Posts Tagged ‘employee communication’

Understanding Your Younger Employees

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

Company leaders often complain about the unrealistic expectations of their millennial workers. Today’s youth, a.k.a. ‘millennials’— are said to be:Multiethnic Group of People Social Networking at Cafe

  1. difficult to manage
  2. likely to quit at a moment’s notice
  3. careless (i.e. they make needless mistakes as they forge ahead blindly without permission)

The youngest generation does differ from the older ones. But this has always been true.

Leaders within the organization should see how questions and challenges (i.e. Why does it have to be this way?) from their youngest employees can spark action to help their companies change for the better. In the process of listening, leaders will soon realize that young people want the same things we all do. Remember, millennials are vitally important to fill the void left by aging baby boomers and Gen Xers.

Keep in mind that many millennials continue to bear the burden of tens of thousands of dollars in student-loan debt. The debt has understandably influenced their decisions to join or leave companies.

Actions HR leaders can take to help create a better employer-employee relationship with millennials:

  1. Build bridges with data. Utilize people analytics to understand your youngest employees better. Gather data to track tenure, movement, performance evaluations, and attrition, as well as qualitative data to gauge engagement and find ways of increasing it. Share the results with middle managers so that they can connect the dots and tailor their management approach accordingly.
  2. Over communicate clarity. All employees are eager to hear from top management. However, younger employees expect this to happen at hyper speed. They are looking for real-time, two-way communication that allows input from everyone, followed by fairly immediate action. HR can help address this need by creating feedback platforms which allow employees to ask questions about specific topics and to engage on follow-up feedback requested by supervisors or senior management. This approach provides unprecedented visibility into issues and solutions and facilitates continuous improvement.
  3. Develop a culture of mentorship. Most young people thrive on collaborative work and support from colleagues. Meaningful personal relationships are crucial to help employers to hang on to their young workers.  Best practice is to partner new employees with an assigned sponsor who helps them to navigate the culture. Also encourage your new employees to reach out and form other mentoring relationships.
  4. Focus on professional growth. The ‘younger generation’ has grown up watching entrepreneurs reach the height of success before age 30, taking on responsibilities usually reserved for older executives. Many young professionals want a chance to flex their entrepreneurial muscles. They can quickly become frustrated by the lack of advancement opportunity in today’s flat organizational structures. Any kind of movement that promotes professional development is a plus (i.e. temporary projects over and above the day job). Additionally, young workers are typically energized by rotational programs. Other opportunities may include exposure to senior leaders, cross-functional work, and community service—elements that millennials value highly.

Every workplace has questions that need to be answered, and the sooner the better. Reach out to CAI’s Advice & Resolution team to get your questions answered today!

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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.

5 Tips for Better HR Communications

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

One way to streamline HR processes is to improve your HR communication.

Leadership and communication

Below are 5 practical tips that should help you more effectively communicate with the workforce:

Tip # 1: Communication from HR must be authentic and hyper-relevant

Generally speaking, employees have lost some degree of trust in the authenticity of the company communications they receive. In particular, HR communications are often viewed by the workforce as being less than straightforward, with some sort of hidden agenda. To further complicate matters, employees often feel the communication they receive is not important to them directly.

Tip # 2: Create simple, timely communications that focus on what employees need to know and do

In the spirit of trying to create full disclosure, HR tends to ‘over-communicate.’ In doing so we cloud the message. We don’t need to share every detail.

Tip # 3: Tag actionable communications in the subject line with ‘Action required’

E-mails from HR are often too generic and lack a “What’s in it for me?” or “What am I supposed to do about this?” message for employees.

Here is a good example of how to communicate when action is required:

  1. Issue: All employees must re-enroll for benefits.
  2. Action you must take: Log onto xyz website, and complete enrollment by xyz date.
  3. What happens if you don’t act: Your benefits will not be renewed.

Tip # 4: Don’t hide behind e-mails

It is also important to realize that your communications cannot be solely in the form of e-mails and memos sent to the masses. Follow up important company-wide communications with face-to-face interaction. This might include such things as town-hall meetings or stand-up department meetings to highlight key points. Make certain to open these meetings up for questions.

This type of interaction fosters a culture that shows the company cares about employees and wants their voices to be heard. Smaller companies can be more personal in their communications, using in-person meetings followed up by next-step e-mails.

Other ways HR can help set the tone for effective communications:

  • Establish training and clear guidelines on the proper use of emails (including cc’s, volume, respond times)
  • Create a consistent, clear format for company-wide communications
  • Establish a ‘gate-keeper’ for large-scale communications to the workforce
  • Encourage the better use of virtual technology—i.e. Live Meeting, WebEx, Skype, and MS Lync

Tip # 5: Hold ‘All Hands’ Meetings

In terms of communicating the company strategy, the use of quarterly ‘all-hands’ company meetings are frequently helpful. These meetings are typically facilitated by an HR leader and run by a member of the senior leadership team. During the meetings, leaders discuss the progress being made relative to the company goals and strategies. These meetings are also used as a means to proactively address employee concerns that may be gaining momentum.

If you need help thinking through your HR/Employee communications learn how CAI can help you create the best workplace for your employees.

Tom_Sheehan-circle

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.

What Employee Perks Are You Offering?

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

As the economy slowly begins to improve, many employers are starting to focus on employee retention. AccountTemps, a division of Robert Half International, surveyed more than 1,400 CFOs to learn what perks their companies were either offering or planning to offer in their effort to recruit and retain top performers.

While subsidized training and education topped the list, flexible schedules and mentoring programs came in tied for a close second place.  Overall, the most popular incentives appear to be those that aid in career development:

  • Subsidized training/education – 29%
  • Flexible work hours or telecommuting – 24%
  • Mentoring programs – 24%
  • Matching gift programs – 13%
  • Free or subsidized lunch or snacks – 11%
  • On-site perks such as childcare, dry cleaning, fitness center, cafeteria – 11%
  • Subsidized transportation – 10%
  • Subsidized gym membership – 9%
  • Sabbaticals – 8%
  • Housing or relocation assistance – 7%

Many of the perks listed above go hand-in-hand with the top 10 reasons employees stay with an organization.  These perks assist businesses in the development of a more skilled workforce, often cost very little to implement and can assist with providing work-life balance for your employees.

While employees may be sensitive to pay concerns, especially after a few years of salary freezes or cuts, it is important to note that pay is not the primary reason people stay or leave an organization.

Also, while there are certainly common themes that come through in the list above, these same perks may not be what your organization’s employees would prefer.  The best way to assess how you can get the biggest bang for your buck when investing in employee perks and retention strategies is to ask your employees directly what is most important to them.

If you have questions regarding employee retention efforts, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Midwest Region