Businesses need to stop ignoring HR business partners

“The uniform is itchy. We keep giving that feedback but no-one pays any attention.” This was the response from one of the bank cashiers I spoke to during a branch visit.

I gave this feedback back at headquarters and one of the HR people actually laughed. This captured the unfortunate yet all too common response I get while feeding back such insights from the front line.

If you have a vested interest in the success of the organisation then this example typifies a moment of truth that either creates or destroys value.

As a stakeholder you hope for several things. Firstly, that your frontline staff smile, engage and ‘care for’ the customer while being in an itchy uniform. The customer also hopes that the person serving them will be well mannered, courteous and efficient.

Second, the shareholder hopes that a positive in-branch interaction means the customer is likely to want to take on additional banking services from them.

The leadership team hopes that the employee is living the values and is aligned to some (costly and likely well thought-through) corporate vision and mission.

The community is also hoping all this works out as they’ve been promised a small slice of profits for important local services.

All of these stakeholder dreams are not actually achievable, mainly because of two things. Firstly, the uniform was procured through a brilliant process that smashed down the supplier who agreed to the bank’s terms but was only able to do so with a poor-quality material.

Secondly, the staff have been giving this feedback through surveys and their HR business partners, who do care, but no-one is listening to them.

While we’re in ‘moment of truth’ stuff I’ll share a couple of my (generalised) truths. HR business partners don’t feel like business partners. They often feel that they want to be seen and involved in a way that’s still aspirational for many. Most feel that they are still seen as personnel and invited to meetings often because their internal clients have to be perceived to be taking them seriously.

But are they involved in really important conversations to do with strategy? Are they consulted with matters of growth? Is it because they are not good enough? The answer to each of these is negative.

My second moment of truth is that others in the meeting often feel that the HR business partner doesn’t add value. Do they involve them? Do they tap into their deep organisational knowledge and know-how? Again the answer is no. And here we have a heated conflict.

The same can be said for L&D, who can get frustrated when they put on lots of courses and programmes and people don’t properly utilise them. The people feel that blockers and poor managers stand in their way of accessing the development they really want.

Truth be told, most people don’t really have a clue what they want anyway.

Thankfully there is a solution to this. There is a fundamental disconnection between ‘functions’. Most people in most functions, especially HR and HRBPs, would find it hard to talk to me about the commercial and operational aspects of the client, team or department(s) they support. But this is the very thing that builds both credibility and trust with the leaders of those teams.

Everyone wants to feel understood, that goes for CEOs as much as for cashiers.

As HR professionals we have to try to understand the operation better than the operation understands itself. That’s always been my goal. Once I’m there, or close to being there, I can engage and most importantly truly empathise with the people in that role.

Practically speaking, taking the time to understand operations should be 20% to 40% of your time if you’re in HR. One to two days a week should be spent deep in the operation learning not just what your customer wants, but what your customer’s customer wants.

If this was more broadly understood then the itchiness of the uniform would not only have been of utmost importance in getting the feedback up the line, but it would have been listened to and acted upon because the messenger was a trusted and true business partner.

Value will have been created not destroyed. Happy staff, happy customer, happy shareholders, happy leaders, and a happy community.

Source :https://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/article-details/businesses-need-to-stop-ignoring-hrbps

Do you have a coronavirus outbreak plan for employees

It’s hard to not hear the word coronavirus or pandemic in the news over the past month. As cases of the virus continue to multiply across the world, now is the time for employers in the U.S. and around the world to create, revise or review an infectious disease plan, and most importantly share it with employees before it hits close to home.Employers have a responsibility to keep their employees safe while helping to reduce panic in the wake of a pandemic. While not all organizations have an outbreak plan in place, most have a disaster-preparedness plan on file which can be a great guide to build upon.Virus information can be found online in abundance, but it’s important to use trusted sources, like the CDC and the World Health Organization sites provide daily updates and specific information for businesses on any disease-related issues from guidelines and FAQs to strategies and prevention steps individuals can take. For HR Teams, SHRM has an informative page on their site around how to prepare the workplace for a communicable disease outbreak.Topics or situations to consider when building a plan:
Creating a cross-functional emergency team
Identifying workplace safety precautions – including deep cleaning
Enforcing employee travel restrictions
Encouraging sick employees to stay home
Reporting exposure – such as employees reporting to employers and employers reporting to public health authorities
Employee quarantine or isolation details
Facility shutdowns, if necessary
As the U.S. braces for greater impact, being prepared is best. If you haven’t already, consider implementing an outbreak strategy soon. By informing employees, you can help decrease the spread of the virus and reduce the impact it has on workplace operations.

Source : https://www.humanresourcestoday.com/?open-article-id=13172219&article-title=do-you-have-a-coronavirus-outbreak-plan-for-employees-&blog-domain=engage2excel.com&blog-title=engage2excel

Six Ways To Support Your Workforce Through Times Of Uncertainty

Over the past 16 months I interviewed over 140 CEOs around the world from companies like Audi, MasterCard, Unilever, Best Buy, Oracle, Kaiser, Verizon, and dozens of others. This was all done as part of research for my new book, The Future Leader, which examines what it will take to be a leader in 2030 and beyond. One of the questions I asked all of these CEOs was around the greatest trends shaping the future of leadership.

These are the six trends that identify what will play a major role in shaping future leaders over the next decade and beyond. It’s true that we are seeing these in action today but over the next ten years they will be front and center.

When I asked CEOs what they viewed as the biggest trends impacting leadership, the most common answer I received was the growth of artificial intelligence and technology. It’s no secret that technology is evolving at a breathtaking pace. Artificial intelligence has the power to completely transform how businesses operate and people work. But with the excitement of AI and new technology comes fear and uncertainty. It’s up to leaders to assuage those fears by looking for ways to implement AI that adds to employees instead of replacing their jobs. Leaders need to calm fears and remain positive about new technology. They need to be well-versed on AI and experiment with new technologies so they can help others understand the potential impact on their jobs.

As Christian Ulbrich, the CEO of JLL, one of the world’s largest commercial real estate firms with almost 100,000 employees around the world told me. “We will succeed in the digital era only if we engage with enthusiasm and welcome the ideas and opportunities that digital tools, data analysis, and new technologies will bring.”

Pace of Change
Right alongside the growth of AI and technology is the overall pace of change. How we live and work is drastically different today from what it was five years ago—let alone 20 or 30 years ago. Change surrounds us in the form of climate change, globalization, diversity, and dozens of other things. Change is constant and has always happened. What’s different about today is the rate at which change occurs. To be successful, organizations must be constantly looking forward, and leaders must lean in and embrace change instead of shying away. Future leaders need to be agile, easily adaptable, and comfortable challenging the status quo.

Purpose and Meaning
While companies used to be able to easily attract top talent with the promise of a high salary, that’s no longer the case. Employees now want to work for an organization that offers purpose and meaning, and they’re even willing to take a pay cut to get it. Purpose is the reason for an organization’s existence and often includes things like investing in employees, making a difference in the world, or driving innovation. Meaning is the personal impact of each employee’s work. Employees want to see that their efforts are impactful and contributing to the overall purpose of the company. To set the example, leaders must first understand their own job, purpose, impact, and meaning before helping their employees do the same. They need to get to know employees individually to understand what motivates them.

