How to Help Your NEW Employee Make a Smooth Relocation

In today’s economy, many companies are finding it challenging to attract the talent they need to fill specific roles. Often that can mean finding a new hire or recruiting an existing employee from another city who would consider relocating for a new position. In fact, one study found that more than half of those surveyed said they had moved for a job in the past, with 80 percent saying they had considered it. Most said they wanted:

  • a better career opportunity
  • a change or a fresh start
  • a lower cost of living 

If you have employees relocating to your company—whether they are coming from a different branch or a different firm altogether—there are steps you can take to help them feel welcome.

Learn About Their Needs

The needs of a young single will be vastly different from a married couple with kids. One strategy is to create a questionnaire to find out what the new employee wants or needs in terms of a living situation, whether it’s the best school district in your area, or proximity to shopping and other cultural amenities. Finding out their interests can help you point them in the right direction to hunt for housing, and also can help you pair them with a similar employee, if possible, to help show them around the city.

Be a City Ambassador

Is your region known for outdoor adventures or nightlife? Are there art walks during the summer or fall festivals that everyone attends? Put together a little packet of interesting local information on your town.  It will help the new hire find the best pizza place or be in the know about the exhibits coming to the local art museum.

Connect Your New Hire with Local Specialists

Whether your new employee will be buying or renting, you’ll want to connect them with a local real estate agent who knows the lay of the land. If you have frequent relocations, consider finding a firm that will informally “partner” with you. Building these resources will help you help your new hires find the best neighborhood and situation for them.  Many real estate firms have agents who specialize in relocations or are experts in specific neighborhoods.

You also can help connect them with local services from cable TV and utilities to the nearest DMV to make their move as smooth as possible. You might consider also building a package that provides the details for all of these essential services. Don’t forget the family members—including their furry ones. Having the whole family on board for the move is going to make it smoother for the employee, which is good for the entire company.

Establish and Communicate Your Policies

Companies that regularly help employees relocate might have a robust roster of services. This includes a complete move to a temporary rental.  Companies that relocate employees less often might let workers handle the details (and expenses) themselves. It is important to communicate with the new employee exactly what is covered so there are no misunderstandings down the line.

Give a Special On-Boarding

While every new hire feels a certain amount of “culture shock” and needs to be acclimated, the feeling can be more acute in one who is brand new to the area, not just to your company. That’s why your regular onboarding should also include plenty of interpersonal information. It’s important to make them feel welcome in a place where they might not know a soul. Prepare to have their direct manager work with the team to be proactive about welcoming them.  It is a great idea to have the manager pair them with someone who has agreed to be their “go-to” person.  This is ideally someone who is a good match based on some of the demographic information you collected earlier.

Pay Extra Attention to Local Benefits Information

Programs you offer might be the same no matter where an employee is, but some might be impacted by region. For example, one location might offer gym memberships or public transportation reimbursement. As part of the transition, be prepared to take extra time to discuss the company’s medical benefits. A newly relocated employee might have specific questions about which hospitals are closest or where to find an orthodontist. This is also a great time to talk with them about what they need to know about disability insurance. This includes information about  Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or SSI (Supplemental Security Income) benefits, if applicable.

An employee who has relocated to your company can add a special layer with fresh ideas and perspective. The goal is to make them feel welcome so that their new town and new company feel like “home” in no time.  The time you and your company take to support a new hire transition now will help in retaining that employee for the longterm.

Everything You Need to Know About the Keto Diet

Chances are high that you have heard someone talking about the “keto” diet, short for “ketogenic.” And when they talk about it, more than likely they are also raving about all the pounds they have lost and how good they feel. And, chances are also good that has made you curious about it. Let’s find out more about this hot eating plan and if it’s for you.

What is the Keto Diet?

Simply put, the keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet, similar to the Atkins or Paleo diets that many have followed. It differs from those, however, because the goal of the keto diet is to make the body produce “ketones,” which puts your body into “ketosis.” That metabolic state means that your body will start burning stored fat for energy, rather than glucose. That’s because if you don’t put carbs in, your body won’t turn to them for a source of energy first. 

The recommended percentage for a standard keto diet 75% fat, 15 to 20% protein and 5 to 10% carbohydrates. A calculator like this can help you keep track of how your diet is measuring up. 

Some foods that are recommended, according to Healthline include:

  • Seafood
  • Low-carb vegetables, like kale, broccoli, zucchini spinach, etc. 
  • Cheese
  • Avocados
  • Meat and poultry (grass-fed encouraged)
  • Eggs
  • Coconut oil
  • Plain Greek yogurt and cottage cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Berries
  • Butter and cream (best in moderation)
  • Shirataki noodles
  • Olives
  • Coffee and tea (unsweetened)
  • Dark chocolate and cocoa power

Foods to avoid include:

  • Grains and starches in all forms
  • Fruit (other than berries) 
  • Root vegetables (potatoes, carrots, beets, etc.)
  • Sugar
  • Legumes
  • Sweetened drinks
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Alcohol

What Are Some Pros Of The Keto Diet? 

