A manager has many responsibilities, one of which is keeping their team engaged and motivated at work. Unfortunately, the economic slowdown and threat of a recession make this harder on managers, while also negatively impacting employee morale, leading to decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, and higher turnover rates. This has been amplified by The Great Resignation, where employees are willingly leaving their jobs to pursue other opportunities because in the past few years, the demand for talent has grown and now exceeds supply in many occupational areas like software development, B2B sales and leadership. Current data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) predicts that one in five of UK workers will seek other employment options this year. More recent research from Unum UK, an employee benefits provider, found that 19% of workers plan to look for a new position in 2023.
However, the outlook for employers is not all bleak as recent trends show the rise of Boomerang Employees. The World Economic Forum defines this phenomenon as “staff who leave their jobs but choose to return at a later point when the stress passes or priorities shift”. Data shows that 1 in 5 people who have quit their jobs during the pandemic have gone back to the job that they have left. This suggests that employees are realizing that the grass is not always greener on the other side, and the demotivating factor/s that caused them to leave in the first place are being tackled more swiftly by employers who are keen to war for the best talent. For example, many companies that previously had no flexible work policies are implementing these to remain competitive in an increasingly ‘hot’ talent market.
There are a number of steps managers can take to keep employee engagement and morale up during times of uncertainty, and create a culture that employees will not want to leave, but also are more inclined to return to if they do resign:
Implementing simple, actionable ways to keep employees engaged during the economic slowdown will not only improve performance, motivation and retention, but former employees may even boomerang back onto your team.
As a leader in strengths-based assessment, development and coaching, TalentPredix can help you boost employee engagement, performance and retention. Contact us to learn more.
Disengaged employees can be detrimental to productivity, employee engagement and overall output. Our previous blog covered signs managers should look out for in employees to help nip this problem in the bud.
Spot and prevent low motivation and engagement
Of course, the best way to ward off quiet quitting is for managers to check in on the motivation of their people on a regular basis. There are different ways of doing this, including careful observation of behaviour, emotions and energy shifts, engagement surveys and asking questions that uncover people’s motivation during regular check-ins and quarterly performance review meetings. Some of the questions managers can consider asking are as follows:
Once managers identify a disengaged employees they can explore the root cause of their low engagement in a one-on-one conversation.
Amplify strengths, successes and progress
Managers, like most of us, are conditioned to focus more on the negatives we see rather than the positives. This is what psychologists call the “negativity bias”. It is therefore important for managers to consciously learn to spot and magnify strengths, successes and progress, even small wins and shifts in effort.
By giving positive feedback and praise, managers will promote progress, excellence, and employee engagement. When people feel they are valued and their progress and achievements are recognized regularly by their manager, they are more likely to feel motivated and exert higher levels of discretionary effort (i.e., effort over and above the required level).
Conduct retention/stay interviews
Retention interviews are a powerful tool to improve employee experience, build trust, and nip problems in the bud. RotaCloud recommends that retention interviews should be kept relatively informal, held in private, and be consistent as much as possible across different team members. Keeping consistency might be difficult, as everyone has their own sentiments and feelings, but managers can keep a set of key questions or discussion points handy and let the conversation flow from there. This can be done in both in-person and remote or hybrid workplaces. Responses should be collated and kept on record somewhere in order to refer to eventually.
It is important that managers self-reflect and be empathetic above all else. Try to picture themselves in the position of their employees and see their realities to understand where they are coming from. Reflect on how they would react if they were put in their employees’ position? Additionally, consider the employees themselves and the value they have brought to the team, and their strengths and their talents and how these can be further supported to allow them to thrive.
Act on employee feedback
Taking this into consideration, it is now time for the manager to act on the feedback given from their employees. It may be revealed that employees are frustrated with a lack of progression and/or development opportunities available to them, then the manager should explore options in upskilling and/or career development for their people. In virtual teams, managers may find that some employees feel disconnected from the broader workforce. This last one might be common among the younger workforce, who are likely dealing with proportionately more “Zoom fatigue” from the pandemic. If this is the case, the leader should find more creative ways to foster connectivity or, if possible, try to organize in-person events to enable the employees to connect with each other more.
Lastly, it should be ensured that this feedback loop is not a one-off occurrence. A communication line has been opened, and it should be kept this way. The manager should devise a plan to regularly collect feedback, comments, and suggestions from their team, and be flexible enough and willing to find ways to act on suggestions being made. Data can be collected either through formal measures like sending out employee engagement surveys or more informal measures such as sitting down and having a conversation or booking regular one-on-one meetings. Gallup finds that the best practice is for managers to have meaningful 15–30-minute conversations once a week with each employee.
By actively listening to the needs and wants of their people, managers foster a work environment that is inclusive and supportive, which can help their team members feel valued, motivate them to perform at their best and thus address the issue of employee disengagement.
TalentPredix has the strengths-based tools, resources, and skills to engage employees to help you build a thriving place to work so your people can reach their full potential. Contact us today to learn more.
The term ‘quiet quitting’ has made the rounds online, from starting conversations and debate on all corners of the internet, to even being named one of Collins Dictionary’s Word of the Year. Collins has defined it as “the practice of doing no more work than one is contractually obligated to do.”
RotaCloud, a staff management software company, has now identified a new workplace trend to succeed quiet quitting called “resenteeism.” They define it as staying in a job, despite being fundamentally unhappy and actively resenting it. Concerns over job security, cost of living, or a lack of alternative employment options are cited as reasons that employees stay. The main difference that resenteeism has from its predecessor is that the employee is more vocal about their dissatisfaction and may potentially influence the opinions and attitudes of others.
However, a common denominator between the two is that it all boils down to employee engagement, or a lack thereof. Indeed’s Work Happiness Score revealed that more than one third of U.K. employees are unhappy in their current job roles. Employee engagement is nothing new in the HR industry, but recent events like the pandemic and cost of living crisis have brought it front and center. But the question remains – what can managers do to engage their employees and prevent dissatisfaction?
Primarily, managers need to be engaged and present at work, so they can identify which employees are putting in less effort than before and seem disengaged from the wider workforce. In a hybrid or remote settings, being present could mean reaching out more to employees to be more visible and keep communication lines open. Being engaged as a remote manager could also mean giving your employees the autonomy and flexibility to do the work on their own time but ensuring that performance standards and deadlines are clearly communicated.
Some signs managers should look out for in employees:
In our next article, we will explore how managers can reengage a disengaged employee to achieve better outputs and productivity.
TalentPredix has the tools, resources, and skills to engage employees to help you build a thriving place to work so your people can reach their full potential. Contact us today to learn more.
In this episode, James Brook, Founder and CEO of TalentPredix™, interviews Lisa Farrell, Head of HR at Landmark, about Great Places to Work.
Improve the effectiveness of your team leadership with this high-impact 12-week challenge. The challenge is designed specifically for team leaders and managers to deliver better results, motivation and teamwork.
The world of work is changing dramatically, and the pace of that change is speeding up. Career development is undergoing a similar transformation. There are unprecedented opportunities, including new job types, improved flexibility, and the ability to learn in digitally enhanced ways that are personalized to learner’s diverse preferences. However, there are considerable challenges too. Career pathways are no longer straight lines. Steady progression up the career ladder is being replaced by squiggly career paths that resemble an elaborate climbing wall. There are multiple, ill-defined pathways to achieve your goals and initiative, experimentation and constant learning are essential to find your way. Sideways, diagonal, and even downward moves are common. For example, we saw many employees prioritizing lifestyle over ambition during Covid. They downshifted or took sideways moves to spend more time with their families and on leisure activities. But for many, the promise of career thriving still seems elusive, especially in an economy which is slowing and where bills are rising faster than pay. In this volatile environment, here are 7 principles everyone can apply to achieve greater levels of happiness and fulfillment in their career.
