Friday, September 30, 2011

How to keep talent from wandering

Top sales people are always in demand. Losing them to a higher bidder or a more lucrative job is too easy to be taken lightly.
The cost of hiring a new employee for any position is significant. The many formulas that calculate such costs vary widely, but can range upward of 200 per cent of an employee's annual salary. That includes not only the tangible costs of severance pay, vacation accrual, job advertising and recruiting fees, but also indirect costs such as the staff time needed for paperwork and recruiting, and orientation and training for new hires. Other hard-to-quantify costs can include customer dissatisfaction, poor employee morale and loss of revenue during transitions.
Let's assume the average salary in a given company is $50,000 a year. If the cost of turnover is 150 per cent of salary, then the cost would be $75,000 per departing employee. For a company of 100 employees with a 10 per cent annual rate of turnover, the annual cost of turnover would be an estimated $750,000.
So, how to reduce your turnover rate? Start with a solid grip on the problem by answering these four questions.
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Companies lose $350 billion a year because of employee disengagement. Your company does NOT have to be one of them. Disengaged employees impact your business' productivity, level of innovation, and ultimately the bottom line.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

No such thing as a 'job for life' for young people - and HR staff - according to Hyphen

The job for life is officially over, as more than a quarter of young workers (aged 16-34) – and a quarter of HR staff - say they want to change jobs between eight and twelve times during their working lives, according to recruiter Hyphen.
The poll of 1,000 employees shows by contrast, older age groups have more loyalty to their employers. A maximum of four jobs was ranked preferable by over a third of 45-54 year olds (39%) and the 55+ age group (34.4%).
HR, sales and marketing professionals will have the most diverse CVs when they retire, with approximately a quarter (25% and 24.4% respectively) looking to change jobs between eight and ten times.
Despite this, however, less than one in ten (8.6%) workers nationally expect to stay in one job for their whole careers.
Workers in the legal profession are the most settled, with over a fifth (20.8%) expecting to remain in one job throughout their working lives.
Zain Wadee, MD at Hyphen said: "Persistent economic volatility, combined with the end of final salary pensions, increased mobility of workforce and higher expectations of employers, means a new generation of footloose workers is entering the job market. Our research shows that it is time for employers to acknowledge the job for life is dead and turn their focus to engaging and retaining their employees.
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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wanna Make More Money? Make Your Employees Happy

September 26, 2011
Wouldn’t it be great if you could wave your magic wand and abracadabra, up go sales and profits? If you flunked advanced wizardry, don’t worry. Believe it or not, this is a trick for mere mortals. All you have to do is make your employees happy.
Happy workers perform
In a Gallup, Inc. study of over two thousand business units on “the causal impact of employee work perceptions on the bottom line of organizations,” researchers found a distinct link between employee attitudes and a company’s financial performance, employee retention and customer loyalty.
Research conducted by the Wharton School found that Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For in America” reported 3.5 percent higher returns than their peers (Harvard Business Review Daily Stat).
Of course there’s the chicken and the egg question. Is company performance better because its employees are more engaged or is it the other way around? According to the Gallup study, the answer is clearly the former—happy employees are productive employees.
But most employees aren’t happy
Unfortunately, for the majority of businesses, employee engagement—a strong indicator of satisfaction and morale—is in the toilet.
According to a study by Mercer, a global HR consulting firm, nearly a third (32 percent) of U.S. workers are seriously considering looking for a new job (up from 23 percent in 2005). Another one in five (21 percent) don’t have plans to leave but also don’t give a rat’s buttocks about what they’re doing—just the kind of people you want on the payroll. (Mercer’s What’s Working survey)
Similarly, Blessing White, a global consulting firm that focuses on employee engagement, found that only a third of U.S. employees are fully engaged. Their research, and that of other industry experts, shows that the most engaged employees are both highly satisfied and high contributors to the organization.
In their 2011 Global Engagement Report, they summarize the level of engagement of North American employees as follows:
  • Highly engaged: 33 percent of North American employees.
  • Almost engaged: 10 percent—high performers and reasonably satisfied but not consistent.
  • Honeymooners and hamsters: 24 percent—either new to the organization in a kind of limbo or “working hard but, in effect, spinning their wheels.
  • Crash & Burners: 15 percent—“disillusioned and potentially exhausted.”
  • Disengaged: 18 percent—not contributing very much and not very satisfied; likely skeptical and may spread their negativity around the organization.
Millennials were the least engaged (only 23 percent were highly engaged and 25 percent were disengaged). Boomers were the opposite (36 percent were highly engaged and 16 percent were disengaged).
Looking at the numbers by department or function, employees in sales showed the highest engagement (38 percent in Blessing White’s highest engagement category) and IT and R&D workers showed the lowest (26 percent). Worse, 27 percent in engineering and 22 percent in IT were categorized as disengaged. Think about that next time you walk into a smart building.
So how do you make your employees happy?
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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The importance of proactively managing workplace stress

Stress is on the rise in America. Over the last thirty years the amount of time Americans have spent at work has steadily risen. According to the International Labor Organization (1997), workers in the United States now “put in the longest hours on the job in industrialized nations…the equivalent of almost two working weeks more than their [next closest] counterparts in Japan” (p. 1).
The recent recession, which resulted in corporate downsizing and layoffs, has forced companies to do more with fewer employees – often by increasing the workloads and thus stress for the remaining employees. Although a certain amount of job stress is to be expected, stress in the workplace can be costly because it affects not just individual well-being but also organizational performance.
What triggers stress?
There are many different factors that can trigger job stress and the triggers and how people react to them can be different for every individual. Common external factors include, “work schedule, pace of work, job security, route to and from work, workplace noise, and the number and nature of customers” (Dessler, 2010, p. 309). Another study found 33% of stress was caused by factors outside the organization while 67% of stress was caused by internal, company factors. The internal factors included heavy or difficult work load, working long hours, leadership (or lack thereof), and work environment (Bhatti, N., Shar, A., Shaikh, F., & Nazar, M., 2010, p. 3).
Understanding the many causes and triggers of job stress makes it easier for managers to take proactive steps to reduce stress before detrimental consequences occur:
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Friday, September 23, 2011

Identifying Good Managers Through Leadership Competencies

Managers need to have certain competencies to effectively influence the behaviors of others and ultimately achieve desired results. Some competencies come naturally, while others need to be learned and practiced. Organizations should spend time thinking through desired competencies and identify appropriate training options, such as for these 12 common leadership competencies:
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Thursday, September 22, 2011

5 Ways To Get More From Your Employees

We all know the drill. Get up, go to work, go home, repeat. Most of us go through those motions five days a week, every week. But time spent at work doesn't have to be just the filler between leaving home and coming home. And yet, for so many workers, it is.
Enter: Managers. There are several things you can do to help your employees feel more engaged, more worthwhile and more passionate when it comes to their work lives. By incorporating just a few key strategies into your management style, you, your employees and your company's overall productivity could feel a boost.
"The more engaged employees are, the more productive and effective they are," John Palguta, vice president of policy at the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service, told “It's the 'well, duh' finding. If you've got folks who are disengaged, who don't like their bosses, who don't like their work, who just come to their job to pick up their paycheck, they're probably not giving you their best effort."
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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Motivating and Retaining the Best Employees

To become a promising small business, CEOs need to develop the skill of hiring, training, and motivating people. This can be a time consuming and an expensive proposition for any company. How do you retain the best people and keep them motivated?
The key is to remember that when the employee’s career goals match what the company is trying to achieve, they stay and effectively contribute to the team effort. As soon as this varies, great employees who were outstanding in the past leave for another company.
Here are 10 ways to motivate and retain the best people:
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Friday, September 16, 2011

Tackling Two Monumental Challenges: Engagement and Meetings

It seems the nation’s top human resource executives are having a hard time getting a good night’s sleep – and for good reason.
In a new survey of nearly 800 Human Resources executives, 74% said their job stress level has skyrocketed in the past 18 months due to several key concerns including retaining top talent, developing leaders and controlling health care costs.
But above all else, keeping employees engaged and productive  was rated the biggest workplace challenge by those surveyed. That’s a repeat performance, as 2010 survey results had engagement in the top spot as well. The survey, titled “What’s Keeping HR Leaders Up at Night,” is conducted by Human Resources Executive, a leading publication in the HR arena.
Employee engagement is a huge issue at companies—big and small, but the good news is, it doesn’t have to be.
Just to give you a little perspective, my firm worked with a global, high tech company on ways to improve employee meetings. A quarterly, town hall process was underway at most of the firm’s 300 sites, but research showed lackluster results for generating interest or excitement among employees.
Uncovering root causes, we saw a few rise to the surface. First, meetings were stuck in one-way, transmit mode, which made employees feel like they were attending a lecture. Second, hefty PowerPoint presentations dominated the 60-minute sessions. The text-heavy charts laden with buzzwords and acronyms in 12-point font did more to tune out than tune in.
So we went in with a new approach to employee meetings, designed to create more collaboration and interest—and ultimately, engagement. And it worked. After a year’s time, site leaders reported noticeable turnarounds in participation, which helped to raise employee knowledge about business goals and performance.
Want the same results at your company? Here are a few tips to get you started:
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Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Hidden Costs of Employee Turnover

Employee turnover has some obvious costs associated with it, including recruitment, training and salary. However, every time an employee leaves, there are a variety of hidden costs you might not have considered, says Toronto-based human resources consultant Tom Armour. While you might not be writing a check for these costs, here is how turnover can drain dollars:
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Friday, September 9, 2011

9 Etiquette Rules That the Boss Shouldn't Break

In that corner office, you’ll find yourself balancing concerns about payroll and the supply chain with concerns about being liked by your employees and customers. Sometimes that desire to be popular can get you into trouble or land you in a lawsuit. What follows is a collection of new and old social rules you need to commit to memory.
"A business etiquette mistake can become very costly depending on how severe it is, and who you're offending," says Jacquelyn Whitmore, founder and author of several business etiquette texts, including the forthcoming Poised for Success. To help you navigate these tricky situations, we talked to Whitmore and several others versed in business etiquette to construct a list of what you should avoid in the workplace.
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Thursday, September 8, 2011

How Small Wins Unleash Creativity

All good managers understand the importance of making sure that every member of a team feels personally motivated and necessary throughout the workday, lest their work should stagnate and suffer. But what's the key to igniting creativity, joy, trust, and productivity among your employees? According to recent research, the single most important factor is simply a sense of making progress on meaningful work. But creating an environment that fosters progress takes some careful effort.
In their new book, The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work, authors Teresa M. Amabile and Steven J. Kramer discuss how even seemingly humdrum events can make huge differences in employees' emotional and intellectual well-being.
"There's no reason, no matter how resource-constrained an organization is, why managers can't help employees see the meaning in their work," says Amabile, a professor in the Entrepreneurial Management Unit at Harvard Business School. (Kramer, a developmental psychologist, is her husband.)
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