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How to Make Your Hybrid Workforce Successful

As a digital marketer, I have had the luxury of working from home for some time. As long as I have a computer and working internet, I function best with minimal distractions and flexibility in my schedule. I am the mother of two young children and can't fathom how I could juggle a traditional 9-5 at this point in my life. While remote work has its obvious perks, it definitely comes with some struggles.

Creativity is a key element as a writer and designer and the solitude of working from home can leave me blank sometimes. As much as I cannot see myself in a traditional office setting at this stage of my life, I miss the opportunity to build workplace relationships with my peers and pop my ideas off of others. I find myself pacing aimlessly around my house some days looking for inspiration, as compared to my years in an office setting where I was able to seek help from others in a more direct fashion.

Even though the remote workforce was nothing new to me, like most of the world,

2020 impacted my "Work From Home" routine. I suddenly had two kids breathing down my neck as I attempted to perform tasks that required uninterrupted thought. Alas, I survived and was fortunate enough to have my children back in daycare within four months. But most families were not as lucky.

Even as companies began to open back up, many parents still had children at home, making it impossible for them to return to the office on a permanent basis. With the CDC now anticipating that the nation's school kids will be returning to the classroom in the new school year, many companies are trying to navigate a smooth return to office in a hybrid work environment. While returning to the cubicle brings back a sense of normalcy to our lives, more than 65% of today’s employees are now wanting a more flexible work schedule. For businesses throughout the world, the traditional Monday - Friday, 9-5 work model is quickly shifting to a more flexible hybrid model, allowing employees to work both from home and in the office.


As a business leader, you will be in charge of creating a cohesive work environment where everyone is treated equally, whether they are working on-site, hybrid, or remote.

Every employee is different, which can make this task difficult.


Tips for Leaders to Make the Hybrid Transition Successful

For 2 minute tips on leading a successful hybrid team, visit our Virtual Water Cooler on Elevate's YouTube page! 

  1. Be Flexible - Remember that flexibility is key when you are trying to determine whether someone is better suited to work on-site or remote. Some members of your team may have personal preferences regarding how and where they work that do not align with their job responsibilities, roles, and abilities. Simply put, some roles and responsibilities are just better done on-site, so it is important to ensure that the people in these positions have personal preferences that align with their position.

  2. Communicate Effectively - Minimize conflict between on-site and remote employees by understanding and trying to best accommodate each team members’ individual needs. Make sure everyone is aware of how and why you came to your scheduling decisions so no one feels like they are getting the short end of the stick.  Communication is key.

  3. Include Everyone - Be sure to be inclusive to ensure that you are keeping your remote employees engaged with the office happenings. Create a space where on-site and remote employees can co-mingle and share their visions with each other.

By creating an inclusive, understanding, and flexible environment you will boost employee productivity, creativity, and satisfaction, and create a dynamic that benefits both your organization and the team holding it together.


As organizations transition back to the office, leaders will be expected to be fair and equitable to those who are working from home and those who are coming back to an office environment. To be successful the leader of a hybrid team must successfully apply insights and techniques to guide performance and work relationships with all employees. Elevate’s course, How to Manage a Hybrid Team, will answer the most pressing questions and give useful tools and techniques to manage various circumstances while treating everyone fairly. This powerful training course is designed to give participants the tools necessary to build trust and synergy between office employees and those teleworking. Participants will walk away with practical ideas to lead hybrid teams with success and complete confidence.


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This article was written by Tara Scheing of Elevate Business Development Group. Tara has been managing the digital marketing and writing articles on professional development & business training with Elevate BDG since it’s inception and lives in Southern Oregon with her husband and two young sons. You can connect with her on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/tara-scheing-28973655/ or contact her directly at tara@elevatebdg.com. 

Elevate Business Development Group is a workforce management, training, and consulting company serving government agencies (federal, state, local), non-profits, and private industry. Our programs make staff, managers, and executives more effective contributors to the workplace by assessing knowledge gaps and crafting tailored solutions. Elevate BDG offers on-site and virtual training, coaching, mentoring, and creative off-site training offerings in 200+ topics. Our “off-the-shelf” solutions can be tailored to meet your organization’s needs or our instructional designers can create a program from scratch to meet your exact specifications.

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Four Ways to Set Yourself Up for Success in 2021

Four Ways to Set Yourself up For Success in 2021

By TTI Success Insights

Now that 2020 is a thing of the past, it is time to get your organization ready for success in 2021 by keeping up on industry trends and finding out exactly what they will mean for your business. Elevate is proud to be your partner through all the changes and guide you through 2021 the only way we know how - effective, productive, and efficient. 



This article was written by Jaime Faulkner at TTI Success Insights, a proud partner of Elevate BDG. Jaime believes authenticity and storytelling are the keys to successful marketing. As a graduate from the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, she loves finding and connecting narratives. When she’s not at work, she’s psychoanalyzing contestants on The Bachelor, painting, listening to podcasts, or playing tabletop RPGs.

Elevate Business Development Group is a workforce management, training, and consulting company serving government agencies (federal, state, local), non-profits, and private industry. Our programs make staff, managers, and executives more effective contributors to the workplace by assessing knowledge gaps and crafting tailored solutions. Elevate BDG offers on-site and virtual training, coaching, mentoring, and creative off-site training offerings in 200+ topics. Our “off-the-shelf” solutions can be tailored to meet your organization’s needs or our instructional designers can create a program from scratch to meet your exact specifications.

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Developing a conversation about racial equality

Let's Talk...

Developing a conversation with your employees about racial equality

In this very special interview dedicated to having the conversation about racial equality & diversity in the workplace, we will be interviewing the president and CEO of Elevate Business Development Group, Ellen Engel and Delvon Survine, on the subject of opening up the dialogue of racial equality in the workplace.

