Home » Our Blog » 5 Essential Tools to Expand Your Influence
back to the top

5 Essential Tools to Expand Your Influence

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Google Plus Share through email Print it More share options

At the beginning of the year, Stacey Pezold, Paycom’s COO, encouraged us all to innovate. In addition to having an idea, she said that, in order to innovate, you have to:

  • get your mind in the right place, which is intent, and
  • ensure your heart is ready and open for change, which is inspiration.

But above all, you must have influence. This means that before people buy into an idea, they must first buy into the person. This makes influence such a critical component to becoming an innovator.

You might say, “But Jim, I’ve only been in my position for a few months. I can’t possibly have any influence.” Here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter what position you’re in or whether you’ve been here ten years or ten days. You can start being influential today if you use these five tools.

Tool One: Create the environment.

I was asked to coach sixth-grade basketball at my son’s school. However, this particular coaching job came with one stipulation: In addition to coaching the A team, made up of extremely athletic individuals, I would also have to coach the B team, the “Bad News Bears.” They played in fourth and fifth grade and had zero wins and 18 losses. They had two years of futility, but I was up for the challenge.

From the beginning, I set the same standard for both teams: At the end of this, both teams would walk away champions. I had no idea if we could do it or not, but I wanted all of the kids to hear that they could.

We started practice together with all 25 kids working the same drills. The top group we called Thunder and the new group we called Lightning. The Lightning would fall behind in team offense, so we incorporated a few Thunder players into the mix. Sure enough, the Lightning started picking up the pace. They learned how to move, how to cut, how to pass.

The first game of the season rolled around and the Lightning won! It was pandemonium in the stands. But the good news doesn’t end there; these boys ended up taking the championship title for their league.

What’s my point? We’re talking about influence and the Lightning team was positively influenced by the more experienced Thunder team. The Lightning witnessed the Thunder’s work ethic and practice habits. Eventually, they started doing the same thing. They started thinking, “maybe I can be a champion too.” Why? Because they were inspired and influenced to do it.

So my question for you is this: When people interact with you are they influenced to be better? Or like the B team, are they inspired to take their game to the next level?

Create the environment.

Tool Two: Understand the power of the written word.

In this digital age, it is uncommon to receive a handwritten note from someone. Its rarity is what makes the written word so powerful. College football recruiters keep this tool in their toolkit, and when they really want to make an impression on an athlete, the sit down and write a note by hand.

A handwritten letter is personal and unexpected; it shows respect, and it insinuates that someone put in the extra effort. Make an impact by sending a handwritten note. Customize your message and increase your influence.

Tool Three: Create your personal brand.

Just like companies have brands, we all have our own unique personal brands. What association do people make when they hear your name? Are you the person who makes people say, “Oh, Jim, he’s a good guy to have on your team, but you want to keep your distance on Monday mornings.” Influence depends a great deal on how people perceive you, so it is important that you make a conscious effort to cultivate a positive personal brand.  What do you want people to think about you?

Tool Four: Recognize that little things matter.

Don’t overlook the value of human contact. Tell people “good morning” when they walk into work.  Call people by name. Remember, the sweetest music to a person’s ears is the sound of his or her name. Recognize that the little things matter and you will make a greater impact.

Tool Five: Be a great listener.

When you become a great listener, you’ll notice that several things start happening. People want to talk to you.  They get to know more about you and they might even start asking you for advice. When people begin confiding in you, your influence starts to grow. You can make a lot of progress in terms of expanding your influence by becoming a great listener.


Jim Quillen

by Jim Quillen


Author Bio: As director of tax at Paycom, Jim Quillen is responsible for ensuring payments and returns are filed timely and accurately, and for eliminating tax issues with the potential to negatively impact clients. Quillen, a CPA by training, has worked in many fields during his career, including finance, auditing, recruiting, sales, business development and software implementation. Prior to his current role, Quillen has served Paycom as the director of business intelligence, director of new client implementation and director of recruiting.

Political Conversations

Political Conversations at Work

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Google Plus Share through email Print it More share options

In the wake of a heated post-election season, we’re reminded that political conversations in the workplace are inevitable. It is important for HR and managers to work together and guide employees out of potentially tumultuous situations without sacrificing a productive, politically diverse workforce.

Listen now to the HR Break Room podcast episode, Political Conversations at Work: Should HR Pass It or Veto It?

Identify politically sensitive conversations within your organization.

A political conversation can be categorized as a discussion about an issue or idea that impacts society, often tied to legislation or action taken by politicians on a local, state or federal level. When looking at your workplace, the most important piece in identifying these issues isn’t the “what,” but the “why?”

