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:

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Employee Recognition – Key to Improving Performance and Morale

Strategy Plan One

August 14, 2012

Employee Recognition and Feedback

Gathering feedback from staff and customers is essential to moving forward with your continuous improvement processes.  It is always best to seek internal and external objective input into your business operations.  However, in certain business environments, management and employees may not necessarily be connected, leading to a lack of feedback and recognition.

Here, in this infographic from Rypple, statistics and impacts of management-employee communications highlight:

  • 65% feel they don’t receive enough feedback in the workplace 
  • 34% of managers want to engage staff and provide more feedback
  • The larger the company and the higher the status of the executive, the feedback gap widens
  •  Veteran managers want to provide more input to staff

Key messages on feedback and recognition:

  • Feedback and recognition improves morale, less costly mechanisms to achieve performance improvements
  • Employees are more engaged in operations, the business and objectives when recognized by management for their efforts

employee recognition and feedback

Source: Rypple

It is clear that there is a correlation between constructive management feedback and employee job satisfaction, performance and morale.  It’s in your best interest to ensure you implement strong feedback mechanisms and employee-management performance appraisals to help build capacities in your organization.

More on Management, Employees, and HR:

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Government Jobs – Valuable, Skilled and Educated Work Force

Strategy Plan One

August 7, 2012

government jobsGovernment Jobs

Whether you are an employee in the private or public sector, or self-employed, we all take in the angst from the client groups we serve.

 

 

However, with extremely high expectations of government services, taxpayers and clients of government programs vent a bit more, show more frustration and sometimes treat government workers differently.

Government employees work on all levels, assisting entrepreneurs to assisting citizens in every government program under the sun.  They are there, employed to serve the public.  However, the perception and behavior towards public servants is quite shocking, and sometimes to the point of being disrespectful.  This occurs despite the fact that on the other end of that kiosk or government counter is a very valuable, highly educated individual who can really help you if you tap into these resources and programs.

When you hear public servants, much negativity exudes from the critics. Common comments include, “they are lazy”, “overpaid”, “cushy jobs”, “useless”, and “uneducated”, “biased”, “never helpful”, and on and on.  Yes, very harsh terms for dedicated employees who serve the public on a daily basis.

Government Employees

Obviously these comments are furthest from the truth.  The deepest job cuts in this recent economic climate, have occurred with public servants in the US and Canadian governments.  This comes after much human resources investment and years of corrective public employment processes, in some cases hiring the best and brightest work force.  Government institutions have implemented “employment appointments based on merit“… meaning the candidate must pass the highest scrutiny of meeting the job criteria.  It’s not easy getting into the public service.

The modern public service is a very educated and experienced work force, due to job criteria and the abundance of applicants for government jobs.  This highly competitive employment process results in the highest qualified, ranked candidates out of the bunch of applicants.  It is sometimes common, especially in these economic circumstances, to find that government employees are heavily over qualified.

government jobsGovernment Jobs – Pay and Benefits

Depending on jurisdiction, pay isn’t always the greatest in the public service, especially when the majority of positions are classified as administrative or in program delivery.  Specialized areas may pay better.  Some government sectors provide ample benefits which improve the compensation package, but not to the extent of what compensation a similar position may receive in the private sector.   While some senior executive level public service jobs may include a small annual bonus, the majority of the public service does not receive bonuses or incremental pay based on performance.

The human resource strategy in recent years in the public service has been to find cuts, implement efficiencies through automation and offer the public online features.  Gone are the days where getting a government position was a guaranteed long-term career move.  Job security in the public service seems to have gone the way of the dinosaurs.  Public servants are constantly on edge, not knowing if in the next fiscal year their jobs will be cut.  It’s also a scary scenario when certain States or other jurisdictions announce that they are not sure they can pay for the next payroll.

Government Jobs – Highest Scrutiny

The work of the public service and their employees are held to the highest scrutiny, evolved around implementing the highest ethical standards and upholding good values.  With government programming and staffing costs funded by the taxpayer, the public service is carefully watched, carefully analyzed.  This sometimes leads to stressful environments, however, once acquainted with the roles and responsibilities of a government job, one comes to realize this as the norm.

In the modern public service, government jobs are attractive to candidates.  The public service often calls for qualified candidates to take on challenging, interesting work in this global environment.  The jobs can be rewarding, and can lay the groundwork for building better personal and professional capacities … applicable across the board in the private sector and in self-employment.  If considering advancement in the public service, many government sectors see the value in the development and retention of valued internal employees.  It is definitely worthwhile to tap into these public service employment development programs.

Remember that when you apply for government grants and programs, these public servants work hard to provide the services and products that you are requesting.  Give them the time they need to complete their work in a stressed work environment.  Give them the respect that all should expect.  Be receptive to their ideas, feedback and recommendations to strengthen your applications and your dealings with government.  Remember that these public servants have families, strive for a stress free environment and need to survive like the rest of us.

For more information on government jobs check out:

Relevant personal and business development blogs and articles

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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

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© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Employee Morale Improvements – Small Things You Can Do as a Leader

Strategy Plan One

April 29, 2012

employee moraleEmployee Morale & Leadership Goodwill

As a manager, leader and entrepreneur you have a responsibility to ensure employees are interested and happy in the work that they do, and in the environment where they work in.

 

There are things you can do to change up the environment and make it more positive for your valued staff, leading to improved employee morale.

Here are some low-cost ideas that will have big impacts to employee morale:

Recognition to Build Employee Morale

In your weekly meetings, whether it’s a stand up meeting, conference call or through video-conferencing, take the time to frequently identify and recognize specific team members or units for their achievements and success.  As part of your core duties on a regular basis, you should be engaging with staff and scanning through your units for performance highlights.  Keep in mind you want to recognize all in phases, so that all who are putting in efforts are recognized.  Even the small successes should be recognized.  With recognition, staff will feel valued and morale in the organization will pick up.

Spend Time and Listen to Your Employees

You will gain much respect as a leader if you take the time to listen to employees about their concerns, either in operations or the personal challenges they all face.  You will understand your operational issues better the more frequently you engage at the ground level.  Employees will feel more valued if they are listened to and if they feel their input will have an impact on change.

employee moraleFruit Rewards to Improve Employee Morale (and Health)

Every once and awhile bring in a prepared fruit platter for your team to share during breaks and lunch hour.  Throw in an exotic fruit or highlight local produce to raise attention and interest in what you are providing to staff.  In providing a small token of appreciation, staff will realize that you are giving back.  On your side, you are providing something of nutrition value, promoting a healthy work environment.  If you are in an area where local fruit is plentiful, bring in fruit care packages for staff to take home.  Staff will appreciate this as some may not have the time to pick up the produce and will take this home to share with their family in the healthy initiative.

Volunteer Day

Many employees are either engaged or would like to be engaged in volunteer activities.  In your benefits package to employees ensure you include a paid day per year for employees to partake in volunteer activities.  Provided that it does not impact your essential services, allow employees to pick, choose and schedule in a day to dedicate to good causes.  Give them the opportunity to do a bit of sharing and promoting of causes at your business.  Not only is this a good notion for employees and for community, but it also build solid relationships for your business with the community and organizations in need.

Special Guests Build Employee Morale

Bring in a special guest to speak on topics that could benefit your staff.  You could encourage a partnering firm to come in and speak about a topic or have a motivation speaker enlighten the crowd.  Inviting in and scheduling in a speaker could make your work environment more interesting and gives your team a break from the sometimes monotonous work duties.  To keep your costs down on such an activity, make arrangements for mutual exchanges, or if there is a added benefit for the person to come, they may come at no charge.

As an entrepreneur, always gauge your team for the level of workplace satisfaction and employee morale.  With some back pocket strategies for employee morale building, your team will perform better and will stay with your business longer as an employer of choice.

 

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

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