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Want Employees To Love What They Do? Here Are 4 Ways To Get There.

Want Employees To Love What They Do? Here Are 4 Ways To Get There.

Bosses might want to take notice if employees view their jobs as “the daily grind.”

A disgruntled and disengaged workforce can undermine production and harm customer relations, while a happy, engaged workforce does the opposite.

“If you take care of your employees, they will be better prepared and far more motivated to take care of your customers,” says Shawn Burcham (www.shawnburcham.com), founder and CEO of PFSbrands and author of Keeping Score with GRITT: Straight Talk Strategies for Success.

“Ideally, you want employees who think and act like owners.”

Burcham says one of the first steps toward cultivating such an environment is to communicate openly with employees. And that may be even more crucial today because newer generations entering the workforce want to know the “why” of what they are doing.

“Millennials value truth and honesty,” Burcham says. “They also are looking for personal growth, education, and continuous learning. If companies want to scale, then they need to embrace millennials and work to create an environment where they are engaged.”

He suggests four ways leaders can help their employees love what they do:

Have fun at work. People spend more hours at their jobs than doing just about anything else, Burcham says, so the time might as well be enjoyable rather than drudgery. Some simple ways people can have fun at work include cracking jokes, decorating their work areas, or celebrating employee birthdays. For Burcham, the work itself is fun. “As a leader, I want to provide an environment conducive to having fun,” he says. “I also let our employees know that it is up to them to make having fun a reality within their job and their department.”

Coach them up. All employees must be willing to learn at a pace consistent with the company’s growth, Burcham says. “Usually, we hire people with a skillset that enables them to scale with us,” he says. “Sometimes, though, we have employees who are challenged to ‘make the leap’ with us. When that happens, we work with them to find a role on our team where they can excel. We want to provide them with every opportunity and tool we can to help them adapt.”

Maintain a positive attitude. Most successful people exude a positive attitude, are optimistic, and have a never-quit personality, Burcham says. “Who wants to work in an environment of doom and gloom?” he asks. One way to cultivate an upbeat workplace is to strive to hire only “A” players, people who want to be the best at their jobs and take pride in making positive contributions.  “But anyone can be or become an A player,” Burcham says. “It simply revolves around having a positive attitude along with a desire to learn and constantly improve.”

Show appreciation. Employees want to know that the bosses – and their coworkers – appreciate them, so it’s important to find ways to show them. Burcham says at his company new hires are welcomed by dozens of emails from their team members before they even arrive for the first day of work. When they start, two or three dozen employees gather to greet them with a high five. “For our team, it’s all about gratitude,” Burcham says. “It’s not, ‘I have to go to work today.’ It’s, ‘I get to go to work today.’ ”

“I think the real key,” Burcham says, “is to hire people who are already motivated and then put them in an environment where they can excel. Engaged employees are fun to work with and they will go the extra mile for their customers as well as their peers.

 

Shawn Burcham (www.shawnburcham.com), author of Keeping Score with GRITT: Straight Talk Strategies for Success, is the founder & CEO of PFSbrands, which he and his wife, Julie, started out of their home in 1998. The company has over 1,500 branded foodservice locations across 40 states and is best known for their Champs Chicken franchise brand which was started in 1999. Prior to starting PFSbrands, Burcham spent five years with a Fortune 100 company, Mid-America Dairymen (now Dairy Farmers of America). He also worked for three years as a Regional Sales Manager for a midwest Chester’s Fried chicken distributor.

questions

Hiring The Wrong People? Maybe You’re Asking Them The Wrong Questions.

A company’s intention in a job interview is to find the person who best fits a particular position. But recent research has shown that quite often, the candidate who was hired failed, and usually their exit was related to attitude issues that weren’t revealed in the interview.
That raises the question: Are interviewers asking the wrong questions — and consequently hiring the wrong people? Alex Zlatin, CEO of Maxim Software Systems (alexzlatin.com), says some traditional styles of interviewing are outdated, thus wasting time and resources while letting better candidates slip away.
“It still astounds me to meet HR professionals who lack the basic skills of interviewing,” says Zlatin, author of the book Responsible Dental Ownership. “In 2019, ‘tell me about yourself’ is still a way to start an interview, and that’s absurd. The only thing you get is people who describe the outline of their resume, which you already know.
“You want to get to know the candidate’s personality in the interview. In a normal setting, you would have about one hour to do this. But some traditional interview practices waste this precious time, and you can miss out on great talent and instead hire a mediocre one.”
Zlatin offers the following interview approaches to help HR leaders, recruiters and executives find the right candidate:
Make it a two-way conversation.  Zlatin says traditional interviewing focuses too much on the candidate’s skills and experience rather than on their motivation, problem-solving ability, and willingness to collaborate. Thus, he suggests configuring the interview in a non-traditional, informal way to gain insight into the candidate’s personality. “Rather than make most of the interview a rigid, constant question-and-answer format that can be limiting to both sides, have a two-way conversation and invite them to ask plenty of questions,” Zlatin says.
Flip their resume upside down.  “Surprise them by going outside the box and asking them something about themselves that isn’t on their resume or in their cover letter,” Zlatin says. “See how creatively they think and whether they stay calm. You want to see how a candidate thinks on their feet — a trait all companies value.”
Ask open-ended questions. Can this candidate make a difference in your company? Zlatin says answering that question should be a big aim of the interview. “Ask questions that allude to how they made a difference in certain situations at their past company,” Zlatin says. “Then present a hypothetical situation and ask how they would respond.”
Don’t ask cliched questions. Zlatin says some traditional interview questions only lead to candidates telling interviewers what the candidate thinks the company wants to hear. “Interviewers should stop asking pointless questions like, ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’ “ Zlatin says. Or, ‘Why do you want to work for this company?’ Candidates rehearse these answers, and many of them are similar, so that doesn’t allow them to stand apart.”
Learn from the candidate’s questions. The questions candidates ask can indicate how deeply they’ve studied the company and how interested they really are. “A good candidate uses questions to learn about the role, the company, and the boss to assess whether it’s the right job for them,” Zlatin says.
Don’t take copious notes. Zlatin says the tendency by interviewers to write down the candidates answers and other observations is “a huge obstacle to building a solid two-way conversation because it removes the crucial element of eye contact.”
“An effectively done interview allows the employer to get both an in-depth and big-picture look at a candidate,” Zlatin says. “Judging whether they might fit starts with giving them more room to express in the interview.”
________________________________________________________________
Alex Zlatin, author of the book Responsible Dental Ownership (alexzlatin.com), had more than 10 years of management experience before he accepted the position of CEO of dental practice management company Maxim Software Systems. He earned his MBA at Edinburgh Business School and a B.Sc. in Technology Management at HIT in Israel. His company helps struggling dental professionals take control of their practices and reach the next level of success with responsible leadership strategies.
culture

Who’s Responsible For Your Company’s Culture? Look In The Mirror, Leaders.

Extensive research has shown that a positive work culture often results in productive employees who both value their work and feel valued themselves.
But company leadership, not the employees, usually creates that culture. Executives and managers have a significant responsibility to establish a positive culture that is conducive to company success.
“Culture can be thought of as the inner life of the organization,” says Cynthia Howard (www.eileadership.org), an executive coach, performance expert, and author of the book The Resilient Leader, Mindset Makeover: Uncover the Elephant in the Room.
“It is the self-sustaining mix of values, attitudes, and behavior that drives performance. Culture is the brand identity of the company, and it has the ability to attract and retain great talent or not. Thus, it’s incumbent on the leaders to be aware of their culture, what they can do to improve it, and honestly assess if it’s the kind of place where people want to be and want to grow.”
Another key reason that company leaders need to make work culture a high priority, Howard says, is because millennials — who comprise the largest segment of the workforce — rank culture as their top consideration when choosing where to work.
Howard offers five ways leaders can foster a positive work culture:
Model positive, respectful behavior. Howard says a positive work culture starts with the leader setting the tone, which can send the right message to leaders at other levels in the company. “Don’t play the blame game,” Howard says. “Encourage an environment where it’s OK to make mistakes and move forward. Frontline staff crave leaders who understand them and care about them, will mentor them, and will provide professional guidance to make fair and tough decisions.”
Show gratitude. “Show your gratitude and appreciation for accomplishments by acknowledging people during a meeting or with a note,” Howard says. “Celebrating wins lifts morale, and when people know they will be recognized for exceptional work, they’ll be more motivated.”
Communicate consistently and with clarity.  “Keep employees in the loop with consistent updates,” Howard says. “Give them regular feedback, not just at review time. This keeps people connected, feeling part of the team, and removes the mystery — and inherent tension — of where they stand. Create clear goals, and make everyone feel that they are necessary components toward reaching those goals. That inspires an environment of inclusion, pride and commitment.”
Really listen. “This is the important other side of communication that some leaders fail to master,” Howard says. “For the leaders underneath you and the employees throughout a company to truly feel valued, they have to know they have a voice and that it will be heard. Be open and encouraging to others’ ideas and solutions.”
Promote collaboration. One of a company leader’s primary jobs is getting the most out of their team — mainly by defining the importance of team. “Maximizing the strengths of a team means knowing each person’s uniqueness and talents and using them in the best possible way,” Howard says. “It also means creating a culture where everyone respects each other’s talents and is enthusiastic about working together for the greater good.”
“Poor culture leads to lots of turnover,” Howard says. “When you as a leader instill and insist on a positive culture, you reap the benefits. Happy, engaged employees mean a thriving company.”
______________________________________________________________
Cynthia Howard (www.eileadership.org) is an executive coach, performance expert and the author of The Resilient Leader, Mindset Makeover: Uncover the Elephant in the Room. She researched stress and its consequences in performance during her PhD. In the past 20-plus years she has coached thousands of professionals, leaders and executives toward emotional agility and engaged leadership. 

Secrets to Talent Retention & Recruitment

The big question in the minds of business managers –  in warehousing, manufacturing, transportation, and beyond is not only how to retain a solid workforce, but how to attract a variety of skillsets and ages within the worker population. It’s not a surprise to imagine that old-school approaches are becoming a thing of the past. As Gen Z workers continue to increase representation in the workforce, employers are faced with the reality of adopting more innovation, technology, and mindsets to successfully cater to both older and newer generations of workers. If the current strategy is limiting recruiting capabilities, companies are setting themselves up for failure and limiting their full potential in operations and employee expertise.

What some companies might not realize is the amount of visibility provided with modern technology and the capabilities enabled through automation. As the workforce changes, so does the method of recruiting and the level of technology needed for successful staffing. Completed.com is a great example of how automation and technology take recruiting one step further through real-time, reliable feedback on employees seeking work in any industry.

“We saw a need to create a platform where one can review anyone in business. One of the reasons employers haven’t had a successful platform like this before, is because it’s inherently at risk of being used improperly. The technologies we’re starting to talk about are one potential and significant source of solution for that,” said CEO Michael Zammuto.

Completed.com at its core includes machine learning-driven technology which looks at and develops an internal credibility score for every reviewer and every review. This is one of the more important things that companies – like Yelp, have been working on, but it’s a difficult challenge. It starts with things like technology where the talent is validated, making it more credible. In addition to that, there’s a lot of pattern matching and sediment analysis that’s done to develop an internal credibility score. This is important because constructive, professionally-focused reviews.”

So, how much is technology really changing the pace for employee recruitment? According to Zammuto, quite a bit. He adds that the human element is still very much needed, just for a different role. It’s not about eliminating the human element in recruiting, but reallocating it.

“Everybody in every industry has the same issue: finding and attracting the right talent. We got to see it from the other side – the client’s issue about how they were represented online,” he adds. “We realized that hiring people has become complicated because of technology, but the important part of this topic is that one can automate 99 percent of something that’s content-driven and has a subjective element to it, but you do need people to review things that algorithms determine problems with.”

