Stressed Singaporean employees are least likely to ditch their jobs: survey

Moreover, they put in longer working hours due to motivation.

Three in five or 64% of Singapore employees are satisfied with their jobs, according to the latest employee pulse study by experience management platform Qualtrics.

It said in a report that employees clocking in more hours at work were least likely to leave their jobs, despite experiencing significant amounts of stress.

“As opposed to popular beliefs, long working hours do not necessarily contribute to high employee turnover rates,” Qualtrics said.

For instance, 69% of employees in the travel and leisure industry indicated that despite working more than 45 hours a week, only 8% percent of them are at risk of leaving their jobs. In addition, only 13% of employees in the utilities sector are at risk of leaving their jobs despite the long working hours.

Most Singapore employees remain highly positive despite the stressful work environment, Qualtrics said.

About 38% of employees in the healthcare, 38% in the public sector, and 31% in retail feel stressed and overwhelmed by work “most” or “all” of the time. Yet, they remain one of the most motivated workforce – healthcare at 44%, public sector at 44%, and retail at 50%.

In fact, 61% of Singapore employees look forward to going to work “nearly always” or “most of the time.”

On a macro perspective, 20% of employees in Singapore have been found to be less satisfied with their work-life balance as compared with their regional counterparts in Hong Kong, with 18%, and Malaysia, with 16%.

“This raised an alarming issue for Singapore companies to address especially when employee engagement has been falling consistently from 2014 to 2016, according to Mercer’s Singapore Employee Engagement Index report,” Qualtrics said.


11 Lessons About Leadership Transition We Can Learn From Retirement

In mid-October, American Express announced the retirement of its CEO, Kenneth Chenault, who has served in his role for the last 16 of his nearly 37 years at the company. Although the financial services giant has been grooming its incoming CEO, vice chairman Stephen Squeri, for the last two years, this will undoubtedly be a time of great change for all American Express employees.

In the wake of high-profile leadership transitions like this, many senior executives are reminded that they, too, must eventually step aside for their successor – and it’s always better to be prepared well before the torch needs to be passed. Whether you’re a C-suite member approaching retirement or the next in line for an executive position, it’s important to be thinking about what the transition will look like, and how best to handle it for the good of the company and its people.

Forbes Coaches Council members pulled some of the most important lessons Chenault’s departure can teach leaders about leadership and transition, and what you can do now to ensure a plan is in place.

1. Treat Every Employee With Respect As They Exit

The way a leader (or any employee) is treated as they leave the company says much about the company. “Esteemed” leaders should be treated with respect, as should those who “didn’t work out.” They were there for a reason. People deal with change differently. Those who remain will have a range of emotions, fears and hopes. Good leaders coach others through this to keep the ship moving forward. – Tim Ressmeyer, Ressmeyer Partners

2. Take All Change In Stride

Kenneth Chenault and many of his contemporaries will each leave behind incredible legacies given their unique and powerful contributions to their respective companies. It can be easy to become comfortable with the people and policies that make up culture, especially when those people and policies have been positive. But change is a constant variable and must be taken in stride. – Karima Mariama-Arthur, Esq., WordSmithRapport

3. New ‘Big Ideas’ Are Imagined During Times Of Transition

CEO transitions should be seen as a time in which to develop new and exciting ideas, not just carry on impressive legacies or the status quo. When people are well prepared to let go of what “was,” there is an opportunity for creativity that was not present before. Use this time to stir excitement, birth new ideas, and create stronger and more engaged teams. – Dr. Rachel MK Headley, Rose Group, Intl

Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only community for leading business and career coaches. Do I qualify?
4. Transitions Should Be Made At The Height Of Success

Too many times, we see leaders resign when the company is at its worst and leadership is in turmoil. Being able to pass the torch to someone you have helped mentor and prepare is the goal for any company and CEO. If you transition to a successor who knows the business and brand as well as you do, you’re able to exit knowing you left the company better than when you came. – Niya Allen-Vatel, Career Global

5. Leaders Are Remembered For How They Made People Feel

Everyone has wins and losses while leading a firm. What people truly remember is how you made them feel in the heat of the battle. Admired leaders remember to treat employees at all levels with respect and play a strong hand in bolstering the success of others. There are a lot of billionaires in the world, but only one or two that generate followership over the long term. – Shoma Chatterjee, ghSMART

6. Be Humble Enough To Know When To Bow Out

One problem successors run into is that they are passed the reins after the momentum has left. They are then tasked with reviving a situation, when they could be focusing energy into making it thrive. As leaders, it’s important to know when your influential apex has passed and be willing to bow out so that your hard work counts for something more than a title. Pass the torch while it yet burns. – Maleeka T. Hollaway, The Official Maleeka Group, LLC.

7. Define Your Leadership Communication Strategies

A transition is a good time to establish clarity around key elements of communication. Many wealthy and successful business leaders struggle or have struggled with speaking in public. This skill is essential to getting across ideas, persuading investors, inspiring employees, attracting customers and engaging critical stakeholders. – Maria Pastore, Maria Pastore Coaching

8. Companies Should Always Be Grooming The Next In Line

When people transition, the first question is, “Who do we have left?” The important lesson in transitions is to remain ready. HR often nags and rants about succession planning, but this is where it really comes into play. We can never really plan for a disaster, but we can groom people and have contingency plans to stay afloat when the unexpected (or expected) happens. Talent agility is key! – Kelah Raymond, SPARC Solutions Group

9. Honor The Difference Between Change And Transition

As William Bridges reminds us, “Change is situational; transition is psychological.” It is essential to give respect to both aspects. When change occurs within an organization, so too begins a transition, which is experienced uniquely by all its participants. Strong change management processes offer space to navigate the external changes and the internal transitions with equal investment. – Tonyalynne Wildhaber, The Courage Practice

10. Leaders Should Create A Personal Transition Plan, Too

Successful CEOs have a vision for success and know how to execute on it. Yet many senior leaders haven’t defined what success looks like during one of the most significant transitions in their lives: retirement. This transition requires reflecting on what will be lost – paycheck, schedule, intellectual stimulation, professional identity – along with identifying dreams to be achieved. – Tricia Christian, EY

11. New Leaders Should Stay The Course Until They’ve Mastered the Helm

When a CEO has been successful and a company is thriving, new CEOs want to come in and make their mark, implement new and exciting technology, and start their own legacy. However, it’s critical you keep doing what the prior regime did until you know the staff, programs, statistics, and how all departments flow and integrate. Then you will see gaps you can leverage without rocking the boat. – Tracy Repchuk, InnerSurf Online Brand & Web Services


Companies will focus on building digital workspaces in 2018: Citrix

With a surge in the adoption of digital workspaces, the Indian enterprises will work towards harnessing opportunities created by integration of new technologies in 2018, desktop virtualisation leader Citrix said on Monday. “Digital workspaces will help organisations across various facets of operation, ranging from talent retention in HR, productivity in operations, data-driven decisions in finance, improved customer engagement in sales and so on,” Makarand Joshi, Area Vice President and Country Head, India Subcontinent, Citrix, told IANS. The workspace transformation is inevitable and the benefits far outweigh the transitional hurdles that might come up, he added. According to Citrix, Cloud and cloud-enabled Software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps are here to stay. “Capabilities around analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics that have been integrated into Cloud-based offerings are proving hard to emulate using traditional on-premise deployments due to cost, complexity, and skill considerations,” Joshi said. Businesses, therefore, will have to evaluate the capabilities of the Cloud offerings alongside on-premise offerings and accordingly implement an environment spread across Cloud platforms that best meets their capability and productivity goals.

As work paradigms and technologies change, we will see an even wider gap between generations. “With 50 per cent of employees being digital natives who prefer not to be restrained by a location, and the rest comprising of traditional non-digital employees, organisations will have to invest in creating systems that regulate this gap,” Citrix added.