Kyle: So, Delvon & Ellen. Thank you so much for being here! With everything going on in the world right now, we thought it was important to have a conversation with you guys about how to have aconversation about diversity in the workplace today. Before we start, please introduce yourselves and tell everyone what you do here at Elevate Business Development Group. Delvon, please start things off…

Delvon: Hi, I am Delvon Survine. I am Chief Executive Officer of Elevate Business Development Group.

Kyle: Alright… and Ellen, please introduce yourself….

Ellen: Hi. My name is Ellen Engel and I am the president of Elevate Business Development Group.

Kyle: Alright, well thank you for coming together to have this conversation about diversity and work relations in the workplace. I have several questions to ask each of you. Ellen, the first question will go to you followed by Delvon with the same question. So, Ellen, the first question is:


“How is the conversation about race more complicated in the workplace now than it was 20 years ago?”


Ellen: I think it is easier and I also think it is harder. It’s easier because people are more aware now. With the 24-hour news and social media, everything is more readily available so things we see now are more graphic and easier to see what is happening. It think it is really harder, again because social media and the news can be misinterpreted.

It’s also harder too because people are a lot more uncomfortable--they are afraid to offend somebody now more so than 20 years ago and communication is very difficult. You can no longer ignore structural racism in the workplace and in the world. If you think about the leadership 20 years ago there were, a lot less democratic and autocratic blend in the workforce than there is now. In many cases the boss set the tone and no one questioned it, but today we are more blended in our leadership approach and employees also have leadership roles. Our societies are more diverse now - between work, friends, families - we have more exposure to differences in the workforce than we had before. So again, harder and easier.

Delvon: I think in some respects, the fear of reprisal that may have happened 20 years ago, has been taken away and people feel more embolden to speak out and speak up on issues of diversity, inclusion and racial equity than they have in the past. - where there may have been a fear in the past that if I speak up on something, I may lose my job or be demoted or be moved, that fear has now morphed into anger in some respects, rage in some respects and we start to see this throughout the country with the protests and things like that…but on a more micro-level – (with the protests being on a macro level) – you start to see on a more micro-level, people are more emboldened to say, “This situation that I am dealing with at work, or in my work environment, has been intolerable and I need to speak up about it and they feel more emboldened to do that now than maybe in the past. Some of this has to do with some legal – as it relates to title 7 of the EOC and all of the updates to that, some of it has to do with just being – more representational in the workforce. But often what we see is a positive thing - people are realizing what may have been intolerable 10 years or 20 years ago, is now something that I can speak up about. Which is overall positive. Regardless of whether that is a racial issue, whether its an LBGTQ issue, or whether its a gender bias issue – people are feeling like - hey…I can really speak up about it, and say something about it and really see action based on my words.

 


“Do you believe the pandemic has played a role with racial tension, and if so, how?”


Ellen: Definitely. It definitely has played a big role because the pandemic brings out inequalities that already exist in society. People lost their jobs, healthcare, they are tense and they are getting the virus. We have to educate and acknowledge the inequities that people in the workplace and that we face in the world and the pandemic brings it to the forefront.

As white people we have to acknowledge our white privilege and then in a credible and in a very informed way, we have to use it to influence powers that be to make changes.   And I think a lot of people are thinking about their white privilege now and I think a lot of people want to do something, they just do not know how to and they are afraid to.


Delvon: I believe that the pandemic has played a role with racial tension due to the disproportionate impact on communities of color as it relates to; not just getting the virus, but also the economic impact that the pandemic has – such as closing businesses, layoffs and things like that - has had a disproportionate impact on communities of color.

This, on top of seeing in the news the police interactions with communities of color, was a tipping point, so to speak…The pandemic was just kindda the slow burn before the spark, so to speak.

 


“How do you respectfully open the conversation about race and be sensitive to the experiences of your employees?”


Ellen: It is very difficult because in the past a lot of us were afraid to bring this up…but leadership needs to make an authentic decision to do things about racial inequity and injustice. They have to be able to communicate with their staff and so often we just ignore these kind of problems so we have to speak with our employees openly and feel and take responsibility.

We do not do anything thinking everything is just going to go away. We have to educate not only ourselves but our employees…especially those of us that are white – we have not known everything that is going on…things go easier for us in life… so we have to make sure our white employees are educated about this.

One of our clients has done surveys on their employees and then they addressed issues that have come out in those surveys into conversations. They had an outline of what people were concerned about and what everyone wanted to talk about and developed them into conversations and then leadership took control of what was important to people so people did not have to bring it up themselves. Leadership brought it up in a controlled way and everyone was able to communicate…that went very well within their organization.

You have to be ready to have the tough and uncomfortable conversations and if leadership just ignores them, nothing is going to get resolved and there will be tensions and hard feelings that are just not going to get resolved in the workplace without some guidance by leadership. I think one of the big things is that all the employees need to start asking what it they would like to see so the leaders can support what they’d like to see happen within their organization.


Delvon: I am going to talk for a few minutes about this particular subject. One of the things that we have to do in regards to opening the conversation about race and being sensitive to the experience of our employees is understanding that this is a conversation that can no longer be ignored. It can no longer be pushed to the side. We have to engage and we have to have these conversations because these are a part of the undercurrent of the workforce that is just right below the surface.

