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Managers are at the heart of your organization, vigilantly pumping the lifeblood of inspiration and support throughout the teams they lead. And just like the body, if your heartbeat isn’t strong, the rest of your company will lag and ultimately fail.

CEOs, the brain of the organization, must design healthy workplaces and empower managers to bring out the best in their people. Below, we’ll focus on the heart (company managers) and cover the three most overlooked high drivers of effective management that CEOs should capitalize on to improve organizational health.

Empower your managers to bring out the best in your people every week: 15Five Continuous Performance Management.

Just like in medicine, where the most effective diagnoses and remedies are based on data, the most effective management decisions are also evidence-based. Let’s look to science for the answers to our modern organizational health conundrum.

1. Preventative Medicine: Keep the wrong people out of management roles in the first place

For the 95% of companies that hire and promote people into manager roles, at a cost of billions of dollars each year, ineffective management can be lethal.

One of the most common mistakes a company makes is promoting individual contributors who possess strong technical skills, but lack people skills. A recent study shows that salespeople who closed twice as many deals as their peers were 14% more likely to earn a promotion into management, and the better they were at sales, the worse they were managing.

According to Gallup, only one in ten people have the talent to manage. These 10% have the unique combination of talent to help a team achieve excellence and significantly improve organizational health.

Another two in ten people exhibit some characteristics of basic managerial talent and can function at a high level if their company develops them.

So what do we do about the other seven people?

Healthy companies filter people who aren’t right for management by investing in stellar promotion selection strategies. It’s easier, less painful, and less costly to care for our bodies first than to have open heart surgery later on.

Effective medical diagnoses are based on data, effective management is also evidence-based.
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In Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense, Stanford professors, Jeffrey Pfeffer and Bob Sutton point to research that shows good and great bosses only moderately increase employee happiness, but bad bosses greatly decrease it. So avoiding bad managers is even more important than hiring or promoting great managers.

You may be thinking, what about the growth mindset and the importance of believing in the ability of others to grow and develop?

The growth mindset for managing is like the placebo effect for medicine. The more you believe in the potential of medicine to work or people to grow, the increased likelihood that it will happen. Managing and leading may be easier for some people and harder for others, so for those who struggle but also possess glimmers of managerial talent, if they’re willing to put in the work, they can develop into great managers with the right help and guidance.

As an alternative you can offer lateral moves with increased responsibility for those who are better suited for individual contributor roles.

2. Effective medicine is commonly overlooked: Why job crafting increases employee engagement

Just as there’s an endless list of decisions a person can make to stay healthy, there’s an equally endless list of programs and practices to help employees thrive, including: hire great people, design a stellar onboarding experience, focus on growth and development, increase diversity, and the list goes on and on.

ALL are important and research shows there are no ‘three things’ to drive engagement. In reality, there are over 50 factors that drive employee engagement at work.

As long as the natural talents are there, skilled employees can be developed into managers.
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Since all 50 factors are important, we’re interested in revealing the high impact, yet commonly overlooked practice for employee engagement: Continuous work-role fit conversations. Work-role fit means who you are as a person directly aligns with the work you do every day.

Many companies try to identify work-role fit in the recruiting process, but usually the conversation stops there. Work-role fit is a discovery process that managers must direct, especially for millennials who may be exploring the workplace for the first time.

The conversation around work-role fit shouldn’t stop once the company makes the decision to hire because it’s not a static or one time process. This conversation should continue through all stages of the employee lifecycle, from the hiring process, to employee onboarding, and through continual growth and development check-ins.

Most role descriptions are rigid, company-centric, and don’t capture the entire role. It’s time for role descriptions to become more flexible, more employee-centric, and more comprehensive.

Managers and employees can work together to discover and improve work-role fit via job crafting, an exercise that helps employees redefine their job around their top values, strengths and passions. Job crafting is a leading, research-backed exercise developed by Justin Berg from Stanford, Jane Dutton from the University of Michigan and Amy Wrzesniewski from Yale. Wrzesniewski explains that jobs are rarely designed to match the talents, preferences, and aspirations of the individual and that job crafting can have a substantial impact on engagement and job satisfaction.

Every manager can help their team members identify their top strengths, values and passions and bend the role (don’t worry, it won’t break!) to align with those strengths and also push the company mission forward in a stronger way than before.

3. Great CEOs practice holistic medicine: Look at the entire system to improve organizational health

Unfortunately when problems arise at work, most managers and leaders blame the individual over the system. This approach can lead to serious organizational health issues. Research shows that 94% of individual performance outcomes are attributable to the system an employee works in. 94 percent!

Great organizational systems are designed at the top and reinforced in the middle through managers. The same goes for bad systems, meaning that good managers working in bad systems will be limited by the systems they’re in.

Successful CEO’s know that all of their employees, including managers, are only as good as the system in which they work. It’s important for leaders to be intentional about their system, because having a healthy heart (management team) is not enough.

Here are several questions leaders can ask to diagnose and improve organizational health in the system:

1) Is there a clear mission, vision and values?

2) Are organizational goals & priorities clear and transparent or hidden?

3) Does your employee reward system create a culture of collaboration or competition?

4) Is your workforce distributed? If so, do you have technology in place to increase communication, collaboration, and connection?

5) Is there enough psychological safety present for people to ask questions, admit failure, and get help from their colleagues?

Research shows that skin and blood cells can be reprogrammed into heart cells. And some heart disease can be healed with physical stimulation. The same is true for management—as long as the natural talents are there, skilled employees can be developed into managers.

With the right amount of attention from leadership on the entire system, good managers can be provided with the conditions to become great. With a healthy heart your entire company can not only survive, but become more dynamic and successful.

Courtney Bigony is Director of People Science at 15Five, continuous performance management software that includes weekly check-ins, objectives (OKR) tracking, peer recognition, 1-on-1s, and reviews. She is also the founder of The Deep Feedback Movement, where she provides actionable insights for People Teams based on the latest social science research, and a Fellow at the Center for Evidence Based Management.

This post originally appeared on Thrive Global

Image Credit: CATHY PHAM on Unsplash

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At 15Five we use research frequently; whether it be our evidence-based management approach or using data to analyze our own growth as a company. As such, it made perfect sense to seek the advice of a social psychologist to help us understand the science behind work culture and the social dynamics at play in every business.

In addition to authoring three novels (see www.TonyVigorito.com), including his most recent underground hit, Love and Other Pranks, Tony Vigorito, Ph.D. is a social psychologist and cultural design consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I caught up with Tony recently to get his insights on how to build a positive and thriving work culture:

DM: Building a work culture from day one (with attendant rituals, values, and touchstones) is easier than shifting a culture once it has already formed. What’s happening when cultures emerge and what advice do you have for leaders to direct employees towards a certain shared understanding or mission?

TV: Ideally, leaders begin with a vision of how they want work culture to evolve, because in the absence of that people unconsciously recreate the cultures from which they came. Let’s say that you have a startup and all of your new employees are coming from established companies like Google and Amazon. Via the mechanism of how roles, expectations, and attention have previously been modeled, these people are going to unconsciously recreate their previous cultures, at least in the absence of proactive leadership.

It’s also useful to draw a distinction between what we call objective culture and subjective culture. Objective culture is culture that has already been created by others, such that we perceive it as an object external to ourselves. Subjective culture, on the other hand, is the capacity of the individual subject to create, control, and produce elements of culture. For example, in the United States today, Amazon is an expression of objective culture. Twenty-five years ago they were an expression of subjective culture. So, the cultures we create take on a facticity that resists the emergence of new cultural forms, forestalling innovation.

It becomes increasingly challenging to change the culture that has already been created by others.
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The tragedy of culture that befalls many organizations is that they end up mindlessly recreating previously established (and often undesirable) social structures. As time goes by, this dialectic between subjective and objective culture makes it increasingly difficult to manifest subjective culture, which is to say, it becomes increasingly challenging to change the structures that have already been created by other people—people that are ultimately no different from you or I. But because they have been successful at manifesting some aspect of their subjective culture into the cultural space inhabited by the collective, it then becomes objective culture for everyone else.

DM: Let’s say a founder starts a company and doesn’t launch with a work culture in mind—no values, mission, etc.—but they somehow achieve a degree of success, like product market fit. Then things start to unravel because of cultural issues. Arguably, they have the most authority, how do they redirect the culture?

TV: Social dynamics can sometimes get lost in familiar structures, so let’s use the example of the now-world-famous Burning Man festival which takes place in the Nevada desert every year. Because the city appears out of the dust literally within a span of days, it’s a phenomenal laboratory for observing how social structures emerge and are influenced by individuals.

I’ve observed the event for years and I first noticed a shift around 2011 or 2012, when Burning Man first sold out of tickets in advance of the event. Immediately, tickets became a scarce resource. In order to sustain the awesome scale of the event, the Burning Man Organization began apportioning tickets to existing theme camps or the groups who were contributing the spectacular art, music, and experiences that define the physical and cultural landscape of the event.

This granted a new degree of status, power, and influence to the leaders of theme camps who could essentially dictate that to attend the event (i.e., to guarantee yourself a ticket), you would have to participate in a specific camp, providing those camp leaders with the ability to dictate experiences for camp members. Participants had to pay camp dues and volunteer their effort in exchange for resources such as meal plans, drinking water, showers, access to social networks, preferential placement, and the tickets themselves.

