1. The Kaleidoscope of employee morale and workplace wellness

    May 10, 2019 by BPIR.com Limited

    Article contributed by Dr. Almas Tazein, BPIR.com Limited

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    Can we compare Einstein with Beethoven with Shakespeare? Likewise, one cannot undermine the significance of employees, irrespective of the chain of command. They are expected to create everyday miracles, survive the bullets in times of crisis with stoicism, or at least, sustain the positive status quo.

    And we wish to give back. Employee engagement / reward / recognition / appreciation – whatever we term it – it’s not about, but beyond the apathic sales incentives, official celebrations, or a fleeting ‘thank you’ over an email (for salvaging an impending operational-financial catastrophe). Maslow’s hierarchy confirms that all of us function at different levels of need at various stages of our professional lives. Our motivations are chalk and cheese – intra, and interpersonally.

    Furthermore, Texas Quick, an expert witness at trials of companies who were accused of overworking their employees, states that "when people get worked beyond their capacity, companies pay the price." Most experts feel that the chief responsibility for reducing stress should be the management. “Work-life balance ranks as the second most important workplace attribute behind compensation, according to research conducted by the Corporate Executive Board among more than 50,000 global workers”. (Dayton Daily News).

    So how do we plan to support our employees and make them feel cherished?

    How – With empirical case studies and global trends in how organisations contribute to their employees’ psychological health, physical wellness and social camaraderie at work and outside of it, here is a pragmatic guide with the 10 most relevant Best Practice Reports that BPIR.com has published in the employee morale and wellness domain.

    Who – From struggling organisations and its dispirited personnel, to eclectic leaders with their effervescent employees, this article will benefit and inspire one and all.

    Index of Best Practice Reports – Includes new and old (but still relevant ) reports
    1Employee Happiness
    2Employee Recognition
    3Workplace Wellness
    4Employee Motivation 2 & 1
    5Building a Healthy Society and Workforce: Awareness and Prevention of Diabetes
    6Employee Development
    7Emotional Intelligence
    8Work and Life Balance
    9Mental Toughness
    10Occupational Safety

    1. Employee Happiness

    Happiness at work is a mindset, which enables employees to maximize their performance and achieve their potential. An important part of this happiness is the emotional commitment or engagement that employees develop towards a company, its values, and its mission.

    Case Study: How the Head of an organisation implemented a Martini Culture, resulting in a reduction in voluntary turnover from 17% in 2013 to 6% in 2014, and a significant reduction in stress levels, and greater control over their work-life balance.

    2. Employee Recognition

    Despite the unquestioned benefits of employee recognition, organisations frequently execute their policies or programmes quite badly. In this light, many professional companies have now jumped on the bandwagon and offer employee recognition programmes and services. Employee recognition award.

    US $46 billion! That’s how much the employee recognition industry is worth annually. That is about two per cent of the total payroll for individual companies. Does recognition mean money? Read here for the Value and ROI in Employee Recognition.

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    3. Workplace Wellness

    Workplace wellness programmes are designed to help employees pursue a healthy lifestyle and reduce health risks, enabling to improve their physical, mental and social well-being. Because, ultimately, good health is the best investment plan for doing great business.

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    Measure and Evaluate – N.B.: this is a representative portion of the full self-assessment, which may be found in the member’s area at www.bpir.com

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    4. Employee Motivation 2

    Low employee morale leads to lower productivity, substandard work, and high staff turnover, all of which contribute to revenue losses. Writing in Aftermarket Business magazine, Tim Sramcik outlines the five misconceptions associated with improving low employee morale.

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    Example Cases – Philips Electronics, Deloitte LLP, Southwest Airlines, USA.

