Engage and Retain Millennials (Employees)

Having just come off Small business week, I’ve heard from many employers that their biggest struggle is finding skilled people, motivated people and people who want to stick around. In the human resources industry, Millennials In The Workplace has been the common theme of training and education to engage and retain them … as they’re now the largest population in the workforce this year.

Click here to watch my new video on this hot topic.

I see this as a double whammy for employers.  A worker shortage, compiled with a large population of workers who think quite differently than their older colleagues.

So … What to do about it?  Here’s my hottest tip:

Create an inclusion based culture 

Yes, there are competing interests between generations in the workplace.

Yes, there are demands and desires of the younger workers that are diametrically opposed to their senior counter parts, but guess what?

That’s ok.  It isn’t right or wrong.  It doesn’t have to be black or white.  We have different generations, different personality styles, different ethnic backgrounds, different morals, different values but so what?  Why do we seek ‘same’ in a workplace culture with such differences?

Inclusion based culture is about: 
– Listening to your team’s different perspectives
– Placing value on that feedback
– Benefiting from it

It’s about achieving a new way of thinking, and your whole team, inclusively, has the best answer for what’s best for the culture of their workplace.

I’ve got lots of ideas, based on tons of research on the topic, and so I’ve created an interactive program called “Engaging and Retaining Millennials, but honestly, it could be called “Engaging and Retaining Anyone” because when you really look at the solution, we’re different people who all want the similar things.

There’s your hot tip!  Create an inclusion based culture, where everyone’s feeling engaged to dig in and play nice in the sandbox.

Call me because your greatest leadership day is with Penny Tremblay.

Improve Workplace Relationships with Love

“Love in the workplace” is not a phrase you hear often, but in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I’d like to talk about it.

We have relationships with everyone in our workplace.  Some may be closer than others; some may be kind and courteous; and others may be challenging, disconnected or downright nasty!  You can improve workplace relationships starting today.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my career as an expert on Workplace and Business Relations, it’s that there is a big difference between love and relationships.  Love is easy, but relationships are hard.

For Valentine’s Day, I’d like to invite you to celebrate the fact that you have relationships, and that these relationships have taken effort.  Congratulations!

Valentine’s Day is an outward expression, like giving flowers, cards or chocolate.  I’d like to challenge you to outwardly recognize your colleagues today.  You don’t have to acknowledge them with gifts—words will do.  You can improve workplace relationships with Love

Words like “I love the way you serve customers for us.”

Or “I’m happy you’re my boss because you seem to care about me as a person.”

“We need you.”

“Your skillset is valuable to us.”

 “I appreciate you because…”

I use the phrase “love in the workplace” to symbolize the important things we do to connect and build rapport, like sharing admiration, giving respect, and honouring, appreciating and complimenting the people around us!  These acts of recognition are free and only take a few seconds, but they build relationships because we are all emotional creatures of pride and vanity.  We all want to feel valuable and feed our worthiness.

If you’re up for another challenge, consider reconnecting a disconnected relationship in your workplace.  Look someone in the eye and pay him or her a genuine compliment.  Oh, and by the way, “Mary, you look hot in those pants” isn’t an appropriate “love in the workplace” compliment.  Speak true words when you find something to compliment about.  If you can’t think of something nice to say, either you’re not thinking hard enough, or you need my conflict resolution services!

Even if you have to resort to writing the compliment or recognition in a little note because you’re afraid of the face-to-face conversation, do that.  In my humble opinion, nothing beats a face-to-face or a phone call to convey sentiments.  The energy that you pass into the sacred invisible reservoir between two people will have a lasting affect.

Interacting and intertwining our energy with someone else to result in a positive interpersonal relationship doesn’t always go as planned.  But this is where we learn the most about ourselves.  Relationships shine a light on our most needed lessons.

Remember that love is easy, but relationships are hard.  The way to better relationships is through love, respect, honour, and authentic communication with people who matter.

Love is a verb.  Take some action that is going to move someone else, especially if there’s a need between you and a co-worker.  A conflict. A disconnect.  Take a step toward reconciliation today.  Call me if you need help.  A big part of what I do is help people fix broken relationships in the workplace.

Never underestimate the power of this invisible, energetic connection that you can put effort into.  Create more love in your workplace, and remember, your greatest leadership day is with Penny Tremblay.

 

Are You Strategically Planning for All Areas of Life?

This past week I was immersed in my own strategic plan for 2017 and beyond.  The new year always catapults me into goal setting and strategy, where I first look back at the previous year and acknowledge my accomplishments and the lessons learned, as well as my strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

I set BHAGs (big, hairy, audacious goals) and then I chunk them down to the minutia of tasks that need to be done daily, so that the BHAGs will be realized one day.  Basically, I look at critical issues that need solutions to overcome.  Once I get clear on these, I look at how they need to be conquered.  Once I know what I need to do, I analyze how I currently have been spending my time, versus how I need to spend my time to achieve the BHAG.  I schedule checkpoints throughout the year.  Monthly reviews of where I am versus where I’m going, and quarterly planning days.  It takes time to do this, but it’s worth the effort.  Well worth the effort!

One thing that I as a woman value more than money is balance.  I explained to my accountant one year who was disappointed in my balance sheet, that balance means more than numbers to me.  I’m a Mom, and I was a wife at the time, a daughter, friend, community giver of my time and service, I’m fit, fun and fabulous and that is all valuable to me as well as the revenue and profits of how I spend my time.

Since that conversation with the accountant, I’ve also learned that a part of me was ‘justifying’ not being profitable enough.  Last year I raised my bar on my own performance and the profits went up.  My balance is still on, and my balance sheet has improved.

I’ve learned to plan my work and work my plan.  We don’t become rich by dreaming and planning.  We become rich by putting our dreams and plans in to action.  We expand with the experiences of trying and trying again, fine tuning and being wide open to receiving all that comes, distilling the ideas and ways to spend our time down to what works, and where to focus.

Businesses and organizations need a Strategic Plan to guide them through the wide range of possibilities and reign in their employees to align with one main focus.

Personally, our strategic plan can be as fun as a vision board, or vision card, or written goals that are reviewed every day, and shared with the people that matter most to us.

As the calendar year turns, this is a great time to plan.  You are the Creator of your own life.  This is not a dress rehearsal.  YOLO (you only live once) and therefore, every single second of every single day is worth really, fully living.

My Strategic Planning facilitation is getting lots of attention and referrals.  Thank you for your trust in me.  I go through the same process with my clients as I’ve mentioned above.

My Vision Card exercise is available for personal use.  Download it here, and enjoy.

I’d love to hear how you’ve made out, and I’m more than happy to help businesses and people grow with these great tools. Just call me with your questions. 705-358-3396

rich relationships, leadership training

 

 

The Key to Staying Committed

I once heard a great statement from the CEO of the Union of Ontario Indians.  While speaking to his team about staying committed he said, “If I’m not doing my job, please let me know, but don’t let it stop you from doing your job.”  I will always remember this piece of wisdom, and I’ve shared it with so many audiences since.

People resonate with this because they form teams, agreements, pacts, set goals or create dreams together, but if someone falls out of commitment, sometimes everyone comes to a halt, blames those who quit and remain frustrated failures at what they had committed to.

I’d say this scenario is a reasonable excuse to quit, give up, or return to the status quo.  People often don’t realize the underlying reasons they have for buying into others’ lack of commitment, but they are definitely getting something out of it, for example, it’s a good excuse to not put in your best effort because others aren’t.

Twice this week, I chatted with clients who’ve been challenged with the commitment of a team. A community leader spoke of his disappointment in a group that had a great idea and implemented it, but after a few roadblocks, people started wavering on their commitments, and the project fell apart.  I suggested to the leader that he not quit.  Others may quit, but that doesn’t mean he has to.  His satisfaction should not be at the mercy of other people’s decisions.

Another commitment conversation I had was with a group of First Nation Youths who had been fundraising for a trip to explore the West coast of Canada,  when some of their adult resources hadn’t honoured a commitment.  I told the youths that this was the time for them to step up, take the lead, and win that race.

