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How to Deliver Bad News to Your Team

It’s every leader’s or manager’s least favourite task: delivering bad news. Maybe your company is closing one of the offices, or letting some people go. Or you have an employee who isn’t getting the promotion he or she wants, or can’t take an expensive training course.

In any case, your first impulse may be to soften the blow. After all, you’re a caring person, and you’d like to make a difficult situation easier. Generally, you start the conversation by talking about something else. And when it’s time to deliver the news, you try to sugarcoat it.

Few people like to deliver bad news. But the ability to do so with grace and compassion is an essential skill for any leader or manager. 

That’s a key tool of a leader who knows how to lead well. When a leader creates and maintains momentum by their ideas, their ingenuity, and their actions, the rest of their team falls naturally into their rhythm. And that’s when the great work is accomplished.

We’ve all had that moment on an airplane where we experience turbulence. Maybe you are rudely awakened by a sudden jolt, or you get up to use the restroom and have to hold onto the back of someone’s seat. Within a few seconds, the pilot’s voice comes over the intercom. What are you listening for? You are listening for reassurance through the uncertainty of turbulence.  

With countless concerns over Covid-19 around the world, it’s not just the airline industry that is experiencing a sudden wobble on its normal journey. Many business leaders are asking how they can communicate uncertainty both internally to their teams and externally to their clients — whether it’s about participating in an upcoming conference or delivering on an already signed project. Communicating in the face of uncertainty is a constant leadership challenge.

But in any business, there are times when you are on cloud nine and times when you’re down in the dark. What does a leader have to do when bad news has to be shared?

1. Know his audience  

In public speaking, knowing your audience in advance is critical. In times of uncertainty, it’s quintessential, regardless through what channel of communication. Do a thorough strategic analysis of who you are communicating to. What are their concerns, questions, or interests? What do they need an immediate answer to? You might use language such as, “I know many of you may be thinking…” The quicker you can address what’s on their mind, the quicker you will be able to calm them down. If you are not addressing their most pressing interests, they might not even be listening to you.

2. Thorough Research

In times of hardship and stress, it is easier to fall prey to misinformation, which can be especially destructive. Seek out credible sources of information, and read the information fully before distilling it into clear, concise language. Share those links with others, so that they too have a credible resource.

3. Set up specific ‘next steps’

In times of uncertainty, it’s helpful to provide your team with tangible action items. Discussing your own next steps or recommending next steps to your audience gives them a sense of control so they feel like they are contributing to stabilisation. Use language such as, “Here are the steps we are taking” or “Here’s what you can do” to demonstrate action.

Communicating through uncertainty is an essential leadership skill, regardless of whether or not you have a formal leadership role. In fact, the ability to communicate through uncertainty is part of what demonstrates to others your leadership readiness. Use the aforementioned steps to first find your own sense of focus and then allow yourself to transmit that reassurance to others.

4. Speak honestly

You can speak with confidence even without 100% certainty. You can confidently express doubt or uncertainty, while still sounding like you are in control of the situation. You might say, “Reports are still coming in, but what we understand so far is this…” Communicate frequently with your audience, even without news to report, so that they know you are actively following the issue. A fantastic communication expert, Nancy Duarte, wrote an insightful article on this topic several years ago and stated: “People will be more willing to forgive your in-progress ideas if they feel like they’re part of the process.”

You can’t make bad news less painful, but you can deliver it in the most respectful way possible.

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.forbes.com/sites/williamvanderbloemen/2016/11/17/how-to-effectively-break-bad-news-to-your-team/#3a6f1cb468b7
https://www.inc.com/alison-davis/need-to-deliver-bad-news-to-employees-science-says-do-this.html
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/adaptation/201803/how-deliver-bad-news-pro

Leaveism or Why Do People Work while on Holidays?

The term has been coined by Dr Ian Hesketh in 2013 to describe the annual leave habits of employees. ‘Leaveism’ refers to workers taking annual leave to catch up on their workload or working outside of their office hours.

In a research done by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), it has been discovered that 63% of UK leaders reported that ‘leaveism’ had occurred in their business. As businesses become increasingly lean, the now here to stay ‘always-on’ culture ‘allows’ itself to late night emails and employees never really have the chance of switching off from work.

While offices can be a breeding ground for distraction and interruptions, ‘leaveism’ can be conducive to employees feeling increasingly pressured or obligated to work out of hours.

In a recent article published by the BBC’s Worklife discusses the hidden tactic of ‘leaveism’ and how being “away from the distractions of the inbox, watercooler chat with colleagues and the stresses of office life” is fuelling its fat increasing rise.