Own your career and success
Too many people end up drifting aimlessly through their careers. To succeed and be happy, you need to exercise choice and responsibility over your career. For example, everyone can take initiative by putting their heart and soul into their job to show up and do their best every day. They can commit to doing 5-10% more than what is expected to stand out and attract better opportunities. They can also be a supportive, likeable, and helpful colleague and team player. Each of us spends around 90,000 at work and how we choose to show up and undertake our work is largely up to us. So too is the legacy and positive difference we create. Of course, we can’t control things outside our control such as our boss’ behaviour, the behaviour of our teammates, or the pay rise we get. However, we can control how we respond to negative circumstances, setbacks, and people we interact with. To get the most from our career, we need to take responsibility for it and influence it to our advantage. So rather than being a passenger on the journey, we need to proactively pilot our careers so that we get greater enjoyment from the journey and end up at a fulfilling, worthwhile destination.
Build your career around your aspirations and values
In the modern workplace, the problem for most is not a shortage of opportunity, it is having too much opportunity. Unfortunately, this opportunity is still unfairly skewed towards those from privileged backgrounds. However, we all have a growing number of ways we can make a living. We no longer need to stick with a job we hate or one that provides little fulfilment. This is why starting your career planning and development early is important. People who clarify their dreams and aspirations early have more focus and time to invest in making their dreams a reality. By clarifying what success looks like for them, they stand out and have more control over their destiny, rather than allowing external factors to determine their fate.
As well as clarifying your aspirations, it is important to understand our values and the role these play in helping us to thrive in our careers. Values are the core beliefs that are important to you and guide your life and career choices. Becoming more aware of your values will help you find roles, career pathways and organizations that are compatible with who you are and what you believe most strongly in. For example, someone with a sustainability/social responsibility value might find it difficult to work for a tobacco firm. Values also help us to navigate career turning points, challenges, and dilemmas more effectively. By staying true to our values, we can maintain our internal balance, authenticity, and sense of fulfilment.
Discover and optimize your strengths
Every successful person builds their career around their strengths. Rather than trying to fit in, they work hard to shine in areas where they can stand out. As the famous management guru, Peter Drucker said “first and foremost, concentrate on your strengths. Put yourself where your strengths can produce results.” Too many people waste their talent and energy trying to be like others or even worse, attempt to become all-rounders. But this is a futile mission. There are no all-rounders in the workplace. Every employee has strengths, weaknesses, and imperfections. Realizing one’s full potential comes from building awareness of your innate talents and taking action to turn these into standout strengths that produce outstanding results. This happens when you put in the hard work and practice to build relevant skill, experience, and agility in your areas of greatest talent. Of course, we must also learn to overcome limiting weaknesses to improve our performance and prevent failure. The strengths approach empowers us to explore creative ways to use our strengths to overcome weaker areas and behaviours that may limit our success. Employing strengths-based thinking also promotes greater collaboration with diverse colleagues who have strengths in areas where we are weaker.
Overcome self-limiting beliefs and assumptions
To be successful and happy, we need to believe in ourselves. However, most of us have inner ‘gremlins’ such as poor self-confidence or imposter syndrome (i.e., where people doubt their competence and past successes and live in fear of being exposed as a fraud) that can limit our progress and success. Author and performance coach, Tim Gallway, explains the origins of these limiting assumptions and belief using the metaphor of an “inner game” playing out in people’s minds. He maintains that for people to perform effectively, they need to learn to silence their inner critic and channel it productively into non-judgemental awareness and learning. The best protection against limiting assumptions and beliefs is awareness. Once we understand how these inner critics limit our success, we can develop strategies to change how we respond to them. For example, I was taught as a young boy that to become successful, one should work independently. This narrative become deeply internalized in my psyche and led to me trying to do too much myself, without calling on the support of others. Through greater self-awareness, feedback and mentoring during my mid 20’s when I become a team leader, I become aware of how much this assumption was limiting my progress. I realised that if I wanted to achieve my aspirations, I would need to build and lead teams of people who were stronger than me in different areas.
Embrace learning and growth
Too many people stall their careers by playing it safe and staying within their comfort zone. Others inhibit their learning and progress by being complacent, resisting change, or getting defensive when they receive feedback.
