Category Archives: Teams

Timely feedback leads to better performance

Many high-performing companies, especially in the startup and tech sectors, are happily dropping the traditional performance review.

Instead, they favour giving and requesting feedback when it can have the most impact on performance — both at the individual and business level.

(If you have children or a dog, you have no doubt already discovered this!)

The business benefits of more timely feedback

As external markets, including the labour market, change rapidly, the one sustainable competitive advantage a business can rely on is its staff.

To unlock value, employers need to engage their employees. We are fortunate today to have employees who are more educated, more mobile and who expect to apply their skills. They want to be involved, recognised and developed at work.

Implementing timely feedback builds engagement, grows skills and enhances productivity, which leads to better overall business performance.

What about your business?

Even if your business is not a fast-growing startup, in some instances you’d probably like to raise certain issues or topics well before the next round of performance reviews or staff surveys.

For example:

  • There’s something in your systems and processes that is frustrating for clients and staff.
  • One of your staff has an idea that could revolutionise your business.
  • You have a manager who is acting as a bottleneck for their team.

In situations, a timely feedback approach could pick up early signs so you can take appropriate action. At the same time, the organisation is showing employees that someone is listening. Both outcomes allow your business to become more agile and productive while engaging employees.

How can a business have timely feedback with minimal effort and maximum effect?

In the past five years, a completely new category of apps and online programs has emerged for this purpose.

If you already use a software package for performance appraisals or staff engagement surveys, it’s possible your provider also has a simplified feedback tool in their catalogue.

With more options coming onto the market all the time, you can find one that precisely suits your needs – if you know what you’re after. A few points to consider are:

  • What’s your purpose?
    If you are looking for a continuous feedback tool to replace your traditional performance appraisals, you might look at WIRL and similar apps. On the other hand, if you are looking for a replacement for a suggestion box or staff survey, you might investigate 15Five. If the primary motivation is to increase engagement, look at hppy or Tap My Back and similar tools. Most of the apps mentioned here perform multiple tasks, so it’s possible to find a good match to your needs.
  • Simple questions or a survey?
    Some systems allow you to customise and schedule specific questions on a weekly basis, while others may provide a set of questions that you can distribute as a survey and less frequently. Think about how much control you would like to have and how much data you want to collect. Keep in mind that more information usually means more work, at least in the short term.
  • Anonymous or identified?
    This depends on your current culture and levels of trust in the organisation. If answers are anonymous, people may be more open but you will likely get more noise in your system. When feedback is not anonymous, employees need to know they will not be penalised in any way for a controversial opinion. The advantage to having respondents identified is that you will be able to show your appreciation for their individual contributions, seek further clarification if needed, and work with them on ideas and solutions.
  • Frequency and timing
    Quality feedback is more likely if your app is easy to use, doesn’t take more than a few minutes to complete and will work on mobile devices. The most efficient and effective will simply become a regular part of your workflows, just like a weekly staff meeting — only shorter and more productive!
  • What happens to the data?
    This point should be both first and last, because it is so important. Just as you wouldn’t introduce a new CRM without knowing its features and how you plan to use it, starting to use a feedback app without a plan for how you’ll treat the results would be a waste of time. Don’t start until you can articulate why you’re doing this and how you’ll use the data. The same applies if you’re not ready to acknowledge and act on the feedback.

A word of caution

Time spent with your staff setting ground rules and training at all levels will make your feedback system much more meaningful and productive.

To feel confident using the new feedback process, every user must be clear about the expected feedback standards. They also need to believe someone will appreciate their opinions and ideas and take action based on them. With the most advanced — or most simple — feedback process, covering the basics first is the key to uncovering better performance through timely feedback.

Now’s a good time to consider what you could gain through timely feedback. Would you want to risk losing people because they feel their input is rarely required and mostly ignored, but will be valued by one of your competitors? Alternatively, would you prefer to tap into the knowledge, skills, experience and creativity of your staff through timely feedback?

The choice is yours.

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

What’s going to happen when you lift that rock?

Have you ever lifted a rock and found an ants’ nest underneath? How did the ants react?

I bet they ran around like crazy!

