Tuesday, June 30, 2015

5 Ways to Make Your Employees Happier and More Productive

More millennials work for small businesses with less than 100 employees than any other company size, according to research from PayScale.com. Five years ago this may have been less consequential, but this year marked the tipping point where millennials now make up more of the work force than any other generation. The future of the work force is here, and its members are more inclined to work in a small business than larger organizations.


In order to understand how macro forces are driving change in the workplace, like the rise of millennials and the expectations that come along with that, Staples Advantage, the business to business division of Staples and WorkforceTrends.com partnered on the Staples Advantage Workplace Index, a new study surveying more than 2,000 American and Canadian workers. The major finding was that more than half of small-business employees report feeling overworked and burnt out, yet 89 percent are still happy at work and motivated to become managers in their respective organizations.


It's no surprise that this data also suggests that small-business employees are working longer hours; a quarter of them spend time working outside of the office and 40 percent work on weekends at least once a month. The research also found that they don't have time to take breaks, they get too much email and they're wasting time in business meetings.


Limited resources and the need to do more with less is a hallmark of small businesses. In many cases, this fast-paced environment and ability to wear multiple hats are a few of the traits that make small businesses so desirable for the new wave of workers. However, it also means that small-business employees are under the constant pressure to manage a growing workload. According to the survey, the "always on" work culture forces employees to complete work they don't have time to do during the day and many have the desire to get ahead for the following day as to eliminate even more burnout. Read more on Foxnews.com

Monday, June 29, 2015

How Much Does Employee Turnover Cost You?

There are various ways to calculate the direct and indirect costs of replacing employees. There's no question, however, that it does cost companies much more in both time and money to replace a good employee that it does to keep them happy and engaged (especially long term employees with a great deal of institutional knowledge). Here's a Quora discussion on the topic with a few useful links.

Do you have a Nightmare Boss?

You know the types. The jerk. The one who needs anger management training. The bad communicator. The sexist. The manipulator. The not-so-funny comedian. We've all had them at one point in our careers. Here's how to handle it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Why We Love to Hate HR.and What HR Can Do About It

Recent complaints about the HR function have touched a nerve in a large, sympathetic audience, particularly in the United States. The most vocal critics say that HR managers focus too much on “administrivia” and lack vision and strategic insight.

These feelings aren’t new. They’ve erupted now and in the past because we don’t like being told how to behave—and no other group in organizational life, not even finance, bosses us around as systematically as HR does. We get defensive when we’re instructed to change how we interact with people, especially those who report to us, because that goes right to the core of who we are. What’s more, HR makes us perform tasks we dislike, such as documenting problems with employees. And it prevents us from doing what we want, such as hiring someone we “just know” is a good fit. Its directives affect every person in the organization, right up to the top, every single day.

The complaints also have a cyclical quality—they’re driven largely by the business context. Usually when companies are struggling with labor issues, HR is seen as a valued leadership partner. When things are going more smoothly all around, managers tend to think, “What’s HR doing for us, anyway?”  Read more on HBR.com

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Why Thanking Employees Can Make for a Better Leader

Is gratitude deficit rising in the workplace? When was the last time you sent an employee, colleague or customer a sincere thank-you note or a personalized gift to show your genuine appreciation for what they do? If it has been so long you cannot remember, you may not be alone.

A recent survey of 2,000 Americans found, while almost everyone agreed that thankful bosses would be more successful, only 10% actually reporting acting on their impulse to express thanks on any given day.

Often we take other people’s work and help for granted (“they are just doing their job”). Or, we assume employee-recognition programs are sufficient at rewarding extra effort. But does another company mug really tell someone they are valued?

The American writer William Arthur Ward noted that, “gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” Read more on WSJ.com

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


The word burnout gets thrown around a lot in business. But what exactly does it mean?


Burnout isn’t just the feeling of angst on Monday morning; it’s an acute condition that derives from chronic emotional stress at work. Researchers and physicians have characterized burnout as a state of exhaustion, ineffectiveness, cynicism, and reduced personal fulfillment.


Research from 2012 shows a strong negative correlation between burnout and job engagement. A burned-out brain can’t concentrate as easily or separate itself from problems. Because the brain’s emotional center connects to the thinking brain, burnout compromises innovation, risk assessment, and decision-making. But burnout doesn’t just affect the individual; its symptoms are contagious and can quickly infect your entire workplace.


How can business leaders prevent the productivity-crushing effects of burnout from plaguing their companies? While you can’t eliminate stress, you can monitor signs of burnout and identify vulnerable employees before they become chronically unhappy.




Before you can combat burnout, you need to understand the source. Read the six main causes on Fastcompany.com

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Body language don'ts at work

Success in your career can come from a number of things, many of which have little or nothing to do with your actual job description. There are proven ways to make a good first impression at work, and often decisions you've made before entering the workforce have a significant influence on your earnings and your job satisfaction. Beyond those types of factors, the day-to-day ways you interact with your peers and your boss can go a long way toward solidifying positive relationships — or tearing them down. The nonverbal communication you use, even you're not aware of it yourself, can serve as major signals to those around you if you're invested in your work, whether you're open to input, and if you have the confidence necessary to succeed in your office.


Dr. Travis Bradberry, a clinical psychologist who has become an expert in emotional intelligence, wrote a blog post on LinkedIn about some of the bad habits that cause more damage at work than you might think. Bradberry is a co-author of the book Emotional Intelligence 2.0, which describes this sort of knowledge as the following: "Today, emotional intelligence (EQ) needs little introduction. This 'other kind of smart' is the No. 1 predictor of success both personally and professionally. But knowing what it is and knowing how to use it to improve your life are two very different things." Read more on USAToday.com

Monday, June 8, 2015

All the Happy Workers

The end of capitalism has often been imagined as a crisis of epic proportions. Perhaps a financial crisis will occur that is so vast not even government finances can rescue the system. Maybe the rising anger of exploited individuals will gradually congeal into a political movement, leading to revolution. Might some single ecological disaster bring the system to a halt? Most optimistically, capitalism might be so innovative that it will eventually produce its own superior successor, through technological invention.


But in the years that have followed the demise of state socialism in the early 1990s, a more lackluster possibility has arisen. What if the greatest threat to capitalism, at least in the liberal West, is simply lack of enthusiasm and activity? What if, rather than inciting violence or explicit refusal, contemporary capitalism is just met with a yawn? From a political point of view, this would be somewhat disappointing. Yet it is no less of an obstacle for the longer-term viability of capitalism. Without a certain level of commitment on the part of employees, businesses run into some very tangible problems, which soon show up in their profits.


This fear has gripped the imaginations of managers and policymakers in recent years, and not without reason. Various studies of employee engagement have highlighted the economic costs of allowing workers to become mentally withdrawn from their jobs. Gallup conducts frequent and wide-ranging studies in this area and has found that only 13 per cent of the global workforce is properly “engaged,” while around 20 percent of employees in North America and Europe are “actively disengaged.” They estimate that active disengagement costs the U.S. economy as much as $550 billion a year. Disengagement is believed to manifest itself in absenteeism, sickness and—sometimes more problematic—presenteeism, in which employees come into the office purely to be physically present. A Canadian study suggests over a quarter of workplace absence is due to general burnout, rather than sickness. Read the full article on Yahoo Finance.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Global Employee Engagement Levels Have Plateaued, and Average Employee's Perception of the Work Experience is Deteriorating

New research from Aon Hewitt finds that while employee engagement levels have plateaued, employees' overall work experience is deteriorating--particularly their perceptions about the resources and programs that enable them to grow and perform.

Aon Hewitt's Trends in Global Employee Engagement study represents the perspectives of more than 9 million employees at over 1,000 companies in 164 countries. According to the report, global employee engagement levels reached 62 percent in 2014, up just 1 percentage point from 2013. Employee engagement across the countries with the world's 20 largest economies and labor pools remained flat at 61 percent. Despite modest increases in engagement, Aon Hewitt's study shows that employees' net satisfaction with their work experience plummeted 28 percentage points in 2014.

"As GDP growth continues, we expect to see organizations make greater investments in people, which could result in an increase in employee engagement," said Dr. Ken Oehler, Aon Hewitt's global engagement practice leader. "However, any improvements in engagement could be offset by increasing employee dissatisfaction with many of the work-related resources and programs that enable them to effectively do their jobs. Employees who are engaged, but not empowered, are more likely to be frustrated, burned out and become disengaged, which puts organizations at risk of having suboptimal productivity and higher-than-average employee turnover." Read more on Marketwatch.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Don't Fail Your Employees: Why Professional Development Training Is Critical

Zig Ziglar sent an important message when he said, "The only thing worse than training your employees and losing them, is not training your employees and keeping them." Although many factors contribute to a negative employee culture, including poor management, lack of advancement opportunity, low pay, and other factors, there is another strong correlation: how well people are trained to do their jobs. It turns out, if people feel well-prepared and well-equipped to succeed in their roles, that feeling improves their morale.


Ziglar's message has some weight behind it. According to a recent Gallup "State of the American Workplace" study, only 30 percent of American workers are fully engaged in their roles. And, as we recently discussed, lack of engagement is one of the leading indicators of high turnover. The problem? Companies select and hire people, but then underinvest in-;or significantly underestimate-;the amount of professional development training necessary to help employees develop their personal skills and exhibit the organization's desired behaviors. The impact can be felt in two major ways:  Read more on INC.com

Monday, June 1, 2015

Keep workers with the four steps to happiness

Keeping workers happy is the key to business success, says British consultant Henry Stewart, who is in Australia to show how it can be done in four steps. While people work best when they are appreciated and feel good about themselves, this simple philosophy is not a focus for most companies. Stewart, chief executive of the British  consultancy Happy Ltd, is advising Australian telco Macquarie how to retain in-demand IT workers through better management. He says Google in Australia and British retailer John Lewis are among the few companies that have grasped the importance of keeping their employees happy.


"At their last board meeting, John Lewis spent half an hour discussing the numbers and three hours discussing people and how to motivate and value them," he said. "I am trying to encourage that shift from focusing on the financials to focusing on how you make people feel good. "Google is absolutely clear that a key focus is keeping people happy."


Stewart said most companies concentrate on the bottom line, "but how to get that bottom line is through your people. People work best when they are trusted," he said. "People don't like being micromanaged. Trust people – judge them on what they produce and not on the time they spend on things."


Research from the department of economics at the University of Warwick has found that happiness made people around 12 per cent more productive. The London Business School has also published research linking employee satisfaction with business success. Macquarie Telecom executive Luke Clifton said the company wanted its managers to focus on the happiness of its employees to reduce attrition, and not just on deadlines and tasks. "Like a lot of businesses in IT, we think our attrition is slightly too high. The way to address that is through happiness and engagement," Clifton said.


Stewart recommends four key strategies to making workers happy: Read them on SMH.com.AU