Today’s fast-changing organizations are looking for people who have a strong growth mindset and are open to learning, upskilling and adaptation. Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft refers to these people as “learn it all’s”. One of the keys to career thriving is to develop what Cal Newport, author of So Good They Can’t Ignore You, a “craftsman mindset”. This involves asking the question “what can I offer the world?” and continuously honing your skills and capabilities to create value, stand out and remain relevant.
Improving your ability to learn and adapt involves the following 4 behaviours:
Invest in building a strong support network
Who you surround yourself with really matters to your energy, growth, and ultimate success. As we have seen from the recent Football World Cup, nobody can succeed on their own in a competitive performance environment. Even superstars like Messi and Mbappe need a strong team around them to be at their best.
To achieve success, it is important to build what we refer to in our training as a Personal Career Board. This ‘board’ should ideally comprise a diverse group of people (including your manager, partner, peers, etc.), each of whom plays a different role in helping you achieve your career goals. These people should ideally exemplify the behaviours and qualities you are looking to develop and at least some should be in roles you aspire to hold in future. Key roles people on your board can play include mentor, coach, encourager, confidant, educator, counsellor, therapist, etc. We always recommend that people wanting to accelerate their progression prioritise finding a mentor and coach (if their manager is not an effective coach). While the term “mentoring” and “coaching” are often used interchangeably, there are some differences. A mentor is typically a more experienced person who offers wisdom, guidance, and experience to their protégé in a less formal, structured relationship. Studies show that mentoring can significantly enhance rates of learning and career progression. Investing in a mentor and other relationships will provide you with valuable insights, support, diverse perspectives, encouragement, and feedback. By building strong relationships of trust and respect with these people, they are also more likely to throw in a good word for you which will help increase your visibility.
Manage your energy and stress
One of the biggest happiness traps is overworking. People who are ambitious frequently become overinvolved in their work. They invest a disproportionate amount of time in their career at the expense of investing in relationships and their personal care, including setting aside time for leisure, sport, relaxation, their family, and friends. This can quickly lead to high levels of negative stress, undermine their mental and physical well-being, and in the worst cases, lead to mental exhaustion and burnout. It is easier than ever to become a workaholic in today’s “always-on” work culture. To prevent this, it is important to put in place habits and boundaries to protect your physical and emotional well-being and life outside work. Habits that will help you to maintain your energy at optimal levels include saying “no” to lower priority tasks, getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night, regular exercise, eating a balanced, healthy diet, taking regular rest breaks, and reflecting on your successes and good things that have happened at the end of each day. Setting and sticking to boundaries to protect your personal and home life is important to prevent work squeezing out other important aspects of your life, especially in a world where the division between home and work life is becoming blurred because of virtual and hybrid working.
People who take control of their careers and do their best each day to grow their career value are far more likely to thrive at work, and in their personal life. By having a clear sense of purpose and building autonomy, mastery and connectedness with others, you will achieve greater happiness, success, and well-being. You will also build the positive mindset, resilience, and adaptability required to seize new opportunities and successfully navigate a fast-changing world of work.
Is it important to you to attract, retain and develop the talent in your organization? Are you spending this time and energy efficiently? This checklist will help you find out where the gaps may be for your organization in terms of talent management.
How does the checklist work?
Answer yes or no to all 24 questions divided over 2 different sections. Once you’ve checked all the boxes you can check your score by counting all “yeses” per category.
If you have a few too many “noes” you might want to pay some extra attention to our recommendations.
First developed over 20 years ago, strengths-based assessments have been growing in popularity in recent decades among people leaders, coaches, and consultants. This is hardly surprising given the considerable benefits they offer organizations across virtually every stage of the talent lifecycle. Studies show that when organizations incorporate strengths-based assessment and development practices into their people strategy, they can achieve significant gains in both people and business outcomes. The ROI of strengths tests includes improvements in hiring outcomes, performance, engagement and retention, employee development, career progression, teamwork, well-being, and financial results.
