Make Your Company Irresistible

The pandemic changed the face and the culture of business. Along with this, hiring practices and office cultures were flipped on their ears. Employers must find ways to attract new hires and keep their current employees happy and fulfilled. While a good place to start, strategies such as adding more employee benefits and increasing pay are not enough.

To compete, workplaces need to be employers of choice, where everyone wants to work. And in a climate where there is a considerable transformation in business culture and structure, along with high employee turnover, the answer is clear.

Your company needs to be irresistible.

Give your business heart and soul

What is the big deal about being irresistible?

Research shows that being irresistible helps you outperform the competition in employee retention, better customer service, and long-term profitability. To be irresistible and to give your business heart and soul, surround your employees with the right mix of elements like the work itself, good leadership, opportunities for growth, a positive work environment, and trust.

Work that has value

Employees want to contribute to something larger than themselves. What employees value in work may vary, so it’s important to give them room to help contribute to and create space for differences in perspectives by:

  • Offering autonomy. When you give employees independence, or the freedom to “just be,” they can establish their work style within workplace boundaries and culture. Giving autonomy can spark new ways of thinking and working—and as a leader, you need to encourage and harness this individualism.
  • Putting people into empowered teams. This enables employees to interact directly with one another and form close relationships so they can develop trust, inclusivity, and mutual respect. This is good for a business’s bottom line and accommodates flexibility based on how the team prefers to work together and operate.

Good leadership

Leadership has a direct impact on the workplace culture. A seemingly weak leader or manager can be a barrier to good work. Being a strong leader takes self-awareness and practice, so to ensure you are an effective leader:

Growth opportunities

Employees want to grow and advance. One of the best ways to address this is to offer training and support through formal means, like courses and training programs, and informal means, such as check-ins and offering help when needed. You can also give employees the freedom to try new things in their role (or move to a completely different position, if appropriate), have them direct their own learning, and tie learning to cross-training and problem-solving.

Positive work environment

Employees do their best work when they feel free to be themselves. Offer a flexible and inclusive workplace if you want your employees to be engaged at work. Since employees have fast-paced and busy lives, offering the ability to flex and shape their schedules is a major way of making your workplace irresistible.

Give employees flexibility regarding what hours/days they work and how to approach their assignments. Also, give them recognition for their work, and make sure your workplace is humanistic (and helps employees fit their work into their lives) by making it fair, inclusive, and diverse—teams with inclusive cultures outperform others by 80%.

Trust

When you cultivate your leadership skills, it pays off in the form of trust. And this trust leads to your company’s success. How can you instill trust?

  • Communicate a sense of mission and purpose. When companies define success through the eyes of those they serve, your employees take this to heart and use this to further drive success.
  • Act with transparency. Don’t hide the truth about your company from your employees. For example, you must inform your employees if there are bad quarterly earnings or a security/data breach. It will pay off in the long run.
  • Focus on inspiration. Inspire them with your words and actions. Talk about the future, tell your company’s story, and share the vision and what it means. Ask your employees to share what the vision means to them as well. They will get on board and give you their best if they believe in your vision.

Be the place everyone wants to work

You don’t want to be the business that always scrambles to fill open positions—you want to be the business where everyone wants to work. So take the initiative and begin building up the different aspects of your business—ask yourself if you’re meeting expectations or letting employees down, and take action. The best, most successful companies treat themselves as constant works-in-progress, so there is never a time when you shouldn’t be thinking about how you might improve your employee’s experience. The more committed you are to it, the better off your company—and your employees—will be.

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners
Photo by gajus

How to Integrate and Lead Your Generation Z Employees

The workforce is changing rapidly– Baby Boomers are passing the torch to Generation X, Millennials are growing their skillsets and confidence, and Generation Z is entering the workforce. Now employers need to rethink how they can lead a multi-generational team as they experience one of the workforce’s most significant shifts.

As Gen Z enters the workforce, it’s important to understand how to integrate them into the team and effectively lead them. Understanding the characteristics that drive Gen Z and learning the best practices for leading a multi-generational team fosters shared respect, collaboration, and trust.

Gen Z characteristics

Every generation experienced significant events during their formative years. Baby Boomers grew up during revolutionary movements and became change agents, Gen Xers grew up with different family structures making them independent and self-reliant, and Millennials grew up hearing about terrorism and multiculturalism, creating a concern for safety and diversity. 

These life experiences influence how each generation sees the world and what drives their values and characteristics in the workplace. The common values, characteristics, and work styles found in Gen Z include:

  • Values: Gen Zers’ value connections, equality, and diversity. These values have made Gen Zers value personalization and freedom of expression because they want to be taken seriously and protect what they care about. 
  • Characteristics: Gen Zers are connected, diverse, personal, pragmatic, resilient, and resourceful. They are extremely connected because of their access to advanced technology. You’ll also find this generation more politically progressive and financially conscious because they grew up with Millennials’ progressiveness and saw their parents’ struggles during the Great Recession.
  • Communication and management styles: When it comes to Gen Z in the workplace, they tend to like a technologically driven atmosphere, automated processes, tasks over teams, financial security over personal fulfillment, and prefer video and images rather than big blocks of text.

Best practices for leading Generation Z

The members of Generation Z are entering the workforce and aren’t going anywhere. Gen Zers have a lot of potential in their future, and leaders can tap into their talent by effectively leading them on their path to growth. Here are common practices and tips for managing Generation Z:

Support their authentic selves

Gen Zers want to work for a company where they have opportunities to grow and develop and will choose a company that supports them in being their authentic selves. If they do not get these opportunities, they will go elsewhere– leaving the company with higher turnover. Consider offering Gen Zers professional development plans and mentorship that challenges and develops them individually and personally.

Demonstrate a societal impact

Leaders must demonstrate how the organization impacts society. Gen Z is progressive and eager to make the world a better place, wants leaders to be transparent, and wants to work for a company that thinks about the bigger picture. Consider letting them in on the company’s inner workings, listening to their ideas, and creating a culture of purpose. When companies contribute to society, they attract young talent, increase employee engagement, and bring in new clients and consumers who share this Gen Z value.

Give them opportunities to learn and share wisdom

Gen Z craves knowledge and experience and wants to apply their knowledge everywhere they go. Consider engaging them in stretch assignments (a project or task beyond their skill level). These assignments will stretch them developmentally by challenging them. Before you know it, you’ll see Gen Zers applying their new growth and knowledge at work.

Care for their holistic well-being

Gen Z is known for its stance on diversity, career advancement, and values. They expect more from their employers than any other generation, so nurture them! Give your Gen Z employees more responsibilities. Make your stances on diversity known. Make your company values known—and practice what you preach. Gen Zers, when happy, are loyal, committed, and will go out of their way to support the company’s vision and goals.

Leading a multi-generational team

Leading a multi-generational team is easier said than done. Luckily, there are tips and tools that leaders can practice to secure an effective team in a positive work environment:

  1. Establish trust and open communication. When managers know their employees and genuinely understand their values and work preferences, they can figure out the best way to communicate and foster mutual trust– leading to higher performance and better results.
  2. Consider team tools to gain insight, such as Myers Briggs, Kolbe, or StrengthsFinder, and share the results with the team to help members better understand and work with each other.
  3. Build empathy with your employees and tweak your management style to align with their communication and management styles.
  4. Integrate a generational component to your onboarding by teaching people the generational expectations around workplace etiquette, such as communication, collaboration, formality, and work ethic. By doing this, you highlight ways to draw from each other’s similarities and set the foundation for new employees to start building work relationships.

Differences are okay!

Older generations must understand how to lead younger generations because their values and priorities at work differ. Perhaps you’re a self-reliant and independent Gen Xer and get irritated by Millennials’ constant need to collaborate, or you’re a Baby Boomer who values the chain of command and feels disrespected by Gen Zers’ outspokenness.

Here’s the thing– being different is okay! The qualities that make each generation different are the same qualities a company needs to flourish. If every team member were the same, things would turn stagnant. Leaders and employees alike need to consider how their differences can complement each other and how they can combat the tension through empathy and mutual respect.

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by alphaspirit

Too Many Meetings: How to Meet With Intention and Purpose

Meetings are an important and necessary part of working in a team environment. But if you find yourself staring at the calendar and gritting your teeth at the number of meetings scheduled, you have crossed over into the realm of “too many meetings.”

In the US, 55 million meetings are held every week. Of these meetings, 71% are considered unproductive. And on top of it all, Zoom fatigue is a thing, which is burnout from having too many virtual meetings.

Meet with intention and purpose, and gain time back in your day with these tips.

Come into meetings with an agenda

Agendas help establish the goals and objectives of the meeting. If you can’t think of any goals or objectives, chances are it’s a meeting you can cancel. Prepare the agenda a few days in advance and send it to the participants, so they have a chance to look it over and prepare any questions, thoughts, or materials for the conversation.

Schedule shorter meetings

If you’ve scheduled a 30-minute meeting and covered all you needed to talk about in 15 minutes, there’s no law saying you must sit around twiddling your thumbs for the remaining 15 minutes. Once you’re finished, end the meeting early. Experiment with making meetings under 20 minutes—enough time to cover your agenda but short enough to maintain attention and not interfere too much with your team’s schedule.

