Leading Business Problem #2: Top Talent Leaving

​ Top talent leaving is the second leading business problem we highlight in our latest eBook Fierce Insight Into 6 Leading Problems Businesses Face Today—And How to Solve Them . Turnover and retention rates vary by industry, and from one organization to the next. While we can't make sweeping statements about what your ideal rates should be, it's sa...
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How to Start Drastically Reducing Turnover in Your Organization Today

In today's gig economy, individuals with unique skills and experiences are incredibly valuable to organizations…and their competitors. If companies want to attract top talent and reduce turnover, it's growing increasingly important to differentiate themselves and provide what employees really want. Why the First 6 Months Are Critical In a study of ...
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5 Ways to Improve Employee Development at Your Company

This week’s Friday resource comes from HuffPost and offers five ways to assist employees in their personal development. Many companies, especially start-ups, are often focused on short term growth to assure the business can stay afloat. But if businesses are to stick around for the long-run, employee development should be approached with a long-term mentality that comes with both short and long-term ROI benefits. Employees want to know their leaders have their best interests at heart. And for millennials, opportunity for development is a workplace necessity. Per David Hassell, “Your people are your company.” Here are 5 ways to improve development amongst your employees: 1. Professional Training “Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way. Depending on the role, formal employee training may be required to ensure competency and even excellence. Create a knowledge-base of critical information and best practices to pass on to new hires as you grow...
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You Cannot Motivate Your Team, But You Can Inspire Them

This week’s Friday resource comes from Forbes and lists ways leaders can inspire their teams. There are two types of motivation: external and internal. External motivation often comes in the form of rewards, money, fame, or praise. Internal motivation, on the other hand, is driven by our deeper values and needs. Leaders can create external incentives, but these efforts are short-lived once the reward has run its course for the receiver. The best way to produce sustainable results within an organization is to tap into each individual’s internal world and inspire in a way that leads to long-lasting and self-directed action. When leaders have the right kind of conversations with their team members, it can inspire, engage, and drive employees to act. Here’s what to address in these conversations, according to Frances McIntosh, Forbes Coaches Council: 1. Connect with their core values. “By identifying what’s important to them and what...
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5 Things Managers Say That Leaders Don't

"Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be." –Ralph Waldo Emerson The terms “management” and “leadership” are used interchangeably. But there’s a definite distinction between what it means to manage and what it means to lead. Managers are known to operate with authority, tend to have a fixed mindset, and focus on tasks, whereas leaders see themselves as partners with their teammates in a shared mission, tend to focus more on outcomes, and feel a sense of duty to inspire and motivate their teams. Leaders have a growth mindset and support autonomy. Obviously, people want to be led, not managed. And if you’re not sure why that’s so important, here’s an eye-opener: a Gallup poll of over 7,000 people revealed that 50% of employees “left their job to get away from their manager to improve their overall life at some point...
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Getting to the Root Cause: Performance Problems in Revenue-Producing Roles

A widespread belief exists in the world of performance management that the assessment of revenue-generating roles should be pretty cut and dry. You are either hitting your targets or you aren’t. And if you miss them too many times, you are out. I agree this perception is true, and , often leaders aren’t digging deeper to understand the root cause of the performance issues within teams. I am not advocating that we stop holding the bar high, nor am I suggesting we keep poor performers beyond the appropriate period of their performance assessment. I am suggesting there are common pitfalls that front-line leaders, especially those newer in their roles, can succumb to when evaluating revenue-producing roles. Failing to reach this deeper level of understanding can become costly, resulting in everything from excessive turnover to missed conversations. Traditionally, revenue-producing roles have been associated with the sales function. However, as business models...
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Are Your Collaborative Efforts Falling Flat? Here Are 3 Rules for Success

As leaders, we like the idea of collaboration, we just don’t like to actually do it. Especially at the highest levels. We tend to feel the pressure of ‘the buck stops here.’ We’re unwilling to bring others into tough decisions. We confuse collaboration with consensus. We like the allure of thinking our decisions are the best for our organizations. The list unfortunately goes on and includes lack of trust, not wanting our opinions to be ignored, not wanting to share critical information, not having enough time...we convince ourselves that for all these reasons and more, collaboration may not be the best decision. And there is some support for this thinking. In his book Tipping Sacred Cows: Kick the Bad Work Habits That Masquerade as Virtues , Jake Breeden identifies automatic collaboration as one of these bad work habits. One example he gives is, “there is no greater danger to productivity...
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Employee Appreciation Day: 4 Tips to Make a Sincere Impact