Now obviously, at one level, this is an organic and functional dynamic, but it becomes problematic when leaders are driven by ambition rather than service, i.e., the leader who controls access to resources in order to sustain their own power vs. the leader who strives to make sure everyone’s needs are being served by the culture they create.

The same thing can happen in a work culture. Management has supreme control over the resources of their employees. Despite any pretense about a company being a tribe, family, or team, management can always fire any family member, and if any tribesman can be banished during a temporary resource shortage then it’s not actually a tribe. As an aside, it’s worth noting that management imposes these euphemisms to soften the truth that oftentimes workplace social structures are inorganic and can be impersonal and alienating.

One need look no further than the unfortunate term “human resources” to see the truth behind the mask. Essentially, management imposes an interpretation of experience intended to inspire the group identity and loyalty present in more traditional forms of social relating—the sort of forms in which we inhabited for all of human history prior to the Industrial Revolution—on social structures that typically bear little resemblance to them.

Every employee instinctively wants to participate in something larger than themselves.
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But if people feel like they are dealing with a calculating and impersonal management, they are likely to resist it. As individuals we all want to feel like we are participating in a community which is larger and more meaningful than the self. However, around 2-300 years ago, the great social transformation from communal to associational structures gained traction and has left us in a state of alienation that we seek to remedy by changing how we think of these structures without actually changing them.

DM: This sounds very sinister. We have a tribal work culture and have developed a very successful business with near zero attrition in over six years. Yes, everyone is aware that firing can happen—my former direct supervisor was one of the only terminations—but these are always handled with compassion and with the best interests of the employees being held in tandem with the best interests of the company.

TV: There’s nothing sinister in pointing out the basic constraints of what a social structure is composed. Social analysis strives to transcend ideological bias, and in so doing may sometimes unveil uncomfortable truths. But you are correct in sensing that a social structure is made out of of social roles and that those roles are made out of real people. Like actors inhabiting roles, as individuals we have the capacity to inhabit—and define—our social roles in our own way.

Yes, organizations are made out of individuals, and in the ideal workplace—despite it being organized according to the associational structure I’ve described—we still create friendships, loyalties, and something resembling community within that. In fact, this is the ideal cultural design within a company. When we begin to identify with one another as friends, we’re no longer associating with one another strictly on the basis of social role, which by itself is inherently alienating.

There will be deeper considerations other than the barren rules of social role that will determine our behavior. We begin to interact, participate, and fulfill responsibilities on the basis of an intrinsic sense of obligation to one another rather than conforming to an extrinsic and coercive structure. The point, however, is that this has to be genuine, and it’s in everyone’s interest that it is. Feigning family, team, and tribe without actually satisfying any of these needs can only breed indignation and resentment among employees.

Perhaps the way forward is to strike a compromise between the associational and communal. The associational has its advantages in terms of efficiency, which is unfortunately often the only premise in the marketplace because it’s the point of view required by shareholders. But when you’re dealing with your human resources—excuse me, human talent—community is the primary premise because everyone instinctively wants to participate in something larger than themselves.

By the way, this is one of the reasons I invented a cult in my most recent novel, Love and Other Pranks, to act as a sort of microcosm by which the reader could examine social dynamics that are otherwise hidden by their very proximity. Even the most cursory glance at the word culture reveals that it shares the same root as cult. A cult is an extreme form of culture, where control over all material and nonmaterial resources is removed from the individual and vested with the guru/leader. In a cult, there is no capacity for the individual to create and control culture; instead, they have been turned into a vacant consumer of culture, which is inherently alienating and deeply dissatisfying. Cults typically collapse for this very reason.

When individuals are divested of the capacity to fulfill their basic human need of participating in the creation of culture, all cultures, whether cult or company, inevitably lose relevance for their participants. In business, when a balance is struck between the associational needs of the shareholders and the communal needs of the human beings that are inhabiting these roles, everyone wins.

One way to build community is via company trips. Adventure is effective at building work culture, which is why teams brave high ropes courses or have ski-weekends. Think of any friendship that you’ve ever built, they deepen after sharing an adventure or an edge experience. I could be unnecessarily cynical and say that it’s just an illusion of community, but from your lived experiences at 15Five, surfing in Mexico with your team or snowboarding in Tahoe, it sounds and I’m sure it feels authentic. I think you end up with a much more effective company culture when that culture is giving people what they are looking for – a sense of community and a network of friends.

When a balance is struck between shareholder needs and human needs, everyone wins.
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DM: What about subcultures? Subgroups often form in companies, and there can be healthy competition or fun across teams but that can be volatile. Do we want that to exist or are we asking for unhealthy competition to develop like at Apple during the 80s where the Mac team was favored by Steve Jobs?

TV: I immediately think about various law enforcement agencies. They are all on the same side of the law with the same basic goal, but there will nonetheless be interagency rivalry, such as between the CIA and the FBI. Or rivalries between local and federal law enforcement where information is not shared and there is a subsequent interference with their shared goals. All of this can interfere with organizational efficiency.

When you lack information, you lack the capacity to make informed decisions. Or to use your case of Apple, you lack the ability to develop and adapt your products most effectively to the marketplace. Those shared learnings can apply across teams. I think the rivalries you are describing should be done away with, to the extent that is possible.

Without information you lack the ability to adapt your products most effectively to the marketplace.
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This type of organizational behavior is actually an artifact of factory work. The early industrialists would typically manufacture competition between their workers primarily to reduce solidarity and the risks of labor organizing to gain more control over compensation and working conditions (unionization). That has been part of the capitalist model since the very beginning of the Industrial Revolution. I wonder though if such competition can be done away with entirely. From the point of view of shareholders, efficiency gains at the same pace that the human needs of the individual are ignored. The impulse is to keep things associational rather than communal.

But this solution is bluntly shortsighted and lacking in a nuanced understanding of how human organizations function. To the extent that a company fails to invest in the human needs of its employees, disloyalty (and the consequent need to hire and train new workers) and dishonesty (pilfering, embezzlement, sabotage, etc.) proceed, rapidly chipping away at the efficiency of the organization.

People are not stupid. Even if they lack the ability to articulate their frustrations with deficiencies in social dynamics, that doesn’t mean they aren’t sensing those deficiencies. If a company’s attempt to create community is less than genuine, it will create alienation and will fail to achieve the goals sought by its leaders.

I wrote a paper on worker-owned businesses some time ago and interviewed several members of those types of enterprises. What really stood out is that their locus of social control is internal rather than external. In other words, they don’t show up late to work, not because of a repercussion, but basically because that’s just uncool. They’re essentially messing with their friends when they act selfishly.

They don’t steal, because they’d be stealing from themselves. This is an organization that has evolved entirely into the communal context, wherein each member has an equal and vested interest in their collective success. In a normal business, passive shareholders would prefer that the organization not evolve into that because that would undermine their ability to live off of their investments.

DM: There’s a point at which economic efficiency fails. So there needs to be a balance between economic efficiency and how stakeholders  are treated. The same is true I think in what you were talking about balancing the associational and communal aspects of an organization. Inspiring internal motivation in employees is one of the points of work culture. Those people will be driven to add value not solely because of the economic benefits they derive but from contributing to something greater. And research suggests that especially with the coming generation, purpose rules as a motivating factor.

Now, shareholders or company leaders may decide to “create a work culture” by writing some things on the wall because data suggests that this is what people want and will lead to increased revenue, but this is still economically-driven. I think employees can smell the bullshit and want to be enrolled in a culture where a visionary leader believes in something.

TV: There is absolutely a risk in a company’s attempts to build a culture if it’s perceived as insincere, if it’s all talk and no walk. People are not stupid. Even if they lack the ability to articulate their frustrations with deficiencies in social dynamics, that doesn’t mean they aren’t sensing those deficiencies. If a company’s attempt to create community is less than genuine, it will create alienation and will fail to achieve the sought-after goals.

David Mizne is Marketing Communications Manager at 15Five, continuous performance management software that includes weekly check-ins, objectives (OKR) tracking, peer recognition, 1-on-1s, and reviews. David’s articles have also appeared on The Next Web & TalentCulture. Follow him @davidmizne.

Image Credit: Redwood Coast

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Type “leadership” into the search bar on Amazon and prepare to sift through more than 70,000 titles. And that’s just books! Countless more articles, theses, and treatises on the topic have been written by savants from Cicero to Machiavelli to Lincoln. Needless to say, there’s a lot to say.

Okay, now search for “leadership development.” Way to go, you’ve winnowed it down to only 20,000 books (or so). Again, thousands of people across thousands of years have documented their two cents on the subject. And while a search for “change management” produced only 10,000 titles, that subject is quickly playing catch-up.

As history has shown time and again, developing competent leaders is one of the quintessential ingredients for long-term success in any venture. Whether running a village or running a country, communities have prospered because a group of people had the derring-do to take the bull by the horns and the charisma to get others to grab on too.

With its org charts, corporate ladders, and division of labor, the workplace is one of the most visible embodiments of leadership in action. From orchestrating grand visions in the C-Suite to managing boots on the ground, the ability to lead others is critical for companies but something few people come by naturally. Leadership development is a skill that needs to be cultivated. Constantly.

The ability to lead others is critical for companies but something few people come by naturally.
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Responsibility for this development is a two-way street. On the one hand, the employee must have the desire, coachability, and work ethic to become an effective leader. On the other, the employer has to put systems in place that facilitate employee growth and development. Doing so not only makes managers’ lives easier when it comes to workload and inevitable transitions, it makes them look good when their people are continually demonstrating they’re ready for the next step.

