Employee Stress – Costs, Causes and Solutions

Employee Stress – Costs, Causes and Solutions

Do members of your staff call in, miss deadlines or seem to struggle to keep up with their workload? The struggle could be tied to their emotional wellbeing. There’s a very good chance some of your employees are stressed, and it’s costing you money.

A Colonial Life Study surveyed 1,506 full-time employees and found their stress level was costing their company billions every week. Yes, you read that right. Every week.

The High Cost of Employee Stress

The U.S. Bureau for Labor Statistics says the United States has around 128.5 million adults working full-time at an average of $21/hour. With that many employees, minutes and hours of reduced productivity add up quickly. Here are a few highlights from the study.

  • Over 70 percent of employees report they spend time on the clock worrying.
  • Of those, 28 percent spend less than an hour of paid time worrying about stressors.
  • Half of them – a full 50 percent spend between one and five paid hours thinking about stressors.
  • 16 percent spend between five and 10 hours.
  • Six percent spend more than 10 hours at work stressed.

When they’re stressed, 41 percent say they’re less productive. Thirty-three percent are less engaged. Fourteen percent of workers say they’re absent more frequently and 15 percent say stress makes them start looking for a new job. When employees experience stress, they’re more likely to have health problems, depression, trouble concentrating and decreased motivation.

Employee Stress Causes

You can’t do much about stress from personal relationships or other outside factors, but it’s possible to reduce workplace stressors. Employees feel stressed by situations that are unpredictable, uncontrollable or unfamiliar. They also report stress when performance expectations are ambiguous or feel unattainable. Key factors include:

  • The need for long hours or work overload
  • Personal life struggles caused by work overload
  • Feeling excluded from decision-making processes
  • Struggles with administrators stemming from unclear expectations, different communication styles or poor management
  • Physical discomfort caused by the workplace environment

What Employers Can Do

The first step is becoming aware of problems and making emotional health a priority. Look for signs of employee stress like frequent sick days, moodiness or declining productivity. Then, ask employees for feedback.

Acknowledge the reality of stress and its impact on daily living. Then, seek out ways to relieve some of the pressure.

For employees that are stressed over earnings, employers might provide help understand benefits or resources for financial planning. If work causes physical discomfort, invest in improving office ergonomics. Help employees better handle stress with contests around healthy habits or opportunities for daily physical activity.

For most employees, just feeling supported by their companies will be a huge stress relief. When they have resources and support, they are better equipped to deal with stress to stay productive and engaged.

5 Email Etiquette Rules Every Employee Should Know

You may send and receive electronic communication all day long, but are you using email correctly? With some types of messaging it’s okay to be informal, but if it involves work email, there are rules you don’t want to break. Before you hit “send” one more time, make sure you’re protecting your professional image.

Use These With Caution

Think carefully before you use some email buttons and classifications. Use these options sparingly:

  • Reply All – Before you send an email, ask yourself if it needs to go to everyone on the list. There could be disastrous consequences if you mean to send a sarcastic comment to your friend and it actually goes to everyone at the office. If your communication doesn’t concern everyone, don’t use “reply all.”
  • Read Receipts – If you request to be notified when co-workers, employees, customers and clients open your email, it feels intrusive. When your information is time-sensitive or you’re concerned about whether or not it reaches its destination, ask the recipient in the email to let you know once they receive it.
  • CC vs. BCC – If you’re sending an email to a group, often it’s better to send a blind carbon copy (BCC) rather than a carbon copy (CC) where everyone’s email address is displayed.
  • Forward – If it doesn’t have to do with work, don’t use this button.

Write Good Subject Lines

If you could summarize your email in a few words, what would you say? Your email subject line should be clear and direct. Examples include, “Staff Meeting At 2 p.m. Today,” or “Question About Atkins Project.”

A well-written subject line makes it more likely people will open your email. Subject lines aren’t the place to be vague or make obscure references. Remember, the whole point of office email is to streamline communication.

