Paul Keijzer Leadership strategies for managing talent in Asia’s emerging markets Fri, 23 Feb 2018 03:30:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 61348136 What Is Gamification and How It Can Save Your Company Fri, 23 Feb 2018 03:30:43 +0000 Much like every company out there, yours too has different and often difficult obstacles to overcome and surpass. There can be a variety of obstacles companies face – from increasing sales, to enhancing brand awareness, marketing products and services, and even engaging employees. These ongoing challenges have kept companies and their management team on their toes in attempting to device strategies that’ll ensure success in these areas. As much as technology has been an enabler in the corporate world, it’s also been challenging to have employees embrace new technologies. And this is where gamification presents itself as the solution that can save your company from these common challenges.

Gamification has the unique ability to solve complex and enormous challenges and problems that most companies, like yours, are facing. Because of its flexibility, gamification has become a powerful tool and ally to companies that take such challenges seriously and are keen on resolving them, promptly. Along with that, its mass appeal and simplicity of use has made its application a global phenomenon and a popular fixture at the workplace.

While gamification may still be a relatively new concept and solution in the emerging markets, it’s not all that novel in other parts of the world. Organizations like LinkedIn, Google, Target, SalesForce are just a few to name among the over 400 multinationals that have invested in, and reaped the benefits from, gamification. And its use continuously grows, making it less of a niche solution and more appealing for just about any company. Why does it continue to grow and gain popularity? Well, the feedback from just these 400 organizations suggests that they’ve successfully implemented their corporate strategies and significantly enhanced employee acceptance. In fact, the impact of gamification has been so pivotal to these companies’ success that some would say they’re hooked on the solution!

So what makes gamification so popular and why is it rapidly spreading across the corporate world? And, most of all, how can it save your company?

What is Gamification?

Simply put, gamification is a technique of taking all the mundane, dry and sometimes boring elements of work and transforming them into something that’s fun, exciting and engaging using elements of games. In essence, gamification helps you make things that people often find dull and boring (things that they have to do, however, don’t want or like to do) and making them fun. These are often corporate necessities because they tie in with your values, goals and culture which most employees find cumbersome. Making it fun helps your company fulfill the requirements in a fun and exciting way.

Now I know what you’re thinking – gamification just transforms things into games. So basically if you provide your employees an objective to aim for their behavior will be encouraged by achieving it. Simple right? It’s just like when you tell your sales team that there’s a reward at the end of the month for whoever achieves the highest number of sales. That’s a clear objective and everyone’s aiming for it. Gamification implemented?

Not quite so. You see, you may have provided your sales team with an objective to aim for, however, you’re really not making the strategy (i.e. increasing sales) fun. Gamification isn’t just about reaching the finish line (aiming for an objective). It’s about the experience and the journey to the finish line.

Ask a gamer why a particular game they play is fun and their response won’t be that they find earning points or winning exciting. In fact, you’ll learn that they find games fun because of the challenges they experience, the collaborations and interactions they have with other gamers and how they can transform themselves into someone different from who they currently are.

Gamification isn’t about the end result or achieving your objectives. It’s about the entire experience the gamers (employees) go through. It’s about the fun they have in their corporate journey.

Why Bring Gamification To Your Company?

If I were to ask you to imagine a typical game player who do you envision? A child? A young male adult (usually up to their mid-20’s)? You’ll be surprised to learn that this is actually quite an inaccurate demographic of gamers. The wide use of mobile technology has completely altered who the average gamer really is. Statistically, the average gamer is 35 years old and 72% of them are over the age of 18. 47% of these gamers are women (almost half) and there are more adult women playing games than there are boys aged 18 and under. Surprised? Well you shouldn’t be, considering how popular social mobile games like Angry Birds and Candy Crush are.

Ok so mobile games have changed the demographic of the average gamer, however, what does that mean for your company. Based on the statistics, there’s a very high likelihood that your employees, both women and men, are all gamers. So, half your workforce is already familiar with gameplay, objectives and challenges of games and the gaming world experience and environment. You could say they’re already hooked onto games. And since they’re already playing games and will continue to do so, you might as well have them play games that focuses on your company strategies. It’s now just a matter of how you can engage them and divert their attention through games to help your company be more successful. Ask yourself, how can your company use gamification to implement its strategies and encourage behavior that’s part of your corporate culture and values?

Through gamification you’ll be able to enhance your employees’ experience of how they achieve objectives and aim to fulfill your company strategies. Essentially, you’re not doing anything more than just making the dull, boring and often mundane tasks interesting, exciting, challenging and most definitely engaging. And along with all the fun and games, you’ll be better equipped to save your company and align your talent to achieve success.

Learn how you can take your leadership teams through a growth model which will help them mature on a personal and professional level by following me on LinkedIn and subscribing to the Keijzer Community.

Paul Keijzer is the CEO and Founder of Engage Consulting and the co-Founder of The Talent Games, which aims to transform HR by digitising talent processes and creating more engaging and productive workplaces through gamification and mobile technology. As a global HR and Leadership Management expert, Paul knows how to combine business insights with people insights to transform organisations and put them on the path to growth.

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6 Ways Leaders Can Effectively Run Meetings Without Losing Time Wed, 21 Feb 2018 03:30:33 +0000 Time is something that most leaders don’t seem to have enough of. It’s something leaders will confess to be chasing quite often. Despite all the time management tips and practices that can help you be more productive, you find it hard to make enough time to get things done. If it’s not the time spent traveling, then it’s the time you spend on calls with business associates. And worst of all, you end up spending a lot of time in meetings.

While meetings can take up a lot of your time it’s an evil that’s necessary, particularly for you as the leader of an organization. Meetings are essential to the work you do because of their ability to draw people closer and share information. Also, meetings can help you synergize and align your team with your vision and purpose. It’s a great way to mentor your talent and understand what drives their passion. Basically, even if you’re tired of all the meetings you can’t avoid them. You simply have to put up with them.

However, meetings don’t have to be such a drag. In the age of exponential growth and digital revolution, the business world is moving fast, and so should you. Getting trapped in hour long meetings (if not longer) can seriously hamper your ability to get multiple things done. And believe me, the times today necessitate the need to get multiple things done in the least amount of time.

