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Boomerangs: What Both Sides Should Consider Before Working Together Again

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Boomerangs: What Both Sides Should Consider Before Working Together Again

After months of the “Great Resignation,” another workforce trend is developing – ”boomerang” employees, or those who are returning to companies they left.

In some cases, businesses are pursuing former employees to rejoin them; in others, ex-employees, either unsatisfied with a new job or having been on the sidelines a while, are seeking a return to their old workplace. The reacquainting process in interviewing and rehiring can mean some awkward moments, and for both company leaders and ex-employees, there are important considerations before deciding to work together again.

Boomerang employees can be a powerful force for your company if they come back for the right reasons. If they found the grass was not greener on the other side, a boomerang employee may be your biggest advocate on culture. They save companies time and money in the usual recruiting process and strengthen the business because they’re a known commodity.

And for returning employees, there’s often a renewed sense of appreciation for where they work and whom they work with. They feel more appreciated. But it can be dicey if issues that led to them leaving are still there.

Here are some tips for former employees when considering a return to a company, and also some advice for leaders when weighing whether to bring a former employee back:

For the returning employee

Do your homework. It can be a good thing to go back, but only if the company addressed whatever issues caused you to leave in the first place. If it was leadership, have they fixed that? It’s important to do your homework to find out what changes have been made that would encourage you to want to work there again.

Ask your employer the hard questions. Employees should feel comfortable asking tough questions, such as, “What steps have you taken to make sure I won’t dread coming to my job anymore? Why won’t you allow more people to work remotely? How have you improved the work culture since I left?”

Sell them on the benefits of rehiring you. New employees take both training and time to ramp up at a new job. When ex-employees pursue a job at their old company, they should emphasize their track record with the company and their familiarity with processes and people – strengths that save the company time and money to recruit and interview other candidates.

Be prepared for changes. The job the employee left may have changed, thus when that person returns to his former employer, they may be reporting to new people and using new processes. A real selling point about an ex-employee returning is that person embracing flexibility and having added skills that make them even more valuable. They should promote those while being prepared to view their old job with new eyes.

For the employer

Sharply focus interview questions to determine compatibility. Most importantly, the company needs to identify why the employee left the first time. Do those issues still exist? The leaders should ask specific questions related to the ex-employee’s recent experience and about their whys regarding returning. Have they added a new skill set that makes them even more valuable? If any prior issues with the company are resolved, does the leader sense a long-term commitment this time?

Don’t be desperate. Although numerous companies are struggling to fill open positions, it’s important that the company doesn’t get desperate because of hiring needs and welcomes back a toxic employee. As much damage as they did the first time they worked for you, it will be multiplied by 10 times if a high-performing employee watches the company bring someone back who underperformed and caused issues the first time they were there.

Don’t make it all about money. While many companies are increasing pay packages to find high-quality workers, that shouldn’t be automatic when welcoming back former employees. That could alienate other employees who stayed with the company and have not gotten increases. For the return engagement to work, it can’t all be about money and benefits. It’s important to find out what it is about their overall workplace experience that will help keep them there. Is it a more specific career growth plan, or working from home?

In the movies, they say the sequel is rarely better than the original. But the second time around can be better for boomerang employees and their employers, as long as both sides are upfront and appreciation is equal.


Eric Harkins ( is the president and founder of GKG Search & Consulting, a Minneapolis-based consulting firm that helps organizations acquire and retain top performers. He is the ForbesBooks author of Great Leaders Make Sure Monday Morning Doesn’t Suck: How To Get, Keep & Grow Talent. During his 25-year career in corporate America, Harkins has held leadership positions ranging from manager to chief talent officer and chief administrative officer. He is a motivational speaker, executive coach, and an expert in helping companies create a culture that high performers want to be a part of.


The Great Resignation: What Organizations Must Learn

With a near-record 11 million job openings across the US, new research finds that prospective employees prioritize well-being benefits ­­— including financial, mental, emotional, social, physical, and career perks. The Great Resignation, as it has been called, has left employers scrambling to figure out new ways to turn the tide of departing talent.

In our own ongoing research, we have surveyed almost 3,000 professionals in our Resilient Leader Assessment ( This research points to reasons why so many people left their jobs in the Great Resignation, and ways companies can respond to turn the challenge into an opportunity.

The growth opportunity is to understand at a deeper level why people are leaving, to gain a better understanding of your workplace and your workers, and to leverage the change that’s occurring for your company’s growth.

There are many reasons large numbers of people have left their jobs since the pandemic began. Burnout and exhaustion are commonly cited as reasons medical and other frontline workers have quit their jobs in the pandemic. But what about the countless other employees who have left professional positions that don’t necessarily involve saving lives, directly serving the public, or working in hazardous conditions?

Our research points to another reason people have been resigning: They are seeking to fill a gap between what they say is most important in their lives, and how they are actually allocating their time and energy.

Our assessment is a proprietary 16-question tool designed to gauge the resiliency level of participants. We ask participants to rank their level of agreement or disagreement with a number of statements. Based on the answers, we provide a resiliency rank in each of four areas: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual resilience. We then aggregate those scores to identify trends.

For the statement, “I’m engaged in a livelihood that is in line with my core values and beliefs,” the aggregate score has run surprisingly high (85), putting our participants in what we consider the “green zone” on this measure. However, there is also broad agreement with this statement: “There are significant gaps between what I say is most important in my life and how I actually allocate my time and energy.” That put our participants in the “red zone” with an aggregate score around 55. Their score for the statement “I don’t invest enough time and energy in making a positive difference to others or to the world” is also in the red at 59.

