Embrace Your Night Owl Employees

I can’t even imagine working at night. Anything I do after 8PM had better not need strategic thought.  But at 6AM (or earlier), I can plow through creative, thoughtful, strategic work like an Olympic runner at a marathon.

Yup – I’m a morning person. Even on weekends ‘sleeping in’ past 8AM rarely happens.

And then there’s my friend Catherine. Catherine is a Night Owl. For Catherine, she’s not at her ‘best’ in the morning; her energy patterns – her Circadian Rhythms – are ‘different’ than 80%-90% of the population.Circadian Rhythm

No matter what time you sleep, each of us does our best, most strategic, most creative work when we are rested.

As a chronic morning person I used to believe Night Owls routinely went to bed too late and that if they changed some of their habits they could also enjoy getting to the office early. Now, as a Time Management Trainer I’ve see over and over evidence that tells me Night Owls are only embracing their natural way. When I’m training there’s usually at least one person in the team that says they do their best work at night.

Thankfully for Catherine and other Night Owls like her, work spaces are changing so Night Owls can better embrace their late-night energy spikes.

As work environments change businesses are becoming more accepting that people work on different schedules – whether employees want to because of family commitments – or have to because they are Night Owls. Virtual ‘work wherever & whenever’ companies that have employees throughout the country or the world are becoming more and more common.

Benefits Of Embracing Night Owl Employees

  • If you are an “in-the-office” company, see if you can give employees more flexibility. It’s not a perfect solution for a Night Owl, but if someone can travel during off-peak hours it means they will be working when THEY are more productive. It likely also means your employees are less stressed and will be happier because they spend less time sitting in traffic and more time doing the work they enjoy or being with their family/friends. And, happy employees are more creative, more productive and will be more loyal to your organization and your values – meaning better customer service and less time having to rehire, retrain, re….
  • If you are a “virtual” company, it’s likely you’ve already embraced the idea of hiring the best people vs. the best people living within 100kms of… wherever; your employees are likely in a different time zone. It’s also likely you and your employees are happily experiencing a ROWE (Results Only Work Environment), who cares when they do their work as long as they meet their timelines, budgets and work quality. Your virtual employees can work when THEY are most productive… it also makes them happier. So – what you have is a happy, productive employee who again, will be more creative, more productive and will be more loyal to your organization and your values – meaning better customer service and less time having to rehire, retrain, re….

No matter what your company structure is like, leaders need to explore what is right for each member of their team… and to focus more on keeping their team collaborating and focused on the vision and goals vs. when or where they are doing their work.

When Should Night Owls Send Email?

I get asked this more and more often when I deliver Email Etiquette Training. Proper workplace etiquette has put more pressure on employers to leave employees alone during their time off. For most, this roughly means no contact from 6PM to 8AM.

If you are a Night Owl like Catherine I recommend you use a delay-send feature for email so the email you write gets sent closer to 8AM vs. 11PM, 2AM or 4AM. Other than not disturbing your fellow co-workers, I believe this is especially important if you are emailing clients. Consider that a 1:30AM email might give your client a negative feeling that you are out of control.

Conclusion

What is your Circadian Rhythm and work-life pattern? What are your most productive hours? More importantly, as a leader when are your employees most productive? As work-spaces change it’s important we enable our employees to be productive when people are productive. If you are a leader – help your team find joy… you will be rewarded with loyal, hard-working, creative team members.

Our work and our work schedule should give us joy. Hopefully you can find a schedule to help you be the best person you can be and do your best work.

Happy communicating… interviewing… mentoring… and training.

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Leadership: A Leaders Responsibilities Have Changed: Part 1

Being a leader isn’t glamorous or easy. Changing your leadership style is even more difficult… but the rewards of both are immense.

If you are an individual or a company, your leadership qualities and leadership style are essential if you are going to survive and thrive. Stats show that half the companies in the S&P500 are different from 1999 (Source Sam Ro). Said another way, the world is changing around us and longevity demands our leaders promote responsible change and keep their teams adapting.

Leader TrainingLets think back a few years when Blackberry (Research In Motion), was leading the smartphone market. Many Leadership Coaches agree that Blackberry’s leaders had become comfortable that their main core competency (their security protocols), would continue to lead market demand. Then Apple innovated the market and gave mobile users new features like cameras, an ipod, touch screen, useful apps and high-definition for movie watchers and gamers. Almost overnight Blackberry became one of the smallest players in the mobile market.

