Category Archives: Teams

Top 5 feedback failures and how to fix them

For most people, giving negative feedback is the last thing they want to do – but if you do it badly it causes pain on both sides.

The point of giving negative feedback is to create a change in behaviour to improve performance. If you fail to deliver the feedback effectively, you will fail to meet this objective.

There are five common ways managers and supervisors fail at giving negative feedback.

Know what they are and what to do to avoid them, and you can avoid the consequences of feedback failure.

1. Too fast

A lot of people just want to get the act of giving negative feedback over with as quickly as possible.

This means that you may go into the conversation unprepared, and there won’t be enough time for adequate conversation.

If you rush, the person on the receiving end may just wonder ‘what just happened?’.

If they can’t ask questions or explain the situation from their perspective, it’s far less likely they will be able to act on your feedback.

Instead:

  • Set aside adequate time to explain the feedback and your reasoning
  • Allow the other person time to give their point of view
  • Take the time to discuss and agree on what should happen instead

2. Too late

One of the guaranteed ways to diminish the impact of feedback is by waiting too long to express it.

If you hold onto criticism for too long it has a way of festering, and by the time you get around to giving it the party on the other end of it may end up bewildered or shocked by the magnitude of it.

Remember, they may be completely oblivious to the fact that they’ve done anything wrong.

READ: Timely feedback leads to better performance

Rather than providing your team member with guidance, you are more likely to create a defensive reaction.

What to do instead:

  • Give the feedback as close as possible to the time of the behaviour you’ve observed that you’d like to change

By doing this, you will have the comfort of getting it off your mind, and the other person gets feedback at a time when they can reasonably do something about the issue.

3. Too emotional

Feedback given in the heat of the moment is more than likely to fail in its objective.

You may also find you get an emotional reaction from the other person, resulting in an escalation.

Feedback given in these conditions won’t help anyone. Nor will it improve employee motivation, engagement or performance.

What to do instead:

  • Don’t be tempted to ‘fire from the hip’
  • Take time to consider all relevant factors that may have created the issue, including your part in what happened
  • Then choose a time to have the conversation when you have had time to settle your own emotions

4. Irrelevant feedback

Sometimes it’s tempting to give negative feedback to a person for a reason that’s not relevant to the situation at hand.

It might be because you’re not getting what you want from one person but rather than addressing the issue with them, you take it up with someone else.

Or it may be that you’ve chosen to focus your attention on what appears to be an easy problem rather than one that will be tougher to solve.

In both cases, the stress you’re under could cause you to stop thinking clearly, causing you to choose the wrong target for your feedback.

What to do instead:

  • Do your research
  • Reflect on your motivation
  • Is this the person who can solve the problem?

5. Useless feedback

Of all possible feedback you can give, the most useless will be feedback that doesn’t lead to the changes you’re seeking.

For feedback to be useful, it has to be within the power of the person receiving the feedback to act on it.

Can you imagine how it would make someone feel if you give them negative feedback and they can’t do anything to change the situation?

What to do instead:

  • Before giving your feedback, make sure you’re telling the right person and that they can act on it
  • Ask if they have the time, resources and training to make the changes you’re expecting?

For feedback to be successful, it must be timely, prepared and rational.

Take your time and do your research. Most of all, be prepared to be open to other interpretations of the problem.

Then you’ll have the best chance of your feedback achieving your objectives instead of failing to be heard.

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

Busting the myths about changing your business culture

Changing your business culture is one of the hardest things to do – and buying into myths about the process can make it so much tougher.

As a concept, ‘culture’ can be held up as the foundation of progressive thinking and innovation within a business – or cop the rap when things go wrong. It’s not easy to nail exactly what culture is, which makes it difficult to measure.

Culture change seems to be the flavour of the day in management, and everybody has their own spin on how to manage it.

But before deciding to launch into a period of change in your business, make sure you’re not buying into any hype.

So what are the myths about culture change?

1. Changing culture is the solution to all your problems

There are other causes of poor performance and discontent.

While not denying the huge impact culture can have, don’t assume that it’s at the heart of every problem.

Instead, consider alternatives and do your research before launching into culture change.

