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Recession And How To Prepare Your Business For It

Many economists predict we will enter a recession in the next few quarters if we’re not in one already. With many businesses still recovering from the effects of the pandemic and memories of the Great Recession of 2008 still fresh in most of our minds, many business owners are not prepared to face another economic recession.

What is a recession?

A recession is a prolonged period of an economic downturn that is both widespread and significant. A period of economic downturn often lasts at least six months or longer. For this reason, an economic recession is often recognized after a country’s gross domestic product declines for two consecutive quarters. According to this definition, the U.S. would currently be experiencing an economic recession.

However, as NPR reported, this is “not an official definition.” Many factors determine whether a country is in a recession, and due to job growth and foreign business investment, “The White House has pushed back against calling the current economy a recession,” NPR also said.

What does it mean to recession-proof your company?

There are two sides to recession-proofing your company. One that most employers are probably familiar with and one that’s too-rarely considered:

Recession-proofing your business is making your organisation economically resistant through actions traditionally thought to shield business during recessions: reducing expenses, scaling back ambitions, and monitoring cash flow to weather the coming storm.

Recession-proofing your workforce refers to maintaining employee morale, motivation and inspiration during economic downturn.

While most companies focus on their bottom line to survive a recession, research on how to help your business survive a recession by Great Place To Work has shown that focusing on employee engagement – particularly diversity and inclusion – helps companies thrive during a recession. In fact, our data shows that companies that value diversity and inclusion outperform other companies by as much as 400%.

1. Manage your cash flow

In easy or difficult economic times, cash is always king. Cash flow, the timing of when money flows into and out of your business, can make or break your company. When times are tough, however, cash flow challenges can be particularly difficult to overcome. With expenses higher than usual and revenue lower than usual, cash will be tight, and balancing your budget could start to feel a bit like a tightrope walk.

To get a handle on your company’s cash flow, look at your current cash flow statement daily, and start forecasting (if you aren’t already) with trailing three-, six- and 12-month cash flow forecast charts. These charts can help you anticipate times when cash is going to be tight, so you can implement strategies to prevent these challenges from occurring.

Additionally, create best- and worst-case scenario budgets that help you better prepare for unforeseen challenges or unexpected triumphs.

2. Proactively embrace your best customers

A recession is a perfect opportunity for you as CEO to strengthen your relationships with your biggest and most important customers. Remember they are feeling the threat of recession as well. Customers always want to meet the CEO of the company they have purchased from so this is an opportunity for you to hit the road, visit customers, and spend time with your salespeople. If you cannot have an in-person meeting, meet on Zoom. If you are uncomfortable selling, get over it.  I recently spoke to a founder/CEO with a technical background who told me he “learned to appreciate sales” even though he was uncomfortable selling at first. If you’ve historically thought your time was best spent on product, it’s time to reconsider: In a downturn, your best use of time is talking to customers and making sales.

Remember that it is easier and cheaper to sell more to existing customers than to land new customers. This is especially true in a recession as everyone is taking a second look at all expenses. If you are in a B2B business, visiting customers also gives you real insight into how happy your customers are and whether you are at risk of customer churn. If you run a B2C business, invest in rewards programs and other initiatives to make sure your best customers feel appreciated. Churn risk increases during recessions as companies prioritize their spending and pull back on new initiatives. High churn rates have a direct impact on company valuations. As a CEO you are in the unique position to lead by example and your employees will recognize your effort.

3. Embrace your best employees

Recessions force employees to re-think their career choices. If employees start to doubt the viability of the company, they will take the calls from larger firms in the market — regardless of their equity upside — that can pay more in current income, bonuses, and benefits.

Get ahead of this. Spend time with your best employees making sure you understand their mindset. Employees always assume their equity stake is based on the last round of funding, so down rounds create employee angst. Losing top talent will have a very negative impact on your company. Managing and maintaining your momentum is critical both in terms of retaining your top talent as well as recruiting new talent.

Several times in my career I got ahead of this issue by offering additional stock option grants to top employees to make sure they did not even take the recruitment calls. It works. It’s far easier to get ahead of retaining top talent than it is to try to counter-offer once your employees are entertaining other options.

Recessions are a natural part of the business cycles and companies of all sizes must weather them or wither. Startups face a unique challenge because until they become profitable, they rely on outside capital to fund their growth and evolution to maturity. To make it through and emerge even stronger, conserve cash, and pay close attention to your customers, investors, employees, and culture.

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?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://hbr.org/2022/11/5-ways-startups-can-prepare-for-a-recession
https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2022/09/01/how-to-prepare-your-small-business-for-a-recession/
https://www.jpmorgan.com/commercial-banking/insights/how-to-prepare-your-company-for-a-recession

Your Job Is Not Your Whole Identity

Reducing yourself to any single characteristic, whether it be your title or your job performance, is a deeply damaging act. Thanks to major shifts in the labor market, workers are switching organisations, functions, and even industries much more frequently than past generations. But as our careers take these dramatic leaps, we ourselves are not wholly reinvented. We often bring pieces of our past work experiences with us, making our work selves more like a manuscript than a whiteboard that can be wiped clean with each new role. 

Are you a self-objectifier in your job or career? Ask yourself a few questions, and answer them honestly.

  • Is your job the biggest part of your identity? Is it the way you introduce yourself, or even understand yourself?
  • Do you find yourself sacrificing love relationships for work? Have you forgone romance, friendship, or starting a family because of your career?
  • Do you have trouble imagining being happy if you were to lose your job or career? Does the idea of losing it feel a little like death to you?

If you answered affirmatively to any or all of these, recognise that you will never be satisfied as long as you objectify yourself. Your career or job should be an extension of you, not vice versa. Two practices can help as you reassess your priorities.

1. Get some space

Maybe you have been in an unhealthy relationship or two in your life but only recognised this when you had a break from it, whether voluntary or involuntary. Indeed, this human tendency probably contributes to the fact that most trial separations lead to divorce, especially when they last more than a year. Space provides perspective.

Use this principle in your professional life. To begin with, it should be the main goal of your vacation—to get a break from work and spend time with people you love. As obvious as this may sound, that means taking your vacation, and not working during it at all. Your employer should thank you for doing so.

In religious traditions, rest isn’t just nice to have; it is central to understanding God and ourselves. “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day,” the Book of Exodus reads. “Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” If God rests from work, maybe you should too.

Such a practice doesn’t have to be religious, and can be done in a lot of ways besides simply avoiding all work on Saturday or Sunday. For example, you can take a small Sabbath each evening by proscribing work and dedicating all your activity to relationships and leisure.

2. Make friends who don’t see you as a professional object

Many professional self-objectifiers seek out others who admire them solely for their work accomplishments. This is quite natural—it makes you feel good when a person you meet for the first time recognises you for your work. This type of relationship can easily become a barrier to the formation of healthy friendships, which we all need. By self-objectifying in your friendships, you can make it easier for your friends to objectify you.

This is why having friends outside your professional circles is so important. Striking up friendships with people who don’t have any connection to your professional life encourages you to develop out of work interests and virtues, and thus be a fuller person. The way to do this goes hand in hand with recommendation No. 1: Don’t just spend time away from work; spend it with people who have no connection to your work.

Perhaps challenging your own self-objectification makes you feel uneasy. It can freak you out. The reason is simple: We all want to stand out in some way, and working harder than others and being better at our jobs seems a straightforward way to do so. This is a normal human drive, but it can nonetheless lead to destructive ends. There are people that would rather be special than happy.

The great irony is that by trying to be special, we end up reducing ourselves to a single quality, and turning ourselves into cogs in a machine of our own making. Our work is our medium, and it becomes our message. We learn to love the image of our successful selves, not ourselves as we truly are in life. Don’t make this mistake. You are not your job. Take your eyes off the distorted reflection, and have the courage to experience your full life and true self.

Losing a Job That is Your Identity

If your job is your whole identity, losing it can be catastrophic. “But when your personal identity is heavily tied to your job, losing that job-even through no fault of your own, such as in an economic downturn or a restructuring- can seem catastrophic, causing an existential crisis or what the authors of the book Difficult Conversations call an ‘identity quake,’” says Rebecca Zucker of Harvard Business Review.

The Cell Phone in Our Pocket Prevents Work Separation

Like many of us, you may not be able to resist checking emails, chats, or texts, even on vacation. The 24-7 access is so tempting that most can never truly disconnect. Working from home further blurs the line. When our jobs are our identities, we think that we should be doing more of what we love.

But is it possible to be creative and connected to others with a constant work distraction in our pockets? When do we hit burnout? “When you’re overworked, you’re actually less productive,” says author Jeffrey Davis of Psychology Today.  “When you get more sleep, develop a healthier work/life balance, and actually learn how to separate yourself from your work, you will find that you’re capable of not just enjoying more meaningful (and productive) work, but also of creating a more meaningful and well-rounded life.”

The ever-more-volatile state of our world means that plenty of leaps await us in the years ahead. Increasingly, our psychological health and career fulfillment will hinge on our ability to assess and execute transitions without betraying our authentic selves. The VME framework can help you predict how difficult it will be to dislodge incompatible aspects of your lingering identities, or what facets might be worth fighting to keep.

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?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://hbr.org/2022/11/when-changing-jobs-changes-your-identity
https://www.artemisconsultants.net/what-happens-when-your-job-becomes-your-identity/
https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/how-to-handle-jobidentity-loss-hot-jobs

Distrust In HR Department And What Can Be Done To Solve It

Some crisis situations burst on the scene and are in plain view for the world to see. Others can simmer for months or years out of sight, out of mind and under the radar of corporate executives.

The distrust that employees have in their company’s HR staff is an example of a simmering internal crisis that can boil over and scald the image, reputation and credibility of organisations and their leaders.

But before business leaders can address the problem, they need to understand what’s causing it.

‘A Natural Distrust’

Rachel Fiset is the managing partner of law firm Zweiback, Fiset & Coleman. She said, ‘’Employees have traditionally had a natural distrust for human resources because the department generally prioritises the company over the employee.

‘’Human resources will often field complaints by employees — but the actual response to the complaints may look like the company is only working to ensure its own legal compliance in a given situation and not to improve the employee’s working conditions,’’ she noted.

Serving The Bottom Line

HR consultant Claire Brummell observed that, “Many HR departments can be seen to approach employees as little more than a resource to serve the needs of the corporate bottom line, where the needs of the leaders, departments and business are considered and prioritized over that of, and often to the detriment [of], the needs of the employees.

“HR Departments that function from this place of utilising humans as little more than another expendable business resource have already failed their employees and will garner their distrust.”

Insights From Surveys

Two surveys provide these important insights into the trust problem.

Human relations platform Cezanne HR recently surveyed over 1,000 workers at organisations with more than 250 employees in the UK. They found that:

  • Almost half (47%) of employees don’t trust HR to help with conflict resolution.
  • 48% don’t trust HR to make them aware of internal promotion opportunities.
  • More than two in five (45%) of respondents don’t believe HR will act impartially, while 43% believe senior staff members are favoured.

Last year, U.S.-based Zeneefits, an HR, payroll and benefits company, released a report called “Human Resources: Helpful or Horrible?” According to their research:

  • 38% of employee respondents feel HR does not equally enforce company policies for all employees, with 18% of that group believing managers get special treatment.
  • 71% of HR employees in the survey stated that less than 30% of complaints they received in the last 2 years resulted in any disciplinary action. Having less than a third of cases result in disciplinary action led employees to wonder — if they bring complaints forward, will anything even result?

Historical Bias

Lesa Hammond is a 30-year veteran of HR and was the chief human resources officer at three universities. She is now an instructor in the HR certificate program at San Francisco State University and CEO of workplace platform Attaché for Business.

She pointed out that, “Much of the distrust in HR come from an historical bias employees and management hold or a lack of transparency by the HR department. If the leadership of the company, of which HR should be a part, does not have respect for the department, it is not given much power and becomes a bureaucratic bottleneck, rather than a strategic problem solver.

“Employees also lose faith in HR when they come with a problem and it appears it is being held against them or nothing seems to be happening regarding the problem,’’ she commented.

Unequal Treatment Of Co-Workers

Employment attorney Jonathan LaCour, of Employees First Labor Law said many of the cases he handles lead straight back to problems in a company’s human resources department.

“One common reason employees distrust HR is that they see unequal treatment of co-workers due to friendships or connections within the company, or because of someone’s status as a manager. Company handbooks almost always state that human resources policies will be implemented fairly, consistently and impartially. Everyone can see when it’s not,” he observed.

Lack Of Qualifications

LaCour noted that, “Another area where companies create problems for employees and themselves is when they put people in charge of human resources who have no business being there. In one recent case, a man with no experience in human resources was hired to help run the department. He turned out to be an aggressive sexual harasser and cost the company a lot of money.

“In another case, a company with 160 employees made a payroll accountant their human resources manager — for half a day every week. This person had no prior experience in anything HR related and was impossible for employees to get hold of. And when they handed out advice, it was entirely ignorant of applicable law,” he recalled.

Visibility

Sue Lingard, marketing director of Cezanne HR said, “HR teams have to get out and get in front of employees—and do it on a regular basis. The research found that the better-known they are, the higher the level of trust, and that’s good for the way the whole business works together.

“Start with the onboarding processes, but then ensure there are other opportunities where HR can be seen by more people. Perhaps by championing diversity, equity and inclusion or climate change initiatives, hosting drop-in days or sitting in on wider team meetings,” she advised.

Transparency

Sebastien Anderson is the founding partner of Labour Rights Law Office in Canada. He recommended that HR staff be transparent about their role and refrain from misleading employees that the HR department is on their side or is their friend. “In my experience, too many naive employees believe that HR advisors are like neutral ombudspersons troubleshooting potential conflict between an employee and their manager(s),” he observed.

“HR advisors who mislead employees about their role give all HR professionals a bad name and seed distrust between employees and management,” Anderson concluded.

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?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.breathehr.com/en-au/blog/topic/business-leadership/what-can-you-do-when-you-lose-the-trust-of-an-employee
https://techcrunch.com/2018/02/10/hr-has-lost-the-trust-of-employees-here-is-who-has-it-now
https://www.recruiter.com/recruiting/employees-losing-trust-in-employees-after-pandemic/

Goal Setting And Why You Should Forget About It

Goal setting is one of those things that seems like it would be fundamental to success. If you’ve read any books or articles about getting ahead in your career or life, you’ve probably come across tips on setting goals (like SMART goal setting) so that you can successfully meet them.  Setting goals isn’t the be-all and end-all when it comes to managing your career.

But setting goals may not be as relevant anymore, and there may be better alternatives to managing your career–and your life. 

Part of the reason goal setting may be becoming irrelevant is because of the speed of change and the volatility of the world. When everything is moving so fast and changing, the goals you set for yourself can become redundant. 

That said, it’s very powerful to imagine yourself succeeding in the future and focus on your preferred version of tomorrow. The key is to seek to be directionally accurate, knowing that things are constantly changing in a way you can’t always predict.  

Here are five effective ways to take charge of your career when you’re operating in an unpredictable landscape. 

1. VISUALIsE THE FUTURE 

You’ve probably heard of elite athletes who picture themselves succeeding and having tremendous success. This is a process that can be effective outside of sports. For example, a study by St. Michael’s Hospital found when emergency room doctors or trauma healthcare workers imagined how they would deal with a challenging situation, they were more successful.

The practice of mental mapping–imagining the future with a lot of detail and clarity–allows you to picture what that preferred future will look like. You visualize what it’ll sound like and feel like, as well as how you might work through obstacles. Experts believe this works because you’re preparing your mind, and when you get to a similar situation in real life, you’ll be primed to respond and take the right action. This general vision is more effective than goal setting. Instead of plotting steps that unexpected events might derail, you’re imagining a fully realized picture of the future rather than your calendar or task list.

Detailed mental maps can also help you articulate the process and bring others in. Suppose you’re solving a tricky problem at work and you visualize the potential solutions and outcome in detail. You’ll be able to express what might happen and share the necessary steps with others in a more specific way, increasing your likelihood of success. 

2. ADJUST YOUR TARGET 

A twist on mental mapping has to do with how you visualize your target. This was demonstrated by researchers at Purdue University. When golfers visualized a hole as bigger, they made their shot more often. Previous research found a similar effect with football players. When they imagined wider goal posts, they were more likely to make a successful kick. 

Researchers believe that when you adjust your perception of a target, you increase your confidence, and that helps you perform better. Say your vision is to be a compelling speaker. When you imagine the audience nodding, smiling, and applauding wildly, you may enhance your likelihood of success. 

3. INTRODUCE SOME DISTANCE FROM YOUR GOALS 

Another way to think about what you want in the future is to imagine yourself in the third person. Research at York University and Wilfrid Laurier University explored the conditions for people’s success in multiple situations like school, work, and performing arts. When people imagined themselves in the third person–as if an audience were watching them succeed–their motivation levels increased. 

When people see themselves in the future, they tend to be better at solving problems, because they feel more objective and disconnected from what might be an emotional or nervous situation. Anxiety can get in the way if you’re interviewing for a new role or negotiating a high-stakes deal with a customer. But if you’re able to visualize the situation as if you’re watching it like a spectator, you’ll probably increase your odds of success. 

4. ALLOW THINGS TO EMERGE NATURALLY 

Another alternative to traditional goal setting is to set a direction and then let the specific steps emerge naturally. You may want a particular role in your organization, and a conventional approach would have you set a course for classes to take, people to meet, and a progression of jobs to get you there. But having tunnel vision can be limiting. If one of the steps doesn’t happen according to your plan, everything else can fall like dominoes. 

A better alternative is to set your course and respond as opportunities happen. Start by watching for unanticipated opportunities: There may be a job you hadn’t imagined on your path, but you consider it because it will develop your skills. Or, you might take on a project outside your normal responsibilities and create a new set of contacts who can influence your career later on. 

5. Be Aware of What’s Going on Around You

Another aspect of achieving your aims in the future is to be constantly tuning into the what’s going on around you. If you’re overly focused on your goals, you may only look for what you’ve anticipated rather than tuning into how the world is changing. Focus on the circumstances around you, and you’ll be more ready to react and respond. For example, when you notice your organization’s shifts in strategy, you can anticipate a project you might volunteer for.  The world is changing, so it’s only logical that your response should as well. In a volatile landscape of work and opportunity, it can be counter-productive to seek too much certainty. Instead, put your energy into detailed visualizations of where you’ll go, and you’ll be more likely to get there. Remember, today’s options won’t be the same as tomorrow’s alternatives.

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?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://jamesclear.com/goals-systems
https://medium.com/the-mission/forget-about-setting-goals-focus-on-this-instead-c63b9ddeab1f
https://www.getabstract.com/en/summary/forget-about-setting-goals-focus-on-this-instead/31375

Are Work Friends Invaluable?

Millions of people suffer from loneliness. More than 300 million people globally don’t have a single friend, according to Gallup data. And more than 20% of people don’t have friends or family they can count on whenever they need them, let alone any work friends.

The average person spends 81,396 hours — the equivalent of more than nine years — at work. “Americans are now more likely to make friends at work than any other way — including at school, in their neighbourhood, at their place of worship, or even through existing friends,” according to the Survey Centre on American Life.

So, people spend a lot of their lives at work, and that’s where they’re most likely to develop friendships. Yet of everything companies do to improve employees’ lives and promote their happiness, social well-being is the aspect they invest in least, according to a Gallup survey of CHROs of the world’s largest companies. Indeed, Gallup finds that globally, only three in 10 employees strongly agree they have a best friend at work.

Why Should Companies Care?

Despite claiming “people are our greatest asset,” many executives I’ve met expect employees to leave their personal lives at the door when they come to work. Yet Gallup’s data shows that having a best friend at work is strongly linked to business outcomes, including improvements in profitability, safety, inventory control, and employee retention.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and University of Minnesota not only confirmed that close friendships increase workplace productivity, they also found out why — friends are more committed, communicate better, and encourage each other. And according to a global study by the International Social Survey Program (ISSP), “Interpersonal work relationships have a sizeable and significant positive effect on the job satisfaction of the average employee. Relationships rank first out of 12 domains of workplace quality in terms of power to explain variation in job satisfaction.”

If increased productivity, profitability, job satisfaction, and retention aren’t enough, Gallup’s latest findings show that since the start of the pandemic, having a best friend at work has an even greater impact on important outcomes — like workers’ likelihood to recommend their workplace, intent to leave, and overall satisfaction. With the unavoidable increase in remote and hybrid work, best friends at work have become lifelines who provide crucial social connection, collaboration, and support for each other during times of change.

Unfortunately, the pandemic not only exacerbated global loneliness, it also took a toll on workplace friendships. Among people working in hybrid environments, Gallup has seen a five-point decline in those who say they have a best friend at work since 2019.

Whether a workplace is fully in person, fully remote, or hybrid, a culture that prioritizes and encourages work friendships is good for employees and good for the bottom line. So how can managers create and maintain a friendship-friendly workplace that delivers measurable results while also helping to combat the global epidemic of loneliness? Here are some actions to take right now:

Establish a buddy system

Everyone needs a buddy, especially when they’re new to a company. Teaming up new hires with veteran employees can expedite onboarding and productivity. Workplace buddies not only give new hires tips like where stuff is and what the unwritten rules are, but they help them make connections with other people in the company. And some of these initial connections will almost certainly lead to long-term relationships.

The key to an effective buddy system is the frequency of the interactions. Microsoft found that when its new hires met with their buddy more than eight times in their first 90 days on the job, 97% said that their buddy helped them become productive quickly. But when new hires met with their buddy only once during the first 90 days, that number was only 56%.

Increase face time

Before the pandemic, work was a place where colleagues could get coffee, have lunch, and run into each other in the hallway for impromptu conversations. For people who started working remotely full time in 2020, one of the biggest changes was the sharp decrease in hours they spent engaging socially with work friends.

Building friendships requires talking to, seeing, and being with people. The best way to connect is to see each other — even if it’s on Zoom or FaceTime. But at a minimum, co-workers need to talk more and email less. Email will never live up to face-to-face dialogue. Plus, it’s much easier to misinterpret what someone means over email.

Business leaders need to set an example: Communicate in person more and email less. Further, leaders can encourage in-person interactions by revising expectations, establishing new cultural norms, and even updating workplace configurations. For example, encourage cross-training or have workers rotate job duties so they can collaborate with people in other areas of the company. Exposure to new people creates opportunities to meet new friends. Plan on-site social events, meetings, or lunches. Move people’s workspaces closer together. Where else do you spend so much time with people from different walks of life organized around a common mission? And where else are you so dependent on the efforts of others?

Jam constantly

When people share a common goal and achieve great things together, they form a connection. The joy is in working together to produce magic. Using the Beatles as an example of a high-performing team, The Economist states: “The Beatles love what they do for a living. When they are not playing music, they are talking about it or thinking about it. They do take after take of their own songs, and jam constantly.”

If you’ve ever been part of a collaborative “jam session,” you know the feeling. Your employees want to feel that too — the satisfaction and pride of creating something great while having fun. Best friends trust, accept, and forgive each other. And when they work together, Gallup research has shown that they are significantly more likely to engage customers and internal partners, get more done in less time, support a safer workplace, innovate and share ideas, and have fun on the job.

Don’t force it.

Thanks to the pandemic, the days of all-but-mandatory happy hours and “kindergarten offices” full of games and colourful toys designed to encourage workers to stay late for fun team-building activities might be behind us. According to Paul Lopushinsky, founder of Vancouver-based consultancy Playficient, “That culture isn’t really about fun; it’s about getting people to stay longer.”

You can mandate policies, training or timesheets, but you can’t make people be friends. You don’t want your employees to start hating the very thought of company parties. If your company still discourages workplace friendships despite the proven benefits to business outcomes, remember this simple premise: To ignore friendships is to ignore human nature. In the battle between company policy and human nature, human nature always wins. The evidence suggests that people will fulfil their social needs, regardless of what is mandated. Companies do far better to harness the power of this kind of social capital than to fight against it.

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?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/14/business/work-friends.html
https://www.forbes.com/sites/katecooper/2021/09/28/the-importance-of-work-friends/
https://www.wsj.com/articles/forget-work-friends-more-americans-are-all-business-on-the-job-11660736232

Career Goals May Prolong Feeling of Overwhelmingness

In many organisations, it’s the season for individual and team goal-setting. Deciding on career goals is generally something we want to be a rational and evidence-based exercise, combining a careful consideration of possibilities, resources, and obstacles with just the right amount of stretch. But what do you do when you feel like you have a very limited sense of what’s possible? When new obstacles seem to pop up around every corner and the sands are always shifting? When the idea of stretch seems laughable given how stressed and overwhelmed most of us are?

Setting goals in times of uncertainty and burnout can feel pointless, but it isn’t. Research shows that to engage our motivational systems and direct our brain’s energy to the right actions (both consciously and below our awareness), we need to have a clear sense of where we are, where we’re going, and whether we’re closing the gap between the two at the right rate. Without goals, we make bad choices and miss opportunities to act. But just as important, we can’t feel effective, which many psychologists believe is the most powerful source of life satisfaction and well-being humans have.

To set goals that make sense and motivate ourselves and others in such strange and often discouraging times, we need to set them with a growth mindset. And by that I don’t mean just “believe you can improve” or any of the other common oversimplifications of growth mindset. Having a growth mindset is a bit more nuanced (and more powerful) than simply believing that improvement is possible.

Your mindset is what you believe to be the larger meaning or purpose behind the work you do every day. A growth mindset is about believing that developing and making progress is the point of what you’re doing. As I’ve said before, it’s about getting better as opposed to just being good. And it’s about engaging in specific growth mindset strategies and habits to help keep you focused on the potential for growth in everything you do.

When you approach career goals through the lens of a growth mindset, you become more comfortable with uncertainty and more willing to entertain the idea of longer-term career goals. Here are two strategies to help you get there that you can use for yourself or with your team.

Use growth-mindset trigger words to frame your goals

When researchers want to study the effects of a growth mindset, one of the ways we do this is to describe the goal or task that someone is about to perform using certain words that evoke the idea of getting better rather than being good: improve, develop, over time, progress, become, and of course, grow.

These words serve as both explicit and implicit “primes” to your thinking. In other words, they shift the very meaning of the goal to being about developing, and they shift your mindset along with it. To use them, start by writing out your goal the way you would normally think about it. For example, your goal might be to “be an effective communicator” or to “increase sales by 5%.”

Then, rewrite it again using one or more growth mindset triggers. “Be an effective communicator” is now “become an effective communicator,” and “increase sales by 5%” is “develop our network of leads to improve our sales by 5%.”

This way of framing your goals isn’t about lowering the bar or being okay with poor performance. In fact, research shows that people who approach their goals with a growth mindset set more challenging stretch goals for themselves, not less. For example, in one study of medical supplies salespersons, researchers found that those who approached their work with a stronger growth mindset set more ambitious sales targets, put in more effort, engaged in more territory and account planning, and ultimately sold more units.

Establish progress and pivot points

In such uncertain times, it’s important to explicitly establish progress and pivot points on a timeline right at the outset, so you can monitor both your rate of progress and the need to shift in light of new information along the way.

It can be all too easy to lose track of your goals, or to not think much about them until you get closer to the time you expected to reach them. When that happens, you may fail to adjust when progress is slow, or cling to a goal you should have revised when resources or customer expectations started shifting. For example, you may set a goal for yourself of developing a specific skill or reaching a particular sales target by year’s end. To succeed, what should you accomplish in the first month? At six months? If you don’t know, you won’t be able to course correct and, if necessary, try a different strategy or set a revised goal to have the impact you want to see for yourself or your team.

By using these two strategies to prepare for and engage in your goal-setting conversations, as a leader or a team member, you start out with a firm growth mindset foundation that you can then sustain as you pursue your goals through uncertainty, setbacks, and challenges of all kinds — something we all need now more than ever before.

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?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://story-level.com/setting-career-goals-when-you-feel-overwhelmed/
https://hbr.org/2022/09/setting-career-goals-when-you-feel-overwhelmed
https://headtopics.com/us/setting-career-goals-when-you-feel-overwhelmed-30317001

Building Everlasting Resilience

Over the last decade, a complex web of economic, social, political, and environmental crises has challenged the conventional laws of organisational physics, calling into question our resilience and relentless pursuit of operational efficiency. As a result, many leaders who spent their careers operating and investing in relative stability were caught off-guard, and many enterprises may not have survived the Great Recession or the Covid-19 pandemic without massive government support.

However, in our research, we have discovered a category of family businesses that are naturally more resilient — those who understand the existential need for sustained investment in organisational agility, even at the expense of efficiency and profitability. Their unique approach to managing risk provides an innovative playbook for leaders everywhere as we enter what everybody is calling a new Age of Uncertainty.

Many of these families have operated for decades and even centuries in emerging and frontier markets, where uncertainty is the rule rather than the exception. In these more volatile environments, threats to property and security are more pervasive, access to capital more limited, corruption more rampant, supply chains more fragile, planning horizons much shorter, and talent harder to find. This is in addition to the familiar organizational challenges that all businesses must manage in terms of operations, finances, marketing, and leadership.

Over the last eight years, thorough research has been documented on how enterprising families survive and even thrive in the face of these chronically-elevated risks. What follows are three simple lessons that we’ve seen families deploy successfully that can help all leaders cope with the sustained uncertainty that lies ahead.

Resilience requires intention

Family businesses that operate in more volatile conditions understand and anticipate that tomorrow could be materially different than today. In these environments, public markets and institutions are often weaker, less efficient, and more opaque. There is a natural scarcity of capital, resources, and talent, since all three prefer the predictability that comes with the rule of law, freedom of information, and reliable infrastructure. Family leaders can wake up one morning to discover that their companies have been nationalized, or their profits regulated, or that their work force is facing sniper-fire on their daily commute.

Having the foresight to anticipate and plan for such volatility requires a fundamental shift in organizational design — treating operational inefficiency as a feature, not a bug. I’ve observed that family enterprises who thrive under these conditions follow the wise advice of the Stoic philosopher Epictetus that “Neither should a ship rely on one small anchor, nor should life rest on a single hope.” Their managerial mantra is “just-in-case” rather than “just-in-time.” Consequently, they actively invest in organizational redundancy — frequently observed in resilient biological systems — to ensure that they can bounce back quickly from adverse shocks and sustain operations whenever they lose access to critical capital and infrastructure.

Consider the example of a Middle Eastern family that built back-up manufacturing facilities and an entire residential neighbourhood in a nearby country in anticipation of a devastating civil war. Or the Haitian hotel operator who invested in backup generators for their backup generators and multiple internet connections to cope with persistent blackouts and network failures. Or the Japanese soya sauce manufacturer who rescued the local community from famine countless times over the centuries by sharing the company’s strategic grain reserves — earning cherished access to the Imperial Court. Or the Hong Kong family that built an expensive offshore nest egg in Canada as a hedge against rising regulatory risks to their Chinese operating business.

Though each of these investments in redundancy required substantial time and resources — precious commodities for any organization — being intentional about foregoing profits to build resilience helped these families prepare for, withstand, and recover from serious disruptions and chronic stress. Like keeping a spare tire and a jack in the trunk of the car, these adaptations become a form of continuity insurance and are particularly valuable in uncertain environments, despite their additional cost. As the old military saying goes: “Two is one, and one is none.” In other words, always have a back-up plan.

In contrast, many leaders who have spent their careers operating in relatively stable markets often view these investments as wasteful or inefficient — until they are blindsided by Black Swan events like the recent conflict in Ukraine and are forced to reimagine their global supply chains, foreign currency exposure, and interest rate risk. After all, when conditions are relatively predictable — as they have been for most of the last half-century in the world’s most advanced industrialized economies — optimizing for efficiency can be one of the most reliable drivers of profitability and prosperity, so it’s no surprise that this strategy has become ubiquitous even if it is short-sighted.

Consequently, effective leaders in the Age of Uncertainty need to be more intentional about investing in resilience — paying the “tax” of organizational inefficiency to help prepare for the broad array of risks that lie ahead. 

Resilience is a systems-level challenge

For many leaders operating in more stable developed markets, the last few years have been a painful reminder that our external context can’t be fully controlled, and many outcomes can’t be reliably predicted, despite our best efforts. These investments must extend beyond internal structures and processes and project outwardly beyond the enterprise — aligning with broader efforts to support social and environmental resilience.

In the Age of Uncertainty, enterprising families need to understand that their long-term health and continuity is even more dependent on the ecosystems within which they are embedded — a form of symbiosis often observed in resilient biological systems. As in nature, neglecting or failing to adequately support the health and development of all their key stakeholders only undermines their own resilience. In other words, retreating behind the castle walls and hoping for the world to set itself straight is not a durable strategy for surviving a political revolution or an environmental catastrophe.

Once again, all family leaders should take inspiration from their peers in developing markets who have seen this all before. These resilient family enterprises are more inclined than their peers to invest in and care for their communities, in many cases funding critical infrastructure when public institutions fail to do so. Some of our client families have built roads, bridges, hospitals, schools, community centers, housing, news agencies, and even telecommunications grids, in the absence of government investment in these critical public goods. This not only fosters a loyal and trustworthy source of local labor, but also increases the likelihood of long-term success as norms of reciprocity emerge to sustain and expand the healthy ecosystem. In contrast, when companies and citizens don’t have reliable access to these resources, or they are willfully undermined by populism and campaigns of misinformation, trust in third parties is diminished, transactional costs increase, and the economic machine inevitably slows down.

Additionally, any efforts to invest in systemic resilience must also extend inwardly — by nurturing the familial and personal resilience of internal stakeholders. Chronic uncertainty generates a particular type of psychological distress that can significantly affect the wellbeing and performance of individuals and teams. Family business leaders who are dealing with this issue for the first time should draw wisdom from the vast literature on managing prolonged stress both personally, within families, and organisationally. They must also acknowledge that not all family members and business leaders will have the same exposure to risk, or cope with stress the same way. Finally, they should take comfort in the natural resilience of their peers in emerging and frontier markets, where strong family ties are often a powerful source of both individual and collective wellbeing.

Family matters

Extended kinship networks have been the dominant socioeconomic unit since the earliest human civilizations first emerged. Our primate DNA enabled and even encouraged us to form deep relationships with genetic strangers beyond our own kin to better manage resource scarcity and existential threat — sustaining the first durable micro-climates of trust. Bad actors in this context were quickly expelled from the extended family and left to navigate a sea of uncertainty on their own, while the increased chances of survival and growth for those who remained help to reinforce norms around trust and reciprocity.

Many echoes of this ancient tribal orientation persist in emerging markets today — from guanxi in China and blat in Russia, to wasta in the Middle East and compadrazgo in Latin America. In these countries, webs of familial connection help lower the frictional costs of doing business and provide an essential lubricant for the economy — conditions we have historically taken for granted in the developed world, where institutions like the judicial system and free press are (mostly) reliable and ensure that others will (mostly) follow the rules. As public institutions around the world continue to be undermined by populism, campaigns of misinformation, and budgetary constraint, family leaders will need to increase their strategic use of familial networks to ensure continued access to capital and opportunity. In short, the Age of Uncertainty will demand a fresh approach to continuity planning — one that extends beyond the conventional strategy, operations, and leadership frameworks taught in every business school and deployed in every boardroom. To succeed, families will also need to make deliberate investments to better prepare for, withstand, and recover from frequent shocks and chronic stress, develop a systems-level view of risk that considers both outward and inward resilience, and nurture deep familial ties to local communities to help sustain an oasis of stability amidst the chaos. Despite the inherent inefficiency and material cost of these investments, in uncertain environments like the ones that lie ahead, it will be much wiser to have them and not need them, then to need them and not have them.

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?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://hbr.org/2021/01/the-secret-to-building-resilience
https://hbr.org/2016/06/resilience-is-about-how-you-recharge-not-how-you-endure
https://hbr.org/2022/09/building-resilience-into-your-family-business

The Rise of The Meaningless Promotion & What To Do

Great news! You’re an asset to your company. You’ve been given more responsibilities…but no promotion. What can you do? Have you ever been given a boatload of new responsibilities without the title and pay increase to go with it? Or perhaps you got the title along with a vague promise that at “some point in the future” you’d get a raise to match your new responsibilities? It happens far more often than it should: A promised promotion that turns into nothing more than more work.

Promotions in title only aren’t a new phenomenon. Some leaders may think that by offering you a better title, they’re honoring your contributions and showing that they value you. Some might offer promotions in title only as a way to retain talent when attrition starts to spike. Or, with the pressure to show progress on their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) commitments, some companies will be looking for shortcuts — without doing the meaningful work.

Since the “diversity tipping point” of 2020, companies have pledged more than $35 billion toward advancing racial equity. With renewed attention on the lack of representation of Black talent across many industries, companies are under pressure to have their employee bases reflect the changing demographics of the U.S. Adidas, Facebook, Salesforce, Target, and The New York Times are examples of organisations across industries that have published pledges on their commitment to increasing representation of Black talent and people of colour more broadly.

Additionally, with the pandemic having had a devastating impact on women, companies are under pressure to hire and advance more of them. According to the National Women’s Law Center, women’s workforce participation has already dropped to 57%, the lowest level since 1988. Movements including The Marshall Plan for Moms, founded by activist Reshma Saujani, are upping the pressure on the public and private sector to help women get back into and stay in the workforce.

Offering fake promotions can be a form of diversity washing, where organisations look for quick fixes to their public DEI commitments. Here’s what to do if you fear you may be the target of diversity washing and are being offered a fake promotion.

Determine if it’s a fake promotion

Start by assessing what you’re being offered. What level are you currently at, and what is the proposed title they’re offering? For example, if you’re a manager being told that you should start calling yourself a director, what’s the difference in responsibilities? Will you be compensated as a director now? Remember that base salary is only one part of a compensation package. For example, at some companies, the director level comes with stock grants, access to a company-appointed financial advisor, and life and disability insurance.

Watch out for these other telltale signs that you’re being offered a fake promotion: Your manager makes no organisational or team announcement to share the news of your promotion. Or you’re pressured to change your title in your email signature and on LinkedIn to indicate to clients and vendors that you’re now a senior team member, but you see no change to your title or level in internal human resources systems, such as Oracle PeopleSoft or Workday.

Finally, figure out who else has been recently promoted to the title you’re being offered and talk to them. If they aren’t comfortable sharing what they’re making, ask them what the elements of the compensation package are at that level. Comparing the promotion you’re being offered to how others with the same title are being valued will be key in determining what you do next.

Take the title

If your boss makes it clear that you aren’t going to see any increase in salary, fight for the title increase. Why does it matter? I mean, other than your mom being proud of you. It matters because recruiters use titles as a proxy for responsibility level. They don’t go down each line on a resume and make note of the individual responsibilities on the first pass through. (They do, once they’ve narrowed down the pile.)

But, on that first pass through, you’re more likely to be hired into a job as a manager if you already have a manager title on your resume. If you’re acting as a team lead, it’s best to have that on your resume–even if there’s no salary to go along with it.

You Would Have No Real Authority, But Would Be Accountable

So you got that promotion and now have some employees reporting to you. But you may find it frustrating to learn that while you’re accountable for your department’s performance, there are outside factors that impact your ability to control outcomes. Before accepting a promotion, try to gauge how much input you will actually have on key decisions.

Your Work-Life Balance Would Suffer

Is this new job going to require longer hours at the office? Will you be on the road constantly? Will you constantly be on call? You may be at a point in your life when you need to be home more often to care for kids or an elderly parent. Or maybe you just want more time to pursue various interests. CNBC last year reported on some dads who said no to promotions because they wanted to spend more time with their families. You should not be so reliant on that extra paycheck that you’re willing to sacrifice the quality of your non-work life.

Decide whether to accept the new title

If you’ve determined that this is a fake promotion and you can’t find allies in your organisation to help, your decision is now whether or not to accept the offer. You should weigh the pros and cons of accepting the new title being proposed. While a bigger and better title may seem like a good idea, it may also leave you with self-doubt and make you question why you aren’t being treated fairly and equitably compared to your peers.

With the pressure to ensure the inclusion and advancement of people of colour and women, organisations must ensure internal practices are actually fair and equitable. Fake promotions can be another diversity-washing tactic that might ultimately give you a reason to go for the exit. If your company is willing to give you the title, they should also be willing to pay you, value you, and recognise you.

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?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.business.com/articles/when-a-promotion-is-not-a-promotion-what-can-you-do/
https://hbr.org/2021/11/so-your-boss-offered-you-a-meaningless-promotion
https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/what-makes-work-meaningful-or-meaningless/

Trouble in Hiring? Workplace Culture May Be The Answer

Workplace culture continues to evolve as the COVID-19 pandemic persists. If you’ve tried to recruit someone into your business over the past several months, you know how difficult it is to find qualified talent. If you’ve tried to recruit someone into your business over the past several months, you know how difficult it is to find qualified talent. While it’s easy to blame the pandemic for this disruption to the marketplace, this is likely a problem that will continue for at least the next decade.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are around 10 million positions currently open. At the same time, the Department of Labor reported there are 8.7 million potential workers who have been looking for jobs and are counted among the unemployed. That means we have a significant shortfall of available people to fill our positions. Employers are also reporting that the candidates who are applying have a mismatch of skills and they’re not seeing people who are able to meet their specific needs. Baby Boomers are exiting the workforce to enter retirement and are further complicating the already difficult hiring landscape. For companies that are trying to scale and grow, this is a challenge. If these same companies are willing to take a critical look at their workplace cultures and make adjustments now, hiring and retention don’t have to be quite so troublesome.

So, what is workplace culture? 

That’s a good question, because many people think of workplace culture as being about the look and feel of their environment. But an organisation’s culture is the set of behavioural norms and unwritten rules that shape how employees interact and get work done. Workpalce culture is critical to creating the best experience for employees. Corporate culture is formed from a company’s daily practices, traditions, beliefs, and programmes. When your workplace culture isn’t being treated as a priority, it’s reflected in employee performance, productivity, and retention.

Take a look at your culture to determine what’s working and what’s not

We have a tendency to look at the monthly profit and loss and the economic indicators of success in our businesses, but we also need to focus on our employees and their experiences working for our companies.

If you care about your customers and their experience with your business, you should also be focused on your employee experience. Customer experience is a direct result of employee experience. A well-designed employee journey allows your staff to understand their value to your organisation. They feel well cared for and are set up for success at every key milestone during their employment. If your company hasn’t conducted a culture audit in the last two years, or you’ve never completed this exercise, it’s a good practice to learn what’s really going on in your employees’ journey. The culture audit can be as simple as asking employees what’s going well and what’s not, as well as learning more about the challenges they’re facing in their daily jobs. If you’re feeling really brave, you can also ask them questions about what would cause them to leave your organisation.

How much does workplace culture ‘cost’?

Culture often doesn’t have a line item in the corporate budget, but it should. Efforts to improve workplace culture almost always pay for themselves. When you have a workplace culture that supports employees, retention becomes easier, recruitment and re-recruitment costs go down, diversity happens more organically, and productivity goes up.

What about ROI?

Consider this data: Gallup estimates that a 100-person organisation that provides an average salary of $50,000 could have turnover and replacement costs of approximately $660,000 to $2.6 million per year. Even if your workplace culture efforts only save a few employees each year, it’s worth it. Companies that really excel in improving their cultures typically see significant returns in the first year.

The time is now!

It’s simple: Organisations must work hard against the forced entrepreneurship culture where smart, talented, and able employees say: I know I can do it better than you, so I will. Gather information on the employees who prefer to work virtually and understand what the non-negotiables are. Look for compromise. When employees recommit, continue to help them forge their career paths so they know you are committed to their futures, alongside that of the company. Let them know that they are valuable members of the workplace: an ever-increasing mosaic of new cultures, beliefs, and values.

A business is more likely to succeed when its culture is focused on the way employees view the company as a whole. If any of these stats felt like they hit close to home for your business, then it’s time to look into how to improve your company culture, such as how to improve internal communications, and better recognise achievements and engage with your employees.

It’s important to remember that there isn’t any “one-size-fits-all” type of culture that results in every single employee being happy and productive. But paying attention to what is achievable in regards to improving your culture will pay off majorly for your employees and your business. 

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?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.saplinghr.com/blog/7-inexpensive-ways-invest-company-culture
https://www.morningstar.ca/ca/news/215638/moving-to-culture-20.aspx
https://fortune.com/2021/10/13/respectits-transform-your-company-culture-workplace/

Be Mindful When Returning to In-Person Work

After months of anticipation, returning to in-person work has been a disappointment for many employees. Navigating the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath is one of the biggest business challenges of our time. To keep operations going, most companies adopted new ways of working that left their offices, factories, and stores empty.

More than a year later, the world looks much different. As business comes surging back, management teams are responsible for leading their companies through these fast-moving changes. Boards of directors also play a role. They need to help management think critically about the development and execution of their return-to-work plans. This starts with understanding the in-person work challenges executives face in a post-pandemic world so they can ask the right questions and act as a sounding board.

In a recent Gartner survey revealed that 82% of company leaders will allow employees to work remotely some of the time, which means work life is going to look and feel very different than it did before. The pandemic has also increased fears of automation in many industries, leaving almost 40% of workers believing their jobs will be obsolete within five years. These changes, along with the challenges we continue to face at home, can be major sources of stress and anxiety.

Some employers, however, have realised that several of the pandemic’s workarounds are cost-efficient, and are considering making them permanent. There are many corporate leaders who still recognise that, in Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s words, “digital technology should not be a substitute for human connection.” But in what we might call a “Zoom forever” move, many other companies are contemplating radically downsizing traditional office spaces and making remote work permanent for large groups of employees.

The problem is, if millions of people never return to in-person work in a way that resembles the pre-pandemic world, it could have drastic consequences for our well-being. There’s nothing wrong with a partially remote situation—say, work-from-home Fridays or more flexible schedules. But going fully remote forever could exacerbate one of the worst happiness disasters of the pandemic.

Aggravation from commuting is no match for the misery of loneliness, which can lead to depression, substance abuse, sedentary behaviour, and relationship damage, among other ills. And it is simply undeniable that remote work usually leads to loneliness. In research conducted more than a decade before the pandemic about remote work among journalists, the organisational psychologist Lynn Holdsworth found that full-time telework increased loneliness over office work by 67%. Based on data from 2019, the 2020 State of Remote Work report issued by the social-media management firm Buffer showed that loneliness is the biggest struggle remote workers say they face, tied with problems of collaboration and communication.

Practicing mindfulness can help us navigate change and uncertainty with a bit more ease. It allows us to detach from what was, and instead accept what is. The mind prefers familiarity, certainty, and routine, so meditation makes us better equipped to adjust to whatever is shifting within and around us.

As we train our minds to be more comfortable with change, we can make the transition to post-pandemic life with less stress, fewer anxious thoughts, and more focus. Instead of needing to know how things will be, we become okay with not knowing. That’s how mindfulness helps us to become more resilient, so we can better handle whatever may come our way.

What makes change so scary?

We often tend to jump straight to discussing the topics of stress and day-to-day anxiety as reactions to change, rather than talking about change itself. What exactly makes change so difficult?

On a fundamental level, as humans, we are built to choose. We have a need to control. By making choices and exercising that control, we build routines and structure to create a sense of safety and stability in our lives. When things change, our sense of security can break down and we can experience a range of emotions, whether it’s an undercurrent of discomfort or actually feeling threatened, especially when change involves a radical shift, or introduces something we haven’t faced before.

Of course, what we don’t realise is that change is an inevitable part of life. If we pay attention, everything is changing all of the time, whether it’s external — businesses opening and closing, people coming and going, places evolving — or internal — our thoughts, emotions, physical sensations. But understanding that concept and embracing its reality are two different things.

It’s possibly why we often make change harder for ourselves by resisting it and staying focused on what we don’t want to happen, rather than understanding what is happening. We become too involved with the emotions around change, and that preoccupation is one way stress and anxiety can arise.

Why we might experience in-person work anxiety

Everyone experiences stress and general anxiety, albeit in different ways and with different levels of intensity. In a nutshell, stress is primarily a physiological response to an external threat, or a perceived threat. Anxiety arises in the mind as a reaction to the stress; usually triggered by a certain fear or the way we interpret stress, and it’s often oriented in the future. So when we encounter uncertainty — such as making the transition to in-person work after a pandemic — it’s normal to feel anxious as we try to make sense of a shifting landscape. Anxiety performs like a self-reinforcing cycle that kicks in due to a specific situation or event that leads to a worried or anxious thought — bringing feelings of fear, tension, or dread. Before we know it, we have bought into the entire storyline of anxiety that the mind has spun.

Typically, we then try to get rid of those feelings. Sometimes, we might even avoid the trigger point by trying to ignore it or distract ourselves. Other times, we might go the other way: seeking reassurance to try to control the situation. And while those control strategies sometimes work in the short term, we typically find that they don’t actually work to manage anxiety in the long run. The key here is that anxiety influences our thoughts, emotions, and behaviours in ways that will actually make it grow over time. And left unchecked, it can cause severe distress and impair our ability to function in daily life. One solution is to practice mindfulness to not only break the cycle of anxiety, but to transform our relationship with it.

Interrupting the cycle: how mindfulness can help

Mindfulness meditation can be a powerful tool for combating stress and helping people maintain focus once in the office, particularly as they navigate the transition back to the office from home. What makes it so effective is the element of attention training — bringing our attention to the present moment, and training the mind to be calm and engaged with each task at hand, without being easily distracted. Meditation activates an area in our brain called the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for higher-level skills like critical thinking, decision making, planning and focus.

While meditation can enhance areas of the brain responsible for thoughtfully responding to events, it can also deactivate regions and processes responsible for impulsively reacting to events. For example, it has been shown to reduce the size of the amygdala, an area involved with the fight-or-flight center, which is also responsible for fear and stress. Through a regular and consistent mindfulness practice, we develop the ability to turn reactivity into a considered, intentional response — and this establishes the basis of resilience. The more aware we are of how the mind behaves, the less influenced we are by its storylines and patterns. This leads to an incredibly valuable shift in mindset when it comes to navigating the kind of uncertainties the past year has presented, and the kind of changes we face in returning to the office. There are a few practical suggestions that are recommended for anyone who’s experiencing elevated day-to-day anxiety and stress right now. They’re all about limiting the impact of anxiety triggers and catching anxious thoughts. The more we understand and recognise the qualities of the anxious mind, the better equipped we are to interrupt the anxiety cycle.

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.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2021/04/zoom-remote-work-loneliness-happiness/618473/
https://www.benefitspro.com/2021/10/28/return-to-in-person-work-has-been-disappointing-for-many-employees/
https://fortune.com/2021/08/02/office-return-covid-reopening-plan/