employee management

Linking Desired Behaviors to Strategic Objectives

 

Sean McCoy shares a concise post from his company blog that identifies six levers to influence behavior.

Our third article in a series about incentives. Incentives are powerful levers for business leaders to change behavior. Sadly, incentives are often under-utilized and mis-used tools.

Employee behaviors are a crucial element to every aspect of a business. In some regards, the only way to implement a CEO’s strategy is to change behaviors. If behaviors are not changing, plans are not being implemented, and strategic goals are not being achieved.

Executives have at their disposal a set of integrated, inextricable levers to influence employee behaviors to achieve operational, financial, and strategic objectives. The framework illustrated in Figure 1 captures major drivers of employee behavior. In our experience, we have seen this approach work in settings as diverse as Fortune 500 firms, start-ups, governments, sports teams, military units, and nonprofits.

 

Key points include:

  • Learning and growth
  • Incentives
  • Reporting

 

Read the full article, The Levers to Influence Behaviour, on mccoyconsulting.com.

 

How Pat became a Trusted Leader

 

Darryl Stickel shares a candid post on executive coaching, and how working with one mid-level manager revealed the problem and the solution to becoming a more effective executive leader.

One of the primary differentiating factors between good and great leaders is the ability to understand and build trust. The more senior a leadership role we take on, the less direct control we have over outcomes. We become more and more reliant on those who report to us for our own successes. In fact, at very senior levels, all of our goals and aspirations depend on the work of others.

Research and experience have repeatedly shown that higher trust levels within an organization lead to higher levels of employee engagement, organizational citizenship behaviours, profitability, and performance. There is conclusive economic evidence that organizations with higher trust levels perform better. In short, leaders who can build trust will run organizations that perform better and are more likely to be successful.

In this article I will be reviewing the story of “Pat” (not his real name), an executive I coached through various stages of his professional development. Pat’s needs and skill sets changed over the course of his career, but elements of the need to build trust were always present.

 

Key points include:

  • Dealing with a listless and passive team
  • Learning through failure
  • Giving tough feedback 

 

Read the full Story of Pat on TrustUnlimited.com.

 

Cost-effective Tips for the Pro-active Business Leader

 

Bernie Heine provides a few cost-effective ways to boost employee engagement, productivity, and loyalty.

Showing gratitude to employees is essential, and a good and easy way to do it is with employee incentives that don’t cost money.

A good business leader should reward the employees when they deserve it. However, the reason why they often shy away from it is that it costs money. While one could argue that losing valuable employees is more expensive, there’s a middle ground. There are ways to increase motivation in the workplace that are free. With these employee incentives that don’t cost money, business leaders can make their employees feel valuable without breaking the bank.

Reasons to provide employee incentives that don’t cost money

Having your business transferred without delays was easy with the right company by your side. But someone else also took the burden of your relocation – your faithful employees.

Even if no significant changes have happened, your employees might have been doing their best for a while now. Through rewards, you get to increase productivity and show them you value them. Furthermore, you’re setting an excellent example for other employees by showing what values are important to your company. And since it’s so easy to show appreciation with cost-free employee incentives, there’s no reason not to do it.

 

Key points include:

  • Certificates
  • Flexibility options
  • Communication

 

Read the full article, Employee Incentives That Don’t Cost Money, on the ProfessionalBusinessCoach.com.

 

Identifying the Strengths and Weaknesses of a Leader

January 28, 2021

 

Peter Costa shares a lesson from history to illustrate why leadership without management renders a leader ineffective and possibly dangerous. 

What do you think of when you see the word “management”?

Probably nothing good.  Management seems to have become a dirty word, the antithesis of what a real leader is supposed to be.

I believe it’s time to rethink that view.  To be a truly effective leader, you need to develop a full suite of both leadership AND management skills. 

Leadership is the act of setting a vision and then bringing people along with you to achieve it.  It encapsulates empathy, courage, humility and integrity.  Management is about planning, directing, organizing, and monitoring to ensure things go well.  It requires competence, diligence, and discipline.   

Leadership and management are what a good leader DOES.  One without the other is ineffective at best and dangerous at worst.  A quick history lesson can illustrate this point.*

It’s almost Memorial Day in the US.  For those that may not be familiar with it, this holiday began as a way to remember the service members killed in the US Civil War (1861-65), the bloodiest and most transformational war in this nation’s history.  And while we probably spend too much time scouring history’s battlefields trying to understand what makes a great leader, there are some broad parallels between their period and ours that merit a deeper look.

