Posts Tagged ‘talent management’

HR’s Role in Helping Employees with Financial Literacy

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

Remember this movie from 2006? Looks like the “failure to launch” group is coming back around. According to recent data from Trulia*, nearly 40% of young adults lived with their parents, grandparents, step-parents and other relatives last year. This is the highest point in 75 years.

As Human Resource professionals, can we help reverse this trend? I believe we can, as many of us are starting to recognize the importance of financial literacy in the workplace. When employees manage their money well, everyone wins.

Financial literacy is the ability to use knowledge and skills to manage financial resources effectively for a lifetime of financial well-being. For many young professionals, they are not receiving a financial education. According to the National Council on Economic Education, only a handful of states requires students to complete a personal finance course in school.

That’s why work is becoming a place to provide education as employees experience life events: home purchases, retirement planning, family changes, and health changes. Using the workplace as a financial education classroom is a tremendous opportunity to increase productivity, engagement, and loyalty.

A report by the Personal Finance Employee Education Foundation clearly provides a business case for financial literacy programs in the workplace:

  • 30 million workers — one in four are suffering serious financial distress.
  • Nearly half of those who are financially distressed report that their health is negatively impacted by their financial worries.
  • 30% to 80% of financially distressed workers spend time at their place of employment worrying about personal finances and dealing with financial issues instead of working.

Employers have an opportunity and a responsibility to educate workers at all levels about financial literacy. The sooner an employee understands and applies the basic principles of financial literacy, the easier it is to achieve financial security.

There are several steps you can take to help employees become more financially literate. The first step is to put the right programs and systems in place. Becoming financially literate means understanding how to manage your income and expenses, handle debt responsibly, save and invest, and prepare for the unexpected. The more prepared employees are to adapt to changes in their financial lives, the more financially fit they will become.

Companies that implement financial literacy programs realize a return on their investment. While on the surface, this appears daunting to implement, employers have a strong incentive because of the strong correlation between financial stress and an employee’s productivity. Remember, most plan providers offer this service for free.

Financial literacy isn’t something that happens overnight. It takes time and effort. Making sure your employees get good information is the first step.

Tom Sheehan brings 20+ years of extensive, broad-based strategic, tactical and practical HR experience to CAI’s Advice & Resolution team.  He advises HR and other business leaders on talent management, organizational effectiveness, employee engagement, M&A’s, and employee relations.

 

How to Develop Your Employees by Providing Feedback

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

Part of a manager’s job is to help grow and develop talent for the organization.  And, most employees want to know how they are doing.  When managers take the time and effort to comment on an employee’s work, they are helping shape not only that employee, but the organization as well. But, when managers fail to provide feedback, they actually impoverish the individual as well as the organization. Performance-Evaluation-Form-Feedback

Some managers hesitate to give feedback for a couple of reasons:

1 – They may feel that giving positive reinforcing feedback to employees will “spoil” them or that it is not necessary since the employees are just doing the job for which they are being paid.

2 – They may dread the awkward conversation that sometimes happens when they must give corrective or improvement feedback, so they say nothing and hope the situation will improve.

At CAI, part of our mission is to replace fear with action.  We share with our classroom participants a simple formula for doing so.  It’s called the BIT.  BIT stands for behavior, impact and tomorrow.  It’s a handy way to remember that feedback, regardless of whether it is reinforcing or corrective, should have three elements:

  • Behavior – talk to the employee about exactly what he or she has observed or overheard doing or saying.
  • Impact – let the employee know the impact (again, whether positive or negative) that his/her behavior has on the customer, their colleagues or other stakeholders.
  • Tomorrow – finally, explain that you wish for the employee to continue exhibiting the positive behavior and encourage him/her to do more of it OR let the employee know that a behavior change must take place within a given time period.

Examples:

Positive, reinforcing:

  • Jason, I heard you speaking to an upset customer in the lobby this morning.  He sounded pretty angry.  You kept calm and did not raise your voice.  Instead, you asked him for more details and just listened.
  • The impact of your composure was to not only calm our customer down, but to preserve his business with us.  I feel confident that he intended to close his account when he first came into the lobby.
  • Jason, we appreciate your professionalism immensely.  Next week, we have a new employee starting in Customer Service.  Would you please make some time to let her shadow you on some of your customer service calls?

Corrective, need for improvement:

  • Marcy, yesterday I saw you turn your back on our auditor who was waiting for the key to the conference room. It was clear you saw her standing there, but you ignored her until she had to ask you again for the key.
  • The impact of this behavior is that in addition to being impolite, you have sent a message of indifference to the auditing staff, who is here trying to help us.
  • From tomorrow on, please make it a point to greet the auditors when they arrive and ask them how you can assist them.  Please extend the same courtesy to them as you would to our customers.

The BIT statement is a powerful tool that does not diminish the employee in any way.  It does not judge someone’s character or intent; it merely states the facts and their impact and further clarifies the manager’s expectations.

Let CAI help you optimize your management skills.

lindataylor

Linda L. Taylor, MS, SPHR, CCP, is a Learning & Development Partner at CAI. She brings more than 20 years of human resource and organizational experience to her role as a trainer. Linda is responsible for teaching CAI’s various courses, including The Management Advantage™, to train and educate members and clients. Her extensive experience as manager, consultant, and educator provides her with a unique skill set that allows her to effectively partner with member organizations and work to positively impact their business results.

 

Why Top Performers Choose to Leave

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

why_employees_quitDuring a declining economy, new hires for organizations would often come from an increasing pool of unemployed workers. Now, with an improved economy and the job market on the rebound, the paradigm is shifting and new hires are being recruited from other organizations.

If you are on the recruiting end, this is excellent news. Your candidate pool that may have consisted of mostly unemployed workers just increased to include workers who may already be working in the very role you are seeking to fill – just for someone else currently. However, you could find yourself on the losing end of that equation if it is your employee who is being recruited.

As the economy and job market continue to gain strength, top employees who were once too concerned about security and doubt to leave their job are now reconsidering their position and their level of overall job satisfaction. Restored confidence in the economy is fueling confidence in their ability to improve on their current position. Also, your competitors are using the same tools you are to identify and actively pursue ordinarily passive candidates and recruit them to a better opportunity. Recruiters are getting calls from employed workers, at good companies, making good money, doing good work – and ready for a change.

Who are these employees, and why would they entertain leaving for another position at another company? What can be done to counteract this problem? According to a Forbes survey, the top five reasons seemingly satisfied employees leave a company are:

Trust

The number one reason employees leave their current employer is a lack of trust. This could stem from earlier cutbacks in pay and/or benefits, layoffs or other measures made necessary by a declining economy. If an employee is unhappy with the way in which a particular remedy was handled, or if they feel they are being kept in the dark, they begin to wonder if they will be next. Reach out to employees and establish a solid two-way path for communication. Be sure they are informed of company initiatives and the reasons behind them. Ask for their opinions, input and feedback. Make them feel a part of the organization and its success.

Recognition

Employees often leave if they feel unappreciated or experience a lack of recognition for their accomplishments in their current role. In an economy that has dictated doing more with less, many top performers have been asked to go above and beyond their job description. They expect and deserve recognition for pitching in and doing what is necessary during these last few difficult years. Make certain your employees are recognized for their contributions to the company’s success. Other employees will see this public recognition and become inspired to heighten their performance as well. Be sure the recognition is meaningful and for something measurable. Savvy employees will see through false recognition and be suspect of it.

Politics

Some employees tire of the internal politics within their company and begin to seek another company to work for. All organizations with an org chart are going to inherently have a certain amount of internal politics, so it stands to reason any new company they join will also have similar issues. The driving force behind their dissatisfaction is not so much the politics, but the fact it interferes with their being able to do their job to the best of their ability. Top performers are top performers because they choose to be. Anything that interferes with satisfying their internal drive becomes an issue. Internal politics will tend to ripple through your workforce and cause performance to drag. Isolate your workforce from this to the greatest extent possible. Make sure corporate decisions are communicated well and are backed by valid, understandable logic. Political maneuvering will undermine an organization’s ability to move forward as a single unit.

Manager

Sometimes people just do not get along. It could be a mismatch in personality or a difference in management style. Employees will get frustrated with their manager and may start to seek opportunities elsewhere. The difference between this reason and the other reasons in this list is there are often warning signs associated with this one. Frustration of this type tends to build over time. Casual, confidential conversations with employees and managers on a routine basis will usually uncover these issues before they become a reason for voluntary turnover. Act early and work with parties on both sides of the issue to develop an acceptable solution for everyone involved.

Inflexibility

More and more organizations are embracing flexibility within the workforce. Telecommuting and flexible work schedules are popping up as recruiting incentives everywhere you turn. Employees, like everyone else, want what they do not currently have that others have. If your employees are asking for this from your company and other employers in your area of similar size and industry offer it, be prepared to lose some of your top talent. Take special note of what your competition for talent is implementing and adopt similar incentives if they can work within your business model.

Although these are the top five reasons employees voluntarily leave their current position, there is one primary reason that is not listed here. One of the biggest reasons employees leave is because business leaders often fail to understand why employees leave. Employers go to great lengths and follow detailed processes and procedures when recruiting and onboarding new employees. During their tenure with the company, employers reach out to employees at least annually or semi-annually to evaluate their performance, praise accomplishments and recommend improvements.

Several forward-thinking companies have begun the practice of conducting periodic “stay interviews.” It only makes good sense to interview your best performers while they are working for you, rather than only gain their honest feedback when they are on their way out the door.

So, why not schedule casual interviews with the best performers and those who have the highest potential within your organization? Find out what is on their mind, as well as any issues or concerns they have. Ask about ideas they have regarding the corporate culture or even improvements in processes, policies or production. Most importantly, apply what is learned during this conversation where applicable and avoid voluntary turnover.

If you have questions about how CAI can help you with Talent Acquisition and Talent Management,  please contact a member of CAI’s Advice & Resolution Team.

renee

 

CAI Advice & Resolution team member Renee Watkins is a seasoned HR professional with a diverse background in Human Resource. Renee provides CAI members with practical advice in a wide-range of human resource functions including conflict resolution, compliance and regulatory issues, and employee relations.

HR Lessons From the Garden

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

I enjoy gardening, beautiful flowers, and being in the fresh air outdoors.  As I was weeding my flower bed this weekend, I thought about how the principles relate to HR.  At the time I planted the flowers I bought, they looked beautiful (although they were small and just beginning to bloom).  Over time, instead of growing and prospering, they began to look weak and like they were struggling to survive.  Weeds had crept in the garden, and were draining the nutrients from the flowers.  That is when I thought about the analogy to what can happen in business.  Take a look at what happens from a different perspective.

Recruitment and Selection

Talent_ManagmentWhen you go to the garden shop or farmers market, there are so many beautiful flowers that it is hard to decide which to buy.  What should be considered?   At garden shops, plants have tags that identify what environment they need to thrive: amount of sun, amount of water, heat or cold tolerance.  If you don’t consider the needs of the plant and the environment you will put it in, you won’t get the results you desire.  The same for employees.  It is important in recruitment and selection to understand the needs of the person and what environment works best for them, and to share honestly what your expectations and culture are for optimal results.

Culture

Just as you need to determine the conditions that will help a plant to thrive, applicants need to understand the culture of your company, the management style, opportunities for growth, and communication flow within the company.  Culture fit is very important, and many argue it is most important.  You can teach employees many things but you can’t teach fit.  You can take a thriving plant and put it in a toxic environment and it will wilt and falter.  Interviews should include questions about the position/company/manager thus far that the employee has considered the best and why.  Assessments can also help in determining culture fit.  Someone who is an idea person and wants to contribute and share ideas for process/product improvement will not be happy in a company that is top down management unreceptive to employee input.

Orientation

Once you know the needs of the plant and have purchased it, place it where it can bloom best.  That means providing proper orientation.  It needs proper soil, water, plant food and more attention as it gets oriented to the new surroundings.  Likewise with new employees.  It may be helpful to have an employee assigned to help orient them to where things are, who to go to for various issues, and just to orient them to the day-to-day.  We sometimes forget that things we take for granted everyday will be new and strange and take time to absorb for new employees.  Identify expectations early on.  Employees, like plants, that get off to a good start are more likely to thrive.

Coaching/Training

The work doesn’t end after orientation.  Plants need ongoing attention.  Sometimes plants may need pruning to help them grow better.  Others may flourish and need a trellis to support their growth. Each is unique, just like employees. Supervisors need to be trained to recognize that one size doesn’t fit all.  Some employees may need more guidance in their development.  We need to help supervisors understand the important role they have in recognizing the uniqueness of each employee and giving appropriate feedback, coaching, training, development and pruning.  Sometimes, employee failure can be attributed to supervisor failure; and in those cases, the supervisor should be held accountable as well.

Diversity

Have you noticed that gardens that have different types of plants– various sizes, shapes, textures, and a variety of colors and leaf structure, are more pleasing to the eye than those that are all the same?  Diversity can inspire new ideas.  And since our customers and our world are diverse, we need diversity to thrive.

Life Cycle

Some plants (perennials) come back year after year.  Annuals only last one season, even with the best of care.  Hopefully you have more perennials in your workplace than annuals. But we all have some annuals (sometimes quarters).  Sometimes they just don’t thrive in the environment.  Sometimes we only hire them for a season for projects and then they move on.  In other cases, they grow stronger, develop new branches and flowers and someone else admires the attributes and wants to acquire them.  There is a life cycle for employees.  For some, you may make the decision that despite your best efforts, they are not a fit for your company.  Sometimes, even with your best efforts at describing the job and your culture, and trying to ascertain what the employee has to offer, what they need, and under what conditions they thrive; you determine it was a bad decision.  It happens. Sometimes the beautiful plant that looks healthy and has the most blooms can have underlying aphids (pests) that you can’t see that will eventually destroy the plant.

Keep in mind that even perennials that come back every year need attention: fresh soil, weeding, water, mulch.  Don’t take your perennial employees for granted.  They still need nurturing and opportunities for growth, as well as recognition for jobs well done.

Weeding

And lastly, we all know that a garden will not flourish if is overrun by weeds.  As hard as I try to prevent weeds from even starting, they eventually creep in to the garden starting small.  If I don’t deal with the weeds, or wait too long to start dealing with them, I will have lost many beautiful flowers.  The same holds true at work.  Whether your “weeds” are bad fits, or can’t do the jobs you’re asking them to do, or have lousy attitudes, they will slowly take over and drive out your good employees, much like kudzu.  Don’t let the kudzu take over your thriving workplace.  Avoid the many reasons we find to not deal with weeds at work…lack of time, fear of a suit, trying to be “too consistent,” poor managers, etc.

I hope taking a look from a fresh perspective gives you some inspiration to work in your garden…at home and at work.  For over 50 years North Carolina employers have trusted CAI to be their #1 HR partner.  Learn how we can help you too!

No Cost / High Impact Summer Benefits to Keep Employees Engaged

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

During the winter months, when the weather outside is cold, gray and gloomy, employees typically welcome the warm glow of a well-lit and heated Summer_benefits_for_employeesoffice environment.  Your workforce is anxious to get into the office, grab some warm coffee and get to work. They are less likely to leave the warmth of the building for lunch or to take time off from work in order to enjoy outside activities.