The news is a constant drumbeat of all that is wrong with the world. It’s only natural for compassionate, empathetic, self-aware human beings to ask themselves “What am I doing about it?”

These results support a common narrative around the Great Resignation ­— that the pandemic is causing people to reevaluate what is most important in their lives. This is good for individuals, but it creates a challenge for organizations losing experienced and talented employees, managers, and top-level leaders.

The growth opportunity in this moment is to understand at a deeper level why people are resigning in order to gain a deeper understanding of your workplace and of your talent. This will make your organization, your culture, and your ability to retain talent stronger and more resilient. But what does resilient really mean?

We define resilience as how we recharge, and leverage change and uncertainty as catalysts for growth. But resilience in corporate culture has traditionally meant something else entirely: being able to endure more than the competition, work longer hours, burn the candle at both ends, take whatever hits come your way, and keep going. That’s not how you develop long-term resilience, performance, engagement, or loyalty. It’s how you burn people out.

Stress and strategy are mutually exclusive. You can’t think creatively when you’re under stress. When you’re tired, you’re toast. When your workforce is too exhausted to deal with ever-present change, they’re either going to perform in a mediocre way or they’re going to get so frustrated that they’re going to leave.

The news of the Great Resignation is organizations have burned people out. For too long they have not cared about the exhaustion of their employees, and whether those employees are spending time on what is important to them versus what they’re being paid to do.

It’s time to change that. Here are a few ways to do it.

Model Transparency for Transformation: In many work cultures, people are not willing to speak honestly about the stress they are under or ask for help. Leaders can change that by speaking truthfully and transparently and listening to their employees’ challenges and needs. Organizations that are open to listening to what’s really going on within the company will learn what they need to be able to help their people become more resilient.

Build Recovery Rituals: There are simple practices anyone can do to recharge. Recovery in the typical workday is just a series of state changes that you are consciously crafting and executing so you can toggle back and forth between being on, with full focus and creativity and everything you’ve got to do for your work, and being off, truly at rest.

Create a Culture of Resilience: How can we operationalize the concept of resilience going forward? It can’t just be words. It has to be tangible, this commitment to our employees’ well-being. We must be willing to make mistakes and to get feedback. We have to genuinely be interested in listening and learning so that we can try something new and find out what works.

Practice “Pause-Ask-Choose”: We developed this strategy to help leaders build resilience within themselves and their organizations.

-What do you do when you’re in an uncontrollable rip tide of rapid change? You stop fighting. Yes, that’s counterintuitive, but pausing will give you an awareness of how much energy you’re expending and how little it’s getting you. It’s a time to literally catch your breath so you can reframe whatever challenge you face.

-This is the chance to discover deeper meaning in the challenge you’re facing by asking questions such as “What is the creative opportunity presented by what is happening?” and “What am I not seeing?” In this way, you begin to reframe what is happening so you can ride the wave of change instead of fighting it.

-This is deciding how we will act based on what we’ve discovered by pausing and asking. We may choose to act or not to act and instead recharge for the time when action will make sense. This might include consciously ritualizing small, daily practices for our personal recovery to create mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual harmony and resilience.

The Great Resignation is just one of the challenges business leaders face in this time of massive and unrelenting change. Now’s the time to be thinking about how you’re going to take care of the people who are staying, the new people you will attract, and even the people who will come back. Instead of looking over their people, leaders must learn to look after them.


About Adam: Best-selling author, keynote speaker, and resilience expert Adam Markel inspires leaders to master the challenges of massive disruption in his upcoming book, “Change-Proof — Leveraging the Power of Uncertainty to Build Long-Term Resilience” (McGraw-Hill, February 2022). Adam is author of the #1 Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, and Publisher’s Weekly best-seller, “Pivot: The Art & Science of Reinventing Your Career and Life.” Learn more at


Is Your Boss A Grinch? How To Show Holiday Gratitude – And Retain Employees.

The holiday season is a reflective time, and as company leaders look back on the past year of challenges and accomplishments, it’s important that they show gratitude to their employees – and not make it a rare occurrence.

Research has shown a strong correlation between employee recognition and employee retention. Specific to the holiday season, one survey found that about 60% of employees would be more likely to stay in their job if they received meaningful holiday gifts from their employer. As the “Great Resignation” sweeps the country, employers should be mindful of making the holidays the “Great Appreciation” for their best employees and making it a habit. says Michele Bailey (, ForbesBooks author of The Currency of Gratitude: Turning Small Gestures into Powerful Business Results.

“As leaders reflect, those who haven’t made gratitude a core value of their organization should strongly consider it going forward into next year,” Bailey says. “The current context of workers leaving in droves basically demands it. And the holidays are the perfect time for leaders to set a new tone and show they are sincere about showing appreciation on a consistent basis.

“This really benefits everyone in an organization; led by the leader, everyone is influenced to show gratitude for each other. When you make gratitude a habit and recognize the value of the contributions of your colleagues, you encourage them to strive for greater results. And your business will inevitably grow as your team members champion your brand.”

Bailey offers five ways leaders can express gratitude to employees during the holidays and make the practice a regular feature of their organization:

Prioritize mental health. The nearly two-year-long pandemic has added anxiety for millions of workers, and every holiday season many people experience increased stress and depression. Therefore, Bailey says it’s vital that company leaders keep these factors in mind and check on the mental health of their employees. “Lots of employees feel burnout this time of year, and remote workers can feel more isolated,” she says. “Make sure to check in with your people one-on-one and in small groups. Let them know that you care.”

Give praise. “By publicly praising an employee or team who has done an outstanding job, you make them feel valued,” Bailey says. “This can boost their confidence and their enthusiasm for the company. A personal handwritten note also goes a long way with an employee. The holiday season is an ideal time for the leader to champion their top people and energize them going forward into next year.”

Make gifts meaningful. Bailey says leaders should put a good amount of thought into gift-giving as a reward for employees, showing a personal touch and making it something useful and memorable. “They don’t have to be expensive,” she says. “The value is in the thought. And along with material gifts, consider experiential gifts, which allow the recipient to have an experience that ties in with their interests.”

Give paid holiday leave. “Extra time off during the holidays to be with family is a bonus in itself,” Bailey says. “As work-life balance becomes more important to employees nowadays, this is the time of year when employers should show they’re sincere in making that happen.”

Survey your teams on what they need for next year. This is a way of paying your gratitude forward, Bailey says. “The holiday season and end of the year are a great time to tune in to your teams and listen to how you can help them do their jobs better next year. Being heard and having their thoughts turned into action by management help your employees feel appreciated.”

“If your work culture is not operating with gratitude,” Bailey says, “not only will the holidays feel a bit empty, but your potential as a company will remain unfulfilled.”


Michele Bailey ( is the ForbesBooks author of The Currency Of Gratitude: Turning Small Gestures Into Powerful Business Results. She also is founder/CEO of The Blazing Group, a brand and culture agency born of her strategy-first approach to business and desire to enhance employee wellness in pursuit of business goals. She is also the founder of My Big Idea®, a mentoring program designed to propel individuals toward their personal and professional goals. Bailey has been recognized for contributions to women and entrepreneurship with honors such as the Bank of Montreal Expansion & Growth in Small Business Award and the Women’s Business Enterprise Leader Award in 2020. Bailey is a popular speaker and is also the author of a previous book, It’s NOT All About You, It’s About the Company You Keep.


How Recognizing Top Employees Can Cure The Quitting Epidemic

A record 4.3 million workers left their jobs in August, continuing a trend in 2021. Reasons for quitting vary, but as one recent survey shows, a lack of appreciation from employers is a common driver.

Appreciation is an especially important factor to a large segment of the workforce – millennials and Gen Z. In a poll taken shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic began, 79% of millennial and Gen Z respondents said an increase in recognition and rewards would make them more loyal to their employer.

With companies losing talented people and struggling to fill open positions, leaders need to know how to make employee recognition and appreciation a more consistent part of their work culture, says David Friedman (, author of Culture by Design: How to Build a High-Performing Culture Even in the New Remote Work Environment.

“Recognition is the best way to boost employee engagement, productivity and profit while significantly strengthening your culture,” Friedman says.

“It may seem intuitive that employees who are thanked and recognized for their work are happier and, as a result, perform better. But unfortunately, managers may be busy with other tasks or have an attitude of ‘If you don’t hear anything, assume you’re doing a good job.’ That approach loses good people who were very valuable.”

There are benefits to company leaders praising teams as well as individuals. A Gallup survey shows giving kudos to teams can encourage collaboration, inspire trust, clarify organizational goals, improve quality, and reinforce a team’s sense of purpose.

“Praise for a job well done should flow across all levels of the organization – peer to peer, manager to their direct report, and direct report to their manager,” Friedman says. “Remember your remote workers – they may already be feeling disconnected from the workplace, so remind them that you notice and appreciate their contributions.”

Friedman offers these thoughts on giving recognition and showing appreciation in the workplace:

It should be authentic and individualized. Friedman observes that employees are savvy and can see through an “everyone gets a trophy” mentality. “Saying ‘great job’ is nice, but it’s much more meaningful if you detail the specifics of the person’s actions and how they helped advance the company’s objectives,” he says. “And if their efforts merit more than a compliment, or such efforts are a trend for them, then leaders need to figure out a fair tangible reward. Promotions with pay raises and increased responsibilities go the next step to show consistent high performers that they are truly valued.”

Tailor recognition to the recipient. Some people enjoy being the center of attention, so a formal public recognition is ideal for them, Friedman says. Others avoid the spotlight and prefer a one-on-one acknowledgement. For a team acknowledgment, a company-wide or departmental meeting might be a fitting forum. “That’s a great way to show the link between the team’s accomplishments, company objectives, and the importance of working well together,” Friedman says.

Convey your appreciation in person. Friedman notes this may be difficult with remote workforces, and sometimes a phone call or email will have to do. “But the in-person touch has a lot more impact,” he says, “especially when it comes from an executive with whom the employee has very little exposure.”

Create a culture of recognition. “Culture change starts with identifying the specific behaviors that drive success in your company,” Friedman says. “One of them should be showing meaningful appreciation. That means regularly recognizing people doing things right, rather than frequently pointing out when they do things wrong.”

“Recognition leads to happy employees, better retention, and better business results,” Friedman says. “When your people know they are appreciated, really valued, it will make a huge difference in your day-to-day culture and in your growth as a company.”


