Monday, March 31, 2008
There are certain skills and attributes needed to achieve the win/win mindset. It starts with character - the measure of your personal integrity, maturity and an abundance mentality.
Integrity - can others count on you to do what you said you would?
Maturity - having the courage to stand up for your principles and respect others’ principles.
Abundance Mentality - believing that there is plenty of success to go around.
Applying the win/win mentality:
Incorporate it into your weekly plan. When you have a task for someone (or you’re given a task) make sure you clarify the desired results, know the guidelines, define who is responsible for what and clearly outline the consequences of not living up to the agreement.
Commit to the “Abundance Mentality.” Your success does not take away from someone else’s success. The same holds true on the flip-side. Don’t think that someone else has succeeded at the expense of your own. Teamwork will create even greater success that what can only be achieved by an individual.
Teach the mentality to another person. One of the best ways to retain information is to verbalize it to another. Find someone close to you and teach them about the Abundance Mentality. It would be a great way to start contributing to their emotional bank account.
Friday, March 28, 2008
Look no further, Extreme Office Skating may be the answer. While scanning the headlines on TIME.com today, I came across this hilarious video.
No, you're not watching a new episode of The Office, these are real people in a real office, really falling flat on their faces.
Just nobody go and tell OSHA.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
This week, he takes a look at habit four - “emotional bank accounts” that other people hold for you and you hold for others.
Emotional bank account - an expression of your credibility, your communication level and your ability to persuade/influence others.
At work, whenever you express your faith in a coworker by trusting them to do their job, or acting on their input, or even just listening when someone needs to talk, you are making a “deposit” in the emotional bank account that you have with that person.
Personal relationships can be measured by the number of deposits made to your shared emotional bank accounts.
Just like a real bank account, withdrawals can also be made. Withdrawals happen when your actions hurt a person in some way. A withdrawal can be made in the office when you show up late to a meeting, are disrespectful or act with immaturity.
Six ways to make deposits:
- Understand what makes the other person an individual, what makes them “tick.” Play to their strengths and help them to compensate for their weaknesses.
- Small acts of kindness can go a long way. When you notice someone struggling, ask how you can help.
- Keep your commitments. Do what you say you will do - be on time to meetings, complete assigned tasks.
- Understand each other’s expectations. When working on a project, have a clear view of what each expects of the final result and clear steps on how to get there. The key to this is effective communication.
- Show personal integrity by developing trust and respect for those around you.
- Apologize for withdrawals. Nobody is perfect and withdrawals will happen. Acknowledge the withdrawal, sincerely apologize and learn from the experience so that it doesn’t happen again.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
The first step is to understand what this new group of workers values in life.
Time. It’s precious and belongs to them. Staying late at work is crazy.
Technology. No, they will not put down their iPhone for a second, it is a part of who they are.
Loyalty. Younger generations are more loyal to a single person than to an entire organization. If they don’t like the boss they have, they’ll change jobs to find a new one.
Find out a few things from your younger employees:
What do they want to gain from their jobs and bosses?
How do pay and benefits affect their loyalty?
What motivates them at work?
How important is it to keep their job? If they’re still living with mom and dad, rent free, it may not be on the top of the list.
The job market is uncertain and always changing in the eyes of these young employees. Show them that your company is a secure place to be and that they are valued. A little bit of understanding may be all it takes to keep every generation at your company happy.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
According to the study the top five saddest states include Rhode Island, Nevada, Oklahoma, Idaho and Missouri.
Where the cup is half full (or states that are the happiest) include South Dakota, Hawaii, New Jersey, Iowa and North Dakota.
Research found that whether a state was happy or sad coincided with the number of mental health care providers per capita and ease of access to mental health care resources.
The study also found that happier states are generally more educated than those “less happy”
Find out how happy or sad your state is, read the full list.
If your employees’ winter blues are still lingering, blame it on geography.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Though the company failed to meet sales goals for 2007, Ford “met or exceeded” its objectives in every other category, CEO Alan Mullaly explained in a company email.
The bonus is based on improvements in cost performance, quality, automotive cash flow and financial results.
