What happens when an employee is asked to leave behind the realities of their home life when they walk into their workplace? The outcome is a conflicted person who is forced to figure out where their loyalties lie. As leaders, if you can recognize, celebrate and try to help with different facets of their lives, you can tap into their "whole person" - somebody who is much, much more than somebody you just pay to complete a list of tasks. 

If people are allowed to speak and act freely about their non-work life, they are likely to have a better sense of belonging, stronger loyalties, and often bring innovative ways to problem-solve to the table.

What exactly can leaders do to encourage a "whole self" at work?

  1. Acknowledging that mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, husbands, and wives all have unique concerns and burdens that might be weighing on them. 
  2. A friendly listening ear can provide immeasurable support, but even if that is not possible, leaders can provide support through understanding and accommodation if PTO is needed.
  3. Making a genuine effort to learn more about your coworkers' families, including their accomplishments and current life obstacles 
  4. Celebrating accomplishments such as graduations, milestone birthdays, family additions and other changes 
  5. Creating perks and/or benefits that help people personally as well as professionally. One example at Cambridge is the subscription to SmartDollar, Dave Ramsey's online plan to financial freedom.

Watch the video below to hear the benefits first-hand from people who are more than just Cambridge employees, but also mothers, fathers, an Army National Guardsman, baseball enthusiasts and home cooks!

This video is part of our Enriching Lives series. For other ideas of what it means to enrich lives, click here. We'd love to hear your stories of how your company encourages whole selves. Tag us on social media with your story and the hashtag #enrichinglives!

 

This blog was guest written by Darla Gibson, Executive Admin at Cambridge Engineering.

We all know what employee engagement means, getting our employees to be present at work. Getting them to make things better, paying attention to quality and making sure our customers are taken care of. But how do we get it?

Over the 20+ years that I have been at Cambridge, I have seen so many iterations of getting the employees heard. From the suggestion box, to a database of issues that they encounter and want solutions for (we called it Employee Action Request or EAR), to rearranging where the departments are physically located to make sure the resources are near to where the problems occur. But it never seemed to work. But, why? 

It wasn’t that we didn’t hear them. It wasn’t that we didn’t believe them. It was a matter of having enough time and figuring out what the priorities were. Once the employee handed the problem to leadership, we had to put it in a bigger engine. Now, we had to prioritize it with the other projects from other areas. It became a bunch of “red tape.” So, what changed that for Cambridge?

I believe that the change came when we told the employees to fix it. That may sound harsh but basically, we said, if it bugs you, fix it. Don’t bring it to us, use the resources within your circle of influence and figure out how you can make it better. Most of the little issues, suddenly get fixed. If the employee was not changing the way our product looks or feels to the customer, we allowed them to find solutions. 

These solutions took a lot of their headaches away. Many times, they had the relationships within their departments and amongst other departments to fix the problems that plagued them day in and day out. They became more engaged because they felt they had a voice in finding the solutions to their own issues. No longer did they have to wait for the item to become top priority, no longer did they wait for a magical solution, they just took care of the issue.

The truly inspiring part of this is that we asked them to record it. We asked for a video that gave the problem and showed us their solution. This gave them a voice.  Now, they had the permission to fix what bugged them, and to show the entire organization their creative process. 

Did this make everything better? Of course not. There were larger problems that needed to be addressed within the bigger engine. However, what I believe this did was give employees a place to be creative and ask them for their ideas to fix problems. 

We have many people come through Cambridge to visit to see what we do. They have heard so many things about our Morning Meeting and our employee engagement.  When they are here, they see and feel this engagement.  This sense that the employee’s voice matters and therefore, the employees are willing to step up and tell us when they have an idea, rather than stay in the background. Everyone’s question is “how did you make it happen?”

It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t overnight. We have been on this journey for several years and the iterations keep happening. We have added so many places where the employee can come with ideas and be creative. What all the systems do is recognize that the employee voice needs to be heard, and the employee needs to have a space to be creative.

So, how can you make this happen in your organization?

  1. Create a pathway that works in your organization.  One that is simple and easy for the employee to access. 
  2. Allow the employee to tell their story.  Video is as easy way to share.  Find a venue – email, company meeting, some way for the stories to get published.  Allowing the employee to show off their creativity. 
  3. Celebrate.  Make sure the employee knows that you appreciate their efforts!

Find that space in your organization and let your employees become engaged and thrive!

Temperatures are on the rise, and it's time to review safety protocols when it comes to overheating. Thanks to our Safety Coordinator, Conner LaLonde, for sharing these watch signs from the National Safety Council with our team this week!

HEAT RASH 

Look for: red inflammation of the skin. 

What to do: Remove unnecessary clothing. Do not apply creams or lotions as these could trap heat.

HEAT CRAMPS

Look for: painful muscle cramping or spasms. 

What to do: Remove worker from heat, provide water to sip, gently stretch muscle.

HEAT EXHAUSTION 

Look for: weakness, dizziness, nausea, headache, heavy sweating, clammy skin. 

What to do: Remove worker from heat, give up to one liter of water (unless they are vomiting). Cool worker with cold, wet cloths and fan.

HEAT STROKE 

Look for: Rapid pulse, no sweating, confusion or unconsciousness. 

What to do: Call for medical help immediately. Do not administer any liquids if unconscious.

Everybody likes to be thanked for a great idea or save, right? That’s just human nature. Plant Manager Greg Sitton has been championing the Good Catch award at Cambridge in the new year. Inspired by a similar award system at Keeley Companies- the Good Catch award was implemented to give supervisors in the shop an opportunity to call out a good “catch” or action made by someone on the fly – and to give them a chance to win $50 for it as well! “I was always bad at remembering to say ‘thanks’ towards my guys. They would do something really cool, and I would think it was really cool, but I would forget to tell them that,” he explains when asked why the award is a positive move for Cambridge. “I wanted to put something in place that is easy for me to remember to show my gratitude.” “Catches” can be something as simple as reminding someone to lower their safety glasses or finding a mis-step along production before it becomes a quality error. Supervisors keep the Good Catch chips in their pockets so they can distribute them as needed, without having to remember to thank them retroactively. And when all is said and done, the person who earns the Good Catch chip earns a change in a monthly raffle to get a $50 gift card - not bad for an action that is performed so instinctively by the guys in our shop! In this video clip, Greg Sitton chooses the winner of the February Good Catch award! 

Part of the personal growth effort of Cambridge includes encouraging each employee to feel more confident speaking in front of a large group and other public speaking opportunities. The "practice" of this improvement comes in the form of taking turns to Emcee the morning meeting that we hold out in the shop every day. Each Emcee can speak to whatever they'd like as the group stretches - some take the chance to talk about their families or hometowns, others give trivia and yet, others - like Steve, our Controller - take the opportunity to be creative. Watch the video below to see how Steve used his introduction time! 

For years High Temperature Heating and Ventilation (HTHV), a direct-fired 100% outside air technology, and 80/20 direct-fired units have been heating solutions used for new construction and retrofit projects throughout the US with little attention to the differences in Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) from both products. However, when it comes to IAQ there are significant differences between these two technologies – HTHV being the clear winner. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance1. Among the frequently asked questions on the OSHA website is one concerning IAQ:

What is considered good IAQ?

The qualities of good IAQ should include comfortable temperature and humidity, adequate supply of fresh outdoor air, and control of pollutants from inside and outside of the building2. It is these pollutants, and the amount of the pollutants in parts per million (PPM), that differentiate 100% outside air HTHV technologies apart from 80/20 units. Both OSHA and the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) set limits on what the acceptable PPMs for different pollutants are for working environments. The performance and safety standards set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) are z83.4 for 100% outside air non-recirculating direct gas-fired industrial air heaters and z83.18 for 80/20 recirculating direct gas-fired industrial air heaters. The infographic below helps illustrate the differing amount of pollutants in PPM between HTHV and 80/20 units along with the acceptable limits for these pollutants in both the US and Canada.
1 Reference OSHA website: www.osha.gov/about.html 2 Reference OSHA website: www.osha.gov/OSHA_FAQs.html

When it comes to providing retrofit heating solutions for older, outdated and inefficient heating products you should look no farther than Cambridge Engineering's High Temperature Heating and Ventilation (HTHV) products. Our products are an exceptional heating solution for warehouse, distribution and manufacturing facilities that are in need of a solution to provide better indoor comfort, reduce energy consumption and provide need ventilation during occupied hours even on the coldest of days. To learn more about HTHV technology can be used in retrofit opportunities watch this short video: 

Stay tuned for more videos from Cambridge on how to use our products in retrofit opportunities. For more information visit us at www.cambridge-eng.com and fill out the contact us form.

I really enjoy golf.    I love how the game brings people together from all walks of life and stages in life.   Being outdoors for 2-4 hours in a world of offices and meetings is great for friends, families and business associates.  Golf teaches several life lessons that help anyone seeking to improve performance. golf           TEN SALES PERFORMANCE – GOLF LESSONS

  1. Learn/Practice: Sales people are made.  They are not created.   Just like the best players in the golf game, those that commit to practicing and learning their craft, fare better than those that are winging it.
  2. Have Fun: If you have passion and energy for something and can enjoy the experience, you are going to return to it again and again.   If you don’t feel the special calling, do something else.  We must be inspired.
  3. Expect to Win: Just like seeing the putt role in the hole or the approach shot rattle the pin, expect greatness and great outcomes.   Visualize the best outcome without worry of the worst.  The best outcome is just as likely as the worst.   Focus on the best.
  4. Slow Down: Forget all the prep, all the practice, let your instincts work with all the preparation you’ve done.  Focus on the here and now and be present, with awareness of your surroundings.  Rushing towards the next move is not required.   Live in the now.  Your customers will love the way you listen to them.
  5. Develop a Rhythm: I often rewind PGA tour swings on my DVR and it drives my kids crazy.   I love the tempo and the rhythms of the PGA tour professionals.   Think about Ernie Els swing for a moment.   Daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annual rhythms are vital to our success.   What are you cementing into process that demonstrates a consistency and a rhythm?
  6. Ease Up: Don’t be your own worst critic.   Every pass doesn’t have to be flawless.   Hitting better bad shots is the objective.  The flawless ones, the pure ones will come when they come.  Work on making the misses more on target.   Keep taking shots and moving forward with positive attitude.   Be too hard one’s self and watch how joy and results follow.
  7. Focus on the process: This probably borrows from #1 and #5, however, I like it for the message around regarding one’s focus on the process and not the result as the worthy endeavor.   When we can commit our process to paper or in very succinct clear language, then your process is crystallized.   Thinking LEAN, or 2-Second Lean (author: Paul Akers), I might say that a written best practice approach on process is appropriate.   In golf, one’s putting routine process or tee box pre shot ritual or the very swing itself reminds us that process matters.   The result may look different each time.  Focus on process.  Nail process.
  8. You don’t know where it’s going, but you can’t stay here: It is hard for us to be humble and accept that change is needed.   Change starts with humility and an acceptance that we are not yet fully adapted and evolved.   Embrace change not for change sake, but for the continuous improvement mindset.  Hope is about a better tomorrow in all things.
  9. Respect Others: The golf game etiquette we are all taught as we learned the game reflects life lessons regarding the value of others.  Thinking beyond ourselves to listen and accept the ideas and perspectives of others.   Just like we don’t walk in someone’s line or speak in their backswing, we don’t walk on someone’s perspective or speak over them in conference.
  10. Let It Rip: Commit and go do it. Activity builds momentum.  Perpetual planning and plan revision thwarts pace.   Take 1 less meeting per week and make 1 more appointment or networking appointment each week.
  Thank you for continuing to follow us here at “The Fresh Air Stream.”   I would love to hear from you regarding valuable life lessons that have impacted your success.  Please like this post and share it with other golfers in your lives