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4Cs Blog: Happy Employees = Happy Customers

Posted by Insightlink on 11/29/16

Ways To Heal Employees Caught In The Shame Blame Game

 As humans when someone accuses, blames or shames us most of us react in one of six ways. We will either withdraw, become defensive, lash out in a counter attack, beat ourselves up internally, be a people-pleaser in order to counter the inner feelings of never being good enough or, we look for a solution to the problem that results in positive change (which we all recognize is the healthiest response but not the easiest to do).

At work employees respond to blame and shame, criticism, judgment or threats by withdrawing which ends up translating into a lack of engagement, low morale and motivation
We all know people who react defensively or try to justify their actions; they come across as whining, argumentative, and sometimes hostile, none of which anyone enjoys. Unfortunately, the response could also be a counter attack, which would sound like a verbal attack…the situation could get ugly and extremely uncomfortable. The ripple effectof all this negative energy affects co-workers (consciously and subconsciously) causing apathy and bad feelings to flow. This is what drives engagement levels down and costs people and organizations their emotional and financial health.

Blame and shame don’t work for anyone but it takes knowledge and understanding and leadership to get a grip on the problem and turn it around. 

For example, do you ever feel like you are walking on eggshells at work?
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Posted by Insightlink on 11/21/16

Why Employees Who Mask Their Unhappiness Are Lethal

 "An organization pays a heavy price when its bright, capable people quit and leave. But it’s even more costly when bright, capable people quit and stay.” — Rodger Dean Duncan

One of the overwhelming challenges of being in HR is being held accountable for maximizing retention and reducing turnover. A great deal of effort and energy gets spent making sure employees don’t quit but there are many times when they do despite it all. Feelings of abandonment must echo the halls of HR when it happens but there are other ways unhappy employees process their environments that are not so obvious but maybe more lethal. 

There are three basic tactics or coping mechanisms employees use when they are unhappy with their jobs:
  1. Proactively work to make the situation better. This may seem like the best path but it also the most difficult. It usually involves confronting people about the root causes of their frustration. It requires that the unhappy employee confront people, and possibly their own direct manager, about the reasons they are struggling and that can be demoralizing.
  2. Quit. This one is pretty straightforward. At some point, people will decide that life is too short to be frustrated and discouraged at work, and they’ll search for a new job. And if they’re good at their jobs it won’t be difficult for them to find a new one and leave.
  3. Quit and stay. Ultimately, this is the path of least resistance, and the one many employees choose, sometimes even subconsciously. These folks rationalize not quitting by thinking “Hey, I’m still getting paid so I’ll just hang in and detach emotionally so it doesn’t get to me anymore.” If this decision is being made by enough employees, then this will erode a company’s culture from the inside out as service, productivity and morale decline. 
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Posted by Insightlink on 11/15/16

How To Bust Boredom and Be The Change In Your Organization

 Do you or your employees feel bored at work?

Unfotunately many of us would answer yes.

Current reports reveal that boredom is running rampant not just in assembly lines but for white collar workers who ‘waste away, unchallenged and uninspired’ at their desks’. 

Sandi Mann from the University of Lancashire studies boredom and found that ‘ boredom is a condition that can be more stressful and damaging than overwork’. To help us understand boredom she explains that being bored at work does not happen because you have nothing to do. It happens because nothing you are doing appeals to you. 

What a terrible reality to think employees are coming in every day but checking out mentally because they feel no connection or derive any personal satisfaction from the work they do. And, what a terrible thing for employers as they watch morale decline and profits weaken.

Understanding what causes boredom is key to any positive change. We believe part of the process should include an employee engagement action plan to really get to the heart of the disconnection and understand what is causing employees to feel bored in the first place. Boredom is one of the key drivers of poor work performance, accidents, absenteeism, sleepiness, and stress-related health problems so it deserves attention in most organizations, including and especially offices. Read full post

Posted by Insightlink on 11/04/16

There Are No Good Reasons To Waste Your Vacation Days

Hard working Americans seem to have lost their way in recent decades.

It seems we have forgotten that we have a limited time here on earth as we work ourselves to death to pay our bills when we should be spending our time on worthwhile things that make us happy like family, friends, our passions and our hobbies. Many Americans persist in frittering away and wasting vacation days that are earned and deserved however, denying themselves the chance to rest and relax. In fact many are proud of being  workaholics, which is commonplace and symptomatic of many employees in our culture today; but the reality is when we do the same thing day in and day out, week after week month after month we become dead inside and we forfeit our quality time for what? More work….

Does it bother us that we are known as the ‘No-Vacation Nation’? Not surprisingly the United States is the only developed country in the world without a single legally required paid vacation day or holiday. In stark contrast, figures from CEPR's study "No-Vacation Nation Revisited reveal that every country in the European Union is required, by law, to provide at least 4 weeks of paid vacation every year.

Italians, who get over 35 days of vacation per year might be enjoying life a whole lot more too as they live on average four years longer than Americans. Italians get paid for a 13th month in December (paid twice for working one month) so that they can afford to pay their bills and enjoy a vacation. The message “life is short’ seems to be alive and well in the world, just not in the states! Read full post

Posted by Insightlink on 10/21/16

Does Office Gossip Help or Hurt Us?


Most of us would agree that office gossip can be deadly.

Many of us also know how much it hurts to be backstabbed by the people who greet us every day with a smile and cheerful ‘hi’ in the hallway. Yet some researchers have shown that gossip can be good for us and it can even be used to enhance relationships. They have even gone so far to say that talking behind someone’s back can bring about increased harmony amongst co-workers. 


As employee research experts we have never worked with a client who has used gossip as part of an action plan, as a means of strengthening communication and morale. So we were intrigued by a study conducted by a research team at Stanford University who discovered that gossip and ostracism were useful tools that groups of employees use positively to encourage cooperation and even reform bullies.

While we may think gossip is malicious and that it undermines trust and morale, this research showed it had positive effects. Participants in the study were encouraged to gossip about colleagues. What they found was that employees aligned themselves with others they perceived were cooperative and like them. The employees who were uncooperative and selfish were identified through gossip, which was encouraged. What was interesting about the study was how the ‘castaways’ or excluded employees behaved in response to being excluded. When they found out others talked about them negatively and then they were ostracized from the group, they changed their behaviors to become more cooperative. With this attitude change they actually returned to the group at a higher level of cooperation. Read full post

Posted by Insightlink on 10/14/16

Body Language And How it Impacts Employee Engagement

 Understanding body language can enhance communication with your employees

Managers who understand the basic rules of body language have a unique ability to influence employee engagement by their ability to use non-verbal messages to know their employee’s true feelings. U.S. anthropologist and body language expert Ray Birdwhistell discovered decades ago that 95 percent of communication happens in our subconscious minds and then it is expressed through our body language. Taken one step further, Linda Talley, a current expert in body language, says that a person can say something which may not be true but their body language will always tell the truth.

Our bodies always tell the truth no matter what we say.

By being knowledgeable about body language and what the signs mean a manager can begin to observe and respond to employee’s behavior in informed ways. Not only can awareness make it easier for managers to get a better read on their employees, it can also help managers be more aware of how they are coming across to their employees. For example, if you call your team together for a meeting because you have bad news to share you might frame the conversation with positive words and a smile hoping to minimize the impact but your body language could warning everyone without you even realizing it. Read full post

Posted by Insightlink on 10/04/16

How to Increase Employee Retention With Lean Management Principles

Employee turnover is accelerating, and it’s costing employers money. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers are staying with their employers for a little over four years. The average cost of hiring one new employee can range from $1,000 in services industries to as much as $5,000 or more in professional and manufacturing industries, according to Recruiterbox. This includes costs for in-house recruiters, third-party recruiters, advertising, travel, referral bonuses, sign-on bonuses and relocation.

To avoid wasting thousands of dollars every four years, one effective strategy you can deploy for increasing employee retention is lean management. These principles help you optimize your workplace and reduce your rate of employee attrition.


Lean Management Culture...

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Posted by Insightlink on 09/29/16

How Work Spouses are Disrupting Morale and Employee Engagement

 A work spouse can motivate you to go to work on days when you don’t want to.

If coworkers are the unsung heroes of employee retention imagine the impact work spouses could have on reducing turnover. Work spouses are a growing phenomenon in the world of employee research because they tend to be super motivated employees who consequently have a significant impact on job satisfaction and engagement. In understanding your work force it is helpful to know if you employ any of these happy couples and to what extent you are encouraging or discouraging these types of relationships.

Work spouses Psychiatrist Jacqueline Olds defined a work spouse as “a person at work with whom you have a special relationship in which you share confidences, loyalties, experiences, and a degree of honesty and openness.” 

Friendships and good chemistry can make a big difference in your happiness at work but work spouses take it to a whole new level by driving even deeper feelings of belonging and being connected. Work spouses have the potential to be the most meaningful relationships in employees lives because these partners understand their partners professionally and have insights into each other’s personal lives. As a result, work spouses are extremely motivated, they heavily influence each other’s morale and ultimately make work a more enjoyable experience. These happy work couples very often raise morale with the people they work with as well. 

In many workplaces across the country today, men and women find themselves sharing a close platonic relationship inside the walls of their office that is in every way like a marriage but without the sexual intimacyRead full post

Posted by Insightlink on 09/21/16

Employee Survey Critics Don't Want You To Know This

It is pretty tough to find out that your employees have harsh and negative feelings about you and the way you manage them. Most humans take that kind of stuff personally and sometimes it hurts.

In a perfect world communication would rock and everyone would feel valued and heard and, If communications were truly working as they should, then you wouldn't need to survey employees because everything would be out in the open. In a perfect world bosses would regularly walk up to their employees and ask how it’s going and they would know if they liked their work or not. Conversely employees would feel confident and reassured and would speak the truth; there would be no need for secrets and problems would be solved in a healthy way.

The reality is communications are tough for everyone and chances are if you are considering surveying your employees it is because you know you have problems. A survey won't solve your problems but it is undeniably the most logical first step in solving problems because it will expose the problems and the barriers you are up against so at least you have the basis for an effective action plan.

Don’t be Fooled by Employee Survey Critics...

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Posted by Insightlink on 09/09/16

Four Principles That Precede Employee Engagement

Learning to communicate is the basis for a happy life and happy employees

In various degrees, we each have natural emotional needs that are as important at work as any other place in our life. Perhaps even more important given the amount of time we dedicate to our jobs. Employee engagement surveys can give you the inside story about how well your employees needs are being met but how well do you understand your employees needs and what steps can you take to ensure you are creating a healthy positive environment to foster higher employee engagement?

It might be helpful to stop focusing in increasing employee engagement and focus on treating employees well instead. When we focus on the needs of others, listen to them and give them opportunities to grow, engagement naturally follows. If you try to squeeze more productivity out of people for the sake of profits they will see that coming and that will breed contempt and frustration but if your heart is in the right place they will see that too.  Read full post
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Insightlink Communications are experts in employee survey design, data collection and analysis. Since 2001 we've helped companies of all sizes measure and improve their employee satisfaction and engagement.

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