At Least Say ‘Thank You’ on Employee Appreciation Day

Today, March 7, is Employee Appreciation Day.

When was the last time you showed your employees you appreciate their efforts? What form did it take? Have you ever really put some thought into what appreciation means and how it can transform the workplace? Continue reading At Least Say ‘Thank You’ on Employee Appreciation Day

Tell Us Why You Love Your Boss or Company

The statistics on poor employee engagement and managers who make workers so miserable they’d forgo a pay raise for a better replacement are depressing.

Great bosses celebrate
Great managers recognize and celebrate successes, no matter how small.

We’d be even more depressed if we didn’t believe people and organizations, with the right tools, training and leadership, can change.

We also know many companies recognize employees are assets to be nurtured, not simply “managed,” and scores of supervisors are beloved for all the right reasons.

So we invite you to share with us at Callibrain examples of how organizations build employee engagement, encourage collaboration and recognize individual contributions.

Tell us how a favorite boss made you want learn more and work harder.

How does your company or direct supervisor make you feel valued? What action or program, no matter how “small” creates a positive workplace culture?

In coming months we plan to highlight companies recognized for great employee engagement in the Callibrain blog, and we’d love to hear directly from the people who make companies work about what works for them.

Please include the name of the company and a way to contact you if we have questions. Help us help others learn by stories of success.

Send your stories to leadership (at) callibrain (dot) com or use the Callibrain contact form.

We know such stories are out there. And thanks.

Tough or Toxic: The Cost of Bad Bosses

February 26, 2014

Psychologist Robert Hogan, an expert on personality assessments, told the 2012 annual meeting of the American Psychological Association that 75 percent of working adults say their immediate boss is the worst aspect and most stressful part of their job.

Bad Bosses and Turnover
Toxic bosses contribute to turnover, low employee engagement and low productivity.

Two-thirds of U.S. workers would take a better boss over a pay raise, according to Michelle McQuaid, another expert in positive psychology interventions in the workplace.

In her study, 31 percent of employees polled felt uninspired and unappreciated by their boss; nearly 15 percent felt lonely, bored and miserable.

Employees want managers they can look up to, learn from and who care about them as people. Dale Carnegie Training’s employee engagement study found:

  • Among those “very satisfied” with their immediate supervisor 49 percent were engaged.
  • Among those “very dissatisfied” with their immediate supervisor, 80 percent were disengaged.
  • Among fully engaged employees, 53 percent said they learned a lot from their supervisor.
  • Among employees not fully engaged, 19 percent said they learned a lot from their supervisor.
  • 62 percent of engaged employees said their manager sets a good example.
  • 25 percent of those not fully engaged said their manager sets a good example.
  • One third of employees think their managers cares about their personal lives; 54 percent of them are engaged.
  • Two thirds of employees do not believe their manager cares about their personal lives; 17 percent of them are engaged.

Srikumar Rao hears about problem managers all the time. He wrote the book on happiness at work. “Happiness at Work,” a best-seller published in 2010, and his now-legendary Creativity and Personal Mastery class make Dr. Rao a sought-after speaker across the globe.

Common subjects emerge regardless of geography.

“It does not matter whether I am in Hong Kong or Sao Paolo,” Dr. Rao has said. “People always want to talk about toxic bosses and what to do about them.”

Beleaguered employees want advice on coping. HR professionals want to know what training may help. C-suite executives want better ways to spot them before they cause too much damage.

Because damage they do. The quality of the relationship with a direct supervisor is the single factor most closely linked to whether an employee quits and goes or, “quits and stays,” becoming actively disengaged.

Multiple workplace experts estimate bad bosses are the root cause of 3 of 4 voluntarily job departures, though frustrated employees don’t always come right out and said it that way.

Gallup’s most recent research says employees cite these top three reasons for leaving: 1) career advancement or professional opportunities; 2) bad job fit; and 3) management or the “general work environment.”

The research, Gallup says, “shows that these managers from hell” create active disengagement that costs U.S. businesses $450 to $550 billion each year.

So what’s the solution? We know what it is not – promoting into management those without people skills or the willingness, with company-provided training, to acquire them.

Callibrain gives managers an easy way to provide direction and quick, positive feedback. 

Video Review for The Art of War by Sun Tzu

Employee Engagement with

This is video review for The Art of War by Sun Tzu produced by Callibrain, employee engagement through social collaboration and execution discipline.

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Caring is the Currency that Captures Employees’ Loyalty

February 13, 2014

A team leader at a large corporation recently received a big raise – in excess of 20 percent – and a pile of new stock options. He is pleased but insulted.

Pleased because, well, who doesn’t like a huge raise? It just showed up in his January paychecks and he did the math. As for the stock options, he learned about them via an email from someone he doesn’t know, deep in the HR/compensation silo.

No supervisor, no one in his chain of command has said a word to him about either the options or the salary boost. With regular status meetings, they’ve had plenty of opportunity to speak up. They have not, and that’s why this highly paid team leader feels insulted.

It is as if his supervisors simply cannot bring themselves to say aloud, “Thank you,” or “We wanted to show you how much we value your contributions,” or “You are a valuable and important part of this company.”

Such a conversation, says this frustrated employee, would have done more – even without the money – to solidify his loyalty.

This is a true story and for obvious reasons we can’t identify our protagonist or his employer. We doubt it is the only such story in Corporate America. Clearly, money isn’t everything.

So what is?

Caring. Showing employees their contributions are important. Showing that the company, direct supervisors especially, care about workers as people.

Such a management style does not come naturally to many leaders, especially those taught that business is business and personal is personal. For generations, the line separating the two worlds was considered well defined and essential to maintaining order and chain of command within an organization.

Those days are gone.

Every major research organization that has looked at the modern workplace finds that employee engagement is highest when management demonstrates interest in employees’ well being and employees feel valued. We know employee engagement rates are directly tied to feelings about interaction with their immediate supervisor. In the Dale Carnegie study, 80 percent of employees who were very dissatisfied with their immediate supervisor were disengaged. The biggest reason was that they did not think their direct supervisor cared about them or valued their contributions.

Companies will succeed, grow and retain top talent when they take advantage of supervisors with innate people skills and invest in developing those skills within the management pipeline. Revamped job descriptions, additional training, and tools that improve communication, accountability and productivity all have their places.

As does a simple, “Great job. We’re lucky to have you.”

High Employee Engagement is Not About the Money

February 7, 2014

One of the biggest myths about employee engagement is that it is all about the money.

Employees aren’t happy, the thinking goes, because they want more money. They don’t think they are paid enough. And because money is the commodity most stretched in many organizations, efforts to boost employee engagement are dismissed as too costly.

Perception, in this case, is not reality.

One of Gallup’s recent takes on the question as both amusing and illustrative. It asked more than 1,000 workers what they would do if they won a $10 million lottery. Their behaviors broken down by engagement levels were startling – nearly two-thirds of engaged workers would stay at their jobs.

Who would quit? 4 of 10 actively disengaged employees would bail, compared with 25 percent of engaged workers.

Time and again respected research organizations find that compensation is not a big driver of employee engagement.

Salary is a big part of job choice. The Corporate Leadership Council, for example, says 44 percent of employees worldwide cite compensation as the main reason they chose a particular job. But it often has little to do with why they stay – or leave.

“Decades of CLC Human Resources research ranks compensation towards the bottom of a list of 38 specific tactics for driving engagement,” the Council says. “Strategies that focus on improving job-interest alignment or manager quality have more than twice the impact than compensation.”

Of course people want to be fairly and competitively compensated. But when average costs of replacing an employee are 1½ times the salary and turnover is skyrocketing, consider this:

A disengaged employee is 2 ½ times more likely to leave for any pay increase compared to employees who are engaged.

That was one major finding of the Dale Carnegie Training/MSW Research Study in late 2012. A few others:

  • 26% of engaged employees would leave their current job for just a 5% pay increase.
  • 46% of partially engaged employees would leave their current job for just a 5% pay increase.
  • 69% of disengaged employees would leave their current job for just a 5% pay increase.

Clearly, money isn’t everything.

So what is?

Tell us what you think – and stay tuned for more.

Video Review for How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie


Employee engagement with

This is video review for the book How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie produced by Callibrain, employee engagement through social collaboration and execution discipline.

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