The “old days” when professional development was one of the perks companies offered to make themselves appealing to new talent are long gone. If you still don't have an L&D strategy for your company, you may be losing a lot of money.
We know for a fact that employees who work at companies with professional development programs stay twice as long as those who work at companies without them, saving them money in turnover costs.
According to the Work Institute, losing an employee in the US costs approximately 33% of their salary, meaning that an average employee's turnover cost is roughly $15,000. These costs come from exit procedures, replacement, and training costs, in addition to the loss of productivity during the process.
If you don't track the cost of turnover in your organization, chances are big bucks are going down the drain completely unnoticed. How can you avoid it? I'm guessing you already know the answer to this question: Training programs.
A well-implemented management development program is a strategic decision that will impact your business's bottom line. The trick here is that the program needs to have clear intentions and goals. Though it sounds simple, it's not for some organizations.
During my career, I've seen companies send their managers to random training sessions to comply with their professional development requirements. However, the objectives are not aligned with their business goals. The result: An ineffective development program and zero return on the investment.
I've also seen programs that are aligned with the company, but the methodology is not right for that particular audience. The result: Same as the above. So what can you do about it?
A professional facilitator takes the time to learn about your company in advance and incorporates your unique culture and values into a program that will resonate with your people. If people are not engaged and connected with the program, they may not retain any information delivered, and the effort (and money) will be in vain.
Whether a training session is for improving leadership, time management, communication, and other management skills, I find six things essential in any type of development program. These can easily be applied for virtual or in-person training.
Six Things You Can Expect From a GTS Training Program
1. A high-energy welcome
We like to start the session with music, nice-smelling markers to fill out your name tent, and ”fiddle toys” at each seat to engage kinesthetic learners. The room is visually welcoming and appealing.
2. Lots of interactivity right away
That will create a friendly and safe environment to participate. How do we do it? We get participants talking in small and large groups very quickly, so it’s not a typical “classroom” environment with the facilitator lecturing and droning on…and on…and on.
3. Small group breakouts
This is a great way to build your network and learn from your peers. Some of the best learning from our programs comes from peer coaching, so we provide plenty of time for participants to learn from each other.
4. Reflection time
Some alone time to think and reflect on the concepts presented during the session is vital for the learning experience. We often talk about giving participants the “gift of time” to reflect and think deeply about how they’ll apply what they’re learning.
5. Plenty of breaks
Learning should be fun, not a slog. So we take breaks frequently to help participants recharge, keeping the group’s energy and focus.
6. An engaging facilitator
It should be someone who’s a subject matter expert but also knows how to keep an audience engaged. No “sage on the stage” with our programs. Our facilitators are “guides on the side.”
Good Training vs. Bad Training
Implementing a random development program rather than no training at all may not be a good idea if, again, objectives are not clear and aligned with your business goals. In fact, it can cause long-lasting negative effects. Why? Let's see what the effects are of bad training versus good training.
If you make the strategic decision to incorporate a development program into your organization, do it the right way. Find experts that help you run a diagnostic to find the real needs of your company and create a program that will keep your talent engaged while meeting your business goals.
Managing time is one of the biggest challenges for new managers. As individual contributors, you only needed to focus on your own tasks. Now you’re responsible for leading a group of people, meeting deadlines, working with peers, and accomplishing goals as a team.
With so many things on your plate, you might find yourself struggling to find time to work on important, strategic, and high-level tasks that are an essential part of your new leadership position. And that doesn’t even include your professional and personal development.
Time management is a critical skill that you should master if you want to become an effective leader. It’s the key to achieving your goals and helping your team achieve theirs. So how can you fulfill your role and become a good manager while managing your time productively?
Eric Girard, our CEO, shares the method he's been using for years to manage his time. These hacks help him focus on important things rather than prioritizing the ones that are urgent. They also help him avoid interruptions by keeping his email organized, calendars in sync, and so much more. So, let's hear from him!
Four Time Management Hacks from Our CEO
True story: I have 19 messages in my inbox, all read, and I’m feeling a little behind. It is Saturday, though, so I’m cutting myself some slack. I know people, including the mayor of my town, who have tens of thousands of unread emails in their inboxes and feel completely overwhelmed. So how do I do it?
