Remaining Human in 2019

In college, I gave a speech about remaining human after graduation. I really wish I had saved a copy to see if my 2019 self would agree or possibly challenge some of my conventional wisdom at that time. If I were to take a stab at what the crux of my message was it probably revolved around kindness, being considerate, looking for the good in others, and appreciating others.

Flash forward to now, all of these ideas still hold true but technology has changed the playing field. Why call someone if you have a problem with this individual – compose a public tweet to call her or him out on it? Does it need to be true? Nahhh…just publish. Worry about a retraction or apology later.

How about a desperate job seeker looking for an opportunity? No sooner has the person entered their information into an ATS, an auto-reply comes back and says that the company is moving forward with other candidates who are more qualified. Seriously – all of that from resume keywords? Not even a phone call to see if the person has heart, grit, passion, and determination?

If I were to give a speech now about remaining human, I would mention all of things I did 20+ years ago but would add:

Think about what your social media posts say about you as a person. Do they portray you in a good light? Do you come off as impulsive? Do you have all of the facts or a whole story to even offer an opinion? Is your goal to be uplifting or just bash/trash/crash as many people and events as you can?

Be deliberate and intentional. If you have a disagreement with someone, think through your response. Take others’ feelings into account. Or, as the old adage goes, put yourself in someone else’s shoes.

Practice giving people grace. Former President George W. Bush famously said, “Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples – while judging ourselves by our best intentions. And this has strained our bonds of understanding and common purpose.” That is so true. We have no idea what goes on in someone’s life outside of work. Sure, colleagues share things but usually not the really painful or bad things. You may not know if they have a sick child or parent, financial hardships, or a spousal/significant other problem.

As much as you can, be someone who listens, can keep a confidence, and provide resource ideas to those that need it. Use technology for what it is. It is a tool. It should be one tool in the box. Don’t rely on or hide behind it. Remember to pick up the phone, or better yet, go and deliver news face-to-face instead of by email or text. A little human TLC goes a long way in breaking any kind of message to others.

Above all, we should all look for the good and positives in all situations, instead of immediately jumping to the negatives and worst-case scenarios. How do you plan to remain human in 2019 and beyond?

As Senior Vice President of People, Heather is a member of the executive team, providing leadership to departments within the corporation that directly impact EMJ’s culture, including benefits, learning and recruiting. Heather has more than 20 years of experience in employee resources-related fields. She is a national member of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) and is designated as both a SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) and a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). Heather is a DDI-certified trainer and an accomplished speaker. She lives in Chattanooga with her husband and three children.

Values: Know them. Say them. Live them.

At a recent luncheon, a retired Lieutenant General asked the audience, “What are your values?” Everyone sat silently for a moment or two letting that question sink in. No one dared to shout out an answer—either out of intimidation or maybe because we don’t really think about them often enough to verbalize (in front of a decorated general) much less live them.

I thought about my personal values for the rest of the day and how they impact my interactions with others and how I view myself, my job, and those close to me. What I value most includes: integrity, humility, honesty, respect, grit, passion, selflessness, trustworthiness and creativity. All of them are important to how I want to live and how I want to be viewed. I don’t think I would be comfortable with forsaking one for another—they are all in my DNA and how I want to conduct myself.

My challenge for all of you is this—if you were asked over lunch to verbalize your values, would you be able to? Would the list be accurate, not just words that someone wants to hear, but what you truly believe and how you carry yourself? Are you passionate about each one? Would others use the same words to describe you?

Values are important, and we should never forget or abandon them. We should be able to call upon them in any situation that we encounter during our work and personal time. They should be unique to each of us, and we should appreciate others’ values as much as our own.

Click here to learn more about EMJ Corporation and its values.

 

As Senior Vice President of People, Heather is a member of the executive team, providing leadership to departments within the corporation that directly impact EMJ’s culture, including benefits, learning and recruiting. Heather has more than 20 years of experience in employee resources-related fields. She is a national member of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) and is designated as both a SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) and a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). Heather is a DDI-certified trainer and an accomplished speaker. She lives in Chattanooga with her husband and three children.

Why we ask our employees funny questions

At EMJ, we talk a lot about our purpose, to be people serving people, and delivering exceptional construction experiences to our clients. We know we can’t do that without fully engaged employees who are enthusiastic about and committed to their work.

To make sure we’re developing our employees, we partnered with Gallup, a performance-management consulting firm. Through Gallup, we conduct a regular Annual Employee Engagement Survey, which both engages EMJ employees through feedback and analyzes present engagement through a simple, 12-question survey.

“We partner with Gallup because its surveys are backed by decades of research that prove those 12 questions have direct impact on business outcomes,” said Nicole Gaiser, Vice President of People, EMJ. “The survey allows managers and employees to focus on workplace elements they can directly impact and improve, and that help us deliver our strategic plan.”

One of the questions that Gallup asks our people is, “Do you have a best friend at work?” That can seem like a funny question, and we’ve had some lively discussion about it. But, this article from Quartz at Work, Parents need best friends at work the most, puts it in context. Here are a couple of our favorite excerpts:

“Best friends have an impact on employee engagement that no other kind of friend does.

“Managers can help navigate work issues. Spouses can help think through family stuff. But only a best friend at work can do both, with an abiding concern for the person struggling to sort it all out.

“So to spur genuine friendships, concentrate on engagement. Do it for your company—engaged workers are much more productive and profitable. Do it to meet your own goals—people with best friends at work are better at engaging customers, produce higher quality work, and get hurt on the job less often. And, maybe, do it for your own social well-being. After all, the best friend relationship you spark may be your own.”

We spend time talking to our employees and asking them funny questions because the answers provide insight into our culture that directly correlates to client experience, productivity and profitability. All of which allows us to deliver unique value to our clients, partners and colleagues.

Click here to learn more about how all of this translates into a great Client Experience. Or, visit our Open Positions page to explore a career at EMJ and how to be a part of our team.

How EMJ uses the power of social media

EMJ uses websites, blogs, and social media to tell our clients’ stories, market our work, and increase our brand awareness. Also, it is just one of the many ways to help grow our business and attract world-class talent.

When it comes to social media, our employees help shape how key audiences, including our clients and trade partners, perceive EMJ. So, how can you be a brand ambassador and help share our collective story?

First, like EMJ’s Facebook Page and follow us on EMJ’s LinkedIn Page. Second, make sure to like and share EMJ’s posts to your social media channels. Next, take videos and pictures of our job site or community involvement and share them on social media and tag us @EMJCorp on Twitter, @EMJCorporation on Instagram, or @EMJ Corporation on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Last, email us at news@emjcorp.com and tell us about the cool things going on at your job site or on your team. Pro tip: Think beyond work. For example, did your teammate run an ultra-marathon? Tell us.

EMJ serves world-class clients and brands. Social media is an easy way to tell their stories of success and highlight our expertise in bringing their visions to life. If you’re interest in knowing more about why we, along with other top general contractors, use social media, check out this article: “7 reasons why social media marketing is important for your business .”