Tag Archives: productivity

How to Do More with Less

Our current economic downturn has caused many businesses and organizations to downsize in order to survive.  This poses a number of challenges.  One of which is how to best fill the roles that are vacated.  In order to successfully manage this transition, it’s important to be strategic about how to maximize the talents of the employees that remain by matching your organization’s needs with the skills, motivations and aptitude of your employees.

Here are some strategies to help effectively fill the gaps left by downsizing:

  • Up skill across the organization.Your existing employees often have invaluable institutional knowledge and may have the aptitude for more varied responsibilities given the opportunity to learn new skills. For example, do you have employees that are natural leaders, who have great interpersonal skills but have not had management training?  Are there skills specific to your industry that your existing employees can learn, which would help fill some of your needs? Make sure you are having discussions with each of your employees about your organization’s needs and what new skills and experiences they desire.  These discussions will not only help you fill your gaps but will likely increase employee engagement because your employees will see that you care about their growth and development.
  • Ensure employees are playing to their strengths. Incorporating a strengths based approach can be a highly effective way to keep employees motivated and productive.  Rather than asking employees to pick up the slack by doing work that doesn’t play to their strengths, give them new opportunities to use their strengths.  The StrengthsFinder has become a quite popular and effective way to help people identify their strengths.  I have found that the implementation of the StrengthsFinder often falls short.  It is most frequently used to help employees better understand themselves and each other but is not used enough to tailor job responsibilities to match the strengths of the employees.  One way I have successfully used the StrengthsFinder is by helping organizations analyze the various strengths of their team members.  This can be particularly helpful when people are moved into new positions, as teams are more effective when comprised of people with complimentary strengths.
  • Use a psychometric assessment. In my work with clients I use the Prevue assessment to benchmark positions based on the skills, motivations and personality factors needed for a particular position.  Candidates take an assessment to see how their skills, motivations and personality match the needs identified in the benchmark.  This can be a very helpful way to fill the gaps left by downsizing with existing employees who could potentially meet the identified benchmarks.  And, using an assessment can help ensure the process of filling positions is not influenced by personal bias.

We are in the midst of very difficult times for many businesses and organizations.  In order to survive, it will be important to be strategic about how to maximize the talents of your employees.  If you are not strategic during these trying times, you are likely to face a workforce with increased burn out, decreased motivation and decreased productivity, which most businesses and organizations cannot afford.

Alisa Blum & Associates helps businesses & organizations select, develop and retain top employees.  To schedule a complimentary consultation, contact Alisa at (503) 481-7586 or alisa@developtopemployees.com.

Are You Maximizing the Power of Your Holiday Events?

Successful business people celebrating with a high-five

As the holidays approach, think about the last time you attended a holiday gathering at work that felt meaningful?  How can you strategically use your upcoming holiday event to help your employees understand the unique contributions they each bring to the workplace?

Research has shown that recognition increases productivity, enhances employee engagement, improves team culture and increases retention. Your upcoming holiday gathering can be an opportune time to show employees the value they bring to your organization.  Make sure you are specific about how each employee has contributed to your organization’s success this year.  And follow up with frequent recognition throughout 2019.

If you would like assistance developing specific recognition strategies, we would love to help.  We can be reached at (503) 481-7586 or alisa@developtopemployees.com.

www.developtopemployees.com

How to Integrate Mindfulness Practices Into the Work Day

by Judith Sugg, Ph.D.

Mediation, yoga, and breathing practices used to be confined to yoga studios and the like. Now these practices are cropping up everywhere, including big companies like Google and Intel.

But really, do they fit in our workday? The mountain of evidence to support these practices for improving health, training focus in our scattered world, and reducing stress is, well, striking. For the most part, the results of this research is wildly positive.

So why doesn’t everyone adopt these practices? One recent exploratory study* out of a business school looked at a particularly intense environment, health care, using self-selected professionals. Some professionals found they could integrate mindfulness into their workday, and some didn’t. The researchers now wondered: What’s the difference between these two groups? Why do some adopt these practices more readily?

Maybe the question really isn’t about “adopting” these practices. Maybe the word is choosing, in the moment, to use them. This is partly motivation, but mostly about habit. We are, of course, creatures of habit. Our mind chatter is particularly repetitive (and would be pretty boring if we had to read it), and it is difficult to break that habit of chatter.

Even after 30 years of practicing, when I get a grumpy email, my mind goes into a whirlwind. It takes a toned muscle of choice to get myself out of the whirlwind and into a more centered state. This muscle is the same muscle trained in meditation to bring your mind back to your focus (usually your breath). Inevitably, the mind wanders out into the ozone, makes up stories and conversations, gets emotional, and wanders off again. Without the muscle of choice being able to kick in, no fancy technique will get used.

And that is why practice, even a few minutes a day, is important as a simple and powerful reminder. Simple, brief practices for workplaces are a powerful step in the right direction because, ultimately, health in the workplace can mean something as simple as a breath done with great consciousness in a high stress moment.

Learn techniques to reduce stress and enhance productivity at our March 15th workshop.

* Lyddy, Schachter, Reyer, & Julliard. (2016). Transfer of Mindfulness Training to the Work Setting: A Qualitative Study in a Health Care System.

Judith Sugg, Ph.D. is co-director of AIM for Organizational Health, providing customized programs, facilitation, coaching and interactive training to raise Awareness, achieve Integration, and enable Mastery of mindfulness tools to improve individual and organizational effectiveness.  For more information about the programs we offer, please contact us at aimportland@gmail.com or (503) 481-7586.