Seven Ways To Increase Employee Satisfaction Without Giving A Raise


From Forbes:

A few years ago when employees became dissatisfied with their organization they would quit and get another job. Today, with placement opportunities very low and unemployment extremely high, very few people opt to quit and leave. As a result something much worse is happening within organizations. Employees “quit,” but they stay. In the last year, overall job satisfaction in the U.S. has declined significantly. Employees feel stuck in their current jobs and their dissatisfaction with the organizations they work for increases.

However, not all organizations are experiencing these dismal results. A recent assessment of employee satisfaction by one of our clients showed a significant improvement over past years, though this company was not immune to the effects of the recession. Examination of the data showed 7 factors that created this positive increase in their satisfaction, even during the economy’s poorest times.

1. Consistent Values. In some organizations, employees observe that core values appear to be abandoned when the economy is poor. Leadership values seemed to apply in good times, but to dwindle or even disappear during stress. This organization, however, held tightly to its core values as the economy turned. Employees began to more fully appreciate those values as well when they saw what was happening in other companies during difficult times.

2. Long Term Focus. This company clearly saw the recession as a temporary problem, and maintained its focus on the longterm objectives. The recession had a significant impact on the longterm objectives, but it created new opportunities as well. Employees don’t mind going through difficult times when they believe there is a brighter future ahead.

3. Local Leadership. company recognized that the major source of satisfaction or dissatisfaction came from what happen in each work group. Every manager and supervisor received a clear assessment of the satisfaction of their employees and was challenged to find opportunities to improve.

4. Continuous Communication. People tend to communicate less during bad times, when in actuality, they need to communicate even more. This company increased its efforts to communicate and share important information. If there was no good news to share, they would share the reality of their current situation.

5. Collaboration. Groups made significant improvements in their ability to share resources and work together. This reduced costs and increased efficiency.

6. Opportunities for Development. Because the pace of work was slower, people had the opportunity to learn new skills and develop new capabilities. This organization took advantage of the slower time by challenging employees with “stretch” job assignments. They also increased formal training.

7. Speed and Agility. With less budget, everyone saw the need to move quickly and take advantage of opportunities in the marketplace. Speed of decision was emphasized.

Clearly, it is a fallacy to assume that bad times equate to lower job satisfaction. As our research illustrates, it is simply not true. The organization we described made significant gains in satisfaction and commitment during one of the worst financial times in history by doing the right things, and doing them well. These improvements helped the company create substantial financial momentum during the challenging economy as well.

The moral of the story is this: Many organizations wait for an economic and business turnaround to measure the satisfaction of their employees, but they are missing a great opportunity. By assessing now, they can build on the current opinions in any economy and can make the changes that will help them capitalize on better financial times. The activity also instills greater trust: By asking for opinions now, you are showing your employees that you’re not just asking for what you want to hear, but rather asking for what you need to be hearing as well. So what are you waiting for? If you value your employees’ satisfaction, the time to be asking for their feedback is now.


How (Un)ethical Are You?


Answer true or false: “I am an ethical manager.”


If you answered “true,” here’s an uncomfortable fact: You’re probably not. Most of us believe that we are ethical and unbiased. We imagine we’re good decision makers, able to objectively size up a job candidate or a venture deal and reach a fair and rational conclusion that’s in our, and our organization’s, best interests. But more than two decades of research confirms that, in reality, most of us fall woefully short of our inflated self-perception. We’re deluded by what Yale psychologist David Armor calls the illusion of objectivity, the notion that we’re free of the very biases we’re so quick to recognize in others. What’s more, these unconscious, or implicit, biases can be contrary to our consciously held, explicit beliefs. We may believe with confidence and conviction that a job candidate’s race has no bearing on our hiring decisions or that we’re immune to conflicts of interest. But psychological research routinely exposes counterintentional, unconscious biases. The prevalence of these biases suggests that even the most well-meaning person unwittingly allows unconscious thoughts and feelings to influence seemingly objective decisions. These flawed judgments are ethically problematic and undermine managers’ fundamental work—to recruit and retain superior talent, boost the performance of individuals and teams, and collaborate effectively with partners.

This article explores four related sources of unintentional unethical decision making: implicit forms of prejudice, bias that favors one’s own group, conflict of interest, and a tendency to overclaim credit. Because we are not consciously aware of these sources of bias, they often cannot be addressed by penalizing people for their bad decisions. Nor are they likely to be corrected through conventional ethics training. Rather, managers must bring a new type of vigilance to bear. To begin, this requires letting go of the notion that our conscious attitudes always represent what we think they do. It also demands that we abandon our faith in our own objectivity and our ability to be fair. In the following pages, we will offer strategies that can help managers recognize these pervasive, corrosive, unconscious biases and reduce their impact.


More here


Should You Apply for a Job You’re Not Qualified For?

The short answer is, it depends. Here’s some advice to consider that will help you figure out when to go for it, and how to make sure your resume doesn’t get tossed out at first glance if you do.

More here



10 signs – you are experiencing a burnout..

The American Psychological Association’s David Ballard, PsyD describes job burnout as “an extended period of time where someone experiences exhaustion and a lack of interest in things, resulting in a decline in their job performance.”

“A lot of burnout really has to do with experiencing chronic stress,” says Dr. Ballard, who is the head of the APA’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program. “In those situations, the demands being placed on you exceed the resources you have available to deal with the stressors.”

Left unchecked, burnout can wreak havoc on your health, happiness, relationships and job performance. In order to catch burnout and combat it early, it’s important to know what to look out for.

The 10 signs to identify burnouts:

1. Exhaustion

A clear sign of burnout is when you feel tired all the time. Exhaustion can be emotional, mental or physical. It’s the sense of not having any energy, of being completely spent.

2. Lack of Motivation

When you don’t feel enthusiastic about anything anymore or you no longer have that internal motivation for your work, there’s a good chance you’re experiencing burnout. Other ways this manifests? It may be harder to get going in the morning and more difficult to drag yourself into work every day.

3. Frustration, Cynicism and Other Negative Emotions

You may feel like what you’re doing doesn’t matter that much anymore, or you may be disillusioned with everything. You might notice that you feel more generally pessimistic than you used to. While everybody experiences some negative emotions from time to time, it’s important to know when these are becoming unusual for you.

4. Cognitive Problems

Burnout and chronic stress may interfere with your ability to pay attention or concentrate. When we’re stressed, our attention narrows to focus on the negative element that we perceive as a threat. In the short term, this helps us deal with the problem at hand, Dr. Ballard says, “but our bodies and brains are designed to handle this in short bursts and then return to normal functioning. When stress becomes chronic, this narrow focus continues for a long time and we have difficulty paying attention to other things.”

This “fight or flight” tunnel vision can negatively affect your ability to solve problems or make decisions. You might find that you’re more forgetful and have a harder time remembering things.

5. Slipping Job Performance

Not sure whether you’re burnt out? Compare your job performance now to your performance in previous years. Because burnout tends to happen over an extended period of time, taking this long-term view might reveal whether you’re in a temporary slump or experiencing more chronic burnout.

6. Interpersonal Problems at Home and at Work

This tends to play out in one of two ways: (a) You’re having more conflicts with other people, such as getting into arguments, or (b) you withdraw, talking to your coworkers and family members less. You might find that even when you’re physically there, you’re tuned out.

7. Not Taking Care of Yourself

When suffering from burnout, some people engage in unhealthy coping strategies like drinking too much, smoking, being too sedentary, eating too much junk food, not eating enough or not getting enough sleep. Self-medication is another issue and could include relying on sleeping pills to sleep, drinking more alcohol at the end of the day to de-stress or even drinking more coffee to summon up the energy to drag yourself into work in the morning.

8. Being Preoccupied With Work … When You’re Not at Work

Even though you might not be working at a given moment, if you’re expending mental energy mulling over your job, then your work is interfering with your ability to recover from the stresses of your day. In order to recover, you need time to yourself after the actual task stops … and time when you stop thinking about that task altogether.

9. Generally Decreased Satisfaction

This is the tendency to feel less happy and satisfied with your career and with your home life. You might feel dissatisfied or even stuck when it comes to whatever is going on at home, in the community or with your social activities, Dr. Ballard says.

10. Health Problems

Over a long period of time, serious chronic stress can create real health problems like digestive issues, heart disease, depression and obesity.


How I Hire: Lessons from a Multi-Million Dollar Mistake

Amazing article on first impressions, arrogance and the price you pay.


This is a true story. The names have been changed to protect both the innocent and the guilty. In my glory days as a recruiter, I annually placed dozens of top CPAs from the major accounting firms into industry positions. In a typical month I would get 4-5 unsolicited referrals of great 3-8 year CPAs. In fact, I told a story on these pages a few weeks ago about one woman who exemplified true leadership. However, there were some less glorious stories, too. This is one on them. Let’s call the candidate in this tale William, and the VP Finance of the hiring organization, Mr. Smith.

