Monday, October 31, 2011

The McDonald's leadership story: why leaders at this Best Company for Leadership are 'lovin' it'

McDonald's is known for a rigorous, disciplined approach to running its business. But this could not be achieved without a capable team working together. It's at the core of McDonald's culture, which hires and promotes people in large part based on their ability to work in teams, says Rich Floersch, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer. The company takes great care to cultivate its leaders as well. Its accelerated development program for high-potential leaders drives impressive levels of retention, helping give McDonald's the continuity and focus for which it is famed. With an eye to the future, the company develops its leaders in the globalized, customer-centric, fast-changing markets that it competes in.
What are the leadership practices that differentiate McDonald's? It starts with having high standards. Performance management is at the core: we employ a 20/70/10 performance distribution model across the organization: 20 per cent at the exceptional level, 70 per cent significant and then 10 per cent needs improvement. We make sure we keep these standards high. Also, around talent, when we talk about people being 'ready now' and 'ready future', the 'ready now' candidate has to be someone who can be better than the incumbent over time.
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Friday, October 28, 2011

3 Great Ways to Shake Up the Workplace

Let’s face it, after feeling the impact of the recession, from salary freezes to paycuts and layoffs, change in the workplace had a bad rap. We all wanted stability and security. But now, businesses are worrying about turnover and employee engagement as more and more employees feel frustrated with the status quo. John F. Kennedy once said, “change is the law of life.” It’s inevitable. But it’s also important to remember that change isn’t always bad. Often times, it’s great. If your employees are tired of the same ole’ same ole’ at work, now may be the perfect time to shake your workplace up and make some changes for the better.
Here are three easy ways to get started before the new year.
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Thursday, October 27, 2011

How to Start New Hires on the Right Track

Assessing employees starts on Day One. Your hiring process shouldn't be complete until you have a fully-oriented employee with their own development plan -- a clear plan of action that will engage and hold your new hire accountable.
Because the sooner you set expectations for your employees, the more likely you are to have a productive team that supports and grows your business. And that isn't the only benefit. There are three primary reasons to create individual development plans for managing performance. A development plan will:
1. Set expectations for performance. It gives employees clear expectations for their results. Statements in writing mean there is a greater likelihood of meeting or exceeding expectations. Having clear goals makes them more achievable.
2. Create a coaching document and put a process in place with a road map for advancement and a schedule to review progress, which holds managers accountable for providing feedback.
3. Create a benchmark that shows growth and improvement or the lack of progress against goals. This benchmark will assist you in developing your team members at all levels. Creating a record of improvement will make it easier to adjust the job fit for the employees and to make decisions in a more timely way about where you want to invest in developing employees.
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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Put on a Happy Face. Seriously.

It's one of those days. You argue with your spouse before heading out the door. A rude driver swerves in front of your car and you spill coffee on your lap. You arrive at work in a bad mood.
Will those negative feelings affect your productivity and performance for the rest of the day?
For many people the answer is yes, which is why taking steps to help employees start the day off on the right foot is something more organizations might want to consider.
Recent research I have done with Steffanie Wilk, an associate professor at the Fisher College of Business at the Ohio State University, examined the link between employee mood and performance on the job. We asked U.S.-based telephone customer-service representatives for a Fortune 500 company to record their moods at the start of and at various times during the day for a three-week period. After accounting for each employee's underlying temperament and the mood of the customers they were helping, we found evidence of virtuous and vicious cycles, depending on how the reps were feeling at the start of their shift.
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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Four Motivation Mistakes Most Leaders Make

Irrationality is a basic part of being human. A classic example is buying something we would never otherwise have spent money on — and will never use — simply because it's a great deal. So when it comes to motivating employees to change, it should be no surprise that leaders who rely on rationality typically spend time and energy on the wrong things, send messages that miss the mark, and create frustrating unintended consequences. Yet most do it anyhow. As part of the research for Beyond Performance, we've come to understand how leaders can leverage social-science research about decision making to motivate employees more effectively.
Employees don't care as much about the company as you think they do.
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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Latest Game Theory: Mixing Work and Play

Companies are trying to bring more play to the workday.
Striving to make everyday business tasks more engaging, a growing number of firms, including International Business Machines Corp. and consulting firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd., are incorporating elements of videogames into the workplace.
They're deploying reward and competitive tactics commonly found in the gaming world to make tasks such as management training, data entry and brainstorming seem less like work. Employees receive points or badges for completing jobs or meeting time limits for assignments, for example. Companies also may use leaderboards, which let players view one another's scores, to encourage friendly competition and motivate performance, experts say.

This "gamification" of the workplace, or "enterprise gamification" in tech-industry parlance, is a fast-growing business. Companies have used digital games for a number of years to help market products to consumers and build brand loyalty. What's emerging is using games to motivate their own employees.
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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Lessons In Business From Dr. Love's Hug Orgy

There's a science to creating a world that's happier and more profitable, says neuroeconomist Paul Zak.
Over a microphone, neuroeconomist Paul Zak is exhorting 500 New Yorkers to give more love. "Everyone has to hug at least one stranger by the end of tonight," he insists, "No creepy hugs, please." We're at the luridly named "Love Night" at the BMW-Guggenheim Lab on a Friday night, to be test subjects for experiments in what triggers our brains to trust. Zak (above) wraps the guy next to him in a bear hug, and the heart-shaped, heat-sensitive cutout on his T-shirt turns neon green. That starts a hugging orgy that lasts for the next three hours.
Zak got the name "Doctor Love" from looking at how oxytocin--simply put, it's the brain chemical that makes people cuddle and bond--affects people's economic decisions. The chief-architect of "Love Night," Zak has to convince this roomful of hipsters, academics, and the most hardened of New Yorkers that a hug--or anything that jump-starts our brains' love circuitry--is a powerful thing. Applied to business, it means that when people really connect with those they work with, they'll feel more committed to the ideas that they're making happen together, Zak says. To prove his point, he greets me by sweeping me up with a hug so strong that it almost hurts.

Monday, October 3, 2011

You still need to boost your employees' morale

NEW YORK (AP) — In the early months of the recession, human resources consultants advised small business owners to take steps to boost their employees' morale, or risk losing them when the economy got better.
That advice still stands.
As the economy weakens, many small companies still aren't able to give out raises. Many are still increasing workloads instead of hiring new staffers. All this is certain to take a toll on employees' already sagging morale.
HR consultants say taking time to talk with your staff and listen to their concerns will go a long way toward helping you keep them. It might also help you make their jobs easier -- and make them more productive.
Perhaps the most important thing you can do to help morale is "acknowledging the stresses and circumstances that your employees are feeling," says Arlene Vernon, president of HRx Inc, an Eden Prairie, Minn.-based HR consultancy.
That may sound familiar, because it's the sort of advice consultants were giving out during the financial crisis. They suggested company owners walk around the office, factory or selling floor and talk to workers. Ask them how things are going. Listen to them vent about the economy. See if they have questions about the company.
These chats may not seem important, but they do go a long way toward helping employees feel better. If workers have to sit on their feelings and just put on a bright face all the time, they're just bottling up unhappiness and that can be a big morale-buster.
Employees also need to feel that they're really being listened to, not patronized. That means you need to take in what your workers are saying, and if they are upset about their jobs, see what the problem is and what you can do to help.
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