In the end, if you’re close by, easy to deal with and willing to make the sacrifices, you’ll be surrounded by those who are not likely to ever leave your side. In the business world, that means your employees are likely to stay with you and perform at the highest level. And in your personal life, it means that your kids will be high achievers who are going to live in your house until they’re 30!Continue reading
According to Evolve Performance Group, 9 out of 10 engaged employees say that safety is a top priority every day while only two in 10 actively disengaged employees can say the same thing. Modern successful safety cultures are based in facts. People who feel valued, value safety and each other. The takeaway from these numbers cannot be overestimated.Continue reading
Despite their typecast use in many sci-fi plots, bots are simply tools for humans to use to do a better job and provide socially intelligent customer service while increasing profits. Bots allow agents to offer personalized service while their electronically animated brethren do menial tasks. Predominantly, research shows that human beings still value connecting with each other, preferring it over any other interaction.Continue reading
What exactly are we trying to accomplish by proving to others that we’re right?
We might win the argument but ultimately lose the relationship. Perhaps a better, deeper-rooted question is this: Why do we lose sight of success, of our big objective when we feel challenged or intimidated?
Even with all these solutions being applied, can we really move into the future with a generation that was taught that these jobs have no future? It’s time to be honest with ourselves, to admit that we may have made a mistake. In our effort to provide a better opportunity for everyone, we may have created a mindset that ultimately will not help anyone.Continue reading
What do we need to do to work more effectively with each other as a team?Continue reading
The ability to read people’s emotions, understand what they value and make sure they feel valuable does not make you a genius. It does, however, make you the kind of person every company needs and an extremely important member of any team.Continue reading
It indicates that stress is more about how you feel or think about things and only loosely connected to what’s actually happening. In other words, life is not stressful; it’s what we believe about life that is stressful.Continue reading
How the Millennial Work Ethic May Permanently Improve the Economy
Can we achieve more by working less?
If you are in your 20s, you are hoping the answer to this question is a big, barefooted “Yes!” If you’re in your 50s, this is a goal you have secretly cherished while professing the opposite to your employees and kids. If you are in your 30s or 40s, you think this is just the propaganda of the lazy trying to weasel their way into a shorter work week; and if you’re 60 or above, you think this question is the beginning of the end of the world. But if it’s true – if embracing the Gen Y work ethic could actually have us working less while achieving more – we could crown Gen Y as the real “greatest generation,” leaving a lot of World War II survivors and baby boomer historians and journalists with disturbed looks on their faces.
Let’s be honest: Baby boomers have worked fewer hours, and in cushier conditions, than their parents did. They are much more educated than their parents, lived at home longer, got married later and wanted to automate so they could get better results with less effort. Have they produced fewer results than previous generations? Do we think of them as entitled and lazy?
It’s almost a pattern we can trace through the past century: Each generation expected long hours and hard work to bring prosperity but then saw those expectations disappointed somehow, leading the next generation to reexamine what success looks like. Until the 1920s, most Americans had jobs that required 12-hour workdays. They believed that if they worked hard enough, the value of their companies would rise with the power of their efforts – but in the 1930s the economy crashed. Nowadays, hardworking Gen Xers can be very critical of the Gen Y work ethic, even though Gen Xers themselves were viewed as slackers by baby boomers and faced the economic fallout of the early 2000s. My point is that people of every generation have tried to make things easier, still working pretty hard in their own way while facing the judgment of previous generations; but they haven’t seen long-lasting results. We seem to have a work ethic that is by all accounts noble but fails to sustain success.
How is Gen Y different? They are told they’re too confident in their abilities and think too highly of themselves. But wait a second…these are their bad traits? When did liking yourself and believing you can succeed regardless of circumstances become undesirable attributes? Well, it’s complicated, so stick with me on this. If you force a lot of self-esteem into a 5-year-old, you end up with some unwanted results. For example, a percentage of males who believe “I’m OK no matter what, so there is no need to be successful” don’t exhibit a lot of ambition. (Only about 40 percent of U.S. college freshmen are male – and although pursuing a college education is not an exclusive indicator of ambition, the trend is telling.) A percentage of females will believe “If I’m OK no matter what, then nothing is really ever my fault,” so they don’t have a basic level of personal accountability. (Interestingly, the women of Gen Y are much less likely to apologize than boomer women.)
Sometimes great things come at a cost that at first glance is too high to pay. Could the “I’m OK no matter what” mindset be siphoning some millennials’ potential to achieve? It’s possible that as many as a third of Gen Y may have been sacrificed to produce the most confident, empowered generation of all time. So what makes what’s left of this generation so great? They believe that every problem comes with its own set of solutions; they were taught to partner and collaborate to succeed. They were taught it is, in fact, possible for everyone to win. If you get a group of millennials together to deliberate, they end up with an agreement; if you ask a bunch of boomers to try to work out their problems, they just end up with some very sophisticated blaming techniques. (“I’m not saying you’re wrong; I’m just saying that your ideas won’t work under these conditions!”) Just turn on your TV and watch the news; it’s full of gray-haired people in disagreement.
Most people in their 20s don’t need to be as right – or make others as wrong – as previous generations. They are also much less prejudiced and much more tolerant. This means that Gen Y could resolve political and religious differences that have existed for centuries. The collaboration worldwide will likely improve all economies. But it’s the desire to focus on working smart rather than working hard that will change the world forever. Free from the belief that effort and long hours are the foundation of innovation, they are uncovering new technologies to make more time in life for fun and to make their jobs meaningful and enjoyable.
People who don’t like their jobs don’t do a good job. That’s a fact, not a theory. More than any other generation, millennials will quit a job that leaves little time for the things they enjoy. For Gen Y to reach its potential (at work and in the world), they must find engagement in their workplace. According to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report, 70% of all employees are not engaged at work. Disengaged employees are much less productive, which has led more than a few top business consultants to consider disengagement the biggest issue in corporate America. In short, hard work is not as productive as liking your work, because your commitment and awareness are lower. Working long hours with maximum effort while you are emotionally disengaged also increases your chances of making mistakes, according to Evolve Performance Group, a research firm that has surveyed thousands of employees in 46 countries and 28 languages.
Even more interesting, Harvard Business Review’s Impact of Employee Engagement on Performance outlines some basic keys to engagement as follows: (1) knowing my boss cares about me, (2) seeing a clear path to leadership and (3) knowing how my job helps the company be successful. Frequently cited by millennials, these engagement factors are all about feeling valuable in order to perform better at work – not about performing better so they can feel valued. That’s something to consider. Gallup surveys have shown this for 70 years; but still leaders have touted long hours, hard work and inflexible conditions, until recently, as we see Gen Y CEOs changing the model. What do you think the engagement levels are at Facebook and Google?
When Gen Y comes of age, based on what we have seen so far, they are likely to be the most productive workforce in history. It’s just that they might do it by showing up at 10 a.m., leaving at 5 p.m. (with a long lunch in there somewhere), and working late at night. The future never really looks exactly right to the people from the past. It may be possible that it took this many generations for mankind to figure out that hard work is what you do when you don’t really know how to succeed!
A relatively new phenomenon is sweeping through corporate America (and some other countries as well): employees who will leave a job in a shorter time frame than it took to find one. Attrition rates in some industries border on the insane. As one corporate leader told me, “If only half our people quit every year, it would be a big improvement and save us millions.”
When did we become a culture of quitters? When did people start to think of most job opportunities as disposable? In this article, we give you the non-sugarcoated truth you deserve.
They don’t see a path that leads to better opportunity and pay. Telling someone that hard work and building relationships are key to getting promoted will no longer fly. Not only will this very reluctant dog not hunt; it’s possible that it never really picked up the scent to begin with. This single factor drives your most talented employees away while encouraging tenure among those who are short on talent and long on explanations. Your most talented people have options; they might have headhunters contacting them every week. But the people with no talent and drive — the ones who believe they don’t have a shot at a better life — are in for the long haul and will pledge their undying loyalty!
Solution: These days, employees under 40 years old need to understand exactly what is required to accomplish their goals. That means it’s in writing, it’s very clear, and it adheres to a time line (within a three-year period).
You have a very restrictive cell phone policy. You may have noticed that many young people seem to have their phone in hand. They don’t just have their phone with them; they, in fact, are with their phone. It’s not in their pocket or their purse; it’s part of their person. That’s right — left to our own devices, we literally walk around staring at our devices. If you want to punish a young person, just take his phone away. According to a study conducted by InsightExpress in 18 countries with 1,800 respondents, 75 percent of 18- to 30-year-olds spend as much time socializing online as they do in person. Forty-six percent say they use their phone to text during meals, and 30 percent text every time they go to the bathroom. Furthermore, a random sampling by Wynn Solutions (using 18- to 30-year-olds to ask the questions) showed the InsightExpress figures to be relatively low. Let’s get real: If you ask a person under 40 years old how many times a day he or she checks the phone, the honest answer is “I lose count.” A device you carry everywhere and check first thing in the morning and the last thing at night is an extension of who you are (as disturbingly science-fiction as that sounds).
Solution: So, it’s common sense that heavy phone restrictions could contribute to employee disengagement and job dissatisfaction. It may be important for safety reasons to manage cellphone usage in industrial areas, but if there is no danger of distraction, you can have phone breaks built in to work schedules or experiment with how much work loss vs benefits you receive from having a phone friendly workplace. Many organizations these days have a very hard time retaining top talent when the competition declares “It’s cool to use your phones.”
Your initial training programs lack clarity and engagement. We can learn a lot from an anonymous comment left by a heavily recruited 24-year-old new hire after completing a training program: “It seems like there were some missing parts in the training, which is strange because there were, like, way too many parts. It kind of makes me feel unqualified, but it’s more likely that the training just sucks.” All too often, training programs are poorly constructed and delivered by unskilled presenters.
Solution: New hires from among Gen Y were taught how to take tests rather than how to grasp broad concepts. As a result, they need extremely clear training programs that start with what success actually looks like (not just the steps to get there); they also learn best from short modules that can hold their attention. These young, eager-to-learn employees can quickly become disillusioned if they feel they’ll have to move forward without an ironclad grasp on how to do the job well.
They don’t feel heard by leadership. According to recent research from Gallup, 70 percent of employees polled say they are disengaged. If you can turn the tide here and create engagement with your employees, you increase the likelihood that they’ll stay.
Solution: To achieve this, consider having an outside source conduct surveys within your organization. Employees’ anonymous responses to specific questions will reflect what they think, how connected they feel, and what they believe about your organization and leaders. The results help you understand your own work culture well enough to identify what needs to be fixed. You can then build a plan that addresses your employees’ needs, whether that means designing more effective training, tweaking your social media policies, or improving interactions between workers and managers. As employees see their input transforming your culture, they’ll feel heard, they’ll perform better, and they will likely stay with you longer.
The only thing worse than failing to overcome the competition is realizing you don’t even have the right people to compete. As stated earlier, the best employees will exit and the bad workers will stay. So employee engagement tactics that create retention are foundational to all organizations. Regardless of great technologies like robotics, manufacturing software, and social media, it turns out you still have to have a bunch of people in your building to qualify as an organization. And, though younger workers desperately need their “tech-tools” to take us into the future, you don’t want to get stuck with the ones that don’t grasp how humans are involved IN that future!
I recently spoke at a convention with a really cool hologram technology that had the CEO materializing at multiple locations simultaneously like he was beaming down from the starship Enterprise. One youngish, not-so-bright AV guy commented, “Wow, this meeting does not even need actual people to succeed!” Hmmmmmm.
I had to ask: “So, without people, what would you be beaming onto the holography platform on the stage?”
“Well… that’s a good point, I guess. Maybe just some charts and cool graphics.”
Really? I pressed in. “So how long do you plan to have this job at the hotel?”
“Dude,” he replied, “my boss is like super-smart and took another job that he likes a lot better and now I’m the only person that knows how everything works. I would never leave here now. I can keep this job forever.”
Make sure your good people stay!