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Making Performance Reviews Fairer in a Hybrid Workplace

Performance reviews are an essential aspect of workplace culture and have become even more critical in the age of hybrid work. A fair and impartial evaluation of employee performance can drive motivation, increase engagement, and lead to overall better results. However, conducting fair and accurate reviews can be challenging in a hybrid environment where employees are working from both in-person and remote locations. To ensure a fair process, companies must be consistent, objective, and inclusive in their approach, while also fostering open communication and encouraging employee input. By taking these steps, organizations can create a performance review process that is both effective and equitable, helping to drive business success and improve employee satisfaction.

Emphasise Culture and Values

It is crucial for hybrid workplaces to have all employees understand and act according to the values of your organization — regardless of where they work.

One way to reinforce a common set of values is through your approach to performance appraisal. For example, online retailer Zappos evaluates employees both on performance and whether they are promoting Zappos culture in their day-to-day work. According to founder and former CEO Tony Hsieh, “We’ll fire people if they’re not good for the culture, even if they are doing their work perfectly fine.”

Similarly, the performance evaluation program at Johnstone Supply, a New Jersey based HVAC supply company, places its values front and centre. According to CHRO Chris Geschickter, “When we do performance reviews, our values are our leading criteria. The majority of how we do performance evaluation is by reflecting on our core values, and then assessing whether an employee’s behaviour is aligned with them, in terms of customer service, teamwork, and such. To us, performance evaluation is a conversation throughout the year, with a lot of self-evaluations.”

Values-based approaches to evaluations create a common platform for assessing performance of differently situated employees while promoting a unified workplace culture. While incorporating values into performance evaluation isn’t necessarily new, redoubling efforts towards this seemed to resonate particularly strongly in hybrid environments.

Continually Track the Most Important Metrics

Dallas-based tax services firm, Ryan, LLC, shifted to a Results-Only Work Environment in 2008, allowing employees to work from anywhere and at any time. Their transition has been a huge success — turnover has plummeted; morale, engagement, customer satisfaction, and financial performance have soared.

Key to making it work is a performance appraisal approach that uses a set of agreed-upon performance metrics that are consistently tracked, and can be accessed at any time on a convenient intranet dashboard. Former CHRO, Delta Emerson, explained, “Managers and employees can log on and see their dashboard. It displays their revenue targets and other performance goals, as well as where they stand and how their performance feeds into incentive pay. Finally, we hold managers accountable by tracking turnover and engagement scores in their groups.”

It’s important to note that Ryan’s approach — which provides clarity on goals and continuous measurement of performance — translates perfectly to hybrid work environments. Their system is fair and transparent for both those employees who mostly work at the office and those who mostly work remotely, and, importantly, creates accountability for managers in engaging and retaining employees.

Leverage Technology

With agreement on which metrics of employee performance to track, companies can then leverage technology to further level the playing field. General Electric, for example, uses an app-based system that allows employees to share performance milestones with their teams and managers.

While the company once prided itself on its process of formal, competitive annual performance reviews, this new approach encourages collaborative performance conversations. Managers use it to provide frequent feedback through performance “touchpoints” to employees. And peers use it to provide real-time developmental feedback and recognition.

This approach focuses employees and managers on continuous improvement and development, bolstering decisions on raises, promotions, and developmental opportunities which now occur year-round. As a result, the app-based system helps level the playing field by ensuring employees, managers, and co-workers can better “see” each other’s work and provide feedback no matter where work gets done.

If your workplace has changed, your evaluation process must too

The move to remote or hybrid environments for many companies has been a bumpy one. What I saw in my research though is that traditional good management including frequent goal-setting, peer feedback, and progress reporting, still mattered. The difference was in how companies now need to apply these principles. And while I saw companies applying them in the variety of ways I outlined above, they all were successful for three reasons.

First, they defined performance in terms of customer satisfaction, company values, core activities, and project completion. Second, they incorporated regular goal-setting and feedback sessions. Finally, they encouraged collaboration and team building by sharing performance assessment responsibilities across the workforce.

The lesson, then, is that creative approaches to performance evaluation are not only possible, but required at hybrid workplaces. It is the only way to ensure that all employees are evaluated and developed according to their merit, regardless of where they do most of their work.

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://headtopics.com/us/making-performance-reviews-fairer-in-a-hybrid-workplace-34961716
https://lattice.com/library/how-to-successfully-conduct-performance-reviews-in-a-hybrid-workplace
https://content.mycareersfuture.gov.sg/how-conduct-fair-transparent-performance-appraisals-hybrid-workplace/

What Do You Still Like About Your Job?

The pandemic led many people to consider why they work, and millions of people changed jobs during the resulting Great Resignation. It’s not clear, though, that changing jobs actually allowed people to increase their happiness or satisfaction with the work they do.

Leaving your job because you’re dissatisfied with the work you’re doing seems reasonable, but if you haven’t given thought to what would actually make you happy, you might end up in the same dissatisfying situation. It’s worth spending some time figuring out what you actually like about your job before making any moves.

To engage in that exercise, start by distinguishing between happiness and satisfaction and exploring which aspects of your job relate to each of these emotions. From there, figure out which parts of your job are the ones that bring you the most joy. That way, as you think about your future, you can best strategise about new positions you might want to aim for. To help you along the way, here are three questions that will provide you with valuable insight into the best parts of your work life.

1. Where do I find the most satisfaction? Is it in the process of doing my work or in the final outcome?

We often use the words happiness and satisfaction without reflecting on the differences between them. Happiness is a momentary experience that reflects the positive feelings that result from pursuing some desirable outcome. Satisfaction is a positive feeling that reflects a longer time horizon in which you’re pleased with what you’ve achieved over a period of time.

These emotions are related to two components of your work: There’s the day-to-day work that you do (the process of your work), and then there’s the set of things you achieve as a result of your efforts (the outcome). The process of your work affects your daily happiness with what you do, while the outcome is typically associated with your sense of satisfaction.

Because the process of your work is associated with happiness, it affects your day-to-day interest in the work you’re doing. When you like the particular tasks that are part of your job, you look forward to engaging with those elements of your work, and you’re motivated to increase your skills in the areas where you find the specific duties enjoyable. Conversely, if you find a lot of the tasks unpleasant, you may dread those aspects of the work. There’s a particular satisfaction that comes from performing well on elements of your job that you find intrinsically rewarding.

The outcome of your work relates to the mission of the organization you’re working for. Do you believe in that mission? Do you believe your efforts are making the world a better place? When you work toward a significant outcome and make progress on it, you feel a sense of satisfaction with the work you’re doing.

Research suggests that taking pride in the outcome of your work provides long-term satisfaction with it. Even on the days when you know you have to engage in some unpleasant tasks, the knowledge that you’re doing them in service of an important outcome is a valuable motivator. Paradoxically, if you engage in a lot of tasks you don’t enjoy in service of an important goal, you may feel a lot of satisfaction in your work, even though it doesn’t bring you much happiness.

Ultimately, when you reflect on your work, you should think about both the happiness it brings you as well as the long-term satisfaction.

2. How do my values align with my work?

After you identify the aspects of your job that you like, try to understand why those aspects of work are appealing. This evaluation is rooted in your values.

Values reflect key aspects of what people think is important about their life and work. Your work needs to align with your values. If you value helping others, then the mission of the work may be a critical component to whether you appreciate your job. If you value pleasure in life, then your daily happiness at work (reflected in the particular tasks you do) will be central to helping you to live up to that value. If you value achievement or power, then your personal accomplishments at work will influence your satisfaction with your job.

Shalom Schwartz identified 10 core human values that are consistent across many cultures: self-direction, stimulation, hedonism, achievement, power, security, conformity, tradition, benevolence, and universalism. The ones people adopt and the ways they act on them reflect both the culture in which they were raised as well as individual decisions they make. Taking a values survey can help you understand the aspects of your job that bring you satisfaction. In addition, because research suggests that values can evolve, it’s important to track yours over time. For example, early in your career you may value achievement, so you might enjoy aspects of your job that bring you individual recognition, while later in your career, you may value benevolence and derive more satisfaction from aspects of your job that enable you to help others. That shift in values will alter which parts of your job you find enjoyable.

3. What do I want to be able to say I’ve accomplished?

You’ve probably heard the saying that nobody lies on their death bed wishing they had spent more time at the office. But whether that’s true for you depends a lot on your answers to the questions in the previous sections.

Alignment of your work with your values means considering not just the particular tasks you do daily, but also the accumulated influence of those tasks over time (or what you might think of as your legacy). To think about legacy, take advantage of the remarkable human ability to project yourself mentally to your retirement and look back. What do you want your work to have been about? Do you think that the path you are on currently will support having that impact? Will this impact fit with your values?