Before he passed away suddenly, I had the opportunity to speak with Bernard Tyson, the former Chairman and CEO of Kaiser, which is one of America’s leading healthcare providers that employees over 200,000 employees. He told me: “Companies of the future can no longer think that they can just exist … significant companies of the future cannot just exist in this little bread box, in this isolated place. We are a part of greater society and a greater society is a part of us. I think the trend of when and how we engage in the bigger societal issues will continue to be a part of the future of leadership.”

New Talent Landscape
Recent years have brought tremendous change to the overall talent landscape, and it’s only just beginning. As older employees retire and younger generations enter the workforce, many companies find themselves on the constant hunt for skilled employees. At the same time, diversity and inclusion are becoming even more important. The new talent landscape is more than just changing demographics; it’s a new approach to attracting and retaining talent while also training and upskilling employees to be prepared for the future of work. Leaders of the future should strive to develop diverse teams and create an inclusive environment. They need to invest in upskilling employees while also finding ways to involve older employees and motivating employees of all ages to take control of their own career development.

Morality, Ethics, and Transparency
Gone are the days of controlling leaders trying to be the smartest person in the room. A recent push for morality, ethics, and transparency has led to more authentic and humble leaders. Companies with ethical foundations perform better financially and have higher customer and employee satisfaction. These types of organizations are created by moral leaders. At the same time, leaders are being put under a microscope as people demand transparency. Leaders can no longer hide behind their title—they must be open and honest to their companies and the public. Leaders of the future must determine their own moral compasses and have a strong sense of their personal beliefs. Simply standing still is no longer good enough; leaders need to take a stand and be as transparent and authentic as possible.

Globalization
As technology grows, the world becomes more connected and seems smaller. Each country used to be its own economy, but now we can work with and communicate instantly with people all over the world. All businesses are now global and have the potential for worldwide employees and customers. Globalization brings complex geo-political issues and great opportunities to collaborate and share cultures. Future leaders need to embrace globalization by becoming global citizens who appreciate different cultures and know how to communicate across cultural and language barriers. Foreign ideas should be viewed as opportunities, not fear-filled challenges. Leaders of the future need to pay attention to global issues and understand what is happening around the world.

Future-ready leaders need to understand trends and adapt their leadership approach for changes in the way we think, work, and live. These six trends will be crucial for leaders in coming years.

Source : https://www.cornerstoneondemand.com/rework/6-ways-support-your-workforce-through-times-uncertainty

 

How to Work With Someone Who’s Disengaged

If you love your job, consider yourself lucky. According to global estimates, just 13% of people are engaged at work, which contributes to a huge productivity loss. In the United States alone, disengagement costs the economy around $500 billion every year (that is roughly the size of the global beer industry). These estimates are based on a simple calculation, namely scaling the average differences in productivity between engaged and disengaged workers.

Engagement can be interpreted as a broad indicator of how motivated an employee is at work. This means low engagement levels can be expected to play a significant role in driving the massive loss in productivity we are seeing worldwide. Employee performance is as much the result of a person’s motivation as it of their talent or ability. But while companies are relatively good at hiring for talent, especially when talent can be equated to hard skills or past experience, they are generally less apt at hiring for soft skills, including motivational traits. A candidate could seem to have high potential on paper or during an interview but fail to live up to it on the job.

Industrial-organizational psychologists (like myself) have long been aware of this issue, described as the problematic gap between a person’s maximal and typical performance. When engagement is high, there’s very little difference between the two — meaning people are performing at their best on a regular basis. But when engagement is low, maximal performance (or the best a person can do) is rarely on display.

Given that disengaged employees represent 87% of the workforce, this is not a problem that can be avoided or ignored. Chances are you will work with (or on) a team that has disengaged employees at some point in your career. You will be more likely to succeed if you develop the skills to channel their lack of motivation into a productive force.

Here are few simple recommendations to boost your ability to collaborate with disengaged (or less motivated) colleagues:

What Not To Do
Don’t make assumptions about their performance. Although the relationship between engagement and performance is consistent and positive, it is far from perfect. In any organization, at any given time, some disengaged employees and leaders will perform rather well, while their engaged counterparts will perform rather poorly. In other words, there is no need to be dramatic or have a catastrophic reaction when you are working with (and even for) people who are disengaged: statistically, they are likely to underperform, but that doesn’t mean that they cannot perform adequately or even highly. As the Norwegians say: “There is no bad weather, just the wrong choice of clothing.” When dealing with people, a similar rule applies: bad predictions are a bigger problem than bad people.

Don’t force an employee to be someone who they are not. Low levels of engagement (the term organizations use for motivation) often reflect people’s personality and values rather than their motivational state, as recent meta-analytic studies show. Just like some people are temperamentally happy or optimistic while others are moody, grumpy, or pessimistic — some employees are prewired to be more critical, cynical, and disengaged than others. These feeling often manifest as a lack of enthusiasm, particularly if the employee is disinterested in faking happiness. Expecting an employee who is prone to disengagement to act in a happy and exciting way is like forcing them to be someone who they or not. Try your best to be realistic about what people are able to deliver.

Don’t get emotional. Work is work, and what matters most is that people deliver. This is particularly true for disengaged employees, who will respond and cooperate more if you stick to a transactional style of communication. Keep things formal, concrete, and focus on the task, rather than trying to appeal to their emotions. Don’t expect to win their hearts and minds. Enlist them instead in task-oriented activities, operating within the formalities of the organizational structure and explicit performance indicators they have.

Don’t assign people tasks outside their areas of expertise. Performance is always the result of ability and motivation. When motivation is low, ability can compensate, and vice-versa. This is why even disengaged employees can still do something they are skilled or experienced at fairly well. They may even deliver great results despite being on autopilot. A much bigger issue, however, is when disengaged employees are out of their depth of experience. In such cases, you won’t be able to rely on their willingness to compensate through energy, hard-work, or persistence so as to get better.

What To Do
Use extrinsic rather than intrinsic motivation. People tend to perform better when they are intrinsically motivated — or when they truly and deeply care about the activity in question, to the point of losing themselves in the work and experiencing a state of flow. But for most employees this is an exception rather than a norm. While highly engaged workers may not need a reason to perform to the best of their capabilities, and tend to give 100% even if you don’t spend much time motivating them, disengaged workers are more likely to wait for your orders, and need to be extrinsically motivated. This means using sticks and carrots and being clear about the reasons your employee should bother making an effort with the task at hand.

Focus on what they value. Engagement is largely about bringing your whole self to work, as originally conceptualized by William Kahn, who, when first introducing the term 30 years ago, equated high engagement as a psychological condition characterized by narrow distance between a person’s self and their work persona. This explains why people become disengaged when their beliefs and values don’t match those of their employer.

However, this also doesn’t mean you can’t engage them. In fact, if you are a manager or leader your main role is to figure out what each person on your team values in order to establish a meaningful relationship with them. Doing so will help you connect organizational needs with each person’s unique motivations and systems of meaning. Unsurprisingly, direct line supervisors are one of the major drivers of engagement (and disengagement). But the same logic applies to peer-to-peer relationships. If you want to gain a disengaged team member’s trust and respect, you need to first understand who they are and speak to their interests. Pay extra attention to what makes them tick and note their consistent pattern of behaviors.

Respect people’s space. From an ethical standpoint, you should respect people’s desire to keep a healthy distance between their work and private self and be relatively uninvested (at least in a spiritual sense) in their careers. After all, at least for most people, there is more to life than work, and people’s personal lives often impact their work-related performance and engagement.

Though most of the disengaged employees surveyed in Gallup and other consulting firms are highly skilled and work in global firms, one can whether there will ever be enough jobs out there to engage the vast majority of the workforce. Maybe engagement is more of an aspiration or privilege for those who are lucky enough to land attractive employment.

If organizations are genuinely interested in improving productivity, then, one would surely expect them to consider it from a diversity and inclusion perspective and accept that personal circumstances as well as people’s own style and disposition may interfere with the cult-like level of engagement they aspire to build in their workforce. There is such a thing as setting expectations too high, and when you do, you risk nurturing a culture of conformity, suppressing creative and critical thinking, and causing burnout.

To conclude, it is not enough to attempt to boost employee engagement levels, and if we look at the evidence there is not much that suggests we are making systematic progress in this field, since engagement levels have remained low — and even decreased — in the past decade. This is why it is just as important to figure out how to work with and manage people who are disengaged. Ultimately, it’s what people deliver that matters most.

Source : https://hbr.org/2020/03/how-to-work-with-someone-whos-disengaged

Six Trends Shaping Future Leaders

Over the past 16 months I interviewed over 140 CEOs around the world from companies like Audi, MasterCard, Unilever, Best Buy, Oracle, Kaiser, Verizon, and dozens of others. This was all done as part of research for my new book, The Future Leader, which examines what it will take to be a leader in 2030 and beyond. One of the questions I asked all of these CEOs was around the greatest trends shaping the future of leadership.

These are the six trends that identify what will play a major role in shaping future leaders over the next decade and beyond. It’s true that we are seeing these in action today but over the next ten years they will be front and center.

When I asked CEOs what they viewed as the biggest trends impacting leadership, the most common answer I received was the growth of artificial intelligence and technology. It’s no secret that technology is evolving at a breathtaking pace. Artificial intelligence has the power to completely transform how businesses operate and people work. But with the excitement of AI and new technology comes fear and uncertainty. It’s up to leaders to assuage those fears by looking for ways to implement AI that adds to employees instead of replacing their jobs. Leaders need to calm fears and remain positive about new technology. They need to be well-versed on AI and experiment with new technologies so they can help others understand the potential impact on their jobs.

As Christian Ulbrich, the CEO of JLL, one of the world’s largest commercial real estate firms with almost 100,000 employees around the world told me. “We will succeed in the digital era only if we engage with enthusiasm and welcome the ideas and opportunities that digital tools, data analysis, and new technologies will bring.”

Pace of Change
Right alongside the growth of AI and technology is the overall pace of change. How we live and work is drastically different today from what it was five years ago—let alone 20 or 30 years ago. Change surrounds us in the form of climate change, globalization, diversity, and dozens of other things. Change is constant and has always happened. What’s different about today is the rate at which change occurs. To be successful, organizations must be constantly looking forward, and leaders must lean in and embrace change instead of shying away. Future leaders need to be agile, easily adaptable, and comfortable challenging the status quo.

Purpose and Meaning
While companies used to be able to easily attract top talent with the promise of a high salary, that’s no longer the case. Employees now want to work for an organization that offers purpose and meaning, and they’re even willing to take a pay cut to get it. Purpose is the reason for an organization’s existence and often includes things like investing in employees, making a difference in the world, or driving innovation. Meaning is the personal impact of each employee’s work. Employees want to see that their efforts are impactful and contributing to the overall purpose of the company. To set the example, leaders must first understand their own job, purpose, impact, and meaning before helping their employees do the same. They need to get to know employees individually to understand what motivates them.

Before he passed away suddenly, I had the opportunity to speak with Bernard Tyson, the former Chairman and CEO of Kaiser, which is one of America’s leading healthcare providers that employees over 200,000 employees. He told me: “Companies of the future can no longer think that they can just exist … significant companies of the future cannot just exist in this little bread box, in this isolated place. We are a part of greater society and a greater society is a part of us. I think the trend of when and how we engage in the bigger societal issues will continue to be a part of the future of leadership.”

New Talent Landscape
Recent years have brought tremendous change to the overall talent landscape, and it’s only just beginning. As older employees retire and younger generations enter the workforce, many companies find themselves on the constant hunt for skilled employees. At the same time, diversity and inclusion are becoming even more important. The new talent landscape is more than just changing demographics; it’s a new approach to attracting and retaining talent while also training and upskilling employees to be prepared for the future of work. Leaders of the future should strive to develop diverse teams and create an inclusive environment. They need to invest in upskilling employees while also finding ways to involve older employees and motivating employees of all ages to take control of their own career development.

Morality, Ethics, and Transparency
Gone are the days of controlling leaders trying to be the smartest person in the room. A recent push for morality, ethics, and transparency has led to more authentic and humble leaders. Companies with ethical foundations perform better financially and have higher customer and employee satisfaction. These types of organizations are created by moral leaders. At the same time, leaders are being put under a microscope as people demand transparency. Leaders can no longer hide behind their title—they must be open and honest to their companies and the public. Leaders of the future must determine their own moral compasses and have a strong sense of their personal beliefs. Simply standing still is no longer good enough; leaders need to take a stand and be as transparent and authentic as possible.

Globalization
As technology grows, the world becomes more connected and seems smaller. Each country used to be its own economy, but now we can work with and communicate instantly with people all over the world. All businesses are now global and have the potential for worldwide employees and customers. Globalization brings complex geo-political issues and great opportunities to collaborate and share cultures. Future leaders need to embrace globalization by becoming global citizens who appreciate different cultures and know how to communicate across cultural and language barriers. Foreign ideas should be viewed as opportunities, not fear-filled challenges. Leaders of the future need to pay attention to global issues and understand what is happening around the world.

Future-ready leaders need to understand trends and adapt their leadership approach for changes in the way we think, work, and live. These six trends will be crucial for leaders in coming years.

Source : https://www.hrexchangenetwork.com/hr-talent-management/articles/6-trends-shaping-future-leaders

What’s Your Company’s Emergency Remote-Work Plan?

This week, the coronavirus (or Covid-19) took a more serious turn in the U.S. with warnings that it could very well impact how, when, and where we work:

“Disruption to everyday life may be severe,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, cautioned at a news conference Tuesday. “Schools could be closed, mass public gatherings suspended, and businesses forced to have employees work remotely.”