Use a Professional Email Address and Signature Block

It’s best to always use your company email address. If you’re self-employed or for some reason have to send an email from your personal account, make sure your email address reflects professionalism.

Include an automated signature that attaches to every email. It should contain three or four lines of text that tell who you are and how else people can get in touch. It might also include your photo or company logo. Avoid hard-to-read fonts or lengthy statements. Simple and direct is always best.

Use Professional Salutations

Avoid informal greetings like “Hey,” or “What’s up?” Instead, use “Dear Mr. Smith,” “Hello Mrs. Francis,” or “Hi Jonathan.”

Don’t shorten the recipient’s name unless you know that’s what they prefer. For example, don’t address Steven as Steve unless he invited you to do so.

Proofread Carefully

Read through your email at least once silently and once out loud before you send it. Check for spelling and grammatical errors, and to make sure your tone is what you intend. Be careful with humor, since that doesn’t always come across electronically.

Only use one punctuation mark at the end of sentences, and in most cases, that punctuation shouldn’t be an exclamation mark. Multiple exclamation marks make you sound angry!!! Plus, can you see how using several question marks make you seem impatient to receive an answer????

Remember if you send it, others can forward it. Show your best self on email to protect your professional image and your career future.

East Texas Volunteer Opportunities for Employee Groups

East Texas Volunteer Opportunities for Employee Groups

Want more engaged employees this holiday season? A 2017 Deloitte Volunteerism survey found company-sponsored volunteering boosts morale, contributes to a more pleasant work environment and improves brand perception. Volunteering is good for everyone, and the holidays are the perfect time to give back. These East Texas nonprofits have volunteer opportunities for your work team.

PATH Community Homes

Just from August through December of last year, Tyler’s People Attempting to Help (PATH) served 6,924 East Texas households with 18,584 members. They provided housing for 45 families and utilities for 435 families. They also helped with school supplies, prescription medication, eye exams, dental services and so much more.

Volunteers make that huge impact possible. In that same time period, 584 volunteers donated 21,729 hours of service to people in need. This holiday season, they need you.

Greg Grubb, PATH’s Executive Director says the organization needs help with the repair, upkeep and renovation of East Texas rental homes. Of the 52 homes PATH owns, 38 are more than 70 years old. “Each time a tenant family moves out, we make the repairs and upgrades needed to provide a safe, decent and affordable home for the next family,” he says. “It’s a perfect team-building opportunity that really helps a family of our neighbors!”

Don’t be intimidated if not everyone in your group is a skilled construction worker. PATH’s Facilities Manager customizes projects to the number of people in each group and the tasks they’re comfortable doing. Both inside and outside work is available.

Contact PATH by filling out the volunteer form on their website.

The East Texas Food Bank

It may seem like there’s food everywhere this time of year, but that’s not true for all East Texas families. The East Texas Food Bank website says one in five East Texas adults are hungry today. The organization’s mission is to fight hunger and feed hope in 26 East Texas counties. They accept food and money donations and use them for programs like these:

  • The BackPack Program – Needy school children receive a backpack full of food so they don’t go hungry over the weekend when they don’t have access to school breakfast and lunch.

 

  • Summer Food – Over the summer those children still need food. This program provides nutritious meals at community locations.

 

  • Senior Boxes – Qualifying seniors receive a monthly nutritious box so they don’t have to decide between heating their home and buying groceries.

All those programs require volunteers. When your group signs up to work at East Texas Food Bank, you might repackage bulk items into individual servings, load backpacks or help with office administrative duties. Their website provides contact information for volunteering as a group.

Habitat for Humanity

This organization helps needy families realize the dream of homeownership. They build new homes and sell them to qualifying families at cost with zero interest mortgages. One of the ways they raise money to do so is through Tyler’s ReStore.

ReStore accepts donations of furniture, appliances and home improvement products and sells them to the general public. Homeowners and businesses donate materials when they remodel and ReStore displays them at their retail location on Front Street.

Retail Director Danny Saenz says, “We like to stage our furniture so it looks like a furniture store, and we also have shelves of merchandise volunteers help display. Ladies do things like put matching end tables with couches to make it look good. For guys, we just need muscle. It helps to have extra bodies to lift doors and windows in our warehouse area.”

Whether your employees prefer to help with heavy lifting or they excel at decorating and design, ReStore has volunteer opportunities available. Find out more on the Habitat for Humanity of Smith County website.

Sources:
https://www.volunteermatch.org/search/opp2407011.jsp https://www.easttexasfoodbank.org/join-the-fight/donate-time/ https://www.habitat.org/volunteer/group-opportunities
https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/us/Documents/about-deloitte/us-2017-deloitte-volunteerism-survey.pdf

Simple Ways You Can Improve Employee Motivation Today

Simple Ways You Can Improve Employee Motivation Today

If you manage East Texas employees, there’s a tough season ahead. This time of year parents struggle to get into a fresh back-to-school routine. Almost everyone starts thinking toward the holidays. Distractions and fatigue make motivation start to wane.

You’ve seen your team at their best, and you want to minimize disengagement. Try these simple strategies to reignite a spark that’s beginning to flicker.

Launch a Monthly Recognition Plan

A paycheck is a good motivation for showing up, but what you want is for employees to give their very best. To do so every day takes a tremendous amount of energy and dedication.

The ones who give the most do it from the heart. They often feel an emotional connection to their work. They get personal satisfaction from a job well done and feel like they are a part of your company’s mission. Acknowledge them to point out those traits to others.

Make it a public recognition to affirm to those employees they’re doing the right thing, that they’re the best of the best. Point out specifics so other staff members know what you’re looking for. Recognize them on social media so their family and friends know they’re great at what they do.

Survey employees to find out what type of recognition means the most to them. Would your employee of the month most value a certificate they can hang on their wall, a designated parking space, extra flexible minutes or other awards?

Write Thank You Notes

Go to a Tyler or Longview office supply store and get a box of blank notes with envelopes. Use them to create hand-written thank you notes. Sure, it’s the digital age and email is easier, but that’s what will make your statement of appreciation into a keepsake for the recipients. They don’t have to be long or complex.

There probably are already a few people you need to thank. Sit down and give yourself a head start as soon as you have your stationery.

Notes can be as simple as “Dear April, I don’t know if you realize how much you bring to our business. The way you smile and greet everyone who walks through the door makes this a warm and inviting place. Thank you so much for always being incredibly positive.”

Chunk Big Projects

No, we don’t mean chunk them out the window. One solution could be the Agile Method. It was developed in the software design industry, but it is effective for almost all teams responsible for completing large or complex projects.

The way it works: Instead of giving groups the whole elephant to eat at once, break assignments down into smaller portions and complete them in timed sections called “sprints.” Plan a small amount of the work to be done and set a time limit during which everyone works as hard as possible. Then take a break, reevaluate and move on to the next phase.

You may find teams accomplish more in a shorter time frame than they would plodding along at a steady pace with no definite deadline. It is also motivating to frequently point out how much ground the teams have covered.

Micro-Manage Less

Give your teams autonomy while they’re working toward each goal. People want to feel they’re in charge of their work, their time and their accomplishments. If you’re constantly telling them how to do what you hired them for, it’s an energy sucker. A true sense of ownership is motivating.

Sometimes hiring managers say they would turn over tasks to their employees, but they don’t have people they can trust to take charge. At Brelsford Personnel we screen candidates to find those who don’t just have the skills, they’re passionate about what they do. Get in touch, we’ll help you find the staff that meets your needs and budget.

Sources:
https://www.naturalhr.com/blog/its-not-all-about-bonuses-how-to-motivate-employees-for-free
https://hiring.workopolis.com/article/5-ways-inspire-motivate-employees/
https://www.snacknation.com/blog/how-to-motivate-employees/

How to Attract the Best East Texas Employees Part 2 — Develop Your Employee Value Proposition

How to Attract the Best East Texas Employees Part 2 -- Develop Your Employee Value Proposition

Why would a highly talented person choose to work for your company? Ed Michaels asked the question in his 2001 book The War for Talent, and the question is still relevant today. The labor market is tight, so it’s hard to find the best East Texas employees and just as hard to keep them.

