Teams Archives - PGi Blog https://www.pgi.com/blog Resources for Virtual Events and Global Collaboration for Businesses Tue, 01 Mar 2022 10:15:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.1 How to Create a Happy Workforce & Reduce Churn in a Remote World https://www.pgi.com/blog/2022/02/happy-workforce-how-to/ Thu, 24 Feb 2022 15:00:33 +0000 https://www.pgi.com/blog/?p=28973 Many companies focus their efforts on hiring the best and brightest employees. But amidst the Great Resignation, when 4.5 million employees left their jobs, perhaps human resource directors and company executives should be looking for ways to reduce churn. Reports say as many as 30% of employees who quit last year were seeking greater flexibility. …

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Many companies focus their efforts on hiring the best and brightest employees. But amidst the Great Resignation, when 4.5 million employees left their jobs, perhaps human resource directors and company executives should be looking for ways to reduce churn.

Reports say as many as 30% of employees who quit last year were seeking greater flexibility. Finding ways to let employees embrace a better work/life balance can also help create a happy workforce. And technology, including webcast capabilities for employee and team engagement, can play a key role.

Revisit Your Remote Work Policies

One study found that companies who don’t allow their employees to work remotely, at least some of the time, have 25% lower retention rates than companies with more flexible policies. Another study found that, amidst the pandemic, 50% of employees refused to return to the workplace unless the company offered remote work options.

Seamless, easy-to-use videoconferencing and webcast solutions make it easier to offer remote work options with the confidence that your workforce can stay connected. So whether it’s for a quick, touch-base huddle session or a massive town hall meeting that brings together your entire workforce and corporate leaders, GlobalMeet Webcast delivers all the features you need.

Use Webcast Technology for Employee Training

Today’s workers want to feel connected, appreciated, and supported. For many Gen Z employees just entering the workforce, this means delivering the right employee training. Sixty-nine percent of GenZ workers believe learning is the key to a successful career.

Yet, employee training in 2022 doesn’t have to mean sitting for hours in a stuffy classroom or listening to lectures. Create virtual training modules with GlobalMeet Webcast and let employees listen and watch on their own schedule. If you opt for live training, GlobalMeet Webcast enables you to create an interactive, engaging environment with audience polling, Q&A features, and more.

Plus, searchable transcriptions created of each webcast can help employees review the materials later to be sure all that knowledge sunk in.

Keep In Touch with Remote Workers

Employers often fear that letting people work remotely will create disengagement. Likewise, some employees worry that they will miss out on advancement opportunities or even creative brainstorming sessions if they aren’t in the office.

Re-think this outdated view of the office as the center of creativity and productivity. Foster a sense of engagement with interactive virtual meetings. After each virtual event, make sure to poll attendees on what they liked and spots where they see room for improvement.

Your technology should never limit what you can achieve when it comes to inspiring a happy workforce. Reach out to see how GlobalMeet Webcast can help you reduce churn and stay competitive in 2022.

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How to Show Gratitude to Your Remote Team https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/06/how-to-show-gratitude-to-your-remote-team-2/ https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/06/how-to-show-gratitude-to-your-remote-team-2/#respond Tue, 30 Jun 2020 14:56:59 +0000 https://www.pgi.com/blog/?p=28019 Although working from home may seem like a dream situation for some employees, it’s far from a walk in the park. While working remotely offers benefits such as flexibility, there are significant disadvantages, such as loneliness and communication troubles. According to the 2020 State of Remote Work report from Buffer, 20% of remote employees state loneliness as …

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Although working from home may seem like a dream situation for some employees, it’s far from a walk in the park. While working remotely offers benefits such as flexibility, there are significant disadvantages, such as loneliness and communication troubles.

According to the 2020 State of Remote Work report from Buffer, 20% of remote employees state loneliness as their biggest struggle with working from home.

To ensure employees are feeling and working their best, there are several ways companies can show their remote workforce they appreciate their hard work.

1. Employee Appreciation Gifts

Who doesn’t love getting a gift out of the blue?

To show gratitude and appreciation to your remote team, use some of your operational or HR budget to send them a little gift. The gift should be thoughtful and aligned with the interests of your employees and company values.

Common employee appreciation gifts include:

  • Gift cards (think a food delivery service for lunch on the company)
  • Company swag
  • Technology accessories (headphones, phone cases, etc.)

Think about what your employees could use to brighten up their workday or daily lives while working from home. Send it to them as a symbol of your gratitude.

2. Regular Employee Shout Outs

We all want to be acknowledged for our hard work. Yet, when we work from the solitude of our home, there’s no one there to give us a metaphorical pat on the back.

Show your staff how much you appreciate them by finding ways to recognize employee accomplishments or say thanks! You can accomplish this during an all-team call, a regular public Slack message, in a company-wide newsletter or a LinkedIn Kudos.

Take it a step further and have your employees nominate teammates each week for recognition.

3. Invest in Professional Development Opportunities

Employees want to feel valued and that they have a future at the company. This is often accomplished through professional development and training opportunities.

Stanford University study found that 67% of remote workers say they want more work-related training. Show your remote team that you care about their professional growth by providing access and financial funds for relevant training opportunities such as webinars, conferences, and classes.

4. Mail a Thank You Card

Sometimes the smallest gesture means the most.

In the isolated, technology-driven world of remote work, a thank you card can mean the world to an employee. Take time out of your day to write and mail individualized thank you cards to your remote staff members.

Be sure to write a unique message for each employee. You want to show your gratitude for their work, and a great way to do so would be to acknowledge each employee’s particular contribution.

How will you show your appreciation for your remote team?

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The Power of Saying ‘Good Morning’ to Your Virtual Team https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/06/the-power-of-saying-good-morning-to-your-virtual-team/ https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/06/the-power-of-saying-good-morning-to-your-virtual-team/#respond Fri, 26 Jun 2020 15:22:04 +0000 https://www.pgi.com/blog/?p=28016 It’s a habit. We walk into the office and say, “good morning!” to whoever we pass. But when you’re part of a virtual team, the only people greeting you get each morning are probably your family and your pets. Greeting your virtual team each morning is one of the best things you can do to …

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It’s a habit. We walk into the office and say, “good morning!” to whoever we pass. But when you’re part of a virtual team, the only people greeting you get each morning are probably your family and your pets.

Greeting your virtual team each morning is one of the best things you can do to boost remote workers’ morale and help them remain productive from home.

Plus, this tiny little phrase we take for granted offers several other powerful benefits, such as:

1. Helping Remote Workers Establish a Routine

While flexibility and an adaptive schedule are among the top reasons people choose to work remotely, that’s not always a benefit for those who prefer routine.

Help your employees at home and in the office establish a consistent routine, starting with a simple “Good morning!” message to your teammates on a daily basis. Doing so encourages them to arrive at work on time physically and mentally (even though the commute may only be a few steps away!).

Additionally, this morning habit also helps managers be accountable for their routine and productivity throughout the day.

2. Planning More Productive Work Days

If your team doesn’t already participate in virtual standing meetings, there’s never been a better time to get started and say, “Good morning,” too.

Morning meetings are an ideal time to touch base with remote teammates, check-in on their tasks, and ask if they’re having difficulty with anything. These meetings are great for planning productive workdays for the entire team by identifying top priorities first thing in the morning.

Hosting morning meetings are also an excellent way to minimize interruptions later in the day as workers get into their groove. There’s nothing worse than that last-minute request to disrupt your workflow.

3. Opening Up Lines of Team Communication

Clear and constant communication is one of the biggest remote work challenges. More than half of remote employees report feeling disconnected from in-office employees, which leads to communication errors and barriers for teams.

A quick “Good morning!” message helps prevent feelings of alienation and isolation from developing and quashes any notion of poor communication at the start of the day. This little phrase encourages employees to speak up and feel heard throughout their workday.

4. Starting the Day on a Positive Note

It’s unrealistic to expect every workday to be bright and cheery. But we can try! And, for those working at home, starting the day with a team meeting and a happy “Good morning!” can mean the difference between just another day at home and a positive one.

You never know whose day you’ll change simply by saying, “Good morning!”

5. Giving Your Team Something to Look Forward to

We’re all guilty of hitting the snooze button more often than we should. Scheduling a regular morning meeting to get the day started is a great way to give your remote team something to look forward to at the beginning of their day.

Even though your team may not work in a physical office together and are mainly connecting virtually, that’s no reason to throw etiquette out the window! Instead, start each day with a “good morning!” greeting and tackle the workday together.

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3 Ways to Inspire and Motivate Remote Teams https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/05/3-ways-to-inspire-and-motivate-remote-teams/ https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/05/3-ways-to-inspire-and-motivate-remote-teams/#respond Mon, 04 May 2020 17:34:32 +0000 https://www.pgi.com/blog/?p=27851 Remote work was once a desirable office perk. Since 2010, however, the amount of people who work remotely at least once a week has grown by 400%. In the past few weeks, that number has skyrocketed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. While still tasked with the same responsibilities, workloads, and deliverables as before, remote teams …

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Remote work was once a desirable office perk. Since 2010, however, the amount of people who work remotely at least once a week has grown by 400%. In the past few weeks, that number has skyrocketed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. While still tasked with the same responsibilities, workloads, and deliverables as before, remote teams also face their own unique set of challenges. A difference in schedules, work habits, and time zones can all cause difficulties among remote team members.

To effectively work remotely as a team, employees must be understanding, consistent, and motivated. However, we all know that motivation can ebb and flow. Fortunately, there are several ways to inspire your remote team to be productive and take on new challenges.

1. Check In Often

One of the most common challenges a remote team faces is the feeling of isolation and loneliness. This feeling is amplified when practicing social distancing. Working from home alone (or with kids) day-in and day-out isn’t the most conducive environment for productivity and creativity. As a result, employees can feel in a rut, or siloed from their teammates.

Make it a point to regularly check-in with your employees. This can be in the form of a chat message, or a phone call, but be sure to also incorporate face-to-face video meetings. Your co-workers and teams need to see you. The good news is video conferencing technology like GlobalMeet makes face-to-face conversations, regardless of location, easy.

Be sure that these check-ins are beyond shop talk. Ask how each person’s day is going, what you can do to help, and which resources they may need to stay motivated at home.

2. Encourage Clear and Casual Communication

When you don’t have a communal breakroom to chat in, casual banter gets pushed to the wayside. However, this is how employees connect with one another and bond as a team.

Set aside time each day to casually talk to a coworker. Catch up on each other’s lives and engage in non-work-related conversations for a refreshing change of pace. This little break in the day may be just what someone needs to keep their motivation going!

PGi, CMO, Mark Roberts ensures he is on video for every meeting. “I hear a lot of small talk that doesn’t feel small. People are sharing what it’s like working through this unique and scary time. They’re trying to remain optimistic and share hope and humor as much as possible.”

Additionally, encourage employees to use clear communication. When we can’t sit is a room together, communication errors can arise. Clear, written communication is key for remote teams to collaborate and produce results effectively.

3. Focus on Results, Not Micro-Managing

Remote teams need to trust that each member of the group is doing their part. Typically, it’s quite obvious when part of the team is achieving their goals while others are slacking.

To combat this, many remote teams go the unfortunate route of requiring their teams to track every moment of their day. This micromanagement approach creates anxious and alienated workers who won’t be able to produce their best work under such strict conditions.

Instead, focus on the results your employees are producing rather than what they’re doing every minute of the day. Doing so will inspire and motivate them to perform their best at all times while working from home.

In the end, remember this is a trying time for everyone, and your co-workers are feeling the pinch just as much as you are. So be patient and stay postive. Interested in new ways to connect as a remote team? PGi’s suite of collaboration and communication tools will help your team link up seamlessly from anywhere in the world.

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9 Types of Business Meetings (and How to Lead Them) https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/04/9-types-of-business-meetings/ https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/04/9-types-of-business-meetings/#respond Wed, 22 Apr 2020 16:49:56 +0000 https://www.pgi.com/blog/?p=27812 When you spend the bulk of your time in meetings, each meeting can start to blend into the next. Soon, at the pace you’re going, you feel like you don’t have time to set proper, focused goals for each meeting. Right? However, it doesn’t have to be that way! By knowing the nine most common types …

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When you spend the bulk of your time in meetings, each meeting can start to blend into the next. Soon, at the pace you’re going, you feel like you don’t have time to set proper, focused goals for each meeting. Right? However, it doesn’t have to be that way! By knowing the nine most common types of business meetings, you can automatically envision your goals for each session based on meeting type, instead of starting from scratch.

1. Status Update Meetings

Your weekly 1:1, your biweekly team sync, your Scrum “stand-up”—all of these meetings fall into the category of status update meetings. The purpose is to bring everyone at the meeting up to speed with need-to-know information. Small teams and whole organizations alike might have status update meetings, although most “all-hands” meetings wouldn’t fall into this category. (They’re more likely one of the other types of business meetings).

Focus on: Expedience

When leading a status update meeting, focus on keeping it brief and to-the-point. Don’t give participants the chance to get distracted and waste each other’s time just because you called a quick meeting.

After all, status update meetings usually have the most concrete goals of any meeting. The main idea is to exchange answers to super-straightforward questions, such as:

  • What did you do to further our goal since we last met?
  • What do you plan to do today or this week?
  • Is anything blocking you?
  • Do you need anything from me, or anyone else, in order to do your job?

Since the goal is so simple, status update meetings can easily run too long and become time-wasters. That’s the tendency, but you can prevent it by setting boundaries focused on expedience.

For example, if your company applies Scrum, you already know that the time limit on a daily status update (or “stand-up”) meeting is 15 minutes. But most status update meetings, even weekly or biweekly ones, can follow the same philosophy. Status update meetings are an opportunity to save time for other things, so keep them quick.

2. Decision-Making Meetings

In a typical decision-making meeting, someone presents options to a designated decision-maker, and that person makes a decision. Some people say that decisions are a “product” that a leader makes—and that’s a good way to think about it. The end goal of a decision-making meeting is, of course, to make the best possible decision.

Focus on: Locating Any Blind Spots

The spotlight effect is one of the biggest potential failure points of any decision-making process. The “spotlight” encircles the information you’re focused on at the time. It’s what you see in your purview—the resources you already have for making your decision. So, that spotlight governs the decisions you consider viable. Failing to explore the darkness outside of that spotlight makes you vulnerable.

Falling victim to the spotlight effect means making a decision based on that information without looking beyond the possibilities you can see in the moment. For example, if you’re starting an e-commerce store, but you only know about one e-commerce platform, you might miss the opportunity to get a better price or product. If you seek advice from someone with experience in e-commerce instead, you might find a platform that’s truly the perfect fit for your needs, avoiding the consequences of the spotlight effect.

So, before making an important decision, especially about a problem you’re solving, you need to move that spotlight around. That way, you can illuminate a more comprehensive buffet of options. That’s how you can avoid letting your personal blind spots weaken you, your team, or your business.

Seeking expertise is one of the best ways to do that. During a problem-solving meeting, ask yourself, “Who’s the expert on this? What expertise can I bring in to help me understand this problem?” Make sure you tap into the expertise of your team members and other allies to the fullest extent. This way, you’ll have the most thorough possible overview of the options available, and you can avoid risks in your decision-making process.

3. Planning Meetings

As a fundamental part of project management, planning meetings bring team members together around a step-by-step plan designed to achieve a specific goal. A single project can certainly involve more than one planning meeting, so think of each planning meeting in terms of that particular goal.

Focus on: Who Does What By When (WDWBW)

Ideally, at the end of a planning meeting, everyone should know the plan. That includes knowing which part of the plan they’ll “own.” That’s why, during planning meetings, you can get a lot more done by staying focused on “Who Does What By When.” In fact, the developers at Microsoft built a functionality for this into Microsoft Project: you can create a “who does what when” report if you use that tool.

In other words, make sure everyone leaves the meeting knowing their marching orders and the timeframe in which they’re expected to complete them. If you’re running a planning meeting on video, keeping and sharing a recording or automated transcription of the meeting can help with future accountability.

4. Collaboration Meetings

The purpose of a collaboration meeting is to produce a deliverable as a team. For example, if you meet to co-create a document, webinar, or creative asset. That’s a collaboration meeting. You could also collaborate on something more high-level, like a marketing campaign.

Many creative teams, marketing teams, sales teams, and legal teams, among others, do a large amount of their work collaboratively. That’s why it’s important to identify collaboration meetings as one type of meeting and plan for them accordingly. As part of the planning, make sure all your team members have the necessary collaboration tools at their fingertips, including both technology and the relevant documents or assets.

Focus on: The Mutual Goal

In our post about what makes a great collaborator, we shared several ways to avoid ruffling feathers while collaborating. If you have experience collaborating, you know that a blend of “people skills” come into play, and it takes practice to become a truly great collaborator who inspires and motivates everyone else on the team.

That said, there’s one important thing to remember and focus on: the mutual goal, or end result, matters more than anything else. That goal matters a lot more than individuals’ egos. It also matters more than any one idea or element of the project. If you can get this point across and keep the conversation focused on the shared goal (or deliverable), your collaboration meeting will run smoothly.

5. Presentations or Trainings

Presentation-type meetings include sales demos, team training, onboarding training, webinars, workshops, and general informational sessions. Presentations and trainings come in all shapes and sizes, from 1:1 to all-hands. Basically, it’s any meeting in which a clearly defined presenter shares materials with the group, or maybe a few presenters speak as part of a joint presentation or panel discussion.