When one employee says something to another there is often- depending on the nature and context of the conversation - one of them may be perceiving some kind of racial undertone to the conversation. And, we cannot ignore that anymore, we can not play like that is not happening. So, let me layout a few bullet points, if I could of how I think that conversation should go:

  • One, it has to be reinforcing the purpose of why we need to have this conversation to begin with. And it can’t ust simply be “I need to vent about a racial issue, so let me use this my time at work to do so.” There should be some sort of facilitation on the part of leadership that encourages - at the right times and when time is permitting - to have these conversations around race. Now, we also know that work comes first at work, so that has to be put into it as well, but it cannot be ignored and there has to be time given to have these types of conversations.
  • We need to set agreements in advance to encourage dialogue about mutual respect - deep listening. These are some of the hallmarks of good dialogues and we need to be setting these things in advance before the conversation even starts.
  • We want to encourage participants to be relaxed, comfortable with one and other and be ready to express their beliefs and their differences.
  • We want to recognize that sometimes people have good intentions that may misspeak, and they may make statements that can hurt or offend – but what do they mean?? We have to look at and we have to weigh intent over impact. We have to understand what the person is intending to say even if their impact may have landed wrong and maybe was a little bit hurtful.
  • We have to be mindful that our minority staff members may feel emotional right now - there may be some heightened tension. We cannot take that for anger. We have to take that for what it may be, but not assume there is anger. We also have to understand that on the part of our white employees that there is trepidation there – that there is fear there – that there may be a little bit of “I want to speak, but I am afraid to speak because I do not want to be labeled”. That is also a real genuine fear and we have to give rise to that and understand that. So the conversation needs to happen on both sides – we need to understand and we need to say the same thing to the other parties – we all need to understand and develop a dialogue.
  • Leadership has to establish strategies for everyone to participate. Everyone should be in the room having these conversations when there is something that has to do with a racial equity issue. And we need to tackle it as a group, instead of one-on-one.
  • We also need to give breathers and breaks if that is needed. Let's take a time out…let's take 2 minutes and come back and hit it again…but all these conversations, especially because it is happening around the work environment – the leaders need to remind themselves that these conversations need to be tied back into the work - they need to be tied back into the environment. It cannot be that you are trying to solve all the woes of the community when you can only really tackle what is happening in your little department.

 


“Since most people are still working from home, how do you suggest companies address the issues concerning equality in their own organization?”


Ellen: Ok, so For Elevate Business Development Group there is no difference since we all work from home and our trainers are located all over the world so remoteness is not an impediment…in fact, remoteness sometimes makes it a little easier to have difficult conversations.

We may be more intentional in our effort to have conversations because people are not coming together organically. We have to make plans for everybody to get together – people usually know what the conversation is going to be about, there is an agenda, there is a list of what we are talking about so it makes it a little easier for people to plan ahead and think about what it is they want to communicate with everybody. We always try to make time for our employees to interact and communicate even though we are not in the same building or in the same office and we are remote.

Staying at home provides a tremendous opportunity to organize a large staff at one time and check in on everyone to see how they are doing and if they are OK. During the pandemic, during these protests – I think it is a really good idea for staff members to get together and share how they are doing and if they are OK.

One of our clients gets their 600+ staff together on Zoom every morning to make sure everybody is OK and to make sure that people don’t have issues that they have to talk about and if they do, they can talk about it and the CEO of the company always attends, as well as the employees and that is something that never normally happens. Some of these employees would have never ever met the CEO, so this is a good opportunity to be in a remote type situation. People tend to communicate more in a pandemic and they are more deliberate on how conversations occur and they make sure they use the technology tools that are available to the benefit of all.

As I was saying The CEO of the company that I was just talking to was on the call showing concern and this is the first time some of the employees ever had contact with a “higher up” and if the leadership is sincere in what they have to say and involved in the conversations everybody in the all become more aware and engaged and get along a lot better as far as knowing what everyone else is thinking.

I do not know if any of you saw on TV but there was that commercial about privilege and they have everyone standing in the line and they have an announcer say “OK if your parents work nights and weekends - step back”, “if you went to college - step forward”, “If you have ever been bullied or made fun of - Step back” - and it is a forwards backwards based on questions that are asked on privileged classes and social inequalities and it is very powerful and these are some of the exercises we can put together and we can do with our staff when everyone is remote – there are a lot of things we can do in person and also remotely – so we do not want to say we can not do anything.


Delvon - One of the things we need to be mindful of is what does this look like, what does this feel like - to the people that I have impact on, to the people that work within my sphere of influence. Let’s say I was a leader of an organization and I decided that I would like to delay this conversation… I intend to have this conversation, but I would like to wait until we are all back in the office together to have the conversation. What would this look like- what would it feel like to all of the members of the staff? Would they feel like they are delaying this conversation, trying to avoid this conversation, trying to duck the problems at hand? And, so it behooves leadership to look at the situation and seize the opportunity and seize the moment and say although this may not be ideal, I need to speak about what is going on in the work environment today.

We also have to be mindful of – because of the nature of work and most employees are working from home - that they (your employees) are inundated with the news of the day more so much more now than they ever would be. They are impacted more so than they ever would be. Now they cannot avoid it. Work is no longer the deterrent or the detractor that it normally is throughout the day now all the issues that we are facing in society I am dealing with and I am frustrated about because I am stuck at home – on top of everything else. That is a real thing that people are dealing with… I suggest that they take the opportunity to address the issue head-on via some type of platforms like Zoom or any other type of platform to speak to staff and have the opportunity …using those guide rules that I laid out in the previous question would be a good place to start.

FIND OUT HOW ELEVATE CAN HELP YOUR ORGANIZATION START ACHIEVING RACIAL EQUITY TODAY!

A very special 3-part series designed to promote awareness and acceptance in today's multi-cultural workplace

Achieving Racial Equity in the Workplace will be one of the most important issues that companies will tackle in the coming decade. To move toward racial equity, organizational culture must change from traditional, often failed, diversity training and take a holistic approach that prioritizes the human experience at all levels. People need the ability to work with the dignity of having their histories acknowledged and their life experience valued. Only then will companies be able to recruit and retain the thriving, diverse workforce that leaders and customers want — and need — in the next decade, and beyond. In this very important and inspiring three-part series, we will guide your through the topics or understanding cultural differences, understanding unconscious biases and having the conversation with your employees so your organization can achieve racial equity in today’s workplace.

 


For more information on how to bring this training to your organization:

(646) 416-6441 | julie@elevate4success.com


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This article was written by Tara Scheing of Elevate Business Development Group. Tara has been managing the digital marketing and writing articles on professional development & business training with Elevate BDG since it’s inception and lives in Southern Oregon with her husband and two young sons. You can connect with her on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/tara-scheing-28973655/ or contact her directly at tara@elevatebdg.com. 