The global spread of the virus may be a moment that reveals whether employers are ready to respond rapidly to unexpected workplace changes. Business travel could decrease or come to a full stop. More employees may need to work outside of local “business hours” and use video conferencing to operate across time zones. And, if it gets bad enough, many could indeed be asked, or request, to work remotely.

Are organizations ready? Chances are probably not. But even for those open to rethinking how the work would get done, are they ready for the inevitable post-crisis question: “Why don’t we do this all the time?”

How do you prepare your organization to not only flexibly respond to this potential disruption, but also to use it as an opportunity to reimagine work broadly? Here are five steps to get started:

Acknowledge the possibility that all or part of your workforce may need to work remotely.
Hoping and praying it doesn’t happen, or simply ignoring it, is not a strategy. Neither is handing everyone a laptop and saying “Go work someplace else” on the day they expand wide-scale quarantines. Plan as if the only way to remain operational will be for as many employees as possible to work remotely. Gather a cross-functional team together now that includes business-line leaders, IT, HR, communications, and facilities to start to plan for different scenarios and optimize execution, should circumstances require a rapid response.

Map out jobs and tasks that could be affected.
Note which roles and duties: 1) Can be done, even partially, without a physical presence in the workplace, 2) Cannot be done, even somewhat, outside of the physical office, and 3) Not sure.

Challenge any potentially inaccurate default assumptions about specific jobs you may have thought couldn’t be done remotely. And for those in the “not sure” column, be willing to experiment. For example, for years, I’ve been told, “Administrative assistants can’t work flexibly.” And, for years, I’ve worked with teams of administrative assistants to prove that is not true. Yes, certain tasks they complete require physical presence, but those can be planned for. The majority of their tasks can happen effectively outside of the traditional model of work and benefit the business.

Audit available IT hardware and software, and close any gaps in access and adoption.
Assess the comfort level with specific applications, such as video conferencing and other collaboration/communication platforms. Where you find gaps, provide training and opportunities for practice before people need to use them. Real-time mastery is not optimal and is inefficient. Identify devices owned by the organization that people could use and clarify acceptable “bring your own” phone and laptop options. Determine if there are any data-security issues to consider and how best to address them beforehand.

Set up a communications protocol in advance.
This communications plan needs to outline: how to reach everybody (e.g., all contact information in one place, primary communication channels clarified — email, IM, Slack, etc.); how employees are expected to respond to customers; and how and when teams will coordinate and meet.

Identify ways to measure performance that could inform broader change.
After the flexible response period is over, this data will allow you to reflect on what worked, what didn’t, and why. The data will also prepare you in advance to answer the inevitable question once the crisis has passed, “Why don’t we do this all the time?” Depending upon the outcomes, you may decide to continue certain aspects of the flexible response permanently. For example, perhaps you cut business travel by 25% and substitute video conferencing. You determine afterward that about 80% of those meetings were equally as effective virtually. Therefore, a 20% decrease in business travel will continue, but this time as part of the organization’s sustainability strategy to cut carbon emissions.

Global health emergencies, like Covid-19, are scary, disruptive, and confusing for everyone. And if you plan and nothing happens? Then, at minimum, you have an organized, flexible work disaster response ready the next time there’s a challenge to operational continuity, which chances are, there will be.

Source : https://hbr.org/2020/02/whats-your-companys-emergency-remote-work-plan?ab=hero-main-text

How To Leverage Gamification In Millennial Employee Training

The millennial generation is said to be one of the most challenging and challenged in human history. People born in the early 80s have witnessed unbelievable changes in a short span of time. An increasing number of electric cars roam our streets, the eLearning industry is flourishing, and mobile devices have changed the way people interact with information and each other. These changes have transposed growth mentalities onto millennial employees and have pushed back the limits of impossibility.

With a world of knowledge at our fingertips, we are beginning to imagine a new workforce – one that combines fun and function in a new, exciting, and engaging way. This is what gamification seeks to do: redefine employee training for millennials in a way that satisfies this generation’s hunger for self-development.
What is Gamification?
Two terms are being tossed around in the employee training sphere: gamification and game-based learning. These two are often confused as meaning one and the same thing. While both stem from the same root, in reality, they couldn’t be more different. Gamification refers to bringing game elements into an existing training module. Game-based-learning refers to games that are being developed with both fun and learning in mind.

Gamification brings game design elements into the training course. Badges, points systems, leaderboards, and avatars are a few of the ingredients needed for transforming employee learning into a gaming experience. Over the last few years, organizations have used gamification for various purposes:

– Simplifying and fast-tracking the hiring process
– Onboarding new employees
– Increasing staff retention rates
– Increasing employee knowledge-retention rates
– Heightening job satisfaction
Gamification in Millennial Employee Training
To understand why gamification and game-based learning are so important for the millennial workforce, we first need to understand the defining millennial characteristics. This generation was born with a joystick in their hands and was the first to explore online methods of socialization. According to one study, millennials, also known as Generation Y, have very different life-work values when compared to their predecessors.

– 89% of millennials want a fun and social workplace
– 85% of millennials believe they are faster than older co-workers, due to their high proficiency with technology
– 89% of millennials believe their work should provide constant learning opportunities
– Three-fourths of millennials believe that they would ‘level-up’ faster than other co-workers if the work environment was game-based
– One-quarter of millennials report complete job satisfaction

Three-fourths of millennials believe that they would ‘level-up’ faster than other co-workers if the work environment was game-based

By analyzing the keywords ‘game’, ‘fun’, ‘social workplace’, ‘faster’, and ‘constant learning’, it is clear that millennials place value on things like work-life balance, job satisfaction, and fitting returns. Using gamification in learning will help captivate millennial employees’ attention and satisfy their need for learning through play.
Tips for Including Gamification in Employee Training
Training for millennial employees yields better results when combined with gamification and game-based learning. But, incorporating game design elements for gamification can be a challenging endeavor. Professional instructional designers and training content creators usually work together to determine what specific elements to include, based on business and employee needs. The following are five easy steps toward successful eLearning gamification implementation.

1. Learning Path Personalization
Learning path personalization implies that the learner must have choices. And, since millennial workers are big on choice variety, it is a great idea to include personalization when designing your course. This will allow users to choose their own storylines, customize their avatars, and play the same level as many times as needed until they succeed.

2. Anytime/Anywhere Access
Mobile devices help us access virtually any type of information, in any amount, and on any subject. So, why not use them to educate our staff? Most millennials today pride themselves as tech-savvy workers. Empowering them by allowing anytime/anywhere access, from any device, will make employees feel appreciated and trusted.

3. Life-Based Scenarios
The beauty of a gamification-based learning experience is that you can include real-life scenarios. Learners can retake any course level as many times as needed until they learn what they need from it. They can practice job-related scenarios and find the best possible solution, then immediately apply it in their work.

4. Collaborative Play
eLearning gamification can also allow multiplayer modes. This means that learners can choose to play in a collaborative environment. Learning through collaboration helps deepen the content presented, find quicker and better solutions, and increases learner engagement with the training program.

5. Give Feedback
Millennial team members are known for thriving on employer feedback. An interactive gamification-based eLearning course allows an on-point exchange of feedback between you and your employees. Gamification and game-based learning models facilitate the creation of efficient feedback loops.
Conclusion
Integrating gamification in millennial employee training is definitely a step that requires serious consideration. Thinking about your budget, business, and employee needs, you might find that hiring a professional gamification developer is your best option.

Source: https://www.hr.com/en/magazines/training_development_excellence_essentials/february_2020_training_development/how-to-leverage-gamification-in-millennial-employe_k69fo97x.html

Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time

Before participants in our program begin to explore ways to increase their physical energy, they take an energy audit, which includes four questions in each energy dimension—body, emotions, mind, and spirit. (See the exhibit “Are You Headed for an Energy Crisis?”) On average, participants get eight to ten of those 16 questions “wrong,” meaning they’re doing things such as skipping breakfast, failing to express appreciation to others, struggling to focus on one thing at a time, or spending too little time on activities that give them a sense of purpose. While most participants aren’t surprised to learn these behaviors are counterproductive, having them all listed in one place is often uncomfortable, sobering, and galvanizing. The audit highlights employees’ greatest energy deficits. Participants also fill out charts designed to raise their awareness about how their exercise, diet, and sleep practices influence their energy levels.

Are You Headed for an Energy Crisis?

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The next step is to identify rituals for building and renewing physical energy. When Gary Faro, a vice president at Wachovia, began the program, he was significantly overweight, ate poorly, lacked a regular exercise routine, worked long hours, and typically slept no more than five or six hours a night. That is not an unusual profile among the leaders and managers we see. Over the course of the program, Faro began regular cardiovascular and strength training. He started going to bed at a designated time and sleeping longer. He changed his eating habits from two big meals a day (“Where I usually gorged myself,” he says) to smaller meals and light snacks every three hours. The aim was to help him stabilize his glucose levels over the course of the day, avoiding peaks and valleys. He lost 50 pounds in the process, and his energy levels soared. “I used to schedule tough projects for the morning, when I knew that I would be more focused,” Faro says. “I don’t have to do that anymore because I find that I’m just as focused now at 5 pm as I am at 8 am.”

Another key ritual Faro adopted was to take brief but regular breaks at specific intervals throughout the workday—always leaving his desk. The value of such breaks is grounded in our physiology. “Ultradian rhythms” refer to 90- to 120-minute cycles during which our bodies slowly move from a high-energy state into a physiological trough. Toward the end of each cycle, the body begins to crave a period of recovery. The signals include physical restlessness, yawning, hunger, and difficulty concentrating, but many of us ignore them and keep working. The consequence is that our energy reservoir—our remaining capacity—burns down as the day wears on.

Intermittent breaks for renewal, we have found, result in higher and more sustainable performance. The length of renewal is less important than the quality. It is possible to get a great deal of recovery in a short time—as little as several minutes—if it involves a ritual that allows you to disengage from work and truly change channels. That could range from getting up to talk to a colleague about something other than work, to listening to music on an iPod, to walking up and down stairs in an office building. While breaks are countercultural in most organizations and counterintuitive for many high achievers, their value is multifaceted.
Matthew Lang is a managing director for Sony in South Africa. He adopted some of the same rituals that Faro did, including a 20-minute walk in the afternoons. Lang’s walk not only gives him a mental and emotional breather and some exercise but also has become the time when he gets his best creative ideas. That’s because when he walks he is not actively thinking, which allows the dominant left hemisphere of his brain to give way to the right hemisphere with its greater capacity to see the big picture and make imaginative leaps.

The Emotions: Quality of Energy
When people are able to take more control of their emotions, they can improve the quality of their energy, regardless of the external pressures they’re facing. To do this, they first must become more aware of how they feel at various points during the workday and of the impact these emotions have on their effectiveness. Most people realize that they tend to perform best when they’re feeling positive energy. What they find surprising is that they’re not able to perform well or to lead effectively when they’re feeling any other way.

Unfortunately, without intermittent recovery, we’re not physiologically capable of sustaining highly positive emotions for long periods. Confronted with relentless demands and unexpected challenges, people tend to slip into negative emotions—the fight-or-flight mode—often multiple times in a day. They become irritable and impatient, or anxious and insecure. Such states of mind drain people’s energy and cause friction in their relationships. Fight-or-flight emotions also make it impossible to think clearly, logically, and reflectively. When executives learn to recognize what kinds of events trigger their negative emotions, they gain greater capacity to take control of their reactions.

ESSENTIAL BACKGROUND
Management Time: Who’s Got the Monkey?
COACHING FEATURE William Oncken, Jr. and Donald L. Wass
You probably spend far more time dealing with your employees’ problems than you realize.
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One simple but powerful ritual for defusing negative emotions is what we call “buying time.” Deep abdominal breathing is one way to do that. Exhaling slowly for five or six seconds induces relaxation and recovery, and turns off the fight-or-flight response. When we began working with Fujio Nishida, president of Sony Europe, he had a habit of lighting up a cigarette each time something especially stressful occurred—at least two or three times a day. Otherwise, he didn’t smoke. We taught him the breathing exercise as an alternative, and it worked immediately: Nishida found he no longer had the desire for a cigarette. It wasn’t the smoking that had given him relief from the stress, we concluded, but the relaxation prompted by the deep inhalation and exhalation.

A powerful ritual that fuels positive emotions is expressing appreciation to others, a practice that seems to be as beneficial to the giver as to the receiver. It can take the form of a handwritten note, an e-mail, a call, or a conversation—and the more detailed and specific, the higher the impact. As with all rituals, setting aside a particular time to do it vastly increases the chances of success. Ben Jenkins, vice chairman and president of the General Bank at Wachovia in Charlotte, North Carolina, built his appreciation ritual into time set aside for mentoring. He began scheduling lunches or dinners regularly with people who worked for him. Previously, the only sit-downs he’d had with his direct reports were to hear monthly reports on their numbers or to give them yearly performance reviews. Now, over meals, he makes it a priority to recognize their accomplishments and also to talk with them about their lives and their aspirations rather than their immediate work responsibilities.

Finally, people can cultivate positive emotions by learning to change thestories they tell themselves about the events in their lives. Often, people in conflict cast themselves in the role of victim, blaming others or external circumstances for their problems. Becoming aware of the difference between the facts in a given situation and the way we interpret those facts can be powerful in itself. It’s been a revelation for many of the people we work with to discover they have a choice about how to view a given event and to recognize how powerfully the story they tell influences the emotions they feel. We teach them to tell the most hopeful and personally empowering story possible in any given situation, without denying or minimizing the facts.

People can cultivate positive energy by learning to change the stories they tell themselves about the events in their lives. We teach them to tell the most hopeful stories possible.

The most effective way people can change a story is to view it through any of three new lenses, which are all alternatives to seeing the world from the victim perspective. With the reverse lens, for example, people ask themselves, “What would the other person in this conflict say and in what ways might that be true?” With the long lens they ask, “How will I most likely view this situation in six months?” With the wide lens they ask themselves, “Regardless of the outcome of this issue, how can I grow and learn from it?” Each of these lenses can help people intentionally cultivate more positive emotions.

