Employees – Ultimate Software's Blog http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com Thoughts on Putting People First in the Workplace Tue, 23 May 2017 19:20:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 Navigating the Complexities of Listening to the VoE http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/listening-voe/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/listening-voe/#respond Fri, 19 May 2017 10:00:20 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1000 The reality of having five generations in the workforce is upon us, as Gen Z begins to enter the workforce. At over 74 million strong and growing, these post-millennials “digital natives” are poised to become the largest working generation yet. They share many similarities with the millennials, but also have their own unique set of […]

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The reality of having five generations in the workforce is upon us, as Gen Z begins to enter the workforce. At over 74 million strong and growing, these post-millennials “digital natives” are poised to become the largest working generation yet. They share many similarities with the millennials, but also have their own unique set of expectations and assumptions they bring to work (see my LinkedIn blog post about truly communicating).

I travel quite a bit, and I always come away from my many conversations with HR and business leaders with incredible, and often poignant, examples of the new reality of working with the changing workforce. I am continually made aware of how a simple slight can have lasting implications for many people in the workplace, and how significant it can be to simply hear a person’s concerns and respond to them.

When discussing this at a recent presentation to HR leaders, an audience member affirmed the importance of listening to your employees, recounting a recent exit interview they conducted with a valued employee. The employee said, “I asked a question and never got a response. I just wanted a response. I could have handled the answer either way, but I never (even) got a response.” Sounds simple enough; we all get busy with the flow of work life and may assume that not responding will be taken as a sign that we don’t yet have an answer or are busy. But it could just as easily be seen as a sign that the person and question don’t merit a response—and clearly our assumptions can be dangerous, as this HR leader found out.

Another instance is related to feeling whole and safe at work. In Ultimate Software’s 2016 study about satisfaction at work, 95% of respondents said “the ability to truly be themselves” is directly tied to their satisfaction on the job. Six out of 10 people said that feeling emotionally unsafe at work would cause them to quit—on the spot. I heard a story of how one long-time employee had made all the difference for a transgender colleague by being vocal, and even protective, in his acceptance of the employee’s change in gender.

That same week, I was asked by a customer about how to handle fluid gender identity when current U.S. EEO compliance reporting requires either male or female identification (learn more in my post about workforce fluidity). I was glad to let him know that, at Ultimate, we provide our employees and our customers voice and choice with configurable technology, to provide them with local flexibility while ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements. Listening, rather than dismissing the request as an edge case, not only made our customer able to support his employees better, but also demonstrated that if HR supports one person in an unusual situation, they will support everyone in more commonly occurring scenarios. The key is to listen and act.

This is the kind of stuff that led many of us to get into the work of HR and people leadership, and is why it is so critically important and meaningful for organizations to be prepared for the conversations they will be having with their employees in the coming months and years. It’s why, at Ultimate, we have an initiative to truly listen to the “Voice of the Employee” (VoE) and follow through with action, and it’s why we are repeatedly ranked as a Best Company to Work For.

Leaders are often told their people are their priority, though in the bustle of the day to day, that can be lost. But be assured that, for the employees, a conversation that may seem less than critical to a leader can mean everything…even a reason to leave.

 

Hear more from Cecile at the Vancouver HR Workshop on May 31. Register now!

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Ask Adam: Creating a Positive Employee Experience http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/positive-employee-experience/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/positive-employee-experience/#respond Thu, 20 Apr 2017 10:00:13 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=974 “Employee experience” has become a standard HR buzzword, and today’s executives are increasingly recognizing and prioritizing its influence. In January, Forbes published “The Employee Experience Is the Future of Work,” and we now know that “ee experience” is the #1 driver of employment outcomes. Unfortunately, measuring—even defining—the drivers of positive employee experience can be tumultuous, […]

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“Employee experience” has become a standard HR buzzword, and today’s executives are increasingly recognizing and prioritizing its influence. In January, Forbes published “The Employee Experience Is the Future of Work,” and we now know that “ee experience” is the #1 driver of employment outcomes. Unfortunately, measuring—even defining—the drivers of positive employee experience can be tumultuous, primarily driven by a lack of data outlining exactly what contributes to employee happiness, satisfaction, and fulfillment.

As an HCM technology company defined by our “People First” philosophy, pinpointing the key factors facilitating a great employee experience was necessary both for our own development and to add value for our customers. We partnered with the Center for Generational Kinetics to conduct a comprehensive study of U.S. working adults and found that two-way trust, nurtured through open and ongoing communication, was critical for a positive employee experience. Other important factors included organizational culture, professional development opportunities, innovative technology, promptly addressing concerns, and safety—both physical and emotional.

We recently presented these results in a webcast, and received so many great questions that I didn’t have time to answer them all. Here are a few of the most common questions, along with my suggestions. If you have any other questions about our research or the employee experience, please let me know in the comments below!

Q: How can I determine how employees feel?

A: Just ask them—and often. Today’s workforce values inclusion, coaching, and ongoing feedback. Instead of relying solely on formal performance management processes, which are certainly useful but have a slew of limitations, modern organizations are beginning to implement more frequent, informal positive employee experiencecheck-ins and pulse surveys. On-demand surveys allow you to gauge how your employees are actually feeling in real time, particularly when your solution uses advanced sentiment analysis technology to accurately dissect open-ended text. Armed with substantial data about the health of your organization, you’re empowered to quickly address areas of concern and dramatically increase positive employee experience.­

Q: How do you build trust?

A: At its core, trust is based around communication, transparency, and action. The goal is to develop managers into better people leaders who are in tune with their teams and empowered to take ownership of engagement. Technological solutions can provide structured and proactive coaching support, including practical suggestions for taking the most effective action.

Q: What investments should my company make to create a positive employee experience?

A: Fortunately, you don’t need to dismantle your entire organization to improve the employee experience for your people. Little things can make a big difference—but it’s crucial to invest in both career development and modern technology. Providing ongoing learning opportunities to your employees will challenge and motivate them while improving overall satisfaction. Employees are also heavily impacted by the tools they use to get their jobs done, as well as those they use to access their pay and benefits information. Even I was shocked by our research results regarding technology in the workplace—one in three employees said they would consider leaving their jobs because of outdated technology.

Implementing these strategies will help positively influence all manners of the employee experience, including fostering ongoing communication, providing career clarity, and—most important of all—building trust between your organization and your employees.

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An Open Letter to Our People on Employee Appreciation Day http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/employee-appreciation-day-2017/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/employee-appreciation-day-2017/#comments Fri, 03 Mar 2017 12:30:47 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=922 Every year on the first Friday in March, one of my favorite holidays is celebrated: Employee Appreciation Day. While we make every effort to put people first every day, I wanted to take this special occasion to thank our incredible employees for their relentless passion, loyalty, determination, and drive. Fortune ranked us the #1 Best […]

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Every year on the first Friday in March, one of my favorite holidays is celebrated: Employee Appreciation Day. While we make every effort to put people first every day, I wanted to take this special occasion to thank our incredible employees for their relentless passion, loyalty, determination, and drive. Fortune ranked us the #1 Best Large Workplace in Technology—twice—because you, our people, are the best. And for that, we’re eternally grateful.

Thank you for your dedication to designing the industry’s most innovative, intuitive HCM software.

Thank you for providing award-winning, white-glove service to every customer, every day.

Thank you for being you, and for sharing your unique ideas, stories, and experiences with us.

Thank you for keeping our “People First” culture alive.

Ultimate Software employees will be taking over our account on Facebook LIVE to share their proudest moments and to thank the people who’ve had the biggest impact on their lives and careers. Stay tuned for a visit from our monthly ice cream truck.

Happy Employee Appreciation Day!

Thank you for making US who we are.

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How Ultimate Software Cultivates the Best Workplace in Technology http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/best-large-workplace/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/best-large-workplace/#respond Thu, 19 Jan 2017 15:42:27 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=840 I’m proud to announce that Fortune recently named Ultimate Software the #1 Best Large Workplace in Technology-for the second year in a row. This significant honor adds to an extensive list of our recent awards (22 earned in 2016 alone), all stemming from one, founding principle: “People First.” This singular belief has impacted every part […]

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I’m proud to announce that Fortune recently named Ultimate Software the #1 Best Large Workplace in Technology-for the second year in a row. This significant honor adds to an extensive list of our recent awards (22 earned in 2016 alone), all stemming from one, founding principle: “People First.”

best large workplace technology

This singular belief has impacted every part of our journey. It’s allowed us to create a culture where 99% of employees experience a “great atmosphere” and report having “great pride” in their company. It’s driven us to achieve continued success over our 26-year history. It’s enabled us to help thousands of companies put their own people first. Because we know that, when we take care of our employees, they’re empowered to take care of our customers. And when that happens, everybody wins.

Curious what putting people first means to US? Here are a few ways we’ve created the best large workplace in the industry.

Training and Development

Ultimate invests in our employees’ futures and supports them through each step of their careers. Our innovative TechSTARS internship program recruits promising college students and recent grads for a structured, year-long program where they’re assigned mentors, follow customized learning paths, and work on a peer-to-peer basis with our full-time software engineers. Currently, 95% of our interns who are offered full-time jobs with Ultimate accept, and at least a third of our product developers began as interns—including me!

The Rising Stars program is a similar development program for employees with full-time, customer-facing roles, spanning 14 weeks and encompassing one-on-one mentorship, group learning, individual job-path study, and team-building exercises. These programs not only help new employees adjust to their new roles, but are also extremely effective in instilling Ultimate’s “People First” values.

We also support our employees’ educational goals by fully funding professional training courses and offering tuition reimbursement of up to $5,250 per year. Extensive leadership development courses are available for everyone from entry-level employees to top executives, setting the stage for future growth and promotions—because when our people thrive, Ultimate thrives.

Generous Benefits

Our total compensation package goes far beyond salary. All full-time employees receive 100% employer-paid healthcare for their entire families, including medical, dental, vision, and prescription coverage—even IVF and IUI fertility treatments. I’m extremely proud of our 401(k) program, where we match 40% of our employees’ contributions dollar for dollar, up to the highest allowable federal limit. We also welcome new hires to the family by providing them with stock shares, fostering an immediate sense of pride and ownership in our company. Finally, we offer 10 weeks of paid maternity leave and four weeks of paid paternity/adoption leave, so our new parents have time to recuperate and bond with their growing families without worrying about any professional or financial hardships.

We also offer life insurance for both employees and their spouses, long-term disability, and wellness benefits such as on-site masseuses, acupuncturists, yoga, Pilates, stretching, and meditation classes. By taking care of our people physically, mentally, and financially, they’re able to focus their attention on developing industry-leading products and providing world-class, white-glove service.

Work-Life Balance

Workplace flexibility is another key component of putting people first. More than 40% of our employees telecommute, and another quarter utilize flexible schedules and compressed work weeks. The implementation of paid time off, instead of designated sick and vacation days, is another way we enable our employees to balance their careers with their daily responsibilities.

Giving Back

Making a difference in our local and global communities has been a cornerstone of our “People First” culture from the beginning, and it remains a great source of pride for all of us today. Every employee is encouraged to volunteer at least two days each year, receiving full pay and the flexibility to choose the causes they care most about. As we have grown, so has our ability to positively impact a variety of initiatives. Today, Ultimate and our employees donate time, money, and raise awareness for everything from natural disasters to our own employees in need – together, we make a meaningful difference in the world.

Cutting-Edge Workspace

Our innovative work stations are more than just open floorplans. Employees’ workspaces are completely catered to them, from the choice of a laptop to standing, cycling, and treadmill desk options. Every floor boasts at least one themed café, equipped with free beverages and comfortable seating to encourage interactions and caffeine consumption. There are multiple bookable conference rooms and even more informal group meeting spaces—including our golfer’s green, where employees can brainstorm and putt simultaneously. We have a private room to practice, record, and review presentations. We also have a game room, meditation space, and massive saltwater fish tank.

Everything we do focuses on our underlying commitment to put people first – and that’s what sets us apart.

That’s what makes us the best large workplace.

But also…the free ice cream.

 

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Measuring, Improving Employee Engagement – #12DaysofHCM http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/understanding-employee-engagement-performance-12daysofhcm/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/understanding-employee-engagement-performance-12daysofhcm/#respond Tue, 20 Dec 2016 13:00:27 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=770 The need for understanding employee engagement in the workplace continues to increase. Fortunately, the ways of effectively assessing it continue to increase as well. Today’s HCM analytics technology can help organizations of all sizes identify and predict potential top performers and flight risks, and even measure individual employees’ engagement levels. Right now, many organizations are […]

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understanding employee engagement on the #12DaysofHCM blog series.

Higher workplace engagement leads to:
37% lower absenteeism
41% fewer safety incidents
41% fewer quality defects. Learn more on the #12DaysofHCM blog series.

The need for understanding employee engagement in the workplace continues to increase. Fortunately, the ways of effectively assessing it continue to increase as well.

Today’s HCM analytics technology can help organizations of all sizes identify and predict potential top performers and flight risks, and even measure individual employees’ engagement levels.

Right now, many organizations are sitting on a wealth of workforce data—up to 16 million data points. Those companies already applying Big Data to HR are experiencing the benefits, with HR teams four times more likely to be respected by their business counterparts for data-driving decision making, according to Bersin by Deloitte.

If you’ve been unsure about using predictive analytics tools in your organization, there’s perhaps no better time to start reaping the many rewards.

Is 2017 the year you finally embrace Big Data and harness the full power of HCM analytics?

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Learning, Growing – #12DaysofHCM http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/professional-development-12daysofhcm/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/professional-development-12daysofhcm/#respond Sat, 17 Dec 2016 13:00:29 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=763 This past August, Ultimate Software partnered with The Center for Generational Kinetics and surveyed more than 1,000 American workers across generations and industries about key factors influencing employee satisfaction and engagement at work. Among the notable findings, the survey revealed that 73 percent of employees think the opportunity for professional development is necessary to feel […]

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professional development through UltiPro Learning on the #12DaysofHCM blog series

73% of employees think the opportunity for professional development is necessary to feel satisfied at work. See more on the #12DaysofHCM blog series.

This past August, Ultimate Software partnered with The Center for Generational Kinetics and surveyed more than 1,000 American workers across generations and industries about key factors influencing employee satisfaction and engagement at work.

Among the notable findings, the survey revealed that 73 percent of employees think the opportunity for professional development is necessary to feel satisfied at work. Today’s professionals want to continue learning, and they expect full support in their quest for knowledge.

For organizations, that means thinking beyond basic job training. It means offering employees flexible opportunities for learning, such as consumable, on-demand courses that can be completed from mobile devices, as well as technology that facilitates collaborative learning practices and communities.

By providing a person-centric approach to learning, organizations stand to not only develop their people, but also grow their business.

 

Related:

Jay Kuhns: “Try”

 

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Employee Engagement Evolves: The Employee Experience and Finding Your Employees’ Voice http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/employee-engagement-evolves-employee-voice/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/employee-engagement-evolves-employee-voice/#respond Thu, 21 Apr 2016 09:22:06 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=546 Employee engagement is on every HR and business leader’s mind, in one form or another. The value of having a highly engaged workforce for an organization’s success is undeniable, but the way to get there remains elusive. As much as 51% of the global workforce feels disengaged at work, according to Gallup, outnumbering actively engaged […]

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Employee engagement is on every HR and business leader’s mind, in one form or another. The value of having a highly engaged workforce for an organization’s success is undeniable, but the way to get there remains elusive.

As much as 51% of the global workforce feels disengaged at work, according to Gallup, outnumbering actively engaged employees by 2:1. These numbers have remained largely unchanged for 30 years, despite all the dialogue on employee engagement. Clearly, something is missing.

Implement these three methods to improve employee engagement in your workforce. Reasons include paying employees on time, and respecting your worker's voices.

At our Connections conference in Las Vegas last month, we shared three ways HR leaders can help their organizations inspire engagement:

  1. Eliminate workplace hassles, freeing people up to contribute in meaningful ways.
  2. Pay people on time and accurately, because worries about personal finances can distract employees at work.
  3. Build stronger personal relationships between managers and employees, resulting in managers becoming better people leaders.

While these actions are all steps in the right direction, engagement can’t be achieved so easily. Or can it?

Perhaps the answer lies in flipping the question. Engagement itself isn’t the problem. Engagement is an outcome—a measure of the overall employee experience. Engagement is about bringing out the best in people, tapping into their full potential on a day-to-day basis. For that to happen, we must think of the employee experience as we do our customers’ experience, requiring continual, courageous, and honest communication.

Achieving an optimal employee experience requires a culture of openness, honesty, and trust; an environment in which people find purpose and meaning in their contributions; and effective leaders who encourage employees to discover, unlock, and fulfill their potential in the workplace.

The question then becomes two-fold: what do we do to create the optimized employee experience, and how do we know when we’ve got it? The answer may be creating an atmosphere in which your employees feel free to voice their true thoughts and feelings about their work and the workplace—creating a culture that respects the voice of the employee . Once you hear that voice, genuinely listen to it, and act on it, the transformation in employee experience becomes possible.

Employee voice is not the same as feedback, which often takes the form of traditional employee engagement surveys and newer pulse surveys. For your employees’ voice to truly emerge, your employees first have to believe it is okay to be honest, to reveal themselves. The voice of the employee, in essence, is a reflection or recounting of your employees’ actual experience at work.

Keep in mind that, until your people trust you’ll listen to their honest voice, your engagement data may be skewed. People might self-edit their feedback, say what they believe they need to say, or, even worse, remain silent.

Only when an organization has demonstrated, through policy and action, that it’s okay for each person to be one’s self at work, as in life, is that person able to be open and honest. In that climate, efforts to hear the employee voice will actually bear fruit. Only then can engagement be measured. Only then can your employee experience be optimized.

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12 Days of HCM – #6 Talent Management http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/12-days-of-hcm-talent-management/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/12-days-of-hcm-talent-management/#respond Sat, 12 Dec 2015 10:32:50 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=411 Employee Engagement: A Resolution The New Year is a time for resolutions. In 2016, will you resolve to increase employee engagement? Maybe you’ve thought about it for months. You even started developing a plan. But then you got sidetracked. It’s okay! We’re here to help you keep your resolution. We’ll even guide your through the […]

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Employee Engagement: A Resolution

The New Year is a time for resolutions. In 2016, will you resolve to increase employee engagement?

Maybe you’ve thought about it for months. You even started developing a plan. But then you got sidetracked.

It’s okay! We’re here to help you keep your resolution. We’ll even guide your through the first steps. Start with our on-demand webcast, 10 Ways to Wow Your New Hire, and learn how to engage your employees from day one.

With research showing 33% of new hires decide whether to stay or leave within a week (63% in a month), it’s imperative organizations start engaging employees early.

Because, much like with resolutions, what you do today can last for years to come.

Engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave an organization than non-engaged employees. (Source: BI Worldwide)

When it comes to engagement, the job is never really finished. HR leaders should engage employees early and often to help ensure ongoing organizational health.

 

Suggested Articles:

 

To follow our 12 Days of HCM series on social media, use the hashtag #12DaysofHCM.

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12 Days of HCM – #3 Future Workforce http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/12-days-of-hcm-future-workforce/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/12-days-of-hcm-future-workforce/#respond Wed, 09 Dec 2015 13:59:05 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=405 What Gen Y Can Teach HR This year, Generation Y, also known as millennials, became the largest generation in the workforce. Millennials have arrived—with great expectations—and it’s imperative to understand their impact on today’s multi-generational workplace. Ultimate recently partnered with The Center for Generational Kinetics to study Gen Y’s feelings about work. Among the more […]

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What Gen Y Can Teach HR
This year, Generation Y, also known as millennials, became the largest generation in the workforce. Millennials have arrived—with great expectations—and it’s imperative to understand their impact on today’s multi-generational workplace.

Ultimate recently partnered with The Center for Generational Kinetics to study Gen Y’s feelings about work. Among the more surprising results from our millennials research: a third think it’s okay to text during an interview, and 34% would quit a job if their boss asked them to quit Facebook.

But don’t write off millennials as Generation Odd. Almost half found their job online, desire ongoing feedback, and would walk away from an unfulfilling career.

Maybe millennials aren’t so different after all.

#12DaysofHCM Millennials

Millennials’ workplace expectations highlight the importance of providing candidates and employees from all generations with engaging HR experiences.

 

Suggested Articles:

 

To follow our 12 Days of HCM series on social media, use the hashtag #12DaysofHCM.

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Trivia Crack and the Power of “First Guessing” http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/leadership-and-the-power-of-first-guessing/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/leadership-and-the-power-of-first-guessing/#respond Tue, 30 Jun 2015 17:20:08 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=318 By Colin McLetchie Colin is the Founder and President of Five Ways Forward, LLC, a leadership & life coaching and HR & Organizational Consulting Firm in Arlington, VA. He is a dynamic and powerful coach, speaker and facilitator, bringing passion, deep insight and his unique compassionate challenge as he helps individuals, managers, executives, teams and […]

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By Colin McLetchie

Colin Mc Letchie, President of Five Ways Forward LLC, on Getting at the Heart of Employee EngagementColin is the Founder and President of Five Ways Forward, LLC, a leadership & life coaching and HR & Organizational Consulting Firm in Arlington, VA. He is a dynamic and powerful coach, speaker and facilitator, bringing passion, deep insight and his unique compassionate challenge as he helps individuals, managers, executives, teams and organizations move forward to success at work and in life. Find out more at www.fivewaysforward.com  or  colin@fivewaysforward.com.

So there I was, taking a break from, well, whatever I should have been working on, and playing some Trivia Crack, as one does (Trivia Crack is the phone app version of Trivial Pursuit). I had yet to beat my friend Laura in a game, and I was oh — sooooo —  close. A question comes up…this is for the win, mind you…Entertainment, a category I’m pretty solid in:

How old were Jimi Hendrix & Janis Joplin when they died?

Ok, a bit before my time, but not outside the realm of my knowledge. Immediately, my finger – driven by my gut instinct – flies to “27.” “Press it,” my gut and finger tell me, “do it. DO IT. DOOOOOO IT!!!”

But no. Suddenly my brain kicks in with doubt, uncertainty and a different answer. “It’s 26, not 27. You can’t be right on the first guess. Think about it… THINK ABOUT IT! C’mon.”

Time’s running out. I can feel the pressure. My heart is beating faster: “You want to win! Get it right!!!”

So in a panic I go with my brain and press “26″ – final answer… and… Waaahhh wahhhh… wrong. Bust. Loser. Nooooooooooooooo! Sigh.

If I had I just stuck with my first guess…

And this of course takes me back to all those questions I changed and got wrong on various multiple choice tests over the years in school. How often did I second guess myself and get it wrong – so very wrong! The prevailing accepted wisdom is that we should go with our first instinct when answering multiple choice questions. Except research shows that when students have the time to go back and review their work on these tests, any answers they change are predominantly changed to the correct answer!  Whoa! What?!?!

The challenge is this: life and leadership are rarely multiple choice moments with one correct answer. Sure, we have multiple options in any given moment of how we could show up, what decision we could make, etc. But there’s no answer key available later on to check our answers definitively: “oh, yeah, choice C would have been the correct choice!” There’s rarely one “right” answer, and we are trying to choose from a myriad of possible courses of action – many of which might be good.

The key to getting more answers correct on a multiple choice test then is to leave time to review your work. What would happen to our leadership presence if we took more time to review our work? And how might we do that?

We have available to us, all the time, these three ways of knowing things. As leaders, as people, we have access to them in any given moment. But how do we use them?I would offer that within us there are three primary intelligences or ways of knowing things:

The Brain: the seat of thinking, logic, reason, facts, etc. It’s processing and deciding things for us all the time.

The Heart: where our emotions and feelings seem to live. Our desire to connect with others, our passions and purpose and spirit.

The Gut: the realm of intuition; “I can’t tell you why, but my gut tells me…”

We have available to us, all the time, these three ways of knowing things. As leaders, as people, we have access to them in any given moment. But how do we use them?

With purpose. With conscious choice.

The next time you are faced with a difficult leadership or life choice, try this 10 minute exercise:

  • Get a pen and open to a fresh page in your journal or notebook (don’t keyboard this – you won’t access the body nearly as well)
  • Take a minute to just sit and be quiet, focus on your breathing, get present with your journal; focus on the blank page of possibilities
  • Then, frame the question or situation: Today, I seek wisdom on… or… I want to find my best course of action on…
  • Send your awareness to your mind. And ask it the question you wrote. Do 2 minutes of free writing. No editing, no revising, just write whatever comes out in response to what you asked.
  • Take a few clearing breaths and send your awareness to your heart, and do the same thing.
  • Breathe some and then ask your gut the question and write.
  • Let it all sit for a few minutes. Get up and walk around. Talk to a friend or colleague. Work on something else for a bit. Eat.
  • Come back later and read what you’ve written.

Look for alignments, differences, themes, and pay attention to what you notice in your body as you do this. What feels good inside, and where do you feel it? What seems like the “most right” decision? If body parts aren’t in alignment, what shifts might you make in your action plan to bring everyone on board or closer?

Then take action.

Don’t forget to “review your work” though! Set a calendar item for a week, a month, three months, even a year later (depending on size/scope/impact of the issue) and reflect on the decision you made, the actions you took, the impacts and outcomes. Go back to what you wrote. How well did you create what you’d hoped? Which of your intelligences was helpful? Which are more familiar/unfamiliar?  Which got in the way? How might you balance them? What would you do differently next time?

Use this framework over time and you will tune in and become more adept at discerning what combination of brain, heart, and gut will work in a given situation and build the muscle of bringing them into fuller alignment.

So remember, sometimes your first guess is the right one. Sometimes it’s not. Trivia Crack doesn’t give you the time to go back and review your work. Life most often does, if we take the time. Take it!

 

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