Chapter 1 – The Candidate

William was a highly-referred senior manager. As a minimum this means the person was assigned to handle major clients where complex accounting issues were part of the daily routine. William was recognized as a rising star, but one who did not want to wait in line to become a partner. This was when the Big 8 began their merger activity into today’s Big 4, so this was understandable.

More here

Data Visualisation Trends

How Infographics Can Boost Hiring Efforts


Plenty of companies are using inbound marketing techniques to publicize their brands. Strategies like SEO, link building, social media, online video, email blasts, infographics and blog posts help drive traffic to websites, but these tactics aren’t just for marketing — they can boost hiring efforts, too.
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Nailing a Presentation in the First 60 Seconds


Whether you are making a presentation at your local library or to senior executives at your firm, the first 60 seconds set you up for success or failure.

Everything most precious to me in this world is the result of the first 60 seconds of a speech I gave on a cold day in Philadelphia. It was my turn to speak during a Wharton MBA Toastmasters program; I would be given a topic, and then would have to begin without advance preparation.

My topic: explain why MBAs aren’t all greedy jerks.

Terrified of boring the audience, I decided to flip the topic and embrace the dark side. My speech was a rant about how MBAs are all-powerful masters of the universe (note to readers: I was kidding.)

An attractive woman came up to me afterwards and said, “You are either utterly evil, or the most creative speaker I’ve seen. Which is it?”

I’ve now been married to that woman for 26 years.

The first 60 seconds you spend in front of an audience are pivotal. If you’re nervous or too excited, time can be a blur. But this is when the audience decides whether or not they like you, and it’s your best opportunity to get in a groove that will guide you through the rest of your presentation.

I’d like to make the following suggestions:

  • Plan your opening in advance. You should know exactly how you are going to open your speech. Just as people do when meeting a stranger, audiences will notice your body language, confidence level and demeanor. Don’t just focus on what you will say; practice your movements and tone. Look for ways to signal that you are a person with a valuable message to share.
  • If at all possible, prepare the room in advance to your liking. If you like to move around, give yourself room to move. If you feel more comfortable in one place, set up any aids (water, notes, clicker…) so they are easy to access. Make sure the lighting is right. The worst thing you can do is to step in front and start fumbling around.
  • Expect the unexpected. I’ve had 45 hung-over people show up for a “major keynote speech” (lesson: never be the first speaker of the morning in a casino) and 500 show up for a “casual little discussion.” At one event in an arena, all the lights went off while I was speaking, then back on again 30 seconds later. No matter what happens, your role is to remain calm and composed. If you do this, you will win over the room. I actually rehearse how I might react to unexpected occurrences.
  • Be immediately interesting. Even if you have housekeeping notes or details to go over with the audience, don’t start with these! First, build a rapport and demonstrate that you are both in control and worth their attention. Audiences are happy to support a speaker, once they recognize his or her talents.
  • If you are terrified, use that terror to your advantage. As part of your planned opening, say something that either acknowledges your anxiety or makes it seem like good acting. In the past, I’ve opened with stories that began, “If it seems like I’m nervous, it’s because _____” and then wove that into a joke, cautionary tale or vivid example of what we’d be focused on in my session.

Many years ago, my wife came home from a conference with a video of the keynote speaker, who I think was Captain Charlie Plumb. He had an opening like none I’ve ever seen before. On a bare stage, with a huge audience present, he didn’t say a word. Instead, he walked eight feet in one direction, turned and walked eight feet. He did this repeatedly. He took his time, and seemed unaware of the audience. When at last he looked up and spoke, he shared that as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, his cell was eight by eight feet long and that the lessons he learned inside it were relevant to what professionals experience in the business world.

In a simple but powerful way, he accomplished all the items I’ve shared with you today, and gained the audience’s rapt attention in the first 60 seconds.

The article was originally published here


Personal Branding for Introverts



Despite the common misperception that all introverts are shy, and vice versa, they’re two very different phenomena. (Author and introversion expert Susan Cain defines shyness as “the fear of negative judgment,” while introversion is “a preference for quiet, minimally stimulating environments.”) I actually like giving talks to large groups (that day, there were 180 people in the room and another 325 watching online). I’m happy to mingle and answer questions afterward. But at a certain point, I’ve learned through experience, I have to get away and go somewhere by myself.

Conference organizers and attendees will often ask you to join them for dinner the evening before, or cocktails afterward. Rationally, it’s a win-win: they perceive more value because they get to interact with you personally, and you can make interesting business connections and learn tidbits about attendees that allow you to personalize your talk. For those good reasons, I’ll often say yes, but I’ve had to learn my limits: if I’ve been traveling too much, or had a frenzied schedule that day, or my social chops are hampered by lack of sleep, it’s far better to refuse. Like a car that requires periodic oil changes, I have to recharge with quiet, alone time.