READ: 3 steps for hiring the culture you want

What if the cause has less to do with your culture and more to do with your processes? Here are just a few examples:

  • Customer service complaints due to one team member lacking the necessary skills to do their job properly
  • Late deliveries caused by an outdated system
  • Falling revenue because of poor market intelligence and lack of innovation

TIP: Analyse the problem before blaming ‘culture’

2. Employees will see the need for change

So let’s say that after analysing the problems in your business, you’ve come to the conclusion that you do need to change the culture.

Never assume that you and your employees are on the same page about this.

Even a culture that outsiders would describe as toxic can be invisible to employees who have adapted to it over time.

Don’t assume that because you see the signs that culture needs to change that your team has seen them too. You may need to persuade them of the need to change.

TIP: Collect evidence.

3. Everyone will embrace change

Some people love change. Others hate it. They may also hold well-founded fears about the unknown future.

Those who resist change, especially if they’re influential in the business, could derail your efforts to change culture before you even begin.

If you don’t take steps to make them feel safe, they will never support the change.

TIP: Address fear.

READ: How to get the best out of your employees

4. Culture will change easily

There’s nothing easy about changing the culture of a business.

Think of it as a journey from one place to another with many different options for routes, directions, start and end points, and modes of transport – all while conducting business as usual.

The culture you have in your business evolved gradually.

It won’t be changing overnight just because you’ve decided it needs to.

TIP: Plan for the long haul.

By falling for any of these myths, you can start destroying a culture you intended to improve.

It’s counter-productive to point the finger at your team’s performance without addressing the underlying problems of processes, resources or skills.

Until you have clear, convincing evidence that the culture in your business needs to improve it will be hard to engage others in the change project.

Even then, success is only likely if you understand the potential challenges and have plans to address them.

Always keep your eyes open and proceed with extreme caution down the culture-change road. Seek expert advice before you start to avoid the predictable detours and delays that lie ahead.

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

Why accountability is the new black in management

Management trends can come and go, and a few can even re-emerge after lying in wait. One idea to re-emerge in recent times is accountability. The buck needs to stop somewhere.

Slowly, organisations have started to re-invent the concept of accountability.

Accountability is back on the agenda

The value of employees having autonomy, mastery and purpose to their work has been a popular idea, as has been aligning employees on a central ‘why’.

The result was a more consultative style of leadership, combined with an expectation that all team members will be intrinsically motivated by the goals of the organisation and their own work ethic.

READ: Why your employees need purpose

However, while those are worthy ideas I’ve seen the pendulum swing too far from the ‘command and control’ style of management to the consultative, where everybody gets a say.

Now it’s starting to edge its way back to a happy medium, where organisations have started to realise they still need their managers to lead people effectively to reach their strategic objectives.

You can’t just fill employees with a central purpose and let them go.

Instead, knowing what’s expected of employees by their manager and getting regular feedback on progress is driving employee engagement.

Invariably, that means accountability.

Research by Gallup shows that employees want to know what’s expected of them – so how do you keep people accountable without micromanaging them?

1. Decide on your destination

Note the use of ‘decide’, not ‘consult’ or ‘agree’.

There is a place for collaboration on goal formation because it increases engagement, but at some point a manager needs to make decisions and provide direction.

This, after all, is why you’re the boss.

Whether you work to OKRs, KPIs, KRAs, SMART goals or another acronym, is irrelevant.

READ: Get SMART to measure your business goals

Your team needs to know the outcome they’re meant to produce and it needs to make sense to them.

Your role as manager is to clearly articulate the desired outcomes and inspire your team to achieve them.

2. Point to the guardrails

Confusion and anxiety can be paralysing.

If your team doesn’t have some general guidelines about how they are expected to operate, you can waste a lot of time getting to your destination.

Guardrails may prevent your staff veering onto a path that won’t lead to the outcome you want, swerving into a ditch of overwhelm or ploughing unwelcome into other people’s special projects.

Where are the guardrails?

Look to your company values, policies and strategic direction and make sure they are clearly understood.

You can decide how wide or narrow you set the guardrails, but don’t forget about them. Crashing into something because you’ve ignored its existence will still hurt.

