We spend a third of our day at work, so if we are experiencing mental health issues at home, they are sure to be present in the workplace as well. We all have a responsibility to support employees and create a healthy working environment.
1. Management sets the stage. Organizations have a great opportunity to positively affect a host of issues, including employee mental health. At a high level the management team is responsible for setting the tone for creating a positive environment. For example, if management regularly complains about employees being out for routine check-ups or personal matters, an employee is likely to feel less comfortable for taking time off to address mental health related issues. Employees should feel they have the support of management to address mental health concerns.
2. Resources and ease of access. Aside from creating an environment of support, providing employees with an employee assistance program (EAP) is a valuable resource. This type of program can help employees deal with stressors, personal issues, substance abuse, and many other issues. If you provide an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), make the information readily available and ensure managers are aware of the resource as well. In some instances, FMLA or a leave of absence may also be helpful, and management should have policies and procedures in place.
Employee engagement is a measure of how emotionally attached a staff member is to their job, coworkers, and employer. An “engaged employee” is fully involved in and enthusiastic about their work. Your staff members that are actively engaged will work to not only meet their goals, but the organization’s goals.
Employee engagement may be challenging with a remote workforce or off-site employees. You miss the daily “How’s your day? What did you do last night?” face-to-face conversations. You don’t have an easy shared connection to discuss local events, sports teams or even the weather forecast. It’s more difficult to find out what remote employees really like, what their hobbies are, and generally just get to know them.
Not only can remote employees feel left out, but it may be more difficult for other staff to communicate with remote employees. There are actions you can take as an HR representative or remote manager to connect and make sure all your employees are feeling engaged with each other.
Encourage employees to interact with simple events and get-to-know-you activities. AgCareers.com organizes “3 Questions of the Month” for all employees. We ask everyone the same series of questions via email. We share all employee’s responses (that choose to take part) with the entire team in an email or document. This always entices fun conversations between all!
Your business didn’t have a stellar year and you’ve already told your employees they won’t receive year-end bonuses. Company-wide performance oftentimes determines employee bonuses, which may be affected by numerous aspects outside an individual employee’s responsibilities, such as economic climate and leadership decisions. If you find yourself in this situation, but still want to show your gratitude to your staff, there are some low to no-cost alternatives you can implement now! It’s called the gift of time.
These ideas require time away from the workplace, so you may need to alternate staff for coverage or plan accordingly. Most organizations offer a small holiday break, but it’s usually on Christmas or after. People are feeling the weight and stress of the holiday season NOW. Year-end projects at work, planning for the new year, along with the outside pressures of holiday gatherings, activities, and shopping can make employees stressed, grumpy, and less-productive at work.
Hiring the best candidates requires a welcoming recruiting environment. Is your process daunting, complicated, lengthy, and frustrating? Or have you implemented a smooth, responsive system?
Recruiting top talent depends heavily on your candidate experience – how the job seeker is treated throughout the hiring cycle. How an applicant perceives they are treated can impact their likelihood to accept the offer, stay on-the-job, and what they communicate to others about your organization. Word-of-mouth is a powerful recruitment tool and candidates WILL tell others!
Even if an applicant doesn’t receive an offer this time, it doesn’t mean that they won’t be the perfect fit for an alternative opening or a different position in the future after further training and/or experience.
Hiring great talent that truly fits within your organization isn’t easy, and the hiring process can be rather extensive. In fact, competition for talent is the top challenge in recruiting new grads in our industry, per AgCareers.com’s 2018 Intern and New Grad Hiring & Compensation Report. We may go through a lot of effort to “woo” top candidates, and it’s tempting to say our job is done once they accept the offer, but it’s crucial to ensure your new hire is still on the priority list once they arrive. So how do we stay close to the onboarding process and motivate our new hire to succeed in the organization? I’ve included six suggestions below to consider.
