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Increasing Productivity

Keep Employees Engaged

How do you ensure your best employees don’t leave you in search of greener pastures?

Joe Robinson

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We see it every day at the office: The ‘I’m-in-pain-because-I’m-working-so-hard’ face. It may look convincing, but it’s not a metric for effectiveness.

It’s an illusion that the harder and faster we work, the better our solutions will be. The mindset is that more is better. These employees are not thinking that effectiveness is more productive than quantity.

It’s a focus that can lead to a major dysfunction: Disengaged, burnt-out employees, simply going through the motions.

Diane Fassel, author of The Addictive Organization and Working Ourselves to Death discovered that an addiction to busyness drives a contagious loop in which company leaders model bravado behaviour that actually undermines productivity and engagement.

To break out of this counterproductive reflex, leaders must gather information about how people work — and how they feel about their work.

Related: Build Effective (And Brilliant) Teams

Valued working style

Engaged employees are more energised, dedicated and committed to their tasks and to the company than folks operating by rote. The oomph they provide, or ‘discretionary effort’, has been shown to increase performance and profits.

Employee engagement is a major concern among large companies and human resource professionals. But in the entrepreneurial realm, there’s little thought paid to working style; instead, it’s a flat-out, unconscious frenzy, a reaction to what’s incoming all day long.

Engagement is the X-factor entrepreneurs would be wise to harness. The key is in making people feel valued and trusted.

“Feeling valued means that the work culture supports employee growth and development, removes obstacles to getting the job done and allows employees to use all of their gifts in the service of the organisation,” Fassel says. “If they don’t feel valued, they typically burn out quickly. But if they feel valued, they tend to work hard and cope well.”

Driving motivation

Recognising value requires effort from leaders to find out what people really think, by taking time to dialogue solutions and showing a willingness to communicate beyond mouse clicks. That means offering positive feedback, looking employees in the eye and affirming that they’re doing a good job.

Recognising a good idea or dedication to a project fuels engagement, particularly when it goes to a person’s sense of competence, rather than just results. (“I like how you handled that.”)

A sense of competence is a core psychological need that drives intrinsic motivation and a continuous interest in the work at hand.

A personal touch can go a long way to building an engaged team. Fassel points to hand-scribbled thank you notes from supervisors: “It’s not just, ‘What a great job you did’, but ‘When I saw you solve this problem, I realised what a wonderful asset you are to the team, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that.’ These people keep these notes for years. If that’s all it takes, we’re really missing the boat.”

The Secret Recipe

The Towers Watson 2012 Global Workforce Study measured 32 000 people in 29 global markets, focusing on engagement brought about in the following areas:

  • Leadership. Leaders show sincere interest in employees’ well-being and earn their trust and confidence.
  • Stress, balance and workload. Stress levels are manageable, there’s a healthy work-life balance and enough employees to do the job.
  • Goals and objectives. Employees understand how their jobs contribute to achieving company goals.
  • Supervisors. Managers assign appropriate tasks, coach employees and behave consistently.
  • Image. The company is held in high regard by the public and displays integrity in business practices.

The study found that companies with the highest engagement levels had an operating margin of 27%, while those with the lowest were at less than 10%. At disengaged companies, 40% of employees were likely to leave in the next two years; at the most at engaged firms, the number was 18%.

Want more productive employees? Let them goof off. Here’s why

Joe Robinson is author of Don't Miss Your Life, on the hidden skills of activating life after work, and a work-life balance trainer and executive coach.

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Increasing Productivity

7 Bad Workplace Habits Millennials Need To Stop Making

Walk away from the computer once in a while. Leave your tablet behind for meetings. And don’t check your smartphone during a conversation.

Jayson Demers

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The millennial generation has faced a great deal of criticism, and in some cases, scorn from older generations. We millennials – yes, I’m one of them – are seen as selfish, entitled and demanding, not to mention addicted to technology.

Are these stereotypes true? Certainly not for all millennials. But there are certain tendencies and habits that are associated with the millennial generation more than any other generation – and they run both positive and negative.

Here, let’s focus on the negatives, setting aside the fact that you can’t categorize an entire generation, and behavioral traits and stereotypes can’t be empirically proven to exist. Instead, let’s focus on the bad workplace habits that the older generations perceive millennials to have, and work on eliminating them.

Related: Lifestyle-Focused Work Environments Are Not Just For Millennials

Regardless of how much of a stereotypical millennial you believe yourself to be, you’ll make a better impression in your new work environment if you avoid these common bad habits:

1Making demands instead of requests

Millennials do have a habit of making demands, and setting more rigid requirements for their workplaces. On some level, this is good; too many modern workers are afraid to voice their opinions, and would rather keep their heads down than verbally address something wrong with the organisations.

However, when voicing your opinion, turn your demands into requests. Making a request of your employer shows more respect and subordination than making a demand, which is especially important if you’re new to the organisation.