3. Install regular checkpoints

Imagine a business as a highway.

A manager may assume that a team may travel on the best route available if they know the destination they’re trying to reach – but of course it rarely works that way.

Instead of assuming smooth motoring all the way, I suggest using an early-warning system of trouble ahead.

The best way to do this is to hold regular one to one meetings with everyone on your team.

The meetings can be quick and simple, or you may choose to use a program like 15Five to make them even more efficient.

READ: How to run effective team meetings

Your meetings need only to consist of your own version of the following questions:

  • What are you most proud of achieving (in the last week)?
  • Where are you stuck?
  • How can I help you right now?

The last question is your opportunity to coach your team member in the moment on whatever issue arises.

Don’t feel tempted to take over a task that’s challenging them. Instead, ask questions to help them find their own solution.

The checkpoints exist to help you build trusting relationships, not just to check for obstacles on the route to your destination.

When fear of being a micromanager causes a leader to take their hands off the wheel, they can leave their teams bewildered and lost.

Activity will still happen, but it may not always produce the results the organisation needs.

Holding people accountable in a modern workplace is not about putting them on tram tracks where they must stick to a set way of doing things and depend on signals from you for their every move.

Instead, with a combination of clear direction, guardrails and checkpoints, you will reach your destination sooner with engaged and productive staff.

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

3 secrets for better teamwork

One common complaint we hear from managers about their staff is that there’s a lack of teamwork – but it can be taught.

It’s almost as if they think teamwork is some secret, magical quality their staff are lacking.

Perhaps they think there’s a wand we can wave and teamwork will miraculously appear.

I like to take a more practical approach.

1. Choose wisely

There are certainly personality traits that enable people to play well together, like having a preference for collaboration.

Being productive requires more than a will to collaborate, however.

Before you form a new team or hire a new team member, take the time to consider how they’ll contribute as well as how they’ll fit in.

For example, you might have the brightest mind in your field on the team, but if they’re intimidated by others and don’t speak up, they may as well not be there.

Ask yourself:

  • Do they have the level of technical expertise we need to get the job done?
  • Will they be willing to do what’s needed to make the team work? For example, they may need to feel uncomfortable occasionally and share an opposing view. Productive teams don’t agree on everything, and that’s a good thing.
  • Are they bringing to the team skills and potential we don’t already have on the team?
  • Will their preferences help or hinder the team’s productivity? If your team is high-velocity, but this person prefers a slower pace — or if they love to be well-organised, but the team tends to be more fluid — you might be building tension into the team. Tension’s not always a bad thing!
  • How will they react when things go wrong?

2. Lead the way

Can you name many sporting teams that have succeeded with a poor captain?

As the leader, you set the tone for the team both regarding how they behave towards each other and the wider world.

You also give them direction, so they know what they need to achieve. They’ll also look to you to model how they can be productive.

If setting the context and giving the team a vision of what winning will look like feels too hard, it could be because you have the wrong team. Or it could be time to work on your skills.

There’s no better way to develop skills than by using them, as long as you are open to feedback and learning.

Isn’t sharing your learning a great opportunity to model appropriate behaviour for your team?

To function well, have healthy interactions and be as productive as possible, your team needs to feel safe and supported.

They also need to be held accountable.

This TEDx talk by Amy Edmonson provides insights into the importance of providing both psychological safety and accountability for your team.

3. Get out of their way

This is when the magic happens. But it won’t happen if you try to micromanage the process or control the outcomes.

As a manager, you now need to step back and let the team get on with the work you’ve selected and guided them to do.

Some managers make the mistake of assuming they can go straight to this step.

If you think that way, I can tell you that back-tracking to fill in the gaps you’ve missed by not choosing wisely or showing leadership can be arduous and painful.

It’s the bread and butter of our consulting practice, so you can believe me when I say it’ll cost you a lot more time and money than you saved by assuming all would be well without your input in the early stages.

I’m sure most of us have had the experience of sitting in a team meeting thinking there are so many better ways we could be using our time.

Either our talents are not being utilised or we don’t know what we’re supposed to achieve — or both.

That sense of futility is a sign that the secrets above have not been applied.

