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Why Create Employee Opportunities for Career Advancement

Why Create Employee Opportunities for Career Advancement

Why Create Employee Opportunities for Career Advancement

Business Innovation Brief Best Article

Leading employees to achieve personal satisfaction in their careers is the key to becoming an organization where people want to stay for the long haul.

“Employees expect leaders to care about their career growth, in order to stay engaged.”

People usually work for companies where they see growth opportunities. If you want to keep your employees for the long run, you must try to make sure they have growth opportunities every step of the way.

This is even more important right now during what is being called “The Great Resignation” economy. People have felt stuck during the pandemic. Most of what they have felt isn’t related to work, but since work makes up a good chunk of people’s time and energy, the most common way to seek to get unstuck is to change jobs.

Now more than ever, it’s important to have some strategies you can use to give your employees adequate growth opportunities to keep them engaged.

Take a Personal and Genuine Interest

As a leader you must make sure that you know what your employees want out of their careers. This depends on the kind of employees you have too. If you are a company that is managing a group of employees remotely, you must bilaterally create frequent communications channels and effectively keep conversations going.

The interactions should often also be one-on-one so that you can stay in tune with their career aspirations and expectations. If all you are doing are stand up meetings requiring everyone to give an update on what they are doing, you will fail to create an environment where people feel cared for.

Employers must stop treating people like a transaction… the mindset of “we pay you to work, what you do with your future is your business” is a failed strategy in retention and in creating a culture of co-leaders.

“The key to creating career opportunities for employees is to have a culture of co-leaders, instead of subordinates.”

Promote Learning and Training

Whether the people you have are complete trainees or are very experienced, they are always looking for growth. It is very helpful to allow them to learn more about the job they do, but it’s equally important to support their aspirations on their terms and encourage learning what they are most passionate about, so they can become masterful at their desired career skills.

This will give them the incentive to work smarter and harder to bring value to the company, but also create a sense of loyalty for giving them access to what they truly desire.

“Constant learning is the key to constant growth, something that organizations should proactively promote.”

Mentorship Programs

Establishing a formal mentorship program within your organization can help your employees as well. When they receive guidance from people who have been in their shoes and have moved on to greater things, they feel motivated and inspired to do the same.

The transfer of knowledge from people who know more about the corporate ladder to the people who know less is crucial. These mentoring sessions are not only beneficial to the junior employees. Through open interaction, senior leaders can get fresh and new insights about the industry by keeping an open mind about new perspectives.

Rotate Roles

When humans are stuck in repetitive and redundant tasks for 1/3rd of their day every single day, their efficiency decreases, and they become less and less productive. Leadership needs to ensure that the roles of employees are rotated and shuffled occasionally, so that people retain an interest in their jobs.

Efficiency increases when new tasks are given to people who have been slogging under the same burden for months. Not only does this strategy help the employees break out of the vicious circle of repetition, but it also helps the company integrate fresh perspectives and training into employees at regular intervals.

Emphasize the Big Picture

The company must paint a big picture and emphasize it in front of its employees. This is crucial for everyone because it helps to set long-term goals and aspirations for the company. The mission of the company, when highlighted frequently, becomes inscribed in the minds of every person working for the organization, no matter how small.

This can be done by offering regular insights into how a person’s day-to-day interactions and contributions augment the company’s goal. It’s key to get employees vested into the big picture as well. Don’t try to get everyone excited about an IPO and then offer zero in terms of stock ownership or equity, for example.

Succession Planning Program

There is a dire need to value high-performing and high-potential employees of your company. You must make it apparent to them that you are not only willing to invest your resources in their professional development, but you are also opening them up to positions where they can become the future leaders of the business.

That is a powerful message to send to your high-performing employees. When these women and men see themselves heralding the company’s legacy, they feel inclined to grow there and make the company part of their own career growth.

These are some of the things you can do and strategies you can implement to make your employees feel cared for, during their time at your company. 

