Categories for Work

Should We Focus on “Mental Health” in the Workplace?

Since the COVID-19 virus appeared, the focus on the mental health of employees has increased significantly. And rightfully so. As a result of the pandemic, major social changes occurred in 2020: “stay-at-home” orders, tens of millions of workers shifted to working from home, children were educated remotely, we were required to maintain social distance from one another (and cover our faces with masks). Family and community relationships were hindered. The practical consequences? Isolation. Dramatic changes in daily life routines. Uncertainty. These tectonic shifts in our lives shook our daily lives to the foundations and created an enormous amount of stress... Continue reading...

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July 19, 2021 9:00 am
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Email Etiquette Refresher

A significant portion of our communication happens through email. This is especially true with current work from home set-ups resulting from COVID-19 where communicating properly and effectively through email is essential. Chances are, you’ve misinterpreted an email or had one of your emails misinterpreted at some point in your life. Email can quickly trigger unnecessary conflict. Here are a few tips and reminders to help you use email as an effective communication tool. Don’t read energy or emotion into emails. All you have in email are words, which only account for 7% of communication. The other 93% of communication happens... Continue reading...

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July 20, 2020 9:00 am
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“The New Normal” – What are you expecting?

“We aren’t going to return to ‘normal’ – there will be a ‘new normal’” is a phrase commonly heard these days – from news media, economic gurus and business consultants. But what do they mean? What do you (or I) mean when we use the phrase “new normal?” I don’t think most of us really know. It is a phrase we are used to using, but rarely define. What is ‘Normal’ Anyway? We need to start by asking ourselves, “What does ‘normal’ mean?” What do we expect when we “just want things to get back to normal?” It’s a word... Continue reading...

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June 15, 2020 8:57 am
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Tips for Surviving Working from Home – From Remote Employees Themselves

Working from home (WFH) has moved from a short-term hassle to a longer, “this is life now” stage. The novelty is gone. The changes for the initial transition are in place. We now have to figure out how to make this scenario work for a while. Who best to learn from than other remote, WFH employees? We recently followed a group of WFH workers, having them fill out a questionnaire once a week for four weeks. We asked a lot of questions, and the results are just being published in Training this week. We inquired about their level of anxiety,... Continue reading...

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June 8, 2020 8:55 am
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Newly Remote Employees During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Snapshot of Their Perceptions, Feelings and Concerns

We recently initiated a research project to gather information from newly remote employees to assess their current life circumstances; their perceptions, feelings and behaviors; their top concerns, as well as positive aspects of their life currently. Study Participants Eighty-five newly remote employees responded to an invitation to fill out an online questionnaire about working remotely (88% Female, 12% Male). The questionnaires were completed within two business days (ending March 30, 2020), just after “Stay In Place” orders had been put in place for several states, and just prior to the Federal CARE Act being passed by the Senate. Interestingly, 41% of the... Continue reading...

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April 9, 2020 11:00 am
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Why “Thinking Outside of the Box” (by itself) Doesn’t Work

Most of us would agree that we all have a certain way of thinking. We’ve been taught our whole lives that our own way of thinking is thinking “inside the box.” We’ve been told many times that we need to learn to think “outside the box.” I contend that this doesn’t work. When we’re in a box (our way of thinking), we may hear or see something that encourages us to make a change. We are encouraged, and we decide to attempt to get outside of our normal way of thinking. But when we get outside of our box, we... Continue reading...

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February 3, 2020 9:00 am
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Setting Goals for the New Year? Consider Finishing Some of Last Year’s Instead

It’s that time of the year again – when we think about resolutions for the new year. Rather than considering a new list of “to do’s,” I’ve been thinking more about the role of perseverance in our lives, and in the lives of those who accomplish meaningful goals. While resolving to start new habits or achieve new goals is obviously a worthy endeavor, I believe sticking to and finishing those tasks not yet completed may be a better use of our time and energy. Our culture idolizes the “new” and really doesn’t think much of the boring, “steady as she goes,” day in... Continue reading...

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December 30, 2019 10:06 am
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Revisiting the Meaning of Vacation

In the summer months, I often reflect on the idea of “vacation” — what it is, what it means, and what it has come to mean in our culture. Vacation means “to vacate” — to leave, to get out of here, to get away from your daily setting and responsibilities. We get a different perspective on life when we get away from our daily routines. Fortunately, the growing popularity of the stay-cation has allowed even those in a tight financial situation to enjoy the benefits of ‘getting away.’ Vacation implies that you aren’t working. You are taking a vacation from work. At times, I... Continue reading...

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July 22, 2019 9:00 am
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Introducing the Expanded Motivating By Appreciation Inventory

Almost 200,000 individuals across the world have taken the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory. This inspired us to look for ways to improve the results the inventory provides. Over the past two years we have deliberated, explored, and analyzed in order to create a new, expanded version which provides a fuller picture of how each person prefers to be shown appreciation and how they don’t want others to express appreciation to them. The Expanded MBA Inventory builds off of the foundation laid by the Basic MBA Inventory report (which is still available) by identifying each individual’s Primary, Secondary and Least Valued... Continue reading...

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June 17, 2019 9:00 am
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5 Misconceptions about Workplace Culture (And How You Can Make a Difference)

Workplace culture is both a “hot” and important topic in the world today.  Companies, organizations, and government agencies are all struggling with the reality that they have seriously unhealthy workplace cultures.  Yet many people (including leaders) have significant misconceptions about what creates “workplace culture” and whether or not (or how) it can be changed.  Frequent results of these misconceptions include: a) individuals within the organization giving up trying to improve the culture because they view the situation as hopeless; b) they want to do something to make a difference but don’t know where to start, or c) their attempts to... Continue reading...

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November 12, 2018 9:00 am
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Employees May Not Love Their Work, But They Can Still Be Engaged: 4 Categories of Work Experience

Employee engagement differs from employee satisfaction. A Gallup poll found that only 32 percent of U.S. workers are engaged in their jobs, for instance. Yet employees who don’t love their jobs can and should still be engaged. Custom Insight distinguishes employee engagement from employee satisfaction. Engagement is defined as “the extent to which employees feel passionate about their jobs, are committed to the organization, and put discretionary effort into their work.” Satisfaction relates to “love”—or how happy employees are.  The Purpose and Nature of Work  We must remind ourselves that the primary purpose of work is to provide for our needs—food, shelter, clothing.... Continue reading...

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September 24, 2018 3:14 am
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How Do You Survive a Toxic Workplace?

In last week’s blog, we discussed the impact of toxic workplaces on the health of their employees. But what can you do if you find yourself in one of these toxic situations? The key, really, is to not only identify how bad your work environment is but to take action steps to limit its negative impact on your life. Here are some practical steps we found are necessary when a person works in a truly toxic workplace. Protect Yourself Remember a toxic workplace is dangerous, so you have to proactively take steps to protect yourself from the various risks that... Continue reading...

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June 11, 2018 9:00 am
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Busyness & The Lack of Margin in Our Lives

One of the most common maladies in the 21st century is living lives that feel stressed and chronically overwhelmed. We are busy, tired, and we feel stretched – there always seems to be more to do than we have time or energy. When demands appear to be greater than our resources, the result in our lives is stress. We feel stressed in different areas of life: time, physical and emotional energy, relational demands and finances. Stress then displays itself in our lives in a variety of ways: irritability, anxiety, not eating well, poor sleep habits, not exercising regularly, making hasty... Continue reading...

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May 21, 2018 9:00 am
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Are You Bored At Work? Do You Know Why? Is There Anything You Can Do About It?

  Recent research has found that a majority of employees in the U.S. report being bored at work. And this appears to be a significantly more frequent issue for millennials, who report being bored at twice the rate of other workers. What are some factors that can contribute to being bored? Boredom: The Employee’s Part Boredom experienced by an employee is at least partially their responsibility and there are things they can do to engage. One factor that makes a person more susceptible to becoming bored is being physically tired. When we are tired, the mind has a harder time... Continue reading...

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April 30, 2018 8:48 am
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7 Reasons Why Emotional Intelligence Will Continue to Be Highly Desired

According to the World Economic Forum Future of Jobs Report, emotional intelligence will be one of the top 10 job skills in 2020 The awareness that emotional intelligence has become an important job skill, even surpassing technical ability, has been growing over the last number of years. A Career Builder Survey of more than 2,600 hiring managers and human resource professionals found the following: 71 percent stated they valued emotional intelligence in an employee over IQ 75 percent said they were more likely to promote a high EI worker 59 percent claimed they would not hire someone with a high... Continue reading...

