Looking for a life-impacting role for HR? Explore the opportunity you can use to save lives and life styles. I am talking about the life skills and balancing of life decisions of both your employees and their spouses.
My mom’s cousin lost her husband in the last year. In her grief and lack of education, she ignored the opportunity to keep her insurance and other benefits going. She has now had a stroke and may need brain surgery. I don’t want to go into the healthcare debate; I want you to think about the people and the impact a little education and/or policy changes could make.
What if her insurance and benefits could have continued automatically, paid out of her survivor benefits? This could at least have happened for a reasonable “grief” period, when there are so many decisions to make.
Let’s go beyond insurance and jump to life skills discussion. Want to increase family engagement? What about addressing the often ignored factors of estate planning and organizational skills? 85% of households have one spouse solely responsible for bills and paperwork. How can you help employees and their spouses, regardless of which one is the household operator, understand the critical necessity of cross training or at least strong organization of these processes. It can be touchy, but in many cases, it would be very welcome to have tools and discussion facilitated.
This issue is gender and socio-economically diverse. Think about it. Think about your mom, dad, sister, brother, grandparent, spouse. Who is going to be impacted by a tragedy compounded by complexity of new skill requirements, or financial messes that have never been shared?
You can make a difference.
Lois Melbourne, GPHR, is co-founder and former CEO of Aquire Solutions, mom to one terrific young son and wife of co-founder Ross Melbourne. After entering a bit of a sabbatical life phase, she is authoring a series of children’s books about career ambitions. She maintains a strong personal commitment to career education and small business development and is a speaker, author of industry articles, and an occasional blogger and networker. Connect with her on Twitter as @loismelbourne.
Success is the primary objective of every business. But what exactly is success and how is it measured? To many it’s determined by financial gain, and behind financial gain there is always one thing that has set the path – happiness.
With so much emphasis on profit it’s all-to-easy to lose sight of your employees, the backbone of your business. Contrary to popular belief, good business isn’t always about investing in products or services, but investing in people. So before you start analysing statistics to look for a magic formula, take a step back and ask yourself, “are my employees happy?”
Improving Employee Engagement
A hefty paycheck, light workload and long holidays won’t always yield positive results. On the other hand, incentive programmes, career advancement opportunities, and making sure good work doesn’t go unnoticed is directly linked to job satisfaction. Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of California, conducted a study entitled, Does Happiness Lead to Success? She states that if you implement a daily dose of positivity, your employees will be more engaged and motivated, which will lead to better job performance, – “happy people frequently experience positive moods and these positive moods prompt them to work actively towards new goals.”
Implementing a “Happiness Strategy”
Whether you run a large scale corporation or small business, implementing a “happiness strategy” should be a crucial part of your business model. Google recognises the importance of balance between working and personal life and allows their employees to dedicate up to 20% of their time to a project of their choosing. This has resulted in innovations such as AdSense and GoogleTalk. While small businesses may not have the finances to make such bold investments, changes can still be implemented.
It’s no secret that healthy living greatly contributes to happiness. Coors Brewing Corporation reported a $6.15 return for every $1 that they invested into their corporate fitness programme. In addition, Currency Index reported a 43% drop on absenteeism during the 12 months following implementation of their employee fitness scheme. Again, while investing in an on-site gym may be out of reach for your business, allowing your employees to take a little time out of their schedule to exercise could significantly increase their productivity.
Make Happiness Your Priority
Happiness is often considered a by-product of success. Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, has a very different philosophy. Achor states, “Your brain at positive performs significantly better than at negative, neutral or stressed.” His studies have concluded that happiness is actually the driving force behind success and has started sharing his theories with businesses throughout the world.
If you’re serious about long-term financial success, take a leaf out of Achor’s book and make happiness your priority. Start today. Before you dismiss your employees for lunch or send them home, take a few minutes out of your schedule to make the rounds and give them some positive encouragement. A compliment will go a long way.
