Interview with Nihal Dangoria
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I have always believed that the best way to predict our future is to create it and that’s why since a very young age I have worked hard to shape my own life. That’s one reason I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur.
Can you share the most exciting story that happened to you since you started doing this?
When the coronavirus pandemic shut down businesses across the nation, I decided it was the perfect time to start a new one.
It was an idea I have been mulling over for years: a hiring platform, called “Jobfinder.ghy”, to help service industry and skilled trade workers obtain jobs. It was the perfect time to just risk it all because I had the financial support. And now I do feel like it was the perfect moment in time.
I had to think about ways to support these new businesses because new, young businesses are the engine for job growth in the economy.
I not only helped the unemployed people obtain jobs but also could get good handsome numbers of highly efficient and skilled people for my new upcoming ventures.
I kept them in my payroll even if they were not recruited by other companies because I could see how potential they were and now they are all working for me. I have never come across such talents before in my journey into business. Covid-19 gave me a whole bunch of skilled people whom I can rely on.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them thrive and not “burn out”?
Employee burnout is an important buzzword to know. It refers to the extreme stress employees feel that can eventually lead to their departure. Not only that, but burnout has huge implications for your bottom line — decreased productivity, depleting morale and significant product delays all cost you money.
Burnout spreads like wildfire; it can wipe out your team if you’re not careful. Your employees are your most important asset, especially in today’s uncertain times. Making sure they have the support they need to be successful should be your number one priority as their boss. To help you get ahead of a wide-scale workplace burnout problem on your team, I have outlined 10 tips to keep it under control.
1. MAKE FEEDBACK A PRIORITY
Give and collect feedback during regular one-on-ones with your direct reports. This helps build a stronger manager-employee relationship and provides individuals with a private opportunity to discuss challenges they’re facing. For remote employees, use a video conferencing platform so you can still speak face-to-face.
Provide employees with feedback they can use to improve in their role. Both constructive criticism and praise have a positive impact on engagement. In fact, 69 percent of employees say they would work harder if they received more recognition for their efforts, and 24 percent would consider looking for work elsewhere if they received inadequate feedback from their managers.
Also, ask team members for feedback; listen to their concerns and brainstorm ways to improve communication and enhance their employee experience. Almost half of the employees (48 percent) say asking for their input and taking action accordingly would help mitigate voluntary turnover.
2. PRIORITIZE WELLNESS AND MENTAL HEALTH
The physical and emotional tolls of employee burnout cost roughly $125-190 billion in health care expenditures each year in the U.S. It’s difficult to maintain a work-life balance in a digital world where we’re always plugged in, but it’s even harder for remote employees whose home life and office overlap.
Encourage your direct reports to take time for themselves as needed. Remember that each individual is unique and will require different forms of support to stay physically and mentally healthy. Allow your team to take advantage of the wellness opportunities offered in your employee benefits package as a way to boost your company culture.
3. OFFER MENTAL BREAKS THROUGHOUT THE DAY
Some employees will be hesitant to unplug out of fear of missing an update or falling behind. Implement different activities into your team’s routine that offer a mental break from the grind.
For example, before your first meeting of the day, get your entire team together for a virtual meditation session. This could include goal setting for the day, repeating a mantra, or guided breathing exercises.
Incorporating wellness activities into the workday ensures employees know it’s OK to take time to recharge. Acting critical of their need to do so is not conducive to a healthy and supportive work environment, and can actually cost your organization money — 60 percent of employees would take a pay cut to work for an empathetic employer.
4. SET AND MAINTAIN REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
Nothing will demotivate and disengage an employee faster than unattainable goals. Feeling like they’re chasing after a moving target and constantly missing the mark will shatter an employee’s self-confidence. Goals should be both progressive and flexible; you shouldn’t expect a new hire to perform at the level of a two-year-tenured employee.
Furthermore, you may come across bumps in the process that require you to shift your approach entirely. If that’s the case, employees should not be beholden to outdated or overly aggressive goals. Key performance indicators (KPIs) and targets should be adjusted as needed and especially as the employee progresses in their role.
5. IMPROVE YOUR ONBOARDING PROCESS
Your onboarding process is an employee’s first real introduction to your company. A strong onboarding sequence sets employees on the path to success; 53 percent of HR professionals report improved levels of employee engagement as a result of better onboarding processes.
As a manager, it’s your job to give employees the tools they need to thrive in their role by clearly outlining their responsibilities and objectives. If employees know what’s expected of them, they’re more likely to take pride and invest in their work. Additionally, introduce new employees to members of your team and help them understand your type of organization culture. Doing so will allow them to build a connection with other employees and cultivate a sense of belonging. Make sure to play your part in optimizing your virtual onboarding plan for today’s remote world.
6. OFFER FLEXIBLE SCHEDULING
Giving employees the freedom to adapt their working hours to their personal lives has a positive impact on engagement. Not only does it help them establish a work-life balance that meets their needs, it also gives them a sense of autonomy, which enhances their overall employee experience.
Furthermore, customizing their work schedule enables employees to hone in on their most productive hours. If an individual knows they tend to check out after 4:00 p.m., they can shift their day to start earlier and sign off before productivity plummets. For remote teams, this is an easy way to avoid workplace burnout without overhauling your efforts; with everything online, employees can easily catch up on projects if their schedules don’t align.
7. IMPROVE AND AUTOMATE PROCESSES
Sometimes freeing up an employee’s bandwidth is as simple as automating a process. For example, if a UX designer dedicates the first few hours of every project to recreating the same framework, take the time to create a template they can return to and modify as needed.
Work to identify bottlenecks, whether that be individual contributors or process limitations, so you can mitigate them for your team. Sometimes removing a step or consolidating responsibilities through delegation can improve how employees work together and ease frustrations with a process.
8. ENCOURAGE PASSION PROJECTS
People are naturally more engaged with their work if it’s something they enjoy doing. In addition to encouraging your team members to explore their interests — both at work and in their free time — provide them the autonomy to choose their tasks. If a software developer or engineer prefers working in one coding language over the other, allow them to work predominantly on projects that fit their interests.
Of course, every employee has responsibilities they may not enjoy that have to get done. As a team leader, it’s not your job to customize roles to the individual. Still, refocusing an employee’s priorities and task list to better align with their professional interests and goals is a productive form of employee development. Helping employees do work that excites them and allows them to grow in their careers reduces the risk of workplace burnout.
9. MAKE TIME FOR FUN
Engaging social initiatives should already be in place as part of your company culture, but you can implement additional activities specifically for your team. Doing so helps employees bond as a collective unit and on a personal level. It also helps them blow off steam at the end of the workday and relieve stress.
Schedule happy hours, plan team meet-ups or simply eat lunch together. Anything you can do that offers an enjoyable break from work will infuse positivity into your employees’ days. Furthermore, it forces them to take a step back from their projects and relax, which is essential to avoiding workplace burnout. Adopt a few of these remote team activities to bring all of your employees together.
10. OFFER REWARDS
In addition to recognizing employees for a job well-done, give them a reward for their efforts. Incentives and prizes are common among sales teams, but also work well in motivating and engaging employees across all departments. Offering rewards makes employees feel appreciated and encourages them to take pride in their work.
It doesn’t have to be a significant monetary prize or an all-inclusive vacation package, either. Employees will appreciate an extra day of PTO, a gift card to their favorite restaurant, or the chance to join an exciting industry event. When determining rewards for your team, ask them what they’d enjoy most. This makes them feel included in the decision-making process and increases the likelihood that they’ll be motivated by the prize.
Avoiding burnout essentially boils down to this: listen to your employees. When asked, they’ll tell you what it is they need to feel more confident about their work and to be successful in their role. Be vigilant against the signs of employee burnout and take action immediately to retain top performers and entice great job seekers.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I am grateful for the help and support I received from my mother, I have had many ups and downs, but my mother was always by my side. She gave me all kinds of support from financial to mental. Without her, I would not have been able to achieve this little success that I have so soon.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I try to bring goodness to this planet by encouraging people of all regions, religions, and races to recognize our shared humanity. I’ve inspired others at talks and presentations. …If you have that first sale or find yourself unemployed — I encourage you to volunteer for a cause, donate and decide to connect to the collective human spirit. We are generous creatures so my success is your success and your success is my success. This is why sharing our stories, using our success for good, and making art matters because it’s adding to our shared humanity. Helping our evolution as a species. Ain’t nobody got time for scarcity or poverty.
Do you have a favourite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?
No one is coming to save you this life is 100% your responsibility.
Stop blaming others when things don’t go right. A key element in growing as an individual and becoming a better person is learning to accept personal responsibility for your actions, including your behaviors, emotions, and failures — everything you have control over.
We often put the blame on others, sometimes so subtly we hardly realize we’re doing it. We make excuses for ourselves and why something isn’t our fault.
You take control of your life when you accept that you alone are responsible for your actions. To take this a step further, ask yourself whether you’re taking responsibility for creating the life you want, for becoming the person you want to be. Or are you just letting life happen and then blaming the world for your failures?
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