Make meeting attendance optional

Meetings need to have value to those attending. When scheduling a meeting, ensure that only the people who need to be there are there. Otherwise, discussions could get too far off track or people attending are wasting their time in irrelevant conversations. Any team members who don’t need to be at the meeting should be told that the meeting is optional, and if necessary, you can send out notes to people who don’t attend.

Encourage scheduling “meeting-free” times

When people have blocks of uninterrupted time to complete tasks, they are at their most productive. Encourage your employees to schedule “no meeting” times on their calendars. Multitasking is a myth; our brains cannot focus on more than one task at a time. Having meeting-free times and blocks of uninterrupted time to focus on tasks helps employees get more done; which, in turn, helps your business and your employees’ mental health.

Embrace asynchronicity

When a meeting is synchronous, it means everyone needs to be at the meeting at the same time—examples are in-person, over the phone, and Zoom meetings. But what if you have a team that spans multiple time zones, or even multiple countries? In this case, try the opposite and embrace asynchronicity.

Asynchronous meetings take place solely through communication tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams. These kinds of meetings allow people to communicate on their schedule, ask questions, and absorb information at their own pace.

Transition daily huddle meetings to electronic tools

Often, companies hold short sprints or daily meetings. These meetings are usually reserved for checking in with employees and how they’re doing with their goals or projects. Try this experiment: set up a channel in your Slack or Teams channel as a “daily meeting” channel. Send a message, such as: “@everyone, what is on your agenda today?” Or you can include a “daily agenda” section in your project management software that asks team members the same question.

These electronic interactions can save time. If employees have a question, they can drop you a message instead of scheduling a block of meeting time with you.

Use other methods of presentation

 Consider if the information you need to talk about can be presented to your colleagues differently, such as via video, PowerPoint, or email. If so, either make a video or PowerPoint or send your colleagues an email with the information that would have been covered in the meeting.

Make meetings intentional

Meetings enable collaboration, creativity, and innovation and foster company culture. But having too many meetings can cost time and money for you, your employees, and your business, creating more problems than benefits. Give all of your meetings intention and purpose and help your team gain back the time you need.

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by petrovichvadim

5 Keys to Changing Your Company Culture

Is your company culture falling short of your original vision? Do you wish your organization was more exciting to current staff and enticing for future employees? 

Maybe you should do a little culture check-in.  

Here’s a five-step self-assessment exercise you can use to gauge the status of your current culture and what kind of work it will take to get it where you want it to be. 

Company values 

Values are one of those ideas that might make some people roll their eyes. But a company without values is a company with no soul. And no consistency. Having clearly defined values will help guide your organizational decision-making and behaviors in the right direction. 

Everyone has their own set of values they use to drive decision-making and behaviors. And regardless of how great your people are, if each person is using individual values to make decisions, you will create a disparate experience at best.  

Questions to ask: Have we defined our values as an organization? Are they documented and accessible? How often do we talk about them with the team? Does everyone understand what they are, why they’re important, and how to make decisions based on them?  

Organizational vision  

Owners and leaders need to have a detailed (and united!) vision of the company they strive to be. This is especially true during times of crisis and/or change. A vision isn’t a pretty statement to be framed and hung on the wall but a detailed description of the resources, skills, behaviors, and results necessary for success.  

But simply having a vision isn’t enough. There must also be a plan to achieve it. And everyone needs to understand the vision and the plan to create the culture reality.  

Questions to ask: What do we want our company to look like in three years? Have we documented this? What is our plan for executing these ideas? How are we communicating it to our team? Is everyone actively participating in helping achieve the vision? How often are we returning to review our plans?  

Performance coaching  

People will usually perform to the level of expectations you have for them. If you set mediocre standards, you’ll get mediocre results. But when you regularly work with people to strive for improvement and offer consistent coaching and mentoring, their level of performance will consistently rise. Look at your expectations and accountability levels and where they need to be.  

Questions to ask: How are we managing the performance of each person on our team? What processes have we established? How consistently are we using our processes to help our team members improve their roles? Have we clearly defined roles and expectations? How are we measuring success and holding people accountable? What resources are we providing our employees to help them stay accountable? 

Personal development  

In high-performance organizations, having employees with the skills to innovate and lead is imperative. You can be on a merry-go-round of continuously hiring new people to fill in gaps you may have, or you take the time to identify the skills you need and train your current team to be prepared with new capabilities. One method will go a long way to developing a positive team culture. The other? Not so much.  

Questions to ask: What training and/or personal development are we providing our team members? For leadership? What future areas have we identified where we will need improved or different skills from what we currently have? How are we working to uncover potential and develop inside talent? 

Organizational trust  

When your employees truly believe in the sincerity of their leaders and trust your words and actions, the organizational culture you’ve built will be able to move and adapt more quickly. Organizations with high trust consistently outperform the competition because people don’t waste time questioning motivations and speculating about hidden agendas. Organizations with high trust also enjoy higher levels of employee engagement, productivity, and morale.  

Questions to ask: What is the level of trust among our team? Do they trust each other? Their supervisors? Company leaders? Do departments work together or in silos? Does management trust their teams and empower them to take ownership of their work? 

After the assessment 

Depending on how you answered the above questions, you could have a little or a lot of work to do moving forward.  

If your culture is mostly where you want it, look for ways to enhance and communicate what you already have. Complacency is the enemy of great culture. Ensure the vision and messages are clear and the commitment to them is evident. 

If your culture seems less than stellar, it’s time to get to work. Culture starts at the top, and so should you. Get your leadership team together to define what values drive your organizational beliefs. Then decide how you’re going to live those values through your behaviors.  

Once you’ve created the vision, start working on plans for communication and execution. This is one case where an outside expert can provide a lot of value. Being ingrained in your organization can color your vision and make these processes more difficult. Having a facilitator/mediator who can help you find clarity, stay focused, and keep things on track is also helpful. 

If you’ve done the exercise and feel tempted to simply ignore any red flags, you’re not alone. Many businesses are doing exactly that, despite knowing they have issues. But believe it or not, this is the more difficult route. Over time, your culture will deteriorate to the point where it will require exponentially more work to dig yourself out. And that’s no fun for anyone. 

Commit to creating the remarkable organization you envision. Your team, your business, and your customers will thank you for it.  

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by rawpixel

 

Why Self-Reflection Matters in Leadership

Leadership comes with great responsibility, and great responsibility calls for regular reflection upon who you are as a leader, how you are developing, and your impact on the organization.

Regular periods of self-reflection are needed to ensure that you are heading in the right direction regarding empowering your people, making progress towards your vision, and creating a sustainable legacy over the long term.

Asking purposeful questions that challenge you and get to the heart of what it means to be a leader can uncover how well you measure up and highlight areas for self-improvement.

Has my “Why” evolved since I started?

Change is constant and inescapable. Processes, plans, goals, and even team members will change or evolve over time. Your ‘Why’ is what drives your emotions, actions, and behaviors. It’s the key to unlocking the purpose that leads your organization and the foundation upon which everything is built. Every decision you make is influenced by your purpose, which is why it’s crucial to reflect on it regularly.

Ask yourself, “Is the ‘why’ of what I’m doing the same as it was when I started?” If your ‘why’ has shifted, then you may have strayed from your values or vision. If that’s the case, it’s time to strategize to ensure a successful re-alignment, so your purpose continues to drive your organization. If you want to inspire people to get behind your purpose and vision, they need to believe in what you believe in.

Am I developing as a leader?

There are no perfect leaders. If there were, they wouldn’t need followers. So if you think you have it all figured out and that you’re at the pinnacle level of leadership, then reflect on how you’re developing. Leaders who value continuous development, and who remain agile and curious are capable of adapting to the most significant and unexpected challenges.

Contemplate how you’re developing. If your list is limited, explore opportunities that will help you grow and develop your skills as a leader in your organization.

Am I as accessible as I can be?

Take a moment to reflect on this question.

Did you think of physical availability? Perhaps, you considered yourself available because you have an “open-door policy” or a “virtual communication policy” if you’re remote. If so, you need to differentiate physical availability and accessibility.

Accessibility goes beyond physical availability because it’s everything that happens the moment someone walks in your door and your accountability that follows. Now reflect on this question again and ask yourself:

  • Does the culture I created encourage people to talk to me?
  • Am I providing enough support?
  • Am I actively listening to others’ input? 
  • Do I consistently follow up with people?
  • Do I show genuine appreciation and gratitude for my team members?

If you encourage your team to share their input and ideas because you read in an article that you should, ask yourself if you’re genuine. In the case of leadership, actions speak louder than words.

Do I seek enough feedback?

Countless people avoid feedback because they worry it may bruise the ego or harm their self-confidence, but as the saying goes – no pain, no gain. One of the bravest acts you can perform is to explore honest and constructive feedback on your performance as a leader. You can do this during team performance reviews or one-to-one employee check-ins.

Embrace the discomfort and seek out suggestions on how you can improve and support your team. Just as you would follow up with someone on their need to be accessible, It’s critical you follow through and integrate feedback for it to make a meaningful impact. Take this feedback, reflect on it some more, and embrace how you can grow as a leader.

Self-reflection translates into a powerful organization

Just as leaders expect certain standards from their people, their role as a leader holds them to greater standards.

Dedicating time to self-reflection fosters self-awareness and helps leaders ensure they’re holding themselves to this greater standard and walking on the path they paved.

Regardless of whether you’re a leader, manager, or team member, asking these questions can help you boost your strengths, emotional intelligence, and integrity, and can make any necessary improvements that will enhance your ability to be of greater service and benefit to yourself as well as others.

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by peshkov

Cultivate a Culture of Peer Recognition

Employee recognition is essential – true, but what about peer recognition?

Too many organizations rely on recognition to flow downwards, trusting their managers will see their employees’ accomplishments and voice appreciation. When leaders are the only ones practicing recognition, there’s a lot of great work that goes unnoticed. If appreciation is the most important job element for employees, why leave it to only the leaders? Peer recognition allows appreciation and gratitude to flow in all directions – across departments and locations, and even upwards.

Start cultivating a culture of peer recognition by understanding the importance, benefits, and tips to facilitate recognition in your organization.

Importance of peer recognition

There’s no need to abandon traditional top-down recognition – employees value appreciation from leadership. Instead, complement it with peer recognition because this newer, more collaborative approach has different benefits that help individuals and organizations thrive. The most common benefits are that peer recognition:

Strengthens teams and relationships

When people rely on top-down recognition, it creates a competitive environment. On the other hand, peer acknowledgment fosters a sense of team spirit and cooperation that increases the probability of a constructive team culture by 2.5x! The shared gratitude sets a positive attitude for the company culture, encouraging everyone to work together and achieve company goals.

Improves confidence and self-esteem

When employees receive feedback from a fellow team member, it holds an increased level of validation and pride. They recognize their worth and impact, boosting confidence and self-esteem in later projects. Public recognition also allows leaders to see what they may have been missing and enhance the value of each of their employees’ skills and abilities. The cycle of positivity sustains confidence and produces high-performance teams.

Increases positive emotions and well-being

Peer recognition and gratitude are regularly associated with happiness. So it makes sense that it’s one of the simplest ways to make employees happy, optimistic, and satisfied at work.

The positive emotions affect people’s work lives and also enhance their well-being because happiness increases health. You’ll notice employees have better physical health, sleep better, and feel less stressed.

These benefits help organizations thrive because employees become more engaged, productive, present, and efficient. Most importantly, peer recognition leads to satisfaction and can help reduce employee turnover, as 75% of people say that recognition makes them want to stay at their current job longer.

Create a culture of peer recognition

Companies need to cultivate a culture that values and encourages employees to practice peer recognition if they want to experience the benefits. First, consider setting guidelines for giving praise and then implement a peer recognition program that reflects these guidelines. This could be a platform, such as Slack or Teams, specifically designed to assist peers with giving and receiving recognition or feedback.

Companies can also encourage employees to recognize others through LinkedIn endorsements. Let’s say a team works well together; they can go to each other’s profiles and validate the skills listed by “endorsing,” writing a recommendation, or using the “Celebrate an occasion” option when creating a new post. These are quick and simple steps that show appreciation and can help an employee in their career path.

Leaders should also engage in the peer recognition program’s celebrations because they provide important validation and show that the company cares when they’re involved. Leaders’ involvement is a great way to remind team members of the value and impact they can make when they recognize their peers.

Tips to apply

Recognition and appreciation don’t come easily to everyone. Some people may be “recognition champions,” while others need to be coached on how to give recognition effectively. You can help guide your team by sharing and modeling these best practices for giving recognition:

Timely: One golden rule for recognition is to share appreciation as soon as possible. Effective recognizers don’t sit on it for weeks; they observe and congratulate others right away. Praising someone in the moment is powerful because it shows that you’re paying attention and care.

Genuine: Adding scheduled recognition to your calendar becomes a transaction or chore. Recognition should be authentically earned and given, not something to check off your to-do list. Genuine gratitude makes sharing more effortless, and people will notice your sincerity. 

Specific: A simple note saying, “Great job on that project!” can make a person smile. What if you were more specific and said how they did a great job? You’ll put a smile on their face for days! A helpful tip is to connect their success with why it matters to you, the team, and the organization. The more specific, the more impactful the message will be.

Public: Peer recognition is best when done publicly. You can do this within a department, team, or across the company. The public spotlight turns the moment into a heartfelt experience of gratitude and encourages others to hop on the bandwagon. It also helps leaders be aware of the great work they can’t see every day and shows others what the company values, inspiring them to do the same.

Help people and company culture thrive

Leaders cannot do and see everything, especially when the company is growing and expanding. This makes it even more important to emphasize peer recognition in their company cultures. Recognition is not only your responsibility—it’s a gift to share and encourage throughout an organization.

When companies practice peer recognition, everyone is more aware of the great work around them. Feedback starts to flow freely throughout the organization, and the atmosphere of gratitude and appreciation creates a transformation. People begin giving themselves wholeheartedly, freely, and cheerfully.

Consider finding ways to weave recognition into the fabric of your organization and be ready to see a snowball of benefits that help individuals and the organization thrive!

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by fizkes

Be A Self-Aware Leader in the Face of Stress

We’ve all felt the pressure of heavy deadlines and important projects pulling our attention in too many directions. An entirely stress-free workplace doesn’t exist, so how do we set our organizations up to best handle the inevitable stress that’s bound to affect your team? One of the biggest barriers that prevent regular stress from becoming a driver of burnout is company culture. A strong culture will subtly work to create an environment where employees can handle stress in a healthy, sustainable way.

This type of company culture comes directly from leadership and is nurtured, maintained, and fiercely protected by everyone in a leadership position. Without leaders’ support and constant attention, the culture will waver and fade. It’s not that individual employees don’t play significant roles in protecting, promoting, and creating a positive culture, but their tone and approach only affect them and those closest to them—not an entire team or organization.

Leaders must be especially aware of their responses to stress because their reactions and approach will set the tone for everything.

The attitude trickle-down effect

 

Whether we like to admit it or not, employees must be constantly attuned to their direct manager—interpreting signals, communication, and behavior to ensure they’re meeting expectations. It isn’t the most comfortable thing to admit, but it’s true. It’s built into the social structure of our organizations. Whether they like it or not, leaders within organizations have a much more significant impact than simply helping their team meet deadlines.

The way leaders manage stress will be directly reflected in their team’s behavior. We naturally pick up on the energy of those leading us—it tells us whether we need to be rushing or taking our time. It sets the tone for how we feel about our tasks and how we approach them.

If leaders are responding to stress by:

  • Becoming accusatory and looking to place blame on others
  • Cutting people off and rushing communication
  • Micromanaging other peoples’ responsibilities
  • Working extreme hours
  • Becoming scattered and disorganized

Then their team will begin to respond to stress in the same way.

The harder it is to do, the more important it is to do it


No one is perfect, and leaders are no exception. They must learn to navigate their own unhealthy tendencies while continuing to be strong leaders for their teams. That means cultivating self-awareness and tools and resources to lean on to help them maintain a healthy leadership style in stressful situations.

The harder it is to maintain healthy responses to stress, the more critical it is to do so. Because if it’s stressful for the leader, you had better believe it’s stressful for the team. And when a leader poorly responds to stress, the team is forced to deal with the added and unnecessary burden of their leader’s stress on top of what stress is already there.

As leaders—and anyone for that matter—it can be helpful to practice some techniques to help catch themselves before they fall into unhealthy stress responses.

  • Check in with yourself. Use a mindfulness practice like journaling or daily self check-ins to keep track of your emotional pulse. The faster you can identify that you’re feeling stressed, the easier it is to remind yourself of the tools and resources you have access to.
  • Communicate with consistency. Set boundaries around how and when you communicate. Avoid communicating in the middle of the night and during personal time. If you find that you’re compelled to do so, ask yourself if it’s going to help or if it’s just your stress making you feel like it will help.
  • Pause before getting involved. If you feel compelled to check over someone’s work or ask them how things are going, slow down and ask yourself if it’s for a good reason. Stress can often trigger us to want to control or take over a situation, even if capable people are already on it.

Be consistent

As leaders, it is crucial to have the self-awareness to realize when we are exhibiting signs of stress and take steps to manage it appropriately. Sometimes we make mistakes, and it’s just as important to take responsibility for them after the fact as trying to prevent them from occurring in the first place. Knowing yourself and your tendencies is the first step to appropriately responding to stress. A cool, calm, and collected leader generates a balanced and sustainable workplace that can handle obstacles and challenges with confidence.

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by ammentorp

Why (and How) You Should Care About Employee Health

The month of May, deemed Global Employee Health and Fitness Month (GEHFM), is a time to observe how the benefits of health and a healthy workplace make a difference in employers’ and employees’ lives. Employees in good health, both physically and mentally, are more likely to give their all to their organization. When employees have health-related issues, and nothing is done to help them, it affects their lives and costs businesses money. An estimated $530 billion a year, in fact.

The good news is that improving employee health is not an impossible feat. It’s quite possible! Show your employees you care about their health and wellbeing with these tips you can implement in your workplace.

Give employees autonomy

Research done by McKinsey Quarterly shows that the higher someone’s rank is in a company, the lower the instances of health issues such as stress and cardiovascular disease.

Why? The higher the rank, the lower the stress and chances for illness.

But why?

Even though these high-ranked employees faced many demands in their job, they enjoyed more control over their tasks, how they did them, and when.

This kind of autonomy needs to apply to all your employees. Instead of looking over their shoulders and being a helicopter, give your employees control over their tasks. You can still provide priorities and task deadlines but let them choose what tasks to work on during their day—and how they do them.

