Month: February 2014

Millennials Want Feedback, Transparency, Growth & More From Work – And So Should You!

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The nearly 80 million Millennials who are either already in the workforce or about to enter it, will fundamentally change how business is conducted. (Source)

Millennials will make up almost half (46 percent) of the workforce by 2020, and will be in the majority by 2025, as they will comprise up to 75 percent of the workforce. It’s crucial that leaders and managers take time to understand how this generation will affect the world of business.

Being a part of ‘generation Y’, and a millennial (those of us born between 1980-2000), I find it amusing how other generations look at us. Mostly, they think we’re selfish. In a way they are right, but this “me me me” attitude can actually prove beneficial.  Let me explain…

We’re a generation of do-gooders, eager to make an impact on the world through our jobs. We have a selfish and selfless desire to innovate and help the world become a better place. More importantly, we feel a need to be positive contributors in both our personal and work lives, in order to derive meaningful outcomes.

What we millennials want, may not be necessarily bad!  Dharmesh Shah, CEO of HubSpot aptly expressed this in his recent LinkedIn post titled: “Why Should Gen Y Get All The Love?” There are many values which we Gen Y’ers seek, which can truly help everyone be more productive, engaged and effective at work.

So, What Do Millennials Want?

To do meaningful work and make a difference.

As a socially conscious generation, we are constantly looking for new ways to make a positive impact. “This is why you see so many millennials become social entrepreneurs or support their local non-profit – they always need to feel like they are touching someone and making an impact.” (Source)

Given our desire to make a difference, we want our work to have purpose. Based on a study by UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and the YEC, 30% of millennials say that meaningful work is a top job factor. And even further, Gen Y women report a sense of fulfillment when work is enjoyable, meaningful, and leads to professional growth. (Source)

Frequent and specific feedback.

Gen Y desires on-the-spot feedback and recognition.  “A whopping 80% of Millennials said they would rather receive feedback in real time.” This shouldn’t come as a surprise given our nature of being digitally savvy. Most everything we do online these days is in real time.

Real time feedback allows us to regularly see our progress and make any necessary adjustments along the way. And it makes us feel good. As Shah also writes, [t]hey crave regular and immediate advice, reaction, response, and praise because they have a constant drive to “calibrate.”

Transparency.

“Power is gained by sharing knowledge, not hoarding it.” {Tweet this!} Millennials want to know much more about the companies they work for and become skeptical when they are kept in the dark about important decisions and discussions.

Hubspot recognized this need, and created a culture where “uncomfortable transparency” is celebrated. Learn more about this radical idea here.

Collaborative work-culture.

Far from the belief that millennials are selfish and self-absorbed, we thrive in team-based cultures and 88% [of us] prefer a collaborative work-culture rather than a competitive one. Growing up in the digital age means we’re uber connected and value the ability to easily collaborate with individuals and teams in and out of the workplace.

Millennial and entrepreneur Austin Church sums it up nicely, “I think collaboration, rather than competition, defines the Millennial generation. The combative posture inherent to competition in business doesn’t get you very far these days.”

To learn, grow and develop their talent.

Millennials are continuous learners and there is evidence that learning opportunities increase retention rates. As was found in a Bellevue University study of Mutual of Omaha, employees who participated in the company’s tuition reimbursement program were twice as likely to stay.

Millennials want to grow and develop themselves in their area of expertise as well as broaden industry and functional knowledge.  Self-management, personal productivity skills and innovation strategies are what millennials also hope to learn at work.  This helps make us feel like we are valued and that our managers and mentors are investing in our long-term growth.

Mentors and supportive leaders.

One of the main reasons this generation skips around from job to job is lack of support and understanding from managers. 53 percent [of millennials] said that a mentor would help them become a better and more productive employee. (Source).  Yet, 75 percent [of millennials] believe their organizations could do more to develop future leaders. Deloitte’s research shows that programs to build leadership among millennials are one of the weakest areas within corporate HR today.

Most important of all, we want to be recognized for the collaborative, innovative, optimistic and socially conscious generation we are.

Regardless of what generation we were born in, it would benefit us all to be supportive of one another, given the changing face of business. Making a difference, work transparency, frequent feedback, teamwork culture are what keep millennials like me engaged and motivated in our jobs.  But isn’t all this good for everyone else and their places of work?

At TalentCove, we want more people to benefit from these aspects so that they can be happier, productive and have more impact at work.  Learn more about how our app will help you achieve more.

Lolly Fitzpatrick

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Why Praising Your Employees Boosts Productivity

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“A company is stronger if it is bound by love rather than by fear.”Herb Kelleher

Have you ever worked at a company where managers gave little to no praise or recognition to their employees? No? Well, consider yourself lucky! More often than not, employees aren’t recognized enough for their accomplishments, and neglecting to do so can cost you. In fact, “disengaged employees cost the U.S. more than $300 billion in expenses”, due to attrition and then recruiting of replacement employees.

Motivated employees are an asset.  Recognizing them for their efforts is important if you want to have a productive and engaged team in order to move your business forward.

A few thought-provoking statistics:

  • 78 percent of US workers said being recognized motivates them in their job
  • 35 percent of workers claimed lack of recognition as the biggest hindrance to their productivity
  • 16 percent of employees left their previous job due to a lack of recognition

(Source)

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Mary Prescott of WorkZone.com also reported that “only 30% of workers say they’ve received any praise from management” (source), yet 82% of employees say recognition inspires them.

Clearly, recognition, or lack thereof, is prompting a fair share of employees to feel disengaged, less productive and in many instances, leaving their jobs.

In order to keep employees motivated and working hard, most need to feel that their efforts are valued. When acknowledged for making progress on a project or completing important tasks, it feels good and it encourages employees to stay productive. The importance of praise goes a long way!

In one of our recent posts we’ve mentioned that a small “you’re doing a great job” is important, and it is, but you should give specific praise as much as possible.

Building a culture of praise can take time, but if it is done correctly, the results can be beneficial.  It is important to not mix constructive feedback with praise.  On her The Brain Lady blog, psychologist Susan Weinschenk explains, “that the best feedback separates objective feedback from praise.”  This helps the individual differentiate between what they can improve on and what was acknowledged as good work.  Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson suggests praising the process and not the person.  “Talk about his creative approach, his careful planning, his persistence and effort, his collaborative attitude…That way, when he runs into trouble later on, he’ll remember the process that helped him to succeed in the past, and put that knowledge to good use.”

Here are some quick ways you can praise your employees on the go:

All of this also goes for peer-to-peer praise and recognition, too. It doesn’t matter what level you’re working at. If you see someone performing well, let them know!

Employee recognition is highly sought by employees and does not require a lot of resources and the positive feelings will result in better relationships with customers and clients. A win-win for all involved.

To wrap up, here are some key points to keep in mind when praising your employees:

  • People’s response to recognition will vary, but remember to praise the process
  • Achievement is defined differently for everyone, but recognizing even small ones goes a long way
  • Only praise behaviors that you want to see continued
  • Be sincere. Employees and colleagues will know if you’re faking it

Please share your thoughts on workplace recognition in the comment section and don’t forget to sign up on TalentCove.com to learn more about how we can help you give and receive recognition at work!

Lolly Fitzpatrick

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Why Performance Reviews Don’t Work.

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“If performance evaluations were a drug, they would not receive F.D.A. approval,” because “they have so many side effects, and so often they fail.” Robert Sutton, Stanford Professor and co-author of just published, Scaling Up Excellence. (Source)

It’s no secret that most employees, and even most managers, dislike the annual performance review. I remember doing a performance assessment in a previous job and being stumped on almost every question. Without encouragement to track any of my successes or challenges, with an incomplete view of all I had worked on and scant input from the people I had worked with, the task felt hopeless and intimidating. I worried about getting negative feedback from my manager and how it would impact my overall evaluation and future opportunities. Performance reviews didn’t inspire me to achieve more or get better. They only caused anxiety. The Washington Post very recently reported on how people respond to critical feedback stating that, “The research is a reminder not only of how much people dislike criticism, but of how dangerous performance review tools like rankings and ratings can be.”

