Tag Archives: workplace

You Aren’t the Only One Having a “Crazy” Day!

You aren’t the only one having a “crazy” day.

The reply hit my inbox a full three days after I had emailed a contract requiring a simple electronic signature, a legally binding image created after the world got tired of searching for pens.

The contract was attached along with a message: “Sorry it’s taken me so long to get to this. It’s just been CRAZY around here.” Yes, crazy was typed in all caps.

Later that day, as I waited in a bar for an old friend, I glanced at my watch. Did he forget about our dinner plans? It was 45 minutes after our scheduled meeting time.

Five minutes later he breezed in. “Sorry man. My life is just so crazy right now.”

I tried to summon a smile to hide my annoyance. It didn’t work. He noticed.

“What? I’m here. Let’s have a beer.”

Not so fast, buddy. Same goes for my supposedly haggard contract recipient. It’s 2019, and I have grown weary of everybody assuming they are the only ones who live in a world of permanent madness and are therefore entitled to be tardy whenever they choose, chalking it up to “craziness.” Our morning routines — particularly those of us with school aged children — are crazy; our jobs are crazy; our weekends, designed to be 48-hour respites of relaxation, invariably feel like workdays. We arise at 6 to shuttle our kids to all-day sporting events, deal with at least one technological failure and invariably answer multiple work-related emails even though we vowed not to.

While many of my friends resolve to lose 10 pounds beginning January 1, each new year I choose a long simmering internal grievance and vow to take it public. In 2018, I decided I would publicly shame anyone who barged into an elevator before letting others exit. A businessman staring at his cellphone in a Miami Beach hotel most recently incurred my wrath.

“Would it kill you to wait?” I asked, purposely ramming his shoulder as I stepped into the lobby. He glanced at me briefly but didn’t respond. He was most likely having a crazy day.

This year, I will not-so-subtly remind everyone that there is no excuse for using the “crazy” excuse. I may have to embellish my own life events, but it will be so worth it when I finally receive that long-awaited email from that individual who feels only his or her life is running at warp speed.

“Talk about crazy,” I’ll reply. “A meteor just crashed into my house, obliterating the second floor. Lucky for me, I was downtown organizing a 20,000-person fun run for prostate cancer awareness. Sorry this response is so short. Right now there’s an insurance adjustor, three NASA employees and some dude from CNN standing in what’s left of my driveway.”

The next time my friend enters the bar late, blaming a crazy day for his lack of punctuality, I’ll fire back. “Yeah, I can relate. My car, with my cellphone and wallet inside, got stolen about an hour ago. I had to borrow somebody else’s phone so I could call an Uber. By the way, do you mind paying for dinner?”

Finally, a word of warning to all physicians, cable repair technicians and auto mechanics: Do not for one moment consider it OK to make me wait more than 15 minutes past our agreed upon appointment or pickup time due to the “craziness” surrounding your place of business. For I will delay payment for your services well into 2019 due to my “crazy financial status.” While you unsuccessfully attempt to decipher that phrase’s meaning, I will escort you out the door or exit your premises, leaving you to contemplate the absurdity of your defense.

Please stay out of my way if you see me in an elevator.

Greg Schwem is known as the “King of the hill in the world of corporate comedy!” As a funny man and nationally syndicated humor columnist, Greg’s taking on the 21st century workplace and work/life balance has landed him on Fox News, Comedy Central, and Sirius/XMRadio. Fortune 500 companies and professional business associations alike have howled at Greg’s clean, customized material that takes a hilarious look at today’s work environment while motivating audiences to use humor to improve business. To book him for your next event call 888-766-3155 or click here: Book Greg Schwem

Top 5 Tips for Communicating with Your Millennial Colleagues

Communication is a foundational item in every aspect of our day-to-day lives.

Yet, it is an aspect that we tend to take for granted especially in the business world.  In my role, where I help companies understand and leverage their millennial talent while also helping millennials develop the communication and leadership skills necessary to one day lead the business world, I have noticed that there tends to be a massive generational divide on communication.

However, I find that the people who have the ability to effectively communicate across generational lines can cut through any perceived differences and achieve success.

The wonderful thing about communication skills is that even if it is not one of your strengths, with a little work and effort, you can reap the benefits with your colleagues and employees.

Here are my top 5 tips for communicating with your millennial colleagues and employees:

Learn to listen…REALLY LISTEN.  

Many people confuse the definition of the words “hearing” and “listening”.  They assume that the two words are interchangeable.  Unfortunately, they are not the same thing. When you truly listen to another person, you aren’t just hearing the words that are said. You are taking in the entire moment.  You are noticing not only what is said, but how it is said, what is not said and most importantly, the body language of the speaker.  All those elements combine to tell you the full story.  If you are merely going by the actual words you heard, you are missing out.

