Managers: How praise can improve productivity and the bottom line

Strong managers know that praise is an important ingredient in the recipe for success.

Praise triggers the release of dopamine in the brain, a feel-good chemical that can improve workplace morale.

When was the last time you complimented a subordinate on a job well done? If you are a manager, hopefully it hasn’t been too long! Praise can improve morale and productivity, motivating workers, improving retention rates and ultimately benefiting the bottom line. But there is an art to creating a culture of appreciation — empty words alone won’t cut it. Here are some tips:

  • Act quickly: TLNT, a human resources publication, reminds managers to offer up a compliment as soon as you notice something praiseworthy. Wait too long and the impact of your words will diminish. You are also more likely to forget if you delay.
  • Consider different personality types: Remember to consider personality types when showing appreciation at work. If you personally value concrete rewards, you may assume that employees know that they are important to the company based on their yearly bonuses. However, workers who respond more to verbal affirmation may not feel valued if they don’t hear praise after a job well done.
  • Emphasize details: Fast Company contributors Sebastian Bailey and Octavius Black advise giving detailed praise, both because it is more meaningful and because it encourages similar behavior down the road. “By just saying ‘Thanks for the report; it was great,’ you are not giving the person anything they can use and apply in the future,” Bailey and Black write. “Was the report great because it was long, had pictures, started with a succinct summary, included questions for the reader to answer, or what? The best praise focuses on specifics.”
  • Praise in public: Celebrating employees’ achievements in front of their coworkers can increase their sense of validation, while also helping to create a culture of appreciation. Try highlighting the hard work of an individual or even an entire department, either at a company-wide meeting or perhaps in a group email. Just be sure that praising one worker doesn’t seem to implicitly criticize another — that can quickly turn a positive interaction into a negative one.
  • Set goals: Some experts say that positive reinforcement is most effective when delivered on weekly or even daily basis. Set concrete, scheduled goals for yourself for offering regular praise to each and every employee or department you oversee. You may even want to create a “praise calendar,” on which you can keep track of how often you have highlighted someone’s good work. Many managers might be surprised to learn they are expressing gratitude far less often than they think.

They say people don’t quit bad jobs — they quit bad bosses. If your company is struggling with high employee turnover rates, consider investing in Mastery Technologies’ cost-effective, efficient online management training courses. We can help you create a positive professional environment that gets the most out of your team.

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New Video On Demand Titles This October!

Mastery released 25 new titles on the Video On Demand platform this month. The content covers topics such as hot work, leadership, best practices for hiring, and OSHA general industry and construction requirements.

 

Here are this month’s new releases:

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Arc flash safety training is a matter of life and death

Arc flash safety training can literally mean the difference between life and death.

Employees should continue to receive arc flash safety training throughout their careers.

Donnie Johnson had been an electrician for 19 years when he was hit by an arc flash that nearly killed him. According to his website, Johnson suffered third-degree burns to the muscle on both hands and arms and second degree burns on his face, head and neck. Johnson has since recovered from the accident but will never again work as an electrician.

“Honestly, if I had been wearing the personal protection equipment [PPE] that was provided for me, that I was trained to use and still in the PPE bag between the front seats of my van, my trip to the hospital would have probably been just for a check-up and a few, minor burns,” Johnson writes on his site. “Although my injuries were electrical in nature, whether you are a plumber, a carpenter or a mason there are safety procedures that could protect you from injury or save your life.”

Believe it or not, Johnson was one of the lucky ones. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 139 American workers died last year from exposure to electricity. That’s why arc flash safety training is literally a matter of life or death. It’s an employer’s responsibility to train workers to follow proper safety procedures, always wear their PPE, and teaching them why it matters.

An arc flash occurs when energy jumps through a high-voltage gap, giving off intense heat that can go upwards of 35,000 degrees. The force can also create a sound blast that is damaging to human ears and may hurtle objects through the air, further injuring anyone nearby.

If you are interested in offering training opportunities to your employees, consider investing in Mastery Technologies‘ inexpensive, easy-to-use online courses.