It’s true that many of the best ways to establish your brand in the professional world are still weighted toward extroverts: taking leadership positions in professional associations, starting your own conference or networking group, or — indeed — embracing public speaking (all of which frequently entail extended social contact).

Over time, I’ve learned “when to say when” and graciously call it an evening. But for many introverts, it’s a tough balance. One executive at a large consulting firm once asked me how she could be truly authentic in her dealings with others, given how uncomfortable she was when it came to networking; she worried she’d have to put on a smiley, hypersocial façade. Yet I’m convinced it’s possible to be real about building connections and developing our personal brands, while still respecting our natural tendencies.

First, social media may actually be an area where introverts, who thrive on quiet contemplation, have an advantage. With a blog — one of the best techniques for demonstrating thought leadership — you can take your time, formulate your thoughts, and engage in real dialogue with others. Indeed, while extroverts desperate for their next fix are trading business cards at cocktail parties, you can build a global brand on the strength of your ideas.

Next, with a little strategy and effort, you can become a connector one person at a time. A friend of mine used to work at a large research hospital; it was a sprawling institution with countless divisions and initiatives. She made a simple commitment: each week, she’d ask a person from a different office or department to lunch. Often, she’d meet them initially at company meetings or through project work; if the suggestion to have lunch together didn’t arise naturally, she’d tell them about her project, and they were almost always intrigued enough to join her.

Within a few months, she had begun to build a robust network inside her organization — on her own, quiet terms (Susan Cain herself told HBR that we ought to “be figuring out ways where people can kind of pick and choose their environments, and then be at their best.”) My friend’s “lunch initiative” exemplifies the research of Ronald Burt at the University of Chicago, who urges workers to “bridge structural gaps” in their organizations. In other words, you can make yourself professionally indispensable if you develop connections that enable you to break through silos, and identify and surmount knowledge gaps.

Introverts can also use subtle cues to establish their personal brand. As well-known psychologist Robert Cialdini told me during an interview for my book Reinventing You, simply placing diplomas or awards on your office walls can help reinforce your expertise to others. (Cialdini saw this powerful effect in action at an Arizona hospital he advised; exercise compliance increased 32% almost immediately after the physical therapy unit started displaying their staff’s credentials.)

Finally, use your downtime strategically. You’re likely to need more “thinking time,” as introvert and former Campbell Soup Company CEO Doug Conant advised in an HBR post. So while the extroverts may be schmoozing with colleagues after work, you can ensure you’re being productive while you recharge by reading industry journals or thinking creatively about your company and your career. (Introverts often do their best thinking on their own, as Harvard Business School Professor Francesca Gino suggests, rather than amidst the scrum of an office brainstorming session.)

In popular imagination, personal branding is often equated with high-octane, flesh-pressing showmanship. But there are other, sometimes better, ways you can define yourself and your reputation. Taking the time to reflect and be thoughtful about how you’d like to be seen and then living that out through your writing and your interpersonal relationships (and even your décor) is a powerful way to ensure you’re seen as the leader you are.


Link to the original article


Networking Rules for Job-seekers: the Good, the Bad and the Almost Perfect

For job-seekers there are some major advantages to networking over applying directly. For one, you’ll be able to bypass the gatekeepers. For another, you’ll increase your chances of being interviewed and hired by 5-10X. Even more important, candidates who are highly referred are judged more on their past performance and future potential than on their level of skills and experiences. That’s why I tell candidates not to directly apply to a job unless they’re a perfect fit on skills and experience. If not, they need to be referred by someone who can vouch for their past performance and future potential.

Networking is not about trying to meet as many people whom you don’t know. This is almost as ineffective as applying directly to a job posting. Networking is about meeting people you do know who can both vouch for your past performance and future potential, and willingly recommend you to others. Here’s how this should be done:

  1. Meet 3-4 people who can vouch for your past performance and future potential. These should be your best first degree connections. Younger people can use their professors, advisors, or important church or social connections as their first degree connections.
  2. During the meeting review your resume or LinkedIn profile and ask for feedback. Then ask these people if they would be comfortable recommending you to people they know who are connected to others in companies or industries of interest.
  3. If the answer to Step 2 is no, find out why, and/or find some better connected people.
  4. If the answer to Step 2 is yes, obtain the names of 3-4 people and their contact information. Then ask the person who is vouching for you if they would call the person on your behalf, or send an email introducing you.
  5. Research your connection’s connections and ask about specific people. In addition to asking people you know who they know, you can turn this around and ask them about specific people they’re already connected to who you’d like to meet. This is possible using LinkedIn, since you’re able to see your first degree connections’ connections (at least if they haven’t hidden them).
  6. Network backwards. Start with a job of interest, and using LinkedIn, find out who you’re connected to who knows someone in the company who can refer you.
  7. Be direct and be proactive. When you meet these second degree connections be prepared to ask about specific people they know, and about specific jobs at their companies. All of this information is on LinkedIn. Asking to be referred to a specific person or a specific job will result in more connections and more interviews.
  8. Don’t be a pest, but keep your network warm by maintaining an active PR campaign. Spend a few hours each week sending emails to those who have helped you in any way. Make them personal.
  9. Establish some metrics to stay focused. Treat the job-hunting process as a job, not a hobby. As a minimum, you’ll need to track meetings per week and the number of recommendations per meeting. The overriding goal should by 50-60 people in your job-hunting network within 2-3 weeks.

Networking is how you turn 4-5 great contacts into 50-60 connections in 2-3 weeks. As described above, networking should represent 60% of your job-hunting efforts. It will take about 20-30 hours per week. This is roughly 10-15 new contacts per week via the phone, which should convert into 5-6 one-on-one meetings every week. The rest of the time should be on LinkedIn researching their connections and finding open jobs in their companies. Within 2-3 weeks you’ll start hearing about some real jobs of interest. The person doing the recommending will think it’s a coincidence, but you’ll know it’s a result of your hard work.

Getting referred increases you’re chances of being interviewed and getting a better job by 5-10X over applying directly. This is a pretty good trade-off since it only takes three times the effort. Even better, some of the connections you make along the way will surprise you, and put you on a path you never even considered.


Link to the original article


Welcome to the 72-Hour Work Week

How many hours do you think the average American professional works each week? If you think 40, 50 or even 60, think again. For many, 72 hours is the new norm.

In a recent survey of 483 executives, managers, and professionals (EMPs), we found that 60% of those who carry smartphones for work are connected to their jobs 13.5 or more hours a day on weekdays and about five hours on weekends, for a total of about 72 hours. Assuming these people sleep about seven and a half hours a night, that leaves only three hours a day Monday-Friday for them to do everything else (e.g. chores, exercise, grocery shop, family time, shower, relax). It also means they spend 62% of their waking hours every week connected to work (82% on weekdays). That seems like a lot.

But it’s not the connectedness itself that bothers EMPs; in fact, in many cases they appreciate it. One EMP described getting an urgent work request via her personal smartphone while she was on vacation but said she was happy to handle it because it took her two minutes, compared to the hour it might have taken another person. She cares about her work and her colleagues and wants to save others time and trouble, wherever she is.

What does bother EMPs is when companies use 24-7 connectedness to compensate for organizational inefficiencies and when it significantly undermines their personal lives, productivity, creativity, and ability to think strategically. The complaints we heard most often (from at least three-quarters and as high as 96% of respondents) centered on useless meetings and emails, inadequate technology, disorganized or incompetent C-suites, and unclear decision-making authority.

One manager we interviewed talked about an incident where he was out on a date and received a message saying he had to get on a strategy call with an executive at 9pm on a Friday night. This wasn’t an emergency; the manager had simply changed his mind about a decision he’d made earlier that week and that was in the process of being implemented. Another study participant who moved from an executive job requiring him to be constantly connected (including on weekends and holidays) to a position at another company with a less demanding schedule told us it was a dramatic shift. Previously exhausted and stressed, he said he felt “a huge difference.” “It’s astonishing how much you can get done when you’re not in meetings for 10 hours a day and things aren’t cycling 24/7. Since people aren’t working round-the-clock, I don’t get stuck in responder mode. I can actually think a little bit about what I need to do, which is saving me time and lowering my stress level. This is certainly not a low-stress job, but I don’t feel like I’m in hyper-drive mode all the time anymore. I’m really energized.”

The message is clear: EMPs don’t necessarily mind being connected to work for more than eight hours a day. But they are upset when it happens because leaders don’t respect their time or their official work day is wasted, so they have to make up the time working from their laptops or smartphones at home.

There are many steps organizations can take to avoid this problem. Frequent equipment and software upgrades can ease technological delays, for example. Clear decision-making guidelines will prevent bottlenecks in the chain of command. Reducing and eliminating meetings will free up schedules so work can get done during work hours. And C-suite leadership that emphasizes both the importance of not wasting time and the benefits of down time can go a long way toward changing the always-on culture.

We’ll never be truly disconnected from work again. But smart organizations will make sure their employees appreciate that connectedness.

Source: HBR Blogs