Thursday, May 31, 2012

Making the Compelling Case for Change

When the pain of change exceeds the pain of staying the same, change is unlikely. That quote from sales trainer Bill Scheessele has proven true over my 20-plus years as a change initiative leader. Given people's natural resistance to change, it's hard to move them far from the status quo without a compelling reason to do so.
Research by the Harvard Business School found that the number one reason corporate change initiatives fall short is the failure to establish a sense of urgency. Some call this the "burning platform," a crisis or challenging situation that compels change. So your first step as a change leader is to convince people that staying the course will be more uncomfortable than making the change.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Leadership Lessons from Knee Surgery

For readers in the United States, I hope you had a nice Memorial Day weekend. I spent mine recuperating from some minor arthroscopic knee surgery last Thursday morning. That may come across as TMI – Too Much Information. If it does, I apologize, but I actually found some great leadership lessons from surgery that I want to share with you.

Sometimes when you least expect it, you get a great customer service experience. Believe it or not, knee surgery was one of those experiences for me. Great customer service doesn’t just happen, especially in a process that requires as many people as surgery does. Delivering great customer service through a multistep process requires thoughtful leadership. They must have that in buckets at Reston Surgery Center where my procedure was done. I looked through their website so I could give a shout out to whoever is in charge but couldn’t find a management team roster.

So, to whoever’s in charge there, thank you for the great experience and the following leadership lessons:

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Engaging employees with meaningful work

A new survey paints a grim picture of how employees feel about their work and futures – highlighting that some employers could be facing talent challenges if they’re not in touch with what staff really value.

The survey, conducted by Kelly Services, found many Canadian employees have become disengaged from their work, with less than half feeling valued by their employers.

Only 41 per cent of the Canadian respondents said their current employment provides them with a sense of meaning. Similarly, only 47 per cent said they are happy in their jobs.

In addition, more than one-quarter of the Canadian survey respondents said they frequently think about quitting and more than two-thirds said they definitely intend to look for a new job with another employer within the next year.

“Employees across the globe have experienced unprecedented economic turmoil, and they are restless,” Kelly Services observes in its report.

“Many are unhappy in their jobs and are actively looking for new opportunities... The new norm has employees keeping one eye open for the next opportunity. Unless employers can offer meaningful work and ongoing opportunities for growth, many feel it is in their best interest to keep their careers in a perpetual state of motion.”

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Take employee communication from here to there

Plan members are busy people. In our hyper-connected world, many employees struggle with information overload.

With that in mind, it’s a good idea to ask yourself how clearly and concisely you’re communicating with them. How relevant is your organization’s intranet site in the face of benefits and/or pension plan changes? Who’s reading and benefiting from the employee newsletter? Is anyone hearing the message? And what’s actually being said?

To cut through the noise and maximize effectiveness, you need to make sure your communication is relevant, targeted, and audience-driven. So, how do you ensure your communication efforts fit the bill? One practical way is to conduct a communication audit.

Wait! Don’t run for the hills just yet. Not all audits are administrative headaches. Done right, a communication audit is a painless process that can deliver a meaningful return on your investment.

What’s a communication audit?
A communication audit is a systematic assessment of your organization’s communication practices.

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Free Beer and Massages: The Ultimate Company Perks

Startup life isn't easy, but it's a lot more fun than working at a stodgy corporation. Ambitious startups have struck a balance of "work hard, play hard" by offering employee perks that prove the higher-ups will go the extra mile to show their teammates that they're valued and appreciated.

The best way to attract fun, hardworking people is to let your team behave as fun, hardworking people. Exciting work environments are enticing, so ping-pong breaks and team lunches should be encouraged, not frowned upon.

"We want to create a place where people are excited to come to work everyday. We think the best way to do that is by creating a fun and productive work environment, where people are growing and doing great things while having a good time," says Neil Blumenthal, co-founder and co-CEO of eyewear retailer Warby Parker.

But the fun doesn't have to stop when your company hits a certain size. Even growing companies can benefit from a happy environment and the work of what Warby Parker calls a "Fun Committee," a group of people that plans events and makes sure the startup culture doesn't slip away.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Employers lose quarter of new hires

Within a year, employers lose nearly one-quarter of new hires while another one-third don't satisfy productivity targets, according to Allied Van Lines’ 2012 Allied Workforce Mobility Survey.

Of the 500 human resources professionals who were surveyed, they say this is because of internal variables that impact retention success, such as underfunded onboarding programs or no available training programs. This retention problem is financially hurting employers as the average cost to fill one position is $10,731. Another $21,033 is necessary per new hire for relocation.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Survey: Private sector more bullish on job market

Private-sector analysts have grown more bullish on the job market’s prospects, according to a new survey.
The National Association for Business Economics survey now predicts that the economy will create an average of 188,000 jobs a month in 2012, and that the unemployment rate will fall to 8 percent by the fourth quarter of the year.
The group’s previous survey, released in February, forecast an average 170,000 new jobs a month this year. NABE also projects that employers will add 200,000 jobs a month next year, with the jobless rate being pushed down to 7.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013.

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Workplace Flexibility: 3 Ways to Keep Employees Happy

The company culture you build has a major impact on how successful the business will be as it grows. One of the biggest trends in the past few years is workplace flexibility.

A new study by the Families and Work Institute shows that more than 75 percent of employers now offer some form of flex time. This number is up from two thirds in 2005.

In addition, 63 percent of companies allow employees to work from home at least sometimes, which is up from 34 percent.

Despite the trend, some managers are giving their employees les flexibility and work-life balance. The problem is that technology puts workers on call seven days a week, and even on vacation days. The global economy means that employees are making phone calls late at night to China and Japan. Only 52 percent of employers offer breaks for personal time compared to 73 percent in 2005.

But smart employers create an environment of trust and make people accountable for their work. To remain competitive, companies will have to create flexibility programs. That's how they'll attract and keep the best talent, and help them grow into the next generation of leaders.

There’s a reason why everyone wants to work for Facebook, Google and other startups: Those companies create an environment that makes people happy.

Here are three ways to change your workplace for the better.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Insightlink 4Cs Model of Employee Satisfaction: Commitment

Research tells us that employers can favorably influence their employees’ commitment to their organization by taking action to create a positive work environment, one that demonstrates that the employee is valued.
The following factors and initiatives have been shown to have a positive effect on employee satisfaction:
  • Clearly stated roles and responsibilities and appropriate work behavior;
  • Open and supportive communications with both immediate supervisors and senior management;
  • The quality of the relationships between employees and their immediate supervisors;
  • Opportunities for training and development;
  • Well-defined and communicated career paths and goals;
  • Formal and informal recognition provided on a consistent basis;
  • Coaching and feedback on performance provided regularly;
  • Policies that provide for good work/life balance and actions that support the policies;
  • Sufficient pay, benefits and rewards, provided in a fair and equitable manner.
Ideally, the organization will strive to successfully develop a balance of quality products and/or services, financial stability, and a positive work environment that demonstrates a commitment to fair treatment of employees, recognition of employees’ needs and support for the organization's values. Such balance is not easily achieved and requires careful nurturing for the organization to thrive.
The importance of these factors and policies are the basis behind Insightlink's 4Cs model of employee satisfaction, with the four key drivers being Commitment, Culture, Communications and Compensation.

Insightlink Communications are experts in the design and execution of employee surveys. Let us help you with your next project.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Employee Satisfaction vs. Employee Engagement

A number of factors affect employees’ overall satisfaction with their jobs. These factors include their relationships with their peers, immediate supervisors and senior management, their impressions of the leadership ability of senior management, their ongoing work tasks and activities, the availability of resources to support them in their jobs, the perceived effectiveness of communications within the organization, the job development and advancement opportunities available to them and their perception of how equitably the organization’s pay policies are applied.

