5 Signs That Your Employees Are Financially Stressed

emp fin stressDo you think your employee’s personal financial situation matters to your company? What if I said over 1/3 of your workforce spends on-the-clock hours dealing with their personal financial situation? The reality is that financially stressed employees are less productive and less engaged at work, and that affects your bottom line. Providing financial wellness programs that address a variety of issues from debt management, college cost, and budgeting can not only help your employees become more active at work, but it can also increase loyalty as it shows them you care about them as a person not just a worker.   Take a look at the following 5 warning signs that your workforce may be financially distracted.  Do you need to implement a financial wellness program?   Are you curious just how much you could increase productivity? Contact me to discuss.

Caleb BagwellCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088
Birmingham: 1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242
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Oh cool you have Camry?…I have a Lamborghini!

shutterstock_124609282.jpgQuestion for the audience. When did we become a society of constant one-uppery? Now it is certainly subtler than the title suggests but let’s look at a hypothetical. It goes something like this:

“Hey guess what, I had my performance evaluation and I got great feedback from my manager.”

“Yeah, those are such a waste of time. I get good remarks every time but I’m not sure they even really look at your performance.”

We have all had these and they can go a thousand different ways,. You excitedly tell friends that you got a new car and hear, “Oh me, too” or “Mine is a 2016”.   Maybe you share that you took your kids to Disney this summer only to quickly get back, “Oh that’s nice we took our family to Italy.” These one-up comments are demoralizing, infuriating, and for the most part unintentional!

I don’t think anyone starts a conversation with you looking for ways to one up you or to shut you down, but they do so out of 2 very human characteristics. 1) Our desire to hear and tell stories, and 2) personal insecurity. Self-admittedly I am terrible about this. You can ask most of the people that know me well and I have a story for just about anything and I have a really bad tendency to hear your story and then immediately want to tell you my story. If you fall into this category, STOP!!! This act, however innocent, destroys connection.

Most people will be gracious in the beginning but if this is a habit for you, it will not be long until the people around you start resenting the fact that you are stealing their thunder.

shutterstock_311648258I think this topic, which I classify as a connection issue, can be resolved by practicing intentional or active listening and becoming aware that you’re doing it in the first place. Intentional listening is an art form and one that you can practice and have to practice to master. My colleague James told me one time, “God gave me 2 ears and 1 mouth, and only one of those closes.” There is a lot of wisdom in that statement but let’s unpack the underlying meaning of what means to be an active listener the Caleb Bagwell way. *Warning, I neither confirm nor claim these are the best techniques for active listening. I just know they work for me.

  1. Stop preparing your rebuttal: I think it’s like this, when someone is talking, especially in a business situation or when meeting someone new – you are so concerned about making a good impression or sounding smart that you start preparing your response in your head after you hear the other person’s first sentence. I believe that we also have the unnecessary fear of awkward silence.   Would it be ridiculous to listen to the full statement and then take 3 seconds to formulate your response? NO. It makes sense.   Active listening means that you need to stop thinking ahead and immerse yourself in what the other party is saying. Focus and be patient.
  2. Ask questions: When someone is sharing news with you or engaging in a conversation, make a conscious effort to ask questions. This will automatically stop you from injecting your stories into their moment. It also helps you dig deeper and makes your speaker feel that you are really engaged in their story.
  3. Give them their time: Not all conversations fall into this category but when you have a coworker, friend, spouse or employee that comes to you with exciting news or a good story, say to yourself, “Not my time.” I literally have to do this to remind myself that regardless of how good my story is or even how similar, I need to let them have their time. You can tell them your story later or wait till they ask you about yours but giving people the attention they deserve without making it about you is important. It builds rapport and respect.

There are many more tricks to active listening, in fact there are entire books written about it. Another quick trick is counting how many time you say, “I” in a conversation. This one made me feel bad when I tried it, I will be honest. The point to all of it is that in a world where everyone is becoming more self-absorbed than ever, it is necessary to make sure that we caring enough about the people around us to listen intently, give them their deserved moments, and try connecting deeper with people by listening and not one upping!

calebCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088
Birmingham: 1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242
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What’s the point in winning?

shutterstock_122081617I am competitive.  There I said it and I’d like to enter that confession in the running for “Understatement of the Year”.  Recently, I have been analyzing that truth.  I have always said that I was competitive with a certain amount of pride as if it were an attribute to be sought after, but is it really?  In Hebrews 12:1 Paul says, “…Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” For most of my life I have read that verse and only focused on the word “race”.  If this life is a race, then there will clearly be a winner and then everyone else loses, right?  But what if that was not the keyword; what if the key to the statement was something else entirely.  Nowhere in Paul’s verse does he say, win the race that is marked out for us.  Friends, this where we are going to talk about the Holy 2×4.  In my life, from time to time, God decides to hit me with the Holy 2×4 to wake me up to something He has been trying to teach me that I just missed, sometimes for decades.

So why is winning so important; is competition healthy in the workplace; and how then do we balance the competition, with the pursuit of excellence, with the character of a Saint?  In reality,  I think that is what the verse is really saying.  After meditating on it for a while, I concluded the key takeaway is that you, whoever you are, are in a race; that means it has a beginning, and whether you like it or not, it has an end and our God is more concerned with how you run it than if come in first or last or in the middle. He just wants you to run to best of your “given” ability while loving thy neighbor and working as if you were working for Him.  So in the office or the warehouse or the production floor, how do we harness the competitive nature of so many of our employee and direct it, in a health way, into productivity?   Let’s take a look at a few principals that we believe will make a difference.

Principle 1: Create the Competition

I walked through a manufacturing company the other day as I was preparing to give a shutterstock_181242095presentation on the company’s 401(k).  I saw pictures on a big bulletin board for “Outstanding Employees”.  Displayed here were accolades for their “Employee of the Month”, an award for the employee who caught a mistake in shipping, another award for an employee that refined a process and made it more efficient.  Another company that we work with also highlights an accomplished employee every month and then chooses an “Employee of the Year” who gets a trip to Disney World! These companies created the competition to strategically benefit the employees and the company. This is a brilliant way to motivate and harness the competitive drive in your employees, BUT there are a couple of things that are must-haves in this principle.

  • The rules must clear and definitive: the employees must understand how you win and the variable must be trackable. If this area is vague, you risk your employees accusing the company of playing favorites.   Remember this isn’t a popularity contest.  The winner shouldn’t be the person you like the best but instead, the person who meets the quantifiable goals you set forth at the beginning of the competition.
  • Incentives must be appropriate for the effort required. If you want employees to refine a process that will ultimately save the company thousands of dollars per day and you give them a keychain and pat on the back as a reward, you should expect their effort in finding that solution to be worth about as much as your keychain.  I’m not saying buy them a new car, but know your workforce and choose an incentive that will be meaningful and big enough for them to want to compete.shutterstock_129517958

Principle 2: Build Team Competition

I know this one will not work with every company, but when possible organize all of the teams within your company to compete together. Collaboration is big desire for your millennials, but I think all ages enjoy a good strategy session on how to overcome the competition. Note: When you do this you should be very observant.  In this process you will watch your leaders emerge.  Watch how some people have the ability to align interest and influence their team to moving as one unit.  This can be very helpful in raising up management.

Principle 3: Adopt a Zero Tolerance Policy for Unsportsmanship

I don’t watch a ton of sports but I was at a minor league baseball game in Birmingham recently and one of our home team players was ejected because he took off his helmet and slammed it on the ground.  I questioned the decision and someone I was with informed me that the rule was “no tolerance because the act was dangerous and trashy”.  If you are going to harness healthy competition, the standard of excellence and sportsmanship can never be in question.  If you cheat, you’re done.  If you lie, you’re done.  If you sabotage someone, you’re done. Zero tolerance and swift consequences are necessary, but so are swift praise and good rewards.

Competition can be a great driver but the truth is you, your team, and your company have to know why it’s worth winning. The principles above are important for the process but don’t forget to show employees why you’re competing in the first place.  What difference are you trying to make in the company or even in the community? You have to show people that the race is worth running and then you can guide them through competition to make a difference.

calebCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088
Birmingham: 1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242
Contact Caleb

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Millennials in Manufacturing

Attracting Millennials is probably the easy part of this equation, after all we are all looking a job, or at least our parents hope we are. Finding the ones with the talent you need, that will stick around and then engaging them to point of productivity is what takes a bit of finesse. Millennials are the largest and most misunderstood generation and we have seen first-hand the challenges that can arise when trying to connect with this new breed. Focusing on manufacturing, industrial, and construction related businesses, we have seen the challenges that these companies face when it comes getting good talent and keeping it, especially when it comes to the newer generation.   We have identified 12 steps that will help your company get on the right path when it comes to getting the most out of your Millennials.

millman.jpg

calebCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088
Birmingham: 1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242
Contact Caleb

Follow Caleb on LinkedIn

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Is Passion Enough?

shutterstock_214581778I think the appropriate follow-up question is, “For what?…Is passion enough for what…?” Guys I have to be honest with you, I struggled with this one a lot. The way I asked the question to myself was, “Is passion enough to change the world?” After internally wrestling this ideal for a long while, I am convinced the answer is undoubtedly NO. Passion alone is not enough for me to change the world.

That bothers me, it literally offended me at first because I’m an idealist. (I’m not sure that acknowledging that you are an idealist makes it better but I feel better about it so there.) I wanted desperately for the answer to my passion question to be yes. I wanted to be able to stand in front of a crowd and look them in the eyes and say, “ALL YOU NEED IS PASSION!!!” I could say that, heck I could probably write a book about it and sell a million copies if I got the right agent and hyped it up enough but it wouldn’t stick. The truth is passion is nothing more than an emotional catalyst. DO NOT misunderstand, if you intend to build something successful, something substantial and something with impactful, passion is 100% necessary but it not enough.

Guys hear me here, my heart literally hurts writing this because I meet people all the time that have the passion to change their lives, to change their career, to change their community. It breaks me to know their passion alone won’t get them there. It takes other character traits and while the recipe is not simple, I want to cover 4 that I think can turn your passion into change.

Tenacity, Courage, Discipline and Community

Tenacity: You see by definition tenacious means, “not easily stopped”. I think this is pretty clear. Impacting your world, by changing your health, changing your career, changing your community will never be easy. No impact worth making will ever be easy. You have to have tenacity, you have to be able to get hit again and again and again and keep going. You will receive setbacks from those close to you and from total strangers but you have to build rhino-thick skin! Andy Mineo, a Christian rapper has a song called, “You Can’t Stop Me” and I think it embodies the reaction you must develop to doubt and hurdles. You put a bolder in my path and I will not turn around; I will find a way to move it! James in my office mentioned the other day that no success story that you read today ever has a chapter about how they didn’t face any obstacles. PASSION + TENACITY

Courage: This may be a sub characteristic of tenacity but in order for your passion to become change you will have to have been courageous. One of my favorite quotes is, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the willingness to continue in the presence of fear.” When it comes to a journey of following your passion, it will be scary. It may require you to quit your job, or even totally change the way you live. It will undoubtedly cause you to have to “rock the boat”, but true courage requires you to harness your fear and keep going despite it. Embracing fear can save your life. Think about the gazelle running from a lion. Fear is the difference between the gazelle and the lion. The lion is running for lunch the gazelle is running for its life. Chasing passion is like that. You may very well have an entire world working against you and without courage your passion will become something’s lunch.   PASSION + TENACITY + COURAGE

Discipline: I thought about calling this section consistency or having a plan but I think discipline can include both of those. Rarely ever will impact come overnight, and since deep passion is extremely volatile, we should be aware that even the most passionate of people can vary in their degree of passion at different moments. This is where discipline comes in. You must have the discipline to keep following the plan, following the process, and approaching each day as if it matters. Discipline is what guides and drives your tenacity and courage into the direction your passion wants it to go. PASSION + TENACITY + COURAGE + DISCIPLINE

Community: You could also call this help or accountability. You will not start your passion journey with a community, most likely the first few chapters that your write will be solo, but as you go you will need to figure out how to build your community of support. This is totally dependent on your ability to communicate clearly the vision you have painted in your head to others. I do this terribly, a lot! I have had hours upon hours of thinking of my passion and the plan I have to succeed, then someone asks me about it and I word vomit for 3-5 minutes and they look at me like I have 3 eyes. John Maxwell says that, “Leadership is influence, nothing more nothing less.” Visioneering and influence will allow you to build your community to make your passion a reality. You have to have a clear vision and the ability to influence people along your path to join your cause and help you along the way. For more on this section read my post. from a few weeks ago: If you get me there, I will change the world . PASSION + TENACITY + COURAGE + DISCIPLINE + COMMUNITY = UNLIMITED POSSIBILTY

Becoming a person that leaves an impact in the world is certainly reserved for the passionate, but the success stories you hear have much more depth than what we see on the outside. My dream is to help people see their potential and chase their passion. Imagine with me what a world full of passionate, tenacious, courageous, and disciplined, accountable visioneers. The possibilities are endless.

calebCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088
Birmingham: 1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242
Contact Caleb

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Financial Wellness for Your Employees

Employee Financial WellnessFinancial Wellness has come into focus recently as employers have been exposed to the negative side effect of fiscally unhealthy employees. We have seen health and wellness programs around for decades doing such things as giving out pedometers to employees to encourage them to take more steps, offering desks that you can stand at, and even offering discounted gym memberships. Those are all great strategies to improve physical wellness but the burden of financial stress on employees and what that does to their productivity has largely been overlooked.

shutterstock_129454907Financial Wellness is a term used to describe and answer to a cry for help. For many years, companies and financial advising firms have been focused on retirement readiness, but people were trying to tell us we cannot begin to prepare for retirement if we can’t keep our heads above water today! Unfortunately, for a long time those cries fell on deaf ears as the industry went through a period of “plan design tactics” where they would automatic enroll people in their 401(k) plan and even increase their contribution every year automatically. Both auto-enrollment and auto-escalating contribution are usually great ideas but this did not address the real problem or get to the heart of the participant’s pain today.

Financial Wellness programs, at least the good ones, should be focused on educating and encouraging employees to gain financial freedom through processes that are easily implemented and offer some form of personal accountability.   The benefits not only for the employee but also for their employer are staggering. When employers implement these sort of personal finance education, it sends a clear message to the employees:

“You are valuable, you deserve financial freedom, and
we care about your ability to retire successfully. “

For more information on employee education programs including personal financial wellness topics for your employees, contact me. 

 

calebCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088
Birmingham: 1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242
Contact Caleb

Follow Caleb on LinkedIn

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Leadership Vocabulary

Increase productivity and employee engagement TODAY by integrating these phrases into your daily vocabulary.   Leaders have to “walk the walk” and “talk the talk“.  Make sure you are talking the right talk.

 

calebCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088
Birmingham: 1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242
Contact Caleb

Follow Caleb on LinkedIn

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