Utilize the time between offer acceptance and your new hire’s first day. Send a packet of local area brochures and important contacts if they are relocating. Ensure they have a main point of contact at your company they can depend on as they tie up loose ends at their current job and prepare to start from scratch with your organization. Arming them with information to help them through the transition can give them assurance they made the right decision, and clear the way for excitement about getting started.
Guest Blog Post by young talent expert Amy Crippen, Agriculture Future of America (AFA), Leader Fellowship
There is an old saying that goes, “It’s not enough to find your purpose. The real achievement is in helping others find theirs.” I never could attribute the wisdom to a single speaker, but the advice remains sage. For those of us in the talent development business, we know helping others find their purpose is the most rewarding.
Think of the moments when you have given someone real time to sort through their thoughts and feelings, and they come away with a nugget. What about identifying someone’s strengths they’ve never noticed in themselves before? How about when you’ve helped someone figure out they are in the wrong role?
These moments all happen within the business of mentoring and coaching. What has always been true is the time requirement to build the relationship, but there are a lot of other factors that play into mentoring and coaching as well. Do you give feedback in a way that builds a person up? Are you strength-based by nature? Do you keep conversations solution-focused? Are you viewing time with them as a gift and opportunity?
Ahhhh ’tis the season for office Christmas parties…necessary in a way but oh so difficult to pull off appropriately while still having fun and showing appreciation. Office Christmas parties are meant to give your guests (and perhaps their significant others) a nice evening out to show your appreciation for all their hard work this year. And let’s be honest: it’s kind of tacky if you don’t do something to show extra appreciation to your employees. Here’s how to throw a nice office Christmas party for your employees without getting out of hand or being boring.
What To Do: This is the trickiest task: doing something fun but simple. First, try taking the party offsite. It will be more fun for your employees to get out of the atmosphere of the office and experience something more interesting. A dinner is a simple, go-to choice for office Christmas parties, but shake up the mold by going for a theatrical performance or a sports event afterward. To make the event more formal, consider a progression dinner at various fine dining establishments throughout your city. Start somewhere for hors d’oeuvres and light drinks followed by a different main dining location and concluding with a dessert location. If you’re interested in holding the event to just one location, choose a restaurant or banquet setting (such as a hotel) with plenty of room to socialize and say a few words of thanks.
I’m a Blue, a Yellow Hat, an ISFJ. I rank high in responsibility, self-awareness, and conscientiousness. You guessed it, results from a few of the personality assessments I’ve taken in my time. Assessments aren’t for everyone, but personally I find them pretty intriguing and have experienced both personal and team advantages from the intel several have provided.
There are so many personality assessments on the market and consultants ready to share the next greatest thing. I’m definitely not bashing on consultants because I do think there is a lot of value in pairing the use of an assessment with guidance of someone that is trained to help you interpret and take advantage of what the results are telling you. However, I think assessments can offer plenty of value out right.
We are going to answer the What, When, How and Who of personality assessments! I’m not an expert but base my offerings on personal experiences.
We’ve all been there, right? Every other week, there is a card passed around, everyone mumbles the “happy birthday” song, and there is a room of people asking only for a “small” slice of cake. Once the small slice is eaten, everyone jets back to their office. While celebrating office birthdays is a great time to relax with coworkers, they can also become incredibly mundane. Though not every office decides to celebrate birthdays, it is a great way to step away for a few minutes and celebrate. If your office does decide to celebrate birthdays, there are a few things to remember that can make everyone more comfortable and bring the celebration back to birthdays.
AFA asks questions. We genuinely value curiosity and learning. Our current question is this:
Let me explain. Almost a year ago AFA launched the Leader Fellowship™ experience which partners a young person and a coach. Part of the relationship is geared toward direct mentoring and part of the relationship is geared toward direct coaching. These are very different skills, and as we have developed, we have had to think through models that serve both needs.
Mentoring tends to be directionally-based: “Do this.” It is position-led and can look a lot like good supervision. It is performance oriented, and the mentor tends to be viewed as a role model. It sounds like “Try these things to solve your problem.”