Time Management? Try Energy Management

Have you ever heard of the spoons theory?

Though it is popular among people with chronic illnesses, such as arthritis or multiple sclerosis, it can apply to anyone. With the spoon theory, energy is related to spoons, and everyone gets a certain number of “spoons” daily. Some tasks take more spoons, and others take fewer spoons. Once you’re out of “spoons,” you’re out of energy and have no more to give to people or tasks.

In our world of go go go, people tend to cut out sleep. They stay up late and get up early. They work over 40 hours a week and work 12-to-14-hour days. By the time they get home, they are exhausted and maybe have time to eat dinner, shower, and get a few hours of sleep before getting up and doing it all over again. People go into the next day (and the day after that) with fewer spoons.

There has to be a better way

Time is a finite resource—it has a limit. Once it’s gone, you cannot get it back. So we do more to try and manage time by working longer hours to get everything done. And working longer hours does nothing other than deplete your physical, mental, and emotional energy and lead to burnout. 52% of employees feel burnt out.

But what about energy? Energy is an infinite resource, which means it can be replenished. Instead of managing work-life around a clock or a calendar, why not manage it around energy?

Energy management has always been a thing

Managing time means dividing the workday into tasks and determining how much time is needed to complete those tasks. Time management, however, doesn’t factor in the need to recharge because some tasks might need more physical, mental, or emotional energy than others.

How can you and your employees replenish energy and give yourselves more spoons so you can be more present and focused?

Pay attention to your attention

Some like to be powerhouses and to work through the day without ever taking a break. When working, pay attention to your attention. When it seems to drift, or you find yourself feeling tired or hungry, take that as your cue to stop what you’re doing. Take a walk, get a snack or some lunch, or do some meditation. The key point here is to step away from the desk or the screen—your work will still be there when you get back.

Throw away the idea of multitasking

 As mentioned in previous blogs, multitasking is a myth. Brains cannot focus on more than one task at a time; the more we focus on, the faster our energy is depleted. Give yourself time to focus on a task that allows your brain to relax while focusing on a single activity. Fit no-electronics time into your day and do something like pick a favorite book off your bookshelf and read.

Eat well, exercise, and rest

These health and wellness facts might surprise you: 

Instead of succumbing to the urge to sleep less, eat a lot of junk food, and sit down for hours on end, structure good sleep into your night and movement in your day. Make time to exercise, get up and move around, and make time for some “you time,” where you relax and enjoy a hobby. Your energy reserves will replenish, and your body will thank you.

Set your boundaries

Create boundaries for how much you want to get done in a day. If, for instance, you are a content writer and you find writing blogs to be particularly draining, set reasonable expectations for what else you’ll accomplish on days when you write blogs. You can adjust boundaries as needed.

Gain more energy in your days – and more spoons

You want to end the day with some energy and spoons left in your mental drawer. Rethink the idea of time management, and instead of structuring tasks around the time it takes to complete them, structure tasks around your energy—and encourage your employees to do the same.

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by piksel

Team-Building Activities to Engage Remote Workers

With the growing popularity of remote and hybrid work, leaders need to understand how remote work can affect team building and learn about activities that can strengthen relationships. Leaders must create a virtual culture that encourages employees to build authentic connections and an environment where employees are excited to come together and collaborate, no matter their time zone and geographical area.

Importance of remote team building

When you’re in a physical office, you’re surrounded by your team and have a support system. You get to know each other’s personalities, quirks, and hobbies at the breakroom’s water cooler.

These daily interactions facilitate expectation-setting and relationship-building. Employees are constantly exposed to their peers’ behaviors and can grasp performance and communication expectations. Social interactions also foster workplace engagement, trust, and satisfaction. A Gallup study found that employees with an office buddy are seven times more likely to be engaged in their jobs, better at engaging customers, and produce higher quality work.

Building relationships, no matter where you are at, takes work. Being remote can make it harder, making it essential that leaders engage their employees in team-building activities.

Team-building activities

You can keep your employees engaged and connected wherever they are by building a fun virtual team-building plan. Consider these popular activities for remote teams:

Encourage check-ins

When employees do not have opportunities to “bump” into each other at the water cooler, they miss out on those “getting to know you” moments. If you don’t work with someone regularly, interacting becomes even more challenging because they don’t have those few Zoom minutes to chat about life. Consider encouraging your employees to schedule regular calls with one another just to hang out. The point of the call is not to talk about work, though! You want to encourage them to talk about non-work-related topics. Another idea to consider is creating a virtual break room where people can hang out on their lunch break or if they need some quick socializing to relax.

One-on-one or small group check-ins are great for team building because people start to understand who others are outside of work. The check-ins can also create a snowball of new activities when people realize they have shared interests. Maybe some people realize they love movies or reading books; they can take that common ground and create a virtual movie or book club with virtual meet-ups or discussions over a company chat channel!

Consider peer recognition

A key benefit of being part of a team is the sense of community and spirit. Team members come together to support and celebrate one another. Nurturing this community and support system can be more challenging for remote teams, leaving remote employees to be 10% less likely to say someone cares and recognizes their contributions. Remote employees cannot freely get up and go to their peer’s desk to say, “Great job!” or “Thank you!”

One way to foster team celebrations is through peer recognition. When employees appreciate and celebrate each other’s hard work, it brings the team together, regardless of location. Peer recognition can also help with the negative impact of not working close to others.

Create non-work-related communication channels

Remote work can be lonely sometimes, and people need an outlet to share good news. You can give people this outlet by creating Slack or Teams channels for these conversations. The channel does not have to be merely for good news, though. You can create different channels to get people talking, such as a recipe channel or a random channel for people to send snapshots of their day.

No matter the message, it can be a great conversation starter and create a sense of community.

Sustain the team

You can foster a team that thrives together, supports one another, and collaborates to innovate and achieve organizational goals by creating opportunities for your employees to connect. But your leadership does not end there!

Team building, nurturing connections, and maintaining relationships is a process that needs constant attention. Leaders need to implement team-building activities and encourage them regularly. Remind people about their check-ins, participate in the communication channels with your good news, and celebrate your team.

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by thelivephotos

What is Leftover Toxicity, and Why Should You Care?

A toxic work environment can hit any business with lethal force, driving up turnover rates, reducing productivity, and damaging reputation. Despite our best effort, toxic behaviors can often creep into our teams unnoticed. They can be subtle—even unintentional—but their existence will only solidify if they aren’t addressed. One of the most impactful things you can do to maintain a positive company culture and work environment is to address it consistently.

A genuinely excellent company culture is a bit of a rare thing. Most people have worked in environments where they were expected to show up sick, work long hours, never call out, and bend over backward to please a cranky manager. It’s even more common in specific industries.

The service industry is a perfect example of an industry that often relies on employees sacrificing their health and well-being to save their jobs. If an employee calls out sick even once, they can seriously damage their standing at work. Not only do their coworkers resent them for having to cover a shift, but their boss begrudges having to make last-minute calls to employees who weren’t supposed to work that day.

Bringing old baggage

Now consider a new hire who just came from that work environment. While their personality might be fantastic, they may have leftover baggage in the form of toxic behaviors they developed to succeed in their last position. So, what happens to these behaviors when that person gets hired at a new company? They don’t go away. While the person might have left the toxic environment, the behaviors they developed to succeed there can linger. And sooner or later, those behaviors will affect the rest of your team.

Despite a person’s best intentions, leftover toxic behaviors can significantly affect their approach to their job. Whether they developed these behaviors at their last company or whether they developed them while growing up in their family, it can be hard to rid oneself of them once they’ve been ingrained.

