Archive for the ‘Employee Training’ Category

For Millennials, Lack of Loyalty May Be a Sign of Neglect

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

The prevailing wisdom is that, in general, Millennials express little loyalty to their current employers and many are planning near-term exits. During the next year, if given the choice, 25% of Millennials would quit his or her current employer to join a new organization or to do something different. That figure increases to 44 % when the time frame is expanded to two years. (Source: Deloitte’s 2016 Millennial Survey)

This “loyalty challenge” is driven by a variety of factors, for example:

  1. Millennials feel underutilized and believe they’re not being developed as leaders.
  2. Millennials feel that most businesses have no ambition beyond profit, and there are distinct differences in what they believe the purpose of business should be and what they perceive it to currently be.
  3. Millennials often put their personal values ahead of organizational goals, and several have shunned
    assignments (and potential employers) that conflict with their beliefs.

Millennials have recently inched past the other generations to corner the largest share of the US labor market and a growing number now occupy senior positions. They are no longer leaders of tomorrow, but increasingly, leaders of today. We also recognize that Millennials are taking their values with them into the boardroom.

While many Millennials have already attained senior positions, much remains to be done. More than six in
ten Millennials (63 %) say their “leadership skills are not being fully developed.” Unfortunately, little progress is being made in this area. When asked to rate the skills and attributes on which businesses place the most value (and are prepared to pay the highest salaries), Millennials pointed to “leadership” as being the most prized.

Millennials fully appreciate that leadership skills are important to business and recognize that, in this respect, their development may be far from complete. But, based on the current results, Millennials believe businesses are not doing enough to bridge the gap to ensure a new generation of business leaders is created. Need help with workforce strategy and planning? CAI can help!

Tom Sheehan brings 20+ years of extensive, broad-based strategic, tactical and practical HR experience to CAI’s Advice & Resolution team.  He advises HR and other business leaders on talent management, organizational effectiveness, employee engagement, M&A’s, and employee relations. 

Enjoyment: the Spark that Ignites Passion & Enthusiasm

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

The following post is from motivational speaker, Steve Rizzo, who will be a keynote speaker at CAI’s 2017 HR Management Conference: The Shifting Landscape | Rethinking Talent Organization & Culture.

Did you know that studies have shown that those who make conscious choices to enjoy themselves and laugh throughout the day are more
creative, productive and resilient to challenging situations?  They are also more likely to easily find solutions to complex problems.  In other words, focusing on your happiness makes you smarter.  How smart are you?

The greatest benefit of genuinely enjoying the day is that you generate a massive amount of positive energy.  It’s manifested in passion and enthusiasm, and both are very contagious. Put another way, enjoyment is the spark that ignites passion and enthusiasm.  Read that again and remember it.  C’mon, I said read it again!

I’m not claiming that by making a commitment to enjoy the day that you won’t be confronted by challenges.  Of course, you will!  There will always be obstacles of some kind to overcome.  True, there will be times when chaos and negative forces surround you, but you don’t have to let them inside.

It may not be easy at first, but as you condition yourself to prepare for the day ahead with gratitude, joyful statements, positive visualization and by focusing on what’s working, rather than fixating on what isn’t working, you will notice that stressful outside forces don’t bother you as much.  Ultimately what you are doing is creating the ability to bounce back and that’s an all-important life skill.

It comes down to this: the unexpected is waiting for you.  Countless outside factors can make or ruin your day, many of which are not in your direct control.  So, it makes sense to seize control of what you can – no matter whether you’re in an up or down period, remind yourself that true happiness (and inner peace) is your number one priority.  And focusing on what makes you grateful puts you on the path to that happiness and the ability to enjoy the day.  And that is exactly why you have to make the shift to start your day in a good mood and maintain your feelings of appreciation throughout.

Even one situation a day in which you are able to invoke your grateful feelings and choose to be happy in the moment can have a tremendous impact on your life.  I don’t mean to suggest that you become the Dalai Lama, but if you do, please smile and bless the rest of us.

One last point (I promise), is the necessity to take action with passion and enthusiasm, instead of just going through the motions.

