As Jobs Disappear, Employees Hang On to What They Have

As the coronavirus pandemic has caused many to lose their jobs, some still have been able to hold onto their job that they had prior to the pandemic. Those who have been fortunate enough to keep that job, are now holding onto it. Read this blog post to learn more.


Employees spooked by continuing high unemployment are holding on to the jobs they have at rates not seen in nearly a decade.

While typically a sign of employee loyalty, low turnover these days can also signal fear, hopelessness and stagnation. Employers can head off those negative feelings and maintain morale and energy in the workplace by communicating with empathy and giving employees more control over decisions, experts say.

"Feeling trapped in a job can create a lot of challenges, leading to employee disengagement and burnout," said Dennis Baltzley, global head of leadership development at organizational consultancy Korn Ferry. Channeling that angst into helping the company meet the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic can improve engagement and the bottom line, he said.

'Quits Rate' Plummets

According to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary, a monthly report compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employees spent the past few years job hopping at historically high rates as the economy and their confidence in the future soared. Then in March 2020, the quits rate—which is the number of jobs quit that month divided by total employment—dipped below 2 for the first time in five years. It fell further to 1.4 in April, the lowest level since April 2011, when the job market was still recovering from the Great Recession.

Typically, quits outnumber layoffs by a wide margin, according to the federal data. But that trend reversed itself in a big way in March 2020, as states began issuing stay-at-home orders to counter the coronavirus pandemic. That month, 11.5 million employees were laid off while only 2.8 million quit their jobs.

In April 2020, another 7.7 million employees were laid off while just 1.8 million quit voluntarily. Meanwhile, only 3.5 million employees were hired into new jobs in April, a low for the 20-year series.

"Right now, most employees are just looking to hang on to the work they do have, rather than trying to find something better. This is particularly true of people in the retail and hospitality industries, areas that have been hit hardest by the coronavirus-led recession," according to an analysis of the data by Quartz. "The weak job market means more people are stuck in jobs that don't fully take advantage of their talents and are generally less satisfied."

Don't Assume Everyone Is Fine

Even if asked directly, employees afraid of losing their jobs aren't likely to express their unhappiness to supervisors. Baltzley recalled a chief executive who marveled at the high satisfaction scores from employees in a recent pulse survey. "I told him, 'They're not fine, they're just not telling you,' " he said. "People put on a brave face. They're going to be grateful to have a job. They will work hard to keep that job, sometimes in unhealthy ways."

To break through that fear and foster a healthier environment, Baltzley recommended that employers:

  • Give employees choices when possible to restore some sense of control. This could include the question of working from home. Employees have a range of feelings about returning to the workplace, with some eager to rejoin colleagues while others dread the thought of increased exposure. "You don't want people to feel it's a requirement if it doesn't have to be. If you give people a choice, you relieve the pressure of feeling trapped."
  • Listen and watch carefully to evaluate how employees are feeling, because they're not likely to tell you. "Are people short of patience, uncommunicative, not addressing the big picture? That could be a sign of being overwhelmed. If you're carefully listening, you can usually tell where people are."
  • Don't double down on control by monitoring remote workers. "You have a bunch of leaders who never had to manage people remotely. They might instinctively want more meetings, more reports, to be sure employees are working, but that is exactly the opposite of what you should do. You want people trying to figure out how to make things happen without you. If they're problem solving, they're more engaged. Otherwise, you will create a workforce that's waiting for instruction."
  • Project empathy, even if employees don't indicate they need it. Leaders can do this by describing what's been difficult or challenging for them during the pandemic. "During a crisis, communication is not about providing information. It's about connection."
  • Work hard to maintain the new level of trust that may have developed during the past few months of shared hardship. "This experience has broken down a bunch of barriers. You don't want to lose that."

Many Still in Survival Mode 

In normal times, the lack of potential for advancement or promotion could lead to employee resentment. But Kimberly Prescott, a human resources consultant in Columbia, Md., who works with a range of small and mid-sized employers, said it's too soon to worry about that.

Prescott noted that safety is one of the most basic needs in Maslow's five-tier hierarchy of motivation. Until a sense of security and safety is restored, most employees won't have the bandwidth to worry much about their status or feelings of accomplishment.

"I think people are happy to have a job right now, based on what I've been hearing," she said. "Job satisfaction at this point is secondary to survival. People are still kind of holding their breath. We're in survival mode: 'I'm alive. I have a job. I have food to eat.' "

To help restore a sense of security and alleviate stress on their workers, employers should go out of their way to communicate the status of the business and what they are doing to ensure the company's survival. This is especially true for employees who've been furloughed and are waiting to be called back.

"This is the time for overcommunicating," Prescott said. "People are hungry for meaningful communication, especially around next steps and business plans. You cannot communicate too much, even if you're saying the same thing week after week. Even if it's just a survey asking how you're feeling, are you able to come back to work?"

SOURCE: Cleeland, N. (02 July 2020) "As Jobs Disappear, Employees Hang On to What They Have"  (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/employee-relations/pages/afraid-to-leave-job-covid.aspx


U.S. Health Care Is in Flux. Here’s What Employers Should Do.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought uncertainty in many areas of day-to-day lives and is now bringing uncertainty into health care. Read this blog post to learn more.


Emergencies naturally draw our attention — and our resources — to the present. The U.S. response to Covid-19 is no exception. Yet the problems exposed by the pandemic point to the urgent need to prepare now for the next waves of this crisis, including new clusters of infection and new crises of debt and scarcity. They also highlight the opportunity to develop a more resilient health system for the future. Employers can and should play a central role in this effort.

For employers, this period of exceptional economic strain has exacerbated the longstanding challenges of managing the health care costs of their employees. The future course of the disease and economy may be uncertain. But businesses that are rigorous in the way they purchase health care benefits, leverage digital health technologies, and partner with hospitals and physicians will be able to better manage an expected roller coaster in health care costs and premiums.

Dealing with Covid-19 itself is expensive: Covered California estimated that the costs to test, treat, and care for Covid-19 patients this year will be between $34 billion and $251 billion; America’s Health Insurance Plans predicts the cost will total $56 billion to $556 billion over a two-year period. Yet the total costs of U.S. health care this year will likely drop due to the postponement or cancellation of regular clinical services and elective procedures due to the virus. According to one estimate, Americans may spend anywhere from $75 billion to $575 billion less than expected on health care this year. Another actuarial firm projects that self-insured employers may see a 4% reduction in their employees’ health costs this year.

Nonetheless, health insurance premiums for employers are expected to rise in 2021. An analysis by Covered California projected that nationally, premiums will increase between 4% and 40% — and possibly more. Recent filings with the District of Columbia’s Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking related to the individual market and small groups for 2021 show that Aetna filed for an average increase of 7.4% for health maintenance organization (HMO) plans and 38% for preferred provider organization (PPO) plans, while UnitedHealth proposed an average increase of 17.4% for its two HMOs and 11.4% for its PPO plans.

What explains this projection of higher premiums in 2021? Will second and third waves of Covid-19 lead to more expensive intensive-care unit and hospital stays? Will patients flood clinics for the hip replacements, cataract operations, and other “non-urgent” services they delayed during the lockdown? Will hospitals try to charge commercial insurers more to compensate for their losses in 2020?

The answer to all these questions is a definite “maybe.” Ironically, the fundamental reason rates are expected to rise is the cost of uncertainty itself. And the situation may only get murkier if the pandemic resurges.

Even if premiums stay as they are, employers may still be unable to afford them amid plummeting revenues. Before Covid-19, premiums for employer-sponsored plans had been consistently outpacing inflation. In 2019, the Kaiser Family Foundation reported that the average annual premium for employer-sponsored health insurance was a whopping $20,576 for a family of four (and $7,188 for an individual) — a 54% increase over the previous 10 years. That dwarfs the average inflation-adjusted increase of 4% in wages in the same 10-year period from 2009 to 2019.

Given these rising costs, employers should look beyond 2021. They should not seek a short-term fix by raising copayments, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket costs for next year. While this strategy may initially reduce spending on health care, studies show that it will disincentivize employees to seek preventative treatment. In fact, families with higher deductibles are less likely to take their children to see the doctor, even when the visit is free. Over time, this leads to worse health outcomes for employees and their families, which also means much higher costs.

Here are three strategies that can help employers weather the inevitable ups and downs of 2021 and beyond and improve employee health:

1. Manage health care benefits like all other purchases.
Business leaders, especially the CEO, need to make it a priority to understand the health care benefits business. Employee health benefits consume more than $15 million annually per 1,000 employees, and employers should treat costs with the same rigor and expertise that they assess other major expenses. Whether it’s through their broker, insurance company, or consultants, businesses should examine these costs closely and understand where they are deviating from benchmarks and why. A car manufacturer should not overpay for care anymore than it overpays for steel.

For example, when employees experience a common ailment like uncomplicated back pain, do their doctors tend to order MRI and back surgery, driving up costs unnecessarily in an overeager fee-for-service model of treatment? Or do they follow more cost-efficient, preventative guidelines that lead with rest and physical therapy?

By challenging providers with these types of questions, large employers such as Walmart and Boeing have redesigned their employee benefits plans to encourage employees to seek second opinions and have even gone so far as to allow them to expense travel to medical centers that offer better care at lower costs. Employers may also find that forming alliances or joining cooperatives can expand the scale of their data, help them identify and exploit opportunities for improving the quality and cost of treating specific conditions, and enhance their purchasing power for health care.

2. Leverage technology.
The Covid-19 pandemic will open unprecedented opportunities for employers to leverage technology that helps employees seek, manage, and receive health care over the internet. During the emergency, public and private insurers lifted provider restrictions on telehealth, and the increasing willingness of both clinicians and patients to use digital technologies is changing the landscape of health care, especially for those who have chronic conditions that require ongoing monitoring. Given that Medicare is likely to sustain these changes, employers should work with their private insurance partners to ensure continued coverage of telehealth for their employees.

Virtual chronic care solutions are also gaining traction. Take people with type 2 diabetes, who now comprise about 10% of all Americans and whose care costs more than $325 million per year. Technologies like a Bluetooth-enabled continuous glucose monitor (CGM) obviate the need for daily finger pricks and glucometer checks for monitoring blood sugars. (Verily, the company I work for, is developing a next-generation CGM with Dexcom.) This technology, when paired with a smartphone app that records meals (a quick photo of the food is sufficient), exercise, and medications, can help individuals understand the impact of their actions on their health. Onduo, a digital health company managed by Verily, combines this technology with telehealth and chat features to connect employees to health coaches and physicians. It offers a virtual diabetes clinic on demand.

Amid a burgeoning marketplace of digital health offerings and innovations, employers should shop and negotiate for health care solutions with the same rigor they shop for their business needs. They should challenge vendors to demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of their programs to produce better health and improve productivity, presenteeism, and quality of life for their employees. They should even consider demanding money-back guarantees like some health systems now provide.

3. Partner with hospitals and physicians.
As health systems struggle with their own financial crises, this is a good time for employers to partner more closely with hospitals and doctors. If the CEOs of businesses have much to learn about health care, perhaps health care has much to learn from these CEOs. Whether it’s lessons in improving operations from a manufacturing plant or ways to deliver better customer service from a retail perspective, employers can offer their own industry-specific expertise to help hospitals and medical facilities practice safer, more efficient, patient-friendly, and cost-effective care. For example, Intel shared its expertise in supply chain and “lean” management to improve clinical care in metropolitan Portland, Oregon. Most hospitals and health systems have a community advisory or governance board. By serving on these committees, employers can begin to understand — and perhaps even improve — the care their employees and their families receive.

Employers’ actions must be decisive precisely because the future is so uncertain. By partnering with the health systems that provide care for their employees, establishing clear expectations for high quality and low-cost care, and leveraging telehealth and virtual care solutions to achieve these goals, businesses can help their employees better weather the ups and downs of Covid-19. In doing so, employers can build a more robust and affordable model for the good of their businesses, the economy, and the health of millions of Americans.

SOURCE: Lee, V. (15 June 2020) "U.S. Health Care Is in Flux. Here’s What Employers Should Do." (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2020/06/u-s-health-care-is-in-flux-heres-what-employers-should-do


How to Help Your Team Advance

With many managers wanting to help their employees expand their skill set and talents, they are continuously working side by side with their employees to define their goals and achievements. Read this blog post to learn more.


