While work is just one part of our lives, it occupies a substantial portion of time and energy. As a result, the level of satisfaction someone experiences at work seeps into how they feel about other areas of their lives. The quality of a work environment and the interactions we have with our superiors can deeply affect overall well-being.  And in instances where it’s a poor experience, it's not uncommon for employees to experience increased stress, reduced job satisfaction, loss of motivation, affected mental and physical health, and impacted self-perception beyond the workplace.

So how can you be a good boss? To effectively lead and support their team and the individuals within, good people managers and leaders create positive and productive work environments - environments where individuals feel respected, satisfied, and engaged. This seems simple in theory. In practice, though, it's hard; there are numerous elements involved. Just one person, the boss, has to be sufficiently skilled at all of them.

You've likely heard about the Golden Rule: to treat others how you would like to be treated. And again, in theory it seems simple, even good natured. Encourage people to consider how they would feel if they were in someone else's position and to use that understanding as a guide for how they should treat others. However, in practice, it doesn’t quite hit the mark. Others don’t really want to be treated how you want to be treated, they want to be treated how they want to be treated. This is what w call the Platinum Rule.

At McQuaig, the Platinum Rule is what we teach and share with our clients, and it’s what we work by. It helps to inform our work practices, our approach to internal communication and even who we assign to what project.

When we consider the characteristics that make a good manager, the list is long. In addition to that, the elements also need to be put into action at the right time. It’s a lot of plates for one person to spin, and unsurprisingly many people managers fail the 'good boss' test, not from lack of want, but from being overwhelmed. Implementing the Platinum Rule can help to simplify a large portion of what it takes to be a good boss. Simply treating others how they want to be treated, and letting this inform how, when, and why you do what you do to lead them takes much the complexity and effort out of a being a good boss. To understand how others want to be treated, a leader can and most definitely should initiate the conversation with the individual. However, it’s good to be mindful that their answers will depend on the individual's level of self-awareness and their ability to articulate their needs, and to keep in mind that it’s likely that they will downplay what they really need and want to appear more compliant or easy going. For insight into how to get the most out of your team members, take the time to become familiar with their unique personality traits, their strengths, and their motivators. This will provide informed and measured guidance on what to do more of, what to do less of, and where to monitor for maintenance. More intentional employee/manager relationships provide the scaffold for positive and fulfilling workplace cultures, and empower individuals to succeed in life inside and outside of work hours.

A good boss supports
A good boss interprets
A good boss executes
A good boss performs
A good boss makes decisions
A good boss engages
A good boss conceptualizes
A good boss changes orientation

In today's competitive job market, attracting top talent is only half the battle. To truly thrive and succeed, organizations must focus on retaining these valuable employees for the long term. Employee engagement is the key to achieving this goal, and it begins right from the moment new hires step foot into the workplace. In this blog, we will explore strategies that employers can implement to hook engagement from new hires and foster a strong bond that promotes long-term retention.

Create a Warm Welcome

The onboarding process sets the tone for an employee's entire journey with the company. Ensure that the onboarding experience is warm, welcoming, and informative. Assign a buddy or mentor to each new hire to help them acclimate to the company culture, answer questions, and provide guidance during the initial days. This supportive approach helps new employees feel valued and connected from the start.

Define Clear Expectations

Ambiguity can lead to frustration and disengagement. Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of new hires so they understand what is expected of them. Establish realistic goals and provide the necessary tools and resources to achieve them. Regularly communicate feedback and offer constructive guidance to keep new employees on the right track.

Cultivate a Positive Work Environment

An engaging work environment is vital for long-term employee retention. Foster a culture that promotes open communication, teamwork, and appreciation. Encourage a healthy work-life balance and demonstrate a genuine concern for the well-being of your employees. When employees feel valued and respected, they are more likely to stay committed to the organization.

Offer Opportunities for Growth

Career growth and development opportunities are powerful engagement drivers. Create a robust career development plan for new hires and provide them with access to training programs, workshops, and mentorship opportunities. Encourage employees to set personal and professional goals, and support them in achieving these objectives.

Recognize and Reward

Acknowledging hard work and achievements is essential for sustaining engagement. Implement a recognition and reward program to appreciate the contributions of new hires. Whether it's through public recognition, monetary rewards, or other incentives, showing appreciation reinforces the idea that their efforts are recognized and valued.

Encourage Employee Feedback

An engaged employee is one who feels heard and valued. Regularly seek feedback from new hires about their experiences, challenges, and suggestions for improvement. Implementing feedback helps to identify areas of improvement, boosts morale, and demonstrates that the organization is committed to continuous growth.

Promote a Sense of Purpose

Employees who understand the broader purpose of their work are more likely to feel engaged and fulfilled. Clearly communicate the organization's mission, vision, and values to new hires, and explain how their roles contribute to the bigger picture. A sense of purpose instills a deep commitment and dedication to the company's mission.

Engaging new hires from the start is the foundation of building a strong and loyal workforce. By taking these steps, employers can effectively hook engagement from new hires and set the stage for long-term retention.

Remember that employee engagement is an ongoing process. Continuously monitor and adjust your strategies to meet the changing needs and expectations of your workforce. By investing in your employees' growth and well-being, you not only retain talent but also create a thriving organizational culture that attracts top talent in the future.

In recent years, employers have placed growing importance on cultural fit, which describes the ways in which a candidate is compatible with members of the current team and the overall company culture. Even if a potential hire isn’t a perfect match to the requirements for a role, cultural fit can help hiring teams find a “diamond in the rough”, an employee whose passion for a role and chemistry with their coworkers more than bridges any gaps in their skillset.

The unique personality traits each employee possesses, along with the ways those traits foster collaboration, cooperation, and chemistry among teams, are unique and intangible. And not easily replicated with manufactured systems such as AI, if it’s even possible at all. Therefore, as AI tools grow in importance and prevalence in the modern workplace, cultural fit is highlighted only more prominently.

Artificial Intelligence is rapidly becoming a strong component in numerous industries, and will only grow stronger in the coming months and years. Artificial Intelligence is capable of enhancing training and development practices in an organization, helping employees grow and broaden their skills. If a new team member arrives with any technical shortcomings that may hamper their contribution, AI-powered tools can support them, with learning and productivity tools alike. What AI can’t teach or replace, however, is cultural fit.

How then could your organization maintain focus on hiring for cultural fit? A strong first step is to review your company’s values and culture. Next, take a critical look at your company’s mission and vision statements, along with organizational goals. These will help define the type of employee that would thrive in your company environment. Psychometric assessment tools such as McQuaig can help with this step by inviting different stakeholders and top performers to identify the best qualities for potential cultural and job fit and easily identify clear benchmarks for different job profiles in your organization. When interviewing candidates, allow these insights to inform your questions, making sure you gain a clear picture of their values and work style.

For additional perspective on cultural fit, an organization can involve current employees in the hiring process. Hiring teams can see how they interact with candidates both professionally and socially before committing to a specific prospect. As an added benefit, involving current employees gives them a sense of ownership and engagement in the process, and deepens their commitment to company goals.

Hiring for cultural fit means more than just hiring groups of like-minded individuals, however. There needs to be diversity among teams and across an organization, or else cultural bias can occur. Ironically, this is the same risk associated with allowing AI to influence too many organizational processes. Just as companies need to be more mindful of how they integrate AI tools into their operations, they need to recognize the conscientious application of cultural fit in hiring decisions. They need to look for personality traits that are complementary as well as common to form well-rounded, diverse teams.

Psychometric assessments offer a way to identify these personality traits and better understand whether a candidate will be a cultural fit in the work environment. By measuring soft skills, personality traits, and behavioral tendencies, the assessments provide insight into how a candidate will interact with others and fit within team dynamics. Ultimately, these assessments can help companies avoid the costs and disruption of hiring the wrong person and ensure a more cohesive and productive work environment.

The best candidate for your company will likely possess more than the correct list of technical skills to match the role for which they’re applying. The ideal candidate will also possess that cultural fit, the combination of alignment with your company’s values and philosophy, along with chemistry with existing employees. As powerful as AI may become in the coming years, cultural fit is one thing it can’t teach or replace in successful organizations.

The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the way companies approach training and learning. With restrictions on in-person gatherings and a shift to remote work, organizations have had to explore new ways of training their employees. This has led to a debate on whether in-person training is still relevant or if online training has become the new norm.

Exploring the pros and cons of different training methodologies

As any business owner knows, training is essential to the workforce process. Whether you plan to implement new software or refine existing methodologies, accurately training your workers can be the key to efficiency and morale. Popular training methods include classroom-based teaching models, digital learning programs, on-the-job coaching from supervisors, and gamified simulations.

When developing a training program, you will need to consider not only the methodologies available, but the learning styles of trainees. You will likely be dealing with a mixture of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners. You will need to review the main types of training – self-led, online instructor-led, and live, in-person training – and weigh the pros and cons of each to get the most out of your program.

Self-led training

Many people prefer to set their own training schedule. They learn best when given the flexibility to work at their own pace from anywhere, and benefit from the cost savings that usually accompany this method. However, without the opportunity to ask questions or get feedback from an instructor, and a diminished level (or complete absence) of accountability, it can be more difficult to stay motivated.

Visual learners will require well-organized, engaging course materials to work effectively in a self-led environment. Auditory learners may find the lack of direct guidance from an instructor hampers their focus during training.

Online instructor-led training

Virtual training sessions with a live instructor provide more structure and interaction than self-led training, while still offering the flexibility of learning from anywhere. It is also often less expensive than in-person training. It still may be difficult to receive direct feedback and personalized content as online sessions can have many attendees. Technical hurdles and outside distractions threaten a learner’s focus during online training.

With the right visual aids and interactive elements, visual learners can excel in an online instructor-led training environment. Auditory learners can also benefit from the added feedback from instructors and interaction with other trainees.

Live, in-person training

In-person training is the most immersive option, allowing greater interaction with the instructor and other students. It also offers personalized one-on-one feedback for individual learners. The downside is that it can be expensive and requires a significant time commitment. Additionally, if a learner needs to reschedule or miss a session, they may have difficulty catching up.

Kinesthetic learners are likely to be at their best with live, in-person training. They can be more involved in hands-on activities and physically interact with materials and classmates. Conversely, auditory learners may experience difficulties in a live training environment where they can’t manage background noise or external distractions. They would need clear instructions from a well-spoken instructor.

When picking a training format, it is fundamental to be mindful of an individual's learning style. A well-crafted training program would serve different learning styles and allow individuals to study based on their inclinations.

The Future of Training

What’s next for online and in-person training? Each format has its advantages and disadvantages. Organizations must determine which format is best suited for their specific training needs and objectives. The ideal solution likely lies in a hybrid format, blending self-led, online instructor-led, and in-person methods depending on the material and the individuals being trained.

In-person training may still be the preferred choice for certain types of training, such as hands-on training or team-building exercises. In-person training also offers the opportunity for participants to network and build relationships with colleagues, which can be more challenging to achieve in a virtual setting.

On the other hand, online training offers greater flexibility and accessibility, particularly for employees working remotely or in different time zones. It is also more cost-effective than in- person training, as it eliminates the need for travel and accommodation expenses.

How McQuaig Approaches Training

At McQuaig, most of our employees work remotely. While it is important to us to gather together occasionally, we also need to rely on virtual learning when we onboard or develop our employees. We take a fully hybrid approach to training, leveraging live online training, self-led training, and some in-person training. We also rely on our assessments to understand individual learning styles when designing onboarding and development programs. We know everyone learns differently, and we want our employees to be able to access information and learning resources in a way that suits them!

We take the same approach when it comes to customer training. We know that not only do different people have different learning styles, but we know that different training approaches better support different learning outcomes. That's why we launched McQuaig University, a training platform designed exclusively for our customers. McQuaig University provides a seamless online learning experience covering various important topics, including the McQuaig Getting Started Learning Path, which is perfect for those new to the McQuaig platform or needing a refresher.

Through McQuaig University, customers can access self-led learning paths and live, instructor-led training sessions, allowing users to learn at their own pace or attend live training sessions hosted by our team of experts. Additionally, McQuaig offers live and in-person Certification and Team Effectiveness training because we know that sometimes, there isn't a more effective way to learn than to gather with each other and work together! This offers the best of all worlds, as our employees and customers can access training from anywhere at any time while still having the opportunity to interact with trainers and colleagues.


In recent years, we’ve seen a major shift toward online training. This doesn’t mean in-person training is becoming obsolete, as it likely never will be. Organizations must weigh the advantages and disadvantages of both formats and determine which best suits their specific training needs. At McQuaig, both forms have a role to play in employee training and development. McQuaig University exemplifies this flexible approach, as we offer a comprehensive training solution that allows employees to access training in the format that ensures their continued growth and success.