Thank God It's Monday!® Blog

Dress for Success

There was a time when a suit and tie for men, and a skirt, jacket and blouse for women was the norm for business. Then came Casual Friday. Soon it spread into the rest of the week as employers started giving “casual days” as rewards for performance. On any given day, most offices are now a crazy quilt of business and casual dress.

But decades of research have shown that “business casual” can quickly become “business casualty.”

Dress for Success author John Malloy puts people in various scenarios to see how they react to others in various types of dress. Time after time, the more casually someone was dressed, the less they are taken seriously, listened to, or even noticed at all.

Will you be respected if a client walks in and you are dressed for Casual Friday? No matter how feverishly you explain, some credibility is definitely lost.

It’s not even just a matter of outside visitors. How you present yourself matters internally as well. Along the promotional path, for example, there are certain unwritten rules. Whether you think that’s fair doesn’t matter—it’s a fact confirmed by research. If the boss is accustomed to seeing you in clothing that’s too casual, your name is much less likely to rise to the top at promotion time.

To earn trust, honesty is the best policy

Too many employees think that in order to have a smooth, drama-free workplace, they have to sugarcoat their communications with others in the company.

In fact, the opposite is often true.

Spinning bad news or sugarcoating feedback can lead employees to distrust what you say. That road leads not to engagement but to disengagement.
Great employees at every level respect those around them enough to be direct and truthful. That doesn’t mean harsh, of course. You can and should tell the truth in a kind and empathetic way. Just don’t let your kindness and desire to avoid conflict get in the way of authentic truth-telling.

Being honest encourages an open and healthy culture. A recent study by the Corporate Executive Board found that companies with a culture that encourages open, honest communication tend to out-perform less open competitors by more than 270% in ten-year shareholder return.

Start building a workplace culture of honest, direct communication today with your own communications. The payoff is too big to ignore.

Boost your company’s online reviews

You know that online reviews on sites like Yelp and Yahoo can make or break a business. As an employee who cares about the company’s success, you’ve recruited every friend and relative to boost the reviews, but your company’s competitor across town has 500 reviews and counting.

How do they do it?

The odds are good that they are actively recruiting reviews from actual customers. No matter where you are in the company, you can do the same.

If you’re on the front line, ask every single customer to leave a review about their experience. Put the request on every receipt, all paperwork, and in every email you ever send. Offer a discount or entrance into a drawing. And always ask for honest reviews, not just good ones.

If you have 500 customers a day, and only one percent of them post reviews, you’ll have over a hundred new reviews by the end of a month, and more than a thousand at the end of a year.

That’s buzz worth creating.

Employee engagement is not yesterday’s news – it’s tomorrow’s

It’s as predictable as the sunrise. Now that employee engagement has been on everyone’s lips for a while, it’s time for the backlash. Countless articles and talking heads are now saying employee engagement is a flash in the pan, the flavor of the month, yesterday’s news.

That’s not just a concern for management. It’s a concern for employees. After all, it’s YOUR engagement they’re talking about!

Don’t believe the naysayers for a minute. The research says otherwise—not just one or two studies in obscure journals, but hundreds of studies by major researchers published in the top business and management journals. Employee engagement directly drives employee productivity.

Engagement also drives retention. Deloitte’s annual Best Companies to Work For survey found that engaged employees are much more likely to stay longer than disengaged employees, even if the disengaged employees earn more. The staying power of higher income wears off in the face of the disengagement.

So tell those naysayers to tell it to the hand. And while you’re at it, make sure the boss knows as well. Employee engagement is a proven winner, and it’s here to stay.

Employee engagement is everyone’s job—that includes you. What are you doing today to make sure you “choose” to enjoy our job more AND make it a better place to work.

How’s your relationship with your boss?

A recent study by Dale Carnegie Training found that fewer than 30 percent of employees are fully engaged at work. But the survey went further, asking those engaged employees what accounts for their engagement. The number one factor? Their relationship with their immediate supervisor.

This isn’t the first time personal relationships have been found to be important for engagement. Gallup research has found the same result for years.

That doesn’t mean managers and direct reports have to go on long walks together or bond over a candlelight dinner. They just have to communicate clearly and authentically, connect, and bring their whole hearts and minds to their workplace relationships.

Your relationship with your boss is one of your most important relationships. Fortunately a great deal is in your control. Keep her fully informed on the status of things, always tell the truth, go above and beyond, and always support her projects.

Most of all, speak positively about your boss. Of course she has flaws…and so do you. Ask for what you need and don’t beat her up for what she isn’t. Bring your higher self to the relationship.

Nurture your relationship with your boss and build trust by hitting your numbers and your deadlines and you will build a relationship that will serve you well all through your career.