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In order to improve an organization’s effectiveness one must understand the role of organizational behavior within the workforce. It is important to understand how an organization’s behavior impacts key business drivers such as profitability, motivation and higher retention rates.
What is Organizational Behavior?
Organizational behavior is the study of human behavior within organizations. If people are an organizations most important asset then understanding how humans behave in organizations will lead to insights that can improve productivity, job satisfaction, employee relations, and more. Organizational behavior focuses on the impact that individuals, groups, and structures have on behavior within organizations. Below are just a few of the components that need to be taken into account:
- The job itself. What kind or type of job is an employee doing, and what is the design of that job? How does the job fit in with other job’s employees are working on? Knowing the type of job an employee is working on can help determine how the employee will react with that job.
- The nature of the work. This goes along with the job because if the nature of work is compatible with the employee then it is more likely that the work will get done well and in a timely manner.
- Turnover. If a person is compatible with the work environment and likes their job, they will be more likely to stay and be high performers at the company. Organization’s rarely take a hard look at the cost associated with turnover. Therefore, cost savings associated with improving the recruiting, selection, on-boarding, and training processes are often ignored.
- Productivity. If an employee is productive, they tend to be more motivated and more likely to enjoy the work that they are doing. This is a win-win for the organization and the employee!
Organizational Behavior Challenges and Opportunities
With everything in life, there are challenges and opportunities, and organizational behavior is no exception.
- Economic pressures impact both individuals and organizations. Employees may have to fight to keep their job. This may encourage the employee to be more productive throughout the day and strive to do excellent work. Competitive pressures are tough in the business world. In a highly competitive society, every organization wants to be recognized as the best.
- Workplace diversity is prevalent. Employees from all over the globe are applying for positions. Diversity is a good thing and can become a competitive advantage that inspires innovation. But it also creates individual and organization acceptance and appreciation challenges.
Ultimately, it is up to the employees in an organization to work with one another and to recognize the differences and skills that each other have. This is crucial within a workforce and a great reason as to why organizational behavior is an important tool to be aware about and understand.
–Annalise Bandel, Student, Loyola University
Sometimes I would rather stick a fork in my eye and twist it than go to another meeting. In most corporate environments meetings are a vital element of life in the office. They dictate our days; form our schedules and consequently, we often find ourselves getting few things accomplished as a result of them. So why do we need ANOTHER meeting anyway?
Obviously, meetings are a necessary evil in running successful businesses. They bring people together by uniting creative minds and are vital in achieving the strategic goals of the company. Leaders who know how to run productive meetings can be the most valued employees of the organization.
Meetings can fail for a variety of reasons. Some of the most important are a lack preparation, agenda or goals. Lacking respect for participant’s time and failing to follow up on specific action items can result in frustrated participants and fewer results. Whether your meeting is at the office, via Skype or conference call, how do you lead an effective one? Reader’s Digest author, Graham Buck, recently gave a few tips:
- Start and end strongly. Conduct every meeting with a purpose and close it with a plan for “going forward”. Denver based consultant Teri Schwartz noted that running a meeting is like “Flying a plane. Most crashes happen at takeoff and landing.”
- Pick a leader. Assign someone to lead at the beginning of each meeting.
- Think small. Be realistic about what you can accomplish and keep the number of attendees manageable to stimulate discussion.
- Direct, don’t dominate. Encourage others to speak up and get involved, especially junior staffers.
- Lay down the rules of engagement. Everyone should understand who will take notes and how decision will be made. Assign follow-up tasks during the final five to ten minutes and then reiterate them later in a group email.
A final tip that I’d like to add is to respect participant’s time. As an HR consultant, one of the biggest complaints that I hear is that employee’s never have enough time to complete their own projects because of all the meetings they are required to attend. Smart business leaders understand the value of participant’s time. If a meeting is scheduled for an hour, be respectful and end it on time!
Does your company struggle with leading successful meetings? Skywalk Group’s Employee Development and Training can help.
There is no “I” in team.
Two heads are better than one.
You know all the sayings and probably even believe them. But another reminder is a good thing, right?
This blog article is just that. A reminder to everyone about the power of collaboration (aka team work).
Collaboration Story #1: Goal Setting and Team Work
This summer, the Organizational Effectiveness team at Skywalk Group had a blog writing contest. The contest included individual and group goals. By effectively working together to assist each other in promoting blog articles, the team quickly reached their group goal. In fact, the group did such a great job that they have more than doubled their original group goal over the course of the summer.
This story shows how beneficial goal setting can be for organizations. Not only did working as a team toward an established goal bring the group closer together as a team, but it also has proved to be extremely valuable in increasing blog readership. It’s a win-win!
Collaboration Story #2: It Takes a Village to Raise a Child
Until having children of my own, I never realized how true this statement is. This semester, I started teaching a class at the University of Iowa called Individuals, Teams, and Organizations. So far, I love the opportunity but it has created some new challenges in my personal life. Luckily, I have fantastic friends and neighbors who are willing to help out. Without them, I am pretty sure my children would be sitting at home watching TV and playing video games instead of getting to and from school and having Nerf gun wars.
The point of this story is that most people are willing to help you out when you need it. You just have to ask. For many of us, that is the biggest hurdle: admitting when we need help. This is one example where without the help of friends, I would have had to pass on an opportunity. And for that (THEM), I am grateful!
Collaboration Story #3: Sometimes it Takes a Village to Work with a Client
Skywalk Group is a professional services organization that focuses on human resources, recruiting, and organizational development & training. In each of the focus areas, there are functional experts that work with our clients. On many occasions, we may start working with a company in one service area and soon end up having an expert from each area working with that one client.
It could be argued that it would be more cost-effective and productive to have just one employee work with that client. However, at Skywalk Group, we see our team as specialists who have a significant amount of experience in one area. It may challenge us from time to time on our collaboration and communication skills but in the end, we are confident that our customers benefit more by bringing in the village.
- Collaboration and team work opportunities exist every day. You just have to take advantage of them.
- We can all accomplish more in our lives through collaboration, in whatever form that takes.
- You can foster team work and collaboration in your organization. experts at Skywalk Group to learn more.
Does your company have a cell phone or a “distracted driving” policy? Most employers today still haven’t quite gotten around to creating a cell phone policy, let alone a policy that addresses cell phone use while driving. In today’s fast paced, multi-tasking world, talking, texting, reading emails, etc. happens regularly. Here are some things to think about regarding cell phone usage best practices and policies in your organization.
Did you know?
- Talking on a hand-held cell phone while driving is banned in 9 states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Utah, and Washington) and the District of Columbia.
- The use of all cell phones by novice drivers is restricted in 30 states and the District of Columbia .
- Text messaging is banned for all drivers in 33 states and the District of Columbia.
Currently, in the state of Iowa, there is a grace period in place for texting tickets through the end of June 2011. The new law will ban all drivers from reading, writing or sending text messages or emails while operating a motor vehicle. In addition, novice drivers, mostly between the ages of 14-17 will be prohibited from using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle. A person ticketed under the new law will face a fine of $100, although there would be a grace period on the fine from July 1st, 2010 – June 30th, 2011.
For more information on specific laws and restrictions in your area, click on the map below.
What can your company do?
There are many schools of thought on office email etiquette. Enough to cause a nervous breakdown in those of us inclined to such things. What is the appropriate response time? 5 minutes, 5 hours, 5 days…never? I’ve experienced both extremes in my career. See what category you fall into below.
The Never Responder
The Never Responders are a huge drain on productivity. Generally, the Never Responder requires 3, 4, or 5 follow-up emails to obtain a response. Occasionally, you may even be forced to ambush the unsuspecting Never Responder while they are trying to refill their coffee. This generates the following response: “Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Could you resend that one to me?” This results in starting the whole process over again.
The Instant Responder
Then there are the Instant Responders. For these individuals, it is like a new message in their in-box is wired to a shock collar around their necks. This is a mixed blessing for others. On the one hand, you never have to wait on them for a response. Great! However, on the other hand, they tend to also expect the same lightning fast response from you. Not so great.
The good news is that most of us live somewhere between the Never Responders and the Instant Responders.
Office Email Etiquette Tips
So what can companies do to help alleviate the frustration and anxiety associated with email?
- Include a written email policy in your employee handbook. Take the guesswork out of email etiquette in your organization.. When you make your expectations clear, you take the burden off your employees shoulders.
- Lead by example. It starts at the top. If the CEO adheres to a 24 hour response time, a powerful message is sent to the rest of the organization that they can, and should, too.
- Provide tools and training. A 30 minute training on how to set up folders, filters and rules in your company’s email system is a small investment that’ll pay back in huge dividends. Or better yet, complete our e-learning series on Emailing Your Way to the Top!
E-Mailing Your Way to the Top Series (8 hours)
E-mail has become so prevalent in the workplace that we seldom think about it, and yet it is the medium co-workers see you through most often. How can your e-mails speak for you clearly, effectively and potently? This series walks participants through building e-mail subject lines and messages that are effective and respect office etiquette. Users will also learn about e-mail safety and how to avoid threats like viruses and phishing, as well as how to think about e-mail confidentiality and legal security. This four-course series includes the following modules:
- Managing Your Inbox (2 hours)
- Writing Effective E-Mails (3 hours)
- The Legal Face of E-Mail (2 hours)
- Becoming an Organizational Leader (1 hour)
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My to-do list was 3 pages long. Double sided. It ranged from “Make eye appointment” and “call Mom” to “create teleseminar talk” and “create social media plan for client A” to “research homemade cat food” and “learn Quickbooks.”
I had just gotten back from being out of town unexpectedly and was in the midst of several new business projects in addition to my regular client work. And a life. Somewhere in there I had a life beyond business and to-do lists.
I was working frantically trying to get caught up and get back into a regular schedule. But the list just kept growing and I kept getting more and more scattered.
I left my keys in the door 3 days in a row. I was 2 days late paying a bill because I just forgot all about it. I drove across town to Target 3 times in a week for the same item because I kept forgetting it. (I don’t even want to remember what else I did that week!)
I was doing all sorts of weird and forgetful things, but what I wasn’t doing was the important genius work for my business – you know, the stuff that is actually going to build my business and increase my income?
I don’t know any business owner who hasn’t occasionally felt like their to-do list has taken over their life. Unfortunately, most of our to-do lists have little to do with our genius work. Instead they are cluttered with items like getting groceries, going to the post office, doing laundry, getting a haircut, taking in the recycling, and returning those endless emails.
I call all these to-dos time drainers – mostly because we often go about them haphazardly and spend a lot of jumping from one to the next without a plan or structure. When our lists get too long, we can start to get scattered. Then we end up with even more to-dos that drain our time and energy away from our genius work.
So, what to do about all those time-drainers?
Gather them up and create a system for doing them. Instead of doing those individual to-dos of life randomly whenever they pop up – set aside a predetermined amount of time each day to take care of them and batch similar ones together. Do the same for the bleed-y business to-dos (email, scheduling appointments, social media time, etc.).
Here’s an example of how I’ve done it:
- Monday is errand day. This is when I get groceries, run to Target, take in the recycling, go to the pet store, and the post office.
- Tuesday is household to-dos. That’s when I do laundry, clean, go through stuff and de-clutter.
- Wednesday is appointment day. I schedule all my massages, hair appointments, dentist appointments, eye check-ups, etc. on this day.
- Thursday is business only day – no to-dos allowed!
- Friday is finances. This is going to the bank, doing Quickbooks, paying bills, and reconciling accounts.
And I don’t just say – “I’m doing errands on Monday!” I schedule it in. It’s on Monday, I’m doing errands from 4 pm – 7pm.
Then, I schedule in daily time for the bleed-y business to-dos. 11 am – 12 pm and 3 pm – 4pm are set aside for checking and answering emails, scheduling appointments, and doing social media.
The beauty of creating a system like this (and you’ll have to tweak it to fit your life and business, of course) is that you no longer waste hours of time in a week because you’re making your 3rd trip to the grocery store. Instead of losing focus in the middle of your creative work 3 days in a row because you had to stop to go to an appointment, you knock them all out in 5 hours on one day and don’t have to worry about them.
The best part (at least, for me)? Your life is no longer taken over by to-dos. You no longer wonder when or how you’re going to fit them all in. You know. It’s written down and planned. Your brain can relax because it knows you’re taking care of it and it can just focus on your genius work.
Capture those time-drainers and get them in a system.
Free up your life to do the work you love to do.
Emily Long is a social media consultant, speaker, and writer. Emily delights in teaching entrepreneurs and self-employed business owners how to use social media – while making it fun, easy, and effortless! If you want to be grow your business and your income with social media without wasting your precious time and energy, you can sign up for a FRE*E subscription to Rescuing Time at www.timerescuer.com.