You should use this alignment between your values and the processes and outcomes of your work to evaluate your current work trajectory. You should focus both on whether you currently feel like your work aligns with those values, but also to explore what future positions might also help you to be satisfied with your work. If you feel like your work and current trajectory will enable you to continue feeling that alignment between your job and your values, then focus on your current career trajectory. But, if you have a significant mismatch, that’s a good indicator that it’s time to think about alternatives. If you’re unsure about how to find a path that fits with your values, it might be time to talk to a career coach. Just make sure to find one who is committed to helping you find that alignment.

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.ziprecruiter.com/blog/what-do-you-love-about-your-job/
https://www.nijobs.com/careeradvice/what-did-you-like-most-about-your-job
https://www.proactiveinsights.com/article/articledetail/5

Why Managers & Employees Clash Over Remote Work

The shift to remote work has brought about many changes for both employees and managers. While remote work can offer flexibility and the ability to work from anywhere, it also introduces new challenges and opportunities for disagreement between managers and employees. Here are some common areas of disagreement and ways to address them.

Remote work, hybrid work, distributed work, flexitime… Work flexibility takes many forms. But employee centricity is essential to sustain a successful business. Consequently, an important shift such as changing the entire way your workforce works requires considering both points of view: the employer and the employee. Is your staff ready to do all their meetings online? How are you going to maintain a corporate culture? The working model must reflect the business’s needs and fulfill your team members’ expectations. Getting their feedback and discussing the best strategy to put in place is fundamental. Is switching to a remote work schedule the right move? What are the advantages and disadvantages of remote working? This article details the pros and cons of remote work for employees and employers. Hopefully, this will give you a better idea about if prioritizing a “work from anywhere” policy is the right approach for your flexible company.

Communication and collaboration

One of the main challenges of remote work is maintaining clear and effective communication and collaboration. Without the ability to meet in person or have impromptu conversations, it can be more difficult for employees to stay up-to-date on projects and for managers to ensure that work is being completed effectively.

To address this issue, it is important for both managers and employees to establish clear communication channels and protocols. This may include setting regular check-ins via video call, using project management tools to track progress, and setting up virtual meeting spaces for team collaboration. It is also important for both parties to be proactive in communicating any issues or concerns they have, and to make an effort to be responsive to communication from the other party.

Work-life balance

Remote work can blur the lines between personal and professional time, which can lead to disagreements over boundaries and expectations. Some employees may feel that they are expected to be available at all times, while others may feel that their manager is not respecting their personal time.

To address this issue, it is important for both managers and employees to establish clear boundaries and expectations around work hours and availability. This may include setting specific times for meetings and check-ins, and allowing for flexible scheduling within certain limits. It is also important for both parties to be mindful of the other’s needs and to communicate openly about any conflicts that arise.

Performance evaluation

Evaluating the performance of remote employees can be more difficult than evaluating in-office employees, as managers may not have as much visibility into the day-to-day work of their team. This can lead to disagreements over how work is being measured and how to fairly evaluate the performance of remote employees.

To address this issue, it is important for both managers and employees to establish clear goals and expectations, and to regularly communicate about progress towards those goals. It may also be helpful to use a variety of methods for evaluating performance, such as self-assessments, peer feedback, and objective measures of output. By using a diverse range of evaluation methods, managers can get a more complete picture of an employee’s performance and avoid any potential disagreements.

Productivity is not the only place where managers and employees disagree. They also have very different ideas about the disciplinary consequences of not coming into the office. We asked both managers and employees what happens to workers who stay home on “work days.” Employees were far more likely than managers to answer “nothing,” while managers were more likely to say that the worker was risking termination.

These differences in opinion reflect the need for more clear-cut policies on working from home. The best available approach for most companies is organized hybrid. Employers should choose two or three “anchor” days a week that all employees come into the office — typically between Tuesday and Thursday because Monday and Friday are the most popular work-from-home days. These in-office days should include the bulk of meetings, group activities, trainings, and lunches so that employees see the value of coming together. And attendance should be enforced the same way it was pre-pandemic: Not coming to work on anchor days is not acceptable, except in the case of emergencies, like a sick child or a burst water pipe. Finally, managers should actively encourage working from home on non-anchor days, so employees can enjoy the benefits without fear that they’re missing out on something at the office. 

Conclusion

Remote work can bring about many challenges and opportunities for disagreement between managers and employees. By establishing clear communication channels and protocols, setting boundaries and expectations around work-life balance, and using diverse evaluation methods, both parties can work together effectively to overcome these challenges and ensure the success of their remote work arrangement.

