Posts Tagged ‘performance’

Favoritism in the Workplace Isn’t Always Bad

Tuesday, September 2nd, 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

Most view favoritism as undeserved special treatment of an employee by a manager.

“My manager has favorites” is a common concern. It is demoralizing to watch a co-employee be showered with special treatment when you know the individual spends more time on Facebook than on workbook.

Favoritism has a bad reputation. Every workplace would be better off if managers had more favorites. Here’s why.

Too much of the time, managers spend their day dealing with the 5 percent or 10 percent of their staff that cause problems, have problems or are problems. Performance issues, abuse of time off, interpersonal conflicts, time wasting, repeated instructions, petty complaints and so on make for a hard day and waste a lot of time. In a way, these are really a manager’s set of favorites if you judge favoritism by time spent.

Why not look at favoritism as building, rewarding and mentoring the top 25 percent of the workforce? Yes, I mean the people who show each day that they are there for the right reasons and, given a moderate amount of help to understand their role and how to grow, they learn and perform.

I am suggesting that managers make a list of their favorites and develop individual plans to reward and grow these favorites. Special employees should be treated in special ways. These are the ones that deserve your flexibility and advocacy for pay raises. Most important, they are the ones that truly deserve your TIME.

There is nothing more important you can give rising stars or high performers than your time. Do you know their career goals? Do they know what options are open internally? Do both of you have a plan to get them there? Do you even know why they stay with the organization and how to keep that glue sticky? Ask. Set aside time just for these conversations.

A good way to start is the one question meeting. “Tell me how I can help you get to where you want to be in this role and in future roles here at MegaCompany.” Let the conversation go where it needs to go. This is the employee’s meeting. Some will quickly tell you a specific plan or maybe they have considered leaving to reach that plan elsewhere. You will obtain a wealth of good information for your plan to make them the right kind of favorite.

Employees: if your manager is too busy on the wrong favorites, set up a time to meet for the purpose of discussing your role and your growth in the workplace. Make it very positive and focused on both better results for your team and better results for you. Develop a regular conversation with your manager around proactive problem prevention, efficiency and results.

I have to bring up this last point. Somebody is thinking, “But I have to treat everyone the same, right?” Wrong. You must avoid discrimination for unlawful reasons, but you are a malpracticing manager if you treat every employee the same regardless of his or her contribution and effort. Your best employees deserve your best, and that means special treatment in pay, smart policy exceptions and your TIME.

What’s the worst that can happen? Maybe other employees will see how to become your favorite and deserve the same special status!

Enhancing Employee Strengths Will Help Your Company Perform Better

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Business meetingFindings from decades of research by Gallup indicate that employees who use their strengths daily are six times more likely to be engaged at their jobs. Gallaup’s research shows a clear connection between strengths and employee engagement. This connection can increase overall business performance when organizations work on enhancing both.

According to Gallup, the best way for employees to grow and develop is to identify how they most naturally think, feel and behave, which will unveil their talents. The next step in the process is to then build on their talents to create strengths.

The extensive research shows that building employees’ strengths is a more effective approach to improving performance than trying to improve weaknesses. Benefits of focusing on strengths include employees who are more engaged, perform better and are more loyal to their organization. Yet, studies also show that the majority of US businesses don’t focus on helping employees use their strengths.

When companies put the spotlight on the strengths of their team members, they are more likely to have employees who are more committed to their business. Gallup found that the best way for employers to maximize the strengths of their workforce is through company managers. However, many managers aren’t adequately trained, choose to ignore their direct reports, or worse—highlight and focus on the weaknesses of their employees.

If your managers aren’t equipped to focus on employee strengths, read some of the blogs below to help you get them on the right track:

Ongoing Training Helps Managers Reach 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…read more: http://blog.capital.org/ongoing-training-helps-managers-reach-success/

Coaching Your Managers Will Bring Business Success

Help your managers communicate and connect with their employees better. Having strong connections between coworkers at your workplace will raise employee morale, increase productivity and affect your bottom line positively. Here are a few areas that your managers should be coached in…read more here: http://blog.capital.org/coaching-your-managers-will-bring-business-success/

How HR Can Help New Internally Promoted Managers Succeed

Supervisors and managers who are promoted from within an organization face unique challenges to their success in their new role and in their relationships with peers, supervisors and subordinates. Here are six tips for how HR can contribute to the success of an internal employee who is transitioning into a new supervisory or management role…read more here: http://blog.capital.org/how-hr-can-help-new-internally-promoted-managers-succeed/

Photo Source: Conceptkv

5 Strategies for Impacting Employee Performance and Productivity

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

The following is a guest post from Carol Hacker. Carol is the President and CEO of Hacker & Associates. She specializes in helping HR professionals and teaching managers, supervisors, team leaders, executives and business owners how to meet the leadership challenge. She’s the author the bestseller, Hiring Top Performers-350 Great Interview Questions for People Who Need People.

Carol Hacker portraitCommitment and pride are characteristics that are difficult to measure when interviewing prospective employees.  However, once you’ve found people who have great attitudes and hire them, it’s up to you to take it one-step further and build commitment.   If you’re limited in what you can pay, or opportunities for advancement are scarce, how do you get employees to focus on performance and productivity?

First, are you willing to work at bringing out the best in your employees?  It’s a full time job.  Most employees want to be successful, but they sometimes lack the skills and know-how.  Without structure, systems, and attitudes, employers will never be able to develop and retain every manager’s dream—motivated employees.

Second, the reality is, once fair wages are set, more money or better fringe benefits have a negligible impact on employee loyalty on performance and productivity.  There are a number of ways to build employee loyalty, but none of them come without effort.

Your goal is to get your employees to emotionally commit to you and the goals of your organization—admittedly, no easy task—but proven to be doable if you’re willing to work at it.  The ideas contained herein are not meant to be all-inclusive.  However, they represent a cross-section of ideas that I hope you find helpful.

Behind the success of any thriving business are a number of key principles related to employee performance and productivity.  The late Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, said it well:  “There are two things people want more than sex and money–recognition and praise.”  With that light-hearted, but powerful thought, I’d like to share some ideas that HR professionals can use and share to keep top-notch employees committed and loyal to the task and the organization:

1.   Let them know they count.  Don’t fail to overlook the use of low-cost or no-cost incentives as a way to show appreciation.  Why?  Because everyone needs to feel valued from your managers to your office personnel, and beyond.  A simple “thank you” can go a long way to get commitment from the people that you depend upon day in and day out.

 2.   Include “fun” in your organization’s core values that should already include respect, trust, excellence, balance, ethics, adaptability, empowerment and calculated risk-taking.  Don’t give it “lip service.”  Live each and every one of your core values to the fullest!

3.   When someone leaves your company don’t ignore the fact that the loss of an employee puts a burden on your other employees.  Anticipate the fact that your existing employees will be willing and able to pick up the slack for only so long before they become frustrated.  You then run the risk of losing them too.  Show your appreciation for the fact that they are holding things together until you can hire someone to replace the person(s) who left.

4.   Promote new responsibilities when there’s no place to be “promoted to.”  Many organizations have limited room for advancement.  However, it doesn’t have to mean the end of the challenges.  Get input from your employees and together decide what new responsibilities they might be interested in pursuing.

5.  Promote from within whenever practical.  Most people would like the opportunity to be considered for other jobs within the organization.  Overlooking your current employees and going outside your company for new hires is a real morale buster.

People naturally want to grow in their work and in their lives.  Give your employees the opportunity to do both while having fun.  For more tips on increasing employee performance and productivity, please join me at CAI’s 2013 Compensation and Benefits Conference on September 19th and 20th at Raleigh’s McKimmon Center. I’ll be presenting two breakout sessions during the conference, 10 Strategies for Impacting Performance and Productivity, and How to Make Performance Evaluations Stress Free and a Win-Win. Visit www.capital.org/compconf to see additional conference topics and to register for the event.

4 Tips to Beat Summeritis and Keep Your Employees Productive

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Summeritis is a common term heard among high school and college students when the warm weather season is quickly approaching. Symptoms of this seasonal disease include excessive daydreaming about trips to the beach or pool, a decreased ability in retaining information, sluggish performance and producing poor quality work. Yesterday marked the first day of summer, and you may have noticed some symptoms of summeritis floating around your workplace. While summer months tend to be slower for companies because of vacations from your staffers and clients, maintaining high productivity is still achievable. Prevent the symptoms of Summeritis in your staff by utilizing these four tips:

Plan for Vacation

With school out and an increase in nice weather, summer months are the ideal time for employees to go on vacation. Research shows that Americans are notorious for not using all of their vacation. While a strong work ethic is admirable, taking a vacation allows you to rest, recharge and come back to the office full of energy to be productive. Make sure you and your employees plan a solid vacation with family or friends.

Utilize Flexibility

Many companies are offering their workers flexibility during the hottest time of year. Some companies allow their staff to leave early on Fridays to enjoy the weather and spend quality time with people who aren’t their coworkers. Like the effects of a summer vacation, employees return to the office on Monday feeling refreshed and ready to perform again. If this set up isn’t feasible for your company, try a variation. Have employees come in earlier or work through their lunch break to leave the office sooner.

Delegate When Needed

Don’t let important tasks go unfinished because fewer people are around the office. Before an employee leaves for vacation, meet up with her to go over tasks that she is currently working on and ask her if she needs assistance while she’s away. Using strong teamwork during the summer months ensures that deliverables are met.

Have Some Fun

Keeping your workers productive during this time of year is important, but don’t ignore the fact that this is one of the most fun times of the year. Celebrate the season and all of the accomplishments your team has made throughout the first half of the year with an office party or celebratory lunch. Recognizing their efforts and letting them have some workplace fun will keep their morale high and performance stellar.

For more tips to keep you and your employees productive during the summertime, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

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Top 5 HR Books of 2010

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

As 2010 is heading toward a close, now is a good time to review the year’s top books addressing human resources management and related concerns. According to Amazon, the following are the most popular ones to come out this year:

1)     The Truth About Managing Effectively, by Stephen P. Robbins, Cathy Fyock, and Martha I. Finney

This came out in 2007, but as it is now available free for a limited time via Kindle (956 KB), it has topped the Amazon list and is worth your consideration in case you have not read it previously. It offers more than 150 tips on how to hire great people (and how to avoid those that are not), get the best from them as employees, and lead them to success. A Kirkus Reports review says it offers “Sharp, necessary words for both employers and prospective employees.”

2)     Visual Meetings: How Graphics, Sticky Notes and Idea Mapping Can Transform Group Productivity, by David Sibett

Tools such as graphic recording and visual planning are in place in Silicon Valley to engage and energize participants in group meetings. These creative resources can facilitate excellence both face-to-face and in virtual group work among all employees when properly used.

3)     The No A**hole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t, by Robert I. Sutton

Do not let the off-color title dissuade you from this still-popular 2007 book, based on a much-discussed Harvard Business Review article that assessed the impact of jerks and bullies in the workplace. “This meticulously researched book” (in the words of Publishers Weekly) includes advice on how to cope with these people and ways an organization can measure the actual cost to their bottom lines of individuals with consistently poor conduct, which could generate into benefits for everyone in response.

4)     Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements, by Tom Rath and James K. Harter, Ph.D.

The wellbeing elements divide into career, social, financial, physical and community. The authors argue that focusing on any of these elements in isolation may drive us to frustration and even a sense of failure. Seeing them from a holistic view, the authors believe it can improve not only the reader’s wellbeing, but that of work colleagues as well.

5)     The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working: The Four Forgotten Needs That Energize Great Performance, by Tony Schwartz, Jean Gomes, and Catherine McCarthy, Ph.D.

The needs referenced in the title are ones that the authors say are essential in retaining employees and keeping them committed to organizations. Their proposed solutions recommend employers embrace humans’ need for both effort and renewal.

Photo Source: austenevan