Return On Investment From Investing In Email Etiquette Training

I was recently asked what Return On Investment (ROI), a client might receive from investing in my Email Etiquette Training.

The quick answer is that I’m confident that my Email Etiquette Training conservatively gives the average professional more than 6 extra days of productivity per year. If participants see me speaking at a conference it may be a bit less – or if they experience me in a customized corporate training environment it may be a bit more.

Depending on the employees’ responsibilities, this result can have a tremendous impact on training ROI; not to mention how it improves their professional relationship, brand reputation and efficiency.

Let me show you how I come to my 6 productive days conclusion.

My Hypothesis: Saving 6 Days, 15 minutes at a time

Studies demonstrate the average business professional spends approximately 90% of their time writing and reading business email. I’ve seen first-hand that learning to write better email well helps participants get more done in less time, and it helps organizations and individuals improve their reputation by:

  • Writing / formatting messages in a professional manner
  • Getting to the point – quickly / learning how to bottom-line messages
  • Getting and giving all the information that is required – when it is needed
  • Not having to send multiple email asking for information that hasn’t been received
  • Not being misunderstood as bossy, rude or hostile
  • No longer clogging up their managers inbox by overusing To… Cc… and Reply All…
  • And more…

I’ve studied how participates in Email Etiquette Training can save between 15 and 30 minutes per day. But, let me be conservative here and say they only save 15 minutes a day (or 1 hour and 15 minutes per week), of extra productivity.

The average American works approximately 1,700 hours per year. Based on an 8-hour workday, that equals 42.5 weeks per year, (when considering vacation, statutory holidays, sick days etc.). Saving 1 hour and 15 minutes per week for 42.5 weeks gives us 53.13 recovered / saved hours per year (3,187.56 minutes). That equals more than 6 additional – more productive days per year… per employee.roi-from-professional-development-training

What If Email Training Saves 20 Minutes Per Day?

If email etiquette training saves 20 minutes per day (an extra 5 minutes), employers will enjoy nearly 9 days of additional productivity per year… per employee… almost 2 free weeks of productive work.

Conclusion: Email Etiquette Training Return On Investment

Email Etiquette Training is a Win for the employee, a Win for the department and a BIG WIN for the organization overall. The additional 1, 2 (or more), weeks of productivity per year has no cost – other than the training. Chances are, any training costs will be recovered within the first week simply in additional productivity and added brand value / reputation.

Happy communicating, mentoring, motivating… and training.

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

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Time Management, Leadership, Generational Differences and More…

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

Call us at 416.617.0462.

Advertisements

What Leaders Should Know About Intrinsic Motivation & Extrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation are important engagement opportunities that have very different results.

Extrinsic motivation is what many of us are familiar with; it’s the primary way Boomers and Gen Xers have been rewarded throughout their working career. It’s how we most often motivate children as well. Extrinsic motivation is based on earning a reward (like money $$ or praise), or avoiding something undesirable. It’s motivation by carrot or stick. Extrinsic motivation is also often the most expensive and the least effective way to motivate employees over long periods of time. As a good friend and Chief Financial Offices (CFO) says, “Money is an external reward and a lousy motivator, it’s good for a week or two and then forgotten.” screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-10-16-16-am

Intrinsic motivation is when we find doing something personally satisfying. It’s the engagement that often leads us to choose our career in the first place. Intrinsic reward supports long-term motivation and professional development that is rooted in taking pride in our work – not making your boss happy so he/she will give you a raise. It’s why many of us volunteer, or paint, play a musical instrument or garden. It’s why we enjoyed curling up with a good book when we were a kid… and still do now.

The easiest way to ruin a persons satisfaction and pride in their work (intrinsic motivation) is to monetize it (give them money $$ for doing something they enjoy). Studies have shown that intrinsic motivation will decrease when external rewards (extrinsic rewards), are given.

Example 1: I know a lady who loved to bake cookies and cakes – she took great pride in them and they were delicious and beautiful. So she started a bakery business and soon had an employee and lots of clients. She felt stress in keeping clients happy, and managing the employee, and there were deliveries and… and… and. Worst of all she no longer baked to relax and enjoy herself. She closed her business.

