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4 Strategies for Attracting and Retaining Top Talent in the New World of Work

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Although it might feel like we’ve turned the corner on the pandemic, not everyone agrees. One survey found that 27% of the workforce that either works remotely or is between jobs believes returning to the office poses significant risk. This can make recruitment and retention a challenge for many employers — and that’s not accounting for the other factors at play in this collective reluctance to accept a job offer or stay at a company.

For some, the lack of interest in work can be traced back to burnout. Others have had a chance to reflect on what exactly they want to do for a living and are willing to wait for the perfect opportunity. Then, there are those who have care responsibilities keeping them on the sidelines, and those who seek greater workplace flexibility, and those who have opted for early retirement, and so on.

A combination of factors is putting greater pressure on the talent market, and companies must respond in kind by repositioning their workplaces to fit the expectations of today’s employees. Doing anything otherwise doesn’t just make you less attractive to job seekers, but it will also cause your retention rates to decline, which hurts the company’s bottom line. Yet only 47% of employed workers are happy with their jobs.

People are looking for more from the companies and leaders they choose to work for. Here’s how you can attract the best:

1. Accommodate employees’ mental health needs.

The impact of the past two years on workplace mental health hasn’t gone unnoticed by the majority of companies. One survey found that 86% of employers rank it as a priority for 2022. However, only 30% of employees say their companies offer access to mental health services.

Review the mental health services covered in your company’s benefits to determine whether improvements must be made. Even expanding coverage to include virtual mental health visits or bringing in a stress coach to help with guided meditation can be of great assistance — and it can support your employee recruitment and retention efforts in the process.

Consider the affordability of mental health services. If your company’s health benefits fail to cover a broad range of services, employees might choose to forgo the expense of high co-pays or other out-of-pocket expenses, leading to more burnout and stress. Look at ways to offset those costs. If insurance coverage is a problem, it’s worth the investment to re-negotiate that type of coverage on new policies, and then make sure your people are aware of the benefits. Sometimes, employees are simply unaware of what’s covered in their plans. The company newsletter, email notifications, and posters in common areas are great ways to spread the word and create a culture of acceptance around asking for help and developing healthy coping skills.

2. Explore new employee engagement strategies.

Employee burnout is frighteningly high these days. Nearly three in five workers report experiencing negative impacts of work-related stress. Countering burnout can be a challenge, but one of the easiest ways to start is with recognition. Gartner research found that employees’ need for recognition increases by around 30% during challenging times. Make a habit of recognizing employee contributions publicly. Use internal communication channels to offer your congratulations, and then send a personal note of thanks to let people know their value.

Nyasha Gutsa, co-founder and CEO of billy, suggests taking employee engagement efforts a step further. “We have a billy day, which is a day when employees get to spend time working on perfecting their craft,” he says. “There are no internal meetings. Employees can sleep in, or they can go run errands if they need to. This has helped us foster a more passionate, engaged workforce, which, in turn, helps us solve business problems.”

Mind you, launching new engagement strategies does take some experimentation. Not everything will move the needle. As Gutsa explains, “We ask what our employees want to do to start feeling more engaged, and we make tweaks to billy day or our other engagement efforts to reflect their preferences.” It’s all about learning what works best for your team.

3. Institute policies that encourage work-life boundaries.

Most people understand the importance of maintaining a work-life balance, and chances are they’re also familiar with some of its tactics: Prioritize health, unplug, make time for friends, etc. But none of these things are possible without the ability to set clear boundaries at work, which is difficult when employees don’t feel supported in doing so.

To ensure you’re instituting policies that do, in fact, encourage work-life boundaries, go directly to the source. Seek feedback from employees on what they might need from you to achieve a better work-life balance. Also, set boundaries with your clients that allow team members to make the break between work and life. More importantly, set a good example by encouraging the leadership team to not send emails after 5 p.m. or on weekends.

One especially novel concept is job crafting, where employees are given the flexibility to alter aspects of their job to find more meaning in their work. Do certain aspects of the job feel more fulfilling? Does their interest lie in certain responsibilities more than others? Job crafting can improve worker satisfaction and support greater work-life balance.

4. Reassess your benefits and compensation package.

The Social Security cost-of-living adjustment will increase 5.9% for this year — the largest since 1982. This has led many companies to rethink not just their raise targets, but also the perks they offer employees. Bonuses, flexible schedules, tuition reimbursement, and hybrid work models are just a few of the benefits topping the list.

To remain competitive in a tight talent market, consider offering more than the new “basics.” Higher starting salaries are always a good start, as are wage increases companywide. One strategy Gartner’s RJ Cheremond recommends is letting employees “trade in” their paid time off. “Remote workers, for example, might have accumulated leave they don’t need; allow them to donate it to an on-site employee to alleviate some of their strain,” she writes. You could also let them trade it in for gift certificates or cash. Another consideration is student-loan debt. Assistance paying down the cost of higher education will be welcome. If your CFO says your company can’t afford these initiatives, it’s time to redefine employee benefits as investments that will pay dividends in the long run.