About the Author: Jenna Evans works part-time as an Employee Relations Adviser at Tollers Solicitors. She enjoys eating far too many noodles and travelling. She is also in the early stages of researching for a book related to empowering women in business.
Do you like your job? Are you fully engaged in it? Though this question is one that may seem like it depends on your personality, there is a certain part of this that is hard-wired into your gender. Though it may seem like old-fashioned thinking, there is more and more evidence linking sex genes and the ability to fully engage yourself in certain tasks.
In the post-World War II era, the “typical” family dynamic had dad at work and mom at home. Though this was not always the way of the world, it was pushed to be the way things should normally be, for several reasons. The idea that women were best served as providers and should be caring for their family was often stated, and the man’s job to go out and work for the family’s income was expected.
These lines began to blur in the 1960′s and 1970′s, as the women’s lib movement pushed back, claiming the right for women to also work outside of the home, and shifting the cultural view to the idea that women can do everything that men can do, and should be expected to try.
Fast forward to the nineties and the turn of the twenty-first century, and the two-family income household had become the norm for married couples. Worker productivity and employee satisfaction became buzzwords, and companies began looking at efficiency consultants, who considered not just the best layout for a business to get the best product for its investment, but the corporate culture, and improving employee engagement.
This is a trend that has continued, and as genetics research continues to become a larger and larger factor in looking at how humans perform, gender-based accomplishment studies have come out. One of the things that has been suspected for a long time is that women are predisposed to be better multitaskers. A number of studies have confirmed this, showing that when asked to do several unrelated tasks in a short period of time, women vastly outperformed men. Men, however, are better at focusing on a single task to the exclusion of another. A famous study often quoted in psychology classes looks at men and women who were given two different stories that were simultaneously read to them, one in each ear. When they were asked to choose one story and listen to it, to the exclusion of the second, men were able to do so. Women were not.
So how do these natural brain differences translate to work engagement now? A lot of it depends on the kind of tasks that men and women are expected to do, and the varying skills needed to complete them. Traditionally, men at a management level were often required to perform many of the larger tasks, but have an assistant to help them perform the smaller, variable tasks that were expected. As the gender playing field has leveled more and more, the high-level jobs have been shown to be performed equally well by both men and women. An engagement survey would likely show equal satisfaction for both genders. Instead, the discrepancies have been shown to be more at the low income and education levels.
At the blue-collar level, there is still a gender bias when it comes to certain jobs. Technical service and repair jobs are more often chosen by men, and jobs like office manager are more often chosen by women. Though this has been partially dictated by the cultural history of these positions, the tasks expected in each job type dovetail nicely with what the brains of men and women are naturally best, and likely most fulfilled, at doing.
What do you think? Is there a notable difference in engagement based on gender? Is the difference more or less pronounced based on income and education level?
About the Author: Louise Gregory is a human resources professional specialized in employment engagement analysis and pensions management at AON. When Louise isn’t working hard in the big smoke you will find her sunbathing on the East coast. She loves cooking, writing in her new blog and trekking with her family and Benson, the house dog.
The difficulty associated with maintaining a work-life balance certainly isn’t a new saga – in fact, it likely dates all the way back to the days of the caveman. That said it’s becoming a more prominent issue for the workforce and, consequently, a more significant focal point for those in HR. If employees are facing stress in one aspect of their life, be it work or personal, it’s likely impacting their other functions as well. And in a time when productivity and innovation mean the difference between being a leader or a laggard, most firms can’t afford not to acknowledge the challenges that most in the workforce are facing.
A recent Pew study found that 56% of working mothers and 50% of working fathers find balance their work with their family life is either somewhat or very challenging. Similarly, 40% of working mothers and 34% of working fathers always feel rushed. What do these statistics mean for HR? More than half the workforce is feeling the squeeze when it comes to time and flexibility.