Sometimes the elusive ‘teamwork’ just happens like magic. More often, it takes work to have a great team.

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

Three steps to hiring for the culture you want to create

assessments for recruiting

Have you ever tried to change the culture of your organisation? Wouldn’t hiring for cultural fit in the first place be better?

Some of the consulting work we do centres around changing an organisation’s culture – something which is ingrained and difficult to budge.

But what if you could set the culture from the moment you hire somebody?

If culture is ‘the way we do things around here’, then it’s not beyond your power to design it for your organisation.

One place to start is with your hiring and selection processes.

Technical ability and soft skills usually take pride of place when we hire.

While I don’t dispute these are basic and important, ignoring cultural fit can be where the seemingly perfect match comes unstuck. How can you avoid this trap?

1. Know what culture you want to create

What’s important to you in your work and your dealings with colleagues, clients and suppliers? How do you want the world to see your organisation?

There are as many answers to these questions as there are organisations!

One may focus on delivering their product or service as efficiently and inexpensively as possible.

Another may highlight the importance of staff engagement to deliver the best client and financial outcomes.

At Balance at Work, for example, we pride ourselves on how much we care about our clients and are known for going ‘above and beyond’ to help them achieve their objectives.

This attitude is the foundation of our culture and helps us identify who we want to attract, employ and work with daily.

2. Have a strategy for finding the right people

Once you’ve defined the culture you seek, it’s time to ensure you are seeking staff who align with your culture.

There are several parts of the recruitment and selection process that give you the opportunity to make decisions related to getting the best cultural fit:

  • The advertisement: Make it reflective of your culture, not a cookie-cutter generic ad. Also, be honest. Only use the phrase ‘fun place to work’ if it actually is.
  • Screening resumes: Look for experience, interests and skills that indicate a good fit, including those outside their employment. For example, if it’s important in your culture to help others, then look for volunteering. If teamwork is important, what have they done that shows it’s important to them too?
  • Interview: The interview is your big chance to describe the culture and to ask questions specifically aimed at finding out more about cultural fit. Make sure you are using behavioural questions that give the candidate an opportunity to describe how they work.
  • Objective assessments: Using psychometric surveys that cover values and motivations will help you see how well the candidate’s views align with your culture.
  • Reference checking: Get in the habit of asking referees to describe the culture in the candidate’s previous or current workplace(s). Tip: you also need to ask the candidate why they wanted to leave. Often it’s the culture that has driven them away. If your culture is different, you now have a great way to attract them to work for you if they meet all your other selection criteria.

3. Get help

You can easily get feedback on your culture, what works and what doesn’t, from your existing staff and other stakeholders.

They’re also well-placed to help you identify what you need (and don’t need) in your new hires to build your desired culture. Some questions you could ask:

  • How would you describe our culture to someone who doesn’t know our organisation?
  • What are the qualities you think a person needs to be an excellent fit for our culture?

Armed with this information, you can then fine-tune your recruitment and selection processes to screen for cultural fit.

Want to create the culture of your dreams? It all starts with the right people.

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

Three signs it’s time to hire

Killing the business you love

“When should we hire our next team member?” is one of the questions businesses most often ask as they grow and evolve. Unfortunately, there’s no one simple answer.

There’s also no guarantee that it will work out.

Sometimes the decision to hire is more a matter of luck and serendipity rather than cold, hard planning.

For example, at Balance at Work we took on a new consultant because she happened to be available at a time when we needed help.

Doing this goes against everything I tell our clients they should do, but it has worked very well for us — this time, at least!

If you’d like to have more science around this critical decision, look out for the signs.

If you’re experiencing any of the following, alone or in combination, it might be time for you to hire one or more new employees.

1. You’re consistently not delivering on your service promises

There can be several reasons your customers are not getting the quality, response times and levels of service they’re expecting.

If all these things were previously running smoothly and now aren’t, perhaps your staff just don’t have the time and resources they need to serve your customers properly.

An increase in any of the following requires you to look closely at the causes and determine if the problem could be solved by hiring:

  • Late delivery of goods or services
  • Projects that are running over time and over budget
  • Complaints and refunds
  • Disputed invoices or late payments
  • Needing to re-do work that’s already been paid for and delivered

2. You and your team are feeling overwhelmed

If you’re awake at 2am worrying about work, something has to give. Hopefully, it won’t be you!

No growing business can go it alone, and if you just saw yourself in that first sentence, my first recommendation is to find yourself a business coach as soon as possible.

On the other hand, you may feel totally in control while your team is giving you signs things are not quite as they should be.

If you notice any of the following behaviours, take the time to find out why it’s occurring:

  • Sudden resignations
  • Unexplained absences
  • Bickering within the team
  • Low morale and a negative vibe
  • Rumours about the future of the business

Once you know that coping with the workload is the underlying issue, you’re ready to take appropriate action.

3. You’re experiencing rapid growth or change

Congratulations! Sometimes we choose to change and sometimes change is thrust upon us. Either way, change brings with it significant opportunities to do things differently.

You can only make the most of your situation if you have the right people on your team.

Some of the business changes that indicate you need to hire more staff are:

  • Increased demand for your existing service or product
  • New services or products added to your catalogue
  • Implementing new processes or structures that require new skill sets

If you find you’re working ‘in the business’ instead of ‘on the business’ most of the time, over a long time, you are setting yourself up for failure.

In fact, failure is almost inevitable if you don’t get to do the important work in your business, instead of just what’s urgent.

It’s a big step to hire a new team member, and doing so requires careful planning.

It can be expensive, and it will be time-consuming.

So we ask ‘Do I really need to hire?’ instead of ‘Can I afford not to?’. When you refer to the signs above, it’s easier to answer both questions.

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

Workplace Giving With Meaning

What comes to mind when you hear about workplace giving? Charitable donations? Team-building volunteering opportunities? Secret Santa? In this article, I’d like to explore some other ideas.

In the season of giving, let’s take the time to recognise and appreciate the ways we give to each other at work every day, not just on special occasions. For some people, giving is what you are paid to do. While for others, it sits outside your job description but I believe it’s still a vital attitude for all of us to have in order to work effectively and to find our joy at work.

Here are some reflections on giving at work, not just for the Christmas season:

1. Everyday giving

.

We already possess them. What’s more, their supply is unlimited. Think about the times you have given freely the following.

  • Your attention
  • Autonomy and empowerment
  • Sincere praise and recognition
  • Constructive feedback and guidance

2. Giving gives meaning

You may not always appreciate it, but each of the items listed above is a gift to the other person in the work context. That’s because it benefits both the giver and the recipient. You don’t have to give the gift, but you can choose to do so.

How does this giving make you feel? Could you get more of that feeling?

3. Appreciate that you can give

Being able to give is a gift in itself. Think about the ways you share your gifts and talents in the workplace. Then be grateful for those who give you the opportunity.

4. Real giving is different from ‘giving to get’

Giving your time, attention or praise is meaningful only if you do it without the expectation of receiving something in return. If you would like to give more, seek out Adam Grant’s book ‘Give and Take’ for inspiration.

5. You can give too much

We sometimes see people who always seem to be giving without looking after themselves. I’m sure you know people like this. It may even describe you.

A typical workplace example of this phenomenon is the team leader who loves to dive in and help the team to solve issues and get their work done. This is admirable up to the point where the leader is taking from their team opportunities to learn and to gain a sense of empowerment. The leader is also sacrificing their ability to get their own work done. In extreme cases, we may see this leader exhibiting atypical dominating behaviour when under stress because continually giving in this way is not sustainable.

In the Harrison Assessments Paradox report, this dynamic is illustrated by the ‘Power’ pairing of the traits Helpful (the tendency to respond to others’ needs and to assist or support others to reach their goals) and Assertive (the tendency to put forward personal wants and needs). To find out more about Harrison Assessments and the Paradox report that covers 12 pairs of traits, click here or contact us.

What do you think?

How and what do you give at work? Why is giving important to you?

There is something worse than rejection. It’s uncertainty.

When was the last time you experienced rejection? Was it following a job application? Perhaps you put forward a brilliant idea that was ignored or discounted by someone else.

Rejection feels dreadful and most people will do whatever they can to avoid it.

You know the feeling. You are so demoralised and discouraged you don’t want to do anything. Remember? Could anything be worse?

As humans, we are programmed to avoid rejection at all costs. Rejection from the family or the tribe meant almost certain death to our distant ancestors. We have evolved to avoid rejection as a very natural survival mechanism.

How does rejection feel for you?

When we fear public speaking, we fear rejection. When we don’t want to make a sales call, it’s because we are afraid the answer will be ‘no’. Rejection again.  As are the times when we don’t follow up on a job application because while we don’t know the answer, we can convince ourselves it might be ‘yes’.

When was the last time you stopped yourself from putting forward your ideas in a meeting because you weren’t sure they’d be welcome? A classic and typical business example of avoiding the discomfort of rejection.

What could be worse than rejection?

We all know how rejection feels. We don’t want to experience it. We also – usually – don’t want others to experience it. In fact, sometimes we go to the extent of lying so we don’t impose rejection on others.

We want the world to see us as friendly, kind people. Within that hope lies fear of rejection. So instead of telling the truth, we choose to generate some uncertainty.

Here’s a scenario familiar to many of us: You apply for a job, you are interviewed and it goes well. The people seem friendly and they say they’ll let you know. You really want that job and you are feeling good about it. There are other jobs you could be applying for but there was something about this one that makes you hold off on going for the others.

A couple of weeks later, you still haven’t heard, so you call. Only then do you find out that the job has gone to an internal candidate. Your application and interview were great, they say, but you just didn’t have the level of experience of the other person.

What would be your preference now? Would you rather have had a clear ‘no’ immediately, or hear it now? What could you have achieved in the meantime, instead of hanging on thinking the job just might be yours?

This post is a plea for us all to be more honest. With those close to us, with team members, with anyone trying to sell us something.

How to handle rejection

When you have to give an answer to the question of employing someone, buying their product or trying their ideas, there are only three possible responses:

  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Later

By being honest about your intentions, early, everyone can move on. The first two options are fairly clear. Use option three only if you mean it. In that case, give the other person a set date when you will be ready to provide a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.

From dealing with the latest telemarketer to management to parenting, this principle will save time and pain all round.

What do you think?

Do you agree we could all be more happy and productive if we were a little more honest with each other? Next time someone tries to sell you an idea, product or service, will you be able to override your fear rejection and give them an honest answer?

Need some help? Dealing with rejection – from both sides – is a key leadership skill. Click here to see how we can help you understand and develop your leadership strengths.

Employee engagement is “everything money can’t buy”

employee engagement

The inspiration for this post on employee engagement came from an unlikely source – a drive in the country. We visited the beautiful Wolgan Valley west of Sydney and historical Newnes. Although there’s no longer a town, there’s a sign that says Newnes, followed by the tagline: ‘Everything money can’t buy’.

When someone works for you, you exchange your money for their labour. That’s the basic economics of labour. There’s nothing about that transaction that imposes a duty on your employee to feel engaged, excited or enthusiastic about their work. They bring their skills, training and experience to work to produce goods or services you sell for profit. That’s the part of the employee engagement equation money can buy.

Doing things that increase employee engagement can certainly cost money, but engagement itself usually can’t be bought.

People want to feel the work they do is making a difference. Making a difference means different things to different people – and this is where many attempts at employee engagement have run off the rails. Answers to the question ‘How do you know your work is making a difference?’ will include answers as diverse as these:

“I know my company always acts ethically”

“The work we do here helps society”

“I have opportunities to contribute to the direction of the organisation”

“I’m learning new skills that will give me a hand in my career and that I can pass on to others”

“My work matters”

Can you tell me where you can buy that sort of employee engagement?

Employee engagement is much more than an annual survey or a new workshop. Employee engagement requires managers to find out what money can’t buy for each person on their team. What can you do to employ their heart and not just their head and hands?

Surveys and workshops, while valuable, are also generic by nature because they don’t tap into individual engagement ‘drivers’. There are many engagement factors to consider. Each person has their unique combination of things that money can’t buy. How do you find out what will employ their heart and not just their head and hands?

A valuable starting point in any employee engagement exercise is to do a serious analysis of employee expectations. With the Harrison Assessments Engagement and Retention Analysis, we examine these expectations in eight categories:

  1. Development
  2. Appreciation
  3. Remuneration
  4. Communication
  5. Authority
  6. Personal
  7. Social
  8. Balance

Here’s a small part of an individual Engagement and Retention Analysis report, to give you a taste of what’s possible:

Employee engagement indiv

We can also analyse the expectations fo any size group. Here’s a tiny snippet of the information you’ll get in a group Engagement and Retention Analysis report:

Employee engagement group

Beyond the colourful graphs, the detailed narrative in each report can help you improve your business results by showing how to increase employee engagement. You will know what people want, how important different factors are to them and how to address those needs to create better performance.

If you would like to experience our unique approach to employee engagement, get in touch!

Employee engagement: 5 ways to kill it

Employee engagement is a favourite topic with employers and staff alike. The annual employee engagement survey always has some interesting results!

With this level of interest and investment in engagement, you’d think we’d be finding people are happier at work. Instead, research shows in survey after survey that overall job satisfaction is remarkably stable with ‘x%’ ready to leave their jobs and move on at any time.

How do good organisations kill employee engagement?

Here are just some of the less obvious ways we’ve seen managers get it wrong – even when they thought they were working on employee engagement.

1. Scrimping on essential resources

A computer system that works is an example of a basic requirement for anyone working in an office environment these days. Unfortunately, that can’t always be assumed to exist. When glitches aren’t fixed promptly, employees waste time and energy on expensive workarounds.

2. Having processes that don’t make sense

The carefully designed process may have made a lot of sense in the meeting that developed it. How much time was spent consulting the people who will have to use it?

3. Taking away employees’ autonomy

Employees want feedback on their work – especially if it’s given in a timely and constructive way. The rest of the time, they like to feel trusted to do a good job in the work you employed them to do. By micromanaging, you remove their sense of autonomy and, ultimately, their engagement and productivity.

4. Failing to invest in career development and training

You hired your staff for specific skills, qualifications, and experience. They probably spent a lot of time and money to get to the point where you could benefit from their investment. Now it’s your turn to make them even more valuable.

5. Expecting staff to compete not collaborate

While you can motivate some employees by having an in-house rivalry, others will feel completely disengaged if they are forced to compete against their colleagues. Can you identify who fits into which group on your team? Or do you just treat them all the same?

What if there was a way to find out how to improve your employee engagement?

The good news is that there are lots of ways. The simplest place to start is asking your staff. You might be surprised by what they tell you – and you’ll know more than you knew before!

Aside from the annual engagement surveys, you can access a range of tools to solve the employee engagement puzzle. Here are a few to consider:

1.  Engagement and Retention Analysis (ERA)

Available from the Harrison Assessments suite of reports, with the data collected in one online short questionnaire, ERA reports are available for individuals and any group size. Click on the images below to see samples.

ERA teamERA report

2.  Weekly targetted check-ins

If you’re super efficient at meetings, then you could do this face to face. A more productive and useful approach could be to use a tool like 15Five that allows you to ask the questions you want to ask. And get the answers you need to take action.

3.  360 degree feedback

Employee engagement is mostly in the hands of your managers and team leaders. Sadly they may not always be delivering the basics you expect. It can take you months or years to find this out if you’re not proactive about getting feedback from staff. We can help you set up a feedback survey tailored for your situation.

Not sure where to start with employee engagement?

We’d love to help you navigate the most efficient and economical way to improve your employee engagement. Find out more or get in touch!

NAGCAS launches 2 new awards

Rising Star Award is a new initiative of the NAGCAS Community, sponsored by Balance at Work, that recognises the work of individuals and teams who are contributing towards new projects in the early stages of development.

Two categories are available in the Rising Star Awards (please see below for entry details):

  • Rising Star Individual
  • Rising Start Project

UPDATE: And the winners are…

We were impressed by the variety and standard of the entries for the inaugural awards and would like to congratulate all those involved. Here are the winners of the first Rising Star and Rising Start Awards:

Rising Star (Individual) Award: Grant Verhoeven, Massey University, New Zealand

Grant is pictured here with finalists Michelle Moss from Edith Cowan University, Western Australia and Jennifer Burke from the University of Southern Queensland. Absent – Diane McLaren, University of Western Australia. Photo credit – Khadraa Mustafa, University of Adelaide.

Rising Start (Project) Award: Joint winners were La Trobe University, Victoria (Project Coordinator, Michael Healy) and from Australian Catholic University (Project Coordinator, Tina Li).

Other finalists in this category were Flinders University (Coordinator, Verity Kingsmill) and RMIT (Coordinator, Piera Ibrahim).

The team from La Trobe are pictured below (L to R): Kelly McDermott, Michael Healy, Dr Michael Emmerling. Absent: Dr Dilhani Premaratna

Entry details

Entries have closed and these details are provided here for your information only…

Entry will be via Nomination and will include a description of the individual or project in accordance with the submission requirements below. Video entries covering the requirements below will also be considered in place of a written submission with a maximum length of 6-minutes. All nominations (written or video) will be showcased on the NAGCAS website.

Rising Star Individual Criteria

A nominated Rising Star Individual is a careers staff member who has been associated with NAGCAS for three years or less.

They are contributing towards new initiatives in the early stages of development with the initiative commencing after 1 January 2016.

Please note that Rising Star (Individual) Nominees will not need to make a presentation.

Rising Star Individual Submission Requirements

  • Images: Individual and Institution Logo
  • Individual details: Name, role
  • Date the individual started in their Careers related role
  • 500 words describing the individual and their contribution to the team
  • 500 words outlining their achievements to date
  • Nomination/Submission Contact: Name, email, institution, role
  • The individual nominated must be a current financial NAGCAS Individual member
  • The nomination form needs to be submitted by a current financial NAGCAS Individual member

Rising Start Project Criteria

A Rising Start Project is a new initiative of a careers team that has the potential to contribute to our sector across any of the following categories: Careers, Employability, Volunteering, Placements & Internships, Leadership, Exchange, Mobility or similar.

Projects can be a sole venture or involve working with another team in your institution or with an external partner.

As these initiatives are new, they do not need to be finished or polished, but must have commenced after 1 January 2016.

Rising Start Project Submission Requirements

  • Images: Project and Institution Logo
  • Project coordinator details: Name(s), role(s)
  • Date the project started
  • 500 words describing project
  • 500 words outlining the project outcomes to date
  • Nomination/Submission Contact: Name, email, institution, role
  • The nomination form needs to be submitted by a current financial NAGCAS Individual member

For questions regarding Rising Star Awards please contact: Catherine Klimeš – (08) 830 27853 UniSA, Adelaide, SA

We look forward to encouraging our Rising Stars to progress to Best Practice entries in the future.

 

Managing complainers on your team

 

Complainers. Whingers. How are you managing this type of employee in your organisation?

Characteristics:

  • Non-stop complaining about the company, the working environment, colleagues and customers
  • Does not see problems as opportunities to improve a situation.
  • Complains about things but walks away when called to take up the challenge to change things for better

Traits to look out for:

  • Low willingness to take up challenges.
  • Has very strong ideas of how things “ought to be”.
  • Low or moderate technical competencies to perform the job.
  • Has a weak desire to improve oneself by taking the necessary actions to learn new skills and adopt a mindset shift to address issues constructively.

Negative impacts:

  • Does not act on constructive feedback
  • May tire out managers through the recurring need to reinforce the same messages time and time again
  • Might not hold personal accountability and fail to deliver results within their area of responsibility.

While this personality type may already be walking around your organisation – and causing stress on the company’s time and resources – it’s important for organisations to take measures to avoid future costly mistakes. And this is where a strategic approach to HR comes in. An operational HR manager focuses on processes and compliance, but a strategic HR manager looks at the bigger picture in the organisation and focuses on the best strategies to curb toxic behaviours within the organisation.

What’s more, interviewing as well as other traditional hiring techniques may not be adequate to weed out complainers. Using the Harrison Assessment can help you avoid hiring these types and help you manage the complainer who is already working for your company.

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

To find out how you can use Harrison Assessments to find the right people for your business contact us here

 

"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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