Looking for a performance management system that facilitates employee growth and development? Swap your outdated employee performance evaluation for 15Five’s Best-Self Review.

All of that said, turning employees into model leaders takes intention and dedication. But, rather than adding to the tens of millions of pages already written about the matter, we’ve compiled some of the more practical tips and advice currently making the rounds from today’s thought leaders. These have been distilled down into four main areas represented by four main articles from seasoned vets:

1) Understanding Leadership Personalities
2) Effective Management & Leadership
3) Building Authentic Relationships
4) Leadership Development & Change Management

1) Understanding Leadership Personalities

What Your Enneagram Says About Your Leadership Style
By: Catherine Hayes

Leadership expert Catherine Hayes puts a coaching spin on one of today’s top personality tests, the Enneagram. Similar in nature to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the Enneagram categorizes individuals by their interactions with others. Hayes looks at the test through the lens of leadership. According to her experience, everyone displays to some degree each of the nine personality types assessed, but one in particular will be most dominant.

For instance, Reformers always get the job done right, but they have high standards. This sometimes leads to a lack of faith in others to meet those standards and therefore a lack of essential delegation. Meanwhile, Helpers are, as the name suggests, helpful and nurturing. Unfortunately, they’re a little too concerned with being perceived this way, which means they aren’t able to provide tough love when the situation calls for it. And then there are the Challengers. Strong leaders who are unafraid of the driver’s seat, Challengers occasionally default to bullying when they feel their authority or control is threatened.

Understanding these personality types along with their six cousins—Achiever, Individualist, Investigator, Loyalist, Enthusiast, and Peacemaker—offers a healthy sense of self-awareness. As Hayes says, “You can move up the levels of growth and ultimately lead from your best self.”

Additional insights about understanding leadership personality traits:
How the Enneagram Can Help You Become a Better Leader – Michael Hyatt, respected leadership mentor and former chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, discusses his favorite resource on Enneagrams, The Road Back to You, and how it helps you evaluate the five conditions leaders must have to be effective.

The Combination to Your Team’s Recurring Problem: the Enneagram Personality Test – Former trial lawyer and CEO Jack Craven also praises the virtues of the Enneagram when it comes to leadership effectiveness and offers a case study of the test in action.

2) Effective Management & Leadership

How to Be a Good Manager
By: Jennifer Bridges

As the multi-talented founder of PDUs2Go.com, a mobile professional development firm specializing in project manager development, Jennifer Bridges understands what it means to be a strong manager versus a strong leader. The two aren’t the same, nor are they mutually exclusive. Rockstar leaders may be poor managers and vice versa.

When we talk about leaders, we’re not simply referring to the ivory tower. We’re talking about anyone whose role involves overseeing other people. Few individuals have the talent to lead a large team much less an entire company out of the gates. You need to build up to that level of responsibility, and part of this development involves solid people management.

Bridges specifically calls out 7 foundational skills good managers need to display: time management, communication, conflict resolution, team building, negotiation, task management, and organization. She also discusses the need for 10 “soft skills,” or intangibles that complement these technical abilities such as confidence, honesty, and reliability. According to Bridges, with these qualities in place, “A manager takes a person or enterprise from where they are to where they want to be.”

Additional insights about becoming an effective manager:
5 Steps to Develop Your Managers into Leaders – Marketing specialist Amanda Basse dives further into the differences between a manager and a leader and outlines five key things that need to happen for a manager to take on even bigger leadership roles.

5 Strategies That Will Turn Your Employees into Leaders – Avery Augustine, prolific author on employee development and management and frequent contributor to media outlets like Business Insider and The Muse, explains how employees with strong management skills excel at decision-making and are better equipped for advancement.

3) Building Authentic Relationships

Research Shows the Quickest Way to Build Trust With Your Employees
By: Mark Murphy

Founder of Leadership IQ, developer of the Science of Leadership Academy, and The New York Times bestselling author Mark Murphy knows a thing or two about how to lead others. In the course of his extensive research, Murphy has found that one-third of employees’ sense of loyalty to their employer has to do with trusting their leadership. Unfortunately, only one-fifth of employees do this wholeheartedly.

1/3 of employees’ sense of loyalty to their employer has to do with trusting their leadership.
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Trust is essential for healthy relationships of any kind. As a worker, if I’m not confident that my manager has my best interests in mind and a genuine desire to see me succeed, that impacts my motivation, expectations for upward mobility, and faith in the company at large.

One of the better relationship-building methods Murphy delves into is open communication. When employees approach their superiors with work problems, good leaders respond constructively, not critically, dismissively, or defensively. Exceptional leaders are also proactive when it comes to communication. Rather than using small talk like “How’s it going?”, Murphy encourages managers to ask pointed questions that elicit real information such as “What’s been getting in your way lately?” or “How can I best be helpful here?”

This kind of communication boosts morale, provides a safe forum for idea sharing, and demonstrates you believe in your people. In other words, “You’re establishing a relationship that feels more like equals than high-ranking boss and low-ranking employee.”

Additional insights about building authentic relationships:
Simple and Effective Leadership Skills That Few People Live – Organizational psychologist and top writer on Medium, Benjamin Hardy, quickly sums up how leadership is about relationships and why performance is positively impacted when this is the focus.

This Leadership Asset is the Key to Building a Team of Peak Performers – Leadership and performance consultant Malachi Thompson discusses the power of language in fostering workplace relationships that catalyze employees and open lines of communication.

4) Leadership Development & Change Management

The Critical Role of Leadership Development During Organizational Change
By: Brent Gleeson

America’s special forces are renowned for being the most elite military units on the planet, bar none. What many don’t realize is that much of what makes them so effective is not only their intense physical and technical training, but their intellect. So, when frogman-turned-consultant Brent Gleeson weaves in key learnings from his career as a Navy SEAL when discussing the need for leadership training ahead of constant and often difficult change management, smart executives listen closely.

Gleeson recounts the growing pains resulting from accelerated growth at one of his former companies. At a time when they were facing all kinds of hurdles from stretched resources to outgrown legacy systems to competing needs among teams, he recommended instituting new change management programs to better face these challenges.

Despite the pushback given what were perceived as more important priorities, once the collective mindset changed, leadership began to see how the fruits of its investment here far outweighed any initial pains associated with re-allocating budgets and resources.

Based on his experience leading missions during chaotic times, Gleeson knew that this was the best possible time to invest in their people. Under his guidance, they introduced tools like 360 Performance Review Software to course-correct and ingrain positive leadership habits during a critical period. “We can’t afford not to invest in these programs. If we don’t improve our ability to lead in dynamic situations, we will fail”, writes Gleeson.

Additional insights about change management and leadership development programs:
Keys to Developing Organizational Leaders – Executives at the Thayer Leader Development Group analyze how blue chip companies nurture workplace leadership and change management because they view their employees as the people who make the greatest impact and, like Gleeson, choose to invest in them.

13 Reasons to Offer Leadership Training and Development to Millennials – The Forbes Coaches Council explains how today’s workforce, particularly millennials, not only wants this type of training, but rewards employers who provide it through their subsequent performance and loyalty.

When it comes down to it, top talent wants to work for top leadership so that it can get there itself one day. In fact, it’s often been said that people leave managers, not jobs. If that’s true, then the vast majority of managers out there should take note. According to the 2016 McQuaig Global Talent Recruitment Report, only 25% of HR professionals said their leaders are very effective.

Sure you can give up on business altogether and go back to school for your PhD, or you can use this room for leadership improvement to your advantage. If you are one of the few who have the natural talents necessary to lead others (and if you’re reading this you are!), then you have a sacred responsibility to turn those talents into strengths and lead others to greatness.

David Mizne is Marketing Communications Manager at 15Five, continuous performance management software that includes weekly check-ins, objectives (OKR) tracking, peer recognition, 1-on-1s, and reviews. David’s articles have also appeared on The Next Web & TalentCulture. Follow him @davidmizne.

Image Credit: Photo by Hudson Hintze on Unsplash

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“I just don’t get how they think. Why do they________? Can you help me understand______?” Or perhaps you’ve stated emphatically, “I’m still struggling to know how to manage Millennials and motivate them to do their best work.”

As I work with organizations across the country, the issue of understanding, leading, and working with employees from different generations continues to be one of the most common challenges leaders mention to me. Part of this problem stems from intergenerational communication issues. Research reveals that 40% of Millennial employees say that Baby Boomers are more guarded with their communication. Nearly the same number of Boomers say that Millennials are often too brash and opinionated.

Appreciating your peers is a powerful way to bridge the generation gap. Give a colleague a High Five!

The frequency of the discussion, in and of itself, is noteworthy because most topics of conversation in our culture have about a two- to four-week lifespan. So the fact that the subject of how to manage Millennials is still being discussed after nearly a decade, lends weight to how real problem is.

It’s not about age, it’s about core values

The frustration flows both ways – from older employees (Gen X supervisors and Boomer senior managers) with Millennials, and younger employees with their colleagues who are senior in age. Since most current managers and many supervisors are in their late 30s and above, the complaints I hear are largely about Millennials, although I’m readily aware they are not “the problem”.

The annoyance and irritation reported reminds me of listening to a traveler who has just returned from a trip to another country where the culture is significantly different. “I can’t believe they ….” “I just can’t understand why they [cook their food] that way.” “If they would just [proposed solution from the traveler’s culture], it would work out so much better.”

