The weekly last week post’s take on the latest work trends - sent last Tuesday.

Inside this issue

  • Workplace trends

  • The important line between ownership and neglect

  • Water cooler chatter

  • Question of the week

  • Just for laughs

Workplace trends


Inflation’s got nothing on Black Friday

Despite soaring inflation and fears of a looming recession, this year’s Black Friday e-commerce spending was extremely strong. In fact, Americans spent 2.3% more than last year, reaching a whopping $9.12 billion spent shopping online. This number reflects a new record high, according to Adobe Analytics. Retailers offered some of their biggest discounts on electronics, and consumers clearly responded. Electronics purchases jumped 221% that day, and phones accounted for a record 48% of all Black Friday online purchases, per Adobe. That being said, all these statistics need to be taken with a grain of salt since inflation is currently at around 8%, which has certainly increased total spending numbers.


You might not need that flashy college education

In this tight labor market, employers have started to eliminate the longstanding college-degree requirement for many competitive, higher-paying jobs. Companies such as Google and Delta Air Lines have already lowered their educational requirements for several open positions and shifted their hiring to be more geared toward skill and experience. This trend seems to also be gaining traction on a legislative level. Maryland saw a surge in hiring this year after cutting college-degree requirements for many state jobs, and the incoming governor of Pennsylvania campaigned on a similar initiative. Between high labor demand and organizational attempts to address racial disparities in the workplace, companies are sending a message that a major investment in a four-year college education might not be worth it anymore.


These days, young job seekers are looking for stability

Amid soaring inflation and economic uncertainty, young employees want security. While prestige and high paychecks were once the main post-college goals, today, according to a Handshake survey, 73% of recent college graduates and current seniors said stability is their top job search priority. Despite the fact that the job market remains strong in many industries and unemployment is at a nearly five-decade low, many young workers are feeling anxious. After years of school disruptions and rising mental distress, starting a career right now is far from easy. And among the college graduates who planned to apply for high-paying, perk-filled tech jobs, the wave of layoffs across the industry is certainly putting things into perspective. For young workers these days, it appears the dream job may have to wait.

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The important line between ownership and neglect


It’s fair to assume that most business leaders have either mentioned or heard the term “employee ownership” referenced in the context of work. The idea being that employees who are owners of a given project or process are held accountable for the quality and timeliness of an outcome, even when they’re working with others. These individuals are expected to care about the work results in the same way they would care as an owner of an organization – acting as their own CEOs, in a sense.

Managers that promote ownership on their teams build a culture in which employees are encouraged to take initiative and address challenges head-on to produce more strategic thinkers and better leaders. When employees feel accountable for getting their work to the finish line and resolving any roadblocks that may arise, they seek out the right support on their team and become more confident and independent contributors.

What’s the catch?

It can be hard to find the right balance between giving your employee ownership and making them feel neglected. Often, in an effort to provide employees with a sense of control and responsibility, managers remove themselves too much and become somewhat absent leaders.

An Interact and Harris survey of 1,000 working adults showed that eight of the top nine complaints about leaders concerned absent behavior, and that feeling ignored by one’s boss can actually feel more alienating than being treated poorly. When team members get the sense that their managers are overly removed from their work, it can trigger miscommunication due to a lack of direction and result in weaker performance.

So, how can you promote ownership while remaining a present leader?

Create clear goals

Before you can effectively hand off responsibility to your team members, it’s important to clearly establish how you’re defining success. Simply giving an employee an assignment without any real direction is not the way employee ownership is supposed to work. In fact, it will likely leave you with team members who don’t even know where to begin. That’s why it’s your responsibility as a manager to sit down with the employee to establish goals and expectations. Only then, once you’re on the same page about the vision and desired end results, can you give them the reins and let them determine how to get there. For ultimate success, be sure to empower your employee to take initiative with a clear understanding of how you’re measuring their progress and success.

Encourage problem-solving

Employee ownership doesn’t mean closing the door when your team member confronts a challenge and is unsure what to do. It means giving them the resources and tools they need to solve the problems – helping them identify teammates they can leverage with relevant insights and expertise, suggesting existing resources to reference when they’re weighing solutions, and serving as a sounding board to work through things out loud if they need it. When a team member comes to you with a problem, you can listen and guide them, without simply telling them what to do – ask what solutions come to their minds. How do they think this issue should be handled? Show your employees that you are confident that they have the answers while making it clear that you’re available for support.

Check-in and provide feedback

Be a present manager by following up with your team members. If you know there’s a major project your employee is working on, make time for frequent check-ins to discuss how things are going and offer supportive feedback. Show them that while they are the owners and decision-makers, you are still invested in them and their success. Create space for them to voice any challenges they are facing, and when relevant, offer your two cents. Make an active effort to show your employees that you trust them to manage their own work and that you are around to offer support and guidance when they need it.

Give credit and recognition

The best way to avoid any sense of neglect is when you encourage ownership? Recognize your team members’ efforts and achievements. According to a recent Gallup study, employees are four times as likely to be engaged at work if they feel strongly that they receive the right amount of recognition for the work they do. So, while you might not be involved in their day-to-day tasks, stay informed on how things are going so that you can provide relevant feedback and authentic recognition. Reach out when you notice an employee did something great and spotlight their impact in larger forums so that others can acknowledge them as well. Be sure to give your team members credit for their contributions and offer them opportunities to present their own work so that they can really feel seen, empowered, and valued.

Water cooler chatter

The largest active volcano has erupted in Hawaii. Mauna Loa started spewing lava last week for the first time since 1984, ending the volcano’s longest dormant period in recorded history. Though it rained ash nearby, the US Geological Survey said that the lava flows were not a threat to populated areas.

“The glow is like nothing I’ve seen here living in Kona for most of my life.”

- Matthew Liano, a resident of Kailua-Kona

The U.S. Senate passes a landmark marriage equality bill: The Respect for Marriage Act, which provides protections for same-sex and interracial marriages. The bill would require the federal government to recognize marriages that were valid in the state where they were performed and ensure these couples receive full marriage benefits regardless of sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin. The act will next be voted on by the House (which passed an earlier version of it this past July) before President Biden can sign it into law.

“The United States is on the brink of reaffirming a fundamental truth: love is love”

- Joe Biden, President of the United States of America

Word of the week.

This week: What is the most popular business buzzword?

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The weekly last week post The weekly last week post Reviewed by Hernani Del Giudice on December 06, 2022 Rating: 5

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