Here are examples of common behaviors stemming from leftover toxicity:

  • Showing up to work when sick
  • Working long hours unnecessarily
  • Making excuses for not responding right away to an email or communication
  • Not using allotted PTO
  • Scrambling to come up with answers when a simple “I don’t know” or “I can find out” would suffice
  • Bragging about how busy they are

This pattern of behaviors and beliefs stems from a desire to survive. The key is to help people recreate their understanding of what it takes to survive and thrive in their new environment.

Build a communal vision

Ask your employees to describe what a positive workplace environment looks like. Encourage them to get specific. Together, paint a picture of this positive workplace. How would people be recognized for their work? What type of boundaries would there be to protect their well-being? Ask them to discuss past work experiences they disliked and uncover what went wrong. Then ask how they would have improved the situation. Ask them what behaviors they would avoid.

By helping them put a voice to their desired work environment, you can help them build self-awareness around those behaviors that reflect a poor work environment. The leftover behaviors they’ve been carrying around will become easier to identify and halt.

Always respond

Even with the best intentions and heightened awareness, some may still struggle to let go of their toxic behaviors. When this happens, leaders must know how to respond and redirect the employee. The components that make up a positive work environment must constantly be reinforced.

  • Boundaries to protect work-life balance
  • Clear expectations around communication
  • Reasonable deadlines and manageable workloads
  • Psychological safety
  • Prioritized employee wellness

If an employee talks about how late they worked into the night, avoid praising them for overworking themselves. Instead, find time to ask them if they have too much on their plate or if they need help with their work. Remind them that working late consistently isn’t expected, nor will it help them advance in their career. Remind them that a well-rested employee with a strong work-life balance is more productive and valuable than a tired, burned-out employee. Take note of who they were talking to and reinforce that message to them as well.

The key is consistently showing up in the face of toxic behaviors with a response. As your team sees how you respond to toxicity, they will develop new behaviors that help them survive and thrive in a positive environment.

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by pressmaster

What To Do About Quiet Quitting

“Quiet quitting” is the hottest new buzzword and trend. You see articles written about how more and more employees are quietly quitting and how employers are concerned about this “new trend” and its effect on their business.

But quiet quitting isn’t new. It’s a new term for an old behavior.

The great divide

Quiet quitting is when an employee doesn’t leave their job but stops going above and beyond—stubbornly sticking to their job description.

There is a debate between some employers and employees about the nature of quiet quitting. Some employers worry about employees’ productivity, while some employees argue that quiet quitting is redefining work and life boundaries, as well as protecting their mental health.

Research shows that quiet quitting happens because of the work culture—which starts at the top. Employers who aren’t effective leaders have more people quiet quit (or outright leave to look for new positions).

The quiet quitting test—and cheat sheet

Whatever side of the divide you may fall on, quiet quitting comes down to employees’ mental health, employee engagement, and employee satisfaction. If any of these are low, employees may reduce their energy spend at work, doing the bare minimum. They may already have one foot out the door. If you’re concerned that an employee might be quiet quitting, ask yourself the following questions, and then take steps to answer and address them.

Do your employees seem burned out?

Notice the signs. Do your employees seem exhausted (beyond just needing that extra cup of coffee in the morning)? Do they seem more isolated and cut off from their colleagues? How do they respond to new projects? Do they take the initiative to contribute or offer up their ideas?

What you can do: First, you have, hopefully, established a culture of trust with an open-door policy where employees feel they can come to you if they have issues. Regardless, keep the lines of communication open. Talk with your employees. Maybe they’re in the process of moving, or a loved one is ill. Work with them to find solutions, whether readjusting their workload or giving them paid time off to deal with what’s happening at home. When employees feel supported, they can give their focus to their issues and come back with a clear head and less stress.

Do your employees seem consistently disengaged?

Are they attending meetings but not contributing? Do they put off projects and wait till the last minute to do them—and then not turn in quality work? Do they engage with their colleagues about work and non-work areas in their lives?

