Dealing With Stress, Step 1: You Are Not Alone

(This article is a part of a series; please start here)

You are not the only one in such a predicament: we all have rough patches and difficult moments. Some of us are better at hiding it, but on the inside we’re all the same colour.

Most of us, when in the throes of fate, feel we’re alone in our suffering. We may receive help and support from people who care for us, and we are grateful for that, but even this help-and-support come from someone who is not, right now, with us, in such a deep pain. More, we observe the world around us and see other enjoying things and feelings we so sorely lack.

a) For many, it’s about the image they put out: the deep truth is different in the overwhelming majority of cases. People will put out their best image and pour mountains of effort into safeguarding the social image (isn’t that what “inner power” is all about? Showing “strength” while bleeding inside?); and we see that image. The soul behind it is way more in pain and frazzled.

That realisation came to me during conversation with my spouse about some friends that seemed poised to do well; she casually said “The other day I heard her say the only thing she had left in common with her husband were the kids and the credits”.

You might think you’re alone. You might even feel loneliness. It is only natural; it is usually patently untrue. Take a moment to look around you closely. We all have our troubles. You have companions in your plight – only you do not know them. You don’t have to, just know they are there.

b) Preparation is everything: take care and assemble a Team You: people who know you, love you just the way you are and accept you with all your little quirks and peculiarities. Talk to them one by one or in a group setting.

Be as direct and clear as you can: “Friend / mom / pop / sibling, I’m approaching (or already crossing) a very rough patch in my life. I need all the love and support I can muster. I need you to support me now and show me later where I’ve done wrong. Would you do that?

This is not the time to be evasive and hope they’ll get it. Certainly, you’ll be in for some surprises. Many think “tough love” is the way (it is not, in many cases). But you’ll end up with a Team You ready to support you, ready to be your cheerleaders, a handy resource to have in dire times.

Have them know you value and cherish their support and lean on them in troubled times. That way, you’ll know you never walk alone.

Read part 2

Do you want to find out more? Get in touch with a consultant now or request a free demo!

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By Catalin Octavian Blaga – Trainer Great People Inside

Trainer who turns business experience and psychology into impacting training programs… and more!  You can find out more about Catalin by clicking here

 

The Safe Road to Employee Engagement

How can we define what employee engagement really is?

Everyone talks again and again about the importance of employee engagement. Nevertheless, you might still encounter difficulties when asked to define it. This happens because employee engagement is not something mathematical, it represents the connection between the employee and the company – the mutual relationship based on trust, integrity and appreciation. Even so, there are ways to measure it and according to Gallup’s 142-country report on workplace engagement, only 13 % of  employees are engaged in their work. This represents a big problem for companies all over the world.

Why is it so important?

There are multiple factors that contribute to organisational success –  business strategies, the quality of products or services, their price, effective marketing and even organisational culture. But the most important  factor – the one that keeps the company’s engine running are the people. No organisation can achieve success without great people. But what qualities do those people need? Talent and skills are certainly important, but you’ll never be able to use them properly if your employees won’t do their best. A situation where it is guaranteed that your people will give everything they’ve got is when they share common values and identify with the goals of the company. Several studies have shown the benefits of having engaged employees, as it follows:

  • Businesses with more engaged employees have 51% higher productivity
    (Harter, J.K., Schmidt, F.L., & HayesT.L., Psychology, 2002 Vol. 87, No. 2)
  • Engaged employees outperform disengaged employees by 20-28%
    (The Conference Board, 2006)
  • Organisations with engaged employees showed a 19% increase in operating income over a 12-month period, compared to a 33% decrease in companies with disengaged employees
    (Towers Perrin, 2008)
  • In companies where 60 to 70 percent of employees were engaged, average total shareholder’s return (TSR) stood at 24.2 percent; in companies with only 49 to 60 percent of their employees engaged, TSR fell to 9.1 percent; companies with engagement below 25 percent suffered negative TSR
    (Employee engagement at double-digit growth companies, Hewitt Research Brief)

So, the importance of employee engagement should be pretty clear for anyone.

Ok, I get it, it’s important, but what can I do about it?

Well, first of all, you need to understand what you must never try to do.

You cannot manipulate your employees in order to engage them

Several companies are continuously attempting to trick their employees by making false promises in order to boost their engagement level without actually caring for them. This might, of course do wonders on the short term, but, as soon as the people realise what they’re trying to do, it will tremendously damage their motivation, productivity and, in the end, your bottom line. Why’s that? Because they would feel betrayed. Just imagine how you would feel if you trusted someone, gave them so much of your energy and time and dedicated yourselves in order to accomplish your mutual goals (or at least that’s what you thought them to be), just to find out that they don’t really care about you – you’ve just been tricked. Of course you’ll find it hard to find your motivation once again and the eventual raises or bonuses won’t help that much now. We all need to understand that today, when it comes to people, manipulation and control are not an option.   

Employee engagement must be nurtured

You can’t just give them a small raise, clap your hands three times and expect engaged people. This is a matter where all aspects need to be taken into consideration and none has to be forgotten. While you slowly build your employees trust and foster their engagement, there are a few things you should keep in mind:

Share your vision. Your vision is what should inspire and motivate people right after they hear it. Focus on the things that your organisation ultimately produces. You should emphasize where the company is going in the near and more distant future and point out what’s needed to get there.
Simply giving orders for your employees to follow it’s detrimental for everyone, but making them understand what you have in mind for the company in the future and where they stand on that road will help them identify with your values and work harder towards achieving the common goal.

Offer recognition. The need to be recognised is essential to each and every one of us. Especially for the employees who give their best at the workplace. A survey made by HBR has shown that employees, when asked to rate the most impactful engagement drivers, they will, most often (72%), say that Recognition given for high performers is the most important factor. This can be done formally – a reward system based on performance, an “Employee of the month” program,etc. or you can just thank them personally for how much they’ve helped.

Be clear. A study made by AtTask in 2014 has shown that 64% of employees are often feeling confused about who’s doing what inside the company. Engagement starts with having something to look forward to. If you don’t set clear tasks and goals for your employees, they will surely  have a difficult time engaging in their daily tasks. Your employees don’t need to waste time and energy on trying to understand what it’s needed of them.

Of course, using these tips won’t engage your employees overnight. But, if you integrate them into your daily routine, you’ll definitely see improvements and, in time, you might find out true what Meghan M. Biro said: “Employees engage with employers and brands when they’re treated as humans worthy of respect.”

We have an impressive assessment library with hundreds of dimensions that can be leveraged in creating a custom skills-based assessment that supports your organisation’s specific competencies and unique vision. Please contact us if you need to measure the engagement level in your company.

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 Sources:

www.torbenrick.eu/blog/leadership/10-reasons-why-employee-engagement-is-important
www.hbr.org/resources/pdfs/comm/achievers/hbr_achievers_report_sep13.pdf
www.gallup.com/poll/165269/worldwide-employees-engaged-work.aspx;

Algorithm vs. Human Instinct

Everyone wants to have the best people in the right positions. But how exactly can you accomplish this?

This is where HR steps in. Most people underestimate its importance, but studies have shown the great hidden impact that great HR can have on any organisation.

Watson Wyatt surveyed 405 publicly traded companies of all types, posing 72 wide-ranging questions on everything from training to workplace culture to communications. In order to come up with a so-called Human Capital Index (HCI) score for each company, a statistical formula was applied (HCI measures how well an organisation makes use of the ability of an individual to perform. A higher human capital index indicates better management of human capital by the organisation. It is measured on a scale of 100). Then the subject companies were sorted into three HCI-rating categories: low, medium, and high. The companies in the high-HCI group delivered a 103 percent total return to shareholders over a five-year period, compared to 53 percent for low-HCI and 88% for medium-HCI companies.

While psychometric testing and performance prediction have evolved considerably over the past 100 years, their value is often under appreciated. In this article from thepsychologist.bps.org.uk,  two critical lessons from this broad field of research are highlighted. Namely, research on performance prediction has taught us the importance of choosing the right people and using the right tools to do so.

As it is mentioned in the article, selecting the right candidates is an important goal, but we must not forget about the one with equal importance – screening out undesirable candidates. The consequences of choosing the wrong people can be extremely detrimental for the company, as they lead to increased turnover rates, higher recruitment costs, and training expenses, along with lost productivity and decreases in morale among all employees. The high costs associated with replacing poorly performing individuals make it all the more important to identify and select the best performers in the first place.

This is where you have to ask yourselves: on what should I base my decision when selecting a new candidate? Human instinct or a pre-employment assessment system? The thing is – people are very good at identifying what exactly it’s needed for a certain position in their company and at extracting information from the candidates, but they are doing poor at interpreting the results. The analysis made by Harvard Business Review (HBR) on 17 studies of applicant evaluations shows that a simple equation outperforms human decisions by at least 25%. This is valid for any situation with a large number of candidates – no matter if the job is on the front line, middle management, or in the C-suite.

There are also several other benefits to the company that an employment evaluation system can bring. It provides leaders with valuable information not only about their candidates, but also about their existing employees. This helps you identify their development needs and their strongest abilities, which you can improve, based on the given feedback.

This doesn’t mean that you should completely remove the human judgment from the equation.

A great way to make the best decisions would be to use exclusively the assessment systems in order to narrow down the number of possible candidates to only a few before you involve any human judgment. Afterwards, you can make the final decision by consulting with the managers that you trust the most.

In order for the assessments to be successful, there are certain rules that must be respected:

  • Understanding the importance of the assessment process and it’s role in identifying the performance levels can lead to the success or failure of the process
  • Respecting the methodology suggested and agreed upon by the company leads to maintaining the objectivity, regardless of who is being assessed
  • Encouraging employees to get involved in a permanent self assessment process and ask for feedback. This leads to self-motivation and engagement.
  • Follow up the assessment. The assessed employee and the assessor will meet for a follow up session to analyse and discuss results, certain situations and evaluate the potential solutions for the identified problems, which leads to mid-term and long-term development.

 If you need more information about how the assessment system works, get in touch with a consultant now!

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