David Friedman ( is author of Culture by Design: How to Build a High-Performing Culture Even in the New Remote Work Environment. He also is founder/CEO of CultureWise®, a turnkey operating system for small to midsize businesses to create and sustain a high-performing culture. He is the former president of RSI, an award-winning employee benefits brokerage and consulting firm that was named one of the best places to work in the Philadelphia region seven times. Friedman has taught more than 6,000 CEOs about work culture and led more than 500 workshops on the subject. With Sean Sweeney, Friedman formed High Performing Culture, LLC, based on the culture methodology Friedman created at RSI.


5 Ways To Improve Your Training and Achieve Measurable Business Results

U.S. companies spend billions of dollars a year on training, but how many of those businesses are seeing positive, measurable results from such a large investment in their employees?

Not enough of them, studies and experts say. One study on workplace training reported that 43 percent of employees found their training to be ineffective.

“I doubt that many employees would rate their training as engaging, rigorous, or highly effective,” says Dr. Jim Guilkey (, author of M-Pact Learning: The New Competitive Advantage — What All Executives Need To Know. “For most trainees and trainers alike, job-required education is viewed as a necessary evil.”

So how can companies train their employees better and from that training produce outcomes that grow the business? Dr. Guilkey says it comes down to employing effective instructional design methodologies rather than traditional models.

“Traditional training often doesn’t work for companies today in competitive marketplace environments where growth is essential to survival,” he says. “The training is usually developed and delivered by subject-matter experts who have little or no knowledge of instructional design. Assessments test rote memorization rather than the ability to apply specific knowledge in authentic situations.”

Dr. Guilkey suggests some new learning solutions and why he thinks they’re more effective than traditional training methods:

Problem-based. “Problem-based learning involves a strategic approach of structuring the learning process within authentic, challenging, and multidisciplinary problems the learner must address,” Guilkey says. “This results in higher levels of learning than content-based, traditional training, which teaches content with little or no application to authentic, real-world problems.”

Continuous learning. “As opposed to singular-event learning, continuous learning is an ongoing process that allows learners time in the field to assimilate and apply new knowledge before learning more advanced concepts,” Guilkey says.

Collaborative learning. A variety of interactions between peers, mentors, and facilitators fills in gaps, answers more questions, and reinforces the learning process. “This differs from the traditional method in which the learning is limited by focusing on the lecturer — a one-way transmission of content,” Guilkey says.

Multidisciplinary. The traditional approach focuses on singular concepts presented in a linear fashion, whereas the multidisciplinary approach “requires participants to combine and correlate learning across concepts and use real-life scenarios,” Guilkey says.

Testing for application of knowledge. Guilkey thinks assessment should be based on the performance of a strategic task, in which learners apply their skills and knowledge, rather than the traditional style of testing for rote memorization. “There’s a huge difference between being able to recall pieces of information and having a performance-based measurement to put all the pieces together,” Guilkey says.

“Many company leaders are unclear on the actual skills and knowledge of their employees and whether they are providing a competitive advantage,” Guilkey says. “You’ll never create a competitive advantage using traditional training methods.”


Jim Guilkey, PhD ( is the author of M-Pact Learning: The New Competitive Advantage — What All Executives Need To Know. He is the president of S4 NetQuest and a nationally recognized expert in instructional design and learning strategy, with extensive experience in leading the design, development, and implementation of innovative, highly effective learning solutions. Under his leadership, S4 NetQuest has transformed the learning programs for numerous corporations, including Johnson & Johnson, McDonald’s, Merck, Nationwide, Chase Bank, BMW, Cardinal Health, Domino’s, GE Medical, Kaiser Permanente, Yum! Brands, and others. Guilkey is a frequent speaker at national conferences and corporate training meetings. Before co-founding S4 NetQuest, Guilkey served as the assistant director of flight education at The Ohio State University. He received a BS in aviation and an MA and PhD in instructional design and technology from Ohio State.

IT Job Satisfaction: Six Keys to Keeping Your Top IT Talent

Technology roles are among the most difficult to fill. Demand exceeds supply in the industry, so talented tech workers can afford to be choosy when looking for work.

For IT teams, this makes retention crucial. When you struggle to replace employees who voluntarily leave the company, there are negative impacts to productivity, customer service, information security, and profitability. Employee loyalty is essential to your success.

So what inspires loyalty? Job satisfaction. Satisfied employees are less likely to look for new work and less likely to consider other opportunities. The latter is especially important in IT because the average IT pro receives 32 job solicitations each week.

To improve retention and loyalty and avoid the struggles that come with recruiting new employees, focus on boosting job satisfaction. We reviewed more than a dozen surveys and research studies to uncover the most important factors that contribute to IT job satisfaction. Here’s what we found.

Strong coworker relationships increase job satisfaction

In a survey conducted by Spiceworks last year, IT professionals ranked how 10 different factors contributed to their happiness at work. The results: strong coworker relationships have the biggest positive impact on employee satisfaction. Survey respondents rated coworker relationships as even more important than pay, stress levels, and work hours.

Unfortunately, improving coworker relationships is much more complicated than improving pay, work hours, or vacation time. Employees evaluate their coworkers independently, forming relationships based on compatibility of personality, shared goals and interests, and many other highly individualized reasons.

You can’t simply decide for everyone to become friends, but you can create an environment that encourages employees to form friendships. A few ways to do that is to:

Hire people you can see yourself being friends with. By hiring people compatible with your own personality, you build a team of people who are more likely to share interests and values.

Change your seating arrangement. Even if employees don’t have enough in common with their coworkers to form friendships, changing desks occasionally gives them an opportunity to meet people from other departments that might be worth befriending.

Provide opportunities for interaction outside of the office. It’s hard to get to know your coworkers on a personal level when all of your interactions center around work.

Boredom increases dissatisfaction

survey conducted by TEKsystems found that only 48 percent of entry- to mid-level IT professionals feel as though they’re doing the most satisfying work of their careers. And while the numbers are trending upwards—from only 39 percent in 2014—more than half are not as satisfied as they could be with the work they’re doing in their current positions.

To prevent job dissatisfaction resulting from boredom, provide employees with plenty of opportunities to do interesting, meaningful, or challenging work:

Change things up.  If employees aren’t challenged in their current roles, consider moving them onto a team where they can do something different or learn a new technology.

Encourage them to pursue other interests. Provide professional development funds that employees can use to learn something new, give them time to focus on pet projects that are outside of the scope of their day-to-day responsibilities, or make your employment contracts more flexible so they can work on a side gig in their own time.

Give them more responsibilities. When employees outgrow their current roles and find themselves bored and unchallenged, their natural inclination is to look for a new position.

Funding and awareness play a part in IT job satisfaction

survey by Campus Technology looked at job satisfaction for IT professionals in higher education institutions and found that inadequate funding for projects and new technology and administrators not understanding what they do both created job dissatisfaction.

Lack of funding is often the direct result of poor communication between IT and the individuals who make funding decisions. If leaders don’t understand how investing in technology will benefit the entire organization, they’ll never sign off on the investment.

For many organizations, IT operates in a silo—and often with an us-versus-them mentality. This is usually the result of non-technical sponsors and leaders making unreasonable demands and failing to see issues from the perspective of those who understand the technology.

But eliminating employee dissatisfaction caused by these issues requires breaking down those silos and working as a team. Consider hiring someone to operate as a liaison between IT and non-technical departments and leadership. Choose someone who’s spent time on both sides of the fence who has the ability to present IT concerns in terms of overall business benefits.

Improving communication between technical and nontechnical divisions reduces the risk of IT employees becoming dissatisfied because they feel misunderstood and underappreciated. Additionally, it increases the chance that your department receives the funding needed to stay on top of technological advances and trends.

Salary matters, but not as much as you think

A survey conducted by TechTarget found that salary also impacts job satisfaction. However, the impact of salary on job satisfaction is much smaller than that of other, more important factors like work that’s intellectually challenging and a supportive work environment.

And while company culture and interesting projects may be more important than salary, you shouldn’t neglect the role that salary plays in keeping employees happy. Few people will stay in a job—even one that they love—if they don’t make enough to pay their bills.

If you’re concerned that employee salaries are contributing to dissatisfaction, follow the lead of other companies in the industry and take an innovative approach to setting salaries:

Pay Silicon Valley rates, even if you’re not in Silicon Valley. Basecamp’s headquarters is in Chicago, but the company employs people who live all over the world. While the company could get away with setting salaries based on cost of living where employees work—or cost of living in Chicago—all employees earn Silicon Valley rates.

Pay people to move somewhere with a lower cost of living. If you can’t afford Silicon Valley rates, consider an incentive for employees to move somewhere less expensive. Zapier offers its employees a $10,000 relocation package to move out of Silicon Valley and into an area with a lower cost of living.

Work with HR to personalize employee benefits. Even if you can’t increase salaries, there are opportunities to put more money in employees’ pockets with personalized benefits. For example, Student Loan Hero offers its employees student loan debt repayment matching. BambooHR employees get an annual $2,000 vacation stipend.

Job training is important for both employees and employers

survey by The Conference Board found that one of the areas employees are least satisfied with at work is educational and job training programs. Data from a survey from CompTIA shows that this concern is particularly important for IT professionals because one of their top concerns is that their skills quickly become obsolete.

Wish list items for IT professionals further highlight the impact that training, education, and advancement have on job satisfaction.

More than half of IT professionals choose their careers because of their “passion/interest in technology.” That interest doesn’t subside when employees master a particular technology. IT pros are hungry to continue learning, experimenting, and innovating. When their job enables them to do so, they’re much more satisfied.

At the same time, employers expect that one of the most difficult hiring challenges they’ll face this year will be “finding workers with expertise in emerging tech fields.”

Professional development opportunities, on-the-job training, and education stipends increase employee satisfaction. Plus, they limit the need for employers to seek new hires who have experience with emerging technologies; you’re able to fill new roles with existing employees.

There are a number of ways to provide IT employees with development opportunities:

-Provide funds for employees to attend industry conferences, earn certifications, take courses, or pursue additional degrees.

-Distribute a list of local mentorship opportunities, trade organizations, and community IT groups, and subsidize any membership fees.

-Hire industry leaders/experts to host an on-site seminar or training for your group once a quarter, or host monthly lunch-and-learn events.

When work is meaningful, other factors are less impactful

In both 2017 and 2018, Elon Musk’s SpaceX landed a spot on Glassdoor’s “employees’ choice” list of best places to work. The company has an overall 4.4-star rating, 96 percent of employees approve of Musk as CEO, and 90 percent of employees would recommend working for SpaceX to friends. By all accounts, SpaceX employees are satisfied with their jobs.

But a recent study from PayScale shows that SpaceX employees earn less than employees of other top tech companies and experience the highest amounts of stress.

So why are employees who are underpaid and overstressed so satisfied with their jobs? SpaceX employees feel that their work is meaningful. SpaceX earned the highest rating of all of the companies PayScale compared in the “high job meaning” category.

Of course, when your job is to build the technology needed to colonize other planets, it’s not hard to find meaning in it. But not all companies have such inspiring goals. Even so, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to make the work your employees do meaningful.

According to Michael G. Pratt, professor of management and organization at Boston College, “Meaningfulness is about the why, not just about what.” Help employees understand the “why” behind their day-to-day responsibilities to help them find meaning in their work:

-Connect IT’s tasks to overall company goals.

-Share stories of how IT projects helped end users.

-Publicize the company’s mission, values, and contributions.

The most important factors for IT job satisfaction

Like any employee of any industry, IT professionals want to earn a reasonable living, avoid unhealthy amounts of stress, and access important benefits. But those things are just the starting point for IT job satisfaction. True satisfaction stems from filling more complex needs.

People seek careers in IT because they’re good at what they do and interested in using their skills to build innovative products and solve complex problems. They seek challenges, are motivated by learning, and thrive when collaborating with like-minded people. They don’t mind dealing with stress if they’re contributing to something meaningful.

The companies that win the talent war will be those that work to improve the more fundamental aspects of IT job satisfaction. They’ll attract and retain top talent by building a department where employees find true fulfillment with their teams, work, and future prospects with the company.


Jessica Greene is a staff writer at Spoke.

comfort zone

Getting Out Of Your Comfort Zone: What Does It Take?

Getting out of your comfort zone is the initial step towards achieving greatness. But because of the many fears that become ingrained in us as we grow up, trying out new challenges is never an easy thing to do. 

Read and consult widely

We tend to stick to our comfort zones because we fear the unknown. If you read about the unknown and consult the people who have been through what you consider “unknown,” then you will easily step out of your comfort zone. Read as many books as you can find, browse through the internet, and talk to as many experienced people as possible in order to have all the necessary information about whatever you fear to do. 

Let’s say you dream of traveling abroad to advance your studies but you are afraid of the new culture, language, and people that you’ll meet in the foreign land. If you read about the cultural differences between your home nation and your to-be host country, you will be less skeptical about studying abroad. As the saying goes, knowledge is power!

Come up with a solid exit plan

You will only exit your comfort zone by confronting the things that hold you back; you must push your limits and try new challenges. A solid exit plan will help you with that. Top on your plan should be a list of your fears and how to confront them. The plan should also include a step-by-step guide on how you will be confronting each of the specified challenges. 

While at it, be sure to set achievable targets for specified timeframes, no matter how small they may seem. 

Maybe your main fear is meeting new people. Maybe you are never sure of what to do or how to act in social situations. Or maybe you are frightened by the thought of standing up for yourself in public. Finding out why these fears cloud your social life is an important step in creating an exit plan. Could it be that you don’t trust the sound of your voice? If yes, plan on how to make your voice better. Are you afraid that your looks or persona are unlikeable? Fine! Plan a facial, body, and/or wardrobe makeover. Also, you can hire a professional life coach to help you get your persona in line. 

Bottom line: Have a clear-cut plan of overcoming every trap that ties you down to your comfort zone.

Attach value to your discomforts

What do you stand to achieve if you embrace your discomforts? Assuming that you feel uncomfortable when speaking to rich and successful people, think of the great value you would gain both in your financial and professional life by stepping into the uncomfortable zone. If you run a successful business in your home country but you are afraid of expanding your startup in China, take a moment to imagine how much you stand to gain by overcoming those fears. Once you attach some value to every discomfort, your fighting spirit is renewed. While at it, try to get comfortable with one discomfort after the other so that in the long run, you will have the courage to claim the optimal value of your discomfort zone. 

See your failure as learning experiences

One of the factors that have been confining you to your comfort zone must be the fear of failure. Maybe you tried to expand your business to international markets and failed, so you decided to operate within the local market- where you are comfortable. That was the wrong decision. If you want to step out of your comfort zone, you need to start treating past failures as learning points. Instead of cultivating discomfort from the failure, cultivate positive energy. Write down everything that went wrong, find solutions and soldier on to another international business adventure. If you need help, you can hire the services of an experienced life coach who can provide guidance for reaching your goals, make sure the life coach has a diploma or has attained a life coaching course.

Adjust your routine in a meaningful way

Even though routines make you efficient in whatever you do, they are the largest contributors of the development of comfort zones. The best way to tear down routines is to switch up your timetable in a calculated, meaningful way. You will need to be patient, though, as this will take time. 

You can start by adjusting your morning alarm time, changing your route to work, getting rid of a few friends, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and adjusting your meal or sleeping time. These changes are seemingly inconsequential but they can have massive positive impacts in your professional and personal life. 


George Foster is a marketing manager at Day Translations.

organizational sustainability

How to Measure Your Organizational Culture and Values

The importance of a strong corporate culture and value is undeniable. Undoubtedly, cultivating corporate culture and values takes time, but the result is so much worth it.

Culture IQ researched the results from different companies with a strong organizational culture and values to find that:

-collaboration, work environment, and mission and value alignment are 20% higher at companies with strong cultures

-companies with established corporate cultures saw a 4 times increase in revenue growth

-if a company has appeared on The Best Place to Work list, its stock value increased by 75%

-companies that have strong employer brands have a 50% lower cost per hire

-82% of company leaders believe that culture is a potential competitive advantage

Of course, all corporate cultures are different, depending on how you want to organize your workers and which working environment you want to create. Organizational cultures and values even differ from one country to another.

In one of our recent articles we took a look at the current state of corporate culture in the U.S. While it is quite different from what other countries have as a norm for corporate culture, there is one prerequisite in all organizational culture cases that makes it strong – corporate culture analysis.

To do it, there are several methodologies that can help you take a look at your corporate culture and values.

BNS to Measure Positive and Potentially Limiting Values

BNS (Business Needs Scorecard) is one of the most precise methods to measure organizational values. This method is designed to identify and elaborate on the positive and potentially limiting values to outline the desired and not desired corporate values.

Myctt Values Centre recognizes BNS as a diagnostic tool in cultural value assessment that uses 6 sections to categorize positive and potentially limiting values:

-Finance – values that impact the growth of the company in terms of profits and financial performance.

-Fitness – values that describe productivity and the general performance of your employees.

-External relationships – values that affect your company’s relationship with outside players, including partners and customers.

-Evolution – values that impact creativity and innovation of your company as well as its growth in comparison to your competitors.

-Culture – values that influence communication and trust between the employees and corporate leaders.

-Contribution to society – the alignment of your corporate values with the values of society.

This method allows you to perform a comprehensive analysis of your corporate values, especially from the perspective of leadership and what it takes for you to observe these values as a leader.

OCAI Method to Measure Organizational Culture

Another issue is measuring the methods that dominate and dominate in your organizational culture, in other words – your active and passive values.

Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument or OCAI is a method that can help you do exactly that. It uses the so-called Competing Values Framework. “OCAI is a validated method of assessing organizational culture, actively used by over 10,000 companies. We’ve used it for several years, and it’s been one of the most precise ways to measure values”, says Claire Jefferson, an HR manager at Axonim, an electronic device service company.

This method uses a diagram, which helps you identify the direction that your organizational values work towards:

Image credit: OCAI-Online

As a result, you get an answer, which corporate culture dominates in your company, indicating the changes that need to be made to create the organizational culture you aspire to have.

Employee Surveys for Precise Engagement Rates

Who knows your organizational culture and values better than your employees?

Surveying employees is one of the most informative and precise ways to measure organizational culture. Besides, you actively engage your employees in creating your organizational culture.

One of the most common types of employee surveys is an employee satisfaction survey. This survey can take many different forms, but mostly aims at defining the following aspects of organizational culture:

-The position of your employees in the corporate culture – where your employees see their role in defining organizational culture.

-Motivation rate of your employees – helps you understand how much your employees support your corporate culture.

-Employee insights –what needs to be done and which values need to be adopted to help the employees fit in your organizational culture.

Here’s a great example of an employee satisfaction survey:

Image credit:

This survey can be done in many different forms. The ultimate goal, however, is to give your employees as many choices to answer the questions, possibly avoiding essay questions.

Over to You

The methods that we’ve mentioned above are aimed at assessing organizational culture from three different perspectives:

-a general analysis of your organizational values

-an analysis describing active and passive organizational values

-in comparison to the methods from above, which are used to analyze organizational culture and values from the leadership perspective, you can also take the perspective of your employees by doing employee satisfaction surveys

What is your approach to measuring your organizational culture and values?


Ryan is a passionate writer who likes sharing his thoughts and experience with the readers. Currently, he works as a content strategist at He likes everything related to traveling and new countries.


Is America’s Corporate Culture In the Dark Ages?

American work habits can seem downright oppressive when viewed from afar.

Various reports and studies show that Americans experience a more burdensome work week than many of their peers abroad, spending interminable hours at the office, wolfing down lunch at their desks, letting vacation days expire unused, and answering emails after hours and on weekends.

It’s practically the dark ages compared to the rest of the civilized world, where 20 to 30 days of vacation are the norm, the maximum length of the work week often is set by law, paid parental leave is mandated, and some countries have even tried to legislate the “right to disconnect” for workers besieged with after-hour emails and phone calls.

This divide between America’s doggedly industrious approach on the one hand, and the less-relentless global approach on the other, might make it seem that a corporate culture developed for a U.S. company would prove a poor fit beyond our borders.

But that’s not necessarily so, says Bill Higgs, an authority on corporate culture and the ForbesBooks author of the upcoming Culture Code Champions: 7 Steps to Scale & Succeed in Your Business (

“Yes, there are differences, but there are also commonalities,” Higgs says. “There are people in every corner of the world who want to serve others, do high-quality work, collaborate closely with others, and have fun while doing it. Where they live or where they’re from has nothing to do with those traits; they come from the person’s character, not his or her nationality.”

Higgs knows from experience. He is a founder and former CEO of Mustang Engineering, and from 2005 through 2014, Mustang opened several international offices.

“Our first was in Woking, England, about 30 miles southwest of London, and it grew to about 450 people,” he says.

Within the next few years, Mustang added offices in Melbourne and Perth, Australia; Mumbai, India; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Bogota, Colombia; Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia; and Norway.

“That’s a lot of different cultures around the world,” says Higgs, who recently launched the Culture Code Champions podcast, which was named a New & Noteworthy podcast on iTunes.

Higgs says certain principles that make for a winning corporate culture are universal. Why? Because they all relate to people, and people are the crux of any organization’s success. A few of those principles include:

Open communication is critical. Higgs believes in encouraging employees to speak up if they spot a problem or have a suggestion. A corporate culture that promotes such open communication can work well anywhere in the world, he says, because it spurs people who have a different take on things to share their thoughts. If employees feel comfortable speaking out, that can help a U.S. company operating in a foreign land avoid missteps.

Smart hiring practices make a difference. It’s possible to take a new hire and train them to fit into your corporate culture, but it’s even better to hire people who are a good fit to begin with, Higgs says. “Whatever your values are, you want to make sure the new people you hire share those values, and that’s important both at home and abroad,” he says. A bonus is that, once you bring on good people, they often know other good people and can help you recruit.

A spirit of belonging helps promote a passion for work. People want to belong to something, which is why they buy the jersey of a favorite sports team or bumper stickers supporting a favorite cause, Higgs says. “For some reason, though, this sense of belonging rarely happens where people work,” he says. “But you can go a long way toward making people passionate about their work if you organize activities where they can get to know each other as people, not just coworkers.” In many cultures, people already like to spend time with coworkers outside of work, so for them it comes naturally.

“You really can break down the barriers that some think separate people in different parts of the world,” Higgs says. “Respect their local cultures, but invite them to belong to yours as well.”


Bill Higgs, an authority on corporate culture, is the author of the upcoming book Culture Code Champions: 7 Steps to Scale & Succeed in Your Business. He recently launched the Culture Code Champions podcast (, where he has interviewed such notable subjects as former CIA director David Petraeus. Culture Code Champions is listed as a New & Noteworthy podcast on iTunes. Higgs is also former CEO of Mustang Engineering Inc., which he and two partners started in Houston, Texas, in 1987 to design and build offshore oil platforms. Over the next 20 years, they grew the company from their initial $15,000 investment and three people to a billion-dollar company with 6,500 people worldwide; since then, it has grown to a $2 billion company with more than 12,000 people. Higgs is a distinguished 1974 graduate (top 5 percent academically) of the United States Military Academy at West Point and runner up for a Rhodes scholarship.


How To Keep Good Employees Happy And Reap The Business Benefits

While many business owners say that the first rule of a successful company is keeping customers happy, studies show that also keeping employees happy is critical to the whole process.
The better a business owner and upper management treat good employees, the more committed and engaged they will be to perform at a consistently high level and do their part to help make the business successful.
“The big key to business success is the productivity level of your employees and the culture in which they operate,” says Paul Trapp (, founding owner/CEO of EventPrep, Inc., a full-service meeting planning and management company, and co-author with Stephen Davis of Prep for Success: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Achieving Your Dreams.
“Employee happiness results directly in success and goes hand-in-hand with company culture. The primary focus of leadership in that culture should be making sure their employees are happy, safe, respected, and making a competitive wage.”
If you get it right with your employees, Trapp and Davis say, they’ll get it right with the customer.
“It’s simple, really,” says Davis, who is EventPrep’s founding owner/president/COO.
“The folks you bring on board are going to spend a significant amount of time with their work family, so why wouldn’t the people running the business want it to be a cool place to work, and why wouldn’t they want it to be the most productive place they could possible make it?”
Trapp and Davis explain the key factors that find the right employees and keep them happy and productive:
Recruiting. “You’ve got to get the right people first, the people with the qualities that make for a passionate, productive worker who contributes to a positive culture,” Davis says. “Recruiting is about connecting with people and connecting them with their passion, their purpose, and enabling them to reach their potential. Recruiting isn’t an event, but a process, and sometimes finding the right person for a particular job can take months or even years. You’re always looking, listening, assessing and asking questions — and really getting to know the person you may hire.”
Establishing a culture. “You want people to want to come to work, and to do that you want people to work in the culture you’re creating,” Trapp says. “Culture is created at the top and cascades downward. What values and ethics do you have as a business owner that can make employees passionately want to be a part of that culture?”
Investing in them. ”Investing in your people raises their performance and strengthens their commitment, but it means far more than giving them raises,” Davis says. “It’s about making them feel like a part of your family, including giving them compassion and understanding when they need it most. Employees in turn embrace that kind of culture and own it. That’s what you want — a self-perpetuating work culture where everyone feels cared for and important.”
Recognizing them. “Keeping people happy and encouraging them to want to stay isn’t magic,” Trapp says. “Just as important as recruiting the right talent, business owners and leaders need to make the culture attractive and sustainable in order to retain the right talent. Retaining is about recognizing and celebrating, showing gratitude and appreciation. Recognizing employees for exceptional work, and giving them a cash bonus or special trip, is a key element toward retaining them.”
“A happy employee who’s engaged and connected, who wants to be there every day, makes the workplace a better place and a stronger business,” Davis says.
About Paul Trapp
Paul Trapp is a founding owner/CEO of EventPrep, Inc. (, a full-service meeting planning and management company that supports 16 franchises across the U.S. He is co-author of the book Prep for Success: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Achieving Your Dreams. Trapp is a former senior military leader who served as chief of recruiting for the Army National Guard and holds over 30 years of experience in contract management, event planning, and organizing conferences, seminars, and meetings.
About Stephen Davis
Stephen Davis is a founding owner/president/COO of EventPrep, Inc., and co-author of  Prep for Success: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Achieving Your Dreams. Davis is a multi-state operations director who focuses on conference development, implementation, management, and conference design. He currently serves as a chief warrant officer and CID special agent in the Army Reserves. Davis deployed twice in support of the global war on terrorism. In 2016, Davis and Paul Trapp launched  Federal Conference, Inc., which provided professional event planning and management services to the government and commercial marketplaces. Federal Conference, Inc., twice was a two-time Inc. 500 award recipient and executes over 3,000 events annually around the world.