This insight confirms that technology is becoming more involved within the logistics world, creating even more of a dynamic between connectivity, visibility, and efficiency. The secret here is: employer and company information are just as valuable to recruiting the right kind of talent as is the available employee information. Just as company’s want to learn about the candidates sent their way, employees are looking for an environment that offers more than just a paycheck.

If a strong candidate is subjected to a miserable climate, outdated practices, and lack of recognition, they’re more likely to visit with competitors that meet their expectations. In the modern workforce, competing companies are willing to offer tempting salaries with promising career incentives to win over another great employee. Recognition is just as much of a factor as the dollar amount on the paycheck.

“Part of this process is ensuring great employees receive recognition they seek while others are held accountable. This gives you a chance to hold people accountable and celebrate the employees and managers that do great work, and you can take it at face value,” Zammuto adds.

Taking it even further, regular internal reviews are highly encouraged to successfully maintain talent retention. Not only do these regular checks reiterate accountability for management and the employees, skills development is evaluated and encouraged, ultimately eliminating the mundane aspect of a job.

Workers are encouraged with feedback and become motivated to polish their skillset while voicing concerns and addressing redundancies. This is a critical element that goes beyond recruiting and retention as it impacts all aspects of company operations. At the end of the day, your employees are the backbone of the company.

“Most of the traditional methods have either disappeared or been weakened in some way. The remaining method that’s useful is direct referrals to jobs. This is the only remaining valid strategy for getting good candidates to your company but it’s very slow and doesn’t always scale very well. Companies are having trouble finding people because of the mechanisms for doing so have weakened a lot. With people being more mobile than before, but the information about that mobility shielding the good from the bad performers, how is anyone supposed to hire the right candidates?” Zammuto concludes.

Technology is the common denominator in solving this problem. As companies learn about automation integration for maximizing workflows, this same method should absolutely be considered for selecting the best and preferred types of employees. This approach challenges the old-fashioned methods and takes a granular look at the talent pool, saving time, money, resources, and energy invested. The bigger picture shows that recruiting methods are changing and directly impacting retention.

Any company can fill a position, but retaining that position is where the challenge is. What benefit is it to hire a candidate if they don’t contribute and end up leaving? There is no benefit. A company that fills three roles but only retains one isn’t fulfilling its bottom line. Something is missing and technology is the answer to solving this issue. Preserve company resources and time by investing in technology that can identify the best candidates that are looking for long-term careers. The investment upfront will pay off in the long haul.

3 Ways to Finding Happiness at Work

“Which do you think comes first? Success or happiness?” That was the question I posed to a group of student athletes at UC Berkeley. I was there to talk about using humor for mental health, an important topic for all students, particularly those in high-stress situations.

There were a lot of mumbles and then a booming voice from one of the basketball players in the back. “I think it’s success. Once you get something, it makes you happy.”

It’s a common belief, that once we achieve a certain goal or reach a certain status, we’ll be happier. If only we got that raise, or landed that job, or had that car, or this, that, or another thing, we’d be content. But that’s not how happiness works. Happiness is not a result: it’s a way of being.

The truth is happiness precedes success. Those who can find joy in the work they do will be more successful. As Shawn Achor shares in his book, The Happiness Advantage, people who are happy at work see an increase in sales, are more creative, and are 39 percent more likely to live to the age of 94.

So how do you be happier?

Your Happiness Setpoint

In positive psychology, there’s a concept known as hedonic adaptation. The idea is that we all have a base happiness setpoint, where our general demeanor returns, regardless of what happens to us.

When we experience something negative, it will lower our mood for a period of time, but we will eventually return to our base. This is called resilience. The same is true for when we experience something positive. We will be happier for a period of time, but we will eventually return to our base. It’s why success doesn’t lead to long-term happiness—when we get that raise, job, or car, we will be happier for a bit. And then we’ll adjust to the new norm and the positive effect wears off.