“The best kind of performance review is no performance review” Aubrey Daniels

In a post last July on Adobe’s blog, HR Executive, Donna Morris (SVP, People and Places at Adobe), looked back on the company’s first year after they made the bold decision of abolishing the annual performance review. Fittingly pleased she reported, “we’re saving 80,000 hours of our managers’ time by removing an archaic process; and our attrition is down year over year.” The company’s new focus on motivating and inspiring each individual was working.

There is a paradigm shift occurring in the HR world on how companies view talent and their needs in terms of attraction, retention, and employee engagement.  Josh Bersin, Founder and Principal at Bersin by Deloitte, aptly states, “The old-fashioned performance review is slowly going out the window. In 2014, companies will  aggressively redesign their appraisal and evaluation programs to focus on coaching, development, continuous goal alignment, and recognition.”

Thought leaders on this topic are finding performance reviews no longer deliver what people want and are dreaded by almost everyone.  Here are reasons why they just don’t work.

Performance Reviews Are….

Infrequent – It’s easy to forget all of your accomplishments, successes, even failures to learn from, when you’re only being reviewed once a year. Patty McCord (previously, Chief Talent Officer, Netflix) states that performance reviews “didn’t make sense—they were too ritualistic and too infrequent.” (Source).  When feedback is not given often or on the spot, the opportunity to recognize is lost. Aubrey Daniels, clinical psychologist turned management consultant, made a great analogy. “Think of a sports team: A coach doesn’t wait until the end of a season to give his players feedback.” And neither should managers.

Weakness Based – Once a year performance reviews tend to focus on calibration and employees’ shortcomings rather than on coaching and reinforcing strengths. This can lead to negative year-end surprises, a decline in morale and higher attrition rates.  Donna Morris (Adobe), expressed her concerns on the matter: “When you’re a company of 11,500 people [and you experience] an increase [in attrition] of a few percentage points, you’re talking 100 to 200 individuals leaving who were likely great contributors. That has implications around your productivity and your performance as a company.” (Source)

Antiquated & Vague – If performance reviews can be traced back to the 1930s, it’s safe to say that most companies don’t work the same way anymore. This is especially so with the Millennial generation entering the workforce in large numbers. Gen Y workers, who will be greater than a third of the US workforce in 2014, crave specific and meaningful feedback. Taproot Foundation confirms this belief: “Millennials, who in ten years will make up the majority of the workforce, require mentorship, growth opportunities, and useful feedback from their managers.”  We can’t continue sticking to old, mundane traditions if we expect to progress.

Don’t Promote Growth – Most performance reviews are focused on ratings and rankings to determine compensation therefore managers mostly spend time justifying pre-determined ratings during these discussions. This adversarial dynamic ensures there is not much productive discussion about growth, development and career progression. Culbert explains this further saying, ”performance reviews demoralize the workforce because they focus too heavily on flaws in employees’ performance, rather than on building their strengths. The result is stagnant performance and a team of demoralized employees who are not getting the support they need to grow and develop.”

Performance reviews not helping you continuously grow and develop at work?

Sign up and learn more about how TalentCove helps you grow and develop with small wins!

Lolly Fitzpatrick

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Be Happier At Work: 5 Tips On How To Be An Engaged Employee

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Staying engaged at work is a struggle for many. According to Gallup’s recent “State of the American Workplace” survey, “latest findings indicate that 70% of American workers are ‘not engaged’ or ‘actively disengaged’ and are emotionally disconnected from their workplaces and less likely to be productive.” (Source).  That means happiness and productivity levels are low – and who wants to be surrounded with a bunch of unhappy and negative co-workers?

The good news is, you can start to turn it around today by focusing on your own engagement at work!

Here are 5 ways to keep your engagement levels up:

1.  Celebrate Your Wins: Big and small wins should be celebrated often. Research shows that small wins are even more essential because they help keep you on track, and feel confident when progressing towards your goals.

Look at it this way. A common suggestion when paying off credit cards is to pay off the card with the smallest balance first. That way you can see your progress, celebrate that small win and feel capable of paying off the rest. Small wins are important too!

Douglas Conant used a similar tactic when working to increase engagement levels while CEO of Campbell Soup Co. He stated in an interview with Forbes, “The other thing we do is celebrate at a high level when people do things well. Learning to celebrate success is a key component of learning how to win in the market.”

2.  Make Your Impact Visible: By tracking and getting recognition for your wins on a regular basis you will start to feel a sense of accomplishment and want to continue to have a positive impact. It will also help you build on your strengths.

One of the key findings in BlessingWhite’s 2011 Employee Engagement Report was that “engaged employees plan to stay for what they give; the disengaged stay for what they get.”

Log your daily wins and, periodically, share these with members of your team. Encourage them to do the same!  You will feel more engaged and ultimately, happier!

3.  Remember What Matters: Simply stated, you are more likely to stay engaged if you share common values with your employer. If you find yourself feeling disconnected, reintroduce yourself to the company’s values and make sure you’re working towards the same goals.

This sentiment is confirmed in Employee Engagement Research Update 2013, “If employees understand what matters to them, what they offer, and where they can make a difference for their employer, they will be better able to make the right choices.”  Feeling connected and finding purpose and satisfaction in your work helps you stay more fully engaged.

4.  Ask for Feedback: Sometimes you may start to feel disengaged because you don’t feel like what you’re doing is making a difference. That is why feedback from your peers and managers is important. Ask someone how you’re doing, what’s working or where you could improve. Use that as fuel and inspiration to keep moving forward.

Another point to remember is that individuals should communicate with their manager to ensure alignment and address their personal engagement drivers to reach higher levels of contribution and satisfaction (Employee Engagement Update 2013).

5.  Take a Break: It’s easy to get caught up in your daily tasks at work, but it’s important to step away and give your mind a breather. Get up and walk around for a few minutes every hour or so. Freeing your mind can work wonders, and can help you focus on how to take daily actions that will help give you a deeper sense of purpose and engagement at work.

Tell us! How do you stay engaged at work?

Sign up to learn more about TalentCove and be the first to know when our app is launched! Coming soon

Lolly Fitzpatrick

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5 Tips on Giving Good Feedback

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In most workplaces, ongoing feedback is scarce and typically comes around in the form of performance reviews only once a year. At TalentCove we understand the worth of receiving regular feedback from managers and peers. Even a small, but specific comment such as “you did great work on the P&G presentation, keep it up”, can nurture an engaged and motivated team.  Regular and specific feedback fuels employees’ desire to want to do more at work. So, what better way to improve workplace culture than perfect the art of giving effective feedback?

Providing valuable feedback is an important skill to master, but it is not always simple.

Here are our top tips for giving good feedback:

1. Be Positive –Feedback is about improvement and should inspire the person to want to get better at what they do. The tone should always be positive and the feedback should be specific. Give frequent positive feedback to reinforce things that are being done well. This creates safety and receptivity for when you provide corrective feedback.

2. Do It Often – “Employee reviews are a process that should happen all year-long,” says Paul Falcone, author of 2600 Phrases for Effective Performance Reviews (Source). Don’t just acknowledge the big successes. Celebrate the small wins, too!

3. Act Swiftly – The sooner you relay feedback, the more productive it is. When feedback is shared in the moment, it is more meaningful.  Delaying until a quarterly or yearly performance view is often as ineffective as not giving any feedback at all.

4. Be Genuine – It feels good to get feedback, but if it isn’t genuine, it could cheapen the experience and possibly give the receiver the notion that they are not truly valued. According to Towers Watson, the top rated driver of employee engagement was “the extent to which employees believed that their senior management had a sincere interest in their well‐being.”

5. Ask for Feedback. It’s near impossible to improve on something if you’re not receiving feedback yourself, right? Don’t hesitate to ask the person you gave feedback to what they enjoyed or how you could improve for next time.

Have any good feedback tips of your own? Share them in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Don’t forget to sign up to learn more about TalentCove and how we help you give good feedback at work!

Lolly Fitzpatrick

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