Encourage physical activity

A sedentary lifestyle at home and work can lead to health-related issues such as back pain, which 8 out of 10 people experience at some point in their life. Encourage your employees to get up and move during the day—taking a walk, stretching at their desks, and doing yoga are all good options. If your office is onsite, provide workstations with ergonomic chairs and standing desks. If your employees work remotely, consider giving them a stipend that they can use to make their at-home workstation ergonomic.

Help avoid digital eyestrain

Thirteen hours. That is how much time the average person spends daily in front of a digital screen (computer, phone, television), including both personal and work screen time, according to the Screen Time Report. In the same report, 71% of employers estimate their employees spend three or more hours staring at a screen—and 10% estimate their employees spend ten or more hours staring at a screen.

Your employees are locked in to some kind of screen during most of their day, so encourage them to give their eyes a rest by following the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, take a break and stare at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

Give a shoulder to cry on

Having social support—family and friends you can count on—directly affects health. The same is true for workplace support. Having a competitive culture that pits people against one another weakens social support. Also, having a transactional culture, where people feel like they’re just a number instead of a valued employee, further weakens that support.

Let your employees know that you and their fellow employees have their back and make your company culture one of support and empathy. This lets them know they can trust one another and leads to happier employees.

Don’t make people choose

Life is a trade-off between work and family commitments. Parents have school and sports commitments for their children; people have aging relatives they might need to take to doctor’s appointments. But for many people, these are stress-inducing events because they feel forced to choose between one or the other—work or family.

Make sure your employees know that family and other personal commitments are a part of life. Give them flexible schedules so they don’t miss out on important moments or appointments—because when people feel happy and fulfilled at home, it will reflect in their work.

Encourage employees to actually end the day

 

Multiple studies show that the number of hours worked does not necessarily equate to productivity. Once the workday is done, encourage your employees to clock out and enjoy their evenings and weekends with their friends and family. If your employees work remotely, encourage them to do the same and to log off their computers when the workday is done.

Invest in your employees’ health

When you show that you care about the health and wellbeing of your employees, they will notice. Give them access to health insurance, health and wellness programs, annual health screenings, and health education with practical, straightforward advice that your employees can put into practice. By providing these, you give employees the chance to take charge of their health.

Try “office recess”

Remember recess as a kid? It was a time to play, recharge, and have fun. Office recess is the same concept, where you encourage employees to “take a recess”—to pause and do something for themselves. This gives employees a mid-day energy boost and gets them started on the path to relaxation.

Be healthy, be happy

Employee health is a good investment. When you take the time to make sure they are healthy and happy—both physically and mentally—they will remember it and give their all for you. Use this month to spend time considering how you can make positive, forward-thinking changes to your company that promotes the health and wellbeing of your employees. Even small changes can make a difference. As you work to make these improvements, empowering employees to make healthy decisions for themselves, your culture, productivity, and internal relationships will improve—along with employee health.

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by eakrinr

Why Employee Benefits Are Important

Employees are the backbone of your organization, the people that keep things running smoothly and keep your clients happy—and a generous benefits package goes a long way toward keeping employees happy. But long gone are the days when only employee compensation, free lunches, foosball tables, and nap rooms met people’s needs.

The pandemic happened. And with it came the Great Resignation, where 4.5 million US workers left their jobs voluntarily in 2021. Wanting a different lifestyle, high healthcare costs, rising inflation, the financial challenges posed by the pandemic, and needing to feel rewarded and appreciated for their work are a few reasons people left their previous positions.

People want and expect more from their position and employee benefits and believe they can get more, so they are. It’s time to start paying attention to the current feelings behind employee benefits—and why you should offer not just good but great benefits.

Employee attraction and retention

Let’s throw some percentages up in the air: 49%, 78%, and 40%.

  • 49% of your employees will start looking for new work in the next 12 months if they aren’t happy with their job or benefits.
  • 78% of them will stay with your company if your benefits package is attractive.
  • 40% of potential new employees will seriously consider your company if your benefits package addresses their wants and needs.

Employees want to work in a caring company culture where they get more from their job than a place to work and a paycheck. With excellent benefits, you show you value people, and you will not only attract new employees but also retain your current ones.

Work/life balance

Blending the demands of work and life can leave employees feeling frazzled at the end of the day. There are projects to finish, deadlines to meet, dinner to make, sick kids to take to the doctor —all these demands can feel like balancing a wobbly stack of plates ready to crash.

With the rise in remote work, people are spending more time working than ever; nearly 70% say they are spending more time working on the weekends because of the pandemic and the transition to remote work. Also, 45% of people now spend more time at work than ever before because of remote work. Providing substantial employee benefits like flexible schedules and paid time off gives them the support needed to help build the bridge between work and life.

