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Organisations Have to Prioritise Young Workers’ Mental Health

Young workers aged between 18 and 30 are more likely to have mental health issues than their senior colleagues, with a whopping 48% reporting suicidal thoughts or feelings. This information has been made available from a survey of around 3,884 people conducted over two years by Accenture revealing this worrisome fact. In comparison, only 35% of older workers experience such dark emotions.

Even though they are more susceptible to experiencing such feelings, 45% of young workers admitted to ‘holding back’ from talking about their mental health in the workplace, compared with only 22% of older employees.

Younger people have also reported that they are experiencing more pressure in their lives than their older counterparts, with 4 out of 10 people between the ages of 18 and 30 revealing that the pressures from work are affecting them on a daily basis, 1 in 3 are worried about the mental health of someone close to them.

Barbara Harvey, managing director and mental health lead for Accenture UK, has said “It’s clear that many young people face challenges with their mental health before they enter the workforce and while working, and that they are affected more often than their senior peers. Therefore, mental health must be a priority issue for employers.”

The aforementioned study has also brought up to the attention of the general public about the advantages of working in a supportive and open culture, with 41% of those working in such environments experiencing mental health challenges, compared with 65% in less supportive environments.

Mental ill health has been estimated to cost the UK economy around £94 billion per year, according to figures released in 2018 by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), with 1 in 6 people across Europe struggling with their mental health.

The financial aspect alone offers a compelling and insightful reason for organisations to take action in addressing this problem. For example, in 2017, an independent review commissioned by the British prime minister put the annual cost to UK employers of poor mental health in workers between £33 billion and £42 billion.

Additional action needs to be taken. Here are 3 simple actions leading organisations have started taking to get things moving faster in the right direction.

1.   Onboarding is Essential

Young people often enter the workforce with little sense of what is about to hit them. It’s important to help them make the transition to a kind of pressure many have never faced before.

Boots, a UK health, beauty and pharmacy company, regularly reaches out to secondary schools, colleges, and local universities. It runs workshops and gives talks that help potential recruits better understand the workplace, and taps its own younger employees as leaders of these events to ensure that the messages resonate. Boots also helps young hires to build skills and confidence and better adjust to their new responsibilities through group discussions and workshops. Early-career tutors are trained to help these workers and are, in turn, helped by others; they know how to escalate any concerns to a colleague who has had specific training on mental health issues.

2.   Train Them How You Want Them

Once people have been onboarded, they need help understanding how to manage the stresses and strains of the job and how to deal with those particular situations. The key here is to design solutions.

The international law firm Allen & Overy has many trainees, most of whom join on a two-year contract. Working with and led by the younger cohort, senior managers created a programme that focuses on the human element of life as a lawyer. Trainers equip new lawyers with ‘practical resilience skills and advice’ to help them achieve a healthy work-life balance in a high-pressure environment. Among those lessons are included how to set and maintain boundaries between personal and work time. A message that is best delivered by people who have experienced that.

One recent pilot initiative coming out of this process involves ‘protected evenings.’  It allows trainees to flag nights that are important to them, giving them more control over their schedules. Trainees also publish a newsletter every two weeks that helps address key concerns on their agenda.

3.   The Role of Senior Leaders

They should be open about the challenges they have faced and they should show vulnerability. When they speak up, not only would they help their struggling younger workers realise that they’re not alone, they would also be giving them some language to use to describe their own experiences.

Paul Feeney – CEO of Quilter a wealth management company in London – has stated that making it personal is the best solution: “In our industry, we have a saying, ‘Don’t take it personal.’ We should make it personal. People need to know it is OK to not be OK. The best thing to do is open up and talk about it.”

The more we can do to reduce the stigma of this topic and bring it further out of shadows into the mainstream, the less will people need to be brave to talk about their experiences. And they will be happier, more confident, and more productive at work and beyond.

There is a real value in providing companies with the tools to carry out regular organisational assessments and this is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.zenefits.com/workest/young-workers-demand-emphasis-on-mental-health-in-the-workplace/

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/young-workers-suicidal-thoughts-mental-health-talking-a9217911.html

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-most-anxious-generation-goes-to-work-11557418951

How to Make Your Employees Feel Appreciated

The need for making your employees feel valued and appreciated should not complicate the way you interact with them.

