Milestones Matter. Celebrate Them.

Gone are the days when people worked for the same company their entire careers. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American worker stays in his or her job for 4.4 years. So when you encounter an employee who has worked for the same company for 20 years, as I recently did, you realize this is a dedicated and engaged employee—one who deserves to be celebrated.

The fact of the matter is, employees remember their hire date. It’s the career equivalent of a birthday (and who doesn’t love birthdays?) You know who else remembers employees’ hire dates? Great managers, that’s who. By treating each employee’s anniversary as an achievement and a special occasion, you create a positive work environment and encourage employee commitment (and thus increase your employee retention rate).

Make sure your company is following these four steps for celebrating employee anniversaries:

Step 1: Create a system for remembering anniversaries. First, you need to create a system for remembering anniversaries. Prepare a list or a spreadsheet of employees and keep track of their hire dates. Make sure to mark these dates to your calendar and create reminders long before the date so you have time to plan a celebration.

Step 2: Decide how and when you will celebrate. Establish a policy to designate when you will celebrate anniversaries, whether annually or on more momentous anniversaries such as five or 10 years. Take into consideration the size of your company and your budget when deciding how you will celebrate.

It is important to maintain consistency so you do not hurt anyone’s feelings by celebrating someone earlier or more frequently than another.

Step 3: Be sincere and make it personal. Acknowledge each employee’s anniversary every year, even if it is just with a small gesture (save the big celebrations for special anniversaries). Make it personal with a card, letter, phone call, personal visit or some other gesture. Don’t worry about making it formal. It just needs to be a genuine expression of appreciation.

A few sincere words from management will be noticed and appreciated by an employee and greatly improve their morale. Feeling appreciated is very important to job commitment and success.

Step 4: Think twice about giving monetary gifts. In employer-employee relationships, money is associated with compensation. The last thing you want to do is confuse employee recognition with compensation. When you are celebrating an anniversary, you are expressing appreciation for the employee’s service. Compensation is something that is earned.

You also don’t want it to seem like you are obligated to celebrate an employee’s anniversary. While easy to provide, gift cards that include a specific amount of money can be perceived as just another form of giving money. A classic choice is to select a relevant and personal gift that includes the corporate logo.

In the end, it’s important to make it part of your company’s culture to notice and recognize employees. It’s a great gesture to celebrate employee anniversaries, but it’s even better to also frequently celebrate employee successes, accomplishments and contributions as a part of your company culture.

Source: Integrity HR, an Inc. 5000 company and certified Female Business Enterprise, has been operating in Kentucky since 2007. The company provides results-focused human resources outsourcing services, executive and professional search services, behavioral and talent assessment tools, as well as additional HR solutions to reduce HR costs and create more successful, productive and high performance organizations.
Compiled by Cassandra Johnson

Do You Want A Staff Of Perfectionists?

Everything must have its place. Every meeting must be run in a specific way. Every project detail must be exact. You know who I’m talking about … the perfectionist who sits two cubes down from you. Or, perhaps you are the perfectionist.

Do you want perfectionists in the workplace? Some managers say “yes,” whereas others respond with a resounding “no.” The informed answer is, “it all depends.”

Perfectionists possess many traits that provide great value in the workplace.

  • Produce quality work: Perfectionists tend to produce high-quality work. They take pleasure in excellence and find satisfaction in a job well done.
  • Exceed expectations: If the boss expects a short summary, the perfectionist will submit a report. If achieving a 99 percent rating is admirable, the purist will aim for 99.9 percent and then 100. Being above average is not good enough; being the best is a self-imposed requirement.
  • Go the extra mile: Perfectionists often give more than asked. If a report needs to be five pages long, they will turn in six. If a product needs to have three new features, they will add a fourth and maybe a fifth. If they set a record last month, they will strive to better it this month. In sports, this results in shooting free throws while the rest of the team showers or taking 30 minutes of extra batting practice—every day.
  • Set high standards: Another trait is that perfectionists set high standards, both for themselves and others. As long as the standards are reasonably attainable, it is acceptable, and even admirable, for perfectionists to set a bar high—for themselves. (However, foisting faultlessness on others does little more than establish the groundwork for future frustration, disappointment and conflict between the precision-minded and the rest of the world.)

Of course, there are counterparts to these traits. One is procrastination. It is said that perfectionists subconsciously reason that the results of their work will never be just right, no matter how much time is invested, so why start? In fact, the project is often delayed until the last possible moment, so there is a plausible excuse as to why it’s not perfect: “I didn’t have much time to work on it!” Taking this to an extreme, some perfectionists miss deadlines and blow past due dates, often agonizing over some trivial or irrelevant detail.

Another side effect associated with perfectionism is a problem in making quick decisions. Sometimes, they need to “sleep on it” to be assured of the correctness of their judgment. Other times decisions can be agonizingly difficult for them to reach. They fear coming to the wrong conclusion; that is, a less than perfect one. They delay a decision while awaiting more information so they can conduct an informed analysis. Unfortunately, this mental paralysis is seldom cured by amassing more data.

So if you work with a perfectionist, be assured this individual will deliver an outstanding product, even thought it might be a day late!

Source: Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Sign up to receive his newsletter, read his blog or connect on social media.

Do You Recognize These Crazies?

I’ve worked for the crazies. There was the assistant dean who didn’t have a clue what I was working on and a company president who didn’t believe in voicemail or email. And don’t forget the boss who falsified expense reports using my name.

Yes, there are bad managers, and then there are bad managers who belong in a special class all their own. Managers have a great opportunity to lead and be positive role models to others. However, too many do not take their role or their responsibility seriously.

Today, Brian de Haaff, CEO of Aha! identifies and tells us how to deal with these three types of managers.

The Rock Collector: This manager has no idea what he is really looking for. But that will not slow him down. Instead of moving forward with purpose, his direction seems to change course each day. He sends you chasing after a goal that was never defined, and thus impossible to achieve. If you have a rock collector for a manager, you will rarely please him and your self-confidence can waver over time.

I call him a rock collector because no matter what you bring back, it is never the right rock. It’s too smooth, or shiny or even too large. How can you avoid the scavenger hunt each day? Try to pin him down on specific, measurable goals that you can achieve to mark your progress. Ask him to clearly define what he wants you to accomplish.

The Double-Speaker: This manager is well-versed in the art of duplicity and manipulation, always looking out for No. 1. Depending on who she is talking to, she will share whatever she thinks the other person wants to hear. She is so used to double-talk that she does not even realize she is doing it

If you have this type of manager, you may have to dig deep to find the truth and compare notes with others to determine which story is most accurate. My suggestion: learn her body language, which will betray her dishonesty. And take careful notes whenever she gives you a direction. When she flip-flops, you have the evidence and can kindly point out that she is flipping around like a fish out of water.

The Life-Styler: This manager is joie de vivre personified, and his careless attitude towards life extends to work. While he does not want anything to come between him and his fun, he seems blissfully unaware of everyone else’s hard work on his behalf. If you have something important to discuss, you have to catch this life-styler in between long lunches and hours spent on the links.

Someone needs to be the adult, so it might as well be you. Step up, and be equally cheerful but firm. Explain that you need answers, and that the work cannot be accomplished until you have them. Your boss will hopefully realize his laziness is costing the organization and will start behaving more responsibly. Your co-workers will be silently celebrating your courage as well.

These managers are not necessarily bad people. They have simply picked up bad habits or never learned how to lead well. So how can you deal with these personalities? Be transparent in what you say and what you do, and continue to focus on delivering quality work.

Source: Brian de Haaf is the founder or early employee of six cloud-based software companies and is CEO of Aha!, a software company.

Recruiting: How Tech Can Help

It’s not easy to apply for a new job these days. It’s also not easy to recruit the right candidates. LinkedIn plus talent management tools like Taleo have created an environment where companies must continuously optimize candidate conversions.

What was once a job-board-to-career-site-to-apply process has become much more complex.

We tend to think of the candidate journey as having three distinct phases: discovery, nurturing and applying. There are some parallels between this journey and the buyer’s journey as defined by a digital marketer. Just as buyers now start their journey with research on Google, and social media and rating sites, so do job seekers. CareerBuilder recently released data showing that as many as 73 percent of candidates now begin their job search on Google—far more than any traditional job board.