‘Leaveism’ is an increasing problem for all types of organisations, and it’s an issue that employers should take seriously. If left unmanaged, leaveism could bring down workplace morale and increase stress levels among your staff, which in-turn affects productivity.

Clearly for organisations, the cost of employees being anything other than fully productive can have an enormous impact on operational effectiveness. In the UK, average day’s sickness in the private sector are around 5.8 days per year compared with 7.9 days per year in the public sector. The overall cost of working age ill health in the UK exceeds £100 billion every year, employers pay an estimated £9 billion in sick pay and associated costs, and the state pays £13 billion in health-related benefits (incapacity benefits). There is a similar picture in the USA, with health-related productivity losses estimated to reach some $260 billion annually. These financial outcomes, in terms of absence costs and lost productivity, are often what eventually attracts the attention of senior managers, providing a persuasive argument for them to focus on improving aspects of working life that are proven to be detrimental to an employee’s well-being.

Absenteeism, presenteeism and a concept labelled here as ‘leaveism’ are used to provide a lens through which to view employee responses to feeling unwell or being overloaded. So what exactly is ‘leaveism’?

  • Employees utilising allocated time off such as annual leave entitlements, flexible hours banked, unused rest days in order to take time off when they are in fact unwell;
  • Employees taking work home that cannot be completed in normal working hours;
  • Employees working while on leave or holiday to catch up.

All of these behaviours sit outside current descriptions associated with ‘absenteeism’ and ‘presenteeism’.

Although absenteeism and presenteeism cover some of the human responses to workload and illness, ‘leaveism’ provides the missing link. It defines the previously uncharted phenomenon that describes a situation where an employee uses their own time, in whatever guise, to avoid the workplace when they are in fact unwell, or take work home in order to complete outside contacted hours due to the sheer volume asked of them. These unintended consequences may be brought about by organisations adopting counterproductive policies that were introduced with the [best] intention of reducing absence. Attendance at work policies, actionable attendance policies and the wider use of punitive and incentive-based HRM policies are all examples of schemes intended to reduce absence.

Together with increasing workloads, fewer staff and higher expectations, ‘leaveism’ presents an additional consideration for traditional employee monitors that cannot be overlooked. ‘Leaveism’ also adds a further dynamic to human behaviours associated with responses to workplace well-being, and ought to be included in future discussions associated with workforce satisfaction and productivity measures.

It may be a counter-intuitive proposition, but organizations may wish to consider the economic loss should this practice cease as a means of measurement. Whatever the consequences and subsequent approach, ‘leaveism’ presents a real issue when it comes to establishing the true picture of employee well-being and should not be ignored.

Never not Ready for Action

We are in an era where people are much more afraid of losing their jobs than in the past: companies have been operating in a low-growth environment for the past decade, which has meant more focus on profitability – including labour costs. Alongside this is the prospect of more and more jobs being automated in the coming years.

This has meant more employees having to live with excessive workloads, and bosses afraid for their own livelihoods who are micromanaging people and not giving them enough autonomy and control at work. A study of Austrian workers in 2015 concluded that employees were more likely to use annual leave to go off sick if they fear losing their jobs or having them downgraded, or if they were experiencing low job satisfaction.

Compounding this sense of unhappiness at work is likely to be the way that technology is changing how we do our jobs. In a survey of 1,000 HR professionals representing 4.6 million UK employees, 87% said that technology was affecting people’s ability to switch off out of working hours. Common examples were employees taking work-related phone calls or responding to work emails.

At first glance, these behaviours may look fairly innocuous and just part of modern-day working life. However, we are in danger of endorsing a tech-enabled 24-7 working culture from which it is increasingly difficult to switch off. Work-life balance is becoming a thing of the past. For many of us this is being overruled by work-life integration.

Whatever the positives of not being tied to the office desk, it is not helping us to relax. Stress and mental ill health now account for 57% of all long-term absences from work, having replaced physical complaints, such as backache, as the main reason employees are off sick.

According to the UK mental health charity Mind’s most recent Workplace Wellbeing Index, employees with poor mental health may resort to taking leave rather than disclosing mental health problems in as many as one in 12 cases. In an echo of the Deloitte findings, Mind found younger employees far less likely to disclose they are struggling with mental health.

So, what can be done to stop this worrying trend?

Reorganising the Workload 

Whether you are HR or Management, if you notice staff frequently using annual leave to keep on top of their workloads, think about the amount of work on their plate. Sit down with them and go through their weekly task list and help them to prioritise.

