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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

Cultivate a Culture of Peer Recognition

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

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

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

Importance of peer recognition

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

Strengthens teams and relationships

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

Improves confidence and self-esteem

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

Increases positive emotions and well-being

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

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

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

Create a culture of peer recognition

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

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

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

Tips to apply

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

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

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

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

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

Help people and company culture thrive

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

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

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

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by fizkes

Why (and How) You Should Care About Employee Health

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

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

Give employees autonomy

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

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

But why?

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

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

Encourage physical activity

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

Help avoid digital eyestrain

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

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

Give a shoulder to cry on

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

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

Don’t make people choose

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

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

Encourage employees to actually end the day

 

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

Invest in your employees’ health

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

Try “office recess”

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

Be healthy, be happy

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

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by eakrinr

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome in the Workplace

70% of people will experience imposter syndrome – the gut-wrenching feeling of self-doubt and belief that they are not as competent as others believe them to be despite their experience, education, and accomplishments. They feel like a fraud and await the moment they are “caught” or found out. Even when others praise their talents, they still cannot shake their feelings and write off achievements as “dumb luck.”

People will pressure themselves to work harder and strive for perfection to avoid getting caught as an imposter. What if, instead of coping with imposter syndrome, people learned how to put an end to it?

Take the first step in ending imposter syndrome (IS) in the workplace by understanding the types of IS and implementing strategies to help others overcome the phenomenon.

Five types of imposter syndrome

IS is not “one size fits all”—it can appear in several interconnected ways. The five most common types are:

  1. The perfectionist: Perfectionists are never satisfied. They always believe they can be better and do better. Since perfection isn’t always realistic, they start fixating on their mistakes rather than their strengths. Even minor errors reinforce their belief that they’re putting on a facade.
  2. The superhero: These people link competence to success and commonly feel inadequate. So, what do they do? Push themselves to the limit. All the hard work and effort still do not resolve their feelings of “imposterism.”
  3. The expert: Experts always underestimate their expertise. Since they are never satisfied with their level of intelligence, they want to learn everything there is to know on a topic. These people may devote more time to a task because they spent too much time on their quest to “know it all.”
  4. The natural genius: These individuals pick up new skills with little effort and believe they should understand new information and processes right away. Their belief that competency equates to picking things up naturally makes them feel like a fraud when they face an obstacle.
  5. The soloist: These people are very individualistic. Their self-worth stems from productivity, and they tend to see asking for help as a sign of weakness. In their eyes, if they can’t succeed solo, they’re unworthy. If they accept help, they’re showing others they’re phony or inadequate.

 Do any of these sound like you or someone you know?

Overcome imposter syndrome head-on

Both leaders and team members can experience imposter syndrome and the negative feelings that impact their work and environment. Fortunately, you can implement strategies to help overcome IS.

Share your feelings

Talking to someone about your distress can help you get outside context on the situation. Maybe you’ll find someone you can overcome IS with as you share strategies and challenges you encounter.

Build connections

Avoid the urge to do everything solo. Turn to your peers to create a network of mutual support, and you’ll find your network can offer guidance, validate your strengths, and encourage your growth efforts.

Assess your abilities

Make a realistic assessment of your abilities in social and performance situations. Write down your accomplishments and skills, then compare that with your self-assessment (what you think about yourself). You’ll find that the realistic assessment of yourself is the one that shines!

Challenge your doubts

Ask yourself, “Are my thoughts rational?” Does it make sense to believe that you are a fraud, given everything you know is true about yourself? When IS feelings emerge, consider whether the facts support your beliefs.

Avoid a “comparison competition”

Whenever you compare yourself to others in social situations, it can turn into a “comparison competition” where you will find issues that fuel feelings of inadequacy. Everyone has unique abilities. You are where you are because someone recognized your talents and your potential.

Be a mentor and help others

It’s hard to encourage someone to see their unique talent, achievement, and creativity when it doesn’t align with their self-perceptions. Here are several strategies for mentorship that can help:

  • Normalize imposter feelings: If someone confesses feelings of IS, welcome them to the club! Feeling like a fraud at times is normal. Remind them it’s okay to say “I don’t know” and ask for help.
  • Be relatable: Go a step further and share your imposter stories (if you have them). It goes a long way for a mentee to discover that their mentor has also tackled the feelings of IS and pushed through.
  • Positive affirmation goes a long way: Affirm and encourage your employees. The key here is to affirm the individual as a human being by acknowledging their inherent worth and then affirm them as professionals. Persistently call out their achievements and celebrate them.
  • Counteract stereotype threats: Stereotype threats are when a person feels at risk of conforming to negative stereotypes about their race or gender. Marginalization can make people feel like imposters, regardless of how self-assured, smart, and confident they are. These feelings can be mitigated by reminding the mentee that their role is not affected by race or gender and never will be.
  • Give and take credit when deserved: People with IS are more likely to attribute their success to luck or give credit to someone else. You may even notice them downplaying their talent and achievement. If you find someone doing this, give them the recognition they deserve and explain why!

Be who you’re meant to be

If you’re in the 70% of people with IS, remember your accomplishments are not a product of dumb luck or efforts to maintain the “illusion” of your success. Genuinely recognize and acknowledge where you are today, not how you think you got there. That was all you!

Don’t stop your journey there. You can always become an excellent leader and mentor who helps others overcome their IS feelings. With warmth, affirmation, and patience, you can help your team members see themselves through your eyes!

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by airdone

Recognize Employee Stress—and Help Them Manage It

Stress seems like a way of life, whether it’s positive (preparing to move to a new house), negative (dealing with a chronic illness), or work-related. Eighty percent of Americans deal with some form of work-related stress—and half of those workers say they need help learning to manage it. This affects not only workers but managers too, as 68% of managers reported moderate or high levels of stress.

National Stress Awareness Month, which takes place in April, encourages people to recognize what stress is and how to manage it. A company culture that encourages employees and employers to talk about and manage stress is key to everyone’s wellbeing, but only 17.6% of workers say they have a culture that encourages them to open up and talk about it. 

Weaving stress management into your company culture shouldn’t only be because of National Stress Awareness Month. It should always be a priority to help with employee retention, as well as overall wellness and organizational strength. Here are some ways to include it into your company’s culture and daily routine.

Recognize the signs

Stress can cost U.S. businesses the health and wellbeing of their employees, as well as time and money—$300 billion a year annually, in fact. As an employer, you need to spot and recognize the signs, such as:

  • Decreased productivity and quality of work
  • Work/life imbalance
  • Poor physical and mental health
  • Low morale and motivation
  • Impacted workplace relationships

It’s also important to recognize when employees are putting too much pressure on themselves, whether it’s real or self-imposed. When you recognize the signs and see frazzled, stressed employees, pull them aside and take time to listen to their concerns. You can help them with decreased productivity, for instance, by easing up on deadlines and giving them permission to prioritize projects.

Check in when necessary

Along with recognizing the signs, it’s essential to check in and get as much information as possible about what causes your employees to feel stress at work. Be prepared to also intervene, where necessary, and manage certain stressors—for example, when a project is pulled off track for any reason and you see people start to get stressed, sit down with them and brainstorm how to get it back on track.

Give them time—and space

Stress can’t be completely avoided. But you can ensure your employees have some time and space to step away from work for a bit and destress. In an office space, this can include providing things like:

  • A small room designated as a nap/lounge area
  • Outdoor benches/gardens
  • More extended vacations or PTO
  • Encouraged breaks
  • Strong boundaries around work hours/ hours of availability

Also, whether you’re in an office or offer remote work, consider including No Meeting Days into the schedule. Encourage employees to block off time on their calendars to focus on their tasks and keep from getting bogged down or overwhelmed by many meetings. Giving employees time and space to themselves lets them reset, refocus, and recharge.

Encourage workplace wellness

Exercise and healthy living are some of the best stress-busters out there. Exercise improves mood by releasing happy calming hormones called endorphins and eating healthy helps people feel more energetic and at their best because, as they say, you are what you eat.

If you work on-site, this could mean having office yoga days, walking breaks, and offering healthy snacks in the break room. If your company is remote, this could mean providing employees with benefits like access to health and wellness apps. When employees know you’re looking out for their health and wellbeing, it doesn’t go unnoticed.

Provide advice and opportunities for counseling

Almost half of U.S. workers say they need to learn to manage stress better. Teach your employees how to better manage stress by providing on-site or distance counseling/training or setting time aside for your employees to get together with you or their coworkers to brainstorm stress management techniques. Just providing the option for them to talk prepares your employees for whatever may come their way.

(Don’t) feel the pressure

More and more people are feeling the pressure and experiencing high levels of stress. Helping your employees manage stress in the workplace lets them identify triggers and gives them the right tools to protect their health and keep them calm—no matter when, or where, stress might hit.

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by stokkete