Archive | Employee Engagement

What You Can Learn from Your Employee Networks

Employee Resource Group network in a meeting
Employee Resource Groups provide ways for employees to connect with people like them. But do they produce results?

Employee resource groups (ERGs) provide a place for women, veterans, LGBT employees, people of color, people with disabilities, working parents, and others to connect and help ensure the workplace welcomes and supports their productivity. Yet even though the number of ERGs has taken off, companies seldom assess these groups’ success.

We know that the activities associated with ERGs have general value. Networking, for example, is linked (pdf) to an increase in promotions and in compensation, to greater career satisfaction, and to salary growth. Mentoring also yields demonstrated benefits: People with mentors are more likely to receive promotions and salary increases (pdf).

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Beat the Conference Blahs

UnConference Format Listening

It’s Day Two of the convention and my body aches from sitting in one place for so long. I’ve heard experts tell me what to do and how to do it. I’ve seen ten PowerPoint templates and seven videos. I’ve been promised the Next Big Thing. What I haven’t been is inspired. Or even very engaged.

Too many conferences suffer from the assumption that the best way to use people’s time is to subject them to elaborately designed presentations. After seeing a PowerPoint, we may be able to retell one or two of the best practices Company X used. But can we take those ideas and use them to make a difference?

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The Inside Scoop on the International Association of Business Communicators Conference

IABC Communications Conference 2

In June, I traveled to Washington, DC for my first International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) conference. I discovered the organization several years ago when they invited me to write an article for their flagship e-magazine, Communication World. An invitation to present gave me the opportunity to learn more about this energized, exciting organization. Here’s the inside scoop on what happened at the IABC DC World Conference.

Ethics are Hot

When alternative facts and fake news grab headlines, ethics are more important than ever. IABC took a stand earlier this year by opposing alternative facts. The organization reiterated communication professionals’ obligation to speak honestly, share accurate information, and correct mistakes promptly.

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Chocolate at Work: A Lighter Post for August

Maya Hosts a Chocolate Tasting

If you know me, you know that I love chocolate. You also know that I’ve taken that love beyond simply hoarding bars in my chocolate chiller (yes, I bought a chiller to keep my chocolates safe from heat). I’ve created a curated guide to artisan chocolatiers in Paris and New York, led professional tastings, and facilitated industry conversations about cacao standards.

I recently had the chance to talk with John Garrett about what this hobby has to do with work. John calls himself a “recovering CPA.” Freed from cubicles and spreadsheets, he now tours the country as a corporate comedian and hosts the Green Apple Podcast.

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SCARF Model: Anticipating Organization Stress

SCARF Model Infographic

The third in the Tried & True Series: Trusted Models that Stand the Test of Time.

Have you ever felt that your life was in immediate danger? You might remember feeling a burst of adrenaline as your heart race, and you moved into action or froze in your tracks.

Research shows that other situations, in which there is no physical danger, can trigger a similar response. This “fight, flight, or freeze” response decreases the ability to plan, make rational decisions, and perceive subtle social and cognitive signals. Unfortunately, these skills are needed during organizational change—just when people are likely to be triggered.

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Surviving Resistance to Change

Resistance to Change Infographic

The second in the Tried & True Series: Trusted Models that Stand the Test of Time.

Most leaders encounter resistance to change. The resistance can take various forms. People can protest the implementation plan, the approach, your leadership, the font size used in change communications, and the decision to change in the first place.

This new infographic on resistance highlights the work of three masters. Rick Maurer’s Three Types of Resistance is a classic method of understanding why people resist and how to respond effectively. Ingrid Bens teaches us how to have conversations about resistance in ways that work. The late Herb Shepard’s teachings offer wisdom from his years of work with organizations.

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Change Communications that Stick

Five Levels Infographic

The first in the Tried & True Series: Trusted Models that Stand the Test of Time.

Some tools never lose their value. The hammer. The umbrella. The wheel. These tools have been around for centuries and we trust them.

We have similarly trustworthy, proven tools in the organizational world. The Tried & True series shares trusted models that stand the test of time in graphical form.

For our first set of models, we’ve culled through the thousands of tools available on change. We’ve chosen seven that we rely on because they consistently do the job. The first of our tools is the Five Levels of Communication.

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The Change Journey

The Change Journey Graphic

Organizations still struggle with change. After all our collective years of experience and learning about change, it’s still hard.

Part of the challenge is that we still insist on using techniques that assume organizations are like machines. Get the right tool, technician, and process, and the results will follow.

The problem is that organizations are comprised of people. People are often unpredictable. We have opinions. We don’t like feeling as if we’re being controlled or treated unfairly. And we really don’t like being treated like machines.

Rather than thinking about change as a linear, predictable process, we need a new way.

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Large Group Ice Breakers: Free Twenty Questions Activity

Image by <a href="">Sheila Swan-Scot</a> on flickr.

Effective large group ice breakers can be hard to find. I’ve often see leaders simply blow off the initial icebreaker as a waste of time since it’s so hard to find a short, engaging, helpful activity. However, icebreakers have a good purpose: they help people get oriented to who is in the room, focus their energy on the meeting, and participate actively.

Twenty Questions is an easy icebreaker that quickly gets people talking and laughing. It can be used with groups as small as ten and as large as two hundred. (Actually, it might be possible with more than two hundred.

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How to Mobilize a Weary Workforce

We are challenged to keep employees engaged, innovative, and productive. Yet, they often come across as weary, tenacious survivors. Many of them are tired, stressed, and worried about the future.

Employees know enough not to talk about the challenges of keeping up amidst the tumult of organization life, the rapid change, the threats of layoffs, and the continuous “raising the bar.” But in quiet, off-line conversations, they talk about being tired, unengaged, and simply surviving.

The costs of non-engagement are high. We live in a world of increasing competition, pressure to lower costs, and demand for ongoing innovation and productivity gains.

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