A conversation I had today reminded me of this experience. I was talking to someone who is managing a team where the previous manager micro-managed everything the team members did. They had no authority to make even minor decisions on their own and being corrected, coerced and cajoled was part of their everyday working life.

The previous manager was the rock, sitting hard on top of the team. Keeping them in check and letting them know exactly where they stood – and where they couldn’t go.

Enter the new manager. A manager who expects the team to take responsibility for their own work. A manager who is not interested in the minutiae of what that work entails. A manager who won’t give direction on every task. A manager who expects them to think for themselves.

The rock has been lifted and the team has gone a little off the rails…

When they’re not used to having any freedom or responsibility, it’s not hard to imagine how that might happen. It may even be frightening for them. They may be feeling as if things are spiralling out of control.

How do you remove the rock without creating chaos?

  • Be clear about the expectations
  • Let the team know they have your support
  • Be there for them as they adjust to the new world they live in (the air, the light!)

There may be one or two who get lost along the way but be assured an ant colony can rebuild at a remarkable rate. Human teams can be equally surprising in how quickly they reform and perform.

Hiring for customer relationship success

Relate to your boss

Customer relationships are so important — no matter what the role or organisation. 

When selecting staff, we may think that the technical skills they possess, their experience and their qualifications are most important in our decision-making process. We may pay less attention to the so-called ‘soft’ skills, and often this is where we see it all fall apart further down the track.

What should we look for when we’re hiring?

‘Nice’ is the enemy of excellence when it comes to choosing staff with the right traits to deliver the highest expected standards of service to your customers and their own peers and managers.

Excellent customer service in any role requires:

  • Empathy
    The ability to identify with another person and to express that empathy when dealing with customers and co-workers.
  • Optimism
    A positive outlook and an expectation that there can be a favourable outcome to any customer interaction, including complaints.
  • Self-motivation
    A natural tendency to take the initiative to help a client and to be enthusiastic about helping them — and a willingness to take on new challenges.
  • Helpfulness
    A natural inclination to put others’ needs first, so that the customer will always feel that they and their needs are important.
  • Diplomacy
    The ability to be tactful and communicate effectively in even the most stressful situations.
  • Outgoing
    Happy and comfortable to meet new people. Even a naturally reserved person may be able to be outgoing when required, provided this is not their main job.
  • Learning
    A willingness to learn from mistakes will lead to continuous improvement with benefits for your organisation.

How do we identify employees with these traits? 

At every stage of the recruitment and selection process, you can be on the lookout for signs of the characteristics above.

  • Application letter
    Do they demonstrate an enthusiasm for the role and the challenges it represents? Have they shown that they understand the role and your requirements?
  • Resume
    Does their work and study history show that they have a customer service orientation? Even if they haven’t worked in customer service, there will be indicators in the way they describe previous roles and in other aspects of their resume, such as voluntary work.
  • Interview
    While enthusiasm, politeness and a positive attitude are easily noticed, they are also sometimes easily faked. Make sure you dig deeper to get real examples of how the candidate has acted in the past to provide excellent customer service. When you do, be listening for evidence that they possess the traits we have listed above.
  • Work preference testing
    There are multiple psychometric assessments that are available which will give you detailed information about a person’s natural tendencies with regard to customer service success. Some will also flag any unhelpful behaviours that may appear when the person is feeling stressed.
  • Reference checking
    Make sure you ask about how the prospective employee usually interacted with customers and other staff. Have there been any instances where they have failed to provide the best service? What was the situation and how did they handle it? Did they learn from the experience?

It will never be possible to predict customer service success with 100 percent accuracy, but taking the steps above can help you identify and hire staff who have the best chances of delivering the levels of customer service you and your customers expect.

Remember, these steps are important for any person in any role that interacts with others.

What will you change next time you’re hiring?

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

How to delegate effectively

hire for culture

Delegation is one of the top three people-management challenges for business owners and managers. The other top challenges are hiring the right people and managing poor performance. All three require us to step outside our comfort zone.

Why is delegating so challenging? How can we do it better?

Most things you’ve achieved in your business career have involved some element of control, be it control over money, your environment, or yourself.

