Posts Tagged ‘management’

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

Four Ways to Build and Sustain Trust in Your Workplace

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Are you constantly checking and rechecking the work completed by your employees? Does your boss often say phrases like, “it’s my way or the highway” or “that’s not the way you should do it”? Have you noticed your staff members watching their backs or withholding information from their coworkers? Do people consistently give you instructions that are contradictory? If so, your organization is suffering from a lack of workplace trust.

Building trust in an organization is no easy feat. Time, dedication and care are essential for keeping trust nurtured and sustained. Trust is a fundamental value that all companies should practice because it improves almost every business facet, including retention, morale, communication, customer service and productivity. Employers that focus on trust exhibit confidence in the decisions their workers make, have more collaborative workflows and keep employee motivation high.

Because trust starts at the top, ensure that management is included in your efforts to improve trust at your organization. Employees will quickly follow suit when management is leading the way. Incorporate the tips below into your workplace processes and see the level of trust increase significantly.

1.  Establish Values

Use your company’s mission and values extensively. All employees should be aware of what they are, and they should all strive to uphold them. Revisit your mission and values during staff meetings and post them in different areas in your workplace. Your business changes over time, so make sure to continually review, revise and align your mission and values with the business results you want to produce and the employer brand you want to exude. Ask for input from your staff members when reviewing and revising.

2.  Communicate Openly

Being transparent in your business practices will gain you the trust of your employees. Don’t disseminate information to only a privileged few (unless it’s confidential) because outcries of favoritism will inevitably ensue. Instead, frequently share information with all staff members. Employees don’t like being in the dark, and they will become more engaged the more you communicate openly with them. Additionally, don’t shy away from telling staff members bad news. Even though the news may not be desirable, they will respect the fact that you gave them the truth.

3.  Respect all Employees

Just like trust, respect is earned. You can’t expect your team members to follow your lead if you don’t respect them or the contributions they make to your organization. There are a number of ways in which you can show your employees that you respect them. Don’t micromanage them and obsessively recheck over their projects. Give them clear expectations and autonomy, and they will produce good work. Show them that you are interested in their lives by getting to know them. This can include learning their children’s names or the sports team they follow. Ask for their opinions on business initiatives, and stay informed about their personal short-term and long-term goals. No matter if they are full-time, part-time or temporary employees, recognize the work they perform by thanking and praising them often. Trust is easier to maintain when each of your team members feels valued and supported by the company.

4.  Be Human

Too many managers want to appear perfect, but the ones who resonate best with their employees acknowledge their mistakes and confess when they don’t know an answer. Yes, admitting imperfection will make you more vulnerable, but it will make you more human and that’s a characteristic that employees want in their managers. Let your team members know that mistakes can happen, but they must make a commitment to learn from them. Another way to show empathy is to respect your employees’ work/life balance. Unless they give you a reason to doubt them, trust that they will complete their assignments, and allow them to enjoy their lives outside of work. Be loyal to your employees and they will reciprocate.

You can’t establish workplace trust overnight, but you can destroy it in a matter of seconds. A continuous effort to show employees the importance of trust is necessary to keep it alive at your organization. Integrate trust in your values, performance appraisals, onboarding practices and other workplace activities. Companies that rate trust highly are more successful than companies that don’t. For more information on building trust at your organization, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: korapilatzen

Key Qualities for Promotion to Management

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

There are two types of employees – those who view their work as a job and those who view their work as a component of a long-term career. Both professional types can excel in performance, but for employees who are career motivated, operating as a subordinate is not enough.

For the employee seeking to climb the company ladder, it’s important to understand the qualities companies seek, and what can currently be done to assist in career advancement. Consider the following as you strive to claim your seat in management.

Showcasing your worth –The benefits of internal promotions are obvious to the individual – increased finances, added respect from company peers and a voice that carries a greater influence and reach, but how does the company benefit from your advancement? To join the management team, your value needs to be recognized. Whether it’s generating additional revenue, cutting cost or bringing new insight, the benefit needs to be clear.

Solid working habits – Members of the management team share common characteristics of dependability and decision-making. Can you do what you say you’re going to do, when you say you’re going to do it? In moments of challenge, when answers need to be received, can you call the shots? It’s the reliability that companies count on from management that results in success.

Level of efficiency – Companies value the employee who is time-oriented. Because the speed at which you operate is fundamental, form a habit of completing work in an efficient manner. Understand the difference between critical assignments and those that can be put on hold. A majority of CEOs agree that employees on track for advancement have a keen ability to establish priorities and sift through the essentials.

Teaching abilities – An essential quality of management is that the person’s level of expertise can be relayed and transferred to other employees. You can perform well, but to manage, you need to be able to teach, support staff, communicate information and share knowledge clearly for others to follow.

Avoid silence – You may be the best person to ever fill your job, but if no one knows about your achievements, how will your work ever be recognized? In the business world, it helps to occasionally “toot your own horn.” Give updates on your success to supervisors, find a mentor within the company that can spread your praises, but most importantly, make your voice heard.

A management role is not appropriate for all individuals. If you’d like to be a manager, make it a point to concentrate on your present performance. Those currently sitting at the table are continuously evaluating employees for when the team is ready for expansion. What you are doing right now will be the leading factor in the decision process six months down the road.

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

Photo source: half-blood prince

Top 10 Reasons Employees Stay with an Organization

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

If employee retention is a focus area for your organization, you may want to consider asking this question during the discussion phase when giving your next employee performance review:

“What would it take for you to leave?”

In fact, you may want to do it sooner.  You might be very surprised at the responses you hear. Many of your employees will not be able to think of a reason they would leave, which says a lot about your organization.  And those that do respond with reasons they would consider leaving your company provide valuable insight into how you can make improvements to retain your most valued employees.

Why wait until an exit interview to determine why an employee decided to leave? Engage your good performers when the opportunity presents itself and find out what might cause them to leave before they really do leave.

Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans surveyed more than 17,000 employees with various organizations for their book Love ‘em or Lose ‘em about reasons why employees stay with an organization. Below are the top 10 reasons from their survey:

  1. Exciting work and challenge
  2. Career growth, learning and development
  3. Working with great people
  4. Fair pay
  5. Supportive management/good boss
  6. Being recognized, valued and respected
  7. Benefits
  8. Meaningful work and making a difference
  9. Pride in the organization, its mission and its products
  10. Great work environment and culture

It’s often assumed that pay is the chief lure for an employee to jump ship.  However, that is clearly not the case.  Even if you’ve had to freeze salaries over the past couple of years, if you can provide your employees with challenging work, give them the opportunity to learn and grow, and have created a work environment of support and camaraderie, you have a very good chance of being able to retain your top performers.

But, of course, the best way to find out where you stand is by asking your employees directly.  Take some time to find out from your employees why they stay with your organization and, more importantly, why they might leave. If you have questions regarding employee retention, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Shuttleworth Foundation

Human Resources Certification is an Advantage

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

HR Certification Institute (HRCI) Executive Director Mary Power was recently interviewed regarding the importance that employers place upon HR-certified applicants. A study conducted by HRCI showed 96 percent of hiring employers indicated that certification was an advantage for HR applicants and 91 percent felt it was an advantage for employees seeking promotion in HR.

According to the study, certification provides benefits for both companies and individuals. From the company standpoint, improvements were reported in customer satisfaction, employee engagement, turnover and profits.

In addition, employers and certified HR professionals indicated that certification:

  • Increases employee knowledge
  • Ensures HR knowledge is up to date
  • Demonstrates employee commitment to HR
  • Is good for the reputation of the organization
  • Increases employees’ confidence in their ability to do the job
  • Shows the organization takes HR seriously
  • Gives employees greater trust and confidence in the HR department
  • Makes HR professionals think more strategically

Every few years, the HR Certification exams are evaluated and updated to be certain they remain relevant to the real world of HR and that eligibility requirements are in line with professional certification standards. The new eligibility requirements for 2011 are as follows:

PHR (Professional in Human Resources) Eligibility
1 year of demonstrated professional HR experience with a Master’s degree or higher;
2 years of demonstrated professional HR experience with a Bachelor’s degree; or
4 years of demonstrated professional HR experience with less than a Bachelor’s degree.

SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources) Eligibility
4 years of demonstrated professional HR experience with a Master’s degree or higher;
5 years of demonstrated professional HR experience with a Bachelor’s degree; or
7 years of demonstrated professional HR experience with less than a Bachelor’s degree.

GPHR (Global Professional in Human Resources) Eligibility
2 years of demonstrated global professional HR experience with a Master’s degree or higher;
3 years of demonstrated professional HR experience (with 2 of the 3 being global HR experience) with a Bachelor’s degree; or
4 years of demonstrated professional HR experience (with 2 of the 4 being global HR experience) with less than a Bachelor’s degree.

CAI provides PHR, SPHR and GPHR certification study courses, both in person and web-based.  Please see www.capital.org for additional information.

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

Performance Appraisals – Eight Steps to a Better Process

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Performance appraisals have been in use for more than 50 years as a standardized method for evaluating an employee’s job performance.  Most performance appraisals are conducted annually, but if job performance isn’t evaluated throughout the year as it happens, employers miss the opportunity to get the most productivity and best quality efforts from their employees.

Avoid common errors during employee performance appraisals.Below are eight steps to a better performance appraisal process.

#1 – Make Performance Appraisals an Ongoing Process

Employee management is an everyday process.  Rather than wait for an annual performance review, managers should provide both constructive criticism and praise to their employees throughout the year and use the annual performance appraisal to summarize the prior year’s performance.

#2 – Be Prepared

Forms and paperwork should be completed on time, and any solicited feedback from management and peers should be compiled and entered. Take the time to review the employee’s self-assessment prior to the appraisal meeting and be prepared to offer feedback.

#3 – Focus on the Entire Year

In summarizing the employee’s accomplishments throughout the prior year, try not to focus too much on only one or two events, or recent projects. Offer criticisms and praise that are general and that span the entire evaluation period.

#4 – Be Interactive

The performance appraisal must be interactive in order for the employee and the manager to arrive at the same conclusions at the end of the review. Employees may be nervous or apprehensive when entering a meeting about their performance, and the manager should strive to put them at ease.

#5 – Employees are Individuals

Employees should not be compared to other employees in their performance appraisal. Each employee must be evaluated according to his/her job description and performance in his/her job.

#6 – Solicit Feedback from Others

As a manager, you will want to request input from other managers, team members, and stakeholders with whom your employee interacts. The more information you have regarding how others in the organization view an employee, the better your position will be to help him/her be successful.

#7 – Performance Levels Dictate Merit Increase Levels

Giving two different employees very different performance appraisals and awarding them identical increases sends a message that performance does not matter.

#8 – Listen to Your Employees

The performance appraisal is an opportunity to provide feedback to an employee and also to gain valuable insight from the employee’s perspective. It is an important time to listen to your employees – one on one – and get their viewpoints on their performance and the organization as a whole.

For additional information on the performance appraisal process, contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Geograph

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.

New Hire Surveys: First Identify Your Goal

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

The common thread of motivation behind any employee survey is to gain effective feedback for recruitment and retention. With the proper analysis and actions taken as a result of what is learned, companies inevitably experience an increase in overall retention rates, benefiting employee morale and organizational expansion.

When it comes to new hire surveys, you want to be sure to identify your main goal before planning and developing the survey.  Here are some target goals and recommendations.

Target Goal – Evaluating the Hiring Process

If you want to evaluate the hiring process, you will want to survey your new hires relatively soon after they come on board, ideally within the first two weeks in most cases.  You will want to ask your new hires about the accuracy of information received while they were being recruited, how the organization was presented, their impression of the interview process and whether their direct supervisor met with them to discuss their career goals. Also, new hires are often asked for suggestions on improving the hiring process.

Target Goal – Evaluating the Onboarding Process

Proper onboarding is critical to the success of new employees, especially if you expect them to be productive relatively quickly.  These surveys should be most effective when conducted 30-45 days after an employee’s start date.  Topics discussed should include: did they receive the knowledge, resources and training needed to be productive in their job in a timely manner; whether their responsibilities and expectations were spelled out clearly; and whether they felt they were able to spend the time with their manager necessary to help them succeed.

Target Goal – Evaluating the Satisfaction of New Hires

If the goal is to analyze the growth and satisfaction of new hires, then employee evaluations should be administered 90 days after employment. Waiting approximately three months allows new staff members to become settled and confident in their position, fluid in their work process and comfortable with the day-to-day operations of the organization. At this point, the employee should be able to deliver healthy feedback regarding the challenges and strengths within company culture and management, as well as employee training, mentoring, and socialization.

All surveys should be conducted by either Human Resources or an independent third party rather than by direct supervisors to encourage honest feedback from employees. A “rated answer” response will allow the employer to aggregate the data and spot issues, while “open-ended” questions typically provide more details.  Supervisors should also be asked to complete a survey with respect to new hires. This survey will provide feedback on the quality of the recruiting and hiring process overall.

Where applicable, request that new hires note their department, division, gender and race on the survey. This will serve to uncover potential issues within a department and identify any discriminatory treatment during the onboarding process.

For more information or to discuss related issues to new hire surveys, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at (919) 878-9222 or (336) 668-7746.

Photo Source: Elvert Barnes

The Under Management Epidemic

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

In the second video of a three video series on corporate under management and the importance of strong leadership, Bruce Tulgan discusses how under management leads to poor services and products and what it means to be an effective boss.  Bruce heads up Rainmaker Thinking, Inc. and will be a keynote speaker at CAI’s 2011 HR Management Conference, scheduled for February 23-24

Three Keys to Employee Engagement

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Whether or not to be engaged with work is a decision made by each employee every day he or she works. In order to facilitate and encourage engagement, employers must create work environments in which employees will want to engage.

There are many ways to create such an environment for your employees.  Here are three of the best:

1. Match Job Function to Personal Abilities: All employees have things they like about their job and things they do not.  Find out what those things are. For example, sales people generally are sales people because they like selling. They will not be happy if they spend much of their time preparing reports, spreadsheets and charts.  Look for ways to automate or reduce the administrative part of their job.  This will allow your salespeople to concentrate on what they do best – selling and bringing new business to the organization.

2. Say “Thank You” to Your Employees: Employees like to know if they are doing what you want them to do and if they are doing a good job for you. But be sure to acknowledge progress and not just results. If you only give negative feedback, they will associate doing a good job with you leaving them alone and will begin to feel disconnected from the company.

3. Share “The Big Picture” with Your Employees: Make sure you show your employees how their individual contributions fit into the overall objectives of the company as a whole. Let them see how their work is essential to the success of the business. In a large company an individual’s contribution may seem somewhat small. If this is the case, discuss with the employee the negative impact on the company if no one was performing their duties, or worse, if someone were performing them poorly. Then, remember to thank them (see #2 above).

What steps are you taking to help your employees engage?

If you have questions about engaging your workforce, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.