    Employee Motivation 1

    According to a research conducted by Greg Smith (2002), President of Chart Your Course International,

    Main causes of employee dissatisfaction at work / Factors that de-motivated staff were:

    Lack of appreciation33%
    Too much paperwork27%
    Problems with supervisors23%
    Poor pay and benefits22%
    Lack of training20%
    Lack of opportunity20%
    Fairness18%
    Problems with coworkers16%
    Commute15%
    Boring job9%

    The factors that workers thought were the most effective actions a firm could take to improve retention were:

    Train managers better32%
    Listen more28%
    Try something new24%
    Pay more23%
    Select managers better22%
    Set the example22%
    Hire better people18%
    Improve benefits13%

    Learn some key actions to implement strategies, and ensure and enhance motivation within your organisation. It is not an option, but a need to measure and evaluate your motivation strategies in order to establish how aligned individual objectives are to that of the organisation, and how motivated and committed employees say they are. Read how First Tennessee National Corporation initiated Work-life programmes to bring positive organisational results, and other novel case studies.

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    5. Building a Healthy Society and Workforce: Awareness and Prevention of Diabetes

    International Diabetes Federation reports that someone dies from diabetes every six seconds. Extensive research by the World Health Organisation estimates NCD mortality and morbidity of 56.9 million global deaths in 2016, 40.5 million, or 71%, were due to noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) i.e., cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes and chronic lung diseases. The socioeconomic impacts of NCDs threaten progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a target of reducing premature deaths from NCDs by one-third by 2030.

    This special issue focuses on some of the incredible efforts in the field of preventive health management and wellness initiatives to combat diabetes by governments, not-for-profit, private, and corporate organisations.

    The Blueprint for Change Programme by Novo Nordisk is a series of excellent case studies across more than 10 countries. Read how the World Health Organisation is effectively strategizing to salvage the threatening effect of this non-communicable disease.

    Explore novel social awareness campaigns for diabetes, and exemplary measures by health regulating bodies and government authorities in UK, USA, UAE, Canada, Australia, Belgium, India, Qatar, Europe, Saudi Arabia, Cayman Islands, Eastern Mediterranean Region, Hong Kong, along with the Global Report on diabetes.

    Hence, cost-effective strategies for dealing with diabetes and ongoing research are crucial  to the long-term effects on society and future generations.

    6. Employee Development

    Employee Development is a strategic investment typically provided through internships, job rotation, coaching, mentoring, training courses, and peer group assistance within the work place.
    Doing a fair share of the work: A UK survey concerning employee development which was carried out by "Investors in People" revealed that in all sizes of organisation half of employees reported working directly with someone who failed to do their fair share of work.

    Almost 4/10 managers – complained about colleagues not pulling their weight.
    40% of employees reported that their employer did not take any action to address this issue.
    Staff cited that working longer hours and feeling undervalued were amongst the most damaging issues they coped with, and that this in turn led to decisions to begin looking for a new job.

    7. Emotional Intelligence

    We have been led to believe that our IQ is the best measure of human potential. In the past 10 years, however, researchers have found that this isn’t necessarily the case and that a person’s emotional intelligence quotient (EQ) in actuality, is a greater predictor of success in life and work.

    EQ can have more explicit applications in the following domains: Communication between and among staff members; Conflict resolution; Customer service; Hiring; placement and staff turnover; Training and development; The development of a corporate culture or climate; Productivity; Leadership development.

    Unlike IQ, EQ can be developed and worked upon, having a significant impact on financial performance. Success stories: Recruitment costs in the US Air Force (USAF) were cut by a minimum of $3M annually due to its practice of choosing recruiters based on EQ-I criteria.

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    8. Work and Life Balance

    It is now accepted that family preoccupations can cause stress, absenteeism from work, adversely affect staff performance and productivity, and lead to resignations. It is a worldwide problem that employers can ill afford to ignore.

    Vancouver based Martha Frase-Blunt (2001) identifies that many employees, in their concern for their work, only take a ‘busman’s holiday’ – doing on their days off, or in vacation time, what they would do at work. Frase-Blunt cites studies that show workers take mobile phones, laptop computers, and beepers home over the weekends and on holidays. Calling into work to check progress, and accessing voicemail and e-mail were also shown to be common practices.

