Tag: business

Integrity – What It Is and What It Isn’t

Posted on April 22nd, by Kristin Kaufman in On My Mind. 1 Comment

Much has been written about integrity. In fact, in the hundreds of team meetings and board retreats I have facilitated, integrity is, seldom, NOT a team value. However, I intend not to focus on what we perceive integrity to be; yet, what integrity is not.

Let’s start with a common definition: Webster defines integrity as a firm adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty. Here are a few examples, from real life, which I believe shine a bright light on what integrity is not.

Do any of these sound familiar?

  • A person hears a fabulous key note or presentation; and they believe it to be so fabulous, they take portions of it – change a few words – ‘just to be honest’ – and begin to tout this as their own brilliant idea.
  • A person asks someone for a treasured family recipe. They don’t really want to give it; yet rather than to say no, they give it to that person – less an ingredient. (Yes, that has happened to me, and yes, it does happen….often in the South)
  • A person/s are exposed to an idea, a word, a term or philosophy which rings true to them, on which someone else has built their methodology and often their company. They think that term is so unique and powerful; they take that term, a few key phrases, and build their approach around that same approach.
  • A person has the opportunity to speak the whole truth about an issue – personally, socially or professionally – and they opt to tell the truth. However, they don’t tell ‘everything.’ They just tell portions of the story – they omit key points; most often swaying the point, certainly to their favor. (You know the drill….think about a sales person’s sales participation and their quest for sales credit/quota commission, think about sales/consulting methodology aspects – the consulting world is full of intellectual property wars – even social and political issues…..just turn on the TV or log onto YouTube.)
  • A person says one thing to you, another version of what they have said to you to someone else, and yet, another version to another person of the same story. I wish I had a nickel for every time that has happened to me in my life!
  • A person is newly hired onto a team from outside the company and that person begins a quick study on how to usurp the person that hired them in a quest for fame, fortune, and power. Discrediting, sabotaging, back-stabbing, hording of ideas….the list is long.

I have had every single one of these happen to me in my career … some in the past few months.

Many in big business will say: this is why we have trademarks, copyrights, and intellectual property infringement law; and this is learning to ‘play the game;’ survival of the fittest. If someone doesn’t ‘have it’ – then they are ‘fair game’. Sure, I ‘get it’ – remember, I lived in that world for over 25 years. It goes without saying that we must protect ourselves, our company, and our work product.

However, the issue I am raising is much more systemic in our culture. For I am quite certain there are many in business today who don’t share everything with their internal counterparts for fear of being ‘poached’ of the good ideas. I am also quite certain there are those in business who perhaps don’t lie by commission; yet lie by omission – just not sharing everything, just sharing ‘enough.’

Where do we think this behavior is taking us? To a constant shade of grey? To a moral stance that is our interpretation instead of one that is based on honesty and integrity?

So what, you may say? “That is life.” Well, I firmly believe that is wrong.

We have an obligation to own up to our responsibilities – and that means stopping this insanity of stealing and poaching and, not respecting one another as creators, individuals, contributors, and builders of our companies, our communities, our nation, and our world.

Two things to consider:

First: Be Impeccable with your Word. A fabulous book: The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, A Toltec Wisdom Book became a ‘book of the month’ for many of my teams over my career. If you not have read it yet  – read it. One of the agreements is to “be impeccable with your word.” This basically means telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Often in today’s world, the operative word is ‘whole.’ Many just simply omit key facts or nuances. This is an interesting observation – just listen to national news, politicians, Fortune executives, Oprah, even personal acquaintances. It is amazing to watch the ‘spin factor’ and the power of just ‘omitting a few key facts.’ What is the whole truth?!

I will offer one personal test case of integrating this philosophy into life. With one of our most successful teams in a publicly traded software company, we used this book as a gauge for how we could grow and learn together as a team; and this book and particularly this agreement of ‘being impeccable with our word’ became our mantra. We were in the fast paced world of dot com frenzy, software sales and mergers, and greed was rampant. This agreement saved our team and company in more ways than we will ever probably realize. We were not always the most popular at the time; yet I know from the CEO through the ranks, we were the most respected and valued at the end of the day.

Second: Stop stealing. A person’s original ideas will always be more authentic, rich, and potent than anything they ‘borrow’ or steal. Period. A person can rationalize due to complacency, laziness, or their perceived belief that they can ‘take this idea and really make it come to life’ (yes, I have heard that one of late, as well).

What I would suggest is simply this: If a person loves the idea, thinks it had merit, power, brilliance, cache, etc., then simply get permission, give credit or notice to that company, and source the source. It is truly that simple.

Again, this conjures up ‘legal jargon’ and it certainly gives many an attorney a steady annuity stream; and yes, there will always be a need for the law. Yet, it does not have to be that complicated. Just give notice to those that deserve it! Also, folks, please realize that YOUR ideas will be so much more powerful if they are truly YOURS. That is the beauty of pure authenticity and the power of telling your story… not plagiarizing someone else’s.

This philosophy and principle of integrity starts with each one of us. One person at a time. A germ of an idea at a time. It does not have to be on a soap box, on the national stage, or even in a national court of law. It is in the small acts, small companies, and small businesses which have often set the stage for many of our greatest achievements.

  • We are responsible for protecting it.
  • We foster all ideas – ours and others.
  • We blow on all the embers of ideas of our fellow workers, our colleagues, our friends, our clients, our coaches, our partners….we don’t steal them.
  • We give credit. We give public and private recognition.
  • We make referrals expecting nothing in return.
  • We are frightfully honest – in all arenas.
  • We ask the questions of which we are afraid of the answers.
  • We own the answers.

We are impeccable with our word – written, spoken, acted – regardless of the consequences. That is what integrity looks like.

 

Photo Credit 

About the Author: Kristin Kaufman is founder of Alignment, Inc.™, formed in 2007 to help individuals, corporations, boards of directors and non-profits find alignment within themselves and their organizations. A prolific writer, Kristin’s first book, Is This Seat Taken?, centers on her global experiences seeding her journey toward alignment. The book is scheduled for release in November 2011. Kristin is on Twitter as @KristinKaufman.


HR & Social Media: Mending the Uneasy Relationship

Posted on March 13th, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace. No Comments

Society has gotten to the point where it is more interesting to find that a person does not use some sort of social media platform, than one that uses a platform daily. This deeply personal display of information, however, often finds its way into a workplace environment, and not always in a positive way.

There are numerous ways that Human Resources departments can use social media. For example, businesses have successfully utilized the content for team building, training, communication, work delegation, research and blogging. However, there are 3 fundamental areas that social networking sites could positively affect.

  • Communication: Clear communication between Human Resources and employees is critical for the health of a company. Through social media, it is much easier than ever before. Using these networks as a tool, Human Resources departments can easily communicate a message to everyone in the company, regardless of their location. A tweet or a status update can quickly convey a short message to hundreds in an instant.

 

  • Employee feedback: Long ago, Human Resources departments relied on suggestion boxes or private meetings for employee suggestions and concerns. Now, using social networks or online forums, employees can voice their opinions and have open discussions.

 

  • Recruiting: Human Resources departments know that today’s job seekers are online. Recruiting departments now use social media to market their company and talk directly to potential employees. Many Human Resources departments also use social media when conducting background checks on applicants, looking for additional information not provided in a traditional resume.

 

But what exactly can each social platform do for Human Resources? Let’s look at the 3 main networks.

 Facebook

The social media giant has literally millions of users from all over the world, making it a handy  tool for Human Resources personnel. Since Facebook is so popular, the chances of an applicant having an active profile are high. It is a great place to start additional research on a potential hire.

 

LinkedIn

The professional social network, LinkedIn is perfect for recruiters looking for qualified applicants. With an active job board, it is also a good place to post a job ad that will be seen by the right people.

 

Twitter

Twitter has an excellent search feature which allows Human Resources departments to look for potential employees by searching relevant hashtags and keywords. Like Facebook, Twitter is also a good screening tool for looking up applicants.

 

The way Human Resources departments run themselves have evolved as the use of social media has become crucial. And they continue to evolve. Here are a couple of issues that Human Resources need to keep an eye on and be ready for.

 

Employees using their own devices

Before the widespread popularity of smart phones, companies used to provide handheld devices for their employees. Today, Human Resources departments need to understand that they can’t control the communication channels of their employees, and prepare accordingly.

 

The ever-changing legal side

Since social media changes so frequently, some states are making efforts to regulate what employers can and cannot access on applicant’s social media profiles. Currently, 6 states have passed laws that prohibit employers from obtaining information on applicants via social media. While these laws haven’t hit the majority of states, it’s definitely something that could happen and businesses should watch the legal and regulatory developments.

 

Social media has become increasingly accepted in the business world. Once mainly used for marketing and advertising, social media networks now serve a purpose for Human Resources departments as well. It can be used to make companies run more efficiently, as a hiring and job search tool. Smart HR departments are now using social media to their advantage and keeping an eye on the constant changes that could help or hinder their efforts.

