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Friday Fever: Keeping Your Employees Engaged at Work

Posted By Niki Ramirez,, Sunday, June 5, 2016

Employee engagement is important every day, but let's just talk about tackling Fridays for now.

You probably already know how it goes… It’s 2:30 p.m. on Friday and the far-away looks on your employees’ faces are easy to read. It’s only natural for employees to want to wind down as the week comes to a close. So there they are, sitting at their desk, thinking about weekend plans with family and friends.

Rather than look the other way and allow them to just "wait it out" on Fridays, here are three great ides to try to address this weekly downturn in engagement and productivity:

Make time to socialize and connect: when the afternoon lull hits, bring your team together in a more social setting to keep energy high and ideas flowing.

Gather everyone in a common area (like a training room, conference room, etc.) or head out to a local coffee shop or bowling alley to talk about what the next week holds, what folks are looking forward to, and what you can do to support one another. Share a snack, drink or other treat as well. Organizational psychologists agree that eating together increases connectedness and feelings of unity. Bottom line: time spent getting to know your employees, listening to their ideas and building relationships will always be time well-spent.

Just for Fun Friday: from ping-pong battles to chess tournaments, allow your employees to let loose and have some fun.

The human brain thrives on fun and novelty. We all perform better and are more successful when our lives are balanced with work and play – and it's not a new idea, we know that work and play CAN go together! I’ve read about teams that leave together (early) on Friday’s and employees go to the gym together and pump iron for the last 2 hours of the week. And here are a few other cool ways to end a Friday at work:

·        crafting and coloring time

·        bring in a yoga instructor or provide employees with chair massage

·        host a chili cook-off, parking lot BBQ, or cookie exchange

The easiest way to ensure that the activities planned really are meaningful and fun for your team is to allow a handful of employees to form a “social committee” – give them a budget and let them go to it, planning activities that they know everyone will truly enjoy!

Allow employees to set their own Friday schedule: this may sound pretty far out, but what if you just let your employees go home on Fridays when they felt they were in a good position to do so?

Employees who know they can leave when they are "done" will work diligently to knock out their to-do list in order to get their weekend started. If you do try this tactic, make sure you keep in touch with your employees throughout the week so that you have a pulse on what they have to get done before they call it a wrap. It goes without saying that this will not work for every employee, in every circumstance. Some positions will lend themselves to this far more easily than others.

Just Do It!

There is immeasurable value in making time to connect, have fun and socialize with your employees; and allowing your employees the autonomy to set their own schedule on Fridays (or any day, really!) can prove to be an equally powerful tool. 

Get organized, talk to your employees and start small. You'll discover that your team is more cohesive and productive in no time.

There are a wide variety of strategies that business leaders use to increase and maintain employee engagement, what ideas do you have? Please share in Comments.


About the author: Niki Ramirez is a seasoned professional consultant, speaker and coach with a knack for engaging business leaders.  She has a successful track record partnering with a wide variety of local businesses to analyze current human resources and business operations with the objective of collaborating to design cost-effective training, employee relations programs, develop employment policies and procedures, and help business leaders exceed their goals.
Maybe most importantly, Niki is the proud momma to three strikingly gorgeous, intelligent kids.  She loves to horseback ride and get outside to hike and explore the world every spare minute that she has.

Tags:  employee engagement  employees  HRteam  human resources  management  managing people  small business  success  team building 

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Managing Isn’t Fixing

Posted By Bob Wilson, Bob Wilson Solutions, Thursday, March 12, 2015

When I first became a manager I was ready to make a big impact. Make big changes. Truly make a difference.

Change is hard. Helping people change is harder.  #SmartfulSayings

One problem – my team wasn’t ready for that.

But that wasn’t only problem. I was promoted from a job where I was a “doer.”  In other words, fixing problems was very familiar to me.

But managing isn’t fixing. It is influencing.

You talk to people about their behavior. You reinforce the positives and work to shift the negatives. Sometimes it works. Other times it falls on deaf ears.

When you ask someone to change, they often dig in their heels and resist. This takes some getting used to.

Before you can shift your employee’s mindset, you need to shift your own.  #SmartfulSayings

Your duties have changed overall, but it’s more than that. Besides adjusting to the change in duties, you also have to adjust to the change in results (or lack thereof). It often feels like pushing a rope. You can see you’re doing something, but the result isn’t what you want.

As a manager, you need to develop a sense of what to do when a strategy has stalled. There are three options:

  1. Try a new strategy. When this works it’s a beautiful thing.
  2. Continue with the strategy, realizing it will make little progress, but that is better than zero progress.
  3. Stop the strategy, realizing there isn’t another one to replace it. You’ve done the best you can and have to leave it at that.

The last two options are difficult to accept. That’s a big part of why being a manager can be so frustrating. Learning when to choose each option is what makes you a better manager.

Bob Wilson is the owner of Phoenix, AZ-based Smartful Coaching. If you need help being a better manager or supervisor, contact Bob at (480) 710-0340 or to schedule your Free Consult. 

Content @2015 Smartful Coaching All Rights Reserved

Tags:  how to be a better manager  improve my management skills  make me a better manager  management  managing people  new manager 

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3 Benefits of 1-on-1 Employee Meetings You May Have Overlooked

Posted By Bob Wilson, Bob Wilson Solutions, Monday, February 23, 2015

If you don't have regular 1-on-1 meetings with your employees you are missing out.

Some of the more obvious benefits you receive from these meetings are:

  • Hearing status updates on their projects and tasks
  • Receiving insights about where they need more training or guidance
  • Establishing more open lines of communication

But there are 3 other benefits to regular 1-on-1 meetings you may not have thought of:

1) It creates trust.  Trust is only built when there is sufficient time and familiarity. Regular 1-on-1 meetings is one of the best ways to get to know each other better and better understand each other's views, thought processes and values. Over time, these things help build trust.

2) It reduces tension. If you don't have regular 1-on-1 meetings, when do you usually ask to talk to an employee?  When something is wrong. This creates a situation where they tense up every time you say  "got a minute" or "we need to talk." Plus, this means that a majority of your discussions are about negative things.  Not a good way to build a solid relationship.

Instead, have regular 1-on-1 meetings  Odds are the majority of what you talk about will be positive. But even when problems are discussed, they come up in a more, natural and less confrontational way. This reduces tension and defensiveness.

3) It makes them feel important and involved. Years ago I came across a quote "You vote with your time."  In other words, where you spend your time is a vote toward that thing being something important.

Regularly spending time with your employees in a 1-on-1 setting demonstrates very clearly that they are important to you and to your organization. It also makes it easier to keep them involved in what is going on within the company. That is, you more naturally share things.

In each employee's file, keep a running list of things to discuss with them. Then, whenever something comes up that you need to talk to an employee about, just add that item to the list.

Bob Wilson is the owner of Phoenix, AZ-based Smartful Coaching. If you need help creating a stronger relationship with your employees, call or email Bob at (480) 710-0340 or to schedule your Free Consult. 


Tags:  creating trust  employee relationships  employees  managing people 

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