Nicolas Babin, director of corporate communications for Sony Europe, was the point person for calls from reporters when Sony went through several recalls of its batteries in 2006. Over time he found his work increasingly exhausting and dispiriting. After practicing the lens exercises, he began finding ways to tell himself a more positive and empowering story about his role. “I realized,” he explains, “that this was an opportunity for me to build stronger relationships with journalists by being accessible to them and to increase Sony’s credibility by being straightforward and honest.”

The Mind: Focus of Energy
Many executives view multitasking as a necessity in the face of all the demands they juggle, but it actually undermines productivity. Distractions are costly: A temporary shift in attention from one task to another—stopping to answer an e-mail or take a phone call, for instance—increases the amount of time necessary to finish the primary task by as much as 25%, a phenomenon known as “switching time.” It’s far more efficient to fully focus for 90 to 120 minutes, take a true break, and then fully focus on the next activity. We refer to these work periods as “ultradian sprints.”

Once people see how much they struggle to concentrate, they can create rituals to reduce the relentless interruptions that technology has introduced in their lives. We start out with an exercise that forces them to face the impact of daily distractions. They attempt to complete a complex task and are regularly interrupted—an experience that, people report, ends up feeling much like everyday life.

Dan Cluna, a vice president at Wachovia, designed two rituals to better focus his attention. The first one is to leave his desk and go into a conference room, away from phones and e-mail, whenever he has a task that requires concentration. He now finishes reports in a third of the time they used to require. Cluna built his second ritual around meetings at branches with the financial specialists who report to him. Previously, he would answer his phone whenever it rang during these meetings. As a consequence, the meetings he scheduled for an hour often stretched to two, and he rarely gave anyone his full attention. Now Cluna lets his phone go to voice mail, so that he can focus completely on the person in front of him. He now answers the accumulated voice-mail messages when he has downtime between meetings.

E&Y’s hard-charging Wanner used to answer e-mail constantly throughout the day—whenever he heard a “ping.” Then he created a ritual of checking his e-mail just twice a day—at 10:15 am and 2:30 pm. Whereas previously he couldn’t keep up with all his messages, he discovered he could clear his in-box each time he opened it—the reward of fully focusing his attention on e-mail for 45 minutes at a time. Wanner has also reset the expectations of all the people he regularly communicates with by e-mail. “I’ve told them if it’s an emergency and they need an instant response, they can call me and I’ll always pick up,” he says. Nine months later he has yet to receive such a call.

Michael Henke, a senior manager at E&Y, sat his team down at the start of the busy season last winter and told them that at certain points during the day he was going to turn off his Sametime (an in-house instant-message system). The result, he said, was that he would be less available to them for questions. Like Wanner, he told his team to call him if any emergency arose, but they rarely did. He also encouraged the group to take regular breaks throughout the day and to eat more regularly. They finished the busy season under budget and more profitable than other teams that hadn’t followed the energy renewal program. “We got the same amount of work done in less time,” says Henke. “It made for a win-win.”

Another way to mobilize mental energy is to focus systematically on activities that have the most long-term leverage. Unless people intentionally schedule time for more challenging work, they tend not to get to it at all or rush through it at the last minute. Perhaps the most effective focus ritual the executives we work with have adopted is to identify each night the most important challenge for the next day and make it their very first priority when they arrive in the morning. Jean Luc Duquesne, a vice president for Sony Europe in Paris, used to answer his e-mail as soon as he got to the office, just as many people do. He now tries to concentrate the first hour of every day on the most important topic. He finds that he often emerges at 10 am feeling as if he’s already had a productive day.

The Human Spirit: Energy of Meaning and Purpose
People tap into the energy of the human spirit when their everyday work and activities are consistent with what they value most and with what gives them a sense of meaning and purpose. If the work they’re doing really matters to them, they typically feel more positive energy, focus better, and demonstrate greater perseverance. Regrettably, the high demands and fast pace of corporate life don’t leave much time to pay attention to these issues, and many people don’t even recognize meaning and purpose as potential sources of energy. Indeed, if we tried to begin our program by focusing on the human spirit, it would likely have minimal impact. Only when participants have experienced the value of the rituals they establish in the other dimensions do they start to see that being attentive to their own deeper needs dramatically influences their effectiveness and satisfaction at work.

For E&Y partner Jonathan Anspacher, simply having the opportunity to ask himself a series of questions about what really mattered to him was both illuminating and energizing. “I think it’s important to be a little introspective and say, ‘What do you want to be remembered for?’” he told us. “You don’t want to be remembered as the crazy partner who worked these long hours and had his people be miserable. When my kids call me and ask, ‘Can you come to my band concert?’ I want to say, ‘Yes, I’ll be there and I’ll be in the front row.’ I don’t want to be the father that comes in and sits in the back and is on his Blackberry and has to step out to take a phone call.”
To access the energy of the human spirit, people need to clarify priorities and establish accompanying rituals in three categories: doing what they do best and enjoy most at work; consciously allocating time and energy to the areas of their lives—work, family, health, service to others—they deem most important; and living their core values in their daily behaviors.

When you’re attempting to discover what you do best and what you enjoy most, it’s important to realize that these two things aren’t necessarily mutually inclusive. You may get lots of positive feedback about something you’re very good at but not truly enjoy it. Conversely, you can love doing something but have no gift for it, so that achieving success requires much more energy than it makes sense to invest.

To help program participants discover their areas of strength, we ask them to recall at least two work experiences in the past several months during which they found themselves in their “sweet spot”—feeling effective, effortlessly absorbed, inspired, and fulfilled. Then we have them deconstruct those experiences to understand precisely what energized them so positively and what specific talents they were drawing on. If leading strategy feels like a sweet spot, for example, is it being in charge that’s most invigorating or participating in a creative endeavor? Or is it using a skill that comes to you easily and so feels good to exercise? Finally, we have people establish a ritual that will encourage them to do more of exactly that kind of activity at work.

A senior leader we worked with realized that one of the activities he least liked was reading and summarizing detailed sales reports, whereas one of his favorites was brainstorming new strategies. The leader found a direct report who loved immersing himself in numbers and delegated the sales report task to him—happily settling for brief oral summaries from him each day. The leader also began scheduling a free-form 90-minute strategy session every other week with the most creative people in his group.

In the second category, devoting time and energy to what’s important to you, there is often a similar divide between what people say is important and what they actually do. Rituals can help close this gap. When Jean Luc Duquesne, the Sony Europe vice president, thought hard about his personal priorities, he realized that spending time with his family was what mattered most to him, but it often got squeezed out of his day. So he instituted a ritual in which he switches off for at least three hours every evening when he gets home, so he can focus on his family. “I’m still not an expert on PlayStation,” he told us, “but according to my youngest son, I’m learning and I’m a good student.” Steve Wanner, who used to talk on the cell phone all the way to his front door on his commute home, has chosen a specific spot 20 minutes from his house where he ends whatever call he’s on and puts away the phone. He spends the rest of his commute relaxing so that when he does arrive home, he’s less preoccupied with work and more available to his wife and children.

