The Fear of Making Mistakes at Work

The Covid-19 crisis and its fallout — including recession, layoffs, and uneven economic pain — as well as recent protests over police brutality and demands for racial justice have presented many of us with challenges that we’ve not encountered before. The high-stakes and unfamiliar nature of these situations have left many people feeling fearful of missteps. No one can reduce mistakes to zero, but you can learn to harness your drive to prevent them and channel it into better decision making. Use these tips to become a more effective worrier.

As they say, everyone makes mistakes. In many situations, you can correct your error or just forget about it and move on. Making a mistake at work, however, is more serious. It can have a dire effect on your employer. It may, for example, endanger a relationship with a client, cause a legal problem, or put people’s health or safety at risk. Repercussions will ultimately trickle down to you. Simply correcting your error and moving on may not be an option. When you make a mistake at work, your career may depend on what you do next.

The current culture that is perpetuated glorifies fearlessness. The traditional image of a leader is one who is smart, tough, and unafraid. But fear, like any emotion, has an evolutionary purpose and upside. Your concern about making mistakes is there to remind you that we’re in a challenging situation. A cautious leader has value. This is especially true in times like these. So don’t get caught up in ruminating: “I shouldn’t be so fearful.”

Use emotional agility skills 

Fear of mistakes can paralyse people. Emotional agility skills are an antidote to this paralysis. This process starts with labelling your thoughts and feelings, such as “I feel anxious I’m not going to be able to control my customers enough to keep my staff safe.” Stating your fears out loud helps diffuse them. It’s like turning the light on in a dark room. Next comes accepting reality. For example, “I understand that people will not always behave in ideal ways.” List off every truth you need to accept. Then comes acting your values. Let’s say one of your highest values is conscientiousness. How might that value apply in this situation? For example, it might involve making sure your employees all have masks that fit them well or feel comfortable airing any grievances they have. Identify your five most important values related to decision-making in a crisis. Then ask yourself how each of those is relevant to the important choices you face.

Repeat this process for each of your fears. It will help you tolerate the fact that we sometimes need to act when the best course of action isn’t clear and avoid the common anxiety trap whereby people try to reduce uncertainty to zero.

Apologise, but keep it simple

Genuinely say the words, “I’m sorry, I made a mistake,” and offer how you plan to correct it. Resist the urge to offer excuses or to start apologising repeatedly. On the other hand, don’t overdo it trying to make it up. Stay professional and business-minded, recognising how valuable company time is.

An apology conveys several major things: regret of the mistake, responsibility for it, and respect for the company and people in it. An apology also offers the opportunity for the other people to let go of their anger. The moment the apology is genuinely made is the moment that you can work to rebuild.

You can’t change the past but you can find a solution for the here and now. One apology to the right person or people along with a possible solution will come across much more positively than a bunch of unnecessary filler words and statements to the entire office.

Accept the consequences in stride

The management and the HR team can decide that you need another form of reprimanding. Or they can take you up on your offer on how you’ll correct the mistake. Whatever the case, accept the consequences and carry out your tasks without complaining.

This reinforces your apology and will likely generate additional respect. Whether it’s staying after work for a few days in order to remedy the work, reaching out to the wronged person, or going about your normal work tasks, do it and do it well. Don’t just say you’re sorry, show them through your actions. Be a better worker.      

Broaden your thinking

When we’re scared of making a mistake, our thinking can narrow around that particular scenario. Imagine you’re out walking at night. You’re worried about tripping, so you keep looking down at your feet. Next thing you know you’ve walked into a lamp post. Or, imagine the person who is scared of flying. They drive everywhere, even though driving is objectively more dangerous. When you open the aperture, it can help you see your greatest fears in the broader context of all the other threats out there. This can help you get a better perspective on what you fear the most.

It might seem illogical that you could reduce your fear of making a mistake by thinking about other negative outcomes. But this strategy can help kick you into problem-solving mode and lessen the mental grip a particular fear has on you. A leader might be so highly focused on minimising or optimising for one particular thing, they don’t realise that other people care most about something else. Find out what other people’s priorities are.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

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Sources:

https://www.thebalancecareers.com/mistakes-at-work-526244
https://www.inc.com/john-discala/4-ways-to-bounce-back-after-making-a-mistake-at-work.html
https://hbr.org/2020/06/how-to-overcome-your-fear-of-making-mistakes?ab=hero-subleft-3

Trends That Will Reshape Customer Service

Customer service has stopped being static a long time ago. Mobile phones have replaced landlines. Email edged out phones. To keep existing customers and attract new ones, you need cutting-edge customer service. For example, customers are four times more likely to make a purchase from a competitor after they have a problem that has not been addressed by the service system this according to research done by Bain & Company. However, customer-service overhauls aren’t cheap. In order to keep customers happy and customer service in tip-top shape companies will have to keep a close eye on some of the predicted trends for the next 5 years.

Over the past several years, boosting the customer service experience has caught and held businesses’ attention. After all, good customer service is the deciding factor in sales growth. This focus shift has resulted in a huge turnaround for companies once plagued by bad reputations and the less-than-stellar bottom line to prove it.

