Employee Survey? Yes, Just Do It!

Employee surveys used to be complicated and expensive to implement. Not anymore.

Because it was expensive, if a company implemented a survey they would often ask many questions – hoping to gather as much info as they could for their financial investment. With such an investment, writing the questions was often a long, drawn-out and political chore… and responding to them was equally unpleasant.

Times have changed – thankfully.

I just received a 2-question survey from my grocery chain. Did I answer it? Absolutely – without much thought. I didn’t even hesitate at the 10 second commitment.

 PC Plus Survey Final

While my graphic isn’t an employee survey, it is a great example of how surveys can be simplified and encourage participation.

Implementing employee surveys today is much more affordable. And, there are a number of reliable software service providers which provide flexible  branding and result collection options. Thankfully this has made surveys more accessible and organizations are being more targeted with their research.

Today the difficult part remains writing strategic, relevant survey questions. This is where the time and financial investment still needs to be applied which for organizations means getting the assistance of third parties (e.g., BMC). Like with most things, knowing what you want to achieve is your best first step.

What Do You Want To Achieve?

Employee surveys are wonderfully flexible and can be used to measure a variety of things in a workplace. As an example do you want to:

  • Get feedback on a new procedure.
  • Explore creative ideas your sales or front-line employees have.
  • Conduct a management-level 360 review.
  • Help employees be reflective of their behaviour – good and not so good.
  • Get employees ‘in the mood’ for the training you are going to do.
  • Remind employees of the training they’ve had.

While surveys are versatile, be careful to keep your objective simple – and if you can, keep your surveys to one topic.

I recently wrote and launched an pre-training employee survey for a workshop I was hired to design and facilitate. Because the survey results were only seen by me, the employees were very confident to answer honestly.

The results from the pre-training employee survey gave me valuable insight on how to position the professional development training; I was able to customize the training to meet specific needs. During the training workshops I was able to knowingly ‘lean into’ certain areas where I knew they would benefit the most. The results also helped me congratulate them (positive reinforcement works), on behaviour they were doing. It also meant I didn’t bore them by hammering home best practices that they were already doing.

Position Employee Surveys As Save Valuable Opportunities

Employee surveys can have huge benefit.

Be up-front with staff about how important the survey is. When you conduct a survey in the workplace, you are sending a message to employees that you value their suggestions, ideas and creativity. Don’t assume employees know this – be sure you say it. Explain you are genuinely interested in getting their input to improve them and/or the organization. Ask them to be open and honest – and if they might feel at risk in answering (which is normal), make sure the survey is anonymous.

Anonymous surveys often help gain honest feedback.

Employee surveys have the advantage of building employee morale. Employees will see first-hand they have a say in the training they receive, how the business operates, and even some of the policies moving forward; this often leads to increased loyalty and decreased turnover.

For Best Results

Be up-front with staff about how important the survey is to you. If they have one – work with the HR department. Explain to your audience that you are genuinely interested in getting their input. Ask them to be candid in their feedback and assure them that responses are anonymous (suggestion).

Finally, commit to putting the survey results to work. Employees will embrace change that they feel they have contributed to.

Conclusion

Surveys are great. If you are going to use one consider the need for the following three things:

  1. Know what your response deadline is. Whether it is the date you cut-off additional responses or the date you push / encourage your audience to respond by. Manage everyone’s expectations including your own and share your response deadline.
  2. Know who’s responding. If you are doing an employee survey it is often helpful to get a sense of the experience level with the company and/or position of the person responding. Often that can be achieved by adding one question for each.
  3. One advantage of an anonymous survey is that you can get honest and insightful feedback about topics employees might not be comfortable bringing to you in person.

Uncovering challenges employees are experiencing may keep valuable employees from looking work elsewhere – like your competitors – an expensive loss from many different angles.

Happy communicating and survey design.

Click here to join our priority list to receive our latest Business Communication blog posts.

If you enjoyed this post we think you’ll like:

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Business Writing, Email Etiquette, Time Management and Mindfulness.

Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

Click on the image to watch us on Canada AM.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Call us at 416.617.0462.

