The New Rules of Engagement: Individualization

Posted on November 18th, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace. No Comments

Yvonne Sell and Georg Vielmetter recently wrote Leadership 2030, a new book outlining how 6 powerful trends are impacting life as we know it. They identified these 6 megatrends as Globalization 2.0, Environmental Crisis, Demographic Change, Digitization, Individualization and Technology Convergence.

In this series of blog posts, Monick Evans of the Hay Group will cover each of these trends in turn and share her thoughts on how they impact engagement, and what they might mean for us as professionals as well as for us as employees.

 

“I want, I need, I get”

A new megatrend called Individualization is coming: here’s what it means for you, your job, and for the way you manage others.

 

I Want

Usually it’s my 6-year old daughter saying “I want, I want, I want” when she sees the latest ad on TV for a new doll or toy. When you’re her age, it seems fine to just ask for what you want. But as we grow up, many of us stop asking.

But that’s about to change. Soon it’ll be okay for you to ask for exactly what you want in your job, whatever your age, background or role. Why? Because there’s a big new megatrend that’s here called Individualization.It’s one of 6 global trends that two of my colleagues have just written about in their new book, Leadership 2030.

Individualization is about how we want to be treated at work as unique and valued. It means we want managers to care about us as people, to really know us, know what our strengths and development areas are (and to use those skills), and to do whatever it takes to help us achieve our full potential as well as help us fit our work around our life. We don’t just want to be “one of the team” anymore; we want to feel special and be treated like we are.

But there’s a small problem. If you work in a role in HR, OD or employee engagement, you spend most of your time thinking about how to help other people in your business – how to make employees feel more motivated or more productive, or how to develop your leaders.  We spend hardly any time thinking about ourselves or our own needs and development. We seem to forget that we’re employees too and sometimes we need a bit of motivation and attention.

So this got me thinking, what would happen if we started acting a bit more like a 6 year old (well, sometimes, maybe not all the time if we want to keep our jobs) and start asking more often for what we want to make us feel more motivated in our jobs?
I Need

So what do you really need in your job? Research on this new megatrend shows that people’s expectations are changing about work, and that if companies want to keep their talent, they’ll need to adapt fast because:

  • Fulfilment, meaning, self-development and recognition will all become much more important than salary
  • People will demand that their employers take note of their individual needs, their likes and dislikes
  • Managers will need to manage people as individuals; they’ll need to develop more empathy and flexibility to get the best out of each member of the team
  • The idea of work-life balance will be outdated; it’ll be about total lifestyle and how best to juggle different priorities (from doing a great job at work to finding time for that favourite hobby)
  • Career development will be a two-way street where managers will encourage us to research options and suggest new career paths, while they help us navigate existing career structures

Stop and have a think about your own job for a moment. Are these needs already met or do you think you need to ask for some changes?

 

I Get

So how can we start to get more of what we want in our jobs so we feel motivated to put more effort and energy into our work? (With 2 young children and a full-time job, I’m always looking for more energy as I’m sure most of us are!).

The key relationship will be with our manager. How can we change how our managers support us? Try answering a few questions to see how well you think your manager is doing on the Individualization trend:

 

Yes / No
Are your objectives really tailored to your skills and experience?
Do you have a development plan that’s unique to you?
Do you know what you need to do to get promoted?
Are you encouraged to manage your own career?
Does your manager really understand your unique skills and development areas? And does s/he make the most of them?
Does your manager spend time coaching you?
Can you work flexibly to fulfil your own unique work and personal commitments?

 

How did you get on? If you answered “Yes” to some of these (like I did), then you’re on the right path (you may even want to buy your manager a drink).

But if you answered “No” to any of these questions (which I also did), don’t be afraid to sit down with your manager, act like a 6 year old and say “I want, I want, I want” a few times  to explain what you need to be more engaged in your job. You never know what you might get.

See you next time, I’m off to have a chat with my manager…..

 

How well do you think people in your organization are adapting to the individualization trend? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

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About the Author: Monick Evans is an Associate Director at global management consultancy Hay Group. With 20 years experience in organizational research, HR and change consulting, Monick has worked with some of the world’s best known multinational companies to deliver leading edge employee engagement programmes. Monick works closely with key stakeholders, including CEOs, Executive Teams, HR, OD and Communications professionals to help align their employee survey programmes with business strategy. The topics she is discussing in this series of blog posts can also be found in the Hay Group report The new rules of engagement.

 


Giving Feedback to Managers – Don’t Be Afraid To Speak Up!

Posted on November 11th, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace, On My Mind. No Comments

We women in HR definitely have plenty to say about what managers can (and should) do to be more effective.

 

In fact, we’re often so overwhelmed with what a few of our business or functional managers did and didn’t do, that we don’t know where to start. I have worked in the HR field, as a consultant in the areas of performance management and leadership development, and have plenty of crazy stories about leadership gaps observed by HR generalists–mostly women. These gaps range from legal exposures of all kinds to managers de-motivating, or failing to develop and retain employees. Although the outliers are only a small percentage, most leaders we know could do a lot better at the things we know most about.

 

After researching and writing a book about workplace feedback, I am giving myself feedback about how I give feedback. Over the years, I have learned a lot.

 

A few important conclusions:

1.  I wish I had been more honest and directive in my earlier days of HR consulting. When leaders asked me to do something that I thought wasn’t such a great idea, I was too accommodating, figuring my role was to “support management” by helping them do what they wanted to do. Don’t get me wrong; I never accommodated anything illegal or immoral. It was more like I said OK to things like training supervisors and low-level managers in a particular leadership skill, but letting the top executives get away with no training, buy-in or evidence of the skill themselves. Later, I pushed back at hare-brained requests and said–”Based on my experience, this won’t work.” My advice: Say what you know, loud and clear, upfront. I promise you, you will be MORE, rather than less respected for it. Of course you will give a business rationale, but don’t hold back your expertise.

 

 2.  I need to spend more time coaching leaders, because change is hard. Explaining everything once or twice won’t work. If they are adopting a new mindset and new behaviors, they will need many, many visits with you, to talk through what they are trying, what works, what doesn’t work, and how to address the setbacks. Focus each conversation on one or two things they plan to do differently, not a whole universe of competencies that would require a personality transplant. My advice: Plan a series of many incremental coaching conversations with leaders you are helping.

 

3.  What I know from the HR field is beneficial to business and I need to shout that from the rooftops! People from other functions tend to roll their eyes when the topic of HR comes up. Part of that is something we can change, if we do a better job of linking everything we give feedback on to their specific goals. I used to think that things like performance development and career development had obvious benefits for a leader’s goals, but I know now that I need to explain that linkage in no uncertain terms. For example, a manager’s feedback to employees, done earlier and more often, helps people learn from mistakes and positively impacts the team’s goals. Duh! We need to repeat that and explain it in a way that each leader understands. My advice: Be the one responsible for communicating the linkage of people strategies to business success.

 

4. I will not always receive an immediate pat on the back for what I recommend, and that’s OK. What I learned is to align my work to my knowledge and experience about what optimizes the business through people. When I have done this, I have actually received MORE kudos than when I agreed with a suboptimal approach. Whether it was in the area of hiring right, designing a better leadership program, or facilitating a strategy session, everyone got better results when I trusted my expertise. My advice: Be your own positive reinforcement for your decisions and recommendations, and others will follow! 

 

You are a talented leader in your field. Allow yourself to fully contribute to your organization’s goals, through HR!

 

Photo Credit

 

About the Author: Anna Carroll, MSSW, is an organization development consultant, facilitator, coach, and speaker. She designs and leads training and group planning experiences and creates learning tools and assessments to speed up group success. Most recently Carroll has focused on the power of feedback loops and how leaders and team members can overcome their barriers to exchanging valuable feedback in the workplace. Her book, The Feedback Imperative: How to Give Everyday Feedback to Speed Up Your Team’s Success, was published in July 2014 by River Grove Press.  Her website is www.EverydayFeedback.com. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband Michael Wilkes.


What Do Job Search Sites for Women Offer?

Posted on October 28th, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace. 1 Comment

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella got a whole lot more attention than he bargained for when he opined that women in technology could do more for their careers by being patient and relying on “karma” rather than asking for raises. The implication was that if they’d just hunker down and do their jobs, women would find that their pay would naturally rise to the right level and everybody could be spared the awkwardness of the dreaded “salary conversation.” Though Nadella backtracked quickly, it’s hard not to have the impression that he was sharing his honest belief: That in the meritocracy of technology, people are paid what they’re worth, regardless of gender.