Organisations need to encourage adoption of digital technologies like automation, Internet-connected devices, and online communication tools, to reduce the technology awareness gap across groups. “Hiring trends will also see a shift as the newer generations joining the workforce are increasingly mobile and technology savvy, it will be increasingly difficult to attract the best people in this talent pool without extending capabilities like mobile digital workplaces and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD),” Joshi emphasised.


Attention Entrepreneurial Leaders: Are You — And Your Employees — ‘Bore-E-Gaged?’

I think of entrepreneurial attention span as a short continuum that stretches from bored to engaged.

Sometimes you are bored. Sometimes you are engaged. Probably the same way most people feel when reading articles like this on the internet. You keep reading if you are engaged, and you stop reading if the article becomes a bore.

“Bor-e-gaged” is an uncomfortable place to be for an entrepreneurial leader. In this space, you’re not engaged enough to truly focus on the business you’re operating, but you’re not mind-numbingly bored enough to cut the cord and move on. In the middle zone, you’re not yet putting the effort into something new, but you’re thinking about it, and your company is suffering from your lack of engagement.

For entrepreneurs, this can be a typical state of mind to be in. When entrepreneurial leaders are bored, they start thinking about the new ideas that get them excited and engaged again. Then they start to change things within their companies, because they can, even when their organization is doing extremely well.

What about the employees of entrepreneurial leaders?

Employee engagement is a property of the relationship between an organization and its employees. An “engaged employee” is one who is fully absorbed by—and enthusiastic about—their work. He or she takes positive action to further the organization’s reputation and interests.

With constant access to the internet at our fingertips, the minute boredom kicks in ample alternatives to work are staring a disengaged employee directly in the face – time to surf the web! As a result, employee disengagement has a measurable cost to a company’s bottom line.

Making things worse, Gallup’s 142-country study on the State of the Global Workplace found that only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work. In other words, only about one in eight workers—roughly 180 million employees in the countries studied—are psychologically committed to their jobs and likely to be making positive contributions to their organizations.

So while entrepreneurs shift between being bored and engaged by being more entrepreneurial, their employees shift by becoming less interested and productive.

This information underlines the importance of seeking more awareness of the state of mind of everyone inside your organization. Entrepreneurs need to recognize the difference between boredom and active engagement so that they can manage themselves appropriately for the good of their companies and their future. They also need to recognize when they are furthering the cause of their employees’ lack of engagement.


Seven Proven Insights Into A Powerful Mentoring Relationship

Some of the most successful people in business today have mentors. As a career coach, I can say that mentors have made all the difference in my career development. Mentors helped inspire, guide and shape the person I am today. I firmly believe that, without key influencers, I would not have been able to secure a fulfilling career. Because I connected with the right people, I was able to reap the rewards from a powerful mentoring relationship.

Partnering propels you.

John Maxwell says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, take others with you.” There is a lot of truth in this. Only the very arrogant or very ignorant shun the unique insight that comes from partnering with the right mentor. Life’s lessons are best learned from others. Finding the right mentor could make the difference between floundering in your professional career or making it big.

A mentor can challenge you, inform you, connect you and inspire you. I spent many wasted years in my youth trying to bushwhack through the professional jungle alone. I was fiercely independent and determined that I could find the right answers on my own. For some reason, I thought asking for guidance was a weakness. I see now that I was a fool. Fortunately, someone saw past my stubbornness and gave me a chance to benefit from a mentoring relationship.

What makes a powerful mentoring relationship?

Not all mentors are made equal and not every successful professional can help you make a leap forward professionally. “Mentoring must be like a waterfall. What I pour into you, you must then pour into others,” said Mark Cole, CEO of the Maxwell Companies, during a recent Q&A session for Maximum Impact Mentoring members. The knowledge and wisdom gained from a solid mentoring relationship are not found with just anyone. There are proven insights into a powerful mentoring relationship to ensure that you find the best mentor for your career focus.

