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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Why a Caring Company Retains Millennials

Today’s workforce is ripe with a younger generation known as “millennials” (those born within 1982–2000). By 2025, millennials will make up 75 percent of the global workforce.

According to a 2016 Gallup survey, 21 percent of millennials say they’ve changed jobs within the past year and 60 percent of millennials said they’d be open to a new job opportunity. One major reason for this shift in employee retainment is due to lack of engagement in the workplace.

One major reason for this shift in employee retainment is due to lack of engagement in the workplace.

Managers need a paradigm shift within their current engagement models in order for this younger generation to commit to a longer–lasting employment term.

Work/Life balance is key for millennials; they are planning near–term exits from their employers in order to put their personal interests and values before their jobs. To overcome this “exit challenge,” there are several key–findings that when integrated into the workplace, millennials become more engaged and loyal.

Areas to strongly consider integrating into your new engagement model:
1.Flexibility with the option of working remotely
2.Creating team–working areas in the office
3.Offer mentorship (millennials want to feel that they are being set up for leadership roles)
4.Transparency (honest, straight–forward, down–to–earth communication)
5.Wellness practices incorporated into the company culture

It is now necessary for employee engagement to take a more holistic approach; first and foremost millennials want to know their company is one that truly cares.

You may be thinking, “what makes a company a caring company?”

When Companies Care

Millennials want proof that the company is not only interested in profit but also in purpose. They are looking for a company that encourages community involvement and supports their participation in non–profit and charitable efforts. This may mean allowing your employees to volunteer during regular office hours and offering training for leadership opportunities within non-profit boards.

Salesforce employees are eligible for seven days of paid Volunteer Time Off per year while Deloitte offers their employees an unlimited amount of paid VTO.

Millennials want proof that the company is not only interested in profit but also in purpose.

Furthermore, on a personal level, the millennial will want to receive honest feedback, have the opportunity for developmental progress, be recognized for their strengths, and have a sense of purpose within the company.

Sodexo, a leading food services and facility management company, offers multiple mentorship programs including a “Peer–to–Peer” initiative which is an informal style of mentorship that employees can opt to take part in during any point of their career. CarMax supports their employees ‘untapped potential’ by offering multiple levels of mentorship including online courses, one–on–one mentorship, and individual development plans.

Importance of Values

The option to exercise … resulted in a 28 percent decrease in employee stress levels.

These seemingly hard–to–please millennials want to work for companies that are aligned with their core values and those that care about their overall wellbeing. With the rise of Eastern practices (i.e. yoga, meditation) permeating the Western culture, millennials want to bring their daily practices of mindfulness and wellness into the office. When job–hunting, millennials are choosing companies that have an ethos that is supportive of their lifestyle outside of the work place.

Aetna’s CEO, Mark Bertolini, had a life–changing experience that lead him to discover the power of meditation and yoga. Bertolini brought what he discovered to his 50,000 employees via a full wellness center and offered employees the option to exercise at any point throughout the work day; this resulted in a 28 percent decrease in employee stress levels and 20 percent of employees said they benefited from better sleep.

While leading companies like Google are encouraging mindfulness practices into their company culture, others are offering in–office yoga, healthy snacks, and even nap rooms.  A 2016 report by the Global Wellness Institute revealed that employees that believe that their company genuinely cares about them has a significant impact on their engagement and loyalty to the company. However, the report also reveals that these wellness programs are only game–changing to engagement when the employee believes that they are working for a “caring” company as opposed to a “non–caring” company.

When job hunting, millennials are choosing companies with an ethos supportive of their lifestyle outside of work.

The backbone of any company are the employees and if the employees are unhappy, it’s likely the company itself will not thrive. Millennials want to know that the company they are working for has a genuine approach to caring about each individual within the company in addition to community outreach initiatives. Taking steps to improve the employer/employee relationship in a millennial-laden workforce will ultimately increase performance and retainment. It’s just a matter of integrating new ways of connection and allowing for authentic flexibility.

To your greater success,

Peter Mclees, Principal

P. S. Smart Development Inc. has an exceptional track record helping route sales branches, restaurants, stores, distribution centers, food production facilities, and other businesses create a strong culture, leadership bench strength, sales skills and the teamwork necessary for growth. Having worked with several companies throughout their growth cycle, we have valuable insights and strategies that would help any late stage startup, small or medium sized company achieve sustained growth and prosperity.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Leadership Lessons from "It's a Wonderful Life"

Most of us have seen the classic holiday movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.” A lot of us have seen the film many times because it tells such a timeless and compelling story about how any one life can positively impact so many others. While the movie holds many life lessons, we feel it has a few leadership lessons as well.

For those who have not seen it,  “It’s a Wonderful Life” is the story of George Bailey—a man who serves and sacrifices for others. The Bailey Building and Loan lends money to poor people many of them would not own a home were it not for the BBL.  Mr. Potter, the arch villain in the film, is a greedy old man who thrives on exploiting people in Bedford Falls. He continually threatens the Bailey Building and Loan’s survival.

George Bailey is in conflict between his obligations and his dreams—He wants to get out of the small town of Bedford Falls (George remarked, “ I want to shake the dust off my feet of this shabby little town and see the world. I've got big ideas and big plans and I want to build big things.”) And as he said to his father at dinner one night—“I want to do something big and important.” His father replies: “In a small way we are doing something important—man has a fundamental urge to own a roof over his head.”

George’s ambitions are thwarted by old man Potter’s schemes. After his Father died George is on his way out of town. In a character defining moment George agrees to stay dashing his dreams of far-flung adventure—creating insteada more intimate adventure that has a far greater impact on his personal world.

The film shows that real influence comes not from title or rank (as George had no formal title in the town such as Mayor) but from attempting to connect and help the people around us.

The movie also shows us that as we make ourselves available to others with courage and caring our lives develop meaning and a legacy is created, not necessarily along the paths we intended but in small acts that make a difference. George Bailey shows that if we respond with generosity and compassion our lives would have meant something. But he didn't realize this fact until the end of the movie.

Scene: George, faced with financial and personal crisis and feeling that he never made it. He attempts suicide and Clarence his guardian angel (Read: life coach) gives him a privileged look at the impact of his life on the people in Bedford Falls

George Bailey only understands the dramatic difference he made when he sees what Bedford Falls became had he never lived.

Scene: George, in desperation and shock is walking along the snow-covered streets of what is now called Potterville—a town overrun by greed and selfishness. 

Clarence  says “Strange isn't it, each man’s life touches so many other lives and when his isn't around he leaves an awful hole.”

In one of the most famous (and emotional) scenes in movie history: When the townspeople all came to George's house to contribute to the BBL deficit, George finally understands how his life of service has created deep commitment to him from the town’s people (when he was in need) even though he didn't know it.

George has a wealth far beyond material goods or power. Frank Capra reminds us that there is no substitute for relationships of integrity, trust and caring. Relationships that are forged through consistent acts of service.

Whatever our position, if we influence the lives of those around us, we are engaged in the act of leadership. And if we are leaders in any sense, we are also creating a legacy as we live our daily lives. Our leadership legacy is the sum total of the difference we make in people's lives, directly and indirectly, formally and informally.

George Bailey had created an enduring legacy because of his acts of caring, compassion, and courage.

Cheers to a new year and another chance to make a difference.

Peter Mclees

Friday, December 9, 2016

The Surprising (and # 1 reason) Your Communication Fails

Pay attention to what people need, not what you need to say.

There are so many reasons why communication fails, but here's one you might have overlooked: When you aren't considerate of the recipient's needs, your message is likely to be missed.
I was reminded of this as I read Alexander McCall Smith's novel, The Sunday Philosophy Club. The novel is set in Edinburgh, Scotland, and features as its main character a woman named Isabel Dalhousie, who edits a philosophy journal.
Isabel, a philosopher, thinks deeply about many issues. Here are her musings about manners inspired by the actions of a character named Toby.
 Toby "had bad manners; not on the surface, where he thought, quite wrongly, that it counted, but underneath, in this attitude to others. Good manners depended on paying moral attention to others; it required one to treat them with complete moral seriousness, to understand their feelings and their needs. Some people, the selfish, had no inclination to do this, and it always showed. They were impatient with those whom they thought did not count: the old, the inarticulate, the disadvantaged. The person with good manners, however, would always listen to such people and treat them with respect."
In short, manners matter, especially when it comes to communication. This lack of respect (or dearth of matters) can take many forms, including:
  • Not getting to the point. You're tempted to share the whole history of your project, but most people want you to cut to the chase (of how your topic affects them).
  • Using terms and words that are difficult to understand.
  • Assuming people have been paying close attention all along; not providing context.
  • Choosing a communication channel because it's convenient for you (email, I'm looking at you), even if it doesn't work for the audience.
  • Responding to questions as if the questions are "dumb" or annoying.
I could go on, but you get the idea: If we don't respect the people we're communicating with, why should they bother to pay attention?
All the success,
Peter Mclees, Principal
Mobile: 323-854-1713