So how do you go about attending all necessary meetings in your busy day and find the time to strategize, brainstorm and do everything else that a leader needs to do to ensure their business succeeds? Here are some guidelines that can help your meetings be more brisk.

1. Drastically Shortened

Small talk and chatting can take up a lot of time. Sure they’re great tools to break the ice, connect with your team members and even as a warm up to the more serious conversations, however, they just take up too much time. This is the time you can save and instead spend on the more meaningful discussion that serves the meeting’s purpose. Limit all meetings that you attend to a maximum of 30 minutes. This’ll force you to address all the important, pressing matters first and get it off your plate. Restrict conversations to the agenda at hand and if you have time to spare, engage in some light talk to connect with your team.

2. Leave Other Matters Out

Have you noticed that sometimes discussions in meetings can take a dramatic turn into a completely different tangent that’s not related to the agenda? These can drag a perfectly well planned meeting into the realm of tiresome and often needless debate and argument. Avoid this trap by reminding everyone to stick to the topic of discussion. Losing focus is easy, however, maintaining it is pivotal to get the most of your meetings and the limited time you have. Sure, you’ll find plenty of meetings that identify other issues during discussions.  Try to park them for now and address them in a later meeting.

3. Balance Your Time

Being a leader means you’re generally a busy person. Your team will constantly be on the lookout to grab your attention. You’re going to be pulled in every direction and it’s tough to balance everyone and everything you need to do. So how do you manage? Set a weekly schedule that covers everyone that’s directly and closely working with you. This way you’ll be able to allocate your time in a balanced way and ensure no one is left out. You’ll be able to give everyone your attention, mentor them when required and address several company matters during these sessions with your leadership team.

4. Be Prepared

If meetings were to commence with everyone being briefed on why they’re there and what the purpose of the meeting is, then you’ll waste precious time bringing everyone up to speed. Being prepared for every meeting is essential. Make sure everyone who is attending knows the agenda before they arrive. So all the reading materials, reports, documents, etc. that will be talked about is shared preemptively with the attendees. This way you’ll definitely get the most out of the meeting within the stipulated time.

5. Focused Group

Ever been in a meeting where some of the attendees just huddle up in a corner listening and taking notes (if that even)? These people often don’t contribute much wisdom to the meetings and I find myself wondering why they’re there in the first place. As an exponential leader, you know you want to be surrounded by talented individuals, right? To curb this, make sure only those people attend meetings that are relevant, know what it’s all about and who will contribute to the discussions. This way, you’ll be locked in a meeting room with the true talent and brains in your company and be able to extract the most of their expertise during discussions.

6. Speak Last

Leaders often have the most to say in meetings. They steer it, drive it, and often feel their say is the most important out of everyone else that’s in the meeting. Sure, you have the most vested in the company, there’s no denying that. However, by speaking too much you’re alluding others to have a say. Plus, if you’re serious about building capacity in your company you need to ensure you have a talented group of individuals around you. Test them out. Hear what they have to say. Let them make mistakes, learn, grow in confidence, and be better future leaders. Your job as the leader isn’t to drive every meeting that takes place in the company, it’s to guide and coach your talent.

With these 6 guidelines you’ll be able to get the most of your time from all the meetings you attend. This way you’ll guarantee yourself the ability to keep up with the rapidly changing business world around you and ensure your company moves forward at the same (if not faster) pace.

Learn how you can take your leadership teams through a growth model which will help them mature on a personal and professional level by following me on LinkedIn and subscribing to the Keijzer Community.

Paul Keijzer is the CEO and Founder of Engage Consulting and the co-Founder of The Talent Games, which aims to transform HR by digitising talent processes and creating more engaging and productive workplaces through gamification and mobile technology. As a global HR and Leadership Management expert, Paul knows how to combine business insights with people insights to transform organisations and put them on the path to growth.

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How Gamification Has Reinvented Talent Management Fri, 16 Feb 2018 03:30:16 +0000 When you think of “games at the workplace” you’re probably thinking of a foosball table or a game of chess that colleagues can play to unwind and connect over. But what if you could use “games” to attract talent, retain them and boost their performance!

The Future of Recruitment Today: Gamification

Gamification is the revolution that the recruitment process has been yearning for. Not only does it make recruitment fun and interactive for the candidates, it enhances the employer’s ability to tap into a larger talent pool, boosts their brand image and significantly impacts the process’s effectiveness. To add icing to it all, once the candidates are hired their experience playing the “game” helps transition them into the organization with ease. This, of course, will give new recruits a softer landing when they walk into a new organization and enhance your chances of retaining them. All because you’ve already familiarized them with your organization’s culture and your expectations off them.

Through the Selection App developed by The Talent Games, recruitment is given an innovative, creative and unique approach – you could say recruitment has finally been reinvented! Employers gain the ability to look deeper into what candidates flaunt in their resumes and say during interviews. Similarly, candidates get insights into the culture, environment and job requirements of their future employers, allowing them to get familiar with what to expect. With a better understanding of the job and organizational culture candidates are ready for challenges from the day they join, hence, you’ll see enhancements in their performance and productivity. This also helps reduce those exits that occur in the first few weeks of joining. Recruitment hasn’t ever been this fun, interactive and effective. And it all comes in a feasible tailor-made solution.

The Challenges of Talent Management

For decades the Human Resource function has faced massive challenges hunting and recruiting talent. If that wasn’t enough, to add to it all, they also face the difficult task of retaining talent. Several strategies have evolved over the years – some more successful than others – to address these concerns. However, the challenge of attracting and retaining talent hasn’t gotten less demanding for HR professionals.

Today’s rapid pace and flow of communication has led to behavioral change in people, whereby attention spans have shortened. In the talent market, millennials – who primarily are the bulk of the new talent – are communicated much faster than ever before. Thanks to mobile messaging services, social media and enhanced workplace communication tools people are more connected and informed. And even though employers have shifted their search for talent to the internet (career pages, LinkedIn, etc.), it seems they still aren’t able to capture the talent’s attention for longer than 10 minutes. That simply isn’t enough time for job seekers to ascertain if they really are interested in (or aligned with) the employer whose site they visited. This could very well be the reason why talent is slipping passed employers and why they are struggling to attract them.