Having been one of those ethnocentric travelers—that is, “my culture is the center of what’s normal for the world”—at various times in my life, I have come to realize that the difficulties employees from different generations are experiencing are analogous to traditional cross-cultural difficulties that have been experienced for millennia (pun intended). The various generations of employees are frustrated, irritated, and confused by colleagues from different generations because each comes from a different culture and they believe their cultural approach to work and life is the “way things should be done.”

Each generation within the same geographic/ethnic culture develops a distinct generational culture.
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In fact, one of the ways “generations” are currently being defined is that the ways their same-age cohort experienced life growing up was significantly influenced by historical events and cultural trends (e.g. Baby Boomers were influenced by the sociological and economic post-World War II factors; Millennials’ lives have been shaped by their familiarity and facility with technology and the cultural emphasis on rapid results). In essence, the argument by sociologists is that each generation really was raised and developed in a culture significantly different than other generations, even within the same geographic/ethnic culture.

So an obvious conclusion, though not always so readily perceived, is that in order to assist individuals from different generational cultures to work together better and with less conflict, we must help them take a cross-cultural perspective in understanding one another. Even though they may all be Americans—or Midwesterners or whatever the grouping may be—they really come from significantly different cultural backgrounds.

What does that mean practically? Well, in addition to creating a focal point for your organization’s Diversity and Inclusion efforts, the lesson is that individuals from different generations think differently and make different choices from other generations because what they value is not the same.

Using cultural distinctions as a lens for understanding generational differences

Most of us have been exposed to groups of people from cultures that are quite different from our own – through traveling and visiting other countries, watching documentaries on television about various ethnic communities, or at a minimum having attended a festival that celebrates the cultural background of a community’s heritage.

For those of us who have had the privilege of living in another culture than ours for a period of time, we can clearly remember ways of doing things that struck us as odd – because it wasn’t how we learned to do that task. For example, in the U.S., most people peel a banana from the top down with the stem being at the top. In China, they peel it with the stem being at the bottom.

People from different cultural backgrounds essentially have lived life in distinctive contexts and with divergent experiences. The impact of one’s culture affects daily life in numerous ways—both at home and at work:

– What people value

– What they choose to spend money on

– What people talk about

– How they dress, including for different occasions

– Communication styles (greetings, what they share about themselves, and what is viewed as acceptable)

– Different traditions

– Decision-making processes and communication

Guiding principles for successfully adapting to different cultures

The study of cross-cultural communication and adaptation has a long and rich history. And it has been the subject of thousands of books, plays and movies. For example, The Travels of Marco Polo or My Big Fat Greek Wedding. As a result, we are able to benefit from the principles that have been identified to assist in adapting to cross cultural differences more smoothly.

While there are full college courses committed to the topic of cross-cultural communication, let me offer some simple starting point suggestions:

1) Acknowledge that differences exist. A first step in dealing with those from different backgrounds is to consciously accept that people are different (and that that is ok.)

2)  Seek to understand, rather than criticize or defend your way of doing tasks. Rather than tell or show them “a better way” to do something, try to find out both how and why they go about doing tasks the way they do.

3) Be gracious; accept that you may not understand another’s viewpoint. What they do, how they do it, or why they are doing it that way, may not make sense to you initially. That’s ok. As you get to know them and their culture better, understanding should follow, even if you still prefer to approach tasks your way.

4) Withhold judgment. Don’t automatically assume your way of doing a task is the best way. It may be for your culture, but their way may incorporate other aspects of their culture important to them. For example, the importance of building a trusting relationship rather than using the most time efficient approach.

5) Seek to communicate through their worldview lens. Do this whenever possible, as opposed to trying to make them understand your worldview. Use their words and terms when discussing an experience or task, rather than yours. By doing so, you are respecting their viewpoint, and you will probably gain further clarification from them.

6. Don’t assume that a lack of knowledge is the same as stupidity. Individuals have very different life experiences which teach them a variety of skill sets and information. Just because someone doesn’t know how to perform a task that is second-nature to you, doesn’t mean they are stupid. It means they haven’t learned the information or skill yet!

Manage Millennials with an open mind

While multi-generational communication poses challenges for organizations, the problem is not with Millennials per se. When researchers systematically reviewed the available data on Millennials, they discovered little evidence that generational differences affect organizational satisfaction, commitment and intent to turnover. Baby Boomers job-hopped in their mid-20s just as Millennials do now. It’s the nature of an early career, not a specific generation.

Individuals in the workplace—employees, supervisors, managers and executives—all are experiencing challenges in learning how to work together as a result of the multigenerational workforce which has emerged. In many cases, this appears to be a byproduct of the cultural differences which have shaped the worldview of different generations.

Utilizing lessons learned from cross-cultural communication and ethnography (the study of ethnic groups) can be quite helpful in better understanding colleagues from varying generational and life-stage backgrounds. Humility, the desire to learn, and being willing to consider that your viewpoint-background-culture may not be at the “center of the universe” – all are key to building healthy collaborative relationships with others.

We all, regardless of our age, generation, or cultural background, have a lot to learn from one another and much to offer, as well. When we value and embrace our differences, the potential for growth is virtually limitless!

Paul White, PhD, is a psychologist, speaker and co-author of the best-selling The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, along with Dr. Gary Chapman. He also recently published The Vibrant Workplace: Overcoming the Obstacles to Building a Culture of Apprecioation. For more information, visit www.appreciationatwork.com.

Image Credit: Noah Buscher on Unsplash

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“Summertime and the living is easy.” A nice sentiment for Ella Fitzgerald, but for most of us that probably hasn’t been true since grade school. Expectations for productivity are as high as any other time of year, and for some organizations the mid-year performance review is just around the corner.

Maybe right now you’re doing performance reviews only once a year. You aren’t alone. Less than half of organizations hold formal reviews more frequently. But in today’s dynamic business environment—the same environment where summertime ain’t so easy—companies are finding that annual reviews are not enough.

The problem with once a year reviews

The speed of business has accelerated tremendously. With that, goals change. When you and your employee look back on priorities set twelve months ago, those goals may have little resemblance to the current work at hand. How do you evaluate performance on outdated objectives? What’s more, can that outdated evaluation even help the employee prepare for the next phase of a project, or their career?

Think of an annual review as a shiny new car, just being driven off the dealer’s lot. As soon as the car hits the street, it begins to depreciate. With annual performance reviews, from the moment the goals are being drafted, they are subject to change and obsolescence.

The problem with annual performance reviews isn’t just that the goals are static in a dynamic environment. It’s that the reviews aren’t effective. Once a year conversations don’t address problems in a timely manner. They don’t give the employee an opportunity to course-correct a problem until perhaps months later. They don’t provide the positive employee feedback on a job well done that may spur the additional effort and motivation that can be beneficial throughout each review cycle.

If you watched the NBA finals, you saw a perfect example of a dynamic environment that required constant agility, both physical and strategic. Can you imagine if one of the coaches said—you know, I’ll just wait until after the game is over to give the team feedback on their performance?

An annual performance review is like that—information that is given too late to matter. And that’s something no one appreciates. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 66% of employees feel the traditional review interferes with their productivity, with 65% saying the review isn’t relevant to their jobs. Managers don’t like annual reviews either, with 95% saying they are dissatisfied with their current system.

It’s not that employees don’t want feedback. In fact 65% of employees want more feedback—and it doesn’t have to be positive. Eighty-three percent of employees say they appreciate feedback even if it’s negative. Getting employee feedback that’s timely, specific, applicable to their jobs and most of all, more often, vastly improves employee motivation.

Creating an effective mid-year performance review

The addition of a mid-year performance review gives employees and managers a point to reevaluate goals and performance, while still having time to make changes. But developing a useful mid-year review requires preparation and thought.

Is a mid-year review the same as an annual review—just more frequent? Actually, no. Ideally, a mid-year performance review takes on another layer of coaching and employee development. It’s an opportunity to give feedback and direction that may not get covered in a once a year performance discussion.

Here are three tips for holding mid-year reviews that respond to the needs of everyone at your organization:

1) Focus on conversation. The mid-year review is not necessarily a goal setting time as much as it is an opportunity for a coaching conversation. It’s a time to discuss with the employee if their goals are still relevant, and to delve into their successes and challenges. Sure, you’ll look at how the employee is performing (and what metrics support that). But overall this is the time to ask, What type of support do they need and how can I help?

Provide employees with the opportunity to share their perspectives and concerns. Then take time to discuss the employee’s development, without waiting another six months to begin. Personal goals can also change throughout the year, so it’s important to determine how you can help the employee attain experiences or education to move toward a desired career opportunity.

Mid-year reviews are not just annual reviews done more frequently. The Best-Self Review adds a layer of coaching and development that employee’s crave.

2) Avoid comparisons to peers. Part of the dread of the performance management process is the forced ranking of employees. The so-called “rank and yank” system is incompatible with knowledge or service based jobs, where collaborative and non-competitive relationships allow for information to be shared and innovation to flourish.

Forced ranking, or social comparisons, make it more difficult for employees to accept feedback. Researchers at Columbia Business School found that when employees were compared to their peers, employees felt the employee feedback process was unfair because it did not provide specific details about individual performance.

What’s more effective, the researchers said, are temporal comparisons—the “me now, versus me in the past.” The contrast of the same individual at two time periods was seen as a more fair and individualized approach, which made the employee more receptive to both positive and critical employee feedback. Seems like managers should take a page from Hemingway’s book: “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”

3) Separate compensation from the review process. When the goal was to make a certain number of widgets, accurately, and within a short amount of time, it was easy to create a pay for performance system. Today, if an engineer slacks off from making a widget because she’s using initiative to come up with a new device that ultimately works better and costs less, should she be chastised because her original widget-making performance suffered?

If your organization wants to promote creativity and its inherent risk-taking, do you want to only award successful outcomes? As we all now by now, prioritizing rewards instead of learning and innovation can actually demotivate employees.

Compensation does need to be discussed during the mid-year performance review, and some companies are finding success in having a separate compensation discussion towards the end of the annual cycle. Whatever your compensation philosophy, make space during intermediate reviews to help the employee know exactly how they’re performing, so the compensation decision is not a surprise.

People Operations expert, Colleen McCreary, likes a quarterly compensation review, which gives managers the flexibility to have shorter term conversations around goals and outlook. She shares that this is especially important for more junior employees:

“For most companies in tight labor markets, doing a compensation review once a year sets you up to be at a disadvantage. And certainly you are setting yourself up for having to break your pay philosophy. For example, what do you do when someone who is taking on more responsibility and brings in high results doesn’t get recognized, because your system is set up for once a year pay raises?”

Mid-year reviews: only part of the solution

Even though mid-year performance reviews are an improvement from annual reviews, two performance discussions a year are still not enough. More than 50% of office professionals surveyed said they would like performance reviews at least once a month, however, most executives (69%) hold them once or twice each year.

Managers may have a blind spot when it comes to performance reviews. The survey referenced above found that 94% of executives were confident employees were satisfied with the current performance management process, while most employees felt the process was outdated and irrelevant. When execs and employees disagree this much behind the scenes, that means employee feedback is failing and proves the point that more frequent communication is needed.

The missing key: continuous performance management

Even some of the more progressive companies that are doing mid-year reviews are missing the boat on continuous performance management. More frequent feedback gives employees the macro and micro view of their performance, enhancing their ability to do the job.

Talent Management Guru Josh Bersin estimates that 70% of multinational companies are moving in the direction of a multisource assessment. But to be effective, managers will have to bridge the perception gap on the need for more frequent feedback.

The foundation for a multisource assessment includes setting the direction on priorities via Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), and then using the data on the progress of OKRs in mid-year and annual performance discussions. In between those reviews are scheduled Weekly Check-ins and 1-on-1s, and ad hoc discussions.

This process as a whole provides the fluidity for changing direction as business needs warrant, provides managers an opportunity to course correct, and coach employees in the moment. When done right, the performance management process can be extremely motivating and can increase employee engagement by building trust and increasing an employee’s sense of purpose.

As you perform mid-year reviews with your team, consider how more frequent and regular performance discussions could benefit your organization. Yes, a continuous performance management process will require some more time and diligence up front, but creating a more engaged and agile team that is ready to handle the dynamics of today’s business environment, will be well worth the effort.

David Mizne is Marketing Communications Manager at 15Five, continuous performance management software that includes weekly check-ins, objectives (OKR) tracking, peer recognition, 1-on-1s, and reviews. David’s articles have also appeared on The Next Web & TalentCulture. Follow him @davidmizne.

Image Credit: Pablo Hermoso on Unsplash

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The traditional office landscape is changing and has been for quite some time, but the degree to which it should be shifting is subject to debate. Many employees consider their local coffee shop to be the ideal work environment, while traditional company leaders consider remote work to be a threat to their ability to manage employees. Perhaps Gallup CEO Jim Clifton said it best in the 2017 State of the American Workforce Report: “The very practice of management no longer works.”

Risky or not, increased telework seems to be the growing trend. Gallup reports that employees working remotely at least part-time grew from 39% in 2012 to 43% in 2016. The willingness to leave employers for others who offer this option is even larger. According to Softchoice’s 2017 study Collaboration Unleashed, 74% of workers would switch jobs for the opportunity to work off site more often.

74% of workers would switch jobs for the opportunity to work off site more often.
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Millennials are the usual suspects for so many global trends these days. With this demographic capturing the largest share of today’s employee base, a Gen Y disruption of workplace status quo is no exception. While remote work is neither new nor demo-specific, younger generations in particular are looking for more flexibility.

It’s easy to see why when you consider modern technological conveniences. Conveniences, mind you, that most have never not had access to in their careers (and for even later bloomers, in their entire lives). In fact, Softchoice found Millennials twice as likely to feel more productive and better equipped working at home than Baby Boomers.

Follow the logic to its natural conclusion and the inevitable question for this segment must therefore be, “Why not?”

What is the ideal work environment anyway?

The enhanced ability to communicate and operate has in many ways created an always-on, always-available expectation from employers in various industries. For the most part, today’s employees—especially tech-savvy younger ones—accept this reality. In return, they often want greater leeway in how and where they work.

Employers have responded. More progressive companies recognize how this give-and-take can be a competitive advantage when it comes to attracting talent. In many places, remote-work opportunities are no longer just a luxury option, they’re a standard feature.

And we can’t discount the impact of environment on producing high quality or creative work. Take for example the relatively recent spawning of the Digital Nomad. These world-traveling workers are often inspired by the changing landscape, inspiration that pours over into their work product. In an age when creativity is a competitive advantage for businesses, shouldn’t we allow people to work where the inspiration lies?

That said, remote work is not for every person or every organization. One study by Upwork discovered that 57% of companies still lack some sort of remote policy. For some, the nature of the business precludes out-of-office work for practical, legal, or security reasons. And this is okay, it’s not like employees across the board are abandoning their traditional workspaces like sinking ships. According to BambooHR, 79% of workers still believe they accomplish their best work at the office as of 2016.

This doesn’t mean they don’t want the option to change up the scenery, though, as we’ve seen from Gallup and Softchoice. Companies offer a range of options from flexible hours, to a few days a week out of the office, to full-time off-site duty. In any scenario, businesses must strike a balance between location leniency and adherence to established expectations to create an ideal work environment that works for them.

If you’re an organization that doesn’t operate out of a secure compound and can afford to consider relaxing in-office requirements for your people, there are all kinds of factors to kick around with your team. Two of the bigger ones have to do with employee productivity and work culture. Let’s address the main hot buttons for each.

Remote worker productivity

For more conservative leaders, one of the first things they’ll point to when the topic of remote work surfaces is impact to output. Slacking off, general disconnect among teammates, and the stunting of employee development are all common claims in these circles. The truth is, this kind of doom and gloom tends to be unwarranted. Employee productivity doesn’t have to suffer simply because work is performed outside of HQ.

Let’s put this in perspective. Were productivity to come to a standstill every time people left for the day, no school in the free world would assign homework, encourage off-site study groups, or conduct online classes. If kids—i.e., those learning full time with little to no other responsibilities—can handle the task, adults can as well. With few exceptions, their livelihoods depend on it.

If productivity is the end goal, why enforce a certain means to that end by limiting remote work?
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However, flexibility on this scale goes hand in hand with accountability. Working remotely in most cases is a privilege, not a right. And it appears employees have been doing a nice job earning this privilege based on Global Workplace Analytics’s 2015 US Census Bureau survey.

Results showed that the work-at-home, non-self-employed population has grown 10 times as fast as the rest of the workforce since 2005. Had there been a corresponding uproar over plummeting productivity rates, it’s hard to imagine that networking technology leaders such as former Citrix CEO Kirill Tatarinov would still be predicting that a full 50% of the workforce will be remote by 2020.

The key is understanding that a productive environment means different things to different people. Next to every person whose workday motor thrives on working in-house there are three others who feel stifled by the cubicle life. For them, inspiration and motivation come from home, the local overpriced coffee shop, a beachfront villa… in other words, from elsewhere. If productivity is the end goal, why enforce a certain means to that end if it’s not absolutely critical for your business?

If you’re toying with offering remote-work opportunities, include these 3 productivity fundamentals in your consideration set:

1) Make sure critical technology is in place. When it comes to inter-office collaboration and remote work, there are literally dozens of proven platforms out there that can support your efforts. These include platforms for communication (Slack), project management (Asana), document sharing (Google Docs), and other business functions. All enable real-time collaboration, automate certain mundane tasks so employees can concentrate on meaningful work, and virtually eliminate the need for in-person project management.

2) Establish regular check-ins. Create a once-a-week ritual to regroup as a team or have 1-on-1 meetings with direct reports at intervals that make sense for your business. For remote workers, this is the best way to stay up to date on what’s happening around the company. For managers, it ensures they know how employees are faring, both on deliverables and in general. And don’t just do it over text or instant message. Seeing faces and hearing voices allows you to pick up on the subtleties like voice inflection and body language, so that you can also feel what employees aren’t saying.

The number one continuous performance management software helps you set a regular cadence of communication with your remote employees. Discover 15Five’s Weekly Check-In

3) Coach you remote employees. It can be easy to just assume that a person’s productivity will automatically transfer from the office to the home or café. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. To make sure people can execute well on their own, show them how to do it. Train them when it comes to communicating regularly to manage expectations, developing routines that support their work/life balance, and even setting up customized at-home work stations that best suit their styles. Just as important as coaching remote workers is coaching the managers who oversee them. Leadership roles can be challenging enough, and this only increases when your people aren’t sitting within earshot.

Remote work culture

Okay, remote employees can still be productive, but building a work culture under these conditions is impossible.

Not so fast. The larger and more spread out your business becomes geographically, the harder it is to maintain a strong, cohesive, and pervasive culture. But, at the end of the day culture isn’t a place. It’s a mindset.