What you can do: When employees are disengaged, it usually means they feel bored, stuck in their position, or unvalued. Consider offering opportunities like access to online courses or tuition reimbursement so that they can add to their skill set. Look at their job role. If their position and role haven’t changed much, reevaluate and see if any new skills can be added, or offer them new projects that will be challenging but that you know they can accomplish. Let your employees know you value their contribution, and they will give you their best in return.

Has their personality taken a U-turn?

Are they turning in work that’s full of errors and mistakes? Are they making excuses? Are they showing up later and later to work—or not coming in at all (and not notifying you)? Are they becoming more argumentative?

What you can do: First, gather your observations instead of jumping to conclusions. For example, if they turn in work full of errors and mistakes, note the assignments and projects. Then, talk to the employee. Tell them you’ve noticed their quality of work has changed and ask them what’s going on—sometimes, the employee may not even realize they’re turning in work full of errors and mistakes. Making them aware of what they’re doing and developing a plan of action together will help create clarity about what needs to happen next while also providing them a chance to air their frustrations or talk about the challenges they’ve been struggling with.

Are they financially struggling?

Do your employees often take or ask for paycheck advances? Are they borrowing or withdrawing money early from their 401(k)—or not investing at all? Is there an increased frequency of days they’re taking off?

What you can do: One word: compensation. Employees have multiple expenses: housing, healthcare, student loan debt, and gas, just to name a few. To ease the burden of these expenses, consider your compensation, which has two parts. The first part of compensation is benefit offerings. For instance, you can offer health insurance or healthcare savings cards, so the cost of getting sick goes down, or you can provide monthly stipends that employees use for personal expenses (bills, student loan debt, etc.).

Also, consider the other part of compensation: salary. Are your employees being paid a fair and competitive salary (one that is at least the average market pay for their position)? If you are not already, conduct compensation conversations (at the very least) yearly. Review their role and what else factors into their total compensation, like retirement funds or Paid Time Off. Remember to show your appreciation for the work they do and how they contribute.

Questions to ask yourself as a leader

If your employees still seem burned out, disengaged, or completely changed, you may worry about your leadership style and if that may lead employees to quietly quit. If this is the case, take a step back and give yourself an honest, objective test. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you go out of your way to ensure employees feel valued?
  • Do employees feel comfortable talking to you?
  • Do you have positive relationships and connections with employees?
  • Do you keep your word and do what you promised?
  • Do employees trust your opinions and advice?
  • Do you feel comfortable talking with employees about compensation?

If the answer to one or more of these questions is no, turn this into a learning opportunity. Ask your employees for feedback on how you can get better, and then implement that feedback. By learning how you can improve, your employees will see this and learn to trust you and your approach, and the possibility they will quiet quit decreases.

Even the best organizations will have employees who are quiet quitters. That is inevitable. But when you trust your employees, care about them, and help them feel comfortable engaging with you and their colleagues, they feel like a valuable part of your organization. And an employee who feels valued is an employee who will want to contribute—and stay.

 

 

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Photo by khaosai

Make an Impact During National Disability Employment Awareness Month

A good indicator of a strong workplace culture is its commitment to diversity and inclusion, where your employees feel comfortable coming to you to voice their opinions and concerns. When employees work in an environment where they feel valued, productivity increases.

Employees with disabilities contribute to the workplace in many ways, and National Disability Employment Awareness Month recognizes this.

What is National Disability Employment Awareness Month?

The United States Congress established the National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) in 1988. It takes place every October, commemorates the contributions of people with disabilities to the US economy and workplaces, and commits to providing equal opportunities for all citizens.

Acknowledge these disability statistics

To create a clear understanding of the relevant challenges people with disabilities in the workplace face daily, here are some vital statistics to keep in mind:

Use NDEAM as a milestone in supporting employees with disabilities all year

Make sure your company policies are inclusive

NDEAM is an excellent time to review company policies to make sure they display a commitment to having an inclusive company culture.