View Bruce Mayhew's profile on LinkedIn

Bruce Mayhew Consulting

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

 

Advertisements

How To Structure A Business Story… And Why!

You are about to write a business story. How are you going to structure the fundamentals of your story?

  • Is there a villain – a Antagonist?
  • Is there a hero – a Protagonist?
  • Are you trying to instill opportunity, or happiness or sympathy for your product, service or fundraiser?
  • Will your story have an outcome that you define, or are you going to leave it for your audience to decide?
  • Whose moral values are you expressing – and what moral values?

It’s true… business story writing is difficult. Even when writing business stories these are important decision to make before you begin – or be ready for many rewrites and lots of frustration. Often these stories are written – or at least edited – by committee. If you don’t have agreement on the structure fundamentals you will be handicapping yourself and your reputation.

Your Competitive Advantage

Business stories are likely your best (and often underused), competitive advantage because you have an exciting, creative way to share with customers / prospects why they want your product/service.

Stories are fantastic for sharing information, for entertainment, for history and helping others learn. But hold on – why do we use stories? Use business stories because humans love story telling. We do it all the time.Business Story Telling

  • We tell people how our weekend was – that’s a story.
  • We tell people about the project we are working on at work – that’s a story.
  • We tell people about the sales call and what the clients need are – that’s a story.

We likely began using stories when we were cavemen (cave people?), and began sharing stories about good places to hunt – or bad places for predators – or the tribe down the lane who had fire and was making S’mores.

Create Excitement To Be Remembered

After you’ve determined your story fundamentals, plan your pace. If you have a hero, do they come from behind and certain failure to do the things you want him to do? How can you build the tension – the excitement?

In the story of David & Goliath your excitement and interest grows because David looks like he is going to lose the battle. Then, when he rises from failure to win over Goliath we cheer and feel great. This exciting pace creates exciting stories (and your products, services or cause), will be remembered.

A good story is going to stir your emotions. High impact engagement where you get caught up because it’s likely rooted some type of conflict / challenge.

Use Metaphors To Engage Imagination

Another element you can use to keep a clients interest in your business story is a metaphor. Consider what metaphors can you use to create pictures / images in your clients imagination? You can use that metaphor to also evoke emotion. For example, here’s a 2 line story: “Looking up at the seemingly never-ending staircase, Richard thought this must be the stairway to heaven. After a deep sigh, he lifted his cane and took his first step”

Tell me:

  • Is Richard old or young?
  • Why is Richard using a cane?
  • Is he standing tall or hunched over?
  • Is Richard determined, excited or resigned? What did it mean when he sighed?
  • Did you feel sympathy or curiosity?
  • What colour is his hair?
  • What nationality is he?
  • Are the stairs in a house or office building – or are they floating in clouds?

Our imaginations can fill in most of the detail… and they likely did as you read my 2 line story… and this is a good thing. I’ve given you just enough information to help you make it real… for you. However, I have to be careful not to give you too much room for creativity because I don’t want you to make a decision I don’t want you to make.

For example – if I’m not careful you might decide Richard is young, lazy and irresponsible… which is a problem if I’m writing a fundraising letter and I want you to feel sympathy because he is a young army veteran who has been injured in service to his country.

Conclusion

Business stories are great ways to spread crucial information to one or to many. We can’t help but love stories – we welcome information and remember information much better when it is wrapped in a good story. Stories let us feel.

Happy communicating, learning and business story writing.

Please share and/or Tweet this post if you like it. It’ll only take a moment and will help us both share thoughtful business best practices.

Some popular ‘It Feels Good To Share‘ links are at the end of this post.

Bruce Mayhew Consulting

If you enjoyed this Business Communication blog post we think you’ll like:

Bruce Mayhew is founder and President of Bruce Mayhew Consulting a Professional Development firm that excels at quickly and easily tailoring programs to meet the unique needs of our clients and their employees. In addition to being an effective professional development trainer, Bruce is a popular conference speaker, writer and has been featured on major TV, Radio and Newspaper networks ranging from CTV to Global to The Globe & Mail.

Connect with Bruce on Twitter, Google+ and Linkedin.

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Mindfulness, Time Management and more.

Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.

Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

Click on the image to the right to watch us on Canada AM.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

Turning Around A Bad News Business Story

There is no doubt that social media can take a bad news business story and spread it around quickly, but can you recover from a bad news story? Here is an example of one business story that went viral and how it demonstrates a bad and a good outcome.

The thing that makes this business story powerful for individuals like you and me is that the customer did what most of us would have done. We can see ourselves in exactly the same predicament and experiencing the same disappointment… we can relate!

The Bad News Story

The story is simple… which is the best kind.

Recently, CTV News reported that during a nation-wide promotional contest a customer rolled up the lip of their beverage cup to find the tab said they won a $100 store gift card. The customer then did what most of us would have done – and perhaps have done in the past; they removed the tab with the winning notice and threw away the dirty cup.

Unfortunately, the customer was unaware of a new (and little-known), contest rule to claim their winning. The rule that even some franchisee owners didn’t know of was that winners have to present both the tab and a PIN number which was written somewhere on the cup.

As a result the $100 prize was not offered and the customer was disappointed.

The Good News Story

A franchisee owner of this coffee chain heard about what happened. His response was to give the customer a $100 gift card anyway.

Because of the simple and quick actions of the franchisee owner, I bet the owner has received a constant flow of compliments from family, friends and customers. I suspect he also has solidified customer loyalty throughout his community and beyond (not to mention an incalculable amount of free advertising).

In addition, it would not surprise me that the franchisee owner has chalked up a partial recovery for the reputation of the coffee chain. I hope there is a steady stream of well deserved thanks coming his way from the other franchisee owners no matter what city/province they are in.

Conclusion

written by Daniel Kahneman

written by Daniel Kahneman

There are powerful lessons for business owners in these two stories.

First lesson is to be careful with your marketing messages and managing customer expectations. Poor communication can backfire.

If you are introducing change, know that in most cases change takes time to be absorbed – especially when small, familiar things are changing. As Nobel Prize winner and Professor Daniel Kahneman outlines in his bestselling book Thinking, Fast and Slow, our human brains are designed to filter out ‘the familiar’ so we can focus our attention on things that are new and/or important and which therefore may need higher-level reasoning.

Second lesson is that most mistakes can be made into a win if you move quickly and take ownership of them and engage in empathy and compassion as you respond.

Happy communicating.

Click here to join our priority list to receive our latest Business Communication blog posts.

If you enjoyed this post we think you’ll like:

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Business Writing, Email Etiquette, Time Management and Mindfulness.

Click on the image to watch us on Canada AM.

Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We listen.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

Business Stories Can Be Simple And Effective

April 8, 2015 is a Day of Pink, when people around the world are encouraged to wear pink.

The idea of a pink day is to celebrate diversity and show support for those who are (or have been) bullied or who have felt discrimination.

Demonstrating that telling an effective story doesn’t need to be complex or expensive, one Toronto police officer dyed his hair pink, with a pledge to keep his hair pink for a week if his post was re-tweeted 1,000 times.

Started Off Smallish

The campaign started off small, where in advance of April 8 he tweeted out that if he received 200 retweets he would colour his hair pink. We can be happy that Officer Watson (PC8430), reached his 200 retweet goal.

The next request was for 500 retweets. If he reached that goal he would post pictures of his pink hair.  Thankfully he reached that goal as well.

PC8430

PC8430: Officer Watson

Then It Went Big

On the morning of April 8, and with much fanfare PC8430 dyed his hair pink… and the news channels and social media took off. Officer Watson put out a pledge that he would keep his hair pink for a week if his post was re-tweeted 1,000 times.

Officer Watson: PC8430 Toronto Police Department

Officer Watson: PC8430 Toronto Police Department

His post was re-tweeted – even by Toronto Mayor John Tory (a personal thumbs up to the police officer, the police department and Mayor Tory).

At the time of this post the photo has far exceeded its 1,000 retweet request and has attracted attention from radio, TV, newspaper and of course social media proving business stories can be simple and effective.  For example, this Toronto story was just picked up the New York Daily News.

Well done to everyone involved.

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Time Management, Multigenerational Communication and Mindfulness.

Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

View Bruce Mayhew's profile on LinkedIn

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.  

How To Make Your Business Stories Live

Whether your business stories are for your website, your presentation at your AGM or for an important client proposal, knowing how to make your business stories live is crucial to engaging your audience, empowering your employees and helping your brand soar. But if you’ve tried telling business stories you know creating the right balance isn’t easy. Staying away from corporate jargon and getting the right combination of emotion and fact is tough.

Storytelling Word Mix By Bruce Mayhew

How To Make Your Business Stories Live

A business story structure can vary, however it often follows:

  • Characters:
    • Main
    • Supporting
  • Context which sets the environment:
    • Where and when is it taking place? 
    • The setting can use one or more images that stimulate our five senses (sight, sound, touch, taste and smell)
  • Plot:
    • What are the events that frame the main theme or purpose?
  • Climax:
    • What is the struggle, vulnerability or conflict the main character experiences?
  • Solution / Resolution:
    • How was the main struggle overcome or diminished and what parts did everyone play?

Engaging Style Tips That Make Business Stories Live

Nobody wants to hear a long list of statistics or how wonderful you/your organization is. Great business stories build relationship and trust – and nobody or no company is perfect 100% of the time. Audiences will stop believing you if all they hear are ‘walk on water’ stories (as my mother would say). Great stories include vulnerability, conflict or challenge. For example, was it:

  • A huge client request that you rose to?
  • A personal crisis?
  • An important delivery that was stuck in a snowstorm?

Great stories let the listener believe what you are saying and should engage their empathy. Your audience should be able to relate to your story or at least imagine what it might be like to have been faced with the feelings of conflict, happiness, sadness and/or pride.

Help your audience remember your story for days/weeks and hopefully months later by tapping into their own powerful emotions. And then (in most cases), help your audience take one more step – the step of compassion and a desire to act – to do something.

Technical Writing Tips For Great Business Stories

I find business stories are best when told in either first person or third person. First person means that one of the characters in the story is telling/recounting the story. Third person means that the person telling the story is not part of the story – they are an observer.

Stories are almost always best when written with short sentences, common language and short paragraphs. The longer and more complex everything is, the more work the audience needs to do when listening/reading; and you don’t want them to work… you want them to feel. Especially if your audience is outside or new to your business, avoid jargon and acronyms as much as possible. Even be careful with things like program names, which can easily be different from one business or one industry to another.

Conclusion

You can see there’s a lot involved in putting together a great business story.

Great stories grab your audience with your opening and holds onto them the whole time. Every part of the business story should keep your audience emotionally invested in the main character, plot and solution.

Remember, dull statistics will almost always serve as a distraction.

Happy communicating and business story writing. Thank you!

Click here to join our priority list of people who receive our latest Business Communication blog posts.

If you enjoyed this post we think you’ll like:

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Multigenerational Training, Time Management and Mindfulness.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.

Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

Click on the image to watch us on Canada AM.

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

Using Stories To Sell: Building Awareness, Trust And Relationships

From the beginning of time stories have helped people teach, learn and share values. Great stories make ideas come alive and events memorable. Great stories also trigger a wide range of emotional responses (from confidence and respect to fear and anger), which actually help listeners and/or readers visualize an experience.

Because your stories are alive, treat them like gold. Great stories are more than just words on a page, use stories to sell because great stories can almost appear 3-dimensional… far more memorable than listening to a list of features and benefits.

Where To Use Stories

Great business stories are a fantastic resource because they make your core competencies come alive and build your brand and reputation. Benefits include:

  • Building / reinforcing client trust
  • Getting noticed and understood by prospects
  • Existing customers learning about an unused specialty you offer
  • Building a client community
  • Demonstrating values
  • Sharing important information
  • Describe creativity and customer service
  • A training tool for new employees
  • Making presentations easier on the presenter and more interesting for the audience

In addition, business stories can be a source of:

  • Employee Pride
  • Client Pride
  • Community Pride

Great stories help us learn, explore and relate to the information being shared.

