Posts Tagged ‘Creativity’

4 Reasons Why You Should Take Your Vacation Days

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

I hope everyone enjoyed a relaxing and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend—free from work and even email! Taking vacation is underutilized by many employees, and the reasons why vary. Some workers believe that they must always be in work mode to get a promotion or even keep their jobs. Others plan poorly and realize at the end of the year that they didn’t take enough vacation and that their allotted days have expired.

Forgoing your vacation days isn’t advantageous. Taking time to unplug from work is helpful for both employees and employers because several benefits emerge from taking regular time off. Here are some of the top reasons why you should use your vacation days and encourage your staff to do the same:

Maintain Health

    • Leaving the office for several days reenergizes your mind and body. Worry and tension is released when you’re not focused on your responsibilities at the office, allowing you to sleep better, concentrate longer and be happier. Studies reveal that vacations can also reduce feelings of depression.

Prevent Stress

    • Always pushing yourself and working past your limits without breaks causes stress. The high-anxiety atmosphere you create for yourself will ultimately catch up with you, whether the result is business failure or poor health. Take your vacation throughout the year to decrease workplace stress and keep it at a manageable level.

Inspire Creativity

    • Vacations are great for inspiring creativity because your brain isn’t focused on the long list of tasks and projects you left at the office. Time off allows your brain to recharge from your busy workweek. A good recharge is especially beneficial to employees who have positions requiring creative and innovative thinking

Improve Job Performance

    • Taking your vacation time helps you return to the office fresh and motivated to take on your goals and workplace challenges. With your stress levels down and your brain fully charged, your productivity and job satisfaction will increase. Additionally, you will have a more positive outlook, which will help you nurture and maintain better relationships with your coworkers.

Cut the number of long days you spend at the office and raise your number of requests for time off this year. For any questions regarding vacation time and its many benefits, please call CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Nicolas Mamberti

Jeff Tobe Shares Insights on Engagement, Creativity and Business Success

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

CAI’s HR Management Conference will feature Jeff Tobe as a keynote speaker on February 22 at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh. Dubbed the “Guru of Creatively Thriving from Change” by Insider Magazine, Jeff is a nationally-known speaker who helps his participants embrace change and thrive from it. His presentation for next month’s conference addresses how creativity can engage employees. I had the opportunity to speak with Jeff on this topic, and he offered me inventive but practical advice for employers.

Recent research shows that 72 percent of the American Workforce is not engaged. Jeff says this figure is scary but can also provide great opportunities for organizations to increase their bottom line. An engaged employee affects business results more positively than a disengaged one.

“It’s management’s fault that people are floundering, and it’s management’s fault that people aren’t engaged,” Jeff says.

He explains that more employees are valuing their time and life outside of work, and many companies have management that does not understand their employees’ needs and the factors that drive their engagement. Jeff stresses that companies cannot motivate their employees, but they can create an environment in which employees are  motivated to perform well. According to Jeff, managers must understand their internal customers, including their employees, to create a motivating environment:

“I have to know my internal customer better than I have before, and then I have to ask the right kinds of questions to find out what truly motivates them, so I can work with them in a way in which they need to be worked with.”

Managers who cannot adapt their style to effectively engage their employees will see their company struggle to retain top talent and achieve success. Jeff offers his audience members a number of approaches to combat low employee engagement. Here are a few that can help your company increase its bottom line:

Use Creativity as an Influencer

Jeff views creativity in two parts—there is the “create” and there is the “ivity.” He says the create part is easy, but ivity requires risk. Jeff encourages organizations to look at things from their employees, customers and vendors’ perspectives, and then ask, “How do we shatter the stereotype of the experience people expect to have with us?”

Jeff warns that people need to use accountability when creating. He wants management to encourage new ideas and risk taking, but he says there has to be reasons for asking employees to explore creative pursuits. Time, energy and resources can be wasted when accountability and strategy are not present.

Review Your Current Company Processes

An in-depth review of your company’s current processes can reveal factors that may increase engagement and yield strong business results. There are three parts to the in-depth review process management should perform, according to Jeff. The first is identifying the processes that are unnecessary. Tired industry standards and tasks that do not offer the company benefits are examples of items that you can eliminate. Next, Jeff wants you to review processes that are working, and look at ways you can expand on them to produce greater results. The third step asks you to invent new processes. Are there immediate changes you can make to improve your workflow or are there projects you can create to increase your employee morale?

Jeff says it takes some weight off an organization’s shoulders when it realizes there are processes that it can remove or improve upon to achieve success.

Practice Communicating Effectively

“Stop being the giver of information. Start being the seeker,” Jeff says regarding employers who practice poor workplace communication.

Jeff says that communication is not about oral or listening skills, but it is about truly listening between the lines and being empathetic. He says that most people are good communicators but not empathetic communicators; they do not truly listen to the opinions and frustrations of their workforce. Jeff sees more organizations fail because of poor communications than any other cause.

For more approaches on improving your company’s engagement level and to see Jeff’s presentation, register for CAI’s 2012 HR Management Conference here: