Now that the market for human resources is competitive, and that the landscape of the function is changing, you need to hire great talent to lead this space. Here are some ways to determine who to hire for HR leadership:
1. Identify what you really need (and what you don’t)
Do you have a small HR team that needs a more hands-on leader with a background in business? Or do you need a leader that can bring C-suite executives together to build strategies? Ask those in your company that know what they need in human resources.
2. Consider a unique path
Don’t just take the easy way out and promote an existing HR manager. As the role of HR changes, think about an unique path, instead. Even consider someone outside of the human resources space. It’s important to bring someone in that has experience in business operations.
3. Make your opportunity special
The potential leaders you choose probably have other opportunities to choose from, too. Be specific and intentional about the role, how it fits in the scope of your company and how it will move your business forward.
Also, here are a couple of questions to ask your potential HR leaders in interviews:
-What is the one skill you possess that will most impact our bottom line?
What does their answer say about their leadership style? Do they show how they value people?
-Tell me about a time you broke a rule/policy for an employee?
Sometimes, you have to go beyond the rules to do what’s right and put people first. Can they relate to employees at an individual level?
Now that the market for human resources is competitive, and that the landscape of the function is changing, you need to hire great talent to lead this space. Here are some ways to determine who to hire for HR leadership:
August 10, 2016
Acknowledgment by a manager means a lot for any employee, however, it means even more to the ones present on the frontline or part of a distributed team. Especially in these uncertain times, recognition from leadership can help make coming into work every day feel more worth it.
Read these 5 tips to incorporate acknowledgment into your management style and engage your employees.
- 1. Say Thanks. Simple, but incredibly effective; not forgetting to say “thank you” when someone closes on a project. It is very easy to forget some of the very basic gestures. Try to make it direct and individualized (via text, email, or safely face-to-face) to make every team member feel seen.
- 2. Listen to (and act on) feedback. When an employee shares their concern, highlights a process that isn’t working, or praises one that is, listen and act. Use a tool like Butterfly to quickly gather insights and gauge how employees are feeling. You may need to make changes you didn’t anticipate to show your trust and investment in your employees.
- 3. Join them in their day-to-day. Gathering feedback is incredibly important, but it can also help to see what they see and experience each day. Join employees in the thick of the workday to see the challenges and roadblocks that you might otherwise miss. Right now, things are changing quickly, so you may need to do this more than once.
- 4. Celebrate them. After thanking your team members, take time to regularly call out your team to the larger company. It is very easy for other colleagues, who aren’t directly connected to your team, to be oblivious to your team’s wins. So make sure to not forget to shine a light on your team’s important work and impact for the overall company.
- 5. Extend perks, if possible. While not everyone is in the office, it is easy to forget that perks that were once available to everyone, are now only for people back in the office. With the rise of the distributed and hybrid workforces it is of the utmost importance that you spend some time thinking about how to extend office perks to everyone across the company regardless of where they work.
In the end, any type of acknowledgment that shows your employees you understand and appreciate what they’re doing will go a long way.
Butterfly gives managers what they need to know about how their people are feeling right now and empowers them to immediately follow up. The loop is closed in real-time with team members getting meaningful, best-informed actions from their managers. Every manager becomes a leader who knows their people and drives engagement, removing one more burden from the shoulders of HR and creating a happier workforce.
January 5, 2022
In uncertain times, change comes faster than anyone can expect. For frontline employees, these changes will feel especially unexpected if their managers and leaders aren’t transparent.
Use these 5 tips to build transparency into your management style:
1. Share updates daily. Use texts, start-of-shift meetings or an email to inform everyone of any new policies or changes, big or small. If there’s nothing new, say that and thank your team for the work they’re doing. Doing this on a regular basis helps build stability.
2. Welcome and answer questions. An “open door” policy is crucial in uncertain times. Let your team know that you are there for them by encouraging questions and answering them with all the information you have.
3. Be honest. When you share daily updates or answer questions, do it honestly. If there are things you don’t know, say so. If there are things you can’t yet share with the team, tell them that, and let them know when they can expect more clarity.
4. Listen to feedback. This will help you understand what your employees want to hear from you. Use an anonymous pulse survey, like those from Butterfly, to encourage a safe space where they can rate the level of support and transparency they feel from you.
5. Manage change together. Involve your employees at all levels in building the processes that facilitate changes. Ask how they think things in your workplace should shift in reaction to new mandates as they are announced.
Be open, honest and willing to listen in an effort to build a transparent working environment. These ideas aren’t only applicable for the current moment; use them to help you engage your essential workforce today and in the future.
February 10, 2022
Communication is the umbrella under which all of the most important actions a manager can take to engage their essential workforce live. Talking and listening are the bones of building a work environment where employees feel cared for and motivated to be productive, especially in uncertain times.
Incorporate communication into your management style and engage your employees with these 5 tips:
- 1. Share contact channels. Tell your team members where they can actually reach you when they need you. Give them this information and set the process up to work for you, too. If you prefer texts to phone calls, make that clear.
- 2. Automate feedback. Open another line of communication, and make it easy to manage. An engagement tool like Butterfly can automatically send pulse surveys as often as daily, encouraging employees to share their feedback and ask for support regularly.
- 3. Give regular updates. Set a day and time to send a text or email to your team. If you’re still working together in person, this could also be a meeting. This sets their expectations and becomes a third channel for communication.
- 4. Check in each shift. Any time that an employee is working, you should let them know that you are there to support them. If they have concerns, are feeling overwhelmed, have a solution to a roadblock, let them know you’re around to listen.
- 5. Be there. Non-verbal communication matters, too. Tell your team that you’re with them, you understand and you’re listening simply by showing up. Only do this, of course, if it is safe and recommended.
More than sending millions of messages that could interrupt the flow of their day, over-communicating is about establishing multiple effective channels and keeping them open. If your employees see this and know it, they can better engage with their job.
January 7, 2022
As teams begin to settle into the reality of working remotely, it’s vital for managers to keep investing in engagement.
Keeping your team engaged even when you’re apart doing more than boost productivity: it reassures them that you’re all in it together. Clear and dynamic communication will ease anxieties and help you all succeed.
Try these five tips and practices to engage your employees remotely:
- 1. Introduce Your Work Space
Especially in the early adjustment period, be transparent about working situations. Show them your desk (whether make-shift at the kitchen table or in a full-fledged home office) and introduce them to your pets, kids and family. Be the first one to say, “Pardon any interruptions,” so that they know you’re expecting and ok with real-life blending into work life.
- 2. Have Virtual Office Hours
Block off time on your calendar and set up a virtual “office” where your team members can come to talk with you. Office hours don’t need to be strictly about work; encourage them to come to you if they’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious or need a quick “water cooler” break.
- 3. Take the Pulse Regularly
Supplement team meetings and (video) face-to-face check-ins with automated pulse surveys from Butterfly. Get feedback instantly on working situations and ask for feedback about what’s working and what isn’t in this new reality.
- 4. Eat Lunch Together
In the workplace, it isn’t always feasible to gather together as a team and eat lunch — and it’s something a lot of teams take for granted! Schedule in lunch meetings where colleagues can virtually eat, talk and take their minds off of everything that’s going on.
- 5. Vocalize Gratitude
Another great practice for any work situation: share praise and thank your team members for their work. Acknowledge that accomplishing things in a remote environment can be really hard, and their ability to power through projects or meet new goals is huge. Say thanks privately and celebrate them publicly.
How are you staying engaged with your remote team? Share your stories with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Butterfly gives managers what they need to know about how their people are feeling right now and empowers them to follow up immediately. The loop is closed in real-time with team members receiving meaningful, best-informed actions from their managers. Every manager becomes a leader who knows their people and drives engagement, removing one more burden from the shoulders of HR and creating a happier workforce.
January 6, 2022
Agile transformation is the latest buzz in the HR industry. As organizations think about ensuring business continuity amid the ongoing health crisis, and more than 74% of businesses plan to shift to remote work in the post-pandemic world, the need to prioritize agility is higher than ever.
However, transitioning to an agile workforce is often easier said than done. In fact, a Harvard Business Review study showed that even big-name companies failed to achieve an agile workforce and experienced organizational disruption. About 90% of the surveyed companies struggled with agile transformations even after successfully launching small-scale initiatives. But what is an agile workforce? More importantly, what makes agile talent important for businesses? Understand what agile talent is and how you can revamp your business to complement it using this in-depth guide.
What is an Agile Workspace?
In the changing corporate landscape, business leaders are realizing that a new approach to project management is needed. With social distancing protocols and a large percentage of employees working remotely, managers need to draw on the most effective resources to get the job done. An agile workspace is one that is designed to support and maximize flexibility, creativity, and efficiency. This means bringing the most qualified people together to work on a solution, whether they are on-staff or contract workers. Consequently, cubicles are being replaced by more open, flexible desk arrangements (open spaces, private spaces, and room for collaboration), and people are using technology to connect and collaborate from remote locations. The focus is on creating an environment in which people can be creative and do their best work.
Why Talent Agility Matters
in the Digital World
Organizations can only accomplish what their people can accomplish—so attracting top talent is a critical part of success. The best workers are not satisfied with nine-to-five repetitive jobs; they want careers that will challenge them and in which they can grow and develop their skills. The agile workspace is the environment best suited to attract and retain this kind of talent.
How to Revamp Your Workforce
to Encourage Agile Talent
Here are some ways you can make your organization attractive to agile workers.
1. Go Digital
Use digital tools to foster productivity, creativity, and collaboration for workers who are on-site and those who are remote. “Most CFOs recognize that technology and society has evolved to make remote work more viable for a wider variety of positions than ever before,” said Gartner Finance Practice VP Alexander Bant.
Empowering your workforce with effective and efficient digital tools will help to attract and support agile talent. When going digital, it’s also essential to keep in mind that managers should be the first adopters of the technology to help them effectively manage their remote workers.
Technology managers should be aware of project management tools and time-tracking apps to help workers remain productive.
2. Embrace a Culture of Change
Agility thrives on flexibility. Before organizations can bring in agile talent to their pool, they must be willing to embrace a culture of change. This requires consideration of what they need to let go of, and what tools and processes they can integrate to achieve a higher success rate. While it’s nice to have standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place, the ability to adjust depending on the current needs of the organization is also critical. Data from McKinsey shows that 70% of business transformations fail because culture change was not effectively factored into the mix.
With the unprecedented disruption brought by the pandemic, it’s all the more important for organizational leaders to nurture a business culture anchored on change.
3. Focus on Multi-Skilled Talent
The workforce is becoming more competitive, and agility and versatility will depend on the skills of each team member. Consequently, hiring multi-skilled talent is a cost-effective approach to agile talent management. Organizations can eliminate bulky organizational structures and can address setbacks as the workforce functions seamlessly between different departments and verticals. A workforce with agile talent and multiple skillsets also ensures that companies never have to rely on only one person to carry out a particular task.
4. Personalities Matter
Considering personality when hiring can help ensure an individual’s success and contribution to the organization. In addition to identifying hard skills, hiring specialists should also focus on desirable personality traits including empathy, motivation, self-confidence, and adaptability.
Organizations should also ensure the potential employee is a good fit for the company culture. Energetic, adaptable, and self-motivated individuals are more likely to function well in an agile workspace. Research has identified how personality affects how an employee is likely to adapt to agile working.
5. Encourage Collaboration
One of the common challenges that businesses face is dealing with bottlenecks that hamper productivity. Often, this results from the presence of work silos that isolate team members. By encouraging collaboration among different verticals, the organization can identify and resolve pressing and potential business challenges with higher efficiency.
Promoting agile collaboration ensures that people from different groups can work together to boost cross-team collaboration and organizational productivity. Collaboration also allows team members to have a better understanding of their roles and contributions, allowing them to become highly invested in the company’s success.
The workforce of the future will continue to be dynamic, and organizations must quickly adapt and build cultures that promote the growth of agile talent as an organizational methodology. When strengthened, this transition towards an agile organization can help alter the business DNA and propel it towards success. Don’t be afraid to push the boundaries of your business by exploring agile talent.
If you found this article helpful, please share it on your social media channels.
Dean Mathews is the founder and CEO of OnTheClock, an employee time tracking app that helps over 15,000 companies all around the world track time.
Dean has over 20 years of experience designing and developing business apps. He views software development as a form of art. If the artist creates a masterpiece, many people’s lives are touched and changed for the better.
When he is not perfecting time tracking, Dean enjoys expanding his faith, spending time with family and friends, and finding ways to make the world just a little better.
September 1, 2021
Recently, we shared six actions to help managers and leaders of essential businesses manage their frontline employees effectively. In this post, we dig into one of those actions — being transparent — and offer a few ways you can use transparency to engage your team.
Use these 5 tips to build transparency into your management style:
- 1. Share updates daily. Use texts, start-of-shift meetings or an email to inform everyone of any new policies or changes, big or small. If there’s nothing new, say that and thank your team for the work they’re doing. Doing this on a regular basis helps build stability.
Butterfly was built for the frontline workforce, offering deskless teams a way to check in and share actionable feedback with ease. We are offering access to our industry-leading engagement and communication tools, built especially for the frontline workforce, totally free for 90 days. Get in touch and we will set you up.
April 28, 2020
Quick Five: Transparency
Recently, we shared six actions to help managers and leaders of essential businesses manage their frontline employees effectively. Here, we’ll dig into one of those actions and share a few ways you can enforce safety to protect and engage your team.
Safety is a workplace imperative. Right now, those safety protocols look a little different than usual: from enforcing social distancing and metering capacities to providing protective gear and beyond.
Read these 5 guidelines for building and maintaining a safe workplace:
- 1. Follow and share local regulations. Check in daily on changes to recommendations and regulations about how essential businesses should operate. Be transparent with your team so that they can feel prepared and empowered early and often.
- 2. Forgive distractions. Understand that, even though these frontline workers are reporting for duty physically each day, their minds might be at home with their family, worrying about their health, safety and well-being. Ask employees to take breaks more frequently and encourage them to hold off on dangerous tasks if they are distracted.
- 3. Hear from your employees. Ask your team how safe and protected they feel. Automate and anonymize this process if you’d like, using a tool like Butterfly. Send them regular pulse surveys, where they can rate how supported they feel by management as well as how happy they are that day.
- 4. Change the pace of work. Based on feedback and observation, it might be necessary to adjust expectations and processes in the workplace. Maybe employees will need to work shorter shifts or rotate job stations more frequently. Instead of measuring productivity by quantity, look at quality.
- 5. Take care of your team. Make sure that they feel supported. Acknowledge their feedback so that they know they have been heard. If a team member gets sick, assure them that they will be paid for sick time while quarantined. Additionally, address the situation calmly with the people that they work closely with day-to-day.
The best way to create a safe working environment is to create supportive relationships with your employees. Approach the situation with an air of understanding and care. When a team feels supported, they will be more apt to pay attention to and abide by safety protocols.
April 21, 2020
Quick Five: Safety
Recently, we shared six actions to help managers and leaders of essential businesses manage their frontline employees effectively. Here, we’ll dig into one of those actions, motivation, and share a few ways you can motivate and engage your team.
Positive motivation is a huge driver for essential employees in the frontline workforce. While the current climate makes it difficult to build a calm and comforting workplace, it is vital that employees work from a place of strength rather than fear or stress.
Read these 5 tips to infuse motivational engagement tactics into your management style.
1. Learn what motivates. First and foremost, talk to your employees to find out what is motivating to them. Managing from motivation only works when you know what types of tactics and actions will actually make a difference for your specific team members.
2. Listen to ideas and feedback. Create an open forum and encourage team members to use it! Pulse surveys, like those from Butterfly, can go a long way. Regularly present frontline employees with a chance to share their mood, ideas and feedback. This shows that you care and are listening, and it motivates them to pay close attention while at work.
3. Introduce positive rewards. In many workplaces, productivity is measured and rewarded by how much can get done in a day—which may no longer be a viable motivation for many. Instead, impress the value of the work your team is doing. Stress quality over quantity. Reward them with support, encouragement and understanding.
4. Make changes. Remember those ideas and feedback you’ve started to gather? Use them! Make constructive changes to processes and expectations that will better serve your employees, based on what they’ve told you.
5. Acknowledge initiators. When employees actively engage with feedback and ideas to improve their day-to-day, acknowledge them! Credit the changes to them and thank them for their suggestions, both one-on-one and with the full team. For more acknowledgement tactics, read our earlier post.
Once you know what drives your employees to do their work proudly and with excellence, find different ways to encourage and cultivate those motivations.
April 14, 2020
Across the U.S., non-essential businesses are shuttering in response to the coronavirus pandemic. In turn, essential businesses are harboring the weight of consumer needs, helping to hold up communities by keeping vital systems (like mail and shipping, food and grocery, utilities and sanitation) running.
This new strain on frontline employees—whether back-of-house, at the register or part of the logistics and supply chain—is throwing workforce dynamics into flux.
Now more than ever, it is vital to support and engage these teams.
That support and engagement will look different for different teams, businesses and industries, but there are recognizable throughlines.
Butterfly was built for the frontline workforce, offering deskless teams a way to check in and share actionable feedback with ease. Based on our work with essential businesses and frontline teams across industries, we’ve identified six vital actions that, when mixed and matched, can help a business run effectively and safely both today and in the future.
1. Acknowledge—Recognize the people who are coming to work every day. In a moment like this, these employees are putting themselves at risk; if their managers and leaders don’t acknowledge that fact, it makes it much, much harder for them to be at work.
Make an effort to call this out. Thank employees for the service they are providing, both to the business and also to the public. Whether this is through a text message, email, group or one-on-one meeting (virtual or safely in-person), it will reinforce that what they are doing is big, brave and important. These messages can even be sent using software like Butterfly.
Similarly, acknowledge feedback from employees. These employees are in the thick of it, day in and day out; what they see and experience is important to understand and act on.
2. Motivate — Employees should never work from a place of fear or stress. In times like these, it’s not easy to build a calm and comforting workplace, but it is necessary. Use teamwork and togetherness to build a working environment in which stress and fear can melt away.
Motivation can run low when employees don’t feel heard or understood. Encourage feedback and ideas by setting up automated pulse surveys, like those from Butterfly, that employees can complete quickly and easily.
If team members pitch ideas to optimize workflow while abiding pandemic protocols, call it out when they are successfully implemented. When employees know they have been heard and their ideas have been adopted, they will continue to share suggestions for improving life at work during this unprecedented time.
3. Enforce Safety — Right now, safety protocols are imperative. A company that ignores social distancing, store capacities, calls to quarantine and other required health practices puts everyone in danger.
Diligently keep up with local regulations for essential businesses and follow quarantine protocols. If an employee calls out sick, managers must ensure employees feel supported if they need to take time off of work for illness.
At the same time, understand that distractions might be more prevalent in the current climate. Evaluate other processes throughout the store or warehouse to see where safety can be improved with temporary changes. Pose questions about what can be done to help employees feel more safe and supported using a feedback tool like Butterfly.
4. Be transparent—There is so much unknown in the current situation, where news moves at the speed of light. Create a workplace where employees can feel confident that they know as much as their managers and leadership teams.
Daily updates by text or email might be comforting for employees. Consider start-of-shift meetings to announce any changes to working capacity, operating hours or other processes. If things haven’t changed from day to day, use the time to remind employees of the latest updates.
Transparency is exceptionally important as many companies cut costs with layoffs, furloughs and reduced hours. Remember, these changes can have a huge effect on the lives of employees. Try to be as open as possible about developments like these.
5. Support —Put simply, different people experience change in different ways. Understand how team members are digesting and dealing with the adjustments to their work schedules and changes to their family lives. Then, assess how best to support them.
Spend time learning how employees are coping, how their families are doing, and what anxieties or concerns the situation is creating for them. Get a full picture of what they’re dealing with to better set expectations and understand the context of feedback they share. Butterfly pulse surveys can be set up to help gather this feedback in an easily digestible way.
Financially, emotionally, or in any other way possible, offer employees continuous support.
6. Over-communicate—There is no benefit to silence or opaque communications. Talk to employees daily. Let them voice their concerns, listen to their feedback, act on what they share and stay connected as much as possible.
Communication is the most important resource for the entire ecosystem at work in times of crisis. Automate one of hopefully many communications using a tool like Butterfly. Send a pulse survey out and get an instant gauge on the well-being of each employee—from how enabled they feel to do their job safely to their level of happiness day-to-day.
Armed with these six actions, we believe any essential business can successfully and thoughtfully connect with its frontline workforce during these unprecedented, tumultuous times. While we often stress the value of engagement on increasing productivity and reducing turnover, employee safety and well-being are what’s most important right now.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing more posts with quick tips to help you build on these ideas, addressing things like:
A. What are the best methods for motivating employees, from the register to the delivery truck?
B. How can you offer support as an individual manager?
C. What tips and tools can streamline these new engagement processes so we can roll them out quickly?
Additionally, we are offering access to our industry-leading engagement and communication tools, built especially for the frontline workforce, totally free for 90 days. Get in touch and we will set you up.
March 31, 2020
Staying productive while working from home isn’t always easy. Sometimes distractions get the best of you; other times, you’re laser focused but quickly burn out.
1. Set Working Hours
When you’re at home, work and life blend together. Try to run your home like a workplace with strict working hours. Enforce this with your remote team using calendar tools, and also communicate it with others in your home.
Set your working hours & availability, Google Calendar
Learn more about work hours in Outlook, Microsoft
2. Maintain a Routine
Make lunch the night before. Take a walk around the block (if you’re able) while listening to the radio station or podcast you’d normally listen to on your commute. Change out of your PJs into comfortable working clothes. These routines help trigger “work mode” in your mind.
How To Stay Productive If You’re WFH Because Of The Coronavirus, Forbes
3. Vocalize Ideas and Feedback
Communicate regularly with your colleagues and managers. If something they’re doing isn’t working for you, let them know! Encourage the use of tools like Butterfly (which we’re offering free for 90 days), which allow you to rate how you’re feeling and anonymously share feedback about what is and isn’t working with your manager.
4. Take Breaks
Stepping away from work is incredibly beneficial, whether you’re working remotely or in an office. Set a timer that alerts you regularly (try to take a break every 30 to 90 minutes). Step away from your desk — and screens, if you can help it — entirely. Take a walk, read a chapter of a book, do a few stretches, then come back to your workspace refreshed.
Science Says You Have to Stop Taking Breaks Wrong to Be More Productive, We Work Remotely
5. Leave Your Workspace
Go back to that home-as-a-business mindset. When home is your workplace, try to still close your computer and leave your workspace until the next day. This can help you avoid burnout and define that work/life balance necessary for successfully working from home.
What’s your best recipe for working from home successfully, especially when there are other people there during the day? Share your story with us by emailing email@example.com.
And remember, we’re offering our engagement tools and support to newly remote teams free for 90 days. Get in touch and we will set you up.
March 25, 2020
As teams begin to settle in to the reality of working remotely, it’s vital for managers to keep investing in engagement.
Keeping your team engaged even when you’re apart does more than boost productivity: it reassures them that you’re all in it together. Clear and dynamic communication will ease anxieties and help you all succeed.
Try these five tips and practices to engage your employees remotely:
1. Introduce Your Work Space
Especially in the early adjustment period, be transparent about working situations. Show them your desk (whether make-shift at the kitchen table or in a full-fledged home office) and introduce them to your pets, kids and family. Be the first one to say, “Pardon any interruptions,” so that they know you’re expecting and ok with real life blending into work life.
2. Have Virtual Office Hours
3. Take the Pulse Regularly
Supplement team meetings and (video) face-to-face check-ins with automated pulse surveys from Butterfly. Get feedback instantly on working situations and ask for feedback about what’s working and what isn’t in this new reality. You can try our tools free for 30 days — just send us an email.
4. Eat Lunch Together
In the workplace, it isn’t always feasible to gather together as a team and eat lunch — and it’s something a lot of teams take for granted! Schedule in lunch meetings where colleagues can virtually eat, talk and take their mind off of everything that’s going on.
5. Vocalize Gratitude
How are you staying engaged with your remote team? Share your store with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 25, 2020
In light of COVID-19, the global workforce is shifting to remote work.
- Nearly half (46%) of organizations across the world are asking employees to work remotely due to the outbreak, a recent study shows.
This is a new reality for many employees which will change every aspect of work. At Butterfly, we are experts in helping organizations ensure that remote employees are both heard and informed.
Our focus is on supporting managers as they communicate and connect with their employees, no matter where their teams work. On our own team, we have employees living across the globe, working together seamlessly.
Bookmark this high-level guide to help you optimize how to work from anywhere.
1. Facilitate Remote Access
For a lot of big companies, business can only be conducted over in-office networks using company hardware. If that sounds like you, here are the first things to think about and get ahead of.
a. Desktop workers. Make sure that all employees have a remote solution, whether that’s granting remote network access for their personal computers or loaning them company laptops for at-home use.
b. Home office challenges. Not everyone is prepared to turn their kitchen table into a workstation. Help your employees optimize the space they have and ensure that they have the tools they need, like keyboards, computer stands and a mouse.
2. Check-In Regularly with Remote Employees Using Butterfly
( We’re offering our tools and support free for 90 days)
Face time with co-workers and managers is critical in the workplace. Without it, conversation, collaboration and one-on-one time with colleagues take extra work.
a. Automate check-ins. Butterfly helps managers quickly assess how remote employees are doing and what their concerns are. They can anonymously answer questions about how they’re doing and rate their happiness day-to-day or week-to-week (if interested email us at email@example.com).
b. Overcommunicate. Check in daily to start and always invite your team to talk to you. Use easy communication tools like Slack, Teams or Google Hangouts for quick questions. Avoid text or phone-based apps, as they can make work/life balance harder.
3. Organize a New Meeting Structure
Start by finding a good video conferencing software that works for everyone, and doesn’t take a ton of onboarding time. (Wirecutter from the New York Times recommends Zoom.)
a. Set expectations. Are pets and kids allowed? Is video required, or can meetings be audio-only for slower connections or crowded at-home workplaces? Slack shared some helpful guidelines to facilitate great remote meetings.
b. Be clear about roles. Decide in advance who is taking notes and how the notes will be shared. Set deadlines for action items in the meeting. Clear up any lingering questions at the end of the call
4. Discuss Work Flexibility
With the current situation, multiple people could be working from the same home at the same time. For families, kids could be home from school or daycare, changing the structure of the day. Be transparent about what you expect, and encourage employees to vocalize what will work best for them.
a. Adjust your email signature. A line like this is a good way to validate work flexibility from the top down. Here’s what we’ve seen most often (feel free to copy and paste): “I work flexibly to fit my schedule. If you received this email outside of your normal working hours, I don’t expect an immediate response.”
b. Use a working-hours feature on calendar. Both Google and Outlook calendars have “working hours” features, which let employees note when they are usually online and working. Ask your team to set these up in their first week of working remotely. That way, meetings, calls and deadlines can work around flex schedules.
5. Repeat and Iterate
Sometimes, the most well-thought-out plans don’t work as intended. For example, the video conferencing software is glitchy making meetings even more frustrating or remote access is slow. A lot of imperfect stuff can happen with a transition like this!
a. Make changes. Continuously check in with employees, managers and teams to see what’s working and what isn’t. Use feedback to make improvements. Provide people with the tools they need no matter when they ask. Take an understanding approach to the transition and learn from it!
Creating a successful remote work environment takes a lot of work from a lot of people and organizations need to be responsive as employees try out new tools and approaches. Butterfly is dedicated to helping organizations refine and improve their remote work practices given how important it is for companies to understand, iterate and make changes quickly.
We’re also invested in the success of remote teams across the employment spectrum. During this unprecedented situation, use Butterfly totally free for 90 days.
Questions? Thoughts? Ideas? Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
March 19, 2020
We’re really thrilled to have been featured in a great Wall Street Journal article about the AI-driven apps that help new managers grow into confident leaders.
The story focuses on how AI-driven coaching apps are “democratizing leadership training,” making it more accessible for new leaders — especially digital-native millennials — to fill the training gaps in their careers.
Butterfly came to be after our founders first became managers, pushed into leadership with no training and no guidance.
Now, our feedback-driven tools are using machine learning and AI to ensure other managers don’t experience the same stresses to the detriment of their teams.
“The app tracks feedback from users’ employees and uses machine learning to serve up curated tips and articles, says David Mendlewicz, co-founder and CEO of the New York-based company.”
The article helps reiterate how valuable tools like Butterfly are for new managers:
- Nearly half (49%) of employees would rather receive training on the job as needed instead of in a broad-strokes formal class.
- Repetition and reminders are effective at helping people learn new material or develop new skills, like leadership and management.
Read the full article to see the breadth of technologies redefining how managers hone their skills and develop into full-fledged leaders.
April 16, 2019
Employee Happiness Leads to Business Success
Findings from The World Happiness Report and How You Can Apply Them
The World Happiness Report was recently released, citing strong evidence that an increase in workplace well-being brings about a 10% increase in productivity, on average.
Within a dedicated section, researchers conducted a meta-analysis of Gallup research to help validate the strong correlation between employee happiness and productivity. Butterfly is featured in one of the report’s supporting case studies. This report was conducted by the Workplace Well-being Committee, of which our CEO, David Mendlewicz, is a founding corporate member.
Here are a few top findings:
1. One study in the report issued simple daily surveys (like those Butterfly offers) to call center employees, which helped them see that an employee’s mood when they clocked in had an affect on their productivity. Companies can use our tools to communicate easily and regularly with hourly employees and keep pulse on employee mood.
Employee satisfaction showed strong correlations to profitability, productivity and loyalty in three key industries:
—Satisfied employees drove a 42% gain in profitability in the manufacturing sector
—Satisfied employees drove a 28% increase in customer loyalty in the retail industry
—Satisfied employees drove a 21% uptick in productivity in the services industry
2. This clearly indicates the importance of employee satisfaction as a direct contributor to performance. At Butterfly, our suite of tools closely aligns with this finding. We are making it simpler for managers and leadership teams to improve employee satisfaction and increase profitability.
3. The study also looked at how employee well-being affected stock market performance, studying employees working at top-rated companies alongside the long-run stock returns for those companies. They found that stock returns were higher for companies with happier employees.
Many of the factors that are considered in naming a company one of America’s best places to work — job satisfaction, attitudes toward management, company culture, etc. — can be measured using Butterfly’s pulse surveys.
4. Butterfly supported the report’s findings with a case study that showed that mood improved when surveys were given regularly. This suggests that providing outlets for feedback regularly could lead to a happier, more engaged workplace.
Overall, the report provides good anecdotal and statistical evidence that there are huge productivity and profitability benefits to keeping employees — especially hourly ones — satisfied and happy at work.
We’ll share a more in-depth analysis of the findings soon. Send us an email at email@example.com if you’d like to receive it, or if you’re ready to set up a demo.
March 5, 2019
Earlier this week, our CEO and co-founder David Mendlewicz participated in a panel on Artificial Intelligence, discussing the different ways it is transforming the Human Resources industry.
The panel, hosted by the French American Chamber of Commerce, touched on how to use AI and machine learning to improve operations on HR teams as well as turn feedback into leadership coaching opportunities.
David shared insight on how Butterfly’s pulse survey and dashboard tools can make those things happen. His insight touched especially on more blue-collar industries, where HR teams often overlook supply chain and frontline employee engagement.
Using data gathered through systematic and regular feedback, Butterfly uses machine learning to assist and teach managers how to improve and become better leaders. The panel also noted the importance of structured data in developing soft skills. Because Butterfly pulse surveys are powered by engagement drivers, the data collected is especially useful for managerial leadership development.
Get in touch if you’re interested in learning more about how Butterfly uses AI and machine learning to enrich the feedback loop: firstname.lastname@example.org
February 21, 2019
We’re honored to share that Butterfly will once again be joining an exclusive network of global leaders at this year’s World Government Summit as the Global Happiness Council unveils its 2019 World Happiness Report.
The summit, which takes place in Dubai from February 10–13, 2019, brings together world leaders, policy makers, academics, and key representatives from international organizations to help shape the future of governments worldwide .
The Global Dialogue for Happiness and Wellbeing has been a key forum at the summit for three years, and Butterfly co-founder David Mendlewicz has participated since the beginning. For two days of the broader summit, attendees will discuss how healthy and positive conditions enable societies — and workplaces — to thrive.
At Butterfly, we believe that developing tomorrow’s great business leaders is critical to fostering a more engaged, more productive workforce. Since 2017, we released our first Happiness Index report which explored workplace happiness and engagement trends across companies with 5,000+ employees in the U.S. and EMEA. We look forward to being a part of the discussion with the other 3,000 representatives — from the tech world and beyond — to share ideas and inspiration to help corporations and governments bring happiness to the world.
The World Government Summit is a global platform dedicated to the enhancement of governments around the world. The summit brings together world leaders, policy makers, academics and key representatives from international organizations from over 130 countries, creating an exciting opportunity to exchange innovations and experiences, and building strong networks of collaboration.
The events are in partnership with key international organizations including the United Nations, World Bank, IMF, OECD and the World Economic Forum. For more information, see https://www.worldgovernmentsummit.org
We will share highlights from the forum and the report here and on Twitter @butterfly_AI_
The beginning of the year is a perfect time to review your processes, try out new things and find what sticks.
As a leader within an organization the constant need to improve should drive you to try new things that’ll help you be a better manager and member of an organization.
Here are 4 small things that you can to do be a better leader this year.
Fred Dust, CEO of Ideo, argued that face-to-face engagement is a dwindling art. He believes that the way we communicate with each other at work is unproductive, as it’s more talking at each other then with each other.
To make matters worse, we are now taking the easy route when communicating, opting to use emails, texts or tools like Slack to shoot out messages and “talk.” Though easy, it might not be as effective as simply going up to somebody to ask a question, make a request or even settle a dispute.
The empathy shown when people communicate face-to-face allows people to bond, and the interactions help bring an understanding that people are aiming to reach the same goal.
There are a couple of other things that face-to-face chats help with, like:
- Putting an end to “Cyber Miscommunication”
- Coming up with solutions faster
- Enabling more creativity between the two people.
Make time this year to chat with your employees. It can be about work or it can help you get to know them a bit more. Start a conversation and talk with them, not at them.
More Effective Meetings
Unproductive meetings waste more that $37 Billion per year and the average employee spends more than 4 hours a week just preparing for meetings.
As a leader, it’s your job to make sure that people are getting the most out of their meetings. Do your best to make them informative, brief and productive for all the people attending.
The best thing you can do to run effective meetings is to set a goal for the meeting and share it with the team beforehand. Try to include it in the agenda. This will (hopefully) allow people to understand what the purpose of the meeting is and reach that common goal together.
A couple of other quick tips for better meetings:
- Keep meetings short — 30 minutes (maximum)
- Only invite people that need to be there
- Have a notetaker
- Have the notetaker assign action items as you go
There are dozens of other ways to make meetings run better, but find what works for you and your team, then continue to improve on it.
There are three things that employees would like to have: job security, career advancement opportunities and transparency at work.
Transparency is nothing more than the exchange of trust between the employer and the employee. Having a culture of transparency creates more trust throughout the office.
As a leader, being more transparent with employees will help them learn to trust you more. It will also help you communicate more effectively with them and create a better office environment.
If your company culture isn’t already transparent, see how others are doing it. Buffer has almost perfected transparent culture: They have a list of every single thing that they do, buy and read — as well as a list of all their employees’ salaries — available publicly online.
Their co-founder, Leo Widrich, said in a speech that the transparent culture not only improved the morale of the office, but made people so engaged and happy that it reflected on the product:
The more information that is spread with employees, the more devoted to the company or person they become. Consider sharing more information and letting employees know that they are an important part of why the company continues to grow.
Raise The Bar, But Embrace Failure
If you’re looking to improve, stop going after small modest goals and aim to have big, fat, hairy, audacious goals. The value in going after big goals is worth the risk, as they make us stretch what we believe is possible and get us working harder to reach new heights.
Risk-averse organizations tend to go after modest goals that make them look successful. But growth-oriented organizations thrive on ambitious goals, as they allow them to find new, innovative ways to grow and learn.
The only trade off: you may (probably will) fail a few times. Embrace it! Utilize an OKR/KPI system that will set the framework toward hitting the goal. At the end of every quarter aim to have a retrospective meeting that’ll help you figure out how can things be improved moving forward, and adapt accordingly from there.
What Are You Planning To Improve On This Year?
Are you looking to be a better manager, leader, person, all the above? Leave us some of your suggestions to help become a better manager in the comment section below.
Start the new year off right by downloading our e-book “Your First 50 Days”.
It highlights some of the things that you can do to improve as a manager. And it’s absolutely free. Check it out by clicking here
In our new series, Work & Roam, we’ll be following our Product and Solutions Analyst John Williams as he travels the world, working remotely from 5 countries. Tune in to see what worked (and what didn’t) for John during each stop, and to dig into how working remotely affects both the worker and the team back home.
“Lots of fresh produce available at this street market in Ljubljana”
Location: Ljubljana, Slovenia
Timezone: GMT +1 (NYC +6)
What was the thing I could experience, that I wouldn’t be able to in NYC?
This was a great week to get back on a regular schedule and work with our developer team in Ljubljana. I have finally got into the habit of getting up early to get some exercise, explore and also take a break to read at local coffee shops. This made my life feel much more balanced.
What worked great this week?
Ljubljana is a great city to work remotely. Co-working spaces are easily accessible and coffee shops have reliable Wi-Fi. I took morning hikes through the wooded parks and found a balance that I had not quite figured out in Lisbon or Italy. It has also been really nice to spend time and bond with our team here.
What didn’t go so great this week?
Portugal and Italy, felt like a whirlwind with the drastic change in timezone and week with my family shortly after. I still have the issue of working later hours, but I finally feel like I am starting to figure out how to make that work. We will see how this works out in Vienna next week.
“The Austrian National Library in Vienna was supposedly the inspiration for the library in Beauty and the Beast.”
Location: Vienna and Budapest
Timezone: GMT +1 (NYC +6)
What was the thing I could experience, that I wouldn’t be able to in NYC?
This week was a short one and my girlfriend was visiting. I had the opportunity to take a step back and actually get a few days of vacation, which was really nice. We got to enjoy the Christmas markets in Vienna and the bathhouses in Budapest.
What worked great this week?
I had an amazing time exploring Budapest. Of the cities I have visited during this experiment, Budapest may be the one most built for remote work. There are coffee shops with great internet on every block, plenty of co-working spaces, cheap places to live and eat, and plenty of entertainment.
What didn’t go so great this week?
I still found it difficult to fully disconnect during my time off and ended up working for a few hours each day. I was still able to enjoy my vacation time, but always had work in the back of my mind.
Thoughts on Vienna vs. Budapest?
Vienna is very beautiful but did not seem like it was built for remote work. coffee shops with internet were available, but you would need to plan in advance, as they were not as apparent as in other cities i’ve visited. In Budapest you can walk in almost any direction and find the perfect place to work.
Right now Budapest and Mexico City are tied for my best remote working experience so far!
Tomorrow I head back to Vienna for a night to fly to my last destination: Dubrovnik, Croatia
“My last post from Dubrovnik. I can’t believe I just finished 3 months of traveling. Now I’m on my way to Alabama for the holidays.”
Timezone: GMT+1 (NYC + 6)
What was the thing I could experience, that I wouldn’t be able to in NYC?
Dubrovnik is a beautiful town on the Mediterranean (and also Kings Landing for you Game of Thrones fans!) Since I decided to go during an off season, I got to have the normally crowded and touristy town, all to myself!
What worked great this week
Since this was an off season here in Dubrovnik, I had very little distractions from work. This really allowed me to focus. I also got to enjoy my last bit of pleasant weather before heading back to chilly NYC.
What didn’t go so great this week
While Dubrovnik is a great vacation city, it is not designed for remote work. There are very few coffee shops and absolutely zero co-working spaces to work from, meaning i had to spend the majority of my week working out of my apartment.
Thoughts on working in Dubrovnik?
During this time of year most of the restaurants, bars and shops are closed and there is very little to do. I Although I enjoyed my time here, would not recommend anyone come here to work.
I am currently back in New York so this will be my last weekly post abroad. Next time in my final post I will take a will have a chance to sit back and take a grander look at what I have learned along the way.
Happy New Year!
Until Next Time
January 4, 2019
“Bridging the Gap: Maintaining Culture During High Growth” brought together HR professionals of varying seniority, perspectives and individuals from companies with a few hundred employees to several thousand.”
Culture is a priority that impacts an organization’s entire ecosystem. From welcoming new team members to nurturing existing ones, there is always a delicate balance. When your company is experiencing fast growth, culture can’t fall by the wayside.
Instead, ask what are the most critical aspects of culture to address? How can my organization grow rapidly without sacrificing its unique culture?
Our panel, “Bridging the Gap: Maintaining Culture During High Growth,” examined the topic from the perspectives of academia, human resources and management. Panelists discussed the science behind maintaining culture and shared tips on how to apply these ideas in the workplace now.
Here, we summed up our top three takeaways
from the robust discussion:
1. Always keep in mind the vision of your organization, your “North Star”.
This will help you see where outside talent could bring value.
2. Be rigorous about hiring for the culture you want.
Find people who will elevate your business, embrace flexibility and be able to work in ambiguity—key elements to success at startups.
