Posts tagged: John Schaefer

How To Thrive Now That Work-Life Balance Is Dead

By John Schaefer, January 20, 2015 10:00 am

I just read this new article by Louis Efron (www.LouisEfron.com) in Forbes and wanted to share it with you all. It really hits right to the core of what our lives are all about and whether we think about it or not, it is a big part of how happy and fulfilled we will be.

The constant corporate buzz and push for work-life balance is well intentioned, but the concept no longer exists. In the olden days – before smart phones, email, text and voicemail – it was possible to draw a line between work and personal time. You could leave an office at 5PM on Friday and not physically or mentally return to work until Monday at 8AM.
I work a lot because I love what I do. But because I love what I do, I don’t consider it work. This is both good and bad. It is good because I am living my purpose in life. It is bad because I sometimes don’t know when to shift focus elsewhere.
In today’s world, your conversation needs to focus simply on life balance. That is, how you balance and integrate everything you need and want to do each day, week, month and year. This includes making a living, time with your family, friends plus time for you and time for anything else you want to accomplish. Even the traditional concept of retirement is different. There is no escaping our connected world.
The whole idea of balance in life can appear elusive or even unimportant. When it comes to equilibrium, a number of studies discovered poor physical balance is significantly linked to an increased risk of sports injuries. Not surprisingly, the same applies to your personal life balance and health risk. Study after study confirms poor life balance is directly related to both physical and mental sickness and unhappiness.

Reminders To Recalibrate Life Balance
A recent New York Daily News interview with seventy-two-year-old X-Men actor Patrick Stewart drove the importance of life balance home for me yet again. Like so many people in today’s busy world, Stewart, revealed during his third marriage that he regretted focusing on his career at the expense of his family. This is not uncommon. Many people feel the same way late in life. I have worked with countless executives who lament on similar regrets approaching retirement.
Of course there are days when I let my career pursuit steal more focus than it should from my family and other important and enjoyable activities in my life. Stories like Stewart’s remind me what I need to do next. You won’t have to look hard to find other examples which will relate to your situation in life.
Signs Your Life Balance Is Off
When your life lacks balance, it is painfully obvious from the outside looking in. Sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees when in a rut.
Luckily, self-diagnosing your life balance is easy. Just pause to take inventory of what is going right and wrong in your life.
In this short pause, identify if you are experiencing any of the following challenges:
• Frequently tired or sick
• Difficulty sleeping or waking
• Hearing frequent complaints or jokes about the attention family and friends receive from you
• Feeling guilty about time allocation
• Regularly distracted from your current task
• Making simple mistakes
• Generally unhappy with your life
Many of the circumstances on this list can also result from depression. However, the question still remains as to the root of the problem. Depression can be and frequently is brought on by poor life balance.
Six Questions About Life Balance
Access to effective tools is helpful in all human endeavors, including achieving life balance. When my life is out-of-sync with the balance, success and happiness I desire I ask myself the below six questions to recalibrate. If I can’t answer, “yes” to all six, I investigate why. Then I work towards a solution to solve that issue.
1. Does my life balance contribute to the career and personal success I desire?
2. Does my life balance give me more energy in my day?
3. Do I sleep well and wake up refreshed?
4. Do important people in my life feel they get the attention they deserve from me?
5. Am I able to fully focus on a task at hand?
6. Does my life balance make me happy?
How many of the six questions did you answer yes to?
At the end of the day, life balance is about a commitment to more success and happiness. As the self-help guru Tony Robbins says, “Where focus goes, energy flows.” Commit to your six yeses now. Start realizing your true potential in life. You will be amazed at the positive life transformation which will follow.
For more information on Life Balance and how it impacts Recognition, Employee Engagement and Performance Management visit http://www.SchaeferRecognitionGroup.com

“How to Get Twice the Productivity Out of Your Employees . . . and They’ll Thank You for it!”

By John Schaefer, November 4, 2014 10:49 am

Employee Engagement and Performance Management are challenges that every company executive agrees are important to their organization’s growth and profitability. But with past Downsizing, continued Outsourcing, continuous New Technology and a Younger, more Diverse Workforce, many of their traditional Recognition and Performance Improvement programs are proving to be ineffective – and they want to know why!

