The Honor Foundation

How The Honor Foundation Lowered My Golf Score and Assisted this SOF Veteran

The Honor Foundation (THF) is a unique transition institute created exclusively for Navy SEALs and the U.S. Special Operations community. They’re dedicated to preparing these outstanding men and women to continue to realize their maximum potential during and after their service career. As part of their efforts to ease the transition into civilian positions in the workforce, they do a tour of small, midsize, and large companies to expose members to different career opportunities.

THF Meets the Beekeeper Team

This year we invited 35 of these Special Operations Forces (SOF) personnel to take a tour of Beekeeper. At first we were excited to teach them about our product, company, how we operate, and open positions, but we quickly realized that we were the ones that had so much to learn from this esteemed group.

They’re not only highly skilled in combat, they are also brilliantly business savvy and know how to run successful teams like clockwork. From engineers, to data scientists, to marketing professionals, to entrepreneurs—their backgrounds cover it all. During our presentation, each member asked insightful questions and gave valuable feedback. Needless to say, we were incredibly impressed by everyone and humbled by the experience. Not to mention they are just a fun group to get to know on a personal level!

Beekeeper and the honor foundation

In honor of Veteran’s Day, we want to share a story directly from Dan Hathorn, one of the incredible people we met that day. He shares his honest journey about finding his way into civilian life after exiting the military. We’re so grateful he shared his story with us and is willing to share with all of you, as it’s a unique perspective most of us don’t get to see.

Transitioning Into Civilian Life

I’ll never forget that time. I was lying in a hospital bed pondering my next life choices when I came face to face with an unexpected transition. I was injured while on deployment overseas, and the extent of my injuries left me wondering if I would be re-writing most of my activities of daily living, let alone staying in the military until the desired retirement date of 20 years.

I clawed, scraped, and fought my way back to active duty, sticking around for another four years before I was medically retired. After my departure from the military, I wasn’t unhappy with myself. I was unsure, unprepared, and woefully ignorant of exactly how much I didn’t know about life outside of Special Operations.

Dan Hathorn

I landed a comfortable job with a local area sports store, managing a small business before leaving abruptly due to feelings of low self-worth and lack of purpose. I didn’t stick around lamenting for too long before I landed a job within a four-star veterans non-profit dedicated to assisting wounded, ill, or injured service members reintegrate back into society—with structured programs taking all branches of service members from the hospital bed, to living on their own, or with their families.

It wasn’t long before I left that organization as well, still feeling a substantial lack of purpose in my life, and overall comfort that people wanted me for what I brought to the table, not some “quick fix” veterans hire to boost a statistic on a bottom line somewhere. I was adrift in a sea of melancholy. I didn’t feel at home. I knew I had skills that were in demand, but lacked the ability to articulate those skills clearly, cleanly, and in a manner that resonated with my personality.

A quick Internet search will reveal a plethora of military transition services all catering to the service member’s desire to reintegrate into society. I reached out to some of these services and found a lot of the same things, resume writers, tutorials and quick classes, and people interested in “teaching” many of us veterans’ necessary skills needed to find the success that we may or may not have known within the military. I used a couple of these organizations with almost zero results. I paid $700 for a resume that, when complete, was touted as a 98% success at landing me a job. I used it a handful of times with no success.

One day while browsing around on LinkedIn for various opportunities and connections I noticed a friend had loaded a new picture of himself into his profile. I clicked over and started to read his very professional and well-written profile. Imagine my surprise, after asking him; when I found out he’d done it himself!

He told me about The Honor Foundation www.honor.org (THF), their fellowship program, and their desire to take Special Operations Forces (SOF) through an MBA-level training curriculum designed by some of the best minds and professionals in the education industry. How were they different? What separates them from the crowd, besides clientele? At the end of the day the results should speak for themselves, right? I submitted an application and was granted a face-to-face interview to gauge my level of commitment and accountability to the terms of the fellowship. I was captivated with what I found on the inside.

SOF personnel, like golf, spend a lot of time learning to crawl first, then walk, and then run. All of the high-speed stuff you read about in the news didn’t happen instantly. These individuals, like myself, were groomed over weeks and months of training. Repetition in one area meant success in another.

Dan Hathorn

Post retirement, I found myself feeling like a Formula 1 race car driver on a track filled with wind-up toys. I had a skilled, honed mind, ready to tackle diverse problems, in any environment and succeed no matter what. I was floundering around trying not to run into everyone while leaving a path of destruction in my wake for lack of societal, and cultural understanding. The Honor Foundation took that ability to learn in any environment, at any pace, and challenged us fellows with the task of going back through training again.

Having spent the better portion of our lives learning the slow backswing of SOF practices, we were now the pros at the long accurate drives that generated huge success for our countries various initiatives. While those skills can certainly translate into the private sector, we needed to hit the range again and start taking lessons. This forum was an entirely new game.

From having classes on challenging communications, learning how to present in 30 seconds or less, writing drills, business simulations, and a hefty reading list, this Fellowship was certainly not for the weak of heart. For the transitioning SOF individual, this course represents the spirit of Special Operations personnel. We all know how to train for the win, but we’ve all also been granted the autonomy to create that success on our own, within the overarching structure of Special Operations.

What happens when you leave the military? Your transition is now handed over to someone who “knows” resumes and you rely on them to tell your story. This is akin to buying a golf lesson and then watching the instructor hit accurate drives wearing a mask with your likeness. It’s not authentic. It’s not you. The name of the game for The Honor Foundation, in my opinion, is authenticity, and credibility. The game of golf can be a quick game when the foundation for success is there. Without this foundation you find yourself striking inaccurately and inefficiently and without purpose.

As I approach the graduation of The Honor Foundation Group 10 cohort in Virginia Beach, I sit back and reflect on where I was, and where I am now. I arrived as a man, devoid of purpose, unsure of himself, and not entirely certain where I fit into this new life I was staring down. I now stride confidently and with a clear purpose on my direction.

They say, “A rising tide lifts all boats” right? If SOF individuals are in such high demand, then all industry executives should be standing by patiently waiting for each cohort to graduate. This SOF finishing school provides a C-suite level workforce that only deepens the value of all veterans, SOF and conventional forces alike.

To learn more about The Honor Foundation or thank these veterans for their service, contact them at www.honor.org/contact.
How to Empower Frontline Employees in this Digital Age

How to Empower Frontline Employees in this Digital Age

For companies to thrive in the 21st century, they must be able to adapt to the demands of the digital age. Part of that evolutionary process means empowering frontline employees. After all, frontline employees are a business’s first point of contact with a customer—hence the name “frontline.”

And that frontline is being taken over by a fairly new generation that has entered the workforce.

They’re the millennials, a mix of twenty-somethings and young thirty-somethings that have grown up alongside the eruption in digital technologies. Having been raised on a diet of smartphones and the internet, millennials almost epitomize the term “digital age.”

They are the trendsetters of our era, at the forefront of the latest technologies, and companies can learn from millennials the habits needed to empower frontline employees.

Turn Your Company Into a Village

Long gone are the days when working at a company meant only being on a first-name basis with your cubicle neighbors and managers. This is the digital age—the age of social media—and the entire world is connected by a tangled net of signals.

For better or worse, nearly every single person is a simple Google search away. And companies that haven’t internalized this “digital world is a village” lesson are going to stutter and spurt until they finally crash.

How do we take the lessons of an interconnected world to the office to empower frontline employees?

Companies using the right app or software can turn their vast employee roster into a small village, where everybody knows everybody else’s names. Or at least has access to them.

With the right app or software, workers can send a message to any other employee through a simple click. After all, nobody knows everything—not yet at least. To compensate, traditional companies relied on specialists or experts, leaving some frontline employees at the whims of others to guide their decisions.

But in the digital age, frontline employees don’t need to wait for a message to make its way through labyrinth of communication channels before getting to the right person. They can directly contact the staff member they need to speak to. That means no hold-up, employee independence, and better customer service.

Don’t forget, management and leaders are also privileged to this network. Both they and frontline employees have a diversity of opinions and perceptions to guide decision making.

Encourage Recognition

That interconnected network also makes it easier for employers to commend their frontline employees, to say “Thank you,” an overlooked two syllable phrase that makes all the difference.

Research by One4all Rewards found that “71% of respondents would forgo a higher salary to work for an employer that regularly says thank you.” It’s not clear where the financial cutoff is, but the finding is still significant. It went on to reveal that one in five workers have never received a “Thank you” at all from their employers.

There’s no excuse in the digital age for lacking P’s and Q’s when an entire office has an internal communication solution. A simple salutation makes any employee—especially frontline employees who represent a business—feel valued as a cherished member of a team, even if it’s in the form of a computerized message.

Personal Leadership

Jim Collins’ now classic book, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t discovered similarities between every successful business: employees that are empowered to act on their own.

That means a manager isn’t breathing down a frontline employee’s neck, asking them what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. That doesn’t create a positive work environment for anyone.

As Collins explores in his book, “The moment you feel the need to tightly manage someone, you’ve made a hiring mistake.” A sense of trust and personal responsibility is the push that takes companies from being simply good to exceptionally great.

It’s a way to empower frontline employees. They don’t need to constantly call up a manager and ask whether or not action X or Y or Z is the appropriate response. And giving employees the ability to act independently has never been easier than today.

Freedom to Choose

We all know the saying “knowledge is power.” Essentially, the more information you have the more freedom you have to make decisions.

Where are we going with this? People these days are saturated with information, and companies are too.

Empowering frontline employees means giving them the information they need to make decisions, because businesses that thrive in the digital age give employees the information they need to be autonomous individuals.

Today, there are solutions that do exactly this. Workstream collaboration and internal communication tools enable two-way communication between managers and frontline employees and give everyone access to important information without the use of email. There are other solutions such as Qminder – a queue management system that provides data to frontline employees so they can focus on improving customer experience metrics.

These innovative solutions give frontline employees the means to make informed decisions on their own, while staying connected to information. It goes over particularly well with millennials, who tend to value freedom even more than money. So, give them freedom.

“If people are free, they will be drawn to what they really like as opposed to being pushed toward what they have been told to like,” said Chris Rufer, CEO of Morning Star Company, in an interview with Harvard Business Review. “So they will personally do better; they’ll be more enthused to do things.”

Overcome Hierarchies

As Pew Research rightly points out, millennials are the “best-educated cohort of young adults in American history.” That makes them suspicious of traditional hierarchies and imbued with a keenness for democracy.

Traditionally, decisions are locked behind a hodgepodge bureaucracy. Not only is it inefficient, but it’s demoralizing. In the traditional system, frontline employees feel like a cog in a machine whose voice is barely heard, as if they’re not allowed to deviate from a pre-approved script.

“The problem isn’t the occasional control freak; it’s the hierarchical structure that systematically disempowers lower-level employees,” the Harvard Business Review points out.

The article goes on to say, “Narrow an individual’s scope of authority, and you shrink the incentive to dream, imagine, and contribute.” Overcoming this system means managers must become better leaders and overcome these hierarchical boundaries.

Companies that change their culture today will get ahead tomorrow.

Adaptation is not easy: the rate of technological change makes it seem nearly impossible to implement a strategy that incorporates the latest trends from the digital age. But don’t worry!

“Cultural changes within corporate institutions will always be slower and more complex than the technological changes that necessitate them,” writes McKinsey Quarterly. Recognizing the need to keep on top of the latest digital trends is the first step in a long journey.

Once frontline employees feel the first slivers of empowerment from managers, the necessary changes to continue the trend will naturally flow. It’s the first step that’s hardest. But recognizing it has to be taken is an empowering act in itself.

To empower your frontline employees with the digital technology they need to perform their jobs at the highest level, fill out the form below for a free demo.
3 Warning Signs of Declining Employee Morale

3 Warning Signs of Declining Employee Morale

Your employees power your business, and ensuring employee morale is high is critical for helping workers maintain their productivity. Running a successful business means viewing your employees as a core asset, and morale serves as a measure of their satisfaction with their work.

Experienced managers know what studies have consistently shown: Satisfied employees are more productive than those who dread coming to work. It can be easy to miss out on early warning signs that morale is dropping, and failing to take steps early on can lead to more difficult problems in the future.

Here are three signs employee morale is dropping and a few tips for fixing the problem early.

Negativity

Work almost always causes a bit of stress for workers, and it’s common for employees to feel frustrated on occasion. However, studies have consistently shown that it only takes a single employee to cause this frustration to spread throughout the workplace, and these negative feelings can quickly lead to drained morale in the workplace.

Make sure to provide ways for employees to leave feedback and criticism for management, and let them know your company takes this feedback seriously. If the negativity is caused by poor management, make sure to address these issues with employees and find out if you’re doing enough to solve the problem.

It is very important to promote a positive and motivating workplace atmosphere as much as possible. Always make sure that everyone involved has a complete understanding of the overall vision of the organization, while trying to accomplish their individual goals.

Confusion

A major part of running a business successfully is ensuring everyone is on the same page. Workers need to have consistent access to job-related information and feedback, and it’s important to deliver information in a timely manner. When this order begins to break down, it’s common for employees to feel drained, and this lack of energy can lead to even more confusion, creating a self-sustaining problem.

Look for signs that employees are having trouble navigating their day-to-day activities, and find out if overall productivity is starting to drop. It’s common to find confusion in the office when bringing in new employees or when hiring new people in management positions. If your business operates seasonally, workers might become confused when demand picks up.

One of the keys for fighting confusion and maintaining your office morale is to focus on your hierarchy in the workplace. Ensure everyone knows their roles, and make sure your managers feel empowered to make decisions and delegate to others. If productivity has dropped, spend some time with your workers to find out where the bottleneck is. Small problems can snowball into confusion easily, so keep an eye out for warning signs.

Exhaustion

Those in management positions want their workers being productive at all times, and many try to find ways to increase employee productivity. However, too much work can cause workers unneeded stress on the job, which can lower productivity and cause them to make mistakes.

Even worse, being overworked and stressed out can affect workers’ personal lives, which can lead to poor sleep, health issues and distractions while on the job. Poor sleep has been shown to have a profound effect on work performance and lead to negative attitudes, which are clear signs of poor office morale. Work-related stress can also lead to high turnover, resulting in a less experienced workforce.

The key to preventing overworking on the job is encouraging employees to take breaks. Some workers try to minimize their break time to impress managers, so ensure your employees know they’re encouraged to take a break and refresh, and consider making breaks mandatory. Small breaks can be helpful as well; a five-minute breather after completing certain tasks, for example, can help your employees stay refreshed throughout their shifts. If your employees work alone, finding ways to help them take breaks together can help them remain focused.

Another factor to consider is vacation time. While paid time off is a significant expense, providing vacation time also lets employees recharge away from the office, which can result in higher overall productivity.

Workplace morale is key for ensuring your employees are productive, but it can be more difficult to maintain good morale once it starts to slip. Make sure your business regularly measures office morale, and include employees on these conversations. Encourage employees to be honest; workers are sometimes reluctant to report problems, so assure them you’re interested in their feedback. View maintaining your morale as part of running a successful business, and feel free to make investments if it will lead to a happier and more productive workforce. Guaranteed you’ll see the return.

Interested in learning more about improving employee morale and boosting productivity in your organization? Schedule a free personal demo with our app experts today.

Quiz: Does your workplace inspire employee engagement, or indifference?

What if you discovered that less than one-third of your employees are actually enthusiastic about, and committed to your workplace?

Would panic ensue? Would you rally for change? Or would it be business as usual around the office?

Unfortunately, this is not a hypothetical question, but the real state of the current workforce.

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Mitarbeiterkommunikation: Nur 30% kommt an

Gastbeitrag: Accelerom AG
Autoren: Christoph Spengler, Isabel Imper, Laetitia Burkhard

Auch in der digitalen Arbeitswelt gilt: Gut informierte Mitarbeitende sind engagiertere Mitarbeitende. Neue Formen der Zusammenarbeit und Kommunikationswege erschweren die Informationsversorgung jedoch wesentlich. Wie die 360°TOUCHPOINT-Analyse Sicherheit bei der Steuerung der Mitarbeiterkommunikation im digitalen Zeitalter schafft, lesen Sie im Blogbeitrag.

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