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How to Handle Workplace Bullying

frustrated employee

Today’s modern, dynamic, rapidly-moving workplace comes with many advantages. We benefit from agile organizational structures with an atmosphere where anyone can shine. Or, at least, that’s what we like to say. And while these benefits make a big difference in employee’s lives, the changing modern workplace has also changed what bullying looks like, transforming it from open abuse of power into something that tends to be quieter, manipulative, and more insidious.

With open-faced bullying seen as totally unacceptable, workplace bullying often instead takes the form of competitive employees defaming others, attempting to manufacture situations where they’ll look like the hero. For example, a common tactic employed by this kind of toxic personality is to claim credit for co-worker’s key deliverables. Then, they’ll use those same deliverables as evidence of why they’re a better performer than their ‘target’. When conflicts invariably spring up from these lies, if management isn’t careful, workplace bullies will tend to have the edge in the ‘he-said, she-said’ conflict due to focusing more on telling executives about the work ‘they’ did rather than actually doing the work.

Handling Office Conflict Responsibly

Needless to say, workplace bullies can destroy a team’s cohesion and productivity, and it’s essential for leadership to detect and remove these kinds of people ASAP before they can gain power in the office. That being said, rushing to fire someone who exhibits bullying behavior is not always the correct move! There are a range of reasons why an employee might engage in bullying; including personal insecurities or even mental illness. 

While stopping bullying is critical, it’s also important to understand motivation for an effective response. That might include sensitivity training sessions, a recommendation to see a therapist, or simply termination from the company. As a leader, it will ultimately fall on you to decide which approach is right for your situation.

Common Patterns of Workplace Bullies

It’s also important not to misconstrue or hastily judge the situation. Behaviors that appear to be rooted in bullying may in fact stem from deeper, institutional issues within the organization, such as cruel or over-competitive traditions. To help distinguish, here are some common patterns of legitimate bullies in the workplace:

  • Consistently redirecting conversations about team efforts to focus exclusively on their personal contribution
  • Displaying a lack of empathy or care for the feelings or workload of others
  • Highly judgemental, and willing to delay or jeopardize projects over minor personal issues
  • Takes poorly to any kind of criticism, even constructive criticism, often viewing it as insulting

How To Document and Report Conflict

These traits all but guarantee someone is a bad fit for any workplace. If you start to notice them, there’s a real chance that you have a workplace bully on your hands! And if you’re an employee stuck in a situation with a bullying co-worker or even boss, make sure to document a pattern of behavior before presenting to Human Resources. Not only will it help you construct a case, but also allow you to examine your relationship with your co-worker. A detached perspective will help you understand if it’s actually a case of workplace bullying or something else entirely. No matter the case, your office will feel the positive impact of removing toxic influences. And you might be surprised how fast things change when you take action!

Check out PerkSpot’s Five Focus Areas for Building a Better Workplace for more advice on building healthy, sustainable long-term culture at your organization.

Turning Your Objectives into Real Results

idea wall

Anyone who’s ever been part of a strategy meeting knows that coming up with objectives is always the easiest part. Managers and entrepreneurs especially can relate to that nagging feeling of “too many ideas, too little time’. Coming up with amazing ideas might not be easy, but turning a great concept into positive metrics is the real challenge.

In many ways, bridging the gap from idea to result is the core responsibility of any team leader, as nearly every team – no matter how talented and happy to be in the organization – depends on you to ‘steer the ship’ and productively direct their efforts.

That being said, you’ll have a much easier time acting on your ideas with a supportive, engaged, and satisfied team to carry out action plans. But even the best team needs direction and guidance to turn those concepts into something tangible. So, without further ado, here’s three concrete tips to keep in mind as you build your next big campaign!

Set Deadlines and Keep To Them

Remember when you’re setting up your deadlines that unexpected roadblocks can always cause delays. Building a reasonable deadline means accounting for the possibility of delays – so take the time to think about them beforehand! Keeping to your deadlines encourages employees to closely follow your campaign plans and fosters a culture of not only trust but also mutual accountability  – making it far easier to transform those objectives into tangible results!

Don’t Delay Moving on your Action Items

It’s rare that any project will have total smooth sailing without any unexpected hurdles along the way. The best way to prepare for delays is to get started on your project plan immediately! The power of getting started promptly is often underestimated, but hitting the ground running sets the tone and pace. If a lethargic start can lead to an underwhelming project, an enthusiastic one can set the stage for greatness. Demonstrate that you’re serious about turning your ideas into action by tackling execution enthusiastically right off the bat!