Then there’s another challenge faced by these organizations. New recruits realize within the first few weeks of joining whether or not their new employer is aligned with their career aspirations. This adversely impacts an organization which has spent several of its resources searching, selecting and finally on-boarding talent that left in a matter of weeks. It’s a serious concern for HR professionals and leaders, particularly when all that effort goes to waste.

So how do employers enhance their candidates’ experience? How do they engage the ‘right’ talent that’s interested in working with them? And how do they increase retention, particularly for new recruits?

Using Gamification in Talent Management

To address the challenges of talent management, The Talent Games developed a state of the art recruitment platform that leverages social media to create an employer brand experience which goes beyond traditional recruitment touchpoints. Its appeal engages more than the millennials because it highlights unique strengths of its candidates in a real-time competitive game environment. Candidates are presented with business problems that they would experience on the job allowing them to exhibit their skills and abilities to their prospective employers.

The Selection App can help you attract and retain talent in a unique and interactive way. Here’s a quick look at what the Selection App offers your organization:

  • Leveraging the power of social media to effectively and efficiently enhance your selection process and simultaneously reduce your costs associated with it.
  • Strong employer brand image enabling you to have visibility of and ability to attract talent from all corners of the talent market.
  • Smart analytics with the ability to make data-driven decisions gained from the app’s usage and assessment of candidates.
  • Significant bottom line impact of selecting the best and most aligned talent in a speedy and efficient manner.
  • Enhanced retention of joiners through the familiarity and insight they gain from the App about your environment and culture.

Gamification has proved to be a massive success for candidates and employers. Here at The Talent Games, we ran the program for a large conglomerate in Pakistan and found that they were able to:

  • attract 50% more candidates for vacancies they advertised
  • decrease turnaround time by 70%, and
  • reduce costs by 80%.

Looking at it from the candidates’ perspective, the numbers were equally optimistic. 91% of the candidates found that the games were relevant to the job and organization they were applying to.  Furthermore, 80% of the users (the candidates) reported the game had enhanced their recruitment process. These numbers are strong indicators of the positive impact gamification can have on the employer brand.

In this bold new age where millennials are eager for rapid growth and challenging work environments the demands are high for organizations to present themselves as the platform of choice where they can excel. The Talent Games realizes this challenge and have designed a unique, powerful, cutting edge and first of its kind solution that doesn’t only address these challenges, but gives your brand the boost it needs to be the employer of choice.

Gamification is the perfect anecdote that today’s talent management requires. It’s what your organization needs to bring in true talent that’s geared for success!

Learn how you can take your leadership teams through a growth model which will help them mature on a personal and professional level by following me on LinkedIn and subscribing to the Keijzer Community.

Paul Keijzer is the CEO and Founder of Engage Consulting and the co-Founder of The Talent Games, which aims to transform HR by digitising talent processes and creating more engaging and productive workplaces through gamification and mobile technology. As a global HR and Leadership Management expert, Paul knows how to combine business insights with people insights to transform organisations and put them on the path to growth.

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3 Ways You Can Succeed In Times of Rapid Growth Wed, 14 Feb 2018 03:30:51 +0000 Rapid. If you were to describe today’s business world there’s only one word that best explains it. Rapid.

The growth of technology in the past 5 years has been rapid. The pace at which we communicate lately is rapid. The need of highly skilled talent and experts in our workforce is rapid. Transit and transportation is evolving to help us commute more rapidly. Everything we do is rapid because we don’t want to miss out or be left behind. Change in perceptions, trends and desires among your workforce and customers has been rapid.

Hence, it’s only fair to assume that our ability to accept, adapt and assimilate should logically be rapid!

What does it take to succeed in these times of rapid growth? An exponential leader who is aware of this rapid growth and consistently performing at a rapid pace to capitalize on opportunities. It’s that simple and yet it’s that more challenging to be an exponential leader.

So how do you evolve yourself into an exponential leader? What does it take to embrace these rapid changes? Here are some ways you can make it happen.

1. Think Exponentially

Exponential thinking is looking beyond what’s currently available and in front of us. What we see, experience and enjoy today isn’t what we’ll be seeing, experiencing and enjoying a few months or years from now. Trends are changing rapidly and so should the exponential leaders thinking be. You’ll need to look beyond and look ahead. You’ll need to make the impossible, the unforeseen, a reality. Whatever you can imagine, can be a reality, only if you’re thinking like an exponential leader.

Here’s how you start to think exponentially. Embrace two realities of our times:

  • technology is growing exponentially, and
  • you need to leverage the capabilities of technology.

There’s no avoiding the impact of technology and its application. From communication to AI and augmented intelligence (human + machine) it’s all being enabled and made possible thanks to the rapid evolution of technology. So I ask you: “what are you waiting for?”

By altering your mindset to think exponentially you’re recognizing that whatever actions you take today, all the strategies you develop and whatever impact you aim to make all needs to target something massively beyond what we can see. What you’re aiming for is much larger than a 5 year business plan. It’s an impact you’re planning on making on the generations to come. It’s a Massive Transformative Purpose that you’re defining and aiming to achieve. Hence, you’ll need to alter your mindset. Stop thinking linearly and start thinking exponentially.

2. Everything Technology

There was a time when tech gadgets and gizmos were simply for tech-geeks. It probably wasn’t even “cool” to be seen with such gizmos. But all that has changed. Technology has become a very important part of our lives. From smartphones and tablets to virtual reality, home assistants and electric vehicles (not to mention the autonomous vehicles we’ll soon be riding) – they’re everywhere! It’s safe to say the more you avoid it the more you’ll be missing out and left behind. In fact, it’s reached a point where you won’t be able to get anything done without technology.

To succeed in these times of rapid growth, embrace technology as if your life depended on it. And while you may have the personal gadgets that you’re so reliant on, you’re evading the benefits of technology at the workplace. But for how long will you be able to do this?

The evolution and enhancements in workplace communication is just one of the ways you can increase productivity and synergies at the office thanks to technology. Then there’s the ability to gain meaningful analytics and insight from various platforms and applications. Technology has also altered how we source and engage with talent. In general, if you really were to dive into everything technology you’ll realize that it’s impacted every aspect of the business world. And to really benefit from it and succeed at a rapid pace you’ll need to immerse yourself and your business with everything technology.

