People Acuity Newsletter – June / July 2021
Why Take Online Courses?
The economies of countries worldwide are not the only ones severely impacted from the shutdowns and lockdowns – household budgets were squeezed and are still recovering. Online classes are much more affordable than in-person ones.
No longer is learning limited to set times in specific places, which gives the students no say in the matter. When you sign up for a class given over the Internet, it is easier to make it fit into your schedule and lifestyle, as many offer a choice of days and times to start the course or attend each session. Others provide login credentials, and you are free to start and pause, stop and restart, go back and review, watch or read a segment five times if you want, then finish the learning modules at your pace. Whenever you have the time, energy, and are at your personal best moments to absorb new information are when you can log-in and learn.
Especially after being isolated and socially distanced for so long, it’s completely natural and understandable to have apprehension about being around others again. Whether it comes from more of a health concerns perspective, or not having to or being able to interact with people and being “out of practice”, the simple fact is that these feelings are quite common. You can continue to develop important career and work-related skills, and knowledge, without the added worry of these social situations. In addition, some classes may even offer sessions over Zoom where everyone taking the class has the opportunity to turn on their cameras if they want, and that might be a good exercise and small step toward less of those anxious feelings.
Even without the isolating experiences we all had during lockdown, many people are uncomfortable being in a learning environment with others, often worried they might give a wrong answer, ask a question others consider unnecessary or stupid, or have a learning style that works best for them but may not work well in a classroom. On top of this discomfort, group learning is more about making sure the equipment, atmosphere, and setting befits sharing the material, not students absorbing it. When you take advantage of online course opportunities, there is no commute or travel needed to attend, and you control the environment. Who needs the added anxiety of being stuck in traffic that’s not moving or the uncomfortable hard chairs in a too hot or too cold room? Your ability to concentrate, and take in and retain new knowledge, is affected by your state of mind. If you deal with worry and anxious feelings, try a course offered over the Internet and see how you like it.
Online learning offers some side benefits too! It can help sharpen and improve your motivation, discipline, concentration, management of tasks and lists, and help develop more understanding and knowledge of aspects of technology.
We all learn differently, and all of us at People Acuity are so happy that online classes can accommodate that fact. We encourage you to learn more about our catalog of online programs, and register to take one today!
Multiply Your Strengths
Knowing how to use your strengths in new ways is more important now than ever! Here’s why.
At the beginning of 2020, the economy was strong, and unemployment was at a 50-year low. But since the onset of COVID-19, devastating unemployment and rapid shifts in the economy at times have left as much as 15% of the U.S. workforce unemployed, and currently, 60% badly under-employed. These workers often feel like they are falling farther behind as the speed of business change accelerates. This is causing morale, productivity, and engagement to plummet to all-time lows – and can have tragic implications for businesses that are already suffering from COVID fatigue. Today, more than ever, we need strong employees and leaders armed and ready to wholeheartedly work!
What can raise the bar and ensure that individuals can re-position themselves to be major contributors? What might help organizations get employees up to speed faster and ready to step into the work that is needed in today’s new economy?
The answer is relatively simple: we need employees and leaders who understand not just what their strengths are, but how to combine them in new ways, and use them to create new and better outcomes. We need people who know how to be StrengthsMultipliers.
Individuals who know how to multiply their strengths effectively contribute significantly to the business bottom line. They are six times more likely to be engaged, according to a Gallup study. They are 83% more likely to be part of a high-performing team, according to Marcus Buckingham’s research. As you can see in the chart, strengths use significantly decreases cost-sucking absenteeism and turnover and increases everything from productivity to profitability.
This is why the StrengthsMultiplier assessment tool was created – to empower employees to effectively multiply their strengths in new ways so that they can re-tool and fit themselves into the new roles and relationships that are required by today’s new economy.
This article has been written by DeAnna Murphy – the Chief Organizational Development Officer of People Acuity and principal author of Shift Up! Strengths Strategies for Optimal Living and Choose to See You – in collaboration with Dr. Steve Jeffs. DeAnna oversees all organizational development work for People Acuity its partners and clients and is a Top 100 Global Coaching Leader who has provided keynotes and leadership development experiences in 32 countries.
To learn more about online or virtual programs that might help your people multiply their strengths and build their Self-Leadership, click here.
Working After COVID-19: Americans Making Their Voices Heard
At the time of writing this article, it is estimated that just over 53% of the US population has received at least one dose of the two-dose COVID-19 vaccines, and 45% are fully vaccinated. The daily reported statistics for new positive test results in our country have declined sharply in the past month, falling 43%. While we are still encouraged to practice social distancing and attentive hand hygiene, it’s clear the pandemic – and it’s grip on America – is abating. We are all eager for our lives to return to at least most of the normalcy we knew when we rang in 2020, but how do Americans feel about returning to work?
Harris Poll conducted a survey in mid-May 2021 about this topic, and relayed the results to USA Today. The study revealed several key insights that we thought were important to share, as the country continues to re-open, and there are numerous thought-provoking questions and decisions you’ll need to make about how your workforce will do their jobs moving forward. Continue to read below to learn what the respondents shared?
- 21% – Go to the office sometimes
- 19% – Back in their office full-time
- 27% – Never did work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic
If the individual could choose where they do their work:
- 40% would work remotely or from home permanently
- 35% would prefer a mix of working remotely and in the office
- Just 25% would elect to work in the office permanently
The results were interesting when poll participants were asked when they believed all workers at their company would return to the office full-time, being fairly close in almost all given options for their possible answer.
- Between 13%-19% of those asked chose either within a number of months (1, 1-3, or 4-6) or by the end of 2021.
- 16% – Didn’t know when
- 9% – Not until 2022
- 4% – When the employees want to come back
- 6% – The company is becoming fully remote (meaning not returning to their pre-pandemic office location at all)
Regarding concerns about returning full-time to their offices, the respondents were basically evenly split between whichever ones listed from which they could choose. Just 9% indicated no concerns.
- Most chosen overall: Losing the flexibility gained while working from home
- Specific Concerns Related to COVID-19 and Health
- Most chosen: Being around people again
- 2nd most chosen: Possibly being around unvaccinated people
- 3rd most chosen: Social distancing protocols being abandoned
- Anxieties or Worries Unrelated to COVID-19 or Health
- Most chosen: Leery of having to engage in small talk
- 2nd most chosen: Getting back into their pre-pandemic routine
- 3rd most chosen: Fear of having forgotten their socialization skills
Organizations are anxious to get back to full capacity as soon as possible, and for certain types of businesses and industries, that will mean workforces must be back at physical, brick-and-mortar locations for at least some period of time during the workday or workweek. This also helps reinstate and reinforce a company’s culture. While this is certainly an understandable position for companies to take, they need to keep in mind the tight labor market and stay abreast of the latest news on the current shortage of workers to fill open positions. Also, they must now realize that people have shown they can be effective in their jobs outside of an office environment, and for a great many, the arrangement is now their preference.
Options available which may remedy these challenges – or at least balance the opposing forces – are businesses accepting the fact that they may lose staff and will need to figure out a way to replace those who leave; and offering flextime, allowing remote working permanently, and compromising to accommodate what has been a way of life for their workers for almost 16 months. Another shockingly simple option can be stated in just a single 3-letter word – ASK. 47% of participants in the May 2021 Harris Poll revealed that the organizations they work for have not even had a discussion or opened a dialogue with employees about their concerns with going back to work in their offices full-time, much less their level of interest in doing so. There are many takeaways for businesses as a result of the survey, and perhaps the most important one is the need to communicate with their valued workforce about moving forward together after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here’s to shifting up others by first shifting up ourselves!
If you’d like to learn more about how People Acuity can help prepare your organization for our new world, please call us at 952.797.4317, email us at Info@PeopleAcuity.com, or simply use the link below.