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Via Forbes : Your Ultimate Guide To Keeping Millennial Employees Engaged

Like you, I have read plenty of articles about Millennials in the workplace. But I’ve never actually spoken with a Millennial workplace expert. And that’s why I was especially excited to interview Adam Smiley Poswolsky, author of the book The Quarter Life Breakthrough and consultant to companies interested in attracting, retaining and empowering Millennial talent. I caught up with Adam on our From the Dorm Room to the Board Room podcast, and the following excerpt from that interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Andy Molinsky: You have your finger on the pulse of the Millennial mindset. What are Millennials looking for in jobs?

Adam Smiley Poswolsky: I think young people are scared. They’re nervous. They’re entering a very uncertain world. Many of them are suffering from high student debt and uncertainty. They’re not looking to work somewhere for a very long time and get a pension because that kind of contract has been blown up. They’re much more focused on meaning, social impact, purpose, training and mentorship.

Molinsky: So, does that mean you don’t agree with the stereotype of the unmotivated Millennial?

Poswolsky: I think those stereotypes are completely false. Most young people are very motivated. They’re just expecting certain things to happen quickly, and they want more transparency and authenticity in the workplace. But when a mission aligns with who they are and what they want, and when their values align with their workplace and role, they’re going to show up, work really hard and do a great job.

Molinsky: Do you think Millennials are impatient?

Poswolsky: Well, Millennials are used to getting things immediately, whether it’s an Uber or Lyft, Airbnb, a hotel or a date. And of course that’s not how things happen at work. They can’t just swipe right and say, “I want to be promoted,” or “I think we should change the way our organization does this.” That’s not how things work.

Molinsky: So, as a company then, how can I get it right managing my Millennials?

Poswolsky: Focus a lot on learning, education and development – and not just professional development, but also personal development, whether it’s kind of pairing talent with life coaches, or helping their bosses become better coaches.

Via Inc : Employee Engagement Improves the Most When This Is Delivered

This is why progress is so integral to employee engagement and five ways managers can extend it to employees.

Sixty-six percent of Gen Z say gaming is their main hobby. And recently gaming outpaced cable, more 23-36-year-olds (53 percent) pay for gaming services than who pay for TV (51 percent).

Why is gaming so engaging? It provides a sense of progress.

Gaming elements–like the progress bar/map or the story completion percentage–clearly inform players of where they started, how far they’ve come, and what’s left to accomplish. The improvement of a game character’s skills or gear enhancements also contribute to a gamer’s sense of progress. You don’t get a sense of progress from watching television.

Progress in meaningful work has the strongest impact on employee engagement according to Teresa Amabile, the co-author of The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work.

Conversely, the number one event that diminishes employee engagement is experiencing a feeling of moving backward in the work they are doing, having setbacks. The negative effect of setbacks at work can be 2-3 times greater than the positive effect of progress.

Amabile’s research discovered that it’s the everyday actions of managers (and co-workers) that can make the difference in catalyzing or inhibiting progress. Yet, when Amabile surveyed 600 managers about what has the strongest impact on employee engagement, they ranked “progress” last.

There is a massive chasm between what employees need/want and what managers are delivering.

What can managers do to engage Gen Z employees?

  • Search for progress. “Create a climate of attention, where everyone is looking for opportunities to support one another’s progress and nourish the people who are making it,” recommends Amabile.
  • Break up goals. “Managers should break big goals down into smaller, achievable ones, so they can maximize the sense of progress that workers can experience,” says Amabile.
  • Acknowledge forward movement. Whether it’s accomplishing a small win, overcoming an obstacle, learning a new skill, achieving a breakthrough, or completing a goal, managers should recognize and reflect back to the employee their progress.
  • Meet weekly. Employees are 3.5 times more likely to be engaged at work when given meaningful weekly feedback. Weekly meetings can provide managers with a better pulse on where and when an employee is progressing (or stalling).
  • Create very specific goals. Ambiguity stalls action and inhibits progress. Replace broad goals like, “Complete the project” with specific (and smaller) goals like, “Send a one-page project overview to Landon by this Friday at noon.” If an employee’s goals are clear and specific, it enables them to track and celebrate their own progress which creates a more independent, productive, and engaged worker.

Progress is a key ingredient but it isn’t the full recipe for employee engagement and motivation. In order to sustain employee engagement, managers have to “nourish the human spirit by acknowledging their value and encouraging them when work gets difficult,” says Amabile.

Support people and support their progress.

This isn’t an exotic concept, but it’s too often underestimated and overlooked.

That should end now.

Via Insights News : Staff appraisals – more than a procedure

Making sure employees have a clear path for professional development is an important part of running a successful practice. KAREN CROUCH explains how an effective review can keep staff happy and motivated.

As the financial year draws to a close most organisations will have now completed their annual budgets for the upcoming year, which of course includes remuneration costs. While it may be mathematically straightforward to estimate next year’s costs, remuneration is far more than just a budgetary exercise as it involves a practice’s the most valuable resource – employees.

Assessing remuneration should be based on a thorough review of each member’s performance over a preceding employment period. Additionally, other key benefits that may be derived from a meaningful staff appraisal program include practice owners ensuring the highest quality service to patients, staff members achieving greater job satisfaction, and greater harmony in the workplace.

Staff appraisals are an effective management tool that should yield the following benefits for individuals, the practice and the practice owner.

Relationship Building: A vital opportunity for face-to-face, personal discussion, strengthening the bond between employers and staff members. By seeking staff feedback on practice operations through 360 degree reviews, it signals the employer’s respect for opinions from all staff;

Performance Management: Provides the opportunity to say ‘well done’ and ‘thank you’ for good work while allowing for frank, constructive discussion to improve performance in areas where a staff member is less effective; and

Personal Development: Expresses sincere employer interest in employees’ personal career development, possibly even extending beyond just job performance.

The program

It is timely to consider the entire staff appraisal program so it is not treated as any other routine exercise.

In larger practices it may be a time-consuming exercise that needs to be completed without the interference of day-to-day patient care and practice operations. Consequently, a meaningful starting point should be an organisation chart clearly indicating the person to whom each employee is directly accountable. In some cases, such as the practice manager, the number of appraisals could be onerous and may require sharing with other senior staff who also have direct dealings with the employee.

A pre-printed staff appraisal form should be available to assessors and staff so there is advance notice of the subject areas that will be addressed. Ideally, it should also contain the expressed mission and values of the practice to which employees are expected to live up to.

Effective appraisal programs should be:

  • Continuous and consistently undertaken
  • Positive and interactive
  • A comparison of actual performance to set targets and objectives
  • Relative to practice personnel policies
  • An opportunity to motivate staff
  • Identify relevant training needs
  • Welcome feedback from staff.

An appraisal program should also touch on personal attributes or areas of group involvement, such as:

  • Quality and quantity of work – efficiency
  • Assigned responsibilities and initiative displayed – performance
  • Whether supervision is frequently required – self motivation
  • Attitudes to practice, staff and fit with internal culture – business values
  • Attendance and punctuality – reliability
  • Communication and interpersonal skills – teamwork.

Time frames

Staff Appraisals should be geared to address two separate time periods:

  • Performance Review (past 6-12 months): Assessment of quality and quantity of work performed during preceding months, affording staff an opportunity to assess their own performances and provide feedback on practice operations or personnel generally;
  • Development Review (upcoming 6-12 months): Jointly agreed upon plan for development of each employee aimed at improving career opportunities and personal contribution to the practice. The agreed development plan, including targets and objectives for upcoming 12 months, should form the basis of the following year’s performance review.

While a full-blown assessment may be inappropriate for recently employed staff their performance must be maintained at satisfactory levels. Depending on their length of service, an interim assessment may be considered.

A regular staff appraisal program can improve quality and quantity of work. It can also lift practice standards and image.

Staff appraisals are linked to productivity, time management and professional development through formal education and training, which subsequently provides career opportunities and greater staff satisfaction.

Via Inc : This Might Be The Real Reason Millennial Workers Seem Entitled

Student debt is contributing to the impression that Millennials act entitled. Here’s how to turn their pressure to earn into a pressure to learn.

When you’re a fresh college graduate, you need to find the right employer and become good at interviewing. But above all, you’re concerned with negotiating your first salary because, for many students, college debt is the first material debt we usually take on.

Recently I was heartened to hear of the story of Robert Smith, a billionaire businessman who made the decision to give the entire 2019 graduate class of Morehouse College an incredible gift: repaying all of their student loans.

As I read the story, a few numbers stuck out that weren’t surprising, but still shocking to see: A graduating class of just 400 students owed a whopping $40 million in school loans. That an average $100,000 per student, with students who likely owe much less or more. This astronomical number got me thinking.

For some reason, we haven’t given Millennials the right to factor in their financial situation when managing their career.

I remember when I graduated from college that my final student loan tally came to about $22,000, which was much higher than the 1999 average of just over $15,000. Despite my higher than average debt, taking on $100,000 in student debt was typically only something aspiring doctors did.

So when you combine today’s Millennial being indebted an average of over $37,000 (nearly 150 percent more than my college years), the Great Recession hitting right when Millennials entered the workforce, and the fact that all this century’s wage gains have been wiped out by inflation, it becomes clear that Millennials are entering the workforce with a much higher school debt-to-income ratio. The school loan payments of today are the mortgage payments of yesterday.

When I started my first company, a recruiting software startup, I was employing many Millennial-aged workers, and like other managers and employers, I felt they were asking about promotions and salary increases far too soon and too often. Media stories about the entitled Millennial generation reinforced the stereotype.

This entitled attitude is no doubt true sometimes, but I think we need to have more empathy when examining the economics that Millennials face today, and how that impacts their feelings about upward mobility.

These awkward conversations with thirty-something employees are not going away, so here’s a few strategies you should employ in order to turn Millennial ambition into both employee and employer success.

1. Try to have a candid conversation about salary.

Like most people, Millennials equate better titles with better salaries, so they clumsily engage their employer and managers about the timing and logistics of promotion. Millennials are new at negotiating bumps to their salary or title, so they’re probably going to approach it in a way that seems out of place.

Before you call your Millennial employee a spoiled brat, first try asking them to be candid if they are more concerned about a bigger title or bigger income. If their desire for promotion has mostly to do with improving their salary, you’ll feel relieved they aren’t simply acting entitled, but rather eager to get help mapping professional growth to financial gain.

2. Create salary bands for your roles.

When a company simply gives you a salary and title, you have no idea what getting a raise looks like, so many Millennials automatically gravitate to title promotions. Ambitious Millennial employees will want to know what triggers the next salary bump. To make sure employees don’t only equate better salaries with bigger titles, your company should create two to three salary bands for every position.

Each band should come with a clear description of expected experience, tenure, and performance. You can leverage these bands to create incentives for the Millennial to achieve certain milestones or performance without getting into job promotion until it’s truly warranted. Each band provides a guidepost for your Millennial earning that next few hundred dollars per month while staying in the same job.

3. Create a roadmap for the employee promotion.

Using a spreadsheet or employee engagement software, define the employee’s next desired position, outlining the skills and responsibilities required of that role. Commit to coaching the employee on the skills and measuring skill attainment proactively.

Ideally, you should continue to assign responsibilities from the new role to your employee, adding to their skills set gradually. This model ensures they feel tangible efforts towards helping their career move forward, while keeping the conversation about promotion honest and tied to performance.

Millennials are now the majority of the U.S. workforce, so now is the time to stop looking at them as spoiled and entitled, and start seeing them as a generation of workers deeper in debt and in need of your guidance as to how they can accelerate their careers and earn more money. If you create a culture where Millennials are only as patient as their performance gains, everyone wins.

Via The Spark : 10 Tech Products Enabling Growth For SMEs

Look around and you’ll find that no business is an island in itself. In today’s digital world, the beauty of entrepreneurship is established in the manner by which businesses build products that mostly work interdependently or are stacked on top of one another in a cascade-like fashion.

Simply put, regardless of what you’re building, it’s inevitable that you’ll have to rely on existing products to pull through.

Fortunately, there has never been a better time to build a business than now. Not only has the surge of venture capital firms and angel networks made for easier access to capital, it has also helped encourage the widespread entrepreneurial bug which has in turn spoiled us with high-end technology that serves as infrastructure for building and running businesses.

In this article, I’ll touch on 10 tech products enabling growth for SMEs.

1. KOBO 360

Assume that you’re building an internet product in which you’ll require customers to pay for goods and services. The chances are high that you won’t need to build your own payment infrastructure from the ground up, as there are already a number of third-party payment gateways to help with this. What these gateways do for payments is what Kobo360 does for logistics.

Kobo360 is a Nigerian startup that helps businesses with logistics infrastructure. This provision encourages such businesses to focus more on strengthening their own unique value propositions. The separation of concerns makes a lot of sense in a continent that’s known to grapple with logistics challenges.

Kobo360 (the product) is used by over 1500 businesses and has started expanding across Africa, after the business garnered $1.2 million pre-seed funding. Not only is the product growing in popularity, but it has also helped to show how focusing on and improving an aspect of a value chain can cause disruption.

2. ZOOM

Zoom is currently a glaring example of a disruptive product. Even though the idea behind it is, on the surface, anything but novel, it is in fact, preceded by (and currently competing with) a number of video chat and conferencing products like itself.

From the perspective of users however, Zoom has become the holy grail of video communication because of its resilience under pressure.

It is reported that the product doesn’t lag with increased usage and is probably the best of its kind – a “feat” which Zoom’s executives owe to the company’s penchant for placing users first and their initial aim to build the best product in the market.

Zoom is seamlessly helping business people in Nigeria to communicate more effectively. With Zoom, entrepreneurs need not worry about challenges in remotely communicating with investors or employees, all at once.

3. TRELLO

Trello has become a household name among not just project managers but also business owners in general. A cutting-edge project management software, it is known to afford teams the opportunity to create and maintain an orderly workflow.

Noteworthy is the fact that Trello allows people to separate concerns using “Boards” and to track task progression within a period of time. It also comes in handy in enhancing communication between teams.

Using one of its components called “Cards,” managers can create tasks and assign them to individual team members while also setting deadlines, listing requirements and other relevant information.

4. GIGA LAYER

Giga Layer prides itself as a hosting provider for Africa. Although not the first of its kind, it has been able to attract good press from some big names and has under its belt, an enviable user base comprising over 6,000 business spanning Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, South-Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.

Among other things, Giga Layer provides and registers local domain names, such as .ng for Nigerian business as well as other generic ones.

5. RAVE

When I started freelancing, I would usually pull out my hair in frustration because receiving payments from foreign clients was always difficult, to put it mildly.

Most foreign businesses that I worked with were not flexible with their choice of methods for making payments. There was also a scarcity of reliable payment gateways, while those that worked required lengthy processes to set up.

The obvious difficulty in receiving payments from overseas faced by residents of Africa prompted the establishment of Flutterwave, a financial technology startup which has Rave as its flagship product.

Rave is such a simple payment gateway that it’s quite easy to take its whole set-up for granted. All business owners have to do is create an account on Rave and, to receive money, provide their clients with a link to their account. Dead simple. Overtime, the company has helped process over $20 million transactions.

6. PAYSTACK

Paystack is currently one of the poster children of startup success in the Nigerian fintech industry. It is known for providing small and medium sized businesses a gateway to receive payments on various digital platforms.

With integrations on popular systems like WordPress, the company has paved way for the ubiquity of its product and has left people less concerned about creating their own payment infrastructure from scratch.

The product has tremendously grown over the years, and it currently boasts of over 10,000 subscribers.

7. HOOTSUITE

In today’s digital age, your success as a business could be determined by how well you’re able to leverage social media. Let’s face it: everyone is on social media and not considering the social networks as veritable distribution channels will be tantamount to leaving lots of money on the table.

Managing a business’s online process across various existing social networks is no easy undertaking, however. And this is where Hootsuite comes in.

As a platform, Hootsuite facilitates social media management through various means, but most importantly, by ensuring that all major social networks can be accessed on it.

That is, as a user, you can access multiple accounts and profiles across the major social networks on Hootsuite. Entrepreneurs and social media marketers have found this tool extremely useful for their purpose.

8. WAVE APPS

Rather than a piece of software, Wave Apps is a suite of products that border on financial management. Through this suite, business owners are spoiled with features to aid invoicing, accounting and generation of receipts.

It is yet another example of how well technology saves businesses time that they’d have otherwise geared towards carrying out mundane tasks.

9. CALENDLY.

Calendly is gradually becoming prime real estate for extremely busy business owners who need to manage appointments in a saner way.

It effectively organizes the process of scheduling appointments; as a user, you’re free to make your own terms on the time and days you’ll be available, and people who wish to book an appointment would have to choose a time that’s in accordance with your convenience. Calendly also helps with sending reminders when the time for appointments is almost due.

10. FIGMA

Figma emerged to disrupt the way product design is done. A primarily web-based design software created for User Interface and User Experience Designers, it has proven to be the most accessible of its kind.

Again, it is primarily web-based, so users do not require to install a desktop application to get started with using it. Today, Figma is used by most product designers in Nigeria and enjoys enviable word-of-mouth marketing from its users.

CONCLUSION

Businesses are currently graced with a plethora of products and technology to help in carrying out their daily operations. These products make life generally easier by ensuring that businesses have enough more energy to expend on building products and features that make them stand out from their competition.

This article listed 10 products that are anything but alien to the Nigerian startup ecosystem in particular. Not only are these products highly functional, but they are also easily accessible. Therefore, as an entrepreneur, be on the lookout for tools that are relevant to your business and then deploy them.

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