July 20, 2017 9:45 pm
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So You Are an Intern This Summer? What Should You Expect?

If you are one of the fortunate students who has landed an internship for the summer, congratulations. You have an opportunity to learn some practical skills in your field of study, add a valuable piece to your resume, and possibly make a little money (if it is a paid internship). There is a good chance you have never been an intern before, so you are not exactly sure what to expect. Let us fill you in – with both the good and bad news. Understanding the Full Time Employees’ Perspective For most FTEs (full-time employees), interns are viewed either as... Continue reading...

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June 5, 2017 10:00 am
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For College Graduates: The Challenges of Finding a Job

  Recently, I am working with more and more young adults who are finding it difficult to find jobs in their desired career path. And it doesn’t really matter what area they are in — business, education, computer science, marketing, graphic design. Some are recent college graduates, while others have been out of school for a while. Some of these individuals have taken short-term (e.g. one or two year) positions and now they want to “move on” in their career. And I am hearing reports back from numerous young people across the country that finding a job is harder than... Continue reading...

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May 17, 2017 8:00 am
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Are You Burned Out? Symptoms & Steps to Take

I see a lot of “burned out” (or “flaming out”) employees.  People who are emotionally, relationally, and physically worn down.  Responsible individuals (usually in multiple areas of their lives) that have “given all they’ve got” and don’t have much, if anything, left to give. Being “burned out” doesn’t have much to do with what type of work you do.  I have the opportunity to work with a variety of work settings and lots of different types of businesses and burned out employees exist everywhere:  medical settings, schools, law enforcement, insurance companies, long-term care facilities and hospices, financial institutions, mining companies,... Continue reading...

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March 7, 2017 3:02 pm
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Utilizing Thanksgiving as a Reminder to Appreciate Your Staff

Thanksgiving is the holiday where we are encouraged to be thankful for the good things in our lives – health, safety, adequate food, clothing, and shelter, as well as the many material blessings we have. For most people, Thanksgiving is usually more of a personally-focused celebration, including sharing meals and time with family and friends. But the Thanksgiving holiday season can also be an opportunity to focus on, and be reminded of, the positive aspects of our work lives. This is especially true in these more difficult economic times, where many who desire employment are unable to find work or... Continue reading...

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November 21, 2016 8:00 am
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The 5 Love Languages and The 5 Languages of Appreciation

Many who are familiar with The 5 Love Languages as described in Gary Chapman’s bestselling book have found them helpful in their personal relationships. Some may wonder if there is really any difference between the 5 Love Languages and the 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace. While the languages discussed in both books are the same in name, the application and expression of the languages in the work environment is quite different than in personal relationships. You shouldn’t assume that your primary love language in personal relationships is the same as your most important language of appreciation in the workplace. We have... Continue reading...

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August 17, 2016 4:23 pm
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The Battle between Positive and Toxic Workplaces

An interesting juxtaposition has developed — the simultaneous focus in the world of work on toxic workplaces and creating positive work environments. Our book on toxic workplaces and the subsequent training we created on how to avoid becoming a toxic workplace (or survive one you are currently in) are growing in popularity and interest.  And I am asked more and more to speak to professional associations and write on the topic. At the same time, there is a growing body of literature on how to create a positive workplace environment (sometimes labeled as workplace culture or climate). One might mistakenly... Continue reading...

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May 10, 2016 8:32 pm
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Conflict Without Casualties: A Field Guide for Leading With Compassionate Accountability

I (Nate) have always had a problem with the notion of conflict reduction, management, or mediation. All of these concepts imply that conflict is something to be lessened or eradicated, as if it’s fundamentally a bad thing. I’m not surprised that many people would view conflict this way. Look around: Divisive political rhetoric, religious polarization, and global ideological warfare. Everywhere you look, conflict is generating casualties. Negative conflict, manifested as workplace drama, costs the US economy over $350 billion per year in the currency of broken relationships, dysfunctional teams, morale and engagement problems, and failure to thrive. I believe that... Continue reading...

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May 6, 2016 1:27 pm
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The Dilemma of Physical Touch & Appreciation in the Workplace

“Physical touch in the workplace-to show appreciation? Really?” is one of the most common responses we get from some participants when training groups in the 5 Languages of Appreciation. I was in the midst of posting this article when a friend forwarded me this video aired by NBC Nightly News about Chobani Yogurt, where the owner is sharing ownership of the company with his employees.  But the video also shows Mr. Chobani hugging his employees and the piece ends with the statement: “where the money means a lot but being appreciated means even more”. Using physical touch to communicate appreciation... Continue reading...

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April 28, 2016 12:00 am
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Is “Love” Appropriate at Work?

Being in a “love” relationship at work? Is that appropriate (or some might ask, is it even feasible?) It depends, largely, I think, on what you mean by “love”. Our culture has numerous definitions and uses of the word love (“I love their sushi here!”), but when used in the context of relationships, we tend to think of the type of love related to “falling in love” or “being in love”. This is unfortunate because there are actually different types of ways to “love” within a relationship. Let me describe a few: Romantic love. Displayed in movies and other media,... Continue reading...

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April 12, 2016 8:24 pm
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Managers Have Great Influence, According to Ethics Study

It’s a question I am asked repeatedly. How do you get managers and employees to be better givers of appreciation and recognition? After all, they’re all busy with their jobs. Surely we can’t expect more from them. Let’s examine some research carried out on how to instill ethical behaviors in a corporation. This appears to be significantly harder than trying to teach others to give recognition. We’ll see what we can learn and apply from these findings. Personal Example is a Winner A study by Drs. Avshalom M. Adam and Dalia Rachman-Moore in the Journal of Business Ethics concluded that the example from... Continue reading...

March 4, 2016 7:00 am
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The Importance of Top Down “Buy In”

My name is George Gotschall and I have been in management for about 35 years in both corporate and private enterprise.  I am currently the owner of a placement agency and a consulting company helping organizations choose their next employee wisely. In November 2014, Dr. White and Tim Hepner introduced me to the concept of Appreciation at Work and I fell in love with it!  Treating people like individuals, what a concept!  Since I am a certified behavioral analyst, the idea fit perfectly with the behavioral surveys I sell to my clients. The concept of treating employees like human beings with families,... Continue reading...

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February 9, 2016 7:00 am
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Appreciation in an International Multi-Cultural Organization

Recently, I had the privilege to provide training in communicating authentic appreciation to the management and supervisors of an elite international organization.  Functioning within the tourism and hospitality industries, the staff (in one location) come from over 40 countries and six continents. As I approached the training, I was interested to see and hear if the staff desired to be appreciated for their work.  Additionally, I wanted to find out whether communicating appreciation in the workplace was relevant across many cultures.  Finally, I was curious to learn various ways employees felt comfortable receiving appreciation and what the challenges might be... Continue reading...

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July 29, 2015 11:47 am
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How Cynicism and Sarcasm Sap Creativity From Your Organization

We all have a finite amount of mental and emotional energy. That is why we are tired at the end of a busy day when we have been processing information and making decisions throughout the day.  Thus, effective leaders learn how to prioritize and channel their mental energy into completing the most important tasks, and not waste it on non-productive activities. One major drain of emotional energy often is ignored by leaders, however.  That is the presence of sarcasm and cynicism in your organization.  Both stem from negative thoughts and perceptions among team members that are then communicated and bounced... Continue reading...

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May 12, 2015 6:00 am
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What to Do When You Are Overwhelmed at Work

According to research conducted by Deloitte and reported on Forbes.com, “two-thirds of today’s employees feel ‘overwhelmed.’” Because of the “proliferation of technology,” work-life balance has disappeared and the barriers that traditionally kept work and home separate have broken down. The study identified the following key factors as contributing to feeling overwhelmed at work: • Working too hard (40% of men work more than 50 hours per week) • Distraction/multitasking (i.e., checking phones 150 times per day, literally) • Information overload including: emails, conference calls, meetings and other distractions If you are one of the two-thirds of employees feeling overwhelmed and... Continue reading...

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March 31, 2015 1:05 pm
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