The psychological studies of Maslow, Gallup, Dr. Ken Kovach, Walker Information and Great Place to Work Institute agree on the benefits of focusing on the emotional aspects of the work experience, rather than the logical. Yet, more and more companies are moving to more cash-equivalent recognition programs, believing they’re giving their people “What They Want”. While the response seems valid, it usually yields less than satisfying results.

Why the discrepancy between what the experts have proven and what employees respond in company surveys? A 2004 University of Chicago Study may offer part of the answer.

For their study, the University of Chicago selected two groups of people and had them play a word game with the goal of improving performance. One team was offered cash as an incentive and the other was offered non-cash rewards of the same value. When the scores were totaled, the performance increase of the non-cash group was more than twice that of the cash group (39% vs. 15%), not an insignificant difference. However, as the rewards were about to be presented, they asked the non-cash group if they would prefer to receive the cash value instead of the reward item. Amazingly, almost 80% said they’d prefer the cash.

Why did this happen? It has to do with the answer given to another question – “Would you likely purchase the reward item offered if you did not win it here?” Surprisingly, the people who answered that they were least likely to buy the item with their own money, correlated highest with the “I’ll take the money!” answer. The study supports the ineffectiveness of cash, but also points to the benefits of offering unique, luxury or experiential items that employees are not likely to buy for themselves.

This is all well and good, but if you were to sit down with all of your employees and ask them the open-ended question, “What do you want us to provide for recognition”, the top three answers would be the same as they have been for decades:

1. Cash
2. A Day Off
3. Something that I can use (a cash-equivalent retail reward).

This shouldn’t be that big of a surprise, because it’s like asking the Third Grade Class what they want for lunch and assuming they’ll say broccoli, not ice cream. Maybe it has something to do with the question? Perhaps employees are reluctant to admit they are satisfied with their pay. Maybe they just don’t trust your motives behind the question.

Asking employees what they want tends to imply that you don’t know and really don’t care all that much. The moment they think that you are using recognition more out of obligation than desire, they will emotionally disengage, feel a bit insulted, and give you the answer they think you want to hear –
“ . . . Aw, what the heck, just give me a gift card!”

Bottom line, you don’t have a recognition or awards problem, you have a communications problem. The reason that this is so prevalent in many organizations, is because employees just don’t believe you really mean it. Overworked supervisors don’t need anymore “to do’s” on their already full plates, so they’ll prioritize your requests to recognize employees based on their personal beliefs and styles. When under pressure, that style is all too often a version of the old, autocratic view – “yea, I recognize ‘em, every two weeks with a paycheck; now quit whining and get back to work!”

Sure, that’s a bit over the top, but I’ll bet it’s not too far from how the message is perceived by many of your employees during the hustle of a normal work day. And because it’s a habit, your well-meaning supervisors aren’t even aware that they come across that way.
It’s all about perception, Making it Real, and being Genuine in the eyes of your people. When that happens, and they believe you Truly Care, they’ll bring their “A” Game to work (and all of the productivity, creativity, profitability, teamwork and cost savings that entails) . . . and you get it for free!

This is one of the secrets of today’s great companies, and the best part is, it’s easier to make it happen in your organization than you think!

To learn more about Awards, Rewards and the best ways to use them to optimize our investments in your people visit http://www.SchaeferRecogntionGroup.com or email me personally at john@SchaeferRecognitionGroup.com.

Great Article on the Four, Soon to be Five, Generations in the Workplace

By John Schaefer, October 31, 2014 12:00 pm

I was recently sent a new white paper on Managing the Multigenerational Workplace by Dan Bursch, Program Director at the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. What I anticipated to be an other recap of what I already knew, was anything but. Burch does an excellent job of not only defining and simplifying the five generations, but showing clear and concise recruiting and recognition ideas for each. I think that you will find, as I did, that this is a balanced, complete and accurate view of where the workplace is going and how companies that embrace intergenerational communications will have a distinct advantage in the future. You can view and download the article here – http://www.kenan-flagler.unc.edu/~/media/Files/documents/executive-development/managing-the-multigenerational-workplace-white-paper.pdf

Throughout my 26 years involved in recognition, employee engagement and performance management I’ve seen a growing interest in the challenges of the multiple generations in the workplace. The fact that Millennials now out number Baby Boomers and are well on their way to representing half of the entire workforce (46% by 2020), as well as the pending influx of the new Gen Z will continue to make HR’s interest in effectively dealing with generational issues an area of growing opportunity for many years to come. Knowledge is king, so we can all benefit from understanding and embracing the differences, rather than fighting and lamenting them.

To learn more about Awards, Rewards and the best ways to use them to optimize our investments in your people visit http://www.SchaeferRecogntionGroup.com or email me personally at john@SchaeferRecognitionGroup.com.

Keynote presentation on Employee Engagement at HRMAsia Congress in Singapore

By John Schaefer, October 12, 2014 10:49 am

Last month I was honored to be invited to present the Keynote presentation at HRMAsia Congress in Singapore. What an amazing place! While it’s halfway around the word, I felt very welcomed and appreciated as part of an impressive group of experts. While everyone spoke English, I was joined on stage by accents from Asia, Europe and India … it felt very international and I hope I represented the USA appropriately.

The Asian audience is quiet and respectful, as well as hungry for new ideas on how to effectively engage employees, recognize key contributions and get the most out of their Performance Management investments. The other speakers included some very experienced HR professionals from companies like eBay, PalPay, American Express, Intel and more. Mr. Yoke Fei Phan, Group Human Resources and Administration Head at Auric Pacific Group Limited, put on a skit with two of his young employees demonstrating the difference between Gen Y and the upcoming Gen Z employee base … better get your mobile applications ready; it appears that Gen Z will do nothing that isn’t on their smart devices!

While I tweaked my message a little, my main points remained strong … it’s all about Employee Perception and the effectiveness of recognition is directly related to your level of trust, transparency, vulnerability, and whether your people believe your motives are true. Because I had two hours, I was able to lead the group in several exercises around identifying which of the Ten Levels of Workplace Disillusionment were most prevalent in their offices, Which Love Languages motivated them the most and how some of their specific recognition, employee engagement and performance management programs were working. It was a very enlightening opportunity to share how top organizations are using a combination of old-school communications and new technology to optimize their most valuable resource – people!

I want to thank my hosts for bringing me to their beautiful city and making me feel both valued and welcome. Thanks also to the many participants who make me confident that the future of the world’s workforce is going to be in good hands. Being part of the international community is humbling and I look forward to more opportunities to work with and grow in my knowledge of how the goals of improving employee behaviors toward shared goals will be one of the ways that we as a planet will emerge from our struggling economy. The future looks very bright to me!

We use this same approach to help our clients organize all of their company’s recognition, performance management, motivation and training programs into a single strategy – it’s called the Umbrella Recognition Solution.  To learn more, visit us at http://www.SchaeferRecogntionGroup.com .

What Organizations Need Now From Human Resources

By John Schaefer, August 20, 2014 9:34 am

Louis Efron has written a very timely, new article for his Forbes magazine column that it well worth your consideration, if you’re an HR executive. The changing landscape of HR has come a long way, but perhaps not yet far enough. Louis shares five keys to relevance in HR in today’s economy. It boils down to helping to define and harness corporate purpose, align with employee purpose, then measure key behaviors, skills and goals to prove ROI (Return on Investment) and ROE (Return on Engagement).

Employee Engagement is the key to everything productive in any sized company, no matter what you do, where you are or the demographic make up of your team. By first focusing on defining your corporate purpose, your organization is poised for success. By next aligning with employee who have complementary purpose, you will improve recruting effectiveness, reduce turnover costs and build the potential of a highly engaged team. Then, but identifying, tracking, measuring and reporting on the behaviors that support your purpose, mission, values, goals and objectives, your company is able to maximize ROI and ROE.

Sounds easy, but it requires a strategic approach and a comprehensive, all inclusive program. Together, Louis and I are working with clients to help them on the front end to define their purpose, plans and goals and educate their team. Then on the back end we work to coordinate all of the ways they touch employees with a single employee engagement, recognition and performance management strategy that saves money, improves results and proves both ROI and ROE.

Check out the article – http://onforb.es/1uWWibj, then feel free to contact Louis or I for more information on how may be able to help you optimize yo ur most important asset – people!

John Schaefer -America’s Employee Recognition Expert
www.SchaeferRecognitionGroup.com

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