“The board of directors believe it is important to reward employees for delivering significant results and keeping the company on track to become profitable again by 2009,” Mulally’s e-mail said.With the economic crunch Americans have been feeling lately, the bonus must come as a much welcomed surprise.
The company took it’s eyes off of sales goals, and focused more on employee performance. For many companies, following Ford’s lead may be much easier said than done.
You can read the full story at Automotive News.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
An article on About.com explains why “playing well with others” is crucial in the workplace. One’s effectiveness to work well with others directly impacts how successful their career will be and how much (or little) that employee contributes to your bottom line.
The author outlines some ways to create effective work relationships, which include:
When you bring a problem to the meeting table, remember to include a solution. Anyone at an office can complain about something that isn’t working. Throw out the negative tone and share your solution to the problem.
Never point fingers. Publicly blaming others will only create enemies, who could come back to point the finger at you one day.
Be aware of your verbal and nonverbal communication. Never talk down to an employee or say nasty things. It is never appropriate to yell at someone in the workplace.
Keep your commitments. When you cancel a meeting or miss a deadline, remember that it affects others.
Never take sole credit for a job well done, share the wealth. Rarely is a job ever done without help from a few other people.
Put these tips into practice at your company and you’ll be on your way to creating strong workplace relationships.
In a recent article on TrainingTime.com, “Author & Attitude Adjuster” Kevin Burns, answers “yes” and explains why.
Burns states that an employer’s responsibility to improve its employees ends once they become competent at the job. It is then the employee’s responsibility to make themselves more valuable to the company.
“In order to better one's position in life, they have to become more valuable. It's not the company's job to make the individual better. Sure, the company can provide an environment where self-improvement is encouraged but ultimately it's not the company's responsibility to improve the individual beyond the expectations of being able to do the job. That's it.”Burns divides employees into three categories: competent, high-performer and under-achiever. The company will do anything to keep high-performers, keep competent employes where they’re at, and get rid of the under-achievers.
It is not the company’s fault if an employee is upset that they didn’t get the promotion they wanted or if they’re being paid less than they want. The employee should be self-motivated enough to seek out further training, learn new aspects of the business and become better at their job.
What do you think? What’s your opinion on training employees past the point of competency?
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
A trainer or presenter is only as good as their communication skills. Here are a few tips to overcome your public speaking jitters:
- Practice on small groups of people. Round up some friends or family members and practice your speech on them.
- Make sure you’re prepared. Do the research and know your facts. You’ll feel more confident when you know your stuff.
- Don’t memorize the material. Remember key topics you want to cover, and let that drive your presentation.
- Avoid slides. Don’t put your audience to sleep with a never-ending slide presentation. If you must have slides, use them mainly for visuals that help get your core message across.
- Don’t stress out. Easier said than done? Try some deep breathing and visualize a positive outcome.
- Make friends. Take a few minutes while people are entering the room to shake hands and personally introduce yourself to some people.
- Engage the audience. Incorporate two-way communication with questions and come up with a creative way for your audience to participate.
Maybe if we as HR managers, trainers or other kinds of leaders could help people find their path...or maybe just give them the freedom to do so, the results for everyone...the individual, the company, the country, the world...would be far more than we could imagine.
Instead, we focus on shaping, teaching at, directing, controlling -- and very seldom on inspiring or empowering. Almost never on creating a place for taking chances and learning what we COULD do.
Watch this video, listen and think. What could we do differently as trainers to achieve a better result?
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
I once was part of a fun and creative icebreaker that won’t have people sweating in their seats or scrambling for the doors. All you need is paper and something to write with. This game reminds me of an elementary school vocabulary matching worksheet, here’s how it goes:
First, one of the meeting leaders must volunteer just a little bit of time before the meeting to prepare for the icebreaker. Don’t worry, it will be fun, promise.
A day or two before the meeting, the icebreaker game leader sends out an email asking all of the invitees to respond with an interesting fact about themselves that no one in the office would know. (A reminder from HR: Keep facts workplace appropriate)
Create a worksheet with a name bank full of each attendee’s name at the top of the page. Jumble up the interesting facts and list them below the name bank. Leave a blank space at the end of the fact to fill in the appropriate name. Each one should look something like this:
I once had dinner with the Dalai Lama at the Melting Pot restaurant in Greensboro, North Carolina. Who am I? _______________
Hand out the worksheets at the beginning of the meeting and explain the game. Give everyone time to fill out the worksheet. It’s fun to watch everyone look around the room thinking about which person once won a world fencing title in middle school.
The best part - reading off the facts and letting everyone try to guess who it is. The person who matches the most facts with the correct people wins a prize.
Not only can it be extremely entertaining, this icebreaker game offers a great way to bond with team members and begin a meeting on a lighthearted note.
Try it at your next meeting and let us know how it goes.
Do you have any great icebreaker games? Leave a comment and share it with the rest of us.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Maybe you need to hold a refresher course - it could potentially save you some big bucks.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently announced the settlement of a race and national origin harassment lawsuit for $1.9 million against Allied Aviation Services, Inc. The lawsuit was on behalf of African American and Hispanic workers who were targets of racial slurs, graffiti, cartoons, and hangman’s nooses at a the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport.
“It is appalling that racial harassment remains a persistent problem at some job sites across the country in the 21st century, more than 40 years after passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act,” said EEOC Chair Naomi C. Earp. “Employers must be more vigilant and make clear that race discrimination, whether verbal or behavioral, has no place in the contemporary workplace.”
The EEOC advises employers to use proactive prevention when it comes to harassment. Their list of best practices advises employers to:
- Develop a strong Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) policy that is embraced by executive management.
- Train managers and employees on the policy, enforce it and hold company managers accountable.
- Provide training and mentoring to give workers of all backgrounds the opportunity, skill, experience, and information necessary to perform well, and to ascend to upper-level jobs
Whether you’re an employer, manager, trainer or HR professional (or all the above), you can take the first steps to preventing harassment in your workplace.
Implement a policy and enforce it. Educate and train your employees on how to handle and prevent harassment in the workplace. Continue to train employees on all forms of harassment to keep your policies fresh in their minds.
Friday, March 14, 2008
And, on top of the current presidential race, there may be some creative jokes floating around the office about the governor of New York’s recent legal predicament.
It’s next to impossible to keep these topics from creating heated and inappropriate discussion at work.
ELT, Specialists in Ethics and Legal Compliance Training, posted some tips on how to prevent inappropriate and potentially explosive political discussions in your workplace.
- Communicate to employees that discussion about political preferences or issues may not be suitable in the workplace.
- Monitor your office for political promotional materials and remind employees that they may not be appropriate.
- Address heated political discussion early and make sure managers are doing their part to monitor discussion in their departments.
- Continue training employees on the importance of maintaining a tolerant workplace and continue to communicate your policies. Training is the best defense for preventing problems before they happen.
ELT recommends that “having a sound policy and training program around diversity and discrimination will prove your best defense against problems.”
Thursday, March 13, 2008
As reported on CNN.com today, “a 2006 survey of 150 mothers conducted by eBeanstalk.com, an online toy store, the Tooth Fairy is giving an average of $2.64, with 60 percent of respondents reporting that they give less than $3 per tooth.”
That average can be seriously thrown off when your kid comes home in tears from school one day because their best friend got $15 under their pillow for a tooth (one tooth, and it wasn’t even a molar!). What are you supposed to do then?
The same problem happens at work.
You reward Joe with a $20 gift certificate to Starbucks, and Sally with two movie tickets for their outstanding help with the company picnic. Sally feels unappreciated because she thinks movie tickets are a horrible reward compared to the fantastic Starbucks gift card in Joe’s pocket.
What are you to do?
Instead of throwing out an employee reward program all together, try a different approach.
One article I found at About.com outlines some useful rules for employee recognition and suggests that you allow employees to “draw” their reward from a gift box. All the items in the box have the same monetary value and there is no direct involvement of a supervisor.
And evidence shows that employee reward programs work, if implemented effectively.
