Employee Engagement

According to Gallup(1), employee engagement in the USA between 2014 and 2017 ranged mostly between 30% and 35%, reaching a highest point in 2017 slightly above 38%.

If these statistics are true at your business, three to four out of every ten employees are not producing at their highest potential, nor are they invested in growing in their career with your company. The cost of this lack of engagement varies widely across companies, but it is certainly important to consider.

How do you respond to these numbers? Do you assume it is part of the cost of doing business? Or do you take action. But, what is the correct action to take?

A natural reaction could be to want to remove the employees that are not engaged. However, what if the next round of new hires lack engagement too? A better tactical step would be to take a closer look at your hiring practices.

But what if you do hire engaged individuals who later become disengaged due to the way your company conducts business? As you can see, the solution may not simple, but it is also not impossible to find. We must take a strategic approach to engagement to ensure we keep and nurture highly productive star employees from hire to retire.


  1. Gallup (2017) Gallup Daily: U.S. Employee Engagement – All. Retrieved from https://news.gallup.com/poll/180404/gallup-daily-employee-engagement.aspx
Link to this article in Spanish (Español)

Need help building a strategy of engagement for your business? Contact Us for a free initial consultation.


Hope Vs Training


[Originally published on Linked-In by Learning4Managers] Year after year line employees are promoted to supervisory and management positions due to their exemplary work. Kudos to all of them. But what is it they get when these people are promoted?

The promotion comes with a bundle of new responsibilities, high expectations, and pressure. To meet performance expectations on these new responsibilities, newly promoted managers are expected to instantly become leaders, coaches, and performance experts.

Here is what the promotion does not always include: a plan. Don’t get us wrong. Top management has plans and expectations for newly promoted employees. What is missing is a plan for the new manager to transition into the supervisory or management position to learn and practice the new skills required.

Let’s take a look at a few basic managerial tasks: interviewing candidates for a job, managing conflict between employees, and deal with employees who are not performing up to expectations. Are newly promoted managers expected to handle these issues effectively and efficiently? Yes.

Here is the problem. Are the tasks mentioned earlier the kind of duties they were expected to handle before the promotion? In most cases, the answer is no. So how are they supposed to know how to handle these new duties and meet expectations? How did you learn to deal with these issues? Take our survey on our site and let us know.

From the responses in surveys conducted in previous years we learned that 42% of managers taught themselves how to conduct interviews, as opposed to being taught on the job or via formal training. 37% taught themselves how to manage conflict and 31% taught themselves how to manage low performing team members.

In other words, around 1/3 of new managers or more figure things out on their own hoping that what they figure out is the right thing to do. Hoping is not planning and as the old adage says, if we fail to plan, we plan to fail. These conditions ought to be simply unacceptable to us.

Training is not the answer to all problems and we know that. However, it is an important step that paves the way to better performance, innovation, and overall to better business results. We encourage you to go back to your management and supervisor teams and survey them to see what they know and how they acquired this information. Offer training on key management topics to those who need it.

Next, take a look at your promotion practices and incorporate an onboarding program for newly promoted managers and supervisors. Finally, teach them to become Viral Leaders. As such, they will begin to plant the seeds of leadership in their respective teams, which will help prepare your next generation of promotion-worthy leaders. If you need assistance with any of these steps, Contact Us Today! 

A Toxic Lie Being Spread At Your Company: To Be a Manager is Bad – To Be a Leader is Good

VL_Facts_mythsRecently I noticed a post saying similar to this: “Managers make themselves feel important and leaders make people feel important.” There are many messages similar to this one floating around all over social media. Do you agree? It is tempting to want to believe it at face value. However, when you give it some thought, you may realize this is not only a lie, it is toxic and dangerous thinking.

In my book Viral Leadership, I make it a point to call out and confront these misleading and toxic messages. I say these messages are misleading because they are comparing bad managerial behaviors and attitudes with the behaviors of great leaders – not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison.

The fact is that there are great managers and there are horrible managers, just as there are great leaders and bad ones too. After all, Hitler was a leader. So was Osama Bin Laden. Should we start bashing the concept of leadership based on their example? If we are going to make comparisons, let’s at least be fair about it.

But before we even start making comparisons, let’s be clear about one thing. Management and leadership are two sides of the same coin. To be a great leader, you must also be a great manager. What good is a leader that does not respect a budget or deadlines? On the other side of the coin, we observe that to be a great manager you must also show great leadership skills. Managers who can’t inspire their teams won’t get far.

