By Shana Gerson, PHR
As a Career Coach, I work with too many people who aren’t happy at their jobs. From CEO’s to barista’s the reasons vary, but the vast majority of my clients want a family friendly work place that has compassion and will allow them the flexibility to take care of their family.
”80% of employees’ say their greatest source of stress is not spending as much time at home.”
More People are Balancing Work and a Hectic Family Life
The world has changed and many of us work full-time without the support of a close, extended family. We try to juggle work demands while caring for a toddler that needs constant attention, the teenager that keeps getting into trouble, and an aging parent that is sick or elderly. Nearly all of us knows how it feels when we’re working late to get a project done and worrying about getting out the door to pick up our kids, or worse, getting a call from school that our child is sick right before a big presentation. Sounds exhausting just talking about it!
Do Employees with Families want to Work for You?
More and more employees are looking for family friendly work environments where they can do the work they love without having to constantly juggle their family commitments. With the extremely low unemployment rates in Boulder and Denver, this should make you stop and think about what your company is offering potential talent. You need to be the employer of choice; gone are the days where people have to convince you to hire them, you also need to convince employees why they should work for you.
Create a Family Friendly Work Place
The first step is to create a flexible environment where employees don’t punch a time clock. You might think it’s hard to create flexibility but we have found it is relatively easy in most environments, you just have to commit to making it happen. Developing core hours where all employees need to be in the office between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM is one way to set this up. Allowing people to work from home one or two days a week can relieve family pressures and increase productivity. These minor changes empower employees to take control of their schedules so they can be there for their families when they need them.
Better Employees equals Better Engagement
You’ll find your employees will work harder and be more engaged at work if they are able to devote the needed time to their families and personal life. Creating part-time job share roles has often allowed companies to hire two more qualified candidates that are able to split a position up into morning and afternoon because they would have been unable to accept full-time positions. Finding ways to help your employees to do their jobs with less outside stress, will make them better employees and more engaged.
Really Listen to what Your Teams are Saying
Another way to foster a family friendly environment is to create an environment where employees can come to you to discuss their family needs and be available to work with them to meet these needs. Obviously not every need can be accommodated, but having an open-door policy that allows every employee to come to you, discuss their needs, and know you will try to support them goes a long way. If someone needs to arrive 15 minutes later and stay 15 minutes later at night to meet obligations, you need to find a way to make it happen. Offer light snacks or food in the break-room for people who have heavy family commitments to make their day easier. Incidentally, this makes your single and younger employees happy as well!
If you can’t meet the immediate needs of an employee, talk to them about other options that may work better for your both. Employees tend to look elsewhere if they feel like they aren’t being heard and their needs are not being met. Which means you could easily lose some of your best people. If they don’t look elsewhere, there is a good chance that they won’t be engaged in what they are doing because they are worried about home life or feel undervalued. This quickly can result in lowered production, increased errors, and low morale company wide.
It’s Up to You
Every organization and industry can create family friendly practices and policies. Once you incorporate this culture into your workforce, you’ll see a boost in productivity because employees will have the opportunity to connect with their families and work. In addition, your teams will become advocates for your company or organization and tell others why they love working there. If you look around at some of the most successful companies today you will realize that nearly all of them, have some form of family friendly programs in place. It’s time you do too.
For more information on how you can create a family friendly environment click here to schedule a free call or meeting.
Ah yes, hiring managers. How do you keep that competitive edge when hiring??? You’re going to hire someone to solve your problem, while maintaining the integrity of your brand.
BUT, before you pull the trigger and “go to market” to find that person to solve that problem. Ask yourselves the 5 why’s (and how) first:
1) Who? – Who are we as a collective group, the values that we share?
This determines who will align culturally.
2) What? – What specific tasks / behaviors will this person be performing?
This provides clear direction on both the skills this person will need to have, as well as how to manage, evaluate, and develop the new employee.
3) When? – When do you TRULY need this person by? And how much time will it take for this person to TRULY be productive (be realistic)?
Timing is important and this will help determine when you’re really ready for this person as well as level expectations with the timeline for on-boarding the new employee.
4) Why? – Why do you need really need this person? This will help avoid impulsive decisions, often unnecessary.
This is a highly analytical step.
5) Where? – Where does the position NEED to be (location)? Is there flexibility (remote possibilities, etc.)?
Where are you willing to recruit from and why? Lifestyle fit is incredibly important. People have lives outside of work and different ways they work, and logistics matter.
6) How? – What is your advertising, interviewing, and on-boarding strategy?
How will managers get the best out of their new hires? Have a plan!!!
To be clear, this is not everything to consider, but it’s at least a good start. If you hire without appropriate preparation, or just to offload work quickly, a lot of pain and wasted time is likely in your future.
By Carrie S Ahmad, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Large Companies are Leading the Way for Higher Wages
Starbucks, Whole Foods, Ben & Jerry’s, IKEA, The Gap, Aetna, McDonald’s, Walmart, TJ Maxx, and Costco. What do these highly visible brands have in common? They are at the forefront of paying their employees a living wage. Ben & Jerry’s defines a livable wage as “enough to allow for a quality of life that includes decent housing, health care, transportation, food, recreation, savings, and miscellaneous expenses.” Ben & Jerry’s livable wage in 2013 was $16.13 for full-time hourly employees. That is almost twice the federal minimum wage! Learn more about Ben & Jerry’s livable wage by clicking here.
Build Loyalty and Reduce Turnover
An exciting trend is beginning to occur in the marketplace in which businesses are realizing that by providing their employees with a living wage, they build loyalty, reduce turnover, ignite productivity, and improve their bottom line. Mark Bertolini, CEO of Aetna, said Aetna increased the pay of low wage employees to $16/hour to reduce the worry and stress these employees feel just trying to make ends meet. Bertolini believes that even if the wage increase doesn’t impact the bottom line, it is the right thing to do for his people. Do you agree? Listen to and read more from Bertolini.
The High Cost of Replacement
For an entry-level employee, it can cost up to 40% of the individual’s annual salary to replace him or her should he/she decide to leave your organization. Let’s say you run a call center with 100 employees making $10/hour. The average turnover rate for call centers is 26%. In this scenario, if you have 26 employees, who are paid $20,800/year, decide to leave your organization you are looking at replacement costs of $216,320 (26*10*2080*.40). That is nearly a quarter million dollars to replace 26 low-wage employees. What if you could stop the money bleed by communicating value and understanding to your employees? What if you could build employee loyalty that drastically reduced your turnover rate? Would you do it?
The Right Pay for the Right People
You can pay employees what they are worth! You can provide your people a livable wage that reduces their stress, empowers them, and keeps them engaged when they are at work. At Turning the Corner, LLC, we work with small businesses to identify ways to hire right the first time, pay employees what their experience and skills are worth, and retain people to keep hiring costs low. Let us help you help your people!
Carrie Ahmad, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Carrie is Turning the Corner’s VP of People. She has been advocating for the success of businesses and their employees for 18 years supporting start-ups, small businesses and large corporations. She holds certifications as both a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) from HRCI and Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) from the Society for Human Resource Management. She serves the local HR community as a member of BAHRA’s (Boulder Area HR Association) Treasury Committee.
By Carrie S Ahmad, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Employee Burnout Could Be Costing Your Company Thousands of Dollars in Lost Productivity & Costing the US Economy Millions!
I was in a meeting recently and listened as an employee lamented about his upcoming vacation. His workload was heavy and his team depended on him. He felt that by taking a vacation he was letting his co-workers down. Then I heard a few key comments that always concern me as a business leader – he was tired, burned out, and felt like he was going to need to work during his vacation to keep up with the expectations of his job.
The True Odd Couple
Let me clarify – vacation and work should not go together. In the U.S. we have created a culture that says, “if I don’t work, I’m replaceable, and I may not have a job to come back to.” Early in my career, a supervisor told me, “every person is dispensable; every role can be replaced.” At the time I thought she was quite rude. Looking back, I realize what amazing advice she gave me in saying that. That phrase taught me to work hard, but also to know that nothing is ever permanent, and taking time to recharge my batteries was just as important as giving 100% of my time, effort and attention at work. If we don’t allow ourselves to rest, relax and recharge, what was once 100% effort becomes 80% then 50%. We can’t give our best at work when we don’t have anything left to give.
Happy Employees & Increased Productivity
The June 1, 2015 issue of Time had an interesting article by Jack Dickey, “Who Killed Summer Vacation.” Dickey points out that, “Luxembourg guarantees workers 35 paid days off, Norway guarantees 29 days, and Switzerland 28; and those three economies finished ahead of the U.S. in 2013 in gross domestic product per capita (the favored metric for workforce productivity).” These nations provide more leave time and have higher productivity. That’s not a coincidence. For years studies have shown that employees who work for organizations that encourage the use of leave and employees who actually utilize their leave time are happier, healthier, more loyal to their employer, and have higher levels of productivity than employees in companies where leave isn’t encouraged.
Simple Math for Happy Employees
And the significant numbers of US employees who don’t use their vacation time aren’t just impacting their employers’ productivity costs. According to Forbes, if US workers used their available paid time off, the economy would benefit from more than $160 billion in business sales and $21 billion in tax revenues. This spending would support the addition of over 1 million jobs in industries ranging from retail to manufacturing to transportation.
It’s an easy formula.
Leave time = Happy, Committed Employees + Increase in Productivity + Boost to the US Economy.
Is it a formula your company is implementing? If so, our team at Turning the Corner would love to hear your stories of how encouraging employees to take leave is benefiting your business! Post a comment or contact us here.
Carrie Ahmad, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Carrie is Turning the Corner’s VP of People. She has been advocating for the success of businesses and their employees for 18 years, supporting start-ups, small businesses and large corporations. She holds certifications as both a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) from HRCI and Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) from the Society for Human Resource Management. She serves the local HR community as a member of BAHRA’s (Boulder Area HR Association) Treasury Committee. And though she is a Colorado transplant (moving here in 2010), she lives the Colorado lifestyle to it’s fullest, enjoying the outdoors through hikes, 14ers, sightseeing, camping, and running, all in the good company of her husband, son, and Viszla.
By Kendra Prospero
CEO, Turning the Corner, LLC
Recently, we had a truly remarkable man reach out to our company because he felt like he was virtually worthless to his employer. He had been very successful in his career, but lately, after numerous management and organizational changes, his work had become less and less impactful, and his manager less and less involved in his success. His exact words were “I feel like I’ve become a ghost at work”.
How does this happen? How does a really talented person begin dying on the vine at their job? It’s a shameful situation that puts both the manager and the employee at fault. Both parties have accepted this outcome, and both parties have a chance to remedy it. If you feel like a ghost or if you know you have people haunting your halls, you need to take action.
Exorcise Your Ghosts
Here’s what needs to happen: the employee has to decide that he/she wants to improve their career at the company, and needs to immediately start advocating for this revival. To start with, they need to identify their unique strengths and list examples of contribution in the pasts. Once the homework is done they need to meet with their manager and start talking with power people who have supported them in the past.
Ideally, the manager also needs to take responsibility for not recognizing and understanding the talent within the organization. Being too busy is a terrible excuse for a manager to use. Managers need to MANAGE their people and that includes understanding how each employee can best contribute to the team. If a manager neglects to see an employee who is only giving their job mediocre attention, this has the potential to cost the company thousands of dollars and have a negative impact on the culture. It creates an environment of laziness and unaccountability.
Work Towards a Solution
In the case of our client, he was once a remarkable sales manager, but had been moved to a marketing role. We laid out a plan to help him get back into sales by reaching out to former “fans” who understood his value and experience in sales. He is spending more time getting in front of power people and reminding them of his skills, successes and natural strengths. It will take time, but the conversations are already starting to get more traction for him to get back to doing what he is wired to do and where he can make the greatest impact.
No one wants to work in a haunted organization. Not only is it scary to be surrounded by ghosts, but it also lowers morale and productivity. The good news is in most cases these pesky spirits can be removed and employees can enjoy new hope and drive. It takes a little dedication, but it’s always worth it.
Do you know a ghost at work? Let us know in comments below.
By Ginger Robitaille, Certified Professional Recruiter
Director of Recruitment, Turning the Corner, LLC
Boulder is Awesome
Do you enjoy the Great Outdoors? Have you been dreaming about a place that receives over 300 days of sunshine a year? Then you have found your new home in Colorado! Since the start of the year, we have received numerous calls from job seekers asking about the job market in the Denver/Boulder area and across the Front Range. They want to live where “fun happens”, not to mention the mountains, hiking or skiing.
Love Where You Live
As a Colorado Native, growing up, I didn’t understand the attraction to the Denver/Boulder area. I was naive to the beauty of Colorado, perhaps spoiled by too much of a good thing. Now that I am older and well-traveled, I understand why this area is so popular, especially to outdoor enthusiasts. There is nothing better than waking up as the sun rises and hitting a local mountain trail-head with my dogs for a five mile hike before I head to the office. If you dream of a lifestyle like this, then you’re looking in the right place. This area has much to offer.
Love Where You Work
What industry are you interested in working in? Is it outdoor recreation, biosciences, engineering, healthcare, renewable energy, or natural and organic products? We have all of this within the Front Range, and you can be successful in the culture of your choice. Whether it is in a corporate environment or a small to medium size business the Denver/Boulder area offers many opportunities. In fact, this area alone has more start-ups than you can imagine in a wide variety of fields. You will find a professional as well as a personal home here.
Ok, I’m a Bit Biased
I have to admit, I love living here, working here and raising a family here. Whenever I receive a call from someone out of state or even from other Colorado cities I get excited. I really enjoy telling people about my home town. We talked about this in our meetings and decided it would be helpful to put something together that would help people interested in moving to the area.
Below is a link to information about the Front Range. Not only did we provide current information regarding the local job market, but we also let you know about cities in the area you may wish to consider living. There is also information about the housing market, and school districts. Several of our team members that have made this move have commented that they wish they had this when they first moved here. I hope you find it helpful.
We Can’t Wait to Meet You
Take it from me when I say: “If you haven’t experienced Colorado you haven’t lived.” Are you just visiting us on vacation? You may decide to stay! We will welcome you with open arms and help you navigate your way through the local job market to find the work you love in a place you only dream about living. As the sign says, “Welcome to Colorful Colorado”.