When times are tough, it is passion and enthusiasm that push you to go that extra mile.  Passion and enthusiasm propel you into a zone where you feel confident, courageous and victorious.  Failure is not an option and every mistake is viewed as a do-over.  When something doesn’t turn out the way you planned, you don’t even consider defeat.  You’re in such a high state of mind that you’ll find yourself saying, “Okay, that didn’t work.  What do I have to do to turn this around?  Who can I go to for help?” and,” I know I can do this!”

So, always nurture your passion and enthusiasm. Allow yourself to get excited about it. Feel it, sense it, smile about it and embrace it! Talk to it! Visualize your goals and dreams with it!

When you fervently hold on to your vision with passion and enthusiasm you will access s higher guidance system, which will lead you to a pathway of new circumstances, opportunities, and serendipitous events.  Do whatever it takes to make sure that its flame is always burning. If you do, I promise that you will come to know what so many truly successful people have come to know: That passion and enthusiasm are forces that will take you to a better place in business and in life.

I’m repeating myself, I know, but I really want you to get this.  (Plus, it’s my article and I’ll do what I want!)  Enjoyment is the spark that ignites passion and enthusiasm.  Remember that always.

In 2017, make a resolution to yourself. Learn the secrets to true happiness in your personal life and at work. Join 400+ HR executives, managers, professionals and company leaders at CAI’s HR Management Conference in Raleigh, NC, on March 8-9, 2017. My keynote presentation will be “Get Your Shift Together: How to Think, Laugh and Enjoy Your Way to Success in Business and Life.” I’m looking forward to meeting you!

How to Retain Millennials

Monday, December 26th, 2016

It’s hard to think of an important aspect of management that is more neglected than individual development planning. As a consequence, companies typically pay the high price in the form of the loss of top young talent.

A Harvard Business Review article, “Why Top Young Managers Are in a Nonstop Job Hunt” conducted an analysis of young high achievers and concluded that many of the best and the brightest are not receiving the career development support they desire.

The article stated, “Dissatisfaction with some employee-development efforts appears to fuel many early exits.  We asked young managers what their employers do to help them grow in their jobs and what they’d like their employers to do, and found some large gaps.  Workers reported that companies generally satisfy their needs for on-the-job development and that they value these opportunities, which include high-visibility positions and significant increases in responsibility.   But they’re not getting much in the way of formal development, such as training, mentoring and coaching – things they also value highly.”

There are two primary reasons that companies neglect the individual development process:

1. We tend to focus most on the here and now

Managers naturally tend to be most focused on essential day-to-day operations and less interested in longer-term activities perceived as having less immediate payback.

2. There’s just no time for it

This is another poor excuse.  There’s always time for important activities.  If you believe that development planning is a valuable managerial function, HR must make it a priority and create an expectation that ‘building talent’ is an obligation for all leaders.

Here is why development planning makes good business sense:

1. People care if you take a genuine interest in their future 

Development planning should be something a manager takes a real personal interest in – not an HR-driven mandate.

2. It helps builds loyalty, and loyalty increases productivity

Taking an honest interest in someone builds loyalty.  Employees feel as though the company is investing in them. Loyal employees are more engaged, and engaged employees are more productive. Talented people naturally want to advance, and appreciate the support in the process.

3. Capable ambitious young employees want training, mentoring and coaching

They want to gain skills.  They want to become more versatile and valuable to an organization. If your company doesn’t provide it, enterprising employees will go elsewhere for it.

Key HR Action takeaway:  Development planning doesn’t have to be elaborate or costly.  At its core it’s mostly a matter of good managers taking the person-to-person time to understand their employees, recognizing their skills and opportunities, and documenting them in an agreed-upon Individual Development Plan.

If you’re struggling with creating effective Individual Development Plans CAI can help.

Tom Sheehan brings 20+ years of extensive, broad-based strategic, tactical and practical HR experience to CAI’s Advice & Resolution team.  He advises HR and other business leaders on talent management, organizational effectiveness, employee engagement, M&A’s, and employee relations.

PHR®/SPHR® Certification – Are You Ready?

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

Did you know North Carolina HR partner, CAI, offers a PHR®/SPHR® Certification Study Course Program that far exceeds the pass rate of the national average of 50%? Program participants who study with us achieve an impressive 90% pass rate PHR®/SPHR® exam! An HR certification will distinguish you from your peers, build your self-confidence, and earn you greater respect from your organization. According to a Payscale Survey, this certification typically translates into the ability to advance more quickly and earn significantly more money.

CAI’s PHR®/SPHR® Certification Study Course will have you prepared to the best of your ability to pass the exam. You’ll receive a complete study manual, online videos, practice test questions, online chat and discussion boards, and testing games. An audio flash drive is included too so you can listen on your commute. New this year, “online office hours,” will be available to maximize communications between you and your instructor.

“I couldn’t imagine taking the exam without the help of your prep class. The materials and experiences, combined with genuine teacher interest and support, really helped me focus my energies and determination,” states Terry L. Taylor, SPHR, HR Manager for Penske Racing Team.

This course is offered days, evenings, and weekends as both in-class sessions here in North Carolina or via live webinar. That means no matter where you reside, or how busy your schedule, you can study with the best and be on your way to the coveted HR certification!

David Siler, SPHR, GPHR, HRBP, HRMP, Managing Partner of Distinctive HR, Inc. has taught the PHR®/SPHR® study course for over 20 years. David teaches all of our classes and his engaging, motivational method of teaching will set you up for success!

Still not sure how it will help you? Sign up for the FREE 60-minute LIVE webinar (offered in January, March, June and August of 2017) to learn more about the benefits of achieving your HR certification, eligibility requirements to sit for the exam, and why this study course is the best one to register for. Worried you won’t pass? Just in case, we allow free retakes of this course within one year of your paid registration.

 

Click on the “start” button and take the next step toward your PHR®/SPHR® certification!

 

 

 

New to HR? Like our PHR® and SPHR® Certification Study Course, the new aPHR™ study course content will be focused on covering the general HR knowledge, principles and practices that make up the aPHR™ exam: HR Operations, Recruitment and Selection, Compensation and Benefits, Human Resource Development and Retention, Employee Relations and Health/Safety/Security.

The aPHR™ certification study course, also led by David Siler,  is perfect for people who have just graduated from high school, are new to HR or interested in pursuing HR as a career. Find out more about jumpstarting your HR career with the aPHR™ Study Course beginning in February 2017.

Two Questions HR Must Answer Correctly

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

I once spoke to a large group of HR professionals and I asked them two very important questions.  WARNING: Getting the answers correct may require you to radically shift your perspective and focus.  However, making the shift may be the most important thing you can do as an HR professional to dramatically elevate your value to your organization.

Hopefully I’ve piqued your interest.  So here goes.

Question number 1.  Look at the pictures below and tell me who the most important group is to your business. This isn’t a trick question. There is only one correct answer.

ee cust inves.JPG

When I asked this question in a speech I once made to over 120 HR professionals, the most common answer was “the employees.”  As one participant confidently articulated, without employees and their contributions and innovations there would be no business.  Good point.

One person sheepishly said “the customers,” but I could tell she didn’t feel comfortable saying that in front of her HR peers.

No one said “the investors.”  Some experts argue that without investors you couldn’t have a business because there would be no capital to buy the equipment and infrastructure needed to deliver the product or service.

So what’s the right answer?  The answer came most succinctly from the late Peter Drucker who many called the Godfather of Modern Management: “The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.”  All three groups are important, but without a customer there is no business.  You can have investors in search of a business, and you can have employees in search of an employer, but as the customer goes so does the business.  A business will only continue to exist as long as it has products and / or services that satisfy customer needs.

Question number 2: Who is HR’s most important customer?  I asked the same group of HR professionals this question and overwhelmingly and emphatically they said “employees!”  Wrong again .  Now obviously HR spends a lot of it’s time serving employees, and yes the employee group is clearly a customer of HR, as are managers, other departments, executives, retirees, covered family members, etc.  However, HR’s most important customer is the company itself.  In today’s business environment, HR exists, along with other support functions like IT, to help the company create value for it’s customers.  Let that statement sink in for a minute.  When I ask many HR professionals what HR’s primary role is, I hear some version of “HR’s job is to sit in between employees and management…”  “To sit in between” suggests that HR isn’t part of either group.  Others tell me it’s HR’s job to “look out for” the employees.   Other’s say to “hire and fire.”  These views represent traditional notions of HR, or really “Personnel” or “Labor Relations.”

Companies of all sizes need much more from HR today.  Viewing HR”s primary role to support the company (and it’s customers) results in a much different view of what the HR function should be doing.  I’ll illustrate this point with a few examples I borrowed from a CAI conference speaker and noted HR guru David Ulrich.  Dr. Ulrich calls this new customer focused view of HR “Outside-In” HR.

hr outside in_ulrich_hr domain.png

Companies exist to satisfy a customer need.  In doing so they provide jobs and shareholder returns.  A firm’s talent is at the heart of satisfying that customer need and HR should be driving what kind of talent is attracted to and remains at the company.

Where does an HR leader start?  The most important, and difficult step, is to shift your perspective and your team’s perspective to a company – customer focused view. Next, go visit some of your company’s customers.  That’s right, ask sales to attend a few customer meetings.  These experiences will open your eyes to how your company provides value to customers and what attributes attracts them to your company.  The neat thing is that customers and top talent are attracted to similar things.  And when both groups are happy, amazing things can happen!  Think about it!

Let us know if CAI can help you transform your HR focus.

doug

 

Doug Blizzard, MBA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP serves as CAI’s Vice President of Membership, and has been with CAI for more than 15 years.  Doug is well-versed in the world of HR from compliance issues to workforce management to aligning business objectives with HR.  He strives to constantly improve the member experience and provide employers with the confidence needed to turn fears and opportunities into practical actions and results.   If your HR team could benefit from some guidance, you’ll want to learn more about CAI.

 

Helping Managers Overcome Performance Review Anxiety

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

performancereview

In today’s post, Advice and Resolution team member Renee’ Watkins shares helpful tips for managers looking to escape that dreaded performance review anxiety. 

Conducting performance reviews and discussions on a regular basis is a key part of a manager’s responsibility.  Conducting a performance review also carries a certain amount of anxiety, as any manager tasked with providing one can attest. There is always the potential of a dispute over the facts, a difference in perspective, or even an unplanned, unexpected, or premature discussion regarding compensation.

In order to effectively have performance discussions that identify employee accomplishments, address areas for improvement, and generate individual development plans, managers must get past any anxious feelings and move through the process confidently and deliberately. Below are some tips which will help managers overcome some of their apprehension:

Expect Some Negotiating 

Approximately one out of every five employees will work to negotiate some part of the performance review process.  It may be around the rating itself, the wording of the review pertaining to “areas for improvement” or even the compensation aspect of the review – even though this typically occurs in a subsequent discussion.   Expect it and be prepared for it.  Anticipating issues, understanding what latitude you have within your organization’s guidelines, and knowing your response(s) will go a long way towards you  being  successful in this part of the meeting.

Keep it Conversational 

Performance reviews should be conversational. Remember, this is also your employees’ opportunity to provide their input and feedback on the performance period under review.  By keeping it conversational, you will remain at ease as will your employee.

Know the Details 

Some performance reviews are conducted only once a year.  This makes it not only difficult, but imperative that details are provided during the review.  Recalling the specifics of something that happened ten months ago can be a challenge for both you and your employee.  Having accurate details can make things easier to discuss and avoid disputes. Moving forward consider meeting once a month to discuss progress towards goals and objectives. These discussions will benefit both you and the employee for the annual review meeting – which would now be more of a “year in review” format.

Take Time to Consider 

There may be questions or considerations which arise during a review that need some additional thought.  This may include an employee request about a different job assignment or perhaps a promotion.   If the answer is not obvious or if you are not prepared to have that conversation at the moment, advise the employee that you need additional time to consider his/her request.  This is reasonable, but make sure you get back the employee within the stated time allotted.

Time to Re-evaluate Process/Approach? 

If you have reviewed tips above and your managers still feel somewhat anxious about conducting a performance review, perhaps it is time to re-evaluate your approach or the process in general.  Maybe the reason they are so uncomfortable is because something about the process leaves them with a lack of conviction in some area of either evaluating the employee’s performance, measuring improvement, ability to have a “critical conversation”, or some other aspect of the review details.

Maybe it’s time for a critical review of your process.  CAI can help – give our Advice & Resolution team a ring at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746!

Please be sure to share below any tips you have about overcoming the pressure and anxiety of performance reviews.

Why Meetings Fail

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

boringmeetingIn today’s post, CAI’s HR Business Partner Tom Sheehan shares the reasons why many meetings are so ineffective, and what HR professionals can do to change that.

As a leader you play a critical role in maximizing the effectiveness of your organization’s workforce. One thing that robs us of our time is poorly-run, inefficient meetings. Such meetings serve as an organizational ‘drag’ and are viewed by many employees as an incredible waste of time and resources.

Let’s examine why meetings are often so ineffective:

People don’t take meetings seriously

They arrive late, leave early, and spend most of their time thinking about what else they could be doing. Disciplined meetings are about mind-set that meetings are ‘real work’.  Intel, the semiconductor manufacturer, is famous for its crisp meeting execution. Walk into any conference room at any Intel factory or office anywhere in the world and you will see on the wall a poster with a series of simple questions about the meetings that take place there.

  1. Do you know the purpose of this meeting?
  2. Do you have an agenda?
  3. Do you know your role?
  4. Do you follow the rules for good minutes?

Meetings are too long

Meetings should accomplish twice as much in half the time. Most meetings should last no longer than 60 minutes. One reason meetings drag on is that people don’t appreciate how expensive they are. If the meeting organizer were forced to calculate and justify the meeting cost (the meeting length times all of the participants’ wage rates) you would begin to see fewer, shorter, and more productive meetings.

No meeting agenda

When there is no agenda participants spend too much time digressing and wandering off topic. Get serious about requiring meeting agendas. It’s the starting point for all advice on productive meetings…stick to the agenda. But it’s hard to stick to an agenda that doesn’t exist.

HR can help by creating an agenda template. Request that meeting organizers circulate the agenda several days before a meeting to let participants react to and modify it. The agenda should list the meeting’s key topics, who will lead which parts of the discussion, how long each segment will take, and what the expected outcomes are.

Of course, even the best agendas can’t guard against digressions, debates, and distractions. The challenge is to keep meetings focused without stifling creativity or insulting participants who stray. Encourage meeting leaders use a ‘parking lot’ to maintain that focus. When comments come up that aren’t related to the issue at hand, record them on a flip chart labeled the parking lot. Track the issue and the person responsible for it.

Nothing happens once the meeting ends

The end result of most meetings is a lot of talk, and little action. The problem is that people leave meetings with different views of what happened and what’s supposed to happen next. The best way to avoid that type of misunderstanding is the creation of a shared document that leads to action. In addition to meeting minutes, require the meeting organizer (or designee) to document ‘Actions and Decisions’.

Actions are those accountabilities that were assigned as a result of the meeting. For example, Jim has agreed to research time and attendance software options prior to our next meeting. He will report his findings back to the group at our next meeting.

Decisions are those items that the meeting group has made a clear decision on. The decision will now become part of the ‘going forward’ strategy and will eliminate second-guessing such as …’We talked about it, but I don’t think anything was actually decided’.

‘Actions and Decisions’ should always be the last topic on the agenda. For recurring meetings, start the agenda with the ‘Actions and Decisions’ that were carried over from the previous meeting.

Meetings are always missing important information, so critical decisions are postponed

This is why it is so important to have a clear, documented agenda outlining the topics to be discussed and decisions to be made. Without an agenda, participants arrive to the meeting unprepared. In essence, the result of the meeting becomes a de facto ‘pre-meeting’ in which everyone’s valuable time was wasted.

For additional guidance on how you can make your organization’s meetings more effective, please give our Advice & Resolution team a ring at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746. If you have any further suggestions, we’d love to hear them in the comments section!

Are You Getting Leadership Development Right?

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

leadership developmentIn today’s post, CAI’s HR Business Partner Tom Sheehan shares strategies HR professionals can take to ensure their next generation of leaders are prepared to fill the shoes of their predecessors and lead their business to future success. 

One topic that is a constant point of dialogue for HR professionals is leadership development. The quality of leadership, more than any other factor, often determines the success or failure of an organization. Leadership development helps to improve leadership quality by ensuring that leaders possess the competencies to achieve the organization’s strategy, continue to improve the organizational culture, and strengthen organizational capabilities.

The best investment an organization can make is in the development of its future leaders. Such an investment yields both short-term and long-term dividends. In the short-term, leaders will be better prepared for the challenges they face in their current roles. They will also be more likely to help foster a learning culture if they themselves are an active participant in learning.

Additionally, and more importantly, the risk associated with leadership departures is greatly reduced by improved better bench strength that is a consequence of leadership development. Many organizations fail to adequately develop the next generation of people who will replace individuals in these leadership roles. Making matters worse is the fact that a significant number of baby-boomers will be retiring in the next 5 years.

On one hand, the responsibility for an organizational commitment to developing future leaders begins with the executive team.

On the other hand, HR should own all talent processes and must play a key role in spotlighting the issue and driving the leadership development and succession planning processes.

Forward-looking HR professionals should begin the process by answering these questions:

  1. What are we doing to prepare our next generation of leaders?
  2. Is our pipeline filled with the talent needed to carry out our organization’s strategy?
  3. Who is the ‘person in charge’ of developing our new leaders?
  4. Is leadership development an organizational priority?
  5. How are our top leaders involved?

Where to Start

Step 1: Align with strategy

Ensure that the leadership development efforts are aligned to the organization’s mission, vision, values, and strategic plan. Senior leaders also must accept that leadership development is a lengthy process.

Step 2: Create common set of values

Ensure that there is a common set of leadership values and standards that permeate everything the organization does including-  recruiting, hiring, succession planning, and performance management.

A good starting point for the values may include the following:

  • Results Focus
  • Accountability
  • Respect for Others
  • Leveraging Diversity
  • Effective Communication
  • Building Trust

Step 3: Communicate the philosophy

Create a leadership development philosophy statement that defines the principles the organization champions. A leadership development philosophy provides direction for those crafting the plan and a communication tool to help the organization understand leadership development.

Step 4: Agree upon objectives

Make certain that all leaders are aligned to the following objectives:

  1. Make improving bench strength a top priority (including succession and retention plans)
  2. Ensure each leader takes responsibility for developing future leaders
  3. Measure the business results of leadership development
  4. Making learning an organizational priority
  5. Create formal development plans for emerging leaders

Lack of true engaged support from current leaders is one of the key reasons that leadership development fails. Your role as an HR professional is to help senior leaders see leadership development as a strategy as opposed to being the project du jour. Identifying and improving the quality of leaders must be a top priority to ensure a filled pipeline of experienced employees ready to be placed.

For any further questions about how you can support leadership development, please give our Advice & Resolution team a ring at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746. If you have any suggestions as to how to improve leadership development, we’d love to hear them in the comments section!

Is Your Succession Plan Transparent?

Thursday, February 18th, 2016
Rick Washburn, A&R Manager

Rick Washburn, A&R Manager

In today’s post, Advice & Resolution Manager Rick Washburn discusses the importance of creating a transparent succession plan for your business and fostering an open dialogue between managers and employees regarding career development.

Succession planning is at the very heart of any talent management program.  Done properly it is the process of identifying and/or developing talent for future business needs.

Is your succession plan transparent?  Do your business leaders have open dialogues about employee development, high-potential employees, and the like? Transparent succession plans create trust and the employee buy-in necessary to help the business retain top performers and reduce turn-over.  These plans also facilitate open discussions about career paths and development opportunities and helps leaders ensure that they do not unknowingly force top performers down paths that they would rather not go down.

The best succession plans, according to a 2012 Aon Hewitt study, drive proactive development of leaders and create distinct competitive advantages.  These plans are as transparent as possible and encourage trust and integrity, while minimizing internal politics.   In a 2010 Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) Leadership survey, 77% of the respondents said it was highly desirable for them to be formally identified and acknowledged as high-potential employees.

Transparency is also a key component of an organizations’ engagement and retention strategies. Leadership development plans that are communicated directly to succession plan participants is a vital element of these strategies.  Employees appreciate the time and effort that is being invested on their behalf both today and in the future.   According to a 2014 Towers Watson survey, more than half of the employers surveyed reported having difficulty retaining high-potential employees.  Letting your employees know that their skills and experience are valued dissuades top performers from leaving.

As mentioned above, it is also important to discuss career aspirations with employees to determine their level of interest in opportunities within your business.  A specific skill may not align with an employee’s ambitions.  Being upfront and open with employees leads to both more effective succession plans and more engaged leaders in your business.

So then, why do many employers struggle with the question of how and when to tell high potential employees (HIPOTS) they are high potentials?  One reason may be because of the risks of disengaging other employees who aren’t considered as HIPOTS.

To avoid this problem, Barry Conchie, a Gallup Senior Scientist and coauthor of the bestseller Strengths Based Leadership recommends that “Before a company says anything to its high-potential leaders, it must determine the criteria that it will use to identify top leadership talent.  Those criteria must be explicit and public. It’s important for people to know what qualifies them to be on the list.”  Conchie notes that many companies select leaders based on personality traits or likability, not demonstrated leadership talent.  This can damage engagement among other employees who think they should be leaders but were not picked.

Another barrier is that once you tell someone they are a HIPOT, if they don’t feel the love from you in terms of development, assignments, and even compensation some are apt to look elsewhere.   Notes Conchie, “you have to pay them what they’re worth or they’ll leave…They have to feel special because they are special. There are harsh economic realities here.”

For any assistance in developing or improving upon your business’s succession plan please give Tom Sheehan (919-325-4113) or myself (919-713-5247) a call today.

Key to Employee Engagement Lies in Understanding Human Behavior

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

friendshipatworkIn today’s post, Advice and Resolution team member Renee’ Watkins shares how getting back to the basics of understanding human interaction at work may be the key to strengthening employee engagement.

Employers spend a lot of time and money on employee engagement strategies, hoping they are doing all the right things to make a positive impact and maintain strong relationships and loyalty among their workforce.  Still, many studies suggest employee engagement on average is low.  This is an indicator that employers are either not doing enough to keep their employees engaged, or what they are doing is simply not effective.

There are some specific and very basic fundamentals surrounding human behavior and how they influence engagement.  Even seasoned professionals can forget from time to time and neglect to stick with these basics which can lead to an ineffective engagement effort.

Examine the fundamental truths below to see how they compare to your engagement strategy. If you are doing one of these, is it working?  If it isn’t, can you change it?  If it is, can you do more of it?

Employment Engagement Truths

  1. All the goodies, gimmicks and giveaways in the world are no substitute for a rewarding work experience.
  2. Spoiled employees, like spoiled children, become childish and entitled.
  3. Every action, no matter how small, can affect employee engagement. An email, an interaction or a simple note can have a definite impact.  Take nothing for granted.
  4. You build, or tear down, employee engagement one conversation at a time.
  5. Ask your employees for feedback on employee engagement and listen to what they have to say.  They are a valuable resource and know best what it takes to engage them.
  6. If you do not ask for feedback or you choose to ignore it when provided, you may not find what creates employee engagement until it is too late.
  7. Do not solicit input from your employees unless you plan to use it.
  8. Engagement is a two-way street.  Employees are not going to care about your goals unless they feel you actually care about theirs.
  9. It is one thing to make an employee feel like they matter, it is another to empower them to actually matter by making a difference in the organization on a daily basis.
  10. Your business is not a rehab center for troubled employees.  You can only do so much.  You are not a therapist, you are a manager.
  11. Avoid feelings of uncertainty among your workforce.  Uncertainty leads to fear and fear tends to focus on oneself rather than the common goals of the team or organization.  Communicate and be transparent as much and as often as you can.
  12. Give specific reasons for any directive.  It is always easier to deal with a “What” when you have a “Why” to back it up.
  13. Focus on what you can control, not on what you cannot.
  14. Finally, look in the mirror and ask yourself what it would take for you to continue to remain engaged in your company.  Put yourself in the shoes of your workforce.

Before you invest an inordinate amount of time and money into expensive employee engagement practices, see how getting back to the basics will work for your business. Stick to these simple truths and you may find that higher employee engagement is attainable without all the headaches of those expensive strategies!

For more information on engaging your workforce, please contact our Advice & Resolution at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.