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

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.

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by fizkes

 

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

Balancing Generational Differences in the Workplace

The workplace is experiencing one of its biggest shifts as multiple generations come together in the workforce. Workplace formalities and dynamics are changing, and now we’re left asking ourselves how to best work together.

Understanding the similarities and differences in generational values and characteristics and the best practices for managing multi-generational teams encourages teamwork, shared respect, and positive communication in your organization.

Learn how Gen X and Baby Boomers, who hold the majority of leadership roles, can best lead and work with the workforce’s majority–Millennials.

Generational values and characteristics

Team members can tackle generational tension by building awareness around generational differences and recognizing their similarities and human needs. Learning the differences in values, characteristics, communication styles, and work styles can reveal the workplace views and expectations, leading to better communication and teamwork.

Baby Boomers

  • Characteristics: Competitive, disciplined, involved, and optimistic. They faced higher competition for jobs because of the rise in population, leading to a generation of determined workers who take pride in their careers. They fostered a youth culture that embraced reinvention, teamwork, and self-actualization.
  • Values: Personal growth, team involvement, strong work ethic, and making a difference. They are not afraid to question everything and care about equal rights and opportunities.
  • Communication and management styles: Team-oriented. Prefer face-to-face interactions, respect the chain of command, and expect leadership’s direction.

Gen X

  • Characteristics: Fiercely independent, flexible, pragmatic, resourceful, entrepreneurial, and transparent. They grew up without the intense supervision Millennials had and learned that “if you want something done right, you’d better do it yourself.”
  • Values: Personal growth, education, and a work-life balance. They are independent thinkers who see life as their full-time job and their job as their part-time gig.
  • Communication and management styles: Task-oriented, individually motivated, informal, independent, respond to direction and prefer email and direct communication.

Millennials

  • Characteristics: Natural networkers, friendly, and connected because they grew up with technology. They learned early on that “teamwork makes the dream work” and desire an environment where they can collaborate, problem solve and innovate with others. While they can be highly tolerant, optimistic, and adaptive to change, don’t be surprised by their impatience and competitiveness!
  • Values: Success, rewarding work, and close relationships. They value efficiency, speed, and timeliness and expect to move up the ladder quickly. They are environmentally conscious and eager to bring change to their organization.
  • Communication and management styles: Prefer leaders who coach rather than direct and enjoy continuous feedback. Their collaborative mindset helps them work well in teams, but they are easily annoyed by micromanagement. Similar to Gen Xers, they work hard for a work-life balance. They prefer online, text messaging, and social media communication.

More alike than you think

All the generations are similar in certain ways. How can they not be when people pass down history, values, skills, and knowledge to their children and mentees? The similarities help teams share a common ground and foster empathy:

  • The values that matter most: Family, integrity, honesty, and trustworthiness.
  • Desire to be respected and important: Employees want to be heard, seen, and recognized for their contributions. They want to know they are not easily replaced and make a meaningful impact.
  • Trustworthy leaders: People want to trust and connect with their leaders. Without it, relationships falter, productivity is lost, and communication stops.
  • Loyalty: If someone works hard for the company, they expect the leaders to invest back in them. It’s a two-way street!
  • Desire to learn: People are willing to acquire new skills to do a good job and further their development.
  • Feedback: It’s important to know how they are doing comparatively – are they meeting or exceeding expectations?

Best practices for leading Millennials

Recognizing what makes each generation unique is the first step to cultivating a team that can work together in diversity. The second step is to create a work environment where everyone can thrive. Here are common practices and tips for effectively managing the Millennial generation:

Create opportunities for collaboration: Millennials crave a collaborative work environment and constantly reinvent what collaboration looks like with new technologies. As a manager, create opportunities for Millennials to work collaboratively. From the beginning of a project, be clear about when and how often you intend for everyone to collaborate.

Impactful feedback: Millennials gravitate more towards informal, frequent check-ins, and their morale and performance take a hit when they don’t receive quick, transparent feedback.

Motivating Millennials: Money doesn’t motivate this generation in the same way as others. They are driven by their close relationships and team interactions, and are known to blur the line between work and personal life. Helping them find their squad or “work family” is a point of retention for this generation. Also, understand their unique curiosity. If a Millennial asks you why something is done a certain way, they don’t intend to be disrespectful. They genuinely want to understand. Answering their questions motivates them to continue learning and understanding the organization.

Here are some additional suggestions to help you manage a Millennial:

  • Independent Gen Xers often get annoyed by Millennials’ constant need for feedback and recognition. Defuse the conflict by setting clear parameters about when, where, and how often they can and should check in for feedback.
  • Focus on your common values, such as transparency and efficiency, and use your different qualities to balance each other.
  • Millennials take feedback differently, and “no-nonsense,” direct communication styles are often misconstrued as a lack of support. When giving feedback, try to inspire Millennials and soften the blunt messaging.

Embrace the differences

Leaders must lead and develop their teams to achieve the company’s vision and aspirations. A great way to do this is by learning to lead and manage people from different generations based on their values, work styles, and characteristics. Once you recognize how different generations function, you can lead a diverse company that works great together and knows how to get the job done.

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by rawpixel

Grow Your Company by Helping Employees Grow Their Careers

Employee turnover is a scary thing for business owners. According to Gallup, it can cost an organization between one-half to twice the amount of an employee’s annual salary to replace them. So, it makes sense that employers are naturally reluctant to discuss an employee’s career aspirations since it might mean they’ll eventually want to leave for a new job. However, this is a mistake.

It’s common knowledge that employee engagement directly affects retention rates. And while employers can do a lot to keep employees engaged, like showing them appreciation, giving them autonomy, and offering flexible schedules, a big piece is missing.

Nine out of ten times, if you ask an employee whether they’d be working for you if they were a billionaire, they’d say no. It’s not because they don’t like their job or even because they’re not fulfilled, but because people have jobs to create stability in their lives, grow their wealth, support their families, and pursue their interests. And none of this is a bad thing—in fact, it’s about as natural as it gets. While finding satisfaction, fulfillment, and value in a job is equally important, it’s only half the story.

The value in facing the whole truth

If business owners and leaders embrace the fact their employees have aspirations that could eventually lead them away from their organization, they open the door to building mutually beneficial, long-lasting relationships.

By uncovering your employees’ aspirations, you create an opening for them to explore themselves and for you to discover their strengths and desires. You gain insight into what lights them up and gets them excited, and align their role to fit with their personal goals. Consider how engaged and energized each of your employees would be if they felt they were actively moving towards their dreams while working within your company.

When you participate in your employees’ personal goals, you can create an open dialog with them that builds trust, loyalty, and stability.

  • You can identify when opportunities come along that would spark the interest of specific employees.
  • You can provide learning and development opportunities that align with the individual goals of team members.
  • You can maintain a better handle on if employees have their needs met within their roles and make informed adjustments to their annual plans.
  • You can build relationships with employees that last beyond their time with your company and provide value long after they’ve moved on.

Creating value for everyone

Engaging employees personally, empowers them to reach their fullest potential while demonstrating that your company is committed to their overall success. This can lead to employees coming full circle, leaving for a time, and returning to your company later in their careers. It will positively impact your employer brand, and create employees who feel excited, empowered, and supported by their organization—all while positioning your company as an employer of choice.

The best way to build solid and long-lasting relationships is through trust, openness, and mutual support. By embracing employees’ personal goals and providing them with opportunities to pursue them, you will create a team that’s as dedicated as you.

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by gladkov