Posts Tagged ‘Keys to being a great manager’

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.

Don’t Let Behavioral Issues Hamper Strong Performance

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016
Bruce Clarke, President and CEO

Bruce Clarke, President and CEO

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.

Employees succeed with the right combination of aptitude and attitude. Technical skills are insufficient if poor behaviors dominate. Great behaviors cannot overcome basic technical failures.

Most managers are effective when discussing a hard-skills gap with employees. “Liz, when you seal a sterile container, make sure this checklist is followed, including a label with the seal date.” Easy. The discussion is all business, not personal. The skills can be trained. There is often a right way and a wrong way.

Behavior and attitude issues are different. Employees (and managers) bring their own versions to work. Our genetics and years of living formed patterns. No training class or checklist can cure behavioral problems quickly. There are fewer rights and wrongs. It seems too personal.

Because it is hard, many managers avoid conversations about behaviors until something blows up. “You make me crazy when you act like that!” “You are hard to work with, everybody says so!” “You’re fired!”

When we train managers in communications skills, tools and acronyms help them transfer new knowledge to the workplace. One of my favorites is B.I.T. Instead of getting angry and ranting, have a “Behavior-Impact-Tomorrow fit” the next time behavioral problems cause work problems.

Behavior

Focus on the observable behavior, not your guess at intent. For example, if you tell an employee “you are rude to team members during our project reviews and shut them down,” you are assuming the intent to shut people down. The employee will become defensive and never agree they meant to be rude or to stifle debate.

Instead, describe the observable behavior: “Several times during our last team meeting, you interrupted before the other person finished their thought. This has happened in other meetings as well.”

Impact

Next, describe the impact of this behavior. “When you interrupt someone who is trying to explain their idea, several things happen. It can prevent us all from learning something valuable. It can chill others from challenging your ideas. It also hurts your ability to receive a fair shot for your own ideas. For example, I saw Mary back off her idea yesterday when you interrupted before she finished a sentence.

Tomorrow

“Tomorrow, I expect you to listen well to teammates and work hard to understand what they are saying. Ask them questions to understand their ideas. Hear them out before you ask them to hear you. Tomorrow, spend time listening to the speaker to understand, rather than inserting your response. Sit on your hands if you need that reminder. It will benefit you and the team.”

“Stop interrupting people!” is better than ignoring the problem, but providing a tool or technique to improve behavior works better. Describing the future state and giving more feedback after the next meeting make your expectations concrete.

Getting the very best from every employee is a manager’s main purpose. Motivation, rewards, clarity, engagement and recognition all play a part. Coaching and corrective discussions can be just as important, especially when behavioral problems prevent excellent performance.

If you have any further suggestions as to how managers can improve behavior and attitude issues, please let us know in the comments! For questions, please contact our Advice & Resolution team at at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746 if you encounter any further challenges with the growth of your small business.

Get Back to Basics – Eight Keys to Being a Great Manager

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

In the third and final video from our three video series on under management and the importance of strong leadership, Bruce Tulgan of Rainmaker Thinking, Inc. discusses eight fundamental things managers need to do to be successful.  Bruce will be one of the keynote presenters at CAI’s 2011 HR Management Conference on Feb. 23-24.  His topic is It’s Okay to Be the Boss™: Developing the Managers that Your Employees Need.