Why it Pays to Support Employees’ Personal Development

"Supporting another's success won't ever dampen yours." –Unknown A few months ago, I was able to use my personal development funds (allocated company funds provided to all Fierce employees) to participate in a meditation course that I've wanted to take for a number of years now. While having access to these funds is, needless to say, awesome, it is...
Continue reading

Holding purpose accountable: How to Close the gap between purpose and action

A lack of purpose or connection to purpose is arguably one of the most significant problems affecting businesses today. When employees feel connected to a company's mission and values, they are more engaged. According to insights released by Deloitte in 2015, employees today are focused on purpose, mission, and work-life integration. And when emplo...
Continue reading

Leaders, Here’s What a Healthy Workplace Culture Is (and Isn’t)

A keg in the breakroom, fish tanks in the walls, happy hours, ping pong, cornhole, bean bag chairs…sounds like a fun work environment, right? I don't think anyone would complain about these types of perks. And I get why companies often incorporate them. They can be reflective of the company's culture and values, and incentives like happy hour can g...
Continue reading

Leading Business Problem #5: Too Much Stress

In our latest eBook, we call out one of the leading business problems businesses face today: too much stress. According to Harris Interactive , 83% of Americans are stressed to some degree at work. The American Institute of Stress reports 40% of workers feel their job is very or extremely stressful. A small amount of "positive stress" can boost pro...
Continue reading

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...
Continue reading

Do You Have a Fear-Based Work Culture? Here’s How to Fix It!

If fear-based tactics are being used as a driver in your workplace, it could have a negative effect on your time, money, relationships, and psychological well-being. Do you know where your organization's culture currently stands? A Close Look at the Problem Fear can manifest in the workplace in many ways, but it typically occurs with a trickle-down...
Continue reading

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 ...
Continue reading

On a Scale of 1 to 10, How Would You Rate Your Business Relationships?

In our daily routines, we might find ourselves getting lost at times in what is often referred to as “the grind.”  Wake up. Go to work. Work hard. Achieve. In the process of doing what we do, we may have moments where we lose sight of why we’re doing it. I recall a specific incident in a previous position that woke me up, so to speak, to what really matters. One day I was blasting through an extended list of tasks, which included sending out emails to a long list of clients. My boss was copied on the emails, and he gave me some great feedback: “It might be nice to add something in that’s more personal. Wish them a good day or something. You know, create some warm fuzzies. Clients like warm fuzzies.” And it’s true! Adding warmth to our “business interactions” strengthens relationships and brightens our experience of...
Continue reading

Conversation Chaos: The Hidden Villain in Your Workplace

There's a villain in your organization. It's a Darth Vader, Wicked Witch, Sauron, or Lord Voldemort—and it's the reason why many of your most common workplace problems persist, including disengagement and poor performance. All issues in your organization have one thing in common: conversation chaos . Unproductive, unfocused, and ineffective communi...
Continue reading

Why it Pays to Support Employees’ Personal Development

“Supporting another’s success won’t ever dampen yours.” –Unknown Imagine one of your employees jamming out on a guitar, lifting weights at the gym, or reading a textbook. You may not make an immediate connection between these behaviors and revenue, results, or workplace culture. But can these types of activities influence business for the better? You bet your britches they can. Personal and professional development go hand-in-hand—whether it’s directly related to work or not, each impacts the other. Growth is growth, and all kinds of growth contribute to happiness. Research shows happy employees are more creative, energized and successful , and happiness increases productivity by 12% . When employees know you care about their growth, they respond. It builds trust, commitment, and a host of other benefits that impact the bottom line. Let’s break it down. Here are some big benefits your organization stands to gain by supporting employee personal development:...
Continue reading

New Research: The State of Miscommunication - 6 Insights on Effective Workplace Communication

We’re excited to announce Quantum Workplace's launch of the Fierce + Quantum eBook on the state of miscommunication in the workplace. The free eBook dives deep into the issues of miscommunication and offers solutions for creating more engagement and clarity in one-on-ones, team meetings, and organization-wide. We wanted to conduct this research on miscommunication to fully understand the impact it’s having on organizations, including the costs (time, money, engagement, relationships, productivity, and more), and explore how effective conversations can help. Fierce + Quantum Quantum helps organizations retain top talent, motivate performance, understand turnover, and build magnetic cultures. Their studies reveal that communication is indeed at the heart of employee engagement. Fierce and Quantum have both researched employee engagement in the past, and have weighed in on the conversations needed to improve engagement and workplace culture. In preparation for this eBook, Quantum Workplace and Fierce Conversations designed a survey to capture...
Continue reading

Leadership Tips: Stop Your Excuses. You are the Culture.

Having a positive culture has real impact on business and your happiness at work. In fact, a  Columbia University study  shows that the likelihood of job turnover at an organization with rich company culture is a mere 13.9 percent, whereas the probability of job turnover in poor company cultures is 48.4 percent. That makes a huge difference…not just for the employer, but also for the fellow employees. Although people cerebrally understand culture's importance, people tend to talk about culture as something external.  For instance, a statement I often encounter when we are discussing fierce is: “My culture doesn't encourage transparent, direct communication, so I can't have those kinds of conversations with my executive team right now.” Sometimes that also sounds like, “If my company's culture was different, I would be different.” Or “If other people modeled those behaviors, I could do them too.” What I hear is   “Look at...
Continue reading

Leadership Tips: Develop People Around You

"The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership." - Harvey S. Firestone, Founder of Firestone Tire and Rubber Company Here at Fierce, we’re in the business of helping others grow. And our clients are on all different paths in supporting their people’s development, from offering very sophisticated development programs to just starting on the path of giving options. Regardless, the leaders we work with realize that developing their people is a critical piece for success. This isn’t just a “check the box” – employees crave it. According to EdenRed, 68% of workers say training and development is the most important workplace policy, followed by working hours flexibility (74%), then promotion of health at work (72%). I’d argue it goes beyond the policy, because people truly want growth opportunities. So you must ask yourself: If this perk is highly desired, how do I help aid others’ development?...
Continue reading

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...
Continue reading

Why Women Entrepreneurs will be the Economic Force to Reckon with in 2017

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by CNBC and explains why women entrepreneurs will be an economic force to be reckoned with in 2017 and moving forward. This past Wednesday we celebrated International Women’s Day across the globe and celebrated the ever-growing success of women in business. CNBC’s inaugural Upstart 25 List , featuring promising young start-ups, included 10 women-owned businesses. This only looks to increase as female-owned companies are growing at a rate of five times the national average and increased a whopping 45 percent over the last decade, eclipsing over $1.6 trillion in revenue. This trend is not exclusive to the United States either, as rates of women’s entrepreneurship have grown 10 percent over the last two years compared to only 5 percent for men across 51 different global economies. Per Elaine Pofeldt, CNBC, as the gender gap continues to decrease, women can look to other female...
Continue reading

Leadership Tips: Foster Gratitude Together

Last week I was at Ernst & Young’s Strategic Growth Forum, where CEOs and executives came together to talk about new trends in business. Specifically, the theme was growth requires ingenuity. In the sessions, the topics ranged from business effects of the current American election to overcoming funding challenges to leading with purpose. It was inspiring, and many of the entrepreneurs stated gratitude for their opportunities, peers, and successes. Showing gratitude was a common theme. Interestingly, a 2015 study published in the International Business Research journal showed that collective gratitude is important for organizations. What do they mean by collective gratitude? They defined it as “group’s shared positive emotional state recognizing and being thankful for the good things happen”. When organizations are collectively grateful, it can reduce turnover intention, foster employees’ organizational commitment, and help in “eliminating the toxic workplace emotions, attitudes and negative emotions such as envy, anger and...
Continue reading

Great Managers Can Fix Broken Performance Management Systems

This week’s Friday Resource was originally published by Gallup.com and discusses how high performing managers can fix broken performance management systems. A Gallup study on The State of the American Manager: Analytics and Advice for Leaders revealed that companies hiring managers based on their talents and fit for the role see “a 48% increase in profitability, a 22% increase in productivity, a 30% increase in employee engagement scores, a 17% increase in customer engagement scores and a 19% decrease in turnover.” So what are these high performing managers getting right? They focus on building engagement and employee growth through developing their strengths – not correcting weaknesses. When an employee’s strengths are leveraged, they are more engaged because they are contributing at a higher level. This leads to higher retention rates and happier employees. Additionally, great managers understand the human element, and how to motivate by building genuine relationships with their...
Continue reading

Why Businesses Should Rethink the Annual Performance Review

This week’s Friday Resource was originally published by Forbes and provides insight into why businesses should ditch the annual performance review in favor of a more agile on-going performance conversation. The article focuses on Adobe’s need to shift their performance review process in 2011 after having significant changes to their business model by introducing cloud-based software and real-time services. These changes did not translate to how Adobe was evaluating performance, supported employee growth and fostered a team environment. Common pains with the yearly review process were that both managers and employees alike dreaded preparing for and delivering the review, and in the months following, Adobe saw an increase in voluntary attrition. The antiquated yearly review system was actually hurting the company and hindering their employee’s personal growth more than helping. There were three key areas that needed to be changed: The annual review process Evaluating past performance Comparing employees against...
Continue reading

7 Reasons It Always Pays to Celebrate Small Victories

This week’s Friday Resource was originally published by Inc.com and discusses why it pays to celebrate your company’s small victories. Fierce celebrated its 15 year anniversary this past Monday. While it is important for any company to celebrate big milestones like this – it is also important to celebrate the little victories that take place throughout the year. In the article, Mochari emphasizes that celebrating these smaller victories is a tool that can be leveraged to keep your team focused and motivated during the tough times. Even when a team does not hit their desired goal or projected outcome, celebrate what worked well. Don’t be fooled by the word “small” - there are some serious upsides to this approach. Through spontaneous team celebrations a company increases its desirability to attract top talent via a healthy work-life balance , it cuts down on office confrontations and provides constant positive reinforcement for...
Continue reading

5 Tips for Having a Better One-on-One with Your Direct Reports

According to Lucid Meetings research, 55 million meetings occur per day. For average workers that means eight meetings per week. For managers, 12 per week. Meetings can vary from status updates to brainstorming, from company-wide to one-on-one’s. They range from mission critical for completion of a project or milestone to completely useless. And let’s be honest, with so many hours in meetings, it can be easy to go into autopilot. I want to focus on one-on-one meetings, because I see them as one of the best ways to build personal relationships and connections. These meetings give me insights about the person, our team, and the overall operations of the business in a way nothing else can. When effective, they truly give me a pulse on what needs to potentially start, stop, and continue. The catch? I must be willing to REALLY invite feedback and truthfulness into the conversation. It needs...
Continue reading

Retaining Talent In A Competitive Economy

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by  Forbes  and discusses different tactics with regards to retaining top talent in a competitive marketplace. Old-school retention tactics such as competitive salary, stock options, and cash bonuses are not necessarily key motivators for keeping top performers at your firm from moving on. Companies need to start looking ahead instead of behind, and to do so, it is important to understand the changing demographics of your firm's staff. Employees nowadays seek recognition and collaboration just as much as a competitive salary with stock options.  An employee’s progression towards an annual bonus should be publicized and encouraged, not measured in a board room behind closed doors. So what will you do to retain your best performers? “There are ways to motivate other than creating a dog-eat-dog macho workplace environment. Collaboration rather than competition; praise rather than punishment.” Read the article.

Leadership Tips: Appreciate a Golden Egg

Yesterday was Easter in the United States, and often the day includes Easter egg hunts. Kids, young and old, search high and low to collect as many eggs as possible. It’s an exhilarating experience when it is happening, and when it is over, an egg count determines the winner. There are so many analogies to this egg hunt in corporate life. We run after the most leads, the most deals, the most talent, and then we find ourselves continually measuring where we stand to others. Did we beat so and so? Did we hit our target? The actual chase and constant “measuring up” isn’t even the biggest issue – it is the lack of appreciation for what we have. It often makes me think about a story from Aesop’s sixth century B.C. fables. You may have heard this: ONE day a countryman going to the nest of his Goose found...
Continue reading

The Important Question Every Employee Should Be Able to Answer

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published on Fortune and delves into the relationship between profit and purpose. For the past few years, organizations has been focusing on how millennials aren’t motivated by money, but rather by purpose. This has sent shockwaves through corporate America. How can organizations attract the top millennial talent, while working to improve their bottom line? But as the article The Important Question Every Employee Should Be Able to Answer points out, profit and purpose don’t have to be mutually exclusive focuses. In fact, many organizations have discovered that profit exists so we can fulfill our purpose. It starts with holding your employees able to achieve sustainable results and empowering them to work towards their purpose. Where does purpose lie in your organization’s value list? “One way we have resolved this in the companies in which I am involved is through a document called Prosperity Principles...
Continue reading

3 Tips to Recruit with Purpose

In 2016, we at Fierce predict that job candidates will want to ensure a potential company’s purpose and mission align with values they hold near and dear to their hearts. While this seems complicated, it really isn’t. There are simple ways to stay connected and really recruit while engaging the heart and mind. Ask job seekers about their values. The next time people come to you complaining about their current job (or if they have come to the conclusion that they need a new one), ask what their values are. This is not about perks and culture as much as answering the questions: What do you stand for? What matters to you? Have them write their values down and really talk about them. This relates to finding the why .   To bring new people onboard, make sure their values align with the company’s. Values and purpose, over tangible items...
Continue reading
Tags:

Nobody Wins When Developing Employees Isn’t a Priority

This week's Fierce resource was originally published on TLNT.com and was written by John Hollon. Weekly Wrap: Nobody Wins When Developing Employees Isn’t a Priority   talks about what happens when you stop investing in your employees, specifically around leadership development and education. As people, we all have a desire to feel valued for the work we do and one of the best ways for organizations to acknowledge workers is to development and further educate their people. Retain and grow or let them go. What results have you seen in your organization? Whether you've enhanced your training or decreased it, what is the impact? "Instead, a majority of organizations indicate that they have no prevailing policy on recruitment, saying that shifting business needs determine whether to fill a position externally or internally. In addition, 11 percent of those surveyed acknowledge that they make little effort whatsoever to retain workers and instead have...
Continue reading

Leadership Tips: Identify Your Needs in Negotiation

Every day we negotiate. We negotiate at work, in relationships, and in our community. Where in your life would you like to improve your negotiations?  At work? At home? Wherever it is, negotiations are a very powerful way to enrich relationships. They are opportunities for all parties to be in a better place than before the conversation. What often gets in the way during negotiation conversations is when one or both parties get stuck on a fixed outcome. In Fierce Negotiations , we define a position as a fixed idea of the tangible results you want. On the other hand, a need is a tangible plus intangible result. Need involves the motivation supporting the desire to make the deal. In their very nature, needs will always outweigh positions, because they are attached to emotions. For a simple example, if we are negotiating a location for an annual retreat – it...
Continue reading

It’s About the Employees: 3 Key Take-Aways from the Employee Engagement Conference

At the end of July, Fierce was at the Human Capital Institute’s Employee Engagement Conference here in Seattle. Tracking and improving employee engagement has significant impact on all facets of a business – from the top down and frontline up. So we were lucky to hear from innovative companies in two information-packed days. Here we share three key points along with questions you can ask to further embed the takeaways into your office. 1. Fun is Strategic.  Janeen Speer and Ashley Dalziel from lululemon shared a wonderful presentation called “Behind the Seams: lululemon’s Secrets to Maximizing our People.”  They shared that fun is a strategic component of lululemon’s culture .  We often hear about organizations working to increase the fun factor at work with a Ping-Pong or foosball table, office Olympics, or some activity along those lines.  Fierce recently had a hula hoop contest during a company-wide happy hour. Questions...
Continue reading

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...
Continue reading

What is Emotional Intelligence?

This week's Fierce Resource was published on the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and was written by Dinah Wisenberg Brin. What Is Emotional Intelligence? , explores the history of EQ and why helping leaders understand their emotional impact, on both themselves and others, directly ties to the success of an organization. The article highlights that when you provide training around building the emotional intelligence of leaders it can increase productivity, customer satisfaction, and employee retention - common HR challenges. "If there’s any doubt about the bottom-line importance of a high emotional intelligence, just consider the case of a Motorola manufacturing plant, which Friedman cites in his white paper, where 93 percent of employees became more productive after the facility adopted stress-reduction and emotional-intelligence programs. Another factory reduced “lost-time” accidents, boosted productivity and sharply lowered formal grievances after supervisors received training in “emotional competencies.”" To read the full article, click...
Continue reading

Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go: Development at a Distance

This week's Fierce Resource highlights an upcoming  learning opportunity. Netspeed Learning Solutions is hosting a five part, 2013 Thought Leadership Webinar Series , Fierce CEO & President, Halley Bock presented her own webinar as part of  this series this summer: The Connected Leader: How To Improve Results Through Conversations. Continue the learning and join Beverly Kaye, Founder of Career Systems International on November 7th, at 2 PM EST, as she presents the fourth webinar in the series: Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go: Development at a Distance "Study after study confirms that what employees want most is support for their professional development and career growth, and that offering this to them is the single most powerful tool managers have for driving employee engagement, retention, productivity and performance results. This session sheds a much needed light on effective methods and specifically what managers can do -- within the time-starved, priority-rich,...
Continue reading

U.S. Employees Have Spoken: Managers and Employers Take Note

This week's Fierce Resource is a study by Cornerstone OnDemand about their recently published 2013 U.S. Employee Report . Cornerstone OnDemand is a leadership development cloud based solution that is dedicated to helping organizations get the most out of their human capital investment. U.S. Employees Have Spoken: Managers and Employers Take Note , was conducted by a third party national public opinion group Kelton , between November 23rd and November 26th in 2012. They surveyed 494 employed Americans 18 years and older across the United States. The questions in the survey ranged from topics around motivation, skill gaps, feedback and alignment. Most shocking, however, was their statistic that 19 million Americans plan to leave their jobs in 2013 costing over 2 trillion dollars. To download the full report, click here . To download their infographic, click here .

Is HR Passing the Talent Management Test?

This week's Fierce Resource was first published last Thursday on the Human Resource Executive Online website and was written by Mark McGraw. Is HR Passing the Talent Management Test , sites a recent survey by WomenCorporateDirectors and Heidrick & Struggles, that shows out of 1,000 board members in 59 countries most don't think their HR team is doing enough to focus on talent management, with only 20% of respondents saying they "strongly agree" that their organization is effective at attracting top talent . The article goes on to point out that most HR functions are actually doing much better then this study would have you believe, and what is actually missing are the conversations between HR, the CEO, and the board. "The findings don't necessarily paint an accurate picture of how HR is really doing in terms of managing talent, but should remind HR leaders that they need to communicate...
Continue reading

Leadership Tips: Show Appreciation

“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” - Willie Nelson This week’s Fierce tip is to focus on showing gratitude to the people on your team. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to achieve outstanding results. It’s easy to have tunnel vision about where you need to be going and not take the time to step back and pay close attention to the journey...or who is helping you get there. For example, have you thanked a member of your team who pulled an all-nighter to deliver something you needed? Have you shared how impressed you were with someone’s contribution in a meeting? Have you given credit where credit is due? Do you acknowledge the everyday achievements? This week, be specific when you share what you appreciate about someone. Give a concrete example and explain how it has impacted you. The amazing part about expressing gratitude is...
Continue reading

Confusing Authenticity with Perfection

  Has authenticity been hijacked? And in its place is a skewed idea of what it means to be authentic. An idea where you can become a more authentic person by learning how to message the “real” you – the better you. We see it in the larger public arena, with political leaders who all claim to be showing their authentic selves. Those selves appear to be neatly packaged, never wrong, and always in control. This warped version of authenticity shows up in organizations. CEOs, managers and employees present a very calculated version of their companies. They paint the picture that the company is in complete control of all situations - look to some of the recent PR debacles for examples. The days of being wrong and saying sorry seem to be gone. Since when did being authentic translate to being perfect? Is your company in the authenticity/perfection struggle? Do...
Continue reading

What is Your “Burning Platform”?

Earlier this week, Engadget published an internal memo written by Nokia CEO Stephen Elop in which he, now famously, likens his company’s situation to that of an oil worker trapped on a burning platform. His only option for survival is to radically change his behavior and jump into the icy waters of the North Sea. A situation Nokia now finds itself in after having made a series of poor decisions. Elop conveys it this way: How did we get to this point? Why did we fall behind when the world around us evolved? This is what I have been trying to understand. I believe at least some of it has been due to our attitude inside Nokia. We poured gasoline on our own burning platform. I believe we have lacked accountability and leadership to align and direct the company through these disruptive times. We had a series of misses. We...
Continue reading

The Change Is Coming

Last week I received an update from LinkedIn. Of my connections, 22% had changed jobs or changed companies in 2010. In our January newsletter , we asked our readers if  their company would increase their spending in hiring, new programs, or equipment in 2011 and 47% said that they would be hiring . So hold onto your hats (and your employees if you can)!  This is a great indicator that the economy is heating up. Movement has started, job and pay freezes are lifting, and your best employees are seeing employment options opening up everywhere. If you have a company where employees are engaged, managers are connected  with their teams at a deep level, and leadership training and development focuses on communication that is transparent, authentic and clear , you are in the catbird seat. If this doesn’t describe your culture, your best and brightest will soon be looking for...
Continue reading

Top 3 Reasons Employers Fear Giving Sabbaticals and the 5 Reasons They Should Do It Anyway

The sabbatical is one of the most coveted perks in the workplace. Companies who offer them are commonly found on the “Best Places to Work” lists meaning they are financially healthy with a HIGHLY engaged employee base. Yet SHRM reports that only 20% of the companies it surveyed in 2010 offer sabbaticals (4% being paid) .   So what gives? What is standing in the way? Lets look at the common fears surrounding this offer and the reasons to overcome them. Reduced Productivity. Often, employers wonder how they will cover someone’s responsibilities if they are out of the office for an extended amount of time. If you haven’t built a strong bench and delegated effectively, then productivity will most likely suffer. Which leads right into Fear #2…   Cost. A day off with pay is one of the most costly benefits an employer can provide. Not only are you continuing...
Continue reading