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Overworked Employees: Signs and Prevention

Every manager dreams of having a team full of hard-working employees, people who, on a daily basis, come in engaged, focused and prepared to reach all of their goals. And while everyone can appreciate employees who are very productive, there is a fine line between productivity and burnout when we talk medium to long-term. Unfortunately, that line is not hard to cross. All they have to do is start believing they have to work longer hours, even though business hours were over a few hours ago.

Perhaps there are managers out there that don’t want to realise this is a rising trend. In 2015, a report from Workfront “State of Enterprise Work” analysed the working hours of more than 600 employees. 52% of them have said they work longer not to catch up with assignments but actually to get ahead. This statistic raises a number of questions:

  • Do employees think this is what is expected of them?
  • Where does this feeling of working longer hours come from?
  • Are employees trying to avoid getting overwhelmed by work?

Perhaps an even better question would be:

  • Why don’t managers acknowledge this?

Managers have the responsibility to establish an environment where employees know and feel that they appreciated for their efforts instead of constantly questioning themselves and think they need to put in more and more work. Although the latter scenario may sound ideal, it is as clear as day that it leads to exhausted and even burntout employees.

Your business may be flourishing, but if you do not have any workers left to run the operations smoothly, employee turnover levels may change quickly. If you feel your employees have been neglected or have been overworking themselves, it may be time to take action and prevent anyone from quitting. Here are a few quick steps to implement in order to boost morale and bring back engagement at respectable levels.

Employee attitude shift

When employees start getting exhausted and frustrated about their workload, their attitude starts to drift towards a more negative perspective on work-related issues. Perhaps you have noticed some of your workers being angry and extremely irritable with frequent outburst towards their colleagues. It is a very clear sign they are over-worked and over-stressed. They may require some time off work or if deadlines are piling up the manager should be directly involved in dealing with day-to-day tasks and activities.

Higher working hours/week

In the vast majority of companies, the typical employee works more than 40 hours per week, more often than not it goes beyond 50 hours. In John Pencavel’s Stanford study, he has discovered that productivity reaches its maximum potential at around 49 hours, after that it dips down dramatically. If your workers are constantly working over 50 hours a week, it may a clear sign of exhaustion. Long hours lead to lower engagement levels, frustration and eventually burnout, so it is essential that the manager checks the average working hours put in by his team. Also, try and encourage your staff to work more reasonable hours in a week.

Vacation Days

There are situations in which employees do not use up all of their vacation days. This typically happens when they are over-burdened with work or they feel they haven’t pulled up their weight in the past few weeks or months. This where the HR department has to keep a close eye on employees, who do not use their vacation days in order to relax and decompress.  A quarterly review of this situation is imperative so that companies avoid burnout employees.

Increased employee turnover

It is common knowledge that stressed and exhausted employees are always susceptible to quitting. Obviously, this happens because employees have stopped being happy and they start seeking other employment opportunities. Providing flexibility for their work schedule can go a long way to reducing unwanted stress. Some people may be excellent workers during the early hours of the morning while others are night owls; allowing your employees some leeway with their schedule can be a simple way to create a happier and more productive work culture. Also, provide your employees with a Goals and Objectives document. This enables you, the manager, to have discussions with your staff regarding new projects or deadlines in order to mutually determine project priorities, shuffling due dates and rebalance workloads.

“Unplugging” from work

This has to start from the manager exclusively, by avoiding sending emails or texts during night time. Managers have to show faith in the importance of their employees’ life. A life in which they work, they have time for their hobbies and time to rest. Everyone needs to detach from work, which nowadays automatically means to spend time away from our smartphones and gadgets.

Bottom line is, there has to be respect for the people who work for you. It is essential for the manager to provide work for his employees, tasks that are challenging and exciting whilst at the same time making sure they do not overload. With the right balance and tension between projects can help create a wonderful working atmosphere with properly engaged and motivated employees. Managers should be mindful and keep an eye on for various signs that their team might reach the burnout point. Employees tend to keep their thoughts and ideas to themselves, afraid of what might happen if they confront their managers. This is why it’s up to the managers to observe and adjust any unfair situations that may develop in the workplace.

Great People Inside provides easy-to-use tools and processes to attract, assess, match, select, onboard, manage, develop, benchmark and maintain workforces anywhere in the world.

Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

 

https://www.inc.com/mandy-gilbert/what-to-do-when-everyones-overworked-and-theres-a.html?cid=hmpopface5

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/286777

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifehack/how-to-manage-a-staff-that%E2%80%99s-overworked.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lisaquast/2015/11/08/8-signs-that-you-could-be-accidentally-over-working-your-team/#1f52711a5899

How to attract and retain great salespeople

In the age of the customer, the consumers have gained significantly more knowledge and control over the sales process than any time in history – they have a huge variety of options available, they are digitally active and they are less dependent upon the sales representatives, and their expectations match up their investment. While the customers’ habits and behaviours have changed, the universal sales strategies have remained basically the same.

In a recent research study done by Cranfield Management School, it has been revealed that 90% of the people working in sales are facing major difficulties in making an effective pitch. That is why good sales reps represent a competitive advantage for every business, if they have them.