1. Ruthlessly unsubscribe
I was getting overwhelmed by emails from the numerous mailing lists I was on. I’d delete them, but they’d just come back, and sometimes they’d bring friends. Then I realized that almost all that junk mail comes with an unsubscribe link.
You may have to dig through the fine print at the bottom of the message, but it should be there. My own mailing list includes a very visible unsubscribe link, and I’m never offended when someone clicks it. I get it. Sometimes, enough is enough!
2. Do it, delete it, or file it
When an email comes in, I decide if I need to take action on it, and if I do, when. If it only takes a minute or two, I'll take care of it right away. Otherwise, it waits until I have time. Sometimes it's something I don't want to deal with at all, but I don't want or need to unsubscribe from a list, so I just delete it. I truly value a clutter-free inbox!
After I've taken action, or if no action is needed, and the note is information I want to be able to reference later, I file it. I have a truly impressive filing system in my email app (I use Apple Mail, which is a mail aggregator and plays nicely with Gmail, among others).
I have eight email accounts, and each of them has its own filing system. When I need something, I can usually find it without using the search function, but if I can't, the search bar is there to rescue me.
3. Avoid the tyranny of the urgent
Stephen Covey talks about the Tyranny of the Urgent, referring to things that seem to need your attention right away and suck time away from things with longer-term importance. I use my own brand of time blocking to avoid getting sucked into email when I should be focused on something else.
The premise is simple: A place for everything and everything in its place, including email. When I need to make time for something –anything– I make an appointment for myself on my calendar.
Using email as an example, if I need to respond to John about a conference that's coming up but it can wait until tomorrow, I make a short (15 or 30-minute) appointment on my calendar to do it. If it's on the calendar, it gets done.
I have five calendars, and each is color-coded. There's one for my volunteer activities, one for work, one for a client who wants me in their system, and two personal ones, including a family calendar my wife manages.
When I make an appointment, I decide which calendar it goes on. This allows me to look at my day at a glance and see what I need to do when, and whether I have any high-priority items, like client meetings, that I need to prep for. Oh yeah, prep and travel time go on the calendar too.
This system is replicated on my phone, so I'm always up to date no matter where I am.
The beauty of having separate calendars is I can turn their views on and off. For example, if my calendar view is overwhelming, I can turn off the shared family calendar to reduce the clutter, then turn it back on later to be sure I don’t miss anything.
4. Use an external calendar app for meetings
With all those calendars, you'd think scheduling meetings would be a nightmare. It's actually really easy. I use Calendly to track my free/busy time across all my calendars, making it easy to share my calendar with anyone to set up a meeting. I use the Meeting Poll function a lot too. So much more efficient than the usual email back and forth of "Are you available Tuesday at 2?" "No, how about Wednesday at 10?" "No, how about…"
Whatever method or tips you follow to improve your time management skills, it all starts with setting priorities, using time blocks, delegating, using technology, avoiding distractions, learning to say no, and focusing on results. Mastering this skill allows you to balance your workload, get things done and make time for your professional and personal growth.
Working remotely or returning to the office has been a dilemma for many organizations. Now that we're a few years into this new work environment, we can see the pros and cons of both work settings. What's the best alternative for your business?
A recent McKinsey survey suggests that 90% of organizations will adopt some combination of remote and on-site work as they emerge from Covid restrictions, and we already see that. The hybrid workplace model is changing the way people meet, and it's very common now to see a mix of in-person and remote attendees in work conferences.
Leading effective on-site or virtual meetings is challenging as it is, but conducting hybrid meetings is especially complex. Managers need to learn how to keep the people in the room and those working remotely engaged simultaneously and during the whole session.
Let's find out what the best practices are for making hybrid meetings more effective, and some general tips for managing hybrid workplaces.
Best Practices for Running Productive Hybrid Meetings
Get your technology right
Thanks to the pandemic, companies have adopted videoconference technology to enable virtual meetings. Since many workplaces have shifted to the hybrid model, tech providers are adjusting their services to improve the experience for in-person and remote attendees.
To begin with, audio quality. Most meetings focus on visual aspects (slide decks, videos, images), and audio is often overlooked. Companies are equipping conference rooms with high-quality microphones so remote participants can hear and communication between all participants is smooth.