Working for a company that invests in career development is often a top priority for employees, and if the company doesn't provide those opportunities, employees will take their talents elsewhere. A 2019 iHire survey found that 51.7 percent of professionals voluntarily left their job in the past five years. One of the reasons professionals cited for quitting was the lack of advancement opportunities (reported by 11.7 percent of respondents).

Managers can help combat this talent drain by working with their direct reports to define the employees' career goals and then help them achieve those milestones. "If you want the best team and want them to perform at their highest level, you have to invest in developing them," said Iris Drayton-Spann, SHRM-CP, vice president of human resources and organizational development at WETA, a public television station in Arlington, Va. "Then they will bring their 'A' game."

Investing in your team doesn't necessarily mean paying for high-priced training programs. There are plenty of low-cost and free development opportunities managers can offer employees, such as suggesting certain trade publications to read, or introducing them to a staff or board member who is a subject matter expert or thought leader in a field they want to pursue, said Jody Fosnough, SHRM-SCP, a senior consultant and executive coach for Right Management, a leadership development firm in Fort Wayne, Ind. The key is to find out what skills each team member is looking to develop or what type of position he or she hopes to grow into.

Ask Thought-Provoking Questions

Drayton-Spann carves out 45 minutes every two weeks to talk with her four team members individually about their goals, training needs and anything else they want to discuss about their work. It's up to each employee, though, to set the agenda and tone for the meeting.

"Some of the meetings are casual, some are very formal," she said. "I listen to them, they ask me questions, and then I ask them questions. It gives them ownership over their career development. It's not me telling them what to do." If they make a commitment to work on a project, meet with a mentor or look into a professional membership organization, Drayton-Spann follows up with them at the next meeting to see if they completed the task and to figure out what the next step will be toward their milestone.

To help employees set realistic goals, Fosnough said, managers need to ask more pointed questions than simply "What do you want to do?" Ask employees questions that force them to think critically about their strengths:

  • What's a compliment you received about your work?
  • What recent problem have you solved?
  • How have you surprised others on your team?
  • What are you most proud of this month?

These questions will help employees to consider why their colleagues value their work and help them see what types of roles they should gravitate toward in the future.

Find In-House Opportunities

One of the best ways to help team members advance is to invite them to work on a stretch assignment—a task outside their job description—that allows them to learn new skills or interact with colleagues they normally wouldn't have access to, Drayton-Spann said. Instead of telling an employee to take on a new project, Drayton-Spann asks the employee to work with her on a project. She also takes time to explain how the project would benefit the employee's career. Perhaps the worker will learn a new skill or have an opportunity to interact with members of the C-suite, she said.

In addition to stretch assignments, managers can offer plenty of other in-house opportunities to help employees grow into a new position, including cross-training with another department, telling other managers at the company about an employee's strengths, and allowing an employee to shadow someone who holds a position he or she is interested in growing into, said Kimberly Coan, a 20-year HR professional in the Dallas area. Job shadowing allows employees to learn what skills they might need to develop and the type of training they should focus on. And sometimes it reveals that a position they're interested in isn't actually a good fit for their skills, she said.

Career development can also focus on soft skills and help the employee gain confidence. For instance, an employee once asked Coan how to become more comfortable interacting with company leaders outside his immediate department. Coan encouraged him to invite a regional director out for coffee and ask the director how to best help the employee's department director do her job.

If an employee asks to participate in a specific training program, make sure it's appropriate for the employee's goals, said Andrea Raggambi, CEO at PerforMore Coaching and Consulting, a leadership development firm in Falls Church, Va. Often employees will want to earn a certificate or participate in a training program because they heard another colleague just completed the program.

"Sometimes they see their colleagues do certain things, and they think that is the correct career path for them even if it's not," she said. Ask the employee to explain why he or she believes the training will help achieve his or her career goals, how it will have a positive impact on the team, and how it will help advance the company's overall mission, Raggambi said.

Keep Plans Flexible

Keep in mind that not all employees will be interested in advancing their career. Some employees are content staying in the position they have, and managers need to respect that, Coan said. There might be reasons outside of work that influence their decision not to pursue a promotion. For instance, they might be taking care of an aging parent or sick child. But, Coan said, keep in mind that just because employees aren't interested in career development today doesn't mean they won't be interested in three months or a year from now.

Employees' goals can change. Raggambi recommends asking employees to revisit their career plans every three to six months. Managers should always ask, "Does this career plan still look good for you? Are you still excited and energized by this?" It's important to allow employees to reassess their plans and make adjustments.

SOURCE: Rabasca Roepe, L. (09 June 2020) "How to Help Your Team Advance" (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/people-managers/pages/developing-your-employees-.aspx


Viewpoint: How to Lead in a Crisis

As many leaders have been faced with uncertainty during the trying times the coronavirus pandemic brought upon them, it's important for them to lead with the advantage that the uncertainty can bring. Read this blog post to learn more.


Despite a host of warnings about the impending COVID-19 crisis, it caught most of us by surprise. I recall attending the regular leadership team meetings of a few of my clients the week of March 9, and by March 15, the world had changed. It was no longer a potential crisis; it was a full-on global pandemic where new terms such as "social distancing" and "flattening the curve" became part of our lexicon. A spectrum of responses emerged, from reactive chaos to deploying well-practiced business continuity modes.

The challenge that leaders face in a crisis is that their organizations aren't typically set up to operate with such uncertainty. Leaders create visions, plans and metrics to attempt to control their environments and minimize uncertainty as best they can. In a crisis many leaders default to what they know how to do in order to reduce frustration and quell their own and others' fears. This default mode is simply not productive and rather than reduce uncertainty and anxiety, it increases both.

Today all organizations are faced with a new normal—uncertainty and inability to control the environments in which they operate. We know the pandemic will end but it won't truly be over until a vaccine is available. We know the curve will eventually flatten but projections seem to change hourly. We know people will get back to work but we don't know whether social distancing will continue to influence the economy. We know that remote work is possible on a broad scale but it's not clear if this will work long-term.

Ralph Stacey and Douglas Griffin's definition of a leader is one that lends itself to today's environment: "One recognized as a leader has a greater capacity to live with the anxiety of not knowing and not being in control. The leader is recognized as having the courage to carry on interacting productively and creatively despite not knowing." This definition certainly applies to today's environment of tremendous uncertainty and great anxiety. Clearly there is much we don't know about what the future will hold. It is also clear that leadership today requires an ability to embrace uncertainty and interact productively.