Earlier this month Hay Group, a global management consulting firm, and Fortune magazine released their rankings on the most admired companies in America. A key factor of the admiration was that these companies do a better job of rewarding employees than those less admired.
“Implementation is really the primary differentiator between employee reward programs at companies on America’s Most Admired Companies list and their peers,” said a consultant from Hay Group.
It doesn’t take much to show a little employee recognition, but it sure can go a long way.
We would like to hear your suggestions. What’s the best way you’ve found to reward employees?
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
It’s a constant struggle to find ways to keep employees active, while they spend most of their eight hour day stuck at a desk. Finally, there’s a product on the market that will get us all moving without ever leaving our cubes - the Hawaii Chair.
According to the infomercial, it “takes the work out of the workday!”
Watch it for yourself and decide if it’s the right tool to get your employees moving. Also, take a look at this great clip from the Ellen Degeneres show for her personal review of the Hawaii Chair.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
I read an interesting blog post today on Linda Richardson’s R SalesBlog that brings up a great question regarding the perception of women in the workplace.
A recent report by Catalyst titled “Damned If You Do, Doomed If You Don’t,” surveyed 1,231 senior executives from U.S. and Europe. It found that women who act in ways that are consistent with gender stereotypes (defined as focusing “on work relationships” and expressing “concern for other people’s perspective”) are considered less competent. The research also found that women who act in ways seen as more “male,” (defined as “act assertively, focusing on work task, displaying ambition,”) are seen as “too tough” and unfeminine.Personal perceptions are a tough thing to change, but we can try to teach our companies to accept different personalities and leadership styles in the workplace.
The conclusion was that women can’t win. Data also shows women don’t advance as much as men and their pay is lower on average.
What do you think? Is there is a void in the industry for better gender discrimination training?
Monday, March 10, 2008
In a recent article that I came across lately I read that diversity management is still a challenge for most companies.
it is interesting and inspiring to see how Google implemets such a great diversity management program by recognizing the ideas and culture of a different group and promoting a healthy work environment for all.
you can read the article I found in www.HRcircus.com
it is under Harassment & Discrimination and as posted on 03/05/08
Sunday, March 9, 2008
While this is great for online searches into large websites like Amazon, I couldn't help but wonder what message it might also carry for training providers.
So often, the materials we provide to employees as training materials are extensive and comprehensive --- but nearly impossible to search. Employees looking for a particular procedure, or specific guideline must browse through pages and perhaps even volumes of material. And sometimes the material is stored in different departments with the company, making a quick fact check even more cumbersome. The result of making it hard to find the information could be:
- Guessing. It's just too hard to find the facts, so the employee guesses to save precious work time
- Misunderstanding. The employee finds something related but not exact, and assumes it applies to the situation at hand, and consequently uses the wrong procedure.
- Immobility. The employee so fears making a mistake on an unfamiliar process or procedure that s/he does nothing.
- Focus on the rule books instead of the work. Detailed searches are made of every guide and rule book to make certain the exact policy is followed. Work slows to a crawl.
In designing procedure manuals, we need to consider the user. Like Google, we want to make it easy for poeple to find the information they need, quickly and accurately.
Some important questions we might want to consider in designing a manual:
- Is it well indexed? Could a new employee come in and find the answer to a simple question within five minutes?
- Is the information grouped in a logical way? A manual arranged by date of creation would offer little to an employee looking for a certain fact or process.
- Is it available online or on company computers with a good search function? The days of huge print manuals are long past. People expect and need searchable access. Back it up in print if you must, but be sure the information is digitally accessible as well.
- Finally, is it all necessary? Take a long hard look at the rules and regulations. Start with a fresh eye and avoid the justification of "We've always done it this way." Consider each regulation and procedure in light of today's business world, technology and lifestyle. Decide whether each rule is needed, or if a few more general guidelines would suffice to get the job done well.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
With the high cost of commercial real estate and transportation, it appears that this trend will continue to grow in the future. And while it's certainly more cost effective for employees and employers alike in terms of gas, office space and utilities, it can present some unique challenges for HR Managers.