Having some insight into the volume of tasks they have to complete can help you to understand where they need some support; be it redistributing their workload or scouting a new hire to share the work.

This transparency will help to foster a positive atmosphere that your staff can thrive in without fear of what might happen if they don’t complete their work.

Flexible Hours and Remote Working 

Offices are inherently sociable places, and rightly so. However, distractions are often plentiful and concentrating on a task can be very difficult, leaving work to quickly mount up. Research has shown that the average worker is disrupted around 56 times a day and the cost of a distracted employee vastly outweighs that of a loss of productivity, according to a study done in 2018.

Remote or flexible working offers an ideal balance for many, removing distractions without punishing workers. Giving employees the flexibility to work from anywhere at any time instead of having to be in a distracting office environment during strict hours can often be the push they need to power through their workload.

Crushing the ‘always-on’ culture

If your employees are frequently working after hours and responding to emails, this is a sure-fire sign of leaveism. Our smartphones have made it easier than ever to catch up on work, check emails or access documents during our downtime. Coupled with the rise of Cloud software; the line between our professional and personal lives has become increasingly blurred.

A 2016 report by the Chartered Management Institute found the majority of UK managers spent an extra 29 days annually working outside office hours; something that is sure to have only increased in the last few years.

While French and German businesses have made strides in quashing the ‘always at work’ culture, the British have yet to make a stand against the digital ties that chain them to their work, to the obvious detriment of employee mental health and wellbeing.

In 2014, Daimler in Germany arranged for emails to be automatically deleted when employees were on holiday. The sender would then receive a message inviting them to find an alternative recipient of the email, leaving the employee to return from holiday to an empty inbox. 2017 saw France introduce a right to disconnect, with companies instructed to set out the hours when staff shouldn’t send or respond to emails.

While these two cases are relatively extreme, as an employer you should be ensuring that your employees don’t feel pressured into working outside of their contracted hours. Set expectations and understand your employees’ needs. Your employees also need to take some responsibility as it is up to them if they switch their phones off or not. Finally, we have to give a nod to all those emails outside working hours. Managers need to stop sending them. You know who you are.

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://academic.oup.com/occmed/article/64/3/146/1439077
https://www.naturalhr.com/2019/09/20/what-is-leaveism-and-how-can-you-combat-it/

http://theconversation.com/leaveism-welcome-to-the-dark-side-of-21st-century-flexible-working-130976

Your Job Is at Risk – What Do you Do?

Your job can be on the line for several reasons that might or might not have to do with you directly. Instead of launching into a frenzy when you realise that you might not have a job in the near future, you should instead take stock of the situation and deal with it in the most dignified way possible. In addition to securing your future finances, you’ll also have to be emotionally strong to overcome this situation with grace. Preparing for it in advance won’t only soften the process, but it will also help you create a rough roadmap of how you plan to move past this and get your career on track once again. Here are three things you can proactively do if your job is at risk.

Take heed of your financial situation As soon as you find out that your job is on the line, assess your financial situation to make sure that you have at least six months of savings to get you by. If you don’t, make a note of the expenses that aren’t necessary and cut them down. This way you’ll be able to save more money than you otherwise would. Once you are certain that your flow of income will stop soon, you can also sell the useless items in your house on the internet. Doing this will not only give you some extra cash in hand, but it will also help you get rid of the unnecessary items in your house once and for all.

If you start to feel that your job is on the line, you should behave proactively and prepare in advance. Preparing can help you a lot for softening the process and let you plan how you are going to deal with this both emotionally and financially.  Below you can find steps which will help you overcome this situation.

1. Shorter Conversations with the manager

Subtle personality changes can be extremely informative. Everyone experiences off days now and then, but pay attention if you notice a string of off days coming from your boss where you’re concerned. If you once enjoyed a friendly relationship with your supervisor but have noticed them growing increasingly distant, this may be a red flag. 

2. You aren’t receiving new assignments

After working at place for a while, you become familiar with the ebb and flow of your workload. When you start to notice that times that were once busy for you are now stagnant, you should be on high alert. Your manager may be reallocating your duties to others in the wake of your impending absence.

3. Employees ask you to train them

Being asked to teach other people how to perform tasks that only you are responsible for is usually a clear sign that you should be weary. When you’ve been solely responsible for tasks for a while and now you’re being asked to share your knowledge, this may be a bad sign. Maybe you’ve noticed coworkers who once showed little interest in how you complete tasks asking questions about your processes or your boss has directly asked you to train someone.