While it's a relatively small sample size, we have been amazed by the approaches our clients have taken to navigate their way through these challenging times. None have had an easy time, and some were certainly more prepared than others, but most have quickly overcome their natural tendency to control and shifted to doing their best to operate in crisis mode. In each case a few important themes emerged for how to embrace the uncertainty – humility, transparency, engagement, focus and patience.

Positive humility. In their own ways, each CEO acknowledged their fear about the unknown and that they didn't have all the answers, but they exuded a sense of calmness and confidence in their organizations to work smart and hard to get through the crisis. By reinforcing and modeling positive humility CEOs have established a tone for their leadership teams to cascade throughout their organizations.

Transparency. CEOs and their leadership teams are proactively communicating difficult information openly and being clear when they don't have answers to important questions. For example, they are not promising that no jobs will be lost but they are committing to pursuing all avenues necessary such as the SBA CARES Loans to secure jobs as long as possible.

Engagement. When in doubt these organizations are doing their best to negotiate clear expectations (i.e., daily check-in sessions with supervisors) and over-communicate (i.e., using email, internal web site and supervisors to reinforce that hourly workers will be paid weekly). They are also encouraging managers and staff to use multiple channels to remain in contact both formally and informally (i.e., Virtual Team Meetings, Virtual happy hours, random watercooler calls).

Focus. After a short period of getting their remote offices working, CEOs and their leadership teams redoubled their efforts to ensure their organizations remained focused on the core mission (i.e., executing loans, building interiors, registering / renewing members). They also reinforced that today's plans would likely change tomorrow and that learning from mistakes and helping employees and customers manage uncertainty is a big part of their jobs.

Patience. In a crisis adults often revert to overdone strengths – people who are naturally decisive might become arrogant or people who tend to be naturally empathetic might become overly protective. These CEOs and their leadership teams recognize this tendency to revert. They are working hard to have patience with each other by giving space, not overreacting themselves and providing gentle feedback.

These are extremely challenging times and despite efforts by the smartest scientists, economists and business leaders in the world, there is no clear path to when things will get back to normal. Ambiguity is a daily obstacle for most business leaders, but today we are dealing with ambiguity on steroids. It is not easy but we are so encouraged to see so many CEOs and their leadership teams embrace the ambiguity to help their organizations get to the other side of this crazy time.

Jack McGuinness is co-founder and managing partner of Relationship Impact, a consulting firm focused on helping great leaders build great leadership teams.

This article is excerpted from www.ChiefExecutive.net with permission from Chief Executive. C 2020. All rights reserved.

SOURCE: McGuinness, J. (20 April 2020) "Viewpoint: How to Lead in a Crisis" (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from https://www.shrm.org/ResourcesAndTools/hr-topics/employee-relations/Pages/Viewpoint-How-to-Lead-in-a-Crisis-Coronavirus.aspx


The Miserable Middle Managers

Did you know: 18 percent of supervisors and managers report signs of depression. Middle managers tend to struggle with spending too much time on administrative tasks, and not enough time leading their workplace, which can lead to being dissatisfied. Read this blog post from SHRM to learn more.


They make dozens of decisions each day, but usually not the big ones that shape a company's future. They're saddled with all the busywork of managing subordinates, yet also answer to higher-ups whose policies they must enforce—even when they don't have a say in making those policies and their direct reports object to them.

They're middle managers, and research finds they are the unhappiest employees at U.S. organizations.

But they don't have to be, employment experts say—not if they take advantage of new technologies, suggest changes in workplace policies and invest time in professional development.

Misery by the Numbers

In 2015, researchers at Columbia University surveyed nearly 22,000 full-time workers. They found that 18 percent of supervisors and managers reported symptoms of depression. The share of blue-collar workers reporting depression was 12 percent; for owners and executives, it was 11 percent.

A separate 2014 study found that when it comes to job satisfaction, managers fall in the bottom 5 percent. The study authors, both executives at leadership development consultancy Zenger Folkman, based in Orem, Utah, gathered data from more than 320,000 employees in various organizations. They identified those employees whose engagement and commitment scores were in the bottom 5 percent and compared their responses with those of the rest of the study group.

"You might think these would be the people with poor performance ratings or the ones in over their heads—people with inadequate training, education or experience for the job," the authors wrote. "But when we examined the demographic characteristics of these employees, we found instead that they could best be described as those 'stuck in the middle of everything.' "

The most common profile for the bottom 5 percent, they found, was that they:

*Had earned a college degree, but not a graduate degree.

*Had five to 10 years' tenure.

*Worked as midlevel managers.

*Had received a good (as opposed to a superior or a terrible) performance rating in the past year.

Technology Can Help

So what can be done about the dissatisfied middle manager? Experts suggest that part of their discontent stems from spending too much time on administrative tasks, leaving them little time for leading.

Technology can help them conduct tasks that were once considered "managerial," from scheduling to training to performance reviews. Yet some managers still don't take advantage of these tools, according to Montreal, Quebec-based WorkJam, which provides digital platforms for shift scheduling, onboarding, communication and other tasks.

"Across industries, from retail to hospitality to health care, the arduous task of scheduling falls to managers, who have to synchronize individual schedules and often assign shifts without knowing associates' availability," said WorkJam CEO and president Steven Kramer. "By migrating this process onto a digital workplace platform, employers can put the power in the hands of the associates [and] … are freed from this burden."

Andrew Sumitani, senior director of marketing for Seattle-based TINYpulse, which creates employee engagement surveys. He has worked on several projects focusing on middle management.

"By using simple but effective technology, middle managers can balance their roles more effectively," he said. "What's critical is for that technology to create a safe space for transparent, candid feedback to reach all levels of the organization. Subsequently, middle managers won't be spending as much time collecting and providing feedback for upper managers. They'll have that time to properly coach, mentor and lift their direct reports and become outstanding leaders themselves."

For instance, TINYpulse offers software that continuously measures the decisions made by employees on a team, and that gives middle managers information on the strengths and limitations of those decisions.

Accounting giant PwC has created an app that helps companies evaluate strengths and weaknesses within their workforce, while also suggesting learning and development opportunities that can help employees improve their performances.

Too Many Meetings

Some research suggests that these managers find it frustrating and exhausting to constantly switch between the role of "leader" to subordinates and the role of "follower" to their own supervisors. It also suggests that this frustration is exacerbated when middle managers are inundated with meetings.