Of course, no business is a pure meritocracy, and gender matters a lot. On average, women earn just 77 percent of what their male counterparts do, and hold just 5.4 percent of the top jobs in the Fortune 1000. The good news: The discussions about inequality are more open now. The bad news: We still have to have them.

Obviously, then, women who are looking for work face the prospect of gender discrimination. Sometimes, the discrimination is overt — we’ve all heard stories about the hiring manager who calls you “sweetheart” during the interview. But sometimes, it’s more subtle, entwined with a culture that penalizes those who even ask about family leave, or hidden in questions about children or aging parents.

Many companies are trying to do better, though, aggressively working to recruit women into their ranks. One approach they’re taking is to post open positions on job boards that focus on women.

These websites — which range from a handful of standalone offerings to postings on the sites of women’s professional organizations — don’t offer any kind of magic bullet. Employers can’t set aside specific jobs for specific genders, after all, and chances are each position’s been posted in more than one place. But by seeking out women through these sites, the company is sending a message that it’s serious about diversity.

How do you find these sites? Google is a good place to start. Enter search terms like “women accounting job postings” or “women technology job postings.” The results will usually include links to appropriate organizations and their career sections.

Practically speaking, many of the best listings are on the sites of women’s groups in specific industries. For example, the websites of Women in Technology and the National Association of Women in Construction offer full career centers, featuring job listings as well as the ability to post your resume. In many cases, you don’t need to be a member to view the postings.

Unfortunately, these sites still leave the seeker with a lot of work to do. A posting by itself says only so much about a company’s culture and workplace, so the onus remains on you to search out intelligence using your network, social media, online forums, and the Web.

Dedicated job sites provide women with a reasonable place to begin their search, especially when they’re hosted by an organization focused on skills that match the candidate’s interests. Does posting there prove a company’s commitment to gender diversity? No. But it’s a promising signal.

 

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

About the Author: Mark Feffer has written, edited and produced hundreds of articles on careers, personal finance and technology. His work has appeared on Dice.com, Entrepreneur.com as well as on other top sites. He is currently writing for JobsinVT.com, the top local resource for job seekers, employers and recruiters in Vermont.

 


Ten Facts About Women in the Tech Industry

Posted on October 7th, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace. No Comments

 

Men have always dominated the workforce, winning out over the fairer sex in both wages earned and positions held. Sadly, this trend is continuing in the tech industry today.

 

Even though Google has often been called one of the best places to work, it doesn’t appear to be for women who make up just 30% of their total employees. That number dwindles further to only 17% in departments that are specifically focused on technology.

 

Women seem to be fighting an uphill battle, but they are still climbing the mountain. Let’s look at ten facts about women in the tech industry that show both positive and negative figures:

 

1.  Women hold 51% of all professional occupations in the United States while only 26% of those are computer-related. While women are getting more white collar recognition, they aren’t gaining much ground in the tech arena.

 

2.  The CIO (Chief Information Officer) position with Fortune 250 companies is 19% female, but of the Fortune 100 firms, only four have a women as their CEO. Women are present in these companies, but not many of them are seated in the president’s chair.

 

3.  While women comprise only 7% of tech company founders, those led by women are have 12% higher revenues using 33% less capital. Those in top management roles are more successful than their male counterparts.

 

4.  Further figures show that twice as many women are leaders in successful startups over those ventures that failed or are failing. Women at the top in the startup game are again more successful than men.

 

5.  More than half (56%) of women in the technology industry leave midway (10-20 years) through their careers, but 22% of them go on to be self-employed in the same market. If you’re going to go out, then go out swinging.

 

6.  Men and women software developers start out with similar pay, but men have a higher upper range and end up earning more in the long run. Perhaps that is their motivation for women exiting the venture to pursue their own interests.

 

7.  The gender pay gap is less for computer programmers where women are down only 7%, but that is still better than some other professional occupations, where male lawyers earn 13% more and female accountants take home 24% less pay.

 

8.  Ethnically speaking, the numbers are very dismal. In 2012, only 3% of our computing workforce were African-American women, 4% were Asian and only 1% of these females were Latino. Adding race into this equation makes it even more difficult for the placement of women into tech fields.

 

9.  Even worse, these numbers are down from 2010 where 16% were African American, 9% Asian and 6% Latino. Let’s hope that 2013 and 2014 show more promise, but it is not looking good thus far.

 

10.  Facebook is mirroring that of Google and the rest of our leaders in technology, with a tremendous lack of both women and minorities in their employment diversity data. The overwhelming majority of tech workers are either caucasian or asian men.

 

Even though these numbers are depressing, thinly veiled underneath is the fact that women are more successful than men in the business and tech worlds. Take a second look at items three and four to see why businessmen should be taking a hard look at these statistics.   When leaving their tech positions, some women didn’t give up, they become self-employed instead, leaving their bosses behind and leading themselves down a better path.

 

About the Author:  Megan Ritter is an online business journalist and entrepreneur with a background in social media marketing. In addition to having a passion for technology, she also enjoys writing about business communications, globalization and online branding. Connect with her on Twitter.

 


Tech Tools Are Transforming the HR Profession

Posted on October 2nd, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace, HR Technology. 1 Comment

Human resources is the driving component in any organization. HR professionals deal with the day-to-day tasks of every aspect of every employee’s job, and the task list is endless. Job description, wages, pay scale, recruiting and hiring employees, union conflicts, the list goes on and on.

But with the advent of sophisticated software, tools and apps, HR is more efficient than ever before. Here are some of ways technology is contributing to HR growth and development:

Employee screening software

HR software has made it easier to choose qualified employees. Screening software can take a company’s list of potential employees and company requirements for a job and, by using complicated algorithms, is able to screen and sort through the list and end up with the best matches for your organization, both locally and globally.

Mobile apps

Using mobile apps to track employees and the time they spend on their jobs is making the task much less time consuming for HR. There are now mobile apps to approve time cards, access pay stubs, track payments, and even check recruiting activity, all from an employer’s phone. Mobile apps can increase and improve interaction between employers and employees, in addition to giving senior management better and more direct access to the services needed for better decision making, reports the Society for Human Resources Management.

The Cloud

The cloud has completely changed the way companies store their data. With HR, this means not only being able to store and access data in a much larger capacity, but, if done correctly, having the ability to do so more securely.

Gamification

Using game-playing techniques in business to motivate employees is fast becoming the norm. Mariott has developed an online game that gives users a chance to assume the responsibilities of hotel management, and then gives virtual rewards that make the hotel industry more appealing to those users. The game is an excellent recruiting tool and encourages users to demonstrate their abilities and ignite their interest in hospitality as a chosen career.

HR can also employ gamification to train newly hired employees, reports Wired. Instead of having to sit through lectures, new hires can play games that inform them of all the things a lecture would have given them, in addition to giving them ways to interact with other employees in the company they haven’t met.

Video Interviewing

Hiring someone face-to-face (or through a video screen) can produce better results than hiring an employee based on his resume, which is why video interviewing is perfect for HR. If an employer has almost decided on a potential employee, video interviewing can make or break that decision, notes U.S. News & World Report. HR employers can require potential employees to send in their resume and qualifications via a video recording. Most smartphones have amazing cameras, so the technology is accessible to most potential employees. Also, a video interview can be conducted from anywhere in the world; it is not necessary for an applicant to drive or fly to an potential employer’s office.

Indeed, technology has taken human resources into a world that never existed before. It makes completing necessary tasks not only more exciting and efficient, but helps companies hire employees that are the “cream of the crop” of the industry.

Even with the successful advent of technology into human resources, though, we would do well to remember that it cannot provide the human component. Can technology evolve enough to compensate for the lack of human component? Only time will tell.

 

Photo Credit

 

About the Author: Lori Cline is a versatile freelance writer who covers a variety of topics. An accomplished and award-winning writer in various areas, she currently owns and operates a beauty, health, and wellness website and just released her first book. She lives with her daughter in the western United States.


Telecommuting Provides More Options for Getting Things Done At Work (Even When You’re Not In The Office)

Posted on September 11th, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace. 1 Comment

We live in a mobile world. Technology has changed the definition of “workplace,” enabling us to be effective and productive wherever we are (home, airport, waiting rooms, etc.).  Flexible workplaces are more popular than ever before and as the lines between business and personal life continue to blur, telecommuting offers a solution to help workers balance (and sometimes juggle) their work and personal lives. Virtual work arrangements can be a game-changer for us, empowering us to have both a successful professional career and a happy personal life.

 

Benefits of Telecommuting

Eighty percent of U.S. knowledge workers are employed by companies that have a telecommuting or virtual work arrangement program in place, according to a recent teleworking survey, commissioned by my company, PGi. Telecommuting is rapidly becoming one of the most attractive benefits a company can offer, and research indicates 80 percent of employees consider telecommuting to be a job perk.

