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There's a reason a show like "The Office" was such a hit – cubicle dwellers and open space innovators alike can relate to working in an environment run by a boss like the clueless Michael Scott. In real life, though, bosses can be more cringe-y than lovable.

Most bosses are without proper training, having been acknowledged as a standout employee and promoted to a position of management from within. There is a lot of power in the position – a boss can make or break a successful business. The team itself can be plowing away on a path to performing but without the right leadership, falling flat is inevitable.

office-team-working-together

We walk through some of the most common issues with a manager below, but will send you off with some solutions for bettering your position as a leader. Direct your team towards efficiency and productivity, by establishing your trust, respect, and confidence in them.

Issue 1: Micromanaging

Spending time checking in with employees, monitoring their progress on projects and investigating their every move doesn't make you a good boss. It makes you a dreaded presence in your team's space, and a gripe among your subordinates. Yes, it's important to know the status of a project, but trust your employees to get the work done by deadlines and believe in their abilities to manage their time and process.

The next time you find yourself getting a little too involved in the day-to-day of your employees, it's time to ask yourself the real question. Are you afraid of losing control? Do you feel like you're an expert in your industry and are just looking for an opportunity to give input (where it may not be needed)? Think about it this way - if you were your boss, and the work was getting done, does there need to be someone checking in every minute? Probably not.

Issue 2: Not seeking input

The easiest way to convey your trust and respect in your team? Ask them for input! All too common is the manager with an ego, abusing their power by making all decisions without any input from the people doing the work. You aren't the only one knowledgeable in your field – consulting with your team brings additional perspectives and new ideas to the decision. Also, it shows one of the most important qualities for happy employees: you value their opinions.

Issue 3: Encouraging agreement

You didn't hire sheep. You hired people with proven skills in their field, and over time they've developed a dedication to your company. When you meet about projects, it's important that your employees are encouraged to offer dissenting points if they have them.

It can be challenging to acknowledge that your status may push team members to a place of complacency in speaking up, but it's very often the case. 'Approval from the boss' is something our authority-pleasing selves desire, and being agreeable is an accessible route to achievement.

So, not only is it crucial to discourage blanket agreement, but to also openly welcome disagreement.

Issue 4: Not advocating for your team

A bad boss doesn't provide resources for their employees, either to help them learn, to grow professionally, or to achieve smaller personal goals. They often adopt an attitude of "I didn't receive any help, so neither should you." Fair isn't always fair in the business world, so give your team a chance to thrive, even if you weren't offered the same opportunity.

Clearing the path for employee success is the surest way to ensure job satisfaction and employee retention. But, without also clearing obstacles from that path, a manager is just as problematic. Your employees count on you to advocate for their time, creativity, and expertise. You're their spokesman, their cheerleader, and a trusted ally in your workplace, and it's your responsibility to push for the projects they want, turn away tasks for which they lack the bandwidth, and promise deadlines that are achievable.

A straightforward solution: the Stay Interview

You have likely heard of an exit interview, a discussion on an employee's way out the door about their experience at the company. It's a reactive approach to employee feedback that allows for complete honesty, but also leaves no opportunity to salvage the employee.

Being conducted during employment rather than at it's termination, a stay interview is a proactive approach to understanding employee satisfaction. To get you started, here's the important question to ask your employees: what makes you come to work everyday?

Their answers will give you a glimpse at their motivation, and a peek at where the core of their loyalty lies. It also shows, once again, that you respect them, value their presence on the team, and trust them with the responsibility of the business's success.

 

Reducing employee turnover is much easier than recruiting, so retaining satisfied and thriving employees should be the goal of all managers. Efforts can be made to keep your team thriving, and it starts with a manager. Give these tips and try, and let us know how it goes!

Posted: 2/28/2020 10:44:00 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


43 out of 100 workers plan to look for a new job in the next 12 months, according to a recent study by global staffing firm Robert Half. Imagine what your company would look like after losing 43% of your staff, and join the ranks of employers who are "very concerned" about these findings.

why_employees_quitEmploying typical tactics like improving communication and bumping up employee recognition can help, but there are many other reasons a team member leaves for greener pastures. The reasons for professional departure range from psychological to monetary, but there are ways to retain some of your best hires without making massive changes to your company.

What make employees jump ship?

