Do You Know: Is It Better to Use Pizza or Praise to Motivate Employees?

Many employers struggle with how to motivate employees. We have heard them argue they cannot afford the cost of motivation programs. The truth is, motivation does not require significant expense.

Dr. W. Edwards Deming, the founder of the Total Quality movement, argued monetary awards did not produce lasting employee motivation. Although many people disagreed with him, Deming believed once employees are making a living wage, money does not produce an improvement in employee performance or productivity. It can even become a demotivator if employees do not believe bonuses are awarded fairly or if they begin to look at them as an entitlement.

Financial incentives are often the choice employers make since they are the easiest to implement and require the least creativity. As numerous studies have shown, they are not as effective as other lower cost options.

A recent study reported by New York Magazine examined an Israeli semiconductor manufacturer and its motivation program. Employees were divided into four groups, and on a Monday morning, employees in three of the groups were promised a reward if they met their goals for that day.  One group was told they would get a cash bonus of about $30, while another would get a voucher for a free pizza. The third group was told their boss would compliment them with a text message that said “Well done!” for good performance. The fourth group was a control group, so they did not receive a message or the promise of a reward.

Which of these options would motivate you? Which would provide the least effect on you?

After the first day, the results were

Motivation                  Increase in Productivity (Compared to the control group)
Pizza                                         6.7%
Compliment                           6.6%
Cash Bonus                             4.9%

After one day, money was the worst motivator. The compliment was barely edged out by the pizza.

Are you surprised? So was the employer, but not as much as they were as the experiment continued. After the second day, the group receiving the cash bonus performed 13.2% worse than the control group. Through the entire week, while the differences narrowed, the cash bonuses resulted in a 6.5% drop in productivity. Not only were cash incentives the most expensive option, their outcome was worse than offering no incentive.

While the final numbers for the groups receiving compliments and the pizza declined by the end of the week, they still out performed the control group. This means they were better motivators than doing nothing.

Which technique produced the greatest improvement? Compliments proved to be the best motivator. This outcome should not be surprising, as these results echo those reported by Janice Kaplan in her book The Gratitude Diaries. Her study of 2,000 Americans showed:

  • 81 percent of respondents said that they’d be willing to work harder for an appreciative boss.
  • 70 percent said they’d feel better about themselves and their efforts if their boss thanked them more regularly.
  • Only 10 percent of survey respondents said that they regularly showed their colleagues gratitude.

Wharton Management professor Adam Grant explained in The Wall Street Journal,  “Extrinsic motivators can stop having much meaning — your raise in pay feels like your just due, your bonus gets spent, your new title doesn’t sound so important once you have it. But the sense that other people appreciate what you do sticks with you.”

How often are compliments given in your workplace? How often do you recognize the work of others? These results show the least expensive form of employee motivation is the most effective.

It turns out Deming was right after all. We hope you will heed his advice and the results of these studies to improve your employee motivation.

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What Needs To Happen For Employee Engagement To Be Successful Part 2?

A couple of weeks ago we started blogging about mistakes to be aware of when starting an employee engagement process.   This blog is a second in the series on the same topic.

In our first blog, we cited a few examples of some mistakes that had occurred in organizations such as Kimberly Clark.  This week we continue with another example from KC.

If you recall from before, some members of the executive staff decided the lack of innovation that was occurring at Kimberly Clark was a major problem and it was because of them.  Not everyone was in agreement and were angry and did not have buy-in when a consultant was called in and proclaimed the problem was with the executive staff.  This developed into a major culture shift for the entire organization.

When you read articles about leaders telling about their stories on their organizational improvements in culture changes, you really have to read between the lines.  There can be lots of  “red flags” lurking in the stories that identify mistakes and the stories about Kimberly Clark’s culture change is no different.

We’re going to focus on an area that is at the heart of any employee engagement process.  It’s the reason why organizations need to do employee engagement.   Some organizations, such as Kimberly Clark,  make the mistake of not including problem solving with employee engagement.  They don’t see the benefit of including employees to address issues impacting the organization.