Example 2: In an experiment to test motivation, psychologist and professor Edward L. Deci studied two groups of students who enjoyed playing puzzle games. The 1st group was paid whenever they solved a puzzle; the other group played for no monetary reward. Deci noticed that the 1st group stopped working on the puzzles when they stopped being paid. The 2nd group continued to solve puzzles because they continued to enjoy the game. By offering extrinsic motivation, the 1st group were trained to see puzzles as work.

All too often our parents, leaders, coworkers… and even ourselves focus only on…or mostly on extrinsic rewards. This begins to cause problems as we disconnect with what feeds our heart… our spirit… our humanity. Instead, we are trained to ignore our natural spirit and instead focus only on (mostly on), physical – short-term recognition / respect. So, what is the real benefit and what can we do?

Benefit: Intrinsic Motivation Increases Pride

The impact of intrinsic rewards on an employee’s self-management is great. An intrinsically motivate employee will likely stay late to finish an important project – not because they have to… or want to please their boss/customer. Because of this pride, they will routinely go the extra mile because it makes them happy and… this pride makes them want to be loyal… a win/win.

Benefit: Intrinsic Motivation Increases Employee Loyalty

Employees who are self-motivated, proud of their work and feel they are making a difference often also demonstrate greater employee loyalty. BMC have seen this in our Millennial At Work study.

If employees are intrinsically motivated they will not quit to go to a company that pays a bit more – they stay with a company that respects them and gives them greater autonomy. Their loyalty will be largely derived from work life balance and how much they enjoy their work – and the company. Pride makes a difference; they stay with the company that feeds their spirit.

Intrinsic rewards mean people feel good about feeling good about what they are doing / thinking.

Benefit: Intrinsic Motivation Increases Professional Development

Extrinsic motivation isn’t all-bad – it actually plays an important part in the learning / teaching process – especially helping learners overcome the frustration of acquiring new skills. Positive reinforcement and praise (extrinsic motivation), helps people keep trying – keep learning. Unfortunately, we all-too-often only reward professional development on extrinsic motivation. We don’t include motivation that helps people feel a sense of personal pride and accomplishment in their newly acquired skill. Ultimately this means that the learners will not fully invest in adopting new skills. Instead they feel pride in getting praise for their work… and will need it again and again. This is a problem I hear all the time from Baby Boomers when I give Generational Differences training.

What Can We Do? How Can We Use Intrinsic Rewards?

Intrinsic rewards help individuals find satisfaction in ‘doing’ of their work or task as much as the end result. The journey is as important as the destination. I’ve mentioned in other posts, there are 4 very effective ways to develop intrinsic motivation in others. From your children to your employees, help them see and ‘feel’:

  1. C – Competence / Mastery… learning new things – gaining  and/or using an expertise.
  2. A – Autonomy / Choice… what to work on, when and how
  3. R – Relevance / Purpose… why the work is meaningful – important
  4. P – Progress… what they are doing is adding to the greater good or perhaps they are gaining experience.

Conclusion

The last 50 or so years we got used to extrinsically rewards but we forget to help people feel good about feeling good about their work or what they are learning. As leaders we’ve underestimated the importance of intrinsic rewards and its low-cost… and instead have got used to thinking of financial rewards as the primary way to motivate.

Intrinsic rewards are a strong win/win for organizations that want to stay innovative and retain great, inspired, happy and proud employees. Research has shown that when people are proud, feel like they are making a difference and feel some ownership of how they structure their time at work they stick around… and they do great work.

Happy communicating… and mentoring… and training.

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.

 

Who Should You Promote Next? A Case Study

You have a recent job opening for a team leader and two interested internal candidates; who should you promote?

  • Mary is your top financial expert – her associates go to her when they are stuck for a solution and you wish you had 5 more just like her.
  • John knows finances as well as anybody – he’s a great team player and his associates trust and respect him and his work.

All other things are equal between Mary and John. Who should you promote as the new team leader?

In a traditional environment, Mary is usually the person that gets the promotion. Most traditional organizations still recruit based on technical knowledge and past performance, and put low value on soft skills / emotional intelligence… but this is changing. We’ve all heard about someone being promoted to their level of incompetence… and this may be one of those times.

In my opinion, the right candidate depends heavily on what Mary or John want out of their personal and professional lives… and what the company wants to invest in them.

If Mary Gets The Promotion

If Mary is motivated because:

  • She is looking to grow in the area of leadership and managing people… AND if the company is ready to invest in ongoing (ongoing is critical), Leadership training and coaching, then Mary may be right for the job… in time.

If this is the case I would suggest Mary’s training and coaching should have started long ago as part of a professional development plan. If Mary gets the job now she is going to be studying and growing for the next 6 months (at least). Her team will not have the hit-the-ground-running leader that it should from an internal hire, and the company will not benefit from her significant financial expertise as they used to (she’ll be doing more ‘leading‘ and less ‘doing‘). The opportunity losses to the organization will be significant.

If Mary is motivated because:

  • She sees all her friends and peers climbing the corporate ladder and thinks success means moving up, then I’d say there are many ways to satisfy Mary’s needs while also keeping her from making a mistake by becoming a leader. The great risk is that if she is promoted without previous leadership skill or training, everyone including Mary may discover she’s not built for management. So, rather than be demoted Mary will quit to save face and go to one of your competitors. And you don’t want that to happen.

The added risk is that if John really did want the job and he has to work for Mary (someone who doesn’t know how to motivate and lead the team), this natural born leader may quit and go to one of your competitors out of frustration.

If John Gets The Promotion

John seems to have some of the natural emotional intelligence that translate well into being a great leader – skills like technical skill, trustworthiness, ability to communicate, respect and creativity. If John gets the promotion, he will still need leadership training and coaching. It’s likely that John is going to be able to motivate his team and that with some training, John could make the transition into an official and successful leadership position.

If Mary’s real need of peer-status is taken care of creativity, Mary will likely be very happy to also save her reputation as the brightest financial expert on the team.

Everyone Should Have A Professional Development Plan

As I was suggesting earlier, companies should want to get this figured out long before there is a vacancy, not only with Mary and John but with the whole team. The organization should be thinking about a professional development plan for each employee as well as what is best for the company, each individual and team.

By having open dialogue with employees about their needs, dreams and professional aspirations, the organization leaders can prepare a professional development plan that increases employee engagement, lowers turnover and increases profitability. The added beauty is that some of the best employee engagement motivators (like a need for recognition), are no or low cost.

Conclusion

Success for people and organizations is all about the leadership – promoting growth and development for themselves (the leaders), and all employees throughout their career. To drive employee commitment, engagement and therefore profitability and organizational success, it’s critical for leaders to always consider the potential of the people and the potential of the group.

Happy business development.

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 coaches leaders and facilitates business etiquette 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.

 

Motivating Change At Work Using Observational Learning

Change at work is in the air. Perhaps you have a new employee, perhaps you are providing your sales team professional development training on how to use business stories with customers, or perhaps you want to keep your corporate values and vision top of mind by reintroducing them to your employees.

Supporting change is a significant investment, so how can you motivate change at work using observational learning to increase your return on investment (ROI)? This blog post looks at a few approaches that are valuable to consider.

Observational Learning ImageWhat Is Observational Learning?

Observational learning is an excellent way to change or reinforce behaviour.

Observational learning happens when a person watches (observes), the behaviour of another and as a result of that observation they adopt that behaviour. First identified as the primary way very young children learn, we now know observational learning is a very effective way to teach adults. This includes learning new behaviours or increasing / decreasing the frequency of existing behaviours.

While time to practice a new behaviour may be required, observational learning is very efficient. How long it takes to adopt the new behaviour depends on:

  • The observer being motivated to keep their attention on the task or educator
  • The observer having the awareness to identify and remember the behaviour
  • The observer having the physical and/or intellectual ability to adopt the behaviour or to learn how
  • Reinforcement (how appropriate it is and if it is positive vs. negative)

Lets take a closer look at Motivation and Reinforcement… two often overlooked steps in training.

Observational Learners Must Be Motivated

Motivation is key to learning.

The important thing to remember is that each of us – especially people from different generations will be motivated by different things at different times. For example, perhaps your organization is encouraging the use of business stories to express new corporate values. Your observer / learner will be more motivated to learn and change if they see this as an opportunity to:

  • Give them a unique opportunity like to work on a high-profile project. A millennial might connect well with this motivation.
  • Make them eligible for a financially rewarding promotion. A Boomer might connect well with this motivation.
  • Learn transferable skills… and give them more time for family. A Gen X might connect well with this motivation.

