within the year, a study by the Corporate Leadership Council found.

Read the full story:

Understand where your organization stands on Insightlink’s Loyalty Matrix and Engagement Index.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Making Work-Life Flexibility Work

Are your employees seeking work-life flexibility? While having flexibility in when, where and how you work is increasingly becoming the norm at companies of all sizes, a new study, the Work+Life Fit Reality Check, reveals there are still some roadblocks in the way.
Among the findings of the study, conducted by the Flex+Strategy Group:
  • Eleven percent of respondents said that their use of work-life flexibility increased and 76 percent said it stayed the same during the recession.
  • While in the recovery, 10 percent thought their level of use of work-life flexibility would increase and 82 percent felt it would stay the same.
  • Compared to this time last year, 66 percent report they have the same amount of work-life flexibility, and 17 percent saw an increased amount.
  • Sixty-six percent believe employee health, morale and productivity suffer as a result of having no work-life flexibility.
  • Those who worried about making less money due to improved work-life flexibility decreased from 45 percent in 2006 to 21 percent this year.
  • Those who worried about a boss saying no to more work-life balance decreased from 32 percent five years ago to just 13 percent this year.
  • Those who worried others wouldn’t think they worked hard if they had work-life flexibility decreased from 39 percent in 2006 to to only 11 percent this year.
  • The biggest obstacle to work-life flexibility was lack of time/increased workload, cited by with 29 percent.
Read the full story:

Employee Engagement: Nobody Cares

Excellent post by Edward Muzio on the unfortunate lack of interest in engagement and the seeming epidemic of “checking out” that’s plaguing the US workforce. 
Clearly, either not enough people care about employee engagement, not enough people know what to do about it, or both. I don't know about you, but to me, "both" is a troubling notion. Knowledge can lead to interest, and interest can lead to knowledge. But "nobody knows and nobody cares" is a signal flare at the end of the road. It's an attitude that quickly converts to a pattern of behavior that shuts down information transfer, marginalizes improvement efforts and saps everyone of the creativity they need to solve problems in today's complex workplace. "I don't know and I don't care" is like the organizational flu. Actually, it's more like the organizational plague.
Read the full story on Huffington Post  & check out the video below.

Boss Should Be More a Parent Than Friend

Should you try to be a close friend to your employees or is there another way to approach the relationship. This short article on The Street weighs in…
Showing an employee you care means walking some fine lines. There's a difference, for example, between asking about someone's life and being nosy.
We all know, of course, about the critical importance of engagement to your company’s profitability and success…
Research has shown over and over that employee engagement is an important predictor of retention levels and productivity: Workers who feel deeply connected to their job are more likely to stay longer and do better work. To be engaged, employees need to believe that the person they report to cares about their life and career. Even Google, with its emphasis on tech wizardry, found during a recent in-house study that caring and concern were the most important qualities for effective managers -- skills that ranked well ahead of technical know-how.
And we also know  that highly engaged employees have higher levels of agreement that their managers care about them. But does that mean you have to make everyone who works for you into your BFF?
Read the whole article here.