"Keeping middle managers in meetings is a way for upper managers to listen to the entire organization," Sumitani acknowledged. "However, if upper managers demand increasingly detailed feedback from middle managers, a problem occurs: The middle manager's job of managing a team and reporting to upper management becomes profoundly unbalanced."

Here, again, technology can help, he said.

"More forward-thinking managers are utilizing technology that [helps] employees to provide feedback, solutions and suggestions to upper management to act on," Sumitani explained. "This shortcuts the communication flow in a way that eases the burden on middle managers. This leads to reduced feelings of being overwhelmed, higher productivity and significantly higher middle manager happiness."

Professional Development

Sumitani also suggested that continued learning for middle managers can make their jobs easier.

"Many middle managers have not been in their industries for their entire careers," he noted. "Therefore, they could be trying to learn the industry, do their jobs and stay on top of their craft, all at the same time. Anything that companies can do to invest in learning also shows their commitment [to] and confidence in those managers."

For instance, PwC's app identifies ways managers can focus on digital training and directs them to personalized learning recommendations and access to more than 300 courses, videos and white papers.

"These lessons can no longer come within the office, over an hour of coffee and scones," PwC said in a statement. "It needs to be personalized, digitally accessible and in line with work-life balance and flexibility needs that are now the norm."

SOURCE: Wilkie, D. (19 February 2020) "The Miserable Middle Managers" (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/employee-relations/pages/middle-managers-are-miserable-.aspx


The Importance of Working For A Boss Who Supports You

Do you work for a boss who supports you? Trust and commitment are at the core of any professional relationship, and employees who work for a boss that supports them is crucial to professional and company success. Continue reading to learn more.


Employers seek loyalty and dedication from their employees but sometimes fail to return their half of the equation, leaving millennial workers feeling left behind and unsupported. Professional relationships are built on trust and commitment, and working for a boss that supports you is vital to professional and company success.

Employees who believe their company cares for them perform better. What value does an employer place on you as an employee? Are you there to get the job done and go home? Are you paid fairly, well-trained and confident in your job security? Do you work under good job conditions? Do you receive constructive feedback, or do you feel demeaned or invisible?

When millennial employees feel supported by their boss, their happiness on the job soars — and so does company success. Building a healthy relationship involves the efforts of both parties — boss and employee — and the result not only improves company success, but also the quality of policies, feedback and work culture.

Investing In A Relationship With Your Boss

When you’re first hired, you should get to know your company’s culture and closely watch your boss as you learn the ropes. It’s best to clarify any questions you have instead of going rogue on a project and ending up with a failed proposal for a valuable client.

Regardless of your boss’s communication style, speaking up on timely matters before consequences are out of your control builds trust and establishes healthy communication. Getting to know your boss begins with knowing how they move through the business day, including their moods, how they prefer to communicate and their style of leadership:

  • Mood: Perhaps your boss needs their cup of coffee to start the day. If you see other employees scurry away before the boss drains that cup of coffee, bide your time, too.
  • Communication: The boss’s communication style is also influenced by their mood. Don’t wait too late to break important news. In-depth topics may be scheduled for a meeting through a phone call or email to check in and show you respect your boss’s time. In return, your time will be respected, too.

Some professionals are more emotionally reinforcing that others. Some might appear cold, but in reality, prefer to use hard data to solidify the endpoint as an analytical style. If you’re more focused on interpersonal relationships, that’s your strength, but you must also learn and respect your boss’s communication style.

  • Leadership: What kind of leader is the boss? Various communication styles best fit an organization depending on its goals and culture, but provide both advantages and disadvantages. Autocratic leaders assume total authority on decision-making without input or challenge from others. Participative leaders value the democratic input of team members, but final decisions remain with the boss.

Autocratic leaders may be best equipped to handle emergency decisions over participative leaders, depending on the situation and information received.

While the boss wields a position of power over employees, it’s important that leaders don’t hold that over their employees’ heads. In the case of dissatisfaction at work, millennial employees don’t carry the sole blame. Respect is mutually earned, and ultimately a healthy relationship between leaders and employees betters the company and the budding careers of millennials.

A Healthy Relationship With Leaders Betters The Company

A Gallup report reveals that millennial career happiness is down while disengagement at work climbs — 71% of millennials aren’t engaged on the job and half of all employed plan on leaving within a year. What is the cause? Bosses carry the responsibility for 70% of employee engagement variances. Meanwhile, engaged bosses are 59% more prone to having and retaining engaged employees.

The supportive behaviors of these managers to engage their employees included being accessible for discussion, motivating by strengths over weaknesses and helping to set goals. According to the Gallup report, the primary determiner of employee retention and engagement are those in leadership positions. The boss is poised to affect employee happiness, satisfaction, productivity and performance directly.

The same report reveals that only 21% of millennial employees meet weekly with their boss and 17% receive meaningful feedback. The most positive engagement booster was in managers who focused on employee strengths. In the end, one out of every two employees will leave a job to get away from their boss when unsupported.

Millennials are taking the workforce by storm — one-third of those employed are millennials, and soon those numbers will take the lead. Millennials are important to companies as technology continues to shift and grow, and they are passionate about offering their talents to their employers. It’s vital that millennials have access to bosses who offer support and engage their staff through meaningful feedback, accessibility and help with goal-setting.

In return, millennial happiness and job satisfaction soar, positively impacting productivity, performance, policy and work culture. A healthy relationship between boss and employee is vital to company success and the growth of millennial careers as the workforce continues to age. Bosses shouldn’t be the reason that millennial employees leave. They should be the reason millennials stay and thrive in the workplace, pushing it toward greater success.

SOURCE: Landrum, S. (8 December 2018) "The Importance of Working For A Boss Who Supports You" (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/sarahlandrum/2017/12/08/the-importance-of-working-for-a-boss-that-supports-you/1?


The Evolving HR Leader

Article from the Society For Human Resource Management (SHRM), by Steve Watson

Leadership dynamics in Corporate America are undergoing major changes, and if todays’ leaders want to impact organizations tomorrow, they must adapt strategies, recognize and accept change, and boldly move forward with a new leadership style.

