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Monthly Archives: August 2014

Labor Day Reminder – (Co)Workers Matter

According to Wikipedia,

Labor Day in the United States is a holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It is a celebration of the American labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of their country.

As you go about your preparations for a three-day weekend (hopefully), don’t forget to thank the people you work with and recognize the contribution they make.

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Leaders, I know your employees sometimes drive you insane.

Employees, I know your leaders can make you want to poke your eyes out.

But the reality is we are all in this together.  No matter what kind of work you do, your organization, your industry, the people you work with shape your day-to-day experience.  They help determine whether or not you are in a good culture or a bad one.  They may lift you up when you’re feeling down, or help pop that ego when it gets a little too big.  They are your cheerleaders, your mentors, your sounding boards, your cranky neighbor who just wants those darn new hires to get off their lawn.

And yes…sometimes your coworkers are truly terrible.  And they contribute to an awful environment.  And they make you question whether it’s worth it.

But I wager that there is ONE person in your professional life who makes a difference.  That person deserves to hear from you.

So to everyone in my professional life – THANK YOU for your contribution to my strength, prosperity and well-being.

 

Now go eat some damn hot dogs.

 

Have a safe and fun Labor Day Weekend, everybody!

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2014 in Teamwork

 

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Efforts vs. Results: Do employees know the difference?

I recently read an article  day that referenced an infographic featuring the following statistic:

Nearly half (49 percent) of employees in a survey revealed that they would leave their current job for a company that recognized employees for their efforts and their contributions.

Really.  Nearly HALF of all employees would leave their job.

I know I’m cynical, but that seems awfully high, especially in a volatile economy.  So I reframed that statement (because I’m in HR and I know what reframing is), and I started thinking about whether or not the average employee would define recognition-worthy effort the same way management would.  I came to the following conclusion…

I don’t think they would.

In my career, I’ve been a part of many a performance review process, helping managers and employees alike understand why we do them, how we do them, and what the different ratings mean.  And it never fails that there is a severe disconnect between what the employee sees a extra effort and what the manager would call DOING YOUR JOB.

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Here’s a quick reminder for employees about the difference:

DOING YOUR JOB:

  • Showing up on time every day
  • Completing your work by the assigned deadline and in a quality manner
  • Being a decent human being to coworkers


EXTRA EFFORT:

  • Teaching others to do their jobs better
  • Identifying a more efficient way to do a task
  • Going above and beyond for a customer

Really, it’s about the difference between EFFORT and RESULTS.  Effort is good – managers want to see effort.  It’s an indicator that employees give a damn.  But guess what – results pay the bills, which means managers are more likely to recognize employees whose efforts yield results.  As an employee, I need to be aware of what will benefit the business and ensure my work is truly “value add.”  And I also need to communicate what I’m doing to my manager to ensure I’m aligned with his/her expectations.

Managers, you’re not off the hook for this one.  If your employees feel like you don’t notice their efforts, that’s on you.  It’s your job to give clear expectations for results and to provide meaningful feedback to your employees year-round. Too often managers are afraid to have a difficult conversation, telling employees “that was a a darn good try” all year…only to rate them lower in the annual review because nothing got done.  On the other hand, things come up that are out of the employee’s control that can keep their efforts from yielding the expected results.  So be a human being and acknowledge that.

Lack of recognition by managers is a real problem in many organizations, and it CAN lead to employees wanting to leave for a better job.  I also think misconstrued ideas of what recognition should look like leads to unrealistic employee expectations.

What do you think? Are employees being greatly unappreciated? Are managers being unfairly maligned for not rewarding employees for just showing up?  Share your thoughts in the comments.

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2014 in Clarity, Context

 

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