We'd like to get your feelings on training issues with off-site employees. Please take 5 minutes and answer a few questions about your experiences with training employees who work outside of the physical company. We will be posting the results on here over the next few weeks.
Click Here to take survey
Friday, March 7, 2008
Here are ten simple ways to motivate your employees:
1. Leave a handwritten thank you card at their desk.
2. Give them anything with sugar in it. Chocolate, candy and cookies always do the trick.
3. Buy them a small gift certificate to their favorite coffee shop.
4. Invite them to join you for lunch.
5. Sit down at their desk and have a non-work related conversation.
6. Recognize the employee’s recent efforts at a company meeting.
7. Find a small gift for the employee to keep on their desk. Anything from fun-shaped Post-its to a desk clock work.
8. Create an event. Have a crazy hat day or favorite sports team day, give an award for the best dressed.
9. Bring breakfast to the office.
10. Call the employee into your office to tell them what a great job they’ve been doing lately.
Remember what Zig Ziglar once said, “People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily.”
It’s up to you to motivate your employees on a daily basis. Even something as small as a thank you note can go a very long way.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
- Refresher training - Give your employees some time to soak in the initial training program. In a few days or weeks after, set up a refresher course to make sure the information sticks.
- Follow-up activities - Set up mock situations for employees to run through that is tied to the training they received. It will keep employees engaged and it will help you reiterate your key training points.
- Performance appraisals - Follow up your training after a determined amount of time with a training appraisal. It doesn’t have to be a strict, formal appraisal, but just something that gives you proof on paper whether the employee retained the information or not.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Even the most skilled of presenters find it a daunting task to keep employees awake during training sessions. How do we think people learn from someone standing in front of a room of people, only a quarter of whom are actually listening, while they stare at a giant screen full of bullet points and sales figures? Not even the most exciting clip art can liven up that slide presentation.
E-learning is the new corporate training trend.
“E-learning, the use of electronic tools like computers and the Internet to deliver content, has emerged as the fastest-growing segment in the field of training and development. And one of the hottest tickets in e-learning is computer-aided simulation,” according to a great article I read on Workforce.com.
Computer-based simulation programs were originally developed for military organizations. The same type of simulation techniques the Army uses to train soldiers to fight in the desert can be modified for the corporate jungle.
Training programs have been created to simulate virtual companies. Executives and employees act as players in a game and are divided into teams to work out situations that mirror actual corporate dilemmas. The games can test a number of qualities including leadership, teamwork and decision making skills.
Open your eyes to new training methods and destroy the outdated PowerPoint slide. Keep your trainees engaged and eager to learn with new and improved E-learning methods.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Maybe you noticed a few weeks ago when your favorite caffeine dealer, Starbucks, was closed. Your caffiene fix had to wait until the next day (or maybe you just ran down the street to the closest Dunkin’ Donuts).
For 3.5 hours on the night of February 26 across the U.S., Starbucks closed it’s doors to customers in order to collectively train its 135,000 employees.
The training was an effort to “transform the company and reignite its connection with customers.” See the press release here.
Closing 7,100 stores nationwide on the same day may seem a bit drastic. But, their method may actually be genius.
Shutting the doors to the public allowed Starbucks to perfect their craft, all without irritating caffeine-hungry customers. Employees could also learn in a stress-less, customer-free environment, void of an annoyed and growing line behind the counter.
Sure, you may have had to find a substitute for your favorite coffee that evening, but, I bet your non-fat half caff triple grande quarter sweet sugar free vanilla non-fat extra hot foamy Caramel Macchiato was made just right the next day.
Monday, March 3, 2008
“Survey: One-third of workers catching zzz's on job” was a headline that caught my eye today on CNN.com.
The National Sleep Foundation released survey results that show we may not be getting enough sleep. On average, workers get 6 hours and 40 minutes of sleep a night, according to the survey.
Almost one-third of those surveyed admitted they had become very sleepy or had actually fallen asleep during the past month at work.
So, go ahead and take that nap today and lets all try to get a little more sleep tonight. Your boss may appreciate it and your body will thank you. Sweet dreams ...