 

As employers continue to realize the business value of teleworking and the importance of work-life balance, workers are gaining more control and flexibility over scheduling. Flexible hours enable busy professionals to work early in the morning or late at night, allowing more time to go to a doctor’s appointment or tend to children’s special events. For me, virtual work enables the flexibility to take care of my dogs, Jesse and Jasper, when a sitter isn’t available and maintain my multi-tasking excellence.   I can take care of my mom in her home when needed, and still not miss a single meeting, even with our global HR team in their own time zones.  And, cutting out the distractions of the office just one day per week helps me clear out email clutter, focus on completing tasks and take advantage of a change in scenery to spark strategic or creative thought processes.

 

The virtual workplace not only affords more balance, but also allows us to spend more time on ourselves. Workers report that telecommuting reduces stress levels and improves morale.  Imagine having enough flexibility to have time to prepare a healthy meal or participate in fitness or recreational activities not easily accessible to the traditional 9-to-5 crowd!

 

Finding the Right Fit

Telecommuting is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Everyone’s situation is unique, and the key to building an efficient, productive workforce is to identify not only the unique needs of an employee, but also those of the team. For businesses, placing the wrong work style or preferences in a virtual workplace role can prove challenging for both the employee and the team. By understanding the personalities of your workforce, the employer and employees can enjoy many or all the benefits of telecommuting: improved productivity, better morale and reduced stress and cost.

 

Employers should consider several situations when starting or expanding virtual work arrangements.  For example, does the worker have a back-up plan in case the Internet crashes at home?  Are their mobile devices adequate for what is needed?  As important as technologies, personality is another important factor to consider when making arrangements for virtual workers. At PGi, we have identified seven telecommuting personalities and the leadership tactics, tools and technologies for success in virtual roles. Whether you manage or work with the “24/7 worker,” the “multitasker,” or any of the other five personalities, there are many techniques you can use to help virtual teams collaborate and achieve success from anywhere.

 

Business today is conducted virtually anywhere at any time, opening new options for workers to successfully manage their work and personal lives. While navigating the waters of flexible work arrangements, remember the different personalities and needs of remote workers so you can help them experience the advantages of telecommuting. If time is the most valuable resource we have, we must find ways to use it as efficiently as possible to bring productivity and growth into our businesses.

 

About the author: Alison Sheehan leads PGi’s global human resources management, a team of HR professionals that provides support and services to over 2,100 PGi associates worldwide. With employees in 35 states in the U.S. and 25 countries around the globe, PGi’s HR strategies for talent acquisition, development, management, and rewards rely on virtual collaboration and workplaces for their success.

 


7 Tips for a Healthy Work/Life Balance

Posted on September 4th, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace, Personal & Professional Effectiveness. 5 comments

Achieving successful work-life balance can very often seem like mission impossible. Busy work schedules often dictate lives of most people so much so that your personal time gets affected and can become limited.  For many of us we don’t even realise that we are not finding the time for ourselves and this can have an impact on us, mentally and within your overall health.

You are probably thinking that it is easier said than done, which is correct. We all have different lives, schedules and responsibilities – from the young professional working extra hours to secure the promotion, to becoming a senior manager who has mouths to feed and KPI’s to secure. Nevertheless we can all try and dedicate some valuable ‘me’ time for ourselves in order to see some great improvements when it comes to our work-life balance.

Incorporating any one of these seven tips listed below will bring you a step closer to achieving a healthy work life balance you so desire:

 

Introduce Skype meetings

Important business meetings can require a lot of travel, which could equate to multiple days away from home and the office. Today’s technology has made it possible for you to reach clients that are states and even countries away, all from the comfort of your home or office. Skype and conference calls are both ideal ways to communicating with clients, whilst saving you and your business time and hassle of travelling.

If a business trip is a must then using Skype would allow you keeping in touch with your colleagues back in the office and maintaining office relationships.  Even more you will also find Skype reducing your business’s travel costs, meaning the money could then be invested elsewhere.

 

Treat yourself regularly

Treating yourself regularly is really important for your sanity and health. Choosing to do something you enjoy will make you feel more grounded and relaxed. Allow yourself a 30 minute window each day where you do something for yourself. Things you truly enjoy, such as read a book, have a bath or cook a nice meal.