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by Forbes and shares four simple tips to make sure this year’s Employee Appreciation Day celebration has a genuine impact. Humans are hardwired to crave appreciation. Year after year, appreciation is identified as one of the top motivators for employees to go above and beyond. Whether big or small, celebrating achievements feels good and acknowledging these wins can be the difference between employees delivering something that meets expectations or exceeds them. Appreciation leads to engagement, which results in higher performance. Employees are yearning for this more than pay raises and title changes. That says a lot. The good thing is, it is not too late to show the love! Start this year at your Employee Appreciation Day. Per Forbes Contributors David Sturt and Todd Nordstrom, a few things to help the celebration turn into an impactful event are: 1. Communicate. A lot of...
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Leadership Tips: Celebrate Your Team

We are in the 2016 home stretch. Now is a fantastic time to rally your team together and celebrate this year’s successes. As a leader, when you think about this year’s accomplishments, you probably go straight to the major business outcomes, from excellent talent acquisition to product launches to client retention. Those all should definitely be celebrated. And here I am encouraging you to go deeper on the individual level with your team members. Understand what they like celebrating and give them the attention they deserve. Here are three exercises to explore. Choose one or do all. Perhaps let each of your team members choose their own activity. The main point is to focus, learn, and celebrate. Reflect in a month-to-month format. Have your team member list their major accomplishments in each month of 2016. Encourage them to look back on calendars, emails, and notes. Oftentimes we are moving so...
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Leadership Tips: Celebrate a Leader in Your Life

Woodrow Wilson said, "You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand." Think of the leaders in your life. The ones that push you and stretch you in new ways. Who do you have in your life that enables you to live with greater vision? Have you said thank you to any of them lately? With our go-go culture, it can be difficult to take the time to celebrate. On top of that, it can be easy to think that the acknowledgment is not needed, or that the person already knows what you would say. But trust me, it is always a good time to pause and share appreciation. When...
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How to Design a Corporate Wellness Plan That Actually Works

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by Harvard Business Review and discusses why so many corporate wellness programs fail, and explains how to create ones that stick. There is a lot of discussion around “wellness programs,” also known as workplace health promotion programs and their effectiveness. A wellness program, like any other company-wide initiative, can only be successful if it is designed and executed properly. Many times, organizations try to pass off a single effort or one-time event as a complete wellness program – these are destined for failure. Employees need follow-up and structure to continue making smart decisions about their health. To figure out what is working, and what isn’t, HBR prepared a report, “From Evidence to Practice: Workplace Wellness that Works.” Hector De La Torre and Ron Goetzel, Ph.D., Harvard Business Review, identified certain trends that led to successful and failed programs. Per Torre and Goetzel, a...
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12 Different Strategies for Dealing with a Boss Who Plays Favorites

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by The Muse  and provides twelve strategies for dealing with a boss who consistently plays favorites. Whether you have had a boss that played favorites or have witnessed it in some capacity, those managers are out there, and it is important to know how to deal with them. It is human nature to be drawn towards certain people or personalities, but it is up to the individual leader to act in a professional manner and treat all of their direct reports with the same amount of attention and enthusiasm. If you find yourself in a situation like this, it can be damaging on multiple levels. Perception of lower self-worth swirl around with the knowledge that your journey towards promotion may be significantly harder than some of your peers within the organization. Stacey Gawronski, The Muse, offers some steps you can take to navigate...
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Why Don't Americans Take More Time Off?

This week’s Friday Resource was originally published by Fortune and questions why Americans do not take more time off from work. The American workforce leaves approximately 429 million paid vacation days on the table every single year. This begs the question – why do Americans feel that they cannot take time off? This is paid time off that employees deserve and have worked hard for – so why do we collectively feel so guilty taking the time off? According to a 2015 study by The Creative Group, 40% of executives believe employees would be more effective if they took more of their vacation days with only 9% believing there would be a decrease in productivity in their absence. One of the leading reasons Americans abstain from taking their much needed vacation days is the fear of returning to thousands of emails and unhappy clients or coworkers. This is an ill-conceived...
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Leadership Tips: Have a Mid-Year Check-In

At the end of this week, July begins. It signifies the middle of the year. A halfway point.   In our Feedback program, we talk about waypoints. The definition of a waypoint is a reference point in physical space used for purposes of navigation. When you think about the last time you used Google or Apple Maps to navigate, you probably didn’t take one straight line to get from Point A to Point B. There was probably some redirecting involved – traffic you didn’t expect; construction you may not have known about. You needed points along the way to pivot, to turn, and sometimes, U-turn. Each piece of feedback you receive is a waypoint. It’s an opportunity to check-in and see how you are trending towards your goals; how you are navigating your life, your relationships, and your career. Sometimes, it’s necessary to pause and give feedback to yourself and...
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Leadership Tips: Make Your Own Luck

Steve Jobs once said, “You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” I have always been intrigued by his statement, because the “something” he references seems very juicy. And it is an internal thing. Everyone can have it. So what makes some people have “it”? How do some people know they have “it”? Why do some people seem to always be searching for “it”? This idea came up for me again last week when we kicked off our 2016 Fierce Lunch & Learn Series. Happiness expert and best-selling author, Neil Pasricha, talked with our team about his recently launched book, The Happiness Equation . The premise is to take common ideals about happiness and use research and tangible tips to help people be happier in their lives. One...
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Spearheading Employee Recognition: Welcome to the Age of Being Seen

We live in a time where everyone is visible more than ever before -- now we can even see how far our reach extends with profile views, shares, tweets, and “likes.” In a world where every failure, frustration, and triumph is publicly recognized online, an unexpected yet poignant result is that conversely, many of us feel less “seen,” both in the workplace and at home. According to a 2011 Workforce Mood Tracker Survey, 69 percent of employees would work harder if they were recognized more often in the workplace. Recognition is inspiring and if we had more of it, we’d probably work harder with our families and friends as well. As more and more people compete for attention and appreciation in the workplace and beyond, there is a silent undercurrent brewing, an epidemic of people not feeling acknowledged or seen for their valuable contributions. This is where our friend and...
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Leaders, Don’t Follow the Oscars - Stop Once a Year Recognition

Last night was the 88 th Annual Academy Awards – an annual tradition to recognize excellence in cinematic achievements. Essentially, it is a once a year recognition program for people in the industry. People get dressed up and wait to hear the results. In some ways, it isn’t much different than what happens in many organizations. So I ask: Do you have once a year recognition program? Do promotion opportunities come once a year? Waiting every 12 months for a “main event” announcement is not how recognition should happen. According to a Bersin & Associates study , only 17 percent of employees indicated that their organizations’ cultures strongly support recognition. This lack of effectiveness is largely driven by the misdirected nature of most recognition programs: 87 percent of organizations reported that their programs are designed to recognize service or tenure. These programs do not meet the needs of today’s employees,...
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Leadership Tips: “Feed” Others with Your Feedback

Recall a time in the last month that you, as leader or peer, needed to give someone feedback – positive or constructive. Did you give it? Why or why not? Consistently throughout my work week, there are at least three or four times that someone will describe a situation to me about someone else, inside or outside of work, and my response is the exact same: Did you give he or she that feedback? (And I often ask the same question while processing the situation myself.) Feedback should be given for both positive and constructive intent . If Katie impressed every single person in the room in her last client presentation, did you give her specific feedback about how great she was? And going further, the impact it has on you? Or on the flip side, if Dan was tentative and less poised in his last presentation, did you give...
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The Puzzle of Motivation

This week's fierce resource was originally posted on Ted.com and the talk was delivered by Dan Pink. The Puzzle of Motivation  addresses the idea of incentives and what motivates each of us on an individual basis. As we begin a new year, think about what motivates you. What motivates your team, spouse, children, peers, or friends? If you know the answer, how will you put it to action? If you don't, think about what you will do to create movement. What is it that gets you from thinking to taking action? " There is a mismatch between what science knows and what business does . And here is what science knows. One: Those 20th century rewards, those motivators that we think are a natural part of business do work, but only in a surprisingly narrow band of circumstances." Click here to watch the full TEDTalk . 

Holding Back? 3 Tips to Foster More Feedback

As we close out 2014, here's one of our top blogs of all time. It serves as a great reminder to stay present and give feedback, even if it's just a quick gesture of appreciation. Feedback. We all want it, and we rarely get enough of it. Feedback taps into our emotional desire to be seen. We crave it. When I feel like I am not giving or receiving enough feedback, I check in. Sometimes I am scared – about what the end result will be. However, I know if I don’t hear or say what I need to – I am missing an opportunity. And sometimes it truly surprises me. During one of my regular one-on-one meetings with a team member, I asked for feedback. She immediately responded with, “ I want more feedback.” My response, “ Perfect – let’s talk about that.” We then had a conversation about what feedback...
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Leadership Tips: Give Positive Feedback

Thanksgiving is this week in the United States. Many of us take time off work and share meals with family and friends. We often pause on this holiday to express our gratitude ( here is a conversation my family has). So, how can you focus on gratitude in your workplace this week? An easy way is to give positive feedback. Positive feedback is essential for creating a healthy working environment. Everyone is responsible for giving it – not just designated leaders. This week’s tip is to share positive feedback with at least three people in your organization.  Think about it. Has your colleague gone out of his or her way to help with a project? Are you grateful for how someone is showing up? Has your team hit it out of the park? Share that. When giving positive feedback, make sure to describe the actions with plenty of details. Then...
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Motivating the Negative Nancy on Your Team

Fierce CEO, Halley Bock, was interviewed in this Entrepreneur  article by Zeynep Ilgaz. It was originally posted here . At my previous job, I worked with a team on an important project. Our group was cohesive, except for one teammate. Nothing was good enough for her. Had the members of the team thought things through before setting the project's timeline? Why was he in on our meetings? How did we think we could do this better than dozens of others who had tried before? Her bad attitude left us feeling like we were running on a hamster wheel, drained from trying to please someone who couldn't be pleased -- with no end in sight. As the motivation waned, the work suffered. Finally the issue had to be addressed for the team's productivity. That was the first time I experienced how contagious negativity can be in the workplace. It can spread like wildfire and affect...
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10 Tips For Recognizing Employees

This week's Fierce Resource was first published on the boston.com website and was written by Eric Mosley, CEO of Globoforce , a Southborough-based company that specializes in workplace recognition solutions. 10 Tips For Recognizing Employees provides practical and easy to use tips to let your employees know that you see their hard work and appreciate them. These tips are beneficial not only for celebrating your employees for National Employee Appreciation Day but for all year. "March 7 is Employee Appreciation Day. This day encourages all employers, managers and CEOs to focus attention on the efforts of all employees, in all industries and thank them for their hard work. While the ways that companies choose to appreciate their employees may vary widely, Southborough-based Globoforce, which specializes in social recognition solutions in the workplace, encourages all companies to appreciate and recognize their employees not just one day, but every day." To read...
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Leadership Tips: Say Thanks!

In the United States this week, many of us will gather around a dinner table with our friends and families to celebrate Thanksgiving. My favorite holiday, even as a little girl, has always been Thanksgiving. First, I truly enjoy every single dish that the traditional turkey dinner has to offer and, more importantly, I love that its main purpose is to be with the ones you love and say thanks. This week’s Fierce tip is about having many conversations this week expressing your thanks out loud! This thanksgiving I will say thanks to my newly born daughter, my husband, and our families who have supported us through this new time in our lives. I’ll say thanks to Fierce and my family here at work, who make coming into the office each day a true joy. I’ll say thanks to our clients who work so hard to make their organizations places...
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Leadership Tips: Hold Each Other Able

In Fierce Accountability , we talk about the difference between holding someone accountable and holding someone able. Often we talk about accountability in a legislative matter. Something we can impose on others. Many of us associate accountability with blame. At Fierce, we prefer to view accountability not as a process or a tool, and instead view it as a context that makes every tool and process more effective. When you hold someone able, you choose to recognize the capacity each person you are connecting with has to achieve the goals you agree upon. It is a bias towards action: an attitude, a personal, private, non-negotiable choice about how to live your life. The reality is, as much as you may want to, you can’t hold someone accountable. Shifting the mentality away from holding others accountable to holding each other able builds a culture of engagement, trust, and creativity versus disengagement,...
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Creating Customer Connection Through Conversation

The recent economic upheaval has proven especially challenging for the retail sector. Although the economy showed signs of improvement through the end of 2010 and the first quarter of 2011, the recent downturn sent the Consumer Confidence Index plummeting at the end of July. This and other indicators foretell  a rough holiday shopping season and an uncertain future. With struggles looming it is more important than ever for retailers to find ways to differentiate themselves – and this means going beyond dropping prices, adding incentives, and decorating store windows. With their confidence bottoming out, customers want something more. Scratch that, they demand something more. And that is: Connection . So how does one move the customer relationship from mere transactions to meaningful connections that foster loyalty? It starts with the conversation. Here are 3 mantras your sales force should commit to memory. 1. I will be here, prepared to be...
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3 Ideas for Leaders When Creating Incentives

As a leader, how much do you use incentive as a motivational tool? When I was in high school and college, I worked several minimum wage sales jobs. The incentive given by the management team for making sales quota was consistently the same: a pizza party. The incentive rarely worked and often I saw quarter after quarter pass by with the team quota not being met and no pizza party to be had. Finally, at another job, my manager introduced something new: she bought us a pizza party at the end of each quarter "just because". And if we made our sales quota, we each got a $50.00 gift card to the store. For the first time in my young professional life, I worked for a company where my team consistently made our sales goal and we got the bonus of a pizza party! Using incentives is a daily ritual...
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