MICRO-STRESSES AND HOW THEY AFFECT THE WORKPLACE

What are Micro-Stresses and How are They Affecting Your Workplace?

Employees are dealing with a lot right now. Whether working from home or returning to offices, there is a lot on people’s plates. From managing their childcare while balancing meetings, emails, instant messages and deadlines to finding things to balance their lives safely in the era of COVID-19, there are no shortage of small things each day that add to stress levels.

Those small things tend to fall under the label of micro-stresses and add up to create a big problem for workplace behaviors and the overall picture of employee mental and physical health.

Stress is also related to declining performance, lack of motivation and poor quality decision-making. There’s no doubting the role of stress in inducing burnout, detachment and depression, but when you think of stress in this light, you most likely think of bigger issues such as a divorce or a death in the family. Instead of viewing micro-stresses as what they are, we tend to accept them as part of our daily routine rather than being something that we actively need to address.

Causes of Micro-stress

Micro-stresses can come from any area of life, be it our loved ones, clients, colleagues, bosses or any other leader that has an impact on our lives. Research from the Harvard Business Review breaks micro-stresses into three categories. Those which:

  • Drain your personal capacity
  • Deplete your emotional reserves
  • Challenge your identity or values

Each of these has a unique effect on your stress levels. For example, confrontational conversations have the effect of depleting emotional reserves because certain types of interactions have a de-energizing effect and cause us to have concern for the wellbeing or feelings of others, something we cannot control. Unpredictable behavior from a boss or a surge in responsibilities at work or home has the effect of draining our personal capacity.

Examples are ever present in our day-to-day lives and add up to create an experience that can be frustrating and cumulatively impact employee performance and satisfaction and thus, damage company culture.

Dealing with Micro-stress

It’s important to deal with micro-stresses just as much as any other type of stress. The first step in dealing with any stress is to separate from it. In order to approach any stressor with a clear head, you first have to decompress and let go of the emotions that initially accompany your view of the situation. If you’re managing a situation involving others, it is also important to allow the parties involved time to do this and embrace other activities that make them feel positive.

“All these things add up, and we’re spread so thin. I’ve seen an uptick in myself and others in terms of reactions, fuses that are short, so it’s good to take a pause between the emotion and the response and choose how do we respond in the moment?” said Anne Browing, assistant dean for well-being at the University of Washington School of Medicine in a recent interview with The Spokesman Review.

Browning noted the effect of COVID-19 in particular and the amount of uncertainty it has created around so many aspects of our lives.

“It’s been an incredibly challenging time from the end of February to now,” Browning said. “We’ve gone through a trajectory from anticipatory stress of not knowing what would happen to now with the potential to see how a bit of exposure, our masks and physically distancing has worked, but also then grieving the loss of everything we anticipated for the spring and potentially the summer.”

Sometimes, the event that seems to spark a reaction is just the last straw. What’s really bothering the person is another issue entirely and stepping away for a moment to talk with people they trust or to isolate the issue and focus on a solution can make all the difference.

In fact, people we trust are important beyond being someone we talk to. Often times, these are people connected to us because they are family or friends that we have a common bond with because of something unrelated to work. These people help provide perspective with their experiences and views. Whether they’ve come into a person’s life through something like church, a book club, a recreational sports team or family friends, the more views and experiences someone has to pull from, the more enriched their own world view and resources to deal with stress will become.

Finally, everyone has to consider their relationship with both people and the workplace and evaluate whether distance is needed for them to limit stress. Perhaps cashing in those vacation days is all that is necessary, but in some cases, severing relationships we are toxic has value for emotional wellbeing. From an HR perspective, this may mean transferring people to different teams or changing a direct report structure in order to distance people from relationships that create a great deal of stress.

https://www.hrexchangenetwork.com/hr-talent-management/articles/what-are-micro-stresses-and-how-are-they-affecting-your-workplace/amp

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COVID-19: HERE’S HOW HR CAN REBUILD THE FUTURE

HR has always been the front liner for employees and the HR’s role in monitoring and maintaining has become even more critical. Traditional HR is being replaced with a holistic approach using advanced technologies and being human centric as well. HR professionals are faced with the challenges of redefining their strategies on leadership, talent, diversity while evaluating their operational effectiveness. The world confronts multiple crises and COVID-19 being the biggest one currently which has hit the whole world and its economy.

In this dynamic environment some of the major challenges currently faced by HR professionals are:

  • Business continuity: New hirings have been put on hold plus the layoffs as well have been initiated to limit the resource cost. Many industries like food, IT and transport have already started laying off employees. Companies such as Uber and IBM have laid-off a large number of employees with many others having to take a cut in salary.
  • Dispersed workplace: Work from home is the new mantra for employees; hence making sure the employees have an adequate system and internet connection to work plus keep a track on their work via different digital applications.
  • Focus on physical and mental health and wellbeing of employees: The external environment and odd timing business calls and no engagement in person has impacted the health of employees mentally and physically. Hence putting in place a medical support system and hiring psychiatrists for their mental wellbeing.
  • Critical talent acquisitions: Due to salary cuts and no appraisals in some organizations, it is getting difficult to acquire the existing talent for long.
  • Virtual Employee engagement: All the connects/meetings/conferences/activities etc. are being conducted virtually than in person which is new to some HR Professionals and employees.
  • Redefining policies: For the benefit and support for employees’ certain policies are being redefined which has increased the cost to companies like reimbursement of internet and telephone bills, advance amount is given to buy essentials. 
  • Impact on communication: As everyone is communicating via technology like video calls/skype/google teams etc. there is a communication gap amongst employees as it was easier to understand things when in person plus connectivity issues leads to delay. As HR professionals struggle to keep employees safe and informed, it helps to think about what changes will be more permanent and how they can guide employees and the leadership through those changes. These challenges are hence a pathway to opportunities.
  • Integrating Artificial intelligence: For many, automation has already been a big leap from traditional practices. Due to this pandemic, the need for Artificial Intelligence is in demand hence giving a golden opportunity for HR to show some innovative practices.
  • Increase in productivity of employees: According to a Gallup research, it shows that people have been more productive when working from remote locations as it saves their commute time, cost and they feel healthier as work from home environment is more conducive for them.

COVID-19: AGILITY WILL BE THE GAME CHANGER

The COVID-19 pandemic moved us into the largest work from home experiment, with close to half of the world’s population living under lockdown across 70 countries and territories for many months. Physical distancing as the norm, no matter what our earlier level of comfort or privacy concerns was, we are adjusting to a digital-first ecosystem; one that includes contactless payments, remote work, digital education, online fitness, telemedicine, video conferencing and so on.

Telecom Companies have reported that data consumption in certain areas have spiked post lockdown and one confirmed an increase from 50TB/month in January to 155TB/month in May. 

As the lockdown restrictions start to ease, leaders are faced with the mammoth task of adapting their organization to these changed human emotions, habits and culture. Agility will be the key to success. As Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, said, “In the new world, it is not the big fish which eats the small fish, it’s the fast fish which eats the slow fish.” Well more than speed, we believe agility will trump all in this new normal. Those that are able to adapt will gain employee trust, survive the crisis and emerge with a competitive advantage. 

Agile is essentially a project management methodology based on an iterative problem-solving approach. It focuses on delivering value fast with the ability to adapt to frequent change based on continuous feedback. As a natural response to the COVID crisis, Agile philosophies are already penetrating organizations to varying degrees. Three Agile capabilities that will help organizations prepare for the post-COVID world are:

  • Foster an Agile Culture – Urgency of the COVID crisis has forced organizations into thinking on their feet. They are having to balance their long-term business plans with rapidly changing environmental threats and opportunities, while reevaluating parts of their business to remain relevant. In order to succeed, it will be necessary to permeate this quick-thinking, adaptable and flexible mindset through the entire organization. Leaders must become influential agents of Agile change to ensure a successful culture shift. They need to lead by example – pivot and act quickly, demonstrating agility to their employees. This will help boost team morale, steering them to become drivers of creating an Agile environment. They also need to provide their people with the right knowledge, training and tools, thereby enabling them to self-manage – a core tenet of Agile methodology.  
  • Embrace Power of Technology – To quickly navigate rapidly evolving business opportunities, ways of working, consumer and workforce behaviour, organizations have to accelerate development of their digital capabilities. With work from home, or rather “work from anywhere”, and physical distancing constraints, resistance to technology adoption is likely at an all-time low. This is a great opportunity to focus automation efforts that augment quality of work, wellbeing and productivity.  This in turn will empower the organization to act quickly and easily, responding to change effectively. 
  • Strengthen Sense of Community – Establishing a strong sense of community and trust is essential to an Agile organization. There must be focus on making sure employees feel valued and comfortable, as they are all reeling from the impact to their work and lives. It is important to react to changing situations with agility and transparency, while staying true to organization’s values. Leaders must not engage in false hope and promises. Instead focus on being genuinely helpful and supportive. This open line of communication gives the leaders a chance to hear what employees have to say and also humanises the leadership and makes them more approachable to employees. 

These three capabilities only scratch the surface of what will be needed to shape an agile organization poised for growth in the new emerging world. In our Organizational Transformation series we will further explore what it means to become truly agile. 

EMPLOYERS COUNTER OFFER – SHOULD YOU ACCEPT THEM?