If we let others determine our destiny, we will most often be disappointed.

When helping a team stay committed, you can hold people accountable, but in order to be in the place of doing so, you’ve got to be holding up your end of the agreement, too.

Commitment is continuing to do what you’ve said you’d do,
long after the feeling you had when you made the commitment has gone.

Commitment is not a feeling.  It’s a decision!

If you’ve been married or in a long-term relationship, you can certainly relate to that definition of commitment.  I’ve learned that when you fear someone is not remaining committed, you can stay committed regardless.  I didn’t learn it the first time around, but I’m learning it now.  My soul knows when I am all in, and I feel steady despite any wavering of others.

The key to staying committed is to not quit.  Try this statement over and over again.

I commit … I will not quit!
I commit … I will not quit!
I commit … I will not quit!

Your satisfaction depends on you, and no-one else.

p.s.  As a follow up to the group of First Nations Youth fundraising for a trip to Vancouver, they re-committed yesterday despite the low funds raised, NOT TO QUIT.  They have a dream, to explore another part of the country and to prove to themselves and their community that anything is possible with commitment.  If you’d like to read about their progress or help out, check out their CBC news coverage.

Declutter Your Inner Emotional Baggage

Two weeks ago, a very special couple asked me to help them prepare for a yard sale by sorting through the contents of two storage units they had filled after downsizing from their large urban home to a smaller pad in beautiful Prince Edward County.  My daughter was working in the area, at a Bakery and Café in Picton, so I accepted the couple’s challenge and spent a few days going through boxes and boxes of stuff.

All this ‘stuff’ got me thinking about inner ‘stuff’ and emotional ‘stuff’ we hold on to which creates clutter in our lives, workplaces, bodies and relationships.  So I’ve dedicated this month’s article to decluttering the emotional baggage that most people have stored—some for decades—preventing us from really connecting with ourselves, and creating conflict with the people that matter to us, and those we have to work with.

Imagine you’re taking a look inside your mind.  It’s dark, so you lift an imaginary lid on the top of your head and shine a flashlight inside.  “OMG! Where did all this stuff come from?” you ask yourself.  It’s like Grandma’s attic, with cobwebs and dust, trunks locked up tight, boxes stacked high, and suitcases filled with stuff.

Now that you’ve seen the clutter inside your own head, turning off the flashlight won’t make you any less aware of it, so leave the light of awareness turned on to this emotional baggage from your past.  You actually bring this baggage with you where ever you go and it creates a degree of disconnect in relationships with your colleagues, your family, and yourself.  But what’s in those boxes, trunks and suitcases?  Past resentments, things unsaid, conflicts unresolved, lack of integrity and authenticity, untruths, and other awful things.  Yikes!  Isn’t that terrifying?

The good news is that these things all belong to you, which means that you can start cleaning them up immediately.

Emotional baggage can be unpacked, sorted, organized and cleared out just like material items in your home.  Things given to you by your parents that don’t seem to be yielding great relationships can be grouped together to be dealt with. Burdens that aren’t yours but you carry them as if they were, can be given back to their rightful owners.  The things you thought you had dealt with but keep coming between you and others can be put into the “deal with once and for all” pile, and the missing parts of you that you gave to someone else can be noted for a time in the near future when you can take your pieces back, and become whole again.

Decluttering requires an awareness of how this stuff is showing up in our lives, a willingness to reflect on where it comes from, and the courage to stand up and deal with it.  If all you can do is become aware of how your emotional clutter is affecting your relationships, that’s a great start.  Our professional services can get you and your work team to a clearing that even seems impossible.

If you prefer to leave the clutter alone and display it publicly—like at a yard sale—don’t be surprised when people buy into your junk.  If you’re wondering how to manage the people that get caught up in your stuff at work or in your personal life, just clean up your clutter and there won’t be much for them to get entangled with.

 

Fish On! Overcoming Snags

What an exciting way to spend Father’s Day, yelling “Fish on!” often.  Annually on the Father’s Day weekend, my brother, Captain Art, takes my mom, son and I on a weekend fishing trip to commemorate my father and fish his favorite lake.

Captain Art always encourages us to let enough line out so that, as we troll, our bait is moving along the bottom of the lake.  “That’s where the fish are,” he says.  The challenge we encounter is that there are also many rocks, logs and branches along the lakebed, so we get snagged often.  When someone’s hook or line gets caught up, the forward motion of the boat must stop; everyone must reel in before we reverse the boat to release the snag, hopefully without breaking the line and losing the tackle and bait.

This got me thinking about how often in life we find ourselves snagged on something that needs resolving, and whether people chose to stop, go back, and find and fix the issue first before continuing on, or whether they continue despite the snag and risk losing so much in the long run.

In the workplace for example, the best profit, productivity or performance is obtained  when we work in the most efficient conditions possible, just as fish are most easily obtained where it makes the most sense to troll—along the bottom. But, as with the lakebed, the workplace environment is rich with obstacles which may snag us.  However, it’s important to work in these productive areas rather than taking an easier path, because if you’re not on bottom, you’re not amongst the fish.  The most productive zones can be risky; perhaps you might find yourself caught up in something unexpected or unwanted, or in what seems like a time-waster or barrier to your success.

Becoming ‘snagged’ could mean:

  • Uncovering the need for training in a certain area of your career or for your team because times are changing and people need to be skilled to move forward.
  • An unresolved conflict between you and a coworker, customer or relative, or between two departments in an organization.
  • Finding yourself in an unexpected circumstance, and needing to come to terms with where you are and how you got there, so that you can determine the best way forward.
  • Needing to have a difficult conversation or work through uncomfortable feedback so that you can come out stronger in the end.
  • Noticing that a process is not safe for the people involved, and that better safety measures are required before proceeding.

It may seem easier to continue forward without properly unhooking yourself from a snag, but you could risk losing everything if you do so.

This metaphor of fishing close to the bottom despite the possible snags is reflected in many areas of our lives.  In business, we can become snagged often because we are moving so quickly that we are not taking the time to nurture relationships or embrace change.

When our lines get caught and we become held back, we must realize that we have a choice between two options. The first is to take a brief time-out, go backward, find the problem and fix it before we resume forward motion again.  This takes time, but in the long run, you will go faster.  The second option is not the best, but is a shortcut often taken: avoid the snag, move forward anyway, and hope that everything works out.  The problem with this option is that within it lies a bigger risk—the risk of losing respect, trust, loyalty, or possibly even a life.

Snags, therefore, are good things.  They help us see the importance of taking the time to make sure that, although we’re fishing along the bottom, our bait is poised perfectly for the greatest success.  Before you know it, you’ll hear “Fish on!” and maybe even experience a double- or triple-header—when many people in the same boat are elated to discover some real big successes hooked on the ends of their lines at the same time.

Where do you feel you’ve been snagged but haven’t yet gone back to the source to unhook yourself?

In closing, I would like honor all of the men who read my articles.  Tying these important concepts to a sport that many men can relate to is my offering this month, in addition I’ve included some photos that I think you might enjoy.

Best wishes for courage and patience to stop, reverse, and become un-snagged, so that you may move forward more efficiently in the long run, and reap an abundance of fish.

* Dedicated to Captain Art, and my father’s spirit, which calls me to be courageous.

leadership training

Time to Get a Life

“Hey Penny,” said Monique energetically as she greeted me at the after-hours business networking event.

“Aren’t you chipper today!” I replied, almost envying her energy level at the end of a busy work day.

“Yes,” she said, “I have been fueled all day with workplace wellness!”

“That sounds like a great concept, Monique. I’ll have some of what you’re having! Tell me, how do you feel so good at the end of a busy work day?”

Monique, the Executive Director of Community Services at our local Health Unit, presented her day in review: “I biked to work today — helmet on, of course — and parked in the bike rack conveniently provided for staff. I was scheduled for meetings all morning, but I made sure to take a nutrition and hydration break at 10 a.m.  My lunch break was healthy, too: I enjoyed a plate of cottage cheese and fruit, and refilled my glass of water. I gave my attention to Bob, whose grandmother had recently passed away; it gave me a chance to pass along my condolences and offer support.

“In the afternoon, Brenda, the manager of Healthy Living, suggested that we conduct a ‘walking meeting’ for the first 15 minutes of our hour-long meeting. On our way out we greeted two groups of staff in the parking lot: one group was on its way to the gym (the Health Unit had secured a corporate rate) and the other group was headed to the local arena to enjoy a free skate.

“The ‘walking meeting’ was a great way to converse and be active at the same time. I felt completely refreshed after the quick walk and found that I was able to attend to our meeting with improved concentration. The meeting was quick, efficient, and productive.

“We held a team-building activity which we call ‘Recess Revival’ during our afternoon break. Our office staff went outside to skip and play hopscotch, and I even learned a new game!

“When I returned to my office, I responded to email, returned calls, and worked on a long-overdue project. The smile didn’t leave my face for the rest of the day — I was so content that I didn’t even notice when it was time to leave! I also had the energy left to network for 30 minutes at the Chamber of Commerce event on my way home.”

“Wow,” I thought to myself. I was almost tired from simply listening to Monique’s breakdown of her daily activities, but then I understood how she was able to maintain a healthy work/life balance. For years, I thought that when I was at work I needed to be doing work, and so I would try to squeeze my fitness and health focus into the evenings. But the workplace is as good a place as any to get a life, I realized.

People often ask me, “How can I find time to balance my life when I am so busy living it?” The main thing is to keep the main things as main things. For example, your health is a ‘main thing’. Without it, you cannot be as happy, productive, or satisfied with yourself or your job performance. Paying time and attention to your health is, therefore, a ‘main thing’ that needs to stubbornly stick to your weekly calendar. Monique’s active day demonstrates that both employees and employers need to consider workplace wellness as an important part of their organizational culture.

Organizational culture can be defined as “the way we do things around here”. A strong culture can enhance employees’ performance since it energizes by appealing to their ideals and values and focuses on setting meaningful and unified goals. A strong organizational culture ultimately shapes employee behavior.

Whether you are part of a large organization or small business with one or more employees, your workplace can and should utilize workspace and time to help employees find a good balance of health and wellness while on the job.

As the cool season arrives, so does the need for creative thinking toward workplace wellness and health. I challenge you to implement at least one healthy practice that you can incorporate every day while at work.

Give yourself the time to get a life — one that will support your greatest potential.

 

Penny

(This article is dedicated to the Laura, Brenda, and Monique of the North Bay Parry Sound Health Unit for their efforts in promoting workplace wellness and ‘walking the talk’.)

Follow the Leader

Last month we recognized how we can increase our own leadership ability by making the choice to be influential, regardless of our position in an organization.

For this month’s edition, I promised to write about how to develop leaders around you.

From Management to Leadership to Team Leadership

Throughout history, we have seen the model of leadership evolve from Management in the 1970s and 1980s, in which managers told people what to do, to Leadership in the 1990s, in which leaders got people to want to do what they needed them to do. Currently, we are in an era of Team Leadership, in which management realizes that they cannot lead by themselves, and therefore tries to make leaders of every person in every task.

Business is so diverse that we can’t expect a select few people to be good at everything. The best teams have people who are great at doing everything that is required. Everyone on these teams has a certain degree of influence. When they can use that influence to learn to lead others, then you end up with many leaders.

Successful businesses of the future will be those that can quickly make leaders of everyone in their organizations.

Who is grooming leaders?

Leaders should be developing leaders, but only a small number of them do. Many leaders just maintain followers. Having followers is very easy. You tell them what to do, and they do it.

What if we played Follow the Leader? This is an opportunity to encourage others to become leaders and to follow them in support of their victory. You would create many more leaders this way.

For example, Joe manages Ken in an environment where employees feel empowered to contribute ideas. Ken has an idea, and shares it with Joe. “That idea has considerable benefits,” Joe responds encouragingly. “Let’s explore it further in a fact-finding meeting next Tuesday. How about leading the meeting, Ken?”

Notice that the manager didn’t use the ‘do as you’re told’ approach, nor did he demonstrate behaviours that are selfish, greedy, or cynical, or that exhibit a ‘me first’ attitude. He empowers the employee by being open to and listening to new ideas. He develops leadership qualities by giving the employee the added responsibility of conducting a fact-finding session.

Another example: Jen, the newest member of the human resources department, has heard horror stories about her new boss. After settling into her position, she asks her boss, “What can I do to help you be more effective?” “What do you mean?” her boss replies. “How can I help you alleviate some of the pressure and ensure your job is easier?” Jen explained. Within six weeks, Jen was given multiple new assignments, from minor items to a major project that saved the company thousands of dollars a year.

During tough economic times, the most precious qualities a leader can have are creativity and determination. Creative thinkers find opportunity in tough times, and determination ensures that creative ideas get put to the test, and succeed or get reworked until there is success.

The legacy features of a company exist in its’ leaders’ abilities to reproduce themselves. Compounding influence, time, and money is a result of developing other leaders who can do what you and I can do by developing others.

Leaders are dealers in hope. Those who are anchored solid to their own leadership on the inside, have creative answers, and provide hope for others will have great opportunity. You do not have to be a superhero, a famous celebrity, or even in a position of authority to make a difference in the world. You only need to make a difference in your world.

Have a wonderful and happy summer!

Penny

 

“The best way to get promoted is to get your boss promoted, and find your own replacement.”

~ Unknown

“There is a choice you have to make,

In everything you do.

So keep in mind that in the end,

The choice you make, makes you.”

~ John Wooden

Are You a Leader?

Leadership is influence — nothing more, nothing less. You, and everyone in your company, have a certain degree of influence, and you do not need to be in a position of authority to exercise it.

For example: Tina and Tommy work for an organization as gatekeepers, answering incoming calls and attending to walk-in traffic. Do they have the ability to lead the organization? The answer is yes; Tina and Tommy influence all incoming calls and customer perceptions, as well as internal relations with their colleagues and managers. They are leaders — or, at least, they can certainly be leaders when they are taught and develop the skill of influencing others.

Whatever your position, you have the privilege of influence.

When you can learn to influence other people in a positive way, you begin to lead. Leadership is both a concept and a way of action — it’s what you do that makes you a great leader. Everyone has the ability to lead, no matter where they are in the hierarchy of an organization.

People ask whether leaders are born or developed, and my response is that leadership is the result of a choice that we all make. It is possible that some people have more natural leadership skills and attributes than others. While everyone matures into leadership at their own pace, the choices we make towards this maturity can be taught and learned. Everyone has the power to make these choices. Here are a few examples of these choices that greatly enhance our ability to influence others:

·         Integrity

·         Honesty

·         Humility

·         Using the Golden Rule (treating others as you would like to be treated)

·         Consistency

·         Being passionate for who you are

·         Taking responsibility

When someone chooses to be influential, they take responsibility for a task at hand, and do what is necessary to bring that task to completion. If the task fails, the leader can also take responsibility for that as well, and does not attempt to place blame on other people or circumstances.

Leadership is where the change happens within a person’s life and within an organizations life.

For individuals making the choice to change, they feel better about themselves as they recognize their potential to lead their own lives. When individuals feel in control of themselves, they will also feel freer to continue creating the life that they want to live. I have always said that the only security we have is within ourselves. We must take this responsibility.

For organizations, the change in having more leaders enhances employees’ engagement, productivity, and profitability. Successful businesses of the future will be those which can quickly make leaders of everyone in their organization.

I will write more about developing leaders around you in my next monthly article, but don’t wait — start making the choice today to be more influential, no matter what your position in the organization is. You can make a difference, and it starts with the leader in you.

 

Penny

 

P.S. The Greatest You is an audio program that I have developed to help people make leaders of themselves. Available as a double-disc series for listening to while in your car (also transferrable to your iPod!), this program is a great way to start moving toward making the choice to become more influential.