Posts Tagged ‘workplace’

Employers Bring Back Job Perks

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

Let’s be honest – everyone appreciates the perks that certain jobs can bring. At the peak of the economy job perks were as golden as the job itself. Perks like the famous end-of-year bonuses, continued education tuition assistance, lavish off-site holiday parties or discounts on day care costs and gym memberships are some of the big incentives companies have used to win employees and stand out among competitors.

In the midst of a game-changing economic recession, however, many companies had to place job perks on hold, with the focus no longer about all the extras, but about providing a reliable paycheck.

According to the research director of Forum for People Performance Jennifer Rosenzweig, job perks are beginning to return to the table. As the recession dwindles down and companies begin to see more positive profit margins, job perks are making a comeback.

The comeback of perks means that we are slowly, but surely digging ourselves out of this recession hole. It also means that to stay competitive and continue to attract talent, companies must get back in the perk game. Obviously salaries, benefits and internal relationships weigh heavily on an employee’s choice to stay long-term with an organization, but often it’s the small things that can make the difference. Job perks help preserve top talent, attract new talent, maintain company morale and build a reputation as a company that appreciates the hard work of all its employees.

What can you give your employees this holiday season? Maybe your budget won’t let you provide anything extravagant. Consider an in-office luncheon, a small holiday dinner, or handwritten thank you notes. It’s important to realize that this year’s gifts don’t have to be something grand.

Most employees understand the financial cutbacks and sacrifices that have recently been made. It’s the simple and small gestures that remind employees they are appreciated and valued, and that their efforts have not gone unnoticed.

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

Photo source: Kelvin Kay

Top 5 Ways to Recognize a Disgruntled Employee

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Everyone has seen or experienced a time of dissatisfaction at some point in their career – moments of questioning yourself, your role and your long-term position within the company. These fleeting moments are understandable, and are often expected. The problem is when the feelings linger and last longer than they should, and turn into a permanent state of mind.

Disgruntled employees can be seen as a lost opportunity for an organization. At some point, employees can become so frustrated that there seems to be no solution in sight. After taking the time to train, nurture and build employees into valued assets, the last thing any company wants is to have them walk out.

By recognizing displeased employees in advance, these problems can be avoided in the future. Consider the following signs as indicators of possible employee frustration:

Lack of motivation

For employees who once expressed a deep passion and drive for their roles, their company and their industry, a red flag should be raised when their enthusiasm and zeal have decreased. When employees stop trying and no longer give their best, it’s an obvious sign of discontent.

A breakdown of communication

If employees express their concerns but those feelings fall on deaf ears, there will always be a feeling of defeat. That lack of support can transition employees into shutting down, becoming distant and keeping their concerns to themselves, and the silence can be deadly.

A decline in employee performance

Are your employees’ results poor in comparison to the work they have produced in the past? A lack of pride and poor performance can be a sign of defeat, not just laziness. If people don’t feel their voices are being heard, or their growth is static, they may feel the extra effort is not worth it.

Responses from private employee surveys

These evaluations allow employees to speak openly and honestly about their personal and professional feelings towards management staff. By utilizing an anonymous tool like private surveys, companies can shed light on the true concerns internally because of the lack of judgment.

Communication between management and employees

Through regular employee discussions, updates and reviews, management can stay in tune with all staff members. This form of constant communication helps monitor and put a cap on in-house problems. Continuous discussion is probably one of the most effective ways to manage and prevent frustration from building up.

Communicate before it’s too late. Keep your eyes open. Don’t become complacent. Recognize that an essential role you play as part of the management team is to listen. Listen to what is being said, and what is not. You can avoid a percentage of the problems just by making yourself more aware of the day-to-day activities, emotions and actions that take place with your employees.

For information on how to prevent employees from becoming disgruntled or on how to turn around already disgruntled employees, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at (919) 878-9222 or (336) 668-7746.

Photo source: Peter Alfred

Five Common Causes of Miscommunication in the Workplace and How to Avoid Them

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Opinions won’t always match. Staff won’t always share the same point of view. Miscommunication is inevitable.

In the workplace miscommunication can be blamed for a significant amount of conflict and the tension that it stirs. It would be unrealistic to think all miscommunication could be prevented, but if we understood its causes, the percentage could likely be decreased. Five common causes include:

1) Being unaware of nonverbal communication

A significant portion of miscommunication occurs without recognition. Through nonverbal cues, communication is often misconstrued and misrepresented.  An individual’s facial expression and body language movement can be a powerful message that is delivered involuntarily. Recognize your message may be perceived different than originally intended. Take the time to accurately analyze yourself. Concentrate on your tone of voice, your eye contact and your body language.

2) Poor communication between employees and company management

For communication to be fluid between employees and management staff, communication must remain open, reachable and approachable. Ineffective communication begins to stir when employees feel as though their voices aren’t being heard. Have management check in with their staff members regularly. Hear their concerns and their successes. By having consistent conversations, potential problems can be avoided.

3) Not grasping the company’s global vision

What’s the big picture? The company president and those at the management level understand the company’s progression, but do all employees identify with the overall vision and growth process? This is a window that is sometimes overlooked, but expressing the global perspective of a company five, 10 and 15 years down the road allows employees to understand where they fit into the business strategy.  Employees become more efficient and feel more valued when they can visually see their role in the puzzle of the company.

4) Making assumptions

Promote an environment of open communication where employees feel as though their questions and concerns are welcomed and accepted. Without this style of communication, employees often make assumptions because they don’t feel comfortable speaking up, and we know what happens when people act off assumptions alone.

5) Lack of ownership

Where is the accountability? An essential part of functionality is for all members to fully understand and be aware of the roles that are played. Without accountability, employees subconsciously become comfortable dumping duties and shifting their weight onto another’s plate, opening the door for future problems to transpire.  The system of the company, as anticipated, will ultimately fail unless employees recognize that their role is not only important, but it is critical to the overall success of the organization.

CAI offers a number of programs to help improve communication in the workplace.  For additional information please go to www.capital.org or call (919) 878-9222 or (336) 668-7746.

Photo source: kimba

An Analysis of Our Social Media in the Workplace Survey

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

From July 29 through Aug. 29, 2010, CAI conducted a survey on “Social Media in the Workplace” with 227 member organizations. The results have been compiled and include some of the following observations:

  • Social media policies in member organizations vary widely. While 24 percent have formal policies in place, 33 percent have only guidelines and 43 percent have none.
  • Depending on job role, 41 percent allow employees to access social media during work hours. Fewer (25 percent) allow access regardless of job role, while 35 percent do not allow access at all.

  • More than a third of respondents reported obstacles to using social media in their organizations. They included lack of policies or guidelines in place (47 percent); impact on employee productivity (46 percent); concern about legal issues (46 percent); and lack of knowledge in using tools (44 percent).
  • Nearly half of all organizations surveyed use social media for networking/relationship building and branding/marketing. Another 20 percent are considering using social media for these initiatives.
  • Some 30 to 41 percent use social media for external communication, reaching new customers, recruiting and sales.
  • A large majority (84 percent) of organizations believe their use of social media for business purposes will increase over the next one to three years.

The results indicate that while most respondents believe social media will be part of the business world in the near future, if not already in their current activities, they are not necessarily setting any guidelines or policy on its use. Legal experts are warning that an absence of such rules can result in  situations of employees using social media that put employers at risk, including:

  • Revealing confidential or proprietary information via social media that can be viewed by millions.
  • Making discriminatory or other critical comments regarding the company, its employees and/or its clients.
  • Promoting the company’s services or products without disclosing the employment relationship.

CAI can provide your company with guidelines in developing a social media policy that satisfies any goals you and your organization have regarding using social media effectively for recruiting, sales and/or networking while providing you with adequate legal coverage for employees who abuse the privilege.

For information on how to create this policy or to discuss related issues to this item, including more survey results, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at (919) 878-9222 or (336) 668-7746.

Photo Source: Liako

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