Successful organisations have put in work to meet and exceed customer demands, improve relationships, and deliver satisfaction all while maintaining requisite productivity and quality levels. Competitors are paying attention and upping their game accordingly.

For winning companies, their success comes down to software and tool investments as well as improved website functionality and the addition of staff members focused on optimised customer engagement.

The following lists the top five innovations in customer service those winning brands are adopting.

1. Social media are becoming mainstream channels

Thanks to an increase in on-demand video content in their personal lives, customers are more frequently asking for the same in the business world. As a result, more companies are doing less telling through text and more showing through interactive guides and customer service video content to get messages across.

Just 13% of consumers over the age of 55 have used social media for customer service purposes, a Microsoft study has revealed. On the other hand, 55% of people aged between 18 and 34 have reached companies at their social media accounts. Given the fact that millennials and generation Z make up a larger share of the existing market, social-media outreach is likely to make up more than half of your customer service requests.

It already is too late to put a social-media intern in charge of your Twitter account because it will no longer cut it. People who are running your social accounts have to understand the product or service like veteran members of your customer service staff. The use of chatbots to field common questions is easily doable, freeing up time for your human service people to tackle more complex ones.

2. Automation will become more and more personal

Automation and AI are hot topics in every sector, and customer service is no exception, but when customers hear “customer-service automation,” they think of automated menus and robocalls. From the user’s perspective, that sort of automation is worse than none at all.

Used well, customer-service software can lighten an agent’s load without erasing the human touch. Contact centre software provider Five9 suggests agents use real-time transcription services, which can achieve 95% accuracy with custom tuning, so they can focus more on the customer and less on transcription errors. Automation will be a must, but it’s best used to develop human workers. Having only basic chat on your website was becoming outdated last year and moving into 2019 it’s even worse. Customers increasingly expect chat solutions to be incredibly fluid, switching between various communication mediums (text, video, screen sharing) as needed on the fly without being forced to change applications or start over.

Modern service software now leverages the true power of AI, nothing related to simplistic chatbots that lure in customers. These solutions are incorporating AI from the ground up not to stand on its own as a replacement for human agents, but to aid them in working smarter and more efficiently. Examples include sentiment analysis, predictive chat, and distress scoring.

3. Customer-service training will become companywide

Employees like engineers and marketers may not interact directly with customers, but they need to incorporate customer-service skills all the same. The reason is the rising importance of your UX. To deliver a better experience, everyone needs to know common customer pain points and solutions. Encourage people to think beyond their immediate role and subject area. Marketing software firm HubSpot trained its content team not just on marketing or writing, but also on how to represent the company online. Ensure everyone knows how to refer to your product and brand. Develop a “top 10” list explaining how to address common customer questions.

4. Customer Agents will become more knowledgeable

It used to be that agents were hired based on their expertise in one particular customer service channel. For example, those with awesome call centre skills were placed accordingly while savvy communicators manned the chat channel.

Customer care agents today are crossed-trained for expertise in all customer engagement mediums including social media, email, chat, phone and text. Businesses benefit from this skillset flexibility by using and moving agents to serve customers no matter what their preferred mode of communication is.

  1. “Customer success” stories will become the norm

More companies are beginning to understand that customer service is more than just reading scripted responses and working on a ticket queue. It’s about doing anything and everything possible so your customers are successful with your business. This mentality is leading to a rise in “customer success” within companies that dedicate the time and resources necessary to keep customers happy. The new emphasis on the customer has also led to reduced churn and more positive third-party feedback.

No matter if your organization is just embarking on your optimized customer experience journey, or continuing on a well-established path with added innovations, today’s marketing landscape more than indicates exactly how and why being customer-centric is necessary for company survival and success.

There is a real value in providing companies with the tools to carry out regular organisational assessments and this is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. 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.business2community.com/trends-news/5-customer-service-trends-to-watch-for-in-2019-and-beyond-02225441

https://www.teamsupport.com/blog/trends-customer-service-2019

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/343367

Understanding Digital Distraction and Its Harmfulness

The fear of digital distractions ruining professional and personal lives has become global. This problem is as real as any these days. Just think about the hundreds of times people touch or check their phones on a daily basis, how people panic when they temporarily misplace their device, the weird sensation of the “phantom vibration syndrome” and how just by seeing a message alert can be even more distracting than the message itself.

These types of behaviours can have real-life consequences. For instance, some people may be offended if someone all of a sudden stops talking to them in order to answer a text. Even taking a moment to answer a message can hinder your thinking process and prevent you from deep thinking on the task you had at hand.

In all fairness, this is just one side of the story. It must be stated that emerging technologies nowadays keep humans connected on a level never seen before. But this tells only part of the story.

Workplace productivity has been one of the main issues for HR professionals since the beginning of organised labour. Every organisation seeks to maximise its return on labour whilst also minimising wasted time. Advances in the field of technology have helped that ‘quest’ in many ways, but they have also complicated an underlying and very old problem. Emails and applications such as Slack allow employees from various parts of the country or even the world to get answers, solve problems and collaborate in real-time. Nonetheless, given our ‘always online’ culture, communication technologies have stopped being helpful, but rather more of an impediment.

In a recent study, it has been revealed that 84% of email users keep their inbox open at all times, with 70% of these emails being opened within 6 seconds of being received.

Given peoples’ proficiency at responding to emails and messages, most of them have sacrificed their most important ability: doing their job properly. Much of what people do requires deep focus and time to think. Having the email open all the time and answering to them as quickly as possible steals focus. Even more worryingly, is that some employees may become frustrated with the work they actually get to accomplish in one day. But just how bad are emails and other communication technologies?

In order to discover the answer to this question, anonymous data has been collected from over 50,000 white-collar workers and the results were flabbergasting. The majority of them were struggling with the distractions and interruptions that took place in the workplace. It is clear that people all around the world are having difficulties keeping up with the pace at which things are happening.

Recently, a company in New Zealand decided to try a productivity experiment and had switched to a 4-day, 32-hour workweek. According to the company at-hand, “workers said the change motivated them to find ways of increasing their productivity while in the office. Meetings were reduced from two hours to 30 minutes, and employees created signals for their colleagues that they needed time to work without distraction.”

The New Zealand study brings to light very important lessons that numerous organisations can apply worldwide with or without the 4-day workweek. If companies create the right environment for employees to focus without distractions, productivity levels rise.

Many experts in the field of productivity have suggested batching communications into specific blocks during the day, while others have suggested committing to at least an hour of focused work without emails and phones.

White-collar workers such as writers, designers, developers, and project managers, unfortunately, depend on collaboration, quick communication and access to information in order to meet the demands of their roles and deadlines.

Communication tools facilitate getting the information needed, but they are also a constant source of interruption to our focused work. When we looked at the data, we found that the average white-collar employee “checks in” with communication tools every 6 minutes.

How can we expect workers to accomplish focused work when they only have a few minutes in between answering e-mails and messages? The short answer is that we cannot.

As we look at the full breakdown, the picture is even bleaker. Thirty-five percent of workers check their emails and messages every 3 minutes or less, while only 18% can go more than 20 minutes without being reeled into a ‘digital conversation’.

Even more worrisome, it has been discovered that people who use Slack—a popular team chat tool meant to reduce e-mail use—actually switched to communication tools more often. Rather than streamlining their communication time, Slack users on average spent only 5 minutes in between messaging check-ins, while non-Slack users could go 8 minutes.

The technology that we use to improve work is hurting our ability to get work done. The constant communication interruptions are not only diminishing productivity but also hindering workers from doing their best work and growing in their careers.

Data gathered shows that 40% of white-collar employees never get 30 minutes straight of focused time in a workday, which means that nearly half of them rarely get time for deep work and concentration. In fact, the study revealed that the average white-collar taps out at around 40 minutes of focused time free from any sort of communication. In other words, 40 minutes was the longest stretch of time most people could afford going without checking their emails or phones. A willingness to change and better time management should put anyone of the right path to avoid any digital distraction.

There is a real value in providing companies with the tools to carry out regular organisational assessments and this is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. 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://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com/2018/08/07/truth-digital-distraction-workplace/

https://www.fastcompany.com/90437023/is-digital-distraction-as-bad-as-you-think-it-is

https://www.inc.com/shama-hyder/how-digital-distraction-is-killing-creativity-what-to-do-about-it.html

Customer Experience: Are Companies Meeting their Customers’ Expectations?

In a new study done by Walker Info has revealed that by the year 2020, customer experience will become the most important brand differentiator overtaking price and product.

In the not so distant past, people had to actually pick up the phone and call customer service in order to speak with someone from support, but that times have changed drastically. Nowadays, we are constantly exposed to numerous advertisements and messages from various brands, leading up to near-instant gratification. Think about all the banners and messages you see during 11-12 hours of screen time per day. It comes as no surprise that advancements in customer service have become the most essential thing a company must do survive and evolve. In the aforementioned study done by Walker Info, it has been stated that customer experience is going to to make or break sales more than price and product.

Most companies are focusing their efforts into making everything more and more efficient. However, this need for efficiency can put in danger good customer service.

No customer is the same to another, thus, it is imperative for companies to realise this and be prepared to respond differently to distinct customer behaviours and personalities. Having a good prosperous business means that achieving a high level of effectiveness isn’t achieved by doing less in other areas of the company. Delivering the right customer service to clients should remain the key focus.

With this in mind, every company has to ask itself questions about what optimal customer experience means for them.

In a recent study done by Capgemini shows that 81% of consumers are inclined to spend more for a company that has exceptional customer experience, with more than 9% of consumers willing to spend by more than half to have access to such a positive experience.

So the question now is, what do customers want?

In a 2018 study done by Salesforce CX, 80% of people interviewed have said that the experience the company offers is as important as what they are selling, whilst 75% of people have stated that it’s much easier than ever to change the company they are doing business with. Here lie a warning and an opportunity. Given the fact that customers are very open-minded in discussing with more and more businesses and they are more than happy to switch and/or replace brands, customer experience is the focal point that will sway them one way or another.

How can businesses be sure that it is worth investing in customer experience? The proof to this question has been revealed through a study done by Forrester and Adobe, which clearly states that experience-driven companies can forecast a 60 to 90% increase in growth year-over-year in comparison with companies who do not thrive to have a higher level of customer retention and repeat purchases.

At the same time, Harvard Business Review has unravelled the fact that even a small increase of 5% in customer retention can potentially lead to a 95% increase in profits.

No matter what product or service a company offers, people will always expect a decent level of customer service. Even companies that have switched to 100% automated services are expected to have a real live person to offer assistance if required.

 

Let us look into EasyJet. The airline company never promised an exceptional customer service experience but that does not mean that is should be practically non-existent. EasyJet has almost managed to negatively impact the first windpipe transplant due to their refusal of allowing the courier to board the plane.

For sure, EasyJet has internal procedures that allow some exceptions, or at least have their staff trained for such situations and could have dealt with the courier’s request. The story has a happy ending, because of someone with a private jet agreed to transport the courier in the 14-our timeframe that was required for the windpipe to be safely used in an operation. However, it must be pointed out that given the seriousness of the item carried that person would have booked a different airline. This case itself simply proves the point that most customers make choices based on their own expectations.

The larger the organisation, the more field there is for discord between expectations and delivery. People expect very little in return for lower prices, but others with a stronger brand reputation cannot afford to make the same assumptions – simply imagine the impact it would have had if the courier had this experience on a British Airways flight.

Coordinating messages across the organisation is quintessential to producing a successful and sustainable customer experience. Get it right and the company will have business that is both sustainable and extremely profitable given the fact that it will be supported by an incredibly loyal customer base.

There is a real value in providing companies with the tools to carry out regular organisational assessments and this is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. 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.marketingdonut.co.uk/customer-care/customer-service/the-importance-of-exceeding-customer-expectations

https://www.zingle.me/how-to-exceed-customer-expectations-in-the-mobile-era/

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/336926

Leadership Crisis: What Can We Do About It (Study)

56% of executives consider that the organisations they work for are not prepared to satisfy the needs of their most talented employees in regards to their leadership skills a Deloitte study has stated. Why does this happen? Where exactly is the problem and last, but not least, what can we do to fix this issue?

A recent Mercer study (2019), with a respondent base of over 500 people, has discovered some troubling new trends in terms of organizational leadership and trying to answer the aforementioned questions. Before getting into more details, here are a few key details from this respective study:

  • 27% of potential candidates are lost along the way due to a lack of a coherent selection methodology
  • 42% of organisations do not have a structured leadership competence system
  • 23% of organisations use the interview as the sole recruitment tool
  • In 63% of cases, traditional interviews fail in evaluating a candidate’s soft skills
  • In the case of succession plans, the rate of success in occupying managerial positions is 70-80% in comparison to 50-55% for those managers who are brought in outside the company for the same job position
  • 33% of organisations believe they are using the appropriate methods of measuring the quality of their hirings and only 5% believe that their methods are optimal
  • 23% of potential talents are rejected from the hiring or promotion process due to the company’s inability to identify the real performance indicators
  • 16% of organisations do not know what types of talents they need to hire for their leadership positions
  • 42% of organisations are not aware of the necessary competencies their own leaders require

A remarkable correlation has been uncovered by Mercer is that the success of leadership in organisations is directly proportional to the adoption of assessment tools.

 

leadership-assessment success ratio Great People Inside

 

What organisational practices does Mercer recommend in order for companies to develop their success in terms of leadership:

  • Develop a proper and well-structured competencies system, giving organisations the help they need in discovering the types of people they need in the organization and what types of talents they should hire in the future
  • Use assessment tools in order to properly measure the ability level of talents with the purpose of making decisions based on real facts, thus increasing the company’s chances of recruiting the right people
  • Prepare a proper internal succession plan with the help of which organisations can develop their own talents and prepare them for leadership roles
  • Incorporate leadership in hiring decisions in order to assure that the firm’s leaders share the same values, vision and the company’s mission statement
  • Develop your hiring process to be more effortless and short. Real talents won’t wait for too long!

How can Great People Inside help you?

 First of all, we are aware that the first step into improving the workforce is that of identifying the key aspects that differentiate your organisation from all the rest. Once you have accomplished this first step, you will know what are your key performance indicators, what to identify when assessing candidates and employees by developing a well-structured competence system.

Secondly, our platform is extremely simple to customise in order for it to meet the clients’ needs. We offer you the possibility of either choosing one of the available models we have in place or you can request the appropriate dimensions to match your specific needs, thus making your whole recruitment process a lot easier.

 

Two of the solutions Great People Inside has to offer, GR8 Full Spectrum and GR8 Managers, are optimal instruments which are validated scientifically in order to ensure leadership success within your organisation:

GR8 Full Spectrum – The ultimate tool for measuring employee performance, GR8 Full Spectrum assesses everything from behavioural characteristics to cognitive ability and occupational interests. With this instrument, you’ll be able to get a full overview of an employee’s potential, along with his or her match on a per-organisation and per-position level. The assessment also offers suggestions for future development, as well as the opportunity to create your own content.

GR8 Managers – As people entrusted with a high level of responsibility, it stands to reason that managers will greatly benefit from a thorough assessment of their personality and skills. Inspired by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner’s work the GR8 Managers tool focuses on identifying management potential from several different perspectives. These include the three main managerial qualities of fairness, foresight and inspiration, as well as the ability to work with generation diversity and in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) environment.

