Please to announce part of the USA TODAY Roundtable

January 11th, 2018 → 7:53 pm @ // No Comments

Please to announce part of the USA TODAY Roundtable

I am officially part of the USAToday’s Roundtable of talentUSA Roundtable

Source: Jan Makela Website Feed

Employee Engagement

The No. 1 Employee Benefit That No One’s Talking About

January 5th, 2018 → 9:55 pm @ // No Comments

The No. 1 Employee Benefit That No One’s Talking About

People leave managers, not companies.

You’ve heard it before.

One in two employees have left a job to get away from a manager and improve their overall life at some point in their career, according to Gallup’s State of the American Manager report.

Bad managers are abundant, and they leave an impression — that’s what makes movies like Office Space so funny. Almost everyone can relate to the sense of dread about coming to work when a manager makes an otherwise good job feel like a dead end.

But the effects of bad management reach farther than just engagement — they can actually undermine your company’s efforts to help employees improve their health.

From the State of the American Manager report,

“Having a bad manager is often a one-two punch: Employees feel miserable while at work, and that misery follows them home, compounding their stress and putting their well-being in peril.”

Your company likely makes a significant investment in benefits programs aimed at employee retention and lowered healthcare costs.

According to Mercer’s National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans, the average health benefit cost per employee has increased by over 16% in just the last five years.

Companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars in this area, but the actions of a poor manager negate the positive effects of your company’s benefits programs.

When employee health suffers, your company suffers.

Unhappy, unhealthy employees affect:

  • Absenteeism
  • Performance
  • Customer ratings
  • Quality
  • Profit

Your company would never promote smoking or other bad practices that are scientifically linked to health problems — you’d be undermining all of your efforts to improve employee health and well-being.

It’s time to think of management the same way — a bad manager is damaging to your employees’ health and, as a result, to your company’s bottom line.

The good news is, this finding works both ways. According to the State of the American Manager report,

“Managers account for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores.”

Just as a bad manager can ruin a good job, a great manager can make a good job even better.

So if people leave good jobs because of bad managers, why don’t they seek out jobs that offer great managers?

Probably because they don’t know where the great managers work.

Most companies don’t currently think about great managers as a benefit or publicize that benefit to prospective employees.

It’s a huge missed opportunity.

To attract the best employee talent, every company should publicize great managers as part of their employee value proposition (EVP).

And to keep the star people you’ve worked so hard to find and hire, you need to deliver on the promise of great management.

You should select for specific managerial talents when hiring managers and offer training and development for managers throughout their careers.

Effective people management could be the most difficult aspect of sustaining a thriving enterprise.

Companies need to devote more attention to promoting and developing good managers, and then start letting the world know they have these good managers.

Here’s Gallup’s advice for building a healthy and thriving organization, starting with your managers.

1. Understand the characteristics of a great manager.

Gallup’s research reveals that about one in 10 people possess high talent to manage.

That 10%, when put in managerial roles, has a strong natural ability to:

  • Put the right people in the right roles
  • Create a culture of clear accountability
  • Engage employees with a compelling vision
  • Motivate every employee individually
  • Coach and develop their people by focusing on their strengths
  • Make decisions based on productivity, not politics
  • Build trust and dialogue with their people about both work and life outside of work

According to the State of the American Manager report,

“18% of those currently in management roles demonstrate a high level of talent for managing others, while another 20% show a basic talent for it. Combined, they contribute about 48% higher profit to their companies than average managers do.”

2. Select and promote managers for the right reasons.

The two things that usually earn a promotion to management have nothing to do with great management ability: tenure and mastery of a previous, non-managerial role.

Top Two Reasons People Become Managers

Effective people management requires a talent set of its own, and someone who shined in a previous role may not transition seamlessly to a managerial role.

From the State of the American Manager report:

“Gallup finds that companies fail to choose the [managerial] candidate with the right talent for the job 82% of the time.”

Hiring great managers takes a rigorous, validated process.

Management is a talent just like any other job skill, and it requires a significant amount of soft skills such as relationship-building that often go overlooked.

While development can be effective, the most effective method for getting great managers is rigor and accountability when finding, hiring and promoting people with natural management abilities.

These great managers can come from inside your organization or outside, and they may often be hiding in plain sight in another role.

Gallup has studied, tested and defined the best method for selecting people with natural managerial talents. Use our tools to place the right people in management roles and see major improvements all across your business — most significantly, in employee health.

3. Talk about great managers as your company’s No. 1 benefit.

There are many more poor managers than great managers, so this benefit is rare and differentiates your organization from the rest.

Now that you know the breadth of influence managers have on your company — and how to find and hire talented ones — it’s time to sing their praises.

Publicize your great managers on hiring websites as a major part of your EVP, and make sure prospective employees know the benefit a truly talented manager can bring to their work and life.

Remember — half of all people searching for a new job left a job because of a bad manager.

All other things being equal, when an individual is considering two companies in their job search, they’ll choose the company with better managers.

The effect of a great manager is the gift that keeps on giving.

Happy, healthy employees mean a better culture and a more productive, profitable company. They love their jobs and spread the word — setting you up to hire and keep more top talent.

Learn more about how Gallup can help your organization attract, hire and retain great managers:

Jane Smith contributed to the writing of this article.

Source: Jan Makela Website Feed

Employee Engagement

Are you prepared?

January 3rd, 2018 → 8:19 pm @ // No Comments

Are you prepared?

I was asked to write a response to the question for Forbes Magazine Coaches Council which was “What advice would I give to someone who wants to leave their job to start a new business. Here is the response

I am a SCORE mentor and council people every month who want to start their own business. Most are not prepared. They have a dream based on what they may love to do, but can they make a living doing what they love? Most if not all people underestimate the time it takes even with a rock solid business plan to get up and going. I ask if you step away from your current job can you go at least 18 months with no income? Not one of my clients has started a business from idea to fully functioning in under 18 months. Where is the capital going to come from? Banks are probably not going to loan you money without a rock solid plan and assets to pledge against the loan. Getting money from friends, family or using social media networks like Kickstarter may prove more beneficial.

Source: Jan Makela Website Feed

Employee Engagement

Five Pillars to Success as a Manager

January 2nd, 2018 → 10:27 pm @ // No Comments

Five Pillars to Success as a Manager

Source: Jan Makela Website Feed

Employee Engagement

Myers- Briggs and companies using it.

December 26th, 2017 → 3:47 pm @ // No Comments

Myers- Briggs and companies using it.

Today, I’m an INFP. Last year, I was an INTJ. Years before, I scored ENTJ and ENFP. For the one test I paid for, I scored an ISTP. The Myers-Briggs Personality-Type Indicator (a name that flows off the tongue) is probably the most famous personality test there is. I suppose that’s understandable. People love these […]

via The Cult of Myers-Briggs Personality — Philosophy Redux

Source: Jan Makela Website Feed

Employee Engagement

Getting employee engagement right

December 22nd, 2017 → 3:38 pm @ // No Comments

Getting employee engagement right

From Gallup’s insights

According to our recent State of the Global Workplace report, 85% of employees are not engaged or actively disengaged at work. The economic consequences of this global “norm” are approximately $7 trillion in lost productivity. Eighteen percent are actively disengaged in their work and workplace, while 67% are “not engaged.” This latter group makes up the majority of the workforce — they are not your worst performers, but they are indifferent to your organization. They give you their time, but not their best effort nor their best ideas. They likely come to work wanting to make a difference — but nobody has ever asked them to use their strengths to make the organization better.

In a nutshell, this global engagement pattern provides evidence that how performance is managed, and specifically how people are being developed, is misfiring. Most of modern business relies on annual reviews to provide feedback and evaluate performance. And yet the new workforce is looking for things like purpose, opportunities to develop, ongoing conversations, a coach rather than a boss, and a manager who leverages their strengths rather than obsessing over their weaknesses. They see work and life as interconnected, and they want their job to be a part of their identity.

While this may sound like a tall order, the roadmap to better management is clear. Here are three steps organizations can take immediately to boost engagement:

  1. Audit your current performance management system. Dissect which parts support setting clear expectations, making it easy to be an ongoing coach, and holding people accountable in a fair and accurate manner. There are undoubtedly pieces of your current system that align with modern performance development and others that work against allowing productive ongoing conversations to take place.
  2. Train your managers to have effective performance development conversations. There are five conversations your managers need to become experts on, from onboarding to check-ins to semi-annual progress reviews.
  3. Build a scientific system to make the right decisions about who becomes a managerand who can naturally deal with the idiosyncrasies that come with managing people. Some individuals are more naturally gifted to manage people toward high performance than others.

Performance reviews are still important. However, they become much more useful to the employee and organization if reviews follow ongoing conversations where expectations can be reprioritized in real time so that development can happen throughout the year. The review meeting, then, is not a surprise, but rather becomes a discussion about the future.

When we get performance management right, engagement will naturally rise. And the potential impact on the bottom line is significant. When compared with business units in the bottom quartile of Gallup’s database, those in the top quartile of engagement realize 10% higher customer metrics, 17% higher productivity, 20% higher sales and 21% higher profitability. Organizations at the top achieve earnings per share growth that is more than four times that of their competitors.

Clearly, the health of the world’s organizations depends on getting employee engagement right — and that begins with fixing the problems within our performance management systems.

Jim Harter, Ph.D., is Chief Scientist, Workplace Management and Well-Being for Gallup’s workplace management practice. He is coauthor of the New York Times bestsellers 12: The Elements of GreatManaging and Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements.

Source: Jan Makela Website Feed

Employee Engagement

Proud to be recognized by George Washington U. for my Quill Award

December 9th, 2017 → 5:22 pm @ // No Comments

Proud to be recognized by George Washington U. for my Quill Award

Proud to be recognized in the upcoming Alumni Magazine for my Quill award by the National Association of Experts, Writers, and Speakers ‘Thought Leaders Summit



Source: Jan Makela Website Feed

Employee Engagement

Why Colleges Should Make Internships a Requirement

December 4th, 2017 → 2:15 pm @ // No Comments

Why Colleges Should Make Internships a Requirement

The top reason students, parents and the public value higher education is to get a good job.

Yet, among bachelor degree graduates from 2002-2016, only 27% had a good job waiting for them upon graduation. It took one year or more for 16% to find a good job, and seven to 12 months for another 6%. Twenty-two percent indicated they were not seeking employment upon graduation, primarily because of graduate school.

This means that more than one in five (22%) graduates who were seeking employment took seven months or longer to find a good job. No college president or trustee could possibly take comfort in these numbers.

If higher education were a constituent-responsive industry, it would take this information very seriously and rigorously measure whether graduates land in a good job — or not. And accreditors — the organizations responsible for quality assessments in higher education — would include this kind of criteria prominently in their process.

But the truth is, higher education institutions and accreditors are out of sync with what the public and students want most from a college degree. And nothing will improve this more than this one step: Making an internship — where students can apply what they are learning in a real-world work situation — a requirement to graduate.

The Benefits of Internships

Here’s why: Recent graduates (those who graduated from 2002-2016) who had a relevant job or internship while in school were more than twice as likely to acquire a good job immediately after graduation. More than four in 10 of these graduates (42%) who strongly agree they had a relevant job or internship as an undergraduate had a good job waiting for them upon graduation, compared with just 20% of those who did not strongly agree.

On the other end of the spectrum, having a job or internship cuts graduates’ odds of taking a year or more to find a good job in half. Only 8% of those who strongly agree that they had a relevant job or internship took a year or more to find a good job, while 21% of those who did not have an internship took a year or more to land a good job.

What’s even more encouraging is that relevant internships and jobs during college lifts the tide for all boats. Sure, meaningful work experiences are most helpful to those in engineering fields — 67% who strongly agree they had a relevant job/internship had a good job after graduation. Yet students in social sciences, hard sciences and business who had a relevant job or internship are also substantially more likely to have had a good job waiting for them after graduation. Even arts and humanities majors who had these types of relevant work experiences in college are more than twice as likely to have had a good job upon graduation.


Acquiring a good job immediately after graduation, however, is just one of several benefits associated with students having meaningful jobs and internships as part of their college experience.

Students with these meaningful work experiences are not only finding good jobs quickly, they are also finding them in fields related to their undergraduate studies. Across all majors, students who strongly agreed that they had a job or internship where they could apply what they were learning in the classroom are significantly more likely to be in jobs that are completely related to their undergraduate studies.


Why Should Colleges and Universities Care?

Relevant internships in college can lead to relevant jobs after graduation. Why should this matter to colleges and universities? Because graduates with work-integrated learning during college are more likely to value their degree after college.

Among these recent graduates, 47% of those who are in jobs completely related to their undergraduate studies strongly agree that their education was worth the cost. Meanwhile, only about a third (36%) of graduates in jobs where their work is somewhat related to their college studies — and only 29% of those in jobs where work is not at all related to their undergraduate studies — strongly agree their education was worth the cost. And those who strongly agree their education was worth the cost are also twice as likely to have donated to their alma mater in the last 12 months.

By emphasizing — or even requiring — relevant jobs and internships as part of the undergraduate experience, colleges and universities set their graduates up to acquire good jobs after graduation in fields where their work is directly relevant to their undergraduate studies. And, as a result, these students recognize the value of their investment in their degree.