The “red flag” in the KC scenario is not everybody was in agreement with the problem.  That mistake was a lost opportunity to utilize the talents of employees to identify what everybody saw were problems occurring within the organization.   Each employee, no matter if they are senior executives or those on the shop floor have their own perspective as to what is going on.  Each has a different idea to provide based on their experiences, their abilities and so on.  By actually doing some real problem solving, it may have brought everybody together on what the actual problem was.  In the KC scenario, if everyone would have been involved in identifying what the real problem was, it probably would have created better buy-in.

This isn’t just about discussing  what we think is the problem but actually doing some problem solving.  Getting some information.  Getting some data. Utilizing some problem solving tools such as flow charting, control charts, and cause and effect diagrams.   That also takes time and some organizations don’t want to spend time identifying what the actual problem is.  They instead end up spending a great deal of time, and probably money, cleaning up from what they thought was the problem.

What can be better than to utilize the intelligence and  ideas of all employees! Think how many new and different ideas there would be when real employee engagement  occurs.  Not only that, when employees are actually involved  in helping to make some decisions for the workplace, their productivity improves because they feel like they’re part of the workplace which may help to improve market shares.  With those new and different ideas from involving employees, innovation  may also gain.

Instead of guessing the problem is the executive staff in the KC article,  some time should have been spent in gathering data and information to prove it.  The lack of innovation maybe wasn’t the problem.   In the Wall Street Journal article on MSN it said the CEO in 2008 was concerned about K-C’s market share.  There were lots of issues looming around the Great Recession in 2008.  Maybe the market share problem wasn’t the problem.  Maybe it was more about the recession.  Maybe everyone needed to look at  multiple solutions to resolve it.

On PBS Newshour Sept. 15, 2016, one of the segments talked about what employers want from new college graduates.  Two of the items were problem solving skills and critical thinking skills.  Now, if employers are wanting those skills doesn’t it make sense to actually do it to set the example?

What a shame real employee engagement was not used at Kimberly Clark as it should have been.  Without actually taking the time to determine what the actual problem was, a  lot of people were labeled failures and the time they put into a job they may have enjoyed wasn’t valued.  They were the “dead wood” at Kimberly Clark.  That is an even bigger mistake than not utilizing problem solving in employee engagement.

We’re not done with mistakes made when implementing employee engagement.  We’re also not done with the story on Kimberly Clark.  There’s stil more “red flags” to blog about on employee engagement mistakes.

To be fair, Kimberly-Clark , in its sustainability reports of the last two years does not mention employee engagement occurring in their organization.  Employee engagement was mentioned though while they were implementing their culture change.

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CALMC Golf Outing Recap

On September 9, we held our annual CALMC Golf Outing. The largest number of teams in years enjoyed a day of golf, fellowship, and networking at the Links at Groveport.

2016-golf-227You can see some of the photos of the outing on our Facebook page. What made the day great was the participation of our members and guests, with representatives from area unions, managers, and neutrals from both the public and private sector.2016-golf-35

Congratulations to our victors, the team from the Ohio Association of Public School Employees, who reclaimed the championship. We also want to congratulate the winners of skill holes and other prizes.

Our thanks also go out to our hole sponsors who help make the event possible. Their continued support is valuable to us at CALMC.

 Central Ohio Labor Council, AFL-CIO

Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council

National Association of Electrical Contractors, Central Ohio Chapter

IBEW, Local 683

OCSEA/AFSCME Local 11

Plumbers and Pipefitters, Local 189

PERU, Local 5

United Steelworkers – District 1

United Way of Central Ohio

RDP Sports

Mark your calendars for the outing next year, September 8, 2017, at the Links at Groveport. We hope you can join us.

2016-golf-1142016-golf-203

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What Needs To Happen For Employee Engagement To Be Successful?

