Tag Archives: workforce

  • -
workplace culture denial

Workplace Culture Denial Will Cost You

Tags : 

Do you have a great workplace culture? Are you the CEO, a front line employee, or somewhere in the middle? Is your assessment honest or are you in workplace culture denial?

Blind spots can be devastating. When we fail to see or to accept things that are happening right in front of us, the outcomes won’t be favorable.

There is a lot of talk from CEO’s in small businesses about the challenges they face with hiring, employee retention, and finding the best talent.

The trendy answer is connected to blame. Many blame it on low unemployment numbers. Mathematically there is some justification for this, it looks good, and if you lift the covers for a peak at the data it seems to justify it.

Is that all of the problem?

Have a Meeting

I see media reports of government agencies holding roundtable discussions, events, and panel talks. They play the blame game and keep asking CEO’s what they need.

Soon the conversation will shift to culture. Proud CEO’s boast about everything from installing televisions and a pool table in the lunch room, to putting in skylights, or having a nature trail behind their building.

Do these things matter? Certainly, they matter and can be valuable. Yet, these material things on their own are not a culture change.

Culture Rich Means People

Some of the most culture rich organizations I encounter don’t have any of those things. Yet, they seem to get a lot of great resumes, have good choices for hiring, and are growing their business.

Here is the thing. In a very general sense, the best people don’t want to work for an organization they want to work with an organization. It is not inclusive of everyone, but largely this is about the mindset and culture.

CEO’s who believe the path to productivity, efficiency, and revenue are accomplished with robotic contributions, need to invest in that equipment. It is not a bad idea. It just isn’t a people oriented idea.

Workplace Culture Denial

People aren’t tools and tools aren’t people.

Technology is amazing. It certainly is our future.

Invest, invest, and invest! Then invest some more.

Yet you can’t expect to treat people like robots. You’ll find some who will work like that, but others will go to an organization where they feel valued and not like a tool to get the job done.

You can’t be in denial about culture.

The culture is what you make it. Largely it is connected to the highest leadership roles, yet people in the middle or front line can make positive contributions even if there is some denial in the C-Suite.

Install your skylights, brighten the work area, and build a nature trail. It really doesn’t matter if the feeling of the people stays the same.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


  • -
workforce relevance

Workforce Relevance or Self-Deception

Tags : 

Once upon a time it mattered to ensure you stocked enough green bar paper. You were state-of-the-art. This may also be true for the number two pencil, the Rolodex, and the pink “While you were out” memo pads. Workforce relevance changes too. Skills, approaches, and service themes.

The sales funnel is important. Keep a good supply of potential leads, work them down into the yes and no pile. Keep going, keep moving, the sales funnel means life. Build operational support to keep the funnel flowing and you’re set.

Stay Relevant

Organizations often face irrelevance because the theme of keeping the flow moving becomes a standard. The idea is, when we do just this, and just that, and get everything just right, the flow will continue. Then it slows, or stops.

What built the organization and the teams that keep it moving, aren’t necessarily the same aspects or indicators of what will keep it alive.

Likely every organization that has worked to standardize and then lock it in, eventually stop, things slow and then end.

For the small business it is often the hard work of the owners, the second or third generation of family, or the subconscious vision of, “We finally have it all figured out.”

Workforce Relevance

It is safe to say that all organizations are driven by people. People are not tools; they are an investment. Manage them as a cost of doing business instead of the reason you have the business and you will have a short run game.

The relevance of your workforce will condition everything in the long game. The knowledge, skills, and abilities you will need to continue to grow, change, and adapt.

If you get stuck in the world of green bar paper, number two pencils, and your Rolodex, everything will pass you by. In a world of constant change being convinced your formula will stay the same is self-deception.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


  • 2
showing up

Showing Up Seems To Make Sense

Tags : 

There are many stories out there about the effects of low unemployment numbers. Some doubt the validity of the numbers, some suggest they can’t find anyone to hire. Others are just thankful that employees are showing up for work.

I want to ask, “Is that the best we can do?”

If our expectation as an organization leader is that we are grateful when people are showing up for work, something must be wrong.

Showing Up

I remember years ago when the chairperson of a community workforce meeting stated that finding employees was a challenge for local business owners. The chairperson asked a CEO in attendance, “Are you fully staffed, and if so, how are you doing it?”

The response of this CEO took me aback. He said, “Simple, we ignore the pot.”

What he meant was that through drug testing they were willing to overlook someone who tested positive for marijuana use. This was in the early 2000’s.

I’m not writing this to spark a debate about marijuana use. I’m expressing this scenario to ask, “Is this the best we can do?”

What is going on when organizations must lower their standards in order to onboard or keep employees? Worse, what is happening when they are happy they have succeeded? When they are overjoyed that people are showing up?

Tough Problem

I recognize that this is not an easy problem to tackle. I also recognize that there may be many factors involved.

