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I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

"Want your employees to love their job?"/ "Think like a coach to help your business succeed"

May 15, 2017 "Want your employees to love their job?": Today I found this article by Jessica Leeder in the Globe and Mail:

It’s not listed on your balance sheet and maybe not even in your business plan, but building a fantastic workplace culture is a key pillar of success for most entrepreneurial ventures.

Doing it isn’t as simple as adding a Ping-Pong table and beer fridge to your staff room, though.

Neglect workplace culture, or worse, ignore the development of a toxic culture, and you’ll not only have a company stocked with unhappy employees, they may be filing out the door faster than you can replace them. Here are five tips from entrepreneurs who spoke about developing a strong company culture at the recent Globe and Mail Small Business Summit.

1. Create careers, not jobs.

When Josie Rudderham and her business partner Nicole Miller started Cake and Loaf, now a million-dollar bakery business, out of a house in Hamilton, their aim wasn’t just to create irresistible treats. Mission critical was creating jobs with staying power that would limit staff turnover. Key to doing it would be their ability to pay employees a living wage, which, in Hamilton, meant paying staff at least $15.85 an hour. “We really wanted to create careers and not just jobs you work in for six months while you’re at university,” Ms. Rudderham said.

After five years of business, they were finally able to afford it. Although staff didn’t do the cartwheels that Ms. Rudderham and Ms. Miller had hoped to see when they announced the policy, employees did double down on their efforts and commitment to Cake and Loaf.

“There was a reinvestment in what they were doing for a living,” Ms. Rudderham said. “This was now something they could envision themselves doing for 10 years. They wanted to build this business with us.”

2. Lead – and laugh – by example.

When Shastri Ramnath founded Orix Geoscience Inc., she was surprised by what behaviours her employees modelled after her, right down to her habit of leaving used coffee cups lying around (once she started doing it, staff started, too). “It shocked me how much they mimic the leadership,” she said.

Immediately, Ms. Ramnath saw an opportunity to shape the kind of culture she wanted to take root. “I laugh a lot. So, our company laughs a lot,” she said. “I enjoy my vacations. They enjoy their vacations. I’ll sit down with employees and just talk about outside-of-work stuff.”

Setting that tone will create loyalty and longevity, said Dave Jones, vice-president of business development for Sun Life Financial, which was one of the event's sponsors. “As entrepreneurs, as the most senior person in your firm, what you do, your staff does. It’s really hard to take time off when you’re the owner of your firm,” Mr. Jones said. “But if you don’t take time off and you don’t talk to your team about taking time off, they won’t take time off. And they burn out. And they leave you.”

3. Give the millennials what they want.

Instead of crossing your fingers and hoping that millennial employees will just hurry up and assimilate, consider tailoring your workplace to their needs. “Pay a lot of attention to what they tell you they need,” said Sun Life’s Mr. Jones. “They want their compensation, they want their benefits, they want flexibility and they want the ability to influence the future of the firm. I think if you can give people that, you’ll create an intense loyalty,” he said.

Many workplaces – and start-ups in particular – instinctively balk at millennials’ work-hard, play-hard demands. Mr. Jones’s advice? “Just give it to them.” That’s what Ms. Ramnath did at Orix Geoscience. Now with about 50 employees, she has what she calls a “don’t say no” policy for staff; she even encourages employees who are travelling for work to take extra days off for exploring. “Because they’re young they want to travel the world,” she said, adding that the company chips in to pay the costs of extra flights and even postsecondary education. It also allows flexible work hours.

For Mr. Jones, the approach is right on target. “Why can’t somebody have more time off? Why do we have to work 40 hours every five days? If you just listen and find ways to meet their needs … they’ll be your most committed, most productive, most impactful work force. It’s a huge opportunity,” he said.

4. Make your staff a part of your mission.

Maybe you can’t afford to pay salaries that top your best competitors or give out big bonuses. Johnathan Nightingale, chief product officer at Hubba, has a better tool – and it’s free. “Bring employees into your story. There’s a reason you started this business. Maybe it’s just to make money. Maybe it’s to help people. Maybe it’s to feed people. It doesn’t cost anything to be really open about that,” he said.

Telling employees what your dream is, why you work too many hours or the reasons you poured your life savings into the business buys the best kind of retention currency. “They need to understand what they’re here to do. And that sense of purpose fills in the gaps if they have a bad day or if they’re trying to figure out whether their job matters or not,” he said, adding: “Mission works better than almost anything in terms of coaching them to go above and beyond.”

5. Be explicit about what you don’t want in employees.

It’s common practice to stuff job ads full of the attributes you’re looking for in an employee. You may save time – and attract the right kind of applicants – by listing what you’re not looking for. “We put in our job descriptions ‘No assholes,’” said Mr. Nightingale. “We’ve actually had people opt out of the process as a result.”

By being explicit about the kind of company culture you have, Mr. Nightingale said, you’ll be sending a strong signal that is likely to attract the kind of employees you actually want. “All you need to do is say, ‘Hey, we’re not like that. Here’s what we’re trying to build.’ And you’re going to tap into that different talent pool,” he said.


3 days ago

It seems most of the commenters thus far don’t put a lot of stock in satisfied employees. I would be willing to bet that few of them have progressed past middle management, or perhaps they haven’t much experience in highly skilled environments.

If the only reason workers are showing up is for a paycheck, their sole motivation will be not getting fired. Hardly the dynamic workforce a business needs to succeed. Dictatorial bosses will always gain respect……but never to their back.

I have managed in both low skill environments (restaurants) and incredibly specialized and skilled ones (high tech). Very early in my management career, I discovered that happy employees mean high productivity – and incredible loyalty and effort during crunch times. It doesn’t take that much – pay them a fair wage, compensate for overtime, and recognize good work frequently. Be understanding when they have a personal crisis. It isn’t rocket science.
15 Reactions

3 hours ago

What you're saying sounds entirely reasonable.
But your prescription for happy employees falls way short of a blanket "don't say no" policy, or allowing people with nine months' work experience who aren't even old enough to rent cars to have significant influence over the future direction of your business

3 days ago

This article summarizes precisely what is wrong with work these days; someone in the background with faux qualifications making all sorts of noise, coming up with ridiculous ideas and just basically getting in the way. Go get coffee and shud up.
12 Reactions

Ham for everyone
2 days ago

How about a hug?
3 Reactions

2 days ago

Yeah, I work in a huggy environment. I mean it. Even with suppliers. And you can practically see them mentally gritting tgeir. Cake on peoples' birthdays. Dogs in the office. Ping pong and foosball. The company's effed but it's a paycheck.
When I started out we had WW2 vets running things. I miss them.
3 Reactions

2 days ago

Are you kidding me? We also have non-gendered bathrooms. A back of the envelope calculation of lost productivity from that alone, using common sense observation, is about $120,000 a year. And yet HR crows about it. You can't focus on anything when the ping pong games are on, which is at least every hour with the number of people in the office. And of course it's an open office. So you don't work on anything that requires actual concentration, this in technical R&D. The company hasn't a chance but they did it to themselves.
1 Reaction

Free Me
3 days ago
Sure, lets coddle the millennials further.
That was the behaviour that produced this problem and now we are advised to deal with it by taking it all on our backs.
3 Reactions

3 days ago
Rather than cater to millennials - corporations should save themselves money by hiring good HR and get rid of Narcissists - who think the world evolves around them and who have little respect for anyone or anything. Hire back a retiree and you will be back in business.
8 Reactions

Anne Nonymous
3 days ago
Employees have and will always have two options. Take it or leave it. Nothing more needs to be provided, especially in an environment where there are more qualified workers than available jobs. Don't like it, go elsewhere. Troublesome regulation being phased out also helps. Wages are too high, cut back, and see who is loyal enough to stay, reward them with restoring the pay cut, rinse, repeat.
5 Reactions

Ham for everyone

2 days ago

If this is what companies have to do to hire and retain millennials that is why millennials are not earning a good salary and having to live in their parents basement. Suck it up and get the job done.
I enjoy my career but I love my wife, kids, Old Speckled Hen beer and baseball. Not necessarily in that order.
1 Reaction

3 days ago
RE: Give the millennials what they want.
“They want their compensation, they want their benefits, they want flexibility and they want the ability to influence the future of the firm. I think if you can give people that, you’ll create an intense loyalty,” he said.
Once upon a time in a land far away...
Full time jobs are disappearing(except for public hires) with benefits being modified( DC if you are lucky).
If the job doesn't suit you, go get another (or get more training for that other job). Eventually as you gain experience(and field respect) a career and you will form.
Usually millennials don't have enough real world experience to demand more than a safe work environment.
5 Reactions

"Think like a coach to help your business succeed": Today I found this article by Brian Scudamore in the Globe and Mail:

Brian Scudamore is founder and CEO of O2E Brands, which includes home-service companies including 1-800-Got-Junk?

Business leaders and sports coaches are cut from the same cloth: they create and execute strategies, motivate their teams and provide ongoing feedback to help everyone succeed.

They celebrate victories (and learn from losses), and always keep their eye on the prize.
Our managing director of Wow 1 Day Painting, James Alisch, has always been inspired by coaches with proven track records for success, so it’s no surprise that he believes a huge part of leadership is the ability to coach. Studies have shown that employees prefer to have a mentor over a manager – and companies with robust coaching programs are stronger across the board.

For Mr. Alisch, one of the most important tools in a coach’s playbook is the ability to communicate. A team can’t succeed unless they’re all on the same page – so everyone needs to speak the same language. That’s why Mr. Alisch has worked to ensure his team is aligned on the definition of the following three concepts.

Define Goals

You can’t win a game without scoring goals. And you can’t score a goal if you don’t know what you’re shooting for. As coach, it’s your job to create a strategy, but more importantly, to be clear on the definition of the word goal.

Let’s say Wow 1 Day Painting earned $10-million last month. If this month we hit $20-million, many people would see the increase alone as a win. But if the goal was set at $21-million, Mr. Alisch defines it as a miss.

To him, a goal isn’t what we’d like to achieve – it’s what we will achieve, together. He sets goals using the SMART goals format and feels that getting close isn’t enough because missing goals kills employee commitment. Mr. Alisch has ingrained this concept so strongly in the Wow 1 Day Painting culture that his team refuses to settle for anything less than a win.

We know it’s impossible to bat a thousand every time, and we take losses as a chance to learn. But it’s a fine line: if you let “getting close” become your standard for success, you’ll breed a team of underperformers and a culture of mediocrity. Defining goals changes the game and will line your team up for a home run.

Define Conflict

Business is a contact sport. To score, you need to tackle problems as they come and keep pushing forward to the end zone.

The downside is that most people see conflict as something to avoid. But unresolved conflict can destroy your company culture, and the longer you wait, the worse it will become. That’s why our philosophy is to race to the problem and try to turn a negative situation into a positive one.

One of our franchise partners, Kim Rood, is an A-player when it comes to conflict. When customer complaints arise, he will meet with them in person to discuss concerns and diffuse negative emotions. He always errs on the side of over-delivering and as a result, his painting business is growing exponentially.

For Mr. Alisch and the Wow 1 Day Painting team, conflict isn’t about placing blame. Instead, it’s an opportunity to talk openly about what’s not working and come up with solutions. You can’t reach your goals without resolving conflicts – and it starts with aligning your team on what conflict means to you.

Define Customer Experience

Fans are to sports what customers are to business: the most important driver of team success. Without a loyal following, you can’t sell tickets to the game, and in business, that’s a fast track to failure.

Our customers are the lifeblood of our business, so providing an all-star experience is paramount to us. If you succeed in making the customer experience exceptional, you’ll create customer relationships that last a lifetime.

Craig Merrills, our franchise partner in Washington, makes customer experience his number one priority. He even refuses to accept payment until his customers are truly Wow-ed, because he knows relational customers are more valuable than transactional ones. His customer loyalty proves it: his repeat business far outpaces anyone else in the system.

“Bandwagoners” might give your team a temporary high, but they’ll never compete with the value of a loyal fan base. Our long-term customers are the fuel behind our fire and that’s why their experience is our ultimate priority.

As far as sports go, business is one of the toughest. Competition is stiff, tensions run high and reaching MVP status is no easy feat. But if you’re can create a common language to unify your team, you’ll be unstoppable.


At July 17, 2017 at 2:34 AM , Blogger Karthi Keyan said...

Its fantatic explaintion lot of information gather it...nice article....
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