computer-studying

Social Distancing? Hmmm. As a guy with a mental health background, “social distancing” was one of those things we used to watch out for as a potential problem. As counselors and therapists, we wanted everyone to have social connection. The research has been consistent and clear that social connection is correlated highly with happiness, contentment, engagement and positive mental health. So, those who were engaged in social distancing were encouraged to form and maintain social networks.

I am also from the generation of management developers that used to preach Management by Walking Around. “Connect with your people,” we would say, “Build emotional bank accounts by listening and relating to your coworkers.”

Things have changed a bit. Some of the “distancing” that workplaces have been experiencing has been gradual over the last decade. Now it’s mandated.

We can still have positive and effective connection even though we are currently restricted to Email, ZOOM, SKYPE, Facetime, text and (gasp!) phone calls. We just have to work a bit harder and smarter to keep this important connection during this very large work-from-home experiment.

So what are we to do now that we are being discouraged from any kind of in-person social interaction?

The good news is that most of us have been practicing some important skills for a while to effectively connect with our coworkers even when we aren’t in the same room.

Here are a few ideas to keep the focus on the connection with people we work with and to build your circle of security even when we aren’t face to face for a while:

  • Maintain The Workplace Feeling of Inclusivity. Find ways to keep everyone in the loop. Reach out twice as much as you did a month ago. Reach out to everyone.
  • Stay Focused On Goals, Not Activity. As a manager, it pays to continue to emphasize outcomes without some kind of “virtual hovering” about tasks that contribute to those outcomes being achieved.
  • Be Intentional. A Mindful approach to emails, chats, phone calls and ZOOM meetings can really help your team to continue to feel valued and to stay engaged. Empathize with the inconvenience, novelty or general weirdness of remote work for those who are not used to it.
  • Create A Communication Strategy. Discuss expectations for responses to communications and meeting attendance. It is more important than ever to not assume mind-reading capability.
  • Avoid Multi-Tasking. You know who you are!

Do your employees feel anxious, distracted or stressed as a result of the disruption that the virus has caused? Fear and anxiety can drive people to become self-focused so that they are prevented from continuing to work productively.

Our job as managers is not necessarily about being a reassuring voice or about asking questions that probe into the feelings of our coworkers. It’s about giving clear direction and next steps so that people have focus and something to hold on to.

Here are some tips:

  • Set an example. Show that you are staying focused on the key initiatives for your organization while taking care of yourself and your family.
  • Over-communicate. Constant communication builds trust and is critical not only for successful remote working but also for making it through a crisis like this.
  • Ask your team members what they need now to perform best. Questions like these are statements of support.
  • Maintain face-to-face contact ZOOM, FACETIME, etc. Build a routine.
  • Be specific in your messaging. Discuss expectations for responses to communications and meeting attendance. It is more important than ever to not assume mind-reading capability.

Please join us on Thursday, April 2 from 1:00pm-3:00pm for an online workshop on Working and Managing Remote: The New Normal?

We would also love to hear what is working for you in this ever-changing world. Email us at bswift@cascadeemployers.com.

Share

{ 0 comments }

wocintech stock - 89

We love critical thinkers, people who come to our trainings and ask hard questions.

In a recent Coaching workshop a participant kept asking, “Isn’t coaching just some trendy buzzword that can really mean a lot of different things?” “Is coaching an individual or group thing?” “How do I prepare or is coaching just an ‘in the moment’ thing?”

Yikes! Lots of questions. Good ones.

The workplace coaching business has taken off—from a $707 million industry 10 years ago to a projected $1.34 billion industry in 2022. As if workplace coaching, at its most basic and most effective, has not been going on since the industrial revolution and before. It can sound trendy and without substance to talk about how cool workplace coaching is.