People often talk about the “new normal” as if it only applies to the adjustments everyone has had to make in their lives. That’s far from the long and short of it, though. Many of the new strategies and policies we’re seeing in the workplace should have been there all along; in many ways, the old days were abnormal. The record-low unemployment rate presents a great opportunity to make a lasting impact on the humanity of recruiting and retention.

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Food Is Medicine And What We Eat Is Important

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Your mental state is a critical component of your physical health. And when you’re under a lot of stress, you might not be eating the healthy food that provides nutrients for fighting anxiety and depression. So when we examine what we’ve been eating, most of us discover that the decisions we’ve been making in the name of simplicity, convenience, or saving time have been damaging to our total health – body, mind, and spirit.

A person’s diet is a direct reflection of their health. When a person does not eat the right foods, their body breaks down. This can lead to an overall decrease in quality of life and many other diseases linked to improper nutrition. In North America, our current diet mainly consists of an excess of grain, sugar, fried and fatty foods. As a result, disorders including hypertension, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s, and certain malignancies are becoming increasingly widespread.

The science of food has always been discussed; however, with recent technological innovations in food processing and agriculture, people have enjoyed more convenient foods that are less expensive than ever before. Unfortunately, with every convenience comes a trade-off. Smart foods are often packed with sugar, salt, and calories, leading to poor health in some individuals. 

To understand what a person is putting into their body, it’s essential to realize that the small molecules in food are responsible for allowing our bodies to function. These small molecules are called nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and enzymes. A nutrient is not a value unless absorbed by the body through a specific pathway. For example, if you absorb calcium without vitamin D, your body will not use that calcium. 

Eating a balanced diet keeps you healthy, but it helps reduce your stress. For example, eat foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants because they help augment your immune response and prevent toxins from damaging your cells. Vitamins A, C, and E serve as antioxidants that fight off free radicals in the body. Free radicals are toxic products of metabolism that cause damage to your cells. Experts claim that they are responsible for the aging process. Good sources of these vitamins are deeply-colored vegetables- green leafy, yellow, and orange vegetables, such as squash, broccoli, kale, spinach, and carrots.

Iron is one of the most abundant minerals in the body, and it mainly functions to deliver oxygen to your cells. Hence, an iron deficiency, medically termed Iron-deficiency anemia, is associated with weakness, easy fatigability, and pale skin. Tea, coffee, red wine, grapes, and berries are rich in antioxidants that function the same as your vitamins A, C, and E. 
You need a diet that’s healthy and balanced – and one that can fit comfortably into your busy lifestyle.

Here are some of the recommended dietary guidelines.

Eat a diet high in fresh vegetables, vitamins, and minerals. 

Exercise every other day to release endorphins, feel good, get the blood flowing, and reduce stress levels. 

Eat salt only when you need it, but not too much as your body does not need it. Many people with anxiety are hypothyroid or have low magnesium. When your body needs more sodium, it can indicate that you are not producing enough cortisol or are dehydrated. If you experience chronic anxiety, I recommend working with a physician to run tests on cortisol levels and then take salt supplements as needed. Use spices like turmeric, ginger, curry, and aromatic herbs like parsley, rosemary, sage, and basil.
Eat low-fat meals because they will cause a minor spike in blood sugar levels: think lean meats, eggs, vegetables, and nuts; avoid dairy if it makes you feel anxious. 

Drink lots of water — keep hydrated all day — ideally at least half a gallon if possible — your brain needs water to function optimally! 

Avoid foods that you know will make you feel bad, such as dairy, even with low-fat content. You can cut out dairy and not worry about it! 

Avoid sugar, caffeine, processed foods, alcohol, and any other substance that makes you feel bad or increases anxiety levels. Also, avoid coffee — drinking more than one cup a day can cause anxiety in some people. Coffee is also dehydrating and inhibits the absorption of minerals from food/water/supplements — try caffeinated water as a substitute for coffee if you like the caffeine kick. 

Find a natural health professional that you can talk to or work with to quickly get the results you want. 

Healthy foods and nutrition can help you stay fit, but they can also assist you in treating disease. When you nurture your body physically with these nutrient-dense foods, your mental capacities improve, as does your spiritual welfare. Moreover, because your spiritual health is at its best, it will radiate to the exterior world, causing others to notice you’re happier and more relaxed, and your stress levels have decreased dramatically.

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The Points of Light Civic Circle Offers Real Ways You Can Change the World 

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Sixty-six percent of Americans don’t believe they can make a big impact in the world. 

That figure is according to Points of Light’s research on civic engagement. But what if I told you there are actually many ways to drive change? 

Today’s political climate can feel divided or even stagnant, but the truth is, you really can make things better, starting with your own community, one act of kindness at a time. And those aren’t just words. I’m here to share real, practical ways for you to make a difference. 

The Points of Light Civic Circle helps people connect to opportunities and understand that doing good comes in many forms. It is a framework that represents your power to lead, lend support and take action for causes you care about and live your best civic life. 