Congratulations, you’ve received a job offer. And now that you’ve handed in your resignation, your current company is fighting for you and offering you more money. Should you stay? Or should you go?

Deciding whether or not to accept a counteroffer can be difficult and there are many factors to consider. Your choice is likely to have a significant impact on your career so shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Why do companies make counter offers?

Has your current company made a counter offer because they’re worried about losing a valuable staff member or for other reasons? Employers may also offer counter offers because recruiting a senior level employee is expensive. It can cost as much as 213% of a senior executive’s salary to find a replacement. For an employee making N15,000,000, this could amount to N45,000,000 when you factor in a drop in productivity and recruitment and training expenses.

So, it’s not surprising that nearly 50% of employers offer a counteroffer when employees resign. Counteroffers are even more common in candidate-driven markets like construction and IT, where a skills shortage makes it very difficult to find and recruit a new employee.

Why You Might Accept a Counteroffer

Over 50% of employees accept counteroffers. At the time, it can seem like the right decision as you won’t have to master the working methods of another company or build relationships with new colleagues. You already know your current company and how to do your job. The extra money doesn’t sound bad and certainly, it’ll be easier to stay.

However, 80% of employees that accept a counteroffer leave within six months and 90% within a year. Proving that money isn’t always enough to overcome the problems that made you want to look for a new job in the first place.

Why You Shouldn’t Accept a Counteroffer

Unfortunately, there are more reasons to turn down than accept a counteroffer.

Your Happiness

Only 12% of employees resign due to money. So, chances are you’re looking for a new job for other reasons and these reasons don’t simply go away with a higher salary. Why did you want to leave in the first place? You need to carefully think about your original motivations and whether the increase in pay compensates enough to make you happy staying at your current company.

Damaged Employer Relationships

Accepting a counteroffer is likely to damage your relationship with your current employer. After all, you’ve just told them you were leaving and are now only staying because they offered you more money. This might cause them to question your loyalty and whether you’ll resign the second you receive a better offer.

Most employees that accept a counteroffer often end up feeling “pushed out” of their current organisation. And, sometimes, companies go as far as to create a contingency plan and start looking for someone to fill your position before you can find a better offer.

Will Things Really Change?

You probably started to look for a new job because you felt underappreciated and restricted. Maybe you were passed over for a promotion or simply weren’t given the opportunities to progress. At some point, you probably voiced these concerns to your employer, but they weren’t effectively addressed. It’s likely that these issues will continue after you accept the counteroffer and will eventually cause you to resign — this time for good.

Are You Now Expendable?

Our case studies show that after accepting a counteroffer, your job security drastically decreases. If your company needs to make redundancies, you’ll probably be at the top of the list. After all, you already expressed a desire to leave and aren’t as loyal or committed to the company as other employees. Even worse, your current employer may have only given you a counteroffer to buy them time to find a new employee to replace you.

The Value of New Opportunities

As commonly said, “there’s no reward in life without risk”. This saying certainly applies to whether or not to accept a counteroffer. Turning down a counteroffer and moving onto a new company could take your career to the next level. Your new company might offer better career development opportunities or, at very least offer you a chance to tackle a new challenge and reach a new personal best.

Making a Final Decision

Deciding whether or not to accept a counteroffer can be challenging. It’s important to think about each of the previously discussed points and make a list of pros and cons. You may find that you need more information about your potential new employer. In this case, it’s often best to speak to your recruiter, so you have all the facts you need to make the best choice for your personal and professional growth.

https://www.changerecruitmentgroup.com/knowledge-centre/why-you-should-and-should-not-accept-a-counteroffer#:~:text=Accepting%20a%20counteroffer%20is%20likely,you%20receive%20a%20better%20offer.

ROLE OF HR IN BUSINESS STRATEGY

One of the most indispensable ingredients of a business is its employees. The human capital serves as the ambassador of your organization, as they put procedures into practice.

The HR department is a significant contributor to organizational success since they are mainly responsible for maintaining and organizing the workforce. They oversee the people in the organization and deliver HR services that meet the needs of both the company and its employees.

The reason behind implementing HR practices is to enhance the human capital of an organization and decrease the financial risks. Employees must be considered as human assets and not costs to the organization.

The HR management team usually gives out suggestions to strategically manage people as business resources, and these include recruitment/hiring process, employee benefits, and skills training.

Recruitment

Employees serve as the representation of your company’s culture. Therefore, having the right people in the right places is vital in the organization.

HR understands and anticipates organization’s talent needs to balance the workforce by matching employees with the right positions according to their qualifications.

Hiring is not only about the recruitment process, but also about the effort that will be exerted in guiding the people in the workplace.

Organizational Development

HR has the responsibility to design the workforce and culture that best suits the company. Although departments are aware of the status of their own teams, and managers have the power to make changes in it, the HR has to supervise and monitor changes, as well as foresee how it may impact the processes that are already in place.

Rewards and Recognition

Reducing turnovers while keeping employees motivated and well-trained is just one of the most challenging duties of the HR. Rewards and recognition are proven to be effective ways of encouraging employees to improve performance.

HR develops and thinks of new and innovative ways of rewards program to make sure employees are recognized and rewarded accordingly to keep them happy in the company.

Training and Development

The cooperation between the employees and management is important in achieving company’s success. The organization depends on the efficiency and capability of its workforce to do business, so training the employees for their career success, as well as the developing the organization are crucial.

HR’s role is vital in keeping employees’ focus on achieving the company’s goals while providing opportunities for employee growth and advancement.

HR personnel are no exception when it comes to training and development, as they serve as the medium between the employees and the company. They develop HR strategies that will help address demands of the change management and integration, as well as the measurement of performances in line with the strategy implementation.

Human resources department is much more than the place to go for employee assistance, employee conflict, or compliance issues. It is evident that the department plays a big role in contributing to implementation and development of business strategies that would help balance both the company’s and employees’ needs and goals since they handle the entrance and exit of the employees and everything between it.

https://www.unleashgroup.io/news/the-role-of-hr-in-business-strategy#:~:text=They%20oversee%20the%20people%20in,and%20decrease%20the%20financial%20risks.

HUMAN RESOURCES BEST PRACTICES DURING COVID-19

In times of crisis such as the one we are currently experiencing, HR is called to assess and contribute to a broader response that embeds our organization’s mission, values, and societal impact with a focus on the well-being of our staff, stakeholders, and the community. We need strategies for business continuation that also addresses how people can stay psychologically resilient. This is particularly important in the nonprofit sector, where dedicated staff are the champions of the continuation of services to their communities. Now is the time your people need you the most.

It is key for HR to promote a climate of calm while also engaging leadership to respond with timely, accurate, assertive, clear, and consistent communication from all levels of the organization. In addition, communication needs to be honest, open, and as transparent as possible to maintain credibility. The approach should always come from a place of empathy and understanding of the different impact situations like this have on people, from the physical to the mental. Staff are our most valuable asset, and we need to look at our mission and our people together.

HERE ARE SIX HR BEST PRACTICES DURING COVID-19

1. Create/Activate an Emergency Response Team

Ensure that HR is part of an Emergency Response Team. Provide input in the guidelines to be implemented, gather and share staff and client’s questions and concerns; inform the team of new developments in employment laws and benefits; share revised policies; provide strategies to manage remote workers; share risks related to the crisis; and make sure that values and equity are still at the center of decision-making.

This team should have established meetings on a regular schedule basis to discuss updates, initiatives, and communication strategies.

2. Make Communication Deliberate, Consistent, and Over Communicate if Necessary

Communication and the actions you take should be thoughtful, clear, succinct, accurate, consistent, and as transparent as possible. This way of communication builds trust. Work with leadership and your internal communication team to build a robust internal updates framework and a communication plan. 

Communicate how to report possible cases of COVID-19 exposure or diagnoses. Reinforce there will be no retaliation for disclosing this information and that their confidentiality will be treated with the upmost respect. Share with staff the status of identified cases (keeping confidentiality), how the organization is addressing it, and what the organization’s next steps are.

Be proactive! Anticipate answers to questions and concerns you will face. Make it easy for staff and clients to ask questions via a specific channel of communication that creates consistency and follow through.

Create a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document that is easily accessible. Keep it up-to-date and notify staff of changes to the document.

3. Care for Staff! Employee Wellness and Safety Initiatives

Keep in constant communication with your employees on their physical and mental health. Staff should hear from leaders often and feel supported. Practice empathy and address concerns in a prompt matter.

Safety is basic and essential. Be forthcoming with hygiene and safety practices. Mitigate employee’s concerns and anxiety by proactively talking about your organization’s sanitary health practices, safety and health equipment that you are able to provide, and share the CDC guidelines for basic precautions.

Encourage social distancing by asking staff to not only limit travel and large group gatherings, but also avoid handshakes, hugs, and other physical interactions.

Continually inform staff of what is included in their benefits plan. Activate your Wellness Program. Share and connect staff with your Employee Assistant Program as well as with other Health benefits.

4. Reconsider Leaves and Policies

Stay updated. Monitor changes and updates on new employment legislation that impact employee benefits and leave, and communicate those with the Emergency Response Team to develop solutions around implementation and communication.  

Define and modify policies, controls, and practices that address these emergencies. Communicate those changes with transparency through your leadership.