A study by the famed researcher, Albert Mehrabian found that only 7% of what is communicated is done through the actual words used.   Leaving an incredible 93% of the information conveyed to non-verbal forms of communication.  By learning to truly listen to your millennial colleagues and employees, you are conveying respect and letting them know that their thoughts and opinions matter which leads to a sense of loyalty.

Short = Sweet.  

When writing to communicate with your millennial employees shorter is better. For instance, if you are writing an email to one of your employees and you start out by asking how their weekend went and then start in on the funny story about your dog, you have already lost them.  It is best to be direct, succinct and keep out unnecessary information. What would take your written communications to the next level would be to include bullet points of pertinent information that will allow them to easily scan the information from their cell phone.

Be constructive and consistent with feedback.  

Millennials are widely known to want consistent, regular feedback from their managers. Many managers cringe at the very thought.  The feedback doesn’t need to be extensive. Millennial employees want to know that they are moving in the right direction and a few constructive words from you, as their manager, can keep them going or help to avert
crisis.  Many managers only give feedback when things are not going well.  The feedback tends to come from a place of anger and/or frustration and often makes the receiver of the feedback feel as if they are being berated.  Managers who are consistently communicating constructive (both positive and negative) feedback tend to have teams that function at the highest levels of efficiency and productivity.

Don’t make assumptions.  

Assumptions tend to get us in trouble, yet as humans, we make snap judgments all the time.  Whether we mean to or not, it happens.  We have a need to categorize people. Over the years, the media has built a reputation for the millennial generation usually consisting of adjectives like: lazy, entitled, job-hoppers.  Of course, you can find a million anecdotal examples to back each of these claims among others.  But in reality, not every millennial conforms to these assumptions.  In fact, a 2012 study done by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics refutes that job-hopper title.  According to their data, millennials stayed in their positions for 3.2 years versus the Generation X cohort at the same point in their career at 2.7 years.

Assumptions in the workplace can be dangerous.  At best, they keep us from uniting as a team.  At worst, they can drive wedges between colleagues and eventually bring down team morale.

Be honest about your shortcomings.  

It is quite common not want to share your shortcomings or (dare I say) failures with the world.  Nobody likes to put them on parade.  However, those shortcomings also make you human.  Millennials, in particular, relate to our innate flaws.  Once you start sharing those flaws, the millennials around you will start seeing you as transparent.  As a bonus, millennials tend to relate transparency to trustworthiness.  When you have employees that trust you, their levels of productivity increase.

The amazing effect that communication skills have in the workplace is that when communication is done well, it can make an incredible impact on any business situation. But when communication skills are lacking, that too, can have an incredible impact on any business situation.  Without a solid foundation of good communication skills, companies will struggle to not only be productive and efficient, but also to be profitable.

Good communication skills are the key to making everyone feel heard and respected. Implementing these top 5 tips will increase your ability to work with colleagues and employees regardless of their generation.

Amanda Hammet- Keynote Speaker, and Author
Amanda was given the nickname of the “Millennial Translator®” after one of her presentations to the very audience the business world is trying desperately to understand-Millennials!  She helps companies understand, develop and leverage their millennial talent while helping millennials develop the communication and leadership skills necessary to one day, lead the business world.  To have Amanda at your next event click here:  Amanda Hammett 

Should You Fire Low-Producing Workers? Guest Blogger Alfred Poor

erase staffEmployee retention is a hot topic for employers in all industries, especially those that rely on recent college graduates for entry level positions. Employers are looking to hire the best candidates that they can, and hope that they will become productive members of the team.

Conventional wisdom states that you should focus your retention efforts on the most productive new hires. Many believe that 80% of the production comes from the top performing 20%, so it makes the most sense to do whatever it takes to keep these people. And that makes sense, to a degree.

But I encourage you to “do the math” before you swing the ax on new hires that are struggling. While Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the typical worker will stay with their current company for about five years, some studies indicate that recent college grads are staying in their first job for two years or less.

That becomes more of a concern for employers when you factor in the cost of replacing an entry level worker in many companies: an average of $20,000 per employee. When that is spread over five years, the annualized cost is a manageable $4,000 a year. Cram that cost into just two years, however, and you’re spending $10,000 a year in replacement costs for every entry level worker.

If you could get entry level workers to stay for just one more year, you’d be saving more than $3,000 a year in replacement costs. That’s money that could be better spent on more training, higher wages, or more jobs.

So why does it make sense to make an effort to work with the bottom performing 20% of your new hires? A good place to start is to look at why they leave their jobs so quickly. Fewer than one in three leave for a better offer. Instead, the majority make a parallel move to another entry level job, resetting their career clock to zero and starting all over again.