Among the forces influencing leadership changes:

Technology. We already know that technology has revolutionized work and enabled new ways of doing things. It has given rise to widespread global connectivity, provided instant access to data and information, from anywhere, anytime, and has led to the creation of collaboration tools, giving new competitors lower barriers to enter the competitive marketplace.

Organizational design. Mid-management layers have been eliminated so top management today is closer to individual contributors. Leaders must evolve with four different generations in the workforce with real diversity, multiple and different motivations, and mixed demographics. This brings challenges in attracting, developing, and retaining talent.

Further, some leadership practices have become, or on their way to becoming, obsolete, including:

  • Top down management
  • Doing it my way or the company way; being directive and controlling
  • Rigid management/micromanaging
  • Decisions made only at the top
  • Defined work with individual work units
  • More time in the office and in inner circles
  • Expected loyalty
  • Annual performance reviews and raises

A little over a decade ago, we didn’t have smartphones, Facebook, Chatter, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and other social media that have significantly altered the way people connect, communicate, and build relationships.

Leadership today must change and evolve with the times, and this means being able to relate to younger generations. Millennials, with numbers at around 86 million, now represent the largest generation in the workforce. Consider the following vis-à-vis Millennials and employers:

1. They are far less loyal to an employer than generations before them have been. No psychological contract exists between them and their employer. They have a different way of viewing work, and it includes incorporate other activities into their time (travel, leisure time, and community service, for example) that might have otherwise been reserved for “usual” work hours.

2. They are team- and group-oriented. Their work style is collaborative.

3. They want to hear from senior management via feedback, open communication, and recognition.

4. They want even more flexible hours and greater work–life balance.

5. They are creative and inquisitive. Knowing “why” is important to this generation. They are unafraid to challenge ideas, methods, processes, and the status quo.

6. They want to improve and grow professionally through training and mentoring.

7. They are service-oriented, care about the environment, and rely heavily on social media.

8. They want to make a difference in the world.

At the core of all of these changes is technology. It allows people to work remotely, collect information immediately, collaborate effectively, and gain access to global markets and information. Employees also can seek out new job functions, making talent retention more challenging today than ever before. So a workforce with technology at their fingertips presents daunting challenges for today’s leaders. In this world, it’s change or die.

Successful evolved leaders constantly adapt to the changing times. They tend to:

  • Be strategic thinkers
  • Lead by example and build relationships
  • Communicate the mission, vision, and goals clearly
  • Build high-performing teams
  • Serve as a coach and mentor
  • Be servant leaders
  • Look for ways to knock down barriers
  • Set ego aside
  • Be collaborative
  • Listen with empathy
  • Get input from diverse views, gain consensus, and get alignment
  • Embrace diversity
  • Be flexible and agile (and can deal with ambiguity)
  • Have exceptional communication skills
  • Be accepting of failure (and uses it as an opportunity to learn)
  • Move the needle, drives results, and gets things done
  • Exhibit resilience

Evolved leaders are front-and-center and welcome scrutiny from both employees and the public. They understand the need to leverage technological tools and harness cross-generational work styles, and they are astutely aware of the importance and influence of social networks.

See the original article Here.

Source:

Watson, S. (2016 November 14 ). The evolving hr leader [Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://blog.shrm.org/blog/the-evolving-hr-leader


Bridging the Gap: What HR Managers Wish Their Front Line Mangers Knew About Effective Leadership

Original Post from SHRM.org

By: Paul Falcone

John is a successful manager, but he’s concerned about potential staff turnover in light of today’s hot job market. He’s wondering what he could do to proactively avoid employee resignations and is taking an objective, introspective look at his leadership style. So John reaches out to the vice president of human resources at his company for advice, and learns a lot more than he bargained for.

As John soon realizes, retention of key employees comes from both leadership offense and defense practices. More importantly, it stems from exercising leadership wisdom that allows team members to motivate themselves, find new and creative ways of solving problems and finding solutions, and, when necessary, removing roadblocks that may impede team growth. Minimizing the effects of unwanted turnover and building a team with solid tenure comes from each leader’s ability to foster motivation in teams and instill a strong sense of accountability. Therefore, as unnerving as it sounds, John realizes that he needs to reassess his own strengths and shortcomings in order to reinvent his relationship with his team.

Leadership Offense

Getting all your company’s managers on the same page in terms of motivation, employee satisfaction and engagement is no easy feat.

“But first get one thing straight:  Your job as a leader is not to motivate your employees; motivation is internal, and you can’t motivate them any more than they can motivate you,” said Jo-Anne Smith, outplacement executive, career coach and equity owner with Career Partners International in Southern California. “Your job as a successful leader, however, is to create an environment where your workers can motivate themselves.”

It may sound like a fine distinction, but it’s an important one. For example, try delegating what you enjoy most and are particularly good at as a means of professional development for the employee taking on the task (not of offloading work). Monitor what you’ve delegated by asking your employee how she’ll follow up with you and what the concrete and measurable outcomes will be throughout the delegation exercise. Then be sure to celebrate successes along the way.

Further, conduct “stay interviews” by asking your top performers what motivates them, what suggestions they have for improving the work flow and how you can help them prepare for their next career move.

“This is your chance to recognize and acknowledge their contributions, and employees will always feel engaged and excited when they’re making a positive difference at work while building their resumes,” Smith said. After all, top performers will always be resume builders, and learning is the glue that binds an individual to a company, despite offers from headhunters or competitor organizations. You’re always better off conducting proactive stay interviews rather than needing to make reactive counteroffers once a top performer has tendered notice.

While stay interviews are a smart longer-term strategy, you may have a turnover crisis that’s suddenly thrust upon you, and under certain circumstances, extending a counteroffer may make sense. Just make sure that if you’re going to make such an offer, you do it the right way.

According to Smith, “Counteroffers should always remain the exception, not the rule, because of their potential to backfire. After all, most employees [think], ’Why should it take my resigning to trigger a salary increase or promotion?’ ”

But if your strategy is to openly address what’s been plaguing the individual beyond money and identify ways where you can help the individual reconnect and regain a sense of value, the counteroffer may make sense.

Invite the individual to consider a counteroffer like this: “Even though I can’t promise anything at this point, I hope that you’ll allow us to explore some new avenues with you. If we can’t develop an overall career development strategy and growth trajectory that would motivate you to remain with us, then we’ll certainly support your transition to the new company. But we want to keep you, Sarah, and we appreciate your contributions every day. Would you be willing to engage in those kinds of discussions with us?”

