Low Investment, Increased Employee Productivity

Decades ago, when I was a stressed out adult probation officer, someone gave me a book on meditation. I was hooked upon experiencing the positive outcomes of meditating. I occasionally taught meditation classes in groups and even to high school staff. Decades later I’m busy running a business, teaching in higher ed. and generally trying to have a balanced life to boot. Nevertheless I do still meditate every single day. Why? Because it reduces my stress and sharpens my focus in a world that is constantly throwing every possible distraction at us through a myriad of media.

focus.pngI’m not alone in the taming the beast of stress related distraction, and you don’t have to look very far to see institutions such as Harvard, the Mayo Clinic, Yale, etc. have explored, studied, and validated the positive outcomes. If you knew even 10 minutes of employee mindfulness/meditation would boost your company’s growth through more engaged employees, create a safer environment with more focused employees, and reduce your healthcare costs why wouldn’t you pursue it? If you’re thinking 10 – 20 minutes of employee time would result in lost productivity, I can guarantee you that same amount of time is currently being lost due to the almost 70% of employees nationwide who are actively disengaged in their jobs.

As far as employee engagement tools go meditation has scientifically proven positive outcomes, and the price tag to implement it is minimal, and maintaining it cost zero extra dollars. You’ll be hard pressed to find a stronger return on investment.

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Three Things That Won’t Solve Workforce Challenges

Ten or so years ago workforce development was the job of professionals within the workforce development field. Now, workforce development has morphed into an effort that for some reason more people and professions than needed are trying to contribute to. The issue in many cases is “what” the non-workforce professionals are trying to contribute. Here is a list of three things being forced into the workforce development arena that are limited at best, and counterproductive at worst. paperwork_overload_by_primousinwonderland_d5eu4w7-fullview

1) Government training and engagement funding programs. Paperwork, with a side of paperwork is curbing enthusiasm and the ability to access some potentially good State based programs. Money will be left on the table when the process consumes too much of human resource’s time. Why? Because human resource’s time equals money as well. Additionally, they are already busy people. Yes to training and engagement funds, but let’s simplify the hoops and time consumption currently attached to them.

2) Economic developers. I am a recovering economic developer so I say this with love. Economic development is a full time, and important job in communities. Impact and ability are diluted when workforce is added in as ‘economic development.’ Almost any economic developer who was around 10+ year ago went kicking and screaming to Workforce Investment Act meetings because it ‘wasn’t what an economic developer did.’ Let’s quit forcing people into conversations and dynamics that take away from what they were originally hired to do. The exception, creating a job or department within the economic development organization specifically to target partnerships with workforce professionals and support growing workforce efforts.

3) Incentivizing only job creation/retention growth. Incentivizing manufacturing growth only when it includes jobs created doesn’t make sense anymore, especially in rural areas. You only need to look at demographic trends to see the issue. If you only incentivize job creation, rural areas will eventually lose their manufacturers and they will at times move to secure both more people and the funds that come with them. Most of us know multiple companies who have jumped locations for economic development funding. Why? Because many States have built incentive programs creating a dynamic which makes it more profitable for them to do so. Would I move across the city or county line if incentivized to do so? Yes, yes I would if I was in the business of ending a year with a profit. Incentivizing automation eases the workforce challenges when it comes down to the bottom line of having enough people to fill positions. It contributes to stabilizing communities.

By continually adding everyone under the sun into the workforce discussion and/or program planning the only outcome you are on the path to is progress at a pace that is detrimental to manufacturing. More action, less meetings, more smart conversations, less of talking things into the ground and then burying them with endless paperwork.

Accountability

accountabilityAccountability is the base of business, leadership, friendship, etc.  The challenge within it can be very real.  Two thoughts on leaning into accountability:

1.)  Know that the lens you look through changes, and be aware that impacts   accountability as well. Revisit what you need to address throughout your life.

2.)  Accountability goes beyond you.  You model and support your business’s culture, your team, your friends, and show leadership by showing others your commitment and integrity through your commitment to holding yourself and others accountable.

Accountability can be challenging because it is not always easy holding yourself accountable, nor is it always popular holding others accountable.  You will often need to do a gut check and pick your path.  Are you traveling the path of popularity, or the path of integrity.

Are Women In Government Stuck?

In a recent article from Governing magazine, “Why Women’s Presence in Politics Has Stagnated,”  I was unpleasantly surprised to see female legislators are still at the same percentage level, roughly, as they were in 1997.  What an unpleasant discovery it was to read that.  I believe a lot of us just assumed progress was going on.  And unfortunately legislative positions do not seem to be the only areas of lag. Of the over 9,000 International City/County Management Association members only 23% are women.  Even more depressing is that the percentage of women in those chief administrative positions have reminded dismally consistent at 13% since 1981.

I feel I am part of the problem as without organization’s such as The Legacy Project in Illinois or other data gathering entities I would still be rolling along feeling it is all getting better.  Sadly, without a conscious, focused effort and review of government culture, either as individual entities or overall, along with data mining, progress will not magically come.  How do we know this?  Numbers don’t lie.

And just in case equity isn’t a motivator within your organization, women bring a dynamic into an organization’s culture that is often extremely conducive to increased positive customer service, increased return on investment, etc.  So if you are not motivated by social progress, there is certainly enough data out there showing more women in leadership positions equate to increased profitability and in the case of government, wise use of tax payer dollars.

The graph below is going on three years old, but based on the figures I’ve seen lately is a fair visual representation providing a great overview of where the U.S. stands internationally when it comes to government and non-government female management.  It is an additional indicator demonstrating how far U.S. government entities have fallen behind.

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Productivity… TED Talk: Yves Morieux: How too many rules at work keep you from getting things done

Very interesting TED Talk on rules, the workplace and productivity.   What is the real goal and where do we focus in our processes – finding someone to blame if failure happens or do we focus on success? Is your company culture shaping a dynamic making it a positive for personnel to collaborate outside of their individual duties? Click here to watch.

“A Stalled Revolution”

The following is from and interesting article on women in the workplace.  The full article can be found here.

“In recent years, however, the percentage of women in top management positions and on corporate boards has stalled:

  • As recently as 2011, their presence in top management positions in S&P 1500 companies was less than 9 percent.
  • Although there has been a slow but steady increase, progress for women is uneven; while 19 percent of S&P 500 board directors are women, only 15 percent of directors of S&P mid-cap companies are women, compared to 12.6 percent of directors of S&P small-cap companies.
  • Overall, just 15.8 percent of directors of S&P 1500 companies are women.
  • Companies with female CEOs tend to have more female directors; however, as of October, 2014, there were only 67 female CEOs in the S&P 1500.”

One More Reason To Address An Employee’s Negative Behavior

Say you are a manager/leader in your organization.  Say you have an employee or two that act out somewhere in the organization.  You figure, the problem will take care of itself either through the person leaving, lower management addressing it, or their co-workers addressing it.  You are a leader after all, in mid or even upper management and have more important things to do.

Here is why it is actually your problem.  An employees negative behavior impacts more than just those directly working with him/her.  An employee’s negative behavior negatively impacts the organization’s ethical standards, and unproductive behavior violates fiduciary duty, two primary components of the bottom line.  And, if you are a leader, optimizing the bottom line is your job. Make sure the line of management is addressing it where need be.

The Neuroscience Of Positive Leadership

Research on the neuroscience of positive leadership, to me, seems like the best idea ever!  If you have positive leadership, creating a positive organizational culture, things start to take care of themselves, ROI, productivity fall into place.

http://www.unc.edu/peplab/research.html