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Organizations strive largely because of their employees. But what happens when your employees are disengaged? According to the 2013 State of the American Workplace Report, 70 percent of American workers are dissatisfied with their job, creating an atmosphere where many employees feel emotionally disconnected from their workplace and therefore less productive.
Employee engagement is both a psychological and social phenomenon—as humans, we need to feel accepted and feel a sense of belonging whether in or outside of the workplace. Employees’ needs and viewpoints should be accepted and recognized; without this communication and connection, employees may feel worthless or question their stay at the workplace. This is where most upper management fails.
Dr. Brad Shuck at the University of Louisville, an expert in employee engagement research, states that managers were “promoted into positions with responsibilities they were not ready for” and rather than knowing how projects were getting done, they cared only on how much could get done. Let’s take for example, J. C. Penney’s former CEO Ron Johnson. Prior to joining J.C. Penny, Johnson was seen as the genius Senior Vice President of Retail Operations at Apple. However, during his reign at J.C. Penney, sales dropped 27 percent (Forbes). Johnson, who transformed J.C Penney immediately, terminated the entire top executive team. In doing so, Johnson created an entirely new environment for the current employees, who now must not only learn the new company culture, but also build trust and the emotional connection with their new leadership. Johnson merely assumed he could transform J.C. Penney successfully based on his past accomplishments at Apple. However, he not only caused the retail chain to plummet, he did not take into consideration the views of the current employees.
According to Kevin Kruse, a New York Times bestselling author, entrepreneur, and speaker, the secret to employee engagement stems from the relationships front line managers have with their direct reports, therefore improvements can be made effectively if these front line managers are given their team’s engagement surveys. In order for employee engagement to increase in organizations, a grassroots approach is necessary because top executives usually do not work or rarely know their subordinates on an emotional level.
Top management must be able to strategize, create, and determine an employee engagement plan that is suitable for their company, taking into account company size and culture. Employees should feel they are part of an organization that values them, and not merely seen as another body sitting in the office or driving a forklift or serving customers. Employee goals and insights for working at an organization should be acknowledged. Trust, communication, and employee recognition for all parties should be taken into consideration for optimal employee engagement. After all, a productive and motivated workforce calls for increased business profitability.
*e-VentExe is a full service human resource consulting firm located in Northern California. We offer an array of assessment tools that may help with employee engagement or other HR needs.
If you are in the Sacramento area, you won’t want to miss this free workshop on Leave of Absences in California!
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The New Year is an exciting time for rejuvenation—for self and business. As such, resolutions are made, but how long do these resolutions actually last? We see gyms overcrowded for the first few months into the New Year with individuals trying to change their lifestyle, we see leaders jump-starting a new out-of-the-box campaign or company process with enthusiasm in hopes that it will last the entire year; but sadly, most resolutions are not long-lasting. Motivation and perseverance play a vital role in keeping goals and resolutions. For business leaders, the New Year is a time for reevaluating their tactics, attitudes, and beliefs to better themselves and their organization.
Some considerations for leaders include:
- Effectiveness as a leader: What are some things you should stop doing this year that will make you more effective in your role? What are some things you can begin doing or implementing?
- Self-limiting beliefs: What beliefs are preventing you from achieving your goals?
Learning about your strengths and weaknesses can guide you through these questions. There are many tools that can assist you in recognizing these such as assessment tests (more advanced and validated), self-reflection, or observations from others about yourself.
Maybe your lack of team work and collaboration is holding you back from communicating effectively with your employees and managerial team. Utilizing assessment tools can help you recognize this and give you a detailed and user-friendly explanation to guide you through this behavior.
The first step towards achieving goals and/or resolutions is always the simplest; you just do it. Next, you have to mentally change and implement the behaviors—this is not a one-time process; this might take weeks, months, or even the entire year. But you must practice it in order to change your mindset and receive positive results.
This is where many individuals fail to uphold their resolutions: they do something once and say to themselves, “This is easy. I can do this everyday.” But the fact is: sure, it can be easy if you do it for a short-period of time, especially right after the holidays when motivations to keep resolutions are high. What about after a month when things in your life and/or organization begin to pick up? Will you be able to keep your resolutions or goals? The only way to keep motivated is to practice, practice, practice! Ingrain your resolutions/goals into your daily routine.
To be the greatest leader you can be you must understand yourself and the individuals you work with at your organization, as well as maintain business acumen. With that said, are you still continuing your business resolutions/goals?
*e-Ventexe is a full service Human Resource consulting firm in the Greater Sacramento region with superior knowledge on assessment tools. To learn more about how these tools can be beneficial to your organization, please call us at 916.458.5820.
New Year, new Human Resource leaders. The New Year is a time for embracing change—from simple things such as changing your diet to grandeur aspects such as electing new leaders. None is different for CalSHRM, the California State Council for the Society of Human Resource Management. As a full service human resource consulting company, we live and breathe HR; we take pride in assisting organizations with any of their HR needs, while still maintaining the human connection. With the HR profession growing tremendously as well as technology, what is the outlook for HR in 2014? Michael Letizia, PHR-CA, the new State Director of CalSHRM for 2014 and 2015 shares his insights and goals for CalSHRM and the overall profession.
Having been a member of SHRM since 2000 and serving on the board in various roles until 2013, Michael’s role as State Director is to primarily oversee the functions of the Council and to bring the SHRM affiliates together in the state to solidify initiatives. The Council consists of solely volunteers that Michael will manage, which he deems as a daunting task especially in such a large organization (SHRM is prevalent in California compared to other states).
In terms of goals for CalSHRM, Michael continues to strive for the plans and goals the past President and he created a few years ago, where they envisioned what they believed the California Council should look like. Michael, whose leadership style has always been collaborative, also set some personal goals for himself; he would like volunteers to feel they are part of a larger purpose and that they receive the intrinsic value they sought. One of Michael’s main focus is to ensure the volunteers understand the time, skills, and efforts they put forth into the State are truly making a difference, and that they feel they are part of an organization that is making a difference in California.
Michael hopes to educate California employers and to bring advocacy to businesses and to HR people—professionals and those who are responsible for running HR in their organizations who are not deemed as professionals. Although SHRM caters to HR professionals, Michael believes it is very important that the Council support the individuals who are responsible for HR that may not have the opportunity at this time to call themselves HR professionals.
As such, CalSHRM is partnering with SHRM to be the HR advocate for the employee and the employer. Michael believes education about HR tactics and strategies must be brought to Sacramento to bring the HR voice to the legislature in assisting the government craft ideas that will benefit both California employees and employers.
Michael finds the progression of HR to be very exciting, stating that when he first began his career in the field, he was a Personnel Clerk. Now, as the profession has gained momentum and recognition, HR is being seen as a Strategic Partner and in many companies, a member of the Executive Team. Companies are learning that if they do not direct, assess, and manage their talent, they are not going to achieve the results they hoped. They need people in order to be successful and if they fail to bring in a professional that can help them manage individuals to their fullest potential, then they are not going to get to the place they envisioned. Many Executives are not interested in developing plans for people; they are looking at it from the business perspective. Having that voice at the table talking about human talent to achieve the organization’s goals and the process to make that happen is crucial. Individuals working in HR need to articulate and demonstrate why they are essential to an organization.
Michael stresses that HR individuals and small business owners must be experts in California (and Federal) labor law compliance and understand litigation risks. With California State laws changing at an alarming rate, employers must be updated with compliance and be prepared for consequences if they come; after all, one lawsuit can close a small business.
Advice for individuals currently working in HR is that they must be realistic about the advancements of technology and its impact on society. Michael stresses that California and its employers need to change their views of the traditional work structure in regards to the younger generation entering the workforce: they have to allow workers to be flexible in their schedule in order to reach optimal results. The younger generation is not afraid to say the traditional norm is outdated and antique. Michael praises companies such as Google, who allow their employees to work wherever they can as long as they deliver and meet the company’s expectations. He believes Google and other companies embracing work flexibility are successful because they are managing their talent very strategically. Michael believes that other organizations could reach the same potential if they embrace new ideas and concepts that are shaping our society.
Our first guest blogger of 2014 is Attorney Justin Gilbert.
Justin provides personalized legal services in the areas of estate planning, probate, trust administration, trust litigation, elder law and business planning, and can be contacted at (916) 932-7416. For more information, visit The Law Offices of Justin M. Gilbert at http://justinmgilbert.com/.
LegalZoom has been getting a lot of buzz since its inception for its low-cost legal templates. For small business owners and individuals on a budget, LegalZoom can seem like a great way to save money on legal needs.
However, keep the old adage in mind – you get what you pay for.
LegalZoom has a very attractive interface and fluid navigation, but a website can never take the place of an actual attorney. Its templates are just that – templates that provide broad and generic coverage. A template will not be able to understand your specific needs, answer your questions, provide recommendations based on your unique legal situation, foresee litigation entanglements, or keep up on the most current case laws. (Who knows when the LegalZoom forms were last modified.)
Think about it this way. Let’s say that you need a bicycle to get across town. At LegalZoom, you pay a low fee and are issued a standard road bike that’s been fitted for the average body shape. As you start on your journey, you realize the pedals are too short for your long legs and the bike’s thin road tires are not made for the rock trail you need to cross. Additionally, the gears are complicated and you don’t know how to use them.
Now let’s say that you stop into a bike specialty shop instead. At the specialty shop, you pay a little more for the bike, but the store owner listens to your needs. You tell him that your path includes both roads and some rocky trails, so he recommends a hybrid bike with a frame and tires built for both road and trail biking. Additionally, the owner measures your legs and torso and fits the bike to your body. He also explains how the gears work, what type of clothing is optimal, and advises you on hydration and snacking during your trip. Now you’re really ready to go and make it to your destination in record time without a single problem.
See the difference?
Personalization matters when it comes to providing legal advice, writing legal documents, and performing legal actions like trademarking, incorporation and estate planning. Sure, you’ll pay a little more for a living, breathing attorney in the short term, but if you aren’t careful and don’t properly understand your LegalZoom documents, you may end up paying far more in the future if your templates don’t cover your particular situation as well as you thought.
To speak to an attorney in Sacramento who can provide personalized legal services in the areas of estate planning, probate, trust administration, trust litigation, elder law and business planning, please contact the Law Office of Justin Gilbert at (916) 932-7416.
For the previous few months, e-VentExe has been spotlighting one “Super-Career” woman every month, allowing her to tell her story about how she entered the corporate work world. Readers were able to read about the struggles, sacrifices, highlights, and rewards these women faced while climbing the ladder towards success. This month, we end our series with Madvi Raya, who is currently the Chief Financial Officer and Co-founder of ScImage, a privately-held company headquartered in Los Altos, CA that provides state-of-the-art enterprise imaging solutions to the healthcare industry.
The Super-Career woman had to balance her personal life with her work life—at the workplace, dresses were replaced with slacks, femininity replaced with sternness all in order to strive to the top. The strenuous struggle to climb the corporate ladder may have seemed daunting, but to these “Super-Career” women, who lived double lives, it was the norm. Now, as young females are entering the workplace, what advice can these “Super-Career” women give to the younger generation?
In 1993, Madvi and her husband, Sai started and ran ScImage Inc. (A Medical Imaging Company) out of their spare room and garage for the first few years. Now, 20 years and two teenagers later, ScImage currently has offices in Los Altos, CA and 11 out-of-state offices and has grown organically into a mid-sized company.
Obtaining a Bachelors degree in Science and a Masters in Molecular Biology, Madvi was a Research Associate while simultaneously working to help start ScImage on the weekends. Madvi, who has always been ambitious, was raised by her parents to be independent allowing her to pursue her endeavors with full force; she always has a vision plan and believes a female is able to accomplish anything a male can.
As such, Madvi left her position as a Research Associate and solely devoted her time to ScImage. She recalls the hard work and dedication she put into the business. She had to self-educate herself in multiple business areas where she had had no previous formal education on how to run a business because she had to wear many hats in the beginning stages of ScImage. Madvi and her husband hired their first employee three years after ScImage’s creation.
Balancing her personal life with her work life was challenging, especially with young children and a household to run. Luckily, Madvi had a strong support system consisting of working and non-working mothers, friends, and family. She constantly evaluates her options, deciding which challenge needed more attention depending on the circumstances.
Looking back on her career, Madvi would take the same path again and believes everything she went through was a learning experience; she has met and worked with some wonderful and talented people.
Madvi enjoys her time at work and is also equally involved in her teenagers’ lives – volunteering some of her time at her sons’ school. Despite her busy schedule, Madvi made time and continues to make time to give back to her community by volunteering her time to several nonprofits. Madvi served/serves on the boards of: Community Awareness Treatment Services (CATS) which serves the homeless in the San Francisco Area, Gunn Foundation which provides scholarships to college bound students from her sons’ school and American Women for International Understanding (AWIU), a nationwide women’s organization that promotes understanding and provides grants to help support various women’s issues.
Madvi believes females who are currently entering, or who are new to the workforce should display hard work and perseverance, stating that there will be tough and unglamorous parts in any job, but pushing through all of that is vital to success in business regardless of gender. Madvi, who is a strong advocate on giving back to society, also believes that young women (sometime in their life) should give back to their community by getting involved in non-profit organizations that support causes that they are passionate about.
*e-VentExe, a full service human resource consulting firm, began as a start-up and specializes in outsourcing & compliance, recruitment & retention, training & development, and assessment tools.
With the holiday season nearing its end, the influxes of seasonal workers begin to slowly trickle as terminations ensue. This inevitable process is not only difficult for managers, but also for other seasonal and full-time employees. Once connections and friendships have been made between all staff, team morale may be low after the seasonal layoffs. As such, it is vital for retail managers and leaders to prepare and strategize for this time of year and ensure their surviving staff continue to stay engaged after the holiday rush.
The leadership team provides more than strategic management for its organization; they implement strategies for optimal proficiency and betterment of their organization. As for retail, overall employee performance and customer service ratings are the responsibility of the HR leaders and during the busy holiday season, this needs to become the primary focus.
If things are not running smoothly behind-the-scenes, it will be evident on the sales floor. As leaders, preplanning your overall business strategies and communicating your seasonal goals to the supervisory and management staff are necessary in order to promote efficiency and decrease chaotic situations. This will assist you in driving the performance and service standards to a higher threshold.
Establishing a team environment for all levels of the leadership staff will make your job a little easier and build an overall environment that can drive results and deliver your vision.
Before hiring for the holiday season, determine how many weeks or months you will need your seasonal hires. Preplanning and communication are vital! This way, you can ensure your staff is aware of the time period and will be prepared when the holiday hires leave.
Once you have decided on your new hires, be sure to notify your selected candidates on how long they are needed to work; this conversation is best during the on-boarding process. You don’t want to leave the new hires in the dark and give them false hope on how long they will be with the company.
Although seasonal employees are temporary, make sure you plan your holiday party to include them. After all, a big thank you goes a long way. Show them you are grateful for all the hard work and dedication they put forth during the busy holiday season. As such, constantly thank your long-term employees as well!
Post any non-seasonal openings and ensure your seasonal workers are aware of the postings when the layoff process nears. Seasonal workers may be interested in continuing employment at your company; encourage them to apply. By telling them before terminating, the transition between being a temporary to a regular employee may be smoother since they are aware of company policy and culture.
If your seasonal hires are not interested in pursuing the status of a regular employee, but would like to be called back for another season, keep a record of their contact information and let them know you will contact them once another busy season hits.
After the layoffs have been completed and regular company schedules are normal, hold a store-wide meeting involving all staff to receive feedback and input on how the season went.
Getting your regular employees involved in the process from preplanning to layoffs ensures engagement from your employees and allows them to be part of the process—this aids in building the morale and pride of job ownership.
*e-VentExe is a full service human resource consulting company specializing in outsourcing and compliance, recruitment and retention, training and development, and assessment tools.
On a brisk November morning a female employee at a small electrical company in Winters CA arrived at work and was ambushed as she sat in her car. The alleged gunman was her estranged husband, whom she had a long history with and had an active restraining order. Tragically, the protective order would not be enough to keep her safe and she was killed that morning. It’s unknown what, if any, knowledge the owners of the business had of the ongoing domestic violence. What is clear is that despite the tragic loss of life, the incident could have been much worse. The gunman could have chosen to attack his wife inside the business. A quick scan of the internet will point you to a long list of stories of domestic violence spilling into the workplace, with unintended victims being injured alongside the abuser’s target.
In a troubling juxtaposition, all too often extreme violence can be tied to a victim either seeking or having recently obtained a protection order. Here are some other points to consider.
- Our workforces are largely a reflection of society. The problems that society faces will carry over into the workplace.
- Protective orders are only effective if the “restrained” person is willing to follow them. A piece of paper will not keep you or your staff safe.
- Be mindful that the most dangerous time is when a victim is trying to leave her abuser.
- Accept the fact that victims will often go back to their abuser, don’t take it personally.
The challenge for businesses has always been trying to determine the right balance of support vs. intruding into employees’ private lives. The reality of domestic violence is that the abuser knows two places where he can find his victim with almost certainty; at home and at the workplace. Regardless of an organizations desire, or lack thereof, to get involved, domestic violence does spill into the workplace. So what can a company do to protect their workforce and respect the privacy of individual employees?
- Maintain strong and open communication with your employees
- Have multiple methods for staff to report concerns
- Provide training for staff and managers on recognition of domestic violence indicators
- Consider establishing a relationship with a domestic violence shelter. Employee assistance programs can feel cold and impersonal. In Sacramento County WEAVE is an excellent resource.
- Consider elevating security measures when a credible threat exists. This may be as simple as sharing with impacted coworkers the nature of the threat and keeping doors locked.
- Consider establishing an incident response team. This team will conduct an assessment if/when a threat is identified and determines a course of action. Even smaller companies can use a team approach to assess situations.
The single greatest factor to identifying and then being in a position to help prevent incidents of violence in the workplace is having a good relationship with your employees. If your employees feel comfortable coming forward with concerns and your management team knows how to respond you significantly increase your chances of addressing problems before they can escalate to violence.
About the Author:
Mr. Alvarez is the founder of Alvarez Associates, a firm specializing in workplace violence prevention. Having been both a security director for a major national critical infrastructure and a city police officer, he has built over 25 years of experience in the field of violence prevention. For 15 years he directed cutting edge security programs focused specifically on preventing and responding to “active shooters” in private sector environments. He understands the challenges organizations and communities face addressing the threat of violence. He has personally evaluated and managed hundreds of potentially violent situations, developed numerous violence prevention programs and trained thousands of employees and managers in workplace violence prevention.
*e-VentExe and Alvarez Associates will be holding a workshop in Roseville CA on utilizing state-of-the-art assessment tools for recruitment practices and workplace violence prevention on January 22, 2014. If interested, please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org