At the end of the day culture isn’t a place. Culture is a mindset.
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The company mission, vision, and values, and expectations for positive working relationships aren’t spatially-bound. Yes, the kind of face time that’s always been so critical for building camaraderie and trust may become more limited as remote-employee numbers grow. That doesn’t mean the cultural values you’ve spent so much time instilling all of a sudden go out the window.

Based on Softchoice’s findings, 83% of office workers use technology to collaborate with others outside their office, and 24% often or always have at least one remote participant in every meeting. This same, now-ubiquitous technology was itself once a source of anxiety. Depersonalization, destruction of personal time, the elimination of jobs . . . all fears surrounding recent modernization that proved to be largely unfounded. Companies have adapted to such conveniences, both functionally and culturally.

Remote work is merely another facet of a rapidly-evolving business world. Like any other facet, if you want it to work, you need to work at it. Many managers, supervisors, and executives we’ve spoken with who have embraced this remote work challenge would agree. Nearly 1 in 4 say that employee quality of life has improved, while 1 in 5 have seen progress in productivity. Ironically, 3 in 5 also indicated communication with remote employees was as good or better than with those in-house.

Bottom line, long-distance relationships can be fruitful, they just require a little more effort and TLC along the way. Here are three important considerations when it comes to building, maintaining, and cultivating culture in a remote-work environment:

1) Leverage local offices as much as possible. Unless your business is conducted exclusively over the cloud, odds are you have at least one communal workspace. (We now have three; Raleigh, Manhattan, and San Francisco.) A few mandatory office days at one of these spaces when onboarding employees goes a long way to making a new remote worker feel like part of the team. If you have many offices, make each one a place people want to use even if they’re fully remote. This can be accomplished through creative workspaces, playing music, weekly happy hours, lunch workouts, or other on-brand offers. Mostly though, people will want to come in if you hire enthusiastic people, create a high energy workplace, and foster transparency so that people genuinely trust each other.

2) Make face time a priority. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, there’s no replacement for face time. Organizing company-wide or department specific retreats, off-sites, training seminars, etc. all generate social and emotional returns for your culture that can’t be measured in dollars. Keep the spirit of these events alive throughout the year by developing regular rituals that bring people from different locations together face-to-face, such as our infamous Question Friday. The content and frequency of these rituals should reflect your own values and culture.

3) Reinforce culture through ongoing connections. In-person meetings and events are important, but they’re not always convenient, nor are they always necessary day to day. To avoid the potential sense of fomo (fear of missing out) among remote employees, there are other ways to make them feel like they’re included and have a voice. There are software solutions that keep everyone updated on relevant departmental and company news, and that allow the team to celebrate individual milestones and big wins. Assigning mentors who aren’t direct managers is another powerful means of employee growth and development through continuous, reliable connections with other trusted members of the team.

Pro tip for potential remote employers

As we’ve established, remote work is not the death knell for either employee productivity or  organizational culture. When done well, you can attract and retain high-powered talent, foster positive morale through flexibility and trust, save everyone money, and even optimize employee performance.

But, if you’re going to offer remote work options, be clear on expectations. Of those who participated in Softchoice’s survey, 73% of workers “allowed to work from home on occasion” were still expected to be in the office. Unwritten rules or uncertainty about leadership’s intent undermines the spirit of the benefit.

If you hire people you trust, then trust the people you hire. If someone gives you a reason to do otherwise, odds are it’s really not a matter of whether that person’s working down the hall or down the street. As long as remote work is a realistic option for your business and you put the right guardrails in place, you may just find the results are anything but a step backward.

David Hassell is the cofounder and CEO of 15Five, lightweight performance management software that includes continuous feedback, objective (OKR) tracking, peer recognition, 1-on-1s, and reviews. David is a speaker and prolific writer and was named “The Most Connected Man You Don’t Know in Silicon Valley” by Forbes Magazine. 

Image Credit: NASA on Unsplash

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Depending on which article you pick up about the future of work, you may find yourself either stress hyperventilating or settling back in your chair with a false sense of security.

But neither approach will help you and your employees prepare for the rollercoaster shift in work that is underway due to significant changes in technology. But there is hope. While we may not be able to anticipate all of the changes in store, we can prepare, using our humanity to our advantage.

Argument # 1: Advances in technology make the future bleak for humans

The predictions are dire. Oxford University reported that 47% of U.S. jobs could be replaced by robots in 20 years. The CEO of Deutsche Bank commented that robots could do half of the jobs of the 97,000 people employed at the bank. AI and machine learning technologies will take away low skilled jobs such as food prep and equipment operators. They can also replace employees who interact with customers and those with repetitive functions, like many office workers.

And in 2017, MIT Technology Review reported that nobody understands how the most advanced algorithms in artificial intelligence do what they do.

We are doomed. Unless we’re not.

Argument # 2: Technology will deliver us, providing a brighter, more productive future

Throughout history, as new technologies have developed, some jobs have been made nearly extinct (remember the Blockbuster Video clerk?), but other jobs have expanded, providing tremendous opportunities to more than compensate for any jobs lost.

In her podcast, Susan Lund, partner at the McKinsey Global Institute, said that since 1980, the number of jobs lost due to PCs and the Internet totaled 3.5 million. However, the number of jobs created because of those technologies, including growth in computer hardware manufacturers, semiconductors, software developers, app developers totaled 19 million jobs for a net gain of 15.8 million jobs.

Technologies like AI and machine learning will take away some of the mundane aspects of jobs, such as sifting through resumes, allowing us to focus on higher level skills. Virtual and augmented reality will be tools that help us expand our horizons in learning.

Which argument is true? Can both be? The wave of technological change is coming, and organizations must be prepared for the unknown.

How to prepare employees for the future of work

According to Dell, 85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t even been invented yet. But we know this—as technology frees up more pedantic tasks, we need to help our employees hone their uniquely human skills:

1) Develop leadership skills

Whether an employee is technically a “leader” or not, leadership skills will have increasing value. The leaders of today and tomorrow need not be managers, but inspirers. They need to understand how to connect with their employees and to establish a workplace culture where employees can become their best selves. Many millennials say they feel ill-equipped to manage a team, but developing this skill will be necessary, particularly as baby boomers retire, opening up new job opportunities at higher levels.

Establish a workplace culture where employees can become their best selves. Check out The Best-Self Review!

Give your employees opportunities to lead, even if not in an official capacity. Encourage them to head a project, or even create an ad hoc group to problem solve your company’s most pressing issues. The more they practice leadership skills, the more confidently they’ll step into leadership roles.

2) Teach how to use feedback to drive performance and innovation

The pace of work is only going to get faster. Ensuring employees excel—which also means reinforcing what is done well—requires frequent employee feedback. Discover their challenges and triumphs, and provide your employees with the information and guidance they need to surge forward.

Coach your employees on how to actively listen to others and provide them with educational resources that help them to guide others toward greatness. The most effective way to teach leadership is to model it; reinforce how getting and using feedback enhances employee development.

3) Foster creativity

The new world of work will require new ways of thinking. In fact, many experts report that a surefire way to future-proof your career is by choosing a creative role. As a leader, you can help employees to remain relevant throughout their careers by encouraging creativity and innovation.

Productivity is important (needles gotta move!) but remember that time for contemplation is valuable as well. Celebrate all ideas—even ones that might not be practical—as those may still open the door to better ones. Incorporate brainstorming sessions into planning and strategy routines and be open to employee suggestions for new processes, products, designs, or messaging.

4) Learn to use technology

We can’t completely get away from technology. The point is to embrace tech; not to avoid it. Organizations have more data now than they know what to do with. Being able to understand data and to contextualize what the information says and implies is key.

Every company, regardless of its product or service, is a technology company; we all rely on technologies for insights, communication and operation. Create a culture where each employee understands that technology is not the enemy. By creating healthy relationships with tech we can use these tools to enhance performance.

5) Create employee growth and development opportunities

Employees will need to constantly evolve as technologies advance. That means employees must always be looking for opportunities to learn.

For baby boomer employees, this could mean investing in technical and nontechnical skills that allow for additional lateral movements as they consider powering down their careers. For employers who are earlier in their careers, this means providing frequent opportunities to update skills to remain current. For those who may lose their jobs due to technology, this would mean gaining skills that could lead to an alternate career.

While new skills are important, there is a foundational approach we need to have as we face the future: a growth mindset.

A person with a growth mindset believes their intelligence can be developed, versus someone with a fixed mindset who believes intelligence is fixed. Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University who developed the idea of the growth mindset, describes it this way:

“Individuals who believe their talents can be developed (through hard work, good strategies, and input from others) have a growth mindset. They tend to achieve more than those with a fixed mindset (those who believe their talents are innate gifts).”

Those with a growth mindset focus on learning. When an organization embraces a growth mindset, employees feel more empowered and committed, Dweck says.

As we contemplate what the future of work holds for our employees and for ourselves, the truth is, we don’t know what will happen. But with a growth mindset, we can dedicate ourselves to learning, growing, and making space for creative expansion. If the robots are indeed coming for us, let’s focus on developing those human qualities that technology can never replace.

David Mizne is Marketing Communications Manager at 15Five, continuous performance management software that includes weekly check-ins, objectives (OKR) tracking, peer recognition, 1-on-1s, and reviews. David’s articles have also appeared on The Next Web & TalentCulture. Follow him @davidmizne.

This post originally appeared on Technology Advice.

Image Credit: Andy Kelly on Unsplash

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Humankind has long struggled to find the secret to living a happy life, but what about workplace happiness? Have you ever wondered how your employees feel at work?

Perhaps you’ve tried to create a fun and satisfying environment, with activities like foosball and ping pong or by offering free lunches and snacks. But if you haven’t found success, it may be because those perks focus more on downtime, rather than creating a productive work environment. Fun and games may not create sustainable happiness in the workplace, alongside high performance, so what does? And why should leaders care about workplace happiness anyway?

What is happiness?

I like being happy, and I think most people do, but how often do we really think about what happiness is? In our personal lives, it may be a moment, maybe when the family is gathered around, when we realize that emotion bubbling up inside is happiness. Or it could be the sense of satisfaction that cascades over us after a hard fought accomplishment. We may think lovingly about a relationship that is deep and satisfying.

But managers must realize that their happiness may be different from the happiness of their employees. And, as an intangible, internal, and individual feeling, it seems almost impossible to create on behalf of someone else.

Researchers have spent a lot of time trying to understand exactly what happiness is, and how it affects us.

One definition of happiness, according to Happify—an online platform designed to improve mental wellbeing—is that it is the combination of how good you feel on a day to day basis (hedonia, or pleasure) and satisfaction with your life (eudaemonia).  Scientists now suggest adding a third component to the estimation of happiness: your engagement related to feelings of commitment and participation in life.

Research collected by Happify states that happiness is 10% determined by circumstances, 50% influenced by biology, and 40% controlled by thoughts, actions, and behaviors. Those thoughts, actions, and behaviors can be developed, making happiness a skill. In other words, we can increase our happiness through practice.

We can increase our happiness through practice.
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Neuroscientists agree, and say certain behaviors, such as finding gratitude, labeling emotions, making a “good enough” decision, and touching others (appropriately) all boost happiness hormones in the brain.

Happiness may be a little like art: we know it when we feel it. While someone can’t make me happy, I can take actions to increase my own happiness. But are there other benefits to being happy?

The importance of happiness

Is experiencing happiness truly necessary? Maybe in our personal lives, but is workplace happiness really a prerequisite of high performance?

If nothing else, being happy is healthier than being unhappy. Studies show that happiness can protect your heart, strengthen your immune system, reduce stress, decrease aches and pains in the short-term and long-term, and even lengthen lives.

With more emphasis on mental well-being as well as physical health, happiness has become not just an individual pursuit, but one schools and businesses are tackling as well.

One of the most popular classes taught at Yale University is Psyc 157, Psychology and The Good Life, which tries to teach students how to be happier through lectures and behavioral change exercises. After facing the stress and anxiety of trying to get into college, students want to learn new behaviors to re-prioritize happiness, the professor said.

At Stanford Business School, teaching happiness involves helping students learn how to build better relationships. The class, nicknamed “Touchy-Feely” focuses on emotional intelligence skills: relationship building, communication, self-awareness and giving and receiving feedback. These abilities are essential to creating positive relationships at work—which also has a positive correlation with happiness. A Gallup poll indicated that close work friendships increase employee satisfaction by 50%.

Giving and receiving feedback at work builds your emotional intelligence skills and contributes to workplace happiness. To begin setting a weekly communication rhythm with your employees, Click Here.
Why workplace happiness matters

Besides a healthier employee base, one that possesses emotional intelligence to navigate social interactions, what does a happy workforce yield?

Happy employees are 12% more productive than their grouchy counterparts. They also tend to be more creative and more collaborative. Why? It goes back again to physiology. Studies show that the brain functions better when people are happy.

Happiness researcher Shawn Achor says that we tend to get the relationship between happiness and success backward. “Happiness is perhaps the most misunderstood driver of performance,” he says in an article in Harvard Business Review:

“For one, most people believe that success precedes happiness…in fact, it works the other way around: People who cultivate a positive mindset perform better in the face of challenge. I call this the ‘happiness advantage’—every business outcome shows improvement when the brain is positive.”

Clearly there are advantages to boosting workplace happiness, yet so much of that creation is self-determined. How can employers make employees happy, sans foosball table?

Keys to achieving workplace happiness

Happiness engages the brain and connects people with a sense of purpose. Instead of trying to create a playground for grownups, employers should focus on what really matters: creating a culture that embodies collaborative environments where innovation thrives and where people want to work hard.

Happiness engages the brain and connects people with a sense of purpose.
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One of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes is called, A Nice Place to Visit. In it, a small-time crook is killed, only to find himself in a wonderful afterlife where everything was at his bidding. Eventually, the crook gets bored with winning at gambling and having effortless success. He complains to his “guide” that he’s so dissatisfied, he wishes he were in the “other place.” His guide says: “This IS the other place!” (Cue dramatic 1960s music.)

This reminds me that regardless of how often we dream of winning the lottery, quitting our jobs and sailing off into the sunset, as humans, we find fulfillment when we work hard. Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says people find great satisfaction when they are in a state of flow, completely absorbed in the creative process. With athletes, we’d say they were in “The Zone”. Csikszentmihalyi describes it like this:

“The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times… The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.”

Many companies have researched how to create fulfillment in employees and have enacted numerous policies and activities including providing regular employee feedback, offering meaningful benefits, investing in learning and development, incentivizing wellness and building in time for fun. But the focus on purposeful work needs to be a distinct part of the equation as well.

Creating a happy workplace involves looking at all aspects of your workplace system: hiring employees who are emotionally intelligent, who have a positive mindset, and then providing development and growth opportunities, teaching employees how to give and get feedback positively, and ensuring that there is an atmosphere of psychological safety, so employees feel encouraged to take the risks needed for creativity and innovation.

The feeling of happiness may be hard to describe, but it is worth pursuing, for both individuals and businesses. As we understand the benefits of workplace happiness and the conditions that contributes to it, we may not be able to make employees happy, but by providing a work environment that is fulfilling and challenging, that is collaborative and offers opportunity for “flow,”, we can help employees create their own happiness.

Pamela DeLoatch is a B2B technology writer specializing in creating marketing content for the HR industry. With a background as an HR generalist and specialist, she writes about the employee experience, engagement, diversity, HR leadership, culture and technology. Follow Pamela on Twitter @pameladel.

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Whether you’re a farmer, have a fruit tree or two, or simply enjoy fresh produce, you likely know that cultivating crops requires more than just sticking seeds in the dirt. (Yes, this is going to be a metaphor about employee growth and development.)

First, you have to prepare the ground and make sure it’s a fertile environment. Loosen the soil so that the seeds have room to sprout. After the seeds have been planted, you still have to nurture them, ensuring they get the right amounts of water and sunlight and pulling weeds that may choke off growth.

If you’re an employer, cultivating your workforce requires very similar actions. You have to ensure the work environment is one that focuses on employee growth and development. That the culture is one where employees can be themselves and be heard. One where employees are encouraged to develop and are given the resources to do so, and where toxic influences are excised.

Cultivating your workforce in this way has significant impacts on performance outcomes like employee engagement. Businesses are beginning to recognize two significant facts about engagement. The first: according to Gallup, a whopping 68.5% of employees are not engaged at work. That means they aren’t invested in the company mission. They feel no compulsion to be innovative, collaborative or committed.

The second fact: engaged employees are key to your company’s success. Companies with more engaged employees have 22% more profitability and 21% more productivity than those without. But even as companies recognize the value of an engaged workforce, many remain stuck on how to create and continually nurture one.

Are you stuck on how to unlock the potential of your entire workforce? Give 15Five A Try!

For insights on how to take those next steps, I recently produced a webinar with Cassie Whitlock, Director of HR at BambooHR, Joe Mechlinski, Founder and CEO of Shift, and moderated by Tawni Reed, HR generalist, BambooHR. Check out the webinar recording below and read on for advice on cultivating a more engaged and productive workforce.

Cultivating Your Workforce – A Panel Discussion on Employee Development and Growth

The Single Biggest Problem with Employee Engagement Programs Is…

According to Joe, companies waste time with different tactics to solve the symptoms of disengaged employees, but not the underlying issues. But once companies recognize the critical connection between engaged employees and performance, it becomes a no brainer to look for programs that will support and raise that performance.

When companies build an employee engagement program from the outside in, without understanding what employees or managers want or ensuring the program is flexible, it will not gain traction, Cassie added. Employees have different motives, priorities, and preferences, and an engagement program should reflect that. BambooHR, which provides HR software solutions, has a fairly young employee base, Cassie said, but employee offerings need to be useful to those who are in different stages of their career.

Employee engagement programs that are limited to some areas of a company will not succeed, Cassie added. Instead, employee engagement must be sustainable and interwoven in all offerings within the company, from hiring, employee onboarding, benefits, and compensation, to rewards and recognition.

Employee engagement must be sustainable and interwoven in all offerings within the company.
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All engagement programs are not created equal. Those that are not rooted in leading social science research, or those that are run by leaders who don’t understand the dynamics, culture, and psychology that drive authentic engagement will fail. To succeed, the programs (and the leaders) must understand intrinsic motivation, and that employees want to have a sense of autonomy, mastery, and meaning in their work.

How to Onboard New Employees into Your Culture

Your biggest insurance policy for getting new employees engaged is to already have a highly engaged workforce, Joe said. If you don’t have that already, that is the first area of focus.

Developing employees takes work on both sides. Managers need to create a healthy environment, the right processes, and a strong company culture so employees are empowered to develop, Cassie said. And managers may need to develop additional skills to help them do that, she added.

Shift, a consultancy that concentrates on increasing employee engagement, hardwires engagement into their own organization by setting Fridays aside for one-on-one meetings. That schedule ensures employees and managers have ongoing conversations about professional development and performance on stated goals, so they can start the following week fresh and focused.

Still, managers can’t make employees want to develop—that desire must come from the employee. Managers do need to understand that while all people have the capacity to grow, they don’t all have the ability to grow in the same way. Helping an employee align their unique skills to their roles so they can operate in their zone of genius is a skill in itself.

How to Incorporate Employee Growth and Development into Goal Setting?

Science shows time and again that goal setting works and leads to high performance. Some companies use OKRs and others use V2MOMs or another methodology. Which specific one you use will match your particular culture and performance management strategy. Whatever your choice, management by objectives is critical for ensuring that employees are focused on the most high leverage tasks.

Keep in mind, that goal setting isn’t something an employer does for a person, but with them, Joe added. During this time, look at whether or not you’re spending time on things that are important, he said.

Goal setting isn’t something an employer does for a person, but with them.
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At BambooHR, the company establishes an annual theme and asks what does that theme look like through the company lens. This year, the theme is “exceptional.” In choosing to be exceptional, the company is teaching concepts like the psychology of feedback and how to receive it. This lays the foundation that the company values employee feedback and starts conversations about it, Cassie said.

Getting Executive Buy-In to Begin an Employee Growth and Development Program

According to Cassie, the data makes the case that higher employee engagement benefits you. One study indicated that organizations that have engaged employees outperform other companies by 200%. But don’t just use external data, look at your internal data too. Be able to describe the outcome you’re driving, i.e. trying to fix a problem or being proactive in differentiating yourself from competitors. Outline your resources and how you’ll measure your progress, she added.

Helping executives envision the tangible benefits that engaged employees will yield often helps, Joe added. By asking leaders what would be an ideal work day of the future and what constraints prevent that day from materializing, executives often say their team’s performance is a limiting factor. With that realization, executives are more willing to look at how to develop the team’s abilities.

Executives understand a customer’s lifetime value. It’s a logical segue for them to realize that employees have a lifetime value too, once you account for the knowledge an employee brings to the company, and the revenue and other contributions they offer while they are there. When you also consider that an employee’s latent potential exceeds the current capacity, companies could enjoy 20% – 50% more output than they currently see.

Is Your Employee Engagement Strategy Working?

We use many metrics to determine if an engagement strategy is working. The Employee Net Promoter Score, pulse surveys, participation in engagement program activities, turnover, participation in employee alumni networks, goal attainment, etc. And while these measurements can be helpful, they are still lagging indicators. Engagement itself is much more amorphous and difficult to measure.

If you’re in pain and go see a doctor, she may ask you to rate your pain subjectively on a scale from 1 to 10. Even though the rating is based on how you feel rather than objective data, that doesn’t make your assessment less real. The same is true with engagement—it can also be felt. When you walk into the office, what is your experience? Is it energized? Is there momentum? Chances are, you’ll need to use a combination of quantitative and qualitative data to measure movement towards your goal.

As you decide on an engagement strategy, keep in mind that this is a long game; one that requires thought, time, attention and consistent effort. And remember that, like any good farmer knows, when it comes to cultivating your workforce, you will reap what you sow.

David Hassell is the cofounder and CEO of 15Five, lightweight performance management software that includes continuous feedback, objective (OKR) tracking, peer recognition, 1-on-1s, and reviews. David is a speaker and prolific writer and was named “The Most Connected Man You Don’t Know in Silicon Valley” by Forbes Magazine. 

Image Credit: Tom Hauk on Unsplash

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Woah! What an April! More articles about continuous employee feedback were published in this one month than we’ve seen in any other month over the last half-decade.

Amazon and Nike both made headlines, the former for a company-wide roll out of Connections, a daily Q&A feedback program that is being received with some employee skepticism. Amazonians are far more excited about Forte, introduced last year to simplify and improve their performance review process with a focus on employee strengths.

As for Nike, news regarding the introduction of employee feedback software was bittersweet. The launch of their feedback system is meant to allow “employees to confidentially report workplace concerns as it continues an investigation into complaints of inappropriate behavior”.

So whether you are trying to remedy a toxic culture of harassment, improve productivity, or are motivated by the bajillion other reasons to communicate with your employees, this post is for you. Below are a selection of the latest and best employee feedback articles from around the web:

1) Employee Feedback Strategy: Your Guide to Success

By Fresia Jackson

Our friends at Culture Amp friggin’ nailed it with this one. Some have never heard of the phenomenon of soliciting quantitative and qualitative information from employees. Others are unfamiliar with the practice of providing people with your perspective on their performance. For those folks, this piece is a great place to start.

Fresia suggests building a “culture of feedback” by developing a comprehensive employee feedback strategy. To be effective this strategy must be part of an overall process and must be used to improve employee performance in a timely manner.

A successful employe feedback strategy focuses on all aspects of the team experience, from employee learning and development to management effectiveness. One critical component is the human element–anonymous feedback shouldn’t replace the all important in-person conversations between people at your company, especially between managers and employees.

Ready to take your one on ones between managers and employees to the next level? Try our best in class 1-on-1 meeting agenda software.

2) How to Give Feedback That Actually Works, Without Hurting Anyone More Than You Have To

By Leah Fessler & Khe Hy

In 2016, The New York Times published abundant research from Google regarding what it takes to build effective teams. They found that “more communicative, honest cultures drive increased productivity, innovation, and employee satisfaction”. Because many companies look to successful tech giants like Google and adopt their management systems and strategies, these findings helped to fuel the feedback revolution.

Quartz created this guide to add more fuel to the feedback fire, because the authors recognized that the practice of communicating reflections about employee performance can be complicated. Research by Zenger/Folkman found that nearly half of all managers dread giving negative feedback. And employees can have a hard time accepting critical feedback because of the conflict that exists between the drive to grow and develop, and the desire to be accepted as we are.

Fessler and Hy offer tons of advice in this guide for managers, including losing the “feedback sandwich”, being direct and candid, and knowing the purpose behind your feedback. Managers must also remember to give constructive praise, since many of us are quick to notice what’s wrong but employees need to know what they are doing right.

3) Mastering the Art of Negative Feedback

By Arlene Hirsch

As I stated above, many managers are afraid of giving critical feedback. How fortunate that clinical professional counselor Arlene Hirsch offers advice for company leaders in this article.

She explains how many companies still use the dreaded annual performance review as the primary means for managers to provide performance feedback. Because these reviews are so remote, “people being evaluated can feel unfairly judged on things that happened months earlier and don’t seem relevant.”

So Arlene suggests using developmental feedback which is more forward-looking and relationship-oriented. Real-time feedback, along with coaching and guidance can actually influence future employee performance instead of criticizing what has already occurred. She quotes Linda Richardson’s book, Sales Coaching: Making the Great Leap from Sales Manager to Sales Coach:

“Developmental feedback looks forward to what we [the coach and the person being coached] can do to improve and create a better picture for the future… Developmental feedback empowers because it helps people identify obstacles they face and reinforces their role in removing the obstacles each day.”

4) Increase Employee Engagement by 300% With This Daily Practice

By Christine Comaford

Christine is also not a fan of annual reviews and she offers a new approach to standard performance management, called Performance Motivation. Managers can inspire maximum performance not by grading it but by using a process that creates intrinsic motivation and benefits both the employee and the company.

Employee feedback therefore needs to be more frequent and informal, and Christine advises the use of a tool called The Feedback Frame. The first step is to build rapport because unless employees feel safe and genuinely supported they won’t be able to receive the feedback managers provide. One way to build this sense of safety is that everyone throughout the organization gives and receives feedback without exception.

5) Why HR Can’t Expect Continuous Learning Without Regular Feedback

By Riia O’Donnell

Et tu HR? Yes, Human Resources (or People Ops for you progressive types) has a huge responsibility to create the structure and strategy of employee feedback at a company. This article begins by luring us in with some eye opening employee feedback statistics:

– According to PwC, 60% of employees want feedback on a daily or weekly basis (and that number is much higher for younger employees)

– Gallup reports that employees who received strengths feedback had 14.9% less turnover than employees who received none

– LinkedIn found nearly 70% of employees said they would work harder if their efforts were recognized

According to Riia, employee feedback is actually a form of learning but for many employees the term is synonymous with criticism and censure. To change that impression, the when and how of providing feedback is as important as the what. For example, employees should never be criticized publicly. And even positive feedback like employee appreciation might be best when offered behind closed doors. It all depends how the individual likes to be appreciated.

Given the performance review revolution, it’s no wonder that continuous employee feedback is on the top of everyone’s minds lately. We have said for years that soliciting and providing feedback are vital business practices for building genuine, trusting relationships between employees and managers and influencing desired business outcomes.

Today the stakes are even higher because employee’s crave growth and development. Companies that wish to retain their best and brightest should be providing these learning opportunities. Managers can simply discover these opportunities for individual growth via a comprehensive performance management strategy that includes direct and continuous employee feedback.

David Mizne is Marketing Communications Manager at 15Five, continuous performance management software that includes weekly check-ins, objectives (OKR) tracking, peer recognition, 1-on-1s, and reviews. David’s articles have appeared on The Next Web & TalentCulture. Follow him @davidmizne.

Image Credit: Ben White on Unsplash

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