According to CCH, Inc. – an HR research firm, the Unscheduled Absence Survey found the number of employees missing work for personal reasons has increased to 21% from 11% last year. Of the 333 human resources executives surveyed, personal illness was cited 33%, with 67% absent due to personal reasons resulting in a cost of $789 million.
The study found that an increase in morale significantly lowers the number of absentees. Organizations with good overall morale has a 1.9% absentee rate while others averaged 2.4%. The more options employees have, the better the morale and the lower the absentee rate. Two of the major things to do this are provide more flexible time off and offer more work/life programs such as childcare, working from home or compressed work weeks.
The top four most cited incentives to keep workers working for you according to a survey of 352 employers by the American Management Association:
- Sending employees to conferences and training
- Tuition reimbursement
- Skills training
- Pay for performance
A “new” way to recognize employees: ask them to participate in an important project they might not otherwise work on. Using involvement to reward workers tells them that you value their performance and it provides you with a pool of creative thinkers.
Beat the turnover odds: in the fast food industry with turnover rates close to 100%, one owner explains his staff longevity of 8-10 years at a Chick-Fil-A is due to his treating them like customers and greeting them daily, talking to them throughout the day, and saying good-bye when they leave. Talking to them -what a concept!
When the economic times are tough – it’s time to energize employees and make sure you hold on to your top talent. Here are some hints to keep them around:
* Celebrate all the victories, no matter how small
* Look for other incentives besides money – ask them
* Consider changing some work hours – be flexible
* Take more time for personal connections at work
* Don’t focus on the negatives, keep the talk positive
* If business is slow – take the time to do foundational things and create new programs or write personal
notes to staff thanking them for their work – do the things that you normally wouldn’t have time to do
* Keep networking in your industry – invite a colleague
* Create a terrific atmosphere in the break room or the bathrooms to make people feel as if they matter – take care of your team by taking care of their space
At the dentist recently, I discovered that my dental hygienist hasn’t taken a vacation in 30 years. I nearly fell out of the dentist chair on the spot when I heard the sad news. The first words out of my mouth were not diplomatic, “What the hell is that about?” I was so incredulous, I lost all sense of decorum and social graces in that moment of shock. I really count not relate on any level to that statement of not taking time for yourself in 30 years. I guess I’ve been very, very fortunate to not relate to something out of my realm of understanding. If you’re going to be a good role model for your kids or your work team, or a good leader of any type of group, you need to be inspired. What are you doing to invite awe and inspiration into your life to keep you going and keep you interested and keep you interesting?
I live for exploration, discovery, learning new things, seeing new sights and being awe-inspired every chance I get. I seek out beauty and inspiration, and surround myself with what I love as often as I can in daily life to keep the happy factor pumped up. Taking inspirational vacations is one of my favorite past times. These can be mini weekend get-aways, an overnight in a cool place, an afternoon at a local haunt, a multi-week extravaganza, or a multi-month sabbatical. I just don’t understand people who lose vacation days each year because they never took time off. This is your time, you’ve earned it. You deserve to refresh, recharge and get inspired by adding a little awe into your life.
I recently returned from a holiday Caribbean cruise and though I’ve done many, many cruises; this one held some awesome and inspirational experiences for me. Kayaking has been part of my life for a few decades and I wanted to try something I’d never done. We went kayaking at night in a bioluminescent bay that glows with movement from the organisms similar to fire flies. There are over a million organisms per gallon and they each glow only once per night when they sense motion. So off we paddled through the bay into a canopy of mangrove trees that was so narrow and so dark, you could only see the glow sticks on the kayak in front of you, the glow of the water off your paddle and from the bottom of the kayak and the glow of schools of fish you paddled through or if they jumped. It was a very eery feeling to paddle by feel instead of sight. A new and awe inspiring experience. Only when the guide turned on his head lamp could you see the tree roots hanging down from the branches, the iguanas hanging from the branches and the crabs scurrying across the roots. The tunnel of mangrove branches opened in to a lagoon a few hundred acres in size and we free paddled around and played in the water. It looked like glowing glitter as it slid down your arm. It was such a natural treat, nothing like it. We were giggly, gleeful, amazed, and agog with wonder of this ecological experience.
Coming back to the ship, I experienced a couple other types of awe and inspiration. One was the after-dinner entertainment, which is usually quite cheesy. These guys had won America’s Got Talent national talent show and now had an act in Las Vegas – Recycled Percussion. They gave everybody in the audience drum sticks and things to bang on and they put on such a highly –charged show, there wasn’t a face in the place that didn’t have a smile. They also gave out ear plugs for the faint of heart. By the end of the show everybody was boogying to the rock and roll they remembered. It was awesome. The inspiration continued as we danced our way to the after party show with the BB King Blues Club All-Star Band. The best band I had heard in countless years. They had the ship rockin’. We enjoyed them so much, it was a nightly pilgrimage to wherever they were playing and I carried home a CD so I can recapture the inspirational sounds of the classic, funky blues music.
So it turns out that experiencing awe and inspiration can come in many forms. I just Skyped with a friend in Germany who visited a surprise Monet exhibit never before shown to the world in a mansion outside of Paris. Hearing about it and experiencing it through her was vicariously inspiring. Make your list for the year – what do you want to do to invite awe and inspiration? Add these things to your Hot 100 List – you know the list I’ve been writing about for years. Your annual exercise to write down 100 things you want to have, do or be. Next on my list of awe and inspiration is experiencing the aurora borealis in Iceland and seeing Machu Picchu. What’s next for you?
Are you inspired by your work? Are you inspired by how you serve your clients? If not, why not? Inspiration is different than motivation. Both come from within with the energy and feeling of spirit inside. Inspiration spreads outward, so if your work isn’t inspiring to you, there’s no way others would pay to work with you or want to be around you. If you don’t give a hoot, then neither do your clients or colleagues. You’re just marking time and time is our life energy. So you’re just wasting your life if you’re not doing something that inspires you towards a greater good.
I hear from so many clients that they’re not liking their work, but don’t know what’s wrong. I would ask that you compartmentalize your work into segments dealing with who you’re serving, how you’re serving them, who you may be working for (your boss, organization, yourself), what you’re serving, what the big picture and outcome is of your product or service.
Sometimes pinpointing that you love your mission, but don’t like the distribution channel, or you love the actual work, but not the person you’re working for or the location, or the population you’re serving. If you can figure out how to take the good parts of what you do, the inspirational parts and separate them out from what is not inspiring; you’re on the right track.
When you’re feeling inspired, it will resonate with others. Those feelings set off vibrations in others that compel them to work with you or repel them from being around you. They may not know it, but it’s just an uneasy feeling.
Your clients feel inspired by you when you help them feel successful and fabulous about themselves, their work or their organization. You light them up. When they feel inspired, it activates possibilities and transformation in their lives. If they feel uninspired, they do nothing to uplevel their business or their lives.
Create your work to first inspire you, then it will inspire others. Power and passion resonate from inspirational people. Mediocrity and busy work resonate from uninspired workers. What are you doing to inspire yourself, inspire your team, inspire your clients?