This is all part of the discovery phase of the new-candidate journey. The variables that go into this phase alone have turned organizations’ top-of-the-funnel recruiting strategies upside down. It’s more vital than ever that companies consider and optimize their employer brand, social recruiting strategy, the content they create, how easy their jobs are to find on Google and much more.

Once job seekers actually make it to the career site through one of these entry points at the top of the funnel, it’s no longer a one-and-done scenario. The best digital marketers understand they’re not going to convert every buyer in their first interaction, and recruiters need to think the same way about candidates. This is where the nurturing phase of the candidate journey comes into play.

Today’s leading companies are deploying tools like job alerts and talent networks on their career sites, enticing job seekers to opt-in and essentially become part of their candidate pipeline. Candidates may not be ready to apply, but they’re interested in the company and its positions. When used correctly, a pool of candidates that chooses to be contacted can deliver major returns to key metrics over time such as cost-per-applicant and time-to-fill.

In some scenarios, large global companies are able to build up such a pipeline that reaches several million people in a short period of time. As one example, a consumer electronics retail chain organically grew its talent pipeline with the use of job alerts, and virtually eliminated its job board spend for the holiday hiring surge simply because it had a massive group of people waiting to hear about new opportunities in each location.

When candidates are ready to apply—which could be on their first visit to the site or after visiting over time via nurture marketing—today’s companies have to be prepared to impress them with an awesome apply experience. This means the ability to apply on any device, with the same level of quality that matches modern consumer brands. This is perhaps one of the greatest areas of opportunity, given that so many companies are behind the curve in their apply experience.

The new candidate journey has been influenced by job seekers’ changing behaviors and preferences for finding information. Use these tips to optimize your candidate conversions and stay ahead of your competition.

Source: Mike Roberts is a writer and researcher. At Jibe, a candidate experience platform solution, his focus is on helping talent acquisition professionals stay up to date on the latest recruiting strategies, technology and trends.

Five Things Great Managers Do Every Day

 

Are your employees fully engaged at work? Chances are, they’re not.

Three quarters of employees reported they don’t feel engaged at work, according to a study by Dale Carnegie Training. But one of the biggest factors that made people feel engaged was a positive relationship with their immediate supervisor. Managers have a huge influence on how well employees perform—and the results are not always based on whether you crack the whip or offer the best rewards. Often, it has much more to do with interpersonal relationships.

If you want to be that personable boss who drives employee engagement, Promotional Consultant Today encourages you to try these five things from best-selling author Bernard Marr.

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1. Lead by example.

You could view this negatively, or you could see it as an opportunity. Employees feel resentful when they are asked to do things they believe their superiors would not or could not do, so walk the talk. This goes not just for work tasks but also for attitude. For example, if you’d like to cultivate a more cheerful attitude in the workplace, start by being more cheerful.

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2. Ask questions—and listen to the answers.

Nothing will breed resentment and disengagement faster than the proverbial “suggestion box” that never gets opened. The best leaders regularly talk to their employees and ask what’s going well and what’s not. When you get feedback about something that isn’t working, really listen to it, take it to heart and decide how you can respond. It may be that you can’t immediately make a change (for any number of reasons) but just letting an employee know that they’ve been heard and that you’re taking their concerns seriously makes a difference.

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3. Give constructive feedback.

No one likes being told they’re doing something wrong. But people do like to know if there’s a faster/better/easier way to accomplish a task. Sandwiching constructive feedback with praise is another good habit that will help employees feel both appreciated and supported.

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4. Actively build your team.

Look for ways you can mentor, teach and train your existing staff to grow beyond the skills sets for which they were originally hired. And when it is time to fill a position, fill it with care, seeking not just a warm body to fill a chair, but the right combination of personality and skills to be an asset to your team.

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5. Take care of yourself.

As part of leading by example, spend the time and the effort to take care of yourself. Exercise, take breaks and make sure you get enough sleep. If your team members see that you prioritize self-care as a means to better productivity, they will do the same.

Follow these tips to being a better leader, and you’ll be leading a better team.

Source: Bernard Marr regularly writes about management, technology as well as the mega-trend of big data for LinkedIn and Forbes.

Compiled by Cassandra Johnson