Open post Shows a remote-work setup with laptop open, plant, and lamp. Text: Communication with Remote and Hybrid Teams - The 3 C's

Communication With Remote and Hybrid Teams – The 3 C’s

Shows a remote-work setup with laptop open, plant, and lamp. Text: Communication with Remote and Hybrid Teams - The 3 C's

As discussed at the most recent QASIG event, the importance of effective communication in distributed environments cannot be stressed enough. Being able to communicate effectively with your team is essential to the team's success. And in a remote or hybrid environment — with asynchronous schedules and numerous channels for communication — it’s more important than ever to make sure that everyone is on the same page. The best way to ensure strong communication is to be clear, concise, and consistent.

Aim for Clarity

When you’re communicating virtually, it’s important that you take extra care to make sure that your point comes across effectively. You obviously know what you’re trying to say. This can make it easy to forget that whoever you’re communicating with is coming in with a completely different understanding than you. Before you send a message, you should take a moment to make sure that what you’re saying is clear. It is also important to decide how best to communicate with each member of your team. The best method might change depending on the situation or person. Depending on the task, it may be more efficient to explain it over a phone call or video call than in an email. Sometimes it might be necessary to provide examples of what you are looking for to get your message across.

Keep it Concise

Sometimes with communication, less is more. This does not mean you should check in less frequently with your team members, just that you should not overload them with unnecessary information. Keep your messages simple by taking out filler words and using familiar language. Being intentional about your formatting can also help to keep messages concise. You can make use of bolding, bullet points, and headings to highlight vital information. These tools will minimize the points that get lost in translation.

Be Consistent

When it comes to communication, consistency is key. You’ll first need to establish which tools your team will use for communication, such as email, video conferencing software, or chat platforms. Make sure to communicate on a regular basis. It's also a good idea to discuss communication strategies regularly with your whole team to make sure everyone is up-to-speed. You may want to make a set communication schedule, depending on your specific situation or deadlines. It’s also important to consider timing. With some working asynchronously, you will need to acknowledge everyone’s availability. Your team may not all be online at the same time. But finding times to check in with your team members is vital for team cohesion and growth.

The importance of, not only maintaining business relationships but fostering them cannot be stressed enough. The same is true of any relationship. Investing in a relationship of any sort requires intention, effort, and time, but it is exactly that – an investment. Building a symbiotic community takes time, but by communicating effectively with the tips above, you will be well on your way to fostering the relationships in your communities, work-related or personal.

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Open post Employee Motivations - Why They Matter

Employee Motivations – Why They Matter

3 Things You Must Start Doing When You Become a Team Leader

Employee Motivations and Why They Matter

Reports show that only  35% of the US workforce feel engaged in their work. It is time to give some much-needed attention to employees' motivations. Unfortunately, this does not usually get the attention it requires until it is too late. Gallop has estimated the productivity lost from disengaged employees costs companies between $960 billion to $1.2 trillion per year. Unmotivated employees can have a debilitating effect on your bottom line.


Conversely, highly motivated teams increase business profitability by 23%. As such, it seems clear which type of team you would want to foster. Easier said than done. What motivates one person will not interest another, and vice versa. There is no universal answer to an employee's motivations; in fact, quite the opposite.

What Employee Motivation Looks Like

Motivated employees are incredibly involved, always up for a challenge, and take on projects. Their enthusiasm is infectious. They are excited about their work and offer ideas to improve processes and innovate. These employees drive the company forward, and are the lifeblood of a growing company.

Most people start out this way, with a new company or in a new position. They are excited for the possibilities the role offers and looking forward to the challenges, as well as, the for the future successes. This is especially true when they're part of a dedicated team that provides autonomy and support. In this environment, vested employees are encouraged to grow into new roles. And they are given the support and tools needed to develop professionally.

This is ideal. If these feelings of connection and purpose aren't fostered, and even more detrimentally, if the position lacks the autonomy needed or they see no path forward, their enthusiasm will begin to lessen - losing their motivation.

What It Doesn't

You should recognize if an employee's motivation has been lost. Unmotivated employees are psychologically unattached to the company and their work. They show up and do the work asked of them, but lack the energy and interest they once displayed. These employees will only perform the tasks that are requested, innovations or extra efforts are discarded as the job has become merely a means to an end. They have stopped offering suggestions, and seem to prefer being being told exactly what to do.

