• 5 Ways the U.S. Army Builds a Better Workplace Culture

    We can all learn about workplace culture from the U.S. Army. (Photo via 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cav Div, Flickr)

    Learn about building a great workplace culture from the U.S. Army. (Photo via 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cav Div, Flickr)

    The U.S. Army has enviable workplace culture.

    Tens of thousands of positive Indeed and Glassdoor reviews show the Army has the kind of workplace culture that cultivates happy, motivated and loyal employees.

    Just listen to current and former Army employees rave about it:

    “I love this job because every customer’s issue is unique; you must learn to use your colleagues and resources effectively. There is no such thing as a unfixable problem, every issue will be resolved. I love this job because it’s rewarding and gratifying.” — IT Specialist

    “The United States Army is one of the few jobs that bring people together from around the country.” — Sergeant

    “The hardest thing about the job was actually leaving. This was the best job I have had.” — Former Supply Specialist

    “The U.S Army was a great career. Every day was new, and you expected to be challenged to better yourself in every aspect of living.” — Former Engineer

    What does the Army do differently? And can it be applied in a corporate setting?

    A recent article in KelloggInsight (the publication of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management) examines the Army’s “culture of responsibility.” The authors explore how a “hierarchically structured organization like the military” builds the kind of environment “where people are willing to take the fall when things go wrong.”

    Responsibility is an important part of any good workplace culture. It leads to better communication, faster problem-solving and a sense of community. But beyond responsibility, KelloggInsight’s examination of the U.S. Army management model reveals several great takeaways for building excellent overall workplace culture.

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  • Recharge Your Workplace Gratitude Culture with Mindfulness

    "Mind Full" or "Mindful": Building a workplace gratitude culture with mindfulness

    Guide your workplace from “mind full” to mindful” and recharge your workplace gratitude culture! (Image via Heidi Forbes Öste, Flickr)

    Is mindfulness the missing element in your workplace gratitude culture?

    A workplace gratitude culture that doesn’t sustain a commitment to mindfulness is like a flame without oxygen — it will quickly flicker out.

    Workplaces thrive when they support a culture of gratitude. According to the Harvard Medical School editorial “In Praise of Gratitude,” gratitude is “strongly and consistently” associated with greater happiness.

    Gratitude also “helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity and build strong relationships.” In the workplace, employees who hear gratitude and are encouraged to express gratitude are more engaged and productive.

    Being mindful helps us find our gratitude. Read on for advice from experts on how to recharge your workplace gratitude culture with mindfulness.

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  • 5 Things You Can Do TODAY to Develop Resilient Employees

    Help develop resilient employees

    Create a culture that develops and supports resilient employees. (Art by J. Howard Miller, image via Wikipedia Commons)

    Resilient employees live with the same challenges and stressors as everyone else. The difference is that resilient employees have developed skills and healthy coping mechanisms to protect themselves. As a result, they have lower prevalence of burnout, anxiety and on-the-job injuries — and bounce back from adversity more quickly.

    It’s easy to imagine that resilient employees got lucky at birth, but research shows that workplace resilience can be taught.

    Moreover, employees depend on management’s support to become and stay resilient. In this way, resilience isn’t just an individual characteristic but the marker of a healthy workplace culture.

    Resilience is often described as “adaptability,” and more and more companies are recognizing the need for individual and organizational resilience as a way to adapt to change.

    “The economy, the way people want to live and work, and a whole host of other factors are changing the way work gets done. Some companies are adapting right along with the changes, but many are having difficulties. Coping with today’s stressors on the job requires a different set of strategies and skills, which is why resilience is so important,” according to Psychology Today’s “The Important Ways Developing Resilience Helps You Work Better.”

    Help develop and support resilient employees — read on for leadership tips you can act on today. You’ll start to see the difference right away: employees who are more responsive, energetic, engaged, creative and productive!

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  • Build a Pay-It-Forward Culture Using Employee Gift Certificates

    Employee gift certificates make it easy to share gratitude and pay it forward!

    Employee gift certificates make it easy to receive gratitude and pay it forward! (Photo by Alan Levine, Flickr)

    Employee gift certificates have more uses than rewards and recognition! They’re also a great way to develop a pay-it-forward culture and build peer-to-peer appreciation.

    We were inspired recently by a “pay it forward” story not out of HR but healthcare. A man whose grandson has a chronic kidney disease was able to pay forward his wish to give the boy a kidney.

    “I was 64 at the time, and my grandson Quinn was 4. I know Quinn will eventually need a transplant, but by the time he’s ready, I’ll be too old to give him one of my kidneys,” the man said, according to the UCLA Health press release, “‘Gift certificate’ enables kidney donation when convenient and transplant when necessary.”

    “So I approached UCLA and asked, ‘Why don’t I give a kidney to someone who needs it now, then get a voucher for my grandson to use when he needs a transplant in the future?’ And that’s just what we did,” he said.

    This type of pay-it-forward system using gift certificates encourages altruism, whether people are giving kidneys or random acts of kindness — or just being helpful to a coworker.

    Sharing kindness isn’t just the nice thing to do. It’s smart business. Read on for inspiration on how to use employee gift certificates to support workplace altruism and gratitude.

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  • Maximize One-on-One Performance Feedback: 10 Tips

    Maximize your one-on-one performance review! Read on to learn how.

    Better one-on-one performance feedback leads to more productive, focused and happy employees. (Photo via masaisrael, Flickr)

    Giving effective one-on-one performance feedback is an essential skill for any manager to master. Now, as HR transforms to more frequent employee surveys and ongoing appreciation, one-on-ones are becoming less formal and more frequent — and even more vital to building engagement and company culture.

    A one-on-one performance feedback meeting is a “precious moment of connection,” author and Wellcoaches CEO Margaret Moore tells Harvard Business Review. “Think, ‘I’m here to make a difference in the life of this person.'”

    If that isn’t enough pressure, it’s compounded by another factor: the task of judging another person, and being fair about it.

    “What a performance appraisal requires is for one person to stand in judgment of another. Deep down, it’s uncomfortable,” Dick Grote, author of How to Be Good at Performance Appraisals, tells Harvard Business Review.

    It’s worth the challenge. One-on-one performance feedback meetings are one of the most useful productivity tools a manager has. Meeting face-to-face is a necessary break from the usual digital communications of the modern workplace. It’s a great time to share gratitude and encouragement. Plus, it gives you a chance to step out of the daily grind and discuss big-picture, strategic questions.

    Make the most of your one-on-ones! Read on for tips from Harvard Business Review-approved experts like Moore, Grote and How to Invest Your Time Like Money author Elizabeth Grace Saunders.

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  • Transforming HR to Stay Relevant

    Transforming HR refocuses on the importance of building ongoing employee engagement and recognition.

    Transforming HR to stay relevant centers now on the power of day-in, day-out engagement and appreciation. Photo via US Army Garrison Red Cloud – Casey, Flickr

    Transforming HR to stay relevant now centers on the power of day-in, day-out engagement and appreciation.

    It’s the latest trend in HR and it stems back to the massive restructuring of corporate HR departments that began in the mid-1990s, as HR leaders grew from department specialists to business strategists.

    “The old-style HR that dealt with strikes, bonuses and gripes was rarely suited to this task,” according to The Economist.

    Over the past 20 years, we’ve seen how companies have met the challenge of transforming HR from the inside. Business leaders finally started recognizing the value of a company’s human assets and employee motivation to overall business strategy and success. We see the results of this transformation everywhere, from improved workplace wellness programs to employee engagement that is fully integrated into company culture.

    Yet there’s still so far to go.

    The “great expectations” of transforming HR “were largely frustrated,” according to The Economist. “After a decade, fewer than 5 percent of executives said they thought that their organization’s management of people was not in need of improvement.”

    At SHRM 2016 in June, speaker Ryan Estis said the world of HR is now at a pivotal moment in its evolution and shared strategies for transforming HR in a “Future of Work” session.

    Earlier this year, Bersin by Deloitte discussed transforming HR in its research report, “WhatWorks Awards 2016: Lessons from the Best.”

    Read on to find out why experts are calling for a renewed commitment to transforming HR and why their recommendations center on culture and employee engagement.

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