Sometimes It Is Just Old Stuff

Recently we moved and everything came down from the attic.   Years’ worth of memorabilia from my parents, grandparents, aunts, and great uncles.  Treasures that had been carefully saved over the years.  It was the proverbial walk down memory lane, reminiscing about different life events from before I could walk and taking a peek into a life that was lived long before I was born. Life in the 1800s (morsesociety.org) At the end of multiple sorting weeks, though, came the question of what to do with it now?  Store it back up in the new, tiny, and insulation-filled attic?  Place it around the house fully realizing it wasn’t going to accentuate my mostly transitional/modern vibe.  Or make sure it got into the hands that would truly cherish it, the way I was supposed to? After a few guilt trips and another week of ignoring it, door #3 won and I started a campaign of picture taking and editing to showcase each treasure in its best form.  Then I advertised them everywhere and I waited…. and waited.  Finally, one person reached out to ask if I would take $10 for all three antique Kodak cameras Kodak No 3A Folding Pocket Antique Bellows Camera with Anastigmat Lens WORKS V11 | eBay and could I please package them up and send them to Oceanside.  For $10?  I don’t think so.  I felt inundated, defeated, and overwhelmed.

The moral of this story is that sometimes, it is just old stuff or even just stuff.  And it really isn’t of value to you or to anyone else.  Not unlike the myriad of messages, we get in our inbox every day.  Some thinly veiled advertisements for something, some hawking wares like the latest seminar, and some actually the news of the day or more likely, someone’s interpretation of the news.  We feel inundated and overwhelmed, but hesitant to let any of it go for fear we might miss something important or let go of something of value. Declutter Your Inbox In 5 Easy Steps (forbes.com) Our day is full of should’ s.  I should flag that to read later.  I should spend more time determining strategy.   I should ( you fill in the blank).  Sometimes, we have to realize that maybe it is just like old stuff.  It is really not of value.  Not of value to you and not of value to anyone else and we just need to let it go and move on.  If something is critically important it will come back around or someone else will have added it to their to-do list and will forward it to you with bullet points. 

We artificially determine what to spend our time on by allowing the shoulds to intrude on what we already know we want to do.  Strategic plans for 2022 have long been established and it is unlikely, barring another pandemic type of event, COVID-19 pandemic – Wikipedia that those will become derailed by the latest e-mail communication. Focus on what you want to do- what you want to have accomplished-whether it is an attic cleaning session or an Outlook inbox.  Control your time, add value and let the clutter go.

The Key to Success

We have all been there.  Should we buy the house or not?  Should we go back to school or put our energies into our current role Should I Go Back to School During a Recession? – Kenzie Academy (snhu.edu)?  Should we hire the candidate or move on?  We, more frequently than not, choose to stay the course.  We choose not to buy the house and to stay where we are, we choose not to return to school and we choose not to hire the candidate.  We pat ourselves on the back for making a great decision.  The house was too expensive, and we probably couldn’t have sold our current home, we probably couldn’t have managed to further our education and continue to work and that candidate that we decided to turn down was lacking in at least 6 different ways.  You have avoided what was certain to be a failure.  The question is, whose failure are you actually trying to avoid and what are you giving up when you are unwilling to take a risk? The Incredible Power of Taking Risks in Life – The Daily Positive

The fact of the matter is, the greatest achievements require going outside of your comfort zone and taking a well thought out risk.   Many of us have a difficult time dealing with the uncertainty that goes along with taking risks. We grow uneasy not knowing the outcome and we fear potential failure. What if I cause my family financial ruin?  What if I lose my job because I can’t put in as many hours as before? What if the candidate that I hire isn’t perfect and I am blamed? At the root of most of these questions is the questions “What if I’m not good enough?”  

One way to combat the fear of risk taking is to ask yourself “What if” or “So what?”  These questions can diffuse the negative self-talk by providing alternatives. Taking a risk to achieve a goal requires courage to face the fear of uncertainty. No matter the outcome, either way, we grow through the process and become more resilient and confident.  There is no right or wrong answer to many of life’s questions and avoiding them all together ensures that you never allow yourself the opportunity to grow.

Another way to combat the fear of uncertainty is to remember that in almost every situation, you are allowed to make a U-turn.  If the decision you made does not work out as you expected it to, then make another decision.  Figure out what your learnings are, what experience you took away from the situation and move on.

One of the more obvious ways to reduce the fear of risk is to learn as much as you can about the experience you are considering embarking on. Career advice: How to get better at taking risks (usatoday.com) Find other people who have done what you are considering doing and get their advice, listen to what they have learned and what they would have chosen to do differently.

Successfully taking risks The Importance Of Taking Risks (7 Reasons To Take More Risks) (eightysixfourhundred.com)can lead to very positive outcomes including:

  • Standing out form the crowd
  • Helping you to feel alive and empowered
  • Enabling you to think more creatively
  • Helping you to learn about yourself

Risk taking can be healthy and help people develop confidence. Any failure you experience is part of the success process, not the antithesis of success.  If you aren’t willing to risk failing it is likely you will never be willing to take the risks necessary to experience great success!

The Great Resignation Becomes The Great Regret

It is no secret that employees have been quitting in droves, leaving the safety of positions where they have built up political capital for new positions that promise greener pastures and can come with 25%, 50%, and higher increases. Employees say they are leaving to work for employers who are more people-centric, where they feel like their work has a purpose and can add meaning to their lives. According to Pew Research Pew Research Center | Pew Research Center in a new study, “low pay, a lack of opportunities for advancement, and feeling disrespected at work”, are the top reasons why Americans quit their jobs last year. But are all these workers leaving their jobs for new jobs finding that the new jobs are that much better than their old jobs? That their new employers are that much better than their existing employers? In many cases, the resounding answer is “No”.

That theory has been echoed by another study released this week by the job search site the Muse. Muse Jobs (Hiring) – ItsMyCareer Its study of more than 2,500 workers found that almost three-quarters of them (72%) experienced either “surprise or regret” that the new position or new company they quit their job for turned out to be “very different” from what they were led to believe. Nearly half (48%) of these workers said they would try to get their old job back thanks to a phenomenon that the Muse is calling “shift shock”.

“They’ll join a new company thinking it’s their dream job and then there’s a reality check,” the company’s CEO, Kathryn Minshew told FOX Business. “It’s this really damaging phenomenon where people are brand new in their role, and they suddenly realize it’s not at all as advertised.” They have given up the solid relationships and reputations built over the years at their previous positions, to chase the next best thing.

Much of this confusion is being driven by Gen Z, Generation Z – Wikipedia those generally born after 1995 who make up more than a quarter of the workforce. According to a recent study by career counseling provider Zety, Zety – Professional Resume & Cover Letter Tools For Any Job those workers report that the factors that are most appealing in a new job include, of course, a good benefits package (67%). But just as important to them is a company with “values that match their own” (62%), that has a purpose for being that “goes beyond merely making a profit” (61%), offers “plentiful career development and progression opportunities” (59%) and has a “strong brand reputation” (49%).

Ask any baby boomer who’s been in the workforce for a number of years and they’ll tell you that the grass is often the same color at the new job. But few, if any Gen Zer’s are seeking the advice of boomers.

The good news is that companies have a choice and research firm Gartner Gartner | Delivering Actionable, Objective Insight to Executives and Their Teams urges employers to adopt a more “human-centric” work model that includes better working hours, more productive meetings, and greater flexibility to reduce this turnover. Having clear growth opportunities and career paths are a must for a generation that grew up with instant gratification. Neither the great resignation nor the great regret is in employees’ or employers’ best interests. A strong people-centric philosophy will likely cure both.

The Changing Face of Human Resources

There has been an earthquake-like shift in the employee-employer relationship and it has happened, not over decades, but within 2 years. It has changed the way employers interact with their employees and the way employees show up for work. In the past, even the advanced HR functions were still primarily transactionally based. This shift has necessitated that employers look at each employee in an authentic Are you an authentic HR leader? (humanresourcesonline.net)way, taking into account their needs on a holistic basis and not just during the workweek. Employees more than ever before are coming to the table with demands. Demands for work/life balance, for enhanced benefits, for more pay, and most importantly, for meaningful work where they can serve a greater purpose and be a part of something bigger than themselves. They are holding employers accountable in record numbers for taking a stand on important issues and being able to eloquently articulate how they are improving the world.  

COVID, while an incredible health travesty, has in some ways, sped up this revolution. It has caused people, employees, to step back and assess what is important to them, where they want to work, how they want to work, and what they are willing to sacrifice, if anything, for a job. In record numbers, over 4.4M in Nov 2021 alone, People Explained Why They Resigned During The Great Resignation, And Their Points Are Sooo Valid (yahoo.com)employees are quitting and quitting without necessarily having another position lined up. Quitting to pursue their passions and their interests and realizing that money is only a part of the equation to leading a happy life. The term The Great Resignation, Great Resignation – Wikipedia coined by Anthony Klotz, a professor of management at Mays Business School at Texas A&M University, who predicted the mass exodus in May 2021, is on everyone’s minds.

I feel very fortunate to be a part of an organization that started this journey long before the world had ever heard of COVID, to have embraced our WHY, and to have established inspirational Guiding Principles that serve as a daily roadmap for our teams for how we want to serve our employees, our residents and our broader communities. Well-being has always been at the forefront of our message and wellbeing in the broader sense of the word, incorporating physical, financial, social, emotional, and career wellbeing. As a people-first company, we continue to take the individual needs of our workforce into account, personalizing our offerings and doing what is right.

While the staggering numbers of employees who are quitting their jobs and moving on may slow in the coming months, the seismic shifts surrounding flexibility and employee demands that have occurred will remain. I am frequently asked by our employees and others if we will revert to the old ways of working without the flexibility and the hybrid The Next Great Disruption Is Hybrid Work—Are We Ready? (microsoft.com)schedules. My answer is always the same “No”. Once we enter a period of enlightenment it is impossible not to know what we know. People can be highly productive working from someplace other than the office, working irregular hours and days, and can be trusted to get the job done, whether you can “see” them or not.

Time Affluence

We are all familiar with the term financially affluent, however, the term gaining traction today is time affluence.  Time affluence Time Affluence Increases Happiness. So How Do You Achieve It? – MOJEH is when you feel like you have enough time to relax or pursue meaningful activities. Time poverty is when you feel stressed because you are constantly rushing and feel you never can catch up.  It becomes especially obvious during this time of year when many employees are off work for the holidays.  People slow down and start wondering whether the hamster wheel they are on is truly the best way to enjoy and bring real meaning to their lives. In fact, four out of five adults report Why You Never Seem to Have Enough Time (berkeley.edu) feeling that they have too much to do and not enough time to do it. People who experience less time affluence also experience less joy each day. They laugh less. They are less healthy, less productive, and more likely to divorce. In one study, stress related to time poverty produced a stronger negative effect on happiness than even unemployment.

Unlike money, where we have choices to either spend what we have more wisely or create/earn more, we cannot increase our time.  We all have the same 24 hours each day. So, the option that leaves us with is finding a way to use our time most wisely.  Below are some ways to get the most out of the time we have.

Meditate

Strangely enough, taking downtime, especially to meditate, How to Meditate – Mindful can make us more productive in the time we spend working or actively engaged.  Especially if you have a difficult problem to solve.  Our subconscious minds will often continue to work after we have taken a break, allowing us to come back and see new solutions.

New Experiences

Engaging in new experiences can alter our sense of time.  We have all had the experience of time moving more quickly or slowly depending on what we are doing and how engaged at the moment we are.  When we free our minds to try new things, we allow ourselves the gift of experiencing our daily life differently.

Funding Time

Research has shown that people that make the decision to “buy” their way out of unenjoyable activities frequently respond more favorably to being time affluent.  The peace of mind you receive by giving yourself 3 hours of housekeeping/cleaning services may pay big dividends in your life.

Block Time

Blocking out time What Is Time Blocking And How Does It Work? (2021 Guide) – Biz 3.0 (timedoctor.com) on your calendar to just think or catch up with someone you haven’t seen in a while starts to reframe how you think about time.  In our “always-on” society, there is an expectation that we will respond to e-mails within minutes, creating a vicious circle.  Blocking time for downtime and treating it as just as important as the next barrage of e-mails can keep you feeling more in control of your day.

Money and time have much in common.  They can both be measured, and we feel as if we never have enough of either, forcing us to constantly choose between the two. The choices that we make, every day, can powerfully shape our feelings of fulfillment and happiness from the moments, days, and years of our lives. Choose wisely to enjoy your definition of a life well-lived.

Perks in a Work from Home World

While working from home, in and of itself, used to be considered a perk, it is quickly becoming the norm, whether 100% remote or the more popular hybrid model where employees work two or three days from home and the remainder in the office.  However, this change has made other “in-office” perks more elusive.  5 HR trends you should be paying attention to in 2022: HowNow (gethownow.com)Benefits like free lunches, after-work happy hours, and casual Fridays are difficult to consider when working in an all or partial work from home environment.  So, what perks do employees want most in this new world?  

Global benefits and rewards platforms are popping up all over that allow companies to care for, connect with and celebrate their employees no matter where they are or what they want.  These platforms focus not only on physical wellbeing but also on social/emotional and financial wellbeing.  As the lines between work and home continue to blur, employees have growing expectations that employers will view them as holistic human beings where work is a part of their identity, but certainly not their whole identity.  A study by Perkbox Global Employee Benefits and Rewards Platform | Perkbox suggests that over half of the employees surveyed said Employee discounts are the most coveted.  This was followed by a three-way tie for greater recognition for your work, unlimited amount of vacation time, and at-home entertainment.  There is also growing demand for mental health or wellness days and extended free mental health counseling services. 

Employee Discounts

There is a myriad of market leaders who provide Employee discounts.  Some of the larger include names like Corporate Offers, www.corporateoffers.com Next Jump www.nextjump.com, and Anyperk www.anyperk.com.  Most of these services have both a free, limited option service and a paid service.  Normally these will differ in the way an employer can customize the specific offerings to their employee base.  If you choose to go this route, do your due diligence.  A common complaint is that these services may not offer better discounts than employees can get on their own

Recognition

Study after study has proven that there is a very weak correlation between remuneration and an employee’s job satisfaction.    A study from the Saratoga Institute looked at more than 19,000 exit interviews. When they asked the managers or supervisors why their employees had quit, nearly 90% of the supervisors cited reasons related to remuneration. In nine out of ten instances, they believed their employees quit to pursue a job with a larger salary. On the other hand, 88% of employees said clearly that their reasons for leaving had nothing to do with their salary. The data on this issue is pretty cut and dried. In most instances, people choose to leave their current position because of poor leadership from the person they report directly to.  What employees really want, once they feel they are compensated fairly, is to be appreciated personally and professionally by the company and their manager.  They want to be connected to a larger purpose, but they also want their work and contributions to be acknowledged and appreciated, no matter how small.  

Certainly, ensure each of your team members is fairly compensated for the work they are doing, but remember to take the time to truly appreciate what they are contributing and help them to see how it is connected to the larger company goals and purpose.  Take time to call out the traits that are unique and let them know you appreciate them!

Internal Mobility

Internal mobility The Complete Guide to Internal Mobility — Paddle (paddlehr.com)refers to the movement of existing employees across different departments or roles within the organization.  These may be “permanent” roles such as an employee who moves laterally from an Accounting position into a Finance position or an employee who is promoted from Accounting Supervisor to Accounting Manager.  

An internal mobility program can ensure employee retention, leadership development and produces well-rounded employees who truly understand the various aspects of the business. It also reduces cost, time, and effort in hiring outside talent.

The successful cross-functional movement of employees starts with a well-thought-out program and a receptive work culture. In order to grow, leadership and HR must develop a culture where employees have an opportunity to learn new skills.

https://harver.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Attractive-Employers-According-to-Millenials.png

In PwC’s most recent Millennials at Work survey, they found that the #1 most attractive employer attribute was the possibility of career progression.

Talent Profiles

Internal mobility is only truly possible if you know what each employee is capable of and the skills that they already possess. Auditing each team member, preferably during the hiring stage, and then again annually, will enable you to track the skills each employee has, what skills are needed and what gaps remain.  Managers should use Talent Profiles to assess career opportunities for each person on their team.

Career Paths

Develop learner pathways that employees can reference and develop self-directed training programs that will assist employees in transitioning into new roles or to learning new skills

Succession Planning

Succession plans are necessary so you have a clear idea of what will happen if an employee leaves their position. Who in the organization could be tapped for a promotion?

As Harvard Business Review Succession Planning: What the Research Says (hbr.org) bleakly highlights, all CEOs will inevitably leave office, yet research shows most organizations are ill-prepared to replace them. However, a CIPHR study found that although 92% of companies admitted it was a risk to not have a succession plan in place, only 25% felt they had the right candidates to fill vacant positions. To fill the void, you can look within your current talent pool, or hire externally.

According to PaddleHR, The Complete Guide to Internal Mobility — Paddle (paddlehr.com) 66% of job seekers look at the current company before looking elsewhere for a job.  Now is the time to stem the tide of the Great Resignation The Great Resignation: Why people are quitting their jobs (cnbc.com)and ensure you are offering your employees a reason to stay!

Unlock Your Potential

We have all heard the staggering statistics around the rise in mental health issues over the last 18 months as the world and the people who populate it struggle through COVID. The coronavirus (COVID‐19) pandemic’s impact on mental health (nih.gov). The pandemic is not just a medical phenomenon; it affects individuals and society and causes disruption, anxiety, depression, stress, stigma, and xenophobia. Quarantine and self‐isolation can most likely cause a negative impact on one’s mental health. A review published in The Lancet said that separation from loved ones, loss of freedom, boredom, and uncertainty can cause a deterioration in an individual’s mental health status. Patients with mental health disorders in the COVID-19 epidemic (nih.gov).  Whether your workplace is your kitchen table or your high-rise office, the fact of the matter is that most of us spend the majority of our waking hours “at work”.  Employers, therefore, have an obligation and a societal duty to offer solutions to this ever-growing mental health crisis.

Never has the focus on employee well-being been so critically important and been quite as honestly the difference between life and death. The Impact Of Covid-19 On Suicide Rates (psycom.net). A new report by The Well Being Trust released last month found that 75,000 additional people could die from what they called “deaths of despair,” (which include suicide and substance abuse) because of Covid-19. Suicide is likely to become a more pressing concern as the pandemic spreads and has longer-term effects on the general population, the economy, and vulnerable groups,”  according to David Gunnell, professor of epidemiology at the University of Bristol.

Employers have a responsibility to create robust employee well-being programs and to ensure that they offer something for everyone.

Physical well-being

Employees are being told to isolate and many gyms have been shut down for months, leading to a lack of physical exercise and all the added health benefits it brings. The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise – HelpGuide.org  That shouldn’t stop you from offering exercise opportunities through programs like Vitality Online Fitness Training | My Vitality Coach.  You can run group engagement activities with prizes galore!

Emotional Wellness

Outside of the standard EAP’s which have experienced a jump in employees utilizing their resources, there are also programs like TalkSpace Talkspace – #1 Rated Online Therapy, 1 Million+ Users that offer one-on-one counseling, couples therapy, and Psychiatry, all 100% virtually with licensed practitioners.

Financial Wellness

Large numbers of employees in the hospitality business sector were impacted by COIVD when restaurants, hotels, and the travel industry literally ground to a halt.  While stimulus checks and increases in unemployment staved off starvation, the stress associated with not being able to pay your rent or mortgage and not knowing when you will be employed again is huge.  Offer employees the opportunity to engage with a financial coach to understand how to best manage through this difficult time.

Social well-being

We are social creatures by nature and the stress caused by not being able to hug, interact, and see our loved ones and co-workers is tremendous. Consider forming online interest groups that are designed to foster not only an inclusive workplace but to organize learning opportunities and discussions to encourage and elevate open and honest conversations around the topics that matter most.  Sometimes just knowing you are not alone, is all that is needed to help you realize that this will eventually pass.

Employers have a unique opportunity to engage with their workforces during this pandemic, to do the right thing, and to come out as a stronger team on the other side!

Is Patience a Virtue?

We live in a world where the pace is constantly increasing.  An analysis of the history of technology shows that technological change is exponential, contrary to the common-sense ‘intuitive linear’ view. So we won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century—it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate), according to Wikipedia. Accelerating change – Wikipedia

90% of the world’s data was generated in the last 2 years How Fast Is Technology Growing Statistics [Updated 2021] (leftronic.com).  The adoption of mobile devices has led to the mass adoption of mobile banking technologies.  5G network technology is expected to be 100 times faster than the 4G standard, delivering 10 gigabits per second. The technological progress of mobile broadband networks will enhance IoT, bringing faster wireless internet to cars, refrigerators, and other innovations.

Workers in technology companies and other high-growth industries, routinely work 60+ hour weeks just trying to keep up.   In the last 40 years, Americans, just on average, have been working longer hours for more weeks a year. The average worker in 1980 put in 38.1 hours for 43 weeks a year. Today, the average employee works 46.8 weeks a year for a total of 38.7 hours a week.  Small increase but hey add up!

So, does patience Four Reasons to Cultivate Patience (berkeley.edu)have a place any longer in our amped-up society?  It does when it comes to human interaction.  You can be impatient with the process, focus on meeting deadlines and project plans and strive to deliver ahead of schedule.  However, there is an inverse relationship between being able to achieve the above and the amount of patience you show to the individuals on your team.  Give your employees time to finish their thoughts before jumping in.  Make sure you listen more than you speak.  It can be tempting to jump in right away with your own ideas but resist that urge and just listen and ask probing, not leading, questions. For many people, silence is uncomfortable. A break in a conversation for too long can feel awkward. Rather than succumbing to it. Use it to your advantage. Next time you feel like jumping right in to say something, pause and count to 10 in your head. You’re likely to find the other person in the conversation will step in to fill the silence. If you’re a manager, this is a powerful tool. It gives your people an opportunity to fully share what’s on their minds. How Managers can be more Effective Listeners to Better Lead their Teams (getlighthouse.com)

Different people process information at different speeds.  Giving your team members the freedom and opportunity to process all of the information and then revert back with questions will likely yield superior results in the end.  They will usually be more receptive to whatever change you are bringing forth as they will have had the time to adjust.  Not everyone can move at the same pace and human nature is to resist something until you have had time to think it through.

Start with the strongly held belief that everyone comes to work wanting to do their best.  Giving your employees the space they need and being patient with those who move at a different pace is the key to successful leadership!

Our Attitude is our Altitude

I have to admit that this Is not my witty saying.  It is a reference from a beautifully written piece by Korn Ferry Korn Ferry | Organizational Consulting CEO, and published author, Gary Burnison. Gary Burnison (kornferry.com) He explained it this way:

When one person says thank you, it can set off a positive chain reaction. The reason lies in emotional intelligence (EI). Daniel Goleman, who has done extensive research and writing on EI and who works closely with our firm, has explained that when we develop and express our EI, we transmit more positive feelings such as gratitude than negative ones. It’s like a spark that ignites as others respond. Moods shift and positivity elevates everyone. Then our attitudes truly become our altitude.

As I read it, it reminded me of one of our own Guiding Principles at Tricon Residential. Tricon Residential – Rental Living Reimagined To elevate each other so together we leave an enduring legacy.  Similar to the ripples in the pond, each of our actions every day has a consequence.  Some purposefully intended and some not. But each of has choice to positively impact those around us or to think only of ourselves.  We have such a broader impact when we choose the former. By choosing to spread positivity, there is a ripple effect that spreads out likes rays from the sun, finally reaching earth some 90+ million miles away.  Gestures do not have to be large to make an impact.  Simply remembering to be grateful and to share thankfulness and appreciation is enough.

Appreciation is a cornerstone of the culture at Southwest Airlines, Southwest Airlines | Book Flights, Make Reservations & Plan a Trip named by Forbes as America’s #13 Best Employer of 2018. One way the company appreciates employees is by paying attention to special events in their personal lives—from kids’ graduations to marriages to family illnesses—and recognizing those with small gestures like flowers and cards. “We’re all encountering different obstacles in our life, we’re all celebrating different things in our life,” says Cheryl Hughey, managing director of culture at Southwest.

Studies show that grateful employees How to Exude Gratitude at the Office and Bring Value (dawnstebbing.com)are more concerned about social responsibility, for example. Grateful employees—as well as employees who receive more gratitude—also perform more “organizational citizenship” behaviors: kind acts that aren’t part of their job description, like welcoming new employees and filling in for coworkers.

In fact, gratitude and kindness seem to form a positive loop in the workplace. Just as gratitude leads to altruistic behavior, research suggests that the opportunity to help others and serve a cause is one of the major sources of gratitude at the office.

So, remember to say thank you often, go out of your way to show appreciation, and check in on each other regularly!