Month: October 2010 (Page 2 of 2)

Survivor: Corporate America edition – Guest blog by Paul Schoening

Survivor “Damn Lucky”

Counter-intuitively, organizations tend to find difficulty prioritizing their employee engagement efforts during challenging environments. In fact, during this recession many have executed a status quo strategy, which communicates to their single greatest resource that you are “damn lucky to still be here”. Take a moment to think about this – has this been your organizations approach to engagement?

Therein lies the issue! If we tell our recession survivors they’re lucky to have a job and yet we label them our greatest remaining resource, we are sending mixed messages.

My Story

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Today I’m Grateful For: Being born in America

So much of life is based on circumstance…  I am very grateful for being an American and having all the possibilities that that offers.  We often take it for granted the freedoms and privileges that we have.  I got to have  a meeting with a U.S. Senator yesterday to talk about higher education and hopefully help shape some laws that are being introduced.   What a great opportunity.

What are you grateful for today?  Let us know by clicking on “Leave a Comment” below.

Today I’m Grateful For: a hug and kiss from my 4 year old

I’m trying an experiment – for the next week I will post a What I’m Grateful For statement every day.  Building off of my earlier post and one of the comments, this seems like a way to build on this idea.

This morning, my 4 year old son ran up to me as I was heading into the office and said, “Papa, I want to give you a hug…and a kiss.”  One cannot start out the day any better in my opinion…

What are you grateful for today? Click on “Leave a comment” below and let us know.

Start each day with Gratitude


A few months back I read/heard a line that went something like this, “start each day out by stating what you are grateful for.”

I thought I’d try it…really, there was very little cost to me (a minute every morning while I brush my teeth) and it made sense – think about those positive things in your life in the morning and you will probably feel better about the day ahead.

It brought me back to work on Appreciative Inquiry and Management.  David Cooperrider from Case Western Reserve University developed this model of management interaction in the 1980’s and 1990’s (see here or here) that is based on the assumption that organizations change in the in the direction of their inquiry (i.e., if you  inquire or focus on the positive you will find or grow more positive in your work – the opposite is also true – if you inquire or focus on the negative, you will find or create more negative elements in your work).

By starting each day with a positive affirmation of what I appreciate, it has helped me view things in a more positive light.  Some key things that I’ve found in this:

1.  I immediately feel a greater sense of calm. By thinking about what is good in my life, I tend to find that much of the worry about deadlines or budgets or workload get pushed aside and I physically feel a calm come over my body.

2. I feel rejuvenated.   The act of being grateful tends to rev me up.  It makes me feel like I want to work harder to achieve more.

3.  I tend to be more appreciative throughout the day. My morning gratitude exercise helps me focus on positive things throughout the day – I tend to be more aware of them and grateful for them.

So I welcome you to try this little experiment for yourself.  Take a minute each morning when you wake up to just say thank you for the things that are going well in your life.  If you are like me, you will find that this little activity can have really positive effects on your entire day.

So thank you for taking time to read this and for letting me expound on my little touchy-feely side…

I would love to hear from people (click on the comment section) and find out if they tried this (or something similar) and what it does for them.

Thank You!

Myths on communicating compensation plans…

Olivia Mitchell is one of the best experts on the web when it comes to presentations and public speaking.

She gets it.

I have been following her for over a year now and have been constantly amazed at the quality of her posts and her use of research to back up her statements.  In this post, she talks about three myths of public speaking – read it and let me know if you don’t change your mind after reading this.

After reading it, I started to think about how these myths often get in the way of effectively communicating incentive and compensation plans to people as well…

Myth #1: It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it

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Employee Engagement: Why Your Employees Have Become Unfaithful – Guest post by Paul Schoening

Engement Employee engagement health is at its worst levels in decades. Loyalty between employees and organizations has been damaged through this most recent recession as a result of massive workforce reductions, increased stressed on the “survivors” with no prospect of reward post-recovery. We’ve lost perspective of what “engagement” really means, therefore we must remind ourselves of the definition of “Engagement”:

An engagement is a promise to marry, and also the period of time between proposal and marriage – which may be lengthy or trivial. During this period, a couple is said to be affianced, betrothed, engaged to be married, or simply engaged. Future brides and bridegrooms are often referred to as fiancées or fiancés respectively (from the French word fiancé). The duration of the courtship varies vastly.

Source Wikipedia, September 2010

This definition depicts a marital engagement, however it sounds nothing like the employee/employer relationship of today. In years past, young employees would land a job with General Mills, GM or Geritol and remain with those companies until retirement. These companies would hire the formative young workers, instill values and goals consistent with their long-term vision and values which, drove and supported their business strategy.  This model has been changing for a long time but the last 3 years has left employers in a precarious position.

Manpower’s Workforce Strategy Survey, released September 27th, shows that many organizations are not thinking strategically about the workforce they’ll need for long-term strategic growth—most are thinking only about the here and now and are not positioned to build the workforce they’ll need to achieve the company’s business strategy in the future. This is quite concerning for Wall Street regarding long-term economic recovery. Investors should focus on employers that have prioritized these 3 key people strategies:

  1. Talent acquisition and alignment with business strategy
  2. Leadership and career development
  3. Reward and recognition

The full Manpower study can be viewed here:

“The data reveals that almost a quarter of employers across 36 countries and territories concede that their organizations’ workforce strategy does not support their business strategy, or don’t know if it does. Among those two subsets of respondents, 53 percent admit they are not taking steps to address this issue. With the talent mismatch—the inability to find the right skills in the right place at the right time—becoming more acute as the global economy thaws, companies risk being without the skills they need to execute their business strategy”.

“In addition, among employees surveyed in this study, large sections are still in the dark about how their contributions support the business—one in five employees say either that they don’t understand their company’s business strategy or they don’t know how their role supports it.” (emphasis added)

SOURCE Manpower Inc.

So, what are some engagement drivers that organizations could begin to practice to retain their key talent, re-engage them with business strategy, and invest in their long-term retention and development?  Over the next few weeks I’ll explore those themes and make provide some insight.  For now, I would like to get your thoughts – leave some ideas in the comment area below.

Guest blog by Paul Schoening, MBA;

About Paul; Paul is a successful marketing and business development professional with experience in several industries over more than 20 years. During this period he’s worked for Gage Marketing Group, BI (Business Incentives), Korn/Ferry International as well as founding his own company. He was most recently with Korn/Ferry International as Global Director of Marketing in their talent management consulting division.

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