Focus on: Keeping Listeners Engaged

If you’re taking center stage, you want people to come away with positive memories of what you said. The best way to do that is to focus on one goal: keeping listeners engaged.

Whether you do it through realtime polls, multimedia, or other engagement tactics, if you’re leading a presentation or training, be interesting! Put yourself in your listeners’ shoes, and bring in the kind of elements you wish people would use in their presentations.

Here are just a few examples of things you can do to keep listeners engaged:

  • Use plenty of pictures.
  • Ask questions. If the meeting is virtual, engaging people with questions via the chat box—even fairly simple questions—goes a long way.
  • Use polls, surveys, and other audience engagement technology.
  • Tell personal stories.
  • Invite an exciting or popular guest speaker.
  • Turn the presentation into a panel with multiple speakers.
  • Use gamification (here’s how to gamify training).
  • Bring the presentation back to relatable experiences that people have had in their own lives.
  • Talk with your hands! Studies show that this makes a big difference.

Above all, keep things light and keep things moving—if you keep your listeners engaged, you’ll make the presentation or training worthwhile.

6. Problem-Solving Meetings

People call problem-solving meetings during emergencies, and also when a general business issue needs a solution. Big picture, the goal of a problem-solving meeting is to understand the problem, evaluate the potential solutions, and decide on a solution. You can think of them as a type of decision-making meeting,

A problem-solving meeting often happens before the planning meetings start. After the team decides on a solution, they’ll jump into a planning meeting to map out the implementation of that solution.

Focus on: What Caused the Problem

“Firefighting” and instant, band-aid-style solutions can work when you’re extremely short on time—but they don’t work in the long term. That’s why, if at all possible, a problem-solving meeting should aim for a complete understanding of what caused the problem. By understanding the causes of the problem, you can build a long-term solution, not just a short-term one.

For example, if your team went over-budget this quarter, cutting costs in the coming quarter will solve the problem in the short term. However, to resolve the issue for the long term, you want to address the reason why you went over-budget. You want to find and mend any deficiencies in your processes and operating principles.

Often, the full “stack” of causes extends beyond the obvious. For example, many companies are over-paying for services that they don’t really need—or for which cheaper (or free) alternatives exist. Budget optimization starts with identifying these types of costs, which are often the deeper causes of budgetary problems.

When you identify all the causes of a problem, not just the ones that seem immediately obvious, you can build a long-term solution and make your company more resilient.

7. Brainstorming Meetings

Brainstorming is an open-ended process that’s usually associated with more creative work. In a brainstorming meeting, people come together to bounce ideas around and bring them out into the open, so that the best ideas can rise to the surface and eventually come to fruition. You might brainstorm for solutions to a specific problem, or you might have a broader brainstorming session around a topic, such as “improving our branding” or “better customer service.”

Focus on: A Friendly Atmosphere

The best brainstorming happens in a low-pressure environment when everyone feels that they’re able to contribute. To cultivate this environment as a leader, focus on making the atmosphere friendly. Bring snacks. Tell a joke. Encourage timid people to speak up, and ensure that everyone has a chance to speak. Set a tone that suggests, “not every idea will work for us, but we want to hear them all.” If you have a wacky idea that you’re not sure will resonate, lead by example: toss it out there, and show a willingness to laugh at yourself. Make sure people know it’s okay to share an idea that’s not perfect—after all, that’s the point of brainstorming.

Here are a few more great rules of thumb to set the stage for brainstorming:

  • Focus on quantity, not quality.
  • Don’t analyze. The goal now is to get ideas out there—the time to analyze, iterate, and prune will come later.
  • The crazier, the better. Encourage people to think big and say whatever crazy-sounding thing might come to mind.
  • Instead of voting on ideas right away, consider sending out a poll or survey after the meeting to ask the group which ideas have the most potential.

8. Team-Building Meetings

Team-building meetings can happen on-site, off-site, in small groups, or as an all-hands occasion. In a team-building meeting, you might do some structured activities to build up trust and communication among the team. Or, you might have a holiday party or team happy hour, where team members can mingle and maybe even introduce each other to friends and spouses.

Regardless of your workplace culture, you probably want a tight-knit team of people who care about each other and have each other’s backs. If that’s a goal for you, you need to have team-building meetings from time to time.

Focus on: Fun and Games

Even if you’re doing on-site team-building “exercises,” make sure people have a fun time. Otherwise, you won’t accomplish that core goal of bringing the team closer together.

Virtual team-building, which has become more important than ever, comes with another layer of challenges. However, “challenging” is not the same as “impossible.” Virtual teams can, and do, bond. Here are a few ways remote colleagues can build themselves up as teams.

9. Feedback or Debrief Meetings

Last but not least among types of business meetings: feedback meetings or debriefings. Both of these flavors of meetings fall into the same general category because they involve talking about past events.

Focus on: The Future

Even though you’re talking about things that happened in the past, feedback and debrief meetings should look ahead to the future. Whether the news is good or bad, you want people looking forward: you don’t want them feeling discouraged, and you also don’t want high-performers to rest on their laurels. So, make sure to emphasize future expectations and plans along with any information about past events. This will go a long way toward keeping your team upbeat and motivated, regardless of what’s happened historically.

Harness These Insights

Now that you know the nine types of business meetings, you can apply this framework to your everyday life. Before your next meeting, identify which of these nine meetings it is, based on its purpose.

Once you know which type of meeting it is, remember the focal point we listed for that type of meeting, and lead the meeting with that in mind. You might feel surprised by how much of a difference this can make.

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5 Team Building Ideas for Remote Co-Workers https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/01/5-team-building-ideas-for-remote-co-workers/ https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/01/5-team-building-ideas-for-remote-co-workers/#respond Mon, 06 Jan 2020 16:21:04 +0000 https://www.pgi.com/blog/?p=27546 Even when everyone’s in one office, bringing team members together isn’t easy. It takes time, creativity, and initiative. With virtual teams, though, it can be tougher to form real bonds. Here are our favorite ways to make that magic happen. 1. Fun Chat Channels People will use the company’s chat app to discuss things that aren’t …

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Even when everyone’s in one office, bringing team members together isn’t easy. It takes time, creativity, and initiative. With virtual teams, though, it can be tougher to form real bonds. Here are our favorite ways to make that magic happen.

1. Fun Chat Channels

People will use the company’s chat app to discuss things that aren’t work-related. You can make this into a positive by guiding conversations toward topics the whole team can enjoy.

One approach is to create dedicated channels for fun topics, such as:

  • Pet pictures — post funny pictures of pets
  • Kudos — congratulate each other for professional and personal accomplishments
  • Humor — share funny quotes, pictures, and anecdotes
  • Food — foodies can exchange recipes or mouthwatering photos

2. Rotational Leadership

Letting team members take ownership of little things can have a big impact. It encourages healthy competition and helps people show leadership skills, even if they’re not managers.

For instance, rotational leadership possibilities can include:

  • Heading up the weekly virtual meeting
  • Planning a happy hour for team members located in the same city
  • Organizing an educational event
  • Giving a short talk about something the team member cares about

3. Team-Building Video Meetings

Loneliness tops the list of challenges remote workers face. Fortunately, workplace friendships don’t just help prevent loneliness; they’re also among the strongest predictors of productivity.

If your team is even partially remote, it is worth spending company time to build bonds between team members. It’s best to use video conferencing for this because 87 percent of remote workers feel more connected to their teams when they can use video.

Remote co-workers don’t always have a chance to bump into each other at the water cooler. But, it’s that kind of personal “what’d you do this weekend” sharing that helps employees find common ground. It would be a great idea to spend a few minutes at the start of each meeting to get those personal updates.

4. MTV Cribs: Remote Team Edition

Help Scout pioneered this ingenious and hilarious video-based team activity. Team members open up to each other by opening their homes or offices to each other—virtually speaking. To the pleasant surprise of Help Scout’s leadership, their team members really enjoyed showing off their favorite rooms!

5. Team Newsletter

Managing a creative team? Consider inviting someone to create a simple quarterly or monthly team newsletter. Around the winter holidays, it might feature employees’ best gift ideas. Come summer, it could showcase favorite vacation photos. As a result, team members can experience the passage of time together and enjoy an ongoing, seasonally relevant conversation.

Achieve Unity

In the end, effortless communication and deep collaboration make remote teams successful. Using quality virtual meeting software, like GlobalMeet, gives your team members the upper hand when it comes to effective communication.