As described above, if followed comprehensively, the keto diet should help you burn stored fat because there is no longer glucose, or quick energy, to burn off. That means that you should be dropping pounds relatively quickly, while still feeling full given the high protein nature of the plan.

But that’s not the only benefit. Ongoing studies have pointed to a variety of potential health benefits, from lowered blood pressure to improved memory and life span (although this study was only done on mice). As the diet has only gained widespread use relatively recently, more studies are sure to be forthcoming, but early returns look promising. And of course, weight loss of any kind leads to less risk of cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. 

It also has been shown to reduce seizures in children, which means that it may have potential for helping with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis—although no studies yet prove that. But its potential to help with disabilities is exciting.

What Are Some Cons Of The Keto Diet?

First of all, it is very hard to stay on it for any length of time; that’s because the food is relatively limited, which means you need to plan ahead for virtually every meal. And as with most restrictive plans, when you go off the keto diet and resume natural eating patterns, you might quickly regain weight as you add carbs back in.

Also, some people who start the keto diet complain of the “keto flu,” a general feeling of fatigue, potentially accompanied by gastrointestinal symptoms, as their body transitions. That can often be warded off with plenty of water and sleep as your body adjusts. 

In addition it can be dangerous for some people—for example, people with insulin-dependent diabetes should never follow a keto diet. It’s best to always check with a medical professional before beginning a highly specialized diet as you might have additional health issues that would make you a poor candidate. In addition, it is smart to talk with a nutritionist to get sample diets to start you off on the right foot.

The Keto Diet Might Be Right For You If:

  • You are able to follow the meal planning advice carefully, preparing meals in advance and packing food when you go to work and out for meals. 
  • You don’t use it as an excuse to fill up on butter and bacon. If you routinely choose unhealthy fats and protein sources, you actually could raise your risk of diabetes and heart issues. 
  • You have been deemed a good candidate by a trusted health professional.

There are many ways to eat to lose weight, gain more energy and combat disease. The good news is that there is an eating plan for everyone—and the keto diet might be right for you. 

Is Stress Affecting Your Workers? (Short Answer: Yes) Here’s What To Do About It



Here’s why we are so confident about the answer to the question: Work-related stress is the leading workplace health problem, finds the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Additionally, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently included “burnout” in its new edition of the International Classification of Diseases, describing it as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”

The good news is that are ways that you can help ramp down the stress. Here are five things to try to help your team manage their stress.

  1. Help Them With Financial Wellness

    Money is the No. 1 cause of stress among Americans, and not coincidentally, help with financial planning is one of the top benefits that creates satisfaction among employees. Of course, you’d probably love to give all your employees a raise to help relieve some financial stress. However, the next best thing is helping them better manage the money they do have. Consider launching a series of seminars that tackle big topics—invite a real estate agent to talk about buying a home and available down payment programs; a financial planner who can give tips on budgeting and saving; or an accountant to give advice on tax matters.

  2. Promote Healthy Habits

    Corporate wellness programs are on the rise, finds the 2018 Employee Benefits Survey from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). But you don’t have to spend a fortune to help your employees engage in healthier habits. Consider swapping out the pastries at morning meetings for fresh fruit; holding walking meetings; moving the printer to encourage people to add a few steps; or hosting a daily stretching session. All these little changes can add up to make your employees feel better—which will reduce stress.

  3. Minimize the Sunday Scaries

    Yep, that’s a thing, and it refers to the stress that employees start feeling as they look ahead to the upcoming week. In fact, an overwhelming 80 percent of workers report feeling this angst, finds LinkedIn.

    One major source of stress is a barrage of emails that can make them feel like they are always working, even in their off hours. You might want to take a cue from companies that have started asking managers not to email their employees in the evenings or on the weekend, as a way to alleviate the pressure that workers report feeling to always be available. It’s fine for managers to dive into their inbox at a time that works for them, but encourage them to queue up the email and send it during work hours so the employee doesn’t feel a need to respond. (In France it’s even a law!)

    You also might consider making Monday a day that workers look forward to, by starting the morning with energetic music from a playlist curated by an employee or hosting a special Monday luncheon.

  4. Offer Flexibility

    Of course not every workplace can allow workers to set their own hours, but many times you could incorporate an element of flexibility that may make a big difference in your team members’ lives. For example, the young dad rushing to get to daycare before it closes at 5 might benefit from shifting his schedule 30 minutes off your stated “work hours.” Or, he could finish work at home after the kids have gone to bed. The goal is to take note of people in your office who might be caregivers or have other responsibilities, and focus on their productivity and output, rather than their desk time. 

  5. Fully Explain Your Benefits – Urge Workers to Take Advantage of Them

    Worrying about future unknowns can cause a great deal of stress for your team, but your benefit programs can go a long way toward protecting your employees. The key is to help them understand exactly what their benefits offer, such as how contributing to their 401(k) or other retirement plan can help set them up for future stability, or how adequate life insurance and disability insurance can protect them and their loved ones in the event of a tragedy. 

By taking steps to alleviate your workers’ stress, you can help protect both their mental and physical health. At the same time, you can ensure that they are bringing their best, most productive selves to work every day.  

Reversing Burnout Series :: Nailing Your To-Be List

by Peter Atherton, AE Growth and Impact Expert, Consultant, Speaker, Author of Reversing Burnout
The Win-Win: Life Balance for High Performing Workers,  Sustained Growth for Your Organization

The previous parts of this series included  mastering the pastseeing our own big picture, and knowing when it may be time to pivot have helped us know where we stand.  We can continue to use our “margin” time to map out the places we would like to be in terms of our career, relationship with family and friends, finances, personal growth and development, and our connection to others.  In order to effectively design the path to connect us to our best selves and better future, we need to be sure of our starting point and the obstacles that could be in our way.


Imagine Your Best Self

Imagine how much more content and less stressful life would be if you could “do you” really well and effectively… and do so ALL the time?
The first steps in the process is to imagine being your best self, and for most this includes:

  • doing excellent work
  • doing what we do best every day
  • growing and advancing
  • having a life and impact beyond our career alone

The good news is that these are ALL possible and in our control.  Once we imagine them, we can begin to take the necessary steps to realize them.


Get in the Flow

Getting in the flow of our best selves will typically require that we answer “yes” to the following:

  • Do I strive for excellence at work?
  • Do I routinely deploy my best skills, talents, assets, gifts, and experiences?
  • Do I seek opportunities to continuously grow personally and professionally?
  • Am I known and revered outside the office?

These are high bars for sure… but don’t we all at least have that small voice inside reminding us that we aspire to achieve them?… and don’t we also want to inspire others to reach for these too? At any given time, we fall short… but at any given time we can also close the gap.


Analyze the Gap

We can perform a gap analysis and design a strategy to close the gap once we know: where we stand, where we want to be, and what’s holding us back. The previous parts of this series related to mastering our pastseeing our own big picture, and knowing when it may be time to pivot have helped us know where we stand.   We can continue to use our “margin” time to map out the places we would like to be in terms of our career, relationship with family and friends, finances, personal growth and development, and our connection to others. In order to design the path to connect us to our best selves and better future, we need to be sure of our starting point and the obstacles that could be in our way.

If you answered “no”, “I don’t know”, or “I’m not sure” then ask “why” at least four times to get to the root issue.

For example, why don’t I strive for excellence at work the way I once did?

  • Answer: I don’t really feel it anymore.  Why?
  • Answer: I have lost my motivation.  Why?
  • Answer: I’m doing the same old thing.  Why?
  • Answer: The work is the work and nobody is talking to me about anything different.

Real issues to be considered:  Loss of efficacy, burnout, disengagement, no paths available for growth, employee connected with an ineffective boss.


Another example:

I can’t say that I routinely deploy my best skills, talents, assets, gifts, and experiences.  Why?

  • Answer:  They’re not called for in my job.  Why?
  • Answer:  Ok, it is expected that I keep growing and leverage my work skills, talents, and experiences on the job, but not that other stuff.  Why?
  • Answer:  That’s just not part of the work; work and life are mostly compartmentalized.  Why?
  • Answer:  I guess that’s just the way it’s always been.

Real Issues to be considered: a lack of awareness of what each of these elements are and/or a lack of knowledge on how best to develop and leverage them to improve engagement, growth, and performance in today’s workplace. Once we know the real reasons for each of the “non-yes” questions above, we can begin to retarget toward the places we want to be.



Take Action

Identify three steps to move closer to where you want to be in terms of work, family and friends, finances, personal growth and development, and connections with others. As a way to get started, many high-achieving professionals and business owners identify steps from answering some version of the following questions. Take one step toward your targets each week… and then keep going.

Work: In terms of work, it could be establishing a long-term career plan and then sitting down with your supervisor to begin a new dialogue about creating a better future.   

  • What stops me from excelling at work?
  • Does work allow me to see, develop, and leverage my skills, talents, assets, gifts, and experiences?  If not, what other pursuits would allow me to develop and deploy them?

Family and Friends: In terms of family and friends, it could be scheduling a date-night with your significant other or picking up the phone to call a friend to make plans.

  • Do I have all the relationships I want at home and with friends?
  • Are the relationships I have in development, growing, maturing, or peaking phases… or are they in a decline and in need of a refresh?

Finances: In terms of finances, it could be establishing that long-term plan for more financial freedom.  

  • Do I have a savings and retirement “number”?  Am I on track?
  • Does my income exceed my expenses… and how can I increase the former and decrease (and avoid adding to) the latter to create more financial freedom?

Personal Growth and Development: In terms of personal growth, it can be reading a book, subscribing to a podcast, and committing to an exercise plan.

  • Am I growing personally, spiritually, and in terms of my physical health?
  • Am I taking on new experiences that push me out of my “comfort zone” and expand my horizons?

Connection with Others: In terms of connecting with others, it could be reaching out to a local non-profit to take a tour and learn more.

  • Do I know my passions outside of my work and family?
  • Am I learning more about issues that upset me and the causes that inspire me?… and am I taking action to make a difference?

Once we retarget, we can develop our “to-do” list and begin to bridge the gaps.  This process of moving forward step by step helps us to revitalize.

  • Begin to Revitalize  


In my case, in order to stay on track and begin to realize the full life I desired, I needed to see all my priorities at once.  To do so, I redesigned my weekly “to-do” list.  A previously “all-work” list transformed to a 6-box list with 2 columns and 3 rows with a “to-do” box related to: work, family, personal growth, professional growth, non-profit and community connection activities, and other items related to miscellaneous appointments, errands, or home projects.

Well informed and developed “to-do” lists can be designed to take us from where we are to where we want to be.   Taking action is what moves us to become our best self.   We can celebrate each step toward our targets as one step closer to being able to say… “nailed it!”


This article originally appeared on ActionsProve

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Reversing Burnout Series :: Knowing When to Pivot

by Peter Atherton, AE Growth and Impact Expert, Consultant, Speaker, Author of Reversing Burnout
The Win-Win: Life Balance for High Performing Workers,  Sustained Growth for Your Organization

Many of us have a sense that something may be off. That is, we may be tracking off-course, or that we may not even be on the right track anymore.  As a result, many of us are considering whether we need to pivot.
Given the desperate need for good talent and the high cost of employee turnover in today’s job market, this is a scary proposition for many employers. It shouldn’t be, however, if they are seeking to truly engage and develop their employees.

The fact is, some form of “pivoting” is the only way to avoid a decline.  Even if we know we are on the right track, we need to continuously pivot to progress and refresh along the way. Individuals who understand growth cycles, work-life seasons, and what is means to live a full life will be positioned to enjoy continued growth and success at the office and beyond.  When top talent has the choice to stay, be engaged, and grow, employers will be more apt to embrace cycles and design strategies to support that demand, and create opportunities for growth.


Cycles Within the Cycle

Just like cell regeneration patterns and planetary movements, as humans, we have growth changes within our overall career life cycles.  Over the course of my 24-years as a professional engineer, there were several sets of “learning and development”, “growth”, and “peaking” stages at each level of career advancement.  My movement from project engineer to project manager to principal to senior executive to “what’s next” were clearly marked in 5-year increments.  Each cycle along the path was critical to keeping me moving forward.

“Knowing exactly when to begin the pivot or refresh process requires the knowledge of cycles, vision of where you want to be, and the courage to act.”

 -Peter C. Atherton


The Personal Refresh

High-achievers, in general, follow a similar pattern of continuous growth through a series of advancements. Traditional leaders and organizations encourage and endorse this. However, especially today when is it clear that top talent wants more than just traditional success, this approach is short-sighted.  Once we’ve “mastered our craft” and “made our name,” pure professional pursuits begin to lose luster, even for the most driven employees.  Many successful professionals and business owners with 15 or more years of experience are feeling discontentedburned-out, and disengaged with business as usual.

Personal career stagnation can occur and a “personal refresh” needed, even when their organization has taken intentional steps to improve workflow and culture, .  This reset is needed personal growth and development that provides balance for our professional success. Once refreshed, we are in a position to regain perspective on both our lives and careers. Only then can we begin to develop a plan for continued and sustained success.  That success could be continuing on our current path, refreshing in place, or pivoting in a new direction. Without some form of continuous personal growth and development (or at least mid-career reboot), we are likely to realize the fate of most senior staffers and leaders in terms of losing emotional intelligence.

Regaining and maintaining our self and overall personal awareness is key to our overall professional growth and effectiveness.


The Process

The process of a refresh or a pivot is just that – a process.  The optimal time for either option is during the later portions of a growth phase. The goal is to continually push off the peaking and decline stages as illustrated in the graph below.

This is a process. To get through it, I needed a time-out with patience, support and tough love.  Allowing myself this opportunity,  helped me to understand where my  professional and personal interests and passions intersected. Ultimately, it pushed me to design a pivot from a comfortable and lucrative career I could have coasted in for decades.  This process is ideally done with the aid of an experienced coach, one who can guide you through the various steps and customize them for your unique career path, personal situation, and work-life seasons.  You can view some tips for starting your refresh on my blog as well.


This article originally appeared on ActionsProve

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10 Causes of Disability Every HR Leader Should Know

When most people consider disability, they picture something catastrophic happening, an ill-timed dive off a high rock, or a speeding car hurtling into theirs—and, for the most part, assume it can never happen to them.

That’s why human resources experts often find it challenging to convince their employees of the importance of disability insurance even though you know it’s a wise investment and more commonly used than most people assume. In fact, if you were to keep track of the 20-year-olds in today’s workforce, you’d find out that nearly 25 percent of them will be out of work for at least a year due to a health condition before they reach retirement age.

The statistic isn’t meant to alarm anyone.  However, it aims to underscore the importance of making sure that your team members realize that disability insurance is for everyone. It can be the lifeline they need in the case of an unexpected condition. Yet, outside of the basic coverage offered through Social Security, at least 51 million working adults go without disability coverage.

That can be downright scary. Considering the precarious financial position of many Americans—and the skyrocketing cost of medical treatment, any of these conditions can rob workers of the opportunity to earn enough to pay their bills – just when they need the extra income the most.

Wondering what the top causes of long-term disability are? Your employees might be surprised to learn that they are relatively common occurrences.

  1. Musculoskeletal Disorders. This is a fancy way of saying “back pain,” something weekend warriors—or even just good Samaritans helping a friend move—can probably see themselves experiencing. It also covers other muscle, back, and joint disorders, such as arthritis. Together, these conditions account for nearly 30 percent of all long-term disabilities.
  2. Cancer. Yes, we can put this in the “catastrophic” category, but it is actually more prevalent than you might imagine. In fact, more than 70,000 people in their 20s and 30s are diagnosed with cancers. This includes diagnoses of lymphoma, leukemia, testicular, melanoma, and breast cancer. Even if they are eventually cured, cancer treatment can decimate a family’s finances as they miss work to undergo treatment.
  3. Pregnancy. It’s hard to consider pregnancy as a “long-term” disability. However, complications associated with pregnancy and childbirth can infringe on work. In fact, about 1/10 of all claims involve a pregnancy-related issue.  By tapping long-term disability insurance, your employee and their little bundle of joy can be covered.
  4. Mental Health Issues. From anxiety to depression, mental health problems can take a toll. Fortunately, people are realizing that mental health is just as vital to treat as physical health. With over a quarter of the population diagnosed with one or more mental disorders each year, it is easy to see how it can be a leading cause of long-term disability.
  5. Injuries. Nine percent of long-term disability claims come from the “injury” category. This covers everything from accident recovery to surgery, broken bones, and even poisoning.
  6. Cardiovascular Issues. From heart attack to stroke, cardiovascular events strike unexpectedly. These events can prevent employees from returning to work indefinitely due to the severity of the event and the nature of the recovery.
  7. Nervous System. This category encompasses a wide range of potential issues that include multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and epilepsy. This also includes a range of additional eye and ear disorders.  Even Alzheimer’s, a condition often considered an older person’s disease, can strike during peak earning years. In fact, about 200,000 people contract the early-onset form of Alzheimer’s, which typically develops in their 40s and 50s.
  8. Infectious Diseases. While headlines trumpet new types of infectious diseases, from Zika to MRSA, this category also encompasses far less-exotic strains. This includes bacteria that cause strep throat and viruses that bring on the flu. When conditions become more resistant to hard-working antibiotics, the threat of work loss to infectious disease grows more prevalent.
  9. Digestive System. Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are just three of the better-known conditions in the digestive diseases category. Altogether there are 40 digestive conditions that plague more than 34 million Americans, causing them to miss work as they wrestle with treatment and prevention.
  10. Respiratory diseases. Asthma is one of the most common chronic respiratory conditions. This also includes a wide variety of other lung-related ailments. It’s not a leap to assume that difficulty in breathing would lead to difficulty in working…illuminating the need for long-term disability insurance.

No one wants to sit down with employees to go over a list of illnesses or conditions they may eventually have. However, human resources professionals have the opportunity to educate their colleagues on common causes of disability, as well as, how they can protect themselves. Employers can deliver one of the best-kept secrets in the benefits world—how disability insurance can help prevent them from losing a paycheck just when they need it most.

Reversing Burnout Series :: Mastering the Past

by Peter Atherton, AE Growth and Impact Expert, Consultant, Speaker, Author of Reversing Burnout
The Win-Win: Life Balance for High Performing Workers,  Sustained Growth for Your Organization

High-achieving professionals and business owners are focused on the future.  Even after significant “wins”, the focus for many of us quickly shifts to “what’s next”.  Over the long-term, this can lead to burnout, discontent, and feeling of being trapped; even isolated. If we take the time to connect with our past, it can boost self-awareness and confidence and better position us for success in both work and life.

Understanding the Habits of Winning

High-achievers do things that many others don’t or won’t, and even do things that others might not have previously thought possible.  They have a commitment to excellence and winning.  This commitment is vital to establishing success as a professional and business owner.  Following through on commitments also helps build character and self-esteem.

Whatever motivates to pursue our own path – the challenge, the paycheck, the standing in society, or the expectations of others – a full commitment is necessary.  Early on, most of us needed to take ownership to target a direction for our lives and focus our time to realize our future.  This demanded that we select a school and a major, get through 8:00 a.m. classes and a challenging curriculum. We needed to secure and succeed in internships and residencies, and we needed to pass tests for licenses and certifications.  We formed the habits needed for success.

At some point, however, many of us lost some ownership in the details and the direction of our lives.


The Silent Price of Commitment

For virtually all professions, achieving requires us to be “all in” for an extended period – often 10, 20, or even 30 years.  That is what it takes to master our craft, make a name, and build our platform.   There is so much to learn on the job, especially in the early years, and the commitment it requires can be consuming, both in a positive and productive way… but it can also work against us.

Unfortunately, professional and entrepreneurial success is more about applied knowledge than it is about information alone.  We need to make judgments and often operate in gray areas.  As a result, we gain both experience and understanding.  There is no other way to do this than to spend the appropriate amount of time in our craft to learn, do, fail, and seek more opportunities; then, repeat.

Over time, our commitment to our careers can cause us to lose touch with ourselves and others, lose track of our accomplishments, and lose clarity of where things may be heading.


Master the Past

On this journey, it is easy for us to become burned-out, disengagedtrapped, or even isolated. When that occurs, we need to take inventory and connect with our past.  This exercise demands that we take the time to recognize, appreciate, and preserve our successes to date. It is essential to better understand our present to achieve our desired future.  A well-planned sabbatical can help in this process.

Before I had the conviction to give my final 2-year notice to my partners, I went through a process of accounting for and documenting my past successes.  This all began by chance when my son asked me to review his college co-op resume.  As a father and professional, I was impressed, not just with the content, but with the format. The flow was different than I remembered as a candidate myself, as well as what I had seen from candidates interested in joining our firm.

I then realized it had been over 15 years since I last developed a resume for myself, and probably a good time to take stock.  Even though mine was a corporate resume, it was not nearly the same; a corporate resume focuses only on industry projects, positions, and roles.  I decided to build a more complete resume and began to use the “margin” I created in my life to do so. I modified the format to better reflect components representative of a 20 plus year career.  This newer format helped me highlight my skills, qualities, and career progression, as well as my work outside of the office.

As I documented my progression and achievements, I felt like I began to enjoy them – some for the first time. Having these documented, and being able to reflect on them, helped me put my successes into perspective. I also began to recognize and become excited about transferable skills and experiences that could be used for greater impact beyond what I was currently doing.  This helped build up my confidence and give me the courage to venture into a new chapter of my career.


How to Take Stock in the Past for a Productive Future

Using your resume as a means to check in with yourself and your past, is key to helping shape the future you want.  You can use the “margin” established here over the next several weeks to help in your efforts.

Take the time to account for and document:

  • Your overarching level of achievement,
  • Your professional highlights and personal qualities,
  • The details of your various roles, duties, formed skills, and achieved outcomes for each level of your career progression,
  • Your roles, experiences, and impact outside of the office,
  • Your educational achievements, certifications, and awards earned, and
  • Any other personal skills, hobbies, and interests that help round-out who you are.

Your updated resume will help you gain perspective and much greater awareness. As a result, you will be able to recognize and celebrate the full scope of your accomplishments. In turn, you will now be better positioned to close any gaps between the life you have and the one you desire.  All the while you will form new winning habits that will help you reverse and avoid burnout.

This article originally appeared on ActionsProve

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How Companies Can Ensure Employees Feel Supported While on Leave

By Gene Lanzoni, Marketing, Thought Leadership, Customer Insights 
The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America


With the expansion of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) more than a decade ago, employers have become more aware of their responsibilities with not only how to stay compliant, but the role they play in helping employees return to work. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), lost productivity due to absenteeism in the U.S. cost employers $225.8 billion annually, or $1,685 per employee. In today’s competitive labor market, many employers are looking for ways to retain their employees and adopting leave practices that help employees return to work from an extended absence due to injury or disability is becoming a priority.

As such, employers are responding with more personalized leave management and more robust stay-at-work (SAW) accommodations. Guardian’s most recent biennial Absence Management Activity Index and Study–“The Value of Leave Management Integration,” found three in four employers with a high level of return-to-work (RTW) and SAW programs reported decreased absenteeism, compared to only 40% of companies with no formal SAW program.

Guardian’s study also reveals employers are paying greater attention to the employee experience, one that offers a more supportive environment with additional flexibility, resources, and education. Employers seeking to upgrade their absence management programs to generate positive outcomes like high employee satisfaction and retention should consider the following:

Better Return-to-Work and Stay-at-Work Accommodations 

While it’s important to communicate with employees throughout their disability leave, it’s equally important to provide them with a smooth transition back to work. Employers should establish a strong RTW program that guides employees in a way that makes them feel supported. Guardian’s study indicates 70% of employees who completed an RTW program feel their employer cares about them. Additionally, companies that have four to six RTW initiatives see a 78% reduction in lost time, compared with 48% of companies that have no RTW initiatives. 

Employers have become more aware of their responsibilities under the ADA and are identifying ways to help their employees stay at work following an absence. These activities have expanded beyond traditional vocational rehabilitation to include interactive processes, transitional work plans, and worksite modifications to accommodate employees with disabilities. Providing employees with resources like nurse case management and duration guidelines can help reduce the likelihood of a relapse. Guardian’s study found organizations with the most comprehensive RTW programs appear to achieve greater success reducing lost time and improving employee retention. 

Flexibility and Personalization Go a Long Way 

Today’s technology makes it easy to communicate and inform a company’s workforce through various channels. So, it’s not surprising our study reveals that the accessibility of information has a great influence on employees when they are on leave. Every employee has a preference of how they’d like to communicate with their employer about leave, and Guardian’s study finds the majority of employees prefer to have 24/7 access to personal and mobile communications.

Employers that leverage new technology, including automated dialers, text messaging and chats are leaders in the absence management space because they demonstrate a willingness to accommodate to an employee’s schedule and individual needs. In fact, Guardian’s study reveals 21% of Index leaders use automated dialing technology, compared with 9% that lag on program improvements. The same goes for interactive voice response systems – 16% of Index leaders leverage this technology, compared with only 7% of those that rank lower in the Index. 

At the end of the day, many employees want to work for a company they feel cares about their well-being and that will help them navigate the journey through their disability. The data collected from Guardian’s Absence Management Activity IndexSM and Study supports the notion that employers who prioritize these programs see positive results in employee satisfaction and overall retention.

Unless otherwise noted, the source of all information is from the 2019 Guardian Absence Management Activity Index℠ and Study – “The Value of Leave Management Integration.

Reversing Burnout Series: Design Your Daily Personal Time Off

by Peter Atherton, AE Growth and Impact Expert, Consultant, Speaker, Author of Reversing Burnout
The Win-Win: Life Balance for High Performing Workers,  Sustained Growth for Your Organization

Personal Time Off (PTO) s great; it’s a chance to get away, to disconnect from work, and even have some rest and relaxation. Taken routinely, PTO is an effective strategy to reduce work stress, but it will not cure or help you avoid burnout by itself.  For that, we need to design ourselves a more frequent form of PTO, a daily “Personal Time-Out”.

Creating and maintaining “margin” in our day, and using it strategically, is the only way to effectively reverse and avoid burnout and live the full life we desire.  This is especially true for those of us who are high-achievers and often consumed by the demands of work and life.

Mastering Our Time

Busyness is both pervasive and invasive.  Allowed to persist, busyness chokes out and overruns much of what we desire in life.   If we want to master our lives, we need to resolve our busyness.  The first step is to take ownership and regain control of our time.  When we control our time, we can control our destiny.

Taking Control

For many, it might require we say “no” to things that we typically say yes to, and taking control when we can’t anticipate the outcome.  It means we may have to “defend” the need for some “me” time. At one point we may have known what we wanted out of work and life, but have since lost touch, track, and clarity.  Even if we have “checked the boxes” of the goals that previously drove us, most high-achievers reach a point where we can feel disconnected, discontented, frustrated, and even resentful – especially if we are in or headed toward the burnout-disengagement cycle.

Values and Urgency

As I explain in my book, Reversing Burnout. How to Immediately Engage Top Talent and Grow! A Blueprint for Professionals and Business Owners, many of us have invested so much in our careers that it has become our identity.   As we progress in life this becomes even more problematic as the gaps between “what we do”, “who we are”, and our life purpose drives discontent.  These gaps also impact our ability to lead and inspire others.  If we want to truly succeed, we also need a renewed sense of urgency about our time.

We never stop getting older.  The fact is, our days are numbered on this earth and we have no real control of when our time will be up.  Tomorrow is not guaranteed, and this should be our motivation to take action beginning today!  Time is our greatest asset in terms of achieving our goals and realizing our impact, but we can’t take it for granted.  We know that we don’t want to miss out any longer and that we may need a course correction.  But here’s the reality: We will never discover the things we value most and begin to track toward the full life we desire and our greater purpose until we slow down.  


Creating and maintaining margin is an essential component to slowing down and being able to master our time.  “Margin” is quiet time and personal “white space,” away from devices and distractions.   To be effective, margin time needs to be sufficient in length and consistent in frequency. The target for most of us should be 30 to 60 minutes per day at least 5 days per week.  Margin is not just about time to rest and relax, its foundational to the R&R 2.0 process.   

R&R 2.0

PTO and the “rest and relaxation” of our past can help us address some of the demands and stresses of work and life, but it needs to be updated and expanded if we are going to take on burnout and position us to win over the long-term. Rest and relaxation alone only address being physically or emotionally exhausted as a result of a temporary season or event.  On the other hand, burnout is a chronic condition that layers frustration and loss, and even resentment and despair, on top of physical and emotional exhaustion.   Reversing and avoiding burnout requires a deeper, more strategic, and more consistent approach.   

Once established, margin is the daily “Personal Time-Out” we need to begin to restore ourselves if we have been feeling burned-out, disengaged, and feeling like we are missing out.  This time to routinely decompress, rest, pray, meditate, listen, think, contemplate, read, journal, and reflect allows for clarity and positions us for Restoration.  Once restored, this time is then repurposed for the next elements of the process which include RediscoveryRetargeting, and Revitalization toward the life we desire.  


This article originally appeared on ActionsProve

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Reversing Burnout Series :: Why Sabbaticals Work

by Peter Atherton, AE Growth and Impact Expert, Consultant, Speaker, Author of Reversing Burnout
The Win-Win: Life Balance for High Performing Workers,  Sustained Growth for Your Organization

A well-designed and implemented sabbatical program is a simple and effective way to combat the growing epidemic of burnout and disengagement in today’s workplace and ensures your organization’s success over the long-term.  At least, right now, it can position you and your organization to be different, better and more attractive in the job marketplace.


Below are Key Benefits of an Effective Sabbatical Program:

  1. Planned Refresh Cycles

    Top organizations realize that achieving professionals are human too, and more than ever, they need routine refresh cycles… and likely need them every 5 to 7 years! These routine refreshes are needed to push off the inevitable peaking and declining phases.  They are also needed to combat the ill effects of the all-consuming lifestyle of today’s working class.

    A well-timed refresh will allow an employee to RestoreRediscoverRetarget, and Revitalize aspects of their personal and professional lives, and help them reverse and avoid the Burnout-Disengagement Cycle. Even for those who are consistent with taking their paid time off, nothing beats a well designed sabbatical; it provides the time and space for employees to take their personal and professional growth to a whole new level. A sabbatical can be up to a  four-month period of time away.  This planned time away helps to increase overall awareness and emotional intelligence… both of which improve one’s ability to connect and relate to others and their performance as employees, leaders, and client-servers upon their return to work.

    As a result, employees are able to focus on aspects of their lives that may have gone neglected.  Providing space for awareness, sabbaticals open up opportunity for employees to gain perspective as well as much needed appreciation for the lives they live and their work’s purpose. For those that take the time, it ultimately provides a gateway for living a full life with less regrets and discontent.  

    A routine sabbatical is even more critical for those who are, and have been, less diligent with either form of “PTO”.  This is where a caring and strategic leadership team can make a real difference for its top talent and for its organization.  And, while top talent is refreshing, top organizations have the opportunity to benefit, especially in the areas of resilience testing, succession planning, and internal development – areas that are often overlooked, postponed, or abandoned in our busyness.  

  2. Healthy Resilience Testing and Effective Succession Planning
    Taking a class is great, but taking one online on your employee’s own time can be even more appealing (and more realistic) for many. There are a number of free or cost-effective courses available through services like Lynda/LinkedIn Learning and Udemy, as well as “massive open online courses” (MOOCs), that you can encourage employees to check out. To expand the knowledge to the entire team, implement a “lunch and learn” where attendees share with others.
  3. Designed Teamwork and Talent Development
    Check out this link of professional associations to find something that will apply to your business. Whether it’s a national agency or local group, there are often a wide variety of development opportunities available with membership fees. There are networking events, speaker forums, and conferences. As a member, your employees get special access to proprietary events and educational materials.
  4. Differentiator in the Marketplace
    Don’t let your employees become bored on the job. Find out what skills they might want to hone and search for opportunities to let them practice them. Whether it’s on a company-wide task force or by doing an inter-departmental rotation, it will keep your employees engaged with a new challenge. Ultimately, it allows your company to operate more smoothly as your team better understands various roles.

Take Action Now + Win Top Talent

Don’t be left in the dust! The benefits of an effective sabbatical program, especially in professional service organizations, are so clear that it is just a matter of time before your competitors develop one as an essential strategy to attract, engage, develop, and retain top talent. If you don’t want your organization to fall behind, create a plan for a sabbatical program now.  An effective program can be one aspect of an organization’s overall performance management and employee engagement and development strategy.  One method that can be particularly effective in developing and refining this overall strategy is the I.M.P.A.C.T. Process. Designing systems for your best talent to be their best-selves will position your organization to be its best-self… and will position you to win in both the marketplace and the “talent war”.

This article originally appeared on ActionsProve

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