Form an ERG (employee resource group)

You can launch a disability Employee Resource Group, or ERG. ERGs allow employees to connect and receive support from others with similar backgrounds or interests. If your company has an established ERG, use NDEAM to remind employees of the resource.

Communicate to your employees

Make a display on your breakroom bulletin boards or other places employees frequently visit. Post positive messages about how your company provides an inclusive workforce on all levels.

Train and educate supervisors and employees

Both supervisors and employees have an impact on company culture and inclusion. During NDEAM, conduct training such as:

Create content related to NDEAM

You can publish content such as blogs, videos, or a website page that is related to topics like:

  • Your company’s commitment to inclusivity
  • The process of requesting reasonable accommodations
  • Recognizing the contributions of influential leaders in the disability rights movement

Post on social media

NDEAM provides resources, such as posts and images, to use on your company’s preferred social media platforms. Use the provided posts and tweets with the suggested hashtag #NDEAM to spread awareness.

Write a press release

Employers can issue a press release to announce their involvement in NDEAM. A “fill-in-the-blank” template is available for your marketing team, courtesy of the Department of Labor.

Participate in Disability Mentoring Day

Disability Mentoring Day promotes career development for youth with disabilities through:

  • Hands-on programs
  • Job shadowing
  • Ongoing mentoring

Disability Mentoring Day is observed on the third Wednesday of each October, but you can host your own event any day of October or any month of the year.

 

Value and empower your employees

Even though NDEAM takes place during October, inclusivity and recognizing the contributions of your employees with disabilities are important every month and every day of the year. A workplace where everyone feels like a valued team member contributes to a strong, healthy company culture and empowers employees to go above and beyond for you, their team members, and the company.

 

And a workplace where all employees feel valued and empowered is something every employer should strive toward!

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by rawpixel

Building Trust in the Workplace

In a work culture where one out of three people don’t trust their employers, it shows that trust is hard to build and easy to destroy. But what is trust, exactly?

Trust is the sense of security and confidence in dealing with others. When you trust someone, you know they will keep their word, have consistent behavior, and be dependable.

There are two different kinds of trust: practical and emotional. Practical trust is the trust earned when you work hard and meet deadlines. In other words, when you say you’ll do something, you’ll actually do it. Emotional trust requires emotional intelligence, or the ability to understand and use your emotions positively and constructively. You use emotional intelligence to create bonds, build relationships, and network with others.

Why is trust important?

Low trust, especially in an employer, leads to fracturing of the team. It leads to workers who do the bare minimum and quietly look for other places to work—and high turnover doesn’t allow a “trust culture” to thrive. Having your employees’ trust—and having your team trust each other—contributes to a culture of values and teamwork, increasing productivity. A study conducted in 2017 showed that people at companies with a trust culture experienced 74% less stress, 50% higher productivity, and 40% less burnout.

When people trust each other, they feel comfortable relying on one another and are motivated to work together.

How to build trust in the workplace

Think of trust like building a house. You need a solid foundation before putting up the walls. Trust isn’t built overnight; it’s built gradually, over time. Whether you already have a trust culture and are looking to improve it, or are looking for a fresh start, build trust being intentional with the following behaviors.

Setting expectations and communicating

For trust to work, everyone needs to be on the same page. Ensure you set expectations and communicate with your team whenever needed: company policy changes and project deadlines, for example. Things will run smoothly when everyone knows what to expect.

Being transparent and honest

It’s tempting when you make a mistake to sweep it under the rug and pretend it never happened. But as awkward as it may be to tell the truth, being transparent and honest is a trust-building behavior. Let your team know if you missed a deadline on a project or accidentally sent a newsletter a week before it was set to go out, and let them know how you’ll do better next time. Being honest lets people know they’re important to you.