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Culture Beyond an Organization’s Four Walls https://www.pgi.com/blog/2019/10/culture-beyond-an-organizations-four-walls/ https://www.pgi.com/blog/2019/10/culture-beyond-an-organizations-four-walls/#respond Tue, 29 Oct 2019 18:20:11 +0000 https://www.pgi.com/blog/?p=27433 In a new post for Digital Transformation Extra, I discussed what it takes to build a culture, an important topic given how the workforce has evolved. Physical Workspace Does Not Define Company Culture An organization’s culture centers on shared values, goals and attitudes embodying the company or institution. However, bringing people together in a single location …

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In a new post for Digital Transformation Extra, I discussed what it takes to build a culture, an important topic given how the workforce has evolved.

Physical Workspace Does Not Define Company Culture

An organization’s culture centers on shared values, goals and attitudes embodying the company or institution. However, bringing people together in a single location does not ensure a rich culture. Physical workspace does not define a company’s culture. Just as free coffee and obligatory team happy hours cannot mask a bad environment.

There are countless examples of companies with a posh office space and a lousy work environment. A culture comes when a team unites behind a shared vision and executes against it. Physical location rarely enters the conversation.

Yet, organizations mistakenly allow a culture to establish itself without first defining it, according to ERC.

Building a positive culture is not impossible to attain. It requires a clear vision, constant communication and strong leadership; it also needs the right team at every level to bring it to life.

Vision is More Than Words on Paper

Executing a vision requires organizations to follow through and implement processes and technological solutions that allow teams to connect — for collaboration and camaraderie.

Many surveys, including a recent one from Robert Half, found the “less tangible things” drive worker satisfaction. For employees, these drivers include being treated with fairness and respect and a sense of accomplishment.

Culture, whether positive or negative, has a way of snowballing. Building a thriving, motivating environment early can help set the stage for future success. A workplace’s culture is vital to recruiting, maintaining and growing talent, according to research from FTI Consulting and Mine The Gap.

It Begins With a Strong Leader

Leaders set the tone and intention for everything that happens within an organization’s four walls — whether physical or virtual walls. They can also empower a team to make decisions.

Stop focusing on location, and start concentrating on the people who make up the team. Empower employees to find the ideal space and work wherever is convenient for them. Whether in the office, from a local coffee shop or at home — to deliver success for their teams and their customers.

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PGi Wins the Gold Stevie Award for Support Team of the Year https://www.pgi.com/blog/2017/08/pgi-wins-gold-stevie-award-support-team-year/ Fri, 18 Aug 2017 00:00:00 +0000 http://wwwpgi.wpengine.com/blog/pgi-wins-gold-stevie-award-support-team-year/ Purely focused on collaboration, PGi is immensely proud of our innovative portfolio and the best customer care team in the world. Best in the world? Sounds ambitious, huh? Guess, what the folks at the Stevie International Business Awards agree! The PGi Expert Team was awarded a Gold Stevie International Business Award (IBA) for “Support Team …

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Purely focused on collaboration, PGi is immensely proud of our innovative portfolio and the best customer care team in the world. Best in the world? Sounds ambitious, huh? Guess, what the folks at the Stevie International Business Awards agree!

The PGi Expert Team was awarded a Gold Stevie International Business Award (IBA) for “Support Team of the Year.”

PGi’s Expert Team provides technical support for automated audio and web conferencing products through troubleshooting and creative problem solving. The team has proven that they are creative, talented and high-performing. Specifically, judges noted the following accomplishments:

  • 80 percent first-call resolution;
  • Decreased overall time to resolution by 45 percent for escalated tickets;
  • Reduced answer call time by 40 percent via process improvements; and
  • Reduced time to resolve customer issues by up to 50 percent using new technology.

Another judge summed up the PGi customer support experience by saying, “[PGi] has a hard working and creative team showing that solving their clients’ problems leads to success. A great example of customer service at its very best.”

Two hundred executives worldwide participated on 12 judging committees to determine the Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie Award winners from more than 3,900 nominations submitted by organizations in over 60 nations. The judges complimented our Expert Team for handling duties while turning customer problems into successes. As one judge put it, you have “excellent initiative and mindset in delivering service excellence to clients. Great support team in serving with heart!”

Expert Excellence
Some of When an Expert Team member is assigned to a PGi customer ticket, they do everything possible to resolve the issue in a timely manner and are really engaged with the issue at hand. They have reorganized, created new tools and adopted new processes to reduce resolution time and meet KPIs.

Recently, the Expert Team accomplished a major milestone when one of our own agents refined a support tool called Remote Assist which is an easy way for agents to remote into a client’s computer and take control for troubleshooting.

Through Remote Assist’s annotation tool, PGi customer support members can also highlight instructions and specific steps for clients. For more difficult troubleshooting, such as a network connectivity issues, we can download logs directly from a client’s computer that diagnoses the root cause. We can also replicate an issue and record it remotely and then upload into a ticket for escalation.

The Expert Team drives continuous improvement and ensures service continuity through either problem resolution or work-around deployments. In rare instances when Agents need to escalate an issue, they never remove themselves from the situation. They continue working directly to determine root causes and see incidents through to resolution.

Congratulations to PGi’s Expert Agents for being recognized as the best of the best! We’re proud to have you supporting our customers.

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Lack of Company Culture: The Silent Killer to Your Success https://www.pgi.com/blog/2017/03/lack-company-culture-silent-killer-success/ Thu, 23 Mar 2017 00:00:00 +0000 http://wwwpgi.wpengine.com/blog/lack-company-culture-silent-killer-success/ Uber, the world’s largest ride services company, has captured headlines around the globe recently. With the resignation of Jeff Jones as president and CEO Travis Kalanick’s public apology after being filmed swearing at a company driver who complained about rates being cut, the company’s dirty laundry has been left out to dry for all of …

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Uber, the world’s largest ride services company, has captured headlines around the globe recently. With the resignation of Jeff Jones as president and CEO Travis Kalanick’s public apology after being filmed swearing at a company driver who complained about rates being cut, the company’s dirty laundry has been left out to dry for all of us to see.

The company is also facing pending internal investigations after a former employee described in a blog post that Uber was a workplace where sexual harassment was a common occurrence. Uber is also up against legal action after being accused of stealing designs for autonomous car technology from Google’s parent company, Alphabet (which it denies). To top it off, Uber has also admitted publicly to its previous use of Greyball, a secret technology program that uses data collected from the app to identify and circumvent authorities in cities which banned the ride service.

And those are just a few of the most recent bombshells that have been dropped about the company’s internal policies and issues. As with any startup, growing pains are bound to happen, but there’s an important lesson that all companies can learn from Uber’s troubles: Lack of company culture is a silent killer to success.

Quantifying the Importance of Company Culture

In a 2015 study headed by Shiva Rajgopal, an accounting professor at Columbia Business School, and three co-authors from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, it was found that an overwhelming majority of executives said healthy corporate culture is essential for a company to thrive.

The study, Corporate Culture: Evidence from the Field, attempts to quantify how executives view company culture’s effect on company productivity, creativity, value and growth rates. The team surveyed more than 1,400 North American CEOs and CFOs over a 13-month period, ending in October 2015. And while trying to quantify such a vague concept proved difficult, the 17-point survey found that across the board, regardless of how company culture is defined, it makes a difference in a company’s performance and value. Among the findings, it was found that:

  • More than 50% said culture directly influences productivity, creativity, profitability, firm value and growth rates
  • 92% of respondents believed improving their firm’s corporate culture would improve the value of the company
  • More than 90% said that company culture was important to their firms
  • Only 15% said their company culture was where it needed to be

The majority of respondents clearly agreed that strong company culture directly impacts key elements of creating a successful organization. But, who should take charge in ensuring the culture is there in the first place?

Making the Change Happen

According to respondents in the same survey, 70% agreed with the statement: “Leadership needs to spend more time to develop the culture.” Change is never easy, especially change that comes from the top down. But without dedicating efforts to improve – or continue to improve – company culture, it becomes increasingly difficult to shift business objectives toward success.

Startups may have the advantage over older organizations to create a strong company culture, but that doesn’t mean older, more established businesses can’t restructure their approach toward culture. Harvard Business Review’s (HBR) article, Cultural Change That Sticks, outlines a five-step process that companies such as the Four Seasons, Apple, Microsoft and Southwest Airlines have used to help attain peak performance:

  1. Align Culture and Strategy:

    HBR argues that, far too often, a company’s strategy is at odds with the deep-rooted practices of its culture. Aligning the culture and business objectives is key, because as HBR states, “A strategy that is at odds with a company’s culture is doomed. Culture trumps strategy every time.”

  2. Choose Your Behavior Battles:

    Change isn’t easy, and even when we are faced with overwhelming evidence that change will improve the current situation, we still will resist. So taking on every seemingly negative behavior isn’t plausible. Instead, choose a few key behaviors to emphasize heavily and stay consistent in promoting them; employees will likely develop various additional ways to reinforce them.

  3. Praise the Strengths of Existing Culture:

    Rather than torching your current values and mission statements, find value in what can be reinvented. HBR says, “If you can find ways to demonstrate the relevance of the original values and share stories that illustrate why people believe in them, they can still serve your company well. Acknowledging the existing culture’s assets will also make major change feel less like a top-down imposition and more like a shared evolution.”

  4. Focus on Finding Balance between Formal and Informal “Interventions”:

    Many numbers-driven leaders or executives will lean toward formal approaches that can produce tangible goals and results and neglect the informal, emotional side of the organization. Find a happy medium between “reach[ing] people at an emotional level (invoking altruism, pride, and how they feel about the work itself) and tap[ping] rational self-interest (providing money, position, and external recognition to those who come on board).”

  5. Find KPIs for Cultural Change:

    Implementing measurement and monitoring of progress allows executives to identify backsliding, and the opportunity to correct the course. HBR says executives should pay attention to business performance, critical behaviors, milestones and underlying beliefs.

The first step to implementing a strategy such as the above is to admit there is an issue. Often times business leaders will look everywhere but at the core of the company to find the root of the problem. But when company culture is weak, a ripple effect begins to happen. Weak culture leads to low morale; low morale leads to lost talent; lost talent leads to weak internal stability, and so on.

Though Uber has a long road ahead of them, at least Kalanick (CEO) has acknowledged he needs help and is actively seeking a chief operations officer. If your success is slipping, seek the help you need and make a plan of action. As HBR said, “Simply put, rather than attacking the heart of your company, you will be making the most of its positive forces as your culture evolves in the right way.”

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Pet Perks: Office Pets Improve Productivity and Teamwork https://www.pgi.com/blog/2016/12/pets-improve-productivity-teamwork/ https://www.pgi.com/blog/2016/12/pets-improve-productivity-teamwork/#respond Thu, 08 Dec 2016 00:00:00 +0000 http://wwwpgi.wpengine.com/blog/pets-improve-productivity-teamwork/ Dogs have long been named as “man’s best friend” – and for good reason. Their loyalty, trust and overall dedication to their owner forms a bond that rivals even the truest of human companions. But besides being loving companions (and the best thing to grace this earth), dogs can also help you become a more …

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Dogs have long been named as “man’s best friend” – and for good reason. Their loyalty, trust and overall dedication to their owner forms a bond that rivals even the truest of human companions. But besides being loving companions (and the best thing to grace this earth), dogs can also help you become a more productive, focused and dedicated team member in your organization – as long as you take them to work with you.

Pets Improve Creativity, Productivity and Teamwork

Pet-friendly workplaces aren’t a new concept. In fact, according to a 2015 Society for Human Resource Management survey, eight percent of U.S. offices have a pet policy (up five percent since 2013) and nine percent of offices offer some sort of pet health insurance as a benefit to their employees.

So why the increase in acceptance? Partly due to the fact that outside of anecdotal evidence, there has also been scientific evidence to prove that pets in the workplace can really benefit businesses. The American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA) produced promising evidence from a survey that shows the perks of having pets in the office:

  • 75 million Americans believe having pets in the workplace makes people happier
  • 70 million Americans believe having pets in the workplace reduces stress
  • 47 million Americans believe having pets in the workplace leads to a more creative environment
  • 37 million believe having pets in the workplace decreases absenteeism
  • 41 million believe having pets in the workplace helps co-workers get along better
  • 46 million believe having pets in the workplace creates a more productive work environment
  • 34 million people who bring their pets to the workplace work longer hours

Further evidence provided by an experiment done by Central Michigan University researcher Christopher Honts proved that test subjects who were assigned a dog during a group task showed significantly higher mutual trust, team bond and intimacy than those who worked without one.

And an often-cited Virginia Commonwealth University study found that employees who left their pets at home experienced higher stress than those who brought them to work. Further, the study found that employees who had their pets in the workplace showed an 11 percent drop in their stress levels by the end of the workday as compared to a 70 percent increase in stress for those who left their pets at home.

Those spiked stress levels were due in part to owners’ worrying about getting home quickly enough to avoid pet “accidents”. By bringing pets to work, employees can feel more at ease and more focused on their work, improving not only their stress levels, but their productivity levels as well.

So yes, science approves of your innate desire to have your pet come to work with you every day! But with pets comes the need for policies and boundaries in the workplace.

Pet Policy Must-Haves

Unfortunately (and I’m not sure how), some people aren’t into a sweet nuzzle by a puppy nose or a wagging tail passing by the breakroom. There are also those who have unfortunate allergies to dogs or cats that must be looked after as well. So, before your workplace opens its doors to your furry friends, it’s important to lay down the ground rules and prepare in advance:

  • First, if your office is renting from a larger building, it is important to consult with the building’s owner to confirm if pets are allowed (no one wants to get sued over a few hairballs).
  • Second, lay down some ground rules for what types of pet behavior are unacceptable at the workplace — it’s best to avoid a barking match during a conference call.
  • Third, make sure you’ve got the office necessities for your new four-legged co-workers. Things like self-cleaning litter boxes, pet water fountains, treats and flexibility for employees to walk their pets are a must.
  • Last, make sure you have some sort of “pet-free” zone for those who may be allergic or feel uncomfortable around pets.

Go ahead, feel free to email this article to your HR department, but remember, pet policies shouldn’t be taken lightly. Do thorough research to make sure your office is legally allowed to have pets in the office, and take the time to consider those who may not be so keen on the idea.

For those who are fortunate enough to have an office consider pet policies, the benefits for business are vast. With every wag of the tail and passing purr, your workplace could be happier, more productive, less stressed and more creative! Want to learn more productivity and teamwork tips? Check out the related articles below.

Related Articles:

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Five Thank You Notes for Your Coworkers https://www.pgi.com/blog/2016/11/five-thank-you-notes-coworkers/ https://www.pgi.com/blog/2016/11/five-thank-you-notes-coworkers/#respond Wed, 23 Nov 2016 00:00:00 +0000 http://wwwpgi.wpengine.com/blog/five-thank-you-notes-coworkers/ All too often, we get wrapped up in our own lives and forget to show gratitude for the people around us who make our lives (and jobs) easier every day. Simple acts of gratitude can go a long way, especially when it comes to recognizing your coworkers for all their hard work and efforts. So, …

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All too often, we get wrapped up in our own lives and forget to show gratitude for the people around us who make our lives (and jobs) easier every day. Simple acts of gratitude can go a long way, especially when it comes to recognizing your coworkers for all their hard work and efforts. So, before you head off to the Thanksgiving holiday, make sure to give thanks to your coworkers for all their support and efforts this year! Check out our five thank you notes to get you started. Happy Thanksgiving!

 

  1. Dear Colleague,
    My ideas couldn’t come to life if they weren’t encouraged and endorsed by colleagues who are supportive like you. Thank you.
  2. Dear Coworker,
    Your enthusiasm and passion are the toughest benchmark to beat. Thanks for being the life of the workplace
  3. Dear Colleague,
    Good teamwork is when colleagues realize that working together is the easiest way to be successful. Thanks for always being a integral part of our team.                                             
  4. Dear Coworker,
    Thank you for always being a source of motivation and inspiration. Without you, we would be lost. 
  5. Dear Colleague,
    Thank you for being the brains in the boardroom and the life of every office party! You’re the glue that keeps our team together.

Want to learn more about teamwork? Check out our free eBook, Teamwork Makes the Dream Work.

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Workplace Etiquette: Dos and Don’ts https://www.pgi.com/blog/2016/11/workplace-etiquette-dos-donts/ https://www.pgi.com/blog/2016/11/workplace-etiquette-dos-donts/#respond Tue, 15 Nov 2016 00:00:00 +0000 http://wwwpgi.wpengine.com/blog/workplace-etiquette-dos-donts/ When you think about it, we spend more time each week with our coworkers than we do our families. At a minimum of around eight hours a day we are in an enclosed space, working alongside team members who all have different personalities and quirks. And sometimes, these personalities and quirks can clash against unspoken …

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When you think about it, we spend more time each week with our coworkers than we do our families. At a minimum of around eight hours a day we are in an enclosed space, working alongside team members who all have different personalities and quirks. And sometimes, these personalities and quirks can clash against unspoken office guidelines, often creating tension between employees.

And if you’re like me, speaking up and notifying these employees of their poor etiquette can be awkward. To help all you pacifists out there, we’ve created a workplace etiquette dos and don’ts list to pass around the office to help drop a few hints of what is deemed acceptable and what’s not. You’re welcome in advance:

Do: Come to Meetings on Time

There’s a saying my father taught me at a very early age, “If you’re on time, you’re late. If you’re 15 minutes early, you’re on time.” Does this adage work with quick daily meetings? Probably not. But whether you see it or not, there is nothing that says you don’t respect someone’s time like consistently showing up late to meetings (or bailing all together).

Everyone’s time is valuable, so making a conscious effort to be on time to meetings will not only keep your reputation strong, but it will let your coworkers see that you’re making an effort to respect them and their busy schedules.

Don’t: Use Profanity

This particular “don’t” really depends on your workplace and the culture, but it is worth noting that being profane can give off a negative vibe to some coworkers who may not feel comfortable with colorful language. In fact, a survey by CareerBuilder found that 81 percent of employers have doubts about the professionalism of those who curse at work. Take this into account, regardless of your company culture, the next time you see it fit to curse like a sailor in front of your coworkers.

Do: Use the Mute Button

Many conference call horror stories start off with “he forgot to mute himself…” Whether you’re on a conference call in a busy café, taking a quick bathroom break or gossiping about someone on the call, use the mute button. You’ll not only keep participants from being annoyed with loud background noises, but you’ll also save yourself from a potentially embarrassing moment.

Don’t: Groom Yourself

I can’t believe I even have to put this on here, but I know some people reading this have had a coworker who thinks it is completely appropriate to trim their nails, do their hair or do some other personal grooming at their desk. Please, please, please save any sort of grooming for your own home or the bathroom. No one wants to see nails flying across their cube while they’re on a phone call.

Do: Express Gratitude

You know what makes people smile? A simple “thank you” or “good job”. I think everyone should try and go out of their way to express some sort of gratitude to a team member who has helped out with a big project, or congratulate someone on a big sales win. This type of positivity can alleviate a lot of tension and stress in the workplace, and it’s a really great practice in general for both your professional and personal life!

Don’t: Take Personal Phone Calls at Your Desk (or the Bathroom, for that Matter)

I can guarantee this one is hitting a nerve with a majority of readers. No one wants to overhear your conversations about your sister’s fiancé’s affair or hear you disputing credit card charges while at your desk, and people especially do not want to hear these conversations in the bathroom.  As an absolute rule of thumb, take personal calls away from your desk because it is not only disruptive, but it is inadvertently intrusive as well.

Do: Respect Different Work Styles

The great thing about working with a variety of different personalities is that you get to experience very different work styles. Everyone functions differently, some habits you might find really helpful and some you may think are bizarre. Regardless of how you feel, let your peers work the way they want to in order to be productive. Most importantly, take the time to learn how they function in the workplace.

Understand that some people may work best while using headphones to listen to music and some people may need to get up and move around to clear their heads. Whatever it takes, understanding your coworkers and their work styles can help you ultimately be a better, more efficient team.

When it boils down to it, the biggest key takeaway is simply respect. Respect each other’s space and work styles and maybe toss in a little common sense and you’ll be well on your way to being an employee that everyone enjoys having in the office.

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Can Employees Really Give Managers Crucial Feedback Without Reprisal? https://www.pgi.com/blog/2016/11/can-employees-give-managers-feedback-without-reprisal/ https://www.pgi.com/blog/2016/11/can-employees-give-managers-feedback-without-reprisal/#respond Wed, 09 Nov 2016 00:00:00 +0000 http://wwwpgi.wpengine.com/blog/can-employees-give-managers-feedback-without-reprisal/ Employees are a sort of “case study” for a company. They can spread positive news about the business to their outer networks, provide valuable brand awareness and ultimately, keep the company honest in terms of leadership. Plenty of leaders encourage employees to speak up, give feedback, pitch new ideas or be a watchdog for unethical …

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Employees are a sort of “case study” for a company. They can spread positive news about the business to their outer networks, provide valuable brand awareness and ultimately, keep the company honest in terms of leadership. Plenty of leaders encourage employees to speak up, give feedback, pitch new ideas or be a watchdog for unethical behavior. But can employees actually take the encouragement to voice their opinion at face value or is it all for show?

According to research done by Ethan Burris, “Managers view employees who engage in more challenging forms of voice as worse performers and endorse their ideas less than those who engage in supportive forms of voice.” In layman’s terms, the more you challenge authority, the less likely you will be perceived positively by your supervisor.

In ongoing research that is still being conducted by Harvard Business Review researchers, evidence has been found that supervisor retaliation can go beyond the boundaries of just having a negative attitude toward an employee that speaks against them in any sort of negative way. In their recent study, researchers examined the question of whether these employees who utilize their right of encouraged constructive criticism are confronted with more abusive leadership instead of positive response.

The researchers conducted a web-based survey asking employees to invite a coworker familiar with their work to participate as well. The employees then answers questions about how negative or “abusive” their managers were, while the coworkers answered questions about how much “constructive resistance” the employees showed toward that supervisor.

“Our analyses (while controlling for differences in education and industry) revealed that the more that employees were perceived by coworkers to show constructive resistance towards their supervisors, the more likely the employees were to rate their supervisors on a validated scale as showing abusive behavior towards them. Examples of abusive behavior included asking whether their supervisor ridiculed them, were rude, invaded their privacy, or gave them the silent treatment,” said David De Cremer, one of the four researchers conducting the study.

Through this ongoing research, the team found some key takeaways for both managers and employees to use while approaching the sensitive topic of feedback:

Managers:

Actively embrace constructive criticism. Make it known that are you are good on your word of accepting feedback on your performance. Lack of communication can cause issues to blow out of proportion, often leading to tense conversations that could result in negative backlash.

Second, keep your emotions in check. While this is difficult to do if you are feeling threatened, this outside perspective on your performance could really be eye opening, but it is important also to ensure your point of view is interjected as well. Just keep the negativity in check.

Last, be cognizant of cultural differences. According to the research team, “In some cultures, speaking directly is the norm; in others, people will say nothing but still mean something. In some cultures, for example, subordinates may not challenge leaders openly but may still disagree with you. In others, a blunt critique may just be the start of a good discussion.”

Employees:

First, you need to build trust by being a top performer at your job. In any other circumstance to gain authority on a subject or topic, you would be well researched and rehearsed before speaking, right? Earning your boss’s trust works the same way. If you are an efficient employee who is constantly looking for ways to improve yourself and your team, your boss is going to trust your insights on their performance as well.

If feedback is not exchanged as early as possible, tensions can rise, resulting in abusive responses from leadership. Be confident in your abilities to constructively give criticism where it is due. And finally, remain in control of your emotions as well. As professionals, both managers and employees should take criticism as a learning opportunity, not one that divides teams.

Communication is good for ALL aspects of business, especially when it comes to building trust and establishing loyalty on a team. Managers, regardless of your seniority, can learn from their subordinates; and in turn, employees can learn from their managers on how to candidly and appropriately address criticism without reprisal.

Want to learn more about teamwork and communication? Check out these related articles below:

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PGi’s Survival Guide to Workplace Zombies https://www.pgi.com/blog/2016/10/pgis-survival-guide-to-workplace-zombies/ https://www.pgi.com/blog/2016/10/pgis-survival-guide-to-workplace-zombies/#respond Tue, 18 Oct 2016 00:00:00 +0000 http://wwwpgi.wpengine.com/blog/pgis-survival-guide-to-workplace-zombies/ Far too often employees can fall into a trap of being unmotivated, unproductive and just plain disgruntled with their jobs. These symptoms are a cause of a virus that can easily turn your employees into Workplace Zombies. Learn more from PGi about how to prevent the virus in your workplace: PGi Survival Guide for Workplace …

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Far too often employees can fall into a trap of being unmotivated, unproductive and just plain disgruntled with their jobs. These symptoms are a cause of a virus that can easily turn your employees into Workplace Zombies. Learn more from PGi about how to prevent the virus in your workplace:

Step 1: Motivate

One of the first symptoms of a Workplace Zombie infection is lack of motivation. To combat this symptom, create a system of rewards or recognition. Even the most lazy, unenthusiastic employee will respond positively to merits and recognition for the work they complete. Whether the reward is big like an increase in pay or something smaller, like verbal recognition, making sure your employees feel they are needed in the workplace will fight off lackadaisical attitudes.

Step 2: Offer Flexibility

According to PWC’s NextGen: A Global Generational Study, 64% of Millennials would like to occasionally work from home, and 66% of Millennials would like to shift their work hours. To keep your younger employees more engaged and motivated in their positions, consider offering some flexibility to their schedules. Allowing them to work during the hours they know they are most productive will ensure they are working at their highest capacity and staving away any feelings of discouragement in their position.

Step 3: Communicate

Without proper motivation, a Workplace Zombie is only going to be working on short-term goals. Make sure you’re not only issuing praise for their work in the present, but also communicating a set of long-term goals for them to strive toward. Rather than just focusing on day-to-day, tedious tasks, you can provide them with future objectives to complete. Once they have their eyes set on an end goal that will have tangible impacts on the business, they’re likely to feel more motivated and appreciated for their work.

Step 4: Be an Example

Managers, no matter how hard they try, can fall victim to the same disinterest in their work, and this is how the virus infiltrates even the most positive team members. You, as the manager, are essentially the virus’s antidote. Setting an example by continuing to remain outwardly positive is the best way to keep employees from suffering through the Workplace Zombie virus.
To keep your team from suffering through an outbreak in Workplace Zombies, use our four tips! What are your tips to keep your team motivated and engaged? Join the conversation on Twitter by tweeting to us @PGi.

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5 Team Building Activities (That Don’t Suck) https://www.pgi.com/blog/2016/09/5-team-building-activities-dont-suck/ https://www.pgi.com/blog/2016/09/5-team-building-activities-dont-suck/#respond Wed, 28 Sep 2016 00:00:00 +0000 http://wwwpgi.wpengine.com/blog/5-team-building-activities-dont-suck/ When you hear the term “team building” what comes to mind? Standing in a circle playing Two Truths and a Lie? Ropes courses? Or a company picnic with field day games? Yeah, I’m cringing a little too. But there can be a real benefit to team building activities, if they are done right. Team building …

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When you hear the term “team building” what comes to mind? Standing in a circle playing Two Truths and a Lie? Ropes courses? Or a company picnic with field day games? Yeah, I’m cringing a little too. But there can be a real benefit to team building activities, if they are done right.

Team building activities help with facilitating positive workplace relationships, motivating employees and getting them to see the strengths and skills of their coworkers. But when you stick to outdated team building activities (we’re looking at you ropes courses), your employees may automatically tune themselves out. That’s why it’s important to find activities that will engage and motivate them.

By finding these types of activities, your employees will engage more in the workplace as well, increasing their productivity by 43% according to Hay Group research. But, to keep motivation and morale high, these types of activities should be consistent and reoccur on a regular basis.

Check out our list of team building activities to keep your employees motivated, productive and engaged in their work and colleagues:

  1. Escape Rooms: These have become increasingly popular over the last few years. Escape rooms are physical adventure games in which players are locked in a room and must use elements and clues to solve a series of puzzles to escape within a set time limit. Escape rooms are perfect for engaging your team in some serious problem solving and team building action.
  2. Team Trivia: Nothing challenges great minds like team trivia. Using each team member’s strength to answer tricky questions can build confidence in your group’s ability to work together. Hit up your favorite local trivia spot once per month to allow your employees to have something fun to look forward to.
  3. Team Happy Hour: We know what you’re thinking. A happy hour isn’t a typical team building activity. Well, for communication purposes it is. Getting your team together once in a while to grab drinks outside of work breaks down the interpersonal barriers that can hinder teamwork in the office. If your employees like each other and are invested in each other personally, they’ll likely work together much better.
  4. Volunteering: Volunteering is tried and true way of building camaraderie among your employees. Help your employees gain a sense of achievement as a group by picking a philanthropy to dedicate your time to. Whether it is helping a local animal shelter, building a home or volunteering at a charity 5k, give your group an opportunity to take a day off business-related tasks to give back to their community. They’ll come back to work with a refreshed attitude and sense of team work.
  5. Geocaching: Geocaching is a real-world treasure hunt of sorts. Employees can gather into teams to set out to find geocaches (hidden containers with objects inside) using GPS devices and coordinates given by geocaching.com or other similar websites. This is a great opportunity to get out of the office and enjoy some fresh air while working together using problem solving skills.

What are some of your favorite team building activities? Let us know by joining the conversation on Twitter.

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Building Great IT Teams Amidst Tech Talent Shortage https://www.pgi.com/blog/2016/04/building-great-teams-amidst-tech-talent-shortage/ https://www.pgi.com/blog/2016/04/building-great-teams-amidst-tech-talent-shortage/#respond Fri, 08 Apr 2016 00:00:00 +0000 http://wwwpgi.wpengine.com/blog/building-great-teams-amidst-tech-talent-shortage/ Our IT team at PGi commits to three things for success: our philosophy of agile, our framework of scrum and our team of skilled workers. Today, though, it’s nearly impossible to find great IT workers unless you’re willing to really work at it. About half a million IT jobs currently sit open, and because of …

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Our IT team at PGi commits to three things for success: our philosophy of agile, our framework of scrum and our team of skilled workers. Today, though, it’s nearly impossible to find great IT workers unless you’re willing to really work at it.

About half a million IT jobs currently sit open, and because of the rapid pace of new digital developments, projections show skilled workers won’t keep up with the increase of new tech jobs created in the near future.

To find top talent amidst tech talent shortages, your IT organization must start looking outside the box. Future IT talent will look wildly different from today’s workers, starting by being located outside your region and even outside typical experience requirements.

Here’s how we build great IT teams by reinventing the typical candidate screening and interview process.

Go to the A-Players

IT organizations that go where the best talent already is are the ones that will be most successful.

Between PGi’s existing global workforce and new acquisitions, a distributed agile team just made sense for us, but remote work isn’t just for dispersed enterprises. It’s the future of IT. Millennials in particular prefer to work from home, if not from a collaborative space in the office.

You will encounter challenges with distributed agile teams, but for every stumbling block, there’s a collaboration solution. We build trust with daily stand-up meetings via video conference, and we create transparency using a cloud-based project management tool.

Meet Candidates in Person

It’s very easy for candidates to rely on notes to fly through rapid-fire questions on phone interviews. We’ve found that online video interviews produce better results on initial rounds of screenings and introductions.

We want to find A-players that strengthen the relationship between IT and the business and that fit within our IT culture of collaboration. So it’s not enough that a candidate gives me the answers I want to hear. They need to be able to intelligently have a back-and-forth conversation about technology and IT processes.

Watch Them in Action

I want to know a candidate can do what they claim on their resume. After we narrow down a list of candidates at PGi, we put them into a challenged-based candidate pit interview in our physical and video conferencing rooms where we ask them to perform the skills listed on their resume, and some not on their resume.

If they pass this interview, I know they’re good. They may not even be the most experienced person, but based on this, I know they can handle stress, work in a collaborative space, perform well in a team environment and solve complex problems.

If I ask them about something that’s not on their resume, and they use the resources at their disposal to find a rational answer, I know they have the right mindset to ignore what they can’t do and focus on what they can. And that’s critical to our agile philosophy: a rapid learning pace, an ability to execute and being able to add business value.

The future of business collaboration is at the heart of the future of IT, quickly evolving the way we work, the role of IT and what the ideal IT worker looks like. Download our free eBook today, “The Future of Business Collaboration: 2016 Edition,” to look ahead at what’s in store.

 

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6 Ways to Inspire and Motivate Virtual Teams https://www.pgi.com/blog/2016/03/6-ways-to-inspire-and-motivate-virtual-teams/ https://www.pgi.com/blog/2016/03/6-ways-to-inspire-and-motivate-virtual-teams/#respond Wed, 02 Mar 2016 00:00:00 +0000 http://wwwpgi.wpengine.com/blog/6-ways-to-inspire-and-motivate-virtual-teams/ One of today’s most prevalent trends in the workplace is the emergence of the virtual team.  More and more people are working outside the office, while still being held accountable for the same responsibilities, workloads, and deliverables as before. These teams of teleworkers often face much more complexity than traditional teams due to the differences …

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One of today’s most prevalent trends in the workplace is the emergence of the virtual team.  More and more people are working outside the office, while still being held accountable for the same responsibilities, workloads, and deliverables as before. These teams of teleworkers often face much more complexity than traditional teams due to the differences in schedules, time zones, and collaboration tools.

Virtual employees require dedicated personal attention, understanding, and consistent, clear communication to keep them motivated to be productive, successful team members. Inspiring these workers can be difficult, but there a few ways to overcome the challenges faced by leaders of virtual teams.

Here are 6 ways to inspire and motivate your virtual teams:

1) Hire quality talent from the start: It is extremely important that virtual workers actually fit in with the virtual team. Unfortunately, not everyone is capable of handling working in a virtual environment. During the interview phase, ask potential candidates about their preferred work style and how receptive they may be to working within a virtual team. Once on board, you should also work with them to understand their communications preferences and needs. With a solid insight into these, you can be far more effective in reading, managing, and motivating each individual.

2) Empower your team members: Let your employees know that you trust them get the job done (which you should). Be sure to give them the right tools they need to perform the tasks that you ask of them. Create a development plan that puts them on a path to success; by investing in them, you get back an employee that is committed and loyal to the cause. A well rounded development plan will support this path to success, and when appropriate, will allow you to promote those people internally. This can lead to culture everyone wants to be a part of.

3) Provide opportunities for professional development and education: It has been repeatedly proven that providing professional development not only empowers employees; they are far more likely to stick around when they feel that they are valued and being given something of value that they can leverage to further their career and opportunities. Be sure to schedule regular training and education for your team members. It serves to develop them as both employees and contributors, as well as individuals.

4) Encourage casual communication: Set aside some time for casual conversation with your team members. Catching up on personal details or indulging in non-work related chat can offer a vastly refreshing change from the daily grind. Don’t be afraid to share some tidbits of personal information with your employees as well as allowing them the opportunity do the same.

5) Spend time together as a team: Team building exercises are a fantastic way to get everyone together that is typically only connected virtually. When you regularly only see someone through a screen, actual face time becomes even critical to the health and strength of a team than it would be in a normal office environment. Consider a quarterly or yearly team-building weekend. The purpose of these type of activities is intended to forge stronger relationships in a fun and engaging environment.

6) Rewards are key: Employees want recognition, plain and simple. In today’s workplace rewards are a big deal, with some companies attracting younger talent based largely on how hip the workplace or culture is and the unique perks that follow. Free yoga classes, vinyl Fridays, or artisanal cold press fair trade coffee stations may be trendy, the best rewards are those that are more meaningful and permanent. Small gestures such as praising them publicly, writing a LinkedIn recommendation, or even a company-wide recognition email can go a long way to inspire your employees.

Even though working with a virtual team has its own unique challenges, there are plenty of ways to make sure each of your team members stays inspired and motivated to do their best work. Consider the tips above to help your team reach its fullest potential.

Looking for additional tools to help your virtual team collaborate more efficiently? PGi’s iMeet® will let you connect and collaborate like never before. Try it free for 30 days.

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Teamsgiving Survey WeeBook https://www.pgi.com/blog/2015/11/teamsgiving-survey-weebook/ https://www.pgi.com/blog/2015/11/teamsgiving-survey-weebook/#respond Tue, 24 Nov 2015 00:00:00 +0000 http://wwwpgi.wpengine.com/blog/teamsgiving-survey-weebook/ Inspired by the notion of giving thanks in November, we surveyed our customer base to gauge attitudes and unearth insights on the way knowledge workers feel about their teams. Nearly 500 professionals from a variety of industries and a variety of company sizes replied. And guess what? Teams have a lot of be thankful for. …

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Inspired by the notion of giving thanks in November, we surveyed our customer base to gauge attitudes and unearth insights on the way knowledge workers feel about their teams.

Nearly 500 professionals from a variety of industries and a variety of company sizes replied. And guess what? Teams have a lot of be thankful for. In fact, we’d like to crown these survey results as our ode to #Teamsgiving. Check out the results of our survey in our WeeBook (also known as a small eBook!).

Comment below and let us know what you and your team are thankful for or join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #Teamsgiving.
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5 Things Hocus Pocus Can Teach You about Teamwork https://www.pgi.com/blog/2015/10/5-things-hocus-pocus-can-teach-you-about-teamwork/ https://www.pgi.com/blog/2015/10/5-things-hocus-pocus-can-teach-you-about-teamwork/#respond Thu, 29 Oct 2015 00:00:00 +0000 http://wwwpgi.wpengine.com/blog/5-things-hocus-pocus-can-teach-you-about-teamwork/ It’s time to dim the lights, curl up under a blanket and turn on your favorite Halloween flick. If you’re a Millennial, parent of a Millennial or have been coherent for the last 22 years, then you know Hocus Pocus is a Halloween classic. Every October, I grab a bowl (or a cauldron) of miniature candies, …

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It’s time to dim the lights, curl up under a blanket and turn on your favorite Halloween flick. If you’re a Millennial, parent of a Millennial or have been coherent for the last 22 years, then you know Hocus Pocus is a Halloween classic. Every October, I grab a bowl (or a cauldron) of miniature candies, light some candles and invite the Sanderson sisters to spook my inner child into Halloween oblivion.

Now, as an adult, I do my best to fully immerse myself into the film, but reality is reality and I share my focus between the television and Instagram, online shopping, text messages and my growing inbox. I know, I know, it’s a bad habit. As I check my email for an update on a current project, I realize that Hocus Pocus and my project actually have a common denominator. They both survive and succeed with teamwork.

Take a look at the 5 things Hocus Pocus taught me and then reward yourself with some candy and a good movie. Abracadabra… teamwork!

[slideshare id=54535289&doc=5thingshocuspocuscanteachyouaboutteamwork-151029172152-lva1-app6892]

 

1. Stay organized by keeping notes, drafts and resources all in one place.

The Sanderson sisters used their spell book, Book, to keep them on their game. It’s important that everyone has access to all the materials needed to get the project done. My team couldn’t live without Central Desktop by PGi to help us collaborate around files, combine knowledge, inspire ideas and manage projects.

2. Utilize everyone in the group. Each of them is an asset.

Although Thackery Binx is a talking cat, he is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the Sanderson sisters and all their tricks. Everyone is key player on your team, so treat them as such. Utilize each person’s best abilities to get the best outcome. Remember, more minds are greater than one.

3. Obstacles are unavoidable. Don’t try to fix them on your own. Work together.

Poor Max could not avoid the town’s two punks, Ernie and Jay. It seemed like everywhere he went, there they were trying to get in his way. There will always be speed bumps when working on a project. It’s better to work together to overcome them than to waste time trying to fix them alone. If you need help, ask for it!

4. Don’t be afraid to speak up.

Remember when Mr. Billy Butcherson finally opened his mouth and ended up being a great help to the group? Who knows what would have happened if he didn’t choose to speak up. Don’t be afraid to share your ideas or voice your opinion.

5. Assign tasks to help meet the deadline.

The Sanderson sisters were working against the clock. They had to suck the life out of children before sunrise otherwise they’d turn to stone. Spoiler Alert: they turned to stone. Maybe if they had worked better together and stopped bickering, they could have spent more time sucking lives. Remember, the best way to meet a deadline is to work together in the beginning and assign tasks, then divide and conquer to drive it home. R.I.P witches. Thank you for showing us what not to do!

Ready to learn more about teamwork? Check out these related articles and our free eBook, Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

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3 Ways You Can Use iMeet Agenday to Increase Employee Awareness https://www.pgi.com/blog/2015/10/3-ways-you-can-use-imeet-agenday-to-increase-employee-awareness/ https://www.pgi.com/blog/2015/10/3-ways-you-can-use-imeet-agenday-to-increase-employee-awareness/#respond Mon, 19 Oct 2015 00:00:00 +0000 http://wwwpgi.wpengine.com/blog/3-ways-you-can-use-imeet-agenday-to-increase-employee-awareness/ When PGi first launched iMeet Agenday, thousands of app users downloaded the tool to manage their multiple hectic calendars, join their meetings with a single touch and stay productive while on the go. Today, the tool is so much more than an individual download. Enterprises everywhere are leveraging the powerful features in iMeet Agenday to …

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When PGi first launched iMeet Agenday, thousands of app users downloaded the tool to manage their multiple hectic calendars, join their meetings with a single touch and stay productive while on the go.

Today, the tool is so much more than an individual download. Enterprises everywhere are leveraging the powerful features in iMeet Agenday to help hundreds of thousands of knowledge workers save time, cut company-wide audio costs through LCR (local call routing) and streamline internal processes.

Why a calendar app has everything to do with employee engagement.

In the Corporate Communications department, we’re constantly looking for where our associates are throughout their day and how we can reach them. Whether it’s to the office breakroom, their email inbox or their phones, we want our message to be where they already are.

Now that iMeet Agenday is the go-to calendar and meeting app for our company garnering on average 8 views per day, we’ve found the perfect place to reach our associates. Thanks to iMeet Agenday’s admin dashboard, we can easily deploy app banners and push notifications across our entire employee base in a unique and powerful way.3 Ways You Can Use iMeet Agenday to Increase Employee Awareness

1) Top 3 Mentality: iMeet Agenday displays three rotating banners at the top of the app that can be designed and deployed in real-time. Admins are limited to three for a reason – Only the top, most-important announcements should be visible to your associates, sparing them from the usual internal communications deluge of noise. Employees are suffering from information overload. By bringing corporate communications to the one app that every employee uses throughout their day, companies are able to keep messaging current and closer to employees.  iMeet Agenday believes in simplifying your associates’ day and this limitation helps associates know what’s most important.

2) Push Notifications = “BREAKING NEWS” Announcements: The app caters to time-sensitive announcements thanks to the real-time push notification that accompanies each banner. When banners are deployed, admins can customize a notification that is pushed to each of your associates’ phones. With one swipe, your associates are into the app and reading your important message.3) Are You Mobile-Friendly? iMeet Agenday provides an excellent way to communicate announcements that are mobile-friendly. Banners offer a quick and easy way for associates to click through to the full article, press release, web page or video that you want to share. Don’t forget to check the mobile experience before posting your banner by clicking through on your own device.

For more information on iMeet Agenday and enterprise features, visit http://www.agenday.com/enterprise

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