Those who find meaning and fulfilment in the eight or nine hours a day they spend with you will typically perform better and stick around for longer. Not only will it benefit your organisation on a financial level by reducing absence and boosting engagement, it will increase the chances of your employees living fulfilled lives.

That is why, if you’re interested in building a team of productive employees within the company, then making said employees feel valued is perhaps a manager’s most important job.

Feeling valued and appreciated at work is something we all need in order to do our best, whether we admit it or not. Tony Schwartz, president and CEO of The Energy Project, said in an article in Harvard Business Review, “The struggle to feel valued is one of the most insidious and least acknowledged issues in organizations. Most employees are expected to check their feelings at the door when they get to work. But try as we might, we can’t.”

In one study published by Harvard Medical School, helping employees feel valued was shown to have a dramatic impact on their performance. Researchers randomly divided people into two fundraising groups who were both tasked with making phone calls to seek donations. The first group made these calls each day as normal; the second group got a pep talk from an executive to let them know how grateful she was for their hard work.

Any guesses on which group completed more calls?

The group of fundraisers who listened to the pep talk completed 50% more phone calls than the group who carried out their work normally. The only difference was a little show of appreciation.

Starting with these 3 strategies will ensure you build a solid foundation for your organisation’s employee experience, so employees will know that they really are valued (and it’s not just lip service).

1. Be Willful in your Everyday Conversations

Employees and managers alike are often instilled with the idea that “everyone is replaceable.” But it has been revealed that a big part of feeling valued occurs when employees are aware that they add something to the company that no one else can.

To effectively transmit this, think about how you approach everyday conversations with your employees. When you assign a new task, for example, go beyond the basic “Here’s the contact info for your next design client,” and reiterate why you truly value someone’s work: “You did a great job on that presentation last week. We have a new client who seems nit-picky, and since your work is detail-oriented, I think you’re the only one for the job.”

Or, as you start giving people more challenging work, clearly acknowledge what you’re doing and why: “You really nailed your presentation during the team meeting last week, so I think you can handle a monthly client presentation with some of our big accounts.” The more you recognize your employees’ specific contributions to the team, the more valuable they’ll feel.

2. Show Them that Others Need Them as well

While recognition can serve as a great motivator, it can also become a little routine when it always comes from a direct manager.

I’m not saying that you should ever hesitate to reward your employees for a job well done, of course. But, do remember that feedback from others can pack a little more punch—and show your team that they’re not only appreciated by you, but also by clients, co-workers, and even executives.

As a manager, pay attention when a client sends you an email to share the amazing experience she had with an employee or when someone from another department lets you know “Roy helped me find the number I need—he’s terrific!” Then, share it. Whether you do it privately or in public, you’ll let your employees know that they’re making an impact on clients and coworkers—and they’ll be reminded just how important their work is.

3. Challenge Them Professionally

Every job comes with less-than-glamorous responsibilities. But it’s important to balance out that grunt work with challenging assignments, too. When you only give out repetitive tasks (or tasks beneath someone’s skill level), you’re conveying that you don’t really need his or her specific, individual talents.

On the other hand, when you assign an employee a challenging task and actually put your trust in him or her to see it through, what you’re saying is, “I know you’re capable of this, and I trust you to do a great job.”

So, it has been discovered that it’s important to consistently find new ways to challenge your employees—whether that means developing new projects specifically for their talents or just being more aware of what each person does best and assigning tasks accordingly. As a manager you must also carefully select employees for the task of training new hires—giving people this responsibility conveys that you not only think they’re doing a good job in their everyday work, but that you want incoming employees to develop their same habits, skills, and attitude.

There is a real value in providing companies with the tools to carry out regular organisational assessments and this is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.bamboohr.com/blog/employees-feel-valued-at-work/

https://www.perkbox.com/uk/resources/library/interactive-10-ways-to-make-your-employees-feel-loved

https://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com/2018/12/27/how-to-make-employees-feel-valued/

Small Habits that Will Lead You to Success

Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur, a career professional, a student or even unemployed, your habits are either empowering you to achieve and succeed, or deterring and holding you back. For most of us, we’re limited by our habits. We have habits that hold us back and can’t seem to quit. But for others, who possess a repertoire of really good habits, success and goal achievement is more automatic and easily realized. The truth? The state and quality of your life is a direct reflection of the habits that you possess. Good habits are going to propel you forward while those pesky bad habits are going to hold you back. But if you’re serious about success and want to get ahead in life, these are some of the best habits that you can harbour. Focus on these, and watch your life blossom while you realize the fruits of your labour.

 

Keep in mind that several studies suggest that habits account for nearly half of all of our actions. From what we think, to what we say and what we do are controlled by the habits that we possess. So, the more that you can focus on improving your habits, the better you’ll be at doing things like growing your business, achieving your goals, getting a great degree, losing weight or even making an abundant amount of money.

Of course, this isn’t just about building the good habits, but also about disrupting your bad habits. Disruption is how you block the electrical impulses to continually wield those bad habits. It takes some conscious training and persistent application to do this, but there are a few strategies you can implement to disrupt your bad habits.

Many habits we do without thinking, such as brushing our teeth or saying Please and Thank you, or putting our seat belts when we get in the car, these are good positive habits that free our minds to think on more critical matters during the day.

Why bad habits?

Usually, it is because we want the immediate gratification of our base instincts and desires. Many times we act without thinking, overcome by emotion, and irrationally lead by our weaknesses rather than our strengths.

The problem is that when we indulge in these bad habits, they seem to multiply over time, and the results are a disaster. Some bad habits are so small that we think them inconsequential and not necessary. The truth is that even the slightest change in our daily routines can change the outcomes dramatically.

Small habits have a way to grow until they are tough to change and can take us far away from our desired goals. They become big trees that are extremely difficult to uproot.

With that in mind, consider these five steps for getting started:

Initiate a ‘ridiculously small’ micro habit

It usually takes my workshop participants between three and eight tries before they come up with something sufficiently small enough to be considered a micro habit. When I tell them reading for an hour each night is too large, they then change to reading for 45 minutes, then 30 minutes, and so on. Finally, I tell them, “You will know you’ve truly reached the level of a micro habit, when you say, ‘That’s so ridiculously small, it’s not worth doing’” — in this case reading only one paragraph each night. In our coaching groups, participants only get credit for achieving the minimum bar, not going beyond it. Aim for small.

Repeat Repeat Repeat

The benefit of micro habits is that you should be able to perform it with minimal effort every day. It’s important to execute on a new ritual daily so it becomes second nature, and if it’s small enough, you won’t be as tempted to defer your task from one day to the next. However, no matter the size of the task, it’s easy to get distracted, make excuses, or forget. Perform your new action at the same time as (or right before) an action you do without thinking. Need to read a paragraph each night? You can do that while brushing your teeth.

Follow your progress closely

As the saying goes, “What gets measured, gets done.” Again, if your measurement process is elaborate, you’re less likely to complete it. Write down the desired action and under each date, simply list a ‘Y’ or ‘N’ to indicate if you completed the task. People discover surprising benefits to the Yes List, including detecting patterns when they’re likely to advance or regress in their efforts.

Maintain the rhythm

It’s hard to think small to begin with; it’s even harder to stay small. For example, let’s say Jake’s micro habit was to do 2 push-ups a day. After earning 10 Y’s in a row on his Yes List, Jake was eager to do more. For the next two days, he did five push-ups, soon pushing up the number to 10 and then adding a 20-minute workout after. The sad result? Within two months, Jake would give up exercising due to the simple fact that he had enlarged his goals unrealistically fast. You have to stick with your original micro habit long enough when you feel bored with it for at least 2 weeks in a row. Then increase it only by about 10%.

Accountability is key

It might sound strange to enlist a partner to monitor your daily reading of one paragraph or doing two push-ups. But having people support you and hold you accountable can cement new behaviours, and it helps them in return. The leadership program mentioned above has a peer group meeting every other week, and participants send a report of their micro habits weekly, updating the group on progress by stating how many days of the week they performed it. When you want to change behaviour, jumping headlong into a major goal with both feet is often a waste of time. Instead, make tiny, incremental adjustments until they are part of your muscle memory. By starting small, you can attain big results.