Your customers have lots of choices. So do the people who apply at your company. You invest in developing your brand image and personality for consumers. Creating your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is similar to that process, but it’s aimed at employees instead of customers.

Why You Need It

As the name implies, an Employee Value Proposition states the value employees receive when they work for you. When some of us were just starting out, a steady paycheck was compensation enough, but hiring has changed.

The best East Texas employees are in high demand, and they’re choosy about where they work. A strong EVP provides these benefits:

It sets you apart from your competitors. Just like branding clarifies how you are unique, your EVP makes it apparent how working for your organization is different from working for other companies in the same industry. If there’s not something that makes you stand out, all employees have for comparison are job responsibilities and salary. If you don’t pay more and your competitor does, there’s no incentive to choose your company. A strong EVP clearly communicates what else you offer.

An EVP improves retention rates. When you articulate brand values and goals, you attract candidates who support them. Those employees are more likely to be engaged and motivated and less likely to look elsewhere for employment.

The employees you hire strengthen your brand. When they care about the things that matter to your business and embody key organizational traits, they exhibit brand values at every point of consumer contact.

How to Attract the Best East Texas Employees Part 2 -- Develop Your Employee Value Proposition

How to Create Your EVP

Decision-makers start by asking why the employees they’re looking for would want to apply, what would help them do their best, and what the company offers that motivates them to stay. Find answers by following these steps.

Step 1 – Identify Objectives

Decide what you want to accomplish through your EVP. Some of the most common reasons companies take the time to develop one is to attract and hire the right candidates, to improve engagement among current employees and reward top performers, to reinvigorate disengaged teams or to accomplish more with longer tenures and fewer hires.

Step 2 – Gather Information

Review employee engagement data, retention metrics and any other statistics you already have. Your best insight will come from talking to current and former employees. They’re the people who understand the best and worst aspects of working for your company. Create surveys, focus groups and exit interviews that ask questions like the following:

  • Why did you first apply to work here? Were your job expectations met? Please elaborate.
  • What tangible benefits we offer are most valuable in keeping you here?
  • What intangible benefits mean the most?
  • How would you describe working here to someone who was thinking about submitting their resume?
  • For former employees, why did you choose to leave?

Identify your most productive employees and seek to understand what attracts them and why they stay. Use those benefits as part of your workforce planning strategy so your EVP attracts more of the same type of individual.

Prospective employees can offer an outside viewpoint into how your company is perceived to job seekers. Ask what their awareness is of your company’s culture, benefits, growth opportunities and job satisfaction and how they came to that awareness.

Step 3 – Analyze Results

Sift through the data to look for patterns. Are there benefits you offer that don’t seem to matter as much as you thought they would? Are some perks more important than others? In what areas does your company receive negative feedback? Identify ways you can provide benefits that delight employees and differentiate you from rivals.

Step 4 – Draft Your EVP

Take that research and create a simple statement that outlines your brand’s commitment to employees and what they will experience. It should be inspirational while offering a realistic view of what it’s like to work for your organization.

Spell out how your company is making a difference in your industry. Align it with your principles and culture. Then test your EVP with employee focus groups to see how it resonates.

Step 5 – Promote Your EVP

Once it’s created and tested, communicate your EVP through company emails, post it on your website, integrate it into job postings and hang it where employees can see it. Discuss it with new employees during onboarding and review it when people are promoted.

Step 6 – Regularly Reevaluate

Set a timeline for assessing the extent to which your EVP is making a difference in hiring and retention. Go back to your original objectives and see how well you’re doing.

Compare data like employee turnover rates and absenteeism after you implement your EVP to what it was before you had one. Continue to collect feedback from employees about their job satisfaction, what incentives matter most and whether they feel part of a diverse, high-performance culture.

