Category Archives: Employee Productivity

What Makes a Diversity Training Program Successful?

Mixed group business people

I have had the privilege recently to collaborate with intercultural communication specialist, Lillian Tsai, to provide a training program, “Working Across Generations & Cultures”. This training has been very well received, particularly among people who have been unhappy with other diversity training programs.

Here are some reasons why I believe this program is having a positive impact:

  • We use a strengths-based approach to help participants appreciate the positive contributions they all bring to the workplace.
  • We emphasize the importance of understanding people based on a multitude of dimensions, both generational and cultural, so they get an understanding of the many factors that influence communication in the workplace.
  • We incorporate a number of interactive exercises and discussions that help participants break down barriers and deepen their connections with each other.
  • Participants are given the opportunity during the workshop to figure out how they can apply the techniques they have learned to resolve a current conflict at work.

Although many people have had negative experiences with diversity training, I know that there are a number of successful programs out there. I am interested in learning more about what others have found useful when helping people work effectively across differences.

How to Select High Quality Managers

Portrait of happy smiling businesswoman and colleagues on background, at office

Think about the best manager you have ever had. What impact did this manager have on your productivity? Now think back to the worst manager you have ever had. How did this manager impact your productivity?

According to the latest Gallup workplace research, productivity suffers greatly when employees are disengaged.   Gallup’s research has shown that a primary reason employees are disengaged is due to poor relationships with their managers. The financial impact is significant as poor management is estimated cost to U.S. organizations $450-$550 billion a year.

It is quite common to promote individuals with high technical skills into management positions even though management positions require very different skill sets. The next time you need to fill a management position, you will improve the odds of hiring a high quality manager by asking these questions:

  1. Who are my company’s top managers?
  2. What are the specific skills, interests and motivations that cause these managers to excel?
  3. Which of our current candidates share the skills, interests and motivations of our top managers?
  4. Are there additional qualities the management team needs at this time?

We can assist you to select high quality managers by providing assessments which determine the match between a candidates, skills, motivations and personality style with  your organization’s benchmarks, as well as with our Strengths Based Leadership program, which helps you understand your leadership team strengths and the strengths needed to maximize your leadership team.

Copyright 2018, Alisa Blum & Associates. All Rights Reserved.

Alisa Blum is a management and employee development specialist. She works with businesses and organization to develop top employees. You can schedule a complimentary consultation at:  503-481-7586 or

Take Vacation Time and Enhance Productivity at Work

Happy Romantic Couple Enjoying Beautiful Sunset at the Beach According to a survey by Glassdoor, “the average American employee only takes half of their earned paid time off, while 61% report they work while on vacation.”

We need to strongly consider the damaging effects this practice has on our physical and emotional well-being.  Numerous studies on brain functioning have found that we are much more productive and innovative when we take breaks.  In an article in the New York Times, essayist Tim Krieder wrote, “Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets.  He goes on to say that “The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration—it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.”

When contemplating your next vacation, consider that this vacation will improve your brain functioning, and therefore, improve productivity when you return to work.  And if you are an employer, encourage your employees to take what may be a long overdue vacation and insist they turn off the electronic leash.

Alisa Blum & Associates helps businesses and organizations develop top employees with programs that enhance motivation, productivity and retention. Alisa can be reached at (503) 481-7586 or to discuss your specific needs.