Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Unpleasant performance review? What not to do

Robert Meggy has a mantra for employees when it comes to performance reviews: “Always be honest.” The CEO and president of The Great Little Box Company Ltd., a packaging manufacturer based in Richmond, B.C., believes it’s the employee’s responsibility to give feedback. The manager’s job is to listen.
“If you have an issue, come clean with it,” says Mr. Meggy, whose company has been named as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers for eight consecutive years. “It’s important to talk out any differences you may have. When people are asked why they’re leaving a company, it’s often for the stupidest reasons. They didn’t get a $50 raise or thought they were unfairly treated over something minor, but never talked to their manager or supervisor about it.”
Read the full story:

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

How Leaders Kill the Joy of Work

Dan Erwin shares his thoughts about the book The Progress Principle,  by Harvard’s Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer.  An excerpt…

Senior executives routinely undermine creativity, productivity, and commitment by damaging the inner work lives of their employees,” say Harvard’s Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer. Amabile and her associates have successfully studied the inner work life of employees. And often, the picture is not very pretty.

These aren’t union leaders. This is management. The sample isn’t from the factory floor or your local public school. No. These are business professionals. The objective of the research was to better understand the role of upper-level management. To get at that objective, Amabile and Kramer dug back into 12,000 electronic diaries from dozens of professionals working on important innovation projects at seven North American companies. They selected only entries from diarists who mentioned bosses—868 narratives in all.

Read Dan’s full take on it here.

The full report is here


The Book is here.

From the Amazon book description…

What really sets the best managers above the rest? It’s their power to build a cadre of employees who have great inner work lives—consistently positive emotions; strong motivation; and favorable perceptions of the organization, their work, and their colleagues. The worst managers undermine inner work life, often unwittingly.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Dreading work? You can do something about that

What are you afraid of at work? Becoming redundant? Your Freddie Krueger boss? That you’ll show up at the weekly team meeting without pants? That no one will notice?
While we may be reluctant to discuss what frightens us (fear of looking weak or vulnerable), fear affects our behaviour and can seriously block our career path.
There are multiple reasons why people feel anxiety in the workplace, and they are usually less obvious than a bully in the corner office. Alan Kearns, career coach and founder of CareerJoy, says one of the most common fears his clients have is fear of not reaching their potential.
“Fear of getting stuck or being passed over are huge issues for a lot of people,” Mr. Kearns says. “They’re anxious that their career has stalled. Or maybe there’s a position coming up that they feel qualified for but they think somebody else is going to take it. There’s also the baseline fear people have about being restructured and losing their job.”
Read the full story:

Friday, February 24, 2012

Biggest Workplace Pet Peeves

Are you frequently annoyed by your co-workers? You are not alone. Yahoo! Shine partnered with Fitness Magazine to survey over 2,000 women and men, and we found that a whopping 79% of employees feel aggrieved at their place of work. Chalk it up to open plan seating or recession stress, that's a lot of crankiness causing friction around the water cooler.

Workers are annoyed with both the personal behavior and the work habits of their colleagues. Topping the list among men, 41% are turned off by co-workers' body odor. Nearly as many women think their colleagues could do better in the hygiene department, about 38%.

Read the rest on

Thursday, February 23, 2012

How workplace culture can help drive employees to succeed

How would you describe your organization/department/team’s culture? Take a moment and select three words or phrases that describe your company culture. Write them down and set them aside; we’ll come back to them in a few paragraphs.
If you’re like most leaders, you don’t pay careful attention to the work environment that exists in your organization today. Most leaders have been groomed to focus primarily on performance metrics, things such as net profit, market share, EBIDA, payroll expenses, etc.
These are certainly important metrics; all organizations need to meet or exceed performance standards. And research indicates that these, alone, are not the strongest drivers of desirable outcomes such as consistent performance, terrific customer service or engaged employees.
Read the full story:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Co-Workers Change Places

Employers are mixing it up. Jobs, that is.
Some U.S. businesses are giving employees the chance to complete a stint in a different department or temporarily swap places with a colleague overseas.
Companies have long provided job rotations for higher level executives to give them a sense of how different departments operate, but now they are discovering that short- to medium-term moves for rank-and-file employees help workers sharpen their skills, stay motivated and identify new roles they might aim for in the future. Moreover, they help address a challenge that many companies are facing: how to better foster collaboration across different specialties and regions.
"In organizations today there is more emphasis on adaptability, teamwork and learning agility. Companies have to be flexible about creating opportunities for employees to opt into projects," says Caroline Paxman, president of the Americas for SHL, a talent-measurement firm.
Read the full story:

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Do You Share Our Goals? Sign Our Constitution

This interview with Steve Stoute, chief executive of Translation LLC, an ad agency, was conducted and condensed by Adam Bryant. Mr. Stoute is also chairman of Carol’s Daughter, a beauty products company.
Q. What are some important leadership lessons you’ve learned?
A. One of the hardest things to do is run an organization. And teaching people who work for you is a very important skill set that requires patience. I’ve seen a lot of great leaders fail to execute because they couldn’t get a team to rally behind them. You meet a lot of entrepreneurs who want to build great businesses and they have great ideas, but their leadership style doesn’t allow them to have any patience to teach people.
Read the full story:

Friday, February 17, 2012

10 Benefits Employers Can Provide for Parents

Most jobs in the United States are offered with at least a minimal list of included benefits, such as medical insurance and vacation / paid time off. For parents who work full time, the needs are substantially different and, depending on the employer, those needs aren’t always addressed. There are many benefits specifically intended for working parents, and need to be universally available in our opinion. Here is a list of 10 benefits that employers can provide for parents:

See the list of benefits on National Nannies

Thursday, February 16, 2012

It’s a performance review, not an ambush

At Deeley Harley-Davidson Canada, the oft-dreaded performance review is seen as a good thing – from both sides.
According to a yearly in-house survey, employees rate the company’s bi-annual performance reviews very highly. That’s mainly because Deeley’s, the exclusive Canadian distributor for Harley-Davidson and Buell motorcycles and parts, takes performance reviews seriously, not only as a measure of performance tied in with raises and promotions, but also as an important opportunity for employees to discuss their career paths.
Read the full story:

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Convincing a cynical workforce that change is necessary

After years of being told to “do more with less” using the latest management fads – think Total Quality Management or Reinventing Government – how do you convince a cynical workforce that change is really necessary? -Federal Supervisor, U.S. Department of Education
To some public servants, the call to do even more with even less may sound all too familiar. It’s especially difficult if your employees see it as a call to work even harder to achieve the same results with fewer resources. The problem may be that they are working as hard as they can, and if so, we need to change what we ask of them.

Those who heard this same theme in the 1990s or in previous eras may be saying to themselves and their leaders, “We can wait this out. This will pass.”
Leaders and employees paying close attention to the debate about government performance, however, will note that this time the conversation and environment are significantly different than in previous cycles.
The political discourse today is reexamining the role and size of government. Fueling that conversation is a still fragile U.S. economy and a very real budget crisis. Some fundamental aspects of what government does and how it operates may be on the verge of change. Helping your employees deal with the new reality won’t be easy, but here are a few ideas you may want to consider:
Read the full story:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

5 ways to promote a culture of smart thinking

Innovation has been a core theme in business over the past few years. The mantra is that companies need their employees to work smarter, not harder. As I discuss in my new book “Smart Thinking,” there are some straightforward things you can do to help everyone in your organization think more effectively. The more you know about the way your mind works, the more that you can improve the thinking of the people around you. I call this “creating a culture of smart thinking.”
Here are five things you can do to get the ball rolling toward a smarter organization.
Read the full story:

Friday, February 10, 2012

Three Types of People to Fire Immediately

Want a more innovative company? Get rid of these folks. Today.

Show of hands: How many of you out there in Innovation land have gotten the “what took you so long?” question from your staff when you finally said goodbye to a teammate who was seemingly always part of problems instead of solutions?

We imagine a whole bunch of hands. (Yep, ours went up, too.)

These people—and we’re going to talk about three specific types in a minute—passive-aggressively block innovation from happening and will suck the energy out of any organization.

When confronted with any of the following three people—and you have found it impossible to change their ways, say goodbye.

Find out who the three types are in this great piece by G. Michael Maddock and Raphael Louis Vitón on Bloomberg Businessweek

It's 10 P.M., Do You Know Where Your Employees Are? 4 Steps To Set After-Hours Work Expectations

The other day I sat with three senior leaders from three different industries. One was the CEO of an international PR and communications firm. One was a partner of a professional services firm, and the other the president of a national not-for-profit. As it often does, our discussion about work and life turned to technology. I asked them how they used their smartphones and laptops to stay connected to work after traditional business hours:
”I keep my phone on 24/7, but I don’t respond to everything, all the time.”--CEO of the PR and communications firm.
“I sometimes send emails at 4 a.m., and on the weekends just to get a jump-start on my day and week.”--president of the national not-for-profit.
“My phone goes in my briefcase when I get home and I don’t look at it again until the next morning.”--partner of a professional services firm.
Three leaders, with three very different uses of technology. So I asked them, “How many of you have sat down with all of your direct reports and explained how you prefer to connect with work, and specified what you expect of them?”
Read the full story: fastcompany/headlines (Fast Company Headlines)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

4 Rewards That Are More Powerful Than Money

Formal employee recognition programs can be effective, but many formal programs only pay lip service to recognizing employee performance.
Real praise should reward effort and accomplishment, reinforce positive behaviors, build self-esteem and confidence, and boost motivation and enthusiasm.
Do your formal recognition programs accomplish all that?
I’m guessing no.
Here are four informal and powerful ways to praise your employees:
Read the full story:

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Supportive employee services needed to reduce workplace stress?

Offering supportive employee services could be an important way of helping personnel cope with workplace stress, as one expert has advised staff members to reach out to mentors and bosses if they feel they need to.
Chartered psychologist Sue Firth told people they should talk about their troubles if they are feeling under strain.
This could be a key time for individuals to look for support, as many are currently worrying about the security of their roles, while new research has also revealed pressure from jobs is a problem for more employees now than 60 years ago.
To mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development commissioned a Work Audit investigating how the work situation of Britons has changed since the monarch’s coronation in 1952.
Although job satisfaction was found to be higher than it was 60 years ago, the latter decades of Elizabeth II’s reign have seen increased levels of stress among personnel.
Read the full story:

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Exit Interview

Properly done, exit interviews are an excellent opportunity to obtain information about what your organisation is doing well − and, what your organisation needs to do to improve. Typically conducted by the Human Resources department, they are a rich source of information for organisational improvement.
Exit interviews assume that employees departing under favourable circumstances will be more forthcoming on their perceptions of the work environment and provide more objective information. This can then be used to strengthen managerial or organisational performance.
The interviews are voluntary, although they are frequently combined with the mandatory administrative functions such as returning company property and calculating the final paycheque. If the employee is leaving on unfavourable terms, there is the risk of emotional and biased responses that may not be based on facts.
Read the full story:

Friday, February 3, 2012

Your leadership trump cards

What influences you? How do you make decisions? When credentials, experience and reputation are equal — what tips the scale?
Think about the last contractor you hired. Perhaps you needed a roof repaired or a professional to troubleshoot your computer. Maybe you asked trusted friends and colleagues for referrals. Maybe you checked the Internet. You probably narrowed your search to three candidates, met with each one and compared estimates to help you with your choice. But how do you decide when all are equally qualified with almost identical fees? What factors break the tie?
As with the contractor selection process, leadership influence — the ability to persuade colleagues, departments, organizations and teams to rally around your ideas — extends beyond name, rank and specialized expertise. Most professionals with leadership roles are experienced and knowledgeable. But are they approachable and likeable? Do these qualities matter? I think so.
Read the full story:

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Why Your Employees Are Leaving

One day when I was out getting a coffee, I overheard a man talking on his cellphone.
“We need to be stricter with our hiring practices next year,” he said. “We want to keep them past a year.”
I wanted to turn around and tell him, “Maybe you don’t need to be stricter with your hiring practices. You can bring them in but you’re not keeping them. It could be your corporate culture.”

Authors Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman said in their book, First Break All the Rules: What The Worlds’ Greatest Managers Do Differently, that people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers. If employees don’t get along with their managers, don’t like them or don’t respect them, they will leave a company despite a high salary or great benefits. A bad manager is a big factor in employee performance. A good manager, no matter the salary, will inspire loyalty.

Managers who don’t create the right opportunities for their employees, don’t communicate with them, and don’t appreciate them often find themselves dealing with a high turnover rate. Good managers are people you keep in touch with even after you leave a position. Bad managers are people you keep track of so you can avoid them in future.
Read the full story:

Insightlink Communications is an expert in the design and execution of employee surveys. Let us help you with your next project.