The Mentee’s Power Plan

1. Avoid being star-struck. Do not ask an idol to be a mentor. If you are in awe of someone, chances are you will not be in the mental position to retain the important information your mentor provides. Your brain will be too busy comparing your experience to your preconceived notions. You may not feel comfortable openly asking questions or even being yourself.

2. Define your idea of success. A successful mentoring relationship starts with someone you can look up to professionally. Clearly define what your idea of success looks like for your career focus. This will help guide you to find the right mentor. A professional who has proven success in their career and the experience to impart knowledge will be in a better position to aid you towards your goals.

3. Experience matters. Mentors cannot give what they don’t have. Experience matters. Inexperienced individuals will struggle to become successful mentors. Mentoring relationships with peers tend to be shorter and more narrowly focused. These can be beneficial if approached correctly. Mentoring relationships established with more experienced professionals usually allow the mentee to access additional knowledge depth. These types of partnerships can be transformational.

4. Seek support, not direction. A good mentor is someone that is fulfilled in what they do, professionally successful and has no vested interest in where you go in your career. A good mentor will only be interested in lifting you up and giving you the tools you need to succeed regardless of your path.

5. Be specific on the why. Define and explain why you approached a particular professional to be your mentor. As the mentee, you have everything to gain. The mentor is donating time and attention to you. You must have a tangible and specific reason why you asked someone to mentor you. “You make a lot of money” isn’t the most compelling reason to mentor someone.

6. Communicate your goal. What does a successful mentoring relationship outcome look like to you, and what specifically do you want to learn? Clearly communicate what your goal is from the partnership and why you are sure that your mentor can get you there.

7. Be prepared. As a mentee, you have a job to do. In addition to being a sponge, soaking up all the knowledge you can, you must also be prepared for each mentoring session. Best practices are:

• Take notes during each session.

• Determine actionable items at the end of each session.

• Be prepared to report on what you applied from the last session.

• Have questions prepared ahead of time for your mentor.

Transforming Your Career

A powerful mentoring relationship between two professionals can be mutually beneficial. The mentor also gains insight during the act of coaching another professional. But, not every powerful mentoring relationship takes place in person. I have benefitted tremendously in my life from unwitting mentors, such as John Maxwell and Simon Sinek. While I am fortunate to be in John’s mentoring circle with other like-minded professionals, I have also absorbed his teachings from seminars and books. The same applies to my mentoring relationship with Simon. While not meeting in person, I am still able to gain powerful knowledge from his published insights.

Any professional who strives for solo victories will discover that the road to success is rocky. It’s nice to have a helping hand over the hurdles. It took me valuable years to understand that a solid mentoring partnership can clear the path to success. In addition to the inspiration gained from a powerful personal mentoring relationship, there is much to be gained from published professionals as well. If you want to truly transform your career and propel yourself into success, I encourage you to develop a vision of the fulfilling future you desire and reach out to a mentor to help you along the way.


Heads Up when Hiring – Salary History is Moving Off the Table

If asking candidates about their salary history is still part of your recruiting, application, or interviewing process—it is time to rethink the question.

Despite better awareness of the issue, there remains a significant wage gap between men and women in the US. According to the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), women earn about 80 cents for every dollar paid to men in equivalent roles. But it gets worse:

Working full-time, black women make about 63 cents on the dollar paid to white male employees doing similar work. For Latina’s, it is 54 cents on the dollar.
Working mothers receive less pay than working fathers, and single women suffer the same disparity.
Older women, working full time, see the gap grow as they age.
Overall? Women on average would need to work ten years longer to make up for the “lifetime wage gap” between males and females.
In a workplace where employers strive to be seen as fair, the level of wage discrimination in this country is shocking. At any age, equally-qualified women can expect to be hired less often and paid less than males with the same background and qualifications.

The collection of salary history information during the application and recruiting process is one of several factors responsible for the sustained wage disparity between men and women.

For employers, salary history information quickly provides a context in which to frame salary discussions. While salary history can be obtained from the applicant, it is also available through agencies like Equifax. The information makes it easier for employers to negotiate salary and gives them background on what their competitors are paying for talent.

Because female workers are historically paid less, the tendency toward underpayment carries forward, potentially skewing career earnings. Studies suggest women are less likely to negotiate briskly for higher earnings during hiring and less likely to revisit the issue with any regularity during their tenure with an employer.

With a salary history in hand, potential employers can adjust a salary offer lower for any applicant—quietly saving their hiring budget at the expense of an applicant who accepts the offer without knowing the true salary range offered by the company.

The times are a-changin’

Legislators across the country are starting to take notice. California, Puerto Rico, Delaware, and Oregon have initiated bans on asking salary history information. Massachusetts was the first state to require employers to make wage offers based on what the company pays, rather than the salary history of a candidate.

Employers critical of the measure believe the trend will increase hiring costs, not only in salary but in the surveys and research needed to develop a salary picture based on the market, not an individual salary history.

On a state-by-state basis, it is unclear what restrictions or guidance may develop around employer use and procurement of applicant background data gathered from vendors, not the candidate. It is possible this type of Big Data could be seen as violating the spirit of any existing legislation or could be used as a claim for salary bias if the candidate becomes aware of the disclosure.

In a related effort to push back on an August, 2017, federal action, the NWLC recently filed a lawsuit against the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and other federal officials after the Trump Administration rolled back requirements that the EEOC collect wage data to enforce pay transparency efforts.

The gender wage gap is not closing anytime soon. In the meantime, a closer look at pay disparities, and adjustment of recruiting practices to provide fair disclosure of salary levels to potential candidates could increase the value proposition of any enterprise competing for talent in a too-tight candidate marketplace.



CHAT IS ALMOST as old as the internet itself. But this year, investors and big tech companies alike treated workplace messaging as the next big thing.

Slack announced a $250 million investment in September from Japanese tech company SoftBank, bringing its total funding to $790 million and boosting its valuation from $3.8 billion to $5.1. In June, rumors surfaced that Amazon wanted to buy the company for as much $9 billion.

Meanwhile, Microsoft launched a new chat app called Teams that will eventually replace Skype for Business. Atlassian, the company behind the venerable workplace messaging app HipChat, launched a new service called Stride. Indian billionaire Bhavin Turakhia invested $45 million of his own money into Flock, a Slack competitor he founded1. Facebook added video to its business tool Workplace.

It may seem weird to pour so much money into old-hat tech. But the real point of these new applications isn’t just to build the a better way for employees to send text-based messages. It’s to build a platform for the next generation of business software.

Microsoft Windows became the main platform for the desktop era of computing, while the Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store became the platforms for the mobile era. Now, much of the tech industry believe that gadgets like the Amazon Echo and apps like WeChat and Facebook Messenger are ushering us into the era of the “conversational interface,” and companies both old and new hope to grab control of this new territory.

The idea is that in the future, you’ll do much of your work from inside your chat app, rather than switching back and forth between different apps. You might file your expense reports, respond to customer support inquiries, or check sales figures all from an instant messaging client.

“Think about how many workflows in your day-to-day are centered around human interaction,” says Microsoft Teams Platform program manager Larry Jin. “We’re trying to bring those together. It doesn’t make sense to have some of them appear in chat and some of them to appear in some other context.”

Slack is trying to hasten the conversational future by investing a portion of its funding haul in companies that build applications atop Slack. VP of product April Underwood says Slack has invested in 24 different companies, including workplace polling tool Polly, meeting coordination tool Donut, and knowledge management tool Guru. Meanwhile, the company’s app store for software that runs on Slack has attracted more than 1,000 apps. Underwood says that within minutes of launching the Slack app directory in 2015, developers told her they already had customers.

Many companies are hedging their bets, however. Video conferencing company Twine Labs, which Slack invested in, is also building apps for Microsoft Teams, Facebook Workplace, and Amazon Chime, says CEO Anthony Claudia.

