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%)


  • 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

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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.

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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.

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Strategies to Handle Difficult Employees in Your Business

Strategy Plan One

March 25, 2012 

difficult employeesDifficult Employees

Every organization has difficult employees that are not necessarily the happiest bunch.

Whether is it a personality issue, organizational or environmental issue, it is par for the course to have variance in people’s behaviour, moods, or job satisfaction.

You could have the most successful, corporate culturally rich environment, with great working conditions and compensation and you can still have disgruntled staff.  No fear, there are some human resource tactics to adequately handle some difficult employees who may throw a temporary wrench into your organization.

Identify the Issues with the Difficult Employees

When you as a leader become aware of issues in the organization and with specific staff members, ensure that you approach the employees to better understand the scenario and to isolate the specific issues.  Ensure that in a confidential setting the employee has the opportunity to openly express the situation with you or your human resource specialist.  Encourage open communication in your corporate culture.  Be an active listener first before diving into any actions.

Solutions in Handling Difficult Employees

Take note of the issues the employee has expressed freely, and then ask for some potential solutions from their side.  Employee feedback is extremely important.  You may find that part of the operation or the way things are done in the organization is causing not only this employee but others grief.  Employees provide you with the needed intelligence at ground level.  This intelligence may not be something that you are privy to.

In asking for valued feedback, you make a disgruntled employee feel valued and part of the solution.  In normal circumstances, this should build higher morale with this disgruntled employee, and broadly across the organization.

If the scenario involves more than one employee or third parties, then you may have to engage with multiple parties, seeking solutions from diverse array of people.  Customers, suppliers, and contractors can sometimes be the cause of issues in your organization and with your staff.

difficult employeesHuman Resource Resolution Mechanisms for Difficult Employees

With strong human resource policies and procedures your organization will be well equipped to handle difficult employees.  Whenever possible, your human resource specialist can be used to intervene in difficult circumstances to provide the direct assistance to not only you as the leader, but also to the employee.

Your human resource specialist may also act as a mediator between management and the employee in cases where there are challenges between staff and management.  The difficult employees may be more open to discussing the challenges as they may feel that the human resource specialist is one step removed from management.  The specialist can also provide the direct lines and information on the company’s human resource policies and on any labor acts or regulations.

Implement Solutions to Resolve Challenges with Difficult Employees

Once you nail down some workable solutions, be ready as a responsible leader to implement some best practices or solutions.  Implementation in any action plan is critically important to resolving those initial challenges identified.  Have a plan of action to implement those recommendations that were developed from feedback from the difficult employees and the advice from your human resource specialist.

As a last resort to difficult employees who do not change their behavior, or do continuous harm to other employees or the organization, dismissal of the employees may be the last action to resolve.  You should however, make every attempt to resolve before this last option.  Ensure that if you do go down the path of termination, that you abide by your polices, and any acts or regulations.

Following up with Difficult Employees

After implementation, follow up with staff and units on progress.  Is it working?  Did it resolve the problems?  If not, you may have to tweak your approach with a revised action plan to implement.

If your implemented actions have resolved the issues, then you may be on your way to achieving greater job satisfaction with all staff, which will greatly impact the performance in your organization.

difficult employees

Summary of Some Tips in Handling Difficult Staff:

  • Encourage open communication on any topic with employees
  • Empower employees to make suggestions and recommendations for solutions
  • Make employees feel that they are a part of the solution
  • Be empathetic, be a good listener
  • Show strong leadership and implement solutions
  • Track the results of the solutions
  • Follow up with staff and measure results
  • Be prepared and embrace a continuous improvement process to create a better environment for your valued staff

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Talent Management – How to Build a Solid Human Resource Base

Strategy Plan One

March 15, 2012 


human resource practicesTalent Management – Human Resource Practices

In current human resource practices, Talent Management involves modern methods to recruit, retain and develop valued staff for your organization.

In a competitive global economy it has become increasingly more important to place emphasis on people as the greatest resource.

Human Resource Practices – Identification and Organizational Scan

One of the first steps to building strong human resources is to have unit managers and executives review the organization’s human resources needs and to scan the existing human resource environment.  As part of the core business planning duties, human resource needs should be identified as the elemental base.   The human resources plan would be developed from the operation plan and would identify the budgetary resources required to fuel staffing costs.


As part of the planning stage, executives and human resource specialists scan internal staff to determine if employees are fulfilling the needs, and to identify employees that strive in the environment and have the potential to develop within the organization.  Developing individuals within your organization helps build morale, lowers the human resource costs of acquiring on the outside, and helps retain corporate, business and operational knowledge.


Human Resource Practices – Recruitment

Internal talent identification and scans may reveal some deficiencies and the planning process may identify new needs (i.e.: expansion needs).  There will always be a solid base of employees that are not retiring or leaving the organization anytime soon.  Recruitment will become a necessity when your internal resources can’t meet your operational needs.  However, through strong talent management or internal staff, turn-over rates and external recruitment would be kept to a minimum.


human resource practicesHuman Resource Practices – Retention

As one of your most important human resources strategy, you should place employee retention as one of your top priorities.  Existing veteran employees in operations and management help your business run smoothly and help make your business successful.  As an entrepreneur you need to ensure you identify the people you need to retain.  Those are the valuable employees that carry the operational efficiencies, best practices, and knowledge of the organization.  Those employees are the ones that train and mentor new staff, and in an open environment, easily share and promote best practices.


Human Resource Practices – Development and Capacity Building

Now that you have identified and focused on retaining valued staff, your employee development human resources strategy needs to kick in.  With differing operational and management levels in your organization, it will make logical sense to develop and promote your retained staff.


Capacity Building in your organization is key to building up operational, management and financial management skill sets of individuals.  Through your environmental, human resources scans you have identified individuals who could be developed and would bring additional benefits to your organization in promoted positions.  Developing key existing staff is cost effective for the organization and builds morale with your employees, as they consider this to be a key factor in job satisfaction and an important reason to stay with the organization.


Identification of valued staff, and retaining and developing those key players will help your organization be successful.  Remember that successful professionals in your organization as the most significant, most important resource.  Also remember that you, in your early career days, were most likely given the chance to gain and develop skills that came into play as a successful entrepreneur.

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Capacity Building with Successful Training Programs

Strategy Plan One

February 28, 2012 


Capacity BuildingCapacity Building


Capacity Building within your organization starts with successful training programs.  To achieve success in training programs, research the capacity building needs of your organization, and the needs of employee development.  Significant surveying of the potential participants should take place – this will shape your program.  From this point, strong and detailed planning will be required to take your training initiatives into successful capacity building territory.


Mandatory Training Programs for Capacity Building


If the training is essential or mandatory for your staff, then your employees need to be committed.  To make that experience more value-added, ask employees for their input into mandatory training, which could involve flexible scheduling, involvement in the design and preparation, and pre-emptive messaging on the importance of the mandatory training programs.


Value added Training Programs


Capacity BuildingIf the training program is one of value, but not mandatory, it is sometimes a hard sell.  An example of this would be skill enhancement or management training for organizational development.  Programs such as this require gauging employees for interest.  The organization has a vested interest in the capacity building of internal employees, as this may be the most cost effective way to retain human capital and corporate knowledge.  To the employee developing and moving into management of specialized area is not a mandatory exercise but one of choice.   The benefits of the training program and future prospects within the company must be promoted.


Capacity Building Benefits of Training Programs


Organizations must zone in on the benefits, especially the benefits to the employee, which will result in benefits to the organization through capacity building.  The highest priority should be to convince employees that training will absolutely benefit the employee first, organization second.  This will enable a high-level of buy-in when the employee benefits are placed out front.


Similar to promoting products or services to the populous, organizations must develop the right messaging around training and development programs for their employees.  A well-developed training program will demonstrate how the organization will assist with the personal and professional development of employees, with no huge commitment from the employee.  If the employee is quite demanding with training and development that they are interested in, that is a different story, and may require a bit of negotiation and commitments from both the employer and employee.  With expensive management training an organization may want a commitment from the employee, such as strategic employee retention, development and promotion.  Strong commitments will create strong relationships between employee and employer.


Training and development programs are essential to capacity building within organizations and staying competitive in the global environment.  As noted special emphasis must be placed on ensuring there is a two-way beneficial aspect of the training program to get maximum buy-in from staff leading to a successful training program.


Tracking Capacity Building Progress & Results


To round off the procedures for successful training plans, ensure you track progress and results.  With any project such as a training program, measure the effectiveness and return on investment.  Revise accordingly for continuous capacity building in your organization.  You will note progress when your units are gaining capacities in operations and management, and if your employees are buying in, you will achieve a high retention of your staff.

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5 Attributes of Modern Leadership

Strategy Plan One

February 8, 2012 

Leadership has changed with time and with varying economic and environmental circumstances.   Early to mid 20th century, leaders often invoked a militaristic or autocratic leadership approach, and to most the extent, this worked for many successful companies and big corporations.

In the current age, the workforce is better educated with more rights.  Values and ethics are important, and company and personal values and ethics need to align to achieve common goals.  In order to compete on a global scale, leaders need to motivate and influence teams of valuable employees to thrive and survive.


Collaboration with team members

Leadership today is obviously quite different, with globalization, competition, values and ethics and people’s rights making big impacts on how leaders lead.  The global economic climate is challenging and is multi-faceted.  New leaders today need the ability to navigate through challenging environments, with multiple layers of complexity.  A new leader must be able to collaborate with professionals adequately, and to be able to adapt quickly to changing environments.


Engaging others

Twenty to thirty years ago, businesses relied on manual analysis of localized information.  Today, teams and leaders must competently analysis massive amounts of global information quickly.  Where leaders lack capacity, leaders must be able to source and acquire capacity to assist in meeting organizational goals and objectives.  Leaders need to have the skill to interact with, motivate and empower team members.  Effective interaction with employees leads to better buy-in of goals and objectives.  Frequent engagement tends to make the employees and teams feel valued.


Activating Efficiency

Today leaders must accomplish more with fewer resources.   In order to stay competitive in global markets, leaders must stay on top with efficient operations.  Leaders must have the ability to maximize results and benefits with decreasing levels of resources.  Leaders must seek ideas for efficient operations from their teams, as these valued employees are the subject matter experts.  There are several mechanisms to implement to achieve efficiencies, from empowering employees to take the lead, to compensatory mechanisms.


Ability to Vision

Experienced leaders thoroughly observe and analyze the past and present.  A great leader can envisage a successful way forward.  They are able to see an end goal and objective, and pathway to achieve the objective.  Only a few have this innate ability; most develop the skill through experience in operations and management.  This valuable trait may be the result of many years of experience leading to the ability to look forward, and some of it through trial and error.  Leaders with vision understand why they are in the business and why the company’s products or services are valuable or needed by the consumer.


Effective Communication

Effective leadership involves a high level of rich communication.  A great leader engages with others and can communicate the vision to the team.  With powerful, transparent communications, leaders will need to be influential on others, with the ability to convince and encourage the team to follow and buy-in.  The level of acceptance is a good indicator of the leader’s communication and influential effectiveness.


Strategy Plan One

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

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