Eventually your career reaches a point where to achieve more you have to let go and hand over at least some control to other people. No wonder this is a bit frightening! Instead of feeling a sense of relief, often you are instead feeling quite anxious and uncertain.

How do successful delegators achieve so much? They excel at getting things done through others because they know how to do five things, and — given time and patience — you can do them too.

1. Know your staff

You are comfortable doing certain tasks yourself because you have a deep understanding of what you can and can’t do, what challenges you’re willing to take on and what support you might need. Make it your goal to find out these things about your staff to make delegation easier.

When you know more about their capabilities, task preferences, goals and limitations, it will help you to trust them to get the work done. You may also avoid some potential pitfalls in assigning work because you’ll be more likely to achieve a good fit between the person and the task.

2. Be clear about why

You know the reason for the task — and for passing it on to someone else. Make sure they also understand your intentions when you ask them to do something.

3. Be clear on outcomes — the what and when

What result are you expecting and when? How will they know when they’ve done what’s required?

4. Don’t try to control the how

Micromanaging is not delegation. If you have enough confidence in someone to delegate a task to them, then take the next step and trust them to get it done.

Their methods may not be identical to yours, but if they reach the desired outcome while adhering to company quality standards and policies, does that matter?

Instead of looking over their shoulder, you can relax and get on with whatever it was that you were going to do now you’ve delegated that task. Who knows, they might also find a better way to get it done.

5. Stay approachable and available

The biggest delegation ‘fails’ happen when a manager dumps work on a team member but is too busy to explain, answer questions or monitor progress. It’s the fastest way to ensure you won’t get the outcome you expected.

Distance is a difficult thing to navigate when delegating, especially in the early days, but aiming to be consistent in your approach will help you and be less confusing for your team.

Effective delegation is a skill based on a set of practices you can learn and expand. The tips above apply whether you are delegating work to your staff, colleagues, contractors or freelancers.

Making the effort to delegate well is worth it.

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

Should You Allow Remote Work At Your Company?

This article by David Hassell first appeared on the 15Five leadership blog, reproduced with permission. Balance at Work partners with 15Five in Australia to deliver employee engagement software to businesses of all sizes. Contact us for more information and a free trial – advice@balanceatwork.com.au 

See Full Infographic Below

It’s no secret that remote work arrangements have become more prevalent over the last decade. These scenarios range from employees working from home once or twice a week, to nationally or globally distributed teams, or even companies who have no offices and operate exclusively from the cloud.

Just how prevalent is remote work becoming, and what unique challenges do remote teams present for managers? According to the US Department of Labor, over the past five years there has been a 50% increase in companies that have the majority of their teams working remotely.

We were so curious about this phenomenon and its impact on business, that we surveyed hundreds of managers, supervisors, and executives about their experiences. This included participants working in large and small businesses, in every major department, and in just about every vertical. Here’s what we discovered:

– 53% of companies continue to have standard workplaces, with nearly every employee coming into the office 4 or more days each week.

– 37% have a main office with some people working remotely.

– 10% have no office space at all.

Many people believe that this shift is being driven by millennials, who desire flexible work arrangements to optimize work-life balance. 24% of respondents agreed, saying that remote work improves the quality of life for their employees. Others like remote work because it saves on overhead and allows them to access a global talent pool.

But remote work can also be a scary prospect for managers who may feel that employees will shirk their duties or that relationships with managers and other employees will suffer. So we asked how flexible work arrangements really impact employee performance and communication.

63% of respondents said that communication with remote employees was the same or better than with in-house employees, and 21% of our respondents found that productivity and performance improved on remote teams.

The shift from clocking-in at a desk to working from home is being made possible by advances in technology. Communication and collaboration toolshelp keep teams connected and productive no matter how far apart they are geographically. Many of these tools are available on mobile devices, which have also become far more prevalent. In fact over two-thirds of respondents answered our survey on a mobile phone or tablet.

No matter what tech you use to stay in-touch, ask your remote team these weekly questions to keep relationships strong and to ensure alignment with team and company objectives:

1) How have you improved your remote working skills this month? Have you identified any challenges?

2) What has communication been like with team leaders, managers, and directors?

3) What are your primary goals this week/month/quarter?

Check out the infographic below for the latest remote work trends, and for techniques that managers can use to keep their distributed teams connected and on-task.

15Five-Workplace-infographic

 

7 Fascinating Employee Engagement Trends for 2016

This article by David Mizne first appeared on the 15Five leadership blog, reproduced with permission. Balance at Work partners with 15Five in Australia to deliver employee engagement software. Contact us for more information advice@balanceatwork.com.au 

According to Bersin by Deloitte, “employee engagement has become the top issue on the minds of business leaders, directing us to an entirely new model of management”. But what does employee engagement even mean?

Few business buzzwords are more ubiquitous, yet the exact definition of employee engagement remains elusive. This becomes even more problematic when you consider Gallup’s seemingly ambiguous subcategories of not engaged, and actively disengaged.

I like to define employee engagement as proactively and passionately adding value while aligning with the company mission. This can be hard to quantify, but an engaged employee wears it on their face, demonstrates it in their work and in their workplace communication. Kind of like how former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart defined obscenity: “I know it when i see it”.

Once we know what we are looking for, we need to be able to measure it, and more importantly create more of it. Here are 7 engagement trends for the coming year, and advice for you to create a more engaged workforce in 2016:

1. Engagement will go up (but just a little).

According to Gallup’s latest poll: employee engagement has been pretty stagnant. Only 32% of U.S. workers were engaged in their jobs in 2015, compared to 31.5% the previous year. Given the other trends below, and the fact that engagement has risen from 29% in 2011, we can expect to see the needle move in 2016. But probably not more than a point or two.

2. Millennials will (still) provide a challenge.

In 2015, millennials became the largest generation in the US workforce. That number is expected to rise dramatically as more boomers retire and more graduates start their careers. Some predictions are as high as 75% of the workforce by 2030! (Although that myth was debunked in this Wall Street Journal post. It’s actually more like 44%).

Whatever the specific number, Generation Y is now the majority. Businesses seeking to engage employees in their work will now have to tailor their approaches to this group. Research suggests that they are driven by open communication, a great company culture, involvement with causes, and achieving purpose and fulfillment.

3. More compassionate leadership.

People don’t quit their jobs, they quit their bosses. It turns out that the opposite is true too. An inspiring manager creates more engaged teams.According to research by leadership development experts Dr. Brad Shuck and Maryanne Honeycutt-Elliott, “higher levels of engagement come from employees who work for a compassionate leader—one who is authentic, present, has a sense of dignity, holds others accountable, leads with integrity and shows empathy”.

4. More employee feedback more often.

We conducted an employee engagement study in 2014 and found that the vast majority of employees who received little or no feedback were actively disengaged. Engagement went up dramatically when employees received feedback about their weaknesses, and even more so when they received feedback about strengths.

Data is always nice to have, but the feedback/engagement connection is also intuitive. How much more engaged are you in any relationship, when you are having open and honest conversation about what matters most?

5. Work/Life Balance will become Work/Life Blend.

The Society for Human Resource Management, found that the best companies are embracing flexibility. For many job-functions there is no longer any good reason to require people to come into the office every day, or for work to be done between the hours of 9am and 5pm. (I am writing this from my kitchen table at 7:30 at night). More companies will continue on this path as long as the numbers prove it’s working.

6. People analytics will grow.

In his article published in Harvard Business Review last month, Sean Graber argues that it’s important to look at employees’ perceptions and behaviors and their impact on performance. Managers can then decide how to shift things to increase engagement. In Sean’s consulting, he melds analytics with qualitative feedback by looking at aggregated data from surveys as well as self-reported behaviors:

Over time, organizations can track how their employees’ engagement changes and how it relates to key performance indicators (KPIs), such as sales, customer satisfaction, and attrition.

Josh Bersin also chimes in with his article, The Geeks Arrive In HR: People Analytics Is Here. According to Bersin the shift towards “big data in HR” began in 2011 and exploded rapidly. He predicts that people analytics will be its own department that will look at productivity, turnover, and the people-issues that drive customer retention and satisfaction. In the coming years businesses will rely on hard data to pre-empt disaster by determining when engagement will suffer or when people are considering leaving.