Microsoft, meanwhile, is taking a slightly different approach. In addition to Teams, which competes directly with Slack, it offers Microsoft Bot Framework, a platform for building chat-based apps that can run not just on Teams, but on Slack, Facebook Messenger, and other instant messaging services. Even if your company picks another tool for messaging, Microsoft wants to be the technology that underpins the apps you end up using.

The workplace chat is growing rapidly. Slack now boasts 50,000 paying customers. Microsoft bundles Teams with the Office 365 for no extra cost, and the company announced earlier this year that 125,000 organizations use the software. In October, Facebook announced 14,000 organizations are using Workplace. IDC analyst Wayne Kurtzman says this is just the beginning. Right now, many teams within companies use tools like Slack for free, often without official approval from their corporate IT departments. “Most companies do not have a corporate collaboration solution in place,” he says. “We’ll see a lot more governance and integration into the workplace.”

But so far there’s no “killer app” to drive adoption of conversational interfaces. Asked about breakout successes on the Slack platform, Underwood cites companies like Donut and Polly. But while those may be useful tools, they hardly represent a paradigm shift on the level of the computerized spreadsheet or the BlackBerry.

Skepticism is already growing. An informal survey of startup founders conducted by First Round Capital pegged chatbots and conversational UIs and the third most overhyped technology of the year. It wouldn’t be the first time a much hyped new paradigm fizzled out. Only a few years ago, workplace social networking apps like Yammer, which Microsoft acquired for $1.2 billion in 2012, launched their own “app stores” with dreams of becoming the next big platform. Now, with the rise of real-time chat, most of those apps are all but forgotten.

Underwood is unperturbed. “We’re in the midst of a multi-decade shift,” she says. Investors, however, might not be eager to wait that long.


The Salary Chronicles: How I Found The Confidence To Negotiate An Extra $30k

Welcome to The Salary Chronicles, where we’re bringing transparency to negotiation and salaries, one story at a time. We ask women to share their experiences negotiating their salary and what their advice is for others doing the same. We share these stories anonymously so they feel comfortable speaking as openly and as freely as possible.

This week we’re speaking with a woman who found the confidence to negotiate an extra $30k, without having a competing offer or a strong salary history to leverage.

Location: San Francisco Bay Area

Job title: Software Engineer

Salary Offered: $120k salary, $10k signing bonus, 5,000 RSUs

Negotiated Salary: $130k, $30k signing bonus, 6,000 RSUs

What was the situation when you decided to negotiate?

I was about to finish my Ph.D. program and was interviewing for full-time jobs. I was thrilled to be starting a career because as a student I was making $30k per year and I was eager to make more. I was also pregnant with my first child and was planning to become the primary breadwinner for my family.

I was interviewing with a few different companies, but there was one company in particular that I knew I wanted to work for. As I was going through the interview process, I had it in the back of my head that I may need to negotiate. I had read many articles on the subject and I knew that women leave so much money on the table because they fail to ask.

I didn’t want to be the person that didn’t ask, but I also was nervous to negotiate because I was currently making so little and I didn’t have a strong competing offer to use as leverage.

How did you get up the courage to ask?

I had read that women negotiate better when they are negotiating on behalf of other people, and I took that to heart. I didn’t focus on wanting more for myself. I thought of my future child and the stability I wanted for my family.

I also had a voice in my head that was telling me to do this for all of womankind!

How did the conversation go?

After the final interview, I received the offer and asked for time to consider it. I decided to focus on three main areas for my ask:

Salary: They offered $120k and I felt that a more appropriate salary would be $5k-$15k higher.

RSUs: As the company didn’t offer a 401k, I wanted more RSUs to make up for the lack of retirement benefits.

Relocation assistance: I needed to move for the job, but I didn’t live far enough away to qualify for relocation reimbursement. I decided to ask what else would be possible to help with the relocation costs.

I scheduled a call with the recruiter and wrote everything out beforehand. I was incredibly nervous, which was probably somewhat evident as I robotically read my requests to her.

She responded that she needed to talk to the hiring manager to see what was possible.

What was the end result?

She called back with an updated offer for me. They increased my base salary by $10k, which was the middle of the increased range I had suggested. They also increased my RSUs by 1,000 which was a huge deal for my future retirement plans.

And while they weren’t able to give me relocation assistance because I didn’t qualify, they tripled my signing bonus from $10k to $30k. This was amazing because I was able to get the signing bonus quicker than the relocation reimbursement, so I was able to put it to work immediately.

I accepted the offer and happily began with the company.

After starting I found out that they don’t negotiate salary or benefits for future roles once you’ve been hired. So the salary level I started with will affect my trajectory for the rest of my career with this employer. Finding this out afterward, I’m so happy that I asked.

What advice do you have for other women?

I watched this video from Margaret Neale, a professor at Stanford University, and it was enormously helpful to build my confidence and create strategies for what I could say. I also really believe it’s important to think about who you’re negotiating for, other than yourself. Is it your family? Is it to help close the wage gap? Research shows that negotiating on behalf of others helps women to negotiate more successfully, so try focusing on that external drive.



Construction leaders are at high risk of losing their best employees.

As industry leaders were focused on rebuilding from the recession, three threatening trends have crept onto the construction scene. From the growing loss of skilled laborers to changing workforce expectations to the overhaul of contract and building processes, leaders need to be prepared.

Even with these impending threats, home building executives are building a strong employee engagement framework. In fact, nearly 73 percent of construction professionals identified as engaged, which is roughly 7 percent more than the national average, according to Quantum Workplace’s Engaging AEC Employees report. Similarly, 72 percent of architects and engineers also reported being engaged.

However, these impressive employee engagement levels must be handled with care. Changing workforce factors pose an immediate danger to the mental and emotional connections that employees feel toward their work.

Without these connections, a company’s profitability, client experience, employee turnover, talent acquisition, and the bonds leaders make between employees will suffer.

Don’t let threatening construction trends interrupt your work processes. Here are three evidence-based ways to build and support employee engagement in the home building industry:

1. Build trust in the future.
Every company needs a strong foundation of trust. But when employees fear for the future due to industry uncertainties, that trust is critical.

According to the previously-mentioned report, the number one driver of engagement for employees is trust in leaders to lead the company to future success. Due to uncertainty surrounding work execution from job to job and not knowing how projects will be structured, this trust will only be harder to gain. On top of that, the fear of mergers and acquisitions makes employees fear for not only their own employment, but the company as a whole.

Employees are well aware their future success relies on their leaders’ abilities. However, each employee has their own view on what a successful future looks like. That’s why leaders need to start building trust by understanding what the majority of employees want to see from the company.

Bring employees in on planning sessions to make them a clear part of the future and the plans that lay ahead. Once your team feels they’re part of the decision-making process, keep them in the loop with frequent communication efforts.

2. Put their strengths to use.
One of the leading factors in employee engagement is passion. Luckily for home building executives, many employees feel proud of their hard work and accomplishments. It’s important you don’t let that passion go to waste.

Your team is likely full of talented and dedicated employees who want to put their skills to good use. In fact, according to the report, the number two driver of employee engagement for employees is feeling their job allows them to use their strengths. Ignoring employees’ strengths makes them feel stagnant and restless in their positions.

And with a shrinking talent pool, restless employees are something leaders can’t afford.

Finding ways to reinvigorate employees’ passions and put their specific skills to use is a waste of time if you don’t understand employees. You should confidently be able to say you truly know your team — their soft skills, desires for growth, technological abilities, and skill specialties. Knowing each of these areas gives leaders the ability to help employees excel by offering coaching, advancement, or learning opportunities.

3. Value employees as your most important resource.
A recent PwC study, Millennials at work: Reshaping the workplace, revealed that millennials will make up 50 percent of the workforce by 2020. This growing group of employees makes our third — and final — driver of employee engagement more challenging than it once was.

The report found that workers want to know that leaders value employees as their most important resource. Although this idea is simplistic, ensuring that all employees feel this way isn’t.

With new generations comes new expectations. If leaders are unprepared to open up and understand what drives each employee and makes them feel valued, employee engagement will suffer.

Treat each employee as an individual to begin understanding what they need from you. Communicating with them frequently will ensure you’re updated on their changing expectations. In turn, this allows you to encourage and acknowledge them as the company’s most valuable resource.

Employee engagement will continue facing major roadblocks in years to come. But if leaders are willing to take time to stand side-by-side with their teams, their ability to tackle those problems will only increase.


Three Steps Guaranteed To Increase Your Company’s Employee Engagement In 2018

The secrets to increasing employee engagement aren’t secrets at all. There are specific steps, which if taken, will absolutely measurably increase engagement. In fact, in the dozens of organizations I’ve worked with over the years—from hospitals and healthcare systems to insurance companies and government agencies—these steps have never failed.

When I refer to employee engagement, I mean: the emotional commitment employees have to their organization and its goals. This emotional commitment is what triggers discretionary effort. When employees truly care: call center professionals give better service, railroad workers have fewer accidents, nurses reduce hospital infection rates, and talented employees everywhere stay in their jobs longer.

With such obvious benefits—benefits which drive better business outcomes through the engagement-profit-chain—why are engagement levels in most organizations still so low?

Even when C-level leaders want to increase employee engagement, they often make mistakes in their efforts. The most common mistake is to simply assemble a task-force for “fun”. Though well-intentioned, engagement isn’t correlated to things like foosball tables, birthday balloons, summer picnics or team building skits.

Another common mistake is to take a top-down approach. Typically HR executes an employee survey, and then hoard the results in the C-suite where the company’s circle of elders determines how to “fix” the engagement crisis. When employee surveys reveal the need for more communication that rarely means they want more messages from the CEO. Similarly, it’s rare for employees, when asked, not to want more salary and benefits. Yet, incremental increases in compensation don’t trigger additional engagement.

So how can you guarantee to increase organizational engagement next year?

First, use a reputable firm to administer an employee engagement survey. Don’t just measure the behaviors that drive engagement (e.g., I receive recognition for my efforts and accomplishments), you need to also use proxy questions for one’s level of engagement (e.g., How likely are you to recommend this company as a place to work?). This is key: you need to both understand your benchmark measurement for engagement itself, and how that’s different from measuring the drivers of engagement.

Second, people-managers need to be given their own results; they all need to get a copy of their own score report. They need to know the engagement score of their own team, and how it compares to the company average. Individual manager results should primarily be used for self-reflection and action planning (see step three below) but in cases where a manager has extremely low scores they can be flagged for additional coaching and leadership development.

Finally, each manager needs to share the team report with his or her direct reports in an action planning meeting. While it can take some professional courage to facilitate this meeting if your scores were below average, the execution is not difficult. The team should simply have a conversation about the scores. What were the highest and lowest scores? Were they surprised by the results? Why or why not? Then target one area for improvement (typically the lowest score) and brainstorm specific actions for improvement.

This bottom-up approach to action planning is the key to success. Gallup and others have shown that approximately 70% of the variance in engagement comes from who our boss is. Engagement—how we feel about work—is local. So the solutions have to come from the bottom up.

Even if miraculously every single team in a large company had the same lowest-score item—say, Communication—what teams are complaining about would be different. The communication problem in the accounting department might be related to late notifications on chargebacks. The communication problem among sales reps might be related to not having timely information about competitors. The communication problem among IT engineers might be related to poorly run scrum meetings. Our issues are local, so our solutions must be local.

If you really want to increase engagement in your organization in 2018, start by implementing a sound employee survey. Share the results at the manager level. Hold every manager accountable for action planning—and executing on those actions—with their team.

When you re-survey your organization six months later (yes, I said six months), you will see at 5-10% improvement in average engagement scores and perhaps a whole lot more.