Introvert or Extrovert – The Workplace Needs Both

Quite frequently I hear the question, “Are you an extrovert or an introvert?”.  While I think this is an important question to know the answer to, I don’t think it should force a person to be a certain way.  Being a person who can easily switch from one descriptor to the other, I find myself slightly cringe when one is seen as more positive than the other because, quite simply, the workplace needs both.

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Let’s start with introverts, only because I was ranked as an introvert based on the MBTI (just barely) and it’s what I consider myself more often than not.  Based on this article, introverts choose words more carefully, are extremely focused and can process a lot of information.  On the other hand, they may make bad first impressions, have limited networking skills and lack verbal communication.

Extroverts obviously bring the opposite and that’s a great thing… Even for introverts.  A few pros of being an extrovert include increased individual growth, being socially active and having the ability to be expressive.  The downside includes being unknowingly annoying, having a lack of self-awareness and saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.

Both types of personalities can be great leaders, excel in teams and be creative thinkers, which is why the workplace needs both. When these labels are used to tell us what we should or shouldn’t do or be, I think that’s when we let them do more harm than good. If businesses used only these two attributes during recruiting or promoting, the outcome would be a nightmare because these two descriptors only tell us so much about a person.

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Being a trainer, most people think I am a natural extrovert, but this is where assumptions can lead us in the wrong direction and can cause friction on teams. Introversion simply means you get your energy from being alone where as extroverts recharge by being with people. When someone’s personality is assumed based on a few interactions, the whole story is shortened to a few limiting descriptors that can dramatically limit a team and department.

With the increase in personality tests, employers and employees need to be increasingly cautious when using labels. While some jobs may fit certain personalities better, it’s important that we look at and listen to the whole person because most people can be successful and comfortable in all sorts of roles.

While it’s nice to have information about personalities, let’s not jump to conclusions and let something as small as introvert or extrovert dictate our roles, our relationships or our successes. We are always more than the labels that define us especially when it comes to a personality profile.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?  How does that impact you in the workplace? Let me know in the comment section below.

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Positive and Negative Turnover… What’s the Difference?

While turnover can be costly and affect employee engagement, it can be both positive and negative. Each company has to find its own sweet spot. If you’re so inclined, you can figure out what your current, annual turnover rate is by using this formula. Regardless of a decided turnover benchmark, here are my top 3 reasons for when turnover is bad and when it’s good.

 

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Turnover is BAD if an employee leaves because:

Poor Pay and Benefits – If an employee is solely leaving for a slight pay increase or small additional benefits, it could be a red flag. Both should be regularly monitored to ensure your company is staying competitive. A quarterly or annual statement showing a monetary value beyond employees’ pay may be helpful.

Ineffective Onboarding – When an employee does not feel welcomed or when they don’t understand their job, bad turnover increases. Companies essentially don’t give a new employee the chance to be successful because they don’t put in the effort to onboard, which is a huge waste of time and money.

Lackluster Leadership – Training is a must for all leaders to ensure they can support the needs of a team. Equally as pivotal is reminding a hiring manager of the importance of picking the right fit for their team and hiring for personality. Employees will leave a bad boss even if they love the company.

Turnover is GOOD if an employee leaves because:

Disconnect with Culture – Employees who refuse to follow the company’s determined culture can be a setback to the organization. If an employee leaves that is not the right fit, it will be a positive experience for that employee and the team.

Lack of Performance – When someone under performs, it drags down the whole team. By providing honest feedback and having tough conversations, this type of turnover will be positive for the entire company, and someone more qualified can fill the spot.

A Drama Starter – If your employee complains about everything or resists every new change, it might not be such a bad thing to see them go.

AND one in between: Highly Tenured EmployeesTeam members who have been with your company for a while provide expertise in the field, are a testament to a great company, and can impact others in times of change. Alternatively, team members who have been with your company for a while can be resistant to change, stuck in their ways and completely disengaged.   While you have to gauge your own employees based on performance, tenure can provide a gray area for turnover.

Losing a solid employee is tough, but it’s harder to keep a poor performer who drags down your team. By determining a healthy turnover rate and really looking into the reasons why someone leaves, a business can fully determine whether the exit was good or bad and what they need to do moving forward to keep the best talent.

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Five Tips for Onboarding – No Training Required

As a trainer, I fully understand the importance of a successful training program for new team members. Employees have to have the tools and resources to move forward from rookie to pro; however, there is so much more to a thorough onboarding process than training.

f78b45f8581c076c453ed01377c3d616Here are the top five things that I think make or break an employee’s first 90 days:

  • Truly Welcome Them to The Team:  Taking the time to celebrate the new team member’s job will create a great first impression for the new employee. By having a special lunch, recognizing them at a weekly meeting or possibly starting the day with a much-needed Starbucks, each small gesture will resonate and show the true culture of the organization.
  • Assign A Mentor:  A mentor can help a team member fully understand the new position and feel as if they are already part of the team. Not only is a mentor program FREE, but it’s also a great way to create a caring culture by eliminating the typical frustrations for new and current employees.
  • Reinforce The WHY:  As discussed in an earlier blog, the WHY is so much more important than the how and the what of a role for any employee, but especially a new employee. Once they understand WHY they are doing something, the how and the what will come much more naturally and passionately. Seeing as how only 25% of employees worldwide feel connected to their company’s mission and half of employees don’t even find significance in their work, employers have a lot to do in order to create a genuine connection to their organizations.
  • Set Goals and Clear Expectations:  Amazingly 60% of companies do not set any milestones for new employees. Once new team members understand why their role is important, they need to know what success looks like or else they will feel like they are floundering, or worse failing, in their new position. Goal-setting is a double benefit since leader satisfaction increases by 20% when employees have a formal, successful onboarding and employees will actually know what they need to accomplish and when to have it finished.
  • Give Feedback Openly and Regularly:  Feedback is KEY! How else will your new team member know where they stand? If a leader is open and honest with a team member, then the employee will feel comfortable giving their opinion and sharing their ideas as well. Feedback only works if clear goals were set initially, so make sure that expectations are a priority and then provide an immense amount of positive and corrective feedback accordingly.

Since up to 20% of employee turnover happens in the first 45 days, it’s key that we don’t let good talent walk out the door because we didn’t do enough to keep them. Set the foundation for progress and development, and new employees will be more likely to stick around.

What’s your onboarding process?  Let me know in the comment section below.

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Daylight Saving Time Affects Employees

At 2AM we celebrated daylight saving time by losing an hour of sleep and fast-forwarding that glorious, precious hour. This practice originally began as a way to have more light hours in the evening, so we can be more productive during the day time hours. Which sounds great and I’m sure in the next week most of us will be excited for better weather and brighter evenings, but for today, our bodies will continuously tell us it’s not the time we think it is.

However, daylight saving time does have an effect on humans, which can affect the workplace. Here are a few examples:

  • Employees may be less productive and a little more moody, since “Americans lose 40 minutes of sleep” when we spring forward. Being sleep deprived, can greatly affect “memory, performance and concentration levels.”
  • This can increase work place injuries, which can be a steep cost to employers due to the injury itself or lost time.
  • Also, employees may have a higher use of technology not related to work, or cyberloafing. A study showed “for every hour of interrupted sleep, participants cyberloafed for 20 percent of their assigned task.”
  • Humans are more likely to stray from their diets and healthy life styles. While this may seem like a pro, it does throw employees off their normal routine.
  • Headaches also increase for some people due to the changes in our circadian rhythm.
  • Car crashes and heart attacks have also been seen to increase the day after daylight saving times.

Dollarphotoclub_71971880-760x507Make sure to encourage your employees to overcome this grogginess, get back on track and avoid the negative possibilities of losing an hour of sleep.  In the Good Morning America interview Good Night, Sleep Tight, they review the many reasons why sleep is important and how to ensure you are getting enough of it.  As discussed, exercise is important and can keep us on schedule, but we will want to do this earlier in the day as to avoid it keeping us awake all night.  Also, avoid caffeine late in the afternoon and technology right before bed, so sleep comes regularly.

By getting up and out on Sunday and Monday morning and soaking up the early morning light, it can help us overcome the lack sleep.  Also, as much as we may want to enjoy those evening rays, it’s better to stay in side and keep to our routine. It’s important to remind employees that sleep is important and to take the extra time to give themselves some TLC this week, so the work place can stay productive and to avoid some of the common pitfalls of daylight saving time.

Feeling sleepy this week?  Did you see it impact your workplace?  Let me know in the comment section below.

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Part 2: The Art of Appreciation – Give It!

In the second part of this post, I want to talk a little bit about the importance of giving appreciation and how it can positively affect the workplace. Yes, it is important for us to ask for the feedback and praise that we need, but it is equally as important for employers to give genuine appreciation on a regular basis. If appreciation is a part of the workplace culture, I think greater, more proactive work will be accomplished.

Employers have to praise their employees and there are many ways to accomplish this. Incentive programs are practically the norm now as more than 80% of US companies have an incentive program and employers spend more than $90 billion annually on non-cash incentives. However, I think that companies and leaders could accomplish a lot by providing simple, genuine appreciation tactics that have minimal associated cost.  Verbal recognition, thank you cards, positive e-mails or even a mention in a meeting can easily surpass gift cards, trips and even money.

a4-recognition-quotesBy creating a culture of verbal appreciation, leaders won’t only appreciate their own teams, but also encourage their employees to spread the gratitude. When leaders appreciate their employees, they not only “boost performance and engagement, but also the employee’s wellbeing and health.” In the same article, O.C. Tanner says employees who receive praise are more willing to spread positivity by either helping  or recognizing others. Once we foster appreciation, it becomes contagious and employees are more willing to spread the love.

There are a number of excuses of why organizations miss the opportunity to provide praise, but none are really impressive. From being too busy or it being too expensive or not feeling comfortable, all of these take more time to formulate than actually saying thank you. Noticing what team members do and making it a point to congratulate them on a job well done or taking the extra step, may initially feel like another task on the to do list, but it has huge payoffs. In a Gallup study, it was found that employees who did not feel “adequately recognized are twice as likely to say they’ll quit in the next year.”  They also found that recognition “not only boosted individual employee engagement” but also increases retention and productivity, so it actually affects the bottom line.

Once a culture of appreciation is created, employers and leaders will find that it comes naturally to them. As long as the praise is honest and timely, any organization will reap the benefits of verbal recognition. In future posts, I will look into those expensive, incentive programs that can help fuel engagement and are good for employees, but, for now, I think it’s much easier (and cheaper) to start with a good, old-fashioned THANK YOU!

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Part 1: The Art of Appreciation – Ask for It!

In this two part series, I’ll look into the importance of appreciation and how it includes efforts from both the employee and the employer.  In the wake of Employee Appreciation Day, which was on March 3, I kept thinking about the thankless. Those that work that never get an “Atta Boy” after a long hard day or those that never get a positive e-mail with an influential organizational leader copied.  Is the employer the only one to blame in these situations?  Does an employee have any accountability?

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Laura Trice gave an excellent Ted Talk on the importance of praise and asking for appreciation. In the talk, “Remember to say thank you,” she mentioned that she would often feel embarrassed to say thank you or avoid taking some one’s praise. There is a tendency to shut down thank you’s or feel like appreciation is implied when that’s not enough.

Many times I have wondered if some one appreciated the things I did. According to Trice, we shouldn’t wonder any longer, we should just ask. But why does that feel scary? Trice says when we ask for praise, we give people “critical data” and that makes us vulnerable. Once we open up either to a spouse or friend, we then give the person the option on how they decide to respond. “Be honest about the praise you need,” Trice says, which I think can be used in workplaces as well.

No excuses given, leaders get busy, forgetful and rushed. Leaders expect employees to do their jobs well, so they can do a good job and so on and so forth. So, sometimes employees have to ask for needed, deserved appreciation that they have earned. This sounds about as daunting as asking for a raise, but remind your boss, it’s free and it will make the work place better.

Dr. Woodward from Fox Business notes that the challenge with appreciation is “how do you help your mangers and employees deliberately use appreciation… for higher engagement and creativity.”  In part two of this series, I will dig into the important things that leaders can do to utilize appreciation, but employees also need to realize that they play a part in the benefit of appreciation.  When surveyed, employees ranked internal recognition by supervisors and peers as the 4th and 5th signifiers (respectively) that a peer as successful.

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Of course, it’s an employers responsibly to give praise; however, sometimes they miss the mark. Regular appreciation may not be a part of their culture or people are too busy or they simply forget, but by employees asking for what they want, the work place can improve. When employees are recognized weekly by a supervisor, then 85% of them are satisfied with their job. Employees have the potential to make the work place better just by asking for it.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog! My ask this week:  Ask for the praise you deserve and let me know how it goes in the comment section below.