There is a real value in providing companies with the tools to carry out regular organisational assessments and this is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.inc.com/christina-desmarais/20-daily-habits-practiced-by-highly-successful-people.html

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/297331

https://hbr.org/2020/01/to-achieve-big-goals-start-with-small-habits

Forging the Perfect Productivity Workflow for You

The average person has 70,000 thoughts each day, and if you don’t learn to organise them, they have the potential to destroy your productivity.

When you allow the flurry of thoughts to run through your head, your mind becomes disorganised, and the more you ponder on intrusive thoughts, the more power you give them.

In a recent study conducted at the National Institute, in the United States, it was found that allowing your mind to be disorganised doesn’t just feel bad, it’s also actually bad for you. A disorganised mind leads to high stress, chronic negativity and impulsivity. These states inhibit productivity and contribute to a plethora of health problems such as weight gain, heart disease, sleep problems and migraine headaches just to name a few. Edward Hallowell, a therapist who helps people deal with their disorganised minds, describes the process that goes on inside this type of mind: “He makes impulsive judgments, angrily rushing to bring closure. He is robbed of his flexibility, his sense of humour, and his ability to deal with the unknown. He forgets the big picture and the goals and values he stands for. He loses his creativity and his ability to change plans.”

On the other hand, an organised mind simply falls into a state of flow. Flow is a state of balance where you really feel that you are immersed in your work, completely free from distractions. Recent research has shown that people working in a state of flow are five times more productive than the rest.

Step 1: Take Control Of Your Emotions

While it’s impossible to control how things make you feel, you have complete control over how you react to your emotions. First, you need to be honest with yourself about what you are feeling and why you are feeling it. From that point on, it is much easier to channel the emotion into producing the behaviour that you want. The key is to identify and label your emotions as you experience them. Associating words with what you are feeling makes the emotion tangible and less mysterious. This helps you relax, figure out what is behind your emotion and move forward.

Step 2: Sustain Your Focus

We all know that frustrating feeling of sitting down to tackle something important, only to quickly lose focus when we expected to dive right into the task. It takes time for your mind to become fully absorbed in an activity. Studies have shown that it takes five to 20 minutes before people start to focus. If you can force yourself to persist in the activity in spite of any distractions for 20 minutes, the chances are much higher that you will be able to sustain your focus and find a state of flow. The best way to do this is to put away or turn off all of your typical distractions (phones, email, social media), then keep an eye on the clock until you’ve done nothing but your task for a good 20 minutes, even if you aren’t getting much done.

Step 3: Take Breaks

Our brains and bodies simply aren’t wired for prolonged periods of work. While it might seem as though sitting at your desk for eight hours straight is the best way to get all of your work done, this can work against you. Research has shown that the most productive work cycle tends to be 52 minutes of uninterrupted work, followed by 17-minute breaks. While it probably isn’t realistic to structure your schedule this rigidly, for most people, the battle is won by just remembering to take breaks. Just be certain to pepper several short breaks throughout your day.

Step 4: Shift Sets

Once you’ve taken a break, you must shift your focus back to your task. No matter how ‘in the zone’ you were before taking a break, you’ll sometimes find that you’re back to square one when it comes to focusing. To do a proper set shift, you have to reorganise your thoughts by following steps one through four above, especially if you’re having trouble diving back into the task. You’ll discover that getting back into flow quickly after a break is very doable, but it must be done purposefully.

Remember that ‘flow friendly’ environments are not just a matter of mindful team management. Remember to exercise the state of being immersed in a given activity to improve your productivity and general well-being.

Want to get more inventive and satisfied with your work? Get engaged in things you like, meditate and train your ability to focus. Stay mentally active – sitting in front of the TV may not be the best start. Last and foremost, learn how to prioritise, even if you plan your activities outside the working hours.