Offering support and acceptance

People need to feel like they can ask questions or share concerns without worrying about negative repercussions. Have an open-door policy, which creates a comfortable environment for employees to come to you and share feedback, challenges at work, or personal matters. And be careful to not dismiss their concerns when they do bring you something of importance to them. Listen and work with them to find a solution, whether offering to help on a project if they seem overwhelmed or helping to prioritize their to-do list.

Showing that you care and respect them makes people feel welcome and safe at work. This creates an environment that rewards honesty and peer support, reducing the opportunity for people to struggle in silence and increasing the chances that issues will be resolved before they grow to negatively impact the team or the organization.

Admitting when you don’t know something

If someone asks for your help, and you don’t have that specific skill set (yet), you may feel pressure to say yes anyway, because you don’t want to disappoint anyone.

But it’s better to admit when you don’t know something. It doesn’t make you seem weak—quite the opposite. In fact, it starts everything off on the right foot. You have a team with different skills, experiences, and strengths, so use them! Ask for their expert guidance. This shows you respect and value what they bring to the table.

Building solid and real relationships  

You want your team to have your back and to talk to you about anything. To do that, you need to build solid and authentic relationships with them. Find out what drives them as individuals, show an interest in their personal lives, ask what they’re doing this weekend, and celebrate important milestones like birthdays, anniversaries, and weddings. Taking the time to know your team as people shows them that you care.

Take the long-term approach

It takes time to build trust. Long-term planning and patience are needed. You can build trust with your team from day one by being honest and trustworthy, admitting mistakes, doing everything you say you will do, and being honest about what you can’t do. Doing this builds trust in the workplace, and when your employees see you displaying trust, they will follow your example. 

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by blasbike

Engage Employees for a Stronger Business

Employees are the fuel that runs your business. If you want your company to run well, you need to be able to recruit talented employees and keep them happy. And while this might seem like a significant investment of time and resources, it’s nothing compared to the cost of caustic employees and constant turnover. And if that’s not enough of a convincer, consider this: Companies with happy employees have happier customers.

Research found that engaged employees provide better experiences for clients and have 10 to 30% more client loyalty than those companies that don’t have engaged employees. And having engaged employees and loyal clients could seriously upgrade your business engine from Fiat to Ferrari. But you have to be committed.

Employee engagement programs are no small undertaking. Like anything else, you will need to put the work in if you want to reap the results. Experts agree that for employee engagement to have maximum impact, it shouldn’t just be a program run through your HR department. Instead, it needs to be integral to your core business strategy, with 100% buy-in from leadership. If you want to take your company to the next level, read on.

Employee wellbeing does not equal employee wellness

Frustrated, overworked employees will not give you their best and certainly don’t pass on happy feelings to clients. When your staff feels valued, cared for, and supported, they will share those positive feelings with you, your customers, and anyone else who will listen.

To build better workplace culture, you’ll need to implement policies and programs designed to help your employees achieve higher levels of work/life balance, satisfaction, and wellbeing. Yes, these programs can positively affect a company’s bottom line, as they often result in happier, refreshed employees who miss fewer days at work. But that shouldn’t be your only motivation. To be successful in your organization, you must have genuinely excited employees. This is where employee engagement can thrive.

Be careful not to confuse employee wellbeing with employee wellness. Wellness programs are great, but they often focus on health-related issues like increasing physical activity and promoting a smoke-free lifestyle. Wellbeing is a much more holistic approach that includes flexible schedules, relaxed dress codes, work-at-home options, personal career development, and professional mentoring.

Ask your employees what they need

How can you find out what your employees need? Ask them! There are many ways to do this: in one-on-one meetings, annual reviews, or tiny folded slips of paper in a super-secret suggestion box. If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to gauge employee satisfaction and morale, try conducting a short survey. The following questions are examples of things you might incorporate into an employee survey:

  • Are you excited to come to work each day?
  • Do you tell people where you work?
  • Do you have all the tools you need to perform your job optimally?
  • Do you feel valued?
  • Does your management team inspire you?
  • If you could change one company policy, what would it be?