Apple, a company known for a non-traditional approach to almost everything focused on customer delight, not how to keep doing the same thing and maximize existing revenue. Apple won because their leaders and by extension their employees looked at tomorrow and built a solution for tomorrows customer. Apple leaders gave their employees the freedom to look at what individuals were doing within their lives and explore solutions. By doing this Apple leaders and employees did far more than maximize existing revenue – they created a whole new revenue stream. HOOYAH!

This is a good segue into one of the key things leaders need to do.

Put Your Customer And Employee Needs First

Before you think about maximize existing revenue or cost cutting to increase ROI, are you preparing for what customers will want tomorrow? How can you make life better for them? When you make life better people see value, and when they see value they will buy your stuff.

The world is going to be different tomorrow!

Not only are customer needs changing, employees’ wants and needs are changing… really quickly. So, your leadership qualities and leadership style also has to change if you want to survive.

Great companies run on great employees. Products don’t think or make themselves – and they don’t innovate themselves.

Innovation happens in months not years, and to keep up leaders need their employees to grow, contribute, innovate and collaborate. Todays leaders need to create a vision and instead of telling their team what to do and how to get it done, todays leaders / mangers are successful when they empower their team and remove roadblocks.

Great leaders have learned how to hire and motivate great employees… and stay out of their way.

Conclusion

Customers want great products. Employees want to be proud, contribute and get better/learn.

Doing the same thing and/or just putting in more hours isn’t going to… work; it’s not 1958. So, how do companies attract, motivate and retain promising employees who build great customer solutions? How do companies prepare employees to be tomorrows leaders? The simple answer is to invest in leadership training and leadership development for todays leaders – and tomorrows leaders.

Happy leadership and communication.

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The Difference Between Belief, Faith and Trust

I believe… the differences between Belief, Faith and Trust holds great insight about how you and I act in our professional business lives and in our personal lives. This also includes how we manage difficult conversations and how we interpret information, are motivated and how we mentor others.

Unfortunately many of us treat belief, faith and trust as the same thing even though there are significant differences; this puts everyone at a disadvantage when we communicate. So, lets take a quick look at the difference between belief, faith and trust.

What Is Belief?

Everyone’s beliefs can be different. Beliefs can be something a person feels/perceives is true – even if we have to ignore proof our belief is incorrect. For example, Global Warming. Another common example is who we believe the best candidate in a political race is. In both of these examples our beliefs are largely supported by personal and perhaps even selfish reasons. So, beliefs have 2 options. They can be:

  1. Absolute and proven (we know water is made of 2 Hydrogen and 1 Oxygen molecule).
  2. A matter of personal and/or professional opinion (Union employment talks).

In addition, the more firmly convinced we become of our belief, the more confidant we may grow and the less we’ll listen to other options. Therefore, when we is closed we often don’t leave room for discussion or flexibility. The safety of the TITANIC is a good example of a belief that lead to overconfidence. Politics between countries offer us many such examples. Because beliefs are often a matter of personal experience, perspective and judgement as much as they may be of fact, they often change slowly – over time as we gather more information (knowledge) and experience.

Is Faith The Same As Trust?

Faith and trust are often confused and/or used interchangeably but they do have different meanings. What Is Faith?

  • Faith is often thought of as a spiritual concept. Faith is a devotion or loyalty where belief is important but proof may be less quantifiable. Religions are good examples of faith – or anywhere where a leap of optimism (faith), is required. Faith is something we ‘HAVE’…

What Is Trust?

  • Trust is often thought of in the context of relationships. Tangible proof is important. Being able to anticipate how another person will act is an example of trust (often because you have proof this is how they’ve acted in the past). Trust is something we ‘DO’…

    Belief supports Faith & Trust

    Belief supports Faith & Trust

Faith and Trust are supported by our beliefs… even if those beliefs are not logically supported… or even untrue. Trust / faith is broken only if a persons belief is broken… or trust / faith can be strengthened if belief deepens. Note: Trust is perhaps more fragile than faith. If trust is broken, it takes a long time to build it back.

Example 1 (Belief is supported): In business – if you and I are working on a project for the first time, do I have trust (not faith), you will be honourable and truthful? Yes, if I believe you are also focused on the organizations values and best interest – even though my only proof may be that you are employed. But one-on-one experience can change my beliefs quickly and therefore trust. The best approach for a successful project and working relationship would be to confirm objectives and values… therefore our beliefs and trust.

Example 2 (Belief is untrue): In a Ponzi scheme I believe you are truthful and you will give me a high ROI with low risk. My belief gives me trust that you will deliver results. But, in a Ponzi scheme this truth is a lie / the belief is unfounded and trust is eventually compromised.

Conclusion:

When we consider what people believe, have faith in and trust we can understand each other.

Whether we are speaking of belief, faith or trust, we will always be at our best if you and I support our conversations with an open mind and non-judegement… allowing ourselves to listen to each other and consider options based on mutually agreed objectives.

Our personal lives and our workspaces will always benefit.

Happy communicating and learning.

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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.

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

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How To Hire An Employee Who Will Stay More Than 12 Months.

Have you ever interviewed and hired an employee who had all the right experience but in the end were a poor fit… or quit after less than a year?

Not only is this a huge cost for your company – it’s an enormous opportunity lost in productivity. The cost to interview, hire an employee and train them is expensive. Many studies suggest an employee begins to become financially valuable only after 1 to 1.5 years. 

If you hired an employee who seemed to be the right fit but quickly became a disappointment, chances are their needs were different than what your organization could offer, and their values were never compatible with your organization. The gap between what employees want and what they get is most often not money; instead most common reasons for leaving a company include:

  • Flexible work hours/environment
  • The office is outside of their preferred geographic area
  • They felt they were overqualified vs. responsibilities
  • Clear opportunities to learn and advancement opportunities
  • Recognition of their contribution (not enough)

In most cases employees realize there is a poor fit before employers do… and as soon as they do, they begin job-hunting again.

The Old Way Of Interviewing Holds Too Much Risk

Your company wants to / needs to invest in smart, dedicated employees and too often, the old way of interviewing leads to the wrong person being hired.

PWC What Millennials Want

Study by PWC

Most interviews evaluate past experience and a candidates response to hypothetical questions like “What would you do if….” Unfortunately, this approach provides an unreliable evaluation process – especially when it comes to Millennials (1980 – 2000) and Gen Z (2001 – present) since even the oldest Millennials likely have less than 10 years work experience.

A recent study by PWC demonstrates less than 30% of Millennial employees are satisfied with their jobs (see the red line in the image). I believe this is partially because they accepted job offers that didn’t match their needs and values. A BEI Interview structure would have saved you (and the employee), time, money and opportunity.

Your organization and work structure depends on measured deliverables.
Shouldn’t your hiring practices also be based on measured deliverables?

To hire an employee who will happily embrace the work they do for more than a year, explore their needs and values based on past behaviour. A BEI job interview structure evaluates a candidate’s true core competency, values and needs by asking ‘how’ and ‘why’ a candidate has done ‘what’ they’ve done.

BEI helps you explore how they’ve managed real situations in the past. Lived experience and past behavior is a far better predictor of future behavior than exploring hypothetical situations. 

The Benefit

I’ve already discussed a few benefits, but here’s a full list. Not only will you hire the right employee, a BEI system:

  • Happens quickly (hiring decisions made more quickly because you will see quickly who is the best fit)
  • Uses an interview assessment scorecard which provides consistent, quantifiable proof
  • Is cost effectively (the right employees get up-to-speed fast, are happier, are more passionate about the job)
  • Employees produce more and make fewer mistakes
  • Happy employees stay longer and are more creative
  • The hiring decision is defendable / measurable / stands up to scrutiny
  • Gaps in skill set are identified. Gaps aren’t bad – they are places where an investment of education or mentoring will make the biggest gain. 

What If A Candidate Has A Gap In Skills But Great Values?

The beauty with a BEI is that it does a great job of uncovering all the strengths a person has, and it also lets you list all their gaps.

If a candidate is lacking one or two minor skills that may not be a problem. Values and personality traits like respect and attention to detail are difficult to learn (or fake), whereas many skills can be quickly learned by highly motivated employees. If you have identified skill gaps in a high potential new employee, you can put in place an effective education plan to teach the stills they are lacking; far better than losing the time and costs associated with re-teaching them skills they already have OR miss teaching them skills they are lacking.

Also, if you hire an employee that knows everything don’t be surprised if they get bored and quickly move on. A participant in one my recent BEI training workshops shared with the class that this recently happened to her – hence her desire to learn a new, more reliable interview system.

Conclusion:

Does your company have an approved structure for hiring people? Do you usually hire people because you like them or because they will fit in?

While many organizations struggle to increase employee loyalty – and there is lots of benefit to identifying and hiring motivated employees.

Happy communicating and business email etiquette for your office.

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Train People Well Enough So They Can Leave

In a world where employers believe employee loyalty no longer exists, why should a company train employees well enough so they can leave? Because this is exactly how you keep them from leaving agree many leaders and HR specialist.Treat People Well Enough So They Can Leave

If you want employee loyalty, all you have to do is convince your most valuable asset that you respect them, value them and what to invest in their success.

True or False Question.

Employees… and especially Millennials (under 30 years old), look out for their best interests first?

You bet they do, more and more employees of all ages are looking to work for a company that will provide them career development opportunities and support. Employees want to better themselves; to expand their knowledge and expertise. 

If you train people well enough so they can leave, their productivity will increase and they’ll be more loyal.

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 2.30.37 PM

Productivity and employee loyalty rises exponentially when managers hire for positive attitude and Emotional Intelligence (EI), says Lee Anderson, Career Assessment and HR Consultant. Anderson continues, Set up new hires (and existing employees), for success by providing them with a comprehensive On-Boarding program which includes:

  • Clear expectations
  • Regular feedback
  • Meaningful shorter term job specific training
  • Longer term career path Professional Development training and mentoring   

This kind of integrated Talent Management process is a compelling way to convince high performers that they’re an investment not overhead.  That goes a long way to retaining them longer in your organization.

Another great idea is to develop a series of internally recognized ‘certificate’ programs to improve employee loyalty and retention even further. A 2-year skills training syllabus for new hires will shape their learning and ramp up their productivity quickly. New and existing employees will be motivated to complete each certificate program before they move on so they can add it to their Linkedin profile as an accomplishment. A learning syllabus might include topics like:

  • Managing Meetings
  • Negotiation Skills
  • Time Management
  • Email Etiquette
  • Listening Skills
  • Improve Coaching / Mentoring Skills
  • Problem Solving
  • Recruiting and Interview Techniques
  • Multigenerational Communication

Training can also focus on the individuals personal development. This training can be introduced as a perk or bonus which further strengthens loyalty. Therefore, employees may be provided an allowance to be used on personal development like:

  • A Weekend Meditation Retreat
  • Creative Writing
  • Wine Tasting / Cooking
  • A Second (or Third), Language
  • Photography
  • Painting / Art

Employees want to demonstrate their unique talents, values and beliefs. It makes sense therefore to enhance organizational performance by ensuring your employees work meets their needs, personal and professional values… and lifestyle. Work/life balance is a key motivator… especially for Millennials.

Work has to be more than a place to ‘go’…

As Barbara Moses, Ph.D. writes in her book ‘What Next’, “Great organizations meet the needs of the new [and existing] worker. People in these environments enjoy working with each other. They are stimulated to grow personally and professionally.

Conclusion To… Train People Well Enough So They Can Leave

Be an employer of choice by finding out what’s important to your employees. Increase employee loyalty by surveying your employees; ask them what’s important. Make a discussion part of your semiannual or quarterly performance evaluation (note: the more often you can discuss performance with Millennials the better – they love to be engaged at all levels), find out is what is important to your most valuable assets.

Your employees likely want to stay working for your organization as long as their personal and professional needs are being met.  Employees want to see the company they work for succeed and they want to be proud of what the company does as much as they want to be proud of what they accomplish – but they are not going to sacrifice themselves for the company… for very long.

Todays workplace is lean, time-urgent and results focused. The pressures for employers to retain top talent is high… because if you don’t keep your top talent, your competitors will gladly take them off your hands. 

Happy communicating and creating workplace harmony. Thank you!

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

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Increase Employee Loyalty In 1 Step. Hire The Right Person

Employee Loyalty is a growing challenge for organizations.  And while many organizations struggle to increase employee loyalty, I believe a significant part of the challenge is that the wrong people are being hired.  As employee needs and choices increase, it’s increasingly difficult to find the right fit to match the competencies for the job you are hiring for AND your corporate culture.  When a poor selection is made, it’s like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole… so no wonder the employee loyalty (and employee satisfaction), drops as employees are often the first to realize the fit is poor.

Behavior Event Interview Can Increase Employee Loyalty

A Behavior Event Interview (BEI) is a very powerful tool for employee assessment and selection that is structured, formal, measurable and consistently delivers exceptional hiring results. Since the best indicator of future behavior and performance is past behavior, BEI explores a persons past behavior.

Behavior Event Interview questions usually begin with: ‘Tell me about a time when…’ or ‘Describe a situation where…

Behavior Event Interview training (BEI training), guides participants through the steps to be able to prepare and conduct an interview where they:

  • Measure key competencies
  • Identify performance strengths
  • Identify performance gaps (and potential training needs), of high potential candidates
  • Forecast a candidates future behavior
  • Create a standardized framework that can be used by one person or a interview panel
  • Deliver consistent results
  • Eliminate bias in assessment
  • Provide quantitative and qualitative feedback which can be referred to days, months or years later

Being measurable is increasingly important for all employers as it provides consistent, quantifiable proof that the best candidate has been chosen and the final decision is defendable. The root of a BEI is therefore in the development and delivery of standardized questions that allow each candidate to be measured based on their own responses.

Creating BEI Questions:Increase Employee Loyalty

Whether you are creating BEI questions to be used by one person in one location – or many people in many locations, to increase employee loyalty each question should have a specific purpose to measure a pre-identified, desirable behavior and competency that is in line with the job deliverables.

During a BEI interview, candidates should always refer to ‘I’ to demonstrate their personal involvement.  This is not a place for ‘we’. While team involvement is often a desirable trait, this is one place you are looking to identify and measure individual achievement and potential.

As you prepare your interview questions, consider the core competency you need.  For example:

  • Managing multiple priorities
  • Sharing responsibility as part of a team
  • Resolving conflict
  • Demonstrating leadership
  • Mentoring one or more people
  • Increasing ROI

What Do Behavior Event Interview Questions Look Like?

When developing your BEI questions use the STAR model as your guide: “S” – situation, “T” – task, “A” – action, “R” result. Note: The following are not properly phrased interview questions.

Situation – Ask the candidate to describe:

  • What happened?
  • Who was involved?
  • How did you feel?

 Task – Ask the candidate to describe:

  • What needed to be done?
  • How did you arrive at that assessment?
  • How did you feel?

Action – Ask the candidate to describe:

  • What did you do to solve the situation?
  • Why did you choose that option?
  • How did you feel?

Result – Ask the candidate to describe:

  • What was the end result?
  • What did you learn from the situation?
  • How did you feel about the outcome or your participation / decisions?

You will note in my attempt to improve employee loyalty I like to explore how a candidate feels about the situation, assessment and their actions.

The following are ‘Situation’ based examples of Behavior Event Interview questions:

  • Describe an example when you were faced with problems involving an important client deliverable.
  • Give an example of a time when you had to quickly make an important decision.
  • Describe how you prioritize multiple projects.
  • Tell us of a time when you could not make a client happy despite your best efforts.

What Should The Candidates Answers Look Like?

The candidate is guided to describe successful (and unsuccessful) outcomes. Outcomes can be:

  • Business experience
  • Personal experience

While business examples are preferred, personal outcomes are also valid for two very good reasons:

  • A candidate may not have the professional experience (Millennials and Generation Z for example), but may still be able to describe events that demonstrate the fundamental values, behavior and/or desirable core competencies you are looking for.
  • People are… people.  More and more businesses are recognizing that employee loyalty and employee satisfaction increase when we embrace feelings like pride, respect and empathy.

Conclusion to Increase Employee Loyalty:

A Behavior Event Interview is the first step your organization can take to increase employee loyalty by enabling you to hire the right person – the first time. A happy, motivated employee stays longer, works harder, makes clients happy, expresses positive energy and decreases hiring and overall training (retraining), costs.

For more information on our Behavior Event Interview training and how BEI improves employee loyalty, please click here.

What BMC Can Offer Regarding Behavior Event Interview.

Would you like to know more about how to plan, lead and evaluate candidates or existing employees using BEI?

Do you want to assess and evaluate candidates using Behavior Event Interview but don’t have a trained staff or free time? We can:

  1. Train your staff
  2. Conduct the interview
  3. Partner in the planning and execution including creating the questions and evaluation matrix

Happy communicating.

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

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

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

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