Always Hire the Best

Brelsford Personnel successfully provides high performance employees to businesses in metro Tyler and Longview because we don’t just think in terms of filling a vacancy. We get to know each of the organizations we’re privileged to work with.

When we search our candidate database and prepare a job posting, we look at more than just qualifications, skills and educational experience. Our goal is to provide employees who are a good fit for the company culture and make sure our candidates are in a role that suits them best.

Instead of worrying about finding the best employees or dealing with the consequences of a bad hire, put our expertise to work. Find out more when you get in touch today.

 

Give your people C.R.A.P. if you want great employee retention

Jeff Kortes

[Courtesy of smartbrief.com]

Early in my career, I worked for an incredible general manager that taught me a lot of C.R.A.P. — caring, respect, appreciation and praise. He also taught me that giving people C.R.A.P. was at the heart of driving employee loyalty and retention.

He never told me it was about caring, respect, appreciation and praise. He just showed me and, as my mentor, I listened and applied the philosophy. As time went on, I added some other key elements to truly be able to solve employee retention problems in organizations that I worked in. The four elements of C.R.A.P. are simple. I said simple, not easy.

Here they are.

Caring.

People know if you care about them or not. They simply do. There is a vibe that is given off if you don’t care. I’m not so sure you can fake it but the good thing is that most leaders do care about their people. They are there for their people when they need them and stand by them when times are tough. They are available to listen and to talk to their people when their people need to talk.

When your people need you, they need you right away. If you put them off in their time of need, the likelihood they will come to you in the future drops off considerably. Make time for them so you can understand their problems and help to solve them. Your people will love you for it.

Respect.

Everyone wants it. Everyone deserves it, at least until they show that they are not worthy of that respect. Micromanaging people is one of the greatest signs of your respect for them. It sends the message you don’t trust them or their ability to get the job done. Micromanaging is one of the biggest reasons people quit their job. It is frustrating and, in your heart, you know your boss does not trust you if you are being micromanaged.

Another element of respect is wanting the best for your people. It means you are in it for them; not just you. The best bosses know that if their people grow that they might ultimately leave but they know that it is the right thing do and that their role is to help you succeed.

Give your people CRAP if you want great employee retention

Appreciation.

I have heard the statistic that 50% of the people in the workforce do not feel appreciated. That is a scary statistic. It’s not hard to thank people for the work they do and the results they deliver. Maybe we didn’t lead that way in the past. It is how we have to lead today and into the future.

However. I don’t think it’s a bad thing that things have changed. You can’t get the most out of your people if they never hear when they do things right. With the mantra of continuous improvement, we certainly hear when we need to do things better or have done things wrong. Without appreciation, people get beaten down and don’t want to come to work. A little appreciation goes a long way towards keeping people fired up and energized about what they do. How hard is to say “nice job” when someone gets you that report on time?

Praise. I like to call praise “positive affirmation on steroids.” Praise takes appreciation to the next level. Growing up, praise was not something I received and, frankly, it stunk not getting any! Unfortunately, we went the other way with the millennial generation and gushed praise every time they did anything right. Some of them became praise addicts. They got praised for simply showing up and finishing — even if it was in 12th place.

Praise

is designed for when people exceed expectations, not just do their jobs. When someone does a good job, they do need appreciation. When they exceed expectations, they need to hear that is was a big deal, they hit it out of the park and that they made a huge difference to the organization. Is that going to offend some of the average performers? Perhaps, it will but that’s just the way it is. We need people to realize that when they do great things, we will take note of those great things and make a big deal out of it.

This is simple stuff but it is not easy to do for some reason. It takes time and hard work on the part of a leader to give people C.R.A.P. But, if you do it, your people will be loyal, follow you anywhere and want to stay working for you. Giving your people C.R.A.P. will also give you a feeling of accomplishment and the impact on the organization will be something that goes beyond the bottom line. Remember, C.R.A.P. works!

