Breakfast of Champion Workers (And Other Overlooked Contributors to Workplace Productivity)

Like many workers today, Michael Grothaus’ morning commute is from his bed to his home office. And like many adults – those who work from home and those who have a more traditional commute – Grothaus skips breakfast and fuels his morning with a cup of coffee (or two or three). Curious whether eating a regular breakfast would improve his productivity, Grothaus committed to eating a more substantial morning meal for two weeks and tracked how he felt each day. He was skeptical going into the experiment, pointing out the tenet “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” that everyone heard from their mom was actually concocted as a lobbying effort in the early 20th century by John

You Know You Have An Excellent Employee If…

At its core, every manager’s primary responsibility is to assemble a team of strong workers, foster their growth and drive maximum productivity. But determining what makes a great employee is more complex than ever. Getting people who arrive on time and focus on the tasks at hand is good, but it’s not enough in today’s competitive business environments. Liz Ryan, CEO and founder of Human Workplace, a publishing, coaching and consulting firm, recently examined 10 qualities of outstanding employees for Forbes.com. Here are some highlights: Cross-trained – By knowing more than the procedures of their own job, outstanding employees are able to make innovative suggestions that can produce important changes. Relationship builders – Outstanding employees constantly build strong internal and

Mentoring Can Help Stop the Millennial Revolving Door

Happy Labor Day! According to Linda Stinson, a former U.S. Department of Labor historian, the first-ever Labor Day celebration occurred on Sept. 5, 1882, when 10,000 or more New York union members paraded to Wendel’s Elm Park at 92nd Street and 9th Avenue where they drank beer, picnicked and listened to speeches from union leaders. Many of the workers had to forfeit a day’s pay in order to participate. The holiday evolved over the decades, just as America’s work force has experienced significant changes. Today, there is a great deal of talk across all industries about hiring and keeping talented Millennials. The first part – hiring – is happening at a rapid pace. Analysis from Deloitte University Press shows that

An Undesired Effect of Cash Incentives

Most career sales jobs have a commission pay structure. In addition, many companies pay bonuses in attempt to motivate employees to stretch themselves and improve performance. Pay for performance is a time-honored compensation strategy, but recent research shows that people who are rewarded based on performance think differently about money than people who receive a fixed salary. The performance pay approach risks encouraging workers to focus on pay and not on the work. According to a report, commission-based workers express more desire for money than people who receive fixed salaries – even when the amounts they earn are similar. In a study by Loran Nordgren, an associate professor of management and organizations at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, participants

A Foolish Approach to Corporate Culture

Corporate culture is a common phrase in today’s workplace, but it wasn’t as fashionable in 1993, when brothers Tom and David Gardner and their friend Erik Rydholm founded The Motley Fool, an investment newsletter. One year later, at the dawn of the online age, the team inked a contract with America Online to provide personal finance content and the rest, as they say, is history. Fast forward nearly one-quarter of a century and the privately held Virginia-based company boasts some 300 employees and multiple revenue-producing divisions. The basic approach to corporate culture at the company has evolved greatly, but it is based on the same bedrock the brothers established when they hired their first few employees. “We didn’t really have

Can Every Job Be Meaningful?

With the labor pool as tight as it is across the country, there is a lot of talk about smart strategies to recruit and retain top talent. Good pay and benefits is a natural starting point; Recognition, flexible work schedules and opportunities for growth are other common denominators among companies that enjoy low turnover. “Make work meaningful,” is advice that’s often tossed out as an effective means of attracting and keeping good workers. It’s great in theory, but extremely challenging in practice. In its 2016 “State of the American Workplace” report, Gallup states that 68 percent of workers in the U.S are disengaged. The importance of creating meaningful work is indisputable. Gallup reports that companies with highly engaged workers outperform

Leadership Is Not About How It Looks

It’s often said there is no guarantee that a standout performer will make a good manager. Leading a team requires a different set of skills than being a leading producer on a team. Karen Dillon, a former editor of Harvard Business Review, says she learned this the hard way when she was promoted into a management position soon after landing a new job. Dillon says she was almost apologetic for landing the leadership role, which came at a time when her team was tackling a complex, first-time project. Wanting to impress her boss with her handling of the project, Dillon says her immediate instinct was to place everything on her shoulders. “I worked longer hours and assigned myself all the