Employee Satisfaction and Links to Success

Strategy Plan One

August 18, 2012

Employee Satisfaction

Oh no, we could all see the coming.  We could all feel the tensions in the office.  Everyone, every worker has been on edge.  With poor global economic conditions how could anyone feel great about their workplace and about their future employment.

The past few years, businesses have experienced troubling times, and that is an understatement.  At the very core of every operation is the workers.  A business cannot function without its’ valued workforce, and keeping them happy in these times is challenging.

However, there are significant signs that employees who are engaged and happy lead to greater success, productivity and profitability.  When efforts are made by management, productivity improvements can occur even in these tough economic times.

This infographic from Social Cast highlights this linkage of employee satisfaction with success.

Employee Satisfaction – Top 5 Factors

  • Job security (63%)
  • Benefits (60%)
  • Compensation and pay (57%)
  • Opportunity to use skills (55%)
  • Feeling safe in the workplace (54%)

Engagement:

  • 86% of engaged employees express happiness in the workplace
  • Highly engaged organizations experienced 87% less turnover and 20% productivity improvement

Check out more interesting facts and statistics in this infographic.

Employee Satisfaction

Source: Social Cast

More on Management, Employees, and HR:

More business blogs of interest:

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Hiring – Strategies and Tips for Strong Staffing Processes

Strategy Plan One

July 22, 2012

hiring - staffing processesHiring Processes

As an entrepreneur, business owner, or manager in the public or private sector, the way you conduct hiring or staffing processes can have measurable effects on your staff and organization.  Opportunities presented to internal staff in fair and transparent processes can be uplifting to staff, generate interest in the organization, and result in the recruitment of needed professionals.  Poor staffing processes can be demoralizing for employees, and can have negative, long-term impacts on the development of human resources in your business.

Hiring – Human Resources Plan

Similar to business and marketing plan development, human resource management in your business would include the development of an annual human resources, staffing plan.  Management, supported by information from operational units in the organization, should be able to identify human resources needs for the upcoming annual business cycle.  Salary and wage budgets are an important component to the plan, along with the costs for employee development.  The costs for hiring and staffing processes should be taken into consideration, especially if travel or external human resources consultants are needed for the staffing processes.  Once plans and budgets have been developed, the business will be better prepared to proceed on staffing processes.

Here are some tips to improving your staffing process, staff morale, and results in your organization:

  • Be fair, open and transparent to all staff on any potential opportunity or position
  • Look internally first at your valued staff before seeking external sources
  • Consider employee development to fulfill positions rather than external acquisitions
  • Gauge employee interest in development, retention and promotion through your annual employee appraisal procedures
  • Ensure employees have an opportunity to develop a learning and development plan, and that you as the employer can support employee developmental initiatives

Hiring Through Job Postings,  Job Advertisements

A clear and concise employment posting must be developed, to make sure all applicants understand who can apply, how to apply and what must be completed in the process.  Here are some details that could be included in a job posting:

  • Job title, classification, details
  • Job roles, responsibilities and duties
  • Application requirement details (resume, cover letter, test, interview, reference checks)
  • Application deadline
  • Who the job will be open to (ie: internal, external, certain levels, professions)
  • Where the job will be located
  • Duration of position
  • Essential job criteria (applicant must meet these criteria)
  • Asset job criteria (applicant scores bonus points for these “great to have” additional skills, traits)
  • Other competencies (ie: leadership competencies)
  • Conditions of employment (ie: travel, OT where necessary)
  • Language requirements 
  • Employment equity considerations, and
  • Contact for questions, concerns, and who to send the application to

hiring - interviewStaffing Process – Time Frames

Be cognizant that adequate time frame will be required for staffing processes.  Management of time will be essential to develop the time frames around the process, the assessment tools and development of the job criteria.  You must allow time frames for the applicants to apply, be tested, be interviewed and for the reference checks.   If through your human resource planning you have determined potential start dates for employees, then you will have an idea on the time frame to initiate the hiring process.  Don’t procrastinate on staffing processes or you may find yourself hiring and starting the successful candidate later than was actually needed.

Hiring – Short Term Solutions or Alternatives

If staffing processes can’t meet your immediate needs, you may have to consider acquiring the help or expertise externally through short-term contracting.  Contracting gives you the ability to acquire human resources in a potential shorter time frame, with more controls with terms and conditions within a contract.  Ensure that your explore contracting a short-term solution.

Partnering companies in your field may be able to complete a human resources exchange with you. Partnerships are beneficial as the parties can come to an agreement over the sharing of resources, so short-term staffing may be accomplished through your partnership arrangements.

Developing and maintaining high standards in your hiring practices will result in the best retention, development and recruitment of human resources.  Make the “Best Employers to Work For” list, internally and from an external perspective.

More on Hiring, Human Resources, and Employee Development

More business blogs of interest:

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

The Right Body Language and Attitude Integral to Success

Strategy Plan One

April 6, 2012 

reading body languageReading Body Language

As an entrepreneur, business owner or professional, body language and attitude become critically important in face-to-face meetings.  It can be the difference between success and failure.  In reading body language, physical cues and tones in speech  can signal a leader, partner or customer a certain way and trigger a response accordingly.

It is best to create and to exude a positive image and body language, which will in most case, trigger more positive responses than negative ones.  On the flip side, you can imagine what type of response you will get from a partner or customer reading body language that is unfriendly, appears uninterested, full of inappropriate gestures, and is all around negative.

Body language will tell people, for example, if you are interested, alert, attentive, happy, relaxed, angry, aggressive or bored.  Body language is one of the non-verbal signals that you will give off to create or not create a great impression.  Body language from some reports accounts for ~ 90% of all communications between parties, and hence the importance when reading body language of individuals.

reading body languageReading Body Language – Body Language Signs

First impressions are everything.  A leader, investor or partner will observe your initial behaviours, immediately reading body language you exude.

It may not matter who you are, but how you behave in a professional manner in an initial meeting.  A leader or investor may be looking to meet with you to determine what type of person you are, how professional you are, and how you fit in to meet common objectives and goals.

Carefully observe and be cognizant of how you are in a meeting.  Closed body stances such as cross arms or postures pointing away from clients are problematic and show behavior hinging on avoidance, non-acceptance and non-openness.  Appropriate upright body stances towards the participant help in saying you are interested in the person, topic, goal, and that you are genuine and there to assist or join in.  If you are slouched over, leaning to one side or using the advantages of ergonomic chairs to lean way back, chances are you are giving the wrong signal in that you are not interested, you are not serious, or that you are not listening and engaged in conversation.

Reading Body Language – Eye Contact

Eye contact with the in-house audience is critically important in making a connection with the people there.  Good eye contact will inform the audience, leaders, and partners that you are genuinely interested.  Great eye contact strengthens the communication and connection between two people, and creates a richer communication experience.  If you don’t maintain frequent eye contact, parties may be receiving a signal that you are not interested.  It is also distracting when speakers or listeners’ eyes and body wander all over the place.

Reading Body Language – Hand Gestures

Watch and ensure appropriate hand gestures are made by you.  Hand waving and arm flaying motions may set a negative cues, whereas slight hand movements emphasizing points may be appropriate.  Another blog could be written on appropriate hand and body gestures applicable to in business environments where the culture is different that North America.  Be sure you seek advice about conduct in face-to-face meetings in other countries.   Selfgrowth.com has some additional great tips on body language.

Reading Body Language – Attitude

Go in with a positive attitude, even though is some circumstances you may not agree or want to be there.   As mentioned staying positive will rub off on others and you will most likely receive a positive response.  In some cases, you may even experience a constructive, negative response which may be as good as a positive response.  Coming in with a negative attitude will spell immediate failure in negotiations, handling difficult challenges, or in building relationships.

In some cases, you need to be a good actor, for the good of the company and your fellow colleagues.  You may need to exude the positive, as your actions may impact many others in the organization…remember that.

Reading Body Language – Tips for Body Language, Attitude and Presence 

  • Be prepared and be professional for first impressions
  • Look and act interested
  • Engage in conversation
  • Be polite, be courteous
  • Showcase your best and what you have to offer as a person and professional
  • Dress appropriately for the occasion
  • Facial expressions – anything neutral to slight smiles signals the positive
  • Keep an upright stature, whether sitting or standing
  • Do not slouch, lean, rock, swing in chairs
  • Provide slight body and hand gestures; aggressive motions – negative
  • Use slight gestures to emphasis points
  • Watch you tone in speech and watch language
  • Ensure you use the right body signals, language for the right cultural environment

In the global, highly competitive world, you as an aggressive entrepreneur need to make positive immediate impacts with customers, partners and other successful business owners.   Similar to business planning processes, plan in your head how you will act and behave in face-to-face meeting to successfully negotiate and win over people.

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Positive Work-Life Balance in Your Business Organization

Strategy Plan One

April 4, 2012 

work-life balanceWork-Life Balance

Work-life balance is the process of establishing an equilibrium between work and every other aspect of life.

 

In a satisfying environment, one strives to seek that balance between the activities that are classified as doing work and those activities we deem essential to running the family and household, those recreational and down-time activities we need to recharge and enjoy life.

A great work-life balance must start with you first, if you want to be a successful balanced entrepreneur.  You will also need to ensure your staff are happy and healthy in a productive environment by way of a strong, implemented work-life balance in your organization.

Work-Life Balance – In your Business

To maximize your business’ performance, you and your team need to stay healthy and happy.  Work-life balance is one of those key things an employer can do outside of compensation, to provide more benefits to staff.  Without work-life balance features, employees will need to take off significant amounts of time for family responsibilities and other.  You as a business owner know that in some cases, staff may call in sick when family duties are calling them.  This has a significant impact on operations and performance of the organization. Business finances take a hit if leaves are compensated for, or if you have to insert replacement staff.

work-life balanceWork-Life Balance – Flexible Scheduling

If your business environment is one of flexibility to allow for flexible scheduling, encourage and promote flexible work arrangements.  This works well in industries where core functions are not considered essential services.

Industries such as medical care or education, flexible arrangement may be difficult but not impossible.  Having flexible scheduling allows staff members to take care of family responsibilities without impacting the business or the career path.

Work-life Balance features you could offer to employees:

  • Combining or revising classifications of leave (i.e.: vacation leave or medical leave)
  • Paid leave for educational or capacity building activities
  • Work at home arrangements
  • Work on the road schedules
  • Daycare programs at work
  • Concentrated scheduling
  • Allow for health, wellness and fitness programs and time for it at work
  • Bring kids to work environment if you have teams of working parents in your business
  • In stressful and pressured work environments ensure you build in corporate activities to give everyone that stress break, such as non-work activities

Work-Life Balance Statistics

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) completed a study (Sept 2010) of the work-life balance dynamic in US businesses.  Here are some of the statistics:

  • 89% of respondents stated work-life balance was an issue; 54% stated it was serious
  • 57% of those surveyed claimed that employers are not effectively addressing work-life balance and not doing enough
  • 38% said work-life balance has worsened in these tough economic times

 

However, with businesses that incorporate great work-life balance features, employees cite they are more happy and productive and the performance of those organizations show marked improvements.

Some of the Many Work-Life Balance Benefits for Employers and Employees:

  1. Physically and mentally healthier and happier employees
  2. Less absenteeism
  3. Job satisfaction level for employees increases
  4. Sick leave and medical claims decrease
  5. Improved corporate culture
  6. Improved performance of staff and units
  7. Talent management improvements in employee retention
  8. Can be included in the promotion of “best places to work”
  9. Improved enjoyment of life
  10. Improved and stronger family and business relationships 

Encourage leaders within your organization to come forward and develop teams and meetings to address work-life balance issues at your business.  As an effective leader and entrepreneur, encourage team members to provide feedback on how to make the work environment better.  Listen and learn when employees speak on employee satisfaction in the workplace.  Survey employees frequently and engage in conversation with them about work-life balance.

Work-life balance at work is a very effective way to improve your organization across individuals and business units.  Allow your professional teams to help others be successful with results-based, work-life best practices.

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

2012 Tax Freedom Day in the US …. April 17

Strategy Plan One

April 2, 2012 

From the Tax Foundation, here is a calendar highlighting that US citizens must work an average 107 days into the calendar year to reach the Tax Freedom point.  It illustrates what proportion of your work year goes straight to taxes.

tax freedom

Courtesy of taxfoundation.org

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

 

Strategies for Handling Difficult Conversations

Strategy Plan One

March 28, 2012 

difficult conversationsDifficult Conversations

As leaders, entrepreneurs and business owners, we have all encountered scenarios, difficult scenarios, where the conversation with staff, partners, customers or contractors has been rough or will be rough.

 

Certain techniques will help in alleviating difficult conversations and pressures and get everyone back on track with meeting goals and objectives through productive business methods.

 

Here are some strategies and techniques in handling difficult conversations:

  1. Establish mutual ground rules at the beginning of the discussion; ensure there is a mechanism and a procedure to fall back on if things get off track
  2. Ensure there is a goal and purpose to the conversation; make the scenario valuable with an intended outcome
  3. Don’t make it personal – set the mutual ground rules up front and state the goal is to resolve the issue and not make it a personal attack
  4. Create an environment where everyone can speak freely and in an open manner
  5. Make sure that other parties know their feedback and discussions are valued
  6. Be genuine, truthful and create an environment of trust
  7. Hit on the positives where there are significant negatives; positive reinforcement works
  8. Be constructive in your conversations
  9. Offer solutions not barriers or roadblocks
  10. Think and bring to the table alternatives if the current pathway isn’t working
  11.   As a leader, be an active listener
  12.   As a leader, be a learner; learn from the experience
  13.   As a leader be available, and engage parties frequently
  14.   Raise a third-party or theoretical example if points need to be supported
  15.   Ensure all parties have access to information, especially when it comes to rules and regulations and that line must be focused on

 

Extreme Difficult Conversations

Where you do have serious circumstances that require the most difficult conversations, you have the ability to speak directly and openly about inappropriate behaviours or non-performance issues.  You could approach the scenario by recommending some solutions to get everyone back on track with meeting objectives.  It may also be in the best interest to ask the other party what they need leadership to do.  Their feedback for issue resolution is important.

 

Third party mediation or seeking outside sources to help resolve may also be options when the one-on-one discussions are not going anywhere.  Third parties or mediation can help take the pressure off the affected parties.  A third party or mediator may take neutral ground, observing both parties’ positions and offering up independent recommendations that will work.

 

Positive Outcomes to Difficult Conversations

The end goal needs be a positive one, with satisfaction to all parties involved.  Whatever tactic you choose to handle difficult conversations, think and act systematically and strategically, with end goals in mind.  It is sometimes an easier pathway to find solutions than riskier, costly pathways such as litigation.

 

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Lessons Learned … From Your Own Employees

Strategy Plan One

March 26, 2012 

 

organizational developmentEmployees Have the Ground, Intelligence Wise

Your business has been successful and booming for a long period of time, and you as the leader / entrepreneur, have been busy in your management duties.

You may be far removed from the ground level operations, not having to grind it out on the floor or crank out code, or deal directly with customers.  However, you are not that removed from your employees who have the greatest wealth of knowledge of the operational level.

Much can be learned from employees who know what is and isn’t working at the operational level, who know what the customer’s actions, thoughts and feedback are, and what other employees are saying behind the management lines.

Engaging and Interacting Frequently with Employees

As a manager, leader, and entrepreneur, engage and interact well and frequently with your employees.  Make it well known that you are openly interested daily about what is taking place on the floor.  It should be a part of your daily routine, either through inspecting your place of retail or office space.  The employees will feel more at ease when the management team is readily and physically available for open discussions.

Grab Intelligence from Employees

Setting the stage with frequent engagement and interactions will assist in your employees openly providing you with a wealth of information to improve operations and/or improve client and customer relationships.  These professionals in your organization may provide valuable recommendations and will look to you as the leader to implement some solutions from issues they encounter.

Make employees feel valued that they can share information and that you, as a tuned-in entrepreneur, are listening and willing to embrace recommendations for approval.

Encourage Continuous Improvements From Employees

To stay on the cutting edge and at the top of your industry, you will need your employees to think and act innovatively.  The best practices and solutions do originate from team actions, and so would innovative practices.

Empower your employees to develop ground-breaking practices that would set the units, team, and business far ahead of the competitors.  Create an environment that is rewarding and promotes recognition for achievements.  Depending on your budgets, you can develop incentive programs for high achievers and for employees that bring innovative solutions to the table.  You may be surprised at the untapped intelligence from all of your professional staff.

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur