Gallup Tips to Improve Productivity: Hire individuals with a natural talent for managing people. When companies systematically pick candidates with high management talent, they can achieve 27% higher revenue per employee than average. Train your managers into coaches. Many managers today are not ready to have frequent developmental conversations with their teams, but regular listening and feedback are essential skills for talking about performance and growth. Drive manager engagement in order to drive employee engagement. Employees who work for highly engaged managers are 59% more likely to be engaged. (Want to Improve Productivity? Hire Better Managers, Gallup’s No Recovery Report, Aug.3, 2018)

Communicating Change: The language used in the process of defining change and the vision is critical. The process of spinning communication to sound positive when it really is not is just plain ineffective! Extraordinary leaders use a philosophical approach to change that involves every aspect of the process. When we define change as problems, we find more problems. However, if we define change as the pursuit of new ideas, new dreams, and visions, the focus is on how we can make change happen. As part of the visioning process, listen closely to how the change is being talked about — the words, metaphors and stories used. Use of negative language and metaphors can lead to unnecessary fear and unwarranted confusion about the nature and scope of the change. (Focus on the Positive: A new Approach to Change Management, Gallup, August 2, 2018)

Millennial Burnout & Tips to Become a Millennial Magnet: Even with youth on their side, millennial workers are more likely than workers in older generations to say that they always or very often feel burned out at work. In a recent Gallup study of nearly 7,500 full-time U.S. employees, 28% of millennials claimed feeling frequent or constant burnout at work, compared with 21% of workers in older generations. An additional 45% of millennial workers say they sometimes feel burned out at work, suggesting that about seven in 10 millennials are experiencing some level of burnout on the job. If organizations want to win the war for talent and become millennial magnets, Gallup recommends taking these actions:

  • Turn your managers into coaches who care. Employees whose manager is always willing to listen to their work-related problems are 62% less likely to be burned out. Additionally, millennials say they want more feedback — but only 17% of them strongly agree they receive routine or meaningful feedback from their manager.
  • Constantly reinforce how your employees’ work changes the world. Employees are less likely to be burned out when they can connect their work to their company’s mission and purpose. And working for an organization with a mission and purpose is especially important to millennials.
  • Give your employees as much autonomy and flexibility as you can. Employees are 43% less likely to experience high levels of burnout when they have a choice in deciding what tasks to do, when to do them and how much time to spend on them. (Millennials re Burning Out, Gallup, July 19, 2018)

Organizations are looking for employees who can make independent decisions with confidence, problem solve with diverse peer groups, and manage their own time, projects, workload, relationships, and career path by themselves. Implicitly or explicitly, companies often expect employees to “be their own boss” and do for themselves what used to be considered “management.” This shift in the workplace alters what employees need from their manager. In short, a manager who is always visible, watching every minute and stopping by to ask if you got the memo is becoming obsolete. (The End of the Traditional Manager, Gallup, May 31, 2018)

How do high-performing organizations bring out the best in their employees? Much depends on the health of the organization’s engagement ecosystem—a set of interconnected factors that, together, impact the employee experience. Among the most critical components shaping this ecosystem is the employee value proposition, the tangible and intangible deal that organizations provide in exchange for employee effort, commitment and performance (The Conference Board, PRNewswire, Feb. 28, 2018)

Engagement doesn’t happen by accident. It takes a culture of purpose and a connection to the organization’s reason for being for employees to connect all of the little extra mile-efforts they might make in a day for guests to the bigger picture that makes an exceptional customer experience (Dornfeld, Chris, Why Your Guests Return, and Why They Don’t: Your Employees, Hotel Online Industry Report, January 10, 2018).

According to recent research, more than half (57%) of those working in America’s largest companies feel that their employers should play a more active role in addressing important social issues. Employees are demanding that their companies support their personal values, optimize employee engagement programs and understand their impact, and make it a point to reach new donors and volunteers (Bailey, Nick, philanthropy Cloud: A New Corporate Philanthropy Network for Employee Engagement, Povaddo, Feb. 27, 2018).

Today’s workforce is experiencing everything from an alarming skilled labor shortage to an increasing lack of employee engagement that concerns every business – no matter if you’re a startup or a Fortune 100 company. Gallup research shows that the average U.S. employee is not only unengaged at work, but half of all employees are actively searching for a new job. However, a culture that fosters more empathy in the workplace is one of the best ways to create an engaged workforce that combats the loss of productivity and more (Hyken, Shep, A $600 Billion Employee Engagement Problem Solved: Empathy, Forbes, Feb. 25, 2018).

Companies typically collect data – behavioral, performance, and attitudinal – for specific customer touchpoints. Unfortunately, the data for each touchpoint is usually collected in isolation from other touchpoints. But customers don’t experience touchpoints in isolation from each other. Rather, customers experience touchpoints in relationship to each other as they interact with your brand with specific consumer needs and expectations in mind. Creating reliable customer journey maps lies in understanding the relationships between interaction touchpoints from your customers’ point of view. If you want to truly capture your customers’ journey, and leverage your journey mapping initiatives, you need to conduct journey research. Quantitative research can – and should – be integrated into your journey mapping efforts to identify relevant trends and gaps, and to provide on-going governance of your customers’ journey (Tse, Amy, Why Research Could Make or Break Your Customer Journey Mapping Effort, group, 3,19,2018)

Respectful treatment of all employees at all levels was rated as “very important” by 67% of employees in 2014, making it the top contributor to overall employee job satisfaction. (Rounding out the top five contributors, in descending order, were Compensation/Pay; Benefits; Job Security; and trust between employees and senior management.) (SHRM, Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement Survey, 2016.)

There are strong correlations between employee engagement and desirable business outcomes such as retention of talent, customer service, individual performance, team performance, business unit productivity, and even enterprise-level financial performance (McKay, Avery, & Morris (2008). Mean racial and ethnic differences in sales performance: The moderating role of diversity climate. Personnel Psychology, 61, 349-374).

Happiness has an important evolutionary purpose called ‘Broaden and Build Theory.’ Instead of narrowing our actions to fight or flight as negative emotions do, positive ones broaden the amount of possibilities we process, making us more creative, thoughtful, and open to new ideas (Frederickson, Barbara, “The role of positive emotions in positive psychology: Broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions,” American Psychologist, 56, 218-226, 2001).

According to the latest research in the neurosciences, Dr. Newberg asserts, “Beneath the mind’s perception of thoughts, memories, emotions, and beneath the subjective awareness we think of as the self, there is a Deeper Self, a state of pure awareness that sees beyond the limits of subject and object, and rests in a universe where all things are one” (Andrew Newberg in Born to Believe, Free Press, New York, 2006). [Note: We call it ‘The Extraordinary You!’]

Emotions are so shared, say organizational psychologists, that each workplace develops its own group emotion, or “group affective tone,” which over time creates shared “emotional norms” that are proliferated and reinforced by the behavior. (Kelly, J., and S. Barasade, Mood and emotion in small work teams,” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 86, 99-130, 2001).

An important research study found when examining more than 2,000 business divisions of ten large companies, happy people work harder. They’re also more imaginative, creative, and productive. (J.K. Harter, Schmidt, F.T., Asphund, J.W., Killham, E.A., and Agrawal, S., “Causal impact of employee work perceptions on the bottom line of organizations,” Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2010; 5 (4): 378-89).

Gratitude journals and other gratitude practices often seem so simple and basic; in our studies, we often have people keep gratitude journals for just three weeks. And yet the results have been overwhelming. We’ve studied more than one thousand people, from ages eight to 80, and found that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits: Physical: Stronger immune systems, less bothered by aches and pains, lower blood pressure, exercise more and take better care of their health, sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking.Psychological: Higher levels of positive emotions, more alert, alive and awake, more joy and pleasure, more optimism and happiness. Social: More helpful, generous and compassionate, more forgiving, more outgoing, feel less lonely and isolated. (Robert Emmons, Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, Houghton Mifflin Co., N.Y. 2008).

Higher levels of engagement come from employees who work for a compassionate leader—one who is authentic, present, has a sense of dignity, holds others accountable, leads with integrity and shows empathy.” (Research by Dr. Brad Shuck and Maryanne Honeycutt-Elliott,

Data abounds showing that happy workers have higher levels of productivity, produce higher sales, perform better in leadership positions, and receive higher performance ratings and higher pay. They also enjoy more job security and are less likely to take sick days, to quit, or to become burned out. (Lyubomirsky, S., King, L., and Diener, E., “The benefits of frequent positive effect: Does happiness lead to success?” Psychological Bulletin, 131, 803-855, 2005).
From 1975 to 1986, psychologists Salvatore Maddi tracked 450 employees at Illinois Bell Telephone before, during and after the breakup of AT&T. Illinois Bell almost halved its work force in one year. Job descriptions and chains of command changed regularly. Even so, one-third of the people excelled, maintaining their performance, morale, and health. However, two-thirds fell apart, suffering problems such as anxiety, depression, and high blood pressure. Maddi found that those who excelled (the “hardy”) shared the following characteristics: They stayed involved rather than feeling isolated; tried to influence outcomes rather than lapsing into helplessness; and chose to learn from their experience rather than feeling threatened by it. Instead of blaming themselves or bosses for their firing, they recognized that the layoffs were due to forces beyond the control of anyone in the company. “Seeing that in a broader perspective makes it less terrible. Less personal,” Maddi reported. “They were good at giving and receiving help and encouragement, neither too passive to be effective nor too assertive to be sensitive.” (Salvatore Maddi and Deborah M. Khoshaba, Resilience at Work, AMACOM, N.Y. 2005).

According to the American Institute of Stress workplace related stress costs the U.S. over $300 billion annually due to increased absenteeism, employee turnover, lower productivity, medical and legal insurance expenses, and Worker’s Compensation payments. (Paul J. Rosch, ed., “The Quarterly of Job Stress Compensation,” Health and Stress, American Institute of Stress, March, 2001; 3).

©2018 Holton Consulting Group, Inc.

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