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An ongoing series of informational entries

Corporate Culture vs. Employee’s Work-Life Balance

February 14, 2018

Ok, I bet you're asking yourself, its impossible to increase thirty hours from twenty-four. You're correct, but we can use the total day in a more effective way that benefits our teams and therefore increases shareholder value in the process. It's a WIN-WIN!

Today's work environment is very different than it was generations ago. It is not uncommon for a person to change careers an average of five or more times in his or her lifetime. Whereas, not long ago it was common for an individual to work with a single company his or her entire working life. This all stems as employees now are more willing to leave a company for better opportunities. Organizations are finally starting to realize the need to find ways not only to hire qualified employees, but also to retain them. Unfortunately, many employees currently feel they are working harder, faster, and longer hours than ever before. Job-related employee stress can lead to a lack of commitment to the corporation, poor productivity, and even separation from the company; all of which are of serious concern to management(Ciulla, 2005).

Many employees bring work home with them on a regular basis, especially now since it’s convenient. With the wide availability of cell phones, laptops, tablets, and computers, employees find it harder to get away from the office. More and more organizations are starting to realize that a happy employee is a productive employee, and they have started to look for more ways to improve the work environment. Many have implemented various work-life programs to help employees, including alternate work arrangements, onsite childcare, exercise facilities, flex time, job sharing, relaxed dress codes, and more (Johnson, 2009). Quality-of-work-life programs go beyond work/life programs by focusing attention less on employee needs outside of work and realizing that job stress and the quality of life at work is even a more direct bearing on worker satisfaction.

Nevertheless, there is still room for improvement. Throughout this article the writer will give recommendations, which could be implemented and improve employee productivity. Open communications, mentoring programs, and fostering more amicable relationships among employees are some of the ways organizations can improve the quality of work life. The world is rapidly evolving and becoming more competitive and in order to continually be a leader in the marketplace in all facets and sustain high employee satisfaction, leaders must continually revamp work conditions, ethics, and standards to reflect the changing times. The technological advancement of the world today affects each employee differently and the convenience of portable devices makes employees accessible even after work hours. Due to this change, it is vital to ensure that there is a separation of home life and work life since they so easily mesh together.

There has to be an even balance between the two in order to effectively show appreciation and concern for employees since the idea and threat of unceasing work is rapidly plaguing the once standard 9am -5pm workday due to technological advancements.With the rapid change in the nature of work and technology, organizations desire to improve productivity and morale are higher than ever (Marcus, 1996). Some of the key attributes to this particular characteristic are caring about each other inside and outside of work, investing in their people and reward performance, helping employees grow with the business, valuing diversity in thought, background, and experience, and lastly encourage community service (Hunt, Osborn, Schermerhorn, Uhl-Bien, 2010).In recent years, many forward-thinking corporations such as Google, Netflix, and Virgin have experimented with a variety of work-related innovations. The more common approaches are production- based compensation plan, flextime, telecommuting, compressed workweek, contracted employment, and job sharing. Many organizations have great success with certain programs, while other may abandoned the idea because it is not meeting the need of the organization. Senior leadership must deliver new innovative products and services to their customers for the purposes of gaining additional market share and thus a stress on personal time and family life. Improving the quality of work life is paramount and thus fundamentally significant to all employees.

Senior leadership should encouraged cooperation within organizations between leadership and employees for the purpose of improved work quality. Two common approaches in work quality are flextime and telecommuting. Flextime allows workers to begin their normal workday at whatever time they wish, often within a predetermined window. Flextime eliminates the 9-5-work routine each day, but flextime has its benefits and disadvantages just like any other innovative idea. The benefits of flextime reduce stress that some employees endure in their commute to work through rush hour traffic, it also reduces tardiness, absences do doctor appointments, and childcare issues that an employee may have (Bass, Steidlmeier, 1998). A disadvantage to flextime is that it can require more elaborate record keeping, which can increase administrative cost. Telecommuting employees are allowed to work at home or at another location away from the company and can be a very beneficial tool when communicating between time zones. Telecommuting took off in the 1990’s when businesses where booming. With business on the rise, there were more workers than office space and thus practical. Telecommuting offer great benefits to employer and employees; it can help resolve problems associated with occasional parent-teacher meetings or after school, when there is a tight time schedule to meet and an added personal stressor. Employees with small children can pick up theirs kids from the caregiver or pre-school with encountering additional fees for late pick-ups and there is no micromanaging of their time.

Some disadvantages with telecommuting are less interaction with the co-workers and face time with leadership, however; employees learn self-discipline, and the ability to work without direct supervision (Bass, Steidlmeier, 1998). Another method in European companies are shorter work weeks.

Shorter work week’s increases productivity, higher moral, less absenteeism, enhanced recruiting, lower cost for the employee, and possible reduction in the need for overtime. Disadvantages are employee fatigue for working parents, possible child-care problems, and concerns that the 4/40 approach will lead to employee and union demands for a 4/32 which increasing the cost of operations, and concern that employees are likely to socialize more on the job because the workday is longer (Trevino, Brown, Hartman, 2009).

Each innovative idea helps productivity and morale, which leads to job satisfaction for employees. These aforementioned opportunities for employees help establish Job satisfaction. Job satisfaction has three components according to “The Human Side of Organization”and they are Internal, External, and Individual satisfaction factors. The components of internal job satisfactions are the work, job variety, task specialization, and autonomy, goal determination, feedback, and recognition. It is possible and likely that an employee may not have all components; however, they may have some such as autonomy and task specialization (Trevino, Brown, Hartman, 2009).

An employee that is self-manage and self-motivated to perform his or her job extremely well may embrace autonomy and task specialization. Autonomy allows for an employee or team player to work separate while having an impact to the success of the team of corporation (Trevino, Brown, Hartman, 2009). Task specialization goes hand in hand with autonomy because one of the benefits to task specialization is the ability to have a duty that is unique to you and you alone to complete for the sole benefit of moving the team or organization forward. Organizational culture stands out, primarily because a company’s culture has a major impact to the type of person that would perform well or not perform well.

In today’s work environment a person must have a quality work life and the benefit of job satisfaction in order to continue to get up every morning to perform their duties to the best of their ability and feel good doing it. We spend the majority of our lives at work. The lest we could have is a pleasant time doing while working. As Vince Lombardi was quoted saying, “The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor”

The Art of Negotiating

July 18, 2018

  Know your prospect:

Find out as much as you possibly can about your prospect before your appointment. This will not only help you anticipate their needs ahead of time, but will also show them you've done your homework and have an interest in their business other than just selling your product. When talking with them, let them do most of the talking. People usually love talking about their businesses and its successes. For example, you might bring up the fact that you saw they won an award at a regional meeting then let them proceed to fill you in on the details. You might also compliment them on the efficiency of their production system or the quality of their products. This will also open the door to more conversation and the opportunity to learn more about their needs and how your product will fit those needs.

· Focus on why they should buy - not their objections:

The idea here is that while you are building up the benefits associated with using your product, they will be minimizing their resistance to it. By focusing on what you know the prospect likes, you are building up the importance of the positive and reducing the importance of the negatives.

· Sell the benefits - not the product:

You've heard this one before, but it is worth repeating. In most cases, you're not selling your product, you're selling the benefits the product will produce. In other words, you're not selling digital phones, you're selling the ability to communicate from anywhere. You are selling freedom to leave the confines of the office and still be accessible. You're selling the ability to have a more flexible work schedule. You're selling peace of mind for long trips. You're selling security. Get to the emotional or financial benefits and you're on to something!

· Never rush the sale or the customer:

Remember the section about building a relationship with your customers? This is a very important step. It can help give the prospect the right perception of you and your company. Rushing them instead of letting them come to their own decision to buy can create hostilities that can't be overturned. It can make the difference between getting the sale and creating a loyal customer, and having to start over with another prospect. In the competitive climate of many markets, you definitely don't want to risk losing a qualified prospect who you know needs your product.

· Know your products, as well as the market - be a RESOURCE: (if its a new product, learn quickly. Become a student.) Hard Work - Beats Talent & Experience

In order to be seen as a valuable resource for your clients, you have to demonstrate that you not only know and understand your products and the market, but can assist them in making good decisions and provide them with tools to improve their business. If you don't have these skills and knowledge, get them. You'll be rewarded over and over by loyal clients who trust your opinions and advice, and buy from you frequently.

· Follow through with promises: (This goes a long way)

If you do nothing else, do this. Always follow through with what you say you are going to do. If you say you'll send a quote by Friday - DO IT! If you say you'll check with someone else in your company about an issue that's come up - DO IT! Don't forget. Use the technology available to you (even if it's a sticky note on your dash board!) and make sure you follow through with your promises. There is no surer way to lose the faith of a prospect (or existing client) than to forget to do something you tell them you will do. If something comes up that forces you to have to delay, call them and give them a heads up. They may have a meeting arranged to present the information you're supplying them with, and if they don't have it you'll both look bad.

· Focus on your client's success:

Not to beat a dead horse, but there is tremendousvalue in being a resource for your client. If you can help them to succeed then they are more likely to help you succeed. Be a coach for your clients (at least in your areas of expertise). You have the unique perspective of seeing how many different businesses operate. Gather this knowledge and share it with your clients or prospects. Make sure they understand that you want to see them succeed, not just sell your products.

· Use explanations rather than excuses:

If you do have to explain to a customer why there is a problem with their order, their repair, their service, etc. Explain why the problem is there in the first place, rather than using an excuse. For example, if you provide health care services and you're having difficulty meeting the scheduling needs of the customer, you might it explain it like this, "With this being a particularly bad allergy season we have had more emergency calls due to asthma (or whatever the case may be) and these patients can't wait for a scheduled appointment. Our staff is behind schedule, but we are addressing the problem now by bringing in temporary help for these critical need times. So we should be able to schedule your service on 'x' date." Understanding the problem may help alleviate some of their frustration. Verbalizing the cause may also keep you more aware of the potential problems so you can be more prepared the next time around.

I've lived my entire career this way. It doesn't matter what I sold. I refused to lose or be out work.