Things that often bubble to the surface are things like, generational challenges, pay scales, and dirty jobs.

Maybe it is something a little more complex and less obvious. Perhaps there are connections to the organizational culture.

Does the CEO measure the value of employees as human capital (an investment), or are they measured as an expense (keep this number low)? There is a significant difference in the mindset.

When we are overjoyed that people are just showing up for work, we’re caught in a downward spiral.

Maybe the standards need to change. Maybe the culture, the business model, or the vision of leadership should pivot.

Just showing up, is that the best we can do? 

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


  • 2
workforce trends

Workforce Trends Connected To Generational Differences?

Tags : 

The recent newsflash is that GM is planning to layoff 14,000 US workers. Is this capitalism at its finest? Could it be a sign of uncertainty in the economy? Is this disruption in workforce trends somehow connected to generational differences?

The safest answer may be to consider that all the above apply.

There are plenty of news articles and video clips addressing the speculation about why. So far, I haven’t seen any material connected to workforce trends shifting because of the more recent generations.

What Is the Question?

My initial question is simple: Have US car sales been flattening or perhaps declining?

Ask a marketing or demographic expert involved in the automobile industry and they may confirm or deny.

I believe there may be a linkage to our generational differences. Many traditionals, the baby boomers, and even generation X, lived largely on the premise that coming of age meant getting a car.

Want to know the framework for the generations? See the chart.

Today, for the youngest millennials and the generation Z crowd, it may not be the same.

Rural vs Urban Desires

Rural USA has parents wondering why their children grow up and want to leave small town USA.

As a kid, I aspired to cut the lawn, trim trees and bushes, and one day buy a car and a house. That was the dream.

Today, as many millennials leave small town USA and head to major metropolitan areas, they don’t care about the pride of cutting the lawn or raking the leaves. They don’t want to know the basics in home repair or how to change the oil in their car.

Many of them do not want any of that stuff.

Partly perhaps, because it slows them down, puts them in higher debt, and makes their living arrangements less flexible.

Workforce Trends

Is the American Dream changing? Is it shifting workforce trends?

What are the forces applying pressure to see GM cut 14,000 jobs?

Is it just another day in corporate America capitalism? A decline in the interest for certain types of automobiles?

Is it a signpost of the differences in values and beliefs across the generations that will ultimately shift the job market?

I’m curious.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


  • -
next big thing

Waiting For The Next Big Thing?

Tags : 

When you are living in the present, it is hard to imagine the next big thing. Some people might think about holding on to the lifestyle, traditions, and comfort of the past. Others are invested in the present, a good thing, but do you ever find yourself thinking about what is next? Are you waiting for it?

Historic Perspective

In the mid to late 1800’s they probably didn’t imagine the impact of what we know as the automobile, the superhighways, and how it all impacts the economy. Not so long ago we probably couldn’t have imagined the impact of the personal computer and even more recently the Smart Phone.

It might have been hard to imagine the concept of a 1980’s era shopping mall in 1920. Yet today after enormous popularity, their future might be changing. At least, the future as we once thought it would be.

Workforce Generations

Today, I often talk with people about the workforce generations. I present about generational differences at conferences, and even help businesses and organizations develop a deeper understanding of how to have this work for you instead of against you.

As people we are often holding on to what works, what is comfortable, and what feels smart. We focus on efficiency, doing the right things, and at the deepest level, survival.

In this regard we’re not so much different from a century or two ago, yet much has changed.

Next Big Thing

Futurists want to predict, discover, and connect with the next big thing. The biggest problem is knowing what the next big thing will be.

It might be hard to believe that not so long ago there was a common belief that the internet might be a fad, that social media was only for geeks, and that shopping on-line was cumbersome, a waste of time, and shipping charges made it too expensive.

There will always be some next big thing. Until that time it might be best to focus what is working today, all the while understanding that it has changed from yesterday and that it might be different tomorrow.

One thing that history shows us is that there was not really much success in waiting.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


  • -
blame millennials appreciative strategies

When All Else Fails, Blame Millennials

Tags : 

The trend might be, blame millennials. It seems that every workplace problem or business decline somehow is connected with millennial behavior. Is it true?

Who They Are

One of the most important factors to consider is that not every person 35 or younger is a millennial. In fact, the oldest millennials are about to turn 40. The youngest adult population really represents generation Z (Gen 9/11, iGen, Gen Z).

Therefore, it seems that the youngest millennials and Gen Z might really be the target. Should they be? Alternatively, you might ask, do the generations that come before them lack foresight and adaptability?

Generational groupings are determined by major shifts. Technology and socio-economic conditions are definitely part of the drivers for these shifts.

Millennial and Gen Z buying habits might be different but are their mindsets? Expanding the question we should probably ask, “Different from what?”

An important factor for assessing generational differences is to consider that there are differences in age but there are also differences in values and beliefs. It is not so much age that creates the generational divide. It is a difference in values and beliefs.

What does this mean when it comes to our workforce?

Blame Millennials

Organizations often find themselves scrambling to find ways to attract and retain the younger segment of our workforce population. They offer incentives, suggest they are the best place to work, relax some policies and procedures, change work hours, and even throw out longstanding dress codes.

If none of those seem to work, they blame millennials, or sometimes the parents of millennials. Often resolving our challenges is not about who is to blame, it is more about how to make it better. You might consider how you will clean things up, change, adapt, and be interestingly different.

There is a philosophy about building relationships and making new connections. It might apply to discovering more about how to work across multiple generations. It goes something like this, “You have to be interested before you are interesting.”

Work With You

Generational differences can be challenging to navigate. They are real. Yes, there are connections to participation trophies, cell phones, and the sense of entitlement. Values and beliefs might be different but not necessarily unrealistic.

From my experiences, the majority of our youngest representations in the workforce don’t believe that they don’t have to work.

They are often just trying to decide if they should work with you.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


  • -
workforce engagement appreciative strategies

Give and Get of Workforce Engagement

Tags : 

You’ve heard it before, “Attitudes are contagious.” Yes, most workforce professionals would likely agree, but does attitude condition workforce engagement?

Sometimes when I’m speaking or presenting to groups I will try to throw out a little bit of humor. I’m certainly not a humorist speaker, but most people like to have a little fun. Occasionally, I’ll throw out a zinger and only one or two persons will laugh. I’ll follow that with, “Thank you. Now could you move around and act like a crowd.”

It is all intended for some fun. Usually it works. More people join in the laughter.

Following the Crowd

Unfortunately the opposite is also true. People who oppose circumstances or situations can also develop a following. At times they may not completely understand what they are for, or against, but they’re following the crowd.

Sometimes we might call it atmosphere, others might suggest it is the environment, and yet others might label it as the organizational culture.

Many people believe that what you give is what you get.

If you are looking for a way to inappropriately challenge the process you’ll find it. When you listen only to respond, others will do the same. If you fold your arms, scowl, and send the message that you don’t want to be there, others will follow.

Workforce Engagement

Be careful about what you give.  If you give the message of, “I don’t care about you.” chances are good you’ll get that back.

This is often how the pay check only employees develop. You know the ones. They care very little about anything other than their pay check. Typically this develops when they feel disrespected or devalued. It’s reactionary and sometimes becomes a crowd.

You might only get what you give.

It’s true for management and it’s true for the front line.

Do you want workforce engagement?

Give out what you want to get back.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


  • -

Solving Workforce Problems, Should You Triangulate Your Approach?

Tags : 

A solution is what most people want. Often our most complex workforce problems go unsolved because if they were easily solved, then they wouldn’t really be a problem would they?

Planning work

Problem solving can be fun, especially when it is just difficult enough to be stimulating but not so challenging that you get frustrated.

Unfortunately sometimes the problems become so difficult that we get frustrated, we might feel like giving up, or we might have to dig deeper to discover additional knowledge or gain additional expertise.

Many of our most challenging problems cannot be solved with a one size fits all approach. We would often like to believe that they can, we often approach them like they can, but then sometimes reality sets in and we come up noticeably short.

One solution might be to triangulate your approach.

Triangulation

The idea of triangulation to solve problems could have several different meanings, but triangulation by definition typically refers to the idea of having two or more pieces of information, and then using that information to calculate the information you are missing. I believe our GPS and navigation systems use this or a similar methodology with satellites and ground position.

How is this idea connected with solving problems in the workplace?

Setting aside design and engineering challenges which likely already involve the use of complex mathematical calculations to solve problems, we might try to combine several known approaches that develop data that would allow us to make more informed choices or predictions for probable outcomes.

By doing this we have the opportunity to validate our information and potentially understand the most probable fix.

How does it work?

Lets assume for a moment that we have a number of choices for determining why employee turnover ratios are high. We could survey employees, we could conduct individual interviews, or we could use focus groups and perhaps many other variations of this type of work to collect data in an attempt to understand solutions for reducing turnover.

In most cases, largely because of time and resources, an organization would choose only one method or a single approach. However, if we would choose two or more well proven approaches (a sort of double check) the information might be considered more valid and reliable.

Doing this means you’ve triangulated your approach with two or more pieces of data that will point to a solution.

Triangulating your approach isn’t the easiest and it doesn’t come with the lowest initial cost, but the long-term benefits could easily overshadow the short-term costs.

What do you think, should you triangulate your approach?

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


Search This Website

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Blog (Filter) Categories

Follow me on Twitter

Assessment Services and Tools

Strategic, Competency, or Needs Assessments, DiSC Assessments, 360 Feedback, and more. Learn more