5. Implement Remote Work Strategies

Social distancing is key for helping slow down the spread of COVID-19. If working remotely is a possibility, HR should work with IT to ensure the smooth transition to a remote work scenario.  

Activate a Communication Phone Tree, to make sure everyone know the channels of communication in an emergency.

Create and share a quick guide for supervisors and employees with best practices for working remotely. This guide should address efforts to encourage health and well-being, work engagement, boundaries, and the rhythm and pace of remote work. Make sure you set up a live meeting to share these practices.

6. Avoid Bias, Discrimination, and Exclusion

Xenophobia, Islamophobia and racism are spreading even more quickly than the virus itself, and HR must be attentive and continue to build leadership, respect and equity. Ensure that your organizations talks about this and supports an environment free from micro-aggressions within your workplace and beyond.

Ensure that your staff continue to demonstrate respect towards each other and encourage staff to come forward to HR if they become aware of anti-race comments, behaviors or jokes. Have clear anti-discrimination policies in place and they are implemented equitably.

Lastly but most importantly, do not forget to show your humanity and your compassion. Share strategies on how to stay physiologically resilient in the midst of these strange and difficult times. Business is not “as usual” right now, and it will take time to adjust to a new routine. There is still much uncertainty, and the economic and social impacts of this pandemic will have long lasting effects.

https://www.tsne.org/blog/human-resources-best-practices-during-covid-19

WHY ALL ORGANIZATIONS SHOULD BE PROACTIVE: A PROACTIVE APPROACH TO BUSINESS CONTINUITY

There is a rising need to address the growing complexities and threats that can undermine a business’ operations. A well planned and strategized business continuity management plan can help ensure that organizations are well prepared when a disruption occurs.

Business continuity and disaster recovery are usually seen as insurance policies against threats of natural disasters, currency disruptions, cyber-attacks and other potentially disastrous circumstances.

Business Continuity VS Disaster Recovery

Both of these events are often confused with one another, but they are quite different. Business continuity and disaster recovery are two separate strategies and each plays a significant role in making sure businesses continue to operate during a disaster.

To be more exact, business continuity consists of an action plan. The plan makes sure that regular business will continue even during a disaster.

On the other hand, disaster recovery is a subset of a business continuity plan. It involves restoring vital support systems. These systems consist mostly of communications, hardware and other vital IT assets. Disaster recovery aims to minimize business downtime and focuses on getting the technical operations to normalcy in the shortest possible time.

KEY ELEMENTS OF A BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLAN

1. Assembling the team

The business continuity team implements and executes the business continuity plan. The team will determine what potential events the team will be planning for. Majority of business continuity management teams, membership may include the following:

  • Executive Sponsor
  • Business Continuity Manager (BCM)
  • BCM Committee
  • Key Suppliers and/or vendors
  • The Department Specific Team Leads:
  • Administration / Risk Management
  • Customer Service
  • Facilities
  • Internal / External Communications
  • Information Technology
  • Human Resources
  • Operations / Logistics

These individuals will prepare standards for the plan, train additional team members and identify processes to ensure smooth plan execution. As a rule of thumb, the business continuity team should have at least one representative from each department.

Depending on the size of your organization, it is a good practice to add personnel on the team and distribute responsibilities accordingly.

2. Conducting a Business Impact Analysis

A business impact analysis (BIA) supports the entire business continuity process. It is used to identify, quantify and qualify the impact of a loss, interruption or disruption. A BIA helps organizations identify mission-critical activities and the time frame within which they must be recovered.

Consider external factors such as the business suppliers. Plan alternatives for critical supplier dependencies.

3. Mitigating Risks

After the BIA, the organization should mitigate risks that threaten both health and safety of employees, operations, company assets and environment by reducing the risk to an acceptable level.

Strategies may include the following:

  • Security and fire protection systems
  • Minimizing or eliminating single points of dependency
  • Vendor readiness and qualification of secondary supplies
  • IT backup strategies and direct response sites
  • Distribution of critical functions and resources between multiple sites
  • Preventative maintenance and testing programs
  • Cross training of personnel

4. Establish Business Continuity Strategies

Establish strategies for:

  • Outsourcing
  • Alternate temporary work locations or arrangements (work from home, shared workspaces)
  • Cross training
  • Mobile offices
  • Alternate procedures for IT infrastructures (VPN network)
  • Offsite data and storage systems
  • Data security
  • Communications

5. Implementation and Training

Conduct training for everyone in the organization with key roles and assignments in the business continuity plan. Rehearse and deploy scenarios to demonstrate business continuity.

6. Effective Testing

With any type of plan, regular testing is. An outdated plan will render itself useless in times that they are needed. By testing the plans, potential flaws are discovered and fixed before they cause any significant disruption. Update the plans as necessary.

A proactive approach involves the entire business; Regardless of the size. All areas of the business need to understand the importance of business continuity, the roles they play, their involvement in the risk assessment, budgeting, planning processes and implementation.

Consider Outsourcing to Protect Your Business

There are no warnings before a disaster strikes. Even if businesses have already established lead times to prepare, there are still many unexpected items that come up, as disasters are unpredictable.

Business continuity is a protocol that is planned, strategized, developed and outlined ahead of time. A business’ failure to plan will cost them revenue and can possibly stain a company’s reputation.

It is important for a business to have appropriate measures in place to make sure that business operations will continue in the event of a disruption or a disaster. Outsourcing provides an option for business owners to transfer key processes in their operation to a third party. In the event a disaster strikes, your outsourcing team can continue to operate and manage some of the key operations for your company, avoiding a total work stoppage.

Final question, how well do you think your business can deal with disasters that interrupt your operation? Is it worth considering outsourcing some of your operation to have a safeguard in the event disaster strikes? Call us today and let’s discuss ways in which outsourcing can benefit your business.

REINVENTING YOUR TEAM IN THE MIDST OF COVID-19

Foster Connection

If you hadn’t used online meeting tools before, you are now. If you’re not using a digital meeting platform that allows for video, reconsider your platform. Fostering connection among your team is vital. A team with strong relationships is more creative and productive. So, take the time to build and reinforce relationships in a virtual setting. Avoid diving directly into work at the outset of meetings. Instead, pause, breathe, and get curious with your team. Start your meetings strengthening relationships by asking generative questions that build connection and shared understanding. Give everyone time to answer, including yourself. You might ask:

How are you doing? Is everyone in your home healthy? (How can the team support you?)

What is a bright spot for you; something positive that has happened as a result of the current conditions/changes?

What strengths are you bringing to this challenge? And how might those strengths help us be an awesome virtual team?

What are you reinventing at home and what are you learning.

Then foster strategic conversations.

Reinvent Yourselves

This is another opportunity to pause, breathe, and get curious with your team. Your team is working in an entirely new context, as are the customers/people you serve. Instead of trying to do what you’ve always done, getting frustrated because the system isn’t set up for it, take this opportunity to rethink what you do and how you do it. This is the perfect time for reinvention; in fact, it is a requirement. Have a conversation about your mission, vision, and values within this new context. Reflect on whether the purpose for your team, department, or organization has changed under the current circumstances.

Ask generative questions to get clear on a shared purpose, vision, mission:

Ultimately, what is our purpose? Has the current situation changed it in any way?

What outcome(s) are we striving for with our work together? What measurable results are we after?

What do our customers/clients/people we serve want and need from us now? Has it changed in any way?

Given our purpose and our desired results, what aspirations do we have for our work together as a virtual team?

Avoid jumping straight to solutions or conclusions about how to proceed. Allow the team to explore opportunities and identify possibilities first. Ignite the creative juices!

Imagine the Possibilities

Take time to challenge assumptions and question old processes and procedures. Imagine you were completely redesigning yourselves to serve your purpose and the larger mission. Engage your team in thinking through how you might capitalize on this new environment: What might actually help your team excel, be more effective or efficient, think creatively? Spark the creative genius of your team by asking generative questions that allow new opportunities and possibilities for achieving your goals to emerge:

Given the new parameters for our work, how might we go about delivering on our purpose?

What’s available now to help us achieve our mission?

What challenges must we meet to exceed our own and our customers/clients expectations?

How might we achieve our purpose in half the amount of time it took before Covid-19?

What opportunities do we have to transform how we achieve desired outcomes because workplace parameters have changed?

How might we engage our customers/the people we serve in helping us think through what they actually need from us? Have their parameters changed, given the current situation?

What can we streamline? What can we jettison? What truly matters here?

How might we best support one another in this new environment?

What training do we need in order to take advantage of these new possibilities and how can we scale rapidly?

Based upon the ideas that are generated, give your team permission to reinvent by trying some new things, even as they continue to do what must be done right now.

Rapid Prototyping

Engage your team in rapid prototyping of the most promising ideas: The ones that will give you the greatest return on your time and energy. The ones that promise to reinvent the way you do business. Engage in regular cycles of action learning to evolve your prototypes into new ways of achieving your mission. Include your customers in your learning cycles: “What works well for you? What suggestion do you have to help us improve?”

If your team is innovative enough, you’re likely to find the work gets done in much less time than normal. With that added time, offer your team opportunities for professional development, encouraging them to expand their capacity for reinvention. 

Free and Discounted Professional Development

Literally everyone who offers training is taking their trainings online. Many are offering free workshops and discounted training to support people and small businesses at this time. For example, we are providing free webinars that support reinvention, resilience, and communication: e.g., helping teachers to reinvent connection with students and parents and  healthcare professionals to reinvent care and connection while enhancing resilience, immunity, and positivity. All of these are being recorded and are/will be available for free on the Conversations Worth Having Youtube channel.  Free online certifications and courses includes courses and degrees from Shaw Acedemy, Coursera, and Linkedin. These are just a few. Google free training in your field. You will be amazed at the gift economy that is emerging!

Lean In to Reinvention

You can take advantage of the present opportunity by developing your team’s reinvention skills—which includes asking generative questions. These skills will help you better respond to your current situation. At the same time, it builds capacity to respond to future global changes, such as the emergence of wide-spread artificial intelligence and robotics. No one knows all that is critically important during this pause in our economy. In a world defined by rapid and continuous change, however, we can be assured that learning to reinvent ourselves will be an asset.

EMPLOYEE JOB SATISFACTION AND FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE IT

Job satisfaction is a big factor in employee engagement, and the level of discretionary effort team members are likely to make. No doubt, people’s work performance suffers when they don’t feel satisfied with their jobs, not to mention their quality of life.

Of course, every person is unique in what they wish to achieve from their work, but there are some job satisfaction factors that psychologists usually agree on.

Job satisfaction depends on several different factors such as satisfaction with pay, promotion opportunities, fringe benefits, job security, relationship with co-workers and supervisors, etc.

Job satisfaction may lead to cost reduction by reducing absences, task errors, conflicts at work and turnover.

As work is an important aspect of people’s lives and most people spend a large part of their working lives at work, understanding the factors involved in job satisfaction is crucial to improving employees ‘performance and productivity.

Factors affecting the level of job satisfaction are;

1. Working Environment

It is essential to provide employees with a work environment that is conducive to their overall development.

They need an environment which is healthy and safe and which caters to both personal comforts and facilitates doing a good job. If the working conditions are good (clean, attractive surroundings), the personnel will find it easier to carry out their jobs.

On the other hand, if the working conditions are poor (hot, noisy surroundings), personnel will find it more difficult to get things done.

Hence, it can be said that having a friendly, and supportive environment can lead to increased job satisfaction.

2. Fair Policies and Practice

Individuals who perceive that promotion decisions are made in a fair and just manner are likely to experience satisfaction from their jobs.

Very often employees are demotivated and dissatisfied with their jobs because unfair policies and practices prevail at their place of work.

It is therefore of utmost importance for an organization to have a fair and equal system regarding practices and policies so that there is no discrimination and frustration.

3. Caring Organization

Care can be shown in various ways, but it takes into consideration career development, adult treatment, being taken seriously and being appreciated for a job well done.

When people feel that the organization; for which they are working, cares for them and takes actions to improve their work and lives, they are happy, and this creates higher satisfaction.

4. Appreciation

The human race loves to be appreciated.

Even for the smaller job that does one seek to have an appreciation, from colleagues, boss, and seniors. When one gets acknowledged in front of everyone, it gives up a boost to their morale.

When appreciation leads to encouragement, the ultimate result is reflected in the efficiency of work automatically.

Therefore, the level of job satisfaction is always higher wherever appreciation is higher.

5. Pay

Wages and salaries are recognized to be a significant but cognitively complex (Carraher, & Buckley, 1996) and multidimensional factor in job satisfaction. Money not only helps people attain their basic needs but is also instrumental in providing upper-level need satisfaction.

Employees often see pay as a reflection of how management views their contribution to the organization. Fringe benefits are also significant, but they are not as influential.

One reason undoubtedly is that most employees do not even know how much they are receiving in benefits. Moreover, most tend to undervalue these benefits because they do not realize their significant monetary value.

6. Age

Age is one of the factors affecting job satisfaction. Various studies carried out in this field have shown that job satisfaction tends to increase with age.

That is older employees tend to report higher satisfaction, and younger employees say the lowest job satisfaction rates.

7. Promotion

Promotional opportunities seem to have a varying effect on job satisfaction. This is because promotions take some different forms and have a variety of accompanying rewards.

In recent years, the flattening of organizations and accompanying empowerment strategies, promotion in the traditional sense of climbing the hierarchical corporate ladder of success is no longer available as it once was.

8. Feel of Belongings

Most of the organization fails to understand this fundamental factor, whereas many have started acting towards it.

If an employee feels that he is considered an important part of the team, he belongs to the organization then there are higher chances of job satisfaction.

Texting or emailing an employee on his/her birthday, communicating the crisis to even at the ground level employee, making special efforts during festive seasons, all these small little gestures make an employee believe that he or she belongs to the firm.

This brings job satisfaction and loyalty together.

9. Initiation and Leadership

If an employee is given an equal number of opportunities to show their talent, take the lead and initiate then the chances of having a higher level of job satisfaction is more.

Suppose in an organization; no employee is asked to give suggestions, nobody is bothered to inform them of the decision.

There are only a few figures who lead the team always.

In such conditions, an employee wouldn’t feel satisfied with whatever job he or she is currently doing.

10. Feel of Being Loved

It is noticed that if an employee has a good bonding with colleagues arid seniors, then the job satisfaction level is higher.

One feels like coming to the office and performing the job. If the environment is not friendly, office politics is at its peak, and malpractices are done, then all these factors together leave no stone unturned in discouraging an employee from not coming to the office.

11. Safety and Security

These days companies are taking endless measures in order to see that an employee is catered to a different kind of facilities like health care and medical checkups.

There are a few institutions that also provide insurance policies at a lower rate.

Hence, this aspect of safety and security plays a major role. If an employee didn’t feel safe and secured at the organization that he or she works in, the level of job satisfaction is ultimately going to fall.

12. Challenges

There are a few types of employees who love to experiment; they like it when the challenging job is assigned to them. To them, the challenge is always associated with ability and capability.

They feel that if an employee is given a challenging job, it means that the leader trusts his or her capacity to fulfill the expectations.

Thus, wherever challenges have involved the level of job satisfaction automatically raises up.

13. Responsibilities

This suggests that when an employee is given a bigger responsibility it makes him or her conscious about the fact that the employers think him or her as a capable and trustworthy candidate.

Jobs where responsibility is involved always carry a higher level of satisfaction. The idea of responsibility and the feel that one gets when the responsibility gets accomplished cannot be traded for anything in the world.

If an employee is not given any responsibility to handle, ultimately the result is that the person feels detached and doubts about self-worth which immediately affects job satisfaction.

14. Creativity in Job

Job satisfaction is always higher wherever creativity is involved. The creative freedom gives a sense of fulfillment whenever any project is complete.

It makes an employee feels as if the project belongs to them for their creativity is there. Even if it is just a creative sentence that they have put in, it means a lot to them.

On the other hand, in jobs that are monotonous, the employee won’t feel like he or she belongs to the project. The alienation takes place, and hence the job satisfaction level falls drastically.

16. Personal Interest and Hobbies

People who pursue their hobbies and interest as their career, gain the highest level of satisfaction in whatever they do at their workplace.

This is because their job is not a job for them, but a way of getting closer to their interest and making money. Whatever, they will be more than just to have a promotion.

17. Respect from Co-Workers

Employees seek to be treated with respect by those they work with. A hostile work environment with rude or unpleasant coworkers is one that usually has lower job satisfaction.

Managers need to take a step and mediate conflicts before they escalate into more serious problems requiring disciplinary action.

Employees may need to be reminded of what behaviors are considered inappropriate when interacting with coworkers.

18. Relationship with Supervisors

One of the major reasons employees think about quitting a company is that their supervisor does not care about them.

A participative climate created by the supervisor seems to have a more substantial effect on workers’ satisfaction than does participation in a specific decision.

Effective managers know their employees need recognition and praise for their efforts and accomplishments.

Employees also need to know their supervisor’s door is always open for them to discuss any concerns they have that are affecting their ability to do their jobs. It will lead to their satisfaction in the office.

19. Feedback

Not receiving feedback on their work can be quite discouraging for most people. Effective feedback will help the team members know where they are and how they can improve.

Authority also needs to know what kind of feedback the team members respond to best. Research shows that learners seek and respond to positive feedback, while experts respond to negative feedback.

In the case of negative feedback, it’s not enough to simply point out what is wrong. One should explain the reason something they did isn’t working, and how it might be corrected.

20. Flexibility

Offering flexibility is a great way to show the team members that what is expected from them. What’s more, the gift of time is one of the most appreciated workplace perks. Smart people work best when they can choose their schedule.

Flexible hours can increase engagement and productivity. But keep in mind that these may decrease collaboration.

21. Nature of Work

The nature of work can define the willingness to work. Most individuals have a liking for certain tasks and would prefer to handle these tasks. One should make sure that he/she is going for firms where he/she gets to apply the skills, abilities, and knowledge to the fullest.

Recent research has found that such job characteristics and job complexity mediate the relationship between personality and job satisfaction, and if the creative requirements of employees’ jobs are met, then they tend to be satisfied.

For each working personal job satisfaction has a different meaning. There are different factors that influence the level of job satisfaction. The ones that are listed above are the most common ones.

It is vital for an employee to have a satisfaction level derived from the job that he or she is doing