Test the technology in advance
All those last-minute audio and video glitches may take more than a few minutes of the meeting, and there’s no time to waste. Always test the setup for in-person and remote attendees, especially if it’s an important meeting. Get attendees familiar with what they will see in the meeting and what everybody is expecting from their participation, so they can familiarize themselves in advance with any software features they need to use during the session.
Design meetings for all attendees
If you’re planning any interactive activities for the meeting, make sure you have the tools and technology to involve everyone and enhance interaction between remote and in-person employees. If the focus is on a board, use a webcam so remote participants can follow the meeting as if they were present. Use the same method for all attendees, no matter if they’re in the room or somewhere else.
Provide strong facilitation
If you have never chosen one person to keep everyone on track during a meeting, now is the time to do it. It’s easier to manage a group when all participants are in-person or on Zoom, but in the hybrid world, if one person guides the conversation, the session will be more productive. Why? In most cases, in-person attendees tend to dominate the discussion, so a facilitator helps to keep the balance, let everyone participate, and ensure everyone is heard as planned. That’s how you keep the whole group engaged during the meeting.
Use two producers
Use one producer to manage the virtual attendee experience, and one to manage the in-room experience. That way, there’s someone taking care of each group, and you can focus on running the meeting and not fixing technical issues
Tips for Managing Hybrid Workplaces
Hybrid work is here to stay, and even though the rules are still blurry, people have found themselves more productive, engaged, and happy. Generally, this work environment is perceived as a positive change for most employees, but what about managers?
Most hybrid work strategies focus on individual contributors, not managers. Their experiences and struggles are different from their team’s, and no training was available to help them. Gallup came up with four considerations to improve your organization's hybrid work strategy and support managers along the way.
Managers need extra support
Most managers had to adjust quickly to this new work environment and received no training. Since hybrid workplaces are here to stay, they need more support to develop effective communication strategies with their team.
Your team is also responsible for culture-building
Managers can't build the company's culture by themselves. This is a team effort that has to be facilitated by the manager, but employees are the ones who need to decide how to get work done.
Bring your managers together into a community
Peer support has been vital to spark innovation and bring more efficiencies. However, that may have been lost in the transition to hybrid work. Building a community for those leading teams will benefit culture building and the company's performance.
Invest in management development programs
These programs have to go beyond hybrid work training. Besides the new workplace dynamic, managers need to focus on employee well-being rather than outcomes. Coaching, delivering feedback, and one-on-one conversations are some of the skills they need to acquire.
Just when we were getting used to remote meetings, people started returning to their offices. However, many companies went hybrid as the restrictions from the pandemic began to ease, and they decided to function that way permanently. But leading hybrid meetings is more complex than it sounds.
The good news is that we already have the technology and the tools to make these meetings more productive. We need to be more thoughtful when designing the sessions so everyone, present or remote, stays engaged and feels equally valued.
The last few years have included a huge number of unexpected changes that have fundamentally changed the way we work, live, and socialize. It was exhilarating for some but frightening and uncomfortable for most people. Why?
According to Isabel Briggs Meyers, the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator developer, only 5.5% of humans innately embrace change. The rest find it really hard to cope with change for one reason: Change challenges a biological need to look for patterns and certainty, and the absence of these can trigger anxiety and build resistance.
Resistance to change can happen in individuals, relationships, or within organizations, and fear of the unknown is at the core of it. In the workplace, it manifests in many forms, such as sarcastic remarks, criticism, or, in the worst case, sabotage.
According to research, getting a negative response to anything that falls out of the ordinary is natural. But what if you could get some tools and learn strategies to go through change without any emotional fatigue?
In this article, we will go over the common things that create resistance to change and analyze the change curve to understand the process an individual goes through before accepting any big change in their lives.
What Causes Resistance to Change
Facing an onslaught of daily changes is challenging for anybody, but it’s on managers to help people go through change successfully. The good news is that there are different ways to address resistance to change and get it under control.
The first step is to understand the causes so you can solve the issue effectively and implement a strategy for similar future scenarios. There are five common reasons for resistance to change.
1. Lack of Trust
Does your team trust you and your leadership team? People tend to react to their leadership team more than the change itself. So earning your employees' trust will make it easier for you when a significant change happens in the organization. Otherwise, distrust will exacerbate resistance to change and increase the turnover rates. Distrust may occur if the company makes changes too often, doesn't deliver what it's promised, or employees don't feel valued. And what successful companies have in common is the trust of their employees.
2. Poor Communication
Do you effectively communicate with your team? We all know that effective communication is one of the most important leadership skills any manager needs to develop. Sharing information whenever possible, especially when the organization is going through changes, will create a culture of transparency. When there’s no open communication between team members and the leadership team, people lose trust in their managers and resist changes in the company.
3. Emotional response
Are you properly addressing emotional responses from your team? As humans, we have emotional reactions to change, such as fear, anxiety, worry, and uncertainty. People may not feel comfortable sharing those with their leadership team, but managers still need to address those feelings, otherwise, they can turn into negative comments and sabotage any efforts to build trust among employees.
4. Fear of failure
Do you give your team room to fail? Implementing change in an organization may have a good or bad outcome, so fear of failing is common. Fearing their job security is at risk or their performance review will be impacted makes it hard for people to focus on their jobs, which can have real consequences in the results. But when you let your team learn from mistakes, they can bounce back quickly and get back on track.
5. Constant change
We’ve all heard the saying, “the only constant is change,” but when it comes to businesses, it’s better to space changes out. Every time you introduce a change in your organization, you must ensure everybody is fully adapted before proposing new changes. That also gives you the time to analyze and prove what works and what doesn’t. In addition, a study also suggests that people who went through changes very often showed signs of stress and had less trust in their senior leaders, planned to find new jobs, and reported more health concerns.
Kübler-Ross DREC Model
Changes in your business strategy are inevitable, especially in unprecedented times. Your communication skills might not be enough to get everyone on board. So how can you help your team face change?
Most organizations focus on systems and processes, assuming people will follow behind and jump aboard. But this isn't always the case. The truth is that people's reactions to change could differ according to severity, sense of personal control and involvement, cultural expectations, and environmental conditions.
At Girard Training Solutions, we use the Kübler-Ross DREC Model to help managers understand the process an individual goes through before accepting any significant change in their lives. This four-stage model allows you to develop an action plan for each step and take the business to complete a successful transformation.
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross developed a model in the 1960s to explain the grieving process and then proposed that it could also apply to any dramatic life-changing situation. That's the one we call the Change Curve, which is a method to help people understand their reactions to significant change.
Today, the model is popularly referred to as the DREC cycle for the four stages people go through in their own personal transition. Once you understand the process individuals experience before accepting big changes, you can develop an action plan for each phase and do what it takes to complete a successful transformation.
Stage 1: Denial
People deny change will happen because they don't know or don't like how the change will impact them. It's important to explain why the change must be introduced and ensure everybody receives the same message.
Stage 2: Resistance
People start to create arguments and barriers to the introduction of the change. They don't believe the change will work and don't trust the leadership. Listen to their ideas and make adjustments to the plan when you can.
Stage 3: Exploration
People will start looking for their roles in the new system. They appreciate the potential benefits of the change and understand the new opportunities and options. It's during this stage that training makes sense.
Stage 4: Commitment
The new system becomes "the way we do things around here," and new behaviors are rooted in the organization's culture. People show positive energy, recognize the benefits, and enjoy the challenge.
It's a fact that people experience change in different ways. Some may be more open to it and adapt quickly, but others can create some resistance to the point they may delay any changes you want to implement in your organization.
Understanding the emotional response change causes in people and learning how to introduce it to your team members will make a difference in the results you get for the new protocols, technologies, or strategies you're trying to establish.
We’ve had several managers throughout our careers, but the ones we remember the most are those who were supportive and understanding at different levels. Those managers who adapt their leadership style to their team’s needs are taking a situational leadership approach.
When your team members have different levels of expertise, they require different management styles. That may sound like common sense, but in practice, it could be a little more challenging for some people.
The goal of the situational leadership model is to train managers to be more flexible, especially in a rapidly changing business environment, so that they can effectively deal with any issues in their team and organization.
But before we dive into the four development levels and management style proposed by the Situational Leadership Model (SLII®), let me explain what situational leadership is.