So why do we feel the need to give the word “manager” a bad reputation? To make ourselves feel good when we say we rather be leaders? Imagine the damage this message causes to the image of thousands of great managers who are out there doing a fantastic job with their teams.

For this reason, I say this ridiculous comparison between the concepts of management and leadership is toxic and needs to stop. Instead, give your good managers and leaders the respect they deserve, and build up the skills of those who need improvement. And most importantly, teach them to be viral. Teach them to pass on these great skills to the rest of their teams, and build up a viral chain of performance improvement.

I also encourage you to share your stories of managers and leaders, good or bad, who may have left an impression on you and shaped you into the professional you are today. Enter your story and you’ll earn a chance to win a Free Webinar (up to 50 participants) for your team. To enter, FOLLOW THIS LINK.

Ethics First and Always

According to a five-year research project by Doremus and Financial Times that started in 2003, when two suppliers offer the same product/service or similar quality and a similar price, executives in the USA will rank High Ethical Standards as their top priority when selecting a supplier.

In fact, 86% of senior executives in North America and about 64% in Europe would stop a sale if they perceive a lack of ethical standards on the side of the supplier. This indicates that having and implementing strong ethical standards can be a significant competitive advantage in tough economic times.

As an example, take a look at this statement by one of our customers, Xerox. On their Supplier Relations page you’ll find the statement “We assess the quality, cost, delivery and sustainability of the supplier’s products and services and ensure their business is run with high ethical standards and in alignment with social responsibility principles.“

But what are these ethical standards? Xerox requires suppliers to abide by a Code of Business Conduct that provides standards in five critical areas of corporate social responsibility: labor, health and safety, environment, management systems and ethics.

Xerox has adopted the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) Code of Conduct for corporate social responsibility as its code of conduct for suppliers. To learn about EICC standards, you can visit their site here: http://goo.gl/y4KNc5. Another example of supplier expectations by another customer of ours, GE Healthcare, can be found here: http://goo.gl/TuAAVl.

Trust Sells

It doesn’t matter if you are not in a sales career, we all sell a product or a service and we all negotiate. To that end, let’s talk about the key to success in selling a product or a service: Trust Sells.

The statement is simple but profound. First, you can’t fool people. If you do not trust the product or service you offer, people will notice right away. Second, if your behaviors and attitudes do not inspire trust, people will not want to do business with you. In short, if you break trust you lose the sale.

On the other hand, if you inspire trust and extend that trust to your product or service, you have earned the chance to close the sale. Notice that this is a two-step process. The person you want to do business with has to first trust you, and only then will they trust your offer.

Once you earn the person’s trust in you, you can start developing trust in what you are offering. Your own testimonial and that of other trusted people will go a long way. You are building a trust chain: your client trusts you -> you share your confidence in a product or service -> your client then extends the trust they have on you to that product or service.

Ask yourself, what am I proactively doing to earn the trust of my clients and prospects?

En Español

Boosting Team Performance

AssertivenessBoostersLeaders and managers have a direct impact on team performance. But is it their technical expertise or something else that helps boost team performance?

In 2014, Learning4Managers conducted a survey with participants ranging from Director to C-Level. We asked them what helped them be more assertive at work. Their answers showed us the importance and value of soft skills over technical expertise.

The top performance booster, found in 60% of the answers, was showing support. Respondents revealed that they appreciate leaders that take the time to show appreciation, give feedback, and take time to encourage them.

Managers and leaders could benefit from updating their motivational and feedback skills. Team members appreciate to hear positive and constructive feedback from their leaders. Developing positive professional relationships also motivate team members to please their managers by demonstrating higher performance.

Next in the list with 25% of the answers came allowing autonomy. Respondents expressed that when leaders and managers gave them sufficient instructions accompanied by adequate freedom to do their job, they felt empowered and engaged.

Last at about 15% each came leading by example. Respondents indicated that they respect a leader that shows energy and a positive attitude.

In summary, update you skills giving feedback and motivating others. Work on your delegation skills and allow for autonomy. Finally, set an example for your teams.

En Español: https://learning4managers.com/dir/?p=709

What Keeps You From Getting Things Done?

AssertivenessIn 2014, Learning4Managers conducted a survey with participants ranging from Director to C-Level. We asked them what kept them from being assertive at work. Their responses led us to understand that what keep us from accomplishing our work are things that we can control or influence.