Elevate Business Development Group is a workforce management, training, and consulting company serving government agencies (federal, state, local), non-profits, and private industry. Our programs make staff, managers, and executives more effective contributors to the workplace by assessing knowledge gaps and crafting tailored solutions. Elevate BDG offers on-site and virtual training, coaching, mentoring, and creative off-site training offerings in 200+ topics. Our “off-the-shelf” solutions can be tailored to meet your organization’s needs or our instructional designers can create a program from scratch to meet your exact specifications.

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Star Bobatoon

Star Bobatoon is a dynamic trainer and award-winning speaker, and accomplished attorney specializing in HR and legal issues.  Her unique background begins with over a decade of performance on stage, television, and the big screen, followed by another decade as an employment litigation attorney and diversity counselor. Star has for some of the largest training companies in the world and delivers insight in a high-energy and engaging style that makes a lasting impact on her audiences and clients.

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Teleworking rant

Tele-Working Rant

By Tara Scheing

Going into what seems like the 784,983th day of the quarantine, all I know is that I am exhausted...and I know I am not the only one! Everywhere you look, the horrors of this pandemic surround us and sometimes, WE JUST NEED TO VENT!  So, in an effort to lighten the mood, Elevate has decided to dedicate a series to your Tele-working Rants. To kick things off...here is mine! 

I have been working from home for years now, so this whole “quarantine thing” is not new to me…Add a few kids to the mix and a husband that gets to escape the mayhem on a daily basis for “work” (or so he calls it) and you have the #$%! show that is now my life. I am suddenly jealous of my husband's two-hour commute and 9 hours a day of arduous labor. I would honestly rather go scuba diving in hazardous waste than spend another day trying to work at home with a 2 and a 5-year-old breathing down my neck. But this is my reality…my #quarantinelife.

Now, don’t get me wrong…my kids are great and all…they are sweet, loving, and adoring children. My eldest is generally an angel. He is out to please and typically lets me get my work done as long as I feed him and refresh Netflix every couple hours. It is the other one that keeps things interesting. Like most two-year-olds, this kid is a handful. And as his adoring mother, I will be the first to admit that he definitely earned his nickname as the Baby Monster. He is the kind of kid that grabs the knives and scissors every chance he gets… He hits, screams and throws things at the dogs because he thinks it is funny! He will do anything for 110% of his mother's attention and leaves a path of destruction wherever he goes. That’s my boy and I love him for it…Just not while I am working…

"I found myself asking my 2-year-old if we could set boundaries, but (of course) he didn't listen!"

A day in the life is almost laughable and I seemingly enjoy prolonging my torture by starting my day at 5:37 am every morning in an effort to get a few hours of work in before Baby Monster arises from his slumber to devour & destroy everything that crosses his path. The early to rise methodology worked for a minute but, here we are - a little more than a month later and he has conveniently adjusted his sleep schedule to rise with the roosters that have been crowing out my window since 4:30 am.

Today’s morning routine was no different than the rest, with my blonde hair turning quickly to grey with no foreseeable trips to the salon in my near future. I literally have smoke coming out of my ears by the time the kids finally pull me away from my desk after discovering that Baby Monster lived up to his name once again by closing out two documents on my computer that had not yet been saved! All I needed to do was complete ONE assignment and my workday would be considered complete (by quarantine standards), but the kids were not having it! A project that was supposed to take an hour, was now looking like it was going to be an all-day affair.

I decide to make them some food and I feel like I just walked into an episode of Kitchen Nightmares when I discover a pile of squished raspberries and a half dozen eggs cracked on the floor. Suddenly the extra few minutes I was trying to get at my desk does not seem too worth it! HOW DID HE EVEN FIND THE TIME TO DO THIS?!?!? I thought he was bugging me in my office the whole time!

By this point, I decide we all need to get a little fresh air, so I unplug my laptop and venture outside with the hopes that the change of environment will help me to be more productive. I kid you not when I say that I could not have been working any more than a minute and a half when my dogs decided they were going to take themselves on a walk and inadvertently terrorize the neighborhood while they did so. The children take a cue from the dogs and take themselves on their own walk…and so the adventure begins.

And, oh what an adventure it was…We traveled about 50 feet before Baby Monster decided to take a detour towards the creek, which rests at the bottom of a hill that would cause bodily harm if explored. Since I had zero intentions of spending my afternoon in the Emergency Room, I scoop him up, but he is not having it! As his rage escalates to mimic something out of an Adam Sandler movie, the older one decides to check out the situation for himself and wails like he is falling to his death as he slides down the very same hill I just blocked Baby Monster from. I save the kid and we venture back to the house. The chaos seems to continue for another hour or so until Baby Monster finally cries himself to sleep. At this point, I am exhausted and want nothing more than to cuddle right next to him, but I can't...My kitchen is a disaster, laundry needs to be folded, and it looks like a tornado went through my living room.

At this point in the day, I decide I need to be nicer to myself. I called my husband and asked him to order dinner for the FIRST time since quarantine has started. I looked over at my kid and laughed when I realized he was still wearing the same clothes as yesterday (and possibly even the day before) and then I realized I too was in a 3-day-old outfit. My kitchen was still a mess and the laundry unfolded, but it will all get done eventually...right?!?! It is not like anyone is coming over anytime soon anyway! When my husband finally gets home, I pour myself a “mom-sized” glass of wine and enjoy my dinner. All I can do at this point is hope for a better tomorrow based on the lessons I learned today...


We want to hear your rants!

Selected rants will be published in the upcoming edition of "Tele-working Rants" and you will receive complimentary Behaviors & Motivators assessment with a FREE 30 minute debrief and a free analysis of your rant!

Submit your own rant with a chance to be selected for a free analysis of your rant and a FREE behavioral assessment with a 30 min debrief  (a $189 value!) 

Elevate takes the guesswork out of running your business with the power of science!