    Jill Casner-Lotto of the Work in America Institute believes that "while today’s communications devices are a boon to flexibility, freedom and enhanced sharing of information, they also undermine the work/life balance". The Society for Human Resource Management’s HR Content Expert, Nancy Lockwood (2003), also cites a recent study that "reveals that employees are often pre-occupied with work when not working, and when in the company of family and loved ones experience an inability to be meaningfully engaged in non-work spheres".

    The question is – What are businesses supposed to do about it?

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    9. Mental Toughness

    All companies want to be successful. But this would be a far-fetched idea if lackadaisical associates run the show, or associates have to communicate with their overtly sensitive colleagues. The situation may even demoralize a well-meaning team. Hence, employers aspire to hire pliable candidates, and leaders need to foster mettle in them by inspiring them to be relentless, i.e., lead by example.

    10.  Occupational Safety

    Occupational safety and health (OSH) – It is legally incumbent that employers have a common law duty to take judicious care of the health and safety of their employees. Based on the ergonomic survey and research data, safety cultures can be improved by optimizing safety-related communication throughout an organisation
    Some 2000 offices in the United States were assessed for the impact of ergonomic conditions, training, and equipment used by office workers. A sample of 299 employee evaluations reported measurable gains in productivity as a result of improved ergonomics, with an average increase of 34 minutes per day. At $30 per hour this represented $4,250 per year, per employee. Costs associated with performing the evaluations—along with the average hardware improvement costs—per employee amounted to $600. Therefore, net savings, without allowing for any injury or illness avoidance costs, was calculated at $3,650 per employee per year (i.e. $4,250 – $600), and the return on investment period was 2.3 months. Considerable savings were also recorded in illness and injury reductions, with a decrease of 28 per cent in cases.

    Successful safety programmes have to capture the hearts and minds of the people involved in them, where employees are motivated to take ownership of occupational safety, thereby plummeting the accident rates.


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  2. Keep on learning

    November 14, 2018 by BPIR.com Limited

    Originally posted by Harry Hertz on Blogrige

    I recently read a blog post by Mary Jo Asmus entitled “8 Unexpected Ways to Continue to Develop Yourself as a Leader.” Some ways were more obvious (to me) than others and I will quickly summarize all of them below. However, my main takeaway was to reflect on how I continue to learn. And I would assert that my approach is not limited to leaders, but can help all of us continue to learn.

    Let me start with a summary from the referenced blog; the items are in the order presented:

    1. Build relationships with your peers; they can help you be more successful
    2. Develop your direct reports; they also can help you be more successful
    3. Demonstrate you are ready to take on the next level of leadership
    4. Leverage your strengths and address your gaps
    5. Get above the weeds and become more visionary
    6. Use a new hobby to stimulate your brain
    7. Focus on your health so you function at your best
    8. Show concern for your colleagues

    The Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence consider workforce learning and development to be key aspects of Workforce Engagement (Item 5.2). The organization has a responsibility to consider the learning and development desires of workforce members [5.2b(1)] and to manage career development and progression of workforce members [5.2b(3)]. As individuals, we also are responsible for our learning and development; we need to recognize the benefits we gain from life-long learning. With that personal responsibility in mind, here are my eight approaches to ongoing learning. They are listed roughly in order, from the obvious to the less obvious:

    1. Take stock. Do a self-assessment of your current strengths and opportunities for improvement (to use Baldrige terminology). Seek 360° feedback as input to your self-assessment.
    2. Seek appropriate training opportunities and read relevant journals, social media posts, and books. This requires that you consider where you want to further develop your skills and capabilities, an important prerequisite for all of us.
    3. Be an active listener. You can learn a lot by listening to other points of view and learning from others knowledge. Sometimes a single word I hear will trigger a whole range of different thoughts for me, thoughts about good alternatives to my approach or thoughts about something I would like to explore further for my own education.
    4. Use humor. It makes you more human and helps everyone relax. When people are relaxed, I have found that ideas flow.
    5. Complement you strengths. Don’t surround yourself with people just like you. Choose people who complement your strengths. It will yield better organizational output and you can learn from those colleagues on an on-going basis.
    6. Learn from role models and anti-role models. I have had great bosses who really knew how to lead and also a few bosses who didn’t lead well (in my opinion). I have made a practice of studying the key characteristics of both type of bosses and have used the characteristics to build my capabilities.
    7. Create think time. I deliberately set aside time to reflect and think with no other distractions. Sometimes I have a problem or goal for that think time; other times, I just wander around my brain till a topic interests me. For years my think time was the time I spent on my garden tractor mowing my lawn. More recently, I have the luxury of allowing myself more set-aside time.
    8. Pick up the trash. I have always felt that nobody is too good or too important to pick up the trash. As Director of the Baldrige Program, I made a practice of being part of the trash collection crew at the end of each day of Baldrige examiner training. It leads to great informal conversation with colleagues. And as a leader, it shows that you are just another valued staff member.

    How do you continue to learn? Please let me know!


  3. Perpetual Guardian founder Andrew Barnes hails four-day week trial

    September 2, 2018 by BPIR.com Limited

    Originally posted by Zane Small on NewsHub

    A four-day working week sounds like a dream for most, but for some lucky Kiwi employees it’s become a reality.

    New Zealand trust company, Perpetual Guardian, has been trialling four-day working weeks for employees since March this year, without changing the salary or making working days longer.

    In February, founder Andrew Barnes told The AM Show he predicted his 200-strong team would have the same output, and was confident staff would be more productive knowing they have more time off.

    Mr Barnes returned to The AM Show on Wednesday, hailing the results of the trial as “really exciting”. He said staff productivity levels were up, stress levels were down, and customer engagement levels with the company went up over 30 percent.

    Perpetual Guardian staff were asked before the trial to explain how they planned to maintain their work output despite spending less time in the office, and then develop a plan. Most companies just tell staff what to do, but Mr Barnes says he didn’t want to do that.

    “This is bottom-up engagement; it makes the staff more engaged, more empowered, and more enthused about the whole thing,” he said, highlighting that staff aren’t expected to work more hours so long as they can produce their work on time.

    One of the challenges of the change is at the leadership level, Mr Barnes said, because “everybody in leadership says it’s never going to work, so they approach it with a bit of scepticism. We’re all conditioned to think you’ve got to spend five days in the office.”

    Interestingly, he said staff initially struggled with the extra day off and had to adjust to it. But stress levels eventually dropped “quite significantly”, despite staff knowing they had to meet their targets with less time spent in the office.

    Mr Barnes said he’s putting recommendations to the company’s board next week, with the hope that the scheme will continue. The company generated about the same amount of revenue during the trial period, he said, and costs were down, with people spending less time in traffic and less time using power in the office.

    Mr Barnes says the trial isn’t about how much time off people should get, but rather about productivity and how it can be achieved. He said the company pays staff to get a job done, and it shouldn’t matter if they’re able to do it in two days, three days or four days – as long as it’s done well.

    The extra day off for staff is a gift, Mr Barnes said, and they work hard to maintain the privilege. He says every company in New Zealand should give the scheme a go.


  4. What keeps rocket scientists happy at work (could engage your employees, too)

    August 31, 2018 by BPIR.com Limited

    Originally posted by Christine Schaefer on blogrige

    A 2017 Baldrige Award Winner with a Strong Workforce Focus
    Want to improve workforce engagement in your organization? Consider what you can learn from one of the nation’s identified role models for high performance. For example, in the business sector, you might study Stellar Solutions, a 2017 Baldrige Award-winning small business based in Palo Alto, California, that provides professional engineering services in the aerospace field.