Lead by Example – Show, Don’t Tell

Most important of all is to be directly involved in the process. You can help through personal, visible contribution on key items, or by providing a clear and reasonable roadmap to the team that breaks down the wider objective into bite-size elements matching individual talents. Translating your ideas to results is often a matter of initiative. Big ideas are never easy! And sometimes, they can look harder when you get to documenting every step you’ll need. But by providing clear direction and quick, steady movement on each point, you can get the results of your dreams! For many top-level objectives in Human Resources, PerkSpot can be a part of the solution, providing actionable benefits that impact your organization’s turnover and retention rate. Reach out now, or learn more about how PerkSpot can help you reach your goals!

4 Reasons Behind High Turnover Rates (And How to Solve Them)

What does a business need to be successful? Some would say producing best in class, appealing products; others would say top quality customer service. Both factors are undeniably necessary, but for bigger businesses, there’s one metric of success that’s even more important: your employees. And just anyone’s butt in the chair won’t cut it. At the top levels, you need hard-working, committed staff that will help you advance your goals. Feel like you’ve got a fantastic team? Great – but there is another challenge that you’ll need to overcome. If you’ve got the best staff, you want to ensure they stick around, which means keeping turnover down.

If your voluntary turnover is high, it shows that staff aren’t happy with their working situation. There are lots of reasons why you’d want to keep voluntary turnover on the decline – for one, the cost of replacing an employee ranges from one-half to two times the employee’s salary. But how can you keep turnover levels low? The following four steps will help you keep your workers happy and content. 

Image sourced from Quantumworkplace.com

1. Poor Management 

Looking for one of the top causes of workers leaving their jobs? You’d be hard pushed to beat poor management. The best team leaders can inspire their teams to work harder while utilizing the unique skills of different members. The worst leaders do the opposite.

You might want to consider new leadership if you’re encountering the following issues:

  • Unmotivated employees
  • Lack of cohesion between teams
  • Burnt out employees.
  • Leaders setting poor standards

These are just a few examples of bad management. These practices will only cause you harm and do little to help you retain employees. Don’t underestimate the importance of leadership in the workplace. If your current leaders aren’t up to scratch, find new ones.   

2. Not Enough Opportunities for Progression 

Most people don’t take on a job to stay in the same position forever. Employees want to advance and grow in their careers. If workers feel they aren’t getting enough opportunities to progress, they’ll turn over to go elsewhere. Instead, you’ll want staff to feel they have a clear path to climbing the career ladder. You could consider a talent management strategy.

It means creating a culture of development. In other words, the idea of development and progression should be an intrinsic part of your organization. Try to offer continuous education throughout every layer of your business. Even those at the top still have room to learn more. Those at the bottom will be keen to grow their skill sets and advance. So for their sakes, it’s best to make learning materials easy to access, mobile or otherwise!

3. Hiring Externally 

rapid turnover firing hiring

Image sourced from Unsplash

One pitfall a lot of businesses fall into is only offering high-level roles externally. There’s a clear logic to hiring externally; you can choose from a larger pool of candidates. But reliance on external recruitment can have a major impact on employee morale, especially for critical mid-level managerial and executive positions; morale impacts that translate directly into higher turnover.

Put yourselves in the shoes of an employee for a moment. You’ve devoted long hours and shown commitment to your organization. But when the opportunity for a promotion crops up, you’re overlooked in favor of an external hire. In this instance, you probably won’t want to stick around much longer. 

Ultimately, if employees are putting in the effort, they should have the opportunity for a promotion.    

4. Recognize Your Employees 

A little recognition goes a long way. A contributing factor to high turnover rates is a failure to show appreciation for the efforts of your workers. Obviously, you don’t want to be gushing praise constantly. But when teams or individual workers do well, you should let them know.

Recognition can take many forms. It could mean setting up an employee of the month scheme. Using a conference calling system, you can announce each month’s winner in front of the team. This is a great way of showing recognition while building a healthy sense of rivalry between teams.

If you want to go the extra step, you could set up a discount program for the highest performers. The more recognition and feedback you offer to your employees, the more valued they will feel. 

Employee Satisfaction Is Key  

happy employees high five

Image sourced from Unsplash

There are some areas in business that are just common sense – like retaining good employees.

Some employee turnover is natural. People don’t stay in the same position forever; they move on to new opportunities and horizons. But if voluntary turnover levels are high, you should be more worried. If your organization isn’t providing a positive environment for your workers, it reflects badly on you.

