Thursday, April 16, 2020

What is Job 1?

Let’s keep it simple! A Manager's number one job is to make employees successful! That’s it!

Successful Employees = Successful Managers = Successful Businesses

We can do this many ways, by deciding what is needed, then acting, such as,

  • Teaching inexperienced employees-Show them how.
  • Supporting employees with the resources to do the job-Verify what they need.
  • Coaching employees as they learn-Help fine tune their skills.
  • Tracking progress and providing feedback to build knowledge and skills-Encourage.
  • Intervening if needed to get some back on track-Monitor as required and act as needed.
  • Pushing when they need more confidence-Nudge them when it’s time to step up.
  • Delegating gradually as their expertise develops-You’ll now have time for other tasks.
As in any business situation, Managers assess what is needed and then act on it. Performance management is no different. To succeed, however,

  1. We need to plan. Invest the time. Success doesn’t just happen, but you will be rewarded.
  2. We need to commit to a positive, collaborative approach which holds both parties mutually accountable. *
  3. We need to follow through. (Managers who invest in leadership win big.)
*Employees who have the knowledge, resources and support of their Managers are successful and contribute more effectively. (We already know this.)

There are two key words for implementation,

  • Clarity –

    Ensure the results you expect are clearly understood, so employees have the confidence they know those expectation. Plan together and update if changes occur.
  • Contact –

    Follow through on a plan to collaborate and hold “progress consultations” during the year and a “no surprises” wrap up summary at year end. Consulting enables you to guide, coach, support and encourage, plus acknowledge work well done. Also, employees are then more accountable to let you know their issues and needs.
Managers tell us the vast majority of employees can and want to do a good job. Both Employees and Managers, however, tell us how problematic performance discussions can be. On the other hand, 15-20% of employees actually look forward to performance discussions, stating,

“My Manager supports my success.”

“My Manager lets me know what is needed and helps me get it done.”

“My Manager coaches me when needed.”

Engaged Employees are 20-25% more productive (and their Managers are happier.)

It’s an investment that pays off, big time!

Posted by admin admin at 8:45 AM 0 Comments

Monday, April 13, 2020

Working From Home?

Currently employers are faced with serious challenges unique to their sector and situation. Some will be able to retain staff, but others face losses of talented, trained employees. Government supports have been announced, but what can be done to cope with the immediate situation?

For employers trying to weather the storm, some employees can work at home, but many jobs don’t allow that. So, what to do? We are grasping at straws here, so need to innovate.

All employers want employees to do well and contribute to the success of the business or enterprise. Employers want employees to build their knowledge and skills to contribute to that success. In normal times, however, employers seldom have time to devote to minor priorities.

These are not normal times, so here are some no-cost/low-cost ideas to consider while your capable employees are stuck at home. The options are, sit at home and do nothing, or do something.

1 – Address small, but time-consuming tasks that often get pushed aside, such as,

  • Updating current practices and policies that need to be brought up to speed
  • Assessing day-to-day processes and procedures to improve workflow (staff may know best)
  • Drafting step-by-step procedure guides for new employees or new tasks
  • Draft reports or recommendations on items that need attention (customer service, administration, sales, service, inventory, safety, etc)

2 – Develop new ideas and initiatives

  • Ask employees if there are any ideas, issues or mini-projects that they would like to take on
  • Ask employees to list opportunities to build the business or services you provide
  • Ask employees for ideas on how the business or agency can successfully adapt to the “new normal” once this crisis is over.
  • List ideas for in-house “mini-projects” to build employee knowledge when returning to work.
  • Internal customer service. Are were serving each other well, to serve external customers?
These are just ideas to consider. In some cases they may not be feasible. They are however, based on longer term experience and surveys showing:

  • Most people want to do a good job.
  • Employees want input to decision making (especially experienced staff, but newcomers as well).
  • Most employees want learning and growth.

Everyone says we need to innovate, well here’s an opportunity.

Posted by Dan Furlan at 4:45 PM 0 Comments

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Five Major Management Mistakes After You Hire

1 – Assuming new Employees high motivation will stay that way.

Hopefully they start with high motivation, but your actions must strengthen it with solid plans to get them on board, show them their role and expectations, and support their success. Employers who support and reinforce Employee success receive better efforts in return.

Think of your own best/worst new job orientations! Overwhelming, ignoring, or tossing newcomers into the fray saps their confidence and motivation – Don’t do it!

2 – Assuming new Employees will “just figure it out”.

This is unlikely, or it takes time. Even experienced newcomers need to learn how you want things done. Walk through expectations in detail, reinforce them well, then back off in time, when you are satisfied they are on track.

Managers with well-founded confidence in their Employees are less stressed and get more done.

3 – Not Managing Your Working Relationship.

Employees & Managers need to trust that each is supporting the others’ success. To build a solid working relationship, Managers should initially meet often with newcomers to show the way, stress priorities and encourage questions to help them learn. Once a strong link is established, both are more productive and meetings less frequent.

As we know, poor Manager-Employee relationships cause high stress, turnover and poor performance.

4 – Not being clear.

To prevent confusion, conflict and many other time wasting issues, all Employees need to know relevant policies, practices and norms. Employers can clarify Employee rights and obligations through orientations, briefings and posting of key policies (e.g. code of conduct, harassment, safety, etc) and reinforce norms Employees are expected to meet.

When Employees know the rules and expectations, the vast majority work within them, and operations are smoother.

5 – Overreacting to errors or problems!

Stuff happens! Most Employees want to do a good job. Employees need confidence to make an effort and if errors happen, that a thoughtful approach to resolving and preventing issues will be followed. You can prevent errors and build Employee confidence by training & coaching well, even if mistakes happen.

Employees should not fear you, but see you as a problem solver.

For the few Employees who do not contribute, more firm steps are needed. Carefully consider if the problem was, they couldn’t do the job, vs, wouldn’t do the job! Find out the reason, then act.

Posted by Dan Furlan at 2:05 PM 0 Comments

Monday, December 12, 2016

Confidence…It helps!

It doesn’t come as a surprise to any of us, that the more confident we are, the more likely we will succeed. Discounting those who are overconfident (they too can succeed).

Most common sense is eventually supported by theory where studies show what works in the real world. For example,

Employee Engagement

Beyond traditional motivation, Employee Engagement notes the importance of Employee confidence in that they have the knowledge, skills, tools and support to do a fine job.

Reported results include:

  • higher productivity (e.g. 21% Gallup, 25% Conference Board of Canada),
  • higher profitability (22% Gallup, Business Journal, June 20, 2013)
  • revenue growth (2.5 times higher Hay Group, Aug. 13, 2009 news release)
It’s no surprise when research supports common sense.

Organizational Behaviour

Studies also show that Employees respond to their Managers behaviour towards them. Where low confidence is expressed, either overtly or subtly, Employees perceive it and performance can drop. (Employees are very attuned to messages Managers send out,
knowingly or not)

Fortunately, where the Managers’ behaviour changes to express confidence, previously lower performance has been shown to improve.

The key points are that, Managers matter, and confidence matters.

Intuitively, we all know this, but amidst the weekly rat race, we need to remind ourselves to act on it and plan how to enhance Employee confidence over time.

So, you can choose to:

  • Thank them for a job well done
  • Point out how their work helped, or solved a problem
  • Encourage more autonomy or control
  • Delegate more (but only where it’s welcome)
  • Offer additional development or training
  • All of the above, or,
  • Additional ideas you can think of.
Posted by Dan Furlan at 2:45 PM 0 Comments

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Is Experience is the Best Teacher?

In many cases, yes! We gain essential knowledge, skills and wisdom directly from "doing the job!"

As a seminar leader and instructor, I certainly see a place for concentrated learning off the job, as well, but on-the-job learning offers Employers tremendous benefits at little or no cost at all!

Surveys show us most Employees, especially younger ones, value learning and opportunities. While formal courses and workshops are valuable, on-the-job assignments are a time tested method to build practical knowledge and expertise. After all, apprenticeships have been around for almost 900 years so Employers appear to find some value in them. Also, many professions have specific experiential requirements before certifying or fully qualifying entrance to their ranks.

On-the-job learning is effective in turning rookies into contributors, the sooner the better!

Employers want employees to learn effectively and quickly, to build business success, but often,
  • can’t spare staff for off-the-job seminars or courses,
  • have funding limitations,
  • are not certain as to what specific training is best for impact on the job.
Many Employers are finding, however, that, as well as time on the job, in-house tasks, assignments or projects offer advantages, such as,
  • learning while still in the workplace, and available if needed,
  • a focus on practical, job related learning,
  • needed tasks and projects get accomplished (saving Supervisory time),
  • no cost, aside from time, as learning occurs on the job (e.g. tasks are addressed as time permits)
  • Employee knowledge and expertise is developed
Managers don’t have time for everything, but can build Employee confidence, expertise and performance by assigning needed tasks, such as,
  • problem-solving projects, process improvements, cost reductions,
  • liaison with clients or other Departments,
  • local policy/practice updates, safety assignments, etc.
Valuable tasks can be accomplished, Employees broaden their knowledge and skills, operations run smoother, and, oh yes, training costs are minimized. Not bad!

Hint-Start with your top Employees, then as you progress, expand the practice to others, as feasible!
Posted by Dan Furlan at 12:00 AM 0 Comments

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