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Professional Communication Tips for the Workplace

Professional Communication Tips for the Workplace

Professional communication skills are critically important for handling customer contact and may include answering the phone, taking a message, sending a follow-up email, or transferring the customer to someone else. The priority is building relationships and demonstrating professionalism.

We all know to be patient, to be empathetic, to choose words and tone that are customer-focused. Why, then, do many employees struggle with positive, productive communication when dealing with their colleagues? When it comes to our colleagues, it’s often harder to be as patient and calm.

Best practices for keeping C.A.L.M. with your colleagues:

Charitable. Being charitable means being kind to one another. If every interaction with a colleague began with kindness, imagine how much more productive our organizations might be.

Acknowledge. Acknowledging another’s problem with empathy and understanding demonstrates a willingness to help and can quickly break down the silos in our organization. It sounds like, “I understand how frustrating this is. I get why this is important to you”

Listen. Being a good listener doesn’t mean talking. It means asking clarifying questions that give you additional information to seek resolutions.

Meet. Sometimes, it’s just true. We build better relationships face to face. Rather than a phone call or email, get up and go to your colleague’s office. Remember, body language is more powerful than words and tone.
In every workplace interaction, it is important to demonstrate CALM. We need to treat our colleagues in the same way we treat our customers. It’s important to remain professional so we don’t affect our productivity on the job and create negativity in the workplace.

You are in control of your body language, tone, and words. If you are put into a tough situation, remember to take a deep breath and keep CALM.

Center for Practical Management helps companies achieve organizational goals and behavior change initiatives through tailored consulting services, leadership coaching, employee skills training and marketing services. Learn more at www.cf-pm.com

Center for Practical Management is a strategic business partner with Raddon, a Fiserv Company. Learn more at www.raddon.com

A Wake-up Call About Rewards and Recognition

A Wake-up Call About Rewards and Recognition

When was the last time you looked closely at the next generation of leaders in your organization? The good news is that the average age of top leaders is getting younger every year. However, many of your leaders may be growing impatient on the bench.

According to a published Global Leadership Forecast, Gen Xers recently took a workforce lead by holding 51% of the worldwide leadership roles. Age 37 to 54, this highly distinguished generation of workers boasts an average of 20 years’ work experience, strong work-ethic and company loyalty.

Researchers are now suggesting that organizations should start paying attention to a new entrepreneurial trend within the Gen X demographic.

It is estimated that 55% of all startups will be founded by Gen Xers this year. Many of them are choosing entrepreneurism and business ownership rather than waiting for Boomers to retire and give up c-suite positions.

Want to keep your bench strength with top-talent Gen Xers? Here’s three top tips for an effective retention strategy:

  • Recognition is valuable and highly appreciated by the Gen X workforce. For the majority of them, they grew up with traditional values around performing ‘above average’ to achieve success, accolades and rewards. They are typically motivated by both monetary and non-monetary recognition.
  • Mentoring makes sense for your retention strategies to help ensure your Gen X workforce chooses your organization as their career organization. The best mentoring programs for a strong leadership bench feature top executives who mentor three to five senior leaders or middle managers. Consider mentoring relationships outside of direct reporting structure, especially ones that expand/stretch the current knowledge and skill (technical expertise) of the potential Gen X leader.
  • Associate roles for executive level leaders are not new, however providing this additional title along with greater organizational influence may keep Gen X leaders progressing in a positive trajectory. Moreover, in organizations who have experienced losses of their top-talent Gen Xers—to executive status via business startups and entrepreneurial pursuits— can encourage immediate adoption of associate roles, i.e., associate financial officer, associate vice president.

Start having critical conversations with your Gen X workforce today to retain and keep your bench strong.

Center for Practical Management helps companies achieve organizational goals and behavior change initiatives through tailored consulting services, leadership coaching, employee skills training and marketing services. Learn more at www.cf-pm.com

Center for Practical Management is a strategic business partner with Raddon, a Fiserv Company. Learn more at www.raddon.com

Telecommute Trends Evolve

Telecommute Trends Evolve

Roughly 20% of American employees perform some amount of work remotely. That means one in five workers have flexibility with their work location, and which hours they work. Not surprising, 80-90% of those who don’t telecommute want to start—according to workforce data by Globalworkplaceanalytics.com. The big question is where is this headed and how does it impact performance management.

We know that remote workers will continue to play a significant role in corporate culture and that managing performance of remote workers requires a commitment to collaboration and communication.

Learn how one manager masters collaboration and communication

Scott manages a team that includes both on-site and remote employees. All of his team members start their work day at the same time. They all have assigned projects, responsibilities, and goals. They know their processes, and they rely on collaboration and communication to ensure the work gets done right.

To be successful, Scott applies his knowledge of performance management to each team member, regardless of their physical location. He uses the best practices for collaboration and communication when managing teams of on-site and remote workers.

While remote work programs offer companies opportunities to attract workers and retain talent, the evolution of telecommuting has already started to change the employment landscape. Employees are leaving their ‘home office’ to work in coop spaces serving hundreds of workers employed by unrelated employers.

Thankfully, technological advances will continue to reduce the distance between managers and team members. But, evolving remote work environments will demand that leaders lead effectively, forcing them to analyze their management activities, coaching skills and collaboration abilities.

Finally, here are some best practices for effectively managing teams, working on-site or remote:

  1. Commit time to Individual Touchbases. Establish a routine and calendared event and stick to it. Consider letting employees own the agenda for their touchbase. Online apps such as Microsoft OneNote make sharing and notetaking—even by phone—easy. A weekly touchbase with each employee for at least 15-20 minutes is recommended.
  2. Connect with Team Touchbases. Your team meeting does not always require face-to-face interaction. Simply set a day and time, ideally weekly, for a relay of important announcements and collaborative discussions. A best practice for team touchbases is for the leader to rotate responsibility of facilitating the meeting/call among team members.
  3. Continue Coaching, one-on-one. One of the most important management activities is to ensure a quarterly, at minimum, face-to-face conversation between manager and employee. This level of engagement builds relationships and allows for observation, review of activities and results, and development of action plans.
  4. Celebrate with Face-to-Face Team Meetings. Bringing Scott’s entire team together at least once each year, preferably twice, will provide the connection and collaboration that is essential to a winning team. Elements of both social and business activities can positively influence morale as well as overall productivity. Managers should always plan well, provide detailed agendas, and give specific expectations around their team meetings.

Center for Practical Management helps companies achieve organizational goals and behavior change initiatives through tailored consulting services, leadership coaching, employee skills training and marketing services. Learn more at www.cf-pm.com

Center for Practical Management is a strategic business partner with Raddon, a Fiserv Company. Learn more at www.raddon.com