Overall mental health and wellness

One in five adults will have mental health issues, but only one in three who need help will get it. And when employees don’t get the help they need, their work suffers: The World Health Organization estimates that mental health issues cost companies $1 trillion a year in lost productivity, but prioritizing employees’ mental health gives a return of $4 per person in improved health and productivity.

Despite money lost or money gained, people want a more open culture surrounding mental health and training on where to find assistance or resources. Focusing on overall mental health and wellbeing helps with overall morale.

Increased productivity

When employees wake up and come to work each day, you want them to feel fulfilled and ready to tackle any projects and challenges that come their way. When there is a robust benefits package to take care of employees, they will feel that they’re taken care of and will give back to you by being productive in their roles, providing excellent customer service, and being more engaged.

Improved financial security

Whether your employees are just starting their career or thinking about retirement, they want to have their immediate, short-term, and long-term financial security assured.

  • Immediate: Vital parts of immediate financial security are an employee’s paycheck, tuition reimbursement for their learning and education, monthly stipend reimbursements, and quality health insurance. Providing these immediate financial needs pushes worries to the back of your employees’ minds and gives them comfort and focus.
  • Short-term: This kind of security comes with offering a disability and life insurance plan. If your employees have family and the unexpected happens, the ability to earn income will be stalled or lost entirely. A disability and life insurance plan is important for when life, well…happens.
  • Long-term: Employees will, in the years ahead, want to fully retire or work part-time, which naturally leads to a reduction in income. Offering a good retirement plan (either a 401(k) or an IRA) builds up an employee’s net worth and gives them a solid nest egg to fall back on.

Giving employees assurance that these three forms of security will be taken care of is important—employees bring their home life with them to work, along with their worries. Alleviating those worries goes a long way.

Show them you care

Actions speak louder than words. A company should have values written down and also put those values into practice to show employees they care about them and their wellbeing. Giving employees a robust benefits package complements those values, leading to a positive culture and a pleasant workplace for all.

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by fizkes

 

Three Employee Benefits to Help Your Employees Achieve Their Dreams

When employees feel supported by their organization, they’re much likelier to want to stick around. They’ll also feel more comfortable being themselves at work, which will help your company’s culture and sense of belonging. People who feel like they belong will work harder to protect and uplift their community than those who feel uncomfortable and unseen.

One great way to build trust and reliance that leads to long-lasting employee/employer relationships is enabling employees to pursue their personal goals outside of work. Employee benefits can play a vital role in helping you achieve this. Here are three benefits to consider that will make a lasting positive impact on the lives of your employees.  

Family planning benefits

Choosing to start a family is one of the biggest decisions a person can make during their life. Starting a family is expensive and scary—to build a healthy family, you need time and money. And without support from your job, it can be stressful to maintain a career. Making it easier for your employees to start a family can reduce stress, give peace of mind, and create stability. Offering these benefits to all your employees, regardless of relationship status or sexual orientation, is a great way to improve Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) within your company.

Whether it’s paid parental leave, adoption aid, or fertility treatments, benefits that make it easier for your employees to start a family send a clear message: You care about the personal goals of your employees and want to make it easier for them to get what they want out of life.

Student loan support

Last year, a study found that the likelihood of high school students going to a four-year college plummeted by almost 20%, from 71% – 53%. People are worried about the cost and want to avoid debt. Since 1980, the cost of going to college has risen by 169%, yet the average pay for workers between the ages of 22 and 27 has only increased by 19%. It’s harder than ever for people to justify going to college, considering the debt they can expect to accrue.

Student loan or tuition support can make or break someone’s dream to go back to school. This benefit will not only empower your employees to educate themselves without the burden of debt, but also education will make a lasting impact on the rest of their lives, opening doors that would otherwise be shut.

Community engagement

 

When people volunteer and engage with their community, it can have positive effects on their health and mental wellbeing. It also gives them a sense of purpose that can be hard to get otherwise.

Consider offering benefits such as paid time off for community engagement. This will make it easier for your employees to set aside volunteer time. Finding the time to volunteer at their local voting office, old folks’ home, animal shelter, or community garden can be difficult with only two days off a week.

Offering paid time off specifically set aside for community engagement will give your employees that extra room to go do something they’re passionate about, whether it’s protesting, cleaning up their local nature reserve, or helping out a neighbor in need.

Their happiness is your success

 

The more fulfilled your employees feel, the happier they’ll be, and the stronger their relationship with your company will become. Creating an organization that empowers people to build their dreams isn’t just a fantastic way to leave a positive legacy in the world— it’s how powerful businesses are made. Talk to your benefits advisor to learn about other employee benefits that will help your employees achieve their goals.

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by pandorapictures