7. Technology will focus on the employee.

Bersin (I love this guy!) explains that the HR technology market moves in 5-7 year cycles of rolling-out, implementing, and replacing tech. We are now in a transitional phase between two cycles.

One of the biggest trends we are seeing is the arrival of a “new breed of pulse tools, feedback apps, and anonymous social networking tools”. These advanced methods for having regular check-ins with employees to understand where they are being challenged will eventually replace annual performance reviews.

Business is a living, breathing entity. It undergoes change, grows and recedes, gets broken and heals. The people are the individual cells that work together to ensure that the entity is healthy, productive, and thriving. In 2016, the brain (leadership) will have more tools at its disposal to predict and improve employee engagement. Maybe in 2017 Gallup’s survey will report a positive radical shift in how people show up to work.

David is not a fan of the terms “thought leadership” or “content marketing”, but he’ll keep using them…for now. Follow him on twitter @davidmizne.

 

5 easy ways to boost staff morale over the holidays

staff morale

Nothing kills a sale faster than grumpy or disinterested staff. Whatever type of customer-facing business you run, you can’t afford to have the morale of your staff turn away customers during the peak holiday season.

Here are five ideas to keep your staff motivated while they’re working hard.

1. Communicate

Let staff know what to do, how they should do it and by when. Have clear goals that are easy for all employees to understand and rules that are easy for them to follow. For example, they should know if you value efficiency above customer care or if both are a priority.

Set goals for sales figures, but remember to notice when they are going above and beyond your expectations to please your customers.

2. Educate

It’s frustrating for customers when your staff don’t appear to know their jobs or your products or menu, and it’s embarrassing for your employees. Investing time in training will result in more confident staff and better sales figures.

When you train on the job, constantly observe and assess new team members and give them constructive feedback. If you notice something wrong, correct them in private, let it go and move on.

3. Challenge

Your staff are at the frontline, so they know better than anyone what is and isn’t working. Ask them for their input and ideas. This simple form of recognition can be a big morale booster because it shows you value your employees as partners in the process. You can reward the best suggestion with a prize if competitions and contests motivate your staff.

Asking for their input also helps them to feel part of a team that is working towards a common goal — even if that goal is simply surviving the rush!

4. Appreciate

You can let your employees know that you appreciate the extra effort they put in over the holidays by rewarding them in ways additional to simply paying them.

A simple, genuine ‘thank you’ or other verbal recognition of a job well done can help them go the extra mile when needed. Other low-cost ways of showing your gratitude and keeping them energised include providing free snacks and coffee or paying for their parking.

5. Motivate

When thinking of rewards such as higher commissions or bonuses, consider how you will measure success. If you run a sales contest, for example, will all the team receive a bonus when the business meets the overall target? Consider a grand prize for the top performer in sales, customer service, teamwork or ideas — or all. One business we know even gives a prize for the person showing the most Christmas cheer on their busiest days.

Finally, if you know your team well, you can make your rewards more personal and, therefore, more motivating. Some may appreciate ‘gold class’ movie tickets over a party or public recognition. Others may get a real boost out of seeing their achievements complimented on your Facebook business page. Your cheerful, friendly and helpful staff are the key to reaching your holiday sales targets — and staying sane. By aligning business goals, personal motivation and rewards, you ‘ll find the winning combination for high staff morale.

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

 

5 tips to manage your staff during the holiday rush

career help

For many businesses, including retail and hospitality, the holiday season brings many opportunities. Increased traffic, a higher turnover of stock and – if all goes to plan – higher profits. One of the challenges, however, can be managing your staff.

If the holiday season means increased traffic for your business, here are some tips to help you manage the needs of your staff – and keep customers happy so you can make the most of the holiday spending spree.

1. Plan ahead

While you probably know from past experience when to expect a rush, determine what specific days and times will likely be the busiest. Consider checking other variables, such as the schedule for nearby events or the weather forecast if they could affect your rush times.

When planning, also review the employment rules in your industry and make a list of good sources of casual and temporary staff. (Tip: Ask your current employees.)

2. Manage all leave in advance

Determine, communicate and stick to your criteria so you are not only fair but also transparent.

As far as possible ensure that:

  • Leave is taken before or after the holidays.
  • You give staff a closing date for leave applications.
  • You base the leave priorities on pre-set criteria that might include seniority, need, performance and reasons for the leave. For example, a senior level employee who wants to attend a close friend’s wedding would probably receive priority over a junior employee who asks for time off to see a concert.

3. Let your stars shine

Instead of keeping your best staff busy on tasks that don’t directly contribute to higher sales, arrange the workload to maximise their customer interaction. Chances are they’ll be happier and more productive, too, if customer service is their strength.

This may require you to rethink when and how routine tasks get done so you don’t take your stars away from serving the customers. For example, we spoke to a hairdressing salon manager who hires extra cleaning help during the busy pre-holiday rush so the stylists can focus on the clients and not on cleaning up. This has the added benefit of keeping the salon look neat and clean, even on the busiest days.

4. Make breaks easy

Your employees need their breaks – especially when it’s busy – so they can continue to provide the level of service your customers expect. Make sure you’re clear with them about how and when breaks will happen. It’s critical that you manage breaks so that your key customer contact points are never understaffed.

If you rotate breaks and encourage employees to return on time, staff will feel they’ve been treated fairly and haven’t been overworked. You can make things easier for your staff by, for example, organising food supplied to your premises during the busiest periods so employees don’t have to spend time fighting crowds.

Remind your team always to take their breaks out of sight of customers, so you avoid the unwelcome situation of customers waiting for service while they can see your employees on a break.

5. Expect the unexpected

Even the best-laid plans can fall apart in the pressure of the holiday season, so it helps to have some contingency plans when it comes to staffing. Ahead of time, work out what could go wrong and what you could do about it if it did. Even if you’ve only rehearsed a situation in your head, you are less likely to panic when things go off the rails, making it easier to get back on track when needed.

It would be great to be able to say ‘Wave my magic wand and you won’t have any problems’ but real life doesn’t usually work that way. However, by planning ahead and using your imagination, you may find can have both happy customers and happy staff this holiday season!

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

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.

How to get ROI for workplace training

workplace training

Remember the last time you organised workplace training for your team? If you’re like most businesses, there was probably some tipping point that led you to hire a trainer or send staff to a workshop.

Whether it’s due to client feedback or concerns about staff productivity, a common scenario is a small ‘niggle’ that festers and grows until someone decides they’ve had enough and it’s time to throw some money at it in the hope the situation will improve.

There may also be more than a little wishful thinking in the mix because the problem’s now shared with a third party who might just have a magical solution.

Unfortunately there is no magic wand! However, here are some ideas you can use next time to ensure you’re spending your learning-and-development dollars wisely.

1. Identify outcomes

You’ve briefed a trainer and organised the venue, catering and participants. Great! Now, before the session, you should spend at least as much time deciding how you will know if the training has been effective.What are your measures of success? What’s the goal you’d like to achieve?

Think about the appropriate targets that you can measure both before and after the session. For a time-management workshop in a professional service business, for example, this may be the number of client calls, completed tasks or new proposals in a given time period. Once you’ve determined your measures, record your starting figures.

2. Have the right people in the room

It may seem obvious to you which staff need to attend the training, but don’t be afraid to think laterally.

In the time-management example above, it makes sense to broaden your scope to other team members who will impact the staff you want to train. Despite all the best information and intentions, your training attendee won’t have a hope of managing their time better if they are continually interrupted by their peers or even by a micromanaging boss (which does happen). Do other staff need to be in the room too?

3. Monitor and measure

Most businesses do a great job of collecting participant feedback at the end of a training session. This is useful information, but nowhere near as important as what happens when the post-workshop enthusiasm wanes and reality hits. Then it’s time to pull out your targets from the first step above and decide on the time frames for measuring performance against the targets. You will then have the data you need for making decisions not only about the return on investment, but also about future training and coaching needs.

Smaller businesses don’t typically assess the effectiveness of training. It’s not because they don’t care about getting value for money — it’s because they haven’t thought through how it could be done. With these ideas for getting ROI on your training dollar, you can make it a priority for your next training program.

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

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

 

"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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