7 Reasons to use Emotion Check-In Tools in Team Environments 

7 Reasons to use Emotion Check-In Tools in Team Environments 

In today’s fast-paced and interconnected work landscape, effective communication and emotional well-being is crucial for successful collaboration. Emotion check-in tools provide a structured framework for team members to express and acknowledge their emotions, creating a safe space for conversations and empathy.

The article “Manage Your Emotional Culture” published in Harvard Business Review emphasizes the significance of emotional culture within organizations. It highlights that while many companies focus on managing their physical and cognitive aspects, neglecting the emotional dimension can be detrimental. That emotional culture, defined by the shared norms and expectations around emotions in the workplace, strongly influences employee behaviour, engagement, and performance. On the back of this we have collated 7 reasons to introduce tools such as the ECD from Riders & Elephants into team meetings, that will help cultivate and manage the emotional culture of your business.

Some advantages are: 

  1. Enhanced Employee Well-being:
    Regular activities allow business leaders to gauge the emotional well-being of their team members regularly. By providing a safe space for employees to express their emotions, leaders can identify and address any issues that may impact their well-being. This, in turn, promotes a healthier work environment and supports overall employee happiness and satisfaction. 

  2. Improved Employee Engagement:
    Check-in tools encourage open communication and transparency within teams. By actively seeking and valuing employees’ emotions, leaders foster a culture of trust, empathy, and inclusivity. Employees feel more engage, understand themselves and their team better, leading to increased motivation, productivity, and loyalty. 

  3. Enhanced Team Collaboration:
    Understanding team members’ emotions helps leaders identify any emotional barriers that may hinder effective collaboration. By addressing these barriers and promoting emotional intelligence, leaders can foster better teamwork, empathy, and understanding among team members. This, in turn, improves communication, cooperation, and problem-solving capabilities within the team. 

  4. Better Decision-Making:
    Emotion check-in tools provide business leaders with valuable insights into the emotional state of their team members. This information can influence decision-making processes, enabling leaders to consider the emotional impact of their decisions on the team. By taking emotions into account, leaders can make more informed and empathetic decisions, leading to better outcomes and a stronger team dynamic. 

  5. Early Detection of Issues:
    Emotion check-ins allow business leaders to identify potential issues or conflicts early on. When employees feel comfortable sharing their emotions, leaders can detect signs of stress, burnout, or dissatisfaction promptly. This enables leaders to take a proactive approach to address concerns before they escalate, reducing the risk of negative impacts on team dynamics and performance. 

  6. Increased Retention and Talent Attraction:
    Implementing emotion check-in tools demonstrates that leaders prioritize the emotional well-being of their employees. Such initiatives create a positive work culture that attracts and retains top talent. Employees are more likely to stay with an organization that values their emotions, leading to improved retention rates and reducing recruitment and onboarding costs. 

  7. Strengthened Leadership Effectiveness:
    Emotion check-in tools also benefit leaders themselves. By actively engaging with their team members’ emotions, leaders can develop a deeper understanding of their team’s needs and concerns. This helps leaders adapt their management approach, provide appropriate support, and build stronger relationships with their team members.  

At Vargo + Lewis, we are passionate about the utilisation of these tools in a team setting because the benefits are just so compelling. Boost your own team dynamics and productivity by giving these cards a go today. Let’s show you the cards in action and the power of these conversations first hand over coffee! Get in touch with the Vargo + Lewis team.

Bringing Our Emotions to Work

Bringing Our Emotions to Work

Over the past two years we’ve seen a marked increase in interest for our team development work which utilises the TTI Success Insights tools. In short, these tools measure our observable behaviour (DISC), motivators and emotional intelligence. 

While the work has a focus on individual awareness of our own behaviour and how it is received by others, often the real value comes in the team workshop. A time when team members share their communication preferences and what motivators and look towards understanding where each other are coming from in their work. In the last year, we’ve taken a step towards helping bring conversations about how we feel at work into these sessions.  

By utilising the Emotional Culture Deck, we’ve had the teams reflect on how they’ve been feeling at work. Without fail we see commonality in how team members have been feeling. Not only the areas that may be needing attention for improvement, but also an opportunity to celebrate successes and what’s been going well.  

So often we think about our emotions as happy, sad and angry but there are so much more. And when we start talking about how we’re feeling the positive impacts are varied. We can label our own emotions, identify what triggers those emotions and build strategies to manage those emotions to prevent an unwated negative impact on the people around us. It can enable us to understand how others are feeling and where we need to adapt to minimise those negative emotions and build on the positives.  

Don’t get me wrong, we’re not looking to avoid negative emotions, they’re a critical part of life that provide very important information when used effectively. By realising we’re not alone in how we’re feeling and supporting each other when we see those feelings pop up, can take a good team to a high performing team.  When negative emotions are ignored there is a direct impact on decision making, creativity, problem solving, motivation and engagement.  

To extend the conversation about how we feel at work, we can talk about what the team needs to be feeling in order to be successful and what feelings would detract from that. What rituals as a team that we do daily, weekly, monthly or more, that help create those desired feelings can really help to move the team forward with what practical changes can impact a positive next step.  

The feedback we’ve had from clients when we’ve added this conversation about emotions at work has been overwhelmingly positive. These conversations are becoming the norm at work and in teams. Long gone are the days of “leave your emotions at the door, we’re here to work”.  

Check out the snippet later in the newsletter for a safe little play with the Emotional Culture Deck game. It might feel uncomfortable to step into this new game that may feel vulnerable, but remember discomfort can be a sign of growth and learning.

Change at Vargo+Lewis, a farewell to Shary Vargo

Change at Vargo+Lewis, a farewell to Shary Vargo

During lockdown we had a momentus change that slipped by without much fuss due to everything else going on, but we can’t have this pass by without a big thank you and some insight into the history of Vargo + Lewis. One of the original founders of Vargo + Lewis, Shary Vargo, stepped down from her role as Director at the end of March 2020.

As we launch into the next exciting phase of the Vargo + Lewis journey we want to acknowledge Shary’s significant contribution to our business and wish her well in her next stage of career/life. Before we let her go, we asked for some insights into her journey with Vargo + Lewis.

Can you tell us how and why Vargo + Lewis Ltd started back in 2006?

With a Learning & Development background and experience in three international Management Consulting groups, I met Sally Lewis at my son’s high school career’s presentation. We exchanged cards, and the networking began! After several conversations, working together on projects and lots of planning, we ultimately created a collaboration of ideas that led to the birth of Vargo + Lewis.

We were going to have a quirky name for the business but the marketing professional who helped us get started advised we use our names. She concluded this after her research, where she discovered both of us had well established relationships in Canterbury. So, we went with Vargo + Lewis.

What are some highlights of your time with Vargo + Lewis?

The greatest highlight for me is all the amazing relationships I have been able to develop through the business. Those relationships initiated vast opportunities to support a diverse range of organisations and people.

Additionally, there were certain projects where we were able to make a significant difference and when I see those people today, they still tell me how their lives were changed.

What do you feel has been the biggest accomplishment in your career?

Having a career that aligned with my values; freedom/learning/building relationships. Having your own business gives a sort of time freedom, but it’s not for the faint hearted! Often you feel like you are thinking about the business all the time. And, in reality, “time freedom” sometimes looks like the freedom to work at night to get done what you didn’t get done in the day as you exercised your time freedom.

What were some major turning points in the story/history/life of Vargo + Lewis?

Well, as other businesses will also attest to, we faced a few challenges beyond our control, but Sally and I, with the support of John, always had a positive outlook for the future. Facing major crises isn’t something you ever want to happen, but when it does, what you are made of comes to the forefront. Some major events were:

  • Christchurch series of earthquakes: We lost our offices at Forsyth Barr House and just got on with the “new normal”. I think the healing that needed to take place was more personal. The business, to our amazement and delight, continued to thrive. I remember having a house full of friends and family who needed a roof over their heads after the big February quake. Despite all that was going on, I found myself working on Skype with clients in the West Coast. I think the adrenalin was pumping in those days just after the big event. It was a bit awkward because house guests and kids kept coming into my home office to ask me questions, like, “what’s for lunch?” Much like we had again in Lockdown.
  • Economic downturns: Prior to the quakes, there were economic downturns, but the worst was the global financial crisis. We witnessed many small consulting businesses struggle. Once again, the relationships we had established and the diversity of the services we offer, kept the business strong. Like other businesses, we agreed on changes to our structure, adopting a contractor model, that also enabled the viability of Vargo + Lewis.
  • Business Partner changes: When founding members of a business leave, the turning point is often one of mixed emotions: celebrations and separations. Sally’s departure from the business was sad because she had to leave to support an unwell husband, not the type of leaving any of us had wanted. However, all the shared energy and commitment to Vargo + Lewis has given us a friendship that continues to this day.

Are there any inspirational or amusing events that occurred along the way?

We had lots of fun along the way. Coming from learning and development backgrounds, Sally and I were continuously learning ourselves, creating new programmes/services and trying different ways of doing things. I remember one day, we were particularly overwhelmed with a new business venture we had implemented, I said to Sally, “I’ve got an idea”. In her, “enough is enough” tone, she stated firmly, “No more ideas!”. Sometimes you must consolidate and re-energise before the team is ready for, yet another, idea that means change.

What are you most looking forward to in this next stage of your work life?

After a three-year succession management plan, finishing my Directorship with Vargo + Lewis happened on 31 March, just as Covid-19 lockdown was starting. That part wasn’t planned! Interestingly, I was immediately approached to be deputised onto the Pastoral Care Team for lockdown in my rural community. Without reservation, I could freely respond with a ‘yes’! So, you asked, “what am I most looking forward to?” As I continue to provide coaching and mentoring to leaders and professionals, I also look forward to greater time freedom, allowing me to support not for profits and community groups to make a difference.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Of course, I wish Kirsty Allott and Helen O’Neill, the new owners, the best of success as they manage the business. I have total confidence in their professional and relational skills to continue the good work of Vargo + Lewis. There may be challenging economic times ahead, but we’ve been there before!

Thank you Shary for these highlights, and for your hard work, dedication and inspiration. We wish you all the best for the future, with that “time freedom” filled with family, friends and fun.

Kirsty Allott and Helen O’Neill

Outplacement Support

Outplacement Support

Outplacement Support – What is it?

You’ve probably heard the term a lot recently but what does Outplacement Support actually mean and why should you provide it to your staff?

We prefer to call it Career Transition support, but the term Outplacement is still used widely. It’s one of our specialty areas and we’ve been working in this space for many years. Put simply it’s a service, normally paid for by employers, to provide employees who have been made redundant with support to help them find new employment.

What does Outplacement Support involve?

Good outplacement support is more than just CV preparation. We start by assessing an individual client’s needs, including emotional and financial. Reactions to a redundancy, and the support needed, are unique to every person we work with. Many just want practical support but others need support around resilience and wellbeing. Our work is forward focussed, helping our clients to move on from their change experience instead of dwelling on what has happened.

We then work through a process of identifying skills and achievements, linking these to personal marketing tools (CV, LinkedIn profiles) and on to Interview skills coaching. The goal is to equip clients with all the tools they need for a successful job search or next step. We take a career-based approach, exploring different career options, for example next steps, job pivots, retraining options, self-employment, or retirement.

In terms of job search strategy, we’re not recruiters, but we have relationships with recruiters so can refer to appropriate ones. Our job search coaching also involves how to tap into the hidden job market and how to build & make use of networks.

We also sometimes get brought in during Selection processes to provide employees with CV and Job Interview training. This ensures all people contesting for roles are given the same preparation and are on a more level playing field.

What are the Benefits of providing Outplacement Support?

For an employee, the benefits are all around confidence and their personal brand. When change is imposed on people, even the most confident will have a reaction. We put people back in the driver’s seat of their career and help them to move forward.

The biggest benefit for an employer is that their brand and reputation is retained in the market. Your former employees have an ongoing impact on your brand so treat them well as they leave. You may need them back in the future. Employees who stay are also watching closely how those leaving are treated. Providing good support demonstrates that you value all employees.

Providing outplacement support eases the pressure on managers & HR staff by using external providers. It can also decrease risk for employers by reducing the likelihood of the employee pursuing a personal grievance.

Talk to us about your Outplacement Support needs, there are numerous ways we can structure it to work to your budget and the number of staff involved.

Restructure and Redundancy – how to do it well

Restructure and Redundancy – how to do it well

As we come to the end of 12 weeks of the Wage Subsidy Scheme, we’re expecting another wave of restructures and redundancies. Some businesses have already made changes, the news is full of well-known businesses closing stores or reducing staff numbers. For many smaller businesses with less resources, we’ve been hearing plenty of examples of employers not following good processes when they have done this.

Failing to follow a proper process not only causes more stress for people during an already stressful time, it also adds to the risk of those people taking personal grievances against their employers. Staff who remain in the organisation are also impacted by a bad process as it can add to their stress and feelings of uncertainty about the future, as well as impacting their relationship with their employer.

So we’ve produced a free checklist to help businesses restructure, while keeping in mind that their employees are people who deserve to be treated with dignity.

Please get in contact with us if you would like further support with your change process.

Download the PDF