Posts Tagged ‘feedback’

Improve Employee Efficiency by Updating Your Workplace Practices

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

August Quote blog

Albert Einstein once said, “If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.” Is this quote applicable to your workplace? Is your organization meeting its business goals? Are you making all of your deadlines? Are your employees engaged and is their productivity high? If you can’t answer yes to all of these questions, you may need to reconsider some of your workplace practices.

A positive company culture and a helpful set of workplace guidelines will help you reach your business goals. They will also help you create more positive relationships with your employees, which will raise their job satisfaction and morale. There are a number of steps your organization can take to incorporate constructive employer practices. Check out a few examples below:

Give constant feedback

No matter their age or tenure at your company, your employees want to know how their work performance measures up. Regularly informing your employees about their work performance is beneficial for your organization because you’ll learn more about your employees and the workload they can or can’t handle. For five ways to offer feedback to your employees, please visit here: http://blog.capital.org/employees-will-seek-consistent-feedback-in-the-new-year/.

Be clear and transparent with communication

An organization that has issues with clearly communicating to their workforce will have a hard time reaching success. By practicing transparency and good communications, you’ll gain trust from your employees. They’ll likely be motivated to be more productive as well. Find out the most common causes of workplace miscommunication here: http://blog.capital.org/five-common-causes-of-miscommunication-in-the-workplace-and-how-to-avoid-them/ and find solutions that will help you communicate effectively here: http://blog.capital.org/are-you-communicating-effectively/.

Invest in training for your managers

Researchers have found that many times the reason why employees leave or aren’t as productive is because the people leading them aren’t doing a good job. Managers and supervisors have several items on their plate, but one of their most important items is developing and overseeing their direct reports. Before you promote your next manager, make sure you offer them proper training. Here are some ideas: http://blog.capital.org/ongoing-training-helps-managers-reach-success/.

For additional help on increasing workplace productivity and meeting your company goals, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Employees Will Seek Consistent Feedback in the New Year

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

employee feedbackGeneration Y is not the only workforce population that relies on frequent feedback to improve their workplace performance.  Each of your workers will benefit from a meeting discussing their current performance and how they’ll fare in future.

Telling your employees how their performance measures up is advantageous to your organization and their career. Maybe you don’t understand what motivates your office manager or that your graphic designer needs an assistant to better manage his workload. Consistently offering staffers feedback and asking them how you can help will explain some of the questions you haven’t thought to ask.

Here are five ways to offer feedback to your workers and improve their job performance:

Notice Their Routine

Be aware of how your employees conduct themselves at your organization. As their manager, you’re responsible for making sure they deliver the results that you hired them to achieve. Your direct reports represent you and your department, so protect your reputation by playing an active role in their development.

Listen to Their Concerns

Part of being a manager or a leader is addressing the concerns of your employees. The only way you’ll find out their concerns is if you ask them questions and listen. Holding individual, weekly or monthly meetings with your team members is a great way to uncover their motivators and the personal goals they’d like to reach.

Offer Encouragement

Listening is just the start of establishing a positive manager/direct report relationship. Once you know what your employees are hoping to achieve, inform them that you’re on their side. Make yourself available to your employees if they need help. Walk them through frustrating situations, and don’t let them quit, even when obstacles become overwhelming.

State the Truth

Be direct with your employees because it will help them and your business in the long run. Sugar coating issues will only prolong the problems at hand. Take action to make your staff members aware that you have concerns about some aspects of their job performance. Work with them to find solutions instead of wasting time.

Recognize Their Work

Anytime your employees execute great work performances, you should take time to recognize them. Whether they prepared well for a presentation, assisted a colleague who was home sick or doubled their sales numbers, rewarding them for their hard work lets them know that you appreciate their contributions. Showing employees that they are integral team members will boost their morale and level of engagement.

For additional information on delivering constant feedback, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: RDECOM

Have You Evaluated Your Workplace Attitude?

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

How you come across at work has a pretty powerful influence on your organization whether or not you realize it. They people you interact with, especially staff members you work with regularly, are affected by the way you treat them, including your responses to their questions, the feedback you give them and empathy you show towards them.

Being callous, miserable or self-centered won’t help your popularity around the office and will likely damage your professional reputation. No one wants to work with the office grump, whiner, gossiper, complainer—the list goes on. Don’t let a negative trait you might have completely define your office persona.

Try to incorporate these four tips into your workday to have a more positive influence on your organization:

Be Polite

Choosing to use words like “please” and “thank you” will improve your workplace reputation. Giving your coworkers respect, whether it’s with their time, ideas or feelings, will help you win the same treatment from them. Be nice when you can and try to always help an employee who is truly in need.

Think on it

People have a tendency to talk before they think. With today’s technological advances, talking before you think turns into emailing, tweeting, calling or blogging.  If an employee has made you upset or folks didn’t want to use your idea for a project, don’t retaliate by immediately firing off a response to their actions. Because of your emotions, you might not realize the tone you’re conveying. Think your thoughts through and how your words will affect the receiver and your place at the company.

Ask for Help

Asking for assistance from colleagues is a simple and expected workplace occurrence. Unfortunately, some employees would rather miss their deadlines, give poor excuses or blame others before admitting that they can’t do everything by themselves. Complete your work, and if you need extra assistance for a project, swallow your pride and ask. If employees are constantly seeking assistance, they should talk to their managers about adjusting their workload.

Recognize Effort

Improve your workplace relationships by recognizing the contributions each one of your team members makes to the organization. Appreciate the effort and time your employees spend delivering results for your company. By acknowledging their hard work, you will likely gain their trust and commitment to keep up their great job performance.

For more tips to improve your workday and on-the-job performance, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: sektordua

4 Steps for Building Positive Employer-Employee Relationships

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

Aiming to create a strong employer-employee relationship within your organization is commendable.  Many positive results arise when employers and their workers respect and trust each other. But getting to the point of reciprocal trust and respect can be challenging for many companies. Some businesses fear giving their employees too much buy-in or power. Other organizations don’t realize that there are several actions they can take to make their workplace run smoother.

A good employer-employee relationship requires constant nurturing and set expectations and results. Although hard work from both sides of the company is needed, the benefits are worth it. Here are some of the top advantages: increased morale and job satisfaction, high retention rate, less absenteeism, better customer service and higher quality products.

Utilize the following practices in your organization to see your employer-employee relationship flourish:

Communicate Openly

Good communication between an employer and its employees is imperative for building a positive workplace culture. As an employer, don’t hide important information from your staff or only grant the information to a select group of workers. Being aware of how the company is performing and what projects are getting started help employees see how their role fits into the organization; it also makes them more likely to respect and trust their company. Always keep your team members in the loop.

Gratitude and Appreciation

Saying “please” and “thank you” go a long way at an organization. Be empathetic to your workforce and appreciate the efforts that they contribute to your company. When an employee consistently turns in great work yet receives no recognition, you can be sure that his job satisfaction and morale is low. He might even consider finding a company that does appreciate his work. To make this scenario unrealistic at your workplace, be grateful for the work your employees do and show your appreciation through public or private recognition, parties, gift cards or whatever else would appeal to your team.

Consistent Feedback

In order to improve their work performance, an employee must receive feedback, both positive and critical. Employees find it frustrating when their work has been changed or a project isn’t approved but receive no feedback as to why these actions have happened. Help your employees grow by offering them frequent feedback on their work. Set up monthly or weekly meetings to check in with them about their progress and what goals they want to accomplish. When you take these steps, you’ll see your employees more engaged with their work.

Following Through

Nothing makes you lose credibility faster than when you overpromise and don’t deliver expected results. No matter what the scenario is, as an employer, you owe it to your staff to follow through on your commitments. If you told one employee they can attend a training to improve their skills, quickly approve the expense report when they turn it in. If another employee wants to meet with you to discuss her future at the company, don’t blow her off for another meeting or lunch date. Evoke trust and respect from your staff by showing that your commitment to them is important.

For more tips on creating positive work relationships, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Victor1558

Don’t Let Your Top Employees Leave: 4 Tips to Encourage Employee Loyalty

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

Do you know what it would take for your employees to leave your organization? If you ask them, the responses you receive might surprise you. The responses will also provide you with valuable information. Knowing the circumstances that could cause your employees to leave will help you find areas in which your company can improve. Instead of finding the answers when your employees leave your company, find time now to ask your top talent what factors would drive them to move to another organization.

Before you ask your staff members what would make them leave, review some of the reasons below why employees stay at their organizations. Are you providing your employees with these opportunities?

4 Reasons Why Employees Stay Loyal

Company Culture

The environment your company creates is a major factor that determines whether an employee will stay. Not every employee will appreciate or desire the same workplace aspects so it’s important to make sure you’re hiring employees that are interested in your company culture. For the most part, employees want to work for companies that respect their work/life balance and take a genuine interest in them and their career.

Challenging Work and Career Growth

Employees who are growing in their positions and like what they do find it hard to leave their employers. Make sure your staff members don’t leave because of workplace boredom, meaning their assignments aren’t challenging them. Meet with your employees on a weekly or monthly basis to gauge their thoughts on their job assignments and related performance. Help your team members grow by offering them opportunities to strengthen their skills, learn more information, and work on larger or more important projects.

Sound Leadership

Leadership is a top reason why employees decide to hold a long tenure with an organization. Many employee opinion surveys reveal that employees leave or are likely to leave because of the actions of their managers, supervisors or senior leaders. No one likes a micromanager or a leader who never checks in. Treat your employees with respect, be considerate of their time, communicate openly with them, and in return they will more likely stick with your organization.

Feedback and Recognition

Receiving positive and constructive feedback consistently is critical for the success of your employees. When employees don’t receive feedback, several consequences can result—employees feel frustrated, bad manager-direct report relationships develop, or employees search for new jobs that fulfill their needs. In addition to constant feedback, workers want to know that they are valued for the work they put into the company. Regularly demonstrate that you appreciate your workforce’s efforts. Whether you send them an email congratulating them on a sales win or take them out to eat on Friday, make it clear that they’re valuable team members.

For additional guidance for retaining your key employees, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Victor1558

4 Ways to Increase the Effectiveness of Your Management Staff

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Your managers are one of your company’s strongest assets. They help your company run efficiently by supervising others and delegating duties, relaying information from senior leadership and making sure projects get completed. Increasing the effectiveness of your management team will benefit your organization’s productivity, revenue and morale. Giving extra attention to the growth of your managers isn’t time consuming or expensive. Try using the methods below to maximize the potential of your team leaders:

 Sharpen Their Skills

Whether you let them expense industry related literature, such as magazines and journals, to the company, or pay their way to attend a conference related to their position, helping your leaders attain new skills and knowledge will improve their job satisfaction and productivity. You’ll also see an improvement in their team’s performance.

Increase Their EI

Recent research indicates that employees with strong Emotional Intelligence (a person’s capacity for controlling his or her own emotions and recognizing and reacting to the emotions of others) can carry on and be successful through hard economic times and tough business predicaments. Not every employee comes equipped with a high EI, but taking steps to improve their EI is something all employees can do.

Strengthen Their Time Management

Managers juggle several tasks at once. They assign projects to their direct reports, implement strategies from senior management and work to complete their own projects. Learning to effectively manage time is an essential skill that managers should try to achieve. When leaders practice good time management, fewer errors occur, deadlines and results are met and last minute panicking is avoided.

Provide Feedback and Rewards

Make sure you consistently provide your managers with positive and constructive feedback on their performance. Help them succeed by encouraging them to give their best and attain their goals. Personally and publically acknowledge their accomplishments, and show your appreciation for their contributions whenever you can.

For more strategies to maximize the performance of your managers, supervisors and other company leaders, join us at CAI’s Training Showcase on July 19 in Greensboro and July 20 in Raleigh. Both programs are free and will run from 8:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. At each location you’ll experience abbreviated training sessions and participate in learning exercises to help you make the right development decisions for your staff. Come for a few hours or stay for the whole event to review CAI’s training options. Find more information and full agendas here: www.capital.org/showcase.

Photo Source: Victor1558

Organizational Culture: In Theory and Practice

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Articles about how your company culture and talent will be the key factors in your organization’s success, or lack thereof, seem to be everywhere.  Some of these articles highlight specific focus areas for building a culture, and others include high-level theories without application.

I recently had the opportunity to hear Diane Adams and Richard Byrd from Allscripts discuss their corporate culture at a Raleigh Chamber of Commerce program.  Diane, who is the executive vice president of culture and talent, and Richard, who is the vice president of internal communications/culture, shared both a high-level theoretical approach and more specific details about how it is applied in practice.

From 20,000 feet, the key takeaways from the presentation were:

Culture is Intentional

It’s important that you have a destination in mind and take ownership of your company culture.  Your culture should then drive measurable behaviors.

Culture First

You can’t afford to lose precious time waiting to get to your culture.  You must start now if you haven’t already.

It’s More Than Great People

You must continue to work deliberately on your culture. Hiring for cultural fit is just the start.

Inside=Outside

When your organization has a strong, positive culture with engaged employees your customers will have a great experience and your business will see the results.

Diane and Richard pointed to four key areas of focus at the application level when it comes to organizational culture:

Empowerment

Let your team members/employees own their job. When people own something, they usually treat it much differently and will go the extra mile to make it better. It’s also important to help them see how they impact the business results.

Communications

Without consistent, repetitive communication, culture is just some words put to paper.  Make sure the lines are open to two-way communication and be aware that the words you use matter.

Respect/Civility

How people treat each other is a big piece of culture.  Team members should interact in a positive manner toward each other, even when in disagreement.

Feedback/Development

Top talent wants to be in an environment where they are learning, challenged and feel like they are continuing to grow.  Recognition is also important for all employees.

Having read many of the articles and heard numerous speakers discuss culture, I think there are two clear points to be taken from the chorus:

1 – You need to focus on culture now.  If you put it off you will be looking back in six months and realize that your culture has taken on a life of its own—one that you may not like.

2 – One size does not fit all.  It’s up to you to find those things that make your organization special and to highlight them, while also determining the aspirational goals for your culture and how you are going to work toward getting there.  Sure, there may be some broad topic areas that need to be included, but the specifics are up to you.

Is your company culture what you want it to be?  What are you doing to get it there?

Photo Source: USACE- Sacremento District

Goal Setting is Critical for Employee Engagement and Company Success

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

Tuesday’s post featured information for conducting productive employee performance reviews. In addition to the four key elements listed in that post, employee goal setting is another important part of the review process. Goal setting is helpful for managers and employees. Managers have multiple opportunities to provide employees with feedback during this process, and they are able to identify their employees’ strengths and weaknesses. Employees can see how their individual contributions affect and support their company’s bottom line when they begin making goals. If goal setting is done correctly, managers have measurable results to verify that employees met or did not meet their assigned goals, which is helpful when determining rewards and future career paths.

Appropriate goal setting can motivate employees to produce stellar work. Managers should help their direct reports create suitable goals for their positions. Assisting workers with goal setting keeps managers informed about the personal and professional interests their workers have.

 Successful companies have their employees set goals frequently—quarterly, monthly or even weekly—not just once a year. Here are a few tips to help goal setting run smoothly:

 

1. Know What You Want Accomplished

Employee goals should align with company goals. Managers should inform their staffs that their roles are essential for bringing the company success, and they should help their staffs tailor goals that will bring additional success.

Managers may have several goals that they would like their employees to accomplish, but they also need to consider the goals their employees would like to attain. Simply ask employees what they would like to achieve, and if their objectives are appropriate, help them create action plans. Employees are more likely to be engaged in their work when they see how their efforts benefit them and their company.

Sometimes managers and employees are overzealous with the amount of goals they create for themselves. All goals should support the overall company mission, so strive for quality instead of quantity when establishing them.

2. Can They Reach Them?

Unrealistic goals benefit no one. In order for employees to be happy at their workplace and produce good work for their employers, they need to receive fairness with demands and expectations. Goals that are too high or impossible to reach will leave employees feeling helpless. Keep their morale high and stress low by tailoring goals to their skill set, position and career growth. Goals should be both challenging and attainable.

When employees are satisfied with their specific goals, have them strategize ways to accomplish them. Break large goals into several projects and help employees set deadlines and determine adequate progress for each one.

3. Be Present

Goals are often unmet because of a lack of supervision from managers. This problem is easily avoidable if managers and employees agree to meet and discuss the progress of each goal frequently. Micromanaging is not necessary, but receiving consistent updates will help managers keep their employees on track, as well as help them identify and work through potential obstacles.

Managers should use update meetings to provide employees with constructive criticism and evaluate goal progress. During these meetings, managers also should take time to encourage and praise employees for their efforts. These meetings are helpful for forming stronger manager-employee relationships because of the constant exchange of feedback and shared desire to achieve great results.

 

Employees who consistently meet or exceed their goals should be rewarded because they are showing commitment to their work and their organization. Not offering rewards will result in employee frustration, which has the potential to decrease productivity and increase turnover.

If employees do not meet their marks, managers should schedule time to meet with them to discuss the reasons why they fell short. Employees have to take responsibility for their work. Managers can inform employees of their disappointment if goals were attainable. After acknowledging disappointment, managers should help employees rework their goals or brainstorm strategies to make them more achievable.

Please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746 for additional tips on successful employee goal setting.

Photo Source: hanspoldoja, Miiish

Don’t Forget HR Basics When Connecting with Your Workplace

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

“If we worked much harder on the time-tested foundational needs of employees and employers, we would create benefits more powerful than the latest trends in ‘employee engagement’ or ’human capital management,’” CAI’s CEO and President, Bruce Clarke, says in his latest News & Observer column—“The View from HR.”

Bruce stresses the importance of employers using fundamental HR practices to keep employees engaged and workplaces productive. Leaders in every industry, including HR, often search for the most innovative programs or complex strategies to improve their business. Sometimes, however, sticking to the basics can prove to be more rewarding.

Make sure your company practices these HR essentials:

1. Communicate Effectively

Poor workplace communications is a common reason why employees leave their jobs. Assessing your office’s current communication style with an anonymous employee opinion survey can reveal areas that need improving. All employees should feel comfortable asking questions, discussing concerns or making suggestions with each other. Reaching your employees through multiple communications channels, including the office intranet, break room message board or staff meetings, can help you avoid workplace confusion or miscommunication. 

2. Provide Feedback and Reward Accomplishments

Establish clear expectations for each employee at your workplace. Creating action plans with specific timelines, final due dates and desired results will help you gauge their progress. Do not wait until their annual review to tell them how they are doing. Offer them positive feedback and constructive criticism throughout the year to keep them motivated and working to make improvements. If your employees are continually achieving great results or finishing projects before deadline, reward them for their efforts. Whether it is with a raise or paid lunch, employees will appreciate the recognition.

3. Listen Carefully

Listening to your employees is vital for maintaining a positive and productive work environment. Get their feedback on new workplace initiatives and business endeavors. Regularly ask them how they are feeling and if they have suggestions on how to make their work life more enjoyable and productive. Respect the opinions of all colleagues, and before passing judgment on an idea or concern, take time to understand why they are addressing the issue.

4. Make Employees Feel Important

A successful employer-employee relationship is a two-way commitment. In order for staff members to produce their best work, employers need to offer them their best resources. Giving employees the tools to perform their job is only part of showing them that they are valuable. Workers want to know that they are important to their organization, so frequently tell them that their efforts are appreciated and support the company’s survival. Show your employees that your respect them, their time and their work by keeping commitments with them and trusting them to complete their work in a professional and timely manner. This will help increase the amount of respect they give to you as well.

Simple solutions can often conquer complicated problems. For additional tips on keeping your workforce engaged and productive, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: AGmakonts

Generation Y In The Workplace – How Will Your Company Adapt?

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Consistently changing business operations is not an unfamiliar topic, but a new outlook may be needed regarding the incoming workforce, Generation Y. Also known as the Millennial’s, Gen Y is the largest generation since the Baby Boomers, and researchers believe it may be the most educated generation in American history. With growing numbers now flooding the workplace at a rapid pace, it’s a good time for employers to explore the background and perspectives of these newcomers and how their work style will transform the future of business.

Lifetime employment – A generation accustomed to accessibility, these employees won’t be looking for your company to supply lifetime employment, as researchers report six out of 10 working Millennials have switched careers at least once.  Being immersed in constant change, Gen Y may eventually lack excitement and inspiration regarding day-to-day assignments and projects, and desire to move on to new and different tasks. To maintain employee retention, companies will need to recognize this Gen Y characteristic and provide employees with new challenges and opportunities for long-term success within the company’s walls.

Flexibility – A relaxed dress code and iPods during the workday are all part of the balance between work and personal life that Gen Y finds so important. This mentality doesn’t mean the generation is any less passionate about their career, but they desire to operate with more flexibility and less of a controlled environment. As telecommuting alternatives arise in the workplace, more companies have started to recognize this growing trend and have adjusted the definition of working from 9 to 5.

Financial intelligence – Most of Gen Y were students during the dot-com bust, giving them the opportunity to learn from educators the detailed impact of a financial crisis, and how to prepare and plan for such moments. Because classroom knowledge was current day news, Gen Y entered the workforce prepared to make financially savvy decisions early on. Your company benefits package will be a strong selling point for this generation as they are ready to plan for retirement sooner than later because of their realistic mindset toward finances.

Feedback – Gone are the days when annual reviews provided employees with enough feedback and discussion on performance levels. Gen Y has been surrounded with an educational environment of focus groups and open dialogue, where outspoken opinions could be expressed freely. Because this generation has relied on constant and open communication, it will be expected that future employers practice similar methods, evaluate performance frequently and provide consistent feedback for improvement.

For additional information, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at (919) 878-9222 or (336) 668-7746.