There are some really great stories out there about successful employee engagement practices at workplaces.  Employees focus on innovative ideas that help make improvements and save money for organizations so they remain competitive.  There are also organizations who have problems starting an  employee engagement process and either don’t understand why or say they are but really are not.

So if you’re a manager and sincerely interested in starting an employee engagement process what do you need to do to make it a success?  There are some specific aspects that can help and we’re going to blog about them starting with this blog.  Other items will be identified in future blogs.  We also have some specific examples that will help to identify what to do and what not to do.

The most important fundamental aspect that is required for employee engagement or any change process there is commitment and buy-in at the top so the process will be supported.   First, of course, is to meet with the CEO, unless that person has already declared support, and then the rest of the executive staff.  Executives may need to understand how employee engagement will benefit them but it will also be important to identify potential problems that could occur.  It’s a good idea to anticipate some of the questions they will have.  In other words, maybe some FAQs need to be prepared.  Having that buy-in or commitment will also help with the skepticism that may be out there especially if the organization tried other processes in the past and gave them up.  If you don’t have the buy-in and support, don’t start it because the process won’t work and it could cause problems if you try it again in the future or it could harm any other change process in the future.  The following two examples are what can happen when there is no commitment.

This first example is one we experienced that pertains to this issue was with a labor-management committee we were training.  Under a grievance settlement, both sides agreed to labor-management committee effectiveness training not only to help with their relationship but help with issues related to the grievance.   Even though the training application was signed by both the union and executive management giving their commitment to the process, management said during the third day of training they had no intention of really doing labor-management cooperation.  They only did it for the settlement.  There never was commitment or buy-in.  Obviously, the training and labor-management cooperation was done.  In addition, the ability to do anything together in the future was hampered because of the trust levels that were broken.  Trust was not high to begin with but it was even lower because of this.

Another example is an article from the Wall Street Journal posted on msn.com about Kimberly-Clark.  Kimberly-Clark has been concerned about long-term viability just like many other organizations. According to another article, Good To Great:  Reinventing HR at Kimberly-Clark, the culture in K-C was very conducive for a team based environment.  It had a family-like environment and employees worked there forever without concern of being laid off.  Pay was good so very few people left for other jobs.   But in 2008 everything changed.

The CEO of the company, who had been there for over 30 years himself, decided it was time to change because there appeared to be a lack of innovation and the company wasn’t providing enough for shareholders.  Instead of getting buy-in from executives to change, K-C did the exact opposite. At a meeting with executive staff, some concluded the innovation problem must be with themselves, the executive staff, and decided an outside consultant was needed to do an executive staff assessment.  Since some of the executives did not agree the problem rested with them, they were not happy about the staff assessment.  These people balked and were ready to resign, and they did once the assessment confirmed executive staff was the problem.    For a company that had little turnover before, the turnover rates started to increase beginning with the executives.

Considering there was a lack of buy-in on the cause and the solution of the problem from the executives, it gives a good indication it probably has been difficult to make any change.  Not to mention placing blame on people who didn’t feel they deserved probably caused lower morale and less productivity.

We recognize commitment and buy-in as the most important indicator of success.  Without either, it becomes very difficult for a group to accomplish anything in the entire organization for any type of change process.  In addition, the lack of buy-in or commitment impacts other areas related to group process.  Basically, the entire process fails, trust is non-existent and, probably, in time if nothing changes, the future of the organization can be at stake.

We’ll be addressing the other items needed for an employee engagement process in the near future.  Continue reading our blogs for more discussion on employee engagement processes!

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Back to School – How Is the Labor-Management Relationship?

As summer comes to an end, students and staff head back to school. Most school districts in Central Ohio have already opened, while others around the country are preparing to begin their academic year. When they do, what kind of labor-management climate will they see?

We have written several articles about the advantages of employee engagement and effective, problem-solving, labor-management committees. The many positives they offer in the private sector also apply to school districts, including the ones in your communities.

The key is not to wait until situations are terrible and positions become intractable. Employee engagement can help improve instruction, and labor-management committees can plan the systemic change needed to  resolve the underlying problems that can impact everyone in the district and community. Communications between all parties can be improved.

Studies have consistently shown when employers are happier they do better work. Working conditions are impacted by the labor-management environment and affect teachers, administrators, and other staff just as they would any employee. While I do not believe teachers would intentionally do a lesser job for their students if they are unhappy, working in a toxic labor-management environment is very difficult.

For example, there is a school district in Central Ohio that has developed a pattern of difficult labor-management relationships. Things got so bad in this district there was a highly acrimonious strike by teachers a couple of years ago.

Certainly no one can make a reasonable argument that teacher strikes are good for education in a district. Money spent preparing for a strike is not being used for needed classroom supplies or equipment. Time spent in meetings weighing the decision whether or not to walk out is not being spent preparing lessons or developing new curriculum. Time spent by students in classrooms staffed by “replacement teachers” is rarely quality instructional time.

In districts such as this one, the damage caused by a strike ripples throughout the community as divisions grow and the public takes sides. When the contract is settled and the walk-out is over, what happens next will be critical to all involved. Will all parties use the opportunity to put things back together or will the conflict continue to simmer?

Unfortunately, for the district we mentioned, the labor-management relationship does not appear to be improving. There was a significant loss of good, experienced teachers to other school districts. Trust levels have remained low, and the labor-management sniping has continued. This week, it resulted in the filing of an Unfair Labor Practices complaint against the Superintendent. Whether or not the complaint is valid, it is evidence of the continued bad labor-management environment.

It is not our purpose to use this article to point the finger of blame at one side or the other in this dispute. Finding blame does not fix problems. Only if both sides decide to change the game and work together to repair the climate can things improve in this or any other school district.

As citizens, ask your school district if they have a cooperative labor-management committee. If not, ask why. Ask the same questions if you are employed by a school district or if you serve on a school board. The time to begin labor-management cooperation and engagement is now. Do not wait until it is too late.

If your schools want to consider ways to start or improve on their cooperative endeavors, have them contact us. We have worked with (and in) schools and can help them build a strong relationship.

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WE CAN DO IT!

Most of us have seen the picture at the top, the Rosie the Riveter poster that represented women helping in manufacturing plants during World War II but it also is a good representation of women in general and what women will do to get a job done!  And that applies to roles they have played in the union movement.  In fact, if you visit the American Postal Workers Union site, you’ll see women union members and retirees doing their version of the poster!

We’ve blogged about unions before but nothing specifically about the role of women in unions.  The history of women involved in the union movement goes way back to the 1830s in the textile mills of Massachusetts when women formed a union to get better working conditions.  Girls as young as 10 were working an average of 14 hours a day.  Conditions were not always good, and the Mill Girls, as they were called, were seen as being at the very lowest rung of the ladder.  The occupation was not viewed favorably.  When they were threatened with a wage reduction, the women decided it was time to take action.  They went on strike, not just once but twice.  Nothing came out of it other than they did form their own union and it was a beginning of workers raising attention to workplace issues.

According to Institute for Women’s Policy Research, there is a greater wage advantage for women working in unionized jobs than for men working in unions.  That difference is a little more than 10%.  A woman working in a unionized job can make an average weekly, full-time wage of $899 compared to a non-unionized weekly, full-time job of $687.   In other words, unions help women earn more!  In addition, women also have much better benefits.  These include healthcare and other benefits which could also include pension benefits.  In addition, the working environment may be much better!

This can help to ease the stress for a single mother who may not have had the ability to go on to college.  She’s able to have the strong support in child care because her wages help to cover the costs and the increases that go along with it.   A mother working in a unionized facility can take care of the medical needs of herself and her children, and she can have a better work-life balance than the mother who has to work multiple jobs to make ends meet which helps to encourage strong family values.  So much pressure is removed from that single mother when she knows she has a good financial foundation to help raise her family.

Today’s women in unions are not much different than the Mill Girls.  They fight not just for workplace injustices but community injustices, too.  According to an article from The Nation  women union leaders also look at issues impacting women even if they work in non-union organizations.  Domestic violence, child care and housing are some of the social issues they’ve tackled.

For example, one leader wanted to find out more about domestic workers.  Some of the workers were being abused and they couldn’t leave their abusers because they didn’t make enough money to support themselves and their children so the leader worked at improving wages that could help women be on their own and live without the fear of abuse.

Another strong union leader  was able to negotiate better wages for the employees in one workplace only to find out the building where many of them lived was going to be demolished.  The increase in wages wasn’t going to help because many of them planned to leave the community for more affordable housing.  The building also was the home of other non-union workers.  Because of this woman’s strong leadership efforts, she was able to coordinate community leaders to save the building and make improvements to it.  In addition, she also was able to gain even more union members as the non-union occupants of the building asked her to help organize a union in their workplaces.

In the past, unions have focused more on wages and benefits thinking those were the most important issues and ignoring other issues they deemed less important.    One example that has been very important with many workers is the issue of flex-time.  Many workers want the ability to see their children off to school or go to an after-school event.  Flex-time issues  have sometimes been ignored because it was deemed better to negotiate on the wage and benefit issues.

While wages and benefits are important, to some workers the flex-time issue has equal or more importance.  Women union leaders appear to have a better understanding of that need and other worker needs that have become more relevant now to society.  They have seen or been part of the women’s movement so they are much more aware of the non workplace issues that impact people that can directly or indirectly play a role in the workplace.  It could be the  domestic violence or housing issues like the examples above, or it could be child care needs that can be an important issue to many people.

Because these women have a better understanding of the needs they also seem to do better at increasing union membership.  When women are in key leadership roles for their unions, they do better by about 10% than their male counterparts in organizing efforts according to The Nation article.  However, this is not to say women are the only answer to union problems as far as sustainability but the issues that are being addressed by women and how they go about addressing societal needs can help unions for the future.

NOTE:  It’s important to know that some of these causes women have been fighting for, such as domestic workers or restaurant workers, are not necessarily traditional unions but are labor movements that are fighting in areas traditional unions could assist.  For example, the Fight for $15 movement has received assistance from Service Employees International Union.  Traditional unions can help make their issues more enforceable.

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Did You Know: Golf is a Lot Like Employee Engagement? (Part 2)

With the Olympic golf tournament this week, I want to return to the final part of the comparisons between golf and employee engagement or labor-management cooperation. We will look at similarities between them and offer some ideas about employee engagement and labor-management relationships. For example, we need to watch out for the:

Trees – The trees add great beauty to the course. They have been there for years and will remain for more. For all they add to the golf experience, they are less than appealing when you ball is directly behind one of them.

Teams will also find themselves behind trees. They are the paradigms in or workplace or organizations. Teams may hear comments like “That’s how we have always done it.” They need to recognize the challenges the paradigms present but not let them block our success. Golfers and teams need to:

Develop a Plan – When the shot location is less than ideal, professional golfers have a strategy for how to deal with the situation. Through practice, coaching, studying the course, and their experience, they know what to do next. Guesswork is replaced by advanced planning.

Teams also need to have plans for how they will proceed under difficult circumstances. They need to have the tools that can help overcome the paradigms and difficult circumstances they will face. We work with teams to develop a tool-bag of problem solving tools and procedures to help them prepare for any outcomes. They also need to:

Watch Out For The Wind – In the opening round of the Olympic tournament, golfers were plagued with strong, gusting winds that blew their shots off course and raised havoc with putting. Teams may also face strong winds created by uncertainty, opposition, rumors, competition, and other forces from inside and outside their work systems. Like the golfers, they need to be prepared for these challenges and have strategies to deal with them. They also need to be able to:

Finish – Imagine a professional golfer hitting a great tee shot, then following it up with a strong approach shot to the front of the green. They then walk up the ball, pick it up, and declare they don’t feel like putting today.

Sometimes teams do the same thing. They carefully analyze the problem they face, develop multiple good options that meet the interests of all parties, select the options they want to use, then walk away. They fail to develop implementation plans or decide the criteria that will be used to determine if their solution has been successful. Unless teams have implementation plans that address the what, when, who, and how their solutions will be put into place, it is unlikely their ideas will ever be seen. Without plans for how to evaluate their work, the opportunity for continuous improvement and process growth are lost.

For both golfers and employee engagement teams, all of these things require:

Commitment – Both being a great golfer or a member of a great team requires commitment. Professional golfers do not just pick up their clubs and head for the opening round at a tournament. Their success is a reflection of the dedication, practice, and hard work they put in.

In the same way, the most effective teams with which we have worked at CALMC have been those where the members were committed to the success of the team. They wanted to solve problems, improve the workplace, and do whatever they could to ensure the success of the organization. They knew this would require them to give their own time and energy, and are prepared to do the work necessary.

Golfers do not just buy a set of clubs and head for the course the first time. Most take lessons or get assistance with their swing and strategy. Teams must heed this and get assistance with how to effectively work together and solve problems. If your team is ready to start employee engagement or cooperative efforts, or if your game just needs some improvements, CALMC can help.

 

 

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What’s In Your Retirement Plan?

A couple of weeks ago we blogged about the transition going on within the workforce in regards to the number of retirements.  Because so many workers will be retiring or are thinking about retirement, we’re going to focus this week on individual retirement planning  and not the financial type!

Mentally planning for retirement is just as crucial as the financial planning.  Some say it’s more important because without the mental retirement thoughts it’s difficult to have  the financial piece.  There are a lot of options out there so it’s best to determine which will work for you!

It’s important to understand some will ease into the retirement transition without any problem but others may have difficulty adjusting to the lack of a career identity, loss of work friends, lack of daily routine or not knowing how to keep busy along with many other issues.

The other thing, too, is people don’t always realize how difficult that transition will be and won’t make any plans.  Once people become aware of the discomfort they are feeling about retirement, they don’t like to talk about their negative feelings because they’re supposed to be happy and excited about retirement.

A perfect example is football players.  It can be very difficult for some NFL players.  That excitement or charge that comes from playing week after week, year after year can very easily turn into depression and anxiety with that transition into retirement.  That transition can be extremely difficult for players to cope with especially when the norm is to be the “tough football player.”  Many have called on the NFL to help players cope when they leave from the extreme highs of the football field to the adjustment of a completely different, and possibly more quiet, lifestyle.

To avoid the anxiety that can accompany retirement, it’s best to start considering early what retirement will look like. Daydreaming about retirement is actually an important start and that should begin three to five years from the actual retirement date.

A very simple exercise can help.  It’s  one we use with groups on vision but it can also help with retirement planning.  It’s important to do with a spouse or significant other so ideas or vision can be shared.  Other family members may need to be included, too.  This will help to reduce or prevent any misunderstandings or conflict in the future.   The exercise starts with coming up with some questions related to retirement.  Come up with your own or here’s some sample questions:

  • When am I going to retire, will I retire all at once or do a phased-in retirement?
  • Where do I want to live?
  • What are my housing options, i.e. same, new, condo?
  • What will I do after I retire, i.e. new job, part-time job, volunteer, hobby?
  • What are other people doing, i.e. friends, family spouse or significant other?
  • What will life be like – easy, more difficult, fun?
  • What are the most important factors in making my decisions?

The next step is to do some silent thinking on each of the questions.  Spend about 5 minutes on each question and imagine how it is.  Remember, this is in the future – 3, 5 or whatever the number of years into retirement.

After you have spent time thinking about each question, go back and record your thoughts to each question.  If you’re doing this with someone else, take turns recording your ideas.  This is just brainstorming so come up with even the wild and crazy ideas!  You never know what the end-result might be!

Once all ideas have been written down, go back over them and compare the ideas.  Are there some significant themes or common ideas that jump out?  Are there some that need more information such as finding out how much a house on the beach will cost?  Are there others to start working on immediately?  Which ideas are more important to one of you?  How will both of you work on those more important to only one of you?

There may be additional things to consider but this helps to get you started on those retirement plans.  It may even help to start the financial planning, too.  If retirement is way off, maybe you want to revisit the lists at a future date or do the exercise again because  some things may have changed or  the ideas may not be what you want or you just want to make sure you’re on track for your retirement goals. There may be lots of other things out there you want to do, too!

Have some fun with this and happy retirement!  Watch on our CALMC Facebook page for additional ideas on retirement planning from Forbes magazine!

Chamberlin, Jamie.  (January, 2014).  Retiring Minds Want To Know.  Monitor on Psychology, Vol. 45, No. 1, Pg. 61.  http://www.apa.org/monitor/2014/01/retiring-minds.aspx

Bell, Jarrett, & McCracken, Jamie. (May 11, 2012).Counseling urged to ease NFL players’ retirement transition. USA Today. http://content.usatoday.com/communities/thehuddle/post/2012/05/nfl-players-seeing-benefits-of-post-retirement-counseling/1

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Did You Know: Golf is a Lot Like Employee Engagement? (Part 1)

This weekend, I spent time watching the U.S. Open Golf Tournament. It featured 86 of the best golfers in the world playing a challenging course under somewhat adverse conditions. As I was watching, it brought to mind several parallels between golf and employee engagement or labor-management cooperation.

Prepared for the Unexpected –  The tournament was plagued with bad weather during 3 of the 4 days.  Golfers had to make adjustments, some as simple as wearing a second glove, to more significant changes in club and shot selection. They were prepared to play, even under poor conditions.

Labor-Management and employee engagement teams must also be prepared for changing conditions and unexpected events. Changes in leadership on either side, upswings or downturns in the business, or unexpected problems must not be allowed to derail the process. Teams need to realize their conditions will not always be perfect and be ready to deal with them. Clearly defined operating procedures that are planned in advance will help with this. Still, the golfer’s shots or the team efforts may not go as expected, so we need to:

Know What to do When Things Go Wrong – The most meticulously planned shot can still end up in the bunker. Golfers are prepared for how to handle bad positions, and do not let them destroy their game. They are recognized as part of playing golf. They learn from their experiences to better their games in the future.

Teams may also see their efforts go awry. Perhaps the solution they developed does not work as anticipated. They need to be prepared for this by recognizing the need to carefully diagnose the problems on which they work to determine the root causes, then work carefully to examine multiple options for resolving them. Golfers and teams develop these skills through:

Practice – Professional golfers continuously practice and work on their games. They strive to develop their swing to produce a consistent, repeatable outcome. They learn when and how to best play any situation before it happens.

Teams also need to develop their skills. They can do this through training to help them learn the tools of effective problem solving, communications, and how to work together. They then need to use these tools under all circumstances to produce the same type of consistent, repeatable outcomes. To accomplish this, both golfers and teams should:

Use A Coach – Professional golfers hire swing coaches and others to help them improve their game. Teams can also benefit from coaching to help keep them on track and teach them new skills as they are needed. They still need to remember:

You May Hit from Either Side of the Ball – While most golfers are right-handed, Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, and others play left-handed. They avoided the suggestion that they are doing it wrong and have gone on to great success.

In labor-management teams, we need to remember there are good people on both sides of the table. They have good ideas and are dedicated to the success of the organization. We need to listen to them and work together to be successful.

 

Those are just a few of the ways playing golf is like being part of a labor-management or employee engagement team. In an upcoming blog we will consider some additional similarities. In the meantime, remember that while CALMC might not be able to help with your golf game, we can work with you to develop or improve on your teamwork and engagement strategies.

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Is The Workforce Changing in Your Organization?

A lot has been written about the changing workforce.  Millennials, Generations X and Y are either in the existing workforce or coming into the workforce and baby boomers are getting ready to leave.  When those baby boomers leave, there will be some huge gaps in the workplace.  The skills and knowledge baby boomers have can be a critical loss to many workplaces.  In fact,  in one article out of Baton Rouge,  a recruiter told how some employers are almost terrified when an employee retires because they don’t know what to do with the loss of the person retiring.

This is a crisis that will impact many workplaces.  In 2010, the Pew Research Center estimated 20% of the U. S. population in 2030 will be 65 or older.  That’s less than 20 years away now and some workers may be leaving the workforce before that according to the Society of Human Resource Management(SHRM).  SHRM quoted the U. S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics and found 44 million people will be age 55 and older by 2022, almost 5 years away.

In a report done by the U. S. Department of Labor, it said baby boomers are important to employers because they are usually more engaged and enjoy the work they do.  These workers are much more productive and are more skillful at building customer relationships.  In addition,  because they enjoy their work, there is a tendency not to take many sick days and they are less likely to use their health insurance benefits.  Experts suggested employers look at ways to retain these workers.

The report also said the loss of knowledge and skill is troubling for workplaces because the trend with younger workers is not to work at one workplace for more than two years.  With that kind of turnover and the potential for large numbers of retirements, it could cause workplace profits to suffer especially as turnover costs increase.

What’s troubling is that many employers are not concerned but SHRM believes it is a crisis employers should be addressing.  So what could workplaces do to avoid the loss of skill and knowledge?

One recommendation we at CALMC would encourage is to put a committee or team together to look at this problem.  It can also be an excellent problem for labor-management committees to address.  Succession planning is definitely in the interest of both unions and management.  A committee or team can help bridge not only labor and management but also work groups from different areas and bridge age groups.  Composition of all age groups could help identify workplace practices beneficial to everybody and help people of different ages work together and learn from each other.

Workplaces need to do a demographic assessment and skills forecast.  This will provide better information of what changes will take place.  One manufacturing organization conducted an assessment and the results identified a large portion of the workforce was eligible for retirement much at the same time.  Management was quite concerned about the disadvantage this could create in their ability to produce their product.  They developed some training plans to implement to avoid a potential loss of skill.  First, the organization reached out to the local community college for training assistance for both labor and management.  They also offered college tuition benefits for additional training that could provide even more assistance to salaried workers.  They also looked at their hiring practices to make sure they were hiring the best qualified hourly and salaried workforce.

Some employers are not concerned because they provide benefits to entice potential retirees to stay.  One employer said some workers who are eligible to retire prefer to work part-time so they are offering those employees benefits or phased-in retirements which encourages them to stay longer and that allows the employer opportunity to have skilled workers as they hire and train replacements.  Job sharing can provide an excellent benefit  for those wanting part-time work.

While many of these ideas sound familiar, they are popular ideas across all age groups.  Other ideas employers can provide are flexible work environments such as work-at-home situations.  Another could be older workers mentoring younger workers or providing additional training, if needed, to help different age groups work together.  Other training could also be done to help all employees learn new skills either for work or offer health and wellness programs that offer all age groups a healthy life-style.  Another idea is to recognize the dilemma for older workers and  provide classes that can help them learn more about retirement.

Congress is also trying to help older workers.  Last week we posted an article on our Facebook page about Congress addressing the need to maintain social security time for those workers who need to leave the workforce to be caregivers.  It is a conflicting issue for older workers as they are concerned about those they must take care but also their own needs of a reduction in social security benefits they could have when they retire.

There are plenty of ideas that can be implemented to avoid the crisis and also make the workplace better.  It just takes the initiative and commitment to do it.

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