Five Practical Ways to Support Mental Well-being at Work

Mental well-being impacts engagement, absenteeism and productivity. Discover how help make the workplace atmosphere and environment more pleasant with these tricks.


The American Institute of Stress reports that stress is the nation’s top health problem. This makes sense, as mental capacity is highly valued in the workplace but can also be highly vulnerable. Today’s workplace, with technology, fast-paced growth and decreased resources, can contribute to increased stress.

Companies should value the mental health of their employees as a top asset and fiercely protect it. Mental well-being impacts engagement, presenteeism, absenteeism and productivity — all of which impact businesses bottom lines. More importantly, supporting and protecting the mental health of your employees is the right thing to do.

Here are five best practices to support mental health in the workplace.

  1. Normalize the conversation.

Top-down support of mental health is crucial in creating an open dialogue, as is an open-door policy. Senior leaders should participate in the conversation about mental wellbeing to show buy in. Normalizing the occurrence of a grief reaction or stress disorder can insure that your employees seek help when it happens to them.

Establishing mental health champions within your organization is another way to encourage a healthy dialogue. People with mental health conditions who want to help others are great candidates for this role.

Use awareness days that focus on stress and mental health as external nudges to educate staff about these important issues. Importantly, remind staff that a diversity of perspectives, including those with lived mental health experiences, are valued and encouraged in inclusive environments.

  1. Implement strong policies and procedures.

Disclosure can help an employee seek the appropriate resources and care before conditions worsen, so having proper policies and procedures in place are important in removing barriers to disclose.

This includes protection against discrimination, which is usually a top concern for employees, as well as providing appropriate workplace accommodations. Ensure managers are aware of key resources, like employee assistance programs, and maintain confidentiality when an employee discloses information.

Beyond this, educate employees on policies, procedures and proper protocols to increase employee awareness. Here’s a tip: Repeat key messages and tailor your communications to better reach your staff.

  1. Prevention is better than cure.

It’s essential to remember that anyone is susceptible to stress and a resulting decline in their mental health, whether a preexisting condition exists or not. Big life events like having a baby or losing a loved one and every day struggles like money worries, relationship issues or work-related stress can cause or aggravate mental health conditions to the point of interfering with work. 

Mental wellness sessions or work/life balance programs can help. Bring in an expert and talk to your staff about how to safeguard their own mental health, build resilience and recognize signs of distress in others.

  1. Tailor your benefits package to support mental wellbeing.

Choose a major medical plan that gives employees access to quality mental health specialists in network, as these costs can add up significantly. Helping employees have access to and triage the right specialist support is crucial in managing conditions.

EAPs can act as a first line of defense for a wide range of problems – from money and relationship worries to support for working caregivers. They provide both practical and emotional support for employees through confidential counseling and can help prevent issues from escalating and impacting productivity. These programs are often offered as part of a major medical or disability plan, so your company may already have access to them.

Money worries can also take an emotional toll on wellbeing. In fact, financial concerns were the leading cause of stress across all generations in a recent consumer study conducted by my company, Unum.

Help your employees establish a strong financial foundation by offering financially-focused benefits, like life and disability insurance, retirement savings options and supplemental health benefits that can close the rising financial gap in medical plans.

If your budget doesn’t cover these benefits, consider offering them on a voluntary basis. Access to financial protection benefits are more affordable when offered through the workplace, even if the employee picks up the cost.

Flexible hours or remote working options can also help employees schedule their work days when they’re feeling most productive. This can help reduce presenteeism for mental ill-health, and it also signals to employees that you’re supportive of a healthy work/life balance.

  1. Encourage self-care.

Self-care plays a critical role in overall wellbeing. Encourage employees to do small tasks that’ll help them build resilience over time.

The basics like getting plenty of sleep, eating healthy, drinking water, and exercising are foundational in overall wellbeing.

Beyond these staples, developing appropriate time management and work/life balance skills are also important. Delegating and collaborating are also key to ensure healthy work behaviors which also decrease stress.

While technology and our always-on culture make it hard to disconnect, encourage employees to set device off-times so they can fully recharge before the next day. And most important, model this behavior to your staff and limit after hours work and emails.

Having a holistic mental well-being strategy that includes prevention, intervention and protection is essential for unlocking a workforce’s true potential.

 

SOURCE:
Jackson M (4 June 2018) "Five Practical Ways to Support Mental Well-being at Work" [Web Blog Post]. Retrieved from http://www.workforce.com/2018/05/18/five-practical-ways-support-mental-well-work/


Are your employees scared to take time off?

Your employees might be feeling pressured and overworked. Avoid low productivity in your workplace with these tips on vacation impact.


They might be getting paid time off, but close to half of American workers aren’t taking it—or aren’t taking as much of it as they’re entitled to. And that’s making for a workforce that’s not only overworked and under stress, but actually being pressured to forego time that they’re entitled to.

So says “The PTO Pressure Report” from Kimble Applications, which finds that not only have 47 percent of employees not taken as much PTO as they’re entitled to, 21 percent admit to having left more than five vacation days unused. According to survey respondents, workload-related stress is the top reason so many are failing to use all the PTO they’re entitled to: 27 percent say they just have too many projects or deadlines to take time off, and 13 percent dread the heaps they’ll find on their desks when they get back.

Their bosses aren’t helping, either, with 19 percent of respondents saying that they’ve felt pressured by employers or managers to abstain from vacation. Not only that, more than a quarter are actually nervous or even anxious at the thought of submitting a time-off request; 19 percent worry about being away from work, while 7 percent fear that their requests will be denied.

But businesses could actually be shooting themselves in the foot by keeping such a tight rein on employees. Says the report, “These managers likely don’t realize that this is having a direct, negative impact on the business, as past research indicates that employees who take most or all of their vacation time each year perform better and are more productive than those who do not.”

Even if they get to go on vacation, it’s not doing a lot of them much good. They’re too wired into the job, with 48 percent saying they proactively check in on vacation. A surprising 19 percent do so every day, with another 29 percent doing so periodically. And the boss isn’t making it easy to be on vacation once they get to go; 29 percent of workers say they’re expected to be available for emergencies, and another nine percent say they’re expected to check in frequently. Can’t exactly unwind too well with that hanging over their heads, which means they get back to work stressed out from making sure they satisfy vacation’s employment obligations.

They think they’ll get ahead that way, though—at least 14 percent believe that if they leave that vacation time on the table, they’re more likely to succeed and move up in the ranks. And 19 percent say that’s more important to them than the vacation time they’re abandoning—they’d give up their vacation time for a whole year if it meant they’d nail a promotion.

Younger employees are more willing to work instead of take time off than their elders ; 25 percent of those aged 25–34 feel this way compared to only 17 percent of those aged 55–64.

What businesses may not realize is how important PTO is for the company’s bottom line. Mark Robinson, co-founder of Kimble Applications disagrees. “I am an advocate of giving people a reasonable vacation entitlement and then encouraging them to take it,” he says in the report. ”My experience is that businesses work best if there is clarity about this and people feel confident about planning their vacation well in advance. That is better for the individuals and it allows the business to forecast and budget better too.”

Robinson adds, “American businesses sometimes offer unlimited time off—but they know that in most cases that ends up with people taking less time off. Also, in businesses where people don’t feel confident enough about taking vacations to plan them well in advance, there can be an issue at the end of the year when they suddenly all disappear at once. Successful, sustainable organizations learn to plan their business around PTO time.”

SOURCE:

Satter M. (22 May 2018). “Are your employees scared to take time off?” [Web Blog Post]. Retrieved from address https://www.benefitspro.com/2018/05/22/are-your-employees-scared-to-take-time-off/


Why a Strong Employee/Employer Relationship Is Important

Tied to the success of a company is the loyalty of its customers. While this customer-first mentality is necessary for the continuation of a company, employers sometimes forget to honor another intrinsic element of success and growth — the employee and employer relationship.

Employers are not drill sergeants who belt out orders for employees to follow. Why waste all that employee talent by burning them out? Work to build a strong and positive relationship with your employees, and they will grow as professionals and give back tenfold.

  1. Rethink Hierarchy: Help Employees Navigate the Organization

Employees have a place in the hierarchy of the company, but that doesn’t mean anyone should feel less than another or be demoralized. Every leader must understand the functions of their organization and its politics. Your organization’s culture sets the precedent for the professional personalities it hires. It should be clear to each employee why they were hired and why they are the best fit for a particular role.

Unfortunately, many employees simply exist in the vacuum of a cubicle and may not grow out of it. They feel boxed in and clueless about how to navigate the hierarchy and how to climb the ladder of success. An employee may need hand-holding or to be left alone, but that’s not the employee’s fault.

An employer has to find a way to meet them in the middle. Each employee has a hierarchy of needs that should be addressed, such as good benefits to meet basic needs, a positive work environment, a sense of place to develop a feeling of belonging and a way to become professionally self-actualized.

  1. Invest in Employee Networks and Loyalty

Just because you’ve moved up the ladder as a leader doesn’t mean you stop building relationships with those around you, including those under your supervision. You are a model of success for your employees, and you never know where your paths will lead or cross in the future.

Do your employees feel they can trust you? Do you empower and equip them with tools necessary to boost their influence and opportunities for success? Employee interoffice relationships and networks sculpt their reputation over the course of their careers.

Invest in employee networks to build loyalty and employee morale. Leaders should encourage networking inside and outside of the office. By strengthening influential networks, your employees will feel confident about their professional objectives and goals. They must learn that even professional relationships are not mutual all the time, and this negative exchange should be avoided. Loyalty is earned and learned when employees align with others who reciprocate support in networking, and that’s first gained from the employer.

Leaders should look at their own professional paths as an example for personal consideration. Name three others that have been in your network for years, and ask yourself if these are reciprocal relationships. Retrace the steps of your career, and remember leaders who held you back and why. Don’t be that leader. When employees climb the ladder, they will be in your network. Maintain reciprocal relationships with your employees, and teach them to do the same with others in their network.

  1. Broaden the Scope of Employee Experience

Don’t let employees become bored with their jobs. Of course, there are mundane tasks to every role that feel like chores, but employees should be allowed to challenge their knowledge. Let employees develop their skills by teaching them how to do the job of a leader. Broadening the scope of an employee’s experience prepares them for what comes next in their career, and they won’t fall short of expectations or feel their ambitions are neglected by an employer they trusted.

Many employers feel an employee should only understand what’s in their job description and nothing beyond fulfilling those duties. Wasn’t that why the employee was hired in the first place? An excellent leader sees the employee for their ambition and ability to grow, and then teaches them about the ecosystem of the workplace to advance.

Encourage employees to step up to the plate, beyond being a bench warmer, and take a swing at a big project or pitch an idea at a meeting. When an employee has the confidence to speak out and act independently, they gain the confidence to take risks, make involved decisions and lead.

Strong employee/employer relationships are vital to the success of the organization. The people and their relationships behind the scenes are the gears that move the mechanism of your company.

When your employees do their jobs well, achieve a new goal or do something successfully, reward them with networking opportunities and better benefits. Make the employee and employer relationship a strong and reciprocal one to be remembered for an entire career.

 

Read the original article.

Source:
Craig W. (20 September 2017). "Why a Strong Employee/Employer Relationship Is Important" [Web blog post]. Retrieved from address https://www.forbes.com/sites/williamcraig/2017/09/20/why-a-strong-employeeemployer-relationship-is-important/#480edb564d91


Dealing with acidic attitudes: Help for your managers

It's important to have positive attitudes at the top of your employee pyramid to promote positive attitudes all around the office. Take some time today to read this helpful blog post on acidic attitudes, and how to avoid them in your managers.


Every workplace has negative people who erode morale. They’re not always easy to pick out of a crowd, but they can do an amazing amount of damage over time.

Most of the time, these folks don’t make the big mistakes that call attention to themselves. They’re frequently pretty good at their jobs, so they’re not called on the carpet too often.

But like a virus running in the background of a computer program, their acidic personalities eat away at the goals – and ultimately the bottom line – of the company week after week, year after year.

Who are these people? They’re the employees who:

  • continually find things to complain about and exaggerate the seriousness of co-workers’ mistakes
  • spread gossip and start rumors that pit employees against each other
  • talk behind co-workers’ backs, and
  • undermine supervisors’ authority with a never-ending flow of criticism that stays under-the-radar so it’s rarely recognized and corrected.

It’s been said the only way to fix a bad attitude is through psychotherapy, religion or brain surgery.  But it’s a rare manager who is a shrink, a minister and a neurosurgeon.

Still, every manager needs a strategy to deal with this constant drag on employee attitudes.

The stakes are too high to just let things slide.

Looking for answers – 4 key questions

So what’s to be done? The experts say managers should move away from the vague “bad attitude” discussion to the hard facts of employee behavior.

The key questions:

  • What’s the impact of the employee’s behavior?
  • How do the person’s actions differ from the standards set for overall employee behavior?
  • What’s the effect of this individual’s behavior on the people who work with him/her?
  • If this person acted according to our accepted standards, could it make a difference in morale and productivity?

Managers should identify the actions of negative people – and make it clear those actions will no longer be tolerated.

An example: A Midwestern company established a “no jerk” policy. It included the statement:

Each employee will demonstrate professional behavior that supports team efforts and enhances team behavior, performance and productivity.

Handling tough conversations with acidic employees

Establishing policy is a solid first step; it creates a good framework.

But managers need practical advice that gets results day to day on the front lines.

Managers need one-on-one coaching sessions to cover these points:

  • Acknowledge the awkwardness. Managers can let employees know they’re providing feedback that’s difficult to discuss. It’s only human to feel that way.
  • Keep it results-oriented. A phrase like “I’m bringing this up because it’s important you address this issue to be successful in your job” is helpful.
  • Accentuate the positive. It’s a good idea to highlight the good things that are likely to happen when the person changes the disruptive behavior. On the other hand, if the person remains defiant, stressing the negative outcome if the person’s attitude doesn’t change can be effective, too.

It’s human nature to want to delay having a tough conversation with an employee with a bad attitude. But that only makes things worse.

And since it’s going to be a tough conversation, it’s recommended that supervisors prepare for the discussion.

Suggestions for handling the confrontation:

  • Be specific about what you want. It’s a mistake to use general terms in a discussion about a specific behavior problem. For example, a manager says “I don’t like your attitude. I want you to change it.” That’s pretty safe, but it could mean anything.
    Instead, the manager should say “It’s not helpful the way you talk about our customers behind their backs. It poisons the attitude of the others in customer service. From now on, if you can’t say something supportive of a customer, please don’t say anything at all.”
    Managers should try to gather specific examples of negative things the employee has said in the past, and use those in the discussion for clarity.
  • Let people rant … a little.  Once a manager has gotten through discussing the specific behaviors, it’s likely the other person is going to feel the need to blow off steam and maybe even mount a defense. To avoiding having people feel like they are on the witness stand, let them rant a bit.
    It’ll help them feel like they are being heard –  because they are. Then steer the conversation back to the results you want.
  • Try to use “we.” Work to get across the notion that the issue is a problem for everyone concerned. A manager can start by saying “We have a problem” or “We need to change.”
    The helps the person realize the behavior is important, without finger-pointing.
  • Avoid overusing “you.” Putting all the responsibility on the employee is a conversational black hole that’s impossible to escape. The constant use of the word you, as in “You have a bad attitude and everyone knows it” is an invitation for a fight.
    Instead, try “We need to talk about your attitude.”
    The point here is, while it is OK to use the word “you,” using it continually in a negative way kills the conversation.
  • Avoid “however” and “but.” Some managers believe that if they lead with a compliment, it’s easier to wade into the problem. That conversation looks something like this: “You’ve done a pretty good job, but …” and then the manager lowers the boom.
    That often angers people and leaves them thinking, “Why can’t he ever just say something positive and leave it at that?”
    Consider substituting “and” for “but” and “however,” and the conversation is likely to go smoother, as in: “You’re doing a pretty good job and we need to talk about how to get you to show more respect for customers.”
  • Don’t feel as if you have to fill the silence. In a tense situation a manager may be tempted to fill every gap in the conversation. Don’t. Stay silent when there’s a lull. Obligate the other person to fill in the silence.
    It’s surprising the amount of information a manager can get without ever asking a question … just by remaining silent.

You can read the original article here.

Source:

Gould T. (25 March 2015). "Dealing with acidic attitudes: Help for your managers" [Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://www.hrmorning.com/managers-dealing-with-negative-attitudes/


Half of Mature Workers Delaying or Giving Up on Retirement

Did you know that now more than ever Americans are giving up on their dreams of retirement? Find out about the somber facts facing the older generation of workers in the great article from Benefits Pro by Marlene Y. Satter.

It’s a grim picture for older workers: half either plan to postpone retirement till at least age 70, or else to forego retirement altogether.

That’s the depressing conclusion of a recent CareerBuilder survey, which finds that 30 percent of U.S. workers aged 60 or older don’t plan to retire until at least age 70—and possibly not then, either.

Another 20 percent don’t believe they will ever be able to retire.

Why? Well, money—or, rather, the lack of it—is the main reason for all these delays and postponements.

But that doesn’t mean that workers actually have a set financial goal in mind; they just have this sinking feeling that there’s not enough set aside to support them.

Thirty-four percent of survey respondents aged 60 and older say they aren’t sure how much they’ll need to save in order to retire.

And a stunning 24 percent think they’ll be able to get through retirement (and the potential for high medical expenses) on less than $500,000.

Others are estimating higher—some a lot higher—but that probably makes the goal of retirement seem even farther out of reach, with 25 percent believing that the magic number lies somewhere between $500,000–$1,000,000, 13 percent shooting for a figure between $1–2 million, 3 percent looking at $2 million to less than $3 million and (the) 1 percent aiming at $3 million or more.

And if that’s not bad enough, 26 percent of workers 55 and older say they don’t even participate in a 401(k), IRA or other retirement plan.

With 74 percent of respondents 55 and older saying they aren’t making their desired salary, that could play a pretty big part in lack of participation—but that doesn’t mean they’re standing still. Eight percent took on a second job in 2016, and 12 percent plan to change jobs this year.

Predictably, the situation is worse for women. While 54.8 percent of male respondents aged 60+ say they’re postponing retirement, 58.7 percent of women say so.

Asked at which age they think they can retire, the largest groups of both men and women say 65–69, but while 44.9 percent of men say so, just 39.6 percent of women say so.

In addition, 24.4 percent of women peg the 70–74 age range, compared with 21.1 percent of men, and 23.2 percent of women agree with the gloomy statement, “I don’t think I’ll be able to retire”—compared with 18 percent of men.

And no wonder, since while 21.7 percent of men say they’re “not sure” how much they’ll need to retire, 49.3 percent of women are in that category.

Women also don’t participate in retirement plans at the rate that men do, either; 28.3 percent of male respondents say they don’t participate in a 401(k), IRA or other retirement plan, but 35.4 percent of female respondents say they aren’t participating.

For workers in the Midwest, a shocking percentage say they’re delaying retirement: 61.6 percent overall, both men and women, of 60+ workers saying they’re doing so.

Those in the fields of transportation, retail, sales, leisure and hospitality make up the largest percentages of those putting off retirement, at 70.4 percent, 62.5 percent, 62.8 percent and 61.3 percent, respectively. And 46.7 percent overall agree with the statement, “I don’t think I’ll be able to retire.”

Incidentally, 53.2 percent of those in financial services—the largest professional industry group to say so—are not postponing retirement.

They’re followed closely by those in health care, at 50.9 percent—the only other field in which more than half of its workers are planning on retiring on schedule.

And when it comes to participating in retirement plans, some industries see some really outsized participation rates that other industries could only dream of. Among those who work in financial services, for instance, 96.5 percent of respondents say they participate in a 401(k), IRA or comparable retirement plan.

That’s followed by information technology (88.2 percent), energy (87.5 percent), large health care institutions (85.8 percent—smaller health care institutions participate at a rate of 51 percent, while overall in the industry the rate comes to 75.5 percent), government employees (83.6 percent) and manufacturing (80.2 percent).

After that it drops off pretty sharply, and the industry with the lowest participation rate is the leisure and hospitality industry, at just 43.4 percent.

See the original article Here.

Source:

Satter M. (2017 March 31). Half of mature workers delaying or giving up on retirement [Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://www.benefitspro.com/2017/03/31/half-of-mature-workers-delaying-or-giving-up-on-re?ref=mostpopular&page_all=1


3 things managers can’t say after FMLA requests

Do you know which question you can ask any employee requesting FMLA leave?  Look at this great article from HR Morning about what employers can and cannot say to an employee on FMLA leave Christian Schappel

You know when employees request FMLA leave, those conversations have to stick to the facts about what the workers need and why. The problem is, a lot of managers don’t know that — and here’s proof some of their stray comments can cost you dearly in court. 

Three employers are currently fighting expensive FMLA interference lawsuits because their managers didn’t stick to the facts when subordinates requested leave.

Don’t say it!

The real kick in the pants: Two of the lawsuits were filed by employees who’d received all of the FMLA leave they requested — and the courts said the interference claims were still valid. How’s that even possible? Keep reading to learn about the latest litigation trend in the FMLA world.

Here’s what happened in each case (don’t worry, we’ve cut to the chase in all of them) — beginning with the words/phrases managers must avoid when a worker requests leave:

No. 1: ‘We expect you to be here’

James Hefti, a tool designer, was in hot water with his company, Brunk Industries, a metal stamping company.

Reason: Let’s just say he called a lot of people at work “my b____.”

After he ignored multiple warnings from management to stop using obscenities at work, the company planned to fire him. But it didn’t pull the trigger immediately.

Then, just prior to his termination, Hefti requested FMLA leave to care for his son, who was suffering from various mental health problems.

His manager, upon hearing of Hefti’s request, told him Brunk paid for his insurance and thus expected him to be at work.

When Hefti was fired a few days later, he sued for FMLA interference.

The company tried to get the suit thrown out, claiming his conduct and ignorance of repeated warnings gave it grounds to terminate him. But it didn’t win.

The court said the manager’s interactions with Hefti did raise the question of whether he was fired for requesting FMLA leave, so the judge sent the case to trial.

Cite: Hefti v. Brunk Industries

No. 2: ‘It’s inconsiderate’

Lisa Kimes, a public safety officer for the University of Scranton’s Department of Public Safety, requested FMLA leave to care for her son, who had diabetes.

Kimes was granted all the time off she requested. But in a meeting with her supervisor she was told that since the department was short staffed it was “inconsiderate” of her to take time off.

When her relationship with the department soured, she sued claiming FMLA interference.

The department tried to get her suit tossed before it went to trial. It had a seemingly reasonable argument: She got all of the leave she requested, so it couldn’t have interfered with her FMLA rights.

But Kimes argued that her supervisor’s comments prevented her from requesting more FMLA leave – thus the interference lawsuit.

The court sided with Kimes. It said she had a strong argument, so the judge sent her case to trial as well.

Suit: Kimes v. University of Scranton

No. 3: ‘I’m mad’

Judy Gordon was an officer with U.S. Capitol Police when she requested intermittent FMLA leave for periods of incapacitating depression following her husband’s suicide.

But before Gordon used any FMLA leave, a captain in the police department told her that an upper-level manager had said he was “mad” about FMLA requests in general, and he’d vowed to “find a problem” with Gordon’s request.

Then later, when she actually went to take leave, her manager became irate, denied her request and demanded a doctor’s note. He later relented and granted the request.

In fact, she was granted all the leave she requested.

Still, she filed an FMLA interference suit. And, again, the employer fought to get it thrown out before a trial on the grounds that Gordon had no claim because all of her leave requests were granted.

But this case was sent to trial, too. The judge said her superiors’ conduct could have a “reasonable tendency” to interfere with her FMLA rights by deterring her from exercising them — i.e., the comments made to her could’ve persuaded her not to request additional leave time to which she was entitled.

Suit: Gordon v. United States Capitol Police

Just the facts, please

Based on a thorough read-through of the court documents, each of these employers appeared to have a pretty good chance of winning summary judgment and getting the lawsuits thrown out before an expensive trial — that is, if it weren’t for the managers’ stray comments in each.

These cases have created two important teaching points for HR:

  1. Courts are allowing FMLA interference claims to be made if it appears an employee may have been coaxed into not requesting leave he or she was entitled to, and
  2. You never know when a stray remark will come back to bite you.

The best way to stay safe: Re-emphasize that managers must stick to the facts when employees request FMLA leave, as well as keep their opinions and other observations to themselves.

See the original article Here.

Source:

Schappel C. (2017 March 17). 3 things managers can't say after FMLA requests [Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://www.hrmorning.com/3-things-you-cant-say-after-fmla-requests/


Owning Engagement in Your Workplace

Looking for ways to help increase your employee engagement at work? Take a look at this great article from Society of Human Resources (SHRM) for so great tips to boost employee engagement by Trish McFarlane

We’re going on well over fifteen years of thinking about employee engagement in organizations.  And after years of surveying employees and rolling organizational results into a macro look at our country, the results today have not changed much from when we first started the analysis.  What we know is companies that lose disengaged employees often see the negative impact of having lower profitability and higher recruiting expenses.
From a company perspective, there are always things that can be done to reach out to employees and make them feel valued.  What has changed in the last fifteen years is using technology to bolster engagement by creating solutions to aid in stronger organizational connections.  These can include solutions to:
Encourage mentor relationships- Employees who feel mentored know that someone in the organization cares about their development and career path.  This mentor relationship also creates an outlet for continuous communication, and feedback, so that the employee has a strong connection point.
Communicate more, not less- Being transparent, even in economic downturns, builds trust with employees.  They will be more likely to hang in there for the long run.  Additionally, letting an employee know how valuable they are to the company is key.
Allow and encourage some fun in the work day- Fun at work = employees who don’t dread being there.  You don’t have to be playing ping pong or foosball all day at work, but definitely encourage a culture of being able to step away from the desk to chat and congregate.  It also means providing technology to make collaboration and sharing easier.  And beyond the technology, having senior leaders who will use and champion the technology so that employees feel compelled to use it too.
But it’s not just about the company driving employee engagement.  In many organizations, employee engagement is looked at as the relationship between the employee and the company.  In actuality, it goes far beyond this and is the relationships that an individual employee builds with colleagues and clients that truly indicate how likely the employee is to stay with the organization.  Engagement is also a set of behaviors an employee must embrace in order to make the connections that will be lasting.  So, what can you do as an employee to build that relationship?
Ways to foster your own engagement
  • Volunteer to do more
  • Be more active (in the group, the topic, etc.)
  • Look for ways to improve, then implement them
  • Take ownership for what goes well and where you need to improve
  • Get “fired up” and use your passion
  • Be loyal
  • Build trusting relationships

The take away for me is it’s about focusing on the relationship, not the individual inputs and levers.

What do you think?  What would you add to the list?

See the original article Here.

Source:

McFarlane T. (Date). Owning engagement in your workplace [Web blog post]. Retrieved from address https://blog.shrm.org/blog/owning-engagement-in-your-workplace


16 building blocks that bolster employee engagement

Need a strategy for improving engagement from your employees? Check out this great read by Lauren Stead

Do you know what sets your company apart from the rest for job seekers? Is it your recent accomplishments? How about your Fitness Fridays or Casual Mondays? Or is it the opportunities you provide for employees to grow throughout your firm and take their careers to the next level? 

The chances are it’s all of these things, which collaboratively come together to build up your culture. Today, culture is what sells your company above, as innovation is no longer a reliable way to set yourself apart from your competition. What makes for a great culture is great people, engaged in their company.

So how can you get ahead and stay ahead in this current market? How, exactly, do you build up your culture so employees stay more engaged?

Rusty Lindquist, VP of human capital management strategy for BambooHR, recently spearheaded a panel at the virtual HR conference Elevate 2016. His presentation focused on 16 components that are key improving employee engagement efforts. He said when your current workforce is engaged, they’ll be the ones who help sell the company to others and help it grow.

Lindquist’s breakdown to getting your employees more engaged included these steps:

  1. Objectiveknowing where you’re going and why you should care about it.
    People need to know where they’re going. Otherwise, they’ll be aimless and lack motivation to keep going forward, simply spinning their wheels in place. Rusty explained that if you were just set at the top of a mountain and left to roam, you would accomplish far less than the person who’s put at the base and has the summit pointed out to them as the goal. Make sure managers are sharing what the company’s mission and objectives are with their teams, to keep everyone working toward that summit.
  2. Alignmentcapability to do work and succeed at it.
    Managers need to find the sweet spot between the three factors that make up an employee’s alignment: competency, opportunity, and passion. In other words, an employee needs to actually be able to do what’s set before them, have the chance to move forward afterward, and enjoy what she’s doing. If something is off with these three factors, chances are the employee will be under-performing.
  3. Planknowing what the next step is or how to move forward on your career path.
    People need to know what to do next and have a clear visualization of a path they can follow. They can be sold on their objective and feel comfortable in the company, but managers need to make sure there’s no confusion on how to achieve that objective. Break down future goals into achievable steps.
  4. Spacehaving what you need to move forward.
    Get out of employees’ way so they can create and accomplish personal goals. Space can mean having autonomy, ownership, permission, trust, influence, or just the right tools.
  5. Contributiongetting things done and feeling like you’re making a difference.
    People need to feel that what they’re doing is making a difference. The moment someone feels that they don’t matter, they begin to under-perform. If someone isn’t contributing, it’s a good time to evaluate the other engagement elements to see if something is out of alignment.
  6. Scorekeeping score of your contributive value.
    Progress and impact need to be measured in some way. If a sense of progress is removed, people tend to contribute less value overall. Rusty compared it to playing a game with yourself. There’s no sense of accomplishment or context if you’re just racking up points by yourself.
  7. Momentumhaving a sense of moving forward and inevitability.
    Momentum may drop when a project is completed or canceled. Before a new project starts up to take the old’s place, there’s a window where there’s no momentum. While periodic breaks are good, make sure managers are keeping employees focused on the overall summit.
  8. Investmentfeeling like you have skin in the game.
    This is a factor you can notice outside of the workplace. For example, consider a stamp incentive program at coffee shops. Each time you visit, you’re given a stamp and when you achieve a certain number you’re given a reward. These types of programs instill in you a sense of investment, that you’ve potentially lost out on if you quit now. This is the same sort of feeling employees need to feel from their managers.
  9. Growthfeeling like you’re gaining mastery, progressing personally or professionally.
    Everyone likes the idea that they’re getting better at what they do. When careers stagnate, people begin to stall and lose interest in moving forward. Have managers challenge employees so they feel like they’re growing by providing them opportunities to improve personally and professionally.
  10. Meaningfinding fulfillment and purpose in what you do.
    Connect people to the work they’re doing through a story. This isn’t necessarily done through the company’s objective or mission statement, and it should be more personal. Managers need to identify what matters to their team, and then connect that meaning to their work through a narrative or story.
  11. Valuefeeling appreciated and adequately rewarded for your efforts.
    Value isn’t completely tied up in compensation, since more compensation doesn’t always directly improve someone’s engagement. It also relies on rewards and recognition. Managers need to find ways to give people all three.
  12. Identityknowing who you are, what you’re capable of, and believing in yourself.
    This building block relies on the theory of functional fixedness, the idea that people rely on their past successes to inform their next actions. If something has worked in the past, why not continue doing it? Managers need to push employees to think outside the box, consistently innovating new solutions to old problems.
  13. Leadershiphaving someone who believes in, challenges, and shows you the way.
    Every workplace, in some fashion, has a leader who is capable of showing people the way. Most times, these leaders are the ones who can self-diagnose and critique themselves. These employees aren’t necessarily managers or in executive-level positions, but they are the ones people lean on when they need a guiding light. Give these people a platform.
  14. Relationshiphaving connections with people you care about.
    When people are invested in each other, they have a sense that they don’t want to let their team down. Even when things with the company are bad, people will tough it out because they want to stay for the people they’ve built up relationships with. Foster those relationships.
  15. Environmenthaving surroundings that support and enable your efforts.
    If people are living in a bad environment, their behaviors will reflect their surrounding negativity. This was evident in New York’s broken windows theory. The city had high amounts of crime. Some people wanted to bolster the criminal and justice system, and crack down on that crime. A new mayor instead invested in beautifying the environment, cleaning up the city and fixing broken windows. Amazingly, the crime was reduced in those areas. Be aware of your company’s environment and how it impacts employees.
  16. Renewalfinding restoration through balance and moderation.
    Finally, this block of engagement is important for every employee. There may be a time when a great worker becomes disengaged and feels burned out. A short break or new challenging project may be in order to rouse spirits once more.

See the original article Here.

Source:

Stead L. (2016 November 30). 16 building blocks that bolster employee engagement[Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://www.hrmorning.com/16-building-blocks-that-bolster-employee-engagement/


14 everyday attitudes that kill success

“Martha has so much going for her, but she could be doing so much more for herself.” How many people do you know or work with like that? What keeps us from getting to where we want to be or what we want to do? Sure, it may be a lack of the right skills, bad luck, having other goals, or just being plain lazy.

More likely, however, the answer is elsewhere and much closer to home. We can call them “every day” attitudes that are so much a part of us we don’t know the damage they’re doing. Here are some of them:

1) “For what I get paid, I do more than enough.” Surprise! You’re probably right. With so much pressure, it’s easy to feel this way today. Even so, it’s the attitude that’s the problem. Otherwise pleasant people become angry, obstinate, negative, and alienated. It’s not the way to move ahead—or even stay where you are.

2) “I’ve put in my time and paid my dues. Now, it’s my turn.” It may be a choice parking space, extra time off, a plum territory, a promotion, or bigger accounts. It doesn’t make any difference what it is; it’s easy to spot someone with a chip on their shoulder. Their attitude sends the unmistakable message that this person thinks they are special.

3) “Sorry, but I’m really busy right now. Can’t you get someone else?” When asked to step in and help solve a problem, work on a project, develop a plan, or handle a difficult situation, some people make it clear that they can’t be counted on when needed.

4) “They’ll see what happens when I leave. It’ll take three people to replace me.” Even though we know that no one is indispensable, it’s tough for some people to get past the idea that they are the one exception. If asked, they’re quick to let it be known that they carry far more than their share of the load. Those around them often see it quite differently.

5) “Whoa! There’s only so much I can do.” It’s like the parent who installs a “speed limiter” on their kid’s car — only so fast and that’s it. Others put self-imposed limits on what they can or will do. By always playing it safe, they deny themselves the opportunity to see how much they can accomplish.

6) “With so many meetings, I can’t get my work done.” You’re not alone if you feel this way. Companies are plagued with meeting mania wastes that wastes time and creates stress. Don’t complain; do something about it. Take a “how we can improve it” approach: meeting alternatives, requiring agendas that go to participants beforehand, stand up sessions, setting time limits, and three question participation evaluations.

7) “That’s not my job.” Not long ago, “silos” was at the top of the corporate jargon list — work groups, units, departments, and divisions operating totally separate from others. But countless individuals wall themselves off as if they completely isolated from the organization. They “write” their own job description and stick to it.

8) “I’m a hard worker.” Like beauty, hard work is in the eye of the beholder. Each of us has their own personal definition of what it means to them. But, frankly, it doesn’t make any difference what you and I may think it means. Pampering ourselves is out. Simply put, no one “earns points” or merits a “reward” today for hard work. What counts is measurable and it’s called results.

9) “Unless I get paid extra, I shouldn’t have to do it.” This is a tough one. An employer’ demands can go too far. And employees can be shortsighted by putting on the brakes too quickly and miss opportunities for taking on task that can showcase their capabilities and demonstrate their skills.

10) “Sorry, but I don’t know anything about that.” It’s not unusual to hear those words, particularly when contacting customer service. But that’s far from the only place. Unfortunately, they’re all too common throughout most businesses, sending the message that the person has stopped growing.

11) “My ideas aren’t important.” Not true! Whether they know it or not, most people have ideas and suggestions that can benefit a company. They are not only doing their job, but they think about what’s going on around them. It’s a mistake. If you’re one of them, take a chance because someone wants to hear from you.

12) “I meant to get it done. I’ll get right on it.” Why do some people agree to do something — and then ignore it by doing nothing, even after getting reminders? Sure, there are times when we all forget and a reminder helps. But, others can be chronic offenders and fail to respond even when offered help, being nudged, cajoled, and confronted. Everyone knows them: “If you want it done, don’t bother giving it to Brad.”

13) “I’ve been around long enough and the rules don’t apply to me.” Even though the words may never be spoken, actions make their meaning abundantly clear. Chances are, these are people who won’t be around much longer.

14) “I didn’t know you needed it so soon.” This just might be the most insidious attitude of all for one reason: It’s patently pathetic in its intent. While the words sound so innocent and disarming, it shrouds the fact that those who use this excuse portray themselves as victims. It’s not their fault the work didn’t get done; they didn’t know when it was due. Did they ask? Of course not. They blame someone else for not letting them know.

More often than not, it’s self-justifying and defensive attitudes that kill success. Rather than allowing someone to think we could have done more, perhaps much more with ourselves, how much better is it to have them say, “She’s done so much with herself. More than I ever thought she would.” We can call that success.

See the original article Here.

Source:

Graham, J. (2016 October 27). 14 everyday attitudes that kill success. [Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://www.employeebenefitadviser.com/opinion/14-everyday-attitudes-that-kill-success


Have You Taken Any PTO Lately?

Original post benefitspro.com

Americans might be workaholics, but not necessarily because they’re in love with work. Studies show Americans yearn for vacation time, but some of them can’t bring themselves to take it.

A survey commissioned by Namely, a payroll and benefits company, finds that a majority of U.S. workers intend to take 15 days of vacation per year. It also found that 40 percent of employees have or would be willing to sacrifice pay to gain more paid time off. Similarly, more than two-thirds of workers said that vacation policies were at least somewhat critical when considering a new job.

But as a statement accompanying the survey from the company points out, another recent study found that the average American worker only take 11 days off per year.

The lower average is largely driven by the fact that many employees receive far less than three weeks of vacation a year, but there is some evidence to suggest that some workers who are entitled to generous PTO do not make use of it.

A quarter of  workers in the Namely survey cited strict company policies as an obstacle to taking vacation, while a fifth cited “stress at the thought of missing time at work” and 16 percent reported a “negative perception” in their organization of taking time off.

“What this tells us is that despite the best intentions to take large chunks of time away from work and unplug from technology, employees are feeling confined and are using vacation time differently than previous generations,” said Matt Straz, founder and CEO of Namely.

In recent years, a number of major companies have made a point of offering generous vacation benefits. Some offer unlimited vacation, while others have put in place policies to encourage workers to make use of their vacation, including bonuses for taking time off.