The top obstacle, found in 60% of the answers, was lack of power and support. Respondents revealed that when they do not feel support from leaders, peers or even their customers, they feel powerless. As a result they experience a decline in motivation and assertive behavior.

Things that can make an individual feel lack or support and powerless include restricting autonomy at work, not allowing for dialogue in the decision-making process, and using intimidation instead of reason to force a choice.

Next in the list with 30% of the answers came lack of clarity, knowledge or skills. Respondents told us that when they are unclear about their expectations, or when they lack the knowledge or skill to do a task, their motivation and assertive behaviors diminish.

Finally at about 10% each came conflict. Respondent included examples such as power struggles and office politics.

If you notice these behaviors at your workplace, now is the time to put a plan together to put a stop to them. Show support to your teams, work on communication skills and clarity, and provide training in conflict management.

En Español: https://learning4managers.com/dir/?p=709

Be Careful What You Ask For

Many managers struggle with employee performance. It is evident when you look at job description that often list “self-starter people” or “independent thinker” and other similar statements as highly desired characteristics.

The fact is that at work you’ll find different kinds of individuals

  • Those who need prompts to do their job
  • Those who are self-motivated
    • to perform their job functions
    • to look for additional duties beyond their own

Leaders hope for the last type listed here to work for them because they believe that these individuals will work with as little supervision as possible. And how could this be a bad thing after all? They also hope to avoid those who appear to need direction because they appear to be the least motivated individuals in the group.

The issues leaders face with highly motivated people are not as obvious as those you’d expect from low-motivated individuals.  It begins when these highly independent and self-motivated people start diverting their attention to extracurricular work activities that are not aligned with the corporate objectives.

High energy and motivation can be an asset, but only when it is pointed in the right direction. Don’t assume just because someone shows initiative that that they will know what they are supposed to do or what their boundaries are.

Always set clear expectations with individuals and discuss clearly what the boundaries are, both in terms of minimum expectations as well as how far their independence can reach.

To discuss how you can get access to training about alignment and how to maximize the potential of highly motivated employees Contact Us Today.

Better Results With the Use of Mirroring

The ability to influence customers and employees is a necessary skill for many individuals. However, it appears that some people are far better at it than others. What are they doing differently and what can we do to be more like them?

To get better results, researchers suggest that you should pay closer attention to two very important factors: your mirroring skills and your attitude towards the product or the service you offer. For example, research conducted by Duke University in 2007 shows that mirroring the other person’s behavior can influence a customer’s decision to buy.

The study revealed that by making a conscious effort to mimic the customer and showing interest in your offering, you can increase your chances to close the sale. Similar studies by Université de Bretagne-Sudclaim indicate that mirroring can in some cases influence people enough to increase sales by up to 17%.

Mirroring is something many successful sales people do intuitively. However, what’s interesting in the Duke report is that demonstrating a positive attitude and enthusiasm about your product or service can further increase your sales ratios.

The important lessons we can take away from these studies are that nothing will influence others more than your own attitudes and behaviors. Pay attention to the other person’s use of language and body language, and start mirroring that behavior. Furthermore, focus also on your enthusiasm and attitude towards the idea you are presenting to the other person. These steps will help you win them over.

Learn more about this and other ways to improve performance with our courses. Contact Us Today!

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Management, Hispanics and Retention

As a part of their strategy to reach out to Latinos, companies have shown a renewed interest in hiring Hispanic employees. But are these companies aware of the cultural shock this strategy will cause? And do these companies know how to manage and keep their newly hired Hispanic workforce?

In 2006, Berkley University published a study of 1,500 store managers and over 100,000 front line employees at a large retailer in the USA. A portion of the study tried to identify the role race plays on employees getting promoted or fired.

The report reveals that the rate of dismissal (people fired) from low-skill, entry-level positions is 60% higher for Hispanics than for Caucasians.  Conversely, the promotion rate for Hispanics is 28% lower than for Caucasians.

Furthermore, when Hispanics have a non-Hispanic manager, that factor alone will raise their rate of getting fired by 18% and reduce their rate of getting promoted by 54%.

Can we change this? I think so, as long as we work together. Non-Hispanic managers need targeted training on how to work with a Hispanic workforce. Together we can learn to appreciate cultural values and improve performance.  Targeted Hispanic Management Training can make a world of difference.

Contact us for information on how to develop a culture of inclusion.

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