It’s natural that a massive shock to working conditions like working from home would cause disagreements between employees and managers, but we’ve had more than two years to navigate this change and the outlines of the new era are coming into focus. The best evidence we have suggests that organized hybrid raises employee and firm productivity. Managers and employees need to get on the same page.

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://headtopics.com/us/research-where-managers-and-employees-disagree-about-remote-work-33689105
https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/09/01/remote-work-culture/
https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20210908-what-bosses-really-think-about-remote-work

Understanding Your Best and Your Worst Customers

As Covid-19 declined, a European multichannel retailer observed a decline in its online revenues, which caused alarm. But then they looked at the data a different way, focusing on transactions by individual customers. When they sliced the data in this manner, they realised that their customer base was actually healthy, but that their channel behaviour had shifted: Online purchasing, which had become unnaturally accelerated during the pandemic, was now returning to a more normal pattern of online and offline purchasing.

A European multi-brand underwear retailer was a major reseller of La Perla, a premium Italian lingerie brand. A new merchandising leader undertook a review of brand profitability and saw that the company was actually losing money on its La Perla sales. The brand had relatively low margins, a high return rate, and required expensive photography costs to capture its products’ elegance online. The company debated whether it was worth carrying a brand that consistently created losses. However, when they looked at La Perla through the lens of the customer, they reached a completely different conclusion. La Perla was often the first brand purchased by their most valuable customers, who went on to purchase a wide variety of more profitable products. Instead of cutting ties with La Perla due to its lack of profits, the retailer ended up expanding their range of La Perla offerings — and this became a critical driver of its growth.

What do these two examples have in common? Companies often look at their business by focusing on geographic regions, specific brands or products, or by sales channel. This makes sense, because this data is always at hand, and organisations are often structured around geography or channels. But by looking at data and business problems from a frame of reference in which the customer is the atomic unit for analysing revenue and profitability, these firms were able to gain a new perspective on the problem they were facing, either properly diagnosing the problem or stopping themselves from making a bad decision.

As you analyse your firm’s revenues and profits, or as you make plans for the future, what’s your unit of analysis?

At too many firms, analysing the data of individual customers gets short shrift. Management reporting systems make it easier to focus on other things, and the organisational structure can make other metrics a priority. (If you have a person in charge of online sales, it feels natural to judge his or her performance by channel metrics.) This lack of focus on individual customer data is often a mistake. Revenues are generated by customers pulling out their wallets and paying for your products and services. Revenue is the sum of the value of all the customer transactions that occurred in a given time period.

Many firms recognise the need to think differently about using customer data, but they do not know where to start. They are often trapped in an old-fashioned view of their business, structured around products or channels. How do you approach the task of getting your people to shift their perspective and start thinking about your firm’s performance using the customer as the atomic unit of revenue and profitability?

We have found that performing a customer-base audit is a fundamental catalyst for change.

What is a Customer-Base Audit?

A customer-base audit is a systematic review of the buying behaviour of a firm’s customers using data captured by its transaction systems. The objective is to provide an understanding of how customers differ in their buying behaviour and how their buying behaviour evolves over time.

  • We are not talking about “knowing the customer” through the lens of traditional market research. We are not interested in the demographic profile of our customers. We are not interested in their attitudes. We are interested in understanding their actual buying behaviour.
  • It is an unashamedly descriptive and diagnostic exercise. It doesnot involve any forecasting models, AI/ML methods, or prescriptive advice. Rather, it lays the foundation to perform these kinds of tasks more effectively after the audit has been completed.

The starting point is a list of transactions for each customer (date, time, products purchased, total spend, etc.). This will reside somewhere in your company’s operational IT system.

Traditional reports will summarise performance by product. Think of an Excel worksheet where the rows correspond to individual products and the columns correspond to time (e.g., quarter).

Now, imagine an alternative summary table — again, think of an Excel worksheet — where the rows now correspond to individual customers and the columns correspond to time (e.g., quarter). The entries in the table report each customer’s total spend with the firm in that particular time period. Another table tells us how many transactions each customer made with the firm. (For most firms, these tables will contain lots of zeros.) If you’re lucky, you’ll also have an equivalent table that summarizes the profit associated with each customer in each period.