As the seasons begin to change and the weather warms, focus begins to shift a little more toward the “life” side of the work-life balance equation.  Employees will tend to arrive at work a little later on a beautiful morning, take longer lunch hours and may leave earlier than usual to get home and get a few things done before the daylight ends.

As an employer, should you do anything about this phenomenon?  Is there anything you can do?  Absolutely.  You can acknowledge this important balance for employees and demonstrate your awareness of the seasonal focus shift by offering some additional benefits for the summer season.  Such benefits will cost you nothing at all.

Start by making a list of possible benefits you could offer during the summer months, making sure you take into account any negative impact to productivity. Every business is different. There will always be things you would like to offer, but simply cannot due to the needs of the business.  Share your list of potential benefits with your workforce to see what your employees are most interested in before making your decision.  Here are a few to start thinking about:

Summer / Flexible Work Hours –

Many organizations are shifting their measurement of productivity away from counting the number of hours an employee works, and looking instead to answer the question “Is the work getting done?” Companies that have adopted this mentality with regards to employee work ethic find it easier to implement a more flexible work schedule.  Such schedules allow employees to stray from the normal 9-5, and work instead an 8-4 or 10-6 schedule.  Some organizations will shift to a 35-hour workweek during the summer months, allowing employees to pick a day of the week to leave at lunch. Some offer 4, 10-hour days allowing some employees to be off on Friday and some on Monday for a longer weekend.

Casual Dress –

In many of the high-end tech companies, casual dress every day is the norm.  However, the majority of large corporations still adhere to a specific, non-casual dress code during normal business hours.  During the summer months, some organizations will implement “casual Friday”, allowing employees to arrive at work in jeans or even shorts, so long as their attire is in good taste and appropriate.

Team Building –

Providing a planned activity for an entire team or department is one way to get everyone outside and still benefit the group as a whole. Morale before the event is high in anticipation.  Morale after the event is high having participated.  Going to a “fun park”, bowling, or even a catered BBQ picnic on the grounds can be used to show employees that you are aware of how difficult it is to stay focused when it is nicer outside than inside while demonstrating appreciation for their work and contribution to the organization.

Employee Garden –

If you have the space for it at your facility, you would be surprised at how many employees enjoy working in an actual garden.  There are many fruits, vegetables and herbs that can be grown during the summer months.  The opportunity for some of your employees to take a few minutes out of their day and tend to a garden can be a huge benefit.  Start small and it will grow to be larger each year as more employees get involved.

Employees desire separating their personal and professional life.  When the employer demonstrates their appreciation for the same, employees feel more appreciated. They are happier, more engaged, more productive and typically more committed to staying with their employer for a longer period of time.

renee

 

CAI Advice & Resolution team member Renee Watkins is a seasoned HR professional with a diverse background in Human Resource. Renee provides CAI members with practical advice in a wide-range of human resource functions including conflict resolution, compliance and regulatory issues, and employee relations.

The Six Most Common Talent Management Mistakes

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

Emotional Intelligence

In today’s post, our HR Business Partner Tom Sheehan shares the top mistakes your business needs to avoid when managing talent.

Talent management encompasses a broad spectrum of talent initiatives including workforce planning, recruiting, onboarding, performance management, development, succession planning, total rewards, and others. The goal of talent management is to create a high-performance, sustainable organization that meets its strategic and operational goals and objectives.

HR leaders play an active role in aligning the organization’s talent with its business objectives. Over the years I’ve seen six common talent management mistakes that reduce organizational performance.

1. Paying Below Market Value for Talent

When the demand for talent is high and the supply is low it can be very difficult to attract ‘A’ players. Often the candidate pool will be filled with those who are unhappy or already out of a job. When you pay below market value for talent, you tend to attract the wrong people, the ‘C’ or worse players. This will force you to make hiring decisions based on some of the most mediocre talent in the marketplace.

2. Maintaining a Long, Arduous Hiring Process

The purpose of a hiring and interviewing process is to identify the top potential prospects for a position. It should not be an endurance contest for the candidates. When the total hiring process lasts 2 months from start to finish, the organization will struggle to hire good talent. A good hiring process should last no longer than 3 – 4 weeks, any longer and good candidates will leave the process. Good talent will decide to stay where they are, they will find other opportunities to pursue and they will take other jobs. Make it a priority to keep your hiring process down to 3 – 4 weeks or less to insure you don’t lose the best talent.

3. Hiring Based on Interviewing Skills

Unfortunately, the majority of hiring today is based on the interviewing skills of the candidate and the personal chemistry developed during the interview process. The hiring manager often allows the personal chemistry with the candidate to influence and possibly drive the hiring decision. There are many individuals out there who are ‘professional interviewers.’ They can eloquently answer any question, explain why they got downsized and make it look like it was a promotion. Keep in mind, they are so good at interviewing for a reason, they have had lots of practice at it.

4. Lack of Defined Career Paths

When the goal is to hire top talent, it is imperative to map out the potential career path available, even if the path is dependent upon many variables. As long as the possibility exists, the position will hold a much higher chance of attracting the caliber of talent desired. This is not only important for hiring but also for keeping existing top performers from getting dissatisfied and happy with their career growth with your organization.

5. Not Interviewing When Empty Seats are Filled

It is often normal for organizations to stop all recruiting once their current open positions are filled. Not a good idea. With a low unemployment rate, there is a shortage of good talent. If you wait for the next opening to arise, you will slow future hiring to a crawl. Never stop interviewing for those positions which are most mission-critical or those with frequent turnover.

6. Tolerating Low Performers

GE made a practice each year of letting the bottom 5 -10% of the performers go in every division. The idea was to replace them with “A” players, thus continually creating an influx of strong new talent. It might feel good to have an organization where everyone is happy and there is no goal pressure. However, allowing poor performers to miss performance targets year after year has tremendous consequences.  It conditions the company and the employees to accept and tolerate unacceptable performance and drowns the organization in a sea of mediocrity. Poor performance management and lack of employee accountability can degrade your talent level in a hurry.

Should you have any further questions regarding how to manage your talent, please call our Advice and Resolution team today at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Career Development Seen as Critical for Talent Management

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

A recent survey from Hewitt Associates produced some eye-opening results on the importance of career development in recruiting and retaining employees.

The survey, conducted in March and April 2010, includes data from HR professionals at 193 large employers.  In a result that will be surprising to most, 30 percent of survey participants said that career development is more important to their employees than pay as a reward strategy with an additional 55 percent saying it was of equal importance.

Further, 77 percent say that career development is either “much more” or “more” important to their company’s talent strategy than it was five years ago.

Mysteriously, this awareness of the importance of career development has not led to companies strengthening their employee growth initiatives.  Of those surveyed, 72 percent said they do not have a defined workforce planning process that addresses critically needed capabilities.  And only 10 percent said they were satisfied with the current career development programs at their company.

In regards to career development philosophy, 62 percent said their employees are in charge of their own development with some guidance from their manager.  Further, 85 percent described employees’ perception of career development opportunities as “some” or “limited.”

The absence of career development programs offers your company an opportunity to differentiate itself as an employer.  Make career development a key part of your recruiting and retention strategy.  Start with the basics.  Here are five things you can do to promote career development in your organization:

1.  Openly and frequently communicate that your organization believes in career development

2. Highlight the different ways you are helping employees learn new skills or develop in their craft

3. Encourage employees to seek out and find career development opportunities

4. Be sure employees are trained in the basic skills that are necessary to be successful in their position

5.  Require managers to discuss career development with their employees and to create a plan for each employee

Career development is especially important to Generation X and Millennial employees.  A good way to encourage their career development is to set up a formal mentoring program in your organization to match a younger employee up with a more experienced employee.

Clearly the data from the survey shows that career development needs to be an integral part of your talent management strategy.  If you have questions about recruiting and retaining employees or career development plans, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Simon Blackley