In other words, an employee satisfaction score reflects both the immediate impact of employees’ day-to-day work environment and the impact of their relationships with others in the organization on their sense of well-being. In contrast, employee engagement reflects their emotional commitment to the organization, their willingness to go “above and beyond” the call of duty to help the organization succeed, and their desire to remain with the organization for the long term. However, dissatisfaction with their work environment can often derail their sense of commitment to the organization, which may lead them to seek other opportunities.

In an ideal situation, you want to have both highly satisfied and highly engaged employees. However, in reality, our studies have shown that employees are often highly committed to the organization where they work but they are not as highly satisfied with their jobs. Determining what is undermining employee satisfaction in your workplace is the first step toward building an engaged workforce.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The 4Cs of Employee Satisfaction and Engagement

As part of an extensive review of both academic and business research on employee satisfaction and engagement, Insightlink designed a framework for questionnaire development and strategic analysis called the “4Cs,” which are:
  • Commitment
  • Corporate Culture
  • Communications
  • Compensation
These four key elements drive employee satisfaction and engagement and are the foundation for all Insightlink employee surveys.
What is included in each of these 4Cs?
  • Includes job “fit,” the sense of accomplishment employees feel when completing a job or task, and their willingness to go “above and beyond” for the organization
  • It is important to assess Commitment both “to” and “from” the organization
Corporate Culture:
  • Includes the work environment, the organization’s mission, vision and values, the application of company policies, the organization’s understanding of employee issues, job security, and work/life balance
  • Includes the effectiveness of interactions with supervisors, management and coworkers, the degree to which employees know what is expected of them and how free they feel to voice their opinions openly at work
  • Compensation is a basic condition of satisfaction and productivity but the perceived fairness in distribution can be more influential than the absolute level of pay
Having this comprehensive framework to evaluate your survey results enables you to target your action plans based on that areas that will give you the greatest impact.

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

Monday, May 14, 2012

Why do an employee survey?

If you are considering implementing an employee opinion survey, Insightlink Communications, a company that specializes in employee research, offers the following reasons to proceed:
1. To give employees an opportunity for feedback and identify the issues important to them
In our experience, employees want to be heard. Yes, there will be a few employees who say they don’t have time to complete an employee survey or who say the survey is too long, but the completion rate for employees doing our 4Cs employee survey is 96%. That’s a lot of employees who take it seriously and appreciate having the opportunity to express their opinions.
2. To provide timely and accurate feedback
In order to take action to improve employee satisfaction in your organization, you need to be sure that the action you are planning to take is relevant. You may think you know what is contributing to employee satisfaction but an employee survey can identify the most important drivers of satisfaction for your employees.
3. To highlight what is viewed positively by employees & areas of concern
At Insightlink, we also encourage you to identify what you do well so you can maintain those strengths.
4. To compare & benchmark your performance against other organizations
You may look at your survey results in isolation and think that your scores are too high or too low. This may lead you to overlook certain areas or concentrate on others. However, when you compare your results with benchmark norms for your industry, you may look at your scores in a different light.
5. To prioritize the action you need to take to improve your organization
We emphasize that there is no value to doing a survey unless you take plan to action on the results but we also recognize that it may seem overwhelming to tackle the issues that may be identified in the survey results. A correlation analysis will help you identify the workplace elements that have a disproportionately positive impact on employee satisfaction within your organization.
6. To Improve Overall Organizational Performance
There is substantial evidence that highly satisfied and engaged employees lead to more positive outcomes for their organizations, including higher productivity, improved employee retention, greater customer satisfaction and even better financial performance

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

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Work-life balance 'improved since 2010'

Workers have seen an improvement in their work-life balance, according to new research which indicates that employee benefits could be on the rise.

Research by workspace provider Regus found that despite people working longer hours than ever before, 60 per cent of those questioned are actually enjoying their jobs more.

Furthermore 58 per cent of respondents to the survey said they felt they had enough time to spend at home and on their personal interests.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Increasing Employee Engagement: You Must Give First, Then Receive

First of two parts

In his EO Alchemy 2011 talk, Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action reported the response he received during his interviews with members of the U.S. Marine Corps about what made it such a remarkable organization.

He said one succinct response summed up the ethos best: “Officers eat last.”

Sinek went on to say: “If you want your employees to be completely devoted to you and your cause, you need to be completely devoted to them.”

His observation reminded me of the many conversations I’ve had with frustrated leaders who wondered why their employees didn’t seem to care. It reminded me of Human Resource professionals asking for tips on improving employee engagement.

If you want them to care, make sure you care

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What drives Engagement and Satisfaction

Here at Insightlink, we believe that there should be two main objectives of any organization-wide employee survey:
  1. The first objective should be to get an overall measurement of employee satisfaction and/or engagement. These are what we call the "thermometer" survey measures because they tell you how your employees currently feel about working at your organization. 
  2. The second objective is to understand the motivations and drivers behind those thermometer measures - whether they are high or low - so that your organization can take meaningful action to both maintain its strengths and address its weaknesses. These are the "diagnostic" survey measures that help explain the thermometer results and give you clear direction on where improvement is required.
There are many cases where temperature is an important indicator of physical condition, such as checking the temperature outside before deciding how to dress and having your doctor take your temperature to determine if you have a fever.
To remove the guesswork and measure how engaged and satisfied an organization's employees are, the temperature of an organization needs to be taken. Annual revenues, profits, the share price, certainly help indicate the health of a company but without measuring the temperature of the organization's "human capital", the company's health may be at risk. Extensive evidence shows that how employees feel about their jobs strongly influences the performance of an organization.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Three tips to improve your listening skills

The executive guide to listening

Danger ahead: Executive not listening. A road sign similar to that might be useful for the corridors of a company where senior managers view conversation as one-way affairs, and refuse to listen to others.

“Listening is a valuable skill that most executives spend little time cultivating,” consultant Bernard Ferrari writes in the McKinsey Quarterly.

To improve, he says, focus on three elements:

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Friday, May 4, 2012

How NOT to Promote Your Employee Survey


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

How work boredom is the new stress... and it affects everyone from office workers to those on the Afghan frontline

It saps our motivation, stops us from performing at our best and can even leave us wishing we had more work to do - you may even be experiencing it at this very moment.

And, according to new studies, boredom in the workplace is growing, affecting everyone from the high-fliers to the drones.

This is according to Sandi Mann, a senior psychology lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire who says boredom - after anger - is the second-most commonly suppressed emotion in the workplace.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

E-vites, e-cards ... e-rewards? Employers wonder if a virtual pat on the back can replace the real thing

As Americans live more of their lives online, perhaps it only makes sense that online recognition has taken off in the corporate context.

Of the 86% of U.S. organizations with recognition programs in place, 66% use the Internet or intranet to communicate recognition programs, and 62% use email, according to WorldatWork's 2011 "Trends in Employee Recognition Survey." Currently, 39% of companies use email announcements and notifications to present recognition awards and 33% utilize the intranet.

Morphing workplace demographics, the influence of Facebook and other online social communities, and a globalized workforce have changed how employers engage and acknowledge top talent.

"Recognition is now part of our daily conversation. Following natural technology evolution, the conversation is moving online, and so recognition is moving online with it," explains Rob Danna, vice president of performance and recognition solutions at TharpeRobbins.

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Do You Know Your Team’s Level of Engagement?

The relationship between employee engagement and organizational vitality has been well documented over the past decade. Highly engaged employees are more productive and efficient, and they deliver better customer service and higher quality work. In addition, higher levels of engagement lead to less turnover and absenteeism. Engaged employees make your organization thrive; disengaged employees detract from an organization’s ability to fulfill on its mission and vision.
Organizations often wonder the level of engagement among their employees. What is the ROI on their human capital? The following brief employee engagement survey will allow you to gauge your team’s level of engagement. You may either complete the assessment manually as shown below or take the online assessment.
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