Another important motivator most of us can relate to is for the observer / learner to see the educator as an authority, to respect and/or to be inspired by them. As a general rule observers more quickly adopt the behaviour of someone who possesses one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Experience / expertise
  • Intelligence
  • Power
  • Popularity
  • Good looks

This is true whether the changed behaviour is to start doing something… or to stop doing something.

What Is Reinforcement?

An observer’s behaviour can be affected by either positive or negative reinforcement.

A technicality we should be clear on is that ‘Reinforcement’ is not the same as ‘Reward’. You reinforce behaviour by providing a reward… be it a positive reward or a negative reward. For example:

  • Adults are given negative rewards like speeding tickets to reinforce good behaviour and to stop bad behaviour.
  • Adults can be given positive rewards like a ‘free’ day off to reinforce going above and beyond expectations with a client.

Again, reinforcement is anything that increases the likelihood that a person will mirror an action and/or repeat a pervious action again… but it is not a reward.

Conclusion 

Understanding motivators and reinforcement are key to observational learning success. Why? Because if you understand what a persons motivators are – you can design rewards that are tailored to provide the greatest reinforcement. This provides you maximum return on your training and reward investment.

Notes:

  1. While it can take place at any point in life, observational learning tends to be the most common during childhood as children learn from the authority figures and peers in their lives.
  2. Observational learning is often linked to negative or undesirable behaviors, but it is also very powerful to inspire positive behaviors.
  3. Observational learning is also called social learning theory, shaping, modeling, and vicarious reinforcement.

Happy communicating, learning and changing.

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, Mindfulness and more.

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.

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

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

Generations: Diversity and Workforce Development

For the first time in history it’s easy to find a business where four generations are working side by side as some Traditionalists (born between 1927 – 1945), are working beyond retirement. Three generations is surely the norm.

What that means for our hyper-competitive world is that owners and managers are struggling with workplace diversity and cultural diversity. Communication problems and conflict are rising from the different work / life goals, experiences and communication styles of their employees.

But can workplace diversity be turned into a business asset?

The Questions / The Benefits:Created by Bruce Mayhew

  1. How can we use generational differences as a unique opportunity to drive profitability vs. let it rip us apart at the seams?
  2. What does ‘generational differences’ mean to product development, productivity, customer service, employee satisfaction, ROI and profits?

Understanding the differences and similarities of the generations is the first step in helping us understand the needs, motivations and expectations of our age-diverse workforce… and customer. Our diverse employees should be seen as opportunities to help each other see generational differences as chances to differentiate our business and make our company more profitable – not inconvenient limitations.

  • The Traditionalists – Born between 1927 and 1945
  • The Baby Boomers – Born between 1946 and 1964
  • Generation X – Born between 1965 and 1980
  • Generation Y (Millennial) – Born in 1981 or later

The key is to effectively address the diversity, values and expectations of each generation and to integrate these within company mission, vision, values and product / service.

Strategies For Success: Every Employee Has Something Great To Offer.

Start by helping Millennials recognize the experience of Gen Xers, Boomers and Traditionalists; and help Gen Xers, Boomers and Traditionalists recognize the team. The knowledge, skills, and workplace attitudes possessed by today’s multigenerational workforce presents significant communication opportunities.

Teamwork is an opportunity. Judging each other needs or motivations alienates us. This is the worst approach for an individual or a company as alienation promotes conflict with the person, the situation and the company… often conflict starting small but slowly builds into a large challenge.

Conflict often arises when we consider only our needs.

Questions are an opportunity. Finding and keeping valuable employees from all generations is every bit as important as finding and retaining customers. So treat your employees as customers.

Ask what they want and deliver on their needs – don’t treat everyone the same. Also, if they’re working on a project don’t expect them to read your mind or read between the lines. If you need a summary report you need to ask for it – give them a sample – and don’t blame them for what you haven’t clearly asked for.

Mentors are another opportunity. Promote mentoring between employees from different generations. Younger employees can learn from the experience of Gen Xers, Boomers and Traditionalists while they teach senior employees how to use new technology, problem solving ability, explorative nature and new point of view  (like company motivation and recognition), Millennials can offer.

Motivation is an opportunity. Employees from different generations require different motivations. Not everyone wants more responsibility. Appropriately motivating employees is cost-effective for the company, helps employees stay involved and will help keep all generations engaged and committed.

Reward is another opportunity when supporting employees from multiple generations. What works for some generations (or individuals), may not work for others.  For example: After working long hours to complete a challenging project a Boomer may appreciate a cash bonus and a plaque to hang in their office. A Millennial may be happier with a four-day weekend and a communication training workshop (because they are young, focused on work-life balance and professional development).

Balance (as suggested), is another opportunity. This relates to work-life balance as well as at-work balance. While fairness is critical the solution for one person may be different than another. Workplace diversity requires balance include a variable mix which includes (but is not limited to):

  • Technology
  • Flexible work arrangements
  • The opportunity to contribute
  • Training / the opportunity to learn
  • The opportunity to get constructive feedback

Focus on employee engagement and contribution not where or when they work (unless structured time is required like a hospital nurse). Where consistency is important don’t demand it – let the employee be part of the decision as to why, where and how consistency will look.

No matter what generations you work with, maintaining a competitive, multigenerational workforce requires you to openly explore the ideas and needs of workers. Eliminate the us vs. them perspective. If they win then I must lose is defeating and ‘old school’. Instead explore how each of you can win.

Embrace that concept that the sum is greater than its parts.

Created by Bruce MayhewConclusion:

See workplace diversity, individual differences and professional development as a strength that is critical to business success.

To do this we need to learn that overall my ideas and needs are no more important than yours – yours are no more important than mine. It may be that your needs take priority at this moment of time… but my needs (which may be as simple as recognition or the opportunity to learn), must be respected and addressed.

For example: Most Millennials enjoy working on teams and are active learners. Keep them motivated and engaged by giving them special projects that will take advantage of their talents while also give them a sense of contribution and learning.

Don’t keep your talent locked up or in the dark. Ask for their input and ingenuity, ideas and concerns into your marketing strategy. Set aside time to provide honest feedback and time to work on department issues like problem solving, value setting, and options around operations. Motivate them and give them all the support and training they need to succeed.

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.

We Don’t Have Time To Strengthen Our Brand

When we’re at work we don’t have time to be strategic, branded and relevant and communicate in a way that strengthens our personal and organizations reputation.

That’s one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever written… but consider… how many times have you been a client and the supplier is transactional – not relationship focused? I bet OFTEN!

It’s amazing what the investment of a few thoughtful seconds can do.

Email Examples:

Here are two email messages to a client…

V1.

Morning Bonnie,

I’ve attached the outline for your employee training course which includes the customization for your approval.

Thank you

Bruce

Or…. V2.

Morning Bonnie,

I’ve attached the outline for your Business Email Writing course to help your sales and service teams strengthen their client relationships.

The customization you’ve requested has made this widely acclaimed employee training course even more relevant for your teams.

Please approve or call me at 416 617 0462 to discuss. I’m looking forward to working with you further.

Thank you.

Bruce

The first email example is transactional. The second email example is very relationship focused. It reminds the client they are buying a trustworthy experience and makes them feel good about their decision and their involvement. It supports teamwork and you’re also using every opportunity to differentiate yourself as a thoughtful partner. WOW!!

This is equally powerful for internal communication between project teams / departments.

Let’s list the added value in the second email message: It:

Strategic:

  1. Is highly personalized and addresses the receiver, their target audience, key objectives and their customized solution
  2. Reinforces your reputation and that others have found value
  3. Assures the reader they are getting access to a quality solution

Branded:

  1. Creates a reminder and mental image of the name of the training (both in what they ‘hear’ and the words they ‘see’)
  2. Demonstrates your core values of flexibility, customer service and teamwork
  3. Reinforces your reputation and that others have found value (yes – also a strategic difference)

NB: The email address and signature line should also be visually branded.

Relevant:

  1. Mentions how you’ve customized the training to their specific needs
  2. Reminds the client of the target audience
  3. Recaps the agreed upon project objectives (reduces scope creep)

Conclusion:

The reality is it takes only seconds longer to customize email messages (or even phone conversations), that properly reflect your company’s brand and build trusting relationships (with clients or internal departments).

Consider how much you might spend on advertising to build awareness and value with complete strangers. Then consider how highly targeted professional development can help your team positively influence current clients now.

Don’t settle. Improve how the people in your organization communicate. A small professional development investment helps everyone build relationships, teamwork and ensure clients see value. How are you leveraging your team? They are your most effective customer communication tool.

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.

Don’t forget to Subscribe to this blog.

%d bloggers like this: