Posts Tagged ‘News & Observer’

Help Employees Deal with Workplace Changes

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

“It can be hard to change, but it is even harder to fail,” CAI’s CEO, Bruce Clarke, says in his most recent News & Observer column, The View from HR.

Bruce says surviving in today’s workplace requires the ability to smoothly adapt and thrive in different business scenarios. He says successful employees embrace change and look forward to the next disruption. They don’t hold onto methods that aren’t beneficial to workflow processes or impede a company’s progress in improving a new system. These resilient workers are flexible, quick thinkers and decisive when needed.

In his Sunday column, Bruce references the days when employees who resisted change were accommodated in the workplace. Those days are over, however. To continue to achieve positive business results, your organization must be able to modify its goals and strategies as different circumstances arise, such as a recession or a shortage of valuable talent. Similar to the organization, your employees must be able to land on their feet no matter the workplace situation they face.

Use the information below to help lead your workforce through a change initiative.

Dealing with Company Change

  1. Explain why the change is necessary for the organization. Include the benefits, potential disadvantages and major adjustments an employee might experience as a result from the change. Allow employees to ask questions about the upcoming changes and voice any concerns that they might have. Try hard to answer their questions and reassure them that you will help them throughout the endeavor.
  2. Frequently communicate when the change will occur and how company processes and employee roles might be transformed. Utilize several forms of communication, including company internet, email, newsletter and staff meetings, to ensure that all staff members understand the change and know when it will happen.
  3. Pay attention to staff members who are having an especially hard time adapting to your company’s new change. Talk them through any difficulties they may be facing. Partner them with a staff member who is handling the changes well. If possible, permit these anxious employees to deal with the change gradually.
  4. Be patient throughout this process. Getting all staff members up to speed with a new initiative or the latest technology takes time. Do not expect your employees to be experts in their new assignments over night. Changes are about learning as well. Allow employees to make mistakes to learn and grow in their positions.

If you would like additional information and tips on helping your employees embrace change at your organization, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

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Ongoing Training Helps Managers Reach Success

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Bruce Clarke, CAI’s CEO, discusses the importance of managerial training in his most recent edition of his News and Observer column, “The View from HR.” In his column, Bruce informs his readers that less than half of the companies he surveyed had no budget for managerial training. Bruce argues that without training, managers are unable to improve their soft skills, which are necessary to lead an organization. Communicating effectively, working well in teams, empathizing with colleagues and keeping calm in stressful situations are examples of soft skills that lead businesses to success.

Making sure your managers are adequately trained to handle their projects and supervise people is important no matter if your budget is large or extremely limited. Considering multiple budgets, here are a few ways to train your managers:

Training Classes

  • Employers’ associations and similar organizations offer companies several training options for their managers. While training programs range in price and length, they offer participants valuable information and leadership practices to take away and use for supervising their staff members.

Webinars

  • In addition to training classes, managers can learn key concepts from webinars. Many times managers want to attend training classes, but their demanding schedules make leaving the office hard. Webinars allow managers to sharpen their skills and improve their leadership without leaving their desks.

Reading

  • An inexpensive way for managers to advance their skills is to invest in managerial literature. Many non-fiction books offer managers solutions for solving people management issues or ensuring the success of a project. These books are often available at public libraries.  In addition, reading blogs like this one that share tips on increasing retention and company morale is an effective way for managers to strengthen their leadership qualities.

Mentors

  • A meticulously organized company mentor plan is another budget-friendly method to train your managers. To make this program successful, match new managers with experienced and high-performing managers. The seasoned managers will have a wealth of knowledge and experiences to help their newer colleagues tackle and conquer tough workplace issues. These employee pairs should meet regularly for an extended period of time to be effective.

Managers juggle many tasks and are responsible for multiple people. For these reasons, it’s important to ensure that they receive proper training. Giving them several opportunities to improve their soft skills will help your company see more success. If you’re interested in CAI’s training courses, please contact a member of CAI’s Learning and Development Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Ryan Holst

Stop Poor Employee Behavior from Damaging Your Workplace

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

“No one has ever been fired for a bad attitude. Sure, attitude may be the reason given, but the real reason was poor behavior. We cannot know another person’s attitude (whatever that is) but you can observe and act on behaviors,” Bruce Clarke, CAI’s president and CEO, says in the latest edition of his News & Observer column, “The View from HR.”

Some managers are quick to say that their poor performing employees have bad attitudes. However, if they observe the actions of their poor performers and offer suggestions for improvement, managers can turn employees with perceived bad attitudes into productive workers who positively affect the company’s bottom line.

Knowing how to correctly handle an employee with a behavior problem is invaluable for employers.  Threatening to fire or demote an employee the next time she displays poor behavior will do little to help improve her work performance. Use the information below to help resolve behavioral issues at your company:

Explain

Use specific examples of poor performance that you have witnessed when addressing these employees. Exaggeration and hearsay from others is not helpful and may cause employees to hold resentment or perform even worse. Communicate effectively by telling your poor performer what you expect from him and what the consequences are for not meeting expectations. Doing this gives him an opportunity to improve and also allows you to check his progress to see if further action is needed.

Retrain

Inadequate training can be the culprit of problem performance at your organization. Talk with your employees to make sure they are informed about the skills and experience needed for their positions. If poor training is the reason, retrain them correctly and give them time to adjust to their updated roles. Sometimes analyzing training reveals that an employee is actually not the best fit for her job. If this occurs, see if she has tasks that you can give to another employee or if you can reassign her to a new position.

Monitor

Employees with unsuitable workplace behavior should have increased supervision. Micromanaging is not necessary, but checking in with them frequently will help you determine if they can improve or if you need to let them go. Once you and your poor performer agree on an improvement plan, set up a weekly meeting to assess his progress and uncover any obstacles that he may be facing. Reward employees or take further disciplinary action based on the information you learn from these meetings. Keep these meetings documented so you and the employee have a record of his workplace behavior. Documenting these meetings also will be legally helpful if terminating an employee becomes an option.

Be swift when dealing with employees who display poor workplace behavior. Addressing the issue quickly will show your intolerance for unsatisfactory performance. Failing to do so will lower your team’s morale because productive staff members will be responsible for carrying the weight of their less productive colleagues. You are also in danger of wasting time, energy, resources and money when you accept poor employee performance. Call CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746 for additional guidance on performance management issues.

Photo Source: National Assembly For Wales / Cynulliad Cymru’s photostream

Defining Your Workplace Culture

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Creating a positive workplace that values and motivates your workforce will help you weather any business obstacle. Employees who view their workplace positively are more likely to invest in the company, produce high-quality work and be brand ambassadors. Even in a tough economic climate, a positive culture will encourage employees to continue giving their best work because their leadership is committed to doing the same.

A positive company culture is key to business success and survival. CAI’s CEO and President, Bruce Clarke, explains that there is no silver bullet for establishing an engaging company culture in his latest News & Observer column, “The View from HR.”  He says that workplace culture decisions should be made with purpose and an end in mind. There are many options for creating a more positive workplace, but Bruce cautions employers from copying the culture of others and creating one based on cool behaviors or conservative options. Instead, employers should look to their employees, business vision, goals, and values to develop a lasting company culture.

“It is a powerful thing when whom you hire, how you work and what you are as an organization weave together in concert to meet your business objectives,” Bruce says.

Although there is no special recipe for creating a positive and productive company culture, there are several elements that should be included:

  • Cooperation—All employees, including management, should be involved in the culture-making process.
  • Communication—Use effective communication methods to inform staff about the culture initiative and frequently update them on its progress.
  • Creativity—Challenge employees to change the way they think. Encourage brainstorming and risk taking to guide the process.
  •  Accountability—Set goals and expectations for the project early. Make sure everyone knows their part and hold them accountable for following through.
  • Commitment—Holding regular meetings to discuss company culture is a good method to ensure continual support for the initiative.

You can get more information on developing your company’s culture at CAI’s 2012 HR Management Conference, which is scheduled for February 21 and February 22 at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh. The conference aims to teach HR professionals and other top executives strategies in culture and talent that will help them crush their competition. Learn more and register today at www.capital.org/hrconf.

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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.

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