The events of the past 8 months have only added to the complexities of life and the stress of the work environment. Employers and employees across the globe met the transition from in-person to remote work with mixed emotions. Our collective recent experiences have changed the way we work and live. And for those who admit to feeling moments of depression coupled with a shot of elation, or feelings of freedom with a side of restriction and confinement, you are not alone.
The quest for balance is one that has been discussed and sought since the 1980s when the term ‘work-life balance’ was initially coined. As new generations entered the workforce, employers became increasingly more aware of the need to help employees navigate their complex lives and their work lives in more creative and flexible ways, in order to retain them. Work-life programs have become table-stakes for employers, and have been proven to boost morale, reduce absenteeism, decrease cost, and increase overall performance. Read More…
It seems like a lifetime ago that I was sitting with another G.I., commenting about my commander in the military. The animated discussion I was engaged in was with a non-commissioned officer – a “NCO” – commiserating about actions my commander had taken and how I wish he could somehow be different.
The NCO, a U.S. Army E-8, listened intently and heard my complaints – and my venting – for long minutes. When I finally stopped, he simply smiled and asked,
“So who are the two best bosses you’ll ever have in your career?”
Non-plussed by the question, I sat there in silence, not really knowing what to say. By then I had spent enough time in the Army, though, to realize that a senior NCO draws on a lifetime of experience leading people. For those open to learning, top sergeants are always ready to provide perspectives, often in the form of parables or aphorisms. Read More…
As the United States looks to begin a scaled approach to reducing pandemic restrictions in the coming weeks and months a hidden enemy lingers that is not getting much attention. While many healthcare workers are facing the brunt of the risks associated with supporting pandemic response, they are certainly not alone in shouldering stresses associated with the last few months. The acute and chronic stressors during difficult times may have negative repercussions for many people and organizations for years to come. During this episode, we talk with Joe Smarro and Jesse Trevino of SolutionPoint Plus, advisor to healthcare systems, education systems, first responders, and corporate clients in the areas of mental health, wellness, and resilience.
Released June 5, 2020
Show notes: Below are links to mental health information and resources mentioned in the show:
When we meet in person, something absolutely magical happens. We look each other in the eye, share a story or two, then something may just click and we may even bond! Enforced remote environments for those of us that can stay home and work remotely may not seem as magical, but we can look at it as an opportunity to redesign the way we work and improve upon what doesn’t. We can begin by finding creative ways to do our work and incorporate it in each day. Read More…
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my attempts to take a day off from being busy. Since that post, a lot has changed, and the challenge of unbusying is harder than ever for some.
Between the shift to remote work, increased responsibilities to care for the kids, a spouse/significant other, aging parents, etc, and the need to plan and adapt, I know for many of you, time is still a very scarce resource.
In fact, despite having fewer commitments due to physical distancing requirements, I’m still not doing a great job of being less busy. For all the really hard things this season is bringing, I’ve decided to commit finding some good by taking advantage of the opportunity to reset my schedule. Here’s why I think, for me at least, now is a perfect time to make the shift to being less busy. Read More…
Last week OPM issued new guidance providing flexibilities for agencies to onboard new workers using remote tools. The memo lays out a few key activities that agencies can now perform using teleconferencing tools and encourages HR and IT leaders to work together to find the most effective ways to complete the administrative requirements of onboarding.
The new options are intended to enable agencies to continue meeting their staffing needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. But, while the memo addresses remote delivery for the administrative elements of onboarding, agencies may be struggling to effectively connect new employees to the new organization. And, with one recent study suggesting that a negative onboarding experience makes new employees two times more likely to look for a new job, it’s clear that effective onboarding must be a priority.
Here are six things to consider as you are working to quickly shift to virtual onboarding: Read More…
For over two decades, since the concept came into awareness, many managers have been working to improve employee engagement. Historically, though, you can trace the roots engagement back to the work of Abraham Maslow and his hierarchy of needs. When Maslow’s general theory of motivation was translated into the world of management, self-actualization became the goal for all employees — an idea that many authors (e.g. here) have since related to employee engagement.
Since Maslow entered management, managers have pushed for engagement, finding fulfillment, or simply “doing what you love” on the job. But, this is a narrow interpretation of an already pretty narrow view of human motivation.
A quick look at global employee engagement suggests that the way we’ve been pursuing self-actualizing work is likely misguided. Despite massive investments over the past two decades, we’ve seen little change in global employee engagement. In fact, a recent report from Gallup celebrates a 1% increase actively engaged members of the workforce with no change in the percent who are actively disengaged — and says nothing about the consistent majority of workers who are neither actively engaged or disengaged.
All of the effort and investment in driving engagement and self-actualization typically ignores what we really know about motivation. Motivation at work, and beyond, is deeply individual. We know that work motivation isn’t simply a linear progression toward self-actualization, engagement, or happiness. What then should a well-intentioned manager who’s been overdosed with Maslow do to help improve employee experience and performance?
“Take this pill and all your weight loss and fitness dreams will come true! No workouts needed!”
“Get that summer 6-pack in 30 days!”
…if only that were true.
We’ve all seen products that claim to have the “key” or the “hack” to the magazine-cover physique. We also know there’s no substitute for good old-fashioned hard work and dedication to achieve your fitness goals. So, be wary of those tactics, because looking for shortcuts doesn’t always work out.
However, there’s a difference between claiming to have found a way to “beat the system” and uncovering something that’s been under your nose the whole time. In this context, we’re talking about your company culture. Regardless of how “healthy” (or unhealthy) it may be, there is one thing you can do to make an immediate impact.
Disclaimer: This definitely won’t burn off that Hungry Man Chicken Dinner you just popped into the microwave.
When I misbehaved as a young lad, my mother was the one who almost always reprimanded me. After lecturing me on the rights and wrongs, she’d ask, “Did you do that on purpose, son?” and then hand out the punishment. My actions were almost always spontaneous episodes of teenage stupidity—not premeditated acts of dissent. While I was definitely a rebellious teenager, my mother’s inquisition always made me think about my actions, and to this day, “Are you doing that on purpose?” is a question I ask myself regularly about my impact on others.
Purpose and people are the new frontier.
For most businesses today, the most valuable asset they manage is their people—and employee engagement and satisfaction are strategic imperatives that every leadership team should understand. People who turn up to work each day and aren’t actively using their talents to pursue or connect to their purpose don’t operate at their full potential. People who find their reason for being, who uncover their purpose and connect with it passionately, become more engaged and significantly more effective at work and in life because of a clear sense of fulfillment. Helping your employees discover and define their purpose represents a significant opportunity to improve “people” engagement and, therefore, overall business performance.
Companies that find their purpose are no different when they define or rediscover their reason for being. Working closely with executive teams at large corporations to reposition and refresh their brands, we encounter many who ask for our guidance to explore and define their purpose. This is not just vision and mission work, it is deep strategic work that can impact every facet of a business, both inside and outside of a company. Read More…