Who Surrounds You?
October 17, 2019
Show Notes: Episode 67 – Corporate Social Responsibility
October 21, 2019

Click here for this episode’s show notes.

This transcript was created using an automated transcription service and may contain errors.

JoDee 0:17
Welcome to The JoyPowered® Workspace Podcast, where we talk about embracing humanity in the workplace. I’m JoDee Curtis, and with me is my friend and co-host Susan White, a national HR consultant. I’m the owner of Purple Ink, an HR consulting firm, and author of “JoyPowered®” and “The JoyPowered® Family.” Susan and I, along with five other authors, released our newest book, “The JoyPowered® Team,” last summer. In today’s episode, we are talking about corporate social responsibility. In a 2019 article in Forbes Magazine by Susan MacPherson called “Corporate Responsibility: What to Expect in 2019,” Susan mentioned a list of several topics, but several that related to our podcast today that I thought were really interesting. Number one was that investor interest in environmental and social and governance will continue to swell. She said specifically investor interest in environmental, social, and governance factor has gone mainstream. And the experts we spoke with believe this trend will continue into 2019 and beyond with social responsibility investing gradually becoming the new norm, with over 90% of the largest companies now filing sustainability reports. I have to admit I’d never heard of that before. The data is plentiful, but that is not new. What is new is the interest in using the information for investment decisions.

Susan 2:01
And because it’s become so popular, investors are really starting to prioritize the impact and measuring so that they can start talking about it and becoming a competitive advantage. So with investor interest growing, companies will really need to take a look at this and figure out, how do we get the biggest bang for the buck for the areas that we decide to invest in?

JoDee 2:20
Yeah. She also mentioned that the impact is here to stay in the boardroom. Specifically, this upswing in the investor interest paired with the consumer and employee demand will bring impact to the top of the agenda at board meetings. It will no longer be a choice for companies to embed social impact into their business strategies. It will be required of them to thrive and compete for talent, customers, and investors.

Susan 2:52
And Susan’s final point is that employees are taking the wheel. She says there’s a growing trend for companies to craft their corporate social responsibility strategy around their employees’ passions, first and foremost, as opposed to focusing mainly on their external brand reputation. Today, employees, particularly millennials, expect to work for a company that gives back, but they want to give back on their own terms and have a say in what causes their company supports, and how and when they volunteer their time. It’s important for companies to survey their workforce and forge relationships with nonprofits in areas that their employees are passionate about, and with charity partners that allow you to customize employee engagement opportunities.

JoDee 3:32
Yeah. So I love this article overall. And it brought out just so many different areas of corporate social responsibility that I wasn’t even thinking of. We’re going to focus today specifically on the impact of engagement.

Susan 3:49
We’ve been excited to see our listenership going up a lot this last year, and now we want to learn more about you and what you think about our podcast. We’ve created a listener survey that will be open for the next few months. If you want to help us out by telling us a little bit about yourself, you can access the survey at surveymonkey.com/r/joypowered2019. We’ll also have a link to the survey on our website. If you take the survey you’ll have the option to enter to win a set of our three JoyPowered® books, “JoyPowered®,” “The JoyPowered® Family,” and “The JoyPowered® Team.” We hope you’ll take a little time to help us make the podcast the best it can be, and we look forward to hearing your thoughts. Again, you can take the survey at surveymonkey.com/r/joypowered2019. Thank you so much for listening to our show.

JoDee 4:44
I’d like to introduce today’s subject matter expert. From fundraising to fund management, Sara Glenn began her career of community impact in a small office in one of Indianapolis’ most iconic buildings. From Indianapolis Downtown Inc., as it was called then, to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, to the Anthem Foundation, her experience is grounded in relationships that impact our community. Sara is uniquely positioned due to her experience in both creating the campaigns to raise funds, and also the programs that donate the funds. Sara now works with clients who desire to use their organizational resources to impact their community. So Sara, thank you so much for joining us today. We’re excited to have you on and to learn more about this topic.

Sara 5:40
Thank you. Thanks, JoDee, thanks, Susan.

Susan 5:42
Glad to have you here. Corporate social responsibility is so hot right now. It really is. I, when I talk to millennial candidates, when they’re trying to figure out, where do I want to go work? They really look to see is that company good in the community? Are they doing the right things for the environment? So we’re excited about today’s topic.

Sara 5:59
Thank you.

Susan 6:00
So what is it about your experience, Sara, that made you most aware of how promoting a corporate social responsibility philosophy can impact employee engagement?

Sara 6:09
Well, it’s really the experience of being on both sides of that partnership, being in the nonprofit, in the nonprofit world and fundraising, and being that person who was seeking the relationships with corporations, seeking really engaged employees that were passionate about the cause that I was working on. And also being the funder, somebody who was going to the nonprofits and looking for credibility and engaged employees where you really knew those funds would be well utilized and the employees were excited about it. And that perspective, I didn’t know it would be so valuable for moving from fundraising to fund management and being kind of the corporation in the partnership until I started looking through it with that lens and realizing those engaged employees that are excited about the cause, the leadership that allows that employee involvement and promotes that leadership, what it could actually do for the partnership and really made you more fiscally responsible as the corporation or the funder, really knowing that the partnership would be strong because it wasn’t just a top down. The employees were involved and engaged and stakeholders in that partnership. So it was nice to see it from both sides and see how that could play out much better.

JoDee 7:32
Yeah, I love it. I have to tell you, I was invited to a meeting of community leaders about a year ago and there were just, I don’t know, maybe five of us, maybe six people at the meeting. And they, when they invited me, they said it was going to be about corporate social responsibility. Well, my daughter is getting her master’s in environmental science and sustainability. So and my – which I know can be a part of this as well, too, but in my mind, that’s what it was all about. And so, I don’t know, someone said, like, at the very beginning, what does this corporate social responsibility to mean, and I, mean to you, and I immediately jumped in and talked about recycling, the things that we were doing at our house and talking about doing at Purple Ink about the environment. Because that was sort of the path I’d been – even though I’ve been a volunteer for my entire life, I was thinking about this as, as the environmental piece and not the bigger, broader term of corporate social responsibility.

Susan 8:48
Certainly, sustainability is so important, and I think it does resonate with a lot of people who want to look at the company they work for and realize that they care about the environment. So, good for Keeli.

JoDee 8:56
Oh, well, good for Keeli, but I was a little embarrassed at the meeting, I’ll say that, that everyone else kind of looked at me and then jumped into talking about volunteering. But I do think I added a bit of a different perspective to the topic, too.

Sara 9:11
Right. It’s both, it’s that social impact and the environment and sustainability and the impact on the environment, and then also the internal impact that those individuals feels and employ. Are they engaged? Are they good corporate citizens and make an impact in the community? So.

JoDee 9:27
Yes, yes. So, Sara, in what ways have you seen corporate social responsibility drive employee engagement? In other words, what does being a good corporate citizen do for a corporate culture?

Sara 9:43
Well, it does a couple things. There’s the obvious, right, the seeing your employer make an impact, be involved, support local initiatives, but then there’s also the opportunity those actions bring. So in working through ideas of being a good corporate citizen, or what does that look like to a company? There are a multitude of ways they can pull employees in. They can make them stakeholders of the process, they – going through the act actually causes you to dig into a little bit of what you are doing. What does the community around you need, or what’s going on in that community, or wherever the corporation has business, it may not be just where they’re headquartered. But wherever they’re doing business, they may have very different social needs, community needs in those areas. And I was reading an article from a training and development company out of the UK, and they had a really neat perspective on disengaged employees and unengaged employees and the difference. And I hadn’t really thought about the difference of those two prefixes, and what their explanation was, a disengaged employee was once engaged. They were once motivated and productive and involved and somewhere along the way, they’ve lost that. And so does bringing this culture of being a good corporate citizen actually have a way to get them re-engaged, where to them an unengaged employee was never really the engaged, right fit for your company. And so I thought that was an interesting perspective to think about, and that taking a directed approach and really focusing on it can, if you’re having a disengaged issue, or maybe you don’t know you are, but that the impact this can have on the culture by involving people, creating a plan, being transparent, even inviting people to the table and making that community collaboration feeling might address even some of those disengaged feelings that are happening and bring up a lot of involvement and creativity from, from the employees, too.

Susan 11:53
I had done some reading not too long ago where it said that disengaged employees are more dangerous than the unengaged, because that disengaged actually was with you. They were believing in management, they were excited to work. And when they disengage, the impact that they can have, because people have looked at them as influencers and thought leaders and people that really drank the Kool-Aid, if an unengaged one is somebody who just hasn’t, you know, really gotten their foot in their the door. So if corporate social responsibility is a way to bring back the disengaged employee, I think you may have a formula for success.

JoDee 12:24
Yeah, I agree. And Susan mentioned the millennials, which I think has been a generation group who has really driven this initiative. But do you see this at all levels of the organization, all generations, that this is important?

Sara 12:44
Yes, in, there is definitely a focus on that millennial and the generations that have followed, where they are prioritizing that in their conversations with companies and what they’re seeking, but it’s happening at all, I guess, generations within the workforce, and some of the older generations that may be managing now millennials need to make it just as important because of even who they’re managing and their workforce. And the Forbes article that you mentioned, the investors being that audience. Are we thinking about the investors as an audience that’s important for corporate social responsibility? Well, just the same as millennials, you know, thinking about that generation, too, not that they are the only ones that are probably driving it, but they’re definitely maybe more vocal about it, or it’s the expectation, it’s not just, I hope you hope you’re doing this. I hope you have a plan in place. I hope we can get involved in the community. It’s what they do, personally, on their own time too, and it’s going to bleed into the corporation whether the corporation is ready for it and has a plan for it or not.

JoDee 14:04
Yeah. I love that.

Susan 14:05
I was doing a little research this morning on generations for another talk that I’m giving, and I realized that I’ve always thought of myself as a baby boomer, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics has a term of the “late bloomers.” I’m actually a late bloomer, those of us who are born between 1957 and 1964. I’m just feeling so much younger. And I, it’s always been important to me, I think corporate social responsibility volunteerism, I get it, I believe in it.

JoDee 14:29
I agree. Well, I’m a late bloomer, too, then, Susan, because I was born in 1964. So funny. I’ve always really felt like I identified a bit more with Gen X, because I’m right on that cusp, but I technically do fall into the baby boomer, so I’m glad to be able to self identify as a late bloomer.

Susan 14:55
Yes. Yay. So, Sara, I’m thinking that corporate social responsibility, depending on the size of the company, probably is housed in human resources. Is that fair? Or is there other places that this function might be residing in businesses?

Sara 15:10
I think that’s fair, and you’re right, depending on the size of the corporation really makes a difference. You see a lot of fund distribution out of marketing, too. But when it comes to starting a plan, developing a plan is often in HR because it can impact employee time off, there’s a volunteer time off program. It can impact programs such as if you are serving on a board or on a committee or you’re spending your time volunteering, corporations can make a gift to that organization is an example of one way to do that. So a lot of that is looking at time off. It’s looking at reporting. So it is within HR, but it’s important for when you’re attacking how do I begin? Or how do we know if we have a plan? Or what does that plan look like? To look at all the departments that are doing teamwork or team building or writing checks for sponsorships, or other donations through to the organizations in the community.

Susan 16:17
That’s great, because we were going to ask you, if you are one of our listeners, that they’re thinking, I really want to get started at my company, where would they begin?

Sara 16:24
One of the best places to start is looking at just what is currently happening. Finding all of those things you may not even know if you’re the HR professional, you may not know what’s happening in the marketing department, if there are sponsorships being made, if there’s corporate checks being written, what, what’s happening so far, what are we giving money to? Where are we spending our time, who’s fielding requests for partnerships, financial or board members or otherwise? It’s not always just a monetary request, but needing a board member, needing a committee member comes to working with a lot of the area nonprofits that have events needing a team leader or an internal champion within the company. Who were those requests coming from, and who’s fielding them, and who’s making those decisions? And just outlining what is happening now, and then taking that and looking at what do we want to happen or what, what are the opportunities and considering what’s important for the business. Where do our priorities lie as a company? What’s important for the community? Really having conversations with organizations to say, we find your cause important, we want to be a good partner, not just hopping online and saying, “Oh, they have an event coming up, we’ll just sponsor that,” and really not understanding. They might have a really neat speaker series that doesn’t have a lead sponsor yet and the audience is exactly who you want to be in front of, but you don’t know, because that wasn’t on their website, when you’re just trying to make quick decisions. So it’s almost taking a step back and determining what do we already do? What do we want to do? What does it look like? What are our associates already doing that have nothing to do with the company, but they’re really involved and really passionate. This will probably be more successful if we have an internal champion and have a leader. And, you know, with that, that information, then also determining how are the employees involved? What voice do they get? How do we engage them to be stakeholders in this whole process, because if the motivation is primarily employee engagement, that needs to be a part of it, and not just have top down decisions pushed down to them of, of what the company is going to be involved in. Business priorities are important, and they need to be aligned well, but they, employees should be a part of it too.

JoDee 18:57
So, it’s easy, I think, well, not always easy, but could be easy for some corporations to say, “Oh, we donate a lot of money to the community.” But I think what you’re saying is, if you’re not involving the employees in that process, or you’re not making it a well-thought-out over, overall initiative that includes the, the people, donating money doesn’t necessarily increase engagement. I mean, they might feel proud of that. “Wow, my company’s a sponsor of a lot of events.” But if it doesn’t connect with me, it’s not impacting my engagement per se.

Susan 19:38
In fact, I can think of times when I worked for a large corporation, and they gave me lots of money to some different types of what could be very worthy causes. Some employees would be very angry, especially in the years when they weren’t given very robust raises. They’re thinking, “Why is this company sponsoring this tennis tournament when they told us that we’re not going to, bonuses are going to be slashed by…”

JoDee 19:58
Oh, yeah.

Sara 20:00
Well, and there’s a transparency component to that, too. So if the employees are involved in your, even if you’re asking them, “Are you proud of what we’re doing? Are you excited about what we’re doing? What ideas do you have?” and engaging them and helping them understand that there is a fund for those types of things that’s different than what impacts productivity and raises. I mean, sometimes it’s just a learning process to this is how we approach our community impact, and this is how we approach our donations and sponsorships and asking them, “Do you think we’re doing a good job? Do you, are you proud of what we do? Are you engaged? Do you see us in the community?” because, you’re right, a company can just say, “We make, we don’t need a lot. We make great connections,” but are they thinking about the industry they’re in, the markets they’re in, are there unique opportunities that actually better align with their business than just being reactive to requests, of being proactive and going after the best alignment for business priorities and the employees.

JoDee 21:05
Yeah. Nice. And how – you’ve talked about this a little bit, but how does focusing on engagement strengthen the business outcome, not, not deter from them? Or maybe what are even some, do you have some specific examples around how you’ve seen that work?

Sara 21:23
I think the opportunity to strengthen business outcomes is sometimes overlooked when you’re talking about the community, because you’re just thinking of, “Oh, well, these are the three events that everybody in town talks about. So we should, you know, be a part of that, or we should support that and sponsor that.” Not really thinking about what aligns with our corporate goals, what type of company are we? What markets are we in and what are the opportunities there and looking at what areas are we going to focus, so kind of going through that exercise with employees, what interests you? What are you involved in? Are you proud of the work we do? And defining for 80% of our gifts a year we’re going to focus on these four focus areas that allows us cushion when an associate is very involved an organization that doesn’t fall in to the 80%, we can still give, so there’s cushion there, but what refining those focus areas is going to make better fiscal decisions with your gifts. It’s going to better align you with the right exposure, the right, depends on the type of corporation, but maybe the right customer, you know, if you’re a real estate development company, should you be donating all your funds to the Humane Society? Maybe it’s a great organization, or another organization that works toward animal rescue or something, but maybe there’s an opportunity to work toward partner with Habitat for Humanity or something that’s building or homelessness or thinking of development and land use or environmental ramifications. And there might just be better alignment to business goals that actually sets you in the right track for relationships and impact and better marketing in a sense that aligns, but not to fully deter or take away from the opportunity to be a good partner to other organizations. But thinking of aligning corporate goals and business initiatives with the community need and the employee interests and find those areas of overlapping, yeah, might be the first step.

JoDee 23:40
I love that. Obviously, in a real estate company, you, or organization, you have people who are somewhat interested in housing, right? That’s what they do. And to be able to make that connection, social impact as well. That’s a great alignment.

Susan 23:57
So who’s doing this really well? I know Disney has talked a lot about their corporate social responsibility. But can you think of maybe other companies that our listeners might be familiar with that really have done this well?

Sara 24:08
One of the companies that I was reading about that their approach was really well-rounded was actually General Mills, when it came to employee engagement, not just thinking of like Disney social responsibility impact that we see as consumers. But the way they approached their plan, in theory, they almost put the brakes on and went through, and you can’t talk to every associate in a company that size, but given many the voice of, how do you feel about what we’re doing? What does it mean to you? What do you think we should be doing? And really letting them drive it, and to see a, to read about a company that size that would take some steps back and slow things down and be a more thoughtful approach on the focus of employee engagement, not just the social responsibility components, obviously, then they look at that, but really making them stakeholders in the process.

Susan 25:08
And some of the things General Mills has done specifically, was it, like, taking some of the chemicals out of their products, be more natural, what types of outcomes?

Sara 25:15
Yeah, yeah. That environmental impact. Sure. So the, and that doesn’t, obviously, we just talked about business priorities. Well, that’s what the consumer wants to see, too. So there, you’ve taken employee driven conversations, looking at the social impact or the environmental impact, and, though, knowing that’s what your consumer wants to see, and that’s going to impact business. So that’s a huge corporate example, but it’s not unattainable for a small company to think about it that way, to think about, how do we engage our employees? What do we really need to accomplish this year? Are we trying to grow client base in this one area, maybe we should focus there and then it can be brought down to much smaller scale. Are there new events that are coming that are great opportunities for us to get in front of a new audience? Did we just make an acquisition and are building a new headquarters here and nobody knows this yet? What are those opportunities? So it’s not just the big company that has this tool available to them or the ability to work through the process. It can be really any size.

JoDee 26:36
I do sometimes hate to always use the examples of the really big companies, but I did, this summer I heard Blake Mycoskie, Mycoskie, I think it’s how you say his name. He was the founder of Toms and just has a beautiful story if, about how he founded Toms and the now famous you buy one pair of shoes and they donate a pair of shoes. And he just had example after example after example of people literally, when he started the company, just calling him up and saying I want to come work for you, because I love what you’re doing. And now he’s done that in several different areas. He started an eyewear company as well and and several other things. But it, he talks so much about people connecting their passion with their work, and it just is an amazing story. If you Google Blake Mycoskie, or I know on the Toms website, they have some some of that original story on there as well, too.

Sara 27:45
Well, in that example of how the social impact of what he was doing drove business and employees, I mean, yes, they weren’t really cared about, caring about how he was managing the company. I bet they just said, “I love what you’re doing. I want to come be a part of it.” You see that a lot now, you hear the there are sock companies that –

JoDee 28:04
Yeah.

Sara 28:05
– donate socks. There – I mean, it’s not, it’s just bled through to so many other areas where they’ve seen that social impact drove business and that’s what, on a very large scale –

JoDee 28:17
Yeah.

Sara 28:17
– people were, that’s what they cared about.

JoDee 28:19
Yeah. Yeah. Beautiful. Interesting.

Susan 28:22
So if creating a new program seems overwhelming, what is a simple way to start the plan in motion?

Sara 28:28
A simple way to start is, we talked about identifying the current with the future opportunity and that’s where I like to work with those, those companies to see what is, what is the goal, where, where are the opportunities? But you have to literally work through, what are we doing now? What can we discover about all the things our associates are involved in? Our leadership is passionate about every layer, what can the HR department manage? What programs could we consider? Do we like the idea of time off to volunteer? Do we like the idea of so many hours given in the leadership role to an organization means a donation from? Like, what are, it’s not – more so than just internal fundraising as a team for a walk or run or some type of event in the community, what do we look, what do we feel like our associates would like doing? How do we identify that? And then the taking that identification and saying, “Okay, that means these organizations might be really good fits, what are they doing?” And then you almost do the discovery externally with them to say, “This is what we’re interested in. These are the types of things, we have associates who, they want to lead a team or they want to be on a board,” and getting them involved and finding the right fit with an organization that you think is doing good work, has good outcomes, manage things well, and actually developing that relationship and not just being reactive to. And then the kind of little bonus of making such a plan and identifying the focus areas in the the way that you’re going to approach giving is when all of those requests come in, you can say no a lot more easily when you need to. Because you can say, “This is not an our focus area. If we have an associate who is interested, we’ll be sure to let them know about the opportunity,” or, “You know, this year we give away X number of dollars to things outside of our focus area. We’ve already hit our capacity this year.” It almost gives you a very nice, easy way to say no and to be more fiscally responsible to what your approach was, and to stay better aligned with corporate goals too. So it’s almost like a worksheet. It’s really working through all of the information and seeing where those areas overlap and what presents itself and then going after those opportunities.

JoDee 31:12
I think another option for a company would be to contact you, Sara, because this is what Sara does, is to help organizations create these plans or look at these initiatives. So how might our listeners reach out to you, Sara, to contact you?

Sara 31:29
Yeah, the easiest way would be to email me. And it’s Sara, S-A-R-A, at limelightconsultingllc.com. And just starting that approach and that type of worksheet and working through those things, it’s a great way to start.

JoDee 31:46
All right, very good. We’ll have that, Sara’s contact information in our show notes on our website. And thank you so much for joining us today, I think this is really an important topic for all of us.

Sara 32:00
Thank you.

Susan 32:00
Very helpful. Thank you so much.

Sara 32:02
Thank you both.

JoDee 32:02
Yeah. Awesome.

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Susan 32:43
So, JoDee, we’ve got a listener question today. “How can I position myself as an HR professional, should I find myself in a position of looking for employment?”

JoDee 32:52
Yeah, well, I have lots of thoughts around that. Obviously, you know, just the importance of being a strong performer. Where you are in your work right now? And then being able to reflect those results in your resume. I think people love to see numbers or data or how many, you know, how much did turnover maybe decrease in your term, or what, what specific impacts were you able to make in your organization. But I also think certification is, is, can be really important. I don’t always tell everyone they need to go out and get certified, but I think certification not only shows a level of competency in the HR profession, but I think it also shows a commitment and dedication to the professional, that it takes time, it takes money to go through that certification process, and so by going through that, I think it proves that commitment for you to have done that. What – other thoughts that you have, Susan?

Susan 34:07
Yes. You know, it’s interesting, because so often individuals who are an HR department, they might be an HR department of one or have a very small team. They think, “Oh my gosh, I need to go look for a job somewhere else. But everybody I know is where I am.” So I was not great at this, let me just say, in most of my career, but I’ve gotten better. I think it’s really important that HR people look beyond their own organization and have a network of friends that are in the same profession. You know, we’re really blessed throughout the, actually, almost throughout the globe, especially in the United States. We have so many chapters of SHRM, the Society of Human Resource Management, so individuals can volunteer in their community with the SHRM organization, they can go to meetings and to workshops, they can just get to know other people outside of their own firm who do the same kinds of things that they do, and so when that day comes, and it probably will for everybody, that you decide you’d like to do something a little different, maybe somewhere else, you have people that you can get their advice from, you can ask them, are there companies in town I should be targeting, are there people you think I should talk to? We know that more than 80% of people find their job or land their job through networking, so don’t get too tunnel vision. Don’t focus too much and worry, do, do a good job where you are, but always be thinking, am I deepening and broadening my network in my HR profession?

JoDee 35:26
Yeah, absolutely. Love it. I, and this is something I would tell everyone, not just specific to HR people, but it seems like it’s hit a nerve with me a little bit more recently, just to remind people about their professionalism on LinkedIn. You know, LinkedIn is not Facebook, and it’s not Twitter, and it’s not Instagram. It’s a professional social media platform, and so make sure you have a professional presence on your LinkedIn profile as well.

Susan 36:00
I’ve seen some photos that’s like, oh my goodness!

JoDee 36:02
I know. That’s exactly what I was referring to.

Susan 36:06
Oh, my goodness. Right.

JoDee 36:07
Yes.

Susan 36:08
I also think it’s really important not to be putting your personal opinion out there on LinkedIn. You know, it’s tough enough sometimes on Facebook where people talk about things that, oh, make me uncomfortable. I – but on LinkedIn, it shouldn’t be. It should be educational, it should be, you know, helping the professional world move forward in my opinion.

JoDee 36:23
Yeah, I think you could be a thought leader, bring ideas, or ask questions out there. But yes, I agree.

So, in our in the news section, the Society for Human Resource Management cited in an article titled “When Under Stress Managers Reveal Their Dark Side.” I thought this was chilling. So. And they included three tips to help managers improve their communication style. So the first one is to challenge, what they called challenge your story. And they said when people feel threatened or stressed, they sometimes view those involved in the situation as the villain or the victim, much as one would in a story. Villain stories, of course, exaggerate others’ negative attributes, and victim stories make others out to be the innocent sufferers who have no role in this problem. And I think, you know, when we hear workplace stories, we can relate to that and people saying, “Well, my boss did this,” or “My boss did that,” or my coworker or the person who sits next to me. And it’s all about, you know, maybe them being the victim. “I didn’t do anything wrong. I was the perfect employee, but my boss is the villain.” So the advice is to approach the situation impartially without making assumptions about who may be right or wrong.

Susan 37:54
Right. And then the second point they brought up was start with the facts. When under stress, you know, it’s really natural that we jump to conclusions before considering the facts. For instance, if an employee omits important statistics from a report, a manager may instantly conclude that the employee is sloppy, forgetting that weeks ago another higher up told the worker the statistics weren’t necessary. Before reacting to stress, gather the facts. Don’t jump to a conclusion.

JoDee 38:20
And their third tip was to create safety. When people communicate under pressure, their emotions can hijack their positive intent. What others see and hear are the emotions, and that might be manifested in screaming or blaming or pointing fingers, rather than the manager’s true intent, which might be to draw the very best effort from the team. So as a result, others may get defensive or retreat from the manager. So when stressed share your positive intent. What is your goal? What is your expectation? And if others feel safe with you, they are far more open to working with you.

Susan 39:02
And you know, the one other last piece of advice I would give is, if you’re a manager and you know this about yourself, and I, we all know we’re quick to anger or we’re quick to, you know, make assumptions. Be, be the one, be the manager who talks to your team about “Hey, I know sometimes I fly off the handle, I know sometimes I react badly or I reflect on something I did last week and it didn’t feel right. I want all of you to know I’m working on this and I want you to help keep me honest.” I think that you can actually and absolutely ask your team to be coaches to you, too, so that your dark side, if you know you got it inside you, doesn’t rear its ugly head when you don’t want it to.

JoDee 39:38
Yeah, absolutely. Thank you for listening today. Please tune in next time. If you have missed any of our podcasts you can catch all episodes for free on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts by searching on the word “JoyPowered.” If you like our podcast, be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any upcoming episodes. And we’d love for you to rate and review us on Apple Podcasts. It helps people find our show. If you have questions on any HR topic, you can leave us a voicemail at 317-688-1613 or email us at joypowered@gmail.com. We are also on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter @joypowered. We welcome listener questions and comments.

Emily Miller
Emily Miller
Emily works behind the scenes at JoyPowered, helping to edit and publish the books, producing the podcast, and running the website and social media.

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