In order to understand why they make such a change, it helps to understand the background and attitudes of today’s recent college graduates. Study after study shows that they have behaviors and attitudes that are fundamentally different from those who graduated 20 or even 10 years ago. The explanations for this are complex and intertwined, but they include everything from the impact of digital communications to changes in higher education, to the influence of consumerism.

The end result, however, is that many of these young people have unrealistic expectations about life in the working world. They can have some surprising holes in their preparation, especially in the area of “soft” career skills such as communication, decision making, team skills, effective time management, and basic work ethics.

Managers would do well to reset their own expectations. Too often, I hear a manager say “The person I interviewed is not the person I got.” Rather than focus on identifying the best and worst performers among new hires, I encourage managers to take the attitude that they are there to help their employees succeed. Sure, there are some workers who simply are a bad fit or who are not going to respond to efforts to help them adjust to the world of work. But for many of these young people, it may turn out that there is one small area that they need help with, to help them feel more productive and successful. And they will be more likely to stick around.

If you can get an entry level worker to stick with their job for just one more year, you will save your company thousands of dollars. In many cases, your efforts will pay off with a more productive and happy employee who could stick around long enough to help be a part of the leadership in the future.

AlfredPoorPic

Alfred Poor-America’s Success Mentor for Young Employees; Keynote Speaker on Career Skills–Students, Parents, Colleges, & Employers.
As seen in Money, U.S. News, and Fast Company. To book Alfred for your next event click here: http://goo.gl/GpK568

Do You Have “T-shaped” Work Skills for the Future?

tshapedOur workplace is changing at a fast pace, but have you heard much about the “hot topic” of becoming a “T-shaped” person?

When you hear “T-shaped” what picture comes to mind first? Does deep and wide pop right away? The recruiting industry has started looking extensively into the skill sets that will be needed in the future workplace. They are finding more and more they need people who can do bigger things and think more broadly. The work of the future needs people who have the depth of expertise and skills represented by the vertical part of the “T”, while the crossbar of the ” T” represents the amount they are willing and able to collaborate and share!

Quite a different look, than our normal way of thinking about our work as an individual isn’t it? “T-shaped” people are well-rounded and versatile. They are able to contribute and take on a variety of roles without being “assigned” them as in the workplace now! This will open new mindsets, and focus on how people will be compensated, promoted, and given development to be able to transform organizations!

The skill sets needed to be a  “T-shaped” person are: adaptable/versatile, communicate effectively, multi-cultural awareness, entrepreneurial, intrapreneurial, team player, problem solver, self-motivated, disciplined, critical thinker, collaborative, service focused, and have a mindset of being your own CEO. Sound like an impossible task to make these changes?  Do they look familiar when reviewing the past success of major companies? What were once the so called “soft skills” are now becoming the “hard skills” that we must have!

Our professional speakers and trainers here at Simply Sue Speaks Global Booking Agency are ready to help you,  your companies, and organizations step into the future workplace!  Having the mindset of an entrepreneur while working for someone else is not the norm we are taught in our high schools, and universities.  Nor are the sought after skills when formulating your “Business Plan” either!  Contact me soon and let’s see how we can serve you!

Are you excited about the future workplace? I am! Being a “T-shaped” person is part of what it will take to move our country into our destiny of continued greatness!

Keeping it simple,

sue

 

Sue Falcone-Owner and Booking Agent
Simply Sue Speaks Global Booking Agency
www.simplysuespeaks.com (new website under construction)

Weekly #WOWfactor- Is Being Appreciated in the Workplace Important?

appreciationRecently on our great business trip adventure I was honored to meet Dr. Gary Chapman, marriage counselor and author of the #1 Best-seller “The Five Love Languages:The Secret to Love That Lasts.”  Isn’t it amazing that I had to travel 1200 miles to meet someone who is located only 45 minutes from my home?

Upon being introduced to Dr. Chapman he immediately called me Sue and asked where I was from! When I said Greensboro, NC we could immediately relate as he is from Winston-Salem,NC.  He left me with the feeling of  being valued and appreciated! Then as he addressed the audience of thousands he made you feel that he was only speaking to you, and was able to engage everyone into his powerful message!

How does he do that?  I was later to learn he has co-authored a book, “The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace,” with Dr. Paul White.  After reading it I realized this is the key to doing business and living life; by not only knowing your “love language”  and recognizing the language of the others you interact with, but also knowing really how to encourage and empower others by appreciating them in a way they understand you are “real” and “sincere.”

Do you know your “Love Language?”  Can you see how that can relate to “appreciation in the workplace?”  Just so you will know when we meet, or next time I see you mine is “Words of Affirmation!”

Have a great Thankful Thursday living the best version of you possible!

simplysuename2