The more experience you earn, the more demanding you can afford to be, but start out by making requests instead.

2Exhibiting overconfidence

Confidence is good, but overconfidence can ruin your reputation if it’s perceived as arrogance. Millennials tend to overestimate their abilities and knowledge in the workplace, which is especially irritating to people from the older generations who have spent far more years on the job.

Recognize that your superiors have been at this job longer than you have, and don’t be afraid to exhibit confidence – as long as you keep that confidence reasonably in check. It’s better to perform well with a sense of humility than to boast about your abilities and fail to meet expectations. Just as happens with demands, you can demonstrate more confidence over time as your accomplishments start to speak for themselves.

3Relying only on certain forms of communication

Most millennials prefer text-based forms of communication over voice-based forms. They’re more comfortable with mediums like SMS text and email because they’ve grown up with these formats, and recognise the fact that they give you more time to put your thoughts together (not to mention leaving a paper trail).

However, it’s important to recognise that not everyone prefers to communicate this way – and that there are advantages to making a phone call rather than emailing. Showcase a degree of flexibility in the way you communicate, and you can eliminate this bad habit altogether.

Related: What Millennials Want From 2017 – How To Stay Ahead Of The Trend Curve

4Talking more than listening

Talking more than listening

This is a bad habit for any generation, not just millennials; but for millennials, it’s far more damning. Because millennials are seen as self-centered and overconfident, talking too much can be seen as an exacerbation of these qualities (even if it’s just a result of this individual’s extroverted personality).

Instead, make a conscious effort to speak less and listen more, especially when you’re in the company of someone more experienced or more authoritative than you are. You’ll end up making a better impression, and more importantly, you’ll learn more in the process.

5Assuming a certain behavior or action is okay

Office environments are becoming more relaxed. Work schedules are becoming more flexible, etiquette is becoming looser and dress codes are increasingly casual. These trends are facilitated by increasing technological sophistication and decreasing reliance on old-school business tropes. However, this isn’t a free license to show up at the office whenever you want, wearing whatever you want.

In fact, doing so could mark you as both overconfident and disrespectful. Don’t just assume a certain action or behavior is okay. If you’re even slightly in doubt, ask someone.

6Multitasking

Millennials grew up with technology that provided instantaneous information on demand. They work fast and think fast, which makes them highly productive and ingenious. Unfortunately, this high pace also lures them into the multitasking trap, tempting them to try to accomplish many things simultaneously in a bid to work as fast as possible.

As more people are beginning to realise, multitasking is ineffective, and engaging in multitasking could weaken your performance in multiple areas.

Related: Why Millennials Are Becoming Franchisees

7Staying plugged in

Again, thanks to our natural history with technological devices, we millennials tend to be more reliant on them than our older-generation counterparts. There’s a perception that weare addicted to technology, so if you’re young and want to combat this stereotype and improve your reputation in the process, avoid staying “plugged in” for too long.

Walk away from the computer every once in a while. Leave your tablet behind for that important meeting. Above all, don’t check your smartphone when you’re having a conversation.

The truth is, there are some differences that set millennials apart from other generations. This doesn’t mean millennials are bad workers or good workers – it just means they work differently. Acknowledging those differences, and compensating for them when they create workplace dissonance, can help you better adjust to your job, and make a better impression with the people in charge.

Focus on eliminating these bad habits, and you’ll stand apart from the rest of your generation.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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End Of Year Slump? Now’s The Time To Pull Out The Right Rewards

It has been a long year with many economic turmoils. People are tired and many employees have just one goal in mind — to take a well-deserved rest.

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For sales people this should be the last thing on their minds. The festive season is especially the season to sell, sell, sell. What is the best way to solve this conundrum?

Motivational programmes that offer staff incentives have proven highly successful. They can generate a positive, productive atmosphere. November, through December into January is the time of year when annual targets will be achieved and contracts renewed, so what better time to drive activity and incentivise the workforce?

As an incentive solution company, Uwin Iwin has the necessary experience in achieving the optimum results.

Timing is everything

The tradition of pre-Christmas reward means employee recognition is delivered before the year is out. Although the extra money will come in handy for gifts and what-not, January is usually a lean month.

Related: Uwin Iwin Incentives Hits The United Kingdom Shores

The reward process could be split, for example, with half the reward given before Christmas and half in the New Year. A reward at the start of the year is the perfect way to perk up employees who may be suffering from the January blues, and focus them on activities for the months ahead. It also helps extend the feel-good factor of the festive season and ease the post-Christmas squeeze on spending.

Increasing normal rewards

For those who have to work during this time, motivation can ebb away. Instead of the normal incentive programme, introduce competitions and make it fun. Increase normal incentives by 50%, for example, to motivate sales channels to perform at the highest levels possible.

Considering that buying power increases through more disposable income, December offers the perfect opportunity to maximise sales figures.