3. Engage With Intelligence

I’ve always been an advocate of engaging with your talent. It’s a great way to motivate and charge up your employees and get the most of out of them in terms of their potential and abilities. But all that has changed – to a certain extent, at least.

You see engaging with your talent to simply motivate and encourage them isn’t going to help you succeed in times of rapid growth. It’s going to take more. What you need to do is align your talent to the massive transformative purpose (MTP) that you’ve set your sights on. Getting the job done from your talent isn’t going to get you far as an exponential leader if all their efforts, their motivation and drive isn’t targeting the same, or similar, MTP.

Take a close look at your talent pool and stand by your resolve which states:

  • there’s no place for mediocrity in this exponential organization
  • there’s no place for misalignment from the exponential organization’s MTP.

Clean up your organization to ensure your talent are the best at what they do and are aligned 100% with the organization’s MTP. And if you find it challenging to find the right talent to attract, you may want to alter your approach and be open to the idea of employing agile talent.

Regardless whether you have the talent internally or linked externally (agile expert talent), engage with them to ensure your success is guaranteed. These are the intelligence you need to invest in, harvest and grow to embrace rapid changes in the business world.

How have you adapted and altered your traditional ways to embrace the rapid changes and growth we’re experiencing? Share your experiences in the comments below.

Learn how you can take your leadership teams through a growth model which will help them mature on a personal and professional level by following me on LinkedIn and subscribing to the Keijzer Community.

Paul Keijzer is the CEO and Founder of Engage Consulting and the co-Founder of The Talent Games, which aims to transform HR by digitising talent processes and creating more engaging and productive workplaces through gamification and mobile technology. As a global HR and Leadership Management expert, Paul knows how to combine business insights with people insights to transform organisations and put them on the path to growth.


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How Workplace Communication Has Been Altered By Technology Fri, 09 Feb 2018 03:30:54 +0000 In the business world today, face-to-face communication and interactions aren’t happening as frequently as they probably did 20 years ago. Today, communication is reliant on conference calls, emails and even social media. And while these tools have enhanced the speed, ease and feasibility of communication, they’ve made it more challenging for us to get to know who we’re doing business with. While the new workforce, the millennials, seem to jive well with the technological advancement, the more mature workforce still relies upon face-to-face interactions. However, there’s no denying that technology is the norm.

Whether we consider how our business operates or communicates, there’s always going to be some level of technology impacting and enhancing our work environment. Is that necessarily a bad thing or is it that we’re just having a hard time adjusting to these rapid changes?

Today’s Workplace

Business today has evolved enormously. It’s global, exponentially growing and it’s evolving ever so rapidly. Virtual teams, agile talent and remote offices aren’t just rising trends – they’re realities and globally spread out. Not to mention our business partners, suppliers and customers who also are worldwide. Time zones and office hours matter less today. We’re always communicating, making decisions, seeking information and learning. Thanks to advancements in mobile technology all this is the new norm. And there’s no avoiding or denying it.

Consider traditional office hours for a moment here. The 9-to-5 standard is fast becoming history. Employees walk into work with the flexibility of working later or leaving earlier. And that’s because thanks to enhanced communications they can remain in touch from their homes or even the doctor’s office. They’re able to shoot out emails, have conference calls and send approvals from virtually anywhere in the world. And since the global village is so connected and shrinking, being on a call at 3am to talk to your business partner who’s across the globe isn’t news anymore. Flexibility is the new standard. Of course, that puts a lot of emphasis on accountability, but that’s a separate topic.

What’s simultaneously happening thanks to flexibility and enhanced communications is that people are able to balance their personal lives into their work schedule. And while priorities haven’t changed, possibilities have increased. So now, you can attend your child’s school play, hop into a bank or schedule a visit to the doctor knowing that you’ll always remain in touch with your business associates and colleagues. Getting home on time for family dinner isn’t a myth, it’s become a reality. Sure you may have to attend to your mobile phones to send out a crucial response ‘during’ dinner, but isn’t that a fair tradeoff?

The Fast Got Faster

Emails made many things possible and fast. It made it possible to get a response from your correspondent within minutes. Compared to the ‘snail mail’ way of communicating that took days, weeks and sometimes even months. More than that, emails made it possible to send across documents as attachments and have them virtually signed off (e-signatures). It enhanced productivity and communications.

Then came tools like Skype that made conference calls a feasible and logistical possibility. You were enabled to talk to anyone, anywhere and anytime.

Today, a new way of communicating is fast gaining popularity. Workplace communication tools like Slack, Trello, Atlassian and Facebook’s Workplace have taken it to the next level. This leap in technology driven communication has led to:

  • An increased ability to work remotely since employees don’t have to be in the same room as their colleagues to get projects done.
  • A boost in efficiency as these platforms help employees communicate, share information and knowledge, collaborate and work on various tasks and projects simultaneously.
  • An increase in cross-functional engagement as the platforms provide employees the ability to discuss topics of interests (movies, books, etc) and share ideas using channels and forums.

Challenges in Communication

While workplace communication tools have significantly enhanced collaboration and communication, there are a few cons as well.

Remember how part of email etiquettes it was prescribed to rereading your email before hitting the send button. Essentially, the practice encouraged you to pay attention to your choice of words, the tone you’re using and of course clear out any grammatical errors or typos. Above all, you were also advised to be mindful about sending an email when you’re feeling highly emotional, angry, upset, frustrated or even agitated.

However, with the swiftness of workplace communication tools it seems you’re now susceptible to the common mistakes you were cautioned about with emails. And that’s mainly because messaging and comments are quicker, reflexive and almost always sent on impulse. When you’re sending your message on-the-go, you’re sending them along with your emotions, because you’re seldom rethinking what you’ve typed out. Also, there’s the pressure of responding immediately (after all, that’s the best use of these communication tools isn’t it?). And in that, you’re just blurting out messages that pop into your mind. This increases your likelihood of responding emotionally and without thinking things through. Sometimes you may get into trouble for it as well.

And then there’s the issue of engagement. Before emails, communication was primarily face-to-face or via telephone. Then came emails which reduced face-to-face conversations, however, the occasional calls were sometimes necessary to discuss things. All that got enhanced when we dived into the world of video calls as we could now have discussions in a virtual face-to-face setting. This allowed us to save on travel expenses and have regular meetings with team members geographically anywhere. All that’s great because now we’re closer to our homes and spending less of the company’s resources. However, what it also did was eliminate from the equation the physical bonding that comes with face-to-face meetings. Something even as simple as a handshake did just that.

Yet, as a consolation, we still were engaged and conducting face-to-face meetings with those in our office. Oops, I spoke too soon! Thanks to these workplace communication tools that also is on the decline. Now, as more and more companies adopt platforms like Slack, physical communication within the office is depleting.

You now don’t even need to walk across to the next cubicle to discuss something with your colleagues. Just send drop a message using the communication tool and you’ll have your answer with a snap of a finger. Goodbye water-cooler conversations?

Over the course of time, we’ll be ‘seeing’ less of our colleagues and team members and communicating primarily through these tools, apps and systems. How are we supposed to stay engaged and connected as a team? What happens to synergies within cross-functional and departmental teams? What will our corporate culture look like if we continue down this path?

For me, all this spells out to a highly disengaged work environment. Humans need to indulge in interactions that stimulate our senses. In the advent of communication tools, there’ll be an absence of engagement and interactions that arose from sensory stimuli.

Making it Better

So if the future holds disengagement because we chose to communicate via tools and systems what do we do? A disengaged office isn’t going to be productive or effective. And since we can’t stay in the dark ages when communication is revolutionizing, there’s simply no turning back. Hence, as far as I see it there could be a few tweaks that’s needed.

1. Have Engagement Activities

Engagement activities just got important again. Just when you thought these are overdone to a point of mundane exercises, they found a way to be essential again.

2. Set Boundaries

How your organization communications is a critical part of successfully embracing technology. Much like email etiquettes, boundaries and standards of how communication should flow over these tools needs to be set. It’s what’ll define your culture and maintain healthy, working relationships among your employees.

3. Always On, With Caution

A side effect of always being able to communicate is burn out. If you’re expected to reply and remain in touch always (be it day or night) you’re bound to get frustrated with work and your team. There needs to be some parameters set that allows you some personal time.

Workplace communication is a vital part of doing business. How do you communicate at your workplace and what improvements do you feel can enhance workplace communication? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts.


Learn how you can take your leadership teams through a growth model which will help them mature on a personal and professional level by following me on LinkedIn and subscribing to the Keijzer Community.

Paul Keijzer is the CEO and Founder of Engage Consulting and the co-Founder of The Talent Games, which aims to transform HR by digitising talent processes and creating more engaging and productive workplaces through gamification and mobile technology. As a global HR and Leadership Management expert, Paul knows how to combine business insights with people insights to transform organisations and put them on the path to growth.

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3 Ways You Can Manage Employee Expectations And Enhance Motivation Wed, 07 Feb 2018 03:30:46 +0000 Often HR professionals and the management team face the challenging situation of mismatched employee expectations. This happens when your employees’ expectations don’t match the reality of what the corporate philosophy, ideology and culture are. Sure, the challenge is more prevalent with startups and smaller companies where the weaker employer brand can sometimes mislead or misinform employees.

Often it’s not the company’s fault, however, your talent, holds high expectations from the organization. Unfortunately, it happens often and the consequences of failing to manage employee expectations can be severely damaging for the company’s image and brand. It tarnishes its ability to attract more talent and may even impact its business. It also costs the company valuable resources to find the right people only to have them realize that the company isn’t the right fit for them.

The outcome? An inflated turnover rate that weighs heavy on the company’s resources (time, money and effort) and a demotivated workforce.

The solution? Try these 3 techniques and you’ll find it easier to manage employee expectations.

1. Orientation Program

When was the last time you reviewed your orientation program? I’m talking about the on-boarding process which every new recruit undergoes. And no, your program to pair a new recruit with an employee who’s been around for a while doesn’t count. What I’m asking you to review is the formal program which has documented values and purpose. Don’t have one? Let’s get this documented immediately! The values you put down on paper form the basis of who you are as a company, what you stand for and value, how you do business and what purpose you’re striving for. By communicating this to everyone who joins you’ll be able to build a culture that you want and set employee expectations straight. Culture and values are an important part of a healthy organization, irrespective of the size of your company. If you can get this right you’ll have everyone on the same page and aligned with the company goals and purpose.

2. Employer Branding Efforts

Even if you’re an “unknown” company in the industry, you still need to play your role to inform people of the realistic expectations to have from you. Expectations need to be set right from the beginning of an employee’s journey with your company. Managing and promoting your employer branding is vital, irrespective of your company size. It’s especially important if you’re looking to boost your company values to potential and current employees. Essentially, by creating a solid employer brand you’ll let everyone know what they can expect from your company and why they should be keen on working for you. Along the way, you’ll be able to sift through those talent that don’t fit your culture with ease.

3. Communicate Openly

If you’ve tried the above two techniques and yet still find yourself struggling to manage employee expectations it doesn’t have to end your relationship here. You’ve already spent a lot of resources hiring these talent (and they too have invested in your company). The only logical step to take from here is to put in the effort to realign their expectations of the company. Irrespective of where the disconnect lies, be it office timings, community involvement or even job expectations, what you need to do is:

  1. Identify the gap in their expectations,
  2. Clarify the employees’ thoughts,
  3. Explain to them why things are this way, and
  4. Examine where things can be improved and communicate where they can’t be.

This step is probably the most important of the three and will need to be undergone continuously. It’s not just the new recruits who lose their way with mismatched employee expectations. In fact, your long serving employees may feel the same as well with time. By keeping communications open and frequent you’ll continuously manage employee expectations and show that you value their views and opinions.

Managing employee expectations is an ongoing process that you’ll need to frequently revisit and indulge in. if you really are looking to cultivate a high performing, aligned and productive culture you need to continuously invest time in these 3 techniques.

Be sure to follow my LinkedIn page and subscribe to the Keijzer Community where I share updates and information to help you take your leadership teams through a growth model which will help them mature on a personal and professional level.

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4 Ways To End Your Day Feeling Accomplished, Everyday Thu, 01 Feb 2018 03:30:33 +0000 Feeling accomplished is a vital part of feeling good about yourself, your abilities and being proud of what you do. It’s the essence of why we do things and what we gain from our hard work. As fulfilling and great that feeling of accomplishment is, feeling unaccomplished can be just as enormous, in a negative way.

More often than not you end your day thinking all these hours you worked and yet you go home with the feeling that things were left unaccomplished. It’s a pretty horrible feeling. And that’s just the effect of one day. If you leave work feeling unaccomplished 3 out of 5 days in a week, it’ll really weigh heavy on you. It’ll break down your confidence, morale and motivation. Pretty soon you’ll wrap yourself around that miserable feeling of hopelessness and start belittling and demeaning your abilities. It’s a sad place to be in.

So how do you end the day feeling accomplished, confident and brimming with excitement for what’s to come tomorrow? Try these 4 ways to help you get by your day.

1. Celebrate Little Milestones

The unfortunate resultant of feeling unaccomplished is that you’ll question everything you did today. The more you think about not meeting your goals you’ll feel you wasted your time, ran around in circles and just didn’t get things done. But you know that’s not true. You did get some things done. It wasn’t as if you sat at your desk twiddling your thumbs, sipping tea and squatting flies. No you did get some work in. You were productive, even if it wasn’t up to your standard or potential.

Rather than feeling hopelessly unaccomplished, look back at what you did do. Did you reach 80% of a task? Did you complete 45% of a report? Great! You managed to get this far, right? It wasn’t all at zero. So, grab whatever little victory you can. Though these aren’t completed tasks or projects, there was progress and steps taken forward. Celebrate this fact and build up from here. Celebrating little milestones will help boost your morale and confidence. Do this frequently and you’ll soon find yourself reaching 100% completion (most days).

2. It’s Not About Them, It’s About You

Feeling accomplished is really a subjective and relative term. It means different things to different people and there’s no one way to measure it or weigh it. Feeling accomplished is so closely tied to our needs, desires, ambitions and drivers that it becomes a personal feat. It seldom is equal for everyone. One person’s feeling of accomplishment could very easily be someone else’s walk in the park or something they checked off years ago.

Once you understand that your accomplishments aren’t comparable or weighable to anyone else’s you’ll realize that there’s no reason for you to benchmark your personal success with someone else’s. And with this realization you’ll stop beating yourself down for not being able to accomplish things. You may not have been able to do what others did, but you did something that no one else could do – you accomplished YOUR goals.

3. Set a Theme of the Day

You know how there’s an overarching resolution that we all come up with for the year? It sets a theme for us to aspire for, drives us in a particular direction and it keeps us improving ourselves. In some ways it’s our purpose of the year. Resolutions are great. However, they’re often too broad and require the course of the year to complete and reach the point of feeling accomplished.

So what happens during the year even as you strive for that resolution? You end up feeling unaccomplished on a day-to-day and week-to-week basis. So let’s break it down by setting a theme of the day for yourself. These could be simple, easy to achieve and even repeated. Things like “make 5 people smile today”, or “suggest two new initiatives this week”. It could also be as simple as a one word “gentle” or “kindness” that can drive you towards feeling accomplished. These are the little “feel-good” themes that can help you get a quick burst of feeling accomplished. Think of it as a caffeine hit from a shot of espresso!

4. Appreciate and Value Yourself

Quite often when we’re feeling unaccomplished we beat ourselves with guilt, feeling inadequate and sometimes even doubt are capabilities. We dwell too long on what we didn’t do, how we could have done things better, recounting our mistakes and simply overanalyzing all that’s negative. Honestly, you’ll find yourself pondering on the negatives far much longer than is healthy for you. And that’s precisely the trap you don’t want to fall into as it’s a hard climb out of.

Stop here and think about yourself. Who you are, why you’re here, what it took for you to reach this far in life and all the awesome strengths and capabilities you have. Yes, when you’re feeling unaccomplished, it’s time to stop everything and appreciate and value yourself. You are capable, hence, why you have the job that you love and enjoy doing. You can do it, hence why you’re still employed and valued as a team member. Now that you’ve pumped yourself up, divert your focus on what you need to do to start feeling accomplished again, and get cracking on them!

What do you do to end your day feeling accomplished? Share them in the comments!

Be sure to follow my LinkedIn page and subscribe to the Keijzer Community where I share updates and information to help you take your leadership teams through a growth model which will help them mature on a personal and professional level.

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4 Basic Skills Every Professional Should Equip Themselves With Tue, 30 Jan 2018 03:30:26 +0000 Not too long ago I wrote a piece on 5 life skills every professional should know. These are the basics that you won’t learn about in college or university but should have in your arsenal of skills to succeed in your professional career. Similar to these are a few other basic skills that you’ll acquire if you went to business school, however, they’ll elude you if you didn’t.

Now I’m not suggesting that without these skills you won’t be able to do your job. As a subject matter expert and master of your domain I’m confident you’re able to perform your duties with excellence. However, if you were to add on to your knowledge bank these basic skills you’ll be able to propel your careers, irrespective of your chosen path.

These skills are the fundamentals of any career you choose. Whether you’re a medical practitioner, engineer, project manager or even an app developer, with these basic skills you’ll have a better understanding and appreciation of how things work and the impact of your actions on the company. You’ll also likely be able to enhance your contributions.

1. Accounting & Finance

Let’s admit it – no one likes dealing with finances and accounting. Well, not unless you’ve made a career of it, which is perfectly fine. However, everyone else tries to avoid it at all costs. People tend to find money matters dull, boring and often cumbersome. Sure, it may appear like it on the surface, however, there’s very little you can do to get around it.

Financials and accounting are a pivotal part of running a business. If you’re an employee at a company you’ll hear about many discussions around profitability, ROI and other such financial terms. If you’re working for yourself, even if you have a genius idea or a unique service to offer, you’ll be forced to think about profitability and costing and all that. All of these financial terms are important and highly unavoidable. Sure you could seek professional help, however, that too can lead to mysterious happenings in your accounting books. You need to be aware of all these. Being in command of financials will allow you to know what’s going on in the company and how you can better steer your entrepreneurship endeavors.

2. Marketing

When you think about marketing you probably associate Sales with it. Sure marketing may go hand in hand with sales and help promote your brand to increase sales, however, it’s much more than that. Also, you may be wondering why a Doctor who has their own practice needs marketing skills? Or how an engineer in a company can apply marketing skills?

Well, by definition marketing is the action of promoting. It entails market research, advertising and pricing strategies all to produce the right promotion to make your products and services attractive. So then if you have you your own practice how do you plan to attract customers if you aren’t able to promote your services? Advertising. How do you retain these customers to keep coming back to you and not leaving you for your competitors? Market research. Are you certain that you’re charging your customers the right price that covers your costs and ensures your margins are sustainable to your practice? Pricing Strategy.

All this doesn’t simply apply to those who have their own practice or business. If you’re an engineer or developer at a company with marketing skills you’ll be able to help promote your company’s brand. Why that’s important is because while you’re employed with the company, the brand’s image, through association, reflects on you and your career. Enhancing and promoting your company’s brand will then in turn promote you and your career.

3. Project Management

If you’re a person who strives to succeed then you obviously have a goal that you’re aiming for. To get to that goal, however, you’re aware that there are certain milestones for you achieve. These are the incremental steps you’ll be taking to get to your goal. And you’re also aware that these milestones cannot be achieved overnight or in a day. You’ll need to pace yourself, work on each of them and check them off as you accomplish them one at a time. Hence, your milestones require a timeline to follow. Along the way you’ll also realize that time isn’t the only variable that’ll facilitate your ability to achieve your milestones. There are people as well who you may need to rely on. Hence you’ll need to reach out to them for support to reach your goal.

You see what’s happening here? Every professional out there has goals, irrespective of what profession they’re in. Be it personal or professional goals, you’re bound to have them. With a skill like project management you’ll be able to ensure you’re on-track and gunning for each and every goal you ever set for yourself to its completion. You’ll stop procrastinating and feel more productive. And I can keep going on and on about the benefits of project management in your life, but I’m sure you get the drift. Project management is an essential skill that everyone should have much like time management.

4. Articulating Your Thoughts

Now here’s an interesting skill which isn’t something that you really can learn or really be taught. However, it’s about being self-aware, lots of practice and maybe even some guidance from a mentor. And while we all wish we could read a book and know precisely how to articulate our thoughts, it’s not possible or that easy. Yet, I find it to be highly useful and an essential part of the basic skills every professional should have.

Why is it important to articulate your thoughts? Imagine you’re an app developer trying to explain the intricacies of coding to a non-developer and why the changes they’re looking for in the app isn’t possible. You could throw all the technical jargon at them and it won’t make any sense. The problem really isn’t the language. It’s the difference between what you imagine and what the person you’re speaking to is understanding. There’s often a disconnect. This is where articulating your thoughts comes in handy. With this skill you’ll be better equipped to convey your message in a way that almost always guarantees the listener will understand it.

You could apply the same in various other situations. Ever sat in a meeting where you shared your opinion on a topic being discussed to a group of blank-faced individuals? Yes, I’m confident you’ll do marvelously well with an enhanced skill in articulating your thoughts.

Can you think of any other basic skills that every professional should possess? Leave a comment below so we all can learn from them.

Be sure to follow my LinkedIn page and subscribe to the Keijzer Community where I share updates and information to help you take your leadership teams through a growth model which will help them mature on a personal and professional level.

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4 Ways You Can Hire Future Leaders Today Thu, 25 Jan 2018 03:30:07 +0000 Hiring is easy! You simply design a job profile and description, advertise, screen in accordance with the criteria you’ve set and select an individual from a pool of candidates. Simple right? Well that would be the case if you’re hiring to fulfill today’s need or hiring to just fill a vacancy in your organizational chart. However, it’s altogether a different story if you’re really looking to hire future leaders.

Hiring future leaders is a complex and important aspect of running an organization. As a great leader you know better than to simply hire to meet today’s needs. You’re a visionary, and hence, the employees you bring to your organization should be in line with that vision of the future. Even if you’re not hiring to fill leadership positions today, everyone you bring onboard should have the potential to be leaders.

So, how do you hire future leaders, today? Here are 4 ways you can revamp your hiring process to screen out the rest and ensure you’re only bringing in the best – the leaders of tomorrow.

1. Only The Best Can Hire

If you’re putting your managers on interview panels then you’re guaranteed to hire future managers. It’s no secret that if you let your B-players conduct interviews you’ll hire C-players. However, if you’re A-players are screening, you’ll be hiring A-players. Your interview panel should consist of your best employees, the A-players and those who are destined to be future leaders. These are the talent that’ll attract and screen those who have similar potential. They’ll raise the bar and keep it raised in terms of who gets in. This way you’ll have a better chance of keeping mediocrity out and hiring future leaders. Also, the best candidates will want to join am organization that already has the best and brightest talent. Hence, your best will also be acting as brand ambassadors.

2. Dynamic Interview Process

The candidates you interview are usually unique in personality, experience and who they are. Your interview process, in the same manner, should be unique and dynamic to cater to different candidates. Hiring for the sake of it, is easy – build a good process, run it every time for every candidate and you’ll be guaranteed to get similar results, every time. That’s when you’re not hiring future leaders, but instead employees who’ll fulfill routine tasks. If you’re keen to hire leaders you’ll need a dynamic hiring process that allows you to extract all the necessary information that’ll facilitate your decision making. Make the process less structured and standardized. Focus more on learning about the candidates’ personalities, their drivers, motivators and passion. Build on their past, but don’t dwell on it too long. Your objective should be to find out where they’re headed and how their skills and capabilities can benefit your organization.

3. Gauge Motivational Fit

When hiring for critical positions you’re most likely going to meet plenty of talented individuals. They’ll be highly skilled, high achievers and downright intelligent. However, all that flash doesn’t necessarily spell out the right candidate for you. If you highly regard your organization’s values, culture, purpose and ethos you’ll find it harder to find candidates that really fit with your organization. Often this is an overlooked step in the hiring process, though it’s quite vital. Ensuring that the candidates you bring onboard are a cultural, ideological and motivational fit is pivotal in guaranteeing success, for your organization and the candidate. Knowing what motivates them, the purposes they value and what drives them will help you assess whether or not they are aligned with your organization.

4. Simulate Leadership Instances

We often ask candidates to detail situations where they displayed leadership traits. These provide candidates an opportunity to showcase their muscle, However, all that is in the past and not related to the challenges or environment they’re going to face in your organization. Instead, try creating realistic job environments that are more representative of your organization and the challenges they’re likely to face working for you. You may even ask them to interact with potential colleagues and work together in teams to resolve matters. This’ll allow you to assess their behavior and gauge whether they possess leadership skills that’s relevant and applicable to your organization.

Hiring future leaders is a vital and critical aspect of ensuring your business succeeds. Taking this process lightly can be detrimental as you’ll likely find your succession line to be bleak and depleted. Having future leaders at all levels of your organization is a sign of great strength. Even if your business struggles today, you’ll be setting yourself up for a prosperous future simply on the shoulders of the talent you bring in today.

Be sure to follow my LinkedIn page and subscribe to the Keijzer Community where I share updates and information to help you take your leadership teams through a growth model which will help them mature on a personal and professional level.

How Your Authority as a CEO Could be Damaging for Your Team Tue, 23 Jan 2018 03:30:58 +0000 As a CEO there’s no doubt the entire company is your responsibility. You’re responsible for its success and failure and its growth and how it functions. And you have the responsibility and duty to be accountable for everything that goes on in the company. You are also accountable for the employees, the culture, values and vision. That’s a lot of responsibility, but that’s part of the domain of being the CEO. Hence, it’s only natural that you feel you have the authority to do whatever it takes to ensure success is achieved. And that you have the authority over everyone in the company. Though unconsciously you may be damaging your team dynamics by misusing your authority.

Now there’s no denying the fact that indeed you have the authority to interact and engage with just about anyone, however, at what cost. On the one hand engaging with everyone is a great way to know your employees, help transfer your vision and purpose to them, motivate them and harvest the right culture. However, if you’re too involved you could be damaging the sanity of your company.

Here’s How It Goes Down

As a CEO your energy levels are unparalleled. You’re impatient, restless, always thinking and always on the move. You want to jump on opportunities fast to capitalize on them. You want things moving forward swiftly so your company can grab every prospect that comes up. You meet several people in your day simply because to get things moving you need to meet all the right and key people, in and outside your company.

However, picture a situation where you need something done immediately or require a report urgently to make a critical decision. And it turns out that your VP or Director of Sales is away on a business trip. What do you do then? You’ll obvious turn to their next in line to provide you the information you need. This person, will no doubt oblige as the directive is coming from the CEO. So they’ll drop everything and work on your query until its completed and submitted to you. As a CEO you’ve got what you wanted, based on the authority you practiced.

On the other side, however, this employee has lost a lot of their time working on your query and now has to deal with a boss furious because she/he wasn’t able to complete the task that was assigned to her/him. You see how this doesn’t go down well for the employee who simply followed the authority you practiced on them?

Additionally, such bypassing can also result in much stress and frustration for your VP or Director. After all, there is a reason why a hierarchy is defined.

The Dilemma

Here’s where it gets tricky. You need a report urgently and the ‘right’ person who can provide it to you isn’t around. So obviously, you’ll have to bypass them and get what you need. You haven’t technically done anything wrong. And in the scenario that I mentioned your VP or Director wasn’t physically present, hence the reaction was warranted. However, there are CEOs who do the same even when their direct report is around. They’ll simply approach anyone they lay their eyes on and practice their authority to get what they want.

The employee you approach has three options:

  1. They can turn you down saying that’s something their boss can only provide or that they’ll need to discuss it with their boss before they can work on it.
  2. They can work on their assigned tasks in parallel to your report.
  3. They can stop working on everything else and work on your report.

The first response will obviously leave you disgruntled and there’s a high likelihood that the employee will be packing up their belongings and undergoing an exit interview before the day ends.

The second reaction could delay your decision making severely and most likely you’d get your report well passed when it was beneficial or critical. The result? Similar to the outcome in the paragraph above.

The third situation is the most likely outcome. This is something that happens all too often when CEOs make requests from their employees. However, for the employee it’s unsettling. They’ll have missed other deadlines. Not to mention they now have an angry boss to deal with. And if things continue this way more frequently – where you as the CEO continue to exercise your authority in such a manner – there’s a good chance the unfortunate employee will again be destined to have a fate that’s mentioned two paragraphs above.

Growing Frustrations

If practiced sparingly, such use of authority is probably justifiable, under certain circumstances, of course. However, when it keeps reoccurring, it spells trouble, frustration and causes much anxiety. Sure, you have your eyes on the goal and you’ll do whatever it takes to achieve success. However, you have to ask yourself at what cost?

Is the anxiety caused to the employee who’s stuck between their boss and the CEO justified?

Is constantly stepping on your VP or Directors toes the style of leadership you plan to practice?

The Way Forward

The solution to most dilemmas, friction and anxiety at the workplace rests in one simple word – respect. When there’s respect as the core there’s plenty of opportunity to build a workable and trusting relationship that’s unshakable.

To begin with, you’ll need to create an understanding between yourself, as the CEO, and your VP’s and Directors that ‘occasionally’ you will approach their team for spontaneous queries. And while you don’t mean to step on their toes, you’ll respect that being their boss, your VP’s and Directors will always be in the know-how of such requests – either you or the team member will keep them abreast with these. Also, rather than approaching just about anyone who passes by, agree on who the right second in command is that you can approach. This way, you get what you require from someone that the VP or Director is not only aware of and has selected, but someone who they trust themselves.

Next, the employee that’s selected for such ‘situational’ and random requests is aware that much of the anxiety has been alleviated because there’s a clear understanding between all concerned parties. Obviously, they also know that when such requests are made by the CEO they’ll need to promptly inform their boss just to keep all communication transparent and maintain respect. In turn, the VP or Director can rest easy knowing that their team member will inform them of what went down with the CEO.

Your authority as the CEO is unquestionably upon everyone in the company. However, with respect you’ll be able to get what you want/need, achieve success and keep everyone happy and less disgruntled. How do you handle such situations in your company? Do share your experiences.

Be sure to follow my LinkedIn page and subscribe to the Keijzer Community where I share updates and information to help you take your leadership teams through a growth model which will help them mature on a personal and professional level.