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Baby Boomer Vs. Millennial: Mainstream Your Training

milennial 2 It is said that by 2025, 3 out of every 4 workers globally will be millennials. Statistics also show that 45% of millennials will choose flexibility over pay when choosing their place of employment.

With the times changing, companies are embracing technology and social media usage in order to score and keep millennials within the workplace. Leaders are finding opportunities to infuse these characteristics within the workplace.

Millennials grew up with the internet at their fingertips from grade school to college. When entering into the workforce, they expect that same treatment. When providing training to employees, companies are rewriting the rule and embracing digital and on the go training options to cater to this new workforce.  Millennials are all about relevancy, therefore, companies are placing this at the forefront when it comes to training.millenial

For over 30 years, Mastery Technologies has dedicated time and resources to producing training content in a relevant way. Through the use of video, Mastery’s President Bill Marker believes training should cater to the kinesthetic, visual, interpersonal and intrapersonal learning styles of each employee.

“When providing video training opportunities within any industry, videos should model, demonstrate and illustrate.” says Marker, “The training should show the conditions, actions; demonstrate the particular area one is training on through task and procedure; lastly, it would model the behavior expected of the employee in training.”

In today’s society, many believe that there is a vast difference between baby boomers and millennials. In a recent article Forbes article “Boomers Vs. Millennials: You’re more alike than you think”, highlighted the similarities between the two generations, from saving money to the value of community.

In training, Marker takes this same approach focusing on the similarities rather than the differences between the two generations when providing training materials within the workplace. As the first training content network, Mastery believes in providing companies with the tools necessary to provide a learning experience equipped for millennials and baby boomers alike. By catering your training preferences to your employees, companies have seen an increase in work performance and productivity.

Read some more tips Mastery has for training millennials in this article, which has been featured on OHSonline.com

For more information on training for today’s generation, visit our website at www.mastery.com

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3 tips for handling workplace conflict

Conflict management training can dramatically improve a toxic work environment.

Online training courses can teach individuals and teams how to constructively handle conflict in the workplace.

Unresolved tension can take a serious toll on morale, productivity, worker retention rates and ultimately, the bottom line.

Professional leadership is “a full contact sport,” according to Forbes contributor Mike Myatt, who recently reminded managers that handling workplace conflict and facilitating resolutions comes with the territory. Bear in mind that unresolved tension can take a serious toll on morale, productivity, worker retention rates and ultimately, the bottom line. Luckily, you can improve your ability to deal with conflict even if you are not a born mediator. Here are some tips:

  • Let go of the past: Career consultant Amy Jen Su writes in the Harvard Business Review (HBR) that many people are conflict-averse because of past negative experiences that left them feeling embarrassed or upset. “When I ask clients why they don’t want to have difficult conversations, it usually comes down to fear of experiencing those emotions again,” Jen Su writes. “Many have an ‘a-ha’ moment when they realize they’re no longer that younger version of themselves; they’re now a more seasoned, experienced person with new skills and know-how.”
  • Look at the bright side: CIO magazine reminds us that conflict isn’t always a bad thing. If handled correctly, it can actually push a team toward bigger and better things. As a leader, it’s important to actively address brewing conflicts when they might lead to positive change, rather than squashing them entirely.
  • Work toward goals: Jen Su also advises keeping a clear eye on your business goals whenever you have to address interpersonal or political issues. Your ultimate goal is not to make everyone is happy, but rather to ensure that the company’s needs are met.

Mastery Technologies offers a variety of online employee development training courses to help you and your team address conflict productively. Explore our easy-to-use, inexpensive resources today!

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5 tips for eliminating politics from the workplace

Invest in online education courses to discourage office politics.

How well do your employees work together? Online education courses can improve their team work.

Perhaps nothing hurts productivity, efficiency and morale quite like office politics. However, as a manager, it can be difficult to know just how to begin changing a workplace’s tone for the better. Here are some tips for encouraging a positive professional environment:

  • Create a group goal: One easy way to encourage camaraderie is to set an attainable group goal for the office to work toward, with an attractive reward such as an extra day off. Don’t make the challenge so difficult that success is unlikely, or so easy that it is a certainty. Ideally, your staff will bond over their shared effort to reach their collective goal.
  • Encourage accountability: Oftentimes, politics come into play when unclear expectations leave employees unsure of their individual responsibilities. Encourage a culture of accountability, in which duties are clearly assigned and workers are rewarded for showing incentive and going above and beyond.
  • Invest in training: Teamwork, like all other professional skills, must be learned. If you want your staff members to work well together, then invest in online employee development courses like those available through Mastery Technologies. We teach workers how to better communicate and interact with others, for the good of the business.
  • Show leadership: Remember that you set the tone for your entire workplace. Try to be genuine but positive, behaving as you would like each member of your team to act.
  • Support them: A good manager, like a good coach, lets their team members know that they have their backs. Employees will be less likely to play “the blame game” if they know that you are not going to try to throw them under the bus.

Mastery Technologies offers a wide array of courses to help improve office culture. Browse our course catalog today!

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Construction workers need ongoing training on “Fatal Four”

Nearly 300 American construction workers fell to their deaths last year.

One in five workplace fatalities in 2013 occurred in the construction industry.

The construction industry has some of the highest on-the-job fatality rates in the United States, with 796 reported deaths in 2013. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), one in five private industry worker fatalities were in construction. Most of these deaths can be attributed to the “Fatal Four” — falling, being struck by an object, being electrocuted or getting trapped between two surfaces.

It is vital construction workers receive sufficient safety training before beginning their work, and that they receive ongoing education opportunities throughout their careers. Providing your staff with access to online training courses, like those from Mastery Technologies, could quite literally mean the difference between life and death. In fact, according to OSHA, training employees to properly follow safety procedures to prevent accidents involving the Fatal Four would save 468 lives every year.

  • Being struck: Eighty-two construction workers died last year after being struck by an object — one in 10 of all on-the-job deaths in the industry.
  • Electrocution: Seventy-one employees at construction sites were fatally electrocuted in 2013.
  • Falling: OSHA reports falling is the leading cause of worker deaths in the construction field, with 294 deaths last year alone. The group is currently cracking down on violations that could lead to fatal falls. “We’re working with employers, workers, industry groups, state OSH plans, and civic and faith-based organizations to host safety stand-downs that focus on recognizing hazards and preventing falls,” Assistant Secretary of Labor Dr. David Michaels says in a press release. “We are getting the message out to America’s employers that safety pays and falls cost.”
  • Getting trapped: In 2013, 21 victims died after becoming caught in between two objects, such as a steel plate and a pipe casing.

Each of these hazards is unique and requires concerted training efforts to prevent related accidents. Browse Mastery Technologies’ course offerings featuring the construction industry, as well as those that focus specifically on OSHA Construction regulations.

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How to increase productivity by improving teamwork

Train your managers to better encourage teamwork among employees.

How well does your team work together?

Employees often cite poor management as one of the biggest contributors to dissatisfaction at work. In fact, some go so far as to say that employees don’t quit bad jobs, but rather bad bosses. That’s because a supervisor sets the tone for an entire department, determining how effectively, efficiently and harmoniously a group will function. Fortunately, any manager can learn to promote teamwork, thus driving up productivity and reducing worker turnover.

Encourage engagement:

Remember the expression, “There is no ‘I’ in team.” As a leader, trying to do everything yourself will cause you to burn out and your employees to disengage, as it signals to them that their contributions aren’t needed. Encourage transparency and feedback, and take everyone’s ideas into consideration. This will help to create a culture of teamwork in which workers are eager to bring what they have to offer to the table.

Invest in training:

For the vast majority of people, leadership is a learned skill rather than an innate talent. Don’t expect newly promoted supervisors to intuitively know how to lead their subordinates. Instead, invest in cost-effective, easy-to-use online management training programs like those available through Mastery Technologies. Our courses teach participants how to promote teamwork while fostering a healthy environment of trust and mutual support.

Set expectations:

Workers often point to unclear job expectations as one of the top workplace stressors. Be sure that you and other company managers establish specific daily, weekly and monthly goals and communicate them to employees. For example, at the beginning of a meeting, state the items that need to be addressed and the time frame allotted for the discussion. This will help everyone stay focused and on track.

Improve your managers’ ability to encourage teamwork, and you’ll get the most out of your available talent while also increasing productivity and employee retention. Browse Mastery’s course offerings today!

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3 tips for increasing employee engagement

Want to improve employee engagement? Offer opportunities for advancement and continuing education.

Companies that improve employee engagement tend to become more profitable and productive.

Companies with higher levels of employee engagement are also more profitable and productive, according to Gallup research. These businesses tend to have more satisfied customers and better worker retention rates. Unfortunately, some sources indicate that as many as seven in 10 American employees are disengaged, amounting to $450 to $550 billion in lost productivity annually. Here are some ways that, as a manager, you can engage your team and dramatically improve your company’s overall performance:

Continuing education and training:

Research shows that offering employees opportunities to learn in a job-related capacity dramatically increases their professional satisfaction. The New England College of Business reports that continuing education can cut rates of job turnover by as much as 50 percent. The good news is that you don’t have to decimate your budget by bringing in expensive instructors or sending your team off-site. Instead, turn to Mastery Technologies’ cost-effective, efficient online learning courses, on topics ranging from safety to conflict resolution. Your employees can engage in continuing education without ever leaving the office!

Manager training:

Perhaps nothing can devastate employee engagement as thoroughly as an unskilled manager. The good news is that effective supervisors aren’t born, they’re trained! Explore Mastery Technologies’ management training resources to help your team leaders make the most of your company’s most valuable asset —  its workers. We offer courses designed to teach an array of skills, including: leadership, delegation, mentoring, and decision-making.

Solicit feedback:

Engagement can’t exist on a one-way street, so be sure to ask your employees for their feedback and then take their thoughts and ideas into consideration when making decisions. Create an environment that encourages creativity and problem-solving at every level, and your company will reap the benefits.

Explore how e-learning can help improve your employee engagement, learn more at www.mastery.com!

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3 easy ways to improve employee retention

Losing a lot of employees is bad for business, but making some simple changes can turn things around.

High rates of employee turnover hurts the bottom line, so invest resources to reverse the trend.

No doubt about it — high rates of employee turnover are bad for both the bottom line and workplace morale. As a manager or company owner, you may very well find yourself stumped by how to improve something as nebulous as worker satisfaction. However, taking some simple, concrete steps can dramatically improve retention:

Encourage feedback:

While nothing is as frustrating as feeling ignored or unheard, sometimes just having the opportunity to express concern or frustration diffuses any tension. Try formally encouraging your team to share positive and negative feedback with supervisors in a controlled setting — either in one-on-one debriefs or in a “suggestion box” format. Don’t feel like you need to act on every criticism or suggestion, but you should take the time to acknowledge concerns so that employees know that you have really heard them.

Learn more about receiving and giving feedback with Mastery’s online training.

Offer continuing education:

Research has shown that offering opportunities for continuing education dramatically increases workplace happiness and reduces turnover rates. Many employers fear that this means spending a fortune to send employees to conferences or off-site campuses, but that is not the case! Instead, invest in cost-effective, easy-to-use online employee development courses from Mastery Technologies.

Talk about stress:

Chronic stress does irreparable harm to both our bodies and our workplaces. Start by facilitating a conversation with your team about their stress levels to determine if this is an issue for your company. If it is, then consider providing your staff with an online learning course to educate them on specific stress management techniques. Mastery offers a variety of courses addressing stress that can boost satisfaction in addition to creating a healthier workforce, leading to increased productivity and fewer sick days overall.

Check out Mastery’s full course catalog here.

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