4. No invitation to staff meetings

Finding yourself not invited to meetings after you’ve typically been asked to attend is a major signal. This may be especially significant if you notice people in your department or who share your grade are being invited while you’re excluded — especially if they typically weren’t invited in the past. Being shut out never feels good, and sometimes it can be extremely telling.

5. Start being proactive

Be around your boss more often and offer to help him with his/her tasks. If your boss doesn’t want your help, then, ask other managers if they need help. Don’t sit on your corner all day long. Be visible and show that you are willing to help and perform the given tasks. Maybe another department manager sees your value and takes you to his/her own team.

The moment you find out that there is nothing you can do to save your current job, start hunting for a new job. You can attend networking and corporate events, talk to people in your own industry, and update your resume to apply for jobs. There are several online and offline recruitment agencies who can help you in your job hunt. Apply early and go for as many interviews as you can. This way you’ll know how many companies are hiring and you’ll have a better understanding of the market conditions. The most important thing, however, is to not panic, and believe that this too shall pass. See where you went wrong in your current job and make sure to not repeat the same mistakes in the future.

Is your job security at risk? Remember: There’s no point in panicking. Instead, take a deep breath, tidy up your resume, and brush up on your interview skills. Keep your head up and your movement forward.

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.businessinsider.com/signs-losing-job-security-at-risk-2019-10
https://yourstory.com/2017/05/job-at-risk

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/289672

Overcoming Negativity in the Workplace

Negativity takes a toll on many aspects of the workplace. It affects everything from engagement to productivity, and even affects employee retention. No one likes to work in a toxic work environment, period. Combating negativity is not an insurmountable challenge; you just have to go about it in a strategic manner. The days of gathering around the water cooler have moved online, adding another challenge as people can hide behind screens and think less about the impact of their words and actions.

Workplace negativity disrupts productivity. It creates a place where employees dread coming to work, and employees who harbour negative attitudes about work can be toxic workers with performance issues. Employees who continually express negative opinions about the company and their co-workers may need strict counselling to modify their behaviour and attitudes. Attention to employee dissatisfaction is a sure way to overcome negativity in the workplace, however. Giving employees the opportunity to express their feelings about the workplace and helping them resolve issues that cause negativity are effective management methods.

How is it that just one discordant colleague, a single voice of negativity in a business unit or project team that is upbeat and enthusiastic, can cast such a long shadow on group morale? How does one bad apple always seem to spoil the whole bunch?

The power of bad also explains why it is so hard to sustain innovation over the long term, even when things are going well. It turns out that the impact on morale of even a small setback — a project that goes over budget, a product that does not deliver particularly well — can overwhelm all the successes that surround it. In order to overcome a setback, it usually needs 4 good things to happen.

Researchers have documented the positive impact of “social support” — friends, colleagues, neighbours who pump you up and cheer you on. Researchers have also documented the negative impact of “social undermining” — people who gossip, carry grudges, and otherwise bring you down. Not surprisingly, “Social undermining was found to have a bigger impact than social support.” So leaders with great ideas and good intentions won’t stand a chance of succeeding unless they are going to remove the bad apples within their department or organisation.

No Criticism, but Education

Too often our reaction to seeing or experiencing a negative or unfavourable behaviour is to do one of two things – ignore it or complain about it. These are natural reactions, yet they’re decidedly counterproductive. To make an impact and enact change, you have to take action and educate people. Call out negative actions when you see them, but remember that criticism isn’t taking action. You need to educate people on how they transform negative behaviours in a positive way.

Many negative behaviours are unintentional and go unnoticed by the individual. Frequent interrupters often don’t realize how disruptive they are. People making insensitive comments might think they’re being funny. Let them know how their behaviour is resulting in a negative impact. Show them the direct consequences of their actions and help them change. In the same line, be aware of your own behaviours and model positive actions whenever possible.

Speak Up

Take a stand against negativity and make your voice heard. You can’t create change by staying silent. Have conversations that address any negative behaviors you witness. Question why we’re allowing those negative behaviors to happen in the first place. Just because a negative action has been allowed or people have looked the other way in the past doesn’t mean it has to be that way forever. Have the difficult conversations. Stand up for what you believe in and push for change.

Don’t Address the Problem On your own

If you observe negative behaviour, chances are you aren’t the only one witnessing it. Find others who are willing to speak up. One voice makes a ripple, a group of voices creates waves, and many voices produce a tsunami. Find as many people as you can – there’s strength in numbers. Use that power in numbers to drive change at a faster pace. The more people you can get to be on the lookout for negative behaviours, the quicker you’ll see the changes in the workplace.

