2015 Workplace Trends Focus: Honesty in Leadership

2015 workplace trends - honesty in leadership

Do your leaders exhibit real honesty in leadership by listening, sharing authentic gratitude and communicating with transparency? (Photo via Vivian Chen, Flickr)

Forbes calls honesty in leadership one of the 10 major workplace trends for 2015.

“Leaders won’t just have to be good at inspiring and educating, they will have to be able to instill trust through honesty,” predicts Forbes contributor and WorkplaceTrends.com founder Dan Schawbel.

Of all the 2015 workplace trends Schawbel names, honesty in leadership is perhaps the most unassuming. The flashier, more headline-grabbing workplace trends for the year are the rise of Millennials, new technology and rapidly changing economic forces.

But honesty in leadership is a theme throughout all the major workplace trends for 2015.

The increased use of social media in job searches and hiring requires more organizational transparency, for instance. A healthy, engaged workplace culture — which requires honest leaders — is more important than ever as we enter the era of what Schawbel calls the “continuous job search.” And more than half of Gen Y and Z respondents in a recent survey say honesty is the most important trait for being a good leader.

Honesty also fuels the “sense of purpose” that many younger employees seek in their work — which, according to HR Trend Institute, is one of the top workplace trends that will be affecting HR decision-making in the coming year.

Honesty in leadership is more than an absence of lying. It’s a way of communicating that takes practice and commitment. Read on to find out how  leaders can transform your organization and develop happier, more dedicated employees.

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Workplace Resolutions for a Brighter 2015

2015 workplace resolutions

What are your 2015 workplace resolutions?

Businesses nationwide have made New Year resolutions to help their companies continue to prosper in 2015. Remember growing up your Mom told you if you don’t make goals, you are less likely to achieve them?  Well, if you haven’t made your New Year’s workplace resolutions, it’s not too late! Here’s inspiration from top trending ideas.

In “What is your top new year’s resolution in business for 2015?” Cleveland.com polls readers on what’s most important to them.  Take the poll and vote for your top priority resolution! When we checked in, the most popular resolution was “process improvements” at 32%, followed by “managing work/life balance better” at 24%, and then “focusing on customer service” at 20%.

Here’s a look at what top business leaders are saying are their 2015 resolutions.

For CEOs

Chuck Cohn, CEO and founder of Varsity Tutors lists three “Business New Year’s Resolutions Every CEO Should Make” in a Forbes article.

  1. Work with key company data throughout the year.
  2. Get to better know your customers.
  3. Focus on what truly matters to the growth and sustainability of your company.

For Executives

Business Insider lists prominent business people’s resolutions for this year in “20 Super-Successful People Share Their New Year’s Resolution,” including the following:

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Why Fun at Work Creates Better Employees

Fun At Work Day - Pinata's make it festive

Grab a piñata and gather your coworkers: it’s National Fun At Work Day! (Photo via Flickr, Purple Sherbet Photography)

Ready to blow off some steam? Go to work.

Today, Wednesday, Jan. 28, is National Fun At Work Day!

The origins of this unofficial holiday are unclear, but everyone can appreciate letting loose — particularly in an environment traditionally not associated with “fun”: the workplace.

Fun times in the workplace may seem frivolous or a waste of time on the surface, but social science researchers are discovering some serious benefits to occasional silliness.

Why Fun At Work Creates Better Employees

Play is the medium that connects the brain to the hand, says Stuart Brown,  psychiatrist and play researcher. His TED Talk, “Play Is More Than Just Fun,” explores the growing evidence that play is vital to brain development, intelligence and mental health.

The implication of this research for children is clear: free time for unstructured play and fun is a bedrock of healthy child development.

Adults also benefit from playtime. Fun boosts creativity and productivity in the workplace, according to Fox News “Health @ Work” writer Laurie Tarken, in her article “Work Hard, Play Harder.”

Having fun opens up new neural connections in the brain, a major boost to your creativity. Play provides an additional creative benefit, Tarken writes: an uninhibited thought process.

“When you’re fully engaged in play, you lose some of your psychological barriers and stop censoring or editing your thoughts. This allows creative ideas to flow more freely,” Tarken writes. So, the next time your team is tasked with a brainstorming session or with solving a tough problem, try playing a game first.

“Play can also lower your stress levels, boost your optimism, and increase your motivation to move up in a company and improve concentration and perseverance,” Tarken write.

For the up and coming generation, a playful workplace is not only appreciated but expected, according to “The Fundamental Role of Workplace Fun in Applicant Attraction,” a study published in the Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies in 2012. SHRM profiled the study soon after.

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Mentoring Monday: Trends in Workplace Mentoring

Trends in workplace mentoring

Photo via US Army Corps of Engineers, Flickr

As 2015’s National Mentoring Month winds down, we examine trends in workplace mentoring, starting with an observation from Doug Lawrence, president, TalentC, in a post at 12Manage, a forum for executives.

Workplace mentoring is increasing in popularity in the business world, and organizations are having cultural assessments to ensure they are mentor-ready, he notes.

Talent Shortage

Professional services network PwC has found that CEOs are facing a shortage of skilled workers ready to hit the ground running. Its 15th Annual Global CEO Survey  finds a “disparity between confidence in growth and access to talent,” adding that only “30% of CEOs believe they have the talent they need.”

That alone creates a need for workplace mentoring and coaching programs. Businesses that need to do on-the-job training benefit by pairing new and experienced workers.

Generational Shift

A generational shift in the workplace is another trend fueling increased interest in mentoring, according to the TEC CEO network in “Recruiting in 2015: Top trends to look out for”:

“Baby boomers are starting to retire, while Generation Z are beginning to enter the workplace, creating a dynamic shift in businesses across the world.

As everyone moves up a step, the leadership ramifications could be significant for organizations, with Millennials taking up more senior positions and bringing a new style of management.”

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5 Ways to Give Better Workplace Compliments

workplace compliments take practice and forethought

National Compliment Day is all about sharing our appreciations, big and small. (via crimsong19, Flickr)

When was the last time you complimented someone at work or received a workplace compliment? (A real compliment: a piece of thoughtful, specific praise, not a simple “thanks” or “good job.”)

If it’s been a while, you’re not alone. Giving memorable compliments is a skill.

It also requires slowing down long enough to reflect on why you value someone else. With time at a premium and “busy-ness” the norm these days, compliments often get forgotten or neglected.

Now’s your chance to change that, and even if you’re already an awesome compliment-giver, to spread the joy of compliments even more!

Today, Saturday, Jan. 24, is National Compliment Day. What better time to improve your praise-giving skills? Read on to find out why compliments matter so much and how you can make them better.

The Power of Workplace Compliments

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Happy National Pie Day!

Celebrate National Pie Day!

Cherry, blueberry, banana cream, Shepherd’s, lemon meringue or good ol’ apple — what are your favorite pies? (via sbogdanich, Flickr)

National Pie Day is today Friday, Jan. 23, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to engage employees with a tasty, fun celebration.

Why Pie?

Well, besides being absolutely delicious, pie is one of the most versatile dishes around. Sweet or savory, pies can be adapted to fit just about any preference or dining need. Everyone loves pie!

Sharing a slice of pie is a great chance to create some goodwill in the office, provide an opportunity for colleagues to share time with one and another, and communicates “thank you” for being part of our team.

Pies have been around “as long as mankind has had dough to bake into a crust and stuff to put inside it,” as TIME’s Laura Meyer puts it in “A Brief History of Pie.”

The history of pie is especially rich here in the U.S. There’s even an unincorporated village in New Mexico called Pie Town! (You’ll definitely want some pie after reading Smithsonian Magazine’s feature on it, “Savoring Pie Town.”)

Need more reasons to celebrate National Pie Day? Here are a “baker’s dozen” ways to make your National Pie Day pie-tastic, adapted from the American Pie Council.

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Managing Post-Holiday Workplace Stress With Kindness

Best post-holiday workplace stress with kindness

Help your employees beat workplace stress by modeling healthy ways to react and cope. (Image via Celestine Chua, Flickr)

We don’t get a break from workplace stress after the stressful holiday season. In fact, January is the most stressful month of the year, according to a 2014 Friends Life survey of 2000 people.

Now, more than ever, it is important to engage with employees and support a culture of kindness and gratitude.

The busy whirlwind of the holidays can lead to a buildup of past-due work in January, compounded by staffing shortages during winter vacation season. This month is also a time when many people put pressure on themselves to keep their New Year’s resolutions — a difficult task when professional obligations are mounting and bills from holiday extravagances are due.

So, how you can help your employees navigate this stressful time of year? Beating workplace stress takes personal and organizational resilience. It also means going against some of our most basic instincts. But once you train yourself and others to react smarter to stress, your workplace will benefit tremendously!

Stress vs. Challenge

What is workplace stress, anyway? According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), stress can be defined as “the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources or needs of the worker.”

But isn’t a little stress good? Not exactly, according to NIOSH.

NIOSH notes a distinction between stress and challenge. Where stress demotivates and drains, challenge motivates and energizes. When we meet a challenge, we are rewarded with a sense of relaxation and satisfaction.

“Thus, challenge is an important ingredient for healthy and productive work,” NIOSH concludes.

Stress, on the other hand, has serious ramifications that go deep. Individually, it can lead to poor health and even injury. On an organizational level, stress is a disastrous problem that drags down productivity, quality and happiness.

The symptoms of stress — depression, loneliness, isolation — are now at epidemic levels and cost the economy billions of dollars, says James R. Doty, founder and director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE).

Job stress is “far and away” the major source of stress for American adults and has “escalated progressively” over the past few decades, according to the American Institute of Stress.

“In New York, Los Angeles and other municipalities, the relationship between job stress and heart attacks is so well acknowledged that any police officer who suffers a coronary event on or off the job is assumed to have a work-related injury and is compensated accordingly (including a heart attack sustained while fishing on vacation or gambling in Las Vegas).”

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Mentoring Monday: How to Mentor Your Employees

National Mentoring Month Logo - Start Mentoring Your Employees Today!It’s national mentoring month! Last week’s post covered why workplace mentoring is essential and this week we’ll share tips for how to mentor your employees.

You want to make the best possible use of your time and that of your “mentee,” and really help him or her develop professionally and personally—it will bolster your image as a valuable employee too.

Forbes staffer Jacquelyn Smith, in “How To Be A Great Mentor,” quotes William Arthur Ward, author of Fountains of Faith:

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”

To be an excellent mentor is to inspire. Smith cites David Parnell, a legal consultant, communication coach and author, who says it’s an unwritten rule of mentoring that you should give back at least what you’ve received. So if you’ve had a mentor, consider taking on a mentee!

Seven Keys to Successful Mentoring

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Now’s the Time to Recognize Holiday Workers

Be sure to recognize holiday workers!

Photo via Jen Collins, Flicker

Now that the new year is in full swing, don’t forget to recognize your holiday workers—those who worked holiday shifts rather than celebrating with family and friends. You want to ensure they still feel engaged, valued and enthused, as they are the ones who made sure you were open for business during the holidays.

Be Sure to Recognize Holiday Workers

If you can afford to do so, giving holiday workers a bonus is always appreciated, but as Fox Business article “How to Keep Workers Happy When Working Holiday Shifts,” notes:

“While many smaller companies can’t afford to give their workers holiday bonuses, there are other ways to keep employee morale up”, says Daniel Rubin, vice president of Aon Hewitt Talent & Rewards Practice.

“Not enough companies recognize employees in this way,” he goes on. “It’s easy to do, in a sense of saying, ‘Thank you.’ It’s the standpoint of taking the time and not necessarily spending money, and that is something every single company should do.”

Even if budgets are tight, give holiday workers a small token of your thanks, even if it’s just a $5 or $10 gift certificate, a home-cooked meal or a hand-written thank-you note, Rubin says.

Be sure to link this action specifically with your employee’s working on a holiday or overtime, this way he or she will be more inclined to repeat it in the future.

“Making that connection makes the effort more real to employees that their work was recognized,” Rubin says. “Get specific with them. When employees make a link between anything the company does for them with their own effort, that makes all the difference.”

The Power of “Thanks”

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Focus On 2015 Workplace Trends: Device Detox

2015 workplace trends: digital detox

Eyes glued to your phone at lunch? Try connecting offline instead. The Telegraph is calling “digital detox” the top 2015 workplace trend. (Photo via streetmatt, Flickr)

As we usher in these first few weeks of the new year, we’ll be taking a closer look at 2015 workplace trends. First up is the inclusion of “device detox” into everyday work life.

The Telegraph is calling “digital detoxing” the top workplace trend of 2015.  Google and other tech companies are “leading the charge” to incorporate periods of “living outside of cyberspace, free of gadgets and smartphones,”  writes the Telegraph’s Lisa Luxx.

Ultimately the most important focus in 2015 “will be ensuring that we don’t have to escape to far-away lands to get serious time off,” Luxx concludes.

A New Kind of Digital Detox

Taking breaks from technology is nothing new. The alternative magazine Adbusters popularized “TV Turn-Off Week” more than 20 years ago. As the Internet became the new medium of distraction and obsession, the magazine also urged people to take a “Digital Detox Week.” The aim was the same, says Adbusters founder Kalle Lasn: to curb addiction to technology and get people to connect with one another, not their devices.

Now device detox has gone mainstream.

“In 2015, digital detoxing will no longer be restricted to a secluded seven-day camp; we will start to integrate it into our everyday lives,” Luxx writes.

“Health advisers and clued-up employers will encourage digital detoxing in our daily lives in to give human beings the time and space they need to reach their full potential,” she writes.

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