Jeff Kortes is an employee-retention speaker, author and expert by accident. His early career spanned 25 years as an HR professional, trainer, and consultant. His no-nonsense approach is reflected in his C.R.A.P. Leadership System, which instills positive supervisory and managerial behavior while driving results in the organization. He shares expert advice on Twitter @JeffKortes and on his website.

 

Obvious signs your employee is looking for a new job

Obvious signs your employee is looking for a new job

Jane McNeill

Managing Director NSW & WA at Hays

[Courtesy of linkedin.com]

Every day, many people around the world make the brave and exciting decision to leave their current employer in pursuit of a new challenge. It’s an inevitable part of the world of work. However, despite this, hiring managers are often left in a state of shock or even panic when a member of their team hands in their notice unexpectedly.

So, as a hiring manager, what can you do to pre-empt this feeling and plan accordingly? From my experience, there are a number of signs which could indicate a member of your team may be looking elsewhere. As such, I’ve outlined a few of these below.

Admittedly, whilst these signs may not mean much in isolation of one another, I would say a combination of these behaviours is a strong indicator that a member of your staff is about to jump ship, and it’s time to start preparing.

1. They’re using their personal phone more often

If your employee is frequently disappearing outside to speak on their personal phone, or they seem to be using it more often than usual during work hours, then I would class this as one of the signs that they may be speaking to a recruiter or hiring manager. However, I do urge you not to jump to conclusions here – there may be something happening in their personal lives, which requires them to use their phone more. Just keep an eye on how often this happens, especially if it is affecting how productive they are being. And, this brings me onto my next point.

2. Their performance has slipped

Sometimes when an employee can see an end in sight, they tend to clock off mentally, which will inevitably impact on their performance and productivity. This will be evident in their level of involvement during meetings, and whether they seem to be paying less attention or contributing fewer ideas than before. You should also keep an eye on the quality and output of work they are producing.

3. Their attendance has dropped

Is your employee starting to get into the habit of leaving early or turning up late? Are they requesting random days off in the middle of the week at short notice? This is a common clue that they’re going to interviews.

4. They are acting non-committal

If this member of the team won’t commit to future projects or stays quiet during conversations surrounding these, I would suggest that this is because they know they won’t be there to see them through.

5. They are turning up to work looking smarter than usual

Your employee may be arriving to work dressed more formally than usual. If this is the case, then they may well have had an interview that morning, or will have one lined up for their lunch break or after work. This is more than likely to be the case if they normally turn up looking fairly casual.

6. They are more active on LinkedIn

Have you noticed this team member updating their profile, getting involved in more conversations, connecting with more people, and even asking for recommendations on LinkedIn? If so, chances are they are using LinkedIn as part of their job searching process. It’s just a shame that they don’t know how to keep their activity hidden from your news feed.

7. They are distancing themselves

If this employee is acting more distant, whether it’s avoiding work social occasions, or simply making less conversation with colleagues, then this could be an indication that they’re starting to disengage with the team, and almost starting to prepare to leave mentally. Again, this could be put down to their personal matters, so always check that everything is ok with this individual in terms of their wellbeing before you presume that their behavior is work related.

8. They recently asked for something (and didn’t get it)

Whether it’s a pay rise, promotion or training course, this employee, for whatever reason, may have just been refused one of their requests. This may have left a bitter taste in their mouth, and prompted them to look elsewhere. If any of the above behaviors follow a situation where they asked for something and didn’t get it, then I would say it’s safe to consider that this employee may be looking to leave.

Don’t jump to conclusions

Remember that the above signs are also an indication that this employee is simply unhappy, whether it’s personal or work-related, and are not looking for another job at all. You may just need to check in with them to get the full story and find out if there is anything you can do to help. If this conversation doesn’t provide any explanation as to why this employee is acting differently, and you still believe they are looking elsewhere, start to brace yourself practically (and emotionally) for the moment that resignation letter lands on your desk.

What next?

If this employee does decide to explore pastures new, then start working with an expert recruiter on your hiring strategy, from what the job description will include, to the types of questions you will ask.