How to Use Stories

Most of us share causal stories all day when speaking with friends/colleagues… for example, “Yesterday I installed a new screen door on my home. Thankfully I soon noticed that the 3rd and 4th steps in the instructions were reversed so I had to…”

Great stories – especially great business stories can do anything from describing a need, to a challenging situation to a resolution… and so much more. And, in addition to describing or solving a practical situation, great stories very often also satisfy an emotional need (even if it is subtle), in your listeners and/or readers. It’s important you pay attention to this as you build/draft/share you story because this emotional need is part of what makes great stories so memorable.

Example: In a corporate world the practical need is to hire a dependable, affordable, high-quality paper and laser cartridge supplier. Some of the business needs and values are:

  • Environmentally friendly / fair trade source
  • Recyclable / reusable pre and post materials
  • A socially responsible, inclusive supplier

And in addition, some individual needs that may (consciously or unconsciously), need to be satisfied might be:Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 1.09.36 PM

  • To make the procurement department look good
  • To make the job of reordering easy
  • To trust that the supplier can deliver what they say they can

By addressing the corporate needs and (perhaps subtly), addressing the individual needs, your story may be just the thing required to lock in a big new customer. Therefore, when you look at great business stories for your company – be sure to include stories about emotional successes as well as how you are able to increase production and/or reduce expenses.

Conclusion:

Stories are a living asset that sales people and everyone else at your company can use to make interpersonal connection with whomever they are speaking with or writing to to build your brand, build pride and build relationships.

So, have a library of great stories ready and share them your sales people, your employees, your suppliers… and anyone else you can think of.

Happy Selling And Story Telling. 

Click here to join our priority list of people who receive our latest Business Communication blog posts. If you enjoyed this post we think you’ll like:

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Multigenerational Training, Time Management and Mindfulness.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.

Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

Click on the image to watch us on Canada AM.

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

Business Stories Will Sell Your Services For You

Story telling is one of the most effective ways to make a connection. 

Why Telling Business Stories Works

Telling business stories can help people consider new possibilities, broaden their knowledge, think outside the box… and therefore deepen their understanding. When you tell a story (vs. listing product facts and specifics that most of us are really good at ignoring), you have an opportunity to develop report and build relationships as you demonstrate your unique talents / abilities and therefore establish you as a trusted partner / expert.

Especially if your business is selling, you want to tell stories that will create memories; especially if you can entertain and engage your audience.  And, when your business stories are remembered they will sell your services for you (word of mouth), for days, months and even years down the road.

4 Important Goals When Writing Business Stories That Will Sell Your Services For You

1. Have More Than One Story

Business stories can help people expand what they think or know… or you can help people focus on a specific area of your business depending on your objective. One story creates a connection; multiple stories provide depth and understanding. All you need to know is:Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 4.30.12 PM

  • Who is your audience?
  • What do they know?
  • What is your purpose?

Mix it up. Try to add as much diversity to your story portfolio as possible. Every story adds to the quilt of understanding.

Example: You don’t only drink Coke ® at a picnic. So, Coke commercials show people enjoying the soft drink in many different times, places – at work and at play.

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 3.49.49 PM

2. Start With The End In Mind

Know what you want to achieve – what is your one goal? To reach that goal, what is the gap you have to close that will benefit your customer?  Is it awareness? Is it safety? Is it decreased risk or cost?

Helping your customer achieve their goal will help you achieve your business goal. Their job isn’t to buy your product / service; they have a need and you have to show them how your product / service will improve their situation.

3. Bottom-line Your Message

If you start by introducing lots of background information before you get to the problem and solution, your audience will move on before you get to your important message. Instead, bottom-line your message. Tell / show them why your business story is interesting – then they will stay with you and listen attentively as you establish appropriate background.

4. Use Your Business Stories Everywhere

Use your stories everywhere: online, in print and in video. Post your stories on your website homepage, in presentation decks and sales collateral / proposals, letters / brochures, even build commercials around stories.

Conclusion: Find Stories In Your Feedback / Testimonials

Use the feedback you receive from clients, suppliers, consumer rating services – even competitors and create business stories. There is no source of positive information that should be overlooked – just judge your source respectfully and appropriately based on your audience.

Coke is the registered trademark of The Coca-Cola Company in the United States.

Happy communicating, creating workplace harmony and reducing employee turnover.

Click here to join our priority list to receive our latest Business Communication blog posts. If you enjoyed this post we think you’ll like:

Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Business Writing, Email Etiquette, Time Management and Mindfulness.

Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

Click on the image to watch us on Canada AM.

Bruce Mayhew Consulting

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

How To Keep And Motivate A Multicultural And Multigenerational Workforce

Not too many years ago employees stayed with companies for years… and they accepted that a combination of hierarchy and seniority determined most decisions. But things are different today: at the ready is a multicultural and multigenerational workforce that wants to contribute in a team environment.

For companies that embrace this diversity in the workplace, there are many short and long-term strategic advantages. One of the most obvious is that this workforce also reflects the multicultural and multigenerational nature (needs / wants), of your suppliers and clients.

One of the first things companies have to develop is a plan to attract, keep and motivate top employees from all generations (Traditional Generation or Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Gen X and Millennials), and cultures. That means companies have to offer top employees more than high pay (the motivator of the young American Baby Boomer). Work / life balance and career / personal development are important for most people in today’s job market. Even the average (now mature), American Baby Boomer is looking to enjoy life, family, and explore a dream or two as they near retirement or begin post-retirement careers.

This means most top employees will quickly look for new employment unless they:

  • Feel motivated along the company goals / values
  • Believe their employer is respectful of their unique perspectives / goals / values
  • See how important exceptional business communication is with co-workers / clients
  • Know how to communicate and work with co-workers / clients… especially from other:
    • Cultures
    • Generations

What’s the solution? Excellent question. The answer is as diverse as your workforce and company – but here are two suggestions. Just remember that people will feel empowered and engaged when they have a choice.

“We are our choices.”

Jean-Paul Sartre

Example 1: Paid Time Off

Paid time off is an excellent solution. Paid time off benefits Baby Boomers who might want to explore a dream or conduct specialized research. Paid time off also benefits Gen X and Millennials (Gen Y), who want to develop additional skills. In both cases the company is also likely to benefit when their (very happy), employee returns.

Before you disregard this option as too expensive, calculate how much employee turnover costs. The average is 1.5 times their salary to search, hire and train middle level employees and up to 4 times their salary for specialized or senior employees… not to mention the less than exceptional performance you might experience while your unhappy employee is searching for a new job.

Consider working with employees wanting paid time off to create a mutually beneficial solution. A discussion makes them part of the solution and gives them choice.

Example 2: Peer Mentoring

People take ownership and learn better when they are part of the learning process. So, establish a one-on-one or group peer mentoring program with people from different generations and different cultures. Within this program, establish this is an environment where learning about each other is one of the primary goals.

Here are a few company and personal benefits / objectives of peer mentoring:

  • Experienced Baby Boomers coach Millennials (Gen Y), on ‘company history and culture’ and traditional business best-practices.
  • Gen X and Millennials introduce Boomers and members of the Traditional Generation or Silent Generation to new technology and coach how to use it.
  • All employees have a chance to be creative in a safe – respected space.
  • Employees from different cultures and generations can openly explore how they ‘feel’ about possible decisions in a safe – respected space.

The important part is to communicate openly so you can share and explore decisions made based on each other’s cultural, experiential and generational ‘nature’.

Whatever You Do… Support Them

No matter what solution you implement your multicultural and multigenerational workforce will benefit from a coach to co-establish objective and processes. A coach will also be able to teach them how to communicate and how to listen (note: this is not a plug – I am a corporate trainer not a coach).

A coach can also help individuals or teams recognize their many similarities (see the following examples). These are important because similarities will help ground the individual / team.

Multigenerational and Multicultural Workforce Similarities *

The desire for:

  • Respect
    • Personal
    • Professional
    • Gender
    • Lifestyle
    • Interesting, ‘rewarding’, challenging, sometimes independent – meaningful work
    • A positive work environment
    • A physically and emotionally ‘safe’ work environment
      • Personal
      • Professional
      • An opportunity to add value – to make a difference
      • An opportunity to grow / learn
      • Work / life balance
      • Fair pay
      • A fun, enjoyable, can-do experience

 “It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.”

Roy Disney

 * This doesn’t mean every person wants the same or rates them in the same order.

 Conclusion:

People from different generations and different cultures are transforming office life. When people with different backgrounds cooperate, creativity and innovation happens. The result from this diversity in the workplace is that people learn how to communicate and generate ideas that usually creates high-impact change with low economic and emotional risk and high economic and emotional gain. Fantastic!

Happy communicating.

Click here to join our priority list of people who receive our latest Business Communication blog posts.

If you enjoyed this post we think you’ll like:

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Multigenerational Training, Time Management and Mindfulness.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.

Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

Click on the image to watch us on Canada AM.

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

How To Send And Receive Less Email

This year most of my email training clients have had the same main request; they want their employees to learn how to email effectively so that they send and receive fewer email. And no wonder since the average business person sends and receives over 100 email every day… many over 300 every day.

Email was once seen as a tool that would increase efficiencies and competitive opportunity. Today email is a great business tool we can’t do without. But more and more we’re using it as a crutch instead of as a catapult.

Email Icon

The challenge is that the way we write email is decreasing our efficiencies, easily costing companies $3,000 or more PER employee every year in loss of productivity and opportunity lost… not to mention the loss to their personal and professional reputation.

How much time we spend emailing every day is astonishing. For example: if a person sends and receives 100 email during an 8-hour day (not accounting for lunch, breaks or meetings), they use email every 4.8 minutes.  If they send and receive 300 email they use email every 1.6 minutes. imagine…

Thankfully there are a easy steps we can all learn to use that will reduce email volume and be more efficient at work; here are just a few.

Use The Phone Or Walk Down The Hall

Sometimes even the most professional email is not the right solution. If we’re wondering how to email, the best strategy may be to pick up the phone – especially if there are issues that need to be brainstormed. The bonus is that conversations often build better business relationships and usually take less time.

Consider All Of Your Needs – And All Of Your Readers Needs

Too often we write email as a single thought – not a complete need or objective. Over an extended period of time (and countless email interruptions), we send email messages back and forth until we finally have discussed or shared (perhaps with some frustration), all the important points. When you write email, learn to bottom line your objectives and stick to the important issues – but cover all of them at once.

Write Great Email Subject Lines

Email subject lines are used as a primary resource readers use to determine if they will read your email now, later or never. Subject lines are also the first opportunity for you to make an impression. If you leave the subject line blank – or use a universal word like ‘Sale’ or ‘Meeting’, you risk being overlooked – all the time.

Value Your Values

Employees should know without hesitation the corporate and department values. They should also know how they can use these values to differentiate the company and themselves every time they write email or speak with clients, suppliers or their co-workers.

Conclusion

Email training is a fast and efficient way to turn email back into a catapult for your employees and business. When you know how to email, it’s a powerful business tool and a very sound investment.

Happy communicating.

Click here to join our priority list of people who receive our latest Business Communication blog posts.

If you enjoyed this post we think you’ll like:

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Multigenerational Training, Time Management and Mindfulness.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.

Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

Click on the image to watch us on Canada AM.

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

Please like, share, subscribe and/or comment on this blog.

What is Empathy?

I was recently asked ‘What is empathy?’ and ‘How might empathy at work impact business and business communication?’ They are great questions so I thought I would explore them here with you.

Empathy is the ability to ‘imagine’ what it would be like to experience what another person is experiencing. Empathic people are intuitive and often sense the unspoken needs, emotions or tensions of people. That said, it doesn’t mean empathic people agree with what they are sensing.Best Jobs For Empathetic People.

Empathic people often have terrific people skills and enjoy working with and helping people. In these cases an empathetic person becomes a knight in shining armour – coming to the rescue.

While empathy is a valuable business communication (or parenting), asset – it can also be a business challenge. It’s important for employees to always realize it’s important to care for the integrity of the business (brand, quality and reputation), while they support its customers / suppliers / employees. Therefore the empathic employee must look for the immediate value as well as the long-term value of all sides of every relationship.

Empathy Isn’t A Weakness

Empathy is sometimes seen as a weakness – an opportunity to take advantage of the caring person or company. While the manipulation of anyone is possible, there’s no good reason to isolate empathy as a character weakness.

The reality is that many great leaders have great empathic skills. Empathy is an asset because it allows great leaders to accurately motivate staff to perform in a way that satisfies both company and individual (staff and leader), objectives.

After reading Steve Jobs biography I expect he was quite empathetic (he always seemed to know what someones wants / needs were). But Steve Jobs had virtually no compassion for people so was often hard on those around him (family being a wavering exception). On the flip side, Steve seems to have had much compassion for the products he was involved in building and the customers (as a mass market), he was ‘helping’.

Compassion And Other Closely Related Character Traits

Many strong, empathic people are aware of the symbiotic relationship between other related character traits. For example, important to empathy are core competency (a person’s ability to do their job), values and job satisfaction.

Compassion (or caring), is also important because compassion can motivate the empathic person to take action and to use their people skills. A person who says “I see” or “Tell me more about that” is demonstrating they care for what the other person is feeling, knowing and / or experiencing. If the other person doesn’t feel sincerity it’s likely they will not be as open as they could or would like to be.

Empathy Example 1.

Bob is a carpenter who is proud of the decks he builds and personally designs them to meet the needs of his clients. His empathy and compassion help him focus on things competitors overlook or don’t care about (for example making sure clients can’t trip when entering the house from their deck).

Bob has decided to get a part-time job and finds one at a hardware store; the fit seems complementary. During his shift there is a constant flow of homeowners who ask questions related to building their own decks. When Bob gives the customers advise they often ask for short cuts.

It doesn’t take long before his boss notices Bob is visibly frustrated and raises this as a customer service issue.

Bob is still an empathic person but he is also proud of his ability (core competency), and his finished product. The challenge is that because many customers are looking for short cuts he feels he and his profession are not being respected.

Certainly some changes need to be made if Bob is to remain a valuable employee – and lets face it – he has great value. There are many possible solutions… for example Bob may be better suited to be a special support representative for other contractors or to give demonstration classes.

Empathy Example 2.

Mrs. Smith calls your Customer Service Hotline after receiving a book she ordered online for her husband as a birthday gift. She realizes she mistakenly ordered the wrong issue but your company is now sold-out of the issue she needs.

Possible Non-Empathy Solution; Customer Service Representative Speaking:

“That’s unfortunate Mrs. Smith. We are sold-out of that issue and not expecting stock for 1 month.

Please return the book you did order and I will see you get a full credit. You can re-order the book you want in a month.”

Possible Empathic Solution; Customer Service Representative Speaking:

”That’s unfortunate Mrs. Smith. We are sold-out of that issue and not expecting stock for 1 month.

May I suggest a book from the author XYZ – I see that people who have been reading ABC have quite enjoyed this new author. I can have XYZ’s best selling book to you in two days and it might give your husband a new favourite author. We can also pre-order the volume you wanted which means your husband will have another surprise in a month.

Please return the book you did order and I will see you get a full credit.”

What happened here was that the book wasn’t the problem. The problem was she didn’t have a birthday gift for her husband… and that she had made a mistake. But being empathetic and having compassion for Mrs. Smiths situation enabled you to resolve her problem, secure an additional sale and likely – create a customer for life that will positively tell other people about your brand and company.

Conclusion

By using empathy and knowing how to be compassionate within your business communication you can often quickly get to what happened and explore why. Customer service, customer retention and employee job satisfaction will also soar. You may find that ‘the situation’ is often just a symptom of another business issue… so if we can work with the customer to uncover the other issue we can often find a better solution to a much different problem… easily.

What Are Good Careers For Empathic People?

  • Customer Service Professional
  • Physical therapist
  • Counselor
  • Psychologist
  • Teacher / Professor

Happy communicating.

Click here to join our priority list of people who receive our latest Business Communication blog posts.

If you enjoyed this post we think you’ll like:

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Multigenerational Training, Time Management and Mindfulness.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.

Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

Click on the image to watch us on Canada AM.

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

%d bloggers like this: