Category Archives: Engagement

360 degree feedback surveys can work for you

Here at Balance at Work, we recently managed a 360 degree feedback survey that saw 1360 feedback surveys completed for 157 managers. Along the way, we learnt a few lessons about what can go wrong with a 360 degree feedback project and ways to make the process much smoother in the future.

Here’s a short list of tips to help you get the most out of your next 360 degree feedback exercise.

1. Explain to everyone what a 360 feedback survey is and why they are doing it

Before doing anything, it is important that you tell everybody who is being assessed and everyone providing feedback the basics of what a 360 is and how it works. We had several people confused about why they were asked to provide feedback for their line managers – they are so used to it only going one way. By providing a clear outline of the project and the expected outcomes, it will be more likely that the feedback given will be constructive and useful.

By providing a clear outline of the project and the expected outcomes, the feedback given is more likely to be constructive and useful.

2. Provide step-by-step instructions for every part of the 360 degree feedback process

Regardless of what system you use to conduct your 360 (we use Spidergap), it will take a little time for users to understand how to use it. In order to make sure you get the highest quality feedback, it is vital that all involved know what to expect in the process as well as what is expected of them.

We found it is Important to give instructions around the criteria for choosing feedback providers, relationship titles and hints for providing useful feedback. It is always better to give clear, comprehensive instructions than to leave it to chance.

3. Be careful about who is providing 360 degree feedback

One of the biggest obstacles to getting useful, meaningful feedback is the source of that feedback. Having a balance between all relationships to the person being assessed is vital to making it a real 360. It is also important that those providing feedback feel confident in their ability to assess the person in question.

We had comments that people didn’t know someone well enough to feel comfortable providing feedback, a situation that would be avoided with more care in feedback provider selection.

For example, questions about internal management procedures will be confusing if you are including customers in the survey. Feedback providers can make or break a survey, so consider carefully who you want to involve and what you hope to gain from their perspective.

By following these 3 simple steps, you can ensure your 360 degree feedback survey process runs smoothly.

For our client, our experience contributed to the value of the survey. Here’s the feedback we received at the end of the project from Chris Bulmer, National GM Learning and Development, ISS Australia:

Susan and Harriet are the ideal external partners for us as they completely get what we as an organization are trying achieve in the People and Culture space. Their flexibility and responsiveness to our needs has seen the entire 360 approach being a complete success. The online tool worked well and the follow up coaching sessions that we have deployed have been game changers for our business. The buzz in the organization is outstanding. Love it! Thanks again for being such great support crew on this key project.

Download our free Planning Checklist or let us organise your free trial!

Paradox theory and team dynamics

This article was originally written and posted by Dr Dan Harrison. You can read the original version here.

In today’s specialised work environment, talent is not enough. Talented people must effectively work together in order for the organization to succeed. HR budgets are tight and finding the right combination of talented people who can work together day in and day out to achieve positive results is difficult. As any good sports team knows, getting the right talent on the team in the right positions working together is imperative.

Harrison Assessments Paradox Theory reveals team dynamics in a way that has never before been possible, enabling individual team members to easily identify how their own behaviors contribute or obstruct the team objectives.

Harrison Assessments Paradox Theory provides a greater depth of psychological understanding because it reveals an entire system of behavior rather than merely offering insights about specific traits. It also predicts stress behavior and providesa framework that facilitates objective understanding of self and a clear direction for self-development.

It provides a step-by-step plan in which each team member can make adjustments to facilitate optimal team performance.

In essence, HA is a team building tool to achieve the following:

• Create teams with effective interactions.
• Discover the strengths and challenges of a team including team decision-making potential.
• Identify the best roles for each team member
• Assess the potential for cooperation or conflict.
• Establish clear guidelines for effective interactions.

HA can predict how people will:

• Communicate, influence and lead
• Handle autonomy
• Take personal initiative
• Resist or facilitate change
• Handle conflict
• Seek to learn, grow, and excel
• Plan and organize…and much more.

Using Harrison Assessments to choose and develop the right team in the right way is a major step in meeting the overall mission of your organization. Contact us today if you’d like to know more.

Three Keys to Job Satisfaction

This post originally appeared on the Harrison Assessments blog. For more posts like this, click here

It seems basic. If you like what you are doing it doesn’t feel so much like work. If you enjoy doing something you are more likely to continue doing it and do it well. So shouldn’t a personality assessment being used to measure job suitability include measuring work satisfaction?