The third category, practicing your core values in your everyday behavior, is a challenge for many as well. Most people are living at such a furious pace that they rarely stop to ask themselves what they stand for and who they want to be. As a consequence, they let external demands dictate their actions.

We don’t suggest that people explicitly define their values, because the results are usually too predictable. Instead, we seek to uncover them, in part by asking questions that are inadvertently revealing, such as, “What are the qualities that you find most off-putting when you see them in others?” By describing what they can’t stand, people unintentionally divulge what they stand for. If you are very offended by stinginess, for example, generosity is probably one of your key values. If you are especially put off by rudeness in others, it’s likely that consideration is a high value for you. As in the other categories, establishing rituals can help bridge the gap between the values you aspire to and how you currently behave. If you discover that consideration is a key value, but you are perpetually late for meetings, the ritual might be to end the meetings you run five minutes earlier than usual and intentionally show up five minutes early for the meeting that follows.

Addressing these three categories helps people go a long way toward achieving a greater sense of alignment, satisfaction, and well-being in their lives on and off the job. Those feelings are a source of positive energy in their own right and reinforce people’s desire to persist at rituals in other energy dimensions as well.
This new way of working takes hold only to the degree that organizations support their people in adopting new behaviors. We have learned, sometimes painfully, that not all executives and companies are prepared to embrace the notion that personal renewal for employees will lead to better and more sustainable performance. To succeed, renewal efforts need solid support and commitment from senior management, beginning with the key decision maker.

At Wachovia, Susanne Svizeny, the president of the region in which we conducted our study, was the primary cheerleader for the program. She embraced the principles in her own life and made a series of personal changes, including a visible commitment to building more regular renewal rituals into her work life. Next, she took it upon herself to foster the excitement and commitment of her leadership team. Finally, she regularly reached out by e-mail to all participants in the project to encourage them in their rituals and seek their feedback. It was clear to everyone that she took the work seriously. Her enthusiasm was infectious, and the results spoke for themselves.

At Sony Europe, several hundred leaders have embraced the principles of energy management. Over the next year, more than 2,000 of their direct reports will go through the energy renewal program. From Fujio Nishida on down, it has become increasingly culturally acceptable at Sony to take intermittent breaks, work out at midday, answer e-mail only at designated times, and even ask colleagues who seem irritable or impatient what stories they’re telling themselves.

Organizational support also entails shifts in policies, practices, and cultural messages. A number of firms we worked with have built “renewal rooms” where people can regularly go to relax and refuel. Others offer subsidized gym memberships. In some cases, leaders themselves gather groups of employees for midday workouts. One company instituted a no-meeting zone between 8 and 9 am to ensure that people had at least one hour absolutely free of meetings. At several companies, including Sony, senior leaders collectively agreed to stop checking e-mail during meetings as a way to make the meetings more focused and efficient.

A number of firms have built “renewal rooms” where people can regularly go to relax and refuel.

One factor that can get in the way of success is a crisis mentality. The optimal candidates for energy renewal programs are organizations that are feeling enough pain to be eager for new solutions but not so much that they’re completely overwhelmed. At one organization where we had the active support of the CEO, the company was under intense pressure to grow rapidly, and the senior team couldn’t tear themselves away from their focus on immediate survival—even though taking time out for renewal might have allowed them to be more productive at a more sustainable level.

By contrast, the group at Ernst & Young successfully went through the process at the height of tax season. With the permission of their leaders, they practiced defusing negative emotions by breathing or telling themselves different stories, and alternated highly focused periods of work with renewal breaks. Most people in the group reported that this busy season was the least stressful they’d ever experienced.

The implicit contract between organizations and their employees today is that each will try to get as much from the other as they can, as quickly as possible, and then move on without looking back. We believe that is mutually self-defeating. Both individuals and the organizations they work for end up depleted rather than enriched. Employees feel increasingly beleaguered and burned out. Organizations are forced to settle for employees who are less than fully engaged and to constantly hire and train new people to replace those who choose to leave. We envision a new and explicit contract that benefits all parties: Organizations invest in their people across all dimensions of their lives to help them build and sustain their value. Individuals respond by bringing all their multidimensional energy wholeheartedly to work every day. Both grow in value as a result.

Steve Wanner is a highly respected 37-year-old partner at Ernst & Young, married with four young children. When we met him a year ago, he was working 12- to 14-hour days, felt perpetually exhausted, and found it difficult to fully engage with his family in the evenings, which left him feeling guilty and dissatisfied. He slept poorly, made no time to exercise, and seldom ate healthy meals, instead grabbing a bite to eat on the run or while working at his desk.

Wanner’s experience is not uncommon. Most of us respond to rising demands in the workplace by putting in longer hours, which inevitably take a toll on us physically, mentally, and emotionally. That leads to declining levels of engagement, increasing levels of distraction, high turnover rates, and soaring medical costs among employees. We at the Energy Project have worked with thousands of leaders and managers in the course of doing consulting and coaching at large organizations during the past five years. With remarkable consistency, these executives tell us they’re pushing themselves harder than ever to keep up and increasingly feel they are at a breaking point.

The core problem with working longer hours is that time is a finite resource. Energy is a different story. Defined in physics as the capacity to work, energy comes from four main wellsprings in human beings: the body, emotions, mind, and spirit. In each, energy can be systematically expanded and regularly renewed by establishing specific rituals—behaviors that are intentionally practiced and precisely scheduled, with the goal of making them unconscious and automatic as quickly as possible.

The core problem with working longer hours is that time is a finite resource. Energy is a different story.

To effectively reenergize their workforces, organizations need to shift their emphasis from getting more out of people to investing more in them, so they are motivated—and able—to bring more of themselves to work every day. To recharge themselves, individuals need to recognize the costs of energy-depleting behaviors and then take responsibility for changing them, regardless of the circumstances they’re facing.

The rituals and behaviors Wanner established to better manage his energy transformed his life. He set an earlier bedtime and gave up drinking, which had disrupted his sleep. As a consequence, when he woke up he felt more rested and more motivated to exercise, which he now does almost every morning. In less than two months he lost 15 pounds. After working out he now sits down with his family for breakfast. Wanner still puts in long hours on the job, but he renews himself regularly along the way. He leaves his desk for lunch and usually takes a morning and an afternoon walk outside. When he arrives at home in the evening, he’s more relaxed and better able to connect with his wife and children.

Establishing simple rituals like these can lead to striking results across organizations. At Wachovia Bank, we took a group of employees through a pilot energy management program and then measured their performance against that of a control group. The participants outperformed the controls on a series of financial metrics, such as the value of loans they generated. They also reported substantial improvements in their customer relationships, their engagement with work, and their personal satisfaction. In this article, we’ll describe the Wachovia study in a little more detail. Then we’ll explain what executives and managers can do to increase and regularly renew work capacity—the approach used by the Energy Project, which builds on, deepens, and extends several core concepts developed by Tony’s former partner Jim Loehr in his seminal work with athletes.

