Author: Michelle Jones (Page 1 of 23)

Srini’s Tech Tip: Removing Blank Rows in Excel

Removing Blank Rows by Locating Blank Cells

Imagine you have a data set with several blanks in a column or two, and you want to permanently remove the rows containing those blanks.  Most commonly, users select and delete the rows manually, even if they do many at a time.  This is a very time consuming and tedious process.  If you had to do this task frequently, there is now an added element of frustration.

The following method is very simple to perform, requires very little time, and involves some nice keyboard shortcuts.  You can also record these steps in a macro (covered in L&OD’s Excel Level 3 class) and automate the whole process.  It is ok to work hard, but it is better to work smart!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Managing an Understaffed Team

With job resignations still up 23% above pre-pandemic levels, many organizations are short-staffed. There are a few common solutions for staffing shortages: redistributing work, hiring replacement employees and outsourcing lower-level tasks. But amid the Great Resignation’s persistent talent shortage, many managers are finding that their usual go-to solutions aren’t enough.

Here are three strategies for managers struggling with understaffed teams:

  1. Rethink project calendars. Prioritize the needs of mission-critical projects and defer what you can. What you can’t defer needs to be implemented more strategically and scheduled more carefully — preferably sequentially.
  2. Implement a buddy system to cover each other. Know what’s coming, predict it to employees, ask them to share in the load and lead by example. We’re all willing to work a little harder from time to time when our colleagues need to recharge in exchange for the ability to do the same.
  3. Find quick interventions. Look for interventions that can substantively improve employees’ daily work and be mastered in less than a week. If you can, bring in external consultants or human resources to manage much of the design and rollout of the interventions to avoid further overwhelming an already overstretched workforce. Although investing in process improvement may be expensive, it’s likely much cheaper than recruiting, training, and managing a revolving door of employees who are all frustrated by broken processes.

Thanks to staffing shortages, many employees’ workloads have increased to untenable levels. For the workplaces running on a skeleton crew, now is the time to implement process improvement interventions, prioritize your core clients and products, and assign your employees to fewer concurrent projects — not more.

 

References:
Harvard Business Review (2022, May 17) Margaret M. Luciano: 3 Strategies for Managing an Understaffed Team
Forbes (2021, July 2) Forbes Agency Council: 10 Ways Companies Can Manage the Workflow When Understaffed

 

Mentoring in the Remote Workplace

Remote work is here to stay. And with this shift comes the need for managers and leaders to master virtual mentorship. Many individuals incorrectly presume that physical proximity is essential in developmental relationships. But like work itself, mentoring is defined less by the medium in which it is accomplished than by the outcomes delivered. Commitment, trust, relationship quality, and mentor competence are the real ingredients of developmental growth, all of which can be applied to virtual mentorship.

To master virtual mentoring and build effective developmental relationships, managers and leaders can benefit from sharpening these skills:

  • Build trust. Make the relationship a safe space for both parties and delivering on any promises you make.
  • Clarify rules of engagement. Get on the same page about what each person expects out of the mentoring relationship, including deciding on the frequency of communication and preferred mediums.
  • Be intentional when forming the relationship. Ask questions and discover shared values. The key is to get to know each other well enough that you can spot strengths and weaknesses.
  • Build in structure. Remote mentoring relationships need more structure and communication than in-person relationships. You need to determine how often you’ll be in touch and through what formats. Keeping that cadence will help you ensure that you’re communicating regularly enough to have an impact.
  • Balance authenticity with boundaries. In one sense, virtual mentoring may lend itself to greater task-oriented formality around mentor-mentee pairings, scheduling, and topics for discussion. However, with much virtual mentorship taking place inside our homes, there will be inevitable glimpses into the personal lives of both parties, including unscripted intrusions by partners, children, and pets. As relative power holders in the mentorship, mentors must strike a balance between keeping it real and undue familiarity or worse — becoming creepy.
  • Collaborate whenever possible. In-office mentoring has traditionally afforded many opportunities for working together on projects. Such collaboration can become a platform for teaching, coaching, and networking with your mentee. Don’t overlook the potential for collaboration in virtual relationships, as well.
  • Feedback and recognition. Creating systems for feedback and recognition can help strengthen both formal and informal mentoring relationships. It is helpful to create opportunities where employees and managers are encouraged to engage with each other and share feedback to improve their communication and recognize areas for improvements as well as what’s going well.

The role of the manager is getting harder, overall. Managers face new challenges and need to be clearer than ever about the definition of success in the job and what it takes to get there. Like new managerial skills for remote work, there are new skills for virtual mentoring. With intentional preparation and skill development, virtual mentoring can be quite effective. No matter the medium for your next virtual mentoring relationship, we hope that by developing these skills you will be well prepared for a high-impact virtual relationship.

For a deeper dive into remote mentoring, please check out this definitive guide.

 

References:
Harvard Business Review (2022, March 22) Ellen A. Ensher, W. Brad Johnson, and David G. Smith: How to Mentor in a Remote Workplace
Fast Company (2017, June 15) Gwen Moran: How to Mentor a Remote Employee

Generational Differences in the Workplace

Look around your workplace and you are likely to see people from across the age span for the first time in history, particularly as more Americans are working past age 55. In fact, the Society for Human Resource Management argues that there are a full five generations on the job today, from the Silent Generation to Gen Z.

  • Generation Z: born between 2001 – 2020
  • Millennials: born between 1981 – 2000
  • Generation X: born between 1965 – 1980
  • Baby Boomers: born between 1946 – 1964
  • Silent Generation: born between 1925 – 1945

Workers from different generations bring different expectations and life experiences to the workplace. This can be particularly challenging for managers attempting to lead teams comprised of workers from different generations. Lack of trust between older and younger workers often yields a culture of competition and resentment that leads to real productivity losses. These generational frustrations have become even more pronounced during the pandemic. As people of all ages have left their jobs in the so-called Great Resignation, older and younger workers are competing for similar roles.

It is important to note that when age-diverse teams are managed well, members can share a wide array of skills, knowledge, and networks with one another. Consider taking the following steps to help bridge that gap and move toward better intergenerational cooperation.

  1. Identify assumptions and stereotypes. The assumptions we make about generational groups (including our own) can hold us back from understanding teammates’ true selves as well as the skills, information, and connections they have to offer. Noticing that we’re making these assumptions is the first step to combating them.
  2. Adjust your lens. Consider whether the assumptions that you’ve identified align with the reality of the situation at hand, or whether you’ve been judging someone’s actions and attitudes based only on your frame of reference. Try to understand why colleagues from different generations might behave differently than you do.
  3. Identify shared goals. Focus on commonalities or a common direction to reduce perceptions of “us” versus “them” and create or reinforce a sense of “we.” This helps team members begin to see themselves as unified in pursuit of the same interests and builds psychological safety.
  4. Take advantage of differences. Once you’ve tempered generational tensions by recognizing assumptions, adjusting your lens, and identifying commonalities, you can work on finding productive differences with your colleagues of other generations and ways to benefit from each other’s perspectives, knowledge, and networks. Emphasize that differences of opinion are valued contributions toward your common success.
  5. Embrace mutual learning and mentoring relationships. Team members must believe that they have something to learn from colleagues in different age groups. The ultimate goal is mutual learning: peers of all ages teaching and learning from one another in an ongoing loop.

Age-diverse teams are valuable because they bring together people with complementary abilities, skills, information, and networks. If managed effectively, they can offer better decision-making, more-productive collaboration, and improved overall performance — but only if members are willing to share and learn from their differences.

 

References:
Harvard Business Review (2022, March 8) Megan W. Gerhardt, Josephine Nachemson-Ekwall, and Brandon Fogel: Harnessing the Power of Age Diversity
Harvard Business Review (2019, August 1) Eden King, Lisa Finkelstein, Courtney Thomas, and Abby Corrington: Generational Differences at Work are Small. Thinking They’re Big Affects Our Behavior.
Knowledge City (2022): Generational Differences in the Workplace: A 2022 Guide
Better Up (2022, February 17) Madeline Miles: How to Turn Generational Differences into Employee Retention

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