Ultimately, the good news is that bad news doesn’t have to drag down your company or your team. But it does require all of us, as executives, entrepreneurs, and change agents, to infuse well-designed strategies with a healthy dose of psychology. In business, as in life, it’s hard to get to the good unless you overcome the power of bad.

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://smallbusiness.chron.com/overcome-negativity-workplace-11532.html
https://www.forbes.com/sites/ashiraprossack1/2018/07/24/how-to-overcome-negativity-in-the-workplace/#19a519f641fe
https://trainingindustry.com/articles/strategy-alignment-and-planning/5-ways-to-overcome-negativity-in-the-workplace/

The Disadvantages of Business Ethics Worldwide

Ethical compliance within an organisation is done for the benefit of the company and the employees. A well-crafted ethical compliance policy will help you and your employees make day-to-day decisions that advance your business goals without venturing over to the “dark side.” The use of ethical standards can both reduce the chances of a workplace lawsuit and help to create a positive work environment.

Reputation is one of the most valuable assets a firm can have. Leaders, managers, and employees care about their social reputation: They want to be seen as competent, generous, efficient, honest, and fair. However, an emerging body of research suggests that focusing too much on reputation can sometimes have a negative effect: Attempts to maintain the appearance of doing what’s morally right can lead decision makers to engage in various wrongs.

Take, for example, the Hallmark Channel’s stance on an advertisement it recently ran, featuring two brides kissing at the altar. After receiving public pressure from an advocacy group, Hallmark decided to stop running the ad because the brand did not wish to be “divisive” or “generate controversy.” However, this desire to appear impartial and stay out of the fray conflicted with the organisation’s stated value of “helping all people connect.” In an attempt to preserve its reputation for inclusivity, Hallmark ended up creating division.

Another example is represented by the events that led up to the great economic recession in 2008 and 2009 have placed a renewed emphasis on business ethics. Questionable financial reporting, inflated executive compensation and worthless public assurances undermined consumer and investor confidence and reignited the debate about whose interests a business should serve. While it seems that only good things should arise from business ethics, a business may be restricted in its freedom to maximise profit.

Companies increasingly recognise the need to commit to business ethics and measure their success by more than just profitability. This has led to the introduction of the triple bottom line, also known as “people, planet, profit.” Companies report on their financial, social and environmental performance. The Dow Jones Sustainability Index benchmarks companies who report their performance based on the triple bottom line. This type of performance reporting acknowledges that companies must make a profit to survive, but encourages ethical and sustainable business conduct.

Overall Management Strategy

One of the disadvantages of an ethical compliance program is that it requires the comprehensive support of management to be effective. If members of the management team decide to apply their own version of corporate ethics to the way they manage their departments, then this clash of principles can cause confusion in the workplace.

For example, a manager who tends to look the other way when his employees are committing sexual harassment sets a precedent that can start to undermine the entire corporate culture. As the ‘MeToo’ movement has made crystal clear, even with detailed policies in place, senior managers all too often act as if the rules do not apply to them.

Lack of Profit Maximisation

Developing, implementing and maintaining an ethics compliance program within your organization can be expensive and time-consuming. Ethics policies need to be continually updated to reflect changes in workplace laws and changes in your company culture as the organisation grows.

Proper administration of an ethics program often requires the hiring of an ethics officer and the commitment of company financial and personnel resources. Companies with international activities not only have to adhere to domestic laws in the United States, but have to monitor compliance with the laws and norms of behaviour in other legal systems and other cultures.

Another example in this category is, having factories in developing countries can reduce costs. This is because companies can have practices in place, such as child labour and low wages, which help to maximise profit. But although these practices are legal in those countries, they’re also incredibly unethical and will obviously never be tolerated by a company following ethical practices.

Improvements in working conditions, such as providing workers with living wage and having proper health and safety standards in place, are ethical but raises the amount it costs to run these factories. This, in turn, reduces profit which might not be an issue for large companies who can afford to allocate costs. But it can be an issue for small businesses, especially if they’re evolving.

Luckily, there are many different ways to operate ethically so companies can choose the ethical practices and approaches that best suit them. For example, advertising can considerably boost a company’s brand awareness. If you choose an outdoor print solution from a print specialist who can produce these products ethically, you can boost your reputation among your target audience even more.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:
https://blog.dominionprint.com/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-business-ethics-in-the-real-world
https://smallbusiness.chron.com/advantages-disadvantages-business-ethics-10414.html
https://hbr.org/2020/02/research-the-downsides-of-trying-to-appear-ethical

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