 

Key areas explored include:

  • The leadership of General George McClellan
  • The danger of arrogance
  • The successful leadership of Ulysses S. Grant

 

Read the full article, Leadership and Management – you need them both, on LinkedIn. 

 

How to Read Behavioral Signals 

 

Nora Ghaoui shares an article that identifies how to read the signals that predict what people will do next. 

Have you ever been in a situation where something happened, say, a relationship ended, and you thought, “I should have seen it coming”? Would you have wanted to see it earlier so you could do something about it? You can. You can see things coming by paying attention to the clues in people’s behaviour that tell you what they will do next.

Signals in behaviour

I call these clues “weak signals”. They are the things that people say or do that may seem insignificant the first time that you experience them. But they’re not insignificant. They keep coming back, and they get stronger each time, until you reach a situation that requires a reaction.

I once worked with someone who missed an important project review meeting due to illness. Then he missed another due to an urgent medical procedure. Over time, he missed several more meetings. No one thought anything of it besides concern for his health.

But it turned out that he hadn’t been ill at all. He’d created excuses to avoid meetings that would show that he lacked the credentials that he claimed to have. Pretending to be ill was the weak signal for pretending to be qualified. Once he was found out, he was dismissed.

Why do weak signals exist? A person’s behaviour reflects their attitudes, personality, or capabilities – which change slowly, if at all. When we’re with other people we look at their behaviour to determine if they’re friendly, reliable, caring, and so on. We observe their body language, listen to what they say, or watch how they treat other people. We put together an image of who we think a person is, and we refine our image over time as we spend more time with them.

 

Key points in this article include:

  • Observing the signals
  • Using the signals
  • Creating change

 

Read the full article, Weak Signals. How to Predict what People Will Do Next, on Veridia.com.

 

Understanding the Why in Story

December 5, 2020

 

Jesse Jacoby shares a post that illustrates the importance of story, and why the corporate story is the key to engaging employees.

We all love a good story, whether our preference is for fiction or nonfiction.

It doesn’t matter if you’re reading a book, watching a movie, or listening to the news, expanding your mind watching a TEDx talk or listening to a podcast. All these media use stories to communicate their messages.

Why?

One reason is because it makes the message more interesting. We may miss the importance of a fact if the information is presented in a boring way; but when it is woven into a story, it can reveal a message that we otherwise would have missed.

 The best storytellers make us feel that we are part of narrative. They make us laugh because of the circumstances or cry by getting us to experience the emotion that the characters do.

And it doesn’t matter if the characters are portrayed as human beings or animals, as George Orwell’s Animal Farm so aptly illustrates. Kids as well as adults identify with them because they recognize something of themselves in them, and often they desire to become more like them.

Another reason stories are told is because people will often take action as a result. It is why the authors of many non-fiction books create personas. They want their readers to be able to easily identify and personalize the principles that they describe.

 

Key points in this article include:

  • The power of ‘why’
  • Motivating behaviour
  • Organizational stories

 

Read the full article, Why Stories Matter to Your Organization, on EmergentConsultants.com.

 

A Framework for Organisations on Building Trust – Remotely

 

Zaheera Soomar shares a comprehensive and well-researched paper that highlights a framework organisations with remote and virtual teams can use as a guideline to build and maintain trust.

Trust is an important concept in assessing and measuring business behaviour from an organisational performance and culture lens, and has become a source of competitive advantage for organisations especially within the knowledge economy. Studies show that organizations with a high level of trust have increased employee morale, more productive workers, and lower staff turnover. Most organisations factor and measure trust as part of keeping a pulse on their organisational culture and design their initiatives around building and maintaining trust. While it is not impossible to build trust virtually, it certainly is harder and requires a different set of considerations. There has been a big shift by organizations catering for more remote and flexible work conditions over the past decade with the “virtual team” becoming the norm. The recent impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have forced most, if not all, organizations to move in that direction faster than planned. With this movement to more remote working conditions, that are likely to have longer-term impacts, companies will be faced with challenges that virtual teams typically face in establishing and maintaining trust.

 

Three key areas covered are:

1) Foundational

2) Organisational

3) Individual

 

Read the full paper, A framework for building and maintain trust in remote and virtual teams, on F1000Research.com

 

 

Resources to Boost Pandemic Productivity 

 

Christy Johnson provides two valuable resources with reviews of tools to help guide your team through the current pandemic situation and maintain productivity, boost morale, and ensure effective communication.

 

The internet is saturated with ‘remote work tips and tricks,’ ’10 ways to stay focused,’ ‘best home office tools and gear,’ and other guides to make remote work more productive. At Artemis Connection, we believe there is something missing: research-based tools to foster employee morale and effective team communication and collaboration. Through our focus groups and interviews, we have seen that companies who foster morale and an accepting culture outperform the competition. That’s why we’ve compiled our list of the top remote work tools to foster collaboration and effective communication.

 

And of course, if you’re interested in research-based tips to maximize your productivity as a remote organization, check out our Navigating the New World of Remote Work report.

 

Key points in the resources include:

  • Team communication tools
  • Tools to establish employee routines
  • Tools to show employee appreciation
  • How to make remote work work for you
  • Management considerations
  • How to innovate virtually
  • Logistical solutions

 

Read the full article, Tools to Foster Collaboration & Effective Communication Remotely, and access the links to the PDFs on Artemisconnection.com

 

Practical Steps to Employee Retention 

 

As the disruption continues, many businesses struggle to retain their employees. This post from David Burnie’s company provides strategies that can help keep employees on board, engaged, and motivated.

Happy, successful employees are critical for a successful company. While companies must consider how to retain employees at the best of times, employee retention is an especially pressing topic during the COVID-19 pandemic. As Ontario continues social distancing indefinitely, maintaining an engaged staff will offer a sense of stability to companies amid flux.

How can companies retain top talent to ensure maximum productivity, motivation and success?

Employee retention strategies can be implemented by employers to ensure that employees feel valued and engaged, even with current remote working practices. This can support lower turnover rates, higher productivity and improved organizational performance.

 

Suggestions included in this article:

  • Recognition programs
  • Professional development opportunities
  • Health, safety and wellness programs
  • Communication 

 

Read the full article, Employee Retention Strategies During COVID-19, on the Burnie Group website.

 

How to Manage Your Company’s Culture during COVID-19

 

Sarah Ralston Miller and Zaheera Soomar co-authored this article on how to support and strengthen company culture during the current crisis. 

Through the Covid-19 pandemic, our world of work has changed almost overnight. In the past few weeks, we’ve spoken with senior leaders at organizations with whom we have been working to strengthen their ethical culture. These leaders understand that their culture is an essential resource to navigate through the current crisis, and are finding new ways to cultivate ethical culture under these radically-changed circumstances. Drawing on our conversations with leaders across business and civil society, here are a few reflections on ways to guide your own culture during this period.

Be deliberate about your remote-based culture. It is important that we understand how the shift to remote work environments impacts our organizational culture, no matter how temporary we hope it will be. Being intentional about what we put in place can enable benefits and mitigate risks. Transitioning to remote work without building a corresponding culture creates multiple risks, including loss of employee engagement and inclusion, impact to productivity, lack of connectedness between individual and overall organization goals, increased fragmentation and risks of misconduct related to changing accountabilities.

 

Areas covered in this article include:

  • Remote-based culture
  • Communication
  • Scenario-planning
  • Agility and adaptability

 

Read the full article, Cultivating Culture in a Crisis, on the Principia website. 

 

How to Survive and Thrive Post COVID-19

 

In this detailed article, Surbhee Grover identifies the decision-making inputs and new market approaches that will be required to survive in the new economy.

For entrepreneurs, coming out of COVID-19 isn’t the end of a crisis. It’s the beginning of a new way of thinking about their approach to product-market fit, financing, marketing and go-to-market strategies. And for some, will be a time to reflect on their personal approach to risk. The exponential pace of change to society will mean that only those entrepreneurs who have the greatest ability to adapt will survive. 

Framing how the world will be different is important, as these differences will both unlock new opportunity and create new goalposts for innovation, user adoption (B2C and B2B), team building, product-market fit, and venture funding. We believe a few things will be true:

 

Areas covered in this article include:

  • Brand relationships
  • Purchasing behaviour
  • Migration of talent and teams
  • Re-imagined supply chains
  • Data needs and sources

 

Read the full article, Shakeout of the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem What will it take to survive? And thrive?, on LinkedIn.

 

How to Build an Effective Work from Home Policy

 

As more employees work from home, it is important to establish clear guidelines and routines, this post from David Burnie’s company provides ten questions businesses should ask to ensure the switch to working remotely runs smoothly. 

Establishing a work from home (WFH) program is an essential part of a business continuity plan.

In the current COVID 19 crisis, executing a work from home (WFH) policy is a top priority for organizations. A robust work from home policy will enable an organization to continue operating during a significant disruption while limiting the impact on employees and customers.

A WFH policy requires a broad set of considerations to ensure it is adequately developed, including the provision of tools (e.g., laptop, headset, increased VPN capacity) and revised processes and practices. To assist organizations in making the shift to working from home, we developed ten questions to consider to build an effective WFH policy.

 

Points covered in this article include:

  • Tool required
  • Secure access
  • Scheduling
  • Tracking and managing performance

 

Read the full article, Work from Home Best Practices, on the Burnie Group website.

 

Measurements that Don’t Deliver Results

 

Dan Markovitz explains why some methods of measuring performance and quality seriously lack the data to make an impact.  

Pity the employees at a Starbucks in midtown NYC. In a misguided attempt to improve quality, the management posts monthly scores on a variety of metrics. . . without understanding anything about effective use of metrics. Measurement is a good idea, but only if it’s done well. These measurements? Not so much. 

If you read Mark Graban’s blog or book, you’ll immediately see problems with this chart. For one thing, three data points don’t make a trend. With no upper and lower control limits, the movement in scores is nothing more than management by emoji — we have no way of knowing whether the movement is just random noise in a stable system, or a real signal indicating something significant happened. And why are they looking at the scores monthly? By the time they see a decline, it’s far too late to figure out what the root cause was and how to address it.

 

Read the full article, When Leaders Torture Their Employees, on the Markovitz Consulting website.

 

How to Realize the Potential of Human Resources

 

Stephen Redwood provides answers to commonly asked questions that help his clients increase the strategic value of Human Resources (HR).

If there is one thing that has been a constant over my years in HR and decades as a consultant, it has been the sense that the HR function is too often a supplicant to other functions and lacks the confidence to see itself as an equal. So, when clients ask me how they should be thinking about the evolution of their own HR function, in my mind is the question of how to overcome this mindset and establish a better understanding of how it can provide greater strategic value. 

With that said,Winston Churchill’s words “It is always wise to look ahead, but difficult to look further than you can see” resonate with a challenge that faces HR: people and cultures take time to change so, what exactly should one be changing to and with what timeframe in mind?

 

Questions covered in this article include:

  • Given no constraints, what is the most positively impactful contribution HR could make to the organization?
  • How can HR gain the “permission” and latitude to achieve its potential?
  • What should HR be working harder at?
  • How can HR gain sufficient agility to build and sustain a high impact contribution?

 

Read the full article, How Can We Increase the Strategic Value of HR?, on LinkedIn.

Talent, Culture, and Company

 

It takes more than talent to become a valued employee in today’s workplace. Sherif El Henaoui identifies the benefits of finding the right fit. 

Top people are desired. Every company wants them: the intelligent, creative, endurable, high-performance worker. Since this desired workforce is rare, there is a “war” as suggested by the HR literature. I once heard a quote of a McKinsey partner commenting on the Internet bubble crisis saying, “We won the war for talent, but we ended up with too many prisoners.”

Cultural fit

We want to suggest a more peaceful view on the matter. High-performance is also a result of the cultural fit. This applies to societies and corporations. An aggressive, forward-looking sales professional works well in one type of company but is perceived as too pushy and less collegial in another. Is that the fault of the employee?

 

Read the full article, Fight Your Own War for Talent, on LinkedIn.

Sharing the Equity in Your Business

February 2, 2020

 

Mike Cox answers a question that is close to the heart of every business owner and entrepreneur who may be considering bringing new people into the business, “How much equity should I give a new hire.”

 

This question greys the hair of every business owner and entrepreneur. After all owners bear the burden of risk regardless of how they answer that question and the more that they choose to let go of equity, the less they feel like an owner and the more they feel like any other executive -except that they incurred a risk others didn’t.

While holding equity is fundamental to being a business owner, the distribution of equity from owners to employees is not fundamental and happens for a wide variety of reasons – some justified and others misguided. And while few employees would ever shun being given equity, their rationale for and level of interest in equity varies for many reasons.

 

Points covered in this article include:

  • Equity distribution, the tool of last resort
  • The appeal of equity to employees
  • Alignment of agendas

 

Read the full article, Don’t Give Equity away too Freely, on the Cox Innovations website.