I am not going to attempt here to break down the differences between coaching and managing and mentoring. Let’s just acknowledge that all are important in encouraging workplace engagement. When we work with supervisors here are a few of the things we focus on:

  • GIVING IMMEDIATE AND HONEST FEEDBACK
  • BUILDING SOLID SUSTAINABLE RELATIONSHIPS
  • PROVIDING CLEAR DIRECTION
  • ESTABLISHING COMMON GOALS FOR THE TEAM
  • STEERING THE TEAM TOWARD SOLUTIONS

Some research by Forbes tells us this:

  • Leaders in the 90th percentile for coaching effectiveness had employee commitment scores in the 88th percentile.
  • Leaders in the 10th percentile for coaching had employees at the 15th percentile for commitment.
  • More than 60% of employees who report to managers who are not good coaches are thinking about quitting, versus 22% who report to the best.
  • Productivity: Better coaches have three times as many people who are willing to go the extra mile.

– Forbes, 5 Business Payoffs of Being an Effective Coach (2/2/15)

I was working with a group of new supervisors and reviewing this thing we call coaching. We asked them to reflect on their willingness to dig in to the coaching role. Two things became very clear in the discussion. One, there was a great deal of reluctance to take on the coaching role. Two, many held the misconception that the primary activities in coaching had something to do with hovering and directing.

Clearly, not all of us were born to coach or lead. Great coaching requires a commitment and an accountability mind-set that takes time and energy, sometimes a lot of both. And, it takes the willingness to develop and maintain relationships through all sorts of challenging, and sometimes awkward, moments. Coaches recognize when they have the positive relationship bank account well established so they can leverage improved employee performance, productivity, stewardship, and commitment.

A set of characteristics that differentiate effective coaches? It turns out that great coaches do these things:

  • Challenge the Process
  • Inspire a Shared Vision
  • Enable Others to Act
  • Model the Way
  • Encourage the Heart

Simple, right? But you can certainly see the work that it might take to accomplish all of these things while getting your other stuff done. Great coaches simply make a decision to lean into all the challenges that coaching might bring and seem to act on faith that it will all be worth the effort.

How many of us now challenged with being effective workplace coaches actually wanted this role, actually asked for it? Many of us were invited into the supervisor’s role because we were competent in some area and others thought we should be “promoted.” Next thing we know we are dealing with human beings which can be one of the most rewarding or frustrating endeavors we will ever experience.

The reluctance we see from supervisors is usually based in concerns about awkward moments, resistance or defensiveness, being too busy, uncertainty about conveying a negative message, distaste for delivering bad news. These are not small hurdles to overcome. Most of us need some coaching ourselves to resolve some of these concerns.

So …

Trendy buzzword? Yes, but we are talking about building positive relationships that last, not trends. There is a clear business case for building coaching into your work culture.

Is coaching an individual or group thing? Both. And the higher-functioning your team is, the more your coaching is a group thing.

How do I prepare? Read, take classes, set a challenge goal to improve quality and quantity of connection with your workgroup, work with your team of supervisors to compare success and challenge stories, try a few things, improve the conversation around coaching connections.

Please come join us at any of our leadership sessions (for example, Coaching Skills Bootcamp or Basics of Supervision) to explore these important workplace issues and how you might improve your workplace coaching relationships.

Share

{ 0 comments }

Hand Stopping Falling Blocks

With many Oregon employers wondering what their workplace obligations are in the wake of the Coronavirus Outbreak, abbreviated COVID-19, we developed some FAQS. Please keep in mind that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), along with local public health authorities, should be where employers turn for specific workplace safety guidance.

Click here for OSHA’s Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 and click here for CDC’s Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers. You can also read our last alert regarding the Coronavirus here.

Q: How does Governor Brown’s March 11th announcement regarding statewide COVID-19 orders affect Oregon employers?

A: Governor Brown announced that all large gatherings with over 250 people will be immediately canceled statewide for four weeks. This ban will affect employers who have any conferences or large social gatherings in the next four weeks. A gathering is defined as any event in a space in which appropriate social distancing of a minimum of three feet cannot be maintained. Additionally, Governor Brown recommended implementing workplace distancing measures including an increased physical space between employees in offices and worksites, limited in-person meetings, limited travel, and staggered work schedules where possible.

Q: On March 12th, Governor Brown ordered Oregon State’s public schools to cancel classes through March 31st. Many of our employees have school-aged children. What happens next?

A: Under Oregon Sick Leave, employees have a right to use sick time for a closure of their child’s school (or daycare) due to this public health emergency. Since public schools are now closed, employers should consider allowing employees to work remotely, if their job duties allow for it.

Q: May an employer send employees home who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19?

A: Yes. With the WHO’s declaration of COVID-19 being classified as a pandemic, the EEOC has stated that employers can require employees exhibiting any symptoms associated with COVID-19 to leave or not report to work. Employers do need to be careful to apply such practice consistently and in a manner that does not discriminate against any protected classes.

Q: What are your obligations if an employee has contracted or been directly exposed to COVID-19?

A: If you have an employee who has contracted COVID-19, that employee should be sent home immediately. It is also advised to seek information about who they may have come into close contact with through their work. Employers should share non-identifying information with other employees who work at the same location, as they are at increased health risk. Any employee that has come into close contact with the infected employee should also be sent home for 14 days. For specific guidance how to deal with COVID-19 positive employees, please reach out to the local health authority.

Q: May an employer require an employee to use any available PTO or vacation/sick leave for their absences associated with COVID-19?

A: Yes. Employers may require employees to use any available PTO or vacation/sick leave for their absences associated with COVID-19. Commonly, employers have policies in place that state employees must use all available paid time off before utilizing unpaid time off. As a reminder, Oregon law requires employers to allow employees to accrue, use, and generally carryover up to 40 hours of paid sick leave (unpaid if fewer than 10 employees or fewer than 6 employees in Portland) per year. COVID-19 related symptoms would be a qualifying reason under Oregon Sick Leave (OSL). Additionally, COVID-19 related symptoms of an employee’s family member would also be a qualifying reason under OSL.

Q: What can employers do if an employee is out of Paid Time Off and is absent from work due to COVID-19 related symptoms?

A: This answer depends on whether an employee is exempt or non-exempt.

  • For non-exempt employees, employers must compensate employees for all hours worked. If a non-exempt employee is home from work but working remotely, then the employee must be compensated for all hours worked. However, if a non-exempt employee is absent from work and does not perform any services, the employee does not need to be paid for that time.
  • Exempt employees, on the other hand, should receive their full salary during any week where work is performed, with some exceptions. For instance, if an employer has a bona fide sick leave or PTO policy in place and an exempt employee either is not eligible for sick leave/PTO or has exhausted their sick/ PTO hours, then employers can deduct only for full day absences assuming the employee performs no work during that day.

Q: Could COVID-19 trigger FMLA or OFLA for eligible employees?

A: Potentially. As a reminder, there are statutory family leave laws that generally allow eligible employees to take up to 12 protected weeks off for certain health or family-related reasons. If your company has 25 or more employees in Oregon, it is covered under OFLA. If your company has 50 or more employees anywhere in the United States, it is covered by FMLA. For OFLA, employees generally must have worked for the company for 180 days and be working an average of 25 hours per week during the 180 days before leave begins. For FMLA, employees must have been with the company for at least 12 months (not necessarily consecutive), and have worked at least 1250 hours in the 12 months prior to the requested leave.

One of the reasons an eligible employee can take FMLA and/or OFLA leave is for serious health conditions related to the employee or the employee’s immediate family members. Coronavirus could be considered a “serious health condition” under FMLA and OFLA. If eligible employees are unable to work due to COVID-19 related symptoms, they should be provided with the OFLA/FMLA paperwork.

Q: Do employers have to pay employees if the company shuts down for a specified time due to COVID‑19?

A: Like the previous FAQ, this answer depends on whether employees are exempt or non-exempt. If an employer shuts down their offices/facilities, non-exempt employees do not need to be paid when work is not being performed. However, for exempt employees, the general rule is that exempt employees need to be paid for all weeks in which some work is performed. Therefore, if offices/facilities are shut down for partial weeks, exempt employees receive their full salary. However, if offices/facilities are shut down for a full week, employers are not required to pay exempt employees for weeks where no work is performed.

Q: If employers are faced with having to close facilities or lay off employees due to COVID-19, are those employers required to give notice to employees?

A: If employers do have to close facilities or lay off employees due to COVID-19, employers need to determine whether the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) applies. WARN is a federal law that requires employers with 100 or more employees to provide written notice at least 60 calendar days before a plant shutdown or covered mass layoff. The law does have an exception to the 60-day notice provision for unforeseeable business circumstance that is caused by some sudden, dramatic, and unexpected action or conditions outside the employer’s control.

There is a good argument that COVID-19 would be considered an unforeseeable business circumstance. However, even with that exception triggered, employers still give employees notice of such layoffs or closures as soon as practicable.

Q: I am an employer covered by predictive scheduling. How does COVID-19 interact with this law?

A: As a reminder, the Oregon Employee Work Schedules Law, which took effect in 2018, applies to Oregon employers who are primarily engaged in providing retail, hospitality or food services and have 500 or more employees worldwide. Employers covered under WARN are required to provide employees with written work schedules at least seven calendar days before the first day of work that runs through the last day of the posted work schedule in effect at the time of delivery.

If employers fail to provide advance notice of scheduled changes, employers are required to provide compensation to the employees who were affected by the schedule change. However, an employer does not have to pay the penalty if an employee’s work shift or on-call shift cannot begin or continue due to the recommendation of a public official. With this, there is a strong argument that the COVID-19 triggers this exception to the penalty component of predictive scheduling.

Q: May employers encourage or require employees to work remotely as a disease prevention strategy?

A: Yes. Employers may encourage or require employees to work remotely as prevention strategy. Employers still need to be mindful that such policies and practices must be applied in a non-discriminatory manner. Employees should be told to contact their supervisors to see if remote work is feasible based on their job descriptions.

Q: May employers discipline employees who are in violation of the company’s attendance policy due to COVID-19 related absences?

A: Employers should strongly consider not disciplining employees who are in violation of attendance policies because of COVID-19, as the health and safety of all employees is important in the face of a pandemic. Some of the absences may also be specifically protected under Oregon Sick Leave and/or OFLA and FMLA which would prohibit using those absences against them. Further, if employers relax their attendance policy in the face of COVID-19, employers will not create a precedent for non-coronavirus related absences as long as it is clear the relaxed policy is specific to COVID-19 related illnesses only.

Q: May an employer restrict business travel?

A: Yes. Employers may restrict business travel and should prohibit all unnecessary travel per Department of State’s advisory. Employers should develop and communicate plans in regards to both global and domestic travel. While employers should not limit employees’ rights to personal travel, employers can implement self-quarantine upon an employee’s return but this policy must be applied consistently.

Q: Is there anything employers can do to help ease the financial burden COVID-19 has caused employees?

A: Yes. Employers can consider advancing PTO/Vacation accruals to cover COVID-19 related absences. Employers may also decide to increase employee sick leave accruals or potentially frontload 40 hours to employees. Some employers are also providing employees additional paid sick leave specifically for COVID-19 purposes. Other employers are letting employees use accrued vacation for COVID-19 purposes if they have separate sick and vacation policies and the employee does not have sick time available. Employers can consider implementing a catastrophic leave bank where employees donate PTO or sick hours to give to employees who are absent from work due to COVID-19. Of course, there are many other options to consider, but these are the most common we are seeing right now.

Q: Can an employee refuse to come to work due to their concerns over COVID‑19?

A: In most circumstances, no. Under OSHA rules, an employee can refuse to come to work if they believe they are in imminent danger, which is defined as threat of death or serious physical harm. The employee would need to show that there is a high risk of death or serious physical harm in their immediate future if they were to come to work as opposed to a generalized fear. This is a high burden for employees to meet, especially if employers are following the workplace recommendations provided by the CDC and OSHA. However, if an employee is refusing to come to work, it may be worth seeking guidance.

Q: Can I require an employee that has recently traveled (personal or for business) to a high risk area to stay at home for a period of time after they return?

A: Because COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic, employers do not have to wait until an employee develops symptoms to ask about potential exposure. If the CDC or local health authorities such as the Oregon Health Authority recommends that individuals traveling to an affected area stay home for a period of time, then employers may do the same. It is recommended you obtain information from the CDC and Oregon Health Authority if you have any employees in that situation.

Cascade is actively monitoring this situation, and will continue to provide additional guidance as this situation may rapidly change. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. Our team is prepared to answer your questions.

Share

{ 0 comments }

Impostor Rose
Impostor Rose
 

It starts with a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success, then leads to a worry that you don’t belong. I have definitely struggled with Impostor Syndrome (the worry that I will be found out as a fraud, that somehow someone will finally realize that I’m not as smart as I seem or as nice as I seem, or as hardworking as I seem).

High achieving, highly successful people often suffer, so impostor syndrome doesn’t equate with low self-esteem or a lack of self-confidence. In fact, some researchers have linked it with perfectionism, and it is disproportionately experienced by women and people of color.

Some common thoughts and feelings associated with impostor syndrome include:

  • “I must not fail” – There can be a huge amount of pressure not to fail in order to avoid being “found out.” This leads to an inability to enjoy success.
  • “I feel like a fake” – We believe we do not deserve success or professional accolades and feel that somehow others have been deceived into thinking otherwise. This goes hand-in-hand with a fear of being “found out,” “discovered,” or “unmasked.” We sometimes think we are more competent than we actually are and have deep feelings that we lack knowledge or expertise. Often we believe we don’t deserve a position or a promotion and are anxious that “somebody made a mistake.”
  • “It’s all down to luck” – The tendency to attribute success to luck or to other external reasons and not our abilities is a clear indicator of impostor syndrome. We may typically say or think: “I just got lucky” or “it was a fluke.” Often this masks the fear that we will not be able to succeed the next time.

So what can you do to mitigate the negative effects of Impostor Syndrome?

  • Recognize impostor feelings when they pop up. Awareness is the first step to change, so ensure you track these thoughts: what they are and when they emerge.
  • Change the narrative. Instead of telling yourself you will be found out or that you don’t deserve success, remind yourself that it’s normal not to know everything and that you will find out more as you progress. Sometimes these voices of self-doubt are the residue of previous exclusion or experiences. Consider if those thoughts are still relevant or from previous encounters.
  • Talk about your feelings. There may be others who feel like impostors too – build connections with colleagues and share your areas of growth.
  • Consider the context. Most people will experience moments or occasions where they don’t feel 100% confident. There may be times when you feel out of your depth and self-doubt can be a normal reaction. Notice if it is a specific context that triggers these thoughts. Perhaps additional professional development in a specific skill will develop additional confidence.
  • Develop a growth mindset. Consider mistakes as a learning opportunity and build in reflection time to address what you can improve for next time.
  • Be kind to yourself. Remember that you are entitled to make small mistakes occasionally and forgive yourself. Don’t forget to reward yourself for getting the big things right.
  • Identify allies. We are always in community with each other: recognize that you can seek assistance and that you don’t have to do everything alone. This will give you a good reality check and help you talk things through.

We all are on our own journey and failure is an opportunity for growth. There’s only one you and the world needs more of you! Even the best of us make mistakes and fail, if you need proof just look to Steve Jobs, Michael Jordan, or Maya Angelou.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Share

{ 0 comments }