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Building a Dream Team of Employees 

Look around your office. You probably have some well chosen employees. Some have personalities that work well with clients, others may have the expertise that helps your company innovate and move forward. Have you nurtured this group into being your dream team? 

Molding your group of employees into a dream team is not only a smart idea to grow your business but it can make working at your company a happy place. Let’s take a look at some things you can do as a business leader to help shape and build your dream team. 

Identify Each Person’s Strength 

Working together means that you probably have a good sense of what each person in your office can and can not do well. Some people are more technical, while others are better on the organization front. And still others are best at working with clients or writing that proposal in a hurry. 

Take some time to get to know each of your team members’ strengths and weaknesses. In fact, you may want to hire a specialist to come in to work with your staff to help them identify what they do well with and where they struggle. Not only is this a good way to pinpoint everyone’s strengths but it lets your team know that you are invested in their careers as well. 

Set Goals 

Once you have identified each employee’s specialty areas, help them set goals for themselves both short-term and long-term. These goals can be in relation to clients, sales, recruitment, networking, or any area that you decide upon. The goals should be given to both individuals and the group as a whole. 

Give them the Tools They Need 

If you read that and said, “Whoa, what about the budget,” then keep reading. Within the limits of your budget, we suggest that you provide as many ways as possible to give your team what they need to do their jobs well. If they need better communication between remote workers, clients, vendors and others, then provide an app like Slack that can help keep all parties along the chain connected and communicating. If they need time to collaborate as a group then carve time out of every day or week to allow for group collaboration meetings. In short, listen to what their needs are and try your best to provide them. 

A dream team doesn’t just happen, they are made by the leaders and people within a business. Check out our listing of workshops that can help you nurture the team you dream of. 

 

How Can Your Business Attract Top Talent? 

All businesses have one thing in common when it comes to hiring employees. They want to find the best talent that fits their company, at the best possible price point. While it may be easy to assume that salary is the main component to attracting and retaining top talent, there are other things to consider when searching for top talent. Read on to find out some innovative ways to attract talented individuals to your company. 

Competitive Benefits 

Obviously, the pay scale is a major factor that a candidate will weigh when making a job change. Make sure your salary scale is competitive with companies in your field and shows how increases may occur over the years. In addition to salary, make sure you have benefits that will attract top candidates. 

If you’d like a benchmark on the types of benefits are available, this article on 16 types of employee benefits is a good place to start. Benefits may include: medical, dental, vision, gym membership reimbursement, flexible spending accounts, health savings accounts, life insurance, profit sharing, disability, retirement plans, and the list could go on and on. 

Workplace Culture 

A recent Robert Half survey showed that 35 percent of the more than 1,000 workers polled said they would decline a job offer if the role was a perfect fit, but the company culture wasn’t. Take a close look at whether your office culture promotes job satisfaction. Are people happy to be there? Is there a personality and positive vibe about your workplace or is there a “nine-to-five drudgery” sense about it? Carefully examine your workplace culture and make changes to attract and retain top talent. 

Some changes that could impact workplace culture is flexibility when it comes to work hours and locations. Consider allowing for remote working days or flex days for parents who need to pick up or drop off at school/daycare. Help your employees forge bonds with non-work activities such as pizza lunches, after work gatherings, or fun office competitions. You may also want to consider the way that your office is physically configured, which will determine how your employees are able to interact with one another. Do you want to shift to an open workspace, private work cubicles, or a mix of the two? 

A Chance to Give Back 

One factor that employees have reported as a way to remain loyal to a company is their ability to give back to the community. Most people don’t just want to work for a paycheck. They want a sense that they are contributing to the greater good in some way. Consider allowing your employees to have days off for volunteering in their community or volunteering as a group on a project that your employees choose together. This will not only boost morale, but also give your employees a chance to make a difference outside the halls of your offices. 

Do you need assistance finding and retaining talented employees? Join us for our workshop on October 10, 2019 on Attracting a Talented Workforce

Building a Positive Company Culture 

Not all of us can be Google, which prides itself on a unique and happy employee culture. In some ways, Google Headquarters looks more like an adult playground than a corporate office. In fact, there are people employed at Google whose sole purpose is to create a happy and positive employee culture. How about that? 

Ok, so not all of us can afford to have a gym, playroom, or spa retreat inside our office, but we can still do some fairly simple things to maintain a positive company culture. Here is how. 

Create a Safe Space 

Not all offices have extra room to build an adult playground with a ping pong table or video games, but almost every office can carve out a small area where an employee can relax, enjoy their lunch, and chill out away from their desk. Sperling Interactive in Salem carved out an area in a room that was not very functional in order to build a “nest” where employees can relax, hang out, and sometimes just have a different place to get work done. 

 

Show Gratitude 

When something good happens at work, thank the people responsible. This might mean an email, short letter, or maybe even a small gift to show gratitude for the hard work. Make sure you are consistent in doing this or employees may notice that you gave a shout out in one instance and not in another. 

 

Encourage Positive Thinking 

Encourage your team to think in a positive way. This means in your thoughts, actions, and words, you should keep it upbeat and happy. Obviously be genuine, but try to always have a “glass half full” attitude. This outlook can be contagious. 

Don’t Just Talk… Listen 

Everyone likes to be heard, whether it is complaints about the dishes in the break room building up in the sink or a company policy that someone would like changed. Truly listen to your employees and they will feel valued. It does not mean you need to do everything that it asked but, rather, listen and respond. This sense that feedback is welcome can make employees feel valued and want to stay at your company for years. 

 

Encourage Employee Learning 

Whether you can afford to subsidize a masters program or certificate programs or not, you should be encouraging your employees to learn more. If you invest in them, they will invest in you. I can not say enough about this! 

Check out our events calendar for more workshops on nurturing a positive company culture. We all can’t be Google, but we can make out employee culture a happy one. 

 

Retaining Top Talent

Is your company a revolving door of employees coming and going endlessly? In today’s business world, young workers have a reputation for moving from job to job looking for the next big break. Unfortunately, that means that business loyalty is not as it once was.

How, then, do business leaders deal with this issue and retain the top talent that they worked so hard to attain in the first place? There are several methods that may help with retention and overall employee morale as well.

Create a Detailed Onboarding Process

Some workplace studies show that onboarding properly can help new hires become long term employees. Be sure that your onboarding process includes orientation, socialization with other employees, and continued monitoring that the new hire is learning the specific job well and with support. Seventy percent of new workers report that they are more likely to stay at their new company for three years or more if they experienced a favorable application and onboarding process.

Allow for Flexibility

Retaining top talent sometimes means thinking outside the box. Consider flexible work hours instead of the 9-5 of our parents generation. Flexibility may also be necessary when it comes to remote work. Does an employee have an ailing parent or a young child? Possibly the option of working from home may alleviate personal stressors and encourage an employee to stay with your company.

Provide Incentives

Employees like to feel like they are learning, growing, and moving forward. By providing training and incentives to educate themselves and move up in the business, young employees tend to stay put. Whether you offer a percentage of the cost of a class or include bonuses for each training s/he takes part in, you are investing in your company and the retention of your best and brightest team members.

 

Give and Get Feedback

One complaint that employees who move around a lot have is that they do not feel like they were listened to. Be acutely aware with new employees that you plan to listen and give feedback on a regular basis. Feeling invested in a company and that ideas are considered is a great way to retain some of your top talent.

Retaining your best employees can be difficult but with some creative thinking and an attention to the needs of those employees you can foster a long-term relationship that will be beneficial for both of you for years.

 

Making Annual Reviews Productive

Oh no, it’s that time of year again! Performance reviews are not the most happily anticipated work events. In fact, most employees and business leaders report that they often dread, or at least get anxious at, the mere thought of reviewing the past year.

For some businesses, this meeting is not just a review of how an employee is doing but it is also tied to raises and bonuses. That adds a layer of pressure and stress in the days and weeks leading up to the review.

Performance reviews, although somewhat stressful, are one of the most effective ways to assess, motivate, and engage your employees. If you find that your employees are dreading these or that you want them to be more productive, follow some of these tips and suggestions to make the most of the time.

Be Prepared

As with any other aspect of running a business, be ready. Employees should be given a self-evaluation form so they can examine what they thought of their accomplishments and/or setbacks throughout the year. Management should fill out something similar. The worst thing you can do is forget and just go through the motions by having a review without any direction or purpose. A form that each person fills out can help keep you on track during the review.

Start on a Positive Note

Ask your employee to start off the meeting by talking about their most positive learning experience this year or something they are proud of. Always start on a positive note. This will hopefully put everyone at ease and set the tone for a productive meeting.

Be Open and Honest

As an employer, there are probably some areas where you would like to see some improvement or possibly some training over the next year. Talk to your employees about what training you think they could benefit from. You may find that they want to broaden their learning as well. Be honest as well about areas that you would like to see improvement. Ask your employees how you can help them achieve that improvement. Look at it as more of a group effort rather than an adversarial relationship.

Set Goals

As a part of your review process, you may want to set some SMART goals that can be evaluated next year. Make sure the goals are achievable, realistic, measurable, and specific. This can keep both of you on track.

Ask For Feedback

Not only should you be talking about how an employee can improve or in what areas you want to see growth, but you should be asking for feedback from that person as well about your contributions and how you can help him/her attain those goals. Remember, this is a two-way street.

Do you need help fine-tuning your annual reviews? Check out our workshop on “How to Conduct Performance Evaluations.”  Join Nancy Saperstone, Senior HR Business Partner and Communications Specialist, Insight Performance, on June 11, 2019, from 8:30 am – 10:30 am.

 

 

Employee Retention Strategies

In last month’s blog post, we discussed the difference between recruitment and talent acquisition. This week we will touch on effective employee retention strategies. One of the most difficult situations a business can find itself in is when a top employee quits unexpectedly. Almost immediately the management team must take on a whole slew of challenges, namely replacing the valued employee, as well as the effect this sudden departure will have on the rest of the team. One employee’s departure may cause others to consider the same. For this reason, both job satisfaction and employee retention should really be at the top of every business’ list, so as to reduce turnover. Let’s take a look at some of the best practices when it comes to employee retention:

 

  • The onboarding process – First impressions are everything That’s why an employee’s first day is so vital to their perception of and performance in the company. Orientation is a key component of the onboarding process, as the new hire is introduced to the team and can get a quick look at the operations of the business, as well as a layout of the office space. The team should be warm and welcoming to all new hires, even inviting them out to lunch or for a morning coffee can create fast friendships within the workplace. Good relationships between staff are an essential feature of job satisfaction.
  • Compensation and rewards – Another key element in job satisfaction is making sure that employees are compensated handsomely and that their achievements and accomplishments are recognized. Money is probably the most attractive and competitive feature of a job listing, so pay your employees fairly and entice them with raises after a long track record of top-notch work.
  • Balancing work and life – Yet another important aspect in employee retention is your employees’ abilities to balance work with their respective social lives, and even school. If an employee is working too many hours, s/he can get easily bogged down and lose motivation. This can lead to resignation due to lost interest and feeling unappreciated. There should be a healthy balance between work and life for all employees, and management should be understanding when employees request a reduction in hours or workload. Quality work comes from happy employees, so job satisfaction is very important in this aspect.

 

Employee retention is the key to keeping a successful business running at peak performance. Job satisfaction among employees is a deciding factor when considering applying for a new job or toughing it out at their current job. Make sure employees are happy, compensated well, and really feel like they each play an integral role in the team.

The Difference Between Recruitment and Talent Acquisition

The terms “talent acquisition” and “recruitment” are often confused as meaning the same thing, but this is not the case. There are key differences between the two, differences with which you should familiarize yourself if you’re looking to hire the most qualified candidates for specific positions within your company. For starters, recruitment means that you’re looking to hire someone, dare I say anyone, in order to fill a vacancy. Talent acquisition, on the other hand, is the process of strategically looking for specialists, leaders, future executives, or other qualified professionals for a specific position within the company. Let’s delve into both and take a look at which one is better depending on the industry and why:

  • Recruitment – Again, recruitment is the process by which you look to fill vacant positions quickly and without much regard for the candidate’s’ particular specialties, if defined. Recruiting may be seen as reactive, meaning that a position recently opened up and it must be filled.

 

  • Talent Acquisition – As previously stated, talent acquisition is all about actively searching for the most qualified candidate to hire for a specific position. This strategy is common among niche industries such as, medical, technology, legal, and even translation services. Kathleen Quinn Votaw, Founder and CEO of the HR consulting firm, TalenTrust, says that, “The areas with the greatest skills shortages are those that most need a talent strategy.” Typically, if you’re looking to hire people for a long-term position, you should aim for talent acquisition, so as to lower a potentially high turnover rate, which is a possible effect of recruiting less-qualified candidates.

 

 

Talent acquisition is becoming increasingly more popular, and usually requires some marketing strategies to make the position known to specific, potential candidates. As niche industries continue to grow and populate as preferred career paths, hiring managers within are simultaneously scouting out candidates with the best talent, who are most qualified, and who will both ameliorate, as well as benefit from working for, the company. Define whom you’re looking to hire and for which positions, and either recruit or acquire talent accordingly.

Common HR Traps and Managing Employees Effectively

The modern role of a Human Resources Manager is to recruit, interview, and hire employees, ensure the happiness and wellbeing of the employees in the office environment, ensure compliance with labor laws and employment standards, among other assorted responsibilities. It is a big job trying to advocate for each individual in the office, as well as trying to balance employee satisfaction with meeting the goals, objectives, and overall standards of the company, but someone’s got to do it. Due to the difficulties of this job, there are common HR traps which some businesses may experience. Here are just a few, as well as tips on how to avoid or resolve them:

 