Strengths and talent assessments are essentially measuring the same thing. They are both performance-based measures of the underlying qualities that energize people and enable them to do their best work. The main difference is that assessments describing themselves as “talent assessments” recognize an important distinction between talents and strengths that is often overlooked. One’s talents need to be optimized through skill building and experience to deliver value to the organization and be regarded as strengths by others. For example, one of my top 5 talents on the TalentPredix™ profile (which measures 20 critical work-related talents) is Leading. This means I am energized by inspiring and guiding people to achieve shared goals. However, over the years, I have had to develop a lot of skills, behaviours, and agility in the way I use this talent so that it is used effectively, creates a positive impact and is considered a valuable strength by others. At TalentPredix, we therefore talk about strengths being “fully optimized talents”.
Unlike popular personality tests such as MBTI and DISC, strengths-based assessments don’t pigeonhole people into oversimplified, and sometimes imprecise, personality types and categories. Instead, they focus on understanding what’s unique and different about people’s talents and behaviours and how people can bring the best of themselves to their job and career. Even when people have similar talents and strengths, strengths assessments recognize that people will apply them in different ways, depending on their aspirations, motivations, values, and background.
After 2 decades of use around the world by all types of organizations, strengths assessments must now evolve and adapt to the fast-changing needs of a modern workplace. Yet, in recent years, we have seen very little evolution of strengths-based assessments. Like many well-established personality tests, it appears that strengths tests have been slow to adapt and embrace innovation. To move strengths assessments into the new world of work, our team has created a next-generation strengths assessment that examines how combinations of talents, values and motivations can help people achieve higher levels of performance, career thriving and well-being at work. To reflect the fast-changing, volatile world we now live in, one of our four talent zones measures “Navigating Change”, which we define as “navigating and responding effectively to change”. Surprisingly, none of the other strengths assessments on the market today measures this vital strength area in such a targeted way. Uniquely, our assessment also examines the specific behaviours that show up when people overuse their strengths, in other words, when they use them too much or in the wrong way. For example, when one of my strengths, “Creativity”, is overused it can lead to me coming up with ideas that are unrealistic and unworkable
Yet there is plenty of work still to do by strengths test publishers and strengths practitioners to keep these assessments relevant and value-adding in future. Some of the opportunities for further research and innovation include:
There is another important opportunity where we believe strengths-based assessment and development tools could play a vital role in future. We would love to see other strengths test publishers, HR and L&D practitioners, and voluntary sector organizations working more closely together to bring the enormous benefits of this approach to the growing numbers of disadvantaged and marginalized job seekers and employees. A strengths-based hiring and development approach can help these people by empowering them to present their strengths, skills, and other standout qualities to employers in the best possible light. Moreover, by valuing and developing their strengths, disadvantaged job seekers and employees will develop self-confidence, agility and resilience, vital attributes to secure meaningful employment and progression. There are dozens of ways to help these groups. For example, TalentPredix provides significant discounts to companies in the voluntary sector and contributes a percentage of our sales revenue to charities helping disadvantaged job seekers.
Strengths assessments are now widely adopted by organizations in the UK and globally for numerous talent applications, including hiring, employee development, team building, creating great places to work and career progression. However, after two successful decades, strengths test publishers and practitioners need to adapt and innovate their tools and practices to meet the changing needs of the modern workplace.
Click here to discover how we help organizations unleash exceptional talent and thriving workplaces.
We are currently experiencing a crisis of trust in leadership. This is patently obvious in the political arena; however, it is just as apparent in the business world. The decisions leaders take and how they choose to implement them impact the trust relationship with their workforce, not just in the short term, but for months and even years to come.
There are numerous reasons for declining trust in leaders in recent decades including corporate cronyism, offshore tax havens and tax dodging, prioritizing short-term profitability over sustainable growth and environmental responsibility and a growing income disparity between top executive pay and other pay grades.
Shifting demographics and generational differences are also impacting on workplace trust. Millennials and other younger employees aren’t willing to blindly follow and trust leaders anymore. In fact, studies suggest they are developing an ever-growing mistrust of authority figures and trust their peers more than the leaders in their company. This is, at least in part, because of the breakdown of the traditional ‘psychological contract’, or set of beliefs, perceptions, and informal obligations governing the relationship between an employer and an employee. Most employers can no longer offer secure work and career progression, so this ‘contract’ is breaking down. This is likely to be exacerbated in the coming years as the pace and extent of automation and digitization of the workplace accelerates, leaving many people unemployed or having to fight for temporary work as part of the fast-growing “gig economy”. Many millennials have already seen their parents made redundant which has made them wary of giving their unfettered loyalty and trust to organizations and their leaders.