How do we approach the task of gaining insight from such a customer-level summary? As we reflect on the various questions that are asked when leaders seriously engage with the idea of understanding the performance and health of their business using the customer as the atomic unit of revenue and profitability, five broad themes appear, which we call the five lenses of a customer-base audit.

Who are our Best and Worst Customers?

If we reflect on a single vertical slice of the table, say the columns associated with last year, the following types of questions come to mind. How many customers did we have last year? How do these customers differ in terms of their value to the firm? For example, how many customers purchased from us just once last year? How many customers accounted for half of our revenue last year? Half of our profit? If we compare, say, the 10% most profitable customers to the 10% least profitable, what lies behind these differences? To what extent are they driven by differences in the number of transactions, the average value per transaction, and average margin per transaction? Digging deeper, what about differences in the types of products they purchased?

The set of simple analyses that explore how different our customers are from each other lead to a fundamental conclusion: customers are not equal. Most people underestimate just how unevenly revenue and profit are distributed across customers.

How is Customer Behaviour Changing?

If we reflect on two adjacent vertical slices of the table, say the columns associated with last year and the year before, the following types of questions come to mind. How many customers purchased from us in both years? How does their behaviour and profitability differ from those that purchased from us in just one of the two years? How stable is customer behaviour? What proportion of our “top” customers in one year remain as “top” customers the next? What lies behind the observed changes in customer-level profitability? To what extent are they driven by changes in the number of transactions (average order frequency), the average value per transaction, and average margin per transaction?

The analyses that answer these questions help identify the changes in buyer behaviour from one period to the next and show that period-on-period variances can be explained by changes in individual customers’ average order frequency and value.

How Does a Cohort of Customers Change Over Time?

Suppose we reflect on a horizontal slice of the table. In other words, we reflect on the behaviour of a cohort of customers, starting from their first-ever transaction with the firm. (A customer cohort is defined as the set of customers acquired in the same time period, e.g., those customers who made their first purchase in January, or the second quarter of the year.) Questions that arise include how many customers appear to be “one and done”? Of those that make a second purchase, how long does it take them to do so? What is the nature of the decay in customer activity? For those cohort members that remain active over time, how does their transaction frequency, average spend per transaction, and average margin evolve over time?

The analyses that answer these questions are central to getting the firm to think about the cohort as a key unit of analysis when seeking to understand revenue and profit dynamics. A common conclusion is that the revenue for each cohort decays over time and recognizing the nature of this decay is critical for understanding long-term growth.

How Do Different Cohorts Behave Differently?

Having looked at one cohort, it is natural to look at another cohort and start questioning how and why the cohorts differ. Looking beyond a superficial comparison in terms of overall revenue or profitability, the curious manager will ask questions that seek to understand the differences in terms of cohort size, how they differ in the evolution of the percentage of cohort members that remain active over time, how they differ in terms of the evolution of spend per transaction, and so on.

Putting It All Together

The fifth and final lens sees us stepping back and considering the whole customer × time worksheet (described above), integrating the types of analyses introduced via lenses 1–4 to gain an overall customer-centric view of firm performance. The types of questions answered include

  • How “healthy” is our customer base? How reliant are we on a small group of customers? How has the “quality” of our customers changed over time? How do our “newer” customers compare to our “older” customers in terms of their behaviour? Are the differences good or bad?
  • What level of business can we expect from our current customers over the next year or two? In light of this, how realistic are our growth objectives / business plans in terms of the expectations they place on customer acquisition, retention, etc.

Conclusion

Much like Copernicus changed the way people thought about the earth’s place in the universe, we have observed that taking a view of the firm’s performance using the customer as the unit of analysis can have a similarly profound impact on the way the firm thinks about assessing performance and planning for growth. This results in a mindset shift for organizations to move from talking about “what makes us money” to “who makes us money.”

We expect that some people, lurking in various parts of your organization, are conducting ad-hoc analyses that can provide the answers to some of the questions posed above. But it is rare to find the analyses being pulled together in one place, let alone making their way to senior management and the CEO.

Yet without a solid understanding of the buying behaviour of your customers, including an appreciation of how they differ in their value to the firm and a solid understanding of how their behaviour is evolving over time, how can you be expected to ask the right questions and make informed decisions?

The customer-base audit provides this foundation for any executive wanting to gain an understanding of the health of their organisation’s revenue and profit streams and the feasibility of their growth plans.

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.entrepreneur.com/leadership/5-good-reasons-to-fire-your-worst-customers/281680
https://www.merkle.com/blog/good-customers-vs-bad-customers-how-you-can-tell-them-apart-and-get-better-it
https://www.mindtools.com/arys2mu/dealing-with-unhappy-customers

What Companies Still Get Wrong About Layoffs

Today it’s difficult to read the news without seeing an announcement of layoffs. Just this week, Morgan Stanley announced it will reduce its workforce by 2%, Buzzfeed said it would cut headcount by 12%, and PepsiCo said it plans to cut “hundreds” of jobs. The same is true at Redfin (13%), Lyft (13%), Stripe (14%), Snap (20%), Opendoor (18%), Meta (13%), and Twitter (50%). So many companies have initiated layoffs recently that tech and HR entrepreneurs launched trackers like TrueUp Tech and to Layoffs.fyi dedicated to monitoring the staff reductions across the tech sector.

Traditionally, employers resort to layoffs during recessions to save money. Companies continue to cling to the idea that reducing staff will provide the best, fastest, or easiest solution to financial problems.

As if layoffs aren’t painful enough, many companies make matters worse by handling them poorly. Handling layoffs in a humane way is important for the morale of both the impacted and retained employees, it will impact the company’s ability to hire strong talent later, it affects litigation risk (people who feel mistreated are more likely to sue), and, of course, it’s the right thing to do.

Layoff Myths and Mirages

Contrary to popular belief, there’s not much evidence that layoffs are a cure for weak profits, or, to use the current euphemism, that they reposition a firm for growth going forward.  It’s very difficult to sort out the relationship because firms that are laying off are almost by definition in trouble. The research evidence has not found any support for the overall idea that layoffs help firm performance. There is more support for the idea that where there is overcapacity, such as a market downturn, layoffs help firms. There is no evidence that cutting to improve profitability helps beyond the immediate, short-term accounting bump.

Employers also often underestimate the cost of layoffs in immediate financial terms, as well as in the lingering burden it places on remaining resources — both financially and emotionally. There is a huge problem in HR generally that the stuff that is easy to put on a spreadsheet outweighs the stuff that isn’t.

The toll of layoffs is high. In many industries, layoffs beget lower productivity and profits. When sales are slow, for instance, many retailers cut staff. But several studies show a correlation between bigger staffing and substantially higher sales.

Layoffs destroy trust

Eighty-five percent of respondents rated job loss as their top concern in Edelman’s 2022 Trust Barometer. Layoffs break trust by severing the connection between effort and reward. The premise of a layoff is that if it weren’t for the economic conditions facing the firm, employees would keep their jobs as long as they perform them well.

The fact that this is a psychological contract rather than in most cases a legal one is beside the point. In the domain of trust, what matters is that employees are being asked to willingly be vulnerable to the power their company has as an employer, and trust that the company will act in ways that don’t violate their trust. Research finds that, once betrayed, this trust is hard to recover.

Forgetting to be human

In the process of trying to do everything “right,” some managers forget to be human. It’s amazing how often people rigidly follow a script during notification meetings for fear of saying something wrong. It’s even more amazing how often they forget to mention the niceties, like the fact that they appreciate everything the employee did for the team or affirmation of the employee’s abilities. Layoffs are emotional and raw; it’s critical to show empathy when delivering such painful and often scary news.

It’s also critical to help employees maintain their dignity. That’s why having a security guard escort the employee out the door should be avoided, except in the rare cases where it’s truly needed.

Failing to plan ahead

Founders and executives at high-growth companies are often caught unprepared for layoffs. Many assume the only possible direction is up. With pressure to grow, it’s easy to hire too many people too fast, and later need to lay off employees quickly. And, even under conditions of sustained growth, layoffs can become necessary due to acquisitions.

Successfully managing workforce changes within today’s landscape ultimately requires evaluating your actions against the backdrop of trust. Your company will weather the storm of layoffs more successfully if you can maintain trust with three groups who will determine your success in the future: employees you let go, employees you retain, and employees who don’t yet work for you.

You have a great opportunity to be better at this than other companies. Keeping trust at the centre of your decision-making can lead to surprising, beat-the-odds success, as the above examples from Honeywell and Nokia show. Centring trust also offers leaders a reminder: Your actions will have consequences that are more visible than they’ve been in the past and you will be judged as trustworthy — or not — based on 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/2022/12/what-companies-still-get-wrong-about-layoffs
https://www.entrepreneur.com/leadership/the-7-worst-mistakes-companies-make-when-laying-off/307308
https://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/how-layoffs-cost-companies/

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?

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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