Archive for the ‘Keeping employees happy’ Category

Gratitude as an extension of being valued

February 10, 2009

Gratitude can often seem in short supply in many companies, but thanking people helps at every level of the organisation. Gratitude focuses the mind on the positive in your life and whatever your situation, you can find a great deal to be thankful for.

It is important to be grateful about where you are now, in order to be grateful about where you are going.

Even if you don’t enjoy your job, you can be grateful for the income it brings you, the experiences you can have, the friends you make and for the opportunities that are coming.

You might be thinking that “no one thanks me, no one appreciates me”. But just remember that if you give out positive energy and appreciation of others, you will find it coming back to you. Start appreciating what other people do for you at work. Focus on the positives, rather than the negatives. Try thanking other people, and they will begin to appreciate you in return. 

Take several minutes each day to find things for which to say thank you. It doesn’t matter who you say thank you to – God, the Universe, or other people. You can say them in your head, or out loud, or write them in a journal – whichever feels best for you. Try saying “Thank you” on your daily commute as this will give you a regular time every working day when you can reset your mind to the positive.  

This daily practice of gratitude puts the mind into a positive state for the day and will stop that feeling of dread as you travel to work. It may also stop you from being grumpy when you get home. Start with one or two things – your health, your family – and you will soon get the hang of it and find other things to be grateful for. Also, be thankful for the opportunities that are on their way to you, the people you will meet who will help you and the ideas that come to you about your future.

Being thankful is empowering at work for you and for others. Saying thank you to people for doing their jobs well is important. No matter what the job is, people need appreciation. It shows respect for that person and makes them feel more valued. You are likely to be treated better in return. Saying thank you is also a way to help difficult situations. For example, someone has made some critical comment about your work. Take a deep breath and then say “Thank you for your feedback – I appreciate the time you have put into it”. This can alter the dynamics of the situation in such a way that the criticism loses its sting and you can have an honest conversation about the subject.

Being grateful in advance also turbo charges your achievements, and boosts your confidence. If you can be thankful for achieving something, even before you have achieved it, then you are more likely to believe that you can reach that goal.

So think about the type of job you really want, be grateful that the job is coming to you, and then take action to achieve it. Focus on what you do want, not what you don’t want. Start saying thank you for the opportunity that is coming. 


“What you think about, and thank about, you bring about.”

Dr John de Martini

Value and Appreciation

February 5, 2009

“A fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work” is fair enough. However, a lot of the time you do go the extra mile and work the long hours.

A word of praise, a personalised email of encouragement or thanks can make all the difference to how you feel about a situation.

These mementos last longer than the pay cheque and show that someone has valued what you have done. There are some managers and even companies that people love to work for because they are known for having a special way of treating people. These managers and companies recognise that people really are their means of doing exceptional business, and treat them accordingly. However, too often it seems people are treated as resources rather than individuals who are valued for their own sake. 


So why is this important? Isn’t it enough that we get paid for our work?

For many people in the modern Western world, the pay is well above the poverty level. It can be assumed that everyone can feed, house and clothe themselves so work is generally not just about survival anymore. Once the basic needs are fulfilled, then work must be about something more than that.

 It should give people the opportunity to develop and grow, and appeal to something other than just financial gain. There must be personal growth, something that can be achieved, a goal to reach towards, respect from others and rewards appropriate to the situation. Your self-esteem is also affected by what peers and managers think of you, as well as how much you perceive you are valued.

What kind of work will make you feel valued?

People have feelings, aspirations and something to add to companies if given a chance to express themselves. The following areas contribute, in part, to making work more positive and demonstrating that people are valued.

  •          Self management and autonomy. Being trusted to do the job without micro-management.
  •          Helping others. Doing things for other people can help escape negativity, especially if the job seems pointless or repetitive. In being needed by others, individuals can feel useful and valued.
  •          Being able to make decisions and not have those decisions overturned.
  •          Taking control and responsibility over specific areas of work.
  •          Ability to achieve goals and succeed at tasks.
  •          Being given the opportunity and encouragement to take the initiative and act creatively without fear of blame.
  •          Being rewarded appropriately and in proportion to the job done.
  •          Confidence in being able to plan your personal life around work. Stability in working hours.
  •          Being treated well and respected as a person and not as just a company resource. Acknowledgement of your other important roles such as partner or parent.

Which of these would make you feel valued at work? Are there ways you could improve any of these areas for yourself? 

100 Best companies to work for in 2009

January 31, 2009

Fortune magazine has just posted the 100 best companies to work for in 2009. Google has slipped from no. 1 to be replaced by NetApp – their policies include ditching a travel policy for common sense, writing future histories instead of business plans, and leave includes adoption aid. 

They also have a perks list which includes: 100% of health care premiums, encourage work-life balance and telecommuting, and some even help with buying a home and scholarships for kids. 

What does your company do that makes it a great place to work? 

Holidays: New study shows Australians are not taking them

January 10, 2009

A new study by Tourism Australia has shown that people are not taking their annual leave, but working instead.Close to 60% of full-time workers did not use their 4 weeks holiday, citing “workplace issues” and “personal issues” as reasons why. 

Stockpiling annual leave has an effect on people’s performance and workplace happiness as well as the company bottom line. The study is aimed at turning this missing leave into Australian holidays to boost the tourism industry, which should have a positive effect for everyone. 

“In the interests of workplace productivity as well as individuals’ mental refreshment and general health, it is important that annual leave be taken seriously by business.  During this time of skill shortages, employers who want to retain their talented workers increasingly need to be seen as employers of choice.

 “Employers who impose a culture of ‘work first at all costs’ are not investing in their people and will lose them to competitors who have a culture of looking after their human capital,” Jo Mithen, AHRI executive director said in the report.

Top Tips from Smart Company

December 23, 2008

One of my favourite websites for business related tips is Smart Company.

They have just released a free download of tips in the areas of Managing People, Cashflow, Wealth/Super, Tax, Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Web 2.0, Online Tools, Sales and SEO.

Definitely worth reading for links to some of their top posts this year.

Multi-Cultural Workplaces: 7 ways to make them work

July 30, 2008
Multicultural workplaces

Multicultural workplaces

Nowadays, people work in global offices with colleagues from different worldviews, religions and attitudes. It is important to be aware of cultural differences and how they affect team dynamics, communication and management style. Multi-cultural workplaces also offer a wealth of new experience and self-growth opportunities. Here are 7 ways to improve multicultural relationships in your workplace.    

  • 1. Make it ok to ask questions. Some people may feel that they cannot ask a person where s/he is from for fear of being offensive or being seen as racist in some way. This can prevent communication, team effort and even friendship from happening. Encourage people to talk about where they are from, and their culture. Most misunderstanding comes from lack of communication. If you can ask questions of one another, then the growth in relationship will enable more effective working together.


  • 2. Learn about each other’s countries and cultures. Many people want to travel to exotic places and experience a different culture. But nowadays, there might be someone from one of those countries in the office. Put a map on the wall and stick pins in it linked to photos of your team members so you can see where people are from. Encourage people to add to the display with information and other pictures and use it as a group talking point.
  • 3. Be respectful and open-minded. Cultural differences can sometimes be confusing or misinterpreted. Be respectful of the way other people work and interact. Try to learn from them instead of considering your way to be the best and criticising. Apologise if you feel you might have offended someone, and ask them how you can behave more appropriately in the future. Speak out again discrimination in the workplace and encourage understanding.
  • 4. Celebrate holidays of other cultures. Festivals and celebration are a great way to learn about other cultures. Have a lunchtime meeting where you share some traditional food and discuss what the festival means. People are the same underneath and festivals often reflect what is important to all cultures – family, faith, children, honouring the past and looking to the future.
  • 5. Create cultural awareness factsheets. If your company employs people from other countries, give them some material on what it is like to work in your company and country. If you send employees overseas to meetings or conferences, they should also know how to work in those cultures. For example, what is the customary greeting within each culture? These worksheets will help provide context for interactions and enable easier work relationships.
  • 6. Treat people as individuals. Culture does not define a person, and cultural stereotypes can also be responsible for more misunderstanding. Don’t jump to conclusions just because someone is from a certain place. Get to know people as individuals regardless of their culture.
  • 7. Identify gaps in your own knowledge. We are all a work-in-progress, and we can always learn more. Identify what you don’t know about your co-workers and their culture. What can you learn about your own culture that affects the way you work? How can you improve the situation so your team can work more effectively together?

“Understand the differences; act on the commonalities” – Andrew Masondo, African National Congress
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The Pope: 7 key points On Human Work – for World Youth Day 2008

July 6, 2008

World Youth Day (WYD) will be held in Sydney, Australia on Sunday July 20 2008. Pope Benedict XVI will be visiting Australia for the first time and more people are expected than for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Although WYD is a Catholic event, the Pope is an important figure on the world stage, and regardless of your religion, the Pope still has global influence.
So what does the Pope think about work?

Pope John Paul II wrote “Laborem Exercens” as a letter to the Catholic Church about human work, considering it to be an essential part of life. Here are 7 key points from the letter that can help you reflect on your job.

  • 1. Through work, people can participate in the same creative action as God. Look around at architecture, art, industry, agriculture, business, cities, books, inventions, technology – even down to the chair you sit on and the clothes you wear. The manufactured world is an expression of human work and much of it is marvellous. People should imitate God in creation: work, and then rest.
  • 2. More attention should be paid to the worker than to the work they do, as people are centrally important. Workers are not just resources and business is not just an economic decision. “Work has no meaning by itself; it is the human being that counts”. Individuals need to work at jobs they can express themselves in, and be able to demonstrate their abilities. People need to be praised and rewarded for their work.
  • 3. Work is sometimes a heavy burden. “With the hard work of your hands, you will get your bread till you go back to the earth from which you were taken” (Genesis 3:19). Sometimes it is a physical burden and exhausts us; sometimes it is a mental or emotional struggle. But work also enables us to become more human, to learn lessons about ourselves, life and other people.
  • 4. Work is essential to family life, as it provides income and education. Working within the community for the good of the family and others also gives people a purpose for their life. Work can promote self-esteem and a feeling of accomplishment which are essential for happiness.
  • 5. Work should be rewarded appropriately. Financial reward in exchange for work is what keeps society functioning. Other social benefits should also be given to the worker including health care, holidays and rest time, and safe working conditions.
  • 6. Work unites people and builds communities. Unions and associations should be encouraged in order to pursue a common good and prevent injustice in the workplace. Work should be available to all people equally. Disabled people should be supported in their right to work. Immigrants should be given the same chance as others since they bring skills from other countries to their new home.
  • 7. “We inherit the work of generations before us and we share in the building of the future”. Work makes us part of the stream of humanity that continues in the world. We need to be aware of where we have come from, and what type of world we are creating for our children. We need to consider the effect our work has on society and the environment. Is our work building a better future?

“Work remains a good thing, not only because it is useful and enjoyable, but also because it expresses and increases the worker’s dignity. Through work we not only transform the world, we are transformed ourselves, becoming more a human being”.
On Human Work #9

Original Text:

Modern Translation:
World Youth Day:
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Communication at work: 6 steps to being more effective

June 7, 2008

Companies that communicate retain more staff and increase job satisfaction for their employees. But ineffective communication can be worse than none at all. Here are six ways to communicate effectively within the organisation.

·         Set clear expectations. If you hold a weekly communications meeting, then make sure there is an agenda that informs people about what you will communicate. People will know what is being covered and can save their questions for the appropriate time. It also ensures all topics are covered. Make sure items are varied, relevant and interesting so people look forward to these sessions.  


·         Ask people what they want to know. So often management will drive meetings based on what they want to tell employees, and not necessarily about what is on people’s minds. Turn this around and ask instead. Send out an anonymous survey or ask for emailed questions to a central address. Allow people to ask anything they want of management. You may be surprised at what people are concerned about. Communication is a two-way street, so be prepared to listen and then broadcast the most useful answers.


·         Be clear and concise. People want to be communicated with, but do not need more than a summary most of the time. Cut meetings short if there is not much to share, and make sure they finish on time. Be specific, decisive and articulate about each topic. If people are speaking, do not allow them to monopolise and take over the meeting. Time is precious, so move things along. Make sure there is follow up to people who were involved. If decisions were made and actions were taken, ensure minutes are sent out promptly.   


·         Communicate in different ways. Face to face meetings are just the beginning. Conference calls are an effective way to get participants from global locations, and presentations can be seen onscreen over the web. Internal newsletters and intranet pages can also be ways of broadcasting communication. Some companies now use e-zines (electronic newsletters) which individuals can contribute to and subscribe to within the organisation. Again, allow feedback and suggestions for improvement.


·         Take a risk. Some CEOs and executives have maintained a distance between themselves and employees, and have not revealed much of their personality. Others embrace communication as a part of their daily work. Some CEOs have started blogs as a way of communicating to employees and the world. The most high profile of these is the President of Sun Microsystems, Jonathan Schwartz,  but there are many others. Sun even has a blog policy acknowledging and allowing that people will communicate online. Accept that people will blog and your corporation stories will get online and you will get feedback. This type of communication will only accelerate with Gen Y employees. Use that information to improve the company and the risk will pay off.


·         Be truthful and respect your audience. Your integrity is always on show when you speak and communicate something, even if it is not important news. People generally know something of what is going on in the company and just want the gaps filled in. Be sincere and respectful of the intelligence of your audience, whoever they are. People will see through half-truths and when the truth is revealed, your honesty is on the line. In these days of mass communication, transparency and integrity is valued in every organisation.

Effective communications can transform your company, so make it a central part of your corporate strategy.

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