Below are 5 steps leaders can take to strengthen trust with their people:
Pursue a higher purpose beyond profit
Recent history is full of examples where leaders have placed greed and short-term shareholder returns over creating sustainable value for customers, employees, and society. Many companies are still turning a blind eye to the impact of their short-term and exploitative practices, including paying employees (and others in the supply chain) below the minimum wage, using questionable employment practices, and awarding top executives disproportionately high pay increases and bonuses. Awareness of these practices among employees, customers and the public is growing because of increased transparency and growing global connectedness resulting from rapid advances in online media and social networks that bypass traditional borders and boundaries.
To build greater trust, business leaders should invite their people to shape a greater purpose for their organization that contributes to a better and more sustainable future for all. This involves establishing a compelling purpose, ideally one that benefits all stakeholders, including customers, employees, suppliers, and society. By taking a multi-stakeholder perspective rather than a narrow shareholder one, positive leaders leverage additional perspectives, ideas and commitment for positive change and innovation that benefits everyone, not just the owners and C-suite. There are a growing number of organizations that are seeing the financial and non-financial benefits of building strong purpose-based companies. Most integrate sustainability goals into their purpose, not as a token act of “greenwashing”, but to ensure their business is prepared for the era of green energy and sustainability we are entering. Studies clearly show the value of creating business that are a force for good in the world. Great examples include Unilever, Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals and Patagonia.
Ensure transparent and human-centred people practices
Social media has immense power to expose people and companies which are engaging in exploitative, potentially unlawful, or irresponsible behaviour. By ensuring all their actions and decisions are ethical, fit for public scrutiny and transparent, leaders can build a culture of openness, integrity and trust.
When taking a decision that is potentially risky or damaging to one or more groups of stakeholders, leader can ask questions such as: “Would I be happy for my friends and family to see this decision, and the consequences, reported on a major social media platform like Twitter?” As well as measuring themselves against this type of standard, the best leaders ensure their employees are held accountable to similar standards, reducing the risks of unethical behaviour or a poor decision that can undermine trust, reputation, and customer loyalty.
Bridge the gap between words and actions
It is imperative that leaders’ words are matched by consistent and reliable follow-through so people can trust they will do what they say. If leaders don’t follow through on their commitments, people will quickly lose trust and respect in them. Even little discrepancies between promises and actions can undermine trust as it is a fragile bond, especially when a leader is new in role and they are still building up connections and trust with their people.
Tackle misinformation and fake news
One of the downsides of pervasive social media is that it amplifies fake news and misinformation. It is important for leaders to understand and tackle untruths and misinformation decisively by highlighting inaccuracies, especially if they pose a risk to staff or the business. They should ensure people have good access to reliable, fact-checked sources of information they can count on.
Be honest about bad news
Attempting to shield employees from bad news undermines trust and disempowers employees as they can’t help to tackle the problem. It is therefore imperative that leaders speak as much as possible from their heart, adopting an ‘open and honest’ policy when it comes to dealing with negative news such as layoffs, failure to secure additional funding, poor sales performance, etc. In this new digital age, the truth will quickly be outed if leaders try to hide tough messages from staff, as the rumour mill is now super-charged by online communities and social media channels. It is clearly always important to judge the timing of the communication and deliver bad news in a considered and compassionate manner. However, it is vital to be open and honest insofar as possible.
Trust is at the heart of positive leadership. However, in a dynamic, digital world characterized by information overload, misinformation, fake news and growing employee and stakeholder scrutiny, leaders are struggling to build high levels of trust and respect among employees and other stakeholders. By being open, transparent, decisive and collaborative, leaders will build stronger bonds of trust with employees to unlock their engagement, effort, and excellence.