Brandon Busteed is Executive Director for Education and Workforce Development at Gallup.
Zac Auter is a Consulting Analyst at Gallup.

Source: Jan Makela Website Feed

Employee Engagement

Misconceptions about employee engagement

November 24th, 2017 → 8:15 pm @ // No Comments

Misconceptions about employee engagement

Notes from a Marcus Buckingham interview

There are a couple of misconceptions about employee engagement. One, that engagement is something the employer can fix. In the end, it isn’t. It varies massively by a manager – a company can create the conditions in which the manager can engage. But it is really the manager- you get engaged with a manager, you don’t get engaged with a company.

Three questions drive 95% of the variance of every other engagement question you ask. “Do I know what is expected of me at work? Do I have the chance to do what I do best every day? Are my co-workers committed to quality work?” Three consistent drivers of engagement. What it really means that an employee is saying to one self in any company, “Focus me, know me, and surround me with like-valued people and I will be engaged.

Source: Jan Makela Website Feed

Employee Engagement

From the Chief Learning Officer of SAP and the secret sauce

November 20th, 2017 → 1:54 pm @ // No Comments

From the Chief Learning Officer of SAP and the secret sauce

I asked Jenny Dearborn, SVP and Chief Learning Officer of SAP, to talk about her secret sauce* – the principles and practices that guide her leadership.

“It’s my deepest responsibility to give purpose, meaning, and joy to the people I lead.”


Jenny said, “The very first thing I think of is purpose. Understand who you are in the world. Know why you exist.”

“My purpose is to serve the greater good.”
“I always had this sense that there was something big and grand that I was part of… I remember my grandmother saying, ‘You’re here to do great things. Don’t waste your talent.’”

“I think about my grandmother every day. The older she got, the happier and more optimistic she became.”

“I try to very purposefully make sure that every day is more open and transparent and positive than the day before.”

Listen to Jenny talk about her grandmother:


Have you always been optimistic?


Jenny said that her home life was wonderful, but school was misery. She barely graduated from high school. “I was told that I was stupid and worthless and retarded.”

Jenny didn’t find out that she had several severe learning disabilities until she was 18 years old.

Jenny said that she became angry and bitter at the system that had oppressed her. “It took probably 10 years to come back to equilibrium.”

“I became a very angry person. A raw nerve all the time. All those wasted years being overlooked.”

Jenny gradually climbed out of bitterness and anger. One tipping point came with motherhood at the age of 27. It felt like a fresh start.

“I wanted to be a person who gave joy to other people.”
Jenny talking about overcoming anger and bitterness:



“It was healing to me to be good to other people.”
Jenny realized that leadership is not just about getting a project done. “You have such incredible influence over other people’s lives. You can make someone’s life joyful or miserable.”

If you have a crappy boss, it affects families and communities.

What’s the difference between pessimistic and optimistic leaders?

Pessimistic leaders:

Lead by fear.
Overpower others.
Need to be the smartest person in the room.
Pessimistic leaders are on a power trip. They serve for the wrong reason.
If I saw you being optimistic, what would I see?

“Optimism doesn’t mean smoke and mirrors.”
Optimistic leaders:

Connect. Have skip-level meetings. (Skip-level meetings bypass the manager and talk to their direct reports.)
Stay grounded in realities while working to make the world better.
Consider the the fears people feel.
Avoid hyperbole. Get right to solutions. “Let’s look at reality and figure out the best way to move forward.”
Look at problems and concerns head on.
Create clarity on how we are going to address issues, problems, and concerns.
“Optimism is not putting a sugarcoat on something.” Optimistic leaders dare to ask, “How do we understand the facts and realities?”

From pessimism to optimism:

It seemed to me that Jenny looked at the dark and chose the light. She said, “I could choose to wallow in anger and bitterness for years of mistreatment or I could ask, How can these experiences be used to help other people?”

Use purpose as the channel to address pessimism.
Reflect on what you are trying to accomplish. Ask, “What is the best way to collect all the energy of everyone involved to achieve the goal? What are you doing that either hinders or accomplishes that goal?”

Jenny suggests that pessimists could, “Engage in self-discovery to recognize the role they have in creating a negative environment.”

From theory to practice:

Declare purpose.
Set purpose-driven goals.
Develop strategies to achieve goals.
What resources and people enable execution?

Source: Jan Makela Website Feed

Employee Engagement