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Maximizing the impact of your top performers

Arielle Gordis
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Workplace trends


TikTok is launching an e-commerce business in the U.S.

TikTok is expanding its empire and launching an e-commerce business to sell Chinese-made goods in the U.S., stepping up its rivalry with popular China-founded shopping platforms Shein and Temu. Similar to Amazon, TikTok will store and ship items like clothes, electronics, and kitchen gadgets on behalf of manufacturers and merchants in China, and will also provide marketing, transactions, logistics, and after-sale services. TikTok representatives emphasize that the company’s advantage over competitor platforms in this industry is that they have one billion monthly active users globally, which they can leverage for its customer base. That being said, analysts warn that TikTok’s rollout in the U.S. could add to the scrutiny and pressure the company is already facing from regulators.


‘Lazy girl jobs’ are trending

While work-life balance has been especially present in many workplace conversations over the last few years, there’s a new TikTok-fueled trend that encourages women, in particular, to strive for jobs that don’t require so much energy. “Lazy-girl jobs” have replaced quiet quitting as the latest anti-hustle fad, with the #lazygirljob hashtag racking up over 14 million views in just a few weeks. Women are using this hashtag to share career advice on the benefit of jobs that pay a decent salary without demanding such hard work – typically nontechnical roles at tech companies that offer flexible hours and have remote work options. While some are treating this as a new concept in the workplace, many experts argue that this is simply a new name for the same desire to have more flexibility and a healthier work-life balance than the rise-and-grind that has long motivated previous generations.

The AI corner


Some workers in Kenya are traumatized by AI

Before ChatGPT was released to the public, it had to go through serious screening to ensure harmful content wouldn’t reach its tens of millions of users. One of the screening stages was outsourced to human workers in Kenya, who were paid roughly $2 per hour to review and categorize tons of extremely graphic content obtained online and generated by artificial intelligence in order to build an AI safety filter that OpenAI could deploy. Recent research has revealed that the Kenyan workers who were hired to do this are traumatized by the amount of severe violence and sexual abuse they were forced to see. In fact, many of the workers reported a serious decline in their mental health and that their relationships have fallen apart as a consequence of this work. Some now wonder whether the safety they provided for users of the AI tool was really worth it.


Amid Hollywood strikes, Netflix touts $900,000 AI job

The use of artificial intelligence in the film and television production – to craft scripts, simulate actors, reduce payments in creative work, and more – has been a major point of contention in the Hollywood strike. And while actors and writers are demanding fair compensation and protections from the encroachment of AI, Netflix has listed a position for a machine learning product manager that will pay up to $900,000 a year. According to the Screen Actors Guild, 87% of the guild’s actors make less than $26,000 per year, and they must earn $26,470 before being eligible for health insurance benefits, so many are furious that this single position’s earnings could qualify 35 actors and their families for coverage. Netflix has listed a number of other AI-related positions, and Disney is also looking to hire several machine learning-related roles, though it has not specified the salary range.

Maximizing the impact of your top performers

With Jason Miller, Senior Director at

“Most people don’t leave their jobs, they leave their managers.”

Jason Miller, Senior Director at, has long managed his team members with this in mind. And that’s probably why he’s one of the most beloved leaders at the company. In fact, a number of the people whom we’ve interviewed for thoughtful work advice credit their leadership understanding and success to Jason.

While Jason’s achievements as a leader are certainly telling, real data backs up his claim. In fact, Gallup research found that 70% of the variance in team engagement is determined solely by the manager and that half of surveyed workers have left their jobs to get away from their managers.

So, as a manager, when you can so profoundly influence your employees’ experiences and retention, how do you keep them engaged and maximize their potential?

Here’s some of Jason’s management advice:

Make your intentions clear

From the get-go, align expectations with your team members about the intentions of your working relationship. Whenever someone new joins his team, Jason is always direct, explaining that his goal is to help his employees grow and improve. He openly acknowledges that he doesn’t expect anyone to stay on his team forever, and for that reason, he wants to make sure that by the time they leave, they are better than they were when they arrived. Setting that expectation with your team members from the start enables them to feel confident that you, as their manager, have their backs, and that whatever feedback or challenges you present them with will be with the ultimate goal of helping them reach their full potential.

Pay attention and give honest feedback

It can be hard for us, as people, to take a step back and identify our greatest weaknesses, which is where you, as the manager, come in. Pay attention, and really take the time to understand each of your employees strengths and weaknesses. Then, help them grow and develop by giving them timely, honest, and authentic feedback. “Good job” or “I think you could have handled that differently,” don’t give your employees the direction or insights needed to get better. What does help, however, is when you can spot specific elements your employee is doing well and where they have room to improve and you can actually relay that information to them. Be sure to create an open line of communication with your team members and to explicitly state your point. Remember, there’s a difference between giving critiques in a supportive way and trying to sugarcoat so much that you fail to actually provide any tangible feedback.

When Jason identifies an opportunity for his employee to improve, he’ll often start his feedback by asking, “can I be very direct with you?” and reiterate his goals in sharing this feedback in order to set the right tone for the conversation and establish an environment of openness and transparency.

Keep your team members challenged

When work becomes repetitive and mundane, employees start to feel like they’ve reached their ceiling and may begin to lose interest. So, as a leader, it’s important to try and identify opportunities for them to continue to grow and develop. As you come to understand their professional weaknesses, hand them opportunities in which they’ll be challenged to tackle those limitations head on and truly improve. While it’s widely assumed that employees are constantly looking for promotions, research suggests that more often, they’re simply seeking new challenges and the chance to explore something different. According to the MIT Sloan Review, lateral career opportunities are 12x more predictive of employee retention than promotions. So, do your best to create a meaningful and dynamic work experience for your team by finding ways for them to really develop their skills and expertise.

Provide thoughtful recognition

One of the secrets to being a great manager is simply caring. Knowing how to make your employees feel seen and celebrate successes can make all the difference. In fact, Achievers research found that 74% of surveyed workers mentioned recognition as a top factor that would keep them at their current company, and a recent Bonusly and SurveyMonkey analysis revealed that 63% of employees who frequently receive personal recognition at their organization were unlikely to look for a new job because the recognition conveyed a sense of job mastery. These types of acknowledgements help employees feel like they are doing what they should be doing and that you, as their leader, recognize the value they bring, leading them to be less interested in seeking opportunities elsewhere.

“Often folks think of recognition as awards, bonuses, or recognition in front of others, but I like to think of it in small ways too.” Early on in his career, Jason got a private message, out of the blue, from the CEO at his organization that was very meaningful and showed she recognized his contributions. That always stuck with him and is something he actively tries to do with his team members. As a manager of so many people, he still goes out of his way to reach out to employees and let them know that he sees and appreciates the small things they do too. “Giving recognition for something outside of the norm can go a long way,” Jason says.

Water cooler chatter

The Saudi football club Al Hilal proposed a record $332 million transfer fee to bring over Kylian Mbappe from Paris Saint-Germain, and a one-year salary worth $776 million, which amounts to $24 per second. For context, that’s more than LeBron James’s NBA career earnings and Tiger Woods’s PGA Tour earnings combined, according to Front Office Sports. Recent reports, however, suggest Mbappe won’t be taking the offer.

“Al Hilal you can take me. I look like Kylian Mbappe”
Giannis Antetokounmpo, professional basketball player for the Milwaukee Bucks

With such extreme heat in the southwest, doctors are seeing a spike in patients who were burned by falling on the ground. In Arizona, where temperatures have climbed higher than 110°F/43°C, one doctor told CNN that about one-third of the beds in his 45-bed burn unit are occupied by people who fell and were burned by the ground. A Nevada doctor gave a similar report.

“The temperature of asphalt and pavement and concrete and sidewalks in Arizona on a warm sunny day or summer afternoon is 180 degrees sometimes. I mean, it’s just a little below boiling”
Dr. Kevin Foster, Director of Burn Services at the Arizona Burn Center

Question of the week

Last week’s answer: Over $570 billion

This week’s question: What’s the most widely used social media app?

Just for laughs

Maximizing the impact of your top performers
Arielle is a writer and storyteller currently serving as a content marketing manager at When she’s not busy writing, you can find her walking outside for hours on end or planning her next travel adventure.

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