Blog Posts

The Business Case for Remote Work

The Business Case for Remote Work

According to Harvard Business Review, 40% of the existing worldwide workforce are virtual workers (people who work remotely). This is trending upward and will continue for several important reasons.  First, a remote work policy facilitates a powerful way to attract top talent, especially Millennials and Gen Z, the two generations who value autonomy and scheduling flexibility the most. To quote Bob Dylan, “The times they are a changing,” and organizations need to change with them. Given that reality, the business case for remote work becomes even more compelling.  Second, flexible work hours and allowing employees to work remotely ...

How to Improve Company Culture: Your Sneak-Peek at 6 Innovative Tips

How to Improve Company Culture

Leaders in all industries are constantly wondering how to improve company culture. There are myriad benefits to achieving world-class culture, not the least of which are: higher profitability, improved customer service, enhanced talent attraction, and superior talent retention. Below are six of the most unique and proven means of achieving a best-in-class organizational culture. Three of the six secrets were discovered by noticing three consistent commonalities among the thousands of best-in-class organizations (top 10%) with whom I worked in my 35 years as a culture and employee engagement consultant. Empower your employees to accept ownership for their own engagement....

Is your communication style a message in a bottle?

I just returned from an amazing 30-day cruise of the Indian Ocean, which included ports of call in 12 different countries. While at sea one day exercising on the cruise ship deck, and prompted by a sunlight reflection off the water, I spied a sealed bottle floating on the surface of the ocean. It immediately made me wonder if there was a message in the bottle, and if so, I pondered what the odds were that the message would ever be read. So many organizations are mistakenly using “messages in a bottle” to communicate to their employees. As a ...

6 Ways To Reduce Employees’ Stress During The Holidays

Employees’ Stress

Let’s face it.  The holiday season is a very stressful time, both at work and at home.  Great managers will be looking for ways to make the holidays a lot less intense for their team members.  Here are six basic ways of doing just that: Eliminate the pressure of “Secret Santa.” First, ask your employees if they want to discontinue this age-old tradition that often ends up being harder to execute than people expect.  Explain how forgoing Secret Santa gives the “gift of time,” since everyone will have one less gift to buy and wrap....

The Disturbing Signs That We Have A Long Way To Go In Closing The Workplace Gender Gap

gender gap

The #MeToo movement has shined a powerful spotlight on the gender gap in the workplace.  Not only did it reveal the prevalence of sexual harassment in the workplace, but it also highlighted the continued persistence of gender inequality. A recent survey by McKinsey & Co. and LeanIn.Org provides clear evidence of how men and women come into the working world in roughly equal numbers, but women immediately fall behind. (And these plummeting career ladder numbers are even worse for women who are minorities.) Women’s share of jobs at the following steps “up” the career ladder: Entry Level:  ...

11 Things You Need to Know About Generation Z

Generation Z

Millennials, Millennials, Millennials.  Very much in line with Millennials’ insatiable desire for recognition, it seems like the last ten years of articles, videos, and speeches, were all about Millennials. As the first surge of Generation Z enters the workplace, organizations may be surprised at how different they are from Millennials (also known as Generation Y).  Organizations, human resource leaders, and managers will need to learn about, and fully understand, this unique generation especially since they may be the solution to the never-ending talent attraction and talent retention challenge.  Thus, employers will need to also adapt and bring ...

Detecting Alzheimer’s in the Workplace

Alzheimer’s in the workplace

On January 10th of this year, I lost my Dad to this dreadful disease. Alzheimer’s is a form of progressive dementia, where the brain cells gradually stop functioning or die. The disease usually occurs in adults over the age of 65. This used to be past the typical age for retirement, but that isn’t true anymore. Largely due to the 2008 recession, 62% of all employees between the ages of 45 and 60 have planned on delaying their retirement. That means we have an older workforce that is more likely to experience problems with Alzheimer’s in the workplace. In fact, ...

Bringing Your Own Unique Style To Even The Most Mundane Jobs

mundane job

While giving keynote speeches and leadership development workshops, I am often asked how to engage employees who work in the most repetitive or boring jobs. In this post, I want to highlight an awesome individual who provides the most telling answer to that question. The Tarmac Dancer, as he's come to be known on social media, is stunned by his sudden viral fame, though for passengers and employees at the Greater Rochester International Airport it's nothing new. His name is Kyran Ashford, and he's worked at the airport almost five years. He is employed by JetStream Ground Services, which is ...

8 Customer Service Tips Every Employee Should Know

customer service tips

Anyone who has ever worked directly with customers or clients knows that at times, people can be very demanding, ornery, and sometimes, downright nasty in their hostility.  Employees often bear the brunt of customers’ anger about the company’s policies, or problems that they personally had nothing to do with.  Despite this already challenging work environment, customer-facing roles demand that employees also act as public relations ambassadors, since their behavior often determines how other people view the company brand. So whether you are an account manager, cashier, department manager, or healthcare worker, here are 8 great customer service tips ...

That Evil Smartphone – 6 Tips to Stay Focused at Work

Stay Focused at Work

We’ve all seen it or experienced it firsthand: Someone is speaking at a meeting or presenting at a conference, while half the audience members are looking down, openly fiddling with their smartphones.  As a keynote presenter myself, I find this audience behavior especially frustrating.  I’m up there passionately speaking about ways to truly help people improve their day-to-day experience at work, and the messaging is lost on an audience that is simply not listening or being fully present.  Even when event planners ask participants to silence and put away their cell phones, people can’t seem to part with ...

Body Odor in the Workplace: 6 Tips

Body Odor in the Workplace

Upon entering your workplace, have you ever been greeted by a foul and pungent smell? Most of us have experienced this at least one time over the course of our careers. Sometimes coworkers don’t shower after a long exercise routine, or they simply don’t shower often, transforming their daily physical accumulation into a roaming smelly cloud. Sometimes people don’t wear socks, or they take their smelly shoes off under their desk. And sometimes people routinely forget to brush their teeth in the morning. Suddenly you find yourself in an unpleasant and awkward situation. What can you do? Should you say ...

8 Ways to Spot Fake News

fake news

Do you have your B.S. Radar turned on?  In today’s digital and multi-media age, the ability of identifying “fake news” and false information could never be more important.  Underscoring the importance of this skill is social media’s effect on accelerating the spread of false information.  Thus, the need to teach people how to identify and refute the fake information has become a new and burgeoning workplace trend. It’s not that all of the people spreading the misinformation are liars.  In fact, many of the culprits unknowingly spread the fake news, since they believe the information ...

The 7 Characteristics of a Great Recruiter

recruiter characteristics

Last month we polled nearly 130,000 HR/OD/Talent Management/Senior Executives about the top traits of a great job recruiter.  We thought it would be extremely valuable to identify recruiter characteristics, since 86% of staffing firms feel they are doing a good job recruiting, yet only 60% of job candidates report having a positive experience during the recruiting process.1 The results are in and the top recruiter characteristics are listed below in the order most frequently cited by respondents: They have great listening skills. The highest-performing and most effective recruiters harness the power of careful listening, which far better ensures ...

Thinking of dating your co-worker? Think again.

dating your co-worker

The recent and poignant worldwide conversation on sexual harassment and abuse of power has spawned a more expansive dialogue about whether consensual relationships in the workplace are acceptable. For years, the modern workplace has proven to be a very reliable matchmaker.  In fact, an estimated 22% of American couples met at work.1  In addition, fully 35% of workers worldwide report having at least one relationship with a coworker in the past, 37% of males, and 34% of females.2 And fully 84% of Millennials are open to dating a coworker.1 Barack and Michelle Obama.  Bill ...

Ten Predictions for the 2018 Workplace

As luck or prescient knowledge would have it, seven of the ten workplace predictions I made last year turned out to be correct. While I am happy with that outcome, I hope to do even better in 2018. Here are my top 10 predictions for the 2018 workplace: Digital workplaces will continue to leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI), further promoting “the intelligent workplace.” For 2018, AI will likely have a profound effect on both workplace and culture, continuing to change how everyone works (i.e. the practical flow of how work is accomplished). Specifically, AI will no doubt replace certain ...

Four Tips for Making 2018 Your Most Engaging and Rewarding Year

Happy New Year! Many people ring in the new year with renewed commitments to improve aspects of their lives that have previously been challenging. Often, these commitments are made around individuals’ jobs and careers. As my New Year’s gift to those of you looking to be more engaged at work, here are four strategic measures you can consider to lead you to quite possibly one of the best work years of your life. Seize the power of reflection. Studies have repeatedly shown that disengaged workers are often disengaged because they are in the wrong role, are performing tasks they do ...