If you are a busy city worker, go into the local salon and treat yourself to an express facial. Alternatively you could always have a girl’s night in a nice restaurant or have a date night with your partner. These easy things will definitely make you feel happier and more relaxed.

 

Work from home

If you have a lunchtime client meeting you must attend, consider traveling to the venue from your home, as commuting directly will be help you cut down on travel costs. Another benefit of the many innovative technologies we have today is the ability to share documents and other information online. This allows you the great opportunity of working from home, yet still be connected to your office. Therefore, by utilizing this tool, you can cut down on the days you have to go into the office. This will also help you out on days when you are not able to make it into the office due to weather or child care, and will become a perfect solution to being able to access all your documents.

 

Set realistic expectations

It is a good idea to set your expectations for your life reasonably. For example, it is a realistic goal to aim to climb the ladder at work, become a good cook and keep your home running efficiently. However, it is not realistic to be working 70 + hours a week, whilst becoming a gourmet chef and keeping your home spotless – it just won’t happen. Therefore, to avoid becoming discouraged, it is smart to set manageable goals and not expecting yourself accomplishing superhuman tasks.

Remember you are just a human and it is not a crime to ask for help!

 

Be willing to alter your definition of success

Different stages of life call for different definitions of success. For example, if you have young children, you can feel successful if you get your kids off to day-care, get yourself to work on time and get at least a portion of your duties accomplished on any given day. However, if you don’t have children, of course you can expect more from yourself in regards to your job and your personal goals. In other words, your definition of success will likely change throughout various stages of your life, and that is okay.

 

Exercise on lunch break

According to John Ratey, Harvard Medical School psychiatrist, exercise is the best thing you could do for you brain in regards to learning, memory and mood. Since exercising also leads to a fit body, incorporating it into your working day just makes sense. If you are not lucky enough to have a gym in your office building then fear not. Most fitness suites offer express classes during lunch times that are high intensity workouts lasting 30 minutes. If you would rather prefer a low impact workout, then try going for a swim.

Getting up and moving, somewhere away from your computer, will give you some fresh air during a hectic day, allowing you to concentrate, which will lead to a more productive workday.

 

Make sure your career choice fits your strengths

For whatever reason, many people end up in a career that is completely wrong for them. A person who hates numbers ends up working at a bank, or a person who doesn’t care for children has a career as a teacher. This career choice just doesn’t make sense. Therefore, if you have ever felt like your career choice just doesn’t match your strengths or personality, do something about it and find a career that fits you better.

If it is impossible due to financial reasons, consider utilizing your personality and skills taking part in volunteering activities outside of work. Helping others will allow you utilizing your gifts and give you a sense of greater purpose as you will be giving back to others.

By following the seven tips listed above, you will be on your way to a healthier work-life balance. Be careful not to set your goals too high, just half an hour to an hour a day can really make a difference.

 

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About the Author:  As a young entrepreneur and business blogger, Lucinda Smith has developed a passion for helping small and medium sized businesses grow. She likes to particularly focus on using technology and software solutions to save businesses time and money. She also contributes to the DNS managed print services blog.   

 


The Benefits of Work-at-Home Businesses

Posted on August 26th, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace. 1 Comment

As of 2012, an estimated 13.4 million people were working from home. With fast internet connections, cloud technology, and free online phone services like Skype and Google Voice, it’s easier than ever for company employees and the self-employed to work from the comfort of wherever they want. If you’re running a business, there are plenty of reasons why you and your employees might be happier and more productive working from home. Here are six benefits.

No lengthy commute. According to US Census data, the average work commute time is 25.4 minutes. That might not sound so bad, but that’s close to an hour to get to and from the office, and many workers in large cities have an even longer commute. In fact, 600,000 US workers have a commute time of around 90 minutes. People who work from home are able to save time, gas money, and their sanity. Fewer commuters also means less of an environmental impact.

Fewer distractions. Co-workers on the phone, noisy printers, doors opening and closing… there are all kinds of distractions in a traditional workplace, especially if you work somewhere with an open office environment. Although home offices come with their own set of distractions, many people find that they’re more productive in the privacy of their house or apartment.

Fewer sick days. When you’re working with a large group of people in close quarters, colds and other viruses spread like wildfire. Allowing employees to work remotely, especially on days when they feel like they might be coming down with something, is better for everyone in the organization.