Leadership Defense

One key reason for employee dissatisfaction that drives top performers to pursue greener pastures is a perception of unfairness or a leader’s inability to hold everyone accountable to the same performance standards.

John realizes he needs to develop some critical muscle around addressing subpar performance and certain poor behaviors that have calcified in his team over time. The wise vice president of HR counsels him, however, that suddenly addressing substandard performance and conduct issues can shock employees and potentially open up the organization and John personally to employment-related liability. Therefore, in a spirit of full transparency, John will announce to his team that he’s committed to reinventing himself as a leader in this critical area of accountability and setting high and consistent expectations for everyone.

Taking precautions to avoid litigation land mines protects the individual supervisor and the organization as a whole.

“While 1 in 4 managers will likely be involved in employment-related litigation at some point in his or her career, it’s important that leaders like John remain aware of potential pitfalls that might blindside an otherwise unsuspecting supervisor,” said Sharon Bauman, partner in the employment and labor practice group at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP in San Francisco.

Employees are very sophisticated consumers and often realize that the best way to protect themselves from managers’ complaints about their individual performance is to strike first by filing complaints about their supervisors’ conduct. John learns from the vice president of HR why he should run, not walk, to HR when he needs a partner to address a subordinate’s subpar performance or inappropriate workplace conduct. Leadership is a team sport, and it’s shortsighted to think that he can do it all on his own.

After all, whoever gets to HR first triggers the investigation—either focusing on John’s subordinate’s performance problems (if John gets to HR first) or on allegations regarding his conduct as a supervisor (if the employee gets to HR first). That’s when terms like “hostile work environment,” “harassment” and “retaliation” come into play.

John’s lesson? Don’t allow employees to engage in the pre-emptive strike of “pretaliation” by lodging complaints about him before he has a chance to speak with HR about problems that certain staff members may be causing.

Next, John is advised to avoid the biggest problem facing corporate executives today: grade inflation on the annual performance review. Too many unsuspecting managers take staffers through the progressive discipline process all the way to the final written warning stage, only to issue a “meets expectations” overall score on the annual performance evaluation. John now understands that by doing this, he’ll end up creating a major roadblock if the company wants to terminate the employee in the future.  After all, by giving a “meets expectations” rating, he’ll have validated an entire year’s performance despite the final written warning on file.

In short, it is John’s responsibility to demonstrate consistency between a subordinate’s corrective action history and overall performance review score. When these documents contradict one another, the company will likely have to continue with the documentation process in order to clarify the record. When both are in alignment, the company should have the discretion to terminate the employee upon a clean final incident.

John’s final lesson from the meeting with the vice president of HR: From a practical standpoint, you can’t just terminate, lay off or “give a package” to someone who’s not fitting in or otherwise contributing to your team’s overall success.

“The employment-at-will defense will not guarantee a summary judgment of a wrongful termination claim at the hearing stage, so you’ve always got to assume that a case will make it all the way to the trial stage, and that the jury will be looking for a really good reason to justify the termination decision,” Bauman said. Therefore, John recommits to engaging in those challenging but necessary conversations and to documenting his findings in the form of progressive discipline to reduce or eliminate the possibility of the claim coming back to bite him and his company in litigation. Bauman advises, “Remember, it’s not just the potential dollar cost of being sued; it’s the time and disruption of interrogatories, depositions, hearings, mediations and potentially trials that will zap your team’s energy for six months to a year—or more—after the termination that are the biggest challenges you face.”

As a leader, you can give your company no greater gift than a motivated, energized and engaged workforce. Spikes in turnover may happen from time to time, but what’s critical is your response, the counsel you seek and your willingness to reinvent yourself so that everyone benefits from the crisis. Follow these offensive and defensive leadership practices not only to cultivate your own leadership capabilities but also to foster an environment where motivation, engagement and satisfaction become the hallmarks of your shop. That’s the greatest workplace wisdom of all.

 

Paul Falcone (www.PaulFalconeHR.com) is an HR executive in San Diego and has held senior leadership roles with Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon and Time Warner. A long-time contributor to HR Magazine, he’s also the author of a number of SHRM best-sellers, including 96 Great Interview Questions to Ask Before You Hire (Amacom, 2008), 101 Sample Write-Ups for Documenting Employee Performance Problems (Amacom, 2010), 101 Tough Conversations to Have with Employees, and 2600 Phrases for Effective Performance Reviews (Amacom, 2005). His newest book, 75 Ways for Managers to Hire, Develop, and Keep Great Employees (Amacom, 2016), will be released this month. 

- See more at: https://shrm.org/hrdisciplines/orgempdev/articles/pages/effective-leadership-to-keep-and-inspire-valued-employees.aspx#sthash.10OS9KTt.dpuf


The 3 Essential Factors for Growing Your Business

Originally posted April 9, 2014 by Mike Michalowicz on www.americanexpress.com.

Hoping to scale your business this year? You can do it--if you have these 3 elements in place.

Congratulations! You’ve achieved a measure of success with your business. You’ve created a great product, and you’re getting the word out. Your income is increasing, and you’re ready to take the next step.
If you’re looking for the formula that will help you build your business exponentially, I’m about to give it to you. Now, don’t make the mistake of thinking there’s a worry-free, easy road to success. If that were true, businesses would never fail.
What I will share with you, though, is a reliable formula for scaling your business up—a tested and proven method of making it work harder for you. It’s not an effortless path, but you will arrive at your destination.
And here’s the key before we get started: You can’t just pick one of the following three elements and expect exponential growth. The magic solution is the intersection of all three of these elements, working together, to create a successful, profitable business.
Uniqueness
Better isn’t better; different is better. You must find the point of difference that you offer—that thing your company does that no one business can provide. Therein lies your opportunity.
Think about Starbucks for a moment. There are other coffee companies, but none are so ubiquitous or successful. Here’s why: It’s hard to differentiate yourself sufficiently. Some coffee shops may offer a slightly better product, some of them might even do it for a slightly better price, but unless a company can find a way to be significantly different, then Starbucks remains the default for many latte addicts.
Different is better. If you’re going to defeat a category leader like Starbucks, you must give prospective customers a compelling reason to choose your product.

Recurring Business From Top Clients
Start by taking a look at your industry, and determine who the top spenders are. Then create a strategy for how to get access to them. Next, look at your own business, and find a way to clone your best clients—either by converting middling clients to better ones or by finding ways to connect with more big spenders.
Don’t underestimate the importance of your community as a source for new clients, even if your business is a one-time use sort of outfit. Think about funeral homes: I can’t think of a more single-use type of business, but in providing excellent service, a funeral home can pick up additional business from the families and friends who see and value the excellent work the business is providing. Find a way to cultivate good, repeat business.

Systems, Systems, Systems
Here’s a simple, incontrovertible truth: You can’t scale your business exponentially if you insist on handling everything yourself. There’s just not enough of you to go around.
The solution is to systematize everything that makes sense. Look—and look hard—at every aspect of your business for ways you can streamline, automate and delegate your way to maximum efficiency. If your business can run an entire cycle—from landing a client through billing a client—while you’re asleep, then you have limitless potential to scale your business. Systems are more efficient and infinitely reproducible.

Putting It All Together
So when does the magic start? It’s when you get all three elements working together. It's when your coffee shop brings in loyal, repeat clients for large catering gigs because they’ve spent countless pleasurable hours at your shop, which is run by a reliable manager, offers fresh local food and has a gift shop stocked with the work of local artists. It’s when your accounting firm—staffed by mobile accountants who travel to businesses to meet with busy entrepreneurs—is invited to speak at a chamber of commerce meeting and sign up your community’s business leaders for your unique service, while explaining the system you’ve created that automates your billing and receivables process and makes you super efficient.
Being good in your field isn’t enough if you want to scale your business up. Landing clients isn’t enough, and systematizing isn’t enough. Think that challenge is too great? Here’s the encouraging part: Achieve in these three areas, and you’re virtually guaranteed success.
Focusing your attention where it really matters—on uniqueness, recurring business from good clients, and systematization—is a delicious recipe for success.


10 characteristics of effective leaders

Originally posted on http://www.propertycasualty360.com

In any business, effective leadership is critical for an agency’s success. As the insurance market evolves, insurance leaders need to be visionary and adaptable. The prevalence of small businesses in the industry, however, requires a different approach to the traditional leadership model.

Although there are exceptions to the rule, as some agencies have sophisticated business models, many small agencies lack structure.

“Ours is a small business industry, which typically signifies a business with little structure,” said Tom Barrett, president of the Midwest and Southeast regions of SIAA, Inc. “These agencies do not have detailed marketing and business plans, do not follow sales processes, have not created business budgets and take orders rather than selling products. Most have an inventory of nine coverage lines to sell, yet they only offer three. These agencies provide what the customer asked for rather than selling additional value.”

With the shifting market, however, strong leadership is critical for navigating the changes within the industry. No matter what size the business may be, an effective leader can guide the agency toward success, profitability, and higher employee morale.

“Rates are increasing, carrier and agency appointment qualifications are tightening and carriers are requiring minimum performance standards. You will see a real need to have someone leading your organization,” Barrett said.

1.    Leadership requires effort. Being in a leadership role does not necessarily make someone a leader. Leadership is earned. Where management may control and direct people, leadership requires motivation and coaching. Leaders must have a clear understanding of the goals for the future of the agency, but also knowing how the agency can achieve them.  They also must develop plans and budgets that follow a relatable sales process, creating a road map for their agency for guidance. At the same time, however, the leadership role is not autonomous. Good leaders need to seek the skills, knowledge, effort and resources needed to accomplish the agency’s goals.

2.    Leadership requires followers. Leadership cannot be an assumed role; rather, it is earned through proper selection of key positions in the agency. While criteria exist for determining competent CSRs, these criteria do not necessarily match the traits and characteristics of top producers in the industry. Strong leaders need to know how to choose the best personnel for their agency, orchestrating the mission and the process. If there is a level of mutual respect between employees and the leadership, they will trust the leader’s decisions. The opposite, however, is also true.

3.    Leadership is being a maestro. Understanding how employees’ unique traits contribute to the work environment and job description are important for leaders to coach and motivate their employees. Employees need to fit within the framework of cooperation between leadership and team members. As a maestro, the leader needs to learn and understand individual employees’ unique skills and work habits to encourage productivity, effectively manage conflicts and foster growth and improvement among employees.

4.    Leadership demands accountability. Leaders must create benchmarks for employee performance, instilling employees with satisfaction and company loyalty. At the same time, setting annual goals and objectives help employees constantly provide feedback, which creates an environment of accountability for all agency employees and develops a strong, collaborative environment.

5.    Leadership creates culture. Leaders focus on total enterprise value. Strong leaders must strive to create an environment where all employees strive to leave the customer or prospect in a better place than where they were found. Establishing a positive customer experience, in turn, leads to a unique and memorable contact with the agency. Agencies benefit from the subsequent loyalty, long-term relationships with customers, cross-sales opportunities, referrals and increased income and equity for the agency.

6.    Leadership requires honesty and humility. Openly displaying honesty and integrity when communicating with any member of the team is always important, but especially in leadership roles when your employees — and even friends, neighbors, and community members  are watching you. Leaders must always be open and honest with their team members on all occasions.

7.    Leadership means you. Employees, family, friends and the community continually watch you, making it imperative for leaders to develop strong standards that touch every facet of his or her life. The direction, culture, reputation, work ethic and professionalism of the agency begin with the leader’s behavior, and the accomplishments of the business begin with a leader’s personal actions, whether they are at the office or at home. Leaders understand that their actions drive the reputation of their company.

8.    Leadership requires conditioning and endurance. Being in a leadership role should not be a burden. It is a privilege. Although being a leader comes with an incredible amount of responsibilities, effective leaders understand that they set the pace for the rest of the agency. In order to expect strong earnings, productivity, long work hours and company loyalty, strong leaders lead by example. Being mindful of the work ethic that you promote to your team, as they often mirror the acts of the leader, can impact the way that they treat clients and prospects, but also other team members.

9.    Leadership is power. Leadership is more than sheer force. It is influential, and leaders must persuade people to act toward their goals.

10. Leadership is the most reliable predictor. Hay Group reports that there are 75 key components to employee satisfaction, and the most important is communicating three areas to the team: understanding the overall business strategy, helping employees understand how they can contribute and sharing information about progress. For the success of the company and team satisfaction, trust and confidence in leadership is key.