They want more money

Large debts – student debt, housing expenses, childcare expenses, car payments, and more – plague the budget of the average American, and higher salaries provide job satisfaction and peace of mind. The truth might hurt your company wallet: when it comes to retention strategies, better compensation is the clear frontrunner. The Robert Half study reports that 43% of workers leave a job for more money, with less than half of that number responding with the second highest reason:

... and more time off / better benefits

As one of the most overworked nations (with no mandated paid sick leave), it's no wonder that time off and decent benefits are heavily valued in the American workplace. Increasing vacation time, closing the office during the holidays, honoring summer Friday hours, or changing up your lunch policy are all small ways to boost morale and keep your people sticking around.

Work flexibility is becoming the norm.

More than three quarters of workers in a Crain's study say flexible schedules and remote work are the most effective non-monetary ways to retain talent. Allowing employees the freedom to work in a comfortable environment, avoiding a daily commute and working at their prime productivity throughout the day is an incredibly easy way to give your employees another reason to stay. It's not just good for your team, it's good for business - 85% of companies say productivity has increased due to greater flexibility.

There's no path for advancement

If you've hired any members of Generation Z, you might have noticed an uptick in expectations. A survey revealed that 75% believe they'll deserve a promotion after working in their position for only a year. Offering new job titles and setting a plan for career growth are potential solutions, but younger employees may just have different expectations that should be addressed directly.

Other generations feel similarly, seeking a need to feel "essential." Giving them ownership and control over their responsibilities along with a clear path for advancement results in a loyal and productive team.

They aren't learning

A third of employees who quit attribute it to lack of skill development. Workers want to contribute to companies who support their careers and professional development, so once they stop learning, you can count on an empty cubicle. Ambitious people have a growth mentality, so give them the opportunity to attend workshops or seminars and bring back some fresh ideas and enthusiasm for your industry. Retaining top talent means allowing the space for professional as well as personal growth.

They want a new boss

You've heard the saying: people don't leave companies, they leave managers. A boss with seemingly small bad habits can have a massive effect on the success of your business, so take a look in the mirror and make sure you're prioritizing team satisfaction.

We'll touch more on this topic in our next blog post, but until then, take these tips to heart and keep your top performers right where they belong – on your team!

Posted: 1/15/2020 11:12:52 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


In our last post, we discussed the importance of valuing workplace diversity and inclusion. The term "workplace diversity" has been in use for some time, but "workplace inclusivity" can have some of us scratching our heads. While diversity introduces variety to your team, an inclusive work environment is one that allows employees to truly be themselves.

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You might think: people can always be themselves in our office, but there are often instances where an employee feels uncomfortable revealing certain information about themselves. Situations all too common in the office: a woman eliminates family photos from her desk to avoid seeming "serious" about her job, or a man takes vacation time for doctor's appointments to avoid indicating he's working through some mental health issues. These are only a couple examples, but "identity covering" is a frequent tactic in the workplace. A Deloitte University Leadership Center for Inclusion resport found that 61% of employees "cover" at work, meaning they aren't necessarily hiding something, but may be downplaying it in fear of attracting unwanted attention.

How to create a diverse and inclusive workspace? We'll get you started.

Share your story and be available for theirs.

When struggling at work or outside of work, open up about it. Talk about your life. Be honest about what you did over the weekend, and ask the same of your team. Revealing bits of your personal life displays openness and vulnerability, allowing your employees to feel welcome and free from judgment. Don't hide pieces of yourself, and you can expect the same from them.

Create a path for advancement.

In a diverse workplace, not all employees have informal networks among their superiors. It's important to have a path in place for someone to move up the ranks with achievements and recognition.

Establish diversity and inclusion programs.

If your team is large enough, creating joinable groups to unite people across the company can be a great way to allow space for discussion and incorporate feedback processes to larger topics. Consider the wheelchair-friendliness of your office, and give thought to perhaps adding gender-neutral restrooms. Evaluate the diversity of leadership at your organization. Involving your employees in the design and implementation of any further diversity or inclusion programs ensures future efforts are time well spent.

Be intentional about meetings.

Who is running your team meetings? How diverse are your project teams? Eliminating a day-to-day bias is the first stage of creating an inclusive environment. Being aware of meeting and team composition is important.

Categorize your numbers.

Employee satisfaction surveys and focus groups show your intentions are in the right place, but you shouldn't let above average reviews make you complacent. Statistically, the majority's views will overpower that of the minority, so take a look at the data separated into smaller categories. A great example is a Harvard Business Review study of a global law firm: while half of the firm's employees were women, only 23% of the firm's partners were female. Further segmenting their survey data, HBR discovered women didn't want to be partner as often as men. A follow-up survey revealed there were strategies to increase the number of female partners, by making some small changes.

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace is an ongoing discussion that continues to change with a shifting workforce landscape, but one thing is clear. Providing a diverse environment that allows people to be who they are will increase productivity and ultimately improve your business.

 

https://hbr.org/2019/02/survey-what-diversity-and-inclusion-policies-do-employees-actually-want

https://hbr.org/2014/11/help-your-employees-be-themselves-at-work

https://hbr.org/2018/12/to-retain-employees-focus-on-inclusion-not-just-diversity

https://theundercoverrecruiter.com/benefits-diversity-workplace/

 

Posted: 11/22/2019 10:11:45 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


Hearing the phrase "diversity in the workplace" prompts thoughts about the importance of hiring people with different ages, gender, abilities, races, sexual orientation, backgrounds, and even more, right? While hiring a staff that varies in all of these areas is very important, there's also a new workplace must-have in town: inclusion. Hiring a diverse team is the first step, and making them feel comfortable and accepted in their workspace is next. Whether it's providing an environment where a gay employee would feel comfortable bringing their partner to a work event, or offering gluten-free alternatives for a work lunch due to dietary issues, you support your employees by valuing their lifestyles.

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Today's young workforce sees diversity and inclusion as more than a legal or moral obligation; to them it is a sign of a strength.

Companies need to prioritize diversity and inclusion in order to retain employees and maintain company satisfaction. In this post, we'll talk a little about why, and in our next post we'll tackle just how to do it.

You better understand your customers. 

Having different opinions and backgrounds on your own team offers a more accurate representation of your customers. After all, there's no one person who represents a nation. Americans come in all shapes and sizes, as they say, and it's incredibly valuable to have many types of people involved the creation of a project.

You open up your client base.

Language skills, outside of English, open doors. Representation of minorities as people of power in your business, opens doors. Diversity in your staff shows you acknowledge the diversity of the world and may provide a gateway to international and global clients.

Employee performance improves.

People want to work in an inclusive workplace. And when they feel included, they are more engaged. More engagement means employees are bouncing ideas off each other more frequently so innovation increases. It's a win-win.

It's the new norm.

We long for a day when diversity and inclusion efforts aren't extra or special programs, but for now, your business must have a plan or risk being left in the dust. It is, simply, the direction the world is going, and the path on which to stay relevant and change for the better.

Posted: 11/4/2019 2:54:51 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


A new hire is a big deal. A piece of an unfinished puzzle. A chance to add valuable skills and great energy to your team. Meeting a candidate in an interview is a great first impression, but let's be real: you're meeting their Best Self, not necessarily their Real Self. A potential hire will tell you everything you want to hear, but trying to cut through the fluff can be a challenge.

Enter: the reference.

A reference, usually a former boss or coworker, is your key to getting the real story on your potential candidate. They have shared workspace, email correspondence, and project managements with them, and probably know a thing or two about what makes them tick. With such a valuable resource at your fingertips, make sure you use your time wisely – asking them these questions will offer a glimpse into this new hire.


1) What motivates them?

Are they driven by deadlines? Pushed by penalties? Encouraged by esteem-boosts? Find out what gets them going from someone who knows, and ensure you're pushing your new employee to their full potential in a way that works.

2) What was their role on the team?

In this case, we aren't talking about their technical role, but more or their social role. Every workplace has its own dynamic, and employees naturally find their place from the start. Are they the idea initiator or more likely to let the brainstorm session sit and simmer? Maybe they keep the mood light in meetings. Maybe they're a bit of a morale drag. Who knows? You'll have to ask.

3) In what area would they need support during their first few months?

This is a crucial question for planning your next quarter. Get a sense of your potential hire's problem areas and you won't be caught off-guard when some subpar skills show up later.

4) Can you name a situation when this candidate has gone above and beyond?

The answer to this question won't be as revealing as the speed at which it is answered. If an instance is recalled quickly, you can assume the candidate goes beyond their expected duties fairly often.

5) Would you hire them again?

Perhaps the most important question to ask, the answer to this sums up the reference's overall impression of the candidate and indicates whether this person is worth hiring or not. Whether the answer is yes or no, be sure to press for an explanation.

6) What conflicts did they have? How were they resolved?

As they say, "beautiful sunsets don't exist without cloudy skies." There's a chance even the most attractive candidate has had some clouds in their professional past. Learn more about how your candidate responds to pressure and conflict with a question that's bound to get an interesting response.

When dealing with a potential new hire, don't make any assumptions. Put some effort into your discussions with references, and get the valuable information for making your decision!

Posted: 9/24/2019 12:29:26 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments