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“The best prepa…

“The best preparation for good work tomorrow is to do good work today.” – Elbert Hubbard

Motivational Monday

Motivational Monday

Although it’s gloomy in the Sacramento area, stay motivated nonetheless!

Motivational Monday!

Motivational Monday!

Exemplifying Employee Engagement

ImageOrganizations 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. 

New Year’s Resolutions: What Should I Do as a Leader?

ImageThe 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.

 

Employee Empowerment: Tips for Keeping Retail Employees Engaged

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The holiday season for retail workers mean one thing: busy, busy, busy.  With stores starting their Black Friday sale on Thanksgiving, more employees are needed to man the store. In fact, CareerBuilder’s Annual Survey concluded that 39% of hiring managers plan to hire workers this year, compared to 36% last year, and 29% in 2011.

Sure, when Black Friday comes along, fashionistas, technology gurus, and anyone who simply wants a good deal will be participating in this shopping spree day. But what about the employees who have to work during these ghastly hours, especially on Thanksgiving? Although store hours are opening in the evening to ensure retail employees have time to spend with their family and friends, it may be tough for any retail manager to motivate their staff (especially if copious amounts of food was consumed just hours before).  How will retail leaders prepare their staff for the infamous Black Friday sale in terms of customer service, team morale, and overall employee well-being?

Working in retail, customer service is essential. As a store associate, necessary steps are taken to achieve top quality service to customers—ask them how their day is going, ask them if they need any assistance finding items, provide insight when asked, be personable and approachable. Yes, folding clothes after what looked like a blizzard hit the section may be frustrating, but remember: providing superior customer service is a pivotal function of the job; not only does it reflect the company, it also reflects the employee.

Staying motivated during the busy season may be challenging, and customer complaints can make it tougher. When team morale seems to be lacking, it is both noticeable for both other staff members and customers. Remember to keep the staff engaged in their work and with their fellow customers by providing incentives such as these:

1)      Provide healthy snacks throughout the day in the break room to ensure employees are being well-nourished. Offering snacks, such as nuts, will reward employees with natural health benefits including long-lasting energy, brain health, and even reduce stress. 

2)      Employee holiday appreciation party. During or after the holiday season, plan a party for the employees to show them they are more than just bodies in the store. Thank them for all the hard work they have done for the company. Gather each employees’ insight (i.e., theme, food, activities) to ensure their voice and ideas are being heard by upper management.

3)      Appreciation in-store discounts or gift cards. Offer employees a generous discount, such as 60% off of sale items and 40% off of regular priced items. Another incentive may involve having a raffle drawing of gift cards to other places.

4)      Shorter shifts to alleviate stress. Dealing with customers amongst the constant hustle and bustle of the season may be demanding. Provide shorter shifts to ensure employees are not feeling burnt-out.

5)      Allow employees to change roles and/or departments during their shift. Employees may feel unmotivated (and most likely bored) repeating one tedious task for the entire shift. Change up the scenery by moving them around the store and allowing them to engage in other roles. This tactic may make the shifts more bearable and the hours go by quicker.

As managers and leaders, it is management’s job to ensure their employees’ needs are being met and frustrations alleviated. Empowering employees in turn empowers management which empowers the overall company.

*e-Ventexe is a full service human resource company dedicated to providing services catered to clients’ needs.

 

Getting Past the Peter Principle

Our guest blogger is Tina R. Shaw. Tina is a Coach and Consultant specializing in leadership development, supporting change, and facilitating learning. Contact Tina at tina.r.shaw@gmail.com.

Most of us have heard of the Peter Principle, but in case you haven’t, it is commonly phrased as “Employees tend to rise to their level of incompetence.”  Why does this happen? Consider the super-star sales person, Mary. She’s consistently a top producer, does everything expected of her, and is seen as a rising star. So of course she earns a promotion to Sales Manager! A few months later the shine on Mary’s star is tarnishing. What went wrong?

Like many people who are promoted, the skills and behaviors that made Mary successful in her former role are not the same skills and behaviors necessary for success in her new role. Not only is it important to develop new competencies to succeed in the new role, it is equally important to understand which competencies should be de-emphasized. For example, as a super-star salesperson personal expertise and efforts are a significant factor in success. As a sales manager, success comes from getting results through the efforts and expertise of others.  In Mary’s new role leadership becomes more important than individual contribution. Because Mary’s success came from her personal efforts it may be difficult for her to let go of doing things herself to focus instead on supporting her team to produce results.

In the book, “The Leadership Pipeline” by Ram Charan, Steve Drotter and Jim Noel, the authors outline the skill requirements, time applications and work values necessary for different levels of leadership.   Moving from individual contributor to manager of people takes more than learning some new skills, it also requires adjusting values and where you focus your time. Each level of leadership requires different adjustments in these three areas. Leaders in transition can get into trouble when they fail to make the necessary adjustments in what they value, what they do, and where they focus their time.

Knowing you need to make some changes, and even learning what changes you need to make is the easy part – you can get training, read a book, get advice from a mentor or search the Internet. Actually making changes is much, much harder because most of us tend to default to what has been successful for us in the past. It takes repeated practice to make new skills and behaviors part of our default mode.

How many of us have taken a class or read a book on leadership and committed to implementing something we learned, but never practiced enough to make it stick? Probably most of us, including me. It’s not about ability, capacity or hitting the limits of our potential. All of these things expand as we gain experience, learn and grow as individuals. More likely it is because no one is checking in on us to see how we are applying what we learned. We get so absorbed in the day-to-day of our work and lives that we don’t remember to practice what we learned, and eventually we forget altogether. What we need is an accountability partner. Someone who will challenge us, support us, provide feedback, and ask us the right questions to ensure we are doing what we said we would do.

Working with a coach is a wonderful way to get the support and accountability you need. How can a coach help? A coach is trained to listen, ask powerful questions, and reflect back to create awareness to help the client take action to get where they want to go. Working with a coach provides a regular check-in that allows you to measure your progress, get past obstacles, and celebrate successes!

When I started my business I naturally choose to focus on what I love. My passion is leadership development and transferring learning into business results. I partner with clients to develop leaders, accelerate learning, and support change.  If you would like to learn more about developing leaders, I invite you to contact me: tina.r.shaw@gmail.com or  http://www.linkedin.com/in/tinarshaw