Although it may feel challenging to determine how to rectify this situation, in most cases approaching your unmotivated employee with sincere interest and compassion is enough to turn things around. If you miss the unmotivated stage, and things continue, you may find yourself with an actively disengaged employee. The actively disengaged employee has surpassed unhappiness and has turn resentful because they feel their needs are not met.

They are usually very vocal, not missing an opportunity to point out problems, or issues, but offer no solution. Their despair is obvious and can deeply affect other cohorts. Once this stage of unhappiness is reached, it would prove very challenging for management to correct this without a systemic and holistic approach.

People Crave Purpose

There have been some pretty significant changes in the workforce this year. 1 in 4 people have left their jobs, and there seems to be no sign of slowing. People are redefining their priorities regarding where they are spending most of their time and with whom. We've discussed in the past what matters most to employees in 2021, with autonomy, engagement with social issues, and an emphasis on wellbeing as the most important aspects of interest.

Ultimately, employees want to feel that their work is purposeful and that it has meaning. It must mean something to someone. This is what drives employee engagement, and when coupled with a manager who can coach an employee to their next step, the result is an invested employee.

Keep in mind that the manager alone accounts for 70% of the variance in team engagement. The one bad apple theory can absolutely be applied here. A manager incapable of fostering purpose or being unable to connect with the employees in a meaningful way can have a detrimental effect on the team.

It is a recipe for disaster when leadership fails to convey vision and inspiration to their team and instead leads with command and control. For the majority of employees (93%), it's essential to have trust in their direct boss to feel satisfied at work. So much so that more than half would decline a 10% raise to remain with a great boss because it is worth it – personally and professionally.

The Benefits of Motivated Employees

The benefits that result from having motivated employees are endless. But the most important ones to note are that motivated employees show up, are happy to be there, and stay. Absenteeism is decreased by 41% when employees are motivated, and 87% are less likely to resign.

Considering the cost of replacing an employee, which can equate to one-half to two-times the employee's salary, and the knowledge-base that is lost to the company, it could be argued the cost is immeasurable. Companies with motivated employees experience an increase of 38%  in productivity, generating up to 27% higher revenues. The numbers speak for themselves. It will only benefit a company to invest in and foster their employee's motivations – leaving it to chance can have devastating results.

What Can You Do?

This can feel overwhelming, the responsibility for the contentment of others will always feel like an impossible task, but it doesn't have to be. The easiest way to determine an employee's actual motivational status is through watching and listening. Do you have a stellar employee who isn't quite as enthusiastic as they once were or has gone quiet? It would behoove you to check in to determine the cause and develop a plan to mitigate any damage.

If damage has been done, don't worry – it is not too late, 52% of employees giving their notice express their manager or company could have extended efforts which could have prevented them from leaving. You may not believe that just paying attention could have a significant effect, but consider that employees who feel heard are 4.6 times more likely to perform at their best.

Employees feel empowered when they can speak freely about their successes and struggles. It also helps to build the trust that was discussed earlier and proves infinitely essential. As within any other aspect of life, people crave to be seen and heard – the work sphere is no different. Empowering your employees with your trust will give them the confidence to do their jobs amazingly – and you will win their trust and respect in return.

Employee Motivations: Why They Matter - Infographic

Open post A collection of matches lined up in rows, with one of them burnt out. Text: How to Avoid Mid-Career Burnout

How to Deal With Mid-Career Burnout

How to Avoid Mid-career Burnout_cover

Career burnout is a genuine phenomenon, with nearly two-thirds of full-time workers having experienced it at one time or another. Rates of burnout are particularly high when people are in the middle of their careers.

Professionals who were once energized by their jobs can start to feel drained and diminished by them. You deserve to have a career that inspires you, challenges you, is meaningful, and aligns with your values, but doesn’t take more from you than it gives back.

So, what measures can you take to avoid mid-career burnout?

Make sure your job serves you well

Choosing a position that will allow you to achieve your desired lifestyle is an incredibly important proactive action that will help you avoid mid-career burnout. Check-in with yourself:

  • What is essential for you in a job or career long-term?
  • What kinds of stressors you can handle and not handle?
  • What volume of work are you willing to take on?

Look for work that excites you and that you find meaningful. Also, consider how much autonomy a position will offer you. When researching, look for employers that are taking actions to increase employee satisfaction.


What burnout looks like

It’s normal to feel tired or overwhelmed from time to time, but if these states are dominating your life, it may mean that you’re reaching your limit. Burnout looks slightly different for everyone.

Burnt-out individuals may become apathetic about the outcomes of their work and have trouble focusing. They may feel constantly stressed, fatigued, or uncharacteristically bothered by small annoyances. They might notice that their performance is slipping.

If you notice some of these signs in yourself, it might be time to take action.


How to Avoid Mid-career Burnout

What can you do about it?

Be mindful of how you spend your free time

The activities you do outside of work have the power to either exacerbate or appease burnout. Some unhealthy habits may actually be contributing to your burnout more than you realize.

For example, you might think that mindlessly scrolling through social media is helping you decompress, when it’s actually eating up more time than you’re aware of and worsening your anxiety.

Spending time exercising, learning a new hobby, or with friends and family can be very rewarding and beneficial for your mental state.

That being said, it’s your time, and you can spend it, however, the heck you want to! Do what brings you the most delight and fulfillment. Regardless of which activities you prefer it’s critical that you’re active, rather than passive, in deciding what to do with your time.

Set boundaries

While it’s admirable to be responsible and to go above and beyond at your job, it’s important to notice when you may be taking on more than you can handle.  Being available for work 24/7 is very taxing, and if you take on too much it’s only a matter of time before your performance and your mental health start to suffer.

If you were the last person to take the lead on the last three projects, and you’re feeling exhausted, maybe it’s time to let someone else take charge this time. You may wish to have a conversation with your employer or your co-workers to clarify when they can expect you to be online, and when you are on your own time.

Ask for support

Mid-career burnout can be extremely frustrating and upsetting but know that you are not stuck and you don’t have to go through it alone.

Talk to a therapist, or ask for advice from friends who may have had similar experiences. It may also be helpful to express your feelings to your boss and explore ways that you can be challenged or supported in your position.

After all, employee dissatisfaction is not only harmful to the employee, but to the company as well. It is in everyone’s best interest that they hear out your concerns and help you make the changes that you need to.

Add joy to your workday

Whether it’s listening to your favorite playlist while you work, treating yourself to a delicious lunch, or focusing on the parts of your job that you find the most enjoyable, a little joy can go a long way in combatting burnout.

Consider a job change

If you’ve done everything you can and you still feel deeply unsatisfied with your current position, consider your options, and what it might look like to change jobs, or even shift your career direction.

If you decide that changing paths is what’s best, get specific about what you like and dislike about your current job. Use your findings to propel your job search and find a position that better aligns with your goals, strengths, and values.


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Open post Image for Upskilling and Reskilling Article, image of library

Upskilling and Reskilling: The Secret to Staying Ahead of the Competition in Hiring and Brand Reputation

Image for Upskilling and Reskilling Article, image of library

More than half – 56 percent – of organizations believe they have a moderate to severe skills gap today, and 60 percent of employees believe that, to some extent, their current skill set will become outdated in the next three to five years. A commitment to Upskilling and Reskilling employees is quickly becoming the best path to overcoming skills gaps.

What is Upskilling and Reskilling?

Upskilling is learning new skills to optimize performance. Organizations upskill their employees to help them gain new skills and experience to stay relevant or move into a higher position. Whereas reskilling helps employees learn new skills to take up a new role within the same organization. Reskilling is more focused on training employees for a new position.

Benefits of Upskilling or Reskilling

Stay Competitive and Improve Employee Retention

Employees want learning and development opportunities to help them stay relevant in their role as well as position them for advancement. Providing a pathway for skills development motivates employees. Making them feel valued and supported, increasing their likelihood to stay with your organization long term. Upskilling and reskilling team members also helps keep companies competitive and shows that they are motivated to invest in the professional development of their employees.

Improve Morale and Productivity

Training and development opportunities help employees move forward on their career path and helps them envision their future with the organization, improving morale. Across teams, efficiency and productivity is improved, paving the way for increased satisfaction and strengthening your company’s competitive edge.

Attracts Great Talent

As word of your commitment to upskilling and reskilling spreads, your reputation in the eyes of your employees and the wider talent market improves. 91% of the millennials indicated that they preferred career development to any other benefit when choosing to join a company. By offering the right mix of upskill and reskill opportunities, employees who are motivated to keep learning and growing are motivated to stay and great talent with a similar mindset is encouraged to join.

Reduces Hiring Costs

Hiring is costly, from one-half to two times the employee’s annual salary. A measurable advantage of upskilling and reskilling is that it reduces hiring efforts to search for a specialist in a field. It is a much smaller investment compared to the cost of the recruitment process for hiring a new employee.

Upskilling and reskilling can help your company secure the right people with the right skills that you need to compete today while providing flexibility to arm team members with the necessary skills needed in the future. This attention reduces the need to look outside for talent with specific skillsets, saving time and hiring costs and allows for continuity among team members when it comes to proprietary company knowledge that would have otherwise walked right out the door.

How to Upskill and Reskill Employees?

Online Courses/Webinars

Remote learning is the most popular way to upskill and reskill during the current times when most employees are working from home. Online courses can be free or paid, and most of them provide a certificate at the end of the course. Investing in online classes allows you to upskill employees regardless of their location and time zone.

Classroom Training

Organizations can also upskill employees in a traditional classroom setting. They can hire trainers or institutes to share ideas and teach new skills and software to their employees. However, with the project deadlines, work commitments, and remote working, it becomes less feasible to attend scheduled training on the allocated day, time, and location.


Mentorship programs within the organization are another great way to upskill employees. Subject matter experts (SMEs) from different areas can pair with employees to share new skills. This helps companies to leverage their existing talent to meet future requirements. Mentorship programs come in various forms and can be customized based on the upskilling or reskilling needs.

Pioneer companies are aware of the changing technological demands of the workplace. Last year, Amazon announced it would be dedicating $700 million to provide 100,000 employees access to upskilling training programs. In comparison, salesforce pledged to train 500,000 Americans with the skills they need to earn Salesforce credentials. Analyzing what skills are missing across the organization and upskilling or reskilling employees based on those skills will help create a growth-focused culture and continuous learning.


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Open post New Year New Career

What to Consider When Considering a New Career in the New Year

New Year New Career

New year, new resolutions, should a career change be one?

New Year’s is that time when we reflect on who we have been, who we want to be, and what we can do to move a little bit closer to our ideal self. It’s time for self-realization and assessment of where we are professionally and personally.

For most heading into the New Year, there is generally more of an open-mindedness towards keeping career options open, or at least networking to gain an understanding of the current job market and one’s value within it. What fewer people seem to do is to deeply consider what it is that they both like and dislike about their current role. This is important because without a solid and fundamental understanding of where we are in relation to where we want to be, and without getting in contact with those basic human elements that are responsible for our motivations, we are bound to repeat our same patterns, even if they are not optimal.

In this New Year, ask yourself why you have stayed where you are for so long, what would you change about your current situation, and why it is that you are considering change other than the arbitrary start of a new calendar year? Hopefully, you will arrive at the conclusion that you have stayed in your current role for good reason. While there is a time to consider a career change, don’t do so expecting an impossible perfection from a future role when your current one is great. On the other hand, don’t fall into the trap of convincing yourself that your mediocre role is great without seeking answers to hard questions.

For a start, consider some basics: do you have the title that you want, is there a path in your current company towards that title if you don’t have it, what is the timeline to get there? Are you even title sensitive? Is your company as flat or as structured as you would like it to be? Is your company culture one that is strong, one that you have an affinity for, and one that is inclusive?

Is your company hiring people that are easy to work with? Do you have the freedom and autonomy that you would prefer to have? Are you comfortable that the impact you are making is substantial enough? Are you providing products or services that bring you immense pride? Are the products cutting edge enough for you? Is there a stability that you are experiencing that is difficult to sacrifice even if the perfect opportunity presented itself? There is a whole myriad of concrete and common reasons behind strong positive or negative feelings towards your current role, or even the ennui that paralyzes you into quasi-satisfaction.

If your recruiting consultant is a good recruiting consultant, they should be able to direct you. They should not hesitate to listen and tell you when you actually are in a good situation, and they should be aggressive enough to help you find a step closer to towards an ideal change should your current situation not be satisfactory. If you aren’t asked basic motivational questions, you risk a fate of being in a role where you are unaware of whether or not it is the best fit for you at best, and you risk moving to a situation that is ultimately less satisfactory at worst.

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