The Sweet Gift Of Employee Engagement And Strategic Brand Promotion

sugarhouse casino

On the heels of conducting a motivational keynote speech for a client in Las Vegas, one of the key executives sent me the most unique post-event thank you gift. The gift so resonated with me since it leveraged three of the most impactful drivers of both employee engagement and brand promotion and recognition. First, I’ll share the gift with you and then I’ll highlight the drivers it leveraged, such that you and your team can use them to make a difference for your employees and customers. The gift was from Wendy Hamilton, the General Manager of SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia, ...

Why Diverse Teams Need To Step Up Their Communication

A very good friend of mine, who is of Polish decent, was reading an article in Polish next to me and pointed to a name referenced repeatedly, that being Michał Anioł. She looked up at me peering over her shoulder and said, “You know this guy.” I honestly had no clue who she was talking about and said so. She looked at me like I was crazy. I reiterated that I truly had no idea who Michał Anioł was, assuring her that I was not joking. She looked flabbergasted. She then turned the page and I was suddenly looking ...

The Non-Negotiable List – 20 Red Flags For Interviews

If you ever interview job candidates, you need a Non-Negotiable List. This list is used during the interview process to help identify “warning signs” that candidates aren’t a good fit for the organization or position. When a candidate shows one of these warning signs, he or she is no longer considered as a potential hire. DOWNLOAD NOW ...

A Lesson On Employee Engagement From Thomas Edison’s Mother: Never Let Them Put You Down!

One day, as a small child, Thomas Edison came home from school and gave a paper to his mother. He said to her, “Mom, my teacher gave this paper to me and told me only you are to read it. What does it say?” Her eyes welled with tears as she read the letter out loud to her child. “Your son is a genius. This school is too small for him and doesn’t have good enough teachers to train him. Please teach him yourself.” Many years after Edison’s mother had died, he became one of the greatest inventors ...

Sexual Harassment: The Workplace’s Dirty Little Secret

sexual harassment in the workplace

Recent headlines have been littered with numerous stories of sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and rape. Harvey Weinstein. Google. Uber. Silicon Valley. SoFi. Bill O’Reilly and Roger Ailes of Fox News. Three hundred and ten accusations against filmmaker James Toback. Mark Halperin. Taylor Swift allegedly being groped by radio host David Mueller. And for real, our 41st President of the United States, George H.W. Bush? Sadly, sexual harassment is so pervasive that we sometimes don’t see it. Gender inequality in the workplace has gotten better over the years, but it’s still a far cry from giving men and women equal ...

The Power of Recognition

The Power of Recognition

There are hundreds of millions of workers worldwide who feel unappreciated in their jobs and have not heard a “thank you” from someone for a very long time, if ever. This video illustrates the importance of, and best practices on, the number one driver of employee engagement: Recognition. Is your organization properly and fully leveraging this key driver of engagement? Find out. ...

Lessons On Engagement From My Native American Sister And Iraq War Veteran

Native American Sister

Last weekend I went home to the Native American Indian Reservation in northern Wisconsin on which I was raised. I always find it so grounding to go home to the “Res” as it is known to the locals. It was especially grounding this trip because I got to spend two and a half peaceful hours with my Chippewa little sister, Melissa Doud, on her new pontoon boat. Although I am not Native American, and not her blood brother, we share kindred spirits and souls, and much family and Native American history, not the least of which was dancing in the ...

The Business Case For Leadership Development & Learning

business case for leadership development

“ONCE YOU STOP LEARNING, YOU START DYING.” - Albert Einstein It is not uncommon for Chief Learning Officers (CLOs) to struggle trying to secure funds and commitment for leadership development programs, despite the value that organizations see from such programs. I’ve been surprised and disappointed to read so many recent articles that assail the value of these programs versus the amount of money spent on them, including a Wall Street Journal article entitled “So much training, so little to show for it,” and a 2016 Harvard Business Review article calling leadership development programs “the great train robbery.” ...

5 ways to work with the jerk in your office

workplace jerks

Hundreds of millions of workers worldwide dread going to work every day. But for those workers who have to work with a jerk or workplace bully, going to work is unbearable. All of these office jerks are Actively Disengaged employees whose behaviors contribute to their coworkers’ depression, anxiety, health problems, despair, and insomnia. The workplace negativity becomes even more palpable if the jerk is one’s manager or a member of Senior Management. Furthermore, the jerk’s toxic behavior becomes contagious, infecting many others who may begin mistreating others as well. In addition, the watercooler gossip mongering is equally infectious, resulting in ...