1. Keep on learning

    November 14, 2018 by ahmed

    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!


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

    September 2, 2018 by ahmed

    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.


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

    August 31, 2018 by ahmed

    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.


  4. People join organizations and leave their managers

    August 10, 2018 by ahmed

    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


  5. Get your employees in sync with text messaging

    May 8, 2018 by ahmed

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    You’re going about your day when suddenly, calamity strikes at your business. As someone in charge of employees, how do you alert your staff? Email’s can’t be relied on to get read, and calling every employee on the phone to tell them would take hours.

    So when police were ambushed outside The Dallas Omni Hotel, they turned to texting. Already using a text messaging software for regular employee communications, they immediately used it to alert their entire staff, and told them to stay away until the situation was resolved. Because of the quick thinking and even faster communications, they were able to keep their employees and guests safe.

    This just goes to show the effectiveness of texting. It’s immediate, attention grabbing, and reliable. So whether you’re trying to keep staff safe or notify them to a new company policy, it’s time for businesses to give texting a try to improve employee communication. SMS give you the power to reach your employees in an instant. From making last minute schedule changes, to offering industry insider information to your employees, text messaging helps you connect better with your workforce. When you give your HR department the ability to send messages through Texting with your staff, the processes of the HR department are more streamlined.

    Make Scheduling Employees Easier
    If your HR department is responsible for scheduling employees on various shifts, save time when shift scheduling by automating the process. Employees will have the ability to ask for time off, or to text in at the last minute that they can’t make it to work. It becomes much easier to fill in open shifts by simply sending out a text blast to all employees. Your HR department will have to spend less time on scheduling and finding people to fill in, opening up more time for other tasks.

    Share Important News or Reminders Through SMS
    Provide employees with up to date information on upcoming meetings, scheduled events, and more. When you use a text messaging system to reach out to your employees and share company-wide news, your employees are going to know what is going on. With open rates near 98% for text messages, your employees are going to know what is going on at all times through SMS.

    Gather Valuable Employee Feedback
    When you want to know how your employees like a specific event or training, gathering feedback is essential. Unleash the power of SMS by creating a mobile survey and send it out to attendees when the training or event is over. Your employees won’t be in a rush to complete survey paperwork before leaving, and you are more likely to get honest feedback. You can then use the feedback to make changes to how you run your company if necessary. The feedback you receive will be more useful.

    Get Employees Engaged
    To keep employees happy, it’s important to engage your employees in things that matter. Employees who feel ignored, or those that don’t think their thoughts are valued are not going to work hard for your company. Through SMS marketing, you can motivate your employees and keep them interested in industry news at the same time. If you have an employee you want to showcase, you can send out a link to your website with a write up of the employee. Use texting as two-way communication to get in sync with your employees.

    Be Ready for Emergencies
    Your company will experience an emergency at some point that requires reaching the widest number of employees as fast as possible. To keep your employees safe, a text message is the quickest way to reach your entire workforce. Whether you are closing because of inclement weather or there is a security risk in the building, your employees can be notified immediately.

    Managing a large workforce takes tremendous effort. To ease the burden of your HR department, use tools for communication such as text messaging. This allows your HR staff to reach out to employees, to answer quick questions, and to fill in shifts fast. You will be prepared in case of an emergency and be able to reach a large portion of your workforce right away through SMS. Keep your employees motivated and receive important feedback when you implement a text messaging platform for communication within your company.

    Author Biography:
    Ken Rhie

    Ken Rhie is the CEO of Trumpia, which earned a reputation as the most complete SMS solution including user-friendly user interface and API for mobile engagement, Smart Targeting, advanced automation, enterprise, and cross-channel features for both mass texting and landline texting use cases. Mr. Rhie holds an MBA degree from Harvard Business School. He has over 30 years of experience in the software, internet, and mobile communications industries.