Posts Tagged ‘Employee motivation’

How HR Creates a Culture of Recognition

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

When you take into consideration the high cost of turnover and its disruptive impact on the business, it should get you thinking about your own recognition strategies. How can you expect employees to stay at your organization if they’re not getting the appreciation they deserve?

We all know that retention is closely tied to recognition. Employees want to work for an organization that not only values their work but also shows them appreciation. Accordingly, there is a strong relationship between recognition and likelihood to stick around at the job.

We also understand that praise sways the perception of the work environment. No one wants to work at a place that ignores its employees. Here again, there is a positive link between recognition and an employee’s perception of the workplace.

Finally, a healthy employee-supervisor relationship relies on some sort of positive recognition. Simply put, employees want to work for someone who appreciates their contributions to the organization.

But getting occasional recognition from your boss is not nearly enough.

The Role of Peer-to-Peer Recognition

A quick telling stat: 70% of employees credited their peers for creating an engaging environment, while perks such as work functions, parties, or amenities only accounted for 8%. (Source: Tiny Pulse)

The following employee comments underscore the role that peers play in the workplace:

  • “I look forward to coming to work every day. The people are great, and we have lots of celebrations for the good work that we do.”
  •  “I’ve never once wished that I didn’t have to go into work. Everyone here is awesome, and there is not one day that has gone by where I haven’t laughed out loud about something, with someone here.”
  •  “Great people to work with, people I share my life with, people I trust, that support, and encourage me and my ideas. There is a team here that is for each other and builds all the others up instead of climbing over the backs of others. We laugh with each other and seem to truly enjoy each other. We get silly, eat too much, and treat one another as a family.”

Creating Collaboration Spaces

Peers play such a vital role in creating a fun work environment. So at CAI, we give staff the space to collaborate and work together. This is especially important with the influx of millennials in the workforce, who live and thrive on collaboration. We also utilize informal and formal ‘we’ spaces where our employees can spontaneously come together to collaborate:

  • Meeting tables: Scatter these around the office so people can quickly come together. Put up a whiteboard (or better yet, whiteboard paint a wall) nearby, and you’ve got an impromptu meeting room. These tables are perfect for encouraging and promoting spontaneous ideation.
  • Break rooms: Idle chitchat around the water cooler isn’t a time waster. In fact, it typically revolves around work-related topics, so you never know when a brilliant idea might pop up. At CAI, we have created a breakroom that allows staff and training class visitors to actively network and intermingle.
  • Casual meeting rooms: In addition to more traditional conference rooms, we have included casual enclosed spaces that are ideal for when you need to discuss sensitive topics or gather for team meetings.

By dishing out praise, leveraging peer-to-peer recognition tools, creating collaborative spaces, and assessing cultural fit, you are laying down the right groundwork to retain your star employees. CAI members have access to numerous recognition information and tools. Contact CAI to learn more about membership.

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.

“Go Ahead, Make My Day”

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

You may have thought of the look in Clint Eastwood’s eyes when he delivered his famous line as Harry Callahan in “Sudden Impact.” Interesting he was getting ready to have a morning cup of coffee when he discovers a robbery in the diner. When harm is threatened to one of the employees, instead of backing off, Harry steps up and confronts the situation. Through clenched teeth with a rough grumble he delivers the now infamous line “Go ahead, make my day.” Harry is trying to clean things up, make the bad better and help those who need him.goahead

Though Harry was able to make a huge impact alone, we know it takes contributing efforts from everyone to result in success. So what does this stroll down cinematic lane have to do with your organization?  Employees often feel out of control of situations at work and want to have someone step up and make their day, with lasting positive impact.  The leaders of the organization can make their day or break their day.  Managers and supervisors have an immeasurable impact on employee motivation and morale. Words, body language and facial expressions as the manager or leader, telegraph their opinion of the employees’ value to the organization.

If employees feel valued – they like their work – their morale goes up – productivity increases – the business becomes more successful – the employer can offer competitive pay and opportunities for growth – employees engage and motivation becomes catching – thus they feel valued and the cycle gains momentum and flourishes.

Building employee motivation and morale is challenging and yet can be simple.  Focusing on the needs of employees and understanding a leader’s impact on life at work can not only make their day, but it can make yours!  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Start the Day Right .  Smile. Walk with confidence.  Greet employees in their work areas.  Share information over a cup of coffee.  Listen to ideas and concerns.  Let employees know it is going to be a good day.  You set the tone.
  • Show Appreciation with Powerful but Simple Words.  Please. Thank You. You are doing a great job. I appreciate your working over the weekend.  Thanks for always being on time. Success begins with how you approach people. Motivational words leave people feeling valued.  Spend positive interaction time with employees.
  • Set Expectations and Provide Feedback.  Communicate your expectations.  Let employees know how they are performing.  Timely feedback is critical.  Acknowledge positive outcomes.  Work with employees to understand what expectations were not met and how they can produce a positive outcome the next time.  Use encouragement and reassurance when appropriate.  Follow up.
  • Reward the Behavior.  Reward and recognize positive contributions, both publicly and privately.  Treat employees fairly.  When performance goals are not met, administer progressive discipline. Address problems.  Highly motivated and top-contributing employee morale counts on management’s consistency.
  • End the Day Right.  Be visible. Tell them to have a good evening.  If you ask how the day progressed, be prepared to listen and take action if needed.  Check with the supervisor.  What actions could help make his/her shift better.  Go home with reflection.  Return positive.

When organizations ask their employees about what they need and want from work they are often surprised to find out how inexpensive it can be to fulfill those needs and wants, and to create an environment of committed employees working toward a common goal. If you have any questions about motivating employees, contact CAI’s Advice and Resolution team to help you solve real-life workplace problems.

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CAI Advice & Resolution team member Renee Watkins is a seasoned HR professional with a diverse background in Human Resource. Renee provides CAI members with practical advice in a wide-range of human resource functions including conflict resolution, compliance and regulatory issues, and employee relations.

 

Six Tips to Turn Frustrated Employees into Positive Ones

Thursday, December 10th, 2015
Renee' Watkins, HR Advisor

Renee’ Watkins, HR Advisor

In today’s post, Advice and Resolution team member Renee’ Watkins shares helpful tips to transform negative energy into positive action within frustrated employees.

Within any organization, there will always be an opportunity to deal with a frustrated employee.  When employees are frustrated, their productivity often goes down and odds are they are affecting the morale and productivity of those around them.

Some frustrated employees will never speak up regarding their frustrations, be it feelings of being unheard as an employee or mistreated as a team member.  Their feelings eventually turn to anger or resentment until they finally resign.   When an unhappy employee does confide in you, it becomes an opportunity to turn that situation around for an employee who may be a valuable contributor to the organization.

Start by listening to the employee.  Do not try to immediately determine if they have an actual problem. That can sometimes be a first reaction, but it is not what they are looking for when they come to you. The important thing to remember is they perceive there is an issue which needs to be discussed.  Let them talk through it and work with them to really understand their point of view.

Show the employee you genuinely care about their issue and then work to find out why they feel the way they do.  By talking through it, the two of you can get to the underlying cause and hopefully find a solution.  Follow these simple steps to turn a frustrated employee into one with a more positive outlook:

  • Appreciate Feedback – Show your employee how much you value the time, energy and the courage it took for them to come to you with this situation.
  • Empathize – Offer your employee understanding about their situation. Take the time to understand the situation and be genuine in your delivery. Otherwise, you will come off sounding like you are patronizing them.
  • Get the Details – Have the employee outline for you what led up to their becoming frustrated with the situation. Let them know, if appropriate, that you will investigate the issue(s) and therefore the more detail they can provide, the more quickly a solution can be found.
  • Offer an Apology – Providing your employee with a heartfelt, honest apology may be appropriate.  You may not be directly responsible, but you are not apologizing for the issue, you are offering an “I’m sorry” for the way your employee feels as a result of the issue.
  • Take Action – At the end of the discussion, your employee is going to want to know what you intend to do about the situation. They may not ask directly, but you need to convey your plans to take action. Your next steps will be what they remember. This is an opportunity to enhance your employee’s trust.
  • Follow Up – Offer a time frame in which you will follow up with the employee to be sure things are better. By now, you have conveyed what you feel is the solution and have hopefully executed it. Close the loop by making sure the employee is satisfied in how you handled it.

These simple steps will help you take control of a negative situation and make a very positive statement about how your organization cares for its staff. If you have questions about dealing with frustrated employees, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution team at 919‑878‑9222 or 336‑668‑7746.

What has worked best for you when you have dealt with a frustrated employee? What has worked best for you if you were the frustrated employee?  Let us know in the comments below.

Giving Thanks At Work Beyond Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015
Renee' Watkins, HR Advisor

Renee’ Watkins, HR Advisor

In today’s post, Advice and Resolution team member Renee’ Watkins shares the many reasons why employers should be giving thanks – and not just around Thanksgiving.

As Thanksgiving approaches, it is typically the time of year when we take a moment to count the blessings in our life and give thanks.  Often, the word “thankful” seems less than adequate to express how we truly feel and does not completely convey our gratitude.  There are so many things for which we should be grateful.  In fact, we should try to take stock of the sources of gratitude in our lives and demonstrate our gratitude on a daily basis – not just at Thanksgiving.

Begin a practice to take time out of each day and tell those around you that your life is better because of them. Naturally, we always appreciate our significant others, our children and special friends.  Many share their thanks and gratitude to colleagues at work.  When did you last thank a fireman or police officer? Have you acknowledged a member of the armed forces lately?  There are those you do not see every day that also deserve your thanks.

Even good leaders can forget to acknowledge the contributions of their followers in the workplace.  Taking your team’s work for granted can strain a relationship over time.  In a much quoted Gallop survey, they found that fewer than one in three American workers could strongly agree that they had received praise from their supervisor in the last seven days.   In an uncertain economy and competitive job market, it is essential that our workforce, business partners, clients and suppliers hear directly from us that their contributions to our success are recognized and appreciated.  Take time to say “thanks.”  It is such a simple thing to do and yet so meaningful to the recipient. A genuine thank you is priceless.

Experience has taught us that when you acknowledge and appreciate the people around you, they work harder, perform better and care more about the people around them in return.  The simple and meaningful act of showing gratitude can have a powerful “ripple effect” in both business and in the daily lives of those who directly and indirectly support your success in life.  Adrian Gostic and Chester Elton, authors of The Carrot Principle, conducted a 10-year motivation study, in which more than 200,000 employees and managers were interviewed. They found that when managers are considered to be effective at ‘recognizing’ their employees they:

• have lower turnover rates than other managers

• achieve better organizational results

• are seen to be much stronger in goal-setting, communication, trust and accountability

This Thanksgiving, remember to extend a special thank you to your coworkers. Not only will it mean a great deal to them, but they will likely return their gratitude in kind! With a simple “thanks”, you will be building a sense of gratitude and appreciation that can outlast the Holiday season and ultimately embed itself into your company’s culture.

For further information as to how or why you could be showing gratitude in the workplace, please give our Advice and Resolution Team a call at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Your Employees Won’t Work Hard for a Robot

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

The following post is by Bruce Clarke, CAI’s CEO and President. The article originally appeared in Bruce’s News and Observer Column, The View from HR.

Bruce Clarke, President and CEO

Bruce Clarke, President and CEO

Think about your best manager ever.

The one that you trusted, learned from, worked hard for, took problems to and even enjoyed. The one that managed you with both clarity and humanity. The one that knew you as an individual and took a genuine interest in your development. Do you have this person in mind?

Many managers are good communicators and handle workplace issues well. They might even be good teachers and technical geniuses. They may have regular meetings with you to be sure you are on the “same page.” But the human element that makes them truly impactful and inspirational is too often missing.

Somewhere along the way, managers (and some in HR) have lost sight of this important fact: nobody works hard for a robot or simply to earn revenue. They work hard for people who know them as individuals.

The great workplace leaders understand this human element. It builds bonds that allow your organization to solve big problems, face great challenges and obtain extraordinary results from all types of people.

Think again of your best manager ever. Would you work twice the hours for two weeks to get a big project done for that individual? Would you bring him or her your bestideas and best work every day? Would you accept and understand when you received an answer you did not like? Would that manager make your view of the company much more positive, making you much more likely to stay?

I bet your best manager even knew quite a bit about you as a person and showed it in appropriate ways. Maybe you both enjoyed discussing your family, your hobbies, common schools/teams, your dog or even political topics. Maybe you shared your feelings about free time, what you hope for or what you are concerned about.

What about the time your manager attended that awards ceremony on your behalf or that soccer game you played? How did you feel when a manager did something nice for your child? The point is, your manager knew what you cared most about in this world and showed that s/he cared, too.

It is not a great deal more complex than that, but managers tend to avoid the right kind of personal topics with employees, while a few spend too much time on the wrong personal topics. I’ve seen lawyers scare good managers away from positive personal conversations and relationships (with fears of lawsuits) while failing to sufficiently scare the harasser away from negative personal interactions.

The human element is key to maximizing both work performance and enjoyment. One of my favorite workplace authors is Patrick Lencioni (“The Three Signs of a Miserable Job”). He says this human element means taking a Genuine Personal Interest in employees and each other. Each of those three words was chosen carefully. The opposite might be called an Insincere Prying Irritation.

Other non-genuine interactions: asking the same question each day to the same people (“How ’bout them Heels?”), forcing the interaction, focusing on things you care about, doing the same thing for everyone or treating interaction as a one-way street. Employees, your manager would appreciate a Genuine Personal Interest from you as well.

Maybe this is natural to you. Keep it up! If it is unnatural or stressful to you, find ways to bring the human element into your workplace interactions. Observe what employees display in their workspace. Chances are they care deeply about those things and people.

Think about the power of a Genuine Personal Interest in improving conversations, building trust and creating a common language . . . and boosting performance.

The only person who wants to work hard for a robot is the technician who changes its oil.

 

8 Ways to Motivate Your Employees When Funds Are Low

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

carrrotsMotivating employees to be more engaged and productive is a common concern for employers. Organizations will often reward employees with raises or promotions for their previous good work in hopes that they’ll be even more productive. While raises and promotions are good incentives for increasing engagement and efficiency, the funds or new positions are not always available.

So what can employers do to motivate employees when funds are low? Several things! Research shows that money and job titles are not always top motivators. There are other ways to show your staff members that their contributions matter.  Below is a list of ways to boost morale and productivity without blowing your budget. Try incorporating some at your workplace:

  • Give your top employees an extra day of paid time off
  • Whether it’s in writing or said out loud, make sure you thank your staffers for their efforts
  • Schedule lunch and learns to explore topics that are of interest to your employees
  • Start committees to improve your workplace community and invite your high potentials to serve as committee members
  • Purchase gift certificates to a movie theater or restaurant and give them to deserving employees
  • Invite your green employees to shadow under or be mentored by your high-level managers as a form of professional development
  • Throw invitation-only appreciation events for employees who completed big projects or took on more work
  • Coordinate a food or ice cream truck visit at your workplace and treat your employees to free food or dessert

CAI members provided many of the tips above through CAI’s list serve, a member benefit that enables participants to ask peers at member companies for advice, recommendations and best practices for their organizations. Recent topics members have discussed on the list serve include vacation policies, executing performance reviews, short term disability coverage and many more. For additional information about a CAI membership and signing up for the list serve, please contact an account manager at 919-878-9222 or 336-667-7746.

Photo Source: Leo-setä

 

Use Professional Development to Motivate and Retain Top Talent

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Many organizations believe that increasing salary is the most effective way to retain their stellar performers. Although higher salaries might keep employees at their jobs, it is not a cost-effective solution for employers. To help staff members remain content without maxing out budgets, companies can devote time to staff development and education.

Employees stay in their positions when they believe they are accomplishing their goals and advancing in their careers. Showing serious interest in the development of your staff demonstrates to employees that they are essential in achieving success for the company. Support within management to invest in workforce coaching will help your organization attain a lower turnover rate and strengthen employee morale.

The entire organization benefits when time and resources are allotted to professional growth and job preparation. Employees are satisfied and become more productive, which leads to increased efficiency and greater revenue. Here are a few tips to promote the growth of your team members:

  1. Help staff set goals. Have employees evaluate their responsibilities to determine their strengths and weaknesses prior to setting goals. Help them establish obtainable goals that align with their interests and strengths to support success. Goals should be measurable, and a timeline can track progress.  Personally praise employees when goals are achieved.
  2. Inform employees on training opportunities. Alert staff of different training and educational opportunities that benefit their position, and encourage them to participate. Offer to sponsor their attendance for different activities, such as conferences and seminars. If sponsoring is too expensive, partial payment still exhibits your vested interest in their career.
  3. Encourage membership in professional groups and associations. Organizations relevant to employees’ positions allow them to network with similar professionals, learn best practices and even gain new clients. To help facilitate their involvement, consider providing them annual stipends to partake in group activities related to their fields or reimbursing membership dues and other fees. Provide flexibility in scheduling and options to work nontraditional hours to allow employees to attend events as well.
  4. Recognize training progress. Employees need positive reinforcement when they continually perform their duties well. By attending training sessions, they invest in their career development as well as benefit the organization, so it is important to acknowledge their efforts. Take time to discuss what they learned from their experiences, and advocate that they integrate new knowledge into their responsibilities. Congratulating team members on earning certifications also promotes company loyalty.

Members of management should consider training options for themselves as well in order to set positive examples for all employees. Company leaders should also explain the value of continual education and professional development during staff gatherings or one-on-one meetings.

For more information on staff development and professional training, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at (919) 878-9222 or (336) 668-7746, or ask for an account manager to discover the different training options CAI offers.

Photo source: lumaxart

Five Tips for Employee Motivation

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

One of the many discussion points brought up by the recent actions of JetBlue flight attendant Steve Slater was this: when treated poorly, employees will not be motivated to do their best at work. They will have no connection to the organization, and will feel that their employer takes them for granted. That results in an unhappy workplace that can lead to poor performance by a company.

If you really want to make sure your employees have reasons to be committed to your organization, here are five tips we recommend:

  1. Make clear to employees that they play a key role in fulfilling your company’s mission and goals. Workers must make a connection as to how what they are doing every day will pave the way to what will be better for them, as well as the company in the future. Otherwise, they have no incentive to stay with you, they seek and find other jobs, and you have a turnover problem.
  2. Understand what motivates your employees to perform better. The answer is not always just a wage hike – many top workers have left companies for other lower-paying positions for a variety of reasons, such as a better work environment or to have more time to spend with their families. Knowing what each of your employees want and then trying to accommodate those desires individually takes time in the short term but should pay off in the long run.
  3. Find ways to promote ideas from your employees and encourage collaboration among them. When people feel that their opinions about what should be done to improve the business are being heard, they will be much more loyal to the organization and its leaders.
  4. Discuss with each of your employees individually how he or she feels about his or her current position and see if job duties need to be adjusted. The worker may well be “burned out” over performing certain tasks repeatedly and no longer feel challenged to work up to his or her potential as a result.
  5. Recognize your employees publicly for good work. This does not have to be anything elaborate. For some basic ideas, read our previous blog on “Five Free Ways to Show Appreciation in the Workplace.”

For more details on how you can assess and improve employee engagement, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at (919) 878-9222 or (336) 668-7746.

Photo Source: alvar.a-blast.org