The Civic Circle provides actionable examples of all the ways you can change your community to reflect the world you want to see around you. In fact, you’re probably doing some of these things already. Are you helping a neighbor by picking up groceries or chaperoning on your child’s class field trip? You’re volunteering. Did you vote in the last election or help others get to the polls so they could vote? Those acts of civic duty illustrate the “vote” element. When you buy a product, do you choose to support companies that reflect your values or advance a social cause? That’s called “purchase power.” There are nine elements of the Civic Circle, and countless ways to bring each one to life. 

This blog is the first in a five-part series that will help you find real and manageable ways to activate the Civic Circle through apps, documentaries, podcasts and books. 

We also offer other resources to help you connect with all the ways you can become empowered to be the change you want to see in the world. Check out our videos that provide an in-depth look at each element of the Civic Circle. And don’t miss Civic Life Today, our digital magazine series. Each issue takes a deep dive and provides materials, ideas and inspiration so that you can become civically engaged.  Get started today, and launch your own civic engagement journey with these tools. 

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Are you an Amateur or a Pro? 30 Differences to Help You Decide…

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My client, Sebastian, thinks he’s behind on “life”.

He thinks he missed the memo the rest of us received on how to live a happy life.

I know better.

Sebastian hasn’t fallen behind and there is no such memo.

We’re all just trying to figure it out.

Unless we’re not. And there are a lot of people who simply are not trying to figure it out.

My friend and Professional Coach, Elaine Taylor-Klaus, calls them Status quo-ers — as opposed to Growers.

Anyone who makes a serious commitment to working with a Professional Coach is by definition a “Grower” and Sebastian is no exception.

Growers want to know, feel and live more. They push every boundary and sometimes fall off cliffs. They say “yes” to way too many things and often feel overwhelmed and over committed. They have a congenital distaste of the status quo and will sabotage any situation if it feels like “settling” to them. They’re insatiable and often don’t know what exactly will assuage their hunger.

Growers often appear to the world as troubled, frustrated and critical.

Inside they feel unfulfilled and misunderstood.

The truth is that they can’t help but be driven by Oscar Wilde’s belief that,

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist.”

Growers will break every piece in the china shop when they find themselves just existing and not living as they see fit. And they suffer for it.

That is… until they turn pro and transform their life!

Steven Pressfield famously states in his book, Turning Pro

“Becoming a pro, in the end, is nothing grander than growing up.”

Sebastian thinks he’s falling behind because he’s still living life as an amateur at 34.

To put the above into context, I didn’t turn pro till well into my 40’s!

Best move I ever made! 

So what’s the difference between living life as an amateur vs. a pro?

Although there is no one size fits all manifesto on “how to turn pro”, here are thirty distinctions I’ve learned which apply to ANY Grower who is truly committed to living a life of purpose, fulfillment and ease.

  1. Amateurs look for hacks and shortcuts — Pros do the work.
  2. Amateurs speed up — Pros slow down.
  3. Amateurs are busy — Pros are focused.
  4. Amateurs sell first — Pros serve first.
  5. Amateurs think it’s about them — Pros know it’s never personal.
  6. Amateurs think life is short — Pros know life is actually really freakin’ long.
  7. Amateurs are reactive — Pros are responsive.
  8. Amateurs live with constant misunderstandings — Pros take the time to get clear.
  9. Amateurs don’t know what success looks like (to them) — Pros  know their definition of success and aren’t afraid to change it.
  10. Amateurs don’t know their core life values — Pros do.
  11. Amateurs want to feel happy — Pros want to feel alive!
  12. Amateurs play to “not lose” — Pros play to win.
  13. Amateurs are harsh — Pros are fierce.
  14. Amateurs secretly enjoy being in the “Victim Mindset” — Pros are a “Hell No” to that!
  15. Amateurs wonder what people say about them when they leave the room — Pros know.
  16. Amateurs have false and limiting beliefs around money — Pros don’t.
  17. Amateurs are constantly searching for life balance — Pros are living an integrated life.
  18. Amateurs think everything matters — Pros know what few things actually do matter (for them).
  19. Amateurs set boundaries defensively — Pros simply honor their “operating system”.
  20. Amateurs think help is a four letter word — Pros actively seek opportunities to help and be helped.
  21. Amateurs don’t have a relationship with their “Future Self” — Pros are best friends with their “Future Self”.
  22. Amateurs confuse knowing with doing — Pros receive knowledge and apply it (EVERY moment of EVERY day).
  23. Amateurs love information — Pros love insights.
  24. Amateurs have intentions — Pros have commitments.
  25. Amateurs have expectations — Pros have agreements.
  26. Amateurs compare — Pros create.
  27. Amateurs live from probability — Pros live from possibility.
  28. Amateurs are focused only on the “Goal Line” — Pros are focused on both the “Goal Line” and the “Soul Line”.
  29. Amateurs set goals with contingencies — Pros know contingencies are just excuses and NOW is the time!
  30. Amateurs create from the past — Pros create from the future.

Now that you are aware of the 30 differences between an amateur and a pro, where do you see yourself?

And I’d love to know why. Get in touch with your answer.

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