February 27, 2012

Thought for the Week

I am so honoured to have been nominated for the BC Career Development Association Program or Organization of the Year Award!  How exciting!  I have really enjoyed adding value to the career development sector through my company Engaged HR and the Career Development Connections initiative is just one way that I do that.

A big thank you to my nominators and to all the people who have reached out to email me with words of support!  Thank you thank you thank you!

I look forward to seeing everyone at the CDC conference next week and presenting on March 6th.  Here are the details of the presentation:

Creating Significance: Leading Teams in the new Employment Program

Implementation of the new employment program is changing the landscape of what career development services look like in each and every organization in BC. As Executive Directors, Program Managers and Team Leaders, you are responsible for leading the way, building engagement in your team throughout the process. That can be hard to do when you are being directed to follow very specific guidelines from the Ministry and when you know that to reach your revenue targets, you have to change the way you serve clients. This session is an opportunity to discuss how to create significance for your teams as they learn the new definitions of what service delivery is going to look like and as they grapple with the way they can interact with their clients. 
If you aren't going to make it to the conference, email or call and connect with me anytime. I am always available for a conversation and to share information!

The weeks have been going by faster than ever and I am busy working with agencies on their processes.  I am always looking for more clients, so please keep me in mind if you have any HR needs!

Thanks to all of you for subscribing and enjoy your week!

February 20, 2012

Thought for the Week

I have to be honest. Today my thoughts are empty. Interesting concept really - is it possible? Is it really possible to not be thinking anything?  No, not really.  :-)
I had the pleasure of attending an E-Women Network event on Friday here in Victoria and a part of the event was some mini-coaching sessions. One thing that resonated with me most was that "self-care and self-discovery are business development strategies".  In other words, taking time to rejuvenate and to stop thinking are all part of running a successful business! 
This is great news!  This means that we need to get up, walk away from the computer, stop worrying about what everyone is wanting from us and just enjoy a Sunday afternoon!  It also means that yup - it is possible to have empty thoughts that feed us for another busy week.  Or at least, that's my story and I am sticking to it!

Enjoy your week!
Big thanks to Lynda Monk of Creative Wellness for these words of wisdom!  Check out her site for wonderful tools and resources on guided mediation and reflective journal writing.

February 13, 2012

Thought for the Week

I am watching the Grammy Awards tonight and am feeling the depth of emotion in that audience about the passing of Whitney Houston. Whitney was someone who, through her music, made a difference in the lives of many but who never seemed to believe she was enough. I am not one to get involved in celebrity gossip however this is striking me as particularly poignant as I am doing some work around the concept of significance. 

Ultimately, significance is something that we all strive for.  It might come from having someone to share Valentine's Day with, or from having a rock star career that changes the world or from being able to provide a single client with quality service each and every day. No matter where it comes from, significance is a vital part of how and why we do our work.
As we head into a new era of service delivery, where finding significance will look different, I encourage everyone to identify your way of feeling significant.  To find the nuggets that make you feel "at your best" and to hold onto those nuggets for planting in the new model. Plant them so that they grow, and nurture you and bring you your feeling of significance.
Because at the heart of it all, we all want to be significant.

Enjoy your week!

February 12, 2012

Family Day - Are you ready?

On February 20th, employees in Alberta, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and others are celebrating the statutory holiday of Family Day.  In BC, we will be implementing a Family Day stat holiday on February 19, 2013.  There are all kinds of rules, i.e. Employment Standards, related to the payment of wages on a statutory holiday.

Family Day offers a wealth of opportunity to implement some creative recognition strategies that go beyond paying wages properly or giving people the day off.  And you don’t have to wait until 2013 to implement these!  A few thoughts came to mind about how an employer could acknowledge those that are really putting in 100% at the potential sacrifice to their families.  

  • Create a Company Family Day – let employees expense a family outing or a “pizza dinner out with the kids night” for a total of $50.  Something that encourages some family time – pizza night, movie night, sporting event.   
  • Mother’s Day is in May – Father’s Day in June.  What can you do to acknowledge everyone in the company who is a mom or a dad?
  • Maybe a message from the Company Owner or President directly to each person to say “thanks for all you do – we appreciate your efforts in balancing work and home”
  • For employees who travel a lot - Do you know if all families have the capacity to skype when their parent is away?  Maybe build into your benefits program the ability to expense a webcam for their home computer (these are dirt cheap at $20 but send a great message).  Also a great message when someone starts in a travelling role – sets the feeling that you are paying attention right from Day One.

  • Set up a monthly or quarterly surprise for the spouse/partner – each month/quarter pick a person who has been travelling a lot and send the spouse flowers or a Gift card to say thanks for the efforts you put in. Or if there is someone who has been away from their kids a lot, maybe a gift card to a toy store – a “take your kid shopping on us” as a thank you. You could do this on an ad hoc basis or make it more formal and again sends a great message.  Making it a surprise is also showing a genuine sense of caring.
  • Do you have an RESP program?  Great way for employees to implement a long term savings programs for kids.
  • Send an email to the spouses of employees reminding them of the great benefits package that you have that includes massage treatments without a referral from a doctor.  Make it a “we appreciate you and the support you give to our employee, your husband “Joe””.  Again, this doesn’t have to be for just those with kids.

Some people might find this stuff cheesy and others will say/think “I love working at {insert the name of your company} because they really care and they get what it means to be a working parent”.  Or “I love working here because they understand that I have a life outside of work – it makes me give 110%”.  This may sound like pretty touchy-feely HR speak but it is proven to work!  And upwards to 38% of employees cite the ability to manage work and life as a predictor of job satisfaction.

Times are changing again and it is things like these that companies are going to have to do more and more to set you apart from the crowd when it comes to recruitment, attraction and retention of staff.  We are through the recession and heading into the labour shortage again.  It’s becoming the dreaded “Employee Market” and things are going to get tougher than they are already are when it comes to finding and keeping good people.  Adding these kinds of small things to your culture will make a difference!  I know it takes work and costs money but so does the cost of not being able to keep the great staff you have.

Now it’s your turn – tell us what you are doing to create a family supported culture!

February 07, 2012

Managing Your Grumpy Days!

Lately, all the managers of the Employment Programs in BC have been on my mind. I have been wondering how you are doing, how you are taking care of yourself and how you have been managing all the extra demands on your time and energy. I know you have current contracts to run and new contracts to get ready for and that there are lots of people wanting something from you these days.  That can’t be easy and that added stress and pressure can make for some grumpy days.

When things are busy it is easy to forget some of the things that keep you and your teams going.  Recently, I re-read one of my favourite books, How Full Is Your Bucket, by Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton.  It is one of my favourites because 1. It is short! and 2. It reminds me just how simple things can be when it comes to taking care of ourselves and our teams.

This book gives 5 easy strategies for building a positive environment despite the conditions you may be facing. I will give a very short highlight of each:

  1. Prevent Bucket Dipping.  Think twice before uttering the negative thought you might be having. Every negative thought spoken dips from our bucket and makes it hard to get the work done.
  2. Shine a Light on What is Right. Focus on the positive rather than dwelling on the negative. This will re-energize and make us more productive.
  3. Make Best Friends.  Be the person that everyone goes to for a kind word. Get to know those around you; listen to them with unconditional positive regard. Be a mentor.
  4. Give Unexpectedly. Unexpected gifts or sharing have the most impact. Have you brought someone a coffee recently or shared some of the fabulous cookies that you made the night before?
  5. Reverse the Golden Rule. Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.  Know your staff and co-workers and what works for them.  This is the time to remember that “bucket filling” is not about what you like, but what they do.
What struck me the most when reading this again was the following quote:

“Everyone has an invisible bucket. We are at our best when our buckets are overflowing – and at our worst when they are empty. Everyone also has an invisible dipper. In each interaction, we can use our dipper either to fill or to dip from others’ buckets. Whenever we choose to fill others’ buckets, we in turn fill our own.” (pg. 25).

In thinking about all this, I stress that this is relevant to everyone in an organization but I think about it when thinking about you as a Manager because it starts with you.  Lead the way and I am sure you will be thrilled with the following you will receive!

What have you done today to fill someone's bucket?