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:

What Makes Great Salespeople – 8th July

What behaviours drive successful salespeople? Last year, research by people analytics company VoloMetrix identified three things that were highly correlated with top performing reps:

  1. Customer Engagement. This not only includes overall time spent with customers, but also factors in the number of accounts touched; time spent with each; frequency of interactions; and breadth and depth of relationships built within them.
  2. Internal Networks (to your own organisation). It’s useful to break internal network characteristics into three sub-categories:
    • General: This includes overall number of relationships within your own organisation; time spent interacting with other colleagues; and influence within the network.
    • Support resources: A set of metrics focused on the relationships reps built with sales support staff, including pre-sales specialists, inside sales reps, and others.
    • Management: A set of metrics concentrated on relationships between reps and their direct managers, as well as broader rep engagement with company leadership.
  3. Energy: This new angle, which is very much related to the previous two, includes a collection of metrics that measure overall time and effort exerted by salespeople.

In total, the new analysis suggests that sales success requires the right engagement model with customers, the right relationships within your own company, and putting in the needed time and energy. These insights may seem intuitive but, according to the data it is the details that matter.

Deloitte Survey Digs Into Millennials’ Perception About Our Workplace Culture – 8th July

China Gorman, CEO for Great Place to Work, a company dedicated to improving society by helping companies create better workplaces, reports on Deloitte’s 4th annual Millennial Survey. What does it conduced in one sentence?: “Business should focus on people and purpose, not just products and profits.”

Gorman makes the point that millennials are now the largest group in the economy, but regardless of generation, she says, people in work want three things:
1. Respect, appreciation and fairness;
2. Meaningful work that makes them proud;
3. Camaraderie

Gorman has a healthy scepticism for surveys, but still recommends reading them for insights; such as this one: millennials want leaders who are strategic thinkers, inspirational, personable and visionary. See the full report for details and statistics.

The bottom line, suggests Gorman, is that the workforce now expects “more human” workplaces. We all want it, she says, it’s just that Millennials are more vocal about it.
How human is your workplace?

The #1 Dysfunction Preventing Wise Investment In Employee Engagement  – 7th July

You say you are bothered by the fact that employees are “checked out.” You claim you want them to innovate. You discuss over and over the fact that they just seem to sit there, taking up space, not doing nearly as much as they could or should. But what, exactly, asks Dannielle Blumenthal , are you doing about it?

If you really wanted to motivate your staff, she says, you would actually do something about it. The reason you hang back, Blumenthal suggests, is fear. You don’t want to know what would happen if they did actually get engaged…

Fear is a hidden dysfunction. So you make up the most logical business reason of all to keep your staff from succeeding: money (lack of). “What I want to tell you,” says Blumenthal, is that these fears are not only unfounded, they’re actually keeping you from progressing in your career.”

A manager who helps employees develop is beloved by them, continues Blumenthal. That means your staff are loyal to you, supportive of you, in sync with you, engaged with the work they’re doing for you, and most importantly of all, they trust you, she says.

There are plenty of ways they can gain experience at absolutely zero cost to you. They can:

  • Get a mentorBe a mentor themselves
  • Do a rotation somewhere
  • Join a working group
  • Attend class at a community college
  • Take on a leadership position in a related organisation
  • Engage in low-cost online training
  • Teach themselves material with which to train other employees
  • You can delegate some work to them

The philosophy can be summed up in a single sentence, says Blumenthal: “The pie gets bigger the more you share it.” In the end, helping other people succeed is the best way to boost your career after all.

Watch Out for the Working Zombies – 7th July

This fun infographic (American Data) gives an amusing take on the impact that disengaged employees have on their workplace.

The 5 Attributes Of An Exceptional Employee Brand – 7th July

Kimberly Whitler reflects on the attributes that lead to how an exceptional employee-based brand is created, how an individual could create a brand that people believe is irreplaceable, will be missed by all, and can impact the cultural dynamic within an organization.

Here is her list;

  1. Superior Service Orientation: We all serve people. As a former CMO, I believed that I served my boss, my peers, my employees, the board, the shareholders, and most importantly, the consumer. My job was to make my boss look good (which meant delivering results and handling board meetings well), make my employees’ jobs easier, help my peers achieve their goals (and be fun to work with), help create meaningful value for consumers, etc.
  2. On-Call Mentality: Be committed to helping others and, more importantly, take great pleasure in doing so expediently.
  3. Level-Less: You can almost always tell; there are those who only treat those above them with kindness and then turn around and treat those below them on an organizational chart differently. Watch how they treat the waiters/waitresses as a signal of whether they are “level-less,” meaning that all people are equal and interesting and that work status doesn’t define their value.
  4. Humor: If you observe people, those that tend to develop great affinity seem to be adept at using humor effectively. They diffuse tension. They create a more enjoyable environment. Overall, there is a sense of joy whenever you are around them.
  5. Serious Expertise: You can’t develop a supercharged employee brand without competence.

Driving Employee Engagement in Shoe Stores – 7th July

8 strategies that can help managers increase employee engagement, reduce turnover, and maintain a sustainable shoe retail business.

Much of this industry’s success relies on sales associates engaging with customers in the proper manner. This knowledge is gained through the training and continual development of our employees.

A common practice within shoe retail, however, is that managers tend to rush into hiring new employees as the busy season approaches, as a quick, temporary fix to cover the extra business.

For a manager, the key to having an excellent employee system is balancing operational tasks with the leadership role. Before implementing these eight steps to help enhance employee engagement, it is important as a manager to embrace several Level 5 leadership strategies.

Read a full description of all 8 steps to employee engagement here in trainingmag.com

The Condensed Guide to Running Meetings – 6th July

There’s plenty of advice out there on how to stop spending so much time in meetings or make better use of the time:

  1. Keep the meeting as small as possible. No more than seven people.
  2. Ban devices.
  3. Keep it as short as possible — no longer than an hour.
  4. Stand-up meetings are more productive.
  5. Make sure everyone participates and cold-call those who don’t.
  6. Never hold a meeting just to update people.
  7. Always set an agenda out ahead of time – and be clear about the purpose of the meeting.

Next time you need to bring a group together, do the best you can to make it a good use of everyone’s time—including your own.

Pitfalls to Avoid When You Inherit a Team – 6th July

Taking over as the leader of an existing team can be daunting. The team’s response to your new processes or style can make you feel a little like the evil stepmother who’s stepped into their formerly happy lives. Your team was once someone else’s team. They’ve developed habits in response to the preferences of the previous leader. Adjusting those habits is going to be challenging, but there are things you can do to make the transition easier on all of you.

Common mistakes:

  1. Trying to be a friend rather than a leader.
  2. Expressing frustration with the quality of team.
  3. Attempting to force trust and candor too quickly.

Things you can do to create a strong connection and get your team off to a good start:

  1. Share your story and your owner’s manual.
  2. Define the purpose of the team.
  3. Articulate the tensions that should exist and how to manage them.

It’s a delicate business taking over a team with existing relationships and established processes. Tread carefully and make sure you’re balancing your empathy for team members with your drive to increase effectiveness. Don’t rush. Instead, use a series of extended conversations about the individual members, the mandate of the team, and the rules of the road to start to build and bolster trust. And when you make a mistake, own up to it — it’s the best way to become a leader the team can rally behind.

Figure Out Your Manager’s Communication Style – 2nd July

Effective communication takes a deft touch when you’re managing up. As you engage with your boss in everyday activities, try to identify the messages behind their speech and behaviour. Listening with a keen ear and observing with a sharp eye can make all the difference in understanding your manager’s preferred communication style.

Start by asking yourself these questions:

  1. Is my manager a listener or a reader? Listeners want to hear information first and read about it later. Readers prefer to see a written report before discussing it with you.
  2. Does she prefer detailed facts and figures or just an overview? If she thrives on details, focus primarily on accuracy and completeness; if she prefers an overview, emphasize the clarity and crispness of the main idea.
  3. How often does she want to receive information? Your manager may always want to receive updates at specified junctures or she may have different thresholds for each project, such as daily reporting on critical endeavours and periodic updates on secondary initiatives.

Every exchange of information with your manager has implications for productivity. These tips will help you be more efficient:

  • When discussing deadlines, use specific language. Pinpoint a certain date—even a specific hour, if appropriate. Avoid vague commitments like “sometime next week,” “ASAP,” or “as soon as we can get to it.”
  • Be honest about what you can and cannot handle. When you commit to an assignment, clearly identify what resources you need to get the job done.
  • Explicitly identify your objectives each time you communicate with your manager.
  • Ask questions to clarify what you don’t understand. Inquire about opportunities for follow-up in case you think of other questions later.

Employee Engagement? What If Employees Don’t Want To Be Engaged? – 2nd July

Engagement statistics really haven’t changed much over the past 10 years. But why, asks Larry Myler for forbes.com?

Surely, we’ve focused enough attention, money, staff, time and energy on the concept of engagement to make a huge difference. And yet the numbers remain relatively flat and generally negative.

So Myler – who follows Intrapreneurship – believes there are two untapped sources of influence that can help create a formidable recipe for sustained increases in engagement, when combined with general organizational rewards.

Social Motivation. It is difficult to be a poster child for engagement when most of your peers will not act in like manner, for whatever reason. One way to tap into the positive power of peer pressure is to engage employees to engage each other through peer-to-peer recognition and reward.

Individual Motivation. Most employees (being human) come with limiting beliefs, mental blocks and to some degree a predisposition toward self-sabotage. No amount of organizational or peer influence can completely break through self-defeating patterns we learn as children.

The good news is these fundamental misconceptions are completely unfounded. The bad news is they are always working in the background, slowing our progress when it comes to desired outcomes like healthy relationships, peace of mind and, yes, our ability to live up to our full potential at work.

If you suspect some of your employees just don’t want to embrace engagement the way you need them to and you’ve already attempted to motivate them from the organizational level, try adding influences on the peer and individual levels as well.

Only 15% of Employees in Germany Are Engaged – 1st July

Fewer than one-fifth of employees in Germany are engaged in their jobs. 15% are actively disengaged. The situation is costing Germany 275 billion euros a year.

According to Gallup, who has been continuously measuring the German workplace engagement since 2001, here’s what German companies need to do:

  • Update their company culture and people management
  • Improve management education and preparation
  • Develop new and better strategies to overcome barriers to engagement
  • Provide managers with support, training and coaching to help them understand what employees need from their workplace

Read Gallup’s full response here.

The more engaged employees a company can create, the better the organization will be. None of this is easy, nor may it even appear necessary — export quotas are up, unemployment is down and disengagement isn’t getting worse, after all. But all that good news disguises the fact that Germany isn’t as productive, profitable and healthy for workers as it could and should be.

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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