Measuring work satisfaction is essential to determine motivation and forecast whether an individual will prosper, succeed and stay with the organization. Most behavioral and personality assessments fail to measure work satisfaction and are therefore limited to predicting personality.

Harrison Assessment’s twenty five plus years of research prove that employees who enjoy at least 75% or more of their job are almost 4 times more likely to succeed than employees who enjoy less than 75% of their job. Measuring factors related to work satisfaction makes it possible to predict job success and therefore hire, motivate and retain top talent.

Harrison Assessment’s Enjoyment-Performance methodology considers 3 key issues related to work satisfaction and retention, measuring the degree to which a person’s:

  1. Preferred tasks fit the job
  2. Interests fit the job
  3. Work environment preferences fit the job

Enjoyment and Performance are linked because the level of enjoyment that an employee has while performing a particular activity is directly related to the level of their performance relative to that activity.

When people enjoy a task, they tend to do it more, and get better at it. Like a self-fulfilling prophecy, good performance creates acknowledgment and/or positive self-regard which then causes people to enjoy the task even more.

Harrison Assessment solutions predict performance, work satisfaction and retention. They enable companies to motivate people and increase their performance by assigning the roles and responsibilities that give them the highest degree of work satisfaction. Harrison Assessments also enables companies to show their employees that they care about their work satisfaction. This genuine concern in itself evokes a positive response from employees. The mutually beneficial outcome is that both employees and employers win!

To find out more about using Harrison Assessments to measure and encourage work satisfaction contact us here

Avoiding the ‘Horror Hire’

This post originally appeared on the Harrison Assessments blog. For more posts like this, click here

If you think when you go for a job interview it is a nail-bitingly painful affair, imagine what it’s like for a manager who has to screen through all the job applications, narrow down the best and then conduct each and every interview while other tasks keep piling up!

Once the interview is over, all the job applicant has to do is wait patiently for the call that may or may not eventually come.

The manager on the other hand, has the task of deciding who is the best among the many hopefuls to fill the vacancy. If not using a job fit assessment there’s not much to go on. The stakes are high. If the right candidate is chosen, the company profits. The wrong one it can be a very expensive horror hire.

So how does one pick the person that is exactly the right fit for the job? And how sure are you that the person who ‘aced’ the test will actually pass with flying colors in the workplace, now and in the future?

Some might choose to go purely by gut instinct; others will base their decision on the recommendations of colleagues and friends. The results can be so very right or disastrously wrong as one small local engineering firm discovered to its dismay.

The firm had hired a manager who was highly recommended and who supposedly had chalked up quite an impressive resume working with multinational companies. The new manager was hired to help streamline the company’s operations but in the first three months, he behaved so arrogantly towards other staff, they refused to work with him and chaos ensued. The company was forced to terminate him only to discover that he had obtained the e-mail contacts of all their clients and associates which he then used to exact revenge.

He emailed allegations against the company to their clients and threatened to cause even more malicious damage to the company’s reputation, unless they paid for his silence! The enraged company was forced to hire outside expertise to investigate his background, counter his claim and fend off his allegations. They paid for a due diligence report to be conducted and forwarded the report to their clients. Then they hired a lawyer to block further action by the ex-employee.

With so much at stake today, it’s time for employers to ramp up the assessment process and cull those who misrepresent themselves. Using the Harrison Assessment can help you avoid the very expensive horror hire and keep your organisation profitable.

To find out more about using Harrison Assessments to make sure you don’t make a horror hire contact us here

Jump start employee engagement

This post originally appeared on the Harrison Assessments blog. For more posts like this, click here

According to a study by the Quantum Work Place “Employee Engagement” has declined to the lowest point it has been in eight years. Despite the improving economy, employee engagement declined in 2014 across organisations of all sizes and in more than 75 percent of the markets measured through the Best Places to Work program.

Employee engagement among Best Places to Work was on a slow, steady incline, as organisations recovered from the 2008 recession. However, this past year, engagement dipped to only 65.9 percent of employees engaged. Prior to 2014, employee engagement was lowest in 2010 with 66.7 percent of employees engaged.

Although the majority of employees were engaged, these trends indicate a slight shift toward uncertainty and suggest that organisations have more areas for improvement than in previous years.

A number of themes emerged when examining employee uncertainty about the workplace:

Commitment to Valuing Employees
Almost half of the items with the highest uncertainty were related to how employers value their employees, whether through compensation, recognition, or growth opportunities. Employees should not be treated as a means to an end. Engaged workplaces exhibit a commitment to employees in how they are supported, recognized, and developed.

Global Information
One-third of the items with the highest uncertainty were related to global information, or how information is shared throughout an organisation. Whether it’s understanding their personal future or getting feedback regularly from managers, employees lack confidence in their managers’ ability to communicate.

These areas of uncertainty represent areas of opportunity for employers. By offering clarity and improving in these areas, employers can improve employee perceptions and engagement.

One of the easiest ways to improve employee relations and engagement is through the use of a job-specific assessments such as Harrison Assessments. Now you can measure intrinsic behavioral factors that drive individual engagement — employee motivators and attitudes!

  • Identify gaps between employee and employer expectations and motivators
  • Facilitate the essential dialogue between employee and manager
  • Foster a shared responsibility for engagement
  • Create a culture of engagement

Take the next step in engagement initiatives! Align employee intrinsic factors with organisational extrinsic factors to maximise engagement.

To find out more about using Harrison Assessments to improve your employee engagement contact us here

How to reward and keep your best employees — for free

career help

It’s tempting to say that your best employees don’t require rewards because they are probably already highly engaged. I’m sure some businesses operate that way, but it’s certainly not sustainable.

When you have employees you would like to keep, there are a few simple — and free — measures you can take to both reward and retain them.

1. Share your vision

Unless they know what they are working towards, it’s difficult for even the most highly motivated team members to stay enthusiastic and productive in the long term. On the other hand, if they expect their efforts to result in them being part of a team (or leading the team) that excels at what they do, they will work hard to get somewhere they can be proud of.

More money in their pockets — or your pockets — is not a sustainable reward and retention strategy. There’ll always be someone else who will pay an employee more if they’re a top performer. As Simon Sinek reminds us in his book Start with Why, profit is an outcome; it is not a purpose. Like you, your team want to know why they’re doing what they’re doing.

2. Keep them in the loop

How often have you set KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for staff based on your business plan, then not referred to them until their next performance review?

As a business owner or manager, you are constantly monitoring results. Are you keeping the people who are responsible for achieving those results up to date with their progress against their targets? Of course, this involves sharing the bad news as well as the good.

While it seems to come naturally to be careful about what information we share, it’s just as important to be mindful of how you share information. It’s your job to communicate. You are responsible for doing as much as you can to ensure your message is clear and appropriate for the person receiving it.

3. Challenge them

Your best employees often have the capacity to offer more, so don’t be afraid to ask them, provided the two steps above are already in place.

A sense of mastery is experienced when a new and challenging task is equal to the person’s ability to complete that task. By providing new opportunities, you are providing your best employees with the chance to experience mastery and ‘flow’ at work. This is an intrinsic reward task that can’t be counted in dollars and cents, but it will certainly have an impact on your bottom line.

Rewarding and keeping your best employees requires giving them purpose, a sense of belonging and a chance to shine. These are covered in the points above, but there is one more thing — and it’s probably the most important of all.

Your best employees achieve that status because they know their job, know your business, know your industry and know your market. By asking for their input and really listening to them, you will not only learn a lot, you will also uncover the secret ingredient to engagement and retention.

Acknowledgement and recognition are basic human needs. We can believe these needs are satisfied with a bonus, pay rise or award. To some extent, they are. However, recognising your best employee’s value by seeking and respecting their opinion can be a much more powerful reward.

This article was originally published on MYOB’s blog, The Pulse. For more business news and tips, visit www.myob.com/blog.

Why your workshops aren’t working

workplace training

As a (sometimes) trainer, I’m surprisingly cynical about the value of training workshops in changing behaviour. I know I’m not alone in this, and I think I now understand why.

Typically, a client comes to us with a problem in their organisation that they feel training can solve. It might be an issue such as bullying or poor productivity. They have the budget and we design a program for them. We deliver the training but only rarely get to know if it has any impact in the longer term. My experience of human behaviour tells me a short workshop is highly unlikely to have solved the problem it was meant to address in the first place. This is why…

1. We are only treating the symptoms

If I have a headache, I can take some painkiller but unless I change what caused the headache, the pain relief will only be temporary.

If you have poor time management skills, I can teach you a range of techniques. They might help you get more done, but if your real problem is not being assertive enough to say ‘no’ when someone wants you to do something, all I’ve taught you is a smoother route to burnout.

Similarly, we could run a session on bullying, but if your managers lack the emotional intelligence to read their impact on others and know when they are being a bully, not much will change.

2. The wrong people are in the room

Early in my consulting life, I conducted a series of half-day workshops on bullying and harassment for an organisation with around 300 staff. We knew bullying was endemic and it needed to be stopped. We also knew this toxic culture was coming from the top as is, sadly, often the case.

As you may have guessed, although they were scheduled and rescheduled into the workshops, the executive were always too busy and didn’t make it to the training. In this case, we didn’t even get the change to share the basics with them, let alone contribute to a wider cultural change – which is what was really needed.

3. Not monitoring return on investment

On numerous occasions, we’ve been called in to deliver a program for a specific purpose. This is well and good: a need has been identified and it is being addressed. But often there’s something missing.

That something is data. Without knowing how bad the problem is and the evidence that supports our assumption a problem exists, it will be very hard – if not impossible – to know how effective the training intervention has been.

Quite often, organisations choose to save money upfront by not doing a good analysis of their needs. Unfortunately, this attitude guarantees they will have no way of knowing – apart from feelings – if they’ve just thrown more money away on a pointless training exercise.

How do you avoid these traps?

1. Do your homework

Know what you want to achieve. Make sure you have current data that will allow you to track progress over time, and clear goals of what outcomes you would like to see in the future.

2. Choose wisely

Sometimes a workshop is not the best way to achieve your desired outcome. For example, poor morale may be due to one person. Then your decision is to keep or let go, and if you decide to keep the person your next choice is about how to manage their behaviour.

3. Monitor closely

While feedback on the day is essential, usually people are basking in the glow of new information or a day out of the office. What matters more is long term change.You must work out how you will measure this change, it could be anything from fewer incidents to feedback after one month.

By following the steps above, you will be on your way to more effective training in your business.

If you have any further insights or tips, please share them below.

 

Your future workforce

Predicting the future is always a risky business, but it is also a fascinating exercise!

Here’s some data from McCrindle Research that gives us a taste of who you will be dealing with in your workplace soon, if not already. To read the original article, click here.

Gen Z infographic

 

What have you noticed about the generation entering the workforce now?

We’d love to read your observations, so please share them below.

Future of Work Conference 2015

At the end of April 2015, I was fortunate enough to attend two days of inspiring sessions at the Future of Work conference

There was so many ideas shared, which I’m sure you will see reflected in future posts on this blog. For now, a summary provided by the organisers, the Centre for Workplace Leadership.

If you’d like to know more, please ask!

In total, there were 367 attendees at the conference, plus 35 speakers, and around 30 staff and volunteers. In the two days of the conference, we managed to fit in 17 sessions, consume 1000 cups of coffee, write thousands of tweets, and the hashtag (#2015FOW) was trending on Twitter.

The conference taught us to get ready for Uber working, identified the key issues facing business, highlighted the need to promote innovation (and throw out our management textbooks), explored what was holding us back as entrepreneurs, and much, much more.

The one question you should be asking your staff

“At work, do you have an opportunity to do what you do best, every day?”

Gallup has asked this question of more than 1.7 million employees in 100 companies from 65 countries. Rather disappointingly, only 20% felt that their unique strengths were being used every day at work. Even more shockingly, the longer an employee stays in an organisation, the less likely they are to feel they get to apply their strengths. 

What does this mean for you?

Top performers in any organisation are those who get to do more of the things they enjoy and less of the things they don’t. This is so obvious, we sometimes miss the need to be more proactive in making sure all employees have the opportunity to experience more of the joy of using their natural talents at work.

If we are serious about improving productivity and performance, we need to be asking how we can be improving the number of people who can answer ‘yes’ to the question above.

enjoyment-performance

The link between enjoyment and performance

Enjoyment and performance are linked because the level of enjoyment an employee has while performing a particular activity is directly related to the level of their performance in that activity.

When people enjoy a task, they tend to do it more and get better at it. Like a self-fulfilling prophecy, good performance creates acknowledgment and positive self-regard which then causes people to enjoy the task even more. And so on…

This elegantly simple concept underlies everything we do with Harrison Assessments. Most behavioural and personality assessments fail to measure work satisfaction and are therefore limited to predicting personality, whereas Harrison Assessments go beyond personality to identify a wide range of traits linked to job fit and performance.

The link between enjoyment and engagement

Engagement survey after engagement survey tell us that employees in many workplaces are feeling they are lacking a connection with their jobs and their organisations. If this is happening in your organisation, go back to this single, simple question:

“At work, do you have an opportunity to do what you do best, every day?”

When you take the time to listen to the answers and understand how you can change your results, you’ve taken a big step to realising the full potential of your business.

Download ‘Engagement is a Shared Responsibility’ Whitepaper

Have you missed the secret to career satisfaction?

accountability

If we’ve done our research, we know well what a certain career will require of us but what we require from our careers is not always so obvious.

Whether it’s your own career, your team members’ or your clients’, hidden engagement factors make all the difference.

The engagement analytics embedded in the Harrison Assessments questionnaire reveal the hidden inner dynamics of career engagement. The new Engagement and Retention Analysis report focuses on these factors to provide valuable insights into a person’s career expectations in eight key areas:

  • Development
  • Remuneration
  • Authority
  • Social
  • Appreciation
  • Communication
  • Personal
  • Work life balance

All of these factors will have an impact on the level of enjoyment and satisfaction we get from our careers.

Engagement analytics mean you don’t need to ‘mind read’ to know what’s important. Imagine the time and stress not having to guess could save you!

Understanding the value a client (or employee) places on each of their requirements is the hidden key to ensuring they will know what they are looking for when they compare careers.

You can view a sample Engagement and Retention Analysis here. To read more on the theory behind the report, download Dr Dan Harrison’s whitepaper ‘Engagement is a Shared Responsibility’. If you use Harrison Assessments, you already have access to this report for yourself, your staff and your clients. We can help you explore putting engagement analytics into action – contact us to find out more.

In October, November and December, we are giving away one Engagement and Retention Analysis per month…

For your chance to receive your own ERA report, speak to us at the conferences listed below, post a comment or subscribe to our newsletter.

This is where we’ll be:

We look forward to meeting you – and possibly sharing your hidden engagement dynamics!

Empathy – Soft Skill of the Courageous

new employees

One of the traits we measure with Harrison Assessments is empathy. It’s a major contributor to success in life, at work and elsewhere.

In this beautifully animated RSA Short, Dr Brené Brown explains empathy and reminds us that we can only create a genuine empathic connection if we are brave enough to really get in touch with our own vulnerability.

Would you like to know if others think you are empathetic?

We can show you with Harrison Assessments and 360 degree feedback. Get in touch!

 

"The last couple of years at batyr has seen incredible growth and the Balance at Work team has supported us along the way. They have helped us improve leadership skills across the team by helping us source and manage mentors, and even engaging as mentors themselves. As a young and fresh CEO Susan has also supported me personally with genuine feedback and fearless advice to achieve great things. "
By Sam Refshauge, CEO, batyr
"We used the Harrison Assessment tools followed by a debrief with Susan, for career development with staff, which then allowed us to work with Susan to create a customised 360 degree review process. Susan has a wealth of knowledge and is able to offer suggestions and solutions for our company. She is always ready to get involved and takes the time to show her clients the capability of Harrison Assessments. "
By Jessica Hill, Head of People and Culture, Choice
"Balance at Work are the ideal external partners for us as they completely get what we are trying achieve in the People and Culture space. Their flexibility and responsiveness to our needs has seen the entire 360 approach being a complete success. The online tool and the follow up coaching sessions have been game changers for our business. The buzz in the organisation is outstanding. Love it! Thanks again for being such a great support crew on this key project."
By Chris Bulmer, National GM Learning and Development, ISS Australia
"We use Harrison Assessments with our clients to support their recruitment processes. We especially value the comprehensive customisable features that allow us to ensure the best possible fit within a company, team and position. Balance at Work is always one phone call away. We appreciate their valuable input and their coaching solutions have also given great support to our clients."
By Benoit Ribe, HR Solutions Manager, Polyglot Group
"The leadership team at Insurance Advisernet engaged Susan from Balance at Work to run our leadership development survey and learning sessions. Susan was very professional in delivering the team and individual strengths and opportunities for growth. Susan's approach was very "non corporate" in style which was refreshing to see. I can't recommend Balance at Work more highly to lead, employee and team development sessions."
By Shaun Stanfield, Managing Director, Insurance Advisernet

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