But working parents may be more passive about their need for a positive work-life balance than those from Gen Y. Unlike their predecessors, Millennials are explicitly demanding flexibility. In fact, 69% believe that regular office attendance is unnecessary, according to a Cisco study. What’s more, according to findings from Bentley University’s Center for Women and Business, 75% of Millennials are unwilling to compromise on their family or personal values. As a result, young top performers are choosing work environments in which the benefits are less about pay and more about creativity, personal meaning and adaptability.
Nevertheless, as baby boomers retire in mass numbers, the two generations are very quickly taking over the entire workforce which means that hiring managers and executives have to take note.
Below is a quick run-down for auditing your firms’ current culture offerings in regard to work-life balance.
Use an anonymous survey to investigate the following aspects of your employees’ life:
- Stress levels and perceived causes (i.e., time, responsibilities, work load, etc.)
- Impact of stress on productivity
- Desired options for alleviating stress (i.e., increased time flexibility, telecommuting options, mandatory breaks/no-work activities, health promotion activities, etc.)
With the results of this survey, pinpoint the issues that your workforce is facing and subsequently engage an educated trial-and-error process for implementing successful work-life balance practices. Pursue a follow-up survey after 3-6 months to ensure that the changes being made are putting your organizational culture on the right track.
This type of proactive behavior results in a domino effect of positive impacts because in addition to improving the productivity of your workforce, there is also a direct recruiting benefit. Firms that adapt to the changing wants and needs of the workforce are naturally going to improve their employer brand, or their reputation among prospective employees. In time, this will not only increase candidates’ attraction to the firm, but it will attract those individuals with the best culture fit. What’s more, the sourcing process will be less complex, reducing both time to hire and cost to hire. While all of this takes time to develop, it’s a win-win for candidates and employers alike.
Experiencing this upward spiral of hiring benefits isn’t difficult, but it does require change. In essence, the essential components to this entire process are (1) acknowledging a problem faced by the parents and millennials in the workforce that is causing a noticeable shift in work culture demands and (2) accepting short-term costs for significant long-term gains.
About the Author: Greg Moran is the President and CEO of Chequed.com, an Employee Selection and Automated Reference Checking technology suite as well as a respected author on Human Capital Management with published works including Hire, Fire & The Walking Dead and Building the Talent Edge. Greg can be found blogging at disrupthr.com, on twitter @CEOofChequed and Google+.
Given the amount of advice available on how to be an effective leader, one would think that those who lead would have it down to an art. Nevertheless, it can be difficult to parse through the wealth of sometimes paradoxical information, and I’m sure we all encounter leaders that believe that doing anything to get their own way is the only way to lead. While everyone has a natural leadership style, the potential leader may not know how to deliver this style effectively or compassionately. I’ve found that the following five attitudes, in addition to being easy to remember, help those tasked with the charge to be in charge get in touch with their inner leaders and exercise their skills towards achievement and outer peace.
1. Meditate. I’m not necessarily talking about literal meditation here, but establishing a daily practice can help you achieve the self-awareness that is at the root of genuine confidence. Simply paying attention to your breathing for merely five minutes a day can boost your ability to focus on both the task at hand and the way you present yourself to others. Self-awareness is one of the most desirable qualities in a leader because you need to know your strengths and weaknesses in order to build a team that best complements your skillset. Of course, there are other ways to get to know what kind of a leader you are, such as personality tests, 360-degree assessments, and journaling.
2. Concentrate. A focused leader is an effective leader. Concentration, while supported by practices like meditation, is much more than just tuning out distraction while you work—it also involves believing in a cohesive, coherent vision. Effective leaders know what their goals are, and are able to articulate what they need to achieve that end. Leaders often fail when their main motivation is to be liked or be everything to everyone, and a failure to set boundaries will allow the execution of your vision to become diluted. For instance, if you have an employee that you feel consistently takes projects in her own direction to the detriment of their completion, take the time to respectfully listen to her ideas but be able to restate your clear goals. Be willing to tell your employee how she can best serve these, and what the consequences will be if she does not follow through.
3. Relate. Nevertheless, it is important to treat your employees as people, not pawns in achieving your clear, stated goals. Effective leaders listen and make an effort to understand behaviors and reactions that may not appear to make sense on the surface. Even habitual lateness may have its roots in something understandable. Just as you are motivated by things that are unique to you, others—your employees, your clients—have their own unique life circumstances and deserve to be treated with compassion and respect. People who feel seen, heard, and understood are much more likely to see, hear, and seek to understand when you communicate how they can help you achieve your goals.
4. Communicate. Especially when you find that you were wrong or that you need to change course, be open and honest. Share your vision or strategy with your team, and be clear about what your plan is to see it to its completion. Too much secrecy may make those you work with feel disconnected from your mission and less likely to meet your expectations (especially if they don’t know what those expectations are!) Additionally, it is helpful to establish a standard for communication. Know how you will communicate with those you lead, and stay consistent. This will keep everyone on the same page.
5. Motivate. Provide tangible rewards for your employees’ efforts. People are much more likely to feel like they’ve made a positive contribution if they have something to show for it. Incentives can come in many forms, such as awards, lunches, or even monetary bonuses. It is also helpful to remember that it is motivational to offer five positive comments for every piece of negative feedback, not because you’re sugary or a pushover, but because we’re more likely to remember the negative. Both negative and positive feedback can motivate those you lead towards greater self-awareness. Positive feedback and tangible rewards will let your employees know that you appreciate their willingness to participate in a larger vision.
About the Author: Anna McCarthy is an HR specialist who writes primarily on topics ranging from business relationships to employee satisfaction for Able Trophies, a supplier of glass awards and acrylic awards. She spends her free time going on weekend hikes and writing short stories.
Photo credit iStockphoto
When it comes to maintaining order in the workplace, negotiating employee discipline can seem like a high wire balancing act. On the one hand, we need to retain authority and some modicum of control over subordinates, but at the same time, dealing with personalities is an inherently touchy issue. After all, especially in the case of a non-fireable offense, the point is rehabbed behavior and not resentment, right?
Moreover, in this day and age of rampant lawsuits and claims of workplace discrimination, even if you have at-will employees and independent contractors making up the majority of your workforce, you need to handle discipline delicately to ensure a safe and functional work environment for everyone.
So here are some things to keep in mind when navigating the potentially murky waters of maintaining order at work through employee discipline.
Keep the issue on a “Need to Know” basis
In high pressure environments where time and money are at stake, emotions run high. Accordingly, if you believe an employee is taking advantage of the company or otherwise not living up to his end of the bargain, it can be easy to fly off the handle without taking a step back to assess the situation.
Likewise, if an employee is approached from a place of accusation or similarly confronted by multiple parties, your actions can trigger a defensive reaction rather than a willingness to engage in a calm, problem-solving discussion.
Accordingly, do not discuss your concerns about your employee with anyone else before ensuring their involvement is absolutely essential or their knowledge of the situation is necessary. You cannot un-ring a bell so don’t sound the alarm lightly.
Stick to the current, relevant facts
Yes, that means you should incorporate all three when you address your employee:
- Current: Don’t bring past issues up that have been dealt with before, unless they are prior examples of the same type of behavior.
- Relevant: Keep the discussion centered on the task at hand and avoid incorporating unrelated information that has no bearing on the current situation.
- Facts: This is the most important aspect of your disciplinary action – do not mention feelings, thoughts or emotions at this point. You need to tell her what she has factually done or not done to warrant “the talk” and be prepared to back up your position with actual proof if necessary.
Once you have set the stage for the discussion, allow your employee to fully respond to the current, relevant facts you have presented.
Perception may be reality but that doesn’t make it true
It is often said that there are 3 sides to every story: mine, yours and the truth. Unfortunately, most of us stop the investigation after we mentally process our own perception of an event – what we see is what we believe is actually going on and we make assumptions about a person’s motivation for acting in a certain way.