Also in regard to people in sales, David Thorp, the director of research and professional development at the Chartered Institute of Marketing had this to say: “First-rate salespeople are focused and can target potential customers effectively. They understand which customers have the money, authority and need to buy from them.” He continued stating that “They also build strong relationship with customers, which is key to customer retention. It is worth investing the time and the money in getting good staff, as they will be able to add much more to an organisation’s bottom line than poor sales staff, which can be a liability.”

The selection you make regarding sales people will determine the success of your organisation. If you are willing to invest time in the selection process, this will solve half of the sales job. Competent sales reps know how to highlight the numerous benefits of your product or service. These people are skilled in detecting possible prospects and quick in surmounting any objections that may come along the way. Sales professionals are able to sell effectively in the most adverse situations and even in the world of cut-throat competition. What makes them so efficient is the fact that they possess an internal drive towards achievement, a fantastic sense of seriousness to sort everything out and accomplish their goals, even when the external factors are detrimental to their cause.

As mentioned above, the selection process is very tedious, but extremely important. This means that even if you find a good sales rep that doesn’t mean you found the most suitable candidate for your organisation. When selecting, there are two key aspectsthat you must take into account, besides the person’s capability to sell:

  1. Is that person compatible with the company’s culture? – If the candidate and the rest of your team do not get along, then it’s crystal clear you do not wish to hire that person. As soon as your sales numbers grow, this will involve support from the other departments in your company. If the departments despise sales, it is absolutely certain you won’t get the profit you expect due to the fact that the sales department won’t receive the help it needs.
  2. Does the candidate understand what exactly are you selling? – If a sales rep doesn’t understand what your organisation is selling, how can you expect them to sell anything? Although they may get lucky a few times, you must be certain that they acknowledge what the company is selling.

In order to get an idea of what a good salesperson is, I recommend you start evaluating every encounter you have as a customer. What are those people doing that makes you feel comfortable about doing business with them? Learning to detect good sales reps represents the first step and it is of upmost importance.

Thoroughly Evaluate your Sales Team

Although sales are an area where results speak for themselves, you must also evaluate the process through which your team does make the sale – it is obviousthat if they don’t have good results, something in their sales process is not working accordingly.

In order to solve this problem, evaluate how your team implements every sales process from start to finish. Afterwards, you can properly assess where they are struggling, why, and help them through coaching. It will greatly benefit them by developing their skills to overcome each step necessary them develop their skills for each step necessary.

Use a Sales assessment for your team

For a proper assessment of your sales force, you need to weigh in your current staff, but also candidates you wish to hire. If you do this in an effective manner, you will know for certain that every sales rep you bring in will possess all the necessary personality attributes to perform at a top level and have high sales results.

One of best ways, if not the best way, to evaluate your staff and candidates is to use assessments such as: GR8 Sales, GR8 Teams and GR8 Engagement. The questions and issues raised by these evaluations will help you determine if the candidates have at least one of these traits:

  • Building Client Relationships
  • Sales Process Management
  • Understanding clients’ needs
  • Enthusiasm
  • Loyalty
  • Respect
  • Perseverance

If the candidates you evaluate score high in at least one of these traits, that means he is a driven individual and there is a great amount of opportunity for success as a “hunter” representative of your sales department. Afterwards, you can have another interview with him in order to be sure that person fits to your organisational culture, thus making an informed decision about a future employee.

How to Improve your Sales Team Results

Offer them as much constructive feedback as possible. You cannot expect your team to improve if they are unaware of the mistakes they are making. This is the reason why it is imperative to have regular meetings with them to offer them support and advice on how they are performing.

When you offer your thoughts on their progress make sure you include both the positive and the negative feedback. In order for your team to improve, they must realise that besides their strengths they also have weaknesses. Nonetheless, keep in mind that negative feedback is for one-on-one meetings only. If you criticise a salesperson in front of his colleagues, he may start resenting you, start working poorly and have a low level of engagement. If this takes place one too many times, high employee turnover is right around the corner, and it can cost your organisation a large sum of money.

Present your team with the best tools and resources for them to thrive

After you evaluate and assess your sales team, by now, you should have a clear idea regarding the areas they are struggling at that moment. Given the fact you have this information, search for the right tools and resources your team requires in order to help them surmount the deficiencies they are encountering.

Let’s say one of your employees is experiencing problems with productivity because he cannot allocate the necessary time for sales calls. For him to overcome this problem, you can research for the right type of scheduling programme to best fit your team’s needs. However, there are situations where your whole team can struggle with productivity. In this scenario, you may have to analyse their working process and establish which tasks can be automated. Implement the automation, leaving your team with more time to sell and less time on unrelated tasks.

The examples I have presented you are just a few ideas of how you can improve your team’s performance, but be aware of the fact that each sales team and person is unique and have their own particular needs. So as to pinpoint the exact problems faced by your team, remember to communicate with them constantly and assist them in finding the best solutions for the best sales results.

Assessing the salespeople, developing them and aligning the sales strategies should become a top priority for the organisations willing to thrive in the customer’s age. Great People Inside helps you find the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

 

 

 

Sources:

www.marketingdonut.com.uk

www.entrepreneur.com

www.nasp.com

www.salesdrive.info

www.quicksprout.com

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;