Research suggests that 50 percent of our happiness setpoint is determined by our genes. That we can’t change. Ten percent of our happiness is determined by what happens to us. The remaining 40 percent is determined by how we respond to what happens to us. Meaning: we are in control of that 40 percent.

Research has shown that there are three primary ways to raise that 40 percent of happiness that we control:

1. Increase Your Gratitude

Being grateful helps remind you of the positive things in your life while also improving your relationships with other people. The key to know here is that the bar doesn’t have to be high in terms of what you are grateful for.

Studies have found that writing down the things you are grateful for at the end of each day, can increase the number of positive emotions you feel and improve your overall mental health.

2. Find Happy People

Which do you think would make you happier: receiving a $4,500 pay raise or a stranger being happy? You’re a bit a torn, aren’t you? The obvious answer seems to be the money but then you’re thinking, He wouldn’t be asking this question if it were the money.

A team at Harvard Medical School recently analyzed more than 5,000 people and more than 50,000 of their social connections. They found that if a friend of a friend of a friend (a.k.a. someone you’ve never met) was happy, you were 6 percent more likely to be happy. That’s triple the 2 percent chance of being happier because of a $4,500 pay rise. And the closer the connection, the bigger the effect. If it’s a friend of a friend who’s happy, the odds jump to 10 percent, and if it’s a direct friend, 15 percent.

Whether at work or home, surround yourself with people who are positive and make you happy.

3. Use Humor

The third way to increase happiness is by using humor. In a longitudinal study done at Harvard, researchers found humor was one of the healthiest adaptations to being happy in life.

When it comes to using humor at work, it’s not about making the workplace funny but about making the workplace more fun. This means opting for positive, inclusive humor rather than sarcastic or aggressive jokes. One easy way to do that is to think: one smile per hour. What is one thing you can do each hour of the day to bring a smile to your face, or the face of someone else.

For example, if you’re giving a long presentation, add a few images to your slides that will make people smile; if you’re sending emails, add a joke at the bottom to thank people for reading; if you’re sitting in traffic, listen to a comedy podcast to relieve stress and show up more present for your family when you get home.

Success and Happiness at Work

By finding ways to enjoy your work–or in the case of the student athletes, your classes and practices–not only will you boost your happiness, but you’ll also increase your success. To get started in your pursuit, practice finding things to be grateful for everyday, surround yourself with positive people, and use humor in the workplace.

Andrew Tarvin is the world’s first humor engineer, teaching people how to get better results while having more fun. He is the author of  Humor That Works: The Missing Skill for Success and Happiness at Work and CEO of Humor That Works, a consultancy for human effectiveness. For more information, please visit, www.humorthatworks.com and connect with him on Twitter, @drewtarvin. andrew@humorthatworks.com.

How Technology Can Help Recruit and Retain Workers of all Ages

The big question in the minds of business managers–in warehousing, manufacturing, transportation and beyond–is not only how to retain a solid workforce, but how to attract a variety of skillsets and ages within the worker population. It’s not a surprise to imagine that old-school approaches are becoming a thing of the past. As Gen Z workers continue to increase representation in the workforce, employers are faced with the reality of adopting more innovation, technology and mindsets to successfully cater to both older and newer generations of workers. If the current strategy is limiting recruiting capabilities, companies are setting themselves up for failure and limiting their full potential in operations and employee expertise.

What some companies might not realize is the amount of visibility provided with modern technology and the capabilities enabled through automation. As the workforce changes, so does the method of recruiting and the level of technology necessary for successful staffing. Completed.com is a great example of how automation and technology take recruiting one step further through real-time, reliable feedback on employees seeking work in any industry.

“We saw a need to create a platform where one can review anyone in business,” explains Completed.com CEO Michael Zammuto. “One of the reasons employers haven’t had a successful platform like this before is because it’s inherently at risk of being used improperly. The technologies we’re starting to talk about are one potential and significant source of solution for that.

“Completed.com at its core includes machine learning-driven technology which looks at and develops an internal credibility score for every reviewer and every review,” Zammuto continues. “This is one of the more important things that companies like Yelp have been working on, but it’s a difficult challenge. It starts with things like technology where the talent is validated, making it more credible. In addition to that, there’s a lot of pattern matching and sediment analysis that’s done to develop an internal credibility score. This is important because of constructive, professionally-focused reviews.”

So, how much is technology really changing the pace for employee recruitment? Quite a bit, according to Zammuto, who adds that the human element is still very much needed, just for a different role. It’s not about eliminating the human element in recruiting, but reallocating it.

“Everybody in every industry has the same issue: finding and attracting the right talent,” Zammuto says. “We got to see it from the other side–the client’s issue about how they were represented online. We realized that hiring people has become complicated because of technology, but the important part of this topic is that one can automate 99 percent of something that’s content-driven and has a subjective element to it, but you do need people to review things that algorithms determine problems with.”

This insight confirms that technology is becoming more involved within the logistics world, creating even more of a dynamic between connectivity, visibility and efficiency. The secret here is employer and company information are just as valuable to recruiting the right kind of talent as is the available employee information. Just as companies want to learn about the candidates sent their way, employees are looking for an environment that offers more than just a paycheck. If a strong candidate is subjected to a miserable climate, outdated practices and lack of recognition, they’re more likely to visit with competitors that meet their expectations.

In the modern workforce, competing companies are willing to offer tempting salaries with promising career incentives to win over another great employee. Recognition is just as much of a factor as the dollar amount on the paycheck. “Part of this process is ensuring great employees receive recognition they seek while others are held accountable,” Zammuto notes. “This gives you a chance to hold people accountable and celebrate the employees and managers that do great work, and you can take it at face value.”

Taking it even further, regular internal reviews are highly encouraged to successfully maintain talent retention. Not only do these regular checks reiterate accountability for management and the employees, skills development is evaluated and encouraged, ultimately eliminating the mundane aspect of a job. Workers are encouraged with feedback and become motivated to polish their skillset while voicing concerns and addressing redundancies. This is a critical element that goes beyond recruiting and retention as it impacts all aspects of company operations. At the end of the day, your employees are the backbone of the company.

“Most of the traditional methods have either disappeared or been weakened in some way,” Zammuto says. “The remaining method that’s useful is direct referrals to jobs. This is the only remaining valid strategy for getting good candidates to your company, but it’s very slow and doesn’t always scale very well. Companies are having trouble finding people because of the mechanisms for doing so have weakened a lot. With people being more mobile than before, but the information about that mobility shielding the good from the bad performers, how is anyone supposed to hire the right candidates?”

Technology is the common denominator in solving this problem. As companies learn about automation integration for maximizing workflows, this same method should absolutely be considered for selecting the best and preferred types of employees. This approach challenges the old-fashioned methods and takes a granular look at the talent pool, saving time, money, resources and energy invested.

The bigger picture shows that recruiting methods are changing and directly impacting retention. Any company can fill a position, but retaining that position is where the challenge is. What benefit is it to hire a candidate if they don’t contribute and end up leaving? There is no benefit. A company that fills three roles but only retains one isn’t fulfilling its bottom line. Something is missing and technology is the answer to solving this issue. Preserve company resources and time by investing in technology that can identify the best candidates that are looking for long-term careers. The investment upfront will pay off in the long haul.

Dupré Logistics Honors Drivers with New Incentive Plan

Privately-held transportation and logistics services provider, Dupré Logistics announced a new incentive plan totaling approximately $1 million in bonus payouts to eligible drivers in its Energy Distribution Services division. This incentive was specifically implemented to extend appreciation to drivers for performance excellence.

“We wanted our drivers to know that they are our most valuable asset, and we are committed to maintaining the “Ideal Place to Work” for them.” said Tony Becnel, Director of Operations Energy Distribution Services at Dupré Logistics. Our goal is to continually recruit and retain the best drivers within the industry.”

Structured to highlight driver longevity and commitment to customers, the incentive serves as a fresh approach to maintaining employee satisfaction while supporting the company’s goal in maintaining itself as an “Ideal Place to Work.”

“Many companies have bonus programs that are dispersed yearly and have a low percentage at paying out. We feel that Dupré’s new bonus structure is unique to the industry in that it was designed to be awarded more frequently and to reward 99% of Dupré drivers with added compensation in addition to our current driver wage increases.”  

“In recent months it has become evident that recruiting and retaining the best drivers in the industry would require a different approach,” said Doug Roberie, Dupré Logistics Vice President. “Traditionally, we have provided normal annual wage increases for our drivers, but in today’s market it requires more. We wanted to put a check in our drivers’ hands to show our appreciation for their commitment to Dupré and our customers.” 

Photo credit: Dupré Logistics



3 Keys to Become More Resilient: How Mindset, Skillset, and Ability to Reset Empowers Leaders

Building resilient organizations requires resilient leaders. Being resilient enables you to overcome setbacks, build effective teams, and stay focused on what really matters in your life and company.

Resilience is our ability to recover when we are faced with obstacles, difficulties, and setbacks. It allows you to tap into your strength and courage so you can persevere when things don’t go as you had planned.

Research finds that resilient people excel in problem solving, positive communication, emotional intelligence, and emotional regulation. They are also more hopeful and optimistic, and have higher levels of self-esteem. These are vital skills for leaders, both for their own health and happiness and to inspire their teams.

The people who work for you pay close attention to how you deal with challenges. Resilient leaders look at failures not as crushing defeats but as opportunities to grow and move forward. Resilience allows you to set a powerful, positive, effective example.

When I speak to groups, I sometimes begin by asking: “How many of you have survived the worst thing that has ever happened to you?” It’s a way of demonstrating that we are all, by our very nature, strong and resilient.

At the same time, resilience is not static. It is a set of habits, beliefs, and behaviors we can cultivate and practice proactively, so they are there when we need them. And whether we like it or not, life gives us plenty of opportunities to practice!

Fortunately, you don’t have to wait for a major setback or traumatic event to begin building your resilience. You can start today by focusing on three areas: your mindset, skillset, and your ability to reset:

Mindset includes your habits, emotional intelligence, and beliefs. Your mindset is the story you tell yourself about yourself, including how you think about stress. When we are under stress, the emotional center of our brain lights up, shooting the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline through our brain and body. This was originally intended to help us freeze, run away, or fight an impending attacker; the same process happens when we face an emotional setback or threat. Your brain doesn’t know the difference between a real or perceived threat. When you identify how you respond to stress, you can begin to proactively manage it. The bottom line: Our beliefs drive behavior. And beliefs can be changed.

Skillset includes our ability to cultivate gratitude, optimism, and other positive emotions; to manage stress; to mitigate negative self-talk; and to engage in activities that are good for us like humor, social connection, mindfulness, and self-care. Some skills you can start practicing today include:

GratitudeNumerous scientific studies have shown that practicing being grateful on a regular basis lowers blood pressure, reduces inflammation, improves heart health and sleep, and lowers our levels of stress. People who practice gratitude have improved sleep, mood, decision-making, and relationships along with fewer aches, pains, and bouts of depression. The benefits are almost immediate. You don’t even have to find anything to be grateful for. The simple act of looking releases the feel-good neurochemicals serotonin and dopamine and lowers the stress hormone cortisol by 23%.

Optimism also lowers cortisol and increases dopamine and serotonin. People who practice optimism have fewer aches and pains, along with better physical and mental health. It has also been linked with higher income and more successful relationships.

Mindfulness is simply being where you are when you’re there. Mindfulness trains your mind to focus on the moment instead of worrying about what occurred in the past or what might happen in the future. This makes you less likely to hit the panic button, and reverses stress-related changes in the brain.

Laughter is good for your soul and your brain. Studies show a genuine smile (one that involves facial muscles around the eyes) sparks a change in brain activity related to a good mood.

Social connection is the greatest predictor of longevity. Surround yourself with people that lift you up, celebrate, and laugh with you.

Reset is getting out of being busy, being deliberate about where you invest your energy, and making sure that your actions are in line with your intentions in terms of your priorities. Taking the time to reset is imperative for leaders to keep their focus on what matters most. For instance, it can help you identify your high-payoff activities.

A high-payoff activity is an activity that brings the greatest result for the time invested. Twenty percent of the tasks that we do on any given day generate 80 percent of our results. By identifying the tasks and responsibilities that bring the greatest return for time invested, you can focus on planning and prioritizing these activities.

What do you wish you had more time for? Where is it scheduled in your calendar? If you tracked your time would it be representative of what you say is most important to you? Take the time to make sure your actions match your intentions. It’s all about focusing on what’s important.

About the Author: Resilience expert Anne Grady is an internationally recognized speaker and author. Anne shares humor, humility, refreshing honesty, and practical strategies anyone can use to triumph over adversity and master change. She is the author of “Strong Enough: Choosing Courage, Resilience, and Triumph” and “52 Strategies for Life, Love, & Work.” For more information, please visit www.AnneGradyGroup.com.

Maven Wave Earns Spot on 2019 Best Workplaces in Consulting & Professional Services List

Google Cloud Premier Partner, Maven Wave confirmed this week its place on the 2019 Best Workplaces in Consulting and Professional Services list compiled by Great Place to Work and FORTUNE. The rankings on the list come from over 39,000 employees evaluated and providing feedback on elements such as leadership relationships, respect, fairness in workplace decisions, and team camaraderie.

Placing 30th on the list for small and medium-sized companies, the Chicago-based company prides itself in its positive culture and identifying the ‘X Factor’ among its employees. Maven also fosters an environment supportive of charity involvement and employs a Community Outreach Program matching employee donations to non-profits and sponsors employee-nominated charitable events.

“At Maven Wave, we always look for the ‘X-factor’ when hiring and then work hard to develop these employees,” said Jeff Lee, Partner & Founder at Maven Wave. “Having ‘X-factor’ means that in addition to technical expertise, an individual brings an element of likeability and charisma to the table. As a natural influencer, everyone wants to be on his or her team. Consulting is a human-to-human business, and X-factor is a cornerstone of our success.”

The digital solutions provider is no stranger to such recognition, however. Back in 2018, the company was named “Chicago’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For®” and placed on Crain’s Fast 50 for five consecutive years. Additionally, the Maven Wave has been awarded the Google Cloud North America Services Partner of the Year twice.

“Consulting and Professional Services companies operate in some of the most competitive spaces and endure the challenges of unpredictable and rapidly changing markets,” said Michael Bush, CEO of Great Place to Work. “The Best Workplaces on this list have invested in the professional development and personal care of their employees; which have become crucial parts of their value proposition that separate them from the competition in recruiting and retaining talent.”


Forbes Recognizes Hub Group in 2019 List of America’s Best Mid-Size Employers

Leading supply chain solutions provider Hub Group has made the Forbes List of America’s Best Mid-Size Employers for the second time in a row, placing at number 18 out of 500 companies in the Transportation and Logistics category.

This list highlights companies that support a culture that makes employees feel secure, understood, needed and inspired. Hub Group placed number 22 overall in 2018.

An anonymous employment recommendation and satisfaction survey conducted on over 30,000 employees determines which companies make the final list. The consecutive recognition reiterates the company’s focus on employee wellness and growth through mentorship and career advancement training, and rewarding its top talent.

The company currently has 4,377 employees and is the only transportation and logistics company listed within the first 50 in the overall list. Landstar System and USA Truck are the only other companies that made it within the first 50 placements with the same category.

“We believe the employees of Hub Group are our most valuable asset. We are continuously evaluating and improving our strategy for employee engagement through training, professional development programs and internal growth. Our goal is to encourage a corporate culture that is collaborative, empowering and inclusive,” said David Yeager, Hub Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “We are honored to be recognized by Forbes two years in a row.”