    Stellar Solutions has been repeatedly designated a “Great Place to Work” by Fortune magazine in recent years (from 2014 to 2017). 2017 employee survey results show that 99 percent of respondents agree that “taking everything in to account, Stellar is a great place to work.” For the same four consecutive years, survey data show that 100 percent of its customers would recommend the company to others.

    How does Stellar Solutions engage its rocket scientists (among other employees) to achieve such enviable results? From its inception in 1995, the woman-owned business has set a vision of aligning “employees’ dream jobs” with its customers’ critical needs.

    Systematic Processes
    To meet its objectives of having (1) engaged, satisfied employees, (2) employees’ “dream jobs” matched with customers’ critical needs, and (3) “low to no attrition,” Stellar has created a system of workforce-focused processes (in alignment with category 5 of the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence) that include the following practices:

    • Conducting monthly face-to-face employee visits/meetings
    • Creating employee incentive bonus plans and review these with employees
    • Completing annual updates to each employee’s “Dream Job Worksheet” and review progress quarterly
    • Providing annual required training
    • Providing professional development training
    • Providing recognition through bonuses

    Measures and Results
    Key metrics used by Stellar to measure its approaches for developing and retaining employees include completion of annual bonus plans, quarterly dream job assessments (i.e., reviewing progress on each employee’s Dream Job Worksheet), employee participation in training, bonuses paid, employee survey ratings, and attrition.

    In addition, Stellar measures its progress in relation to its identified top three drivers of employee engagement: (1) feeling empowered and trusted to do what’s best for the customer, (2) feeling encouraged to balance one’s work life and personal life, and (3) feeling that one’s work has special meaning rather than being “just a job.”

    For the company’s 2017 employee survey, 100 percent of respondents agreed with the statement “I am empowered and trusted to do what is best for my customer.” In addition, 98 percent agreed with the statement “I am encouraged to balance my work life and my personal life,” and 97 percent agreed that “My work has special meaning: this is not ‘just a job.’”

    Key Points
    At the end of a presentation of its workforce-focused practices for the Baldrige community in April, Stellar shared these two key points:

    • “Our employees are our greatest resource.” Stellar Solutions keeps employees engaged by “helping them work toward their dream jobs and empowering them to identify and solve our customers’ most critical needs.”
    • “It is important for us to encourage and offer multiple outlets for collaboration and communication among our workforce to share knowledge across various locations and projects.”

    What do other organizations do (or not do) to engage workforce members? Please share ideas by submitting a comment below.


  5. People join organizations and leave their managers

    August 10, 2018 by BPIR.com Limited

    Originally posted by Helo Tamme on Workplace Happiness

    It is a well-known fact that people join organizations and leave their managers. Moreover, it is actually confirmed with different studies and researches, that bad managers are the number one cause of employees unhappiness and reason why they quit their job.

    Gallup’s research shows that managers account for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores. A study of 7,272 U.S. adults revealed that one in two had left their job to get away from their manager to improve their overall life at some point in their career.

    Similar findings are revealed with the poll of 2,000 people in the UK conducted by Human Resources firm Investors in People: 49 percent say that they are thinking to leave their job because of poor management – making that the most popular reason for a potential move. A National Study Conducted by Ultimate Software: there is a need for greater focus on Manager-Employee Relationships. For 93% of employees, trust in their direct boss is essential to staying satisfied at work, and over half of employees surveyed say if they aren’t satisfied at work, they can’t put forth their best effort. A good manager-employee relationship can play a significant role in retention, too: more than half of employees say they’d turn down a 10% pay increase to stay with a great boss.

    But not all bosses are bad, of course. There are actually a lot of great leaders in front of great organizations. Since leading starts from the very top of an organization, then let’s have a look to the highest rated CEO’s. Did you know that everybody can rate and review their workplace and CEO at In Glassdoor? Top 100 is available at the Glassdoor site but here is the TOP 10 CEO’s rated by their people:

    1. Eric S. Yuan from Zoom Video Communications
    2. Michael F. Mahoney from Boston Scientific
    3. Daniel Springer from DocuSign
    4. Lynsi Snyder from In-N-Out Burger
    5. James Downing from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
    6. Corey Schiller & Asher Raphael from Power Home Remodeling
    7. Charles C. Butt from H E B
    8. Jeff Weiner from LinkedIn
    9. Colleen Wegman from Wegmans Food Markets
    10. Marc Benioff from Salesforce

    So what is this that great leaders do to that make them great? I had a look at the Zoom Video Communication reviews at Glassdoor and here is what I found about Eric S. Yuan: “CEO is a great Entrepreneur with a solid vision for the company”. “Linear management structure – you can walk onto any floor, chat with any exec (even Eric our CEO) and you’ll get a response. It’s encouraged”! “Bi-weekly all hands has an anonymous Q&A that addresses any lingering beef anyone has with anything going on at Zoom. Questions are addressed live by the CEO and a lot of positive changes have come from it!” ”Eric Yuan is about as humble, nice, and hard-working as they get”. ”Eric Yuan is the real deal, smart, humble, driven like no other and truly cares and it shows in action and how he leads. You know the man by what he values from sending personal gift cards for answering questions in All hands to following up with my wife when our family was going through a hard season, to jumping on calls to provide executive exposure with prospects or current customers. Too much to say here for a review but Eric is a very special man and leader”. What was really interesting is this that almost all the reviews that I read had something great say about Eric which shows that apparently, he is doing something right since reviews are high and comments were positive.

    It is clear, we do not want to have bad bosses. It is definitely really challenging to attract and retain talents so therefore here are three things that I would recommend you to do when you would want to have great leaders on board:

    Recruit and Select carefully! As this Gallup article recommends, whether hiring from the outside or promoting from within, organizations that scientifically select managers for the unique talents it takes to effectively manage people greatly increase the odds of engaging their employees. Instead of using management jobs as promotional prizes for all career paths, companies should treat these roles as unique with distinct functional demands that require a specific talent set. They should select managers with the right talents for supporting, positioning, empowering, and engaging their staff.

    Educate and develop your managers! Everything around us is changing constantly so therefore even the very best ones need to learn and develop. Meaning that you need to train your managers during the whole employee lifecycle not only during the induction program or when you see or hear problems rising. Even Eric, the highest rated CEO according to Glassdoor, believes that it is possible to continuously grow as a leader to fit the evolving needs of the business, as long as you are committed to continuously learn and challenge yourself. So how does he learn? He reads books!

    Promote and encourage communication! Communication is often the basis of any healthy relationship, including the one between an employee and his or her manager. Gallup has found that consistent communication – whether it occurs in person, over the phone or electronically – is connected to higher engagement. For example, employees whose managers hold regular meetings with them are almost three times as likely to be engaged as employees whose managers do not hold regular meetings with them. Gallup also found that engagement is highest among employees who have some form (face to face, phone or digital) of daily communication with their managers. Managers who use a combination of face-to-face, phone, and electronic communication are the most successful in engaging employees. And when employees attempt to contact their manager, engaged employees report their manager returns their calls or messages within 24 hours. These ongoing transactions explain why engaged workers are more likely to say their manager knows what projects or tasks they are working on.

    Sources used in this post:
    https://news.gallup.com/businessjournal/182321/employees-lot-managers.aspx
    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/uk-employees-job-search-2018-look-new-company-workplace-happiness-career-a8133351.html
    https://www.ultimatesoftware.com/PR/Press-Release/New-National-Study-Conducted-by-Ultimate-Software-Reveals-Need-for-Greater-Focus-on-Manager-Employee-Relationships
    https://www.glassdoor.com/Award/Top-CEOs-LST_KQ0,8.htm
    https://www.gallup.com/file/services/176708/State%20of%20the%20American%20Workplace%20Report%202013.pdf
    https://blog.signifai.io/learnings-discussion-eric-yuan-ceo-founder-zoom
    https://news.gallup.com/businessjournal/182321/employees-lot-managers.aspx