What people are looking for in a post-pandemic work environment and company culture?

With the great resignation in full swing and many companies opening offices for in-person work, employees are reevaluating what work means to them. The pandemic has created a giant disruption in everyday life and work on a global level. It has changed so many cultural and work-life rules that savvy executives are crafting their own way forward. This is a challenging time for businesses looking to retain and attract talent. In my experience coaching executives throughout the pandemic and helping people pivot during the great resignation, I have learned a few valuable insights that I would like to share with you.

Once compensation needs are met, people are motivated to stay in a role when they feel a sense of belonging, shared values and a pathway for growth.

As a huge fan of the mid-2000’s drama series Mad Men, I often quote my favorite character Don Draper.  Draper was an advertising executive who often used ideas from his direct reports without giving them credit. In one episode, Draper wins a prestigious award for a print ad campaign that featured copy written by his junior colleague Peggy.  Peggy is astonished that Draper gives no mention of her work at the award ceremony and storms into his office, upset by the lack of recognition. Draper utters these words, “that’s what the money’s for.” In essence, he is saying shut up and do your job! I believe that these days are hopefully behind us and that as managers we have a responsibility to honor and give credit to rising stars. Companies can help by encouraging managers to practice empathy and active listening skills to move beyond the suggestion boxes and endless surveys from the past. Appreciating the good work of junior colleagues is a valuable tool to enroll employees in the company culture, enticing them to stay and grow with the company.

Cultivate a Sense of Belonging:

Two ways to encourage a sense of belonging are to create shared values and pathways for growth. Most companies share their values publicly and with employees and savvy job seekers know to look for values in a company that they also share. The best way to make values connect with employees is for a company to live their values.  Showcase actions that are values-based and encourage employees to participate in values centered activities. 

Creating pathways for growth is another way to help employees feel that they belong in your organization. Get curious about where your direct reports aim to go with their career, where is their north star? This is an important and often overlooked factor for emerging leaders looking to stay in a role or search for a greener pasture. Take some one on one time to help your direct reports map their career journey. Then make sure that the actions they are taking now will support them to get where they wish to go!

Meaning Over Money

Thinking about quitting your job?

Coaching can help you find the clarity you need to make a good decision

There has been a lot of press lately about the Great Resignation that is unfolding as the pandemic establishes remote work as a long-term reality. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4 million Americans quit their jobs in July 2021. Personally, I have mixed feelings about the benefits of remote vs. in-person work environments, however I do know that we need to continue to focus on creating a sense of belonging and shared meaning at work.

According to recent studies done by McKinsey & Co, “Among nearly 6,000 employee respondents, 40% of respondents said they are at least somewhat likely to quit their jobs in the next three to six months. The top three reasons for quitting a job were not feeling valued by their organizations (54%), not feeling valued by their managers (52%), and not feeling a sense of belonging at work (51%).” 


I have been witnessing this sentiment in my work with mid-level managers through the BetterUp coaching platform. Once compensation needs are met, people are motivated to stay in a role when they feel a sense of belonging, shared values and a pathway for growth.  If these factors are missing in your current role, it may be time to look elsewhere. However, before jumping ship, it is smart to understand more about who you are and what makes you tick. Take the time to explore from within and find the clarity you need before jumping onto the Great Resignation train.

  1. Ask yourself if you may be able to expand your scope of work to be more in alignment with your goals.
  2. Can you make a bigger effort to invest in what is working instead of what is not working?
  3. Is there a bridge you can establish between your current role and where you wish to go? 

These are some of the areas of focus I explore with clients making career decisions. If you are wondering if coaching could help you, I am happy to have a conversation. Please click to learn more.

Bringing Moments of Joy into the Virtual World

Many of our opportunities for moments of joy at work have disappeared while working from home.  The spontaneity that we took for granted talking about a fun weekend around the water cooler or seeking advice from a colleague in the next cube is gone. We are working together, but not quite connected. How can we start to bring a little more joy to our work and gain connectedness in an inherently disconnected world?

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Having trouble Focusing?

Focus Sessions can help you get back on track


A few months ago I received a call from a former client out of the blue asking what I knew about adult onset ADD.  She wondered if there was such a diagnosis as she was certain she had it.  She described her symptoms as mildly anxious and irritable but moreover she was experiencing a total lack of focus for more than a few minutes at a time. I have been hearing a similar sentiment from clients, peers and friends over the past few months. 


As life in parts of the world is getting back to “normal” many of us seem to have lost our ability to focus.  I had to admit that day (and many days lately) despite the fact that I was alone in my home office, had already gone for a run and had my favorite coffee, I too was having trouble focusing. Then I saw an email from my friend Megan Flatt at the Let’s Collective about a new offering called Focus Sessions. I signed up for the free trial week immediately and blocked out Monday morning on my calendar. 

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Job Craft your way to a new role!

“Are you a rule follower,” I was asked by an elder friend one day while riding bikes in Newport Beach.  “Sometimes,” I answered, “depending on the rule.”  My friend, who was turning 80 the following month, said she was a life-long rule follower and she was going to start breaking them! She promptly swerved her bike to the left side of the street and continued to ride. It was a simple act, but I remember the joy it brought to her face when she realized that no one was watching her; that no one was stopping her from riding on the wrong side of the street. She was gleefully free!  

I’m not advocating that we all go out and break laws and rules of safe travel but I am asking you to think about the normative behaviors and unwritten rules that you follow without considering the alternatives and potential opportunities. The pandemic has created a giant disruption in everyday life and work on a global level. It has changed so many cultural and work-life rules that we are all left creating our way forward and will be for a long time to come. 

I see this as a time to craft a new way of working, relating to each other and to ourselves.  

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Using Prosocial Emotions to Lift Us Up!

We are learning, stretching, growing even if it feels that we are isolating and folding in on ourselves. The global pandemic is creating a new normal in the world that includes social distancing and voluntary isolation. Many of us feel some anxiety and potentially the beginnings of depression as we are uncertain about our future and cut off from our fellow humans. 

To combat these feelings, we can cultivate positive and prosocial emotions. Prosocial emotions provide a sense of belonging to something bigger than ourselves and offer us a way to connect and lift each other up.  These emotions include curiosity, surprise, amusement, gratitude, kindness and awe. Interestingly, these emotional states also spark creativity and lift us out of boredom which may be feeding the depression settling in.  Try some of these action items to boost your mood and lift others up!

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For every two parts happiness add one part meaning

If you want to find more fulfillment in your work follow this equation
 
Passion projects aside, the search for fulfilling work does not need to center around your personal happiness. It is important to feel good while in your work environment and for your work to be in alignment with your values, but happiness as a goal for work may be leaving you a bit shortchanged. Here’s why, happiness is found in the present whereas meaning transcends time to include past/present/future.

Meaningfulness is something we invest energy in without expecting a return.

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Cultivating Executive Presence: What it is, Why you need it and 5 steps to get it!

I have a purposeful walk. I have heard this statement many times in my life and sometimes I reflect on how my walk is perceived as purposeful. My head is held high, my gait is quick and I am often not taking in all of my surroundings. I have somewhere to go and I am focused on getting there. People perceive that I am in alignment with my purpose to get there.

But what if my response to the statement was, “Really? I don’t have anywhere to be. I was just walking.” 

The observer who made the comment about my purposeful walk may feel uneasy.  My cavalier response may cause them to question my authenticity. Social science has taught us that when we meet someone, we almost instantaneously begin to create stories about them. We are experts at reading faces and stereotyping based on appearance. But we don’t often discuss that we are also perceiving how aligned someone is with their authentic self. If we meet someone dressed in a formal wear we assign them a certain amount of power and influence. Inside this person may be feeling insecure, tired, or otherwise off, but if they maintain eye contact and have a firm handshake, we buy into their power.

This is the foundation of executive presence.

When we are aligned with the image we project, we have presence that is experienced by another human being. I’m not sure how many of you watched Mad Men in it’s heyday..if you did, you know that Don Draper sets the gold standard for executive presence. He embodies power and influence even if he was not feeling it inside.

Now that we know what executive presence is, how do we cultivate it? 

5 tips to cultivate Executive Presence:

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Accessing Passion is Tricky Business

Passion has been a buzzword in the field of coaching for a long time, yet very rarely does a client show up at my door brimming with passion, ready to put it into action. A direct question about passion is often met with a blank stare from my clients who struggle to find something, anything that lights them up.

Most of us feel overwhelmed when asked about our passion. We may also feel stuck, trapped or anxious. Our creative brain can literally freeze and shut down due to the complexity of the passion question. It just feels too big to answer. Moreover, most people think there is something wrong with them if they do not know what they are passionate about or what their purpose is.

So how do we turn our creative brain back on and find some possibilities for a passion-filled life? Here are four ways to start:

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