Less stressful environment.  Although many businesses still operate under the belief that their employees need to be monitored, most people are actually more productive when they don’t have a manager breathing down their neck. As long as there’s a way to hold employees accountable for getting their work done, letting them work from home on their own schedule can go a long way to reduce stress.

Opportunity to personalize home office. Sure, you can decorate a cubicle, but you have more opportunities for personalization when you’re working out of your own home office. And, thanks to sites like Sheepbuy and Craigslist, telecommuters can furnish and decorate their home office without having to go outside of their budget.

More room for creativity. Creativity is largely subjective, so it’s hard to say whether working from home helps, but there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that it does. People who work from home have more freedom to pick up and move if they need inspiration, whether that means going to the coffee shop down the street or taking a trip to another country.

Better work-life balance. A survey presented by Microsoft found that the number one benefit cited by people who work from home is the opportunity for greater work-life balance. Working from home can be especially good for people with families, because with the greater flexibility of their schedule and an eliminated commute, they’re able to spend more time with their loved ones. And, of course, when people are more satisfied with their work-life balance, the quality of their work will be higher.

Telecommuting isn’t the best model for all companies, but if most of your business’s work can be performed remotely, it may be a good way to improve employee productivity, job satisfaction, and retention.

 

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About the Author: Juliana Weiss-Roessler is a work-at-home writer who frequently contributes on the topics of career and human resources. You can learn more about her blog writing and other internet marketing services at WeissRoessler.com.


How Can Women Can Be More Inspiring Speakers?

Posted on August 12th, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace. 1 Comment

Strong public speaking abilities can be a great asset. They enable you to express yourself clearly and confidently, getting your points across to the audience in a powerful manner. Good speaking skills give you the ability to persuade people to your point of view, and encourage them to take action. When you apply these skills to something you are passionate about, you can influence people and bring about real change. In our society, women need to be even more skilled than men in order to be excellent public speakers.

 

How can women prove a point in front of men during a public speech?

Women face a dilemma. In order for people to take them seriously, then need to be assertive without being aggressive. This is a fine line, however, and it’s easy for assertive women to be viewed negatively, with some in the audience deciding they are obnoxious or harsh. However, if a female speaker tries to be polite and ladylike, then they lose the power that a passionate, assertive voice can have. Men do not face the same problem. They can be as forceful in their speech as they want, without anyone deciding that makes them unmanly.

 

If you want to be taken seriously, and viewed as a strong leader, you need to be able to express your views forcefully in your public speaking. The “masculine” trait of assertiveness is required, for women as much as men. Studies of debates have shown that this is very important in shaping the decisions of who won the debate. Even though assertiveness may be deemed by some as inappropriate or out of place for a woman, it is mandatory for success.

 

 Women can be remarkable public speakers

In spite of the inherent difficulty, there have been some remarkable women public speakers who have delivered powerful speeches with passion and purpose. Eleanor Roosevelt and Margaret Thatcher are both examples of strong women who were excellent public speakers.  Michelle Obama also demonstrated her skills with a superb speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2012. Unfortunately, some of the media paid more attention to her dress than to the content of her excellent presentation.

 

Hillary Clinton has faced this problem in her public speaking, too. When she was running for president in 2008, the media, the public, and other politicians sometimes criticized her as being “cold” and “too aggressive.” She didn’t have the warm, friendly demeanor they thought a woman should display. Her style of speaking relied on facts and figures, and she developed logical arguments in her attempts to persuade people. While many male politicians also use logic, facts, and figures, this style was viewed negatively for Clinton, and people said she was “shrill.”

 

Both men and women have different speaking styles

The key is that everyone has different strengths, both in their personality and their speaking style. Some are more analytical, while others are more passionate. Some appeal to reason, while others lean to emotion. Rather than forcing yourself to fit another mold, it is more important to build on the natural skills that you have.

 

As women struggle to find their way into positions of greater power in politics and business, they need to find a way to deal with this double standard effectively. Though more than 50% of the US population is female, only 17% of our members of Congress are women. Female leaders have been elected in other countries from the UK to Brazil and South Korea, but that step is taking longer in the United States.

 

How can women be inspirational speakers?

First of all, public speakers who are women can inspire other women. One of the most common subject a woman can approach is domestic abuse. This is a delicate and rather shameful subject to approach, but when an abused woman talks about her experience, she can persuade other women to take action. Many accomplished speakers come from broken families, and some have chosen this career path to help other women survive the horrors of domestic abuse.

Of course, there are other subjects women can approach in a public speech. Unlike men, women tend to be more subjective when speaking in public. They like to interact with their audience, they’re likable and they have the ability to draw attention faster than men through their looks, posture, and attitude.

 

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About the Author: Christopher Austin is a regular contributor at many sites and mainly focuses on business related topics like negotiation, speaking, employee engagement, etc. Moreover he is also writing for a site http://londonspeakerbureau.com/ which is world’s leading speaker and advisory network.

 


A Roadmap To Stronger Teams

Posted on August 7th, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace. 2 comments

Building a team is not easy, leading a successful one might be even harder. No reason to sugar coat it or make it seem like a piece of cake. Building and maintaining a strong team is hard work.

 

Having said that, does it mean that this is only a man’s job? Absolutely not. It is a true challenge for every leader in business, and more great women should take charge of their teams and face the exciting road ahead.

 

Whether in a well-established enterprise or in a small start-up, making your team stronger is probably the most important thing you can do to increase your chances of success. Unless you are one of 29,494 lucky ones that have been able to create a million-dollar one-person business, you need a team around you.

 

So, how to turn a great team into an even stronger one? How to leverage the assets that are already available and ensure that a strong team is built?

 

Practice supportive leadership

There are so many leadership styles and methods emerging that it often makes it difficult to take a stand on one style. What about returning to the basics and giving supportive leadership a chance? Professor Schyns has explained supportive leadership as a leadership style that is associated with a concern for the needs and well-being of followers, and the facilitation of a desirable climate for interaction between leaders and followers. Therefore, the emphasis is on the needs of the employees and increasing their satisfaction.

What is more, a research conducted by Schyns indicates that there is a positive relation between employee job satisfaction and supportive leadership climate. Employees are willing to do extra work for the leader if they feel trusted, appreciated and evaluated.

 

Engage your people

According to statistics, one of the biggest problems managers around the world face is declining employee engagement. A staggering 70% of workers are not reaching their full potential. Due to various distractions in the office, on the Internet, and in personal-life, it is increasingly difficult to engage the team. This is an alarming fact, and the best thing for every leader to do is to engage your people.

 

Engagement starts from supportive leadership and ends with little modifications around the office. The most important thing to do is to find out what your team truly needs. Whether it is a flexible work schedule, staying connected through remote locations, or reorganizing the office layout, there are always compromises that can be achieved which will strengthen engagement in return.

 

Align goals

Each person on the team has goals, and one of the best things you can do as a leader is to align their goals with company objectives. An employee who wanders without a specific goal needs immediate attention. Pay special attention to people that seemingly move in a different directions. The others need to understand the overall vision and see how each contribution will be a big step towards the company’s future. No one wants to deal with unimportant or irrelevant tasks that have no meaning whatsoever. So, give meaning to each task, even the seemingly unimportant ones.

Behavior that has a purpose is beneficial to everyone. Employees feel like their actions truly have an impact, and leaders enjoy the fruitful outcome. Ensure that each member of the team is on the same page when it comes to objectives, because without proper alignment chances of success are diminished.

 

Stay in the loop

Whether the team is independent or not, the leader needs to stay on top of things. One way you can achieve this is through the use of a weekly reporting tool.  This can give the team leader proper insights to everyone’s achievements, tasks, problems and happiness. The advantage is that you can get an automated report that sums up all crucial information and delivers it in one document. So, no need to dive into your mailbox and desperately pull out important information. By using online tools with the whole team, everybody is aware of the current situation and are able to collaborate when necessary.

 

An organization is all about groups of people moving together towards  a vision. If you are not directing a “one man’s show,” then building a strong team should be your number one priority. Stronger teams are not built in days, but through constant work and attention. At times you might find the road to stronger teams paved with obstacles, but rarely are we faced with problems that do not have solutions. So, be a supportive leader and do everything you can to engage your team. Keep an eye on the goals and make sure these goals are also obvious to the team. Always know what the team is currently working on and use the right tools to enhance their performance.

 

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About the Author: Külli Koort is currently working at Weekdone, a  weekly reporting startup, where she is focused on introducing the easiest and most efficient weekly reporting tool to the world. She likes to write about time management, productivity and employee engagement.