A targeted approach

When it comes to deciding on targets, realistic goals need to be set. Goals must be achievable and fair, and the best way of deciding them is to ask staff to select their own. This means that their commitment to achieving the target is greater because they take ownership of it.

Businesses should not concentrate on rewarding top achievers in their workforce, but ensure the programme is designed to engage and improve performance across the whole of the team, especially during this time when employees might feel deprived of a festive season because they have to work.

Reward categories could include Performance of the Month, Biggest Improvement, Best Comeback, to name a few.

Related: Incentives to Promote Job Creation

Appropriate rewards

The challenge that many businesses face when planning their festive reward strategy is what type of reward to give. Cash is appreciated by most employees, but runs the risk of being an ‘invisible reward’ — forgotten once it hits the bank account and likely to be spent on day to day necessities.

Money being uploaded onto a gift card that can be used anywhere is much more rewarding. Uwin Iwin has the perfect solution in the Kudosh card that offers exactly that — cash on a branded card accepted by any vendor that accepts MasterCard.

Rewards beyond gift cards

gift cards

Out of the ordinary rewards can be a very good incentive. One option that works nicely is the earning of days off (increased leave) that can be used outside peak seasons. Sending out questionnaires to keep your ear to the ground when it comes to preferred rewards will give you great insight into possible solutions.

End-of-year rewards resonate strongly with employees as a way of acknowledging their contribution throughout the year. It is therefore also a good idea to use this opportunity to acknowledge the achievements of employees by presenting their rewards on a public forum.

This adds a personal element and provides public recognition for the member of staff in front of their peers and is fitting for an end-of-the-year festive celebration.

Communication is key

Communication over the festive season is especially pertinent. Regular emails, SMSes and even hard copy pamphlets outlining the increased rewards serve as a constant motivation.

The trick here is to make the communications so powerful that they overcome end-of-year fatigue.

Related: With the Right Incentives Loyal Customers Will Become Brand Advocates

Ask Uwin Iwin to help you to relook your incentive programme this festive season. And while it shouldn’t be the only incentive you provide for the year, it is good to make it a little more special for your valuable employees during the festive season.

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Why Supporting Your Mobile Workforce Is Good Business

77% of workers drive over the speed limit due to work pressure. TomTom helps reduce pressure and improve safety for your drivers, while protecting your bottom line.

TomTom Telematics

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Did you know?

30% of each vehicle’s Total Cost of Ownership is influenced by the way the car is driven.


Each of the devices that form part of the TomTom PRO 8 series is a customisable driver terminal that connects driver and vehicle data to business processes, while helping drivers to be safer on the road.

What does this mean for your business? Data is power. Having the correct data at your fingertips allows you to make better decisions for your business, enabling you to improve efficiencies while saving on costs.

The TomTom PRO 8 series of driver terminals are designed to seamlessly integrate information captured in the field into back-end systems, to enable better decision-making and improved customer service levels based on current data.

This customisable device offers new opportunities to further digitise the workflow process through WEBFLEET and bespoke business apps developed by TomTom, whilst staying in control of device management in the field.

Related: 3 Ways You Can Use Mobile Apps To Improve Your Customer Experience

It also helps the driver by providing support from award winning solutions such as navigation and traffic, and OptiDrive 360, to help your drivers drive on the correct routes for their vehicle, and in a safer and more efficient driving style.

TomTom PRO 8 Series features include:

  • Top-class navigation: Ensure your fleet drives with the latest map, and that you have access to the fastest routes to your customers.
  • Orders: Send clear order instructions directly to the driver terminal. Include order type, full address, contact details and any special instructions. The drivers are able to follow the faster available route.
  • Messages: Use WEBFLEET to send and receive messages about a job without calling and disturbing your mobile workforce. TomTom PRO devices are also using text-to-speech technology to read out messages, increasing your drivers’ safety.
  • Logbook: Mileage capturing made easy with a TomTom PRO driver terminal. By simply touching the screen a driver can register a journey as private, commuting or business.
  • Working Time: Report working time and driving time to show your compliance.

Drivers use the device to register the moment they start work, take a break or head for home.

360drive

OptiDrive 360° empowers drivers of all vehicles, from cars to vans and heavy commercial vehicles, to improve driving performance continuously, before, during and after trips. All driving performance information is displayed on a TomTom PRO driver terminal.

Related: 3 Ways Retailers Should Accommodate the Mobile-obsessed Customer

Video input

  • Dedicated video cradle provides PAL or NTSC, and universal camera input support
  • Standard with TRUCK versions, available as an option for standard devices
  • Ideal for use with rear facing camera, also offers ‘parking guidance’
  • Auto switch to camera view when reversing
  • Small camera view via home screen widget.

Camera

  • Camera for image capture and/or barcode scanning to integrate into workflows
  • Integrated flashlight
  • Only products in class that support a camera.

Data Security & Privacy

  • Configurable settings for data flow and management enable you to remain in control of security and privacy for your users.

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