We use advanced assessment technology to give you a thorough look into why your employees behave the way they do and what motivates them to behave that way! Discover what makes your employees tick with a complete core value & behavioral assessment on each of your employees so you have the tools you need to create a more cohesive working experience for everyone!

Sign up for industry insights, course info & promotions to be delivered to your inbox.

* indicates required

This article was written by Tara Scheing of Elevate Business Development Group. Tara has been managing the digital marketing and writing articles on professional development & business training with Elevate BDG since it’s inception and lives in Southern Oregon with her husband and two young sons. You can connect with her on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/tara-scheing-28973655/ or contact her directly at tara@elevatebdg.com. 

Elevate Business Development Group is a workforce management, training, and consulting company serving government agencies (federal, state, local), non-profits, and private industry. Our programs make staff, managers, and executives more effective contributors to the workplace by assessing knowledge gaps and crafting tailored solutions. Elevate BDG offers on-site and virtual training, coaching, mentoring, and creative off-site training offerings in 200+ topics. Our “off-the-shelf” solutions can be tailored to meet your organization’s needs or our instructional designers can create a program from scratch to meet your exact specifications.

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Tele-working With Results

Tele-Working with Results

Get your remote workforce on the track to success!

There is no question about it, the number of people working from home increased DRASTICALLY over the past month. With social distancing being the key to slowing down the spread of COVID-19, the CDC recommends that"for employees who are able to telework, supervisors should encourage employees to telework instead of coming into the workplace until symptoms are completely resolved." In fact, the search term "Zoom" was the most search word on Google multiple times over the past two weeks and is now considered "the defining app of the coronavirus", with over 50 million downloads (just from the Google Store) in these recent weeks. Being that Zoom is considered "the leader in modern enterprise video communications", this speaks volumes to how quickly we are all trying to adjust to the concept of social distancing at work. 

While the concept of working from home is one that many employees have fantasized about, in hopes of a more flexible work schedule and a shorter commute, this sudden change is not going to be all sunshine and roses! Even as a seasoned work-from-home employee, I am finding myself more distracted than normal with my children home from school and my constant need to wash my hands and spray things with Lysol. 

Elevate has been working as a remote company that is committed to your professional development for more than 10 years so it is safe to say that we know a thing or two about Tele-working with Results!

With this sudden and drastic change in the way we are getting our jobs done, businesses are quickly discovering that not all of their employees are cut out for this work-from-home business. Employees that thrived in the office, may not be suited for the same role remotely. The industry has caught on and within the past two weeks, I have seen a bevy of businesses claiming to be experts in the field. I mean...we can all gain a thing or two from taking a class on working remote right now, right?!?! And you know what...we thought it was such a good idea, we even created a series of our own! 

Designed to help all the members of your organization with learning topics like Time Management When Working Remote, Balancing Life When Working From Home, Managing Virtual and Remote Teams, and Social Distancing for the Social Butterfly - these courses are obviously useful & informative during these trying times...but I have a feeling this is not the first 'learning how to work remote' seminar you have been invited to! 

The Elevate difference is that our series is designed to help you actually understand the unique working styles and personalities of your team members to ensure their productivity while working remote! With well over a decade as a "remote workforce", Elevate has plenty of experience, knowledge, and know-how to share on the subject that will set your entire team up for success! Each course includes a complete core value & needs assessment for each of your employees so you will discover what makes your them tick! You will leave this training with the tools you need to create a more cohesive remote working experience for everyone.

Coming to you live, from our virtual classroom, this series offers 4 customizable courses, each targeted to different members of your team. Take them all, or pick just one...sign up your entire team, or just a few members...IT'S UP TO YOU! Just pick up the phone and call Julie to customize this series to your needs and check out all the details HERE

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This article was written by Tara Scheing of Elevate Business Development Group. Tara has been managing the digital marketing and writing articles on professional development & business training with Elevate BDG since it’s inception and lives in Southern Oregon with her husband and two young sons. You can connect with her on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/tara-scheing-28973655/ or contact her directly at tara@elevatebdg.com. 

Elevate Business Development Group is a workforce management, training, and consulting company serving government agencies (federal, state, local), non-profits, and private industry. Our programs make staff, managers, and executives more effective contributors to the workplace by assessing knowledge gaps and crafting tailored solutions. Elevate BDG offers on-site and virtual training, coaching, mentoring, and creative off-site training offerings in 200+ topics. Our “off-the-shelf” solutions can be tailored to meet your organization’s needs or our instructional designers can create a program from scratch to meet your exact specifications.

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Perfecting Your Performance Review

Perfecting your Performance Review

A Guide for a Productive Performance Review Season for both Managers & Employees

The performance review season is just around the corner…And, while this can be an opportunity for employees to share their accomplishments and distinguish themselves from their co-workers, it can also be an extremely trivial time of the year, for both managers and employees.

As a manager, the task of conducting performance reviews tends to be rather cumbersome. You are responsible for delivering annual evaluations for all your employees, consuming the weeks before these reviews with research & analysis on every individual within your organization. While this process is essential for determining how well an employee performed throughout the year, and an opportunity to provide feedback and determine future goals, this annual expectation is also one of the most dreaded & daunting administrative processes that HR manages.

For most employees, this is an opportunity to prove your worth to your boss and get a leg up in your career, but with these reviews come the added stress of acknowledging weaknesses and setting productive goals for the upcoming year. End of the day, the pressure of performance review season tends to be draining and nerve-wracking time of the year for the entire organization.

It doesn’t matter if you are a manager tasked to prepare and deliver these reviews or an employee eager to share your accomplishments or ask for a raise, one thing is for sure – preparation is keyNo matter your role in the performance review process, it is important that you come to your performance review ready, so here are some tips for both employees and managers to prepare you for the upcoming performance review season.

Preparing for the Review

FOR THE EMPLOYEE

Being prepared for a performance review is not something that should be done the night before, rather a continual process throughout the year. Keep a portfolio of the work you do throughout the year as you are doing it, opposed to trying to throw it together the week before. Take notes on each project; list your accomplishments and mistakes. Be prepared to talk about not only the good, but the weaknesses you want to strengthen. What have you learned from your mistakes and what changes will you make to avoid making the same ones again? Trying to sit down and write all this up a week before your review can be daunting and overwhelming, plus....you’re likely to forget a lot of important details.

Be ready to talk about the year that just finished and the year ahead. Do you think you deserve a raise? Come with a list of accomplishments and be prepared to talk about all of your successes over the previous year. Most importantly, come with a list of new goals, so your manager knows what to expect from you over the next 12 months. Be realistic, yet ambitious.

Be prepared to receive feedback, both positive and negative and be prepared to own up to your mistakes and offer a solution or show initiative to do better. Prepare yourself for a tough conversation, because no matter how “good” or “bad” your review actually is, the conversation is never easy!

Managing Review Season

FOR THE MANAGER

For a manager, preparing for an annual performance review starts with the job description. Employee expectations should be clearly spelled out before the job even start and be sure to discuss these expectations and goals with them regularly.  If expectations change (which they frequently do), the employee shouldn’t be the last to know, and feedback should be a continual process throughout the year. Employees deserve (and need) both positive & negative feedback on a regular basis in order to perform to your standards.  Make sure your feedback is timely opposed to coming with a lengthy list of “should’ves, could’ves & would’ves” come year-end.

Keep a record of employee performance and behaviors throughout the entire year, because come year-end, there is no way for you to remember ALL the details of EVERY EMPLOYEE’s accomplishments and/or mistakes from the past 12 months. Don’t base a review on recent memory; it is just not fair, and that is exactly what you will do if you fail to keep proper records of your employees throughout the year. This can be easily accomplished by keeping a folder on each employee that includes everything from performance reports, a list of accomplishments and critiques, a summary of conversations, notes of good & bad behaviors that you encounter throughout the year, attendance records, and  any goals & expectations you have.  Be sure to update the employee folder as the performance or behavior is forefront in your mind and not just a summary based on memory at the end of the year.

In preparation for the review, solicit feedback from customers, co-workers, other managers, and even the employee themselves. Have employees that a self-assessment that you can review before the formal sit-down. This way you can prepare for things you may not have been aware of and have better insight into the employees' expectations from the review before the conversation even happens.

In fact, I would even go so far as to share your notes with each of the employees before the review. No one wants to walk into an important conversation blindly, so the best way to prepare yourself is to prepare your employees. Share your notes ahead of time so you can both enter the formal review on the same page and make the most of your time together.

And finally, the last but most important tip I can offer to a manager at a performance review is to Listen. Listen. Listen! This is – and should be - a two-way conversation! As a manager, you are NOT a judge and your employee is NOT on trial. Make sure you are facilitating open dialogue and that you are ACTIVELY LISTENING and engaging in the conversation.

All said and done, if both the manager and employee follow these processes everything should go pretty smoothly...but being prepared is critical! Elevate BDG is here to help get you and your team ready for performace review season by offering $500 OFF when you pair Performance Management with one of our featured Performance Review Prep Courses.

GET READY FOR
PERFORMANCE REVIEW SEASON


$500 OFF

when you pair Performance Management with one of our featured
Performance Review Prep Courses (below)

  • Stress Management
  • Communicate with Tact, Diplomacy, and Professionalism
  • HR Law for Supervisors
  • Time Management
  • Handling Difficult Conversations
  • Active Listening

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This article was written by Tara Scheing of Elevate Business Development Group. Tara has been managing the digital marketing and writing articles on professional development & business training with Elevate BDG since it’s inception and lives in Southern Oregon with her husband and two young sons. You can connect with her on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/tara-scheing-28973655/ or contact her directly at tara@elevatebdg.com. 

Elevate Business Development Group is a workforce management, training, and consulting company serving government agencies (federal, state, local), non-profits, and private industry. Our programs make staff, managers, and executives more effective contributors to the workplace by assessing knowledge gaps and crafting tailored solutions. Elevate BDG offers on-site and virtual training, coaching, mentoring, and creative off-site training offerings in 200+ topics. Our “off-the-shelf” solutions can be tailored to meet your organization’s needs or our instructional designers can create a program from scratch to meet your exact specifications.

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Writing Right

Writing Right

Don't let bad business writing affect your bottom line

As I sit in front of my computer proofreading this feature on Business Writing for the 8th time, I am growing more and more frustrated as I question every ellipsis, comma, and period that I type. With the wide array of subjects in the world of business development and professional growth, I tend to lean towards covering topics like leadership and stress management since I find them to be a little more relatable than those of punctuation and grammar.

But as you are well aware, the world of business development involves many more topics besides leadership skills and stress management. As our company name implies – Elevate Business Development Group  (Elevate BDG) - I consider it my responsibility to cover a multitude of topics that are essential in developing your business. So, here I go…writing about writing and, hopefully, writing it right!

The building blocks of any writing, whether for business or social purposes, are words. Failure to use words properly can affect the overall impact of your prose. Once we have a basic understanding of how to use words, we need to know how to put them together with the use of proper punctuation and sentence/paragraph structure. Pretty straight forward, if you ask me.  In essence, it is,  yet there are so many common writing mistakes being made on a regular basis, resulting in significant financial costs to businesses.

The case of the $5M comma

The far most interesting - and definitely the most costly punctuation error to date - is the case of the missing Oxford comma. In February 2018 the missing comma cost a company in Maine $5 million in unpaid overtime. The controversial comma came into a debate when the truck drivers of Oakhurst Dairy claimed they were owed unpaid overtime. The company believed the employees did not qualify for the overtime pay because of the way Maine’s labor law was written, but boy were they wrong!  In a BIG win for the working class, and a costly oversight for the big guys, one missing comma cost the company millions and the truck drivers were awarded the overtime pay they deserved.

For those of you that do not know what an Oxford comma is a comma that precedes "and" or "or" in a list of three or more words in a sentence. (For example: "I like cherries, candy, and ice cream!”)

Maine's labor laws say that anyone who works more than 40 hours a week is entitled to 1.5X pay, except for certain exemptions including:

The canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution of:

  1. Agricultural produce;
  2. Meat and fish product; and
  3. Perishable foods

Note the lack of the comma in between the words “packing for shipping” and “distribution” in the first sentence of this law. The suit argued that since "packing for shipment" and "distribution" was not separated by a comma making them a single activity; not two separate activities. "Sure, we distribute it -- but we don't pack it."

While a case like this leaves no question about the costly impact of incorrect punctuation, there are other harrowing statistics that substantiate the significant cost incurred to businesses as a result of improper writing. According to a study of 547 business people who write at least two hours per week (in addition to email) by Josh Bernoff at the Harvard Business Review, incorrect business writing is costing American companies a whopping $4 BILLION a year.

According to Bernoff:

          “American workers spend 22 percent of their work time reading; higher compensated workers read more. According to my analysis, America is spending 6 percent of total wages on time wasted attempting to get meaning out of poorly written material. Every company, every manager, every professional pays this tax, which consumes $396 billion of our national income.”

Sure, this is not quite as concrete as the 5 million dollar Oxford comma, but the point is, our writing skills are costing our companies money, and when it comes to business writing training, the proof is in the numbers. Effective business writing skills can help you win that million-dollar contract, while poor business writing can never be undone. The digital revolution has increased the speed at which we communicate, but this should never be at the expense of proper business writing.  Always take the time to proofread that email before you hit send!

Business writing requires deep thought, time, and focus…and sometimes a little practice, which is why we are now offering a combo deal on Business Writing and Presentation Skills seminars with Elevate BDG!


 

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This article was written by Tara Scheing of Elevate Business Development Group. Tara has been managing the digital marketing and writing articles on professional development & business training with Elevate BDG since it’s inception and lives in Southern Oregon with her husband and two young sons. You can connect with her on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/tara-scheing-28973655/ or contact her directly at tara@elevatebdg.com. 

Elevate Business Development Group is a workforce management, training, and consulting company serving government agencies (federal, state, local), non-profits, and private industry. Our programs make staff, managers, and executives more effective contributors to the workplace by assessing knowledge gaps and crafting tailored solutions. Elevate BDG offers on-site and virtual training, coaching, mentoring, and creative off-site training offerings in 200+ topics. Our “off-the-shelf” solutions can be tailored to meet your organization’s needs or our instructional designers can create a program from scratch to meet your exact specifications.

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Stress and mental health

The Impact of Stress on Your Mental Health

By Tara Scheing | Elevate BDG, Inc.

In response to (what seemed at the time) one the most stressful months of my life, I thought it would be a great opportunity to speak on a subject I am a little too familiar with - STRESS…Trust me when I say that I have many restless nights worrying about the happiness and well-being of my family, but there are certain triggers that I dealt with this past month that left me feeling hopeless many of nights and frantic throughout the day. Overall, I feel like I handled everything fairly well, but let me tell you…it was not easy!

You see, my husband and I are no strangers to financial challenges. Over this past month, it seems like things have come to a head with costly car repairs and the sudden loss of healthcare. These are the kind of challenges that makes what feels like a bad situation feel even worse. I can not tell you the number of times in this past month, that I have I felt like I was the cowardly lion skipping down the yellow brick-road, crying about health-care and child-care and groceries (OH MY!!!!). To top it all off, my 16-month-old seems to be on a sleep strike these days and I found myself awake at 4:30 am this morning stressing about factors beyond my control,  leading me into yet another draining day that started well before sunrise.

All these things are stressful and have affected every facet of my life, but I am doing my best to hold it all together. The thing about stress is that it doesn’t stay put; when I am stressed about something, it tends to seep over into other areas of my life. These financial stresses don't just happen when I open my checkbook - it consumes me…When I start work in the morning, I am not able to magically check-out on my checkbook worries…They still existand yes, this is most likely affecting my productivity at work. (don’t tell my boss!) Fact is, when you are stressed at home, it tends to have an impact on your work performance and when you are stressed out at work, you tend to bring it home with you.

While it may seem as if the stress will never end and that it is negatively impacting my life while I am caught up in it, research shows that in short bursts, stress is actually a good thing, with my thinking skills increasing as my stress increases. I guess that is why they say some people work better under stress. (you can tell my boss that!!!) 

There are, however, connections between stress and mental health conditions including depression, anxiety, psychosis and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).” Now, while stress may very well be my middle name, I am fortunate enough to say that I do not have much first-hand experience with mental illness. Most of the stressors in my life are more like short-bursts of added stressors, opposed to a prolonged or chronic issue. In other words, I deal with it…

According to Ali Carnage, in an article on Stress and our mental health - what is the impact & how can we tackle it?, “changes at work, illness, accidents, problems with relationships, family, money or housing can all cause stress. What links all these situations is that we’re unable to predict and control what is happening to us, and so our body goes into a state of increased alertness. And these events can happen all the time - triggering the body’s stress response over and over again.

When the stress response becomes prolonged (chronic), it has a very different effect to the short bursts that enhance the body’s abilities. In many cases, the system controlling the stress response is no longer able to return to its normal state. Some of the emotional and behavioral symptoms of stress overlap with those of mental health conditions like anxiety or depression, making it hard to distinguish where one begins and the other ends, or which came first."

The trick is learning to deal with stress in a way to ensure that it does not lead to mental illness. I am very aware that I am walking a fine line with the stress in my life and while I may be blessed increased awareness and productivity as a result of these short-bursts of stressors, someone else may be plagued by these exact same stressors, causing a more chronic condition, ultimately leading them down the path of depression or anxiety. While it may not feel like it right now, these short bursts of stress may actually be working to my employer's benefit (hey…I got this article written, didn’t I ?!?!), there is no doubt in my mind that I would still benefit from a Stress Management class. I mean, who wouldn’t benefit from learning to cope with heavy workloads and the demanding expectations that cause stress at work and home or learning how to better react to external situations and deal with negative emotions in a healthy manner?

You see, workplace stress and the inability to talk to someone about it takes its toll.  Gallup’s 2017 State of the American Workplace, found that only 4 in 10 employees feel that someone at their job cares about them as a person. But experts agree that having someone to talk to can help alleviate the isolation, confusion, and fear that may accompany job-related stress. And this, my friends, is where Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) comes into play… MHFA can teach you how to recognize and respond to mental health challenges in the workplace, so you can better recognize the difference between an employee who is simply stressed out vs. one who is experiencing a mental health crisis. The eight-hour course provides you with an action plan to assess risk, provide reassurance and information and encourage appropriate professional help. Many who take a Mental Health First Aid course find the strategies useful in dealing with their own challenges, as well.

End of the day, pretty much every single person, every single day is experiencing some sort of emotional or physical stress and one in five American adults are actually living with a mental illness so you can clearly benefit from both Stress Management and Mental Health First Aid classes with Elevate BDG. In fact, we are so sure you will benefit from both of these courses together, that we are offering $500 OFF when you book Stress Management & Mental Health First Aid with Elevate BDG!*

*Courses must be booked for two consecutive days to receive the discount.


Make Mental Health a Priority! 

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is the initial help given to someone experiencing a mental health problem before appropriate treatment and support are obtained. Regardless of what an individual is dealing with mentally, whether it be the onset of a mental illness, anxiety or depression or simply managing a crisis situation, Elevate BDG’s Mental Health First Aid seminar will teach participants how to recognize the  symptoms of mental health problems, how to offer and provide initial help, and how to guide the individual to professional help, if appropriate. This course is designed to demystify the whole topic of mental illness by increasing mental health literacy and to decreasing the stigma that is attached to it. By detecting the problems early, you can ensure that the person is properly treated and supported. LEARN MORE

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This article was written by Tara Scheing of Elevate Business Development Group. Tara has been managing the digital marketing and writing articles on professional development & business training with Elevate BDG since it’s inception and lives in Southern Oregon with her husband and two young sons. You can connect with her on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/tara-scheing-28973655/ or contact her directly at tara@elevatebdg.com. 

Elevate Business Development Group is a workforce management, training, and consulting company serving government agencies (federal, state, local), non-profits, and private industry. Our programs make staff, managers, and executives more effective contributors to the workplace by assessing knowledge gaps and crafting tailored solutions. Elevate BDG offers on-site and virtual training, coaching, mentoring, and creative off-site training offerings in 200+ topics. Our “off-the-shelf” solutions can be tailored to meet your organization’s needs or our instructional designers can create a program from scratch to meet your exact specifications.

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The Art of Procrastination

Invest in the professional development of your team

By Tara Scheing | Elevate BDG, Inc.

 

Every time I go on vacation, I procrastinate until the last minute to get myself prepared. With 2 young kids and a husband who wouldn't know his underwear drawer if it slapped him in the face, my procrastination has been getting to the best of me this time around. And to top it off, here I am writing an article on procrastination instead of packing, all because I also procrastinated on this work project.

It seems to be a cycle with me, I guess...In fact, I decided to further prolong my procrastination by doing a little research on the subject in hopes that it may ignite my spark for this work project that I am "oh so stumped on."  I listened to THIS TED TALK  on the "Mind of a Master Procrastinator" and read THIS ARTICLE on "5 Tips to Get the Job Started"... all a good waste of my time, I must say. If you are as good of a procrastinator as I am, you will enjoy these just as much as I did, but for those that tend to manage their time a little more effectively than I do, I am just going to cut to the chase...

At the end of the day, we all just really want to get the job done; it is the path we take that determines how difficult it will be to get there. For me, I guess it works out because, apparently, I am in the business of writing articles about procrastination. But for those of you reading this, things are a little different. In your case, procrastination is not an option when it comes to using the remainder of your 2019 training budget before the year-end training deadline.

The fact is, you have a training budget that you need to spend. At the end of the day, if you do not use it before the July 30th deadline, you risk the chance of your training budget being reallocated next year. There are thousands of options out there when it comes to training and (I am sure) you are hoping to find the time in your (already busy) schedule to do your due diligence of researching the pros and cons of every company out there to ensure you are not just blowing your year-end budget on training that will not have a measurable impact on your team.

Little did you know...the solution has come to you, right here...right now! 

Believe it or not...YOUR EMPLOYEES ACTUALLY WANT MORE TRAINING!  So, if you have funds remaining to allocate to training and you don't want to lose them next year, why not invest in your employee's professional development and help your team to reach their full potential? Leadership, Communication, Time Management, Computers - you name it, these skills are all vital to achieving results within your team and EVERY MEMBER of EVERY TEAM can benefit from this investment. So, long story short...USE IT before you LOSE IT!

Now that you have wasted your precious time reading my gibberish about procrastination, hopefully, it will lead to you doing just the opposite...You have two options...You can either spend your time plowing through the thousands of options on the market only to find yourself right back where you started, or you can stick with a name you know & trust to deliver the learning and management solutions to government employees and managers for the past 10 years - Elevate BDG.


This article was written by Tara Scheing of Elevate Business Development Group. Tara has been managing the digital marketing and writing articles on professional development & business training with Elevate BDG since it’s inception and lives in Southern Oregon with her husband and two young sons. You can connect with her on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/tara-scheing-28973655/ or contact her directly at tara@elevatebdg.com. 

Elevate Business Development Group is a workforce management, training, and consulting company serving government agencies (federal, state, local), non-profits, and private industry. Our programs make staff, managers, and executives more effective contributors to the workplace by assessing knowledge gaps and crafting tailored solutions. Elevate BDG offers on-site and virtual training, coaching, mentoring, and creative off-site training offerings in 200+ topics. Our “off-the-shelf” solutions can be tailored to meet your organization’s needs or our instructional designers can create a program from scratch to meet your exact specifications.