Each week we scour the web to find you the most informative, inspirational, and insightful articles about Motivation, Morale, Employee Engagement, Leadership, Followership, Strategy and Culture. Then we edit them into bite-size chunks, to give you the essentials without the fluff. Here are this week’s must reads:

Avoiding the demographic crunch: labour supply and the ageing workforce – 1st July

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the International Longevity Centre-UK (ILC) have just realised the findings of their collaborative study into the impact of demographic shifts on organisational productivity.  Highlights include:

  • In 1992, one in five people in employment was aged over 50; today it is more than one in four and is set to intensify
  • 9.4 million people in employment over the age of 50 in the UK, equivalent to over 30% of the workforce
  • More than one in ten workers across most industry groups are aged over 60.

The reports suggests a number of recommendations to address this increasingly important issue, including:

  • Inclusive recruitment
  • Improving line management capability
  • Invest in career development
  • Implementing more health and wellbeing strategies
  • Embracing flexible working

Download the full report here.

The Challenges of Leading in a Regulatory Environment – 30th June

The challenges facing the financial services industry following the financial crisis in 2008/9 has been investigated by Blessing White in association with Bath Consultancy Group.  Their research report identifies 10 challenges and associated recommendations within three themes:

  • Paralysis in the Face of Complicity and Uncertainty
  • Reputation, Relationship and Risk
  • Right People, Right Drivers, Right Action

Download the free report (registration required).

Untapped Talent: Can over 50s bridge the leadership skills gap? – 30th June

A new report by the institute of Leadership and Management has found that older managers are perceived as having little potential for development or progression.  Managers over 50 years of age are rated highly for skills and attributes,  but 41% of respondents said that they have very low potential for further progression.  Read the full report here.

The 4 Things That Keep Employees Interested In Their Jobs – 29th June

In a recent survey, based on the responses of 1,000 global employees, respondents were asked to rank eight engagement-related statements in four key areas, reports Nicole Fallon:

  • Purpose
  • Excellence
  • Support
  • Future

In every country surveyed, she says, the biggest driver of full employee engagement was the ability to use one’s strengths at work. The survey also revealed the number of “fully engaged” employees was surprisingly low…

Marcus Buckingham, the founder of TMBC who conducted the research, said: “Engagement is low because team leaders — not programs and policies — build engagement … … We will see engagement levels rise only when we properly equip local team leaders. TMBC’s Engagement Pulse white paper made the following recommendations for team leaders to help drive engagement:

  • Engage team members in the mission of the organisation.
  • Provide clear expectations.
  • Strengthen shared values.
  • Understand person-job fit characteristics for each employee.
  • Build team camaraderie, trust and communication.Recognise good work.
  • Remove job ambiguity and invest in growth opportunities for each team member.

Employee Engagement Should Be The End Goal, Not The Starting Point – 26th June

Eric Chester shares a great analogy to make an important point about employee engagement: “Roy and Beth have been dating for a year. One night after a romantic dinner Roy … proposes to Beth… Beth tearfully accepts. The two are now engaged. Six months later, Roy and Beth’s engagement comes to a screeching halt. What happened? They got married. The engagement ended the moment the marriage began.”

The moral of this story, says Chester, is that engagement [ie recruiting the right people – Ed] is just the starting line where the real race begins.

The bar is set too low
The challenge facing employers isn’t how to engage employees, says Chester, it’s how to keep the “fires of passion burning” once the honeymoon period is over.

Chester’s new book, On Fire at Work: How Great Companies Ignite Passion in Their People Without Burning Them Out, is set for publication this autumn (2015).

Chester concludes: “Why set your sights on merely having your people engaged in their jobs and your business? Aim higher. Invest your time, money, and resources in making your company the best possible place anyone could want to work for, and you’ll draw the top talent to you without investing heavily in high-end recruiting tactics.”

9 Reasons Why Your Employees Hate You – 25th June

Will Yakowicz writes about a new study which reveals the top complaints people have about their employers. In the study, by Interact and Harris Poll, 91 percent of the 1,000 people polled, said poor communication is the number one issue that can hurt a leader’s effectiveness.

The top communication issues employees say can hinder leaders’ effectiveness include:

  • 63 percent: not recognizing employee achievements
  • 57 percent: not giving clear directions
  • 52 percent: not having time to meet with employees
  • 51 percent: refusing to talk to subordinates
  • 47 percent: taking credit for others’ ideas
  • 39 percent: not offering constructive criticism
  • 36 percent: not knowing employees’ names
  • 34 percent: refusing to talk to people on the phone and in person
  • 23 percent: not asking about employees’ lives outside of work

“Too often, businesses fall short not because leaders don’t understand the business, but because they don’t understand what the people who work for them need in order to bring their best effort to work.”

How Great Leaders Build Trust And Increase Employee Engagement – 25th June

Understanding how to light up the brain’s reward network and stay out of the pain network can help you to avoid common pitfalls, writes Christine Comaford for forbes.com

The brain’s pain network gets activated when we feel physical pain, social exclusion, bereavement, betrayal, and negative social comparison. Our reward network is activated when we feel things like physical pleasure, cooperating, having a good reputation, being treated fairly, giving to charity.

A tribe that continuously activates the reward network — a SmartTribe — is more productive and effective.

A tribe that continuously activates the pain network suffers from three key leadership pitfalls:

Pitfall #1: Asking for feedback and not acting on it.

Pitfall #2: Flat or misaligned mission, vision and values.

Pitfall #3: Ineffective delegation. Delegate, delegate, delegate!

Read the full article to see how our best intentions as leaders can back fire and how to avoid these Pitfalls.

The Marcus Buckingham Company Announces Results of First-Ever Standardized Global Engagement Index – 25th June

China and the U.S. Rank Highest in Fully Engaged Employees, Capping at Just 19%

While the Ability to Use Strengths at Work is the #1 Indicator of Engagement Globally.

“These findings point to two key themes in the state of engagement today. The first is that despite China and the U.S. leading the pack in terms of the most fully engaged workforces, even in those countries less than a quarter of employees are wholly committed”

See the full article on businesswire.com to undertsand the survey’s methodology and learn more about how other engagement drivers vary from country to country.

Sir Brenden Barber Launches New Report to Help Solve UK’s Productivity Problem – 24th June

In a new ACAS report – Building Productivity – its author Brendan Barber examines how the UK could improve productivity through the lens of the workplace.

According to Engage for Success (EFS), he identifies seven levers of workplace productivity, many of which will resonate with employee engagement practitioners:

  • Well designed work
  • Skilled line managers
  • Managing conflict effectively
  • Clarity about rights and responsibilities
  • Fairness
  • Employee voice
  • High trust

The report also contains contributor views on the parts HR, business, skills, small firms, employee engagement (from EFS’s own David McLeod and Nita Clarke) and employee voice. So lots of links to employee engagement, and lots to stimulate our thinking about improving our workplaces and thereby improving UK productivity.

Download the ACAS report here.

Panama again tops Gallup’s well-being index among 145 nations – 24th June

According to Gallup’s latest wellbeing report as reported by IBTimes, residents of Panama enjoy the greatest sense of wellbeing with 53% thriving in three or more areas of wellbeing — measures that include a person’s sense of purpose, financial well-being and physical health.

Interestingly back in April, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network published their 2015 Happiness Report.  They found that people living in Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Denmark and Canada were the happiest.  To coincide with International Happiness Day (March 20), Gallup produced a report citing Latin American countries as being the happiest.  [I’m not sure if I’m happy with these conflicting results.  I guess it does prove that happiness and well-being are subjective – Ed.]

You Don’t Need a Promotion to Grow at Work – 24th June

Jordan Stark and Katie Smith Milway suggest that as organizations run leaner and flatter, your ability to move up can stall much earlier in your career. So what should you do when you reach that plateau?

First, take stock. Are you still energized by the mission of the organization? If the answer is No, it may be time to move on! But if the answer is Yes, then consider ways to grow ‘on the plateau’.

There are at least 4 proven approaches, all of which require that you ask what energizes you and what saps your motivation:

  1. Lateral moves within your organization can be a great way to build new skills and relationships and get exposure to different products or services.
  2. Reshaping your current role by taking inventory of what you’d like to do more of, less of, and start doing. Two good places to look for these challenges are on your supervisor’s plate (Does she have areas of responsibility that you find interesting that could help free her up?); and in employee and customer surveys (Are there needs the organization isn’t meeting that you have the skills to respond to?)
  3. Expanding your influence through actively mentoring others, building internal communities of practice, or stepping up to represent your organization with external bodies can forge satisfying new frontiers without changing roles.
  4. Deepening your skills by seeking out a mentor or volunteering for special projects; and off the job through formal leadership training.

The Top Complaints from Employees About Their Leaders – 24th June

Lou Solomon suggests that if you’re the kind of boss who fails to make genuine connections with your direct reports, take heed: 91% of employees say communication issues can drag executives down, according to results from the new Interact/Harris Poll.  In the survey, employees called out the kind of management offenses that point to a striking lack of emotional intelligence among business leaders, including micromanaging, bullying, narcissism, indecisiveness, and more.

Effective leaders, on the other hand, know that healthy communication requires the energy of connection — with inclusion, recognition, clear directions, meaningful interaction and feedback as the nerve center of the company and are intentional about building a sense of connectedness with their teams and appreciation of their employees by saying and asking things such as:

  1. Here’s what I appreciate about you and your contribution…
  2. Thank you (personal and public).
  3. What do you think?
  4. Here’s what’s happening and what you can expect…
  5. I have some feedback for you…
  6. Let me tell you about something I learned the hard way…
  7. Hello, Susan…Get to know your employees by name.

About Emenex

We help you make your people great.

Emenex enables organisations to get the best from and for their staff. Leaders approach us when they have challenges associated with motivation, productivity, retention, talent management and succession planning. They know that addressing these critical issues delivers higher levels of profit, productivity and customer satisfaction. They also know that a more progressive solution is required – one that delivers above and beyond expectations and enhances their brand with customers and staff alike. The solution our clients are choosing to implement is the extraMILETM Employee Engagement Programme.

The extraMILETM Employee Engagement Programme delivers all the tools and skills leaders need to clearly define and communicate organisational priorities to employees. For employees, it ensures they are prepared and able to align their personal and career goals to the priorities of the organisation. The continued growth and development of both teams and individuals builds loyalty, commitment and engagement. It builds an organisation better able to meet future challenges and leads to higher performance and customer satisfaction.

The result? Individuals and their organisation excel. Get in touch to find out more.

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