There is a real value in providing companies with the tools to carry out regular organisational assessments and this is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://hbr.org/2020/01/create-a-productivity-workflow-that-works-for-you

https://www.forbes.com/sites/travisbradberry/2016/04/19/5-ways-to-experience-flow-and-get-crazy-productive/#6b413b474e70

https://www.getresponse.com/blog/go-with-the-flow-and-pump-up-your-creative-productivity

Trends That Will Reshape Customer Service

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

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

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

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

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

1. Social media are becoming mainstream channels

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

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

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

2. Automation will become more and more personal

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

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

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

3. Customer-service training will become companywide

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

4. Customer Agents will become more knowledgeable

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

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

  1. “Customer success” stories will become the norm

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

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

There is a real value in providing companies with the tools to carry out regular organisational assessments and this is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.business2community.com/trends-news/5-customer-service-trends-to-watch-for-in-2019-and-beyond-02225441

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

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

Understanding Digital Distraction and Its Harmfulness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There is a real value in providing companies with the tools to carry out regular organisational assessments and this is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com/2018/08/07/truth-digital-distraction-workplace/

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

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

Why Soft Skills Matter in the Workplace

It’s no secret that interpersonal skills are the next big thing in HR. In layman terms, soft skills will most likely define the future. In a 2018 LinkedIn worldwide survey of over four thousand professionals the results have revealed that “training for soft skills is the number one priority.”

Soft skills are often referred to as transferable skills. As this term implies, these are skills which are less specialised on one specific vocation and which are more aligned with the personality of a candidate. Soft skills usually relate to a person’s various attitudes and intuitions. Given the fact that soft skills are linked with personality, it is important for each candidate to assess and understand what their soft skills are and how they can showcase them during an interview.

Unlike hard skills, which can be measured, soft skills are intangible and difficult to quantify. Among the examples of soft skills may include analytical thinking, verbal and written communication, and leadership.

Nowadays, employers actually care more about soft skills than they do technical abilities like reading comprehension and mathematics.

Among soft skills one of the more important ones is emotional intelligence (EQ). From a 2015 LinkedIn survey it has been discovered that people with high EQ earn on average $29,000 more.

Why do Soft Skills Matter?

A constructive example of the difference between people with or without soft skills are medical doctors. A doctor is obligated by his work field to have an extensive array of hard skills. But a doctor who does not have emotional intelligence, trustworthiness and approachability (i.e. soft skills) is not likely to be very well perceived by their patients.

Employers value soft skills because they enable people to function and thrive in various teams and in numerous types of organisations as a whole. Here are a few of the most important soft skills:

 1. Communication

Written and verbal communication skills are of utmost importance in the workplace because they set the tone for how people perceive you. They also improve your chances of building relationships with co-workers. Communication skills boost your performance because they help you to extract clear expectations from your manager so that you can deliver excellent work. Workers are more productive when they know how to communicate with their peers, says Robinson. If you can clearly express the who, what, when, where, why, and how of a project, you’ll be seen as a top talent.

2. Teamwork

An organisation’s success is rarely dependent on one person doing something all by themselves. Success is the result of many people working toward a shared goal. When employees can synthesise and use their varied talents, everyone wins. If you work alongside friends, then productivity simply sores through the roof. Employers look to team players to build a friendly office culture, which helps retain employees and, most importantly, top talent. Furthermore, being able to collaborate well with co-workers enhances the quality of their work.

3. Adaptability

Obviously, things don’t always go as planned, and instead of digging in your heels, you need to be able to swivel and find appropriate solutions. Consequently, employers need workers who can adapt to industry shifts and keep the company current. Push yourself to be an early adopter of change. Explore the possibility of joining training sessions and offer to teach your co-workers what you have learned.

4. Problem-solving

When something goes wrong, the difference between people is that some complain and others simply take action. Undoubtedly, the latter will get you noticed. People who know how to think on their feet can make employees indispensable to an employer. Nothing is a given. Companies rely on problem-solvers—top performers—to manage unexpected arisen challenges. It is best to approach the manager with a solution, not a problem. So when an issue springs up, think about an alternative solution and how you are going to present it to your boss.

5. Conflict resolution

Being able to resolve issues with co-workers will help people maintain relationships with their peers and work more effectively and efficiently. Being able to work through office politics and disagreements with people is a clear sign of maturity, as well as leadership. Someone like this helps promote a collaborative workplace. The best way to resolve disagreements between co-workers is to address issues directly but in a delicate, humane manner. Therefore, if someone is stepping in as a mediator, he or she should let both parties air their grievances in a judgment-free zone and then work together to find a compromising solution.

There is a real value in providing companies with the tools to carry out regular organisational assessments and this is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.wikijob.co.uk/content/interview-advice/competencies/soft-skills

https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/soft-skills-you-need

https://www.fastcompany.com/90430423/5-soft-skills-you-need-to-succeed-at-work

Workplace Fatigue: Simple Hoax or Real Threat?

We all had days in which it’s barely 2 o’clock, lunch is barely over and you are absolutely exhausted. While this feeling is absolutely normal after lunch, what do you do when this feeling follows you all day, every day? Workplace tiredness doesn’t necessarily mean physical exhaustion but focuses more on the mental side of things.

This state does not appear solely due to low energy levels, but it also signals a clear lack of motivation. Due to this continuous state of fatigue, people can hardly concentrate and stay organised. If these circumstances keep on longer than a few weeks, in spite of enjoying adequate sleep and feelings of anxiousness and depression start to settle in more and more, then burnout is on its way.

There is no shame in feeling tired at work; there may be some stressful situation at home or simply you did not get enough sleep the night before, it happens. Nevertheless, when the relentless feeling of tiredness has set in for weeks on end then it is time for people to take action. This is your brain trying to tell you that something needs to change in what and how you do things. You might be overworked, stressed or generally unhappy with the state of affairs surrounding you.

Recent research has revealed that fatigue still ranks amongst the top symptoms for both anxiety and depression, with the added bonus of having a better understanding of why our bodies “ask” for more rest. Obviously, these fatigue periods start with a very stressful event that activates the “fight-or-flight” response in our bodies and we start releasing a lot of adrenaline, amongst other hormones. The hormones released in the body alter physiological traits such as heart rate, given the fact that cortisol levels are up whilst serotonin and dopamine are on the back foot. Studies show that there is a clear correlation between stress and neurogenesis (the process of creating neurons) in the hippocampus, which ultimately leads to numerous depression symptoms.

Given all these changes that are happening internally, the theory states that fatigue is simply a coping mechanism. When stress hormones are produced, they usually start the process of “circuit breaking” and simply block glucose intake by receptors in both the hippocampus and the amygdala. Even though this protects the brain from way too much excitement, it does make it incredibly harder to remain happy over longer periods of time and do everything you have planned.

Work fatigue – Slippery Slope towards Burnout

Ironically, the main issue here isn’t that these elements make people feel tired at work, but that they can become so aggravating that the road to burnout becomes shorter and shorter. Burnout can be explained like a constant state of fatigue combined with a deep sense of cynicism, lack of ambition and accomplishment.

A sudden burst in fatigue can mean that people require more time to decompress, rest, and enjoy life. That might mean that the manager may have to offer more resources, more flexible or slowed scheduling, informal get-togethers, or just being more approachable by all members of staff. More often than not, people assume that they’re tired for various other reasons, such as not exercising enough, drinking a bit too much on a night out, etc. They could also say nothing about their prolonged state of exhaustion due to existing stigma around mental health and the desire to look strong and in control.

Managers should also factor in the negative influence on productivity levels and decision making that fatigue can have. The worst thing management can do in this situation is to start pointing fingers and openly criticise people, before even trying to find out what is the source of the dip in productivity. However, this does not mean that accountability should be eradicated, but done after rigorous talks and one-on-one meetings.  Some managers just assume that employees just do not want what is best for them in order to succeed. Everyone deserves a second chance to fix their mishaps and mistakes, while management should focus on eliminating stressors that usually come from operations and organisational culture.

One last thing that a manager should definitely take into account is that every person is unique, which makes the process of identifying stressors even more difficult.  What is stressful for someone may be a cakewalk for someone else and vice versa. Thus, while it’s more than ok to set general goals and standards, managers should be interested in knowing each member of his or her team in order to fully understand what makes them tick and what makes them doubt themselves. Hard work must be put in to create a real and meaningful work relationship so that when employees have a stressful situation on their hands, they’ll be more than comfortable to share their experience and, it goes without saying, that friendship is one of the best stress relievers out there.

There is a real value in providing companies with the tools to carry out regular organisational assessments and this is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.inc.com/wanda-thibodeaux/science-explains-exactly-why-stress-makes-you-so-exhausted.html

https://www.fastcompany.com/90426942/why-youre-tired-at-work-all-the-time

https://www.fastcompany.com/40541783/tired-at-work-for-no-reason-your-brains-trying-to-tell-you-something

Why Team Building Is An Essential Investment

Team building does not have the best reputation nowadays. Most people imagine being stuck with their co-workers for 1 or 2 days doing meaningless exercises that technically are supposed to increase productivity and collegiality.

Even though its reputation for being ineffective, team building has become one of the most important investments organisations can make for their employees. Despite the negatives emotions, it gives people, team building does build trust, alleviates conflict, boosts communication and enhances collaboration. Effective team building is what every company is looking for because it means a higher level of engagement in employees, which is fantastic for the bottom line. It can also be extremely fun if it’s done right.

It is clear as the light of day that the most successful team-building activities are the ones that make employees feel at ease and not all as having to go to work. Activities that are not at all subtle about aiming to reveal leadership and talent are obviously lowering enthusiasm amongst participants. By simply just spending time together and sharing experiences into completing a common goal allows co-workers to bond in a more natural way and it is by far more effective.

Unsurprisingly, happiness and learning have been correlated to work very well together. Most of the time, all companies have to do is introduce their employees to new things and activities which will, more often than not, will generate a feel-good factor which obviously translates into good news for the organisation. In the majority of cases, exercises that are out of the ordinary get people to work together in various new ways.

What is the purpose of team building?

Numerous analyses have revealed that people who participate in team building feel more positively about their team. This positivity is manifested in various ways such as more trust in their co-workers, more satisfaction that they’re part of a certain team and a lot more confidence that the team will achieve its targets.

Furthermore, employees that complete team building sessions together have better interactions: they communicate, coordinate and manage conflicts better. These processes are key in accomplishing the team’s ambitions.

However, team building may not directly improve team performance. Despite a better line of communication and more trustworthy workers, team building by itself doesn’t have a direct impact on performance. The reason for this is simply because performance relies on so many other factors besides team interactions that it shouldn’t be the only thing a company does if it wishes to improve performance levels.

When is team building the most effective?

Amongst team building activities, some are more effective than others. What sets apart most sessions is this: team building activities that focus on achieving goals and/or clarifying roles have the most beneficial impact. Achieving goals refers to define and clarify both individual and team objectives, and planning what actions need to be taken in order to turn objectives into reality. Clarifying roles purely means team members discuss what is and isn’t their task and understand their duties better.

On the other hand, team building exercises focused on improving interpersonal relations or solving already existing problems bring smaller, but still relevant benefits. Improving interoffice relations sees team members work on their trust among themselves whilst also building connections on a more personal level. Solving problems means identifying what doesn’t necessarily click between team members and planning on how to improve future situations.

Organisations must always remember that team building is not a splurge but merely an investment in the future! For example, one of the partners of NASCAR was invited for a day out on the tracks. 350$ for each employee wasn’t the most expensive nor cheap investment but at the end of the day, everything made sense. Everyone felt appreciated, given the fact that they were going around the track at over 233 kilometres per hour.

Daily Team Building Opportunities

Team building can include the daily interaction that employees engage in when working together to carry out the requirements of their jobs. This form of team building is natural and which can be assisted if the team takes the time required to come up with their own set of norms. The criteria help group members know how to appropriately interact with each other and the rest of the organisation.

Team building can also involve structured activities and exercises that employees on the team can lead, one way in which team criteria are established. As an alternative, with the proper budget and benchmark, managers can contract out for facilitation with an external resource. External facilitation, by an experienced person, can give your team building a boost.

No matter how an organisation chooses to build their group of employees into a team, the resulting bonds will enable them to accomplish the work and goals of the organisation more effectively than a group of people who don’t really know each other. As long as the company’s focus is dedicated to team building opportunities that lend themselves to the accomplishment of the actual work of the team, you are effectively building a team.

There is a real value in providing companies with the tools to carry out regular organisational assessments and this is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.thebalancecareers.com/what-is-team-building-1918270

https://scienceforwork.com/blog/team-building/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/brianscudamore/2016/03/09/why-team-building-is-the-most-important-investment-youll-make/#1ba7fb90617f

Customer Experience: Are Companies Meeting their Customers’ Expectations?

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

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

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

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

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

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

So the question now is, what do customers want?

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

There is a real value in providing companies with the tools to carry out regular organisational assessments and this is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.marketingdonut.co.uk/customer-care/customer-service/the-importance-of-exceeding-customer-expectations

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

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