Start by asking yourself, ‘why are people leaving?’. Is there a problem with management, or perhaps you’re failing to provide a route for your employees to progress? You can’t just click your fingers and make your workers happy. As shown here, retaining workers takes commitment.

But if you look to the roots of the problem and work to find a solution, you’ll foster a much happier workforce. So, make sure you’ve on top of your turnover rate!

 

This contributor post was written by Jenna BunnellSenior Content Marketing Manager at Dialpad.

Dialpad is an AI-incorporated cloud-hosted call center platforms that provides valuable call details for business owners and sales representatives. Jenna is driven and passionate about communicating a brand’s design sensibility and visualizing how content can be presented in creative and comprehensive ways. Jenna Bunnell also published articles for domains such as SME News and Together Platform.

Using Clear and Open Communication to Build Better Business


Thought leaders, motivational speakers and executive strategists alike continue to stress the crucial importance of quality communication for business success, regardless of industry. But at first glance, it looks like they’re just advocating for the obvious; after all, who
really needs a guide on how to communicate? If there’s anything that comes natural to us, it’s the ability to communicate what we’re thinking and feeling to other humans, right?

 

Multi-colored transparent heads engaging in close communication

 

Well, yeah. But when we put communications in the context of massive operations spanning dozens or even hundreds of corporate employees, things can get a lot more complicated, very fast.

The most important thing to remember about quality office communication is that more meetings does not equal better communication. In fact, the opposite is true; the more concisely you are able to express your ideas to the rest of the team, the more clear the final message will be. Don’t  just set up dozens of meetings with every employee or invite everyone to technical meets where most won’t have anything to contribute; instead, seek to partition employees into areas where their specific strengths and experience can be leveraged, and only bring them into the loop when their insights will provide some momentum to the larger conversation. To avoid falling into the trap of scheduling meeting after meeting to communicate your intents, remember the three E’s of employee communications; Explain your motivations, manage your Expectations, and lead by Example. 

The Three E’s

Explaining your motivations seems obvious, but it’s easy to forget in the heat of meetings! Even though a plan might be perfectly clear in your mind, employees can’t figure out what you’re thinking unless you tell them. If you have a specific vision in mind for an element, it’s essential that you clearly explain that vision right off the bat; don’t just tell your employees that you need a flier, explain how you envision it being used and what audience you want it to hit. Remember that just because you see things a certain way doesn’t mean that everyone else will have the same assumptions!

Managing expectations is the second key step of fostering quality communication. Although it’d be nice to be able to perfectly communicate exactly what you need on the first pass, every time, it rarely works out like that in reality. If you’re returned something that doesn’t match up with your expectations, it’s important to not get frustrated. Instead, try to identify what exactly it was that the other party misunderstood; often, small differences in envisioned use can create significantly different final results. By pinpointing the miscommunication, you identify the root cause of the issue rather than trying to provide touch-ups to the minute details.

Finally, you should strive to lead by example. Making visual aids or other active resources can help enormously in presenting a unified vision on a project, or offering employees a skeleton framework for ideation will keep them tethered to the core concepts you outline. By actively involving yourself in the process in these ways, you can reduce miscommunication enormously and course-correct through showing – rather than telling at a barrage of circular meetings.

Building Effective Communication Structures

Clear and precise communication is also part of what makes PerkSpot such a breeze to use. As a one-stop discount platform, PerkSpot communicates on your behalf to your employees, making them aware of and engaged with their benefits. To learn more about how PerkSpot’s discount program can help boost morale and benefit employees, request a demo and find out! 

Hopefully with these tips in mind, you can help make your workspace a less confusing and more productive environment. As long as you remember that honest, open communication is key to any successful business, you’re sure to see the results.

Why Managing Isn’t Necessarily Leading

If you’ve been in the workplace for a decent amount of time, you’ve probably noticed that all managers are not necessarily leaders. In fact, sometimes the strongest leaders in the office are not in management at all. Why is that? What are these hidden characteristics that define leaders versus managers?

These are the five ways managers are different than leaders:

1. Leaders inspire others with vision.
2. Leaders practice humility.
3. Leaders trust others to carry out tasks to completion.
4. Leaders are confident, but not overbearing.
5. Leaders think larger than their own point of view.

1. Vision

One differentiating factor between a manager and a leader is that leaders inspire others with their vision. Management requires only that you mandate tasks and ensure that your team is completing them quickly and efficiently. Leadership, on the other hand, means you inspire others to think beyond the task at hand and focus on the overall mission. They inspire employees not just to do the work, but to love it by casting vision passionately and articulately.

2. Humility

Quite possibly the most important trait of a strong leader is humility. That’s why it’s one of our core values here at PerkSpot. We believe a great workplace cannot exist without it. The strongest leaders are ones who aren’t afraid to admit when they’re wrong. They possess the humility to share the spotlight with others, recognizing their achievements and pushing them to be the best version of themselves.

3. Trust

It’s 2019. No one micromanages anymore, right? Unfortunately, micromanagement is still alive and well in our workplaces. Leaders, on the contrary, do not micromanage. True leadership means trusting others to carry out responsibilities. In fact, the best workplaces are those which empower employees to use their strengths. Even the best leaders can’t be good at everything. That’s why it’s important to build a strong team around you and trust them to work together towards your mission.

4. Confidence

Confidence is a common trait among leaders, but not every assertive person in the workplace is a great leader. Any manager can be confident, but leaders are careful not to exhort their confidence over people. Instead, they speak their mind while also listening to other opinions. This trait goes hand in hand with humility, as it takes the perfect balance of both to create great leaders.

5. Perspective

Many managers get lost in their own personal point of view, or even their team’s. Great leaders are able to step outside of their own agendas and look at the greater good. They are able to (confidently and humbly) unify everyone towards a common goal. This is perhaps the most difficult trait to learn, but it’s what truly differentiates a manager from a leader.

Do you manage a team or are you working on your leadership skills? Tell us what you think makes a great leader in the comments.

6 Everyday Employee Engagement Tips

Today’s world of HR focuses a lot of time, effort and money on fancy employee engagement systems. While obviously it’s important to develop a clear strategy and invest in your employees, there are also simple ways to focus on employee engagement right now.

Here are six everyday employee engagement tips:

Revise Your Onboarding Strategy

Employee engagement starts on day one. Maybe you work in a small company (like PerkSpot!) that doesn’t have a full-blown onboarding program for new hires. For many employees, stepping foot into a new office can feel like stepping out of a plane into a foreign country. Be sure to include them in team activities, cross-departmental meetings, and explain any concepts that may be unique to your business or brand. This will ensure they feel included and as a result, engaged!

Listen and Respond

This is a complete no-brainer, but so many times we go through the motions without stopping to take a moment to listen to our employees. Think about the last time you had a one-on-one with one of your employees. If it’s been over two weeks, it’s time to schedule another. In today’s fast-paced world, it’s super important to keep up with your employees. Whether it’s a five-minute check-in or an hour-long chat at the nearby coffee shop, take time this week to learn how you can serve them a little better.

Talk About Something Other Than Work

As managers or HR officials, it’s often difficult to engage with employees on a more personal level, but when it comes to employee engagement, this might be the missing key. We aren’t telling you to spill your deepest, darkest secrets to your employees, but maybe take a moment this week to ask them about that movie they saw recently or that restaurant they just visited. Spend time getting to know them. You may find yourself understanding more about their work habits as a result and they’ll appreciate your interest.

Recognize Their Efforts

Again, a complete no-brainer when it comes to employee engagement, but why is it that only a third of U.S. employees say they’ve received recognition in the past week? It’s easy to forget to say “thank you” or “job well done”, but it’s so important. Consider ways to recognize your top performers this week and show your appreciation.

With PerkSpot, we make it easy to acknowledge employees with real-time recognition and rewards.

Be Transparent

Do you sit on a board that receives inside information? Are you part of the C-Suite? If you’re privy to info that the rest of the company might not know, consider opportunities to share these insights with your employees. Obviously, some information is sensitive and can’t be shared, but where there are opportunities to be transparent, make sure you are taking advantage. Share different challenges leadership is facing or exciting new directions where the company is looking to grow.

Evaluate Responsibilities

One of the quickest ways for employees to get burnt out or bored is to fill their lives with checklists, not responsibilities. In the chaos of work, it’s easy to get lost in millions of to-dos, without taking time to be strategic. Consider ways your employees can step up and own projects, not just simple tasks. Give them ownership and responsibility and find ways to push them to grow. This will ensure they stay engaged and motivated throughout their career.

What are some ways you’ve found to keep your employees engaged every day?

What Culture Is (and Isn’t)

We throw the word around a lot but many of us don’t really spend time thinking about what company culture really means. You may think of unlimited vacation days, ping pong tables, outings with coworkers, or fun office events. These things may be a part of your culture, but is that all there is to it? What makes a company culture good or bad? How do we define what culture is (and isn’t)?

Culture Is… the Feeling Before Work in the Morning

We all get the Sunday Scaries so we’re not talking about a total escape from the actual work aspect of your job. But, the way you feel before work in the morning does speak a lot to your company culture. Do you dread seeing people when you get to the office? Are you overwhelmed with pressure from your boss? A great company culture knows how to motivate you to be your best and gives you work that challenges you in the right ways. It means waking up in the morning with an excitement for what lies ahead and anticipation for your future at the company.

Culture Isn’t… All Play and No Work

Sure, ping pong tables and beer on tap are great and can be a piece of your culture, but they aren’t the true meat behind what makes a company a great place to work. Perhaps you notice that more people seem to be extending their lunches but the number of new projects is slowly dwindling. If that’s the case, you might be in danger of having a sinking culture. What started off as an opportunity to motivate employees has become a distraction and there may be something deeper going on beyond the surface. Maybe these perks are nothing more than workplace traps.

Culture Is… Freedom to Express Ideas and Concerns

True company culture values transparency and honesty in the workplace. You should have open forums to discuss ideas and opportunities to ensure employees are heard. Great company cultures don’t pretend like everything is going well when it isn’t. Great cultures embrace the challenges and find ways to create solutions. They know how to include employees in solving problems and moving the business forward.

Culture Isn’t… Meaningless Perks

There are some crazy perks out there. From breast milk shipping to helicopter rides, not all perks are created equal. That’s why it’s important to provide benefits and perks that will apply to every employee. Culture doesn’t mean adding to your long list of (unused and unwanted) company perks. Provide perks that matter to everyone. Because 48% of employees are worried about their current financial state, providing an employee discount program that puts cash back in your employees’ pockets is a great way to add perks that make an impact for any employee.

Culture Is… Saying Thank You

One of the best ways to create a great company culture is by saying two little words: thank you. In fact, 80% of employees said they are more motivated to stay at a job longer and work harder when they receive appreciation for their work. Cultures with built-in recognition programs know how to reward employees the right way.

How would you define culture and what makes your company culture great?

Managing Up

This summer, we’ve held weekly “Lunch and Learns” with our interns where one of our executives chats with us about their career journey: their current role, their past mistakes and everything in-between.

Yesterday, our VP of Sales shared some great advice about “Managing Up”. He spoke to the importance of aligning your projects with your manager’s goals. No matter if you’re an intern, a Human Resources Manager or a VP of Sales, this advice rings true for all of us.

Let’s unpack what “Managing Up” looks like:

Know Your Mission and Values

A great way to know if your goals are aligned with your manager’s goals is taking a step back and focusing on your company’s mission and values. Examine if your priorities reflect your business objectives. If it’s not, it might be time to re-evaluate.

Your Manager is a Person, Too

Sometimes it can be easy to think that your boss is a cog in the machine. But your manager is a real person with real life stressors and emotions. By understanding even a small portion of how they tick, what’s happening in their personal lives, or even their educational or professional background, you’re more likely to develop a positive working relationship.

Know Their Goals, Anticipate Their Needs

This is both spoken and unspoken. Ask your manager what their priorities are for the next month, 3 months or 6 months. Make sure your goals are aligned with what they’re trying to accomplish and touch base to see how you might be able to problem-solve or push past obstacles that are standing in their way. This is a great way to take ownership, prove your dedication and show your initiative.

Teach Them How to Manage You

Your manager will never know your hopes and dreams unless you tell them. Dying to work on that project? Tell them where you can add value. They’ll be thrilled to have someone fill in gaps and work on tasks they may not have time to do. You’ll get the experience you’re looking for all while adding value and marking things off your boss’s to-do list. Win-win.

Whether your boss is amazing or a textbook micro-manager, “Managing Up” can do wonders for your career and help you maintain a great working relationship as a direct report.

What Gen Z Wants

Out with the old and in with the new! Generation Z is entering the workforce, and it is time for organizations to be prepared for their many needs compared to millennials. The next group of young adults is a tech-savvy and inquisitive group of talent, born in a time when political and socioeconomic polarities impacted society (think: economic crash, Sandy Hook, etc.).

If you’re looking to redefine your employee appreciation language for the next generation of workers, consider this.

Who Are Gen Z

Generation Z are born after 1995 and have major respect for personal engagement at work and technology to balance work productivity. These employees will travel the world in order to pursue the career of their dreams. Most are highly intelligent and curious, asking questions on the job to develop ideas for operational improvement initiatives. Unlike millennials, they have realistic expectations for their employers and are vocal in presenting their ideas, despite their lack of work experience.

What Gen Z Wants

As you review a student resume, it is important to search for the skills of your ideal employee that can add value to the team. Try searching for action words such as “invented”, “developed”, “organized”, and “achieved” when creating a shortlist of candidates. Generation Z’s experience will primarily be in committee work on campus, volunteering, internships, and classroom projects, which offer transferable skills that can be used in the workplace. Their lack of experience is an advantage because their perspective of the outside world and discussions with their parents can result in unconventional ideas that can potentially help a company grow.

Salary Expectations

Generation Z grew up when the economy started to recover in North America. If the economic downfall didn’t impact their parents, someone in their circle of friends has a story. This age group, unlike millennials, does not expect to be guaranteed a high salary after graduation. Most realize that the starting salary can start at less than $36,000. According to Fast Company, “Among young college graduates, average wages are $19.18 per hour—only 1.4% higher than in 2000.” Nonetheless, there is an expectation that with experience and time also comes an increase in income before retirement.

Open Discussions with Management

Technology is second nature to Generation Z, but a face-to-face connection with their manager is still vital for career development. It is important to foster open communication. When employee’s feel heard, this adds value to their work experience. These professionals aim to work at organizations that will guide their career with regular performance evaluations.

Workplace Cultures

Flexible workplaces are here to stay for Gen Z with an emphasis on an area for employees to relieve stress and focus on work-life balance. The CEO should project this type of culture down to management.  This helps the group flourish in a company that genuinely practices these initiatives.

Here is a list of flexible work options to consider:

  • A gym in the building
  • Room for employees to destress (i.e., game room, TV room, sleep room)
  • Options to work from home (i.e., once a month)

In addition, well-being programs and personalized healthcare benefits for employees are additional examples worth implementing at your company.

Acknowledged and Taken Seriously

There are many common misconceptions about Generation Z. They do not respect authority, are glued to their phones, lack social skills, and do not want to work hard.  The truth is, Gen Z has an entrepreneurial spirit. However, this also comes with its own advantages. Gen Z isn’t afraid to work longer hours and benefits from how their work positively impacts a company. This group values the opinions of their superiors and working alongside seasoned professionals in their department. They have the confidence to socialize with executives in meetings and share their ideas about customer experience improvements.

As you begin hiring Generation Z at your business, consider what these employees want, the strengths of this generation, and the desired benefits in your decision-making process.

Building Your Network

If your January was anything like ours, your resolutions might have already gone out the window. But wait. Take a deep breath and start February off on a better foot.

You might have a million goals you’re hoping to accomplish this year, but there is one thing we’re putting at the top of our list. So, if you do nothing else this year, do this.

Network, Network, Network

Too often our goals revolve around being more productive, finishing a project, or asking for a promotion or raise. While all great things to reach for, there is one thing that can set your career off on the right foot like nothing else can – meeting new people. More importantly, meeting the right people. In fact, 80% of professionals, according to a LinkedIn survey, said that networking is important to career success and another 70% were hired at a company due to their connections.

Whether you’re hoping to move up the ladder or find a new position elsewhere, here are five ways to conquer networking this year:

1. Get over yourself.

Yes, networking is awkward. Yes, you’re going to be tired and not want to put on your happy face. But chances are you’ll never regret bumping elbows and learning something new. Some people struggle with the idea that they’re inconveniencing someone, but remember that most people are GLAD to help and will be flattered at your outreach (if you do it the right way – here are a few tips).

2. Be genuine.

Don’t just go into every conversation thinking about what you can get out of it. Remember that these are real people and engage them just like you would at any other social event. Be personable and authentic, asking them questions and… LISTEN. Absorb what they’re saying and repeat it back to them. Plus, if you do it right, you might even make a new friend along the way.

3. Follow up.

This is key to making the most out of every connection. Send a follow-up email. If they were interested in an article you referenced, send them the link! Or maybe they told you about a friend who was struggling with something similar at work… ask them to connect you! If they were helpful in person, they should be more than happy to follow through, so don’t be afraid to ask. And of course, don’t be afraid to help either. Find ways to thank them for their time or assist them in something you may have discussed over coffee or a drink.

What are your favorite tips for networking? We’d love to hear from you!