Heated conversations that risk creating a hostile work environment tie directly to each employee’s personal belief system; new legislation or political statements are often the match that ignites the flame.

A recent example is the Affordable Care Act. The piece of federal legislation is complex and steeped in policy, but workplace conversations surrounding the bill can  lead to arguments about states’ rights and the ethics of providing health care for all citizens. Opinions on those underlying beliefs is what drives the real office conflicts. Outside of the ACA, discussions about gender, race or religion, if left unchecked, can become toxic ingredients in a recipe for an unproductive and unhealthy work environment.

Good management minimizes conflict.

To minimize these scenarios of conflict, it is critical for managers to understand the underlying beliefs of their people. A manager who is aware of the dynamics of his or her team will be listening when office talk grows heated.

The goal of diffusing such talk is not to sanitize the beliefs of your employees, but rather to deflect the conversation to something more productive. Acknowledging the point of conflict and gently reminding employees of their work is a great way to steer these conversations that direction.

Know the power of HR’s acknowledgement in addressing political conversations.

Your HR department should be aware of potentially disruptive conversations before they become unsettling. Managers, consider informing HR of any toxic or recurring political conversations so they can begin constructing a department or companywide message to employees. In especially challenging cases, HR may need to consider a disciplinary or corrective policy to discourage instigators.

In a recent episode of our HR Break Room podcast, special guest Robin Schooling, described how her organization, Hollywood Casino Baton Rouge, handled politics immediately after the 2016 election.

“Within my HR team, we crafted a three-sentence answer so that we were all on the same page. When employees asked, ‘I know Washington is looking at the Affordable Care Act. How is that going to affect our particular plan, our health insurance?’ we had an answer prepared. Not only did we have an answer, we also shared it in the company newsletter as a way to acknowledge that we were watching the issue.”

When new policy is necessary, HR should be careful not to discriminate against those employees who want to engage in political activities outside of work. Talented employees who are passionate about their opinions could view strict company policy as an unattractive trait. Something as simple as acknowledgment of the issue to employees can put their minds at ease on the subject and reduce potentially heated discussions.

Manage political conversations in the office tomorrow by listening to this podcast today.

Create a politically diverse, yet cohesive work culture.

Ultimately, the message and the policy crafted by HR should be traced back to the organization’s culture created by senior leadership. It is crucial for company leadership to consider the perception of their employees: What are the employer’s values? Does it foster a culture that allows employees to have differing opinions and be open to discussions?

Leaders and managers need to lead by example when driving the conversation about political topics. Instead of squashing dialogue, educate managers on how to responsibly voice opinions and be human beings. In many circumstances, the best way to set the tone for an inclusive work culture is to encourage employees to reconsider engaging in such on-the-clock talk in the first place. Even a politically diverse work culture focuses on relationships and individuals without sacrificing a healthy, productive and desirable environment.

Posted in Blog, Compliance, Employment Law, Featured, HR Management, Talent Management

Caleb Masters

by Caleb Masters


Author Bio: Caleb is the host of The HR Break Room and a Webinar and Podcast Producer at Paycom. With more than 5 years of experience as a published online writer and content producer, Caleb has produced dozens of podcasts and videos for multiple industries both local and online. Caleb continues to assist organizations creatively communicate their ideas and messages through researched talks, blog posts and new media. Outside of work, Caleb enjoys running, discussing movies and trying new local restaurants.

Employee Experience

What the Employee Experience Is … and Is Not

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Google Plus Share through email Print it More share options

HR departments and C-suites nationwide are abuzz with talk of the “employee experience,” often abbreviated as “EX.” It is the sum of all interactions, good or bad, that an employee has during his or her term of employment with a company.

As defined by author and futurist Jacob Morgan in his new book on the topic, The Employee Experience Advantage, those EX interactions can be divided among three environments that surround the worker:

  • technology
  • workspace
  • culture

The EX concept posits that all three bear equal importance, and that focusing on their long-term design results in an engaged workforce. In turn, productive and happy workers yield loyal customers.

What would improving the employee experience do for your organization? Check out this on-demand HRCI- and SHRM -certified webinar as we break down specifics. 

In addition, Morgan’s research shows that companies that invest in the EX reap rewards over companies that do not, to the tune of:

  • four times higher profits
  • three times higher revenue per employee
  • 40% lower turnover

Sounds like to build a positive employee experience all you have to do is create a utopia of benefits and perks, right?

Wrong.

What the EX Isn’t

Remember, experts define the EX as a totality of experiences that an employee has at his or her place of work, from Day 1 to either resignation, termination or retirement. Providing a positive employee experience doesn’t require satisfying employees’ every whim along the way, or ensuring that every interaction leaves employees feeling euphoric. It just means that the positives in the sum have to outweigh the negatives; you’re simply aiming to become a place where people want to work and want to come to work. After all, everyone has his or her share of negatives while on the clock, and it is unrealistic to think any office to be all unicorns and lollipops, no matter how many nap pods may be on the premises.

The Millennial Factor

With millennials projected to make up at least 50% of the workforce by 2020, employers face a tech-dependent majority that not only is comfortable with using technology in the workplace, but expects to use it (per research conducted by Adobe). Therefore, millennials are primed to be more open to embracing an EX, which relies upon technology as one of its three legs of support.

One way to support this desire for technology companywide is through implementation of an employee self-service platform. Whereas earlier generations may be used to paper-based processes — from tracking hours worked to completing benefits forms — and, therefore, may be hesitant or resistant toward cloud-based, self-service software that accomplishes the same tasks, millennials overwhelming prefer to forego the manual in favor of the technical.

In a recent millennial survey by Price Waterhouse Cooper, 60% of the millennials surveyed said that an employer’s investment into workplace technology was important when considering a job. Self-service software fits in to that category, reducing the burden placed on HR while empowering these young talented workers to take charge of entering and managing their own information.​

But again, let us caution that technology is just one of three critical components organizations must address to build a strong EX. For more information on all three pillars of the EX, download our free infographic, “Building a Strong Employee Experience: What It Is and Why It Matters.

Tags: ,
Posted in Blog, Employee Engagement, Featured, HR Management, Talent Management

Rod Lott

by Rod Lott


Author Bio: As Paycom’s Creative Services Manager, Rod Lott brings more than two decades of experience in marketing, advertising, branding and journalism. A published author and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, he has worked with such brands as Blue Cross Blue Shield, Sonic Drive-In and OU.

Improve Employee Engagement

3 Ways to Immediately Improve Employee Engagement

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Google Plus Share through email Print it More share options

For some employers, having happy employees is a want-to, not a have-to – it isn’t a priority. Making payroll, launching new campaigns and pleasing shareholders seems a more necessary than trying to create engaged, fulfilled employees. But happy, engaged employees are far more important to the success of a company than one might think.

What would improving the employee experience do for your organization? Check out this on-demand HRCI- and SHRM -certified webinar as we break down specifics. 

A Gallup study reported a measurable link between employee engagement and eight common metrics used to measure a business’ success:

  1. Customer Ratings
  2. Profitability
  3. Productivity
  4. Turnover
  5. Safety
  6. Theft Prevention
  7. Attendance
  8. Quality of the final product

 

In fact, companies with engaged employees show 22 % higher profitability and 147 % higher earnings per share than companies without them.

Let’s agree that happy employees are an integral part of your company’s success — so how do we cultivate them?

How to Engage Your Team

While creating an engaged team won’t happen overnight, here are three ways to begin:

1.Equip your employees

Equip your team with tools like engagement surveys to find and improve weak points. Use goal-setting tools that empower employees to reach new heights in their careers.

2. Educate your employees

People love to learn, so host a brown-bag lunch once a week and offer industry-related classes in the office. Give them tools like the Myers-Briggs personality assessment so they can learn how they work best and how to work better with others. Teach corporate culture with high-quality online learning tools that employees can work through at their own pace.

3. Empower your employees

The days of people being cogs in a machine are over—happy, creative individuals make your business better. According to Seth Godin’s Linchpin, today’s employees crave responsibility, opportunity and the authority to make decisions. Create a culture that tells every employee he or she matters. Offer chances for everyone to pitch their big ideas. Give employees control over their own career decisions with employee self-service tools.

Look at your employees as individuals — individuals who want to learn, share their talents, know they’re making a difference and be part of a business they believe in. When your employees are happy, you, your investors and your customers will be, too.

Tags:
Posted in Blog, Employee Engagement, Featured, HR Management, What Employees Want

braeden.fair

by Braeden Fair


Author Bio: Braeden Fair produces webinars and podcasts for Paycom, in addition to writing content for the company’s blog and its employee culture magazine, Paycom Pulse. A graduate of Oklahoma Christian University, he managed social media for the college’s student life division and worked in the broadcasting departments of the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Dallas-based sports-talk radio station The Ticket.

X

Learn more about Paycom

  • Are you a current Paycom Client?

    Yes

    No

    • Talent Acquisition

    • Time & Labor Management

    • Payroll

    • Talent Management

    • HR Management

  • Subscribe me to Paycom's newsletter.

*Required

We promise never to sell, rent or share your personal information with a third party unless required by law. By submitting this form, you accept our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.