3. Work with local leadership to ensure that everyone—whether abroad, working remotely or in the office—feels included in celebrations, reorganizations, strategic decisions and more. Communication is key.
December 18, 2018
Bridging The Gap
Lisbon & Parma
“The doors in Lisbon are way cooler than ours back home. I’m off to Bologna tomorrow and then on the train to Parma the next day. Anyone know of anything to do in either place?”
Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Timezone: GMT (NYC + 5)
What was the thing I could experience, that I wouldn’t be able to in NYC?
I hear it’s been cold in NYC so I have been enjoying the 60 degree weather and have had some great morning walks along the Tagus River. I also had an amazing dinner last night at Sol e Pesca, a restaurant that specializes in preserved seafood (lots of canned fish) which was pretty unique!
What worked great this week?
After some searching, I found some great coffee shops in Lisbon with strong Wi-Fi. I am compiling a list of work friendly coffee shops i’ve frequented, which could help anyone else coming to work in these cities.
I believe that this is something that would have been very helpful to me.
What didn’t go so great this week?
I don’t think that getting work done is that much more difficult here in Portugal than it was in Mexico, however, it has been a much bigger challenge to maintain a healthy work/life balance.
While in Mexico, the time difference from New York was only an hour or two. I was able to start and finish my work days early enough to get a few hours of sunlight in the evening before calling it a night. (which was great for balance.) This meant that after working I could read/exercise/explore the city.
In Portugal, I am scheduled to start work at 11am. Instinctively, I tend to wake up earlier and check my email, meaning that start earlier and work even longer — sometimes until 8 PM.
It’s also worth mentioning that, since traveling, my internal body clock has shifted tremendously and I notice that I am frequently tired. This is something that will hopefully improve as I spend more time here.
Lisbon is a much smaller city than Mexico City (with a Population of 23mil against .5mil) and it does not have the same coffee shop/work culture that I am used to in New York.
Many of the Lisbon’s coffee shops do not have Wi-Fi, meaning that I am limited to the few places I have found. Many of the coffee shops that do have Wi-Fi close early, some as early as 4pm.
Once again, i stress, having usable Wi-Fi at my apartment has been important!
I don’t think that getting work done is more difficult in Lisbon than it would be anywhere else; I do however, think that you have to be much more proactive to maintain any healthy work/life balance.(something that I have not quite mastered yet.)
For this post I wrote more about what did not work than i did for what did, but I don’t want that to paint a negative picture of my experiences.
I am working in a beautiful new city eating amazing food and enjoying myself. I just have different challenges here that I haven’t quite figured out how to navigate yet.
“Since i’ve been traveling alone for the past six weeks I am excited to spend the holiday with family!”
Location: Italy (Parma, Santa Margarita, Milan)
Timezone: GMT (NYC + 5)
What was the thing I could experience, that I wouldn’t be able to in NYC?
Thanksgiving was Thursday so this work week was a short one. My sister actually attended culinary school in Parma and we got to go visit her old campus.
What worked great this week
My parents and sister are visiting so we can spend the Holiday together and family visits definitely have there perks! I was able to stay in great hotels and eat out at fancy restaurants! Having access to nicer accommodations guaranteed that I had access to consistent Wi-Fi no matter where I stayed.
What didn’t go so great this week
While it was great having my family in town, it made getting work done much more difficult. I think their expectations were to adhere to their schedule. The big timezone change meant that I had to work into the night, which made things like dinner hard to plan. Overall I really enjoyed having them here, but it’s much easier to work when I only have to worry about my own schedule.
Italy has been amazing for food/wine/scenery, but because I have had the convenience of working from hotels, I didn’t have the need to search for a co-working space or coffee shop with Wi-Fi.
Because of this luxury I really don’t have a great idea of what it is like to work remotely from Italy. I haven’t seen a lot of people working on laptops in coffee shops, so it may not be easy. I would guess, similarly to Portugal, you would need to find your few reliable spots and stick to them.
Next week I am off to Slovenia, where Butterfly has team members located and working remotely. I am excited to see what they’re up to and see how their experiences parallel with my own.
December 18, 2018
Mexico City Continued
In our new series, Work & Roam, we’ll be following our Product and Solutions Analyst John Williams as he travels the world, working remotely from 5 countries.
Tune in to see what worked (and what didn’t) for John during each stop, and to dig into how working remotely affects both the worker and the team back home.
Final Week In Mexico: Mexico City —
Roma Norte Neighborhood
Timezone: Central Time
Take Aways from Mexico City:
The time difference between Mexico City and New York is minimal, which makes communication really easy. But on the other hand, NOTHING is open before 9 a.m.! This includes co-working spaces and coffee shops, so if you have a call or a meeting before 9:00 a.m., it’ll have to be done where you’re staying. This makes a decent home Wi-Fi signal even more important. I now know to send a message to all of my prospective Airbnb hosts before I book to double check.
Mexico City really is wonderful and I can’t recommend it enough. Recently, the depiction of Mexico in the United States has been pretty warped, as if its some violent and dirty place. It is every bit as clean and safe as New York, Paris, or really any major metropolitan city.
I am noticeably more healthy here than I am in NYC. I don’t have as many distractions and don’t know too many people here, so I can finish my work and go for a walk or read for a while in the afternoon. I also have been exercising and going to bed early. The fresh food helps, too!
If I were to do one thing differently it would be to move around less. In the past month, I have stayed in 6 different apartments and hostels. It was nice to see different parts of the city, but I the added stress of moving and planning was worth it.
The real challenges will start next week. I fly to Lisbon, Portugal, and will be working 5 hours ahead of my team in New York.
Roles and Responsibilities: 8/10
I still don’t think remote work has affected this as my responsibilities have not really changed.
I have dropped this score a little bit, but it is still not a major factor in my experience. It’s not that collaboration has been any more difficult than it is working in the office, it just has to be planned. In the office, If I have an idea I can quickly have a conversation with a co-worker right next to me. But, while remote, I have to wait for a next meeting or reach out to a co-worker on Slack. Slack is certainly helpful, but personally I am less likely to express my thoughts if I have to take the time to type them out in a message to someone.
Career Growth: ?/10
This is still the most difficult driver to measure, because I think a lot of it has to do with how I am perceived by others in the company. Am I less visible and more likely to miss opportunities for more responsibilities and growth? This is not something I worry about on a daily basis, but it pops into my head from time to time.
I actually increased my score for this driver up from my previous blog post. Since I am traveling alone I have the time to fully focus on my projects and have very little distraction. This surge in my personal productivity has been one of the greatest perks of working remotely.
This is very similar to my Collaboration score. Being abroad does not make transparency impossible, it simply puts the burden on your shoulders instead of it happening passively.
I will be in Lisbon, Portugal for my next blog post.
Tune in again to see how that change goes. Until next time,
November 20, 2018
Week 1: Mexico City — La Condesa Neighborhood
Timezone: Central Time
What was one thing I experienced, that I would not have in NYC?
The feeling of being lost in a new city with almost no way to communicate with anyone. That sounds scary, but it is more exciting and motivating than scary. It is certainly a unique feeling that I could not have experienced in NYC.
I also got to meet one of my favorite jazz musicians, Adrián Terrazas-González!
What worked out well for you this week?
I will say, the dress code for workers in a coworking space in Mexico is pretty formal — much more so than in Brooklyn. I was the only person there not wearing a tucked-in, button-down shirt!
My Spanish has also increased dramatically as a result of my first week in Mexico: I went from understanding absolutely nothing to understanding practically nothing. Just kidding — I find that I am able to communicate daily and don’t really feel out of the loop. I am in constant dialogue, which helps. Before this trip, I didn’t take any classes to learn the language, but I am currently taking a few Duolingo lessons a day.
What didn’t work out so well for you this week?
Well… I got sick. As my colleague David predicted, I spent about half of my first week inside the apartment. (I don’t really have any tips for this one!). Luckily I was in an Airbnb and not a shared hostel.
I also got lost while looking for my coworking space on my first day and ended up wandering around a hospital for 30 minutes. If I’d had an important call planned during that time, I would have missed it. Next time, I will be locating my coworking space the day before I need to be there — not by map, but in person!
Any tips for your future self?
Besides finding my coworking space before I need to be there, I’ve discovered that strong Wi-Fi in my living space is very important. The initial Wi-Fi setup was almost unusable and I would have been screwed had I needed to use the internet at my apartment. I have calls as early as 7 a.m. and my co-working space does not open until 9 a.m. I luckily found a hotspot that made my early-morning work possible.
Roles and Responsibilities: 8/10
I don’t think this was affected at all by my location.
This is what I assume most people will worry the most about while working remotely, but I felt great about it this week. The fact that it was my first week abroad and we made sure to over communicate made this easy. We will see how this transforms over time.
Personal Growth: 10/10
I am enjoying a completely new experience.
Career Growth: ?/10
This is something that should be paid attention to. The worry is that I could miss out on growth opportunities since I am not as visible in the office.
I don’t think this was affected by my location.
This is something that I do think is affected. It’s not that I don’t have access to what is going on within the company, I just have to make an effort to ask. When I am in the office, I usually have some understanding about what everyone around me is working on.
My next update will be my last from Mexico City, so stay tuned to see what I’m up to.
Until next week,
November 20, 2018
With These 3 Scientifically-Backed Ideas
The World Happiness Report shows that Scandinavia is filled with happy, working people. How can we follow in their footsteps to create better workplaces?
Scandinavia has done it again, leading the world in progressive ideas Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Norway fall in 3 of the most fortunate categories for the well being of their citizens and GDP.
These four respective countries are ranked in the Top 15 of the worlds happiest, best workers and interestingly enough, they also have the most generous social welfare program. The correlation is clear folks, social responsibility pushes countries and companies forward fiscally. Across country borders and successful company lines workers are said to work the hardest, be the happiest, and work-related stress is down.
1. Social Welfare
“When it comes down to it, these companies assist their employees with life outside of work so that those burdens are not over their head when it is time to be productive for the company.”
Google, Business insiders #1 place to work, reported that their experienced median pay is $140,000. Not only that but, the company provides workers with perks like nap pods, laundry services, and free food at no cost to the employees. And for a cost, the company provides on-campus car and bike repairs. Business Insider also reports that 86% of Google employees say that they are either exceedingly satisfied or relatively satisfied with their job.
Tech companies aren’t the only ones looking out for their employees, Goldman Sachs, a company not thought to be a pillar of liberal ideals, has shown its commitment to the LGBTQ community, offering coverage for gender reassignment surgery since 2008.
Starbucks offers full tuition reimbursement for employees taking on more education, investing in the futures of their employees leaves them appreciative and in a spirit of working harder for their company.
When it comes down to it, these companies assist their employees with life outside of work so that those burdens are not over their head when it is time to be productive for the company. That is, the more you do for your employees the more you can extract out of them.
2. Culture Matters
“Company culture not lining up with the values of the employee is responsible for nearly ¼ of the reasons why employees begin looking for new jobs.”
According to a Korn Ferry poll of just about 5,000 professionals, company culture not lining up with the values of the employee is responsible for nearly ¼ of the reasons why employees begin looking for new jobs. In a United States where 62 percent of citizens want federal government to ensure health care for all, 53 percent of all Americans say that raising the minimum wage will help workers, 62 percent of Americans favor free college tuition, combined with growing visibility of how much income inequality, it is easy to see if these things are not reflected in their work lives why they would look for employment elsewhere.
3. Workplace That Works for Women
“Gender-diverse business units in the hospitality company show 19% higher average quarterly net profit”
First of all, hire more women. Studies have shown that gender diversity provides stronger financial dividends. According to Gallup, “Gender-diverse business units in the hospitality company show 19% higher average quarterly net profit”. The perspectives and viewpoints between women and men differ, so, diversity naturally will produce various ideas.
The obvious and hot button topic of equal pay probably shouldn’t have to be said but, here we are. White women make 77 cent on the dollar of what white men make and women of color make even less than. Simply, pay women what they’re worth, equally and consistent over time with their male counter parts.
The most successful countries can serve as a guide for companies. Countries that decided that the old ways of working weren’t good for its citizens and in turn good for their country made changes and successful countries that want to grow even more will follow in their footsteps.
What plans do you have to make you company more socially responsible?
By Danae Floyd & Katelyn Trela
Published: Dec 13th 2018
October 9, 2018
The National Research Business Institute found that 23 percent of the reason that employees leave their place of employment is due to the lack of development opportunities and training. This obviously affects the costs associated with losing talent, productivity, and recruitment expenses.
“The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.” – Henry Ford
The fact that learning and development is still a pressing issue is almost nonsensical. Companies, managers, employees, all have access to unlimited amount of information and can invest in learning management systems to help improve an employees skillset, even management decisions.
The benefits of e-learning for employee training and development are endless, but it’ll have to start with leadership to be proactive in getting a system that can address help employees grow. Here is how it can benefit a company:
Benefits of E-Learning
It’s an uber-competitive job market, and corporations are making the switch from hiring for experience to hiring people with growth mindsets. The reason being is that the world of work is progressing so fast, with all the new system and technologies out there, that it’s important to keep up with the competition.
We, as a society, have truly become a knowledge economy in every sense of the term. The majority of the work that we do is being done is for to incorporate human knowledge into machines. This fact has led to a rise in education tools for enterprises, leading us to have smarter, more innovative employees that are changing industries.
Having a knowledgeable group of employees and managers is a legitimate competitive advantage over other companies. You are embracing a growth mindset as an organization, and you are welcoming the exchange of information and proposal of new ideas; making you a more progressive and forward-thinking organization.
Aside from having a competitive advantage, studies found that companies that invest in training and development had increased employee loyalty. This stems from the employees feeling like the organization is investing in them — this decreases employee turnover and engagement.
The downside? If learning and development aren’t prioritized, employees will feel stagnant, making them feel disengaged. If you’d like to get a deeper understanding of why challenging an employee to learn new things is a good thing, here’s a simplified chart that explains how high skill and high challenge tasks create flow:
See, if a person is not being tested, they’ll quickly get bored with their work; employers have the responsibility to assist their employees with developing their skills and give them challenging tasks that allow them to grow as employees and help the company solve complex problems.
How E-Learning Impacts Employee Engagement
Engaged employees drive innovation and push the organization forward. They will be the catalysts for change and help come up with new ideas for the organization.
When you invest in training and e-learning systems for these engaged employees, they’ll be able to improve processes, be more efficient, and obviously use the training to develop their skills, and hopefully, teach their peers.
This small investment pays dividends, as employees become both knowledgeable and happier.
How To Choose an E-Learning Program
Right now several companies offer learning platforms for enterprises.
On average, companies that have learning and development departments tend to spend about $100 a month, per employee, to help train their employees.
Before doing more research, I’d strongly recommend you read this by the folks over at Linkedin, as they make their case for E-Learning:
As far as budgeting goes, it’s worth spending a significant portion of an L&D budget on a learning management tool, but you should make the decision based off of the needs that you’re looking to address.
For employees, you should definitely invest in having e-learning tools that will primarily focus on developing their hard skills and helping them grow as workers.
For managers, it’s important that they focus on soft skills, as their interpersonal skills will be a big factor for the success of their department and their relationship with their employees.
E-learning to Train Employees
Right now, e-learning is being used to work on employees’ hard skills.
Services like Coursera, Skillshare, and hundreds of industry-specific learning tools (think Codeacademy) are being used to help people work on their skills.
When selecting an e-learning tool for an employee, think of their job description, the upcoming challenges that the business will face, and straight up ask your employees if they would be interested in learning the skill.
You can always customize a quick survey to see if there’s a skill or course that would benefit all the employees of a department and have them all take it together.
There are plenty of ways to approach an e-learning selection, but the main thing to do is just ask employees what they would like to learn, and as long as it has potential to help the company and department out, let them have at it.
E-learning to Train Managers
The type of e-learning tools that you should pick for managers should be one that has general management topics, to perfect their soft skills as leaders.
Management is obviously more reliant on soft skills, so teaching managers to handle rough situations and preparing them for the worst is probably best.
For example, Linkedin Learning’s management courses offer content around a wide variety of different management topics.
The next phase of Butterfly is to use artificial intelligence as a coaching tool for managers.
Right now, we serve as a pulse survey tool and have some content being pushed out to managers, but we intend on opening the floodgates and having content sent to managers as certain data trends from the pulse surveys start catching different trends.
Example: If employees, as a whole, are disgruntled and the data around employee happiness is trending downwards, we will proactively send a manager content (based off of the engagement sub driver) that addresses the issue at the office.
E-Learning Could Be The Future Of Executive Coaching
Right now, executive coaching is very niche. Companies hire independent consultants, or coaches, that come in and help executives or high-value employees to help gain self-awareness.
This is usually done through a lot of investigative work, 360-degree feedback, and the coaches act as a therapist of sorts, to find out what is making the executive stressed.
The future of executive coaching will be a bit more proactive than reactive. Instead of having to reach out to consultants to help an executive out, there will be enough data, through pulse surveys and cloud-based 360-degree surveys that’ll enable us to virtually coach high-level executives with content.
Right now, e-learning for executive coaching isn’t widely embraced, but if the success and rise of e-learning for managers and employees are indicative of anything, it’s that the next step of online learning is to teach executives how to run successful, transparent, employee-centric organizations.
Do You Believe in the Benefits of E-learning for Employee Training and Development?
Have you instituted an e-learning system at your office yet? If not, is it something that your company is looking to invest in? Let us hear your thoughts in the comments below!
The modern day workplace is becoming people-centric, meaning that companies are putting more emphasis on improving things like work-life balance and employee engagement.
Why? There are two main reasons: one is that it affects a company’s bottom line; making a company more innovative, productive, and helping its bottom line. The other is the fact that modern-day employee is looking for a job that is fulfilling that can help them grow as people.
With all this, what feels like sudden change going on, is your company truly doing its best to adapt to the times? Sure, it might be tough to get new engagement and work-life balance initiatives going, but they can help your organization prosper. Here’s how and why you should look into it:
Why Work-Life Balance Is Important
Last year, France passed a law stating that companies with over 50 employees are required to guarantee employees a “right to disconnect” from their e-mails/work outside of their office hours.
The minister of labor, Myriam El Khomri, took note that employees are more connected during hours outside of the office and that there are no boundaries between personal and professional life — she went on to justify the new law by citing the country’s burnout, stress, and turnover problems as one of the main reasons why this law was needed.
Unless your country has laws set in place to encourage balance, it’s important, as an organization to make these changes. There are a lot of business reasons why starting work-life balance initiatives makes sense, but let’s start off with the primary factor of why it’s essential. The people.
Work-life balance affects the overall well-being of employees.
When an employee can balance things out with their work and life, they’ll be able to allot more times to their personal interests and needs. This makes people less susceptible to burnout, put more focus on the things that matter (both at work and in life), and lessens stress — allowing employees to be healthier, both mentally and physically.
Here’s a small video describing the benefits of balance:
Yes, some employees can focus on work-life balance around their company’s schedule, but employers are assisting with promoting balance.
Work-Life Balance Leads Increases Productivity
A survey conducted by the Corporate Executive Board, representing over 80% of Fortune 500 companies, found that employees that believe they have good work-life balance worked 21% harder than those who don’t after researching 50,000 global workers.
Another interesting point from that study is that the research found that “boosting workforce productivity doesn’t hinge on employees actually participating in the work-life services offered by their employer. Employees just need to be reassured that the service is there and they have the option to participate if they want to.”
There is a psychological effect that occurs when employees feel as if their company cares about their well-being. It leads them to work more efficiently and actually leads them to perform better. Here’s a quick presentation by the folks at Engage For Success that explains how:
As far as on the recruitment and retention side: it’s proven that 1 in 4 employees who don’t have the support of a work/life balance plan from their employer, plan to leave the company within the next two years.
All this data proves is one thing, that simply assisting employees with their lives improves their productivity and makes them want to stay at your company.
Initiatives To Help Employees Achieve Work-Life Balance
Technology companies are setting the bar high for work-life perks, and larger enterprises are (slowly) starting to follow suit.
Though some of the more progressive perks may not be able to work in most workplaces (ex: a lawyer isn’t going to be able to go to trial remotely … yet?), it’s still worth seeing what some of the companies that are rated some of the best places to work are doing to keep their employees happy.
Here are a couple of ways to help employees achieve work-life balance
- Flexible Work Schedule
- Remote Working
- Unlimited Paid Time Off — trust me, it’s not as crazy as it seems.
- Extended Paternal and Maternal leave
- Wellness Stipends
There are dozens and dozens of other perks that an employer can offer in order to improve work-life balance and increase happiness and engagement; just make sure to keep it as simple as possible, give employees autonomy to complete their work, how they want.
Why is all this stuff important to begin with? It’s quite simple: to improve employee engagement.
Why Employee Engagement Important
Every now and then it’s easy to forget that employees will always be the lifeblood of an enterprise. They are going to help an organization come up with products, services, close sales, execute ideas, they literally keep the company running.
With this said, low employee engagement in a global problem, as over 70% of employees consider themselves to be disengaged. This is causing up to $450B in lost productivity in the U.S. alone.
Which begs the question: How come employee disengagement is still a problem and why aren’t companies doing anything to solve the problem?
Well, instituting a work-life balance policy is one major step in the right direction. Giving employees autonomy, balance, and having a transparent culture, makes them feel more engaged and improves their output.
Engaged Employees Influence the Bottom Line
The role of an HR department is going to evolve into something different within the coming years. They won’t just be focused on hiring and retention, they’ll blossom into a data-driven labor optimization department.
Why is that? Well, companies with high levels of employee engagement tend to improve their operating income by at least 20%. A lot of this information can come from employee pulse survey tools that can provide you with metrics and analytics on engagement, happiness, and productivity levels of your company.
A lot of tools, like Butterfly.ai, include customizable forms that’ll allow you to ask questions to help delve deeper into some of the problems within your organization:
There’s a reason companies like Google, Microsoft, and HP, are introducing design thinking and people analytics, to help improve their organization. These companies are investing in their people, and seeing returns that are affecting their business, like increased productivity, profits, less turnover, and even improved absenteeism.
High Engagement’s Influences Creativity and Innovation
According to a study published by Gallup, 59% of engaged employees say that their job “brings out their most creative ideas.” Of the surveyed employees who were disengaged only 3% said the same.
Of course, it doesn’t take a large study to find out that the happier an employee is, the more likely they are to be satisfied with their work and engaged enough to offer new ideas and suggestion.
Just remember one thing: engagement influences innovation and innovation influences engagement. If you have the type of environment that is collaborative, innovative, and transparent, you’ll able to have an engaged office, and vice versa.
So take a step in the right direction and offer work-life balance perks. It’s a major factor in improving employee engagement, and, as you’ve learned, a great way to improve your bottom-line and innovation.
What Are You Doing To Improve Work-Life Balance and Employee Engagement At Your Office?
Are you planning on implementing a work-life balance initiative/s to improve engagement? Let us know in the comments below, and we can provide some insights and help!
In 2011, the Financial Times released an important article that had helped reveal an interesting fact. Hedge funds and private equity firms weren’t just looking for new innovative companies — for research, they began looking at something more interesting: a company’s Glassdoor rating.
That’s right, Glassdoor is not just job seekers, analysts are looking at it as a way to find trends in hiring, growth, management stability, executive leadership, and company culture.
To put it frankly, having a good culture isn’t just a great way to get the best job-seekers, but it could add value to your business.
Improving the culture and shifting the psychology, or the dynamic, of your work environment isn’t an overnight thing, and it requires a deeper understanding of workplace psychology. Which is why we went in and did a bit research to help you manage your office a bit better. Here are some takeaways:
How Does Organizational Culture Play a Role in Workplace Psychology?
It is undeniable that the culture at the office influences the work environment, and it’s up to leadership to set the tone for how employees are going to be treated and how transparent they’ll be with them.
That’s right, managers have to be the ones that set a precedent and lead their office to have an engaging and positive atmosphere. More times than not, employees are just going to be riding the wave — which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but, as having a good culture and engaging environment is good for business; it’s important to train managers to have a good management style that will create a good atmosphere.
Influences The Atmosphere
A great culture influences the atmosphere and is a driver for productivity and employee engagement.
Engaged employees work with passion and feel a profound bond with their company, not just that, but they help drive innovation forward.
A couple of tips to help managers improve the atmosphere:
- Have managers focus on individuals over rules, policies, and procedures
- Recognize employees for wins, big or small.
- Remind employees that the work that they do is vital for the company/team’s growth
- Start practicing more positive psychology
All these small steps will help you become a better manager, and start shifting the culture at your workplace.
Makes it Easier To Hire and Retain Talent
A positive atmosphere, a workplace that prides itself on getting things done, and good leaders; will keep employees engaged, motivated, and it’ll retain employees.
People leave managers, not companies. When managers aren’t doing a great job of motivating their employees, they will leave.
An ideal organization will make sure to focus on having good manager-employee relations, which is why they’ll invest in pulse survey tools in order to get constant feedback from their employees.
Retaining employees and keeping them engaged is important, but just as important is showcasing the atmosphere to potential new hires and job-seekers.
When hiring, go into an interview knowing that the person has already vetted your organization, and like most, they’ve probably read all the reviews about your company online.
For better or for worse, it’s your job to not only make sure that you pitch what it’s like to work for your company but what it takes to work there. The psychology, the motivation, the core values and mission of your organization should be an integral part of an interview.
To sum it up: the culture of your company is going to influence the psychology of your workplace; it’ll directly affect the atmosphere, the productivity, the retention, and the hiring of talented new employees. It’s up to you as a manager to start being proactive and do a lot of reflection on what can be done in order to make you and the people around you better.
Ways To Bring Positive Psychology To Your Workplace
There is a “trickle-down” effect when it comes to leadership, managers have to set the precedent and set a theme, or affirmation around what they want to push toward their employee.
A perfect example of trickle-down leadership is the story of Alcoa.
Before he was Secretary of the Treasury for the United States, Paul H. O’Neill was the CEO of Alcoa. During his first meeting, he didn’t talk about profit margins, no fancy presentations, his mission was to change the culture of the company by having one goal, making the company, an aluminum company, the safest place to work.
This affirmation — what would later become known as a “keystone habit” — became the internal mantra of the company. Everything that the company did; meetings, calls, having employee suggestion boxes, surveys, everything was done with the goal of creating the safest places to work. This one mission became so ingrained in the culture that employees and managers did whatever they could to look out for one another improved productivity and employee happiness.
As for Alcoa’s bottom-line? Within 5 years, the company’s profits hit record highs, and when O’Neill stepped down to retire, Alcoa’s annual net income was five times higher than when he started.
So what can you do to create this kind of similar change within your organization?
Have An Affirmation
Have one affirmation, or mantra, to tie your leadership goal with.
Like O’Neill’s safety affirmation, use something that people can get behind and strive toward. It doesn’t have to be too concrete, and it doesn’t even have to be a quantifiable metric. Just one goal that everyone in your department can get behind.
Ego Is The Enemy
Never claim employees’ success as your success. Give people all the praise and credit for their hard work and don’t make it about you.
True leaders should view organizational success as the main goal and be servants, as opposed to bosses.
And whether it is at work, or in your personal life, just remember that ego is the enemy:
Be A Courteous Leader
The average workplace of the information era is a bit destructive and has a lot of people wanting to prove that they know the best. This causes rifts between employees, managers, and leads to disengagement.
The best way to avoid having a “destructive” work environment is to make sure that you are leading by example and being courteous. Give credit to those that are doing outstanding work. Praise people for the jobs that they do. Be proactive and try to approach people about promotions or career advancement opportunities.
Managers have the opportunity to change the psychology of an office and get people invested in their businesses’ goals. Implementing these small changes to a work environment influences the company’s bottom line; so why not start working on improving your office today?
How Are You Improving The Culture At Your Office?
What are some things that you are doing to create a better environment and have more positive psychology within your workplace? Do you have any tips to give to other managers? Let us know in the comments below.
This past week the 2018 Devies was hosted at the Oakland Convention Center.
The ceremony, held annually during DeveloperWeek, celebrates the companies that are pushing boundaries in the tech scene. Previous winners include companies like Microsoft, IBM, Docusign, GitLab, and plenty of more.
To obtain a “Devie” you must have —
- Technology that garners press attention
- Be well-regarded by the developer community
- Be a leader in a sector for innovativeness
Out of the hundreds of companies that were nominated, we at Butterfly are extremely fortunate to have stood out and received recognition from our peers. We are glad to have won the award for Best Innovation in Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning.
“Developers are becoming key influencers in their companies because what technologies they use will matter more and more to their business’s operations. Butterfly is a great example of a new era of technologies that are empowering developers to have a greater impact on products and IT.” Said Geoff Domoracki, Founder of DeveloperWeek.
Though our company’s best days are in front of us we are glad to receive this recognition and we look forward to continue utilizing artificial intelligence in order to create better workplaces.
The features that we are working on releasing this year will improve the current product and also do a better job to help train managers and gather more feedback from employees in order to create a transparent workplace.
We look forward to building out Butterfly and continue using machine learning and AI to help solve issues in workplaces around the globe.
We hope that this is the beginning of more good things to come!
February 9, 2018
The beginning of the year is a perfect time to review your processes, try new things out, and find what sticks.
As a leader within an organization, the constant need to improve should drive you to try new things that’ll help you be a better manager and member of a team.
We’ve done some research on some of the leadership trends that are taking the workforce by storm in order to help you out at your office. Here are a couple of small things that you can to do be a better leader this year.
Fred Dust, CEO of Ideo, argued that face-to-face engagement is a dwindling art. He believes that the way we communicate with each other at work is unproductive, as it’s more talking at each other than with each other.
To make matters worse, we are now taking the easy route when communicating, as we’re opting to use emails, texts, or tools like Slack, to shoot out messages and “talk.” Though easy, it might not be as effective as simply going up to somebody to ask a question, make a request, or even settle a dispute.
The empathy shown when people communicate face-to-face allows people to bond, and the interactions help bring an understanding that people are aiming to reach the same goal.
There are a couple of other things that face-to-face chats help with, like:
- Putting an end to “Cyber Miscommunication”
- Coming up with solutions faster
- Enables more creativity between the two people.
Make time this year to chat with your employees, it can be about work, or it can be just getting to know them a bit more, whatever the case, just make sure to start a conversation and talk with them, not at them.
Running Effective Meetings
Unproductive meetings waste more than $37 Billion Per Year and the average employee spends over 4 hours a week just preparing for meetings.
As a leader, it’s your job to make sure that people are getting the most out of their meetings, so do your best to make them informative, brief, and productive for all the people attending.
The best thing you can do to run effective meetings is to set a goal for the meeting and sharing it with the team before the session starts (try to include it on the agenda). This will (hopefully) allow people to understand what the purpose of the meeting is and reach that common goal together.
A couple of other quick tips:
- Keep meetings short — 30 minutes (maximum)
- Only invite people that need to be there
- Have a notetaker
- Have the notetaker assign action items as you go
There are dozens of other ways to make meetings run better, but find what works for you and your team, and continue to improve on it.
Being More Transparent
There are three things that employees would like to have, job security, career advancement opportunities, and they’d want to work for a company that values transparency.
Transparency is nothing more than the exchange of trust between the employer and the employee, and having a culture of transparency creates more trust throughout the office.
As a leader, being more transparent with employees will enable you to not only have more trust from them, but it’ll help you communicate more efficiently and create a better office environment.
If you aren’t a transparent culture already you may want to do some research on a company like Buffer, who has perfected their transparent culture — So much so that they have a list of every single thing that they do, buy, read, and even their employees’ salary all available on the web.
In a speech given by their co-founder Leo Widrich, he says that a transparent culture not only improved the morale of the office, but people were so engaged and happy that it reflected on the product:
To sum it up, the more information that is spread with employees, the more devoted to the company/person they become. Consider sharing more information and letting employees know that they are an important part of why the company continues to grow.
Raise The Bar, But Embrace Failure
If you’re looking to improve, stop going after small, modest goals and aim to have big, fat, hairy, audacious goals. The value of going after big goals is worth the risk, as they make us stretch what we believe is possible and get us working harder to reach new heights.
Risk-averse organizations tend to go after modest goals and appear to be successful, whereas growth-oriented organization thrive off of having ambitious goals; as it allows them to find new, innovative ways to grow and learn.
The only trade-off: you’ll have to deal with the fact that you’re probably going to fail at hitting the goals you set.
So embrace the fact that you’re probably going to fail, and utilize an OKR/KPI system that will set the framework for hitting the goal. Then at the end of every quarter aim to have a retrospective meeting that’ll help you figure out how can things be improved moving forward and adapt accordingly.
Any Leadership Trends or Traits That We Missed?
Are you looking to be a better manager, leader, person, all the above? Leave us some of suggestions to becoming a better manager in the comment section below.
Would also recommend that you start the new year off right by downloading our e-book “Your First 50 Days,” as it highlights some of the things that you can do to improve as a manager. The best part is it’s absolutely free. Check it out by clicking here
As much as the brutally honest truth can sting, this discomfort is nothing compared to the pain of being blindsided by the culmination of a negative workplace trend.
People can feel dissatisfied and at work for a great number of reasons, and if this dissatisfaction persists, it will always transform into disengagement. Disengagement is what makes the wheels fall off of organizations: resulting in lower productivity, higher turnover and a company culture that makes everyone dread coming into work.
This employee satisfaction survey has been designed to let your employees be brutally honest about the policies, practices or people that are causing them to be dissatisfied, and sharing it throughout your company will be an eye-opening experience.
How to Take the Brutally Honest Employee Satisfaction Survey
By answering these employee satisfaction survey questions in a brutally honest way, you can help your company change the things that aren’t working about work, before you and your most skilled colleagues become disengaged.
Big Picture Satisfaction
Please be brutally honest as possible when answering these employee survey questions about the big picture of working at your company.
Company Culture Strengths
- What about your company’s culture makes you excited to come to work?
- What are some of the workplace policies that reflect the strengths of your company’s culture?
- Who are some of the people that make your company’s culture fun and unique and how are they doing this?
- What are some of the positive differences between your company’s culture and the culture of companies you’ve worked for in the past?
Company Culture Weaknesses
- What about your company’s culture makes you dread coming to work?
- What are some of the workplace policies that reflect the weaknesses of your company’s culture?
- Who are some of the people who make your company’s culture unpleasant or uninspiring and how are they doing this?
- What are some of the negative differences between your company’s culture and the culture of companies you’ve worked for in the past?
Company Leadership Strengths
- How do your company’s leaders positively impact your company’s culture?
- Who are the friendliest and/or most inspiring leaders at your company and why do you like working for them?
- What are some of the actions taken by leaders that made you feel like they cared about their employees or had your back?
Company Leadership Weaknesses
- How do your company’s leaders negatively impact your company’s culture?
- Who are the least friendly and least inspiring leaders at your company and why don’t you like working for them?
- What are some of the actions taken by leaders that made you feel like they didn’t care about their employees or didn’t have your back?
If I had to be Brutally Honest…
If I had to be brutally honest about my company’s culture, here are the top 3 things that are off or just plain wrong with our culture:
If I had to be brutally honest about my company’s leaders, here are the top 3 things that are off or just plain wrong about the way that leaders are running this company:
Please be brutally honest as possible when answering these employee survey questions about the team you work with.
Team Culture Strengths
- How would you sum up the culture of your team and what about this culture helps your team members to work well together and enjoy each other’s company while working?
- What are some of examples of moments or periods of time that reflect what is strong about your team’s cultural dynamic?
- Who are some of the team members who help make your team’s culture strong and how are they doing this?
Team Culture Weaknesses
- How would you sum up the parts of your team’s culture that can make it difficult to work well together or make you not enjoy their company?
- What are some of examples of moments or periods of time that reflect what is weak about your team’s cultural dynamic?
- Who are some of the team members who bring out the weaknesses of your team’s culture and how are they doing this?
Team Performance Strengths
- What is an example of a situation that demonstrates the performance and competency strengths of the team you work with?
- What is an example of a project that brought your team closer together?
Team Performance Weaknesses
- What is an example of a situation that demonstrates the performance and competency weaknesses of the team you work with?
- What is an example of a project that pushed members of your team further apart?
If I Had to Be Brutally Honest…
If I had to be brutally honest, these are the top 3 things that make my team’s culture unpleasant to be a part of:
If I had to be brutally honest, these are the top 3 competency or performance weak spots of the team that I work with:
Direct Manager Satisfaction
Please be brutally honest as possible when answering these employee survey questions about your direct manager.
Management Style Strengths
- How does your manager help you to grow your skills and develop in your career?
- What was a situation where your manager’s management style achieved great results for you or a team member?
- What are your manager’s strengths when it comes to listening and communication?
- How does your manager’s management style positively contribute to your team’s cultural dynamic and daily working life?
Management Style Weaknesses
- How does your manager hold you back from growing in your skills or developing in your career?
- What was a situation where your manager’s management style got terrible results for you or a team member?
- What are your manager’s weaknesses when it comes to listening and communication?
- Are there any ways in which your manager’s management style detracts from your or your team’s ability to work, cooperate or communicate?
Manager Leadership Strengths
- What is a quality that you find to be admirable or inspirational about your direct manager?
- What is a situation in which your direct manager helped to hold your team together and overcome an obstacle or challenge?
- What makes an ideal manager, and how does your manager resemble this ideal?
Manager Leadership Weaknesses
- What is a quality that you find to be difficult, discouraging or downright weak about your manager?
- What was a situation in which your direct manager let you, a team member or your entire team down?
- What makes an ideal manager, and how does your manager fail to live up to this ideal?
Manager Competency Strengths
- What are some of the strongest technical skills that your manager possesses?
- How has your manager used their expertise in a technical skill to help you, a team member or your team?
Manager Competency Weaknesses
- What are some of the technical skills that your direct manager should improve?
- What was a situation where you felt more qualified than your direct manager to solve a problem they “should” have been able to solve?
If I had to be Brutally Honest…
If I had to be brutally honest, these are the top 3 aspects of my manager’s management style that make them hard to work with or make them a less-than-perfect manager:
If I had to be brutally honest, these are the top 3 ways in which my manager can be lacking as an effective leader:
If I had to be brutally honest, these are the top 3 ways in which my manager’s skills are lacking:
Please be brutally honest as possible when answering these employee survey questions about your satisfaction with your job and the work you do.
- What are some of the most efficient aspects of the workflow of your job?
- Who helps the workflow of your job to be as smooth and efficient as possible and how do they do this?
- What are some of the most inefficient aspects of the workflow of your job?
- Who causes the workflow of your job to be delayed or more difficult than it has to be and how do they do this?
- What was a project or period of time that demonstrated a balanced, manageable workload?
- What are some of the ways that your workload, the way work is assigned or the way it is required to be done that help support a healthy work/life balance?
- What was a project or period of time that demonstrated an unbalanced or unrealistic workload?
- What are some of the ways that your workload, the way work is assigned or the way it is required to be done that do not support a healthy work/life balance?
If I Had to be Brutally Honest…
If I had to be brutally honest, these are the top 3 ways that the workflow of my job makes my work harder and/or take longer to complete:
If I had to be brutally honest, these are the top 3 ways that my workload or the way that this load is distributed makes my job harder than it needs to be:
Today, we’re excited to announce the successful closing of our seed round investment of $2.5 million, which will be put to immediate use evolving our product and building out our team to support increased client and product demand.
Participating in the oversubscribed round are: Daphni (lead), Tectonic Ventures and Precursor Ventures. Angel investors include Laurent Schwartz, co-founder of ALTEN, a multinational technology and engineering consulting company and Brandon Evans, the founder of Crowdtap (representing FoundersGuild, a global founder investor group).
With the seed round, Marie Ekeland, co-founder of Daphni, will join Butterfly’s Board of Directors. Shareholders from previous rounds include Keith Teare, Founder of Accelerated Digital Ventures and co-founder of TechCrunch , and Jeremy Le Van, co-founder of Sunrise Calendar (acquired by Microsoft).
When we launched Butterfly, we set out to address a universal challenge facing organizations around the world: New managers lack training and support when it comes to soft skills and people development, leading to a palpable leadership gap that has contributed to unhealthy cultures at companies big and small.
The Harvard Business Review reports that most companies wait more than a decade to provide executive coaching in any form, and as we all know, that’s simply too late in a landscape where millennials are rising through the ranks faster than ever and people are increasingly leaving their jobs as a direct result of poor management.
We passionately believe that the secret to healthy work cultures is strong leadership, which includes managers at every level—not just those in the corner office. We also believe that emerging technologies, like artificial intelligence, can be a tremendous resource when it comes to helping HR teams shift their focus from talent support to talent development.
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank our team for all their hard work, especially during the past several months of growth, as well as our early partners and investors. We look forward to evolving our product and our team to shape the next generation of corporate leadership in the months ahead.
Developing your employees means providing opportunities for growth beyond their current job functions. As a manager, you have to assess how you are supporting a well-rounded education for each of your team members. This includes education in their specific industry and in the overall professional world.
So, here are some tips, via our e-book Your First 50 days, to help you promote ongoing learning for your team:
- Make room in your team’s budget for an education stipend. Encourage your employees to use this resource to attend conferences or enroll in relevant courses.
- Share paid subscription login information for magazines and other online resources.
- Encourage employees to lead mini-tutorials on specific topics and skills at team-wide meetings. This can elevate the individual’s talents, as well as benefit the whole team.
- Invest in a team-wide Coursera or Lynda account.
- And continuously educate your team about any company learning and development programs.
“The job of the leader is to grow more leaders.”
– Robin Sharma, Bestselling Author & Leadership Expert
To further reading, download our e-book!
ATracker: This app tracks how long an individual spends on each item of business. Consider implementing this at work meetings and encouraging employees to use this for personal assignments.
Pocket/Instapaper: These apps offer integrated bookmakers to save any article or video online for later viewing, and “they strip the content to text-only format.” This can help your employees when they’re researching work-related information.
Zapier: With this, connect more than 140+ apps together (i.e. Slack, MailChimp) to “automate repetitive tasks in the background.” Having your team members use this will allow them to focus their time and energy on more other important projects.
Headspace: Headspace is a wonderful mindfulness app. With meditation and wellness tools, it promotes happiness and compassion. This is especially useful for any team members who experience burnout and stress in the workplace.
General life management
Week Plan: This is a calendar and to-do list in one. Schedule tasks simply into the app (with reminders), and check off each as they are completed. Your employees can ensure they have time for activities that matter to them.
Google Calendar Goals: This new feature allows an individual to choose a goal, and the app will schedule time for that goal based on availability. And there are options to decide how long to spend on that task, which day, how often, etc. This is great for your employees who have non-work-related goals they want to accomplish in their busy schedule.
You can access the full article here.
September 21, 2017
How well do you communicate responsibilities to your team? How you speak with each of your team members directly affects their performance. The Butterfly Team, via our e-book Your First 50 Days, shares insights on how to improve communication skills with your employees.
In proactive communication (when you initiate a conversation), think about the outcome you desire. For example, what if you want an employee to understand how important it is to finish a task by the end of the week? You would want to clearly define the steps, and possibly repeat them for assurance. For example, you could say, “Just to be clear, the deadline is Friday 5 PM, so you’ll need to send the file by then.”
What if you want one of your team members to feel empowered by a specific task? You should motivate her. You could say, for example, “I know that your skills are the right match for this project, so I am confident that you’ll excel!”
Now, here are a few more tips you can implement to “up your employee communication game”:
1. Exude confidence, but don’t be arrogant.
To receive respect from your team, show that you are knowledgeable and ready to lead. But, never talk down to your employees; respect goes both ways.
2. Be cognizant of timing.
How and when you communicate something to your team can be just as important as the actual message. Timing and context are key!
3. Always listen!
Those who are the best listeners are also the best communicators. By actively listening, you can understand your employees’ motives much more, and empathize with their concerns.
For further reading, check out our new e-book Your First 50 Days, available for download!
September 14, 2017
“Don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions.”
Even though this is a popular way of thinking, this is a toxic philosophy for managers. With this approach, your team will not only feel uncomfortable coming to you with bad news, but it also provides a negative workspace culture. You have to be accessible to your team, and be open to lend a helping hand in the process. Sabina Nawaz, via HBR, shares her tips on how to assist in problem solving:
1. Make it safe
Remind your team that they can always come to you with bad news. This way, you can help tackle problems early on. After your team addresses a concern to you, be sure to paraphrase it, and ask follow-up questions about it. By doing so, you can better understand the problem at hand, and it shows that you are actively listening to your employees.
2. Require problem statements from your team in lieu of complaints
Unlike complaints, problem statements are objective and consider every team member’s role in the situation. For example, a problem statement from an employee could be along the lines of, “Group A missed the deadline the past four times. In one case, we were unprepared. In the other cases, however, we were prepared, and had to work on the weekends to fill in for Group A’s late work.” With problem statements, you can figure out if there are any patterns, and find the cause of an issue. As well, everyone involved can have a part in the problem-solving process.
3. Find the right person(s) to solve the problem
Who is best person to tackle this challenge? Is it a bigger issue where you need to involve yourself more? In some cases, the employee who brings forth the problem to you can handle it on their own, but just needs your coaching (or approval). In any problem-solving situation, have your employees stretch their abilities.
When you are open to helping with problems, your team can not only reach solutions much faster, but they also feel more empowered.
You can access the full article here.
On August 29, Butterfly.ai joined forces with Dataiku for a meetup to discuss employee turnover and effective management. Our presenters shared their expertise on the tools that managers should use to better engage their workforce.
Dataiku: Predicting Employee Behavior
Guilherme de Oliveira, Data Scientist at Dataiku, presented a machine learning tool that assesses data from employees in order to predict which ones are more likely to either quit or stay at their job. The data analytics reinforced what we intuitively expect in employee behavior. For example, the data showed that employees who were not happy with their performance reviews tend to quit. Interestingly, however, some employees with a high satisfaction score in their data set quit, too. This may be because they were high performers who found better opportunities elsewhere. And although these analytics were incredibly useful, predictions could not always be right. In these cases, Guilhereme mentioned how they needed to alter the algorithms to increase accuracy.
Butterfly: Management Tools
Simon Rakosi, one of our Co-Founders, spoke about the keys to being a great manager. He explained that managers must be “self-aware” by creating an environment that welcomes feedback. He also shared that leaning on your team is just as important as supporting them. Remember: you are only one person — you can’t do it all alone. Simon then described the importance of finding your “North Star” — or in other words, your mission statement. For Simon, his purpose for leadership is to “help others go beyond.” By knowing your aspirations first, you can build your team and leadership from there. Then, it will be easy to set a self-training plan for yourself to accomplish these goals.
To learn more management lessons and advice from leadership experts, download our new e-book Your First 50 Days.
Your First 50 Days provides a smooth transition for up-and-coming managers. Each day, you’ll acquire a new skill or mindset that you can immediately put into action. Also, it contains pro-tips from business pioneers, such as Robin Sharma, Indra Nooyi, and Daniel H. Pink.
We check-in on your progress periodically as you read, and provide checklists to make sure you’re accountable for what you’re learning. By the end of the book, you’ll be feeling confident as ever.
If you’re ready to take the leap, download it for free here. Also, check out our Media Kit.
August 22, 2017
How happy are your employees? How effective is your leadership as a manager? If you’ve been thinking of these questions, then you should join our upcoming meetup with Dataiku, as our experts share their insights on management.
Representing Dataiku, Data Scientist Guilherme de Oliveira will discuss how you can use data sets to predict which employees will most likely stay or leave. From this, managers can better understand the important factors that explain employee decisions.
Butterfly’s Co-Founder Simon Rakosi will share what it takes to be a great manager, as well as explain the specific, scientifically-backed drivers that influence how you lead your employees. By knowing these, you’ll learn the analytics to develop a happy and engaged team, and strengthen your leadership.
Ready to learn from our experts? Join us at our meetup, taking place at 26 Broadway, New York, NY on August 29th, 6:00 PM. Sign up here!
August 17, 2017
We’ve previously discussed how leadership development is beyond the classroom. In that same vein, great management is also about knowing your true self, and directing your team accordingly. Kathleen Taylor-Gadsby, via Forbes, shares some questions to ask yourself as you develop your leadership and manage your team.
1. What gets you up in the morning?
What are your motivations? Aspirations? Do your actions coincide with the purpose you have set for yourself? This will help you determine if you’re in the right role, or even in the right company. This will also determine what’s hindering you from accomplishing your goals. And if your passions are aligned with your work, this can help you when your company is facing difficult times. Once you figure out what drives you and makes you happy, it’ll be much easier to guide team to where you want them to be and what you want them to accomplish .
2. What principles or beliefs guide your life?
What are the values you have set for yourself? Your principles affect the decisions you make and the actions you take. And these values can determine how you shape and direct your company. For example, someone who highly values service may uphold this principle in her for-profit business by focusing on and helping marginalized communities. It’s also important to see how your values can affect work culture. For example, if overt prejudice is something you can’t stand, you could consider implementing policies of inclusivity and tolerance in your company.
Without knowing your motivations, strengths, and principles that guide your life, you can’t go very far as a manager. Leadership involves finding your inner self, and bringing your energy to what you love and care about. This is how you’ll create a team that achieves goals and sees results.
To read more, access the full article here.
You can positively affect your work environment by employing technology that will benefit the health and wellness of your team. Ariel Parrella-Aureli, via Workforce, shares some companies that are using this technology effectively.
Hull & Knarr, for example, implemented an eco-friendly room with company-owned bikes for employees to use at their leisure. This brightly-lit room also includes lockers that contain bike accessories and showers. Roughly half of their workforce use the bikes on a daily basis. And the equipment is usually used for commutes to work and lunch trips. The purpose is to not only make healthy options more accessible, but to also encourage team bonding outside of the office. And as you know, a happier team equals a more productive team. Consider dedicating equipment for your employees to promote activity, i.e. bikes, yoga mats, etc.
Smart lockers and vending machines
Smart lockers are another way to help your team balance their personal wellness and work. Employees can use these lockers to get healthy snacks, office supplies, or even IT help. Some tech companies also use smart vending machines to provide PC accessories for their team members when they need it. Facebook employees use these machines to buy bike parts, which saves them time and encourages cycling. WESCO implements their smart machines in utility facilities to distribute safety equipment (i.e. suits, googles). And soon, they’ll include fire extinguishers.
Smart lockers and machines don’t just give your team the tools to do their job. They also help to create a safer and healthier workplace. Vending machines “are going to be prevalent throughout all industries.” Consider using these innovations, or just provide affordable and/or free equipment that will help your team. With technology, you can create much more accessible and productive work environments.
You can read the full article here.
August 10, 2017
Business school can give you a great foundation of leadership skills that are necessary to grow a company. However, there is more to leadership than what you learn in a classroom. Many of these skills are acquired through experience and over time. Growth Marketer Sujan Patel, via Entrepreneur, shares 4 of these leadership lessons for business starters.
Tip #1: Scale slowly and organically
If you’re working towards growing your business, don’t be concerned about having a strict structure. Pay more attention to automating processes in your business. For example, producing a training video for new employees makes the onboarding process faster. In turn, this gives you more time to focus on other tasks, such as building relationships with your clients. Scaling this way reduces the risk of your business falling apart.
Tip #2: Get ready to sacrifice
Starting a company is never an easy journey. Every business leader will have to sacrifice something in order to reach the results they desire. Business mogul Barbara Corcoran shared how in her early career, she had to to take up a job that she didn’t want in order to pay off her debts. But, this decision ultimately saved her company. So, remember: temporary sacrifices lead to long-term success.
Tip #3: Diversify early and often
Business school might teach you to “monetize early,” but it’s more important to “diversify early.” This means to get involved with side projects to sustain your business. Especially for entrepreneurs that may not get the best funding in the early phases, side gigs can help keep your company running. In example, a software developer could speak at events and instruct coding courses, while maintaining her core business. Exploring different projects can also open the door to future business opportunities.
Tip #4: Practice gratitude
Showing gratitude to your employees builds better relationships with them, which is integral for success in a company. Practicing gratitude helps you emotionally by alleviating stress, as well as “helps you gain a foothold on the work-life balance” that every worker needs.
Don’t just rely on what you learn in school; leadership is beyond the classroom. Focus on connecting with mentors that can help guide you as you develop and strengthen these skills. For further reading, access the full article here.
As a manager, success isn’t calculated by how many problems you fix. It’s about how you build a team that can solve problems themselves. Having to deal with low-priority problems is not only costly to your time, but also weakens your team. Best-selling author Joseph Grenny explains, via HBR, when it’s best to assist in or step out of your team’s problem solving.
Question 1: Who should own this problem?
Before you step in to solve an issue, think about how it will affect your team’s future behavior. It’s important that your team knows that they are able to “hold boundaries” in your absence. For example, instead of your team having you deal with an irate customer because you’re an authority, you can teach them how to handle it, instead.
Question 2: Do it now or do it right?
Sometimes, it’s better for the manager to take care of a situation if it’s time-sensitive. However, even when you fix the problem, be sure to engage your team in the process so that they know what to do in a similar situation in the future.
Question 3: What is the least I can do?
If you have the step in, “find the lowest level of initiative for yourself,” yet ensure that your team acts at their highest level. This offers them a teaching moment, so they will need less of your assistance as they move forward. For example, you can have an employee CC you on certain emails for you to review and provide feedback. Later on, after practice, they should be able to take you off the CC and handle those communications on their own.
Question 4: What type of problem is it?
If it’s a content or pattern problem, employees can typically solve them on their own. A content problem is when the immediate concern is the issue itself, and a pattern problem is when the issue is recurring. If you have a healthy company, your employees should be able to solve these problems both internally (within their own team) and externally (with other departments).
Last thought: It takes two to escalate.
Before you help your team, ensure that everyone involved agrees that they need you to assist. This is coined as “mutually-agreed escalation.” This way, you are used as a last resort. Of course, if there is a difference in power between employees, then it’s best for you to step in. In a peer-level problem, however, it’s typically better for those employees to have a dialogue with each other.
One of the key factors to a high-performance team is peer accountability. Sometimes, it’s better to take a step back and allow your team to address and solve issues on their own. You can access the full article here.
August 3, 2017
As a manager, it’s essential to forge a leadership style that is personal and adjustable for your given workplace and team members. AudienceBloom CEO Jayson DeMers discusses 5 styles that rarely ever work, via Entrepreneur.
It’s always wise to think in advance and prepare for anything (proactive), rather than just waiting to see what can happen (reactive). What sounds better: telling your client beforehand that you expect a shipment to be delayed, or apologizing afterwards for the delay and mitigating the problem? Definitely the first option.
2. Unreasonably Optimistic
Being optimistic is generally beneficial for employee performance and productivity. However, it is crucial to “control your optimism.” Optimists may be inclined to agree with a decision that shows signs of failure, or trust people that are typically unreliable. Managers should balance their optimism with a pragmatic attitude to ensure both high morale and success in their companies.
While a manager should always have control of their office, don’t make a habit of micromanaging. Trying to oversee every little thing, consequently, can push your employees away. You hired your team because you know you can trust them, so allow them the space to do their job.
While giving your team the space and freedom to work is integral to good management, you can’t be too distant from your employees. What if your team members need your expertise or assistance on a project or an idea? What if someone has a pressing concern? You have to be available to field questions and to set your team in the right direction. Regular interaction and communication are key.
A selfish, individualistic person will never prosper as a manager. A great leader will be sure to acknowledge the efforts of their team, and give credit when it’s due. A successful manager knows that every success is a team’s success, not just the manager’s. In turn, employees will be much happier and more productive in their workplace.
As you continue to grow and mold your own leadership model, be mindful of falling into any of these 5 bad styles. You can read DeMers’ full article here.
How to crack start-up management, and to maintain your leadership culture as you grow your company. From our co-founder Simon Rakosi.
Butterfly co-founder Simon Rakosi talked to DigitalNYC about the hurdles start-ups face as they grow, which for many includes maintaining a strong leadership.
Here are his top 5 strategies to make sure management is adequately supported:
Broaden HR’s responsibility
Acquiring the right talent is paramount to a start-up’s success. So, be sure to include your Head of Talent Management in important conversations, and offer them “a seat at the table.”
Make management coaching a priority
Start-ups are usually full of very young managers that find themselves propelled to the world of management without ever having received any coaching. With the help of technology, executive coaching and training programs are much more accessible and affordable for managers (ex: Butterfly.ai!).
Implement a feedback system
Employees should be able to give feedback on their managers and every aspect of the company in an anonymous space. Be sure to provide one for them.
Use employee data to drive decision making
Use the data you receive from your feedback system (see point above), and take action based upon what it reveals.
Lead with actions over words
It will mean so much more to your employees if you back up your words with actions — and when implementing change based on their feedback, make sure they know it!
➡ Catch the full article here, and be sure to let us know what you think!
July 25, 2017
It is an unfortunate fact that most companies do not respect their human resources departments as much as other operations. Butterfly’s Co-Founder David Mendlewciz, via Workforce, debunks the negative perceptions that people have of HR.
Myth: “HR doesn’t contribute to the bottom line.”
Truth: How productive a team is heavily depends on how happy its employees are. Engaged employees are 22 percent more productive than disconnected ones. Therefore, the impact and revenue that a business can earn links right back to HR, since they are the ones responsible for keeping a strong company culture.
Myth: “HR makes things harder than they need to be.”
Truth: While HR is the “bearer of bad news” sometimes, it exists to make the lives of employees much easier. Human resources helps people feel better about their roles and teams, and uses employee feedback to put solutions into action. And with the use of technology (e.g. Butterfly), HR can get this feedback anonymously to make effective change.
Myth: “HR primarily focuses on admin tasks and do not have a strategic function.”
Truth: Yes, human resources is responsible for typical management operations (i.e. payroll), but their main focus is people development. HR should be a team of visionaries that know how to educate employees, seek and grow talent, and build a transparent culture within a company. This is why some businesses, like Slice, have defined human resources differently with new titles, such as “Heads of People.” Businessman Ram Charan shared the idea that human resources can potentially split into 2 parts, an administrative one while the other focuses on development and leadership.
If talent distinguishes good companies from great ones, and human resources is responsible for talent, then companies must ensure that their HR teams are taken more seriously. You can access the full article here.
July 24, 2017
Companies are often failing their millennial managers. Here’s what to do about it.
This week, our Butterfly Co-Founder Marcus Perezi-Tormos discusses how companies can help their Millennials boost their managerial skills, for Recruiter.com.
A recent study revealed that 41 percent of Millennials have at least four direct employees—yet these same managers will have to wait an average of 10 years before they receive their first coaching sessions.
Here are some of the other ways companies are failing their young managers—and what you should do about them.
- The “Just Wing-It” Mentality
Managers don’t always know where their gaps in skills and knowledge lie.
How to fix it: Implement a company-wide feedback system, between managers and their employees. Make sure to make it anonymous—you want feedback to be as honest as possible.
- Antiquated, Sporadic Coaching
Although coaches can be very knowledgeable, they do not know your managers on a personal level, and will not be aware of the very unique dynamics present throughout their teams.
How to fix it: Technological advancements are making receiving feedback on a personal scale easier than ever before. Butterfly.ai does just this, using an AI coach to push training materials to managers, based on the feedback their teams are giving.
- Failing to See the Business Value of Strong Leadership
HR teams across companies are usually trying to out-do other companies, by offering a plethora of perks to their incoming employees. However, our data revealed (gathered from our platform and a sample of 5,000 employees who use it) that having a strong team was far more positively correlated with happiness at work that perks were.
How to fix it: Invest in your managers and you will have a leg up on your competitors. You’ll see your employee engagement rise, and your teams become more productive.
Check out the full article here.
July 5, 2017
Butterfly co-founder Simon Rakosi attended the 2017 World Government Summit and is now honored to provide his perspective on the organization’s blog. In this article, he explains what lessons the public sector can learn from the private.
Here’s a handy summary of his tips:
Tracking employee engagement
Employee engagement is not just a new HR buzzword. It translates into employees who are satisfied at work, and thus more productive. The government could learn from this, and start tracking a similar metric. How about “civic engagement”?
Transparent communications channels
Companies are using engagement software that gather employee feedback on a regular basis (just like Butterfly does!). Although a company obviously differs from a government, they could both adopt the same attitude.
Formalize employee happiness
Countries are waking up to the fact that the happiness of their citizens should be made a top priority. To this end, governments should be spending more resources on people’s development.
A data-driven society for good
Politicians tend to look at the big picture data is giving them, without ever considering the trends happening at an individual level. Citizens should have the ability to give elected officials their pulse on the contemporary circumstances on a frequent basis.
Read the full article here.
July 3, 2017
How to keep employees engaged during tough times – a challenge many start-ups are likely to face.
Talent management is especially important for new companies as building strong leaders can lead to a sustainable competitive advantage. Butterfly’s Co-Founder Simon Rakosi recently shared with BuiltinNYC what start-ups can do to keep employees motivated during tough times. Here are the recommendations:
Lead with the positive
Being open in your communication towards employees is key during tough times. So, be sure to explain why these tough times are necessary. Usually they will be caused by accelerated growth which in the long term is definitely a great thing!
Be sure that the challenge you are facing, it’s solution, and the way to get there, are crystal clear for your employees. They should all understand where they fit in the big picture. If you expect transparency within your teams – you need to reciprocate.
If your employees are giving it their all in face of the new challenge be sure to let them know how much you appreciate their hard work. Give praise often and publicly every time you reach a small milestone on your roadmap.
Show the light at the end of the tunnel
Remind your employees of what work will be like after your challenge is overcome, and the new positive effects that will be here to stay. And when the storm has passed? Recap what you have all learned and you’ll be fully armed to address your next challenge.
You can read to the full article here.
June 30, 2017
Butterfly’s co-founders David Mendlewicz, Simon Rakosi, and Marcus Perezi-Tormos were recently guests on the Positive Phil Show, a top business podcast. Here are some of our favorite quotes.
Butterfly’s co-founders David Mendlewicz, Simon Rakosi, and Marcus Perezi-Tormos were recently guests on the Positive Phil Show, a top business podcast.
Here are some of our favorite quotes from the 30-minute show:
On the Butterfly name
“We feel that we are changing the world one manager at the time, and driving that positive change is something that goes back to the idea for the name of our company. The idea came form the idea of an animal going through a drastic, but positive, change – that is, moving from a caterpillar to a butterfly.”
“Butterfly focuses on the managers: those individuals that need to be supported, developed, and trained. This is the exact gap we are filling so that companies are not just investing in development of senior executives, but every single manager at every level in the company.”
On being “married” to the mission
“We see ourselves as being problem solvers and we like to solve problems that make people feel better and have a positive impact on society. Knowing that 70 percent of employees are disengaged at work, to us, is an opportunity to change the world.”
“The relationship between co-founders is like a marriage, and like in every marriage, communication is key, so we are very open and transparent with each other.”
On what inspires the product
“We have a lot of exchanges with our partners/customers to know exactly what is working for them, and what might be missing. We open up the discussion to new ideas and have sessions to discover tool requirements and develop a pipeline of ideas.”
“It’s also about knowing what is available out there when it comes to artificial intelligence. It is important to always keep a pulse on what is going on given that AI is a very dynamic field with great algorithms and technologies to be leveraged by companies like ours.”
On building an engaged team
“We aim to build a culture from the ground up by promoting concepts of transparency, positivity and happiness in the core value of the team… What is really great is that everyone here knows the impact they have and how they fit into the product and the overall mission.”
On defining success
“Success is mostly achieved when you can get yourself to a state of happiness…nothing to do with money, but more on a personal level – reaching a very sustainable state of happiness. In terms of our clients, success is seeing the company achieve better and greater engagement.”
You can listen to the full interview here.
April 7, 2017
We’re excited to announce that Butterfly has been named one of the top five messaging apps in the world by the Webby Awards. This year’s nominees reflect the top nine percent of all work and companies entered.
For more than twenty years, the Webby Awards have been the leading international program honoring excellence in the internet sphere. This year, the Webby Awards received 13,000 entries from nearly all 50 states and 70 countries worldwide.
The eventual Webby winners are determined in two ways. The first is through formal judging by members of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences, a global organization comprised of industry experts and technology innovators. The second factors in a “popular vote,” and allows the global community can make their voice heard by voting a nominee as their Webby’s People’s Voice winner.
Butterfly joins the likes of Nike, Hipmunk and Giphy as finalists in the Messaging category. Given our mission to empower the next generation of corporate leadership, we’re proud to be recognized for our anonymous messaging product, which brings managers closer to their teams and creates more transparent and engaged corporate cultures.
Winners will be announced April 25 and celebrated at the 21st Annual Webby Awards Show in May. People’s Voice voting will remain open until Thursday, April 20.
Please take a moment and give us your vote!
April 4, 2017
Here are the top leadership lessons we gleaned from speakers like Elon Musk, Reid Hoffman and more.
Last week, Butterfly was fortunate to attend one of the most exclusive global conferences in the world, alongside Elon Musk, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman and some 4,000 of the brightest and most influential leaders and policymakers from the public and private sectors.
It was a humbling experience, to say the least, but we were honored to be invited as thought leaders on the subject of happiness—a subject so important for the planners of the World Government Summit that they devoted an entire day in the schedule to it.
The Global Dialogue for Happiness brought together 300 minds to discuss the state of happiness across a range of topics, including how to facilitate workplace happiness, our realm of expertise as creators of a technology designed to train managers to build stronger, more engaged teams.
With optimism as the unifying thread of the WGS and dedicated Happiness Dialogue, here are eight pieces of wisdom from which all managers and HR teams can benefit.
Be brave in your willingness to hear tough feedback.
In one of the most anticipated talks of the event, an impassioned Elon Musk pondered what governments will do in the face of mass unemployment that will unfold in the future, and suggested that a universal basic income might be considered. When asked about his advice to future generations, Musk stressed the importance of candid feedback. Critical feedback is valuable, he said, especially when it comes from close friends.
Rethink your feedback loop.
On the subject of feedback, Thomas Koulopoulos, author of “The Gen Z Effect,” said that corporations should implement “reverse” mentoring in which younger employees become advisors to their more senior colleagues. He also suggested that companies employ short bursts of fast-feedback on a daily basis, rather than collecting their input over longer cycles.
Value failures for their educational upsides.
Tech entrepreneur and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman said that while Silicon Valley “doesn’t celebrate” failures and missteps, entrepreneurs should see them as opportunities for growth. “Failure is an opportunity to learn,” he said.
Employ inclusivity as competitive advantage.
John Chambers, former CEO and Executive Chairman of Cisco Systems, noted that some Western nations have failed at leadership by not including their citizens and failing to rally diverse populations under a single vision. The same might be said of corporations. Chambers predicted that within a decade, 40 percent of enterprise companies will “disappear.”
Cherish your interpersonal relationships.
Dr. Robert Waldinger, a Harvard Medical School professor made famous for his TED talk entitled, “What Makes for a Good Life?”, said that people are more likely to compare our material goods with other people than we are to share our experiences, thus revealing a clear and widespread “lack of happiness.” He continued by arguing that the attention we give to other human beings is the single “greatest gift we have to offer one another today.”
Train around soft skills to improve “people development.”
At the Global Dialogue for Happiness, we participated in a roundtable on the subject of organizational happiness. During our conversation with policymakers and business minds from the private sector, participants discussed the need to include “softer sciences,” like psychology and organizational behavior, in training curriculums to prepare incoming generations for the jobs of the future.
Improve education to fuel happier, higher-performing communities.
The physician and anthropologist Jim Yong King urged policymakers in attendance to adapt their education systems with more urgency to address 21st century skill gaps. When it comes to education, he said, there is no time to waste. If the private sector is the engine of growth and the government is the driver, then education should be viewed as the fuel that feeds the engine.
Finally, there’s no time like the present.
We’ve all heard countless business aphorisms to the degree of “Done is better than perfect” or “Speed kills.” Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar built on these ideas, stating that “the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago–and the second best is now.”
With research indicating that only 13 percent of U.S. employees are engaged at work and growing concerns around the impact of job automation on our future economies, the business world’s notion of “happiness” must shift from an idealistic objective to a measurable tactic for retaining and developing talent while driving business impact.
February 22, 2017
Butterfly co-founders will join executives from The New York Times, Facebook and Buzzfeed in New York as part of the 2017 global conference on technology and culture.
In just a few weeks, Butterfly will be taking the stage at Social Media Week NY, one of the largest digital conferences in the world that attracts thousands of entrepreneurs and marketers each year.
Two of our co-founders, David Mendlewicz and Simon Rakosi, will be leading sessions on the future of work and employee engagement. They join fellow speakers from some of the most influential media and tech companies in the world, including Facebook, Buzzfeed, Refinery29 and the The New York Times.
Social Media Week’s mission is to bring together minds from diverse backgrounds to explore the impact of technology on marketing, culture and work. This global theme for 2017 is “The Invisible Hand: Hidden Forces of Technology & How We Can Harness Them for Good.”
If you haven’t already purchased your conference badge, we are happy to offer a 25 percent discount code for friends of Butterfly. Apply the code nyc17bfly5tx8 at check-out.
Here is some more information on our sessions:
Weds. March 1 at 11:00 a.m. | Convene
Millennials comprise the largest share of the U.S. workforce and nearly a third of them (and growing) are in management positions. So, why is it that most organizations wait up to ten years to provide leadership training to managers?
As innovation and entrepreneurialism seep into even the most established, “old school” organizations—CB Insights recently cited 50+ such programs in a recent report—young managers are taking on larger responsibilities and teams earlier in their careers. It’s time to face this leadership gap head-on and equip our the leaders of tomorrow with the tools and support they need to develop talent and drive business impact.
In this 60-minute bootcamp, you’ll learn the essential traits of a strong leader and what tools and support are needed to develop your talents over time.
- Moderator: David Mendlewicz, Co-Founder, Butterfly with
- Tiffany Pham, Founder & CEO, Mogul
- Brian Wong, Founder & CEO, Kiip
Friday, March 2 at 11:00 a.m. | The Times Center, Stage 2
Gallup research has found that a staggering 70 percent of the U.S. workforce is “not engaged” at work. Why? Though there are undoubtedly a variety of factors at play, a big reason is that millennials now comprise the lion’s share of the labor force and a occupy a growing segment of managerial posts. These employees have expectations, beliefs and behaviors that are entirely new when compared to the generations that came before them—and yet, many organizations have been slow to adapt their employee engagement and development processes for a new generation of talent.
In this session you’ll learn how companies from large, multinational organizations to lean startups can use technology to empower employees to make their voice heard
February 10, 2017
Butterfly will join 3,000 global leaders at the 2017 World Government Summit in Dubai.
We’re honored to share that Butterfly has been invited to join an exclusive network of global leaders at this year’s World Government Summit. Held in Dubai, the global conference brings together world leaders, policy makers and experts from more than 130 countries in order to explore innovation and technology’s role in strengthening and shaping future governments and improve the lives of citizens worldwide.
A major global event, previous summit speakers include President Barack Obama, Kathy Calvin (President and Chief Executive Officer of the United Nations Foundation), Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson and many more.
Butterfly co-founders David Mendlewicz and Simon Rakosi have been invited as esteemed thought leaders on the subject of happiness, which is a core theme at this year’s event. In fact, the conference kicks off with a one-day “Global Dialogue for Happiness,” held on Feb. 11, in which speakers and attendees will discuss how healthy and positive conditions enable societies—and workplaces—to thrive.
At Butterfly, we believe that developing tomorrow’s great business leaders is critical to fostering a more engaged, more productive workforce. Last year, we released our first Happiness Index report, which explored workplace happiness and engagement trends across 5,000 employees in the U.S. and EMEA. We look forward to meeting the other 3,000 representatives, hailing both inside and outside of the tech world, to share ideas and get inspired.
We’re delighted to attend this year’s World Government Summit from Feb. 11 to Feb. 14. You can follow our updates here and on Twitter (@bttrflapp).
February 6, 2017
How to mimic Obama’s “power pause,” and more tips to help make you a better manager. Here’s this week’s two-minute read.
Did you know that employees aren’t the only ones who dread annual performance reviews? This week, we learned that more than 60 percent of managers would do away with them if they could. Read on for more management tips and insights from the past week.
Adobe has released the findings of a comprehensive study exploring the efficacy of annual performance reviews. Per the report, which surveyed 1,500 employees and managers, the vast majority of people agree that the established review process is outdated and ineffective. What’s more, 80 percent of employees said they’d prefer ongoing, iterative feedback with managers to once-a-year reviews that reflect feedback that’s collected over several months.
Fast Company asked several managers to share their tips for inspiring creativity from their teams. One founder recommended to “lead by questioning,” that is, to open the conversation up to the team’s ideas before presenting your own. The simple act of asking an employee, “What do you think?” can go a long way in terms of empowering people to speak up and be bold when it comes to proactively bringing new ideas to the table.
As a manager, productivity is the name of the game. Beyond managing your own workload, you are responsible for ensuring your team has everything they need to be as efficient and productive as possible. Proven productivity hacks include establishing a morning routine (and sticking to it!) and viewing the day in minutes—not hours.
Earlier this week, Strategy+Business published an excellent long-read highlighting the differences between confidence and hubris. Among executives and managers, humility is the single most important trait when it comes to indicating future success. As a team leader, confidence is a positive and necessary quality, but it should not come at the expense of having an open mind and demonstrating a willingness to accept responsibility.
If you’re looking to improve your public speaking skills, look no further than outgoing President Barack Obama. Per Inc., Obama’s use of strategic pauses during his speeches demonstrate his strong grasp of the best practices of effective communication. Up your game instantly with this quick tip: instead of leaning on cognitive fillers (like, um, uh, etc.), simply pause as you collect your thoughts between words and phrases.
January 13, 2017
2 Minute Tips
A new study from Adobe concluded what we’ve all been thinking: annual performance reviews are tedious, outdated and ineffective.
Performance reviews are utilized by many companies to create an established cadence of goal setting and feedback once or twice a year, but a comprehensive study from Adobe is contesting this convention.
The study, which surveyed 1,500 U.S. employees, concluded that annual performance reviews are outdated and unnecessarily time consuming. In fact, the findings were so convincing that Adobe’s EVP of Customer & Employee Experience recently announced that the company would be doing away with them completely in 2017.
Why? Here’s what they found.
While the vast majority of people surveyed (88 percent) participate in traditional performance reviews, 64 percent of workers and managers agree that performance reviews as they exist today are outdated. What’s more, three-fourths of millennial managers—a growing population within leadership ranks—say performance reviews negatively impact their ability to do their job.
Annual performance reviews are stressful. Half of the employees surveyed says this type of feedback, all at once and collected via lengthy documents, can add to their stress. As it turns out, managers are on the side of their teams: 61 percent would do away with annual reviews entirely if it were up to them.
So, what’s the solution? According to survey, most people want feedback iteratively and in the moment instead of all at one time. Four in five employees surveyed said they want immediate feedback.
You can browse the full study here.
January 13, 2017
Research & Reports
Two minute wisdom from the crafty minds of the Butterfly team, because you’re never too busy to be a better manager.
Becoming a better manager is an ongoing journey that requires a commitment to learning. That in mind, we’re kicking off a new series that will recap the most interesting and thought-provoking articles on leadership each week. This week’s roundup features quick tips for improving positivity, landmark work/life legislation from France and best practices for when to take tough conversations offline.
First Round Review published its “30 Best Pieces of Advice for Entrepreneurs in 2017” and a few of the insights touched on leadership best practices. One of the most quotable lines suggested that managers lead through enablement and empowerment instead of through enforcement: “Being a good manager is not about avoiding failure – it’s about enabling as many different paths forward as possible for as long as possible.”
France passed legislation designed to promote improved work/life balance for employees who increasingly feel tethered to their smartphones during off hours. Dubbed the “right to disconnect,” the bill got people talking about tech as a double-edged sword.
Nobody likes awkward conversations, but a new study shows just how costly communication failures can be. According to the report, companies that waste time skirting around difficult issues (such as a colleague failing to adhere to company processes) can experience thousands of dollars in losses every single week.
Fast Company published a list of five top HR trends to watch in 2017, in which the publication writes that today, performance management is “an information game.” Citing large companies who have ditched the twice-a-year review cycle, breaking the mold and implementing more iterative, real-time methods for collecting and acting on employee feedback.
2016 will go down in infamy as a “negative year” for some people, but not to worry: Forbes has offered some scientifically-backed tips for infusing positivity into your routine at the start of the new year. Something as simple as breathing in and out for five seconds or scheduling self-care routines can improve your outlook, which can tend to have a trickle-down effect on your team.
Managers rely on email and channels like Slack to optimize the way they communicate with teams, but as Northwestern Mutual’s SVP of HR points out, some of these conversations are better in person. Her three rules: Speak in person when something is about to change; when providing constructive criticism; and (of course) when letting someone go.
Want some more brain food? Head over to Inc. to see their 10 must-read business books for 2017.
France passes law that encourages workers to ignore their smartphones during off-hours. This is a first step in giving workers the right to unplug.
Many employees dream of a world in which late-night emails are banished from their inboxes. France has made that dream a reality, recently passing a new law that gives workers the “right to disconnect” from their responsibilities during off-hours.
That’s right. Per the new legislation, if you live in France and work at a company with more than 50 employees, you should OK about ignoring an email from your boss that comes outside of normal working hours. The bill comes during a time when employees’ lives are increasingly interconnected and entwined with their work responsibilities.
For all the benefits in productivity and efficiency afforded by technology, the advancements have not come without a cost to work/life balance. Our own survey of more than 5,000 workers in the U.S. and EMEA found that work/life balance is more correlated to overall employee happiness than any other driver, including management and team dynamics. What’s more, in our study, employees based in the EMEA did not report having a markedly better work/life balance than their U.S. counterparts.
While it remains to be seen how the new law will be enforced, the move underscores the increasingly complex dynamics of a hyper-connected and technologically-empowered global workforce. It also points out just how important work/life balance is becoming to the overall health and happiness of people around the world. As QZ points out, it’s somewhat “ironic” that France, with its 35-hour workweek and lax vacation policy is “clamoring for additional downtime.”
France deserves kudos for addressing what everyone else ignores: The blurring of work and home life is messing us up. We carry our work with us everywhere, via laptops and smartphones and WiFi. And while that’s made some things easier, it has simultaneously forced us to be instantly and always accessible. This “forever on” culture leaves little time to disconnect and reboot, leading to increased levels of worker burnout, stress, and damaged relationships.
While it’s unlikely that we will be ignoring our smartphones anytime soon, managers can do their part by promoting a culture that espouses a healthy and transparent work/life balance. Since what’s “healthy” can vary by team, role and individual, maintaining ongoing conversations with your employees about their stress levels and workload is critical to keeping teams happy and engaged.
January 4, 2017
Becoming a manager for the first-time is a big deal. Our biggest piece of advice: prioritize team development over delegation.
Set your manager New Year Resolutions now!
Becoming a manager for the first-time is an exciting and significant career milestone. It means your organization has instilled confidence in you as a subject matter expert and individual team player – so much so that they’re banking on your ability to scale your talents across a broader team.
One of the biggest mistakes first-time managers make is to emphasize delegation over team development. It’s an easy misstep that many people take due to lack of training in soft skills and leadership best practices. In fact, the Harvard Business Review found that most managers are a decade or more into their management career before receiving formal leadership coaching from their employer.
Fortunately, the Internet and technological advancements have democratized executive leadership coaching, bringing forth unlimited resources for young managers to proactively educate themselves and stay connected with their teams. Here are a few resolutions for first-time managers to keep in mind as we head into the New Year.
Practice team time management. Personal time management is challenging as is – studies have shown that “workload” is the No. 1 cause of workplace stress. As the manager of your team, you’re not only responsible for managing your own tasks, but also how those who report to you are managing their own.
We recently surveyed 5,000 employees across the U.S. and EMEA and found that “work/life balance” was the job-related driver most correlated to overall employee happiness – above team dynamics, office environment and – believe it or not – upper management. Frequent, informal check-ins can go a long way when it comes to ensuring team members are challenged without feeling overwhelmed.
Track team engagement in addition to output. As manager of your team, you’re responsible for promoting efficient output that ripples into business and/or organizational impact. Team efficiency is closely related to employee engagement, so managing how your team members are feeling on a regular basis and making necessary adjustments is an important aspect of being a manager.
As a manager, you should create avenues for both long and short-term engagement. In the long-term, work with each employee on individual career plans and goal setting. Use formalized review windows and check-ins to demonstrate your commitment over time. Moreover, infrequent check-ins in the form of a simple Slack message (e.g. “How are you feeling about Project XYZ? Is there anything you need from me?”) serve to reinforce your desire to keep employees happy and engaged on an ongoing basis.
Use EQ to tailor your management style. It has been said that in business, emotional intelligence (EQ) can be just as important if not more important than IQ. Managers with a high EQ know how to read the individual personalities of their team members and manage their own style to better fit the dynamics of the team.
One way to gather this information is to host ongoing conversations, both formally and informally, to understand what motivates your team members. Many HR teams have also begun to implement mandatory “personality” testing (a la Myers-Briggs or DiSC) to reveal behavioral differences. If your organization hosts such assessments, dig into what your employees’ profiles mean for your management style and adapt accordingly.
Exercise transparency. First time managers in particular can struggle with balancing established work habits with newly-minted positions of authority. Upon becoming a manager, you might feel as though you need to act a certain way – and you do. Managers are important role models within an organization.
Engendering trust will be one of the first hurdles you face as a manager. A study from the American Psychological Association recently found that a quarter of U.S. workers do not trust their managers, and only half of the respondents believed their employer is upfront and honest with them. Given this, it’s important to keep in mind that with a greater focus on professionalism should come a greater focus on transparency. Whenever possible, provide context into the ways in which an individual team member’s contributions manifest within the team and the broader company vision.
Be an active listener. Capturing team feedback is only as good as your ability to distill what you are hearing and turn those insights into action. Far too many managers rely on weekly “stand up” meetings to give employees’ a platform for providing feedback. The problem with these types of settings is that they can be overrun by dominant personalities, or worse, seen as an unnecessary time suck.
Good leaders know how to instill a culture of feedback and listening into the fiber of the team. Great leaders know how to take what they hear and – when it makes sense – use those insights to affect positive change. Reinforcing the value of feedback with both words and action show employees that their voice matters.
Give praise generously. Dale Carnegie famously wrote that the best leaders frequently give “honest, sincere appreciation.” Many first-time managers fall victim to thinking that delivering criticism or finding flaws is the main responsibility of the manager. Indeed, course-correcting inefficient behaviors or poor working habits is part of a manager’s credo – but more importantly, a manager’s job is to take an active and eager role in the development of each team member.
Be proactive in your own career development. Many organizations do not prioritize management training for mid-level managers, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important at this stage of your career. In fact, becoming a more effective leader is as important to your own career as it is to the well-being of the company.
Be curious in your pursuit of becoming a stronger leader, and actively seek out ways to improve your craft. This could be as simple as picking up some literature or subscribing to a few magazines, or it could be as involved as asking your employer to undersign the cost of a training or seminar.
Find a management mentor. Of course, the best way to learn is by shadowing someone you admire. Consider senior leaders within your organization – or even outside of it – who inspire you to be a better manager and ask them to grab a brief cup of coffee. In your initial meeting, specify that you are seeking management guidance and demonstrate your commitment to learning. Odds are, they will be flattered by the gesture and eager to share their wisdom with you.
January 4, 2017
Nobody likes to have a difficult conversations – but according to a new study, tip-toeing around small issues can lead to wasted time, negatively impacting your bottom line.
A new study has found that companies who fail to build cultures that espouse open communication – that is, those environments in which employees are afraid to “speak up” – can bleed thousands of dollars a week in lost time and resources.
The survey was led by Joseph Grenny and David Maxfield, co-authors of the New York Times bestseller, “Crucial Conversations.” By studying more than 1,000 employees, the researchers found that more than 70 percent of workers reported being too afraid to speak up when a colleague was failing to pull their weight on a team, 68 percent did not report incidents of “disrespect” and 57 percent did not flag co-workers who failed to comply with company policy.
The researchers then asked respondents to estimate how much these avoided conversations ultimately cost their organizations per week. The average estimate for that prompt: $7,500 in lost time and resources – per week.
It is not surprising that avoiding difficult conversations is commonplace in many work environments; in fact, one in three people surveyed for this study said that their culture does not support “holding crucial conversations.” Most people do not feel comfortable rocking the boat or earning the moniker of “office tattle-tale.” That said, failing to address challenges head on can lead to weeks of wasted time “ruminating” about what might be relatively minor issues.
Beyond the financial cost associated, avoiding tough conversations can also have detrimental effects on morale and engagement. The solution for managers: Promote environments where transparency and open communication are the norm, and lead by example. Instead of non-constructive finger-pointing, create a system for providing solutions-based feedback to peers in which fixing an issue is prioritized above assigning blame.
You can learn more about this study at Recruiter.com.
New research suggests that one of the biggest challenges in scaling a company is keeping people happy – and people are happiest when their work provides a “feeling of accomplishment.”
Last week, we released our year-long study on how employee happiness correlates with five key employee engagement drivers. What we found is that work/life balance is more closely correlated to overall happiness than other factors like management, team dynamics, role & responsibilities and workplace environment.
Earlier this fall, Robert Half International – a global recruiting agency – released its own findings on employee happiness in North America.
One of the biggest challenges to scaling a company is maintaining culture and employee happiness. Larger companies (10,000 employees and up) had lower employee happiness scores than smaller companies: 67 vs. total average of 71 out of 100. The smallest companies surveyed (1-10 employees) reported the happiest average scores.
Instilling a feeling of pride and personal ownership in employees is the No. 1 driver of happiness. Across most regions and both genders, “Pride” (feeling great about one’s own contribution to the overall organizational vision) was cited as the leading reason employees felt happy.
But, for Millennials in particular, the No. 1 driver was “a sense of accomplishment.” Though this seems to be a nuance of “Pride,” it’s important to understand that Gen Z-ers are motivated by slightly different – perhaps more individualistic – factors. Managers should provide clarity when it comes to the individual role and responsibilities of each team member, enabling frequent and collaborative goal-setting on progress against milestones.
Senior leaders were most happy across the board; in fact, the happiest age of all employees surveyed was 55. This could be due to a number of factors, including a more well-defined work-life balance and more overall confidence in their roles as managers.
Most importantly, the survey points out that happiness is not a continuous state. As employees, we all have our good days and bad days. More than a mood, employee happiness should be seen as a mindset that’s embedded in an individual’s long-term approach to work. Robert Half defines happiness as, “deep feeling of satisfaction and meaning generated by doing a good job.”
So, why should we care about keeping employees happy? Beyond the obvious – we want them to stick around work and do good work – Robert Half cites a few key benefits:
- Happy employees are more loyal, and are therefore less prone to turnover.
- They do better work. Gallup found that engaged employees are a whopping 21 percent MORE productive that disengaged employees.
- Happy employees are less stressed, and therefore healthier overall.
We surveyed a sample of 5,000 employees in the U.S. and EMEA to understand how employee happiness relates to key engagement drivers such as team dynamics and management.
2016 has been a year of ups and downs. In addition to the rigor of everyday work life, employees experienced external stressors in the form of a tumultuous road to the U.S. presidential election, a historic Brexit vote, the loss of some of our favorite cultural icons and countless more events.
As a look-back at what has been a wild year, Butterfly has released a new report uncovering employee happiness trends across more than 5,000 people in the U.S. and EMEA. The study was compiled by aggregating and analyzing data from a sample of our users from January to November 2016.
The purpose of the study was to understand how employees’ overall happiness – how they are generally feeling both within and outside of the workplace – correlates to five key drivers that are scientifically proven to influence employee happiness. Those drivers are: Management; Roles & Responsibilities; Team’s Work/Colleagues; Work/Life Balance; and Workplace/Environment.
Butterfly’s “Happiness Index” tracked employees’ overall happiness over the course of the year, in addition to their satisfaction around these key drivers. Here’s what we found:
- The driver that most correlates with overall happiness is Work/Life Balance, followed by Workplace/Environment; Roles & Responsibilities and Management. Team’s Work/Colleagues, or social dynamics among teams, was the least correlated to overall happiness.
- Despite European employees generally enjoying greater perks when it comes to work/life balance, they didn’t report feeling more “balanced” than their U.S. counterparts in 2016.
- Major socio-political and economic events such as Brexit and the U.S. Presidential Election did not materially influence overall happiness across the U.S. and EMEA. Rather, ebbs and flows and happiness were more likely influenced by micro-trends occurring within the workplace.
“It makes a lot of sense to measure employee happiness in a way that transcends the workplace and thus presents a more holistic picture of the state of employee happiness,” said Jan-Emmanuel de Neve, Associate Professor of Economics & Strategy at the University of Oxford. “We know through research that the general well being of an employee is causally related to productivity and performance — as such, managers are advised to look beyond just the traditional job satisfaction item and should seek to improve the work/life balance of employees, as the data from Butterfly clearly indicate.”
Download this year’s “Happiness Index” here.
Millennials are already the largest working demographic, yet 85 percent of current managers say that the next generation of managers is not yet ready to lead. Today’s talent teams are challenged to groom a new wave of leaders who subscribe to an entirely new code of management philosophies.
Here’s what HR teams need to know about Millennial managers:
They abhor the word “boss.” Most Millennials prefer to use the word “manager,” and even more forward-thinking orgs are replacing that with “team leader” or “coach.” The idea that a manager’s sole responsibility is to simply delegate tasks down the chain of command is antiquated (Lumbergh from “Office Space” comes to mind). Millennial managers want to develop their employees and recognize the inherent value of strong team dynamics and culture.
So, now what? Provide managers with resources and trainings around becoming a better “career coach.” Internalize the importance of developing talent at the team level and communicate best practices for growing and nurturing team members over time.
They want data around soft skills. Many companies are implementing emotional intelligence (EQ) training to help managers better lead teams with disparate personalities. DiSC training or Myers-Briggs exams are also popular, serving to help leaders develop more flexible leadership styles. Still, while setting concrete performance goals around “hard” skills is fairly easy (e.g. increase open rate by 10 percent), not surprisingly, it’s much more difficult to gauge improvements around “soft” skills, such as improving collaboration.
So, now what? Enable managers with technology that will allow them to track their soft skills over time and leverage that data in their own performance reviews. Since organizations can become easily inundated with tools and technologies, ensure that whatever you employ integrates across already adopted platforms such as Gmail, Slack and Microsoft Office.
They want more direct lines of communication with teams. Traditional organizations hold once or twice-a-year reviews in which managers and team members check in on progress candidly discuss challenges and opportunities. Millennial managers, the first digitally-empowered and always-on generation, want a more ongoing conversations with their teams.
In Slack-enabled office environments, managers are looking to technology to help them bridge the communication gap with employees – capturing insight into things like work-life balance and proving to team members that their voice is valued and can inspire action. “From Silicon Valley to New York, and in offices across the world, firms are replacing annual reviews with frequent, informal check-ins between managers and employees,” writes the Harvard Business Review.
So, now what? Encourage managers to host more frequent and iterative conversations with teams around long-term team goals (vision) and personal career goals. Provide managers with the resources needed to identify macro-trends and implement changes at the team level to show employees that their voices are valued.
December 6, 2016
Afdhel Aziz is a Brand Director at Pernod-Ricard and co-author of the Amazon top-selling book, “Good is the New Cool: How to Market Like You Give a Damn.” An expert in promoting corporate culture both internally and externally, we sat down with Afdhel to hear his advice for building authentic corporate cultures and managing teams to success.
Butterfly: In your new book, you talk about why “doing good” is a competitive advantage. Can you explain how “goodness” can be promoted within the culture of a company?
Afdhel Aziz: People want to work for companies which have a higher order purpose than just making money – and people want to buy products from companies which deliver against that purpose by giving value to their lives. So, “goodness” shouldn’t be confused with CSR or cause marketing or something fluffy … it’s much more strategic, and should have an ROI, and should have hard metrics against it. It should be something that helps companies attract the best talent who want to to do the most meaningful work – and translate into that products, services and experiences that the company can use to generate profit AND deliver value to people in their lives.
Butterfly: What’s the No. 1 mistake new managers make & how can it be avoided?
Afdhel: I think it’s trying to manage people like they want to be managed: you need to tailor your approach to every single person individually and think about what is meaningful to them. Don’t impose your own ideas on them based on how you like to be managed; instead, figure out what gets that person out of bed every morning and try and cater that as much as possible. It could be spending more time with their family, or flexible hours, or big audacious goals – or some combination of all of the above. Whatever it is, think about how you can create something bespoke for each individual.
Butterfly: Why do you think communication between managers and teams is so challenging? What’s your recommendation for improving employee engagement as a manager?
Aziz: I think the pace of technology and the speed of life has meant we are all living in a hyper-fragmented world, where it is difficult to stop reacting to the outside world. I think the best thing managers can do is think about the 20% of work that delivers 80% of value and continuously ensure their teams are focused on that, and ruthlessly eliminate busywork and inefficient processes.
Butterfly: What’s the best management and/or leadership advice you’ve ever heard?
Aziz: “The best teacher is always a student.” I’m not sure who said it, but I’ve been thinking about this a lot. The best leaders are the ones who never stop learning how to be better: more knowledgeable, more up to date, more empathic to the needs of their team.
December 6, 2016
2 Minute Tips
Technological innovations are accelerating the rate of change in the labor force and will have a massive impact on the so-called “future of work.” Beyond conversations around globalization and the elimination of jobs via “machines,” there’s the immediate reality that Millennials have unseated Boomers as the largest generation in the U.S. workforce.
Millennials are the first generation of digital natives and they are are the first wave of workers to matriculate as part of the on-demand economy. For these reasons, human resources teams at corporations large and small face new challenge when it comes to attracting, developing and retaining top talent. Here are some reasons why.
Tech-savvy Millennials expect a different type of engagement
Back in the day, it was perfectly acceptable for a company to conduct once-a-year performance reviews. These were customarily used as a time for managers and team members to reflect on objectives and performance. But for Millennials who live in a 140-character world, the questionnaires were often lengthy and seen as a necessary evil.
To address these shifts, some organizations have adopted a more always-on approach to performance reviews. While annual reviews are still used to determine salary adjustments and promotions, more and more companies are relying on technology to capture feedback more quickly. For example, Butterfly provides a mobile experience that allows managers to keep tabs on employee happiness and engagement via 30-second “pulse” surveys, administered once a week. Teams at companies like Coca-Cola, Ogilvy, Ticketmaster and Citi – the last of which we paired via SwitchPitch – are using the platform to help young managers develop their soft skills.
Continue reading this article on the Switchpitch blog.
December 6, 2016
Your work environment should provide a sense of comfort for all your team members. An inviting office space boosts productivity and overall morale.
See below for some ideas to enhance your workspace to increase your employees’ engagement:
Mind the furniture.
Although these are sometimes overlooked, proper chairs and desks are essential to the workspace. Make sure that your team members have comfortable chairs with armrests that are low enough to relax their shoulders and bend their elbows at 90 degrees. And ensure desks have an ideal height and area. Even consider using adjustable desks so employees can stand and work, too.
See the light.
Windows and natural light are great for the workplace because the sun makes people happier and more productive. If you can’t get this light inside of your office space, use artificial lighting that properly substitutes.
Create a break room.
And consider how engaging and fun it can be. What would encourage employees to detach from work and engage socially with others? Consider having games, fitness equipment, or even a television.
A cluttered, disorganized workspace makes team members uncomfortable, thus resulting in lower productivity. Make sure the office space is presentable and tidy!
If you’ve ever been to a casino, you’ll remember how inviting the atmosphere was. Casinos are designed to maximize the satisfaction of their consumers. The goal is to make sure everyone is comfortable, engaged and wants to stay. And that’s how you should frame your office space, too! Here are 5 strategies to guide you:
Create excitement and gamify work.
You can use digital signage to show achievements. Let’s say a salesperson makes a significant profit for the company? You can have signage displaying fireworks with that employee’s photo. This not only encourages healthy competition, but also builds community within your team.
Improve traffic flow.
“Using a series of short passages instead of long hallways creates more intimate spaces where customers don’t feel overwhelmed.” Provide a flow in the office so that employees can run into each other more often. These informal moments are essential for developing social relationships, as well as exchanging creative ideas.
Use signs to promote important activities and events, from seminars, to contests, to wellness programs.
Rearrange the environment.
Does your office space need a little refreshing? Revamping? After considerable time, you’ll have to change the space in order to improve team interactions and workflow.
And provide free drinks!
Research shows that most employees agree that good, free coffee is the best perk to show them appreciation. Also, having a coffee/drink station encourages team members to informally interact with each other.
Do your employees find it hard to concentrate in their open office environment? While these work settings foster more collaboration and activity between colleagues, lack of concentration tends to be a byproduct.
What organizational strategies can you implement as a manager to help your team members? Here are 4 ideas!
Create designated quiet areas.
Even if there’s limited space, set aside a room or two with available resources for employees to retreat and work remotely. Perhaps you can transform a conference area into a zen room.
Schedule quite times.
Designate a few, routine hours each day (or maybe each week) for quiet time. You can establish the schedule first, and then let your team members coordinate the times amongst themselves.
Encourage busy signals.
“A ‘busy’ symbol will notify coworkers not to disturb the worker during optimal moments of concentration.”
Sending too many emails and requests/demands to team members can frustrate and interrupt their concentration. When you have updates, try to send them all in one batch e-mail, or have just a quick meeting with your employees.
October 9, 2016
While putting in tireless work hours seems productive on the surface, it’s actually damaging. Here are some of the drawbacks of this, including tips on how to not overwork your employees.
Drawback: Diminishing returns
After working past 50 hours in a week, research shows there’s a sharp decline in productivity and results. And as you continuously add more hours to the week, this effect dramatically increases.
Tip: Perhaps cap every team member’s hours to no more than 50/week, if possible.
Drawback: Fatigue/health consequences
When an employee loses time for quality rest, the quality of their work also declines. Lack of sleep causes trouble in learning and memory, and mental processes are slower.
Also, when your employees are overworked, health complications arise. They’ll “be more susceptible to illnesses, and [their] feelings of wellness will decline.” Productivity also decreases because employees will have to take off for more sick days.
Tip: Consider the general health of your team. Regularly collect feedback on how they’re feeling.
If an employee has too much work to fulfill, not only will it be harder for them to complete it, but it’ll be done less efficiently, too.
Tip: Be mindful of how many tasks you give to each team member.
When an employee is constantly working with little breaks or vacation, they’ll inch closer to resenting their job, which results in high turnover rates and absenteeism. As well, when an individual is no longer passionate about their work, their productivity also decreases.
Tip: Ensure that every employee has substantial time off and vacations.
Global Analytics Workplace found that approx. 80% of employees consider teleworking to be a job perk. Research also found that 36% of employees would prefer working from home over a pay increase.
Here are some of the benefits of teleworking for remote employees:
- Reduces attrition
- Reduces unscheduled absences
- Equalizes personalities and reduces potential for discrimination
- Cuts down on wasted meetings
- Increases employee empowerment
- Increases collaboration
- Expands the talent pool
- Improves performance measurement systems
So, we understand the advantages — but the challenge is now engagement. How can you create a feeling of camaraderie for employees that work remotely? How can you help these individuals feel like they’re a part of the team, too? Here are a few ideas:
- Leverage technology to bridge the distance between remote employees and rest of team
- Coordinate face-to-face social gatherings with remote workers and team
- Create informal channels of communication outside of work topics
- Gamify the work to encourage collaboration and interaction between all team members
- Create opportunities for remote works to volunteer with other team members
Work-life balance sounds simple in theory. But in practice, it can be much more challenging. Especially with pressing deadlines and after-hours work, the line between work and life can blur.
How do you approach this challenge in your workplace? How balanced your employees are heavily depends on you. Are you showing them that you value their time and health? Here is what you should provide for your team:
Give your team members access to workplace tools via their mobile devices. This ensures that your employees can get their work done even if they’re away from the office.
Can your employees fulfill their job functions while working remotely? Do your team members need more flexible hours? Giving your team members flexibility in their schedules results in higher efficiency in their work. And it shows that you can trust your team, also resulting in higher productivity.
“Employers can utilize different tools and offer many [perks] and incentives, but arguably the most important is having leadership that is present.”
Take interest in your employees and their work-life balance. Encourage open and honest communication with each other. This is an easy way for them to understand your expectations.
Source: Business 2 Community
Achieving work-life balance for your team isn’t an easy task, especially when there’s high work demands and when your employees are constantly connected (via technology). But, one of the best ways to integrate this balance is knowing when to hit the pause button.
Research explicates that overwork is not just detrimental to the affected employee, but to the company. It typically results in disengagement, absenteeism and higher turnover.
Putting in more hours doesn’t necessarily mean more productivity. Research shows that productivity drops after working 55 hours. A recent Justworks survey also determined that “42% of employees would take a lower-paying job if it offered a greater degree of workplace flexibility.”
As a manager, it’s your job to encourage and enforce your team to unplug from the workplace. If feasible, you can offer unlimited paid time off (PTO) to your employees. If not, still encourage your staff to recharge and take time off. And discourage your employees from going on “working” vacations. Remind them that when they are on break, they need to completely detach from work.
Also, consider offering flexible hours or the freedom for employees to “work from home” when they choose. This communicates how you appreciate your team for all their work, too. And by giving them a say in how they commit to the company, they will feel more empowered.
Do you want to foster more collaboration within your team? The answer is simple: Your employees need proximity!
“The MIT research [study] looked at the work that went into 40,358 published papers and 2,350 patents developed at the university from 2004 to 2014, and found that actual face-to-face interaction and sharing workspace led to more collaboration across different disciplines.”
The research determined that if someone is working nearby another team member, they’ll more likely have frequent, substantive conversations together.
The researchers also found that those “who sat in the same work space were three times as likely to collaborate on papers compared to those who” were farther away.
If you want to embrace and encourage collaboration in your team, ensure that they can work together face-to-face.
October 9, 2016
“People thrive in environments which free them to communicate and work together.” When your team fosters collaboration, they will feel like they’re part of a bigger cause. Here are some strategies to create a cohesive and active team:
Keep promises and honor requests.
Can your team count on you? Will you be there for them when they need you? When your employees can trust that you’ll deliver what you say, relationships build between you and your team, as well as within your team.
Encourage people to socialize outside of work.
You can open channels of communication more effectively when you and your team socialize outside of work. It provides an environment where they can break down walls and engender trust. Outside of the office, team members can learn more about their common interests and challenges. “They experience their team members as more real, which helps to decrease individual bias, stereotyping and false objectifying.”
Recognize, reward and celebrate collaborative behavior.
Whether you share them through a video, weekly meeting or even Slack, “stories of great collaboration break down the walls of individualism and honor the collective accomplishment.” What performance rewards can you give to collaborative efforts?
“People thrive in environments which free them to communicate and work together.” When you have a collaborative team, your employees will feel like they’re part of a bigger cause. Here are some strategies to create an engaged and active team:
Leverage team member strengths.
Empower each of your employees by working with their strengths. Perhaps have your team members take a Myers-Briggs personality test, and share results so everyone can get to know each other. Employees can have a better idea of who to go to for specific requests based on strengths.
Foster cohesion between team members.
When each team member is included in large decisions, success follows. Inclusion encourages employees to understand the significance of their role, which results in better performance. Perhaps coordinate daily team huddles so everyone understands their respective objectives and responsibilities.
Successful teams are ones that can brainstorm “and question the status quo in a open and non-judgmental environment.” Instilling a “can-do” attitude in your employees influences them to exceed expectations. And of course, continuously ask for their feedback. When they feel more connected to you, they’ll perform more creatively.
“People thrive in environments which free them to communicate and work together.” When you have a collaborative team, your employees will feel like they’re part of a bigger cause. Here are some strategies to create a cohesive and active team:
Create a clear and compelling cause.
The more compelling your mission is, the easier you can inspire your employees. When they have a clear cause to grip to, they become passionate to team goals and objectives.
“When [employees] have a clear understanding of their position, each team member will work more effectively and without accidentally stepping on another person’s toes…” In collaborative work settings, too, each employee shares responsibility of results.
Establish team goals.
Set attainable and measurable goals for all your team members. When an employee achieves a goal, this win can help break down barriers in the team and push positive momentum. Be sure to reassess goals regularly as time progresses. And be transparent with your team about their progress; this enforces team cohesion.
Working strenuous, interrupted hours may feel like productivity, but it’s not. As a manager, it’s your job to enforce a system where your team members can take breaks and re-charge. Here are three strategies for taking effective breaks:
For your employees:
Encourage your team members to use the Pomodoro Technique. This strategy involves taking a 5-minute break after every 25 minutes of work. Or if an employee can’t fit in frequent breaks into their schedule, they can take breaks after routine tasks.
A wandering mind is a productive mind.
Doing nothing actually helps your brain. Research shows that idle time optimizes cognitive brain functions. For example, having time to rest can help you identify solutions to problems and carry out mental processes. Remind your team members that when they take breaks, they should not engage on their phones or work on any task.
Synchronize your social breaks.
Synchronize your breaks with team members so you can chat and engage with them. This will simultaneously help you build and strengthen relationships with your employees.
October 6, 2016
What are the characteristics of a great leader? Here is a list of leadership qualities to embody as a manager that will ensure engagement among your team members:
“In order to achieve greatness, you must create a culture of optimism. There will be many ups and downs, but the prevalence of positivity will keep the company going. But be warned: This requires fearlessness. You have to truly believe in making the impossible possible.”
—Jason Harris, CEO, Mekanism
“My main goal has always been to offer the best of myself. We all grow—as a collective whole—when I’m able to build up others and help them grow as individuals.”
—Christopher Perilli, CEO, Pixel Mobb
“A great leader once told me, ‘persistence beats resistance.’ And after working at Facebook, Intel and Microsoft and starting my own company, I’ve learned two major lessons: All great things take time, and you must persist no matter what. That’s what it takes to be a leader: willingness to go beyond where others will stop.”
—Noah Kagan, Chief Sumo, appsumo
“It takes insight every day to be able to separate that which is really important from all the incoming fire. It’s like wisdom—it can be improved with time, if you’re paying attention, but it has to exist in your character.”
—Raj Bhakta, founder, WhistlePig Whiskey
“It takes real leadership to find the strengths within each person on your team and then be willing to look outside to plug the gaps. It’s best to believe that your team alone does not have all the answers— because if you believe that, it usually means you’re not asking all the right questions.”
—Nick Woolery, global director of marketing, Stance Socks
What are the characteristics of a great leader? Here is a list of leadership qualities to implement as a manager that will ensure engagement among your team members:
“One of the biggest myths is that good business leaders are great visionaries with dogged determination to stick to their goals no matter what. It’s nonsense. The truth is, leaders need to keep an open mind while being flexible, and adjust if necessary. When in the startup phase of a company, planning is highly overrated and goals are not static. Your commitment should be to invest, develop and maintain great relationships.”
—Daymond John, CEO, Shark Branding and FUBU
“In high school and college, to pick up extra cash I would often referee recreational basketball games. The mentor who taught me how to officiate gave his refs one important piece of advice that translates well into the professional world: ‘Make the call fast, make the call loud and don’t look back.’ In marginal situations, a decisively-made wrong call will often lead to better long-term results and a stronger team than a wishy-washy decision that turns out to be right.”
—Scott Hoffman, owner, Folio Literary Management
“We all provide something unique to this world, and we can all smell when someone isn’t being real. The more you focus on genuine connections with people, and look for ways to help them—rather than just focus on what they can do for you—the more likable and personable you become. This isn’t required to be a great leader, but it is to be a respected leader, which can make all the difference in your business.”
—Lewis Howes, New York Times bestselling author of The School of Greatness
“Many of my leadership philosophies were learned as an athlete. My most successful teams didn’t always have the most talent but did have teammates with the right combination of skills, strengths and a common trust in each other. To build an ‘overachieving’ team, you need to delegate responsibility and authority. Giving away responsibilities isn’t always easy. It can actually be harder to do than completing the task yourself, but with the right project selection and support, delegating can pay off in dividends. It is how you truly find people’s capabilities and get the most out of them.”
—Shannon Pappas, senior vice president, Beachbody LIVE
What are the characteristics of a great leader? Here is a list of leadership qualities to implement as a manager that will ensure happiness among your team members:
“You must love what you do… You lead by example not because you feel like it’s what you should do, but because it is your way of life.”
—Joe Perez, cofounder, Tastemade
“In any system with finite resources and infinite expansion of population—like your business, or like all of humanity—innovation is essential for not only success, but also survival. The innovators are our leaders. You cannot separate the two. Whether it is by thought, technology or organization, innovation is our only hope to solve our challenges.”
—Aubrey Marcus, founder, Onnit
“Patience is really courage that… [tests] your commitment to your cause. The path to great things is always tough, but the best leaders understand when to abandon the cause and when to stay the course. If your vision is bold enough, there will be hundreds of reasons why it ‘can’t be done’ and plenty of doubters. A lot of things have to come together—external markets, competition, financing, consumer demand and always a little luck—to pull off something big.”
—Dan Brian, COO, WhipClip
“Understanding the underlying numbers is the best thing I’ve done for my business. As we have a subscription-based service, the biggest impact on our bottom line was to decrease our churn rate. Being able to nudge that number from 6 percent to 4 Percent meant a 50 percent increase in the average customer’s lifetime value. We would not have known to focus on this metric without being able to accurately analyze our data.”
—Sol Orwell, cofounder, Examine.com
What are the characteristics of a great leader? Here is a list of stand-out leadership qualities to implement as a manager that will ensure engagement and happiness among your team members:
“A leader instills confidence and ‘followership’ by having a clear vision, showing empathy and being a strong coach.
—Barri Rafferty, CEO, Ketchum North America
“I’ve never bought into the concept of ‘wearing the mask.’ As a leader, the only way I know how to engender trust and buy-in from my team and with my colleagues is to be 100 percent authentically me. It has allowed me the freedom to be fully present and consistent. They know what they’re getting at all times. No surprises.”
—Keri Potts, senior director of public relations, ESPN
“Our employees are a direct reflection of the values we embody as leaders. If we’re playing from a reactive and obsolete playbook of needing to be right instead of doing what’s right, then we limit the full potential of our business and lose quality talent. If you focus on becoming authentic in all your interactions, that will rub off on your business and your culture, and the rest takes care of itself.”
—Gunnar Lovelace, co-CEO and cofounder, Thrive Market
“People always say I’m a self-made man. But there is no such thing. Leaders aren’t self-made; they are driven. I arrived in America with no money or any belongings besides my gym bag, but I can’t say I came with nothing: Others gave me great inspiration and fantastic advice, and I was fueled by my beliefs and an internal drive and passion. That’s why I’m always willing to offer motivation—to friends or strangers on Reddit. I know the power of inspiration, and if someone can stand on my shoulders to achieve greatness, I’m more than willing to help them up.”
—Arnold Schwarzenegger, former governor of California
Are your employees discouraged or disengaged in the workplace? This may be due to your work culture. Remember: unhappy workers are unproductive workers, and retention rates will decrease. When reversing a toxic work environment, don’t just look at employee behavior; also examine the values in place. Here is a step-by-step guide to improve your work culture:
Identify problem behaviors.
What is the persisting issue in the workplace? Poor communication? Unrealistic deadlines? Understanding the problem always comes first.
Evaluate the underlying support network.
What values in the workplace are assisting these behaviors? Take a look at management first. For example, are you aggressive in your leadership? Are you not accountable?
Plan your repair strategy.
Don’t try to tackle everything at once. Prioritize what issues are the most important. If you tackle problems that have the biggest impact first, smaller problems may simultaneously right themselves.
Implement your plan.
Actively listen to your team members so you know where there are barriers, if any.
Reflect and adapt.
Be patient — changing the values in your workplace will take time. During the process, encourage and be open to your team’s feedback. And reinforce open and honest communication with them.
Source: AZ Big Media
October 5, 2016
“It’s inevitable: We’re going to find ourselves in some real… situations, whether they’re costly mistakes, unexpected failures or unscrupulous enemies. Stoicism is, at its core, accepting and anticipating this in advance, so that you don’t freak out, react emotionally and aggravate things further. Train our minds, consider the worst-case scenarios and regulate our unhelpful instinctual responses—that’s how we make sure [these] situations don’t turn into fatal resolutions.”
– Ryan Holiday, Author of The Obstacle is the Way and Former Director of Marketing, American Apparel
“It’s true that imitation is one of the greatest forms of flattery, but not when it comes to leadership—and every great leader in my life, from Mike Tomlin to Olympic ski coach Scott Rawles, led from a place of authenticity. Learn from others, read autobiographies of your favorite leaders, pick up skills along the way… but never lose your authentic voice, opinions and, ultimately, how you make decisions.”
– Jeremy Bloom, Co-founder and CEO, Integrate
“If people aren’t aware of your expectations, and they fall short, it’s really your fault for not expressing it to them. The people I work with are in constant communication, probably to a fault. But communication is a balancing act. You might have a specific want or need, but it’s super important to treat work as a collaboration. We always want people to tell us their thoughts and ideas—that’s why we have all these very talented people working with us.”
– Kim Kurlanchik Russen, Partner, TAO Group
“It’s a lot easier to assign blame than to hold yourself accountable. But if you want to know how to do it right, learn from financial expert Larry Robbins. He wrote a genuinely humble letter to his investors about his bad judgment that caused their investments to falter. He then opened up a new fund without management and performance fees—unheard of in the hedge fund world. This is character. This is accountability. It’s not only taking responsibility; it’s taking the next step to make it right.”
– Sandra Carreon-John, SVP, M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment
More companies are now offering longer-term vacations and sabbaticals to their employees. This upward trend is mostly due to two reasons — it benefits both the sabbatical takers and the organization.
Benefits for the individual
For those on sabbatical, these longer-term vacations allow them to rest up and recharge. Research shows that these individuals typically decrease in stress levels and increase in their overall well-being upon return to work. And interestingly, these positive changes remain long after these employees return to work.
Benefits for the company
Sabbaticals can benefit your business by allowing you to stress-test the organizational chart. It also gives some employees the opportunity to fill interim leadership roles. Research shows that these interim leaders generate more ideas and are more confident in their roles. As well, there is more effective collaboration between these interim employees and leaders who return from sabbaticals.
Sabbaticals are not just for employees in the academia field. Consider how you can enforce longer-term vacations to benefit both your team members and your business.
October 4, 2016
Brainstorming is an integral and critical component of team dynamics. As a manager, it’s up to you to steer the course on how these meetings go. Here are some strategies to share with your team members to build productive and creative brainstorming:
- Encourage team members to share any idea that comes to their mind.
- Remind employees to build on the ideas of others.
- Avoid criticism. Inform your team to actively listen and respect all ideas.
- Strive for quantity instead of quality. Research shows that groups that focus more on the number of ideas produce better quality ideas than their counterparts.
- When an idea runs dry, restate the problem at hand, and encourage more thinking.
- Prompt those that are not talking to also contribute. Their ideas are important too!
- When someone says an idea, ensure that they also explain it to the whole team.
- Remind all participants to stay focused on the task at hand.
Share an embarrassing story prior to brainstorming! In a research study, “embarrassment teams generated 26% more ideas spanning 15% more use categories than their counterparts.” How? Because these stories allow team members to let go of their inhibitions and dive into more creative ideas. You can lead off meetings this way, and encourage other team members to follow suit.
October 4, 2016
Research shows that people are checked out more often than they are all in. In the workplace, this is typically due to ritual routines of assignments. There’s always a chance that an employee will soon disconnect and disengage from their work. As a manager, it’s your responsibility to re-motivate them; you can accomplish this through storytelling.
When you delegate a responsibility to an employee, connect it to the moral purpose of their work. Moral purpose signifies the human service aspect of their work. In other words, what are the human consequences of their job? When an employee considers the impact they have, they feel more connected to the assignment.
NYT best-seller Joseph Grenny shares a specific instance of a restaurant manager handling a disconnected employee at work. Her employee was ignoring his responsibility to clean off tables, so she informed him of the following:
“Twenty minutes ago a young mother left her two-year-old daughter on one of these chairs while she went to the order window to buy their food. When she walked away, her daughter began sweeping her hand back and forth over the table that was smeared with [ketchup] from one of our previous guests. Then she began licking it off her hand.”
Needless to say, he felt much more motivated to check the sanitation of restaurant. She used a brief story of a real encounter accompanied with concrete information. Because she changed the frame of the task, she then changed the way her employee felt about the task.
By connecting employees to who they serve, they better understand the consequences of their work. No matter the role or industry, everyone’s work has a direct affect on humanity in some capacity. Inform your team how and why their work matters to others. When they see this connection to human purpose, their engagement increases.
“Up to 87% of America’s workforce is not able to contribute to their full potential because they don’t have passion for their work.” If passion is integral to the performance of a team, how can you direct your employees towards their own? You have to be in the mindset of a servant-leader: put your team and their aspirations first.
Here are some ways to help your team members discover and unlock their passions at work:
Ask key questions after significant work milestones.
In advance of a new work experience, ask your employee what they hope to develop and grow from it. When you give a performance review, inquire what they want to learn more of. And during career development conversations, ask about their aspirations. As well, discuss how you can help them get to their goals.
Prioritize work at the intersection of passion and contribution.
Align your team members’ interests within their roles. If your team member who works in marketing also has a passion for sales, perhaps you can find opportunities for her to assist the other department. However, be sure to not throw too many responsibilities at once, or else your employee will face burnout.
Know when it’s time to help someone move on.
Unlocking an employee’s passions may also mean realizing that their role has run its course. If it’s time for them to find a new opportunity, assist and support them through the process. Remember: smart and creative talent typically have fast-paced careers, anyways.
Productivity in the workplace is highly dependent on how much you, as a manager, invest in your employees. What resources do your team members need? What work conditions are best for them? Here are different strategies to motivate your team:
Wages and benefits
Are you offering a fair, competitive salary to your employees? And are you including benefits, such as improved healthcare plans? Assess if the effort and work your employees are putting in accurately matches their pay.
Education and professional development
Offer training and development programs for your employees to advance in their skill sets and goals. Perhaps an employee needs training on a specific tool, or an employee wants to attend a conference. Set a budget aside for educational expenses. If your team feels that they are progressing in their career, they are more motivated to work.
Time and energy
“An inspired employee is more than twice as productive as a satisfied employee.” You can drive inspiration by providing more autonomy and agility in your employees’ roles. Great ideas that drive productivity come from team members that have sufficient time and energy. So, also consider giving employees unstructured time so they can explore new ideas.
A pervasive issue within many businesses is unconscious incompetence. This means when an individual lacks specific skills or knowledge, but isn’t aware of it. How can you discover and correct a competency gap within your team? Here are some tips to guide you:
Re-design training programs.
Specifically online training tools for employees, ensure that it’s not just static content for them to rapidly click through. Each team member has a unique learning style with different knowledge and experiences. Re-shape your programs so that they are more adaptive to each employee. And when there’s information that challenges them, they can receive more support.
Promote a culture of continuous improvement.
Try to keep a record of past errors made by team members. You can use this private information to determine where there are gaps in competency. Then, you can appropriately train your employees with this knowledge. From this, your team will be more aware of what they don’t actually know. As well, team members will feel more comfortable acknowledging mistakes.
The co-working space is re-shaping the definition of the “office.” Instead of the conventional solitude of a cubicle, these home-esque spaces offer more interaction between employees. It’s easier than ever to share ideas with team members from different departments. And in turn, this can increase productivity.
These “hybrid environments” not only allow for a collaborative, open work culture, but also include areas for employees to silently retreat. This benefits team members who need a quiet, private space to focus on their work.
Here a few more reasons for the practicality of co-working spaces:
1. The growth of teleworking
Independent workers, such as freelancers, make up a large portion of the labor force. So, many of this population need flexible work environments.
2. Millennial workers
Younger workers tend to like workplaces that blend the office and the home together. Or in the words, a space that feels both personal and professional.
3. Trust within teams
“People feel like they’re more productive in the company of others that they trust.” Co-working spaces allow for a more open work culture, which can help employees get to know each other and work better together.
Does your team need a co-working space? Or if your employees already have one, what do they want to see changed in their space?
September 26, 2016
For many working parents, finding a healthy work-life balance can be very tricky. According to the 2016 Modern Family Index, “59% of new parents are likely to switch employers after having their first child.” How can you, as a manager, better support a parent’s transition to work and successfully retain them as employees?
Here are six strategies that progressive companies are implementing to engage new parents back into the workplace:
1. Expanded paternal leave
To have a successful leave program, ensure that it includes all parents, and provide compensation during their leave. Also consider offering medical leave for birth mothers that are recovering.
2. Recognition of fathers as parents, too
Working fathers have specific needs as they transition into parents, as well. Discuss with them their work-life challenges and any concerns they have during this time.
3. Holistic supports for new parents
Offer either one-on-one or group coaching for new parents at the workplace. These sessions will help them prepare for their leave, as well as transition back to work.
4. Gradual return to work and on-going flexibility
One of the most important ways to support a new working parent is to allow flexibility in their schedules. Perhaps as they transition, you can reduce their schedule for a period of time. Or maybe let them have “work from home” days. Ensure they can complete their responsibilities with as little anxiety and stress as possible.
5. Child care supports
Securing high-quality and affordable child care is one of the most stressful aspects of returning to work as a parent. Can you include a child care center or back-up care services in the workplace? Or even discounts for child care centers will significantly help new parents.
6. Ongoing parent and family network
Are there other working parents in the office? Establish a network of employees that focus on parental needs and provide support for each other. And consider any events and educational programming that can beneficial to this network.
With that right support, new parents can transition easily to the workplace and not have to suffer in their work/life balance. And consequently, you can retain these talented employees!
September 26, 2016
Contrary to conventional wisdom, research shows that surface-level demographic diversity doesn’t correlate to higher team productivity. But, if you dig deeper into these demographic differences, you’ll find a significant trend. When there is more cognitive diversity (or difference in perspective and information-processing styles) in a team, it correlates with better performance.
Researchers Alison Reynolds and David Lewis used a model to measure differences in how people approach change. In their experiment, teams that had more variety in thinking styles finished challenges more quickly than teams with less diversity. In other words, teams with high cognitive diversity typically outperformed.
Here are a couple tips to implement this diversity in the workplace:
1. Encourage different thinking styles.
Because employees sometimes feel pressured to fit in, it’s difficult for them to embrace different ways of thinking. As a manager, remind your team that “it’s okay to be themselves” and to think outside the box. That’s the best way for your team to find solutions to complex situations.
2. Be mindful of the behavior you model for your team.
Sometimes, managers send off conformist signals to their employees without even realizing it. How your team works together depends on your leadership, so make sure you’re giving off the right vibes to them.
September 26, 2016
Creating a balance for your employees is easier than ever with the help of mobile technology. Here are 4 incredible work-life balance apps to encourage overall wellness in your team:
ATracker: This app tracks how long an individual spends on each item of business. Consider implementing this at work meetings and encouraging employees to use this for personal assignments.
Zapier: With this, connect more than 140+ apps together (i.e. Slack, MailChimp) to “automate repetitive tasks in the background.” Having your team members use this will allow them to focus their time and energy on more important projects.
General life management
Week Plan: This is a calendar and to-do list in one. Schedule tasks simply into the app (with reminders), and check them off as they are completed. Your employees can ensure they have time for activities that matter to them outside of work.