Source: Leadership Hiring Trends Report 2019 – Mercer

 

Top Challenges CEOs Face Nowadays

In a series of interviews conducted with CEOs of large companies in the United Kingdom, it has been discovered that close to 50% of all chief executives have stated that the role was “not what I expected beforehand.” The goal of this series of interviews was to determine what are the current challenges and best practices that CEOs should take into consideration when they accept this role in businesses nowadays. Furthermore, what happens when an organisation loses a visionary CEO? Most likely, innovation disappears and the company drifts for years out of sheer momentum and brand awareness. Organisations that go through these changes inevitably suffer the consequences and they rarely reclaim their former glory.

The aforementioned interviews have also revealed that most newly appointed CEOs find the transition period particularly challenging, even those professionals who have years of experience in this role. They have also mentioned certain aspects that new CEOs should always take into account: a correct flow of information that goes within and outside the organisation, managing time and energy accordingly and institute a clear framework in managing relationships with the board and external shareholders.

Managing Time & Energy

Stuart Fletcher, former CEO of Bupa had this to say: “Being time-constrained is a given, but the key is managing your energy. I’m very conscious of where I divert and direct my energy, where I get my energy and what saps it.” As mentioned above, older and more experienced CEOs understand the importance of time and energy management.

For example, chief executives spend a lot of time in all sorts of meeting with the board. Instead of treating board members as a drain of energy, many CEOs have stated that realising board colleagues can be a sort of insight and advice and can turn themselves into a proper source of energy. One of the CEOs interviewed has said: “It took a real mindset shift on my part but turning engagements with the board from an energy-draining exercise into a source of support and advice contributed greatly to my personal success and to the feeling that I had advocates around me.” Another important factor that must be looked into when managing time and energy is building a strong senior team as soon as possible, as Paul Foster, CEO of Sellafield has stated: “I spent too long working across multiple roles [CEO and previous role], when I should have been bringing in new hires.”

Managing Internal-External Relationships

CEOs recognise the importance of building trust with all stakeholders, with a priority focus on the board, investors and the media. Among those we interviewed, most spend on average about 50% of their time managing internal and external relationships.

Almost half of that 50% is taken up with board engagement. Nearly all former CEOs who did not focus on cultivating their professional relationships with board members yearned in hindsight that they had. Left all alone, board members can be influenced by investors or media outlets that focus on short-term goals often at the expense of strategies to build longer-term value.  This risk will be especially high with board members who do not really understand or adhere to a company’s business strategy or opportunities for value creation.

CEOs have reported that building relationships with investors and other external factors — customers, media, industry contacts and regulators — is often burdensome and time-consuming than anticipated. Rob Peabody, CEO of Husky Energy Peabody has characterised the process of managing externally as being able to “write your own scorecard”— with numerous opportunities to build support for long-term goals and build patience among investors. CEOs like Mr. Peabody are highly aware that good relationships with external shareholders are “two-way streets.” CEOs who regularly connect with investors will use their feedback to improve communication in presentations and materials regarding the company and in various media interviews.

The Information Flow

The impact of asymmetric information is most obvious and most damaging in the relationship between chief executives and external shareholders. Stock price is often driven in part by the messages a CEO communicates through engagement with investors, analysts, and the media. Learning to control this information flow is considered a quintessential factor in career longevity.

Inexperienced CEOs often revert to old, previously successful behaviours in times of stress, but eventually realize that they are no longer appropriate or effective in their new role. Survey respondents highlighted the need for CEOs to quickly adapt, clearly outline a personal strategy, and regularly evaluate themselves against it. “Am I getting the information I need from the business units?” and “Am I spending enough time on individual relationships with board members?” is important and can help identify challenges early or avoid them altogether. They also note that while the job can be isolating there is often help available. New CEOs who find that they are struggling to adjust should consider seeking counsel from a more experienced CEO, senior consultant, or coach to help guide their efforts and increase chances of success.

CEOs have a lot to manage at any given point in time given the fact that they are tasked with increasing business revenue whilst also managing employees and customers, there are a lot of variables nowadays. As a CEO you must be aware that there are many challenges throughout the day; some that can be planned in hindsight but others not so much.

There is a real value in providing companies with the tools to carry out regular organisational assessments and this is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. 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/young-entrepreneur-council/the-top-5-challenges-of-ceos-and-how-to-solve-them.html

https://boardmember.com/challenges-replacing-visionary-ceo/

https://hbr.org/2019/01/the-3-challenges-every-new-ceo-faces

How and Why Is Engagement Linked to Burnout

Preventing burnout is a better solution than waiting to treat it after it becomes a problem. The personal and organisational costs of burnout can be extensive in terms of physical health, work performance and psychological well-being. As an organisation, taking steps to minimise the risk of burnout before it happens is a more rational strategy. Building engagement is probably the best approach to preventing burnout. People who are engaged in the workplace are far better at coping with the challenges they encounter, thus making them more likely to recover from stress. So thriving at building an engaged workforce, before any major problems arise, represents a fantastic prevention method.

Organisational intervention can and is more productive than individual intervention. Improvements should be made in job conditions that affect most or even all employees. Generally, these improvements should make changes in the way an organisation works, that it actually begins to change the organisational culture and climate altogether.  The importance of the burnout-engagement ‘continuum’ is that engagement represents the desired goal for any burnout case. Through this framework, people will start to consider the factors in the workplace which are most likely to enhance employees’ energy, resilience and drive. According to the survey done by Accountemps, it has been revealed that more than half of employees reported feeling stressed at work on a daily basis, and 6 out of 10 agreed that work-related pressure has increased in the last five years. Some concerned HR leaders have called this a workplace epidemic.

The Costs of Employee Burnout

First of all, it is important to understand what the true costs of burning out are. In a recent study done by Gallup, it has been estimated that employee burnout cost the nation of Germany somewhere around 9 billion euros in lost productivity every year, whilst in the United States, burnout costs have been reported to be around 190 billion dollars in healthcare expenditure, with an additional 120,000 stress-related deaths.  In fact, this burnout epidemic has become a nationwide problem in Japan, where they’ve even invented a new word: “karoshi,” aka death from overwork. The latest case was the death of a 31-year old woman who died of heart failure after doing a whopping 159 overtime hours in one month.

How to maintain high engagement without burning out in the process

Here are a few key differences that have been found between the optimally engaged and the engaged-exhausted employees.

Half of the optimally engaged employees reported having ‘high resources’, such as supervisor support, a rewards and recognition system and self-efficacy at work, but experience ‘low demands’ such as low workload, low cumbersome bureaucracy, and low to moderate demands on concentration and attention. The other side of the coin have displayed such experiences of high resources and low demands were rare (4%) among the engaged-exhausted employees, the majority of whom (64%) reported experiencing high demands and high resources.

This should provide managers with an idea as to where to start supporting employees in order to achieve optimal engagement levels. In order to promote and achieve engagement, it is quintessential to provide employees with the resources they need to do their job well, feel good about the work they put in and properly recover from work-related stress.

Many organisations, at the recommendation of their respective HR departments, offer wellness programmes in order to combat stress. While it is common knowledge that chronic stress is not good for employees, these company wellness initiatives are not the most appropriate way to respond to that stress. Studies suggest that while wellness programmes can be helpful, a much bigger concern is the work itself. HR should work alongside front-line managers in order to monitor the level of demands they’re placing on people. The higher the work demands, the higher employees’ need for support, acknowledgement and opportunities for recovery.

What about challenges and goals? Challenges, as we all know it, are motivating. However, we often forget that high challenges usually come at high cost. Challenging achievement situations not only cause anxiety and stress for most motivated individuals but also lead to exhaustion. The research on challenges and goals is mixed – for some people, chasing ambitious goals does lead to higher performance. For most people, however, challenges and goals lead them towards demotivation, take unplanned risks, or even quit.

Managers and HR leaders alike should try and help employees by toning down the demands they are placing on people. They should ensure that employee goals are realistic. Rebalancing the workloads of more skilled employees helps as well, who have been saddled with way too much work. Furthermore, it is recommended to increase the resources available to employees and this does not only refer to material resources such as time and money, but also intangible resources such as empathy, understanding and friendship in the workplace, whilst also letting employees blow off some steam from work when they’re not working.

The data is crystal clear: engagement is the key; it’s what all organisations should strive towards for both leaders and employees. But the target is smart engagement, the type that brings in productivity, enthusiasm and motivation, without any burnout.

There is a real value in providing companies with the tools to carry out regular organisational assessments and this is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. 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://hbr.org/2018/02/1-in-5-highly-engaged-employees-is-at-risk-of-burnout

https://www.bamboohr.com/blog/examining-employee-burnout/

https://www.decision-wise.com/job-burnout-the-employee-engagement-killer/

 

Dealing with Procrastination and Overcoming It

We all procrastinate from time to time, sometimes even more than we would like to admit to ourselves. Procrastination is part of our lives. Usually, it’s those ordinary things – like sorting documents, looking over bank accounts, or tidying the things on your desk. But often it’s the bigger things that necessitate more time, more commitment and energy that put us at more risk of failing or looking foolish. Such actions include things like updating our resume, looking for a new job or even pursuing a long held aspiration.

Of course people tend to get very creative with the reasons why now, today, just isn’t the right time or they are not in the right state of mind. But people don’t stop here reasons may vary from too stressed, too risky, too busy, too broke towards too disruptive, too inexperienced, too young, too old, too uncertain. From time to time these reasons are valid and we have to be prepared for that. Typically, they are just excuses that keep us from doing what we really have to do and experiencing the emotional hardship inherent in making meaningful changes in our personal and professional lives.

At the heart of things we have fear.  It is a potent and instinctive emotion and represents the reason why we want to shield ourselves from pain (including the emotional side of things) and somehow ‘demands’ us to get away from anything that might be threatening. If left unresolved, fear can lead us to the hope that if we procrastinate longer, our situation will miraculously improve, or our problems will magically disappear into thin air and be replaced with a lot of courage. We often tell ourselves that ‘one day’ we will be ready to make that big change, or take that big chance and in that ‘one day’ the timing will be better, our confidence will be soaring and the circumstances will definitely favour us.

Unfortunately the reverse is generally true. As the days go by, our fear grows stronger, until it will eventually lead to our ever-growing burial ground of unfulfilled dreams and untapped potential. Philosopher William James was not wrong when he talked about the impact of procrastination on our lives: “Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an unfulfilled goal.”

There are a few methods through which you can get yourself going when you feel procrastination is creeping up on you.

  • Acknowledge the situation

Firstly, it is recommended you openly acknowledge that you’re starting to procrastinate. Procrastination can sneak up on you in many forms and when you least expect it, so it’s essential for you to be vigilant. Afterwards, ask yourself why you are doing it, what is your underlying reason and then start searching for the right approach to tackle this issue.  Stanford philosophy professor John Perry created the term ‘structured procrastination’. The idea behind it is that people procrastinate by doing the least important tasks on their to-do lists, so professor John Perry says that we can trick ourselves by pushing down our important tasks from our to-do list and our trivial ones to the top.

  • Be brave all day everyday

When you start working on reducing your procrastination, building momentum is crucial. Commit to yourself by stepping out of your comfort zone at least once per day. It can be something really small and it should be right at the start. In the end, it doesn’t matter how fast you are going, as long as you are taking the necessary steps in the direction you feel is right. So take that first step, then another, and so on because after all life is worth enjoying.

  • Spreading procrastination times throughout the day

The fact that we live in the real world means that there are and will be days in which we’re tired, even though we try so hard not to be. Taking this factor into account, you could organise a schedule of well-timed ‘mini-procrastination’ sessions between each task. Instead of waiting for a big break when you want to do whatever you want offer yourself 10 minutes between each task. In those 10 minutes you can do what your heart desires: check Facebook, make a dinner reservation, weekend plans or any other pleasant activity. You will be surprised by the amount of work you will accomplish when you don’t feel bad about procrastinating. Also, you will soon realise that you’re not indulging your procrastination, but actually set up a few breaks. Breaks are guilt-free and they mentally recharge you for the rest of your day.

  • Break your important tasks into smaller ones

The bigger the goal the more difficult it is to actually start working on it. Shortly after, you begin to feel overwhelmed and procrastination is only a step away. So when you feel out of your element, try and break your task into more manageable steps, as small you feel you need. Soon enough, the steps you have to undertake will simply unfold in front of you.

  • Channel your fear

As mentioned earlier, fear is a very powerful emotion that can keep us from becoming the best version of ourselves. Our brains are hardwired to survive, so in the moment you feel fear our instincts tell us to sit tight because nothing bad can happen this way. But if you manage to focus your fear, it can work for you and not against you. Pull out a pen and paper and write down the cold hard facts if you would continue to do nothing. Be honest to yourself, the purpose of this exercise is for you to understand that the fear you are experiencing at the moment is more manageable that the one you would feel when things are left undone.

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:

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/catherine-orer/my-very-own-3-steps-to-de_b_10360486.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/margiewarrell/2013/03/25/why-you-procrastinate-and-how-to-stop-it-now/#583832c51837

https://www.forbes.com/sites/vanessaloder/2016/04/15/10-scientifically-proven-tips-for-beating-procrastination/#7c78426c296a

https://www.themuse.com/advice/advice-procrastination-no-routine-change

Remote Work – Better for Productivity?

Few people know that the 8-hour work schedule has its origins from the times of the Industrial Revolution and not the Information Age. During the second half of the 18th century, the standard norm was workdays of 10-16 hours due to the fact that factories required to be run 24/7. This type of schedule had become absolutely brutal and exhausting for workers, but change only started to happen with 1817 when Welsh activist Robert Owen advocated for 8-hour workdays, his slogan being: “Eight hours labour, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest.”

Close to a century later, in 1914 to be exact, the 8-hour schedule became the norm when Ford Motor Company started working on 8-hour shifts whilst also doubling workers’ wages. The result was obvious for everyone to see, a dramatic increase in productivity. Nowadays, it may seem unfathomable to work for more than 8 hours, but history offers us a lesson into how things have developed along the way. At the moment, we may witness another disruption into the workday schedule. In a recent research revolving around this issue, it was suggested that in an 8-hour shift, the average worker is productive for a mere 2 hours and 53 minutes.

It is becoming more and more obvious to many of us that the modern workplace is not the well of productivity everyone hoped for. Furthermore, for many of us, the workplace is actually filled with distractions of all natures. Combine this with the everyday hassle of commuting and you got yourself one long day of work. Of course, situations such as these can be avoided through a flexible schedule arrangement, this being an option more sought after than ever before.

In one of the most recent FlexJobs surveys on remote work, it has been discovered that 66% of professionals they’ve interviewed said they would be more productive if they could work from home, rather than the office. The most common reasons why they favoured working from home:

  • 76% wanted fewer disruptions from co-workers.
  • 70% reduce stress levels from commuting.
  • 69% wanted to avoid office politics.

The survey also revealed something incredible, only 7% of the people interviewed said that they are productive during regular office hours. If only so very few people are productive during their regular schedules, then there is something inherently wrong with our traditional workplace model.

In the past, there were fewer distractions and fun past time activities. Also, there was no internet and the sheer volume of information that we are being bombarded with. Due to these changes and shifts in programmes and schedules, there are people that don’t fit into the normal productivity ranges. There are people who are at their best really early in the morning, while others’ productivity goes through the roof during night hours. That is why it is a bit foolish to expect that all your employees to give their best during the 9-5 programme.

Your average worker gets disrupted every 3 minutes, and recovering from that is time-consuming. We need, on average, about 23 minutes to return to a task after being disrupted. Furthermore, discoveries in the field of neuroscience have all but confirmed what we were all thinking: the human brain cannot concentrate for 8 straight hours.

One of the career specialists at FlexJobs, Brie Reynolds, said that given the meteoric rise in remote work and freelancing, workers have become more aware of the future of work environment. This has risen from a simple combination of factors that encompass demographics and remote-friendly technology. Millennials have been growing up with technology by their side, so it is more than natural for them to expect they can work remotely. There are companies that now offer flexible hours to their new employees. And if your job requires the simple use of a laptop, then you can basically work full-time for any company in the world. At the moment, what we are experiencing in the workforce, is a hybrid model where people work alternatively from home and from the office.

For employers, Reynolds has a simple suggestion: “crafting remote programmes which help employees be at their productive best, whilst keeping the good parts of in-office interactions.” For the time being, the hybrid model seems to the best approach, given the simple fact that many companies are still struggling with coming up with the necessary tools and programmes in order to make remote work a success for their operations.

However, in a recent Gallup survey, it has been revealed that although remote work is on the rise the United States, employees that work exclusively from home are the least engaged. The reasons for this are isolation and ambiguous job descriptions. There are some companies that have been successful in implementing a proper remote work programme. These organisations, as pointed out by Gallup, were disciplined in creating proper plans and processes for this to work. Some of the techniques they have used include:

  • Face-to-face meetings with remote working employees.
  • In-depth training programmes.
  • Implementing a ‘buddy system’ for new employees during their first few months.

Implementing successful remote work programmes is going to require a lot of work for your organisation. However, given the fact that more and more talented workers want flexible working hours (and it cannot be negotiable), you simply cannot ignore this trend.

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:

http://fortune.com/2015/08/04/brian-shapland-productivity-at-work/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/irisleung/2017/08/31/report-only-7-of-workers-feel-productive-during-regular-work-hours/#10571760744e

https://www.inc.com/melanie-curtin/in-an-8-hour-day-the-average-worker-is-productive-for-this-many-hours.html

Skill Gap: Why is it still a Major Concern (Part 1)

Although the latest economic recession has ended a few years ago, the rate of unemployment in the United States is still high. This still remains a problem, even though employers are in a continuous struggle to fill certain job posts, most of them in the area of middle-skills jobs: nursing, computer technology, high-skill manufacturing, etc. These vacancies require education at a postsecondary level and in some special cases, even college math degrees or courses. At the moment in the States, 69 million people are involved in middle-skills jobs, which represent about 48% of the workforce. The skill gap is obvious.

The U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics doesn’t do estimates on vacancies based on skill category, but if we were to combine the data from the government on education and the training requirements needed, it can be discovered that almost 25 million, or 47%, of new jobs that will appear from 2010 to 2020 will be in the category of middle-skills.

CEO’s and HR leaders need to figure out which method of training people will help their organisations fill those vacancies, thus mending the wage stagnation that has engulfed the country and limiting the gap between households with high and low income.

Given the current work climate, companies should take charge and develop programs in which workers can be capable of filling the skill gap. To be realistic, such a thing can happen on a global scale only if companies cooperate with each other, with educational institutions, with unions at both regional and national level.

Businesses rarely disclose any information regarding their expenses on training programs, and when they wish to cut costs, their first target is represented by HR investments. Nowadays, many organisations shy away from training investments because they fear that their competitors won’t make the same investments and they will also steal their workers. In order to minimise this risk, combined investment is recommended. Such collaborative work has been put into effect in a number of countries such as the U.S., UK, Australia and Sweden, with great success.


Read also: Top 7 HR Trends for 2017


Things have greatly shifted since we’ve entered the 21st century. For the majority of the 20th century, people had two ways in which they acquired their skills and prosperity. The first one is, obviously, on the job. Organisations promoted people from within, and it enabled their employees to develop towards higher-level occupations. Unions were invested into negotiating specific career ladders that were directly connected to seniority and skills, and also accompanied employers at an industry or occupational level in order to host various training programs and apprenticeships. Having such a system in place guaranteed a constant flow of talent, very well equipped with skills of the highest level.

A second approach to acquiring skills was represented by college. The American dream has always represented an ideal for any fellow American. Young people across the U.S. were told that in order to achieve the highest peaks of the American dream was to follow the rules and study hard in a field that best suited their talents and interests. However, problems always arise. People with degrees in liberal arts have seen a significant drop in job opportunities. The numbers speak for themselves: only 15% of college graduates have majored in math, science, engineering and technology. This percentage has been a constant for over 2 decades although demand has grown exponentially.

This article is part of a series. For part 2 click here.

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