Category: Human Resources

Re-imagining How Work Is Done

When we think about how our lives have changed over the past year, our work life is probably one area where we’ve felt the greatest impact. The pandemic forced many offices to adopt new ways of working in order to protect the safety and wellbeing of employees – and they had to do it virtually overnight. For many people, it meant working from home exclusively and the numbers prove it. According to a Gallup Poll, the percentage of Americans working in some form from home jumped from around 25% to more than 60% during the height of the pandemic. As more people are fully vaccinated and life begins to return to some sense of normalcy, many employees have started to return to the office. However, the future of traditional work life and workspace will likely be impacted for the foreseeable future.

Some employees are eager to return to the office and have face-to-face contact with others and enjoy post-work happy hours. Others have adjusted to working from home and don’t miss their long commute. Companies are realizing that there are advantages to both work from home and office time. That’s why the hybrid model where employees can work at least a few days from home may likely become the new norm. It’s one of several workplace trends that we’ll discuss in the next article.

There are a lot of questions businesses must answer about the role of the office moving forward. It differs across industries and there is no one-size-fits all approach. However, there are some universal steps organizations need to take to re-imagine how work is done:

  • Decide how and where people work: Can some workers be fully remote? Does a hybrid remote model make more sense? Or does work need to take place on site?
  • Redesign the workplace to correspond with company priorities: Looking at spacing issues between desks, meeting space, the airflow of the office and upgrading technology to collaborate with people working from home are just a few areas to consider.
  • Look at the footprint of the office and resize creatively: Now is the time to take a fresh look at how much space is required and the location.

Across industries, leaders will use the lessons learned from the pandemic to reimagine how and where work gets done. Employees will demand it. Organizations must use this time to break from the old habits of the past and reinvent what a collaborative and productive work environment looks like moving forward. Creative and bold organizations will be the ones that meet the challenge and retain and attract employees.

Is your organization poised to make challenging workplace decisions that will create a better experience for your employees? Leah M Joppy and Associates is ready to help. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email leah@lmja.com to learn more.

In These Times, Can We Even Plan Ahead?

Between the pandemic changing the way we work and a new administration, it can seem like your agency or association is in a constant state of flux. Without the aid of a crystal ball, it may seem like planning for the future is an exercise in futility. Organizations may be tempted to wait and see what happens during times of uncertainty. But all of these unknowns shouldn’t keep you from looking ahead. In fact, failing to plan is a huge mistake for so many reasons.

In uncertain times, it’s the most resilient organizations that succeed. Part of that resilience is looking ahead as best you can and planning no matter what the future may hold. Here are a few important questions to consider as you develop a strategic plan:

  • What do we know about the current environment in which we’re working?
  • What hasn’t changed? What can we predict with some level of certainty?
  • What do we need to prepare or plan for ‘just in case’?
  • Has anything about the current environment caused us to reconsider or change our mission and/or values?
  • What is our action plan for the next year? What are our objectives, timelines, budget to work with, etc?

Of course, the key to navigating times of uncertainty is developing a strategy with flexibility. But instead of hoping for the best, you at least have a plan that gives you and your team some sense of a forward-moving mission.

No matter what direction your agency or association takes in the months ahead, everyone has areas that can be strengthened with a little help, probing and encouragement. That’s where Leah M Joppy and Associates can help. We help you take control of your future by developing an action plan that positions you to succeed, no matter what the coming months may bring. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email leah@lmja.com to learn more.

Write Your Own Story

So many of us are weary from the events of 2020. Whether it’s a job loss, difficulties maneuvering the work from home/family life balance or the disappointment and loneliness that have accompanied the pandemic, we each have our own story about how this time has affected us. By now, everyone has a list of things they once took for granted but now miss or things they’ve grown to love during this period of staying at home.

According to a survey conducted by the National Research Group, approximately 90% of Americans say that the pandemic “is a good time to reflect on what’s important to them.” There’s also a renewed appreciation for “chatting” with our family and friends, as roughly 72% say the pandemic will have a positive impact on how we communicate in the future. And there’s newfound respect for a sometimes overlooked and underappreciated workforce in our country: grocery store workers, health care professionals, emergency responders, etc.

These are not small things, but rather a huge shift in how we view what’s important to us and how we spend our time. Perhaps family dinners and new traditions have become an area of focus. Others may have started a new health and wellness routine they’ve been putting off for years. And some people may have reduced the amount of material possessions in their homes, developed a new hobby or worked on learning a new professional skill. Whatever your story, these new priorities and insights truly matter!

When the virus is no longer a threat, will you return to your old ways? Will you again focus on working crazy hours, money, material things or other areas of your life that were lacking in fulfillment? The big question is, what do you do with this appreciation of what really matters in life and make sure it continues after the world returns to “normal-ish”. Working with a coach is an ideal way to develop a plan with attainable goals, as well as have someone who will hold you accountable and keep you on track. Think of a coach as a partner for your future!

This past year has been far from easy. There’s been irritability, frustration, anger, and a major dose of cabin fever. But perhaps years from now, we’ll look back on it as an unexpected opportunity to really tune into what matters most in our lives and use that knowledge to create meaningful change. Whether these goals are personal or career-related, Leah M Joppy and Associates can work with you to bring them to fruition. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email leah@lmja.com to learn more.

PLANNING FOR THE NEW YEAR

Planning for new yearWhat a long, strange ride 2020 has been and it’s safe to say we’re all ready to see what 2021 has in store. If 2020 has taught us one major lesson, it’s that plans can get derailed and we must be willing to adapt. It’s also given us an opportunity to assess our way of doing business within a new framework. For example, what are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned this year? What are some of the biggest challenges facing your organization over the next year and beyond? What are your strengths and weaknesses to meet those challenges?

You may have already developed a strategic plan for 2021, but if we’ve learned anything, it’s that plans can change quickly. That’s why it’s important to consider the following when drafting a plan for the next year:

  • Embrace Reality: While we’re all ready for the pandemic to be over, we’re still going to be doing business differently for a while. You may want to keep some of the changes you made over the past year. Or based on what you’ve learned over the past several months, you may need to make additional plans based on existing conditions.
  • Be Adaptable: Organizations that were able to pivot quickly when the pandemic began experienced less impact than those who struggled through the process. Flexible processes and adaptable strategies are your best course of action if things worsen before they improve.
  • Make Your People A Top Priority: People are the core of your department and now, more than ever, you need to take care of them. This includes physical and mental health, as well as work-life balance. With so many people working from home, communication should be a priority. What’s worked well over the past several months? What areas could use improvement?
  • Plan For The Unusual: A long-term strategy that includes various scenarios helps you navigate challenges. For example, additional equipment and tools for remote workers, plans for employees who may be out due to the coronavirus and workers who need flexibility due to school closures are all issues to consider.

Planning in advance is one way effective leaders avoid the stress of falling behind, particularly during times of uncertainty. Leah M. Joppy and Associates has worked with numerous firms to draft annual plans that align and inspire teams to reach their goals for the coming year – and beyond. Then we help you put it all into action. For more information, contact us at 301-670-0051 or email leah@lmja.com.

Coaching For Mid-Level Managers

Coaching mid-level managersMiddle managers are often dealt a difficult hand. They’re expected to play the dual role of both boss and employee and the balancing act that accompanies this type of position can be tricky to navigate. If you’re in a middle management position, you’re probably required to deal with day-to-day issues and complaints from your employees, while also understanding and implementing big picture goals from upper management. It can really make you feel like you’re caught in the “middle”!

Many middle managers can feel like they’re thrown to the wolves, particularly if they were promoted to the position with little to no training. Mid-level managers must build their soft skills in addition to so many others. Here are a few skills needed to be an effective mid-level manager:

  • Proficiency in Hiring Top Talent
  • Excellent Communication Skills
  • Strong Delegation Skills:
  • Collaboration Skills
  • Strong Decision-Making Skills

Working with a coach can really help with honing these skills. By assessing the unique challenges you face in a middle management position, a life coach can work with you on the best ways to tackle tough situations and develop a clear and detailed plan of action. You can also learn the best ways to advocate for yourself and what you need to perform effectively in your position. Best of all, a coach is someone who has your best interests at heart and is going to help you achieve that balancing act – both in and out of the office.

Whether you’re new to a mid-level management position or you’ve been in one for a while, it’s always beneficial to take a step back and examine what areas you’d like to work on both in and out of the office. If you’re ready to make some meaningful changes and looking for a life coach that can help you through it all, Leah M. Joppy and Associates is ready to help. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email us at leah@lmja.com.

EOY BUDGET NEEDS: POPULAR COURSES

It’s been a long, strange year (to put it mildly!) and your team may be feeling the stress of working from home and isolation from the day-to-day routine of the office. It may feel more challenging than ever to communicate effectively with your staff and teamwork may be lacking right now. Or you may feel like you want to do strategic planning for the future, but it’s hard enough to just deal with daily tasks. LMJA has a number of courses that can help with the challenges you’re experiencing during the crazy year of 2020. Courses are now VIRTUAL.

Here’s a look at four of our most popular courses and how they can be a great investment in your team. These courses can be tailored for a half-day session. Courses can also be spread out into 2 half-day sessions. A variety of self-awareness assessments are used in all of our courses.

  • Effective Interpersonal Skills: Interpersonal skills are sometimes referred to as people skills, soft skills or emotional intelligence skills. Valuable interpersonal skills include: teamwork, leadership, empathy and active listening. In this course, we discuss verbal and non-verbal cues, why they matter and how to build strong interpersonal skills that will enhance both the harmony and productivity of your office.
  • Conflict Management Skills: Problems can arise on any team and you will likely need to resolve conflict at some point in your job. Our course helps you develop conflict resolution skills, deal with constructive criticism and gain important counseling, mediating and problem-solving skills.
  • Developing Inclusive Teams: While most managers believe having a diverse and inclusive work culture is critical to performance, they don’t always know the best ways to achieve that goal. Our course covers a broad range of topics, such as examining the culture of an organization, identifying current and potential problems and providing tools for change.
  • Organizational Strategic Planning: Organizational strategic planning involves setting priorities, determining where to focus energy and resources, ensuring that employees are working towards common goals and much more. Our course helps you develop an effective strategic plan that clearly lays out where your organization is going, the actions needed to make progress and a blueprint for success.

If you are interested in making meaningful, long-lasting change in your department, Leah M. Joppy and Associates is ready to help. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email us at leah@lmja.com.

EOY BUDGET NEEDS: POPULAR COURSES

If you’re examining your EOY budget and have last minute money that needs to be spent, now is an ideal time to invest those dollars in your team. Looking back on the last year, can you identify areas that need improvement? Perhaps there was a conflict that could have been resolved more effectively? Maybe communication is an area that needs improvement? Or maybe you just want a jumpstart on strategic planning for the next year and how that may look during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, LMJA has a number of courses that have changed the way offices communicate, operate and deal with issues.

Here’s a look at four of our most popular courses and how they can be a great investment in the most important part of your department – your people:

  • Effective Interpersonal Skills: Interpersonal skills are sometimes referred to as people skills, soft skills or emotional intelligence skills. Valuable interpersonal skills include: teamwork, leadership, empathy and active listening. In this course, we discuss verbal and non-verbal cues, why they matter and how to build strong interpersonal skills that will enhance both the harmony and productivity of your office.
  • Conflict Management Skills: Problems can arise on any team and you will likely need to resolve conflict at some point in your job. Our course helps you develop conflict resolution skills, deal with constructive criticism and gain important counseling, mediating and problem-solving skills.
  • Developing Inclusive Teams: While most managers believe having a diverse and inclusive work culture is critical to performance, they don’t always know the best ways to achieve that goal. Our course covers a broad range of topics, such as examining the culture of an organization, identifying current and potential problems and providing tools for change.
  • Organizational Strategic Planning: Organizational strategic planning involves setting priorities, determining where to focus energy and resources, ensuring that employees are working towards common goals and much more. Our course helps you develop an effective strategic plan that clearly lays out where your organization is going, the actions needed to make progress and a blueprint for success.

If you have money left in your EOY budget to spend and are interested in making meaningful, long-lasting change in your department, Leah M. Joppy and Associates is ready to help. Many of our courses have been reformatted to deliver in a virtual format.  We also have a half-day course delivery option.  Whether you’re a novice or a pro, our excellent course producer ensures a smooth delivery of our virtual courses.   Call us at 301-670-0051 or email us at leah@lmja.com.

COACHING FOR HIGH LEVEL ADMIN STAFF

If you’re an executive assistant, does it feel like you make the impossible happen every single day? It’s a job that requires a lot of knowledge and flexibility, along with the ability to deal with all types of personalities. With the COVID-19 pandemic and all of the changes it’s brought to the workplace, you may be dealing with more stress now than ever and even starting to feel some burnout.

Executive assistants often feel like they need to put the needs of their managers and departments first. This can lead to a number of challenges, such as maintaining a work/life balance and feeling like you need to be available 24/7. What if you had someone in your corner who’s ready to listen to YOU and help you make changes both in your job and outside the office? By assessing the unique challenges you face in a high level administrative position, a life coach can work with you on the best ways to tackle tough situations and develop a clear and detailed plan of action. Best of all, you have someone who has your best interests at heart and is going to hold you accountable. Some of the outcomes from working with a life coach include:

  • Establishing stronger boundaries (this is big one!)
  • Building a stronger partnership with your manager(s)
  • Improving communication and streamlining processes
  • Increasing productivity and feeling more focused dealing with day-to-day tasks
  • Learning tips for practicing self care and making yourself a priority
  • Reducing stress and enjoying your job (and life!) more

Whether you’re new to an executive assistant position or if you’ve been at it for years, it’s always beneficial to take a step back, look at the big picture and examine what areas you’d like to work on both in and out of the office. If you’re ready to make some meaningful life changes and looking for a life coach that can help you through it all, Leah M. Joppy and Associates is ready to help. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email us at leah@lmja.com. And take a look at our article on Why Should I Work With A Coach?

 

SHIFTING PRIORITIES DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC

COVIDTo say that our lives have changed during the COVID-19 pandemic would be an understatement. While the last few months have resulted in some changes in habits (washing our hands frequently, disinfecting surfaces regularly, figuring out how to look “Zoom Ready” for meetings), we may also be experiencing a change in our priorities and reflecting on how we’ve been spending our time up to this point. When times change as they have in the past few months, we’re often challenged to realign how we’ve ordered our lives for years or maybe even our entire lives.

Like so many of us, you’re probably thinking about all the things you want to do once life starts to get back to some sense of normalcy: eat at your favorite restaurant, take a trip, spend time with family and friends. But there’s also another type of plan you can make – instead of planning what you’ll do, take some time to plan who you’ll be!

Clarify Your Values and Priorities: What do you want more of in your post-pandemic life? What can be sent to the backburner? One activity to pinpoint your personal value system is to think about the things you miss the most from your “normal” life and list the reasons why. Or on the flipside, what are some of the things you’ve enjoyed during the stay-at-home time and why? Perhaps you’ve enjoyed having family dinners at the table and know that you want less scheduled activities for your family moving forward.

Incorporate Your Priorities Into Your Life: Once you’ve clarified what matters to you, now’s the time to figure out what’s holding you back from incorporating more of those things into your life. If creativity is important to you, what stands between you and taking an art lesson, learning to play an instrument, etc.? Figuring out your values and priorities show you what you want more of in your life. The next step is determining what you need to eliminate from your routine to make room for them.

Start to Shift Your Routines: You may think it’s impossible to start making a change when life is so different right now. But there are ways that you can begin taking action. If you want to change the direction of your career, you can start taking classes to develop a needed skill set. You’ll have a much better chance of sticking with your values if you begin to practice them right now!

Have you noticed a shift in your priorities during these unprecedented times? Are you ready to use this time to make some meaningful changes in your life and start making your priorities a priority? Whether these goals are personal or career-related, Leah M Joppy and Associates can work with you to help bring them to fruition. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email leah@lmja.com to learn more.

Unlocking Employee Engagement

How do you keep employees engaged? And especially now, in this time of crisis, how do you keep employees focused, while understanding the impact of these unprecedented times on their very lives? It’s not easy. Most people will take any tips they can to realistically move projects along. And knowing how to lead beyond work takes some creative initiative.

Leah M. Joppy & Associates recently hosted a webinar titled 5 Tips to Unlocking Employee Engagement in Crisis – And Beyond. The purpose behind this webinar was to explore ways we all can use to keep employees engaged, active and interested.

Obviously, this subject was a hot one! During the highly interactive webinar we informed each other. Creative ideas were tossed around. Each participant could absorb the information and ask questions. Everyone came away from the webinar with insights into what they could do given their individual situation.

Here are some of the takeaways from the webinar.

  • First, lead by example. We learn from each other. How we react is often an extension of how our leader deals with the situation.
  • Encourage virtual collaboration. For some, this may seem silly, or scary. Technology is often puzzling. But showing how easy and effective it can be puts everyone at ease.
  • Get to know your team on a social level. We’re not robots, rights? Getting to know your team as individuals, with specific needs, helps you appreciate more fully exactly what they’re going through and will help to identify resources needed.
  • Offer honest feedback regularly. Think about what we hear on the news now – don’t we all appreciate honest assessment rather than vague direction?
  • Recognize team members using their Appreciation Language. Everyone wants, and needs, appreciation, but you have to know how THEY want to be appreciated. People are different and they have a preference of method in which they like to be appreciated.
  • Mindfulness. How do you feel about the current crisis? Whether your glass is half full or half empty, it is refillable. Taking care of ourselves today will determine our tomorrow, post-crisis.
  • Practice empathy and flexibility. People have a lot going on – loss of job, homeschooling kids, personal health issues and maybe elderly parents who may live in another state – all of which is only made more complicated by the crisis. They need someone to be able to talk to and understand – to LISTEN. This is a new situation for most of us.
  • Stay connected. There are so many ways nowadays – through phone, messaging, Zoom, Skype, GoToMeeting, and more. Staying connected keeps us occupied and engaged.

All in all, the webinar left us all energized. See the additional resources we sourced below. And stay tuned for the next one. If you want to make sure you don’t miss it, send me your email so I can include you on the next announcement. 

Additional Resources:

Be safe, be well everyone!