 

About the Author:  Today’s guest contributor for WomenOfHr.com is Mark W. Kirkpatrick,  an enthusiastic writer and infographic designer who focuses primarily on public relations, tech and the business globalization. You can also find more of his writing at 1800-Number.com, which covers all things related to business communications.


What’s Stopping You? Overcoming Confidence Issues To Grow Your HR Business

Posted on March 11th, by a Guest Contributor in Entrepreneurship. 2 comments

I work with HR business owners on a daily basis, and when it comes to confidence issues, there’s something that I notice time and time again. If an entrepreneur is struggling to realise their potential because of their doubt about their own abilities, then most of the time, they also happen to be women. The causes and background behind this are different ballgames altogether, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about today.

 

I’m here instead to tell you what you can do if this applies to you in your own HR business. Because if you want to grow the business that you really deserve, and bring in the cash that you want, you need to overcome your confidence issues and really ramp things up to the next level. These are my tried and tested techniques for struggling entrepreneurs who need to raise their game.

 

Focus on your big vision

Some of us are natural born entrepreneurs, destined to take the reins and do our own things from the offset. For many more of us though, self-employment was something that kind of happened as a result of circumstances. So maybe you started your HR business after you got made redundant, or maybe you started a family and realised that you needed some extra flexibility, or perhaps you just reached the stage in the corporate world where enough was enough, and you needed to get out there and create your own future rather than someone else’s.

That’s fine, and it doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve big success in your business, but it often does mean that you get your head down and soldier on, without ever stopping to think about what you REALLY want out of your business. Do you want to make 6 figures, 7 figures, or beyond? Do you want a better work-life balance? Whatever it is, you’ll only get there if you know what your big ambitions are, get them really clear in your mind, and set the intention that you’ll make it happen. The magic occurs when you’ve got an unwavering big vision, you recognise it, and you work out the steps that it’ll take to get you there.

Do whatever it takes to keep these big goals in mind and propel yourself forward. Create a vision board in your office, make a virtual board using Pinterest, commit your ambitions to paper, make sure that your family understands what it is that you’re working towards. Some of these things might seem a little ‘woo-woo’, especially for seasoned business professionals, but trust me – action in these areas helped me to make huge progress in my business.

 

Eliminate your blocks

Success and money are difficult subjects, and your attitude towards them has been formed over the course of your whole life. The things your parents taught you about work and spending, the very first job that you had, that time you were unfairly missed out of a promotion exercise – all of things build up to create your own views on your abilities as a business owner, and whether or not you consciously realise it, have a bearing on how you perform.

Are you undervaluing your services, and hugely over-delivering to clients who don’t value your work? Are you letting your prospects haggle you down, even though you know that you should be charging a premium for the type of expertise that you offer? All of things are indicators that your relationship with success and money needs some work.

Once you recognise and acknowledge these barriers that hold you back, it’s much easier to break them down. In my experience, men typically have a much less emotional relationship with money in their businesses than women do. If you want to overcome the issues that are holding you back, it’s vital that you take the time to unearth them, then work on creating a new personal belief system that creates success rather than stalling you.

 

Recognise your expertise – and market yourself as the expert

Take a second to think about your expertise as an HR professional. I dare bet that you’ve got masses of qualifications, real experience out there in the trenches, and you could provide masses of anecdotal evidence right off the top of your head about how you’ve transformed businesses with your skills. Regardless of what your confidence sometimes tell you, you know in your heart of hearts that you’re fabulous at what you do.

So why doesn’t the world know about it? When you effectively market your business, you carve out your own niche as the go-to HR professional for what it is that you offer. What happens next is two-pronged. Firstly, your business grows. When you’re the expert, you attract clients who are a great fit for you and truly value your skills. And, importantly, your confidence soars. Getting to grips with marketing is one of the best things you can ever do for your business – because after all, if clients aren’t banging down your door to work with you, you won’t have the successful business that you’ve been dreaming about.

Marketing might be out of the realms of your current skill set, and that’s why you need to take active steps to understanding what you need to do to make more cash and ramp things up a level. Read all you can, seek out a marketing coach that understands your industry, and most importantly, take action. Your business could be an entirely different entity by next year if you make positive steps in this area.

 

Photo Credit

About the Author:  Ruth Hinds is the founder of HR Consultants Marketing School, and helps HR business owners to make more money and attract clients who are a great fit. A former HR professional herself, she’s worked in senior HR management roles and has an MSc in HRM. For the past two years, she’s worked closely with HR business owners just like you to help them reach the next level. Check out her free guide to attracting all the right clients to your HR business. 


Women Talking a Great Game – Business Isn’t Just His Domain

Posted on March 4th, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace. No Comments

“Don’t just stand for the success of other women – insist on it.” - Gail Blanke, President and CEO, Lifedesigns

 

Maybe being a man writing this undermines all credibility. My career has been all about embracing the importance and value of a diverse workplace. Having a silent or marginalized voice isn’t easy. Being an ignored or disrespected voice is soul crushingly depressing. I’ve long been having this conversation with my female colleagues about the importance breaking the silence and finding my voice.

 

Let’s not kid ourselves though, there’s still knuckledraggers wandering the workplace halls. The staff room at times is more like a locker room. You need hipwaders every time you pass the watercooler, because there’s so much BS and testosterone fueled bravado surrounding it.

 

There are talkers in your midst. They’re also getting ahead by only talking a good game. It’s time to rise above the bad smell, of less pay, less recognition, and lesser titles. You’re educated, you’re smart, you have skills, and you work harder than most. You’ve got game. Communicating a great game will raise the bar in your workplace.

 

Improving your verbal and non-verbal communication skills will get you noticed, will help get you ahead, and make for a better workplace. Here are some things to keep in mind.

 

  • Being overly apologetic is undermining. It’s not your fault the network is down, or the caterer messed up the the lunch order. Working late to meet a deadline, don’t apologize for asking your team to join you.
  • Your behavior shapes the universe. Your competence and confidence always need to be on display. Showing courage and conviction will inspire and mobilize others to take action. Turning your words into action will get you noticed. Remember the fine line between arrogance and confidence. Speak directly with authoritative tone. Being loud, condescending, or defensive won’t carry the day.
  • Do not talk down your achievements or undervalue them when working in a successful group and alongside men. Teamwork matters. Undervaluing yourself in group situations, in front of co-workers or employers, will hold you back. Take the credit and recognition you’re due. Kudos aren’t just a man’s domain.
  • Of course there’s merit in wanting to be helpful, and having the get things done attitude to achieve your teams goals. Remember the delicate balance between taking on meaningful tasks versus the busy grunt work nobody else wants to do. You want to be a meaningful and effective contributor. Communicate with the boss about projects that excite you. Let them know what you’d like to work on.
  • Ideas are essentially gender neutral. Work at generating good ideas, communicating the value of those ideas, as well as helping others articulate their ideas.
  • If direct and open feedback is constructive, don’t personalize or internalize it. Be direct and open in receiving it. Take action on it.
  • Be authentic. Know and respect what you are about, and true to your beliefs. You’re more than just what’s on your resume.
  • Focus on your own growth and contribute to the growth of the people supporting you.

 

A truly diverse workplace embraces different voices, with different perspectives. By making your voice is heard and your presence known, you’ll be making a difference.

 

“Don’t waste your energy trying to educate or change opinions; go over, under, through, and opinions will change organically when you’re the boss. Or they won’t. Who cares? Do your thing, and don’t care if they like it.” ― Tina Fey, Bossypant

 

Photo Credit

About the Author:  As VP of Marketing, Bimal Parmar manages the global marketing strategy and execution at Celayix. With over 20 years industry experience, Bimal is responsible for making sure the world learns about the benefits of Celayix’s solutions that include: advanced employee scheduling, time and attendance, employee communication as well as integration modules for payroll and billing.  Before joining Celayix, Bimal was Vice President of Marketing at Faronics, a leading provider of IT solutions for the Education vertical where he helped grow revenue over 50% and launched exciting new solutions. Prior to that Bimal held senior marketing and product roles at technology companies such as Business Objects and McAfee Security where he gained significant international experience working with global companies such as Microsoft, Dell, Sony, HP, Orange, Telefonica and Ricoh.


7 Fastest Ways to Lose Employees

Posted on February 6th, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace. 1 Comment

When it comes to attracting and hiring top employees, there are several things you can do to help employ the best and the brightest. On the other hand, there are other things you may do, without even realizing it, that will drive your best employees away. In my experience, here are the seven fastest ways to lose employees – and how to turn those negatives into positives for your business. These are tips that Human Resources should share with every manager, and make sure they are practicing within the company.

 #1 Unreachable Expectations

The first way to lose an employee fast is to set unrealistic expectations. This does not mean managers should lower their standards. What it does mean is that they should be in tune with the business and what it takes to succeed.

Instead of setting goals and deadlines that cannot be met, managers should come up with realistic goals for employees. This doesn’t mean they should be easy; goals and expectations should involve hard work. The difference is the expectations should be attainable for those who work hard for the good of the company.

 

#2 Constantly Criticize

Another thing that managers do to drive employees away quickly is to constantly criticize them throughout the workday. It is difficult for a person to do any job well if they feel that everything they are doing is wrong.

Instead of criticizing every wrong move, managers should acknowledge employees for what they are doing right. You can help them by teaching them how to turn a negative comment into a positive one. Constantly reinforcing this within the company will help others learn to manage this philosophy in a daily work environment.

 

#3 Managing the Micromanager

By the same token, some managers may find it is easy to be critical when they are constantly looking over their employee’s shoulders. It is difficult enough to do your job without the added burden of having a manager within reach, second-guessing every move you make.

Instead of micromanaging employees, managers should learn to give their employees some room to work and occasionally make mistakes. As long as the mistakes are not career or business ending, this will help them learn the right way to do business in the future.

 

#4 Pass the Blame

Part of being a good manager is sometimes accepting the blame when things do go wrong. It is not possible for a manager to control everything, and mistakes will happen. It is what happens next which will chart the course for the company’s future.

Instead of passing the blame, Human Resources needs to foster an environment where it is acceptable to make mistakes without fear of a person losing their job. This will make it much easier for both managers and employees to accept both success and an occasional mistake.

 

#5 Expect Long Hours and Overtime Without Compensation

There is no doubt most top employees work hard, and that is what likely keeps a successful business thriving. However, no one should expect to work long hours and put in a lot of overtime without the understanding there will be some type of compensation or job security gained because of it.

Instead of demanding mandatory overtime every week without any extra pay or benefits, build in a structure that compensates employees in some way. If an employee is constantly working difficult extra hours, without an end in sight, it is likely they will soon set their sights on a new place to work.

 

#6 Fail to Offer Rewards, Incentives or Bonuses

Along with compensation and pay comes the need for some type of system that rewards employees. No one wants to put in a lot of hard work with nothing to show for it. Big or small, rewarding your employees can go a long way.

Instead of avoiding all rewards, incentives and bonuses due to the drain on a company’s finances, Human Resources should lead the charge in finding creative ways to support employees. An occasional treat, a prime parking spot, or even a paid day off can go a long way when it comes to emotionally uplifting employees.

 

#7 Treat Employees Only as Employees

Finally, managers and executives within a company need to understand that employees should be treated with respect. If workers are acknowledged simply as “employees,” they will not work their hardest for the good of the company and likely be eager to leave.

Instead of creating a division within the company, Human Resources should encourage managers to create a respectful environment. It is important that employees feel valued and that they feel their opinion is respected.

 

While the economy may still be recovering for many U.S. businesses, employees will not want to stay with any company that does not respect them or value the contribution they make to the business. Ensuring your company understands what drives employees away will help make it easier for you to retain the employees the company values most.

 Photo credit

 

About the Author: Cassy Parker, social media advocate for CreditDonkey (@CreditDonkey on Twitter), a credit card comparison website, has experience helping small business owners thrive.  As the content manager for the business section, she keeps a pulse on the challenges small business owners face.


My New Year’s Wish for HR – HR New Year’s Resolutions

Posted on January 2nd, by Jennifer Payne in On My Mind. No Comments

2014.  It’s a new year, and a new start…at least metaphorically speaking.  As we look ahead at the promise that the New Year holds, all the possibility that lies ahead of us, it’s natural for many of us to make personal resolutions.  In addition to my usual resolutions, I have a few wishes for HR in 2014 too.  Here’s what I hope…

 

I hope that all Women of HR will start focusing on being better business people, rather than better HR people.  Let’s speak the language of business instead of the language of HR.  If you’re not well-versed in the business and industry in which you work, I challenge you to get there.  Start small.  Start learning what the key drivers of success are for your company.  Start recognizing the environmental factors that impact your business.  If you’re already pretty well-versed in your business, great!  But keep learning more!  Get out from behind your policies and start to figure out how what you do can positively impact business outcomes.  If you’re not sure where to start, find someone within your company who you look up to, who you respect, and who you trust and ask him or her to help you.  If this person is outside of HR, that’s even better.  Get outside of your HR walls and start to become known as more than just the person who has the answers to benefits or employee relations questions; start to become known as someone who can contribute to the success of the company in a variety of ways.

 

However, in our drive to be better business people, let’s also not forget about the people.  Once you understand the drivers of business success, think about how people strategies align with those factors.  Steve Browne on a recent episode of Drive Thru HR said “too often we jump to the business instead of the people.  We need to attend to the business through our people, not in spite of them.”  I challenge you to take a hard look at your people practices and policies….do they make sense?  Do you really need all of them in place?  Are they written to protect the business from the exceptions to the rule instead of in the spirit of believing that most people want to do the right thing?  What message are you sending through your policies and procedures?

 

Let’s all make a commitment to understanding how technology can make us better, more efficient HR pros.  My personal goal is to learn about one new technology solution per month.  I’m not committing to using all of them, and if fact I may use none of them, but I want to better understand what’s out there.  With that small commitment, by the end of the year I’ll have a better understanding of 12 new solutions.  By understanding the solutions that are available, we’re in a better position to understand whether or not the processes we have in place are making us more efficient or less efficient, and whether there might be a better way to achieve our goals.

 

Women of HR, what are your goals for the New Year?

 

About the Author: Jennifer Payne, SPHR has 15 years of HR experience in employee relations, talent acquisition, and learning & development, and currently works in talent management in the retail grocery industry.  She is one of the co-founders of Women of HR, and is currently the Editor of the site. You can connect with her on Twitter as @JennyJensHR and on LinkedIn.


Get in the Groove of Giving Back

Posted on December 19th, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace. 1 Comment

The fundamental idea of ‘giving’ is nothing new to women (women give birth, produce life-giving milk, etc.) but ‘giving’ as a professional philosophy is a path far too often looked upon as sacrificial or inferior by its very nature. After all, for every giver there must necessarily be a taker.

Think about it: Companies don’t want to ‘give’ away their edge in the market or secrets to the competition; if you ‘give’ credit to someone else, you may forfeit your own best interests. And then there’s the ultimate professional ‘no-no’ of ‘giving’ up and letting sales or clients walk out the door.

In all of these scenarios, giving has a negative connotation and no one wants to be on the short end of that stick, least of all women, who still routinely feel the need to work harder and be tougher than men just to be viewed as equals.

But what if cultivating a spirit of giving in the workplace could be just the thing your company needs to get ahead, both professionally and individually?

And consider the possibilities if women were to give from a place of strength rather than from a place of weakness or fear. Next stop: World domination!

But seriously, cultivating a corporate spirit of giving has many far-reaching benefits, and they don’t stop with the people within our professional spheres – they are simply where it starts. And you can be the catalyst to bring about your workplace’s emphasis on internal and external acts of altruism.

For more specifics on why getting in the grove of giving back is good for business, consider the following:

 

Giving Can Help you feel like a Natural Woman

recent study presented in the Wall Street Journal indicates that humans are hard-wired for giving.

The study tested the brain’s responses to giving and the surprising results revealed that when people give to charity or extend aid to others, they stimulate a pleasure-sensing portion of the brain. In essence, giving to charity is neurologically similar to ingesting an addictive drug or learning you’ve hit the jackpot. Basically, giving back feels good!

As an added element to the test, subjects were presented with both voluntary and involuntary giving. For example, there were some instances wherein people could choose to give to charity and it was completely of their own free will to do so. Other times, the computer would simply inform them that they were required to give (similar to taxation).

Perhaps not so surprisingly, people responded more positively to the occasions where they were in control of their actions. Although the brain still registered good vibes when the people were forced to give, they were not nearly as strong as when the subjects gave on their own.

In terms of what this means for you and developing your own corporate spirit of giving, make giving voluntary and then lead by example. You’ll find that when you do what you’re naturally inclined to do, you can get back to feeling more like a natural woman!

 

Giving is Beneficial to your Corporate Bottom Line

When you encourage employees and co-workers to help each other, they can not only feel better about themselves but they can also boost business.

For one thing, the idea that two heads are better than one, three are better than two, and so on becomes front and center for creating synergy within your teams. And when it ceases to be a competition and instead becomes a common goal, great things can happen!

At the same time, communities want to support companies who are about more than themselves. By implementing a philosophy of giving back every day, you can expand your professional impact and your client base at the same time.

What are some of the other benefits women can experience by fostering a culture of corporate giving?

 

Photo credit

About the Author: Myrna Vaca is the Head of Marketing and Communications at Lyoness America, where she is responsible for marketing, communication and business development efforts. The Lyoness Child & Family Foundation (CFF) is actively involved in supporting children, adolescents and families worldwide, especially in the field of education. Check out Lyoness on Twitter.


Implementing a Happiness Strategy In The Workplace

Posted on December 12th, by Jenna Evans in Business and Workplace. 3 comments

Editor’s Note: This post is the second in a two-part series about the importance of happiness in the workplace.  You can read the first post here.

 

The conventional pursuit of happiness places a great deal of emphasis on success. Shawn Anchor, author of “The Happiness Advantage” and motivational speaker states that this philosophy is completely backwards.

Anchor’s lectures and seminars on positive psychology are the most popular classes at Harvard University and in recent years he’s established a name for himself as a world authority on happiness in the workplace. Anchor’states “when we are positive, our brains become more creative, motivated, energetic, resilient and productive at work.” These theories have led many businesses to implement their own happiness strategies to increase employee engagement.

If you’re struggling to keep your employees enthused about work, developing your own “happiness strategy” could give them that much needed motivational boost. Employees who aren’t happy usually won’t have the drive to do their job at peak performance. Even when money is tight there are always ways to implement a happiness strategy without hindering your company’s finances. These tips will help you get started.

 

Acknowledge good work

Always praise your employees when they perform well. Don’t have the “it’s what they get paid to do” attitude, even if it’s true. Spend a few minutes out of your day to recognize good work and dish out compliments. If you feel like you don’t have anything to rave about, rather than focus on the negatives remind your employees about a successful quarter or pleased client. Emphasizing the positives is much better than emphasizing the negatives. One company that ensures its employees are acknowledged is Google. Over the past few years they’re made several small changes that have increased the happiness of their staff.

 

Encourage Creativity

Exercise doesn’t just have physical benefits; it will also stimulate the mind and increase productivity. Give your employees the option to take a walk or engage in 10-15 minutes of cardiovascular activity each day, outside of their normal breaks. It’s no secret that exercise makes people feel great and could be just what your employees need to start thinking more positively. In addition, consider running a company exercise program and encourage everyone to take part – set weight loss goals, create a diet plan and schedule weekly weigh-ins to keep everyone on their toes.

 

Open New Doors

The thought of being stuck in the same job position, with the same wage, the same holidays and the same prospects can be very demoralizing. Don’t be afraid to open doors and provide incentives to employees who perform well. Accountancy firm Mercer and Hole recognizes the importance of promotions and credit their incentive program for helping them achieve the rank of one of the top 50 accountancy firms in the UK.

 

Focus on Engagement

Encourage creativity and spend a little time each week asking your employees for their honest opinions. Getting everyone to feel like part of the team and not just another cog in the machine could drive your business towards success.

 

Make these positive changes as soon as possible. Incorporate your new “happiness strategy” into your business plan and follow it through. It could yield results that you never thought were possible.

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About the Author:  Jenna Evans works part-time as an Employee Relations Adviser at Tollers Solicitors. She enjoys eating far too many noodles and travelling. She is also in the early stages of researching for a book related to empowering women in business.


Why Engagement is the Wrong Word

Posted on December 3rd, by Bonni Titgemeyer in On My Mind, Wellness and Balance. 13 comments

I was engaged once.  It was 1988 and in between a course of sweetbreads and lamb at the Millcroft Inn in Alton, Ontario, the blue-eyed guy across from me popped the question.  I looked at the ring, and I looked at him, and I said, “yes”.  In other words, I said (on the inside), “I find you very attractive, I have no idea how this story might end, but yes, I think there are good odds here and I’m game to give it a shot”.  After all, we were very young, we had no money, but we had high hopes for the future. We set a date.

That’s engagement.

During engagement, you buy an expensive dress you’ll never wear again, and you fuss over the strange details of a hopefully once-in-a-lifetime ceremony.  You drive your friends and family crazy.  Then once the engagement is over and you’ve settled in, you find true happiness.

I’ve thought about this as it relates to the workplace.

Do we need engagement?  Or do we need that sense of settling in and happiness?

I think it is the latter.

I’m not sure we are at our best during the engagement.  There are reasons why there are TV shows about bridezillas. There is frenzied anticipation and many, many details.  There are a lot of things to balance, with time always seeming to be at a premium. Our goal is to have a lovely wedding. We fret at not being able to see much beyond that day.  It is when the engagement is over that we have a routine and new goals and a longer-term outlook.  We fall more deeply in love with our spouse. That’s happiness.

I fully realize that not everyone on the engagement bandwagon agrees with me.  They argue that an engaged employee is not necessarily a happy employee and they argue that a happy employee may be happy because their work isn’t challenging, which doesn’t benefit the business.  Ok, fair enough.  That said, perhaps I’m being overly technical but the definition of engagement does not include the word motivation (in fact, appointment is a synonym for engagement).  Ultimately, motivation is another positive side effect of being settled in to a role where you have confidence. Again, during engagement you are not settled in yet.

So how can you achieve a workplace full of happy people?  Try these strategies:

  1. Find ways to include your employees in long-term planning.  So often we set short-term goals in our planning without thinking about how this contributes to the big picture.  The more employees can see themselves in your organization 3, 5, 7 years down the road, the more likely they will contribute in ways that will ensure the organization is sustainable.
  2. Love your organization.  Love your employees. I’m talking to you HR. Some of the best organizations out there have amazing programs not only for current employees but also alums.  Make it a family atmosphere full of positivity and mutual respect by focusing on programs designed to be supportive of the whole employee, at 24 and 64.  The workplace should feel safe and a place to find your centre.  This can’t happen in a place where there isn’t an environment of mutual trust.
  3. Lessen the distractions. People focus best when they aren’t surrounded by a myriad of distractions.  They’re happy when the details are set.  If that means organizing central pick up for dry cleaning, providing access to a concierge service or being more flexible about work arrangements, go for it.

If you think of your employees after the engagement, the onboarding, all that preliminary stuff, and make the workplace feel like an extension of home, you’re well on your way to achieving workplace happiness.

 

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About the author: Bonni Titgemeyer is the Managing Director of The Employers’ Choice Inc. She has been in human resources for 20+ years and works in the international HR arena. She is the recipient of the 2012 Toronto Star HR Professional of the Year Award.  You can connect with Bonni on Twitter as @BonniToronto, often at the hashtag #TEPHR.


Happiness: The Not-So-Hidden Secret to Success

Posted on November 7th, by Jenna Evans in Business and Workplace, Employee Engagement. 3 comments

Success is the primary objective of every business. But what exactly is success and how is it measured? To many it’s determined by financial gain, and behind financial gain there is always one thing that has set the path – happiness.

With so much emphasis on profit it’s all-to-easy to lose sight of your employees, the backbone of your business. Contrary to popular belief, good business isn’t always about investing in products or services, but investing in people. So before you start analysing statistics to look for a magic formula, take a step back and ask yourself, “are my employees happy?”

 

Improving Employee Engagement

A hefty paycheck, light workload and long holidays won’t always yield positive results. On the other hand, incentive programmes, career advancement opportunities, and making sure good work doesn’t go unnoticed is directly linked to job satisfaction. Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of California, conducted a study entitled, Does Happiness Lead to Success? She states that if you implement a daily dose of positivity, your employees will be more engaged and motivated, which will lead to better job performance, – “happy people frequently experience positive moods and these positive moods prompt them to work actively towards new goals.”

 

Implementing a “Happiness Strategy”

Whether you run a large scale corporation or small business, implementing a “happiness strategy” should be a crucial part of your business model. Google recognises the importance of balance between working and personal life and allows their employees to dedicate up to 20% of their time to a project of their choosing. This has resulted in innovations such as AdSense and GoogleTalk. While small businesses may not have the finances to make such bold investments, changes can still be implemented.

It’s no secret that healthy living greatly contributes to happiness. Coors Brewing Corporation reported a $6.15 return for every $1 that they invested into their corporate fitness programme. In addition, Currency Index reported a 43% drop on absenteeism during the 12 months following implementation of their employee fitness scheme. Again, while investing in an on-site gym may be out of reach for your business, allowing your employees to take a little time out of their schedule to exercise could significantly increase their productivity.

 

Make Happiness Your Priority

Happiness is often considered a by-product of success. Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, has a very different philosophy. Achor states, “Your brain at positive performs significantly better than at negative, neutral or stressed.” His studies have concluded that happiness is actually the driving force behind success and has started sharing his theories with businesses throughout the world.

If you’re serious about long-term financial success, take a leaf out of Achor’s book and make happiness your priority. Start today.  Before you dismiss your employees for lunch or send them home, take a few minutes out of your schedule to make the rounds and give them some positive encouragement. A compliment will go a long way.

 

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About the Author:  Jenna Evans works part-time as an Employee Relations Adviser at Tollers Solicitors. She enjoys eating far too many noodles and travelling. She is also in the early stages of researching for a book related to empowering women in business.