Talk about the results with your team

How often have you taken a survey, never to hear anything about it again? Sharing the results with your team promotes open communication and transparency. It will also let people know where they fit into the company culture. If only two people out of 1,000 said they want more rigid schedules and longer staff meetings, they’ll see they are in the minority. On the other hand, if 75% of staff wants a flexible PTO bank instead of separate vacation and sick days, that’s great information for everyone to know.

Use the information to make changes

The only thing worse than sending your feedback into an empty void is providing thoughtful feedback only to see everything stay the same as it was before. The whole point of conducting a survey is to let your employees know you are listening to them and that you care what they think. If nothing happens afterward, you’re sending the exact opposite message.

Do you have to implement every suggestion you get? Of course not. But you should provide information on policies you plan to change or implement based on employee feedback. Being honest and realistic about what will change and how fast it can happen is essential. Not all ideas will be feasible but choose the ones that make sense and communicate your plans as quickly and clearly as possible.

Employees are your foundation

Your employees are a highly critical part of your business. If you see them as individual production units rather than sales and service dynamos, idea generators, and brand ambassadors, it’s time to shake things up.

 

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Photo by fizkes

 

Strong Morale Means Strong Business

When employees thrive, the company thrives – making it critical that leaders put their people first. After all, people are at the heart of every organization!

Leaders who spend time boosting their employees’ spirits will lead a company to incredible growth, while others will experience the consequences of low morale. Take time to learn the causes of low employee morale before the effects catch up to you.

Why employee morale is important

Companies lose their edge by ignoring employee well-being, culture, and alignment. They often struggle to attract and retain top talent. At the same time, leaders that pay close attention to their employees’ well-being see them become more productive and engaged. These companies have the team spirit and engagement needed to persevere through times of struggle and major events.

Mineral’s recent study looked at the connection between morale and productivity throughout the pandemic. They found that companies with increased employee morale were 5.5x more likely to have increased productivity, and 83% of the companies reported increased revenue. Another study by Gallup showed that engagement increased profitability by 21%, decreased absenteeism by 41%, and lowered turnover by 59%.

Boosting employees’ attitudes is essential because companies will grow when employees’ spirits are lifted. But there is another reason why it is so important.

Ignoring low morale has consequences

Companies that ignore or wait too long to address low employee morale experience long-term problems that affect operations, performance, and growth. The most common problems include:

  • Loss of income ($350 billion annually!)
  • Decreased productivity
  • Chronic absenteeism
  • Increased conflicts at work
  • Higher turnover rates
  • Lack of talent retention
  • Poor brand image

When morale is low, it is time to make some changes.

Give employee morale a boost

The key to boosting employees’ morale is not to consider one-time solutions; you want to integrate permanent solutions into your company culture. Here are some of the best ways to boost and maintain employee morale:

  1. Create an open line of communication and feedback
  2. Build a culture of positive thinking
  3. Organize team-building activities
  4. Create an employee recognition program
  5. Give performance-based incentives
  6. Implement a health-and-wellness program (mental health too!)
  7. Encourage employee development

Another great way to boost employee well-being is by identifying the root cause and finding an appropriate solution. You can prioritize employee development if there is a lack of career advancement opportunities, or consider team building activities and adjusting employees’ workloads and schedules if there is worker burnout. Still, you must implement each method because each employee has a different need and experience.

By taking these steps, you will boost enthusiasm and engagement by facilitating clear feedback and communication, recognizing and rewarding employees for their hard work, and continuously encouraging their development.

Time to thrive

Let’s be honest. The pandemic hit employees’ spirits hard, and there will always be another crisis or event that will do the same. The event could be major, minor, personal, or internal, so lean into the truth that companies’ growth depends on the well-being of their employees.

Find opportunities to help your employees thrive, and your company will too. Start today by reflecting on how you can boost morale, and you’ll see your team persevere and thrive.

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by fizkes

Strengthening the Employee Holistically

Employees have lives and needs outside the workplace—needs beyond a paycheck and benefits. The needs were always there – what is trending is the conviction that if their current employer isn’t fulfilling their needs, they’ll leave their jobs to work for an employer that will.

Employers can see increased talent retention and performance by understanding the importance of employees’ holistic wellbeing and learning how to design a positive employee experience.

Think holistically and strengthen the employee experience

Employers need a deeper understanding of what employee needs look like and how they can help their employees outside the workplace. Supporting employees’ holistic wellbeing includes providing support in these key areas:

  • Physical health:  Level of illness, injury, preventative care, and general lifestyle.
  • Financial health: State of personal and family financial security.
  • Mental health:  Condition of psychological and emotional wellbeing.
  • Social health: The ability to form satisfying interpersonal relationships with others.

If you want to support your employees’ physical, mental, financial, and social health, you’ll need a compelling employee experience. According to Met Life’s recent study, there are five key areas that will contribute to a good experience:

Purposeful work

Purposeful work is a top driver for employee mental, social, and physical health. Employees are interested in their employers having a clear purpose and a positive impact, which significantly influences retention. People also want to feel valued at their organization, so it is not only about contributing to purposeful work but also being valuable.

Flexibility and work-life balance

Flexibility and work-life balance have become a priority. Seven in ten employees rank work-life management benefits and programs like flexible hours and financial allowance for their home office as their top needs. It’s essential to recognize that flexibility means different things to different people. The key factors include:

  • Where they work (remote, hybrid, in-person)
  • When they work (setting working hours and “protecting” pockets of time)
  • What they wear
  • How Paid Time Off (PTO) can be used

Employees who are satisfied with the flexibility their employers provide are twice as likely to stay with their current organization for as long as possible or until retirement, and 82 percent of employees feel mentally healthy. 

Social and supportive cultures

Strong cultures bring people together and increase social health, resilience, and loyalty. People thrive off their connections with others, but it takes strong leadership and managerial support to bring that culture to life. For instance, 77 percent of employees with supportive managers say they feel mentally healthy versus only 47 percent of workers who do not feel supported.

Career development and training

Employees are serious about growing and advancing their careers and are not afraid to seek employers that will support their careers. Job seekers look for roles that offer development, training, and advancement opportunities and see them as a must-have. The number of job seekers looking for jobs with those coveted benefits has grown by 8 percent since 2020; employers that offer these opportunities are more likely to have successful employees.

Wellness programs and benefits

Regarding mental health, wellness programs and benefits are the best route. This may include fertility benefits, parental leave policies, pet insurance, and employee-assisted programs (i.e., mental health counseling, legal support, and credit counseling). These benefits support the inner workings of employees’ personal lives, produce resilience, and improve overall mental health.

Why it matters

Employers face a tight labor market marked by declining job satisfaction and loyalty. Only 66 percent of employees say they are satisfied at their place of work (a 20-year low). If you’re thinking, “Well, I know my employees are loyal and satisfied,” be cautious. There is a significant gap in employer and employee perceptions. While 86 percent of employers believe their employees are loyal and satisfied: 

  • 55 percent of employees say their employer has their best interests in mind
  • 39 percent of employees would recommend their employer as a place to work
  • More employees are quitting their jobs to work for an employer that meets their needs

The same study found that holistically healthy employees are more likely to be satisfied with their current job, feel engaged and productive, and intend to stay with the company for at least 12 months. Understanding the value of supporting your people can make a huge difference.

Pursuing wellbeing is good business

It is safe to say that employees expect more support from their employers in many areas, at work and beyond. The good news? Positive wellbeing is good business.

Organizations that care for their employees’ wellbeing, offer compelling benefits, and provide an attractive employee experience will seize the win-win opportunity. They will attract talent that will enable the organization to perform at its highest level. After all, employees are more engaged, loyal, and productive when their needs are met.

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by stockbroker

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