However, one of the most important things to remember is that the way we perceive an event is not the whole story and we need more facts to truly, accurately and fairly judge a situation. Be willing to listen and do not enter into a discussion with your mind made up one way or another.
As a final note, by establishing clear and unambiguous guidelines and expectations up front, you can avoid many issues and misunderstandings before they develop into full-blown problems.
What are some of the ways you have effectively handled employee discipline?
About the Author: Allison Rice is the Marketing Director for Amsterdam Printing (www.amsterdamprinting.com), a leading provider of custom and promotional pens and other promotional products to grow your business and thank customers. Allison regularly contributes to the Promo & Marketing Wall blog, where she provides actionable business tips.
Being a leader is much more than organizing resources, executing on plans or knowing where to squeeze out the latest profit. A person responsible for positional leadership has the arduous task of managing their team’s contribution to overall profits and sustainability while supporting the roles and individual needs of their employees. If you’re doing it well, it shouldn’t be easy. In fact for most of us it will be a role that we never quite master, we will always be a student on some level. Along the way though, we can observe other leaders, learn from personal experiences and discover our own genuine way of navigating the work days of the teams that have been entrusted to us. Hopefully in turn, we will pass on what we know, like being part of a sharing community. As you think about your leadership role, here are some concepts worth contemplation:
Don’t Let Profits Be Your Sole Driver
Doing anything solely for profit is an empty pursuit. It leads to compromised business decisions and a bad case of burnout for both yourself and your employees. Going into business exclusively on a profit based agenda isn’t sustainable. It will cause you and your employees to eventually wonder what you’re really working for. Instead, let purpose and meaning drive you. These elements will give you the required endurance and camaraderie you need when times are tough.
Keep Your Promises
If your employees can’t rely on you to be true to your word, their natural default is to question all of your actions and motives. Just think about it, when was the last time you felt immense respect for someone you couldn’t rely on? Don’t make promises to your employees or partners that you can’t keep, and when you do make promises, do everything in your power to be true to your word. Not doing so kills your credibility, making it harder for people to respect you. As a leader you can’t operate business effectively without trust and respect.
Be Competent, Be Committed
The job of today’s leader isn’t to place oneself in a distant, hierarchy based position. People want to believe in the person they report to and we know that one can only truly believe in what they know or understand. As a leader, we owe our employees three main things:
1) Competency in our role
2) Commitment to relationships with our folks
3) A communicated vision for what our teams are working toward
Remember, your job is to protect and serve your employees so they can be as productive as possible. Keep a “people first” mentality and your employees will remain hard working for you and for themselves.
Focus on Development
Everyone is capable of continuous growth – even leaders. Hopefully for all of us, the day we slow down learning about our profession or business is the day we retire. There is nothing that will benefit you, your employees, and your company more than a focus on development. The key consideration here is to provide a variety of options and opportunities for learning. The more varied the offerings, the more likely your success rate will be. Some folks would love a lunch and learn on one of your new product offerings, others would prefer a book study and still others would like seminars or certification courses. Point being, you want to do everything you can to get your employees revved up about their professional and personal development. It’s another way to show you care, and that you are truly invested in them as an employee and an individual.
Of equal importance is your own development. Don’t ask folks to stretch and grow if you are unwilling to do so yourself. When you show that you are committed to your personal betterment, your employees will be likely to do the same.
Do Not Wait For Feedback
Don’t wait until one angry employee finally shows up at your desk with a list of complaints. By the time your employee has reached your desk, you can bet that the poison of poor morale has been permeating your office for weeks or months. Instead of being reactive, choose to be out ahead of it. Ask your employees what they think of you, the direction of the company, office politics, etc.
Keep the doorway to communication open. Expect respect while allowing for dissenting views and opinions. Sometimes that’s where the healthiest outcomes and decisions derive from. You want your team to understand that their input isn’t an effort in futility, but rather a respected opportunity for them to express their creativity and problem solving abilities. You are not bound by a contract to implement every suggestion or solution, but you can show you are committed to listening with an open mind. Granted, this kind of cross-status communication takes a lot more effort on the part of the leader. But, your willingness to explain your business rationale, to listen to others perspectives and deal effectively with differences allows you to reap the benefits of having a more genuine work life and relationships. And after all none of us, leaders included, wants to park their personality or opinions at the door. We all want to be heard.
Continually learning as you lead can mean the difference between mediocrity and excellence. Leaders of substance propel their businesses and engage their employees. They realize that they are meant to serve their folks, not lord over them, and because of that mindset they can rally an entire workforce around their purpose and brand. Leaders of substance aren’t just born; they are taught and actively work to train themselves. If you want to lead a company, and do so as effectively as possible take the time to help build your employees up. Perhaps Lao Tzu sums it up most eloquently, “A leader is best when people barely know she exists, when her work is done, her aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” If you ask me, that’s something really worth striving for!
About the Author: Amanda Andrade is the Chief People Officer for Veterans United Home Loans — Fortune magazine’s 21st best medium workplace and one the fastest growing companies in the United States according to INC magazine. Amanda has led human resource organizations in both public and private sectors, serving employees in diverse work settings, focusing on environment and behavior in the workplace. Connect with Amanda on Google+.
Photo credit iStockphoto
In a competitive business climate, retaining key employees is vital for the health of the company. But when these key employees are women, many corporations and industries continue to be befuddled as to how to retain this valuable cohort.
Indeed, it’s surprising how many supposedly modern institutions are caught in a time-warp. Unfair compensation, gender imbalance in senior management positions, inflexible schedules and even active discouragement of female employees continue to plague companies large and small.
The good news is, a few simple steps can vastly improve conditions for female employees. And the benefits of maintaining a women-friendly environment far outweigh the costs. Retaining employees – male or female – is just good business sense when you consider both the obvious and hidden costs of a high rate of employee turnover.
One of the more obvious steps is fair compensation. It should go without saying that, after years of being treated as second-class employees, women first and foremost want to feel as equally valued as their male counterparts. Fair wages are just a start.
Fair compensation should also include bonuses and benefits. And women don’t want to feel like they will be punished for wanting a work/life balance. The lack of a flexible schedule is cited as the number one reason employees leave for other jobs, so companies should ensure they are able to accommodate their workers’ need to spend time with family or on other projects. Telecommuting, a compressed work week, collaborative scheduling and self-scheduling can all factor into employee happiness and job satisfaction. Maternity benefits, childcare, and maternity leave should be included in employment packages.
Greater gender balance in the workplace, especially in leadership positions, can pave the way for women to feel that they too can succeed. When women see other women rising within a company, they realize that it is possible for them to rise to senior positions as well.
To this end, the smart employer will consider introducing mentorship programs to encourage high-potential female employees to aspire to senior leadership roles. Women’s networks can be critical retention tools as well, particularly for employees at their mid-career level. Retraining and re-entry training for women who have temporarily left the workforce are also valuable tools in your retention box.
Professional development, career coaching, and grooming for bigger projects and promotions, as well as guidance regarding each woman’s career trajectory, are invaluable in retaining female employees.
Executive presence training is one option to consider. A 2012 Forbes article cited a study by the non-profit New York organization Center for Talent Innovation that said being perceived as leadership material is essential to being promoted into leadership positions. The article went on to say that “the 268 senior executives surveyed said ‘executive presence’ counts for 26% of what it takes to get promoted.”
Women who are trained to develop an executive-type persona in terms of gravitas – that is, confidence, poise under pressure and decisiveness – as well as communication and appearance become more confident and are better able to command a room, thereby clearing a path to high-stakes and high-visibility positions.
By utilizing some or all of these ideas, companies can benefit from a healthier and more balanced work environment. It just makes sense.
As VP of Marketing, Bimal Parmar manages the global marketing strategy and execution at Celayix. With over 20 years industry experience, Bimal is responsible for making sure the world learns about the benefits of Celayix’s solutions that include: advanced employee scheduling, time and attendance, employee communication as well as integration modules for payroll and billing. Before joining Celayix, Bimal was Vice President of Marketing at Faronics, a leading provider of IT solutions for the Education vertical where he helped grow revenue over 50% and launched exciting new solutions. Prior to that Bimal held senior marketing and product roles at technology companies such as Business Objects and McAfee Security where he gained significant international experience working with global companies such as Microsoft, Dell, Sony, HP, Orange, Telefonica and Ricoh.
Photo credit iStockphoto
“High employee engagement is imperative, even amid a turbulent economy”. This was the indisputable fact that Gallup once again revealed in its 2012 study of 1.4 million employees worldwide.
Business units that scored in the top 25 percent of their organizations according to employee engagement showed:
- 37% lower absenteeism
- 22% higher profitability
- 21% higher productivity
- 10% higher customer metrics
- 25% lower turnover (in high-turnover organizations)
- 65% lower turnover (in low-turnover organizations)
- 28% less shrinkage
- 48% fewer safety incidents
- 41% fewer patient safety incidents
- 41% fewer quality incidents (defects)
But here’s the comedown. According to Towers Watson, almost two-thirds or 65 percent of the workers who participated in their 2012 Global Workforce Study did not show high engagement.
Employee engagement refers to the conditions under which workers make an emotionally-based choice to be loyal to a company. So what is at stake with employee engagement? Essentially everything, as low engagement costs the US economy alone $370 billion year after year.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to increasing employee engagement; what works for Google might not work for Gillian’s Bakery. In saying that, here are 10 ways to keep your workers engaged:
1. Honesty and transparency win. Always.
Public and private organizations can take a few tips from their voluntary counterparts. According to CIPD’s latest Employee Outlook survey, the voluntary sector showed an increase in employee engagement this quarter. Around 55 percent of voluntary workers reported feeling engaged at work, compared to only 37 percent and 33 percent of private and public workers, respectively. This is even more remarkable, considering the layoffs hounding voluntary staff nowadays. According to CIPD, voluntary workers love their “open and honest management teams” who perpetuate “positive communication practices” and “cultures of mutual trust and respect.”
In engagement as in other aspects of life, honesty always seems to be the best policy. Employees tend to feel disposable when orders are barked without explanation.
2. Compensate fairly.
It goes without saying that you get what you pay for. To get excellent work, you need to offer commensurate wages. Explore the possibility of cash bonuses and stock options for employees too. And if you can’t increase salary, give employees prospects for advancement if you want them to play the game to win.
3. Money is not everything. Get personal.
A wad of cash can only go so far in fortifying employee engagement and performance. Sometimes what employees need is not pecuniary: Knowing that you personally care for them might be enough. Workers who see their leaders as real people often exhibit high engagement.
4. Be a transformational leader.
A transformational leadership style appears to be the most conducive to employee engagement. According to researcher Bernard Bass, transformational leaders are supportive managers who offer individualized consideration to followers; supportive management is directly proportional to employee engagement.
5. Understand the value of one-on-one conversations.
One important trait of a transformational leader is the ability to attend to individual needs, i.e. the ability to lend a listening ear. Hear your employees’ ideas and feelings out. In return, give them constructive criticisms and due praises, not just once a year, but regularly.
6. It’s all in the environment.
Employees love commuting to a workplace that is aesthetically pleasing. Take a look at how the SAS Institute took this knowledge one step further. They built a branch in France in an opulent castle no less, enclosed by a cherry-lined garden and a forest with walking trails. They have even splurged on an office nursery, so that mothers in their employ never have to leave their young kids at home again. Result: low absenteeism and turnover.
7. Trust workers enough to let them telecommute.
Sometimes even castles are no substitute for the conveniences and comforts of working at home. Provide flexibility in working. Also, make sure to grant telecommuters access to documents, tools and resources they would otherwise have in the physical office.
8. Move meetings and coursework online.
According to Cisco manager Kim Austin, online events and trainings are much clearer, since the same, unadulterated information is disseminated to employees, whenever, wherever. Furthermore, 53 percent of organization leaders surveyed by the Economist Intelligence Unit support the notion that video communications enrich relationships with employees.
9. Consider wellness programs.
Wellness programs, or basically those that lead to a healthy and productive workforce, affect the bottom-line positively. To illustrate, Johnson & Johnson reported returns of $2.71 for each $1 dollar invested in these programs. Healthy employees do make highly engaged workers, after all.
10. Help the company be the employer that people respect.
No one likes leaders of ill repute and dubious ethics. When former Boeing CEO Harry Stonecipher’s dalliance with an employee led to a media firestorm, airline workers became so self-conscious that they refused to wear their uniforms outside the workplace. People want to work for organizations that they can be proud of.
Photo credit: http://www.kaleidoscopeconsulting.com.au/wp-content/themes/kaledoscope/images/High%20Performance%20Management.jpg
This guest post is written by Lisa Baker from www.kaleidoscopeconsulting.com.au. Since 1994 Kaleidoscope has delivered solutions to individuals through business coaching and with leaders and managers in HR consulting projects.
As a manager, you want to get the most out of your employees. But you know the only effective way to accomplish that is to motivate them to want to perform at their best. This is often easier said than done. Many managers mistakenly believe they must drive their employees to success rather than lead them there. However, this is contradictory to our human nature.
Everyone wants to improve themselves. It is wired into us as humans. As managers, you need to tap into that drive in each of your employees. Below are five ways to engage your employees at work and help them deliver their best.
Challenge your employees
Everyone wants to better themselves. Challenge your employees with goals they can strive for and acquire. Set goals that are just out of their comfort level yet still attainable. Ensure that these goals are specific and measurable and that your employees understand them. But don’t just stop there. Provide each employee with regular feedback on how they are doing. In this role, you are similar to a sports coach that keeps track of each player’s game statistics. As a result, each employee will know how they are performing, what areas they excel at and where they need to improve.
Set the tone
Your attitude as a manager will be reflected by your employees. As you already know, you have to lead by example. Do your employees see you as an example? Do you come across as enjoying your work? Be gracious and available. Treat your employees with respect and courtesy. Encourage creativity and thinking outside the box. In a nutshell, your attitude will set the mood for the team.
Give a little
Punching a clock is difficult enough. Beyond that, your employees shouldn’t feel that every minute of their day is scrutinized. Do you have an employee with small children to get off to school in the morning? Allow that individual to come in a little later to accommodate their schedule. Showing flexibility towards the needs of your employees will be greatly appreciated. If possible, allow for flexible work hours, lunch and work breaks.
After setting goals and challenging your employees to reach and surpass them, it is only fair that you reward those that succeed. Offering public rewards is yet another way to keep employees motivated and engaged in the workplace.
You can be as creative as you want in providing rewards for individuals or the whole team. A simple plaque or acrylic award is appreciated when given with a sincere thank you. The more useful the reward the more it will be appreciated as well.
Other avenues for rewarding success include cash prizes, a few hours off with pay, or, to show appreciation for the whole team, a meal served at the office. Not only will this show your appreciation for a job well done, it will offer a valuable team building experience.
Help with their continued success
If your computer software needed upgrading would you contently accept the outdated version and put up with the loss in productivity that comes along with it? Of course not. Yet many employers fail to regularly update their most valued assets, their employees.
Money and time invested in improving your employees’ skills is not wasted. Not only will they be on top of their assignments but they will also be willing to tackle additional challenges. A fruit tree will never reach its potential bounty if it is never pruned, trained, and fertilized. The same is true of your employees.
Anna McCarthy is an HR specialist who writes primarily on topics ranging from business relationships to employee satisfaction for Able Trophies, a supplier of glass awards and acrylic awards. She spends her free time going on weekend hikes and writing short stories.