  • Not Being Familiar with Employment Laws – As the HR rep, you should familiarize yourself with the proper procedures of hiring, maintaining, and terminating employees. If not, your company may be sued for improper or unlawful termination. Brainstorm clever interview questions that have to do with the job itself for which you are hiring, as well as a list of do’s and don’ts for your managers to follow during the interview process. These practices will help to ensure that you hire the best candidate for the position, and that you will be protected when it comes time to terminate.
  • A Lack of an Onboarding Process – Onboarding means that a new employee is properly oriented with the office and that managers and employees are ready to welcome the new hire to the team. Nothing sends off a bad signal like an unacquainted, new employee who walks into an empty or quiet office on their first day, particularly when the manager or other essential personnel is absent upon the newbie’s arrival. A good practice is to make sure the manager is in the office before the new hire arrives, in order to greet and familiarize them with the workplace and environment. Current employees should also be informed of the new hire’s arrival and should invite him/her out to lunch to make them feel welcome and like a valued team member.
  • Insufficient Training Periods – One of the most important, yet overlooked aspects of growing and expanding businesses is the need for continuous training. This is particularly common among smaller businesses because of the constant influx of new tasks and jobs. Combine that with the short history of the company, and you may end up with a recipe for disaster. These tasks are new to the company, meaning that people will have little-no knowledge of how to complete them. That’s where training comes into play. It is essential to train employees thoroughly, so they get a better grasp of their respective job duties, and, when the time comes, they can train someone else.

 

 

Don’t let your company be subject to common HR pitfalls and traps. The HR manager is on the front lines of the company, fighting with both the employees’ and the company’s ideals in mind. If you’ve experienced problems with your HR department, it might be time to consider formalizing it. This not only helps you hire and retain better employees, but you also build a positive reputation for your business.

Performance Reviews

Whether it is called an annual review, performance review, or a salary adjustment meeting, these workplace events can be stressful for both the employee and the manager. These meetings may seem like a blip on the radar as they usually only happen annually or bi-annually, but they can set the tone for your company and the expectations that you have for your employees across the entire spectrum of leadership. Here are a few tips to help make performance reviews positive and motivational.

  • Prepare in Advance –  Never go into a performance review without preparation. Both the manager and the employee should plan in advance with a worksheet that they can fill out prior to the review that lists major accomplishments, strengths, weaknesses and future goals going forward. This will give both the employee and the reviewer a good way to organize their thoughts.
  • Keep Things Positive – Avoid heading right into the areas where you would like to see improvement. Instead spend the vast amount of time during  the review talking about what went right during the year, accomplishments, and improvements that you have seen since the last review. Everyone wants to know that their hard work has been noticed and find that it is rewarding when a leader in the company has taken note.
  • Talk About Struggles – Every employee, including yourself has some area of the job that they struggle with. Talk about what those are for this particular employee and how the company can be of assistance to guide, mentor or support so that these things are less of a struggle.  This may include assisting with a class on a topic that impacts your company or potentially arranging for a training session.
  • Create Goals – During the review, be sure to talk about future goals that the employee has as well as what you see on the horizon. This is a great way to set your agenda out and let your employee know that you see things moving forward for them. They may have ideas that can build up your business as well.
  • Be Ready to Do a Balancing Act –  Be prepared to be constructive in your discussions but also be ready to hold your ground. The more prepared you are the easier the conversation will go. If you have questions talk to your HR department or representative.

Managing Conflicts at Work

No matter what size your business is there are bound to be conflict between employees. Everyone comes to the table with different experiences, beliefs and expectations. Your job as a business leader is to find a way to cultivate and enjoy those differences without having to manage conflicts constantly between team members. It is pretty much inevitable that conflict will arise in times of stress or change. How you deal with it will determine the extent and impact on your company. Here are a few tips from experts at Forbes, Time, and U.S. News on what to do (and what not to do) in times of conflict.

  • Be Prepared – Honestly, you know it is practically inevitable – so plan ahead. Talk to your Human Resources personnel, who are experts on dealing with many personalities and are usually good under pressure. They may have courses or suggestions for how to handle day-to-day conflicts or larger disagreements. They can also be excellent mediators in the  event of a larger conflict.
  • Stay Calm – Conflict can quickly escalate if all parties are not dealt with in a calm manner. Your leadership skills of listening, problem solving and finding a common ground will be tested. Most of all keep your cool and check yourself before dealing with any crisis, big or small.
  • Document – One of the hallmarks of a great Human Resources department is documenting any conflicts so that they can be handled correctly. Be sure your HR department or specialist keeps a written log of what the conflict was and how it was handled. You may need this documentation later if the conflict comes up again or if a legal situation arises.
  • Do Not Avoid – Some business leaders make the all-too-common-mistake of trying to avoid the conflict and let it solve itself. Experts warn against this because what may seem like it is settled may rear it’s head later and cause even more problems later.
  • Follow Up – Many conflicts can be solved quickly and rather quietly. However, as a business leader, you should make it a priority to check in with concerned parties to make sure all is well or at least getting better. HR should also follow up and conclude documentation on the conflict.