By employing these strategies, you are investing in their future and their overall growth, which they will value, and return in kind in the form of more productivity, loyalty and longevity.

Business Innovation Brief

Why Help Employees Become Self-reliant

Why Help Employees Become Self-reliant

Why Help Employees Become Self-reliant

Business Innovation Brief Best Article

Companies who want to make sure that their employees keep working with them long term, must take steps to create a positive and memorable work environment.

What people really want, besides competitive compensation, is a sense of autonomy, and belonging. They want their work to have meaning and want to feel empowered to make an impact.

A good onboarding process might be an excellent first step, but what happens in the first year of employment shapes the future of the overall relationship.

A study conducted at Aberdeen amongst 230 organizations found that around 90% of their employees decide to either stay at the company or leave it during the first year of their employment.

Let’s go over a few ways companies can help employees become self-reliant and why this will increase retention and create a better environment.

Mentorship

The real work and learning happen on the job, not during the onboarding. That is to say that when new employees are hired, the work that they will be doing in the organization is laid out to them in their onboarding briefing, but not implementable unless they see how the work takes place in real life.

Assigning a mentor from the company to each new hire makes it easy for both the company and employee to acclimate to each other. It helps new employees make their way around their duties in an unfamiliar environment.

If misunderstandings come up, a mentor can be a guide to help the new employee navigate through the culture, reducing the risk of that employee leaving because they suddenly feel like they don’t belong.

A mentor doesn’t have to be a member of the leadership team, it’s best if it’s a peer. This creates a safe space for new employees to open about their needs, and it creates opportunities for employees who sign up to mentor to practice leadership skills.

“Peer-to-peer mentorship enables people to step into leadership and creates a network of people learning self-reliance.”

Growth Opportunities

Studies show that only 15% of organizations extend their onboarding beyond six months. This number also falls as time passes. The number drops drastically to 2% for a year-long onboarding.

Conventional onboarding processes don’t last very long, but to make employees more self-sufficient and reliable, the extension of these processes is necessary.

After the initial levels of the onboarding process are complete, companies should continue to offer new employees relevant training programs to make them more efficient in their work.

However, the onus to train employees does not fall completely on the employers. Employees must be proactive in their approach towards their work and must strive to seek out new avenues for learning constantly.

Meetings, seminars, and training sessions help spread the learning of one or two to the entire team. These meetings also act as great platforms for spreading new ideas, perspectives, and insights within the organization.

If your company does not have a training team, you are likely suffering from higher churn and less engaged employees. Training can be a shared task among employees seeking to develop those skills and creates opportunities for growth.

One of the key roles of the training team, should also include helping new hires understand possible career paths, and how to get there. Most organizations spend considerable time defining policies, but not enough time charting growth opportunities for employees.

“Let career paths, become a peer-to-peer level conversation, further enhancing a self-reliant environment among employees.”

Automate Everything

This may come as a shock to some, but most people don’t like administrative tasks. Reports after reports and overly aggressive metrics, make people feel like machines and assets instead of human beings. Organizations who are very metrics and admin driven show up as distrusting, and that puts employees on guard, causing them to not engage, and leave.

The key here isn’t to eliminate metrics, rather it is to reduce the dependence of employees on the administration of trivial tasks or efficiency-related tasks.

In the age of the internet and digitalization, you as an organization must strive to make everything automated and digitalized for the convenience of employees.

This also reduces the substantive training period and time that people need to get adequately acquainted with the setup of the organization.

Automating the administration’s side of processes makes onboarding simpler for everyone involved. Implementing technology to automate mundane and repetitive tasks saves work hours and focuses human innovation on the things that require a mindful touch.

“Efficiency and productivity skyrockets by automating tasks because it allows employees to focus on things that really matter instead of useless formalities.”

Welcome Feedback

New hires are often people right out of school or right out of an environment entirely different from that of your organization. In terms of their experience, they have something newer and better to offer, which might make your organization more productive and efficient.

It is important to keep an open mind and ear to suggestions from new hires. You never know when you might encounter an idea that could either save your company a large sum of money or increase your profits in ways you never thought were possible.

The rigid mindset of “this is how we do things” is counterproductive to creating an environment where people can have an impact and give meaning to their work.

Be Unavailable

To help people become more self-reliant, hang up some “Do Not Disturb” signs around your office. This way, they don’t become co-depended on executives for constant support for every little thing.

Learn to say, “I don’t know… how do you think we should do it?” even when you know. The truth is that when people feel empowered to make an impact, they not only take ownership of the task at hand but take ownership of the fate of the company.

Let people learn to figure out independently how to solve an issue, and when they do, even if it’s contrary to how you as a leader would do it, don’t block them… let them do the work on their own terms.

“When people are asked to bring their own way of doing things to solve challenges, they become owners of the fate of the company, and active contributors to its ongoing success.”

To be effective at this, companies need to treat everyone as adults and expect everyone to act accordingly. Adults don’t need their hand held, or to be told what to do. Adults make things happen through collaboration and mutual respect.

Autonomy and ownership make better employees and a more valuable teammate.

Business Innovation Brief

How to Reduce Employee Attrition

How to Reduce Employee Attrition

How to Reduce Employee Attrition

Business Innovation Brief Best Article

Employee attrition weakens an organization. When employees leave an organization high and dry without giving leadership the time to replace them, it hurts the morale of other employees, and the brand image with customers. 

“Attrition impacts the efficiency and productivity of an organization.”

Different Types of Attrition

Attrition in an organization can be of different types and have varied impact on the people left behind.

Voluntary Resignation — This is when employees leave on their own. There are several reasons why employees might choose to do this including — limited growth opportunity, lack of appreciation, mismatch of job role, better pay in a different organization, work-related stress that can become long-term frustration, or even the source of illness. 

It is factors like these mentioned above that contribute to voluntary attrition. A study conducted in the recent past says 49% of millennials never think that they are going to last in one organization or company for more than two years at a time.

Involuntary Attrition — This is the attrition when employees are removed from their posts or positions due to a lack of performance or poor ethical conduct in the workspace. This attrition can aid or harm the company depending on how the decisions regarding the termination of employees are made.

Retirement — Retirement of key employees can be a huge blow to the everyday functioning of the company if they haven’t prepared for it well. It might not be very easy to fill the shoes of an experienced employee without enough notice.

Internal attrition — This occurs when an employee leaves key posts in one department to join more important positions in other departments. In this case, the company or corporation might benefit, but the department that is left behind might be harmed through gradual attrition.

Ways to Minimize Attrition

There are some proven steps that organizations can take to reduce their losses through employee attrition. Here are some to consider.

Do Not Skimp on Compensation

Most organizations cannot afford to pay every employee a hefty paycheck every month, however maintaining industry parity is necessary. Studies have suggested that voluntary resignation from jobs occurs when the compensation offered to employees is even 10% lower than the industry or company average for that position. 

While it is important to make tough decisions about employee salary, it is also crucial for companies to keep the bar up. If employees must ask to be brought up to parity with the market in compensation, the organization practicing this will suffer higher attrition.

Conversely organizations that proactively bring employees’ salaries at parity with the market, have lower attrition. 

“It’s a smart choice to be proactive in compensating employees at least on parity if not better than market trends.”

Match People to the Right Roles

I’ve personally seen this happen to very good sales leaders who get courted for a leadership role, only to end up in some fancy individual contributor role. Nothing wrong with individual contributor roles, but the person who was being courted for a business unit head capacity feels robbed, and that’s the beginning of the end of that relationship. 

It’s important to be totally honest with what you are hiring for, just as it is important to let employees be transparent about their preferred roles.

The best leaders don’t just hire to fill roles, they hire to enhance the value the organization creates. Matching up people to the right roles is a learned leadership skill, yet an important one to reduce attrition, and maintain a competitive advantage in the market.

Reward Employees Often

Your employees need to understand that you, as an organization, appreciate their work and that their efforts are not going unnoticed. Hence, you need to make sure that their big successes or their proactivity in the workplace get rewarded often. 

This keeps morale high in the workplace and motivates your people to do more than expected. 

“Creating an atmosphere of acknowledgment and trust is crucial to lowering attrition.”

Engage Employees

Working in an organization for a long time might often become mundane, repetitive, and bland for most people. Here, productivity rates begin to fall, and the company’s efficiency decreases. 

The leadership’s responsibility is to keep employees engaged in everyday tasks by making the workplace a warm and hospitable environment.

Be Flexible

Employees crave a flexible work/life. If you’re not offering employees flexibility around work hours and locations, they might easily leave you for someone who will. 

With the improving economy and the coming talent shortage, attrition promises only to get worse. The 5 days’ work week is antiquated, why not change it up. Experiment with a four-day workweek. There are some real measurable benefits to doing so to both the organization and the people.

Practice Gratitude

Encouraging prosocial behavior with your employees, can create a culture of generosity and gratitude. Connecting through acts of giving and expression of gratitude, employees will be healthier, happier, and less likely to leave. 

“Encouraging to lookout for good behaviors to commend gives employees a sense of ownership of the company.”

Even if your business is otherwise successful, employee attrition can cut into your profits and even cause you to lose customers. Developing a plan to reduce attrition is the only way to get ahead of it.

“Employees are the building blocks of an organization and ensure the success of a business, so it’s important to keep them happy.”

Create an environment where everyone feels proud to work for your company. Employees should feel safe, valued, and included. They shouldn’t be afraid to be themselves in the workplace or forced to be someone they are not. 

“Creating an outstanding company culture will ensure lower attrition.”

Finally, have more fun. When people are paid competitively, do work that aligns with their personal aspirations, get rewarded often, feel like they are doing something good in the world through social impact, practice gratitude and have fun…. they don’t have time to think about leaving. Why would they?

Business Innovation Brief

The Importance of Downtime on Health and Productivity

The Importance of Downtime on Health and Productivity

The Importance of Downtime on Health and Productivity

Business Innovation Brief Best Article

The evidence that emptying your mind is a vital part of being creative and successful is proliferating.

However, many people do not take advantage of their paid vacation time, even if they have access to a week or several weeks off. Most people cancel or postpone vacation time due to actual or perceived job obligations. It is a concerning issue for both large enterprises and family-owned businesses.

Getting away, on the other hand, does not imply leaving the country or even the residence. The goal is to locate a place that allows you to take a mental break from work — and all its anxieties. 

It could be as simple as putting your phone away for a few days. For a few days, stop checking emails and receive regular notifications. It could simply mean “to unplug.”

Some people do this while staying at home (a “staycation”), while others go to the cottage or out of town. In either case, a change of scenery aids in a better complete dissociation from daily problems.

“A vacation allows you to take some well-deserved time off from work and rest and recharge your batteries.”

Work might cause exhaustion and stress if you spend too much time there. This, in turn, has a direct impact on our physical and mental health. A few days away from work might help you refresh and de-stress. However, a weekend is insufficient. Vacation days are supposed to be utilized! 

Last week I wrote about the benefits of the four day work week. I thought I would follow up with writing about the importance of extended downtime. 

Get Enough Sleep

The priority during down time is to get some rest. Solid, high-quality sleep allows your brain and body to rejuvenate. It is a chance to put all you have learned throughout the day into practice. 

Some people claim that they can function on only a few hours of sleep a night, but this is untrue. 

“When you get a healthy eight hours of sleep, you will be more productive, creative, and happy.”

Go on Vacation

The second type of downtime is vacation. A more extended period away from work (at least three to five days) is a great way to recharge your batteries. 

While you are away from your usual routine, you can take a fresh look at your life. When you look at it from the outside, it is easier to see what you want to modify!

“Vacation time allows you some self-reflection and the ability to check in with your life’s trajectory, and make plans for changes as needed.”

Take Regular Breaks

The third type of downtime is the tiniest and most complex. It is those fleeting moments of clarity in your mind that come through meditation, a walk in the woods, participating in sports, or simply sipping a cappuccino on a terrace in the middle of your workday.

Find something you love to do, and go do it. Swimming, biking, reading, whatever it is… use it as your break time.

Importance of Downtime 

Downtime isn’t a luxury, it is a necessity to maintain good mental, physical and emotional health. 

Rest helps you boost mental capacity: A well-rested mind that is free of worry is often more effective and creative. Hence you should plan a vacation regularly.

Time off maintains better physical health: A vacation provides the opportunity to catch up on sleep and exercise, which are two simple remedies for our many aches and pain.

Vacations increase your productivity at work: Despite popular belief, research shows that providing employees with additional vacation time enhances corporate productivity and reduces the number of sick days required. Employees have a better quality of life due to liberal vacation rules, which translates to better work quality. Workers also report feeling more creative after taking time off. And more than 70% of them said they were happier at work when they took regular vacations.

Vacations can help you strengthen relationships: A break is an excellent opportunity to spend time together in a less scheduled setting and build lasting memories together, whether with loved ones.

Vacations remind you to appreciate life: Taking time off can be an excellent opportunity to meet new people, laugh, read, learn, and do the things that you enjoy the most.

Finally, vacations might help you stay young! Chronic stress is proven to hasten biological ageing as well as the ageing process. 

Why don’t you do yourself a favor for your well-being? Make self-care a priority and schedule some time off. Taking regular vacations is one of the most satisfying treatments for keeping well even from a medical standpoint.

Business Innovation Brief

The Advantages of a Four Day Workweek

The Advantages of a Four Day Workweek

The Advantages of a Four Day Workweek

Business Innovation Brief Best Article

Achieving work-life balance has always been an endless battle among corporate executives. On average, a full-time employee in the United States works 1,801 hours per year, or 37.5 hours per week, which is more than other OECD countries. For example, Europeans work up to 19 percent fewer hours annually compared to those working in the US.

This has been the work culture since the end of the great depression, but today, with technological advancement, many companies have recognized a lesser need for an in the office workforce. The recent pandemic really forced this change, and the realization of how effective work from home is, will likely be permanent for many.

Another new working model that is gaining popularity is that of a four-day workweek. Amid the work from home situation, many employees have complained of no time for personal life and family due to long working hours and working during the weekend. A 4-day work week might help them get a hold of both their professional and personal life.

For example, the four-day workweek plan would address a significant issue in the UK labor market burnout. In 2017–2018, work-related stress, anxiety, or depression accounted for 57% of all sick days, with workload pressure accounting for 44% of these.

If you think that’s bad, according to Everyday Health, in the US 83% of workers suffer from work-related stress. US businesses lose up to $300 billion yearly because of workplace stress. 

“Stress causes around one million workers to miss work every day.”

Only 43% of US employees think their employers care about their work-life balance. Depression leads to $51 billion in costs due to absenteeism and $26 billion in treatment costs.

“Work-related stress causes 120,000 deaths yearly and results in $190 billion in healthcare costs yearly.”

52% of Generation Z in the US have been diagnosed with mental health issues. There is a noticeable generation gap between baby boomers and Gen Z in terms of stress. While 52% of Gen Z has been diagnosed with mental health issues, only 41% of baby boomers have been. 

“57% of people stressed-out are paralyzed by stress.”

Let’s look at the advantages of having a four-day workweek. With more free time to heal and recoup, staff would perform better, enjoy their tasks more, and consequently take fewer sick breaks due to high-stress levels. Several companies are trying to experiment with the four-day workweek.

I personally tested the four-day work week last summer and was more productive than I could have ever imagined. It is true that the downtime allows for better recovery, mentally, emotionally, and physically. I love what I do, and with a little more down-time I discovered that I love it even more. I am doing the experiment again this summer.

“Four-day work weeks have benefits for both the employee and the employer.” 

Reduction of Costs

A four-day workweek can help everyone save money. The most obvious benefit is that operating costs would be significantly reduced because the office would be closed one extra day per week. Additionally, employees would spend less for commuting and would see cost savings in other areas such as lunch and coffee during the day. One day less a week can add up to saving a large sum of capital every month and even more throughout the year. 

“Shifting to a four-day week eliminates 20% of variable overhead expenses like electricity and energy consumption.” ~US Energy Information Association

Increase in Productivity

A case study in New Zealand found a 45 percent reduction in stress and a 45 percent rise in total life satisfaction in a company with 240 employees. Not only did their productivity rise but so did their commitment to the organization. When employees are pressured and compelled to work more and more without any rewards, it becomes hard for them to remain productive. On the other hand, if they are provided with suitable rewards and leaves, they are motivated to perform better. 

“A four-day work week could solve the high attrition problems some companies face in certain market segments, like IT Services.”

Increase in Employment Engagement

Employees have more time to rest and heal thanks to three-day weekend and an extra day off. As a result, individuals are less likely to be worried or take time off due to illness. They become more energetic and have increased attention spans. They become more motivated to return to their employment because of having more time to rest.

A real-life example of this are nurses working a four-day workweek. Nurses were found to request fewer sick days, plan 85 percent more activities for patients in their care, and reported higher health, mental well-being, and engagement in a study conducted in Sweden from 2015 to 2017.

Encourages Equality within the Organization

When it comes to adults who are unemployed due to childcare duties, there is a significant gender divide, with 89 percent of them being women.

Most of the time, women and single parents drop out of their corporate jobs due to less time for family. There are few allowances to help them in this regard. 

The four-day workweek can be beneficial in these cases. Employees, male, female, and non-binary, will be able to spend more time with their families while managing care and job commitments with a four-day workweek, promoting equal establishment, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace.

Less Health Issues

 The best advantage of a four-day workweek will be that the employees will have ample time for relaxing and getting back to work. Dr. John Ashton, president of the United Kingdom Faculty of Public Health, has suggested the health problems faced by office workers — obesity, sleep problems, high blood pressure, heart problems, and stress-related illnesses — are linked to too many hours sitting at desks. 

“Rest and rejuvenation are essential for the overall well-being of an individual.”

Four-day workweeks have been shown to decrease stress and improve mental health. Since stress has been proven to increase risk of disease and decrease life expectancy, a four-day week seems like a logical next step for humanity.

Environment Friendly

A shortened work week can cut overall carbon emissions and save energy by reducing commuters. You will not only help save the environment, but you will also save money on your energy costs! 

For instance, the state of Utah had a 13 percent reduction in energy use, and as a result, workers saved around $6 million in fuel costs, when it commissioned the trial for businesses in the state to try a four-day work week in 2009. According to findings, the initiative would reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by more than 12,000 metric tons a year.

Should You Try This?

The four-day workweek plan is practical and offers quite a few advantages too. If you’re willing to boost the productivity of your employees by giving them three off days a week, the four-day workweek plan is worth trying. 

“An overworked employee is much less productive than an employee working a reasonable number of days per week.”

While just 15% of employers currently offer this schedule, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, the rise of flexible and remote working arrangement as well as advancements in technology and automation are pushing this idea toward becoming reality for more.

Companies pride themselves on perks and benefits for employees, but what people really want is more time for their family, hobbies, and downtime. In turn employers get more loyal, productive, and healthy employees. 

Why are we letting a decision made 80 years ago of working five days a week, dictate our needs in 2021 and beyond?

Business Innovation Brief

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