Linking Capacity and Performance at Wachovia
Most large organizations invest in developing employees’ skills, knowledge, and competence. Very few help build and sustain their capacity—their energy—which is typically taken for granted. In fact, greater capacity makes it possible to get more done in less time at a higher level of engagement and with more sustainability. Our experience at Wachovia bore this out.
In early 2006 we took 106 employees at 12 regional banks in southern New Jersey through a curriculum of four modules, each of which focused on specific strategies for strengthening one of the four main dimensions of energy. We delivered it at one-month intervals to groups of approximately 20 to 25, ranging from senior leaders to lower-level managers. We also assigned each attendee a fellow employee as a source of support between sessions. Using Wachovia’s own key performance metrics, we evaluated how the participant group performed compared with a group of employees at similar levels at a nearby set of Wachovia banks who did not go through the training. To create a credible basis for comparison, we looked at year-over-year percentage changes in performance across several metrics.

On a measure called the “Big 3”—revenues from three kinds of loans—the participants showed a year-over-year increase that was 13 percentage points greater than the control group’s in the first three months of our study. On revenues from deposits, the participants exceeded the control group’s year-over-year gain by 20 percentage points during that same period. The precise gains varied month by month, but with only a handful of exceptions, the participants continued to significantly outperform the control group for a full year after completing the program. Although other variables undoubtedly influenced these outcomes, the participants’ superior performance was notable in its consistency. (See the exhibit “How Energy Renewal Programs Boosted Productivity at Wachovia.”)

How Energy Renewal Programs Boosted Productivity at Wachovia

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We also asked participants how the program influenced them personally. Sixty-eight percent reported that it had a positive impact on their relationships with clients and customers. Seventy-one percent said that it had a noticeable or substantial positive impact on their productivity and performance. These findings corroborated a raft of anecdotal evidence we’ve gathered about the effectiveness of this approach among leaders at other large companies such as Ernst & Young, Sony, Deutsche Bank, Nokia, ING Direct, Ford, and MasterCard.

The Body: Physical Energy
Our program begins by focusing on physical energy. It is scarcely news that inadequate nutrition, exercise, sleep, and rest diminish people’s basic energy levels, as well as their ability to manage their emotions and focus their attention. Nonetheless, many executives don’t find ways to practice consistently healthy behaviors, given all the other demands in their lives.

Source : https://hbr.org/2007/10/manage-your-energy-not-your-time

Smaller connected teams work better for businesses

​Analysis from Kaplan Leadership and Professional Development has identified five key themes of successful workplaces

Its first finding was that smaller teams foster a more collaborative environment, based on situational judgement tests from 4,500 employees around the world.

Yet Tony Manwani, co-founder and director of professional training provider PeopleUnboxed, said this may not reflect the potential for productivity.

He said: “While it may be accurate that smaller teams typically perform better, the greater potential for performance lies within larger teams – it just isn’t harnessed often enough.

“It’s certainly easier for small teams to function consistently at an acceptable level as there are less cogs to manage, but from my experience nothing can beat the creativity and productivity of a high-performing larger team.”

Kaplan also found that teams connected outside of their department reportedly perform better than those that aren’t, with teams that work in silos performing ‘significantly worse’ in commercial decision-making relating to company strategy, mission and aims.

Third, though deemed mostly psychological, effective practice also improved based on an individual’s proximity to commercial decision-making, a point that Tom Cassidy, head of executive coaching at Working Voices, agreed with.

“We would agree that decision-making becomes easier when the team feels close to the frontline of the business: understands key goals, clients and strategic vision,” said Cassidy. “Therefore it is vital that these things are well described by leaders and clearly expressed to the individual teams involved.”

Fourth, the report revealed that individuals and teams with ‘skin in the game’ do better.

In order to stem internal competition in this respect, Kaplan advised that incentives are managed carefully.

And finally, though counterintuitive, cross-functional teams were found to perform better than more specialist groups as in, for example, finance.

For Stewart, the data suggested that greater diversity should be introduced to the decision-making process.

“We might also think more about the physical environment that teams work in – we know that isolated teams do far worse than connected teams,” he said.

“So can we connect such a team to the wider business, and could we create professional networks that connect teams?”

Cassidy added: “The findings of the Kaplan study reflect some intuitive sense, but are also somewhat contradictory. They therefore present challenges that can be overcome by good leadership, communication and culture.

“For example, if smaller teams are better than larger teams yet cross-functional teams and diversity are important, then this raises a question. What is the right number in a team to achieve breadth of specialism and diversity in opinions, without making it too large and cumbersome?

“Whether they are specialised or generalised, teams don’t automatically help each other out.

“We see that companies with good-quality communication channels, engaged and participative leaders, and cultures where everyone wins through collaboration, are best placed to embrace all five of Kaplan’s findings.”

Situational judgement for Kaplan’s analysis was conducted by presenting test employees with recognisable workplace situations and asking them to make judgements based on ambiguous or incomplete information.

Doing this, Stewart asserted, allowed the team “to best simulate the real-life conditions of decision-making”.

Source : https://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/article-details/smaller-connected-teams-work-better-for-businesses

Freelancers report high job satisfaction

Full-time freelancers have rated their job satisfaction an average of 4.1 out of five in a survey from financial services provider Payoneer

The survey revealed that flexible hours and the freedom to work from home were the top reasons for freelancers’ high satisfaction.

Sixty-nine per cent of the 7,414 global freelancers surveyed work full time or exclusively on a freelance basis. The remaining 31% said they freelance as a ‘side hustle’ alongside a more permanent role, and rate their job satisfaction on average at 3.8 out of five.

Speaking of the organisational advantages of using freelancers, Katherine Easter, chief people officer at the Pension Protection Fund, told HR magazine: “Freelancers can bring great benefit to organisations because they approach the needs of the business differently from internal employees and evolve the way things are done.”

Giving freelance copywriters as an example, Easter described how as outsiders to the organisation they are able “to challenge the way complex and technical employee policies are written so that they are free from commonly-used internal jargon and are easy for all to understand”.

In addition, she said, “they bring different expertise on what’s worked effectively elsewhere. This supports in-house teams to evolve the way people strategies are implemented.”

Respondents cited maintaining a sufficient stream of work and income as notable disadvantages to this way of working, but higher lifestyle satisfaction ratings tallied closely with income satisfaction across the board.

Those earning between $5,000 to $10,000 (£3,872 to £7745) per annum from their freelancing rated their income satisfaction on average at 3.3 out of five, and lifestyle satisfaction at 4.1.

Those earning between $25,000 and $50,000 (£19,364 and £38,728) rated their income satisfaction slightly higher at 3.6 out of five, and lifestyle satisfaction rose too to an average of 4.3 out of five.

Past reports have estimated that up to 50% of workers will be freelance by this year, though the nature of freelance work in the UK is unclear because of a review into IR35 off-payroll working rules.

Source : https://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/article-details/freelancers-report-high-job-satisfaction