Monday, August 10, 2015

Three Key Employee Relations Strategies

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Think  •  Plan  •  Act

Employee relations has a major impact on performance and productivity. It affects everything, such as, motivation, energy, performance, collaboration and the overall work environment.

Positive workplaces have lower absenteeism, higher productivity, higher retention rates, fewer problems and are simply more efficient. Don’t do it because it’s nice, do it because it’s cheaper!

The Magic Formula is... (not a surprise!) Common Sense – Commitment – Consistency

More specifically, three key strategies combine to build effective employee relations.

  1. A Proactive Preventive Approach
    (preventing problems is always easier)

A strategy of informing and educating Employees on policies, practices, guidelines, their rights and the rights of others, and reinforcing those messages so that all understand “the way we do things here!” Many Employers already have clear policies & guidelines, but these need to be communicated & reinforced consistently by,

  • Effective Employee Orientations & education to clearly set the tone and expected norms of behaviour, then reinforcement to confirm the message,
  • Clearly communicated policies & practices (e.g. public postings, employee handbooks, training, performance guidance & feedback, all reinforcing a consistent approach)
  • Trained, knowledgeable Managers who model & enforce policies consistently, through fair, balanced & transparent practices. Actions speak louder than words!

  1. Positive Problem Solving
    (when issues do arise)

Train Managers to take a positive, open, non-accusatory approach to resolving issues. You earn trust with Employees who have erred, but have the potential to step up and contribute. They are more committed to the solution. A non-judgmental inquiry often simplifies the next step.

  1. Counseling/Discipline
    (when 1 & 2 haven’t worked!)

When needed, a strategy to legally, fairly and assertively address and resolve issues. A few Employees pose continuing problems, where a stronger approach is needed, such as counseling, warnings, reprimands, suspension and, if necessary, termination of employment.

Here, an assertive, but a balanced approach can not only resolve the issue, but also confirm the Employers’ effective approach for others to see. Consistency & reinforcement have impacts.

These three approaches are key parts in a comprehensive employee relations strategy providing,

  • fair and equitable processes, balance and consistency, that,
  • work within laws, policies, collective agreements and the principles of natural justice.  |  204-232-0903

Posted by Dan Furlan at 4:15 PM 0 Comments

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Opportunities for Influence

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Think  •  Plan  •  Act

Great Performance! Effective Employee Relations! Retention of Valued Employees!

They don’t just happen by accident. Successful Managers develop strategies to systematically and positively influence employees and the organization.

They don’t just hire great employees and hope for the best! They think ahead, plan for success, then put a lot of discipline and hard work into making sure the right things happen, consistently.

They take advantage of the Opportunities for Influence we all have, such as:
Planning for Success
  • Think ahead. (You do have time for this step. How long do you plan to be in business?)
  • Identify positive, successful behaviours you want in your organization (e.g. key values).
  • Establish action plans to hire for, promote and reinforce those behaviours (e.g. teamwork/collaboration, conscientiousness). Don’t just hope they happen.
  • Promote your values when recruiting and on your website (e.g. teamwork, initiative, etc.).
  • Stress these priorities with candidates and select for them as well as knowledge & skills.
  • NOTE – a golden opportunity that many organizations miss big time!
    Remember the poor orientations you have had, and don’t make the same mistakes!
  • Get ‘em early! Confirm and reinforce mutual expectations and key values immediately.
  • Use a planned, step by step approach to welcome, then gradually grow, new employees
  • Don’t ignore or overwhelm newcomers. Teach them gradually, don’t just process them.
  • Ensure employees are fully trained to do what you want done.
  • Assess upgrades or ongoing training over time. (e.g. an annual development plan).
  • Reinforce key values and positive skills in your training. (E.g. collaboration)
Performance Development
  • Ensure Clarity as to both Task and Behaviour expectations (e.g. how to treat others)
  • Provide planned Contact to consult on performance during the year, not just at the end
  • Reinforce key values and other positive behaviours such as, internal customer service, problem solving, accountability, continuous learning, etc.
Employee Relations
  • Communicate key values and organizational expectations. (e.g. mutual expectations)
  • Reinforce those values to confirm expectations.
  • Ensure your internal two-way communication systems are effective, to build trust.
  • Intervene promptly and effectively on issues to reinforce organizational expectations.
  • Take a fair, balanced approach, you build trust and credibility.

Recognize and exploit your Opportunities for Influence for simpler, more effective management!  |  204-232-0903

Posted by Dan Furlan at 10:35 AM 0 Comments

Friday, June 26, 2015

Performance Partnerships

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All Managers need Employees to perform well and succeed. In surveys, Managers state that the vast majority of Employees are quite willing and able to do a good job. So far, so good!

Logically then, performance management meetings should be positive, win/win discussions as both parties collaborate on plans, processes and results. (In some cases, this actually happens.)

Unfortunately Managers and Employees, consistently say performance discussions are stressful and discouraging (a recent survey indicated 46% of Employers consider appraisals ineffective.)

  • Hint 1 – It’s not the form! (Everyone hates the form! That’s not the problem!)
  • Hint 2 – It’s not the people! (Most Employees & Managers want to do better!)
Where we go off track (while a few others get it right)

  1. Performance development is not seen as the top priority. (Yet we need it to build results.)
    Performance planning and appraisal are considered “add-ons”, to a Managers’ job.
  2. Few Managers are trained in communicating goals, feedback, and coaching for results.
  3. Employees often have little real input in the process, finding it frustrating and stressful.
    (Yet, as their confidence & expertise increases, they could make greater contributions.)
What to do?
  1. Recognize the Managers’ job is to get results, through the success of their Employees.
  2. Commit to provide Managers with time, processes and training to get those results.
  3. Develop a practical plan for the organization to enhance the performance of each Employee.
  4. Engage & partner with Employees, balancing training, support and accountability to perform and succeed.
  • Commitment – make a high commitment to a practical, more effective performance building plan, train Managers well in the process.
  • Clarity – clearly define with Employees, the results expected and how to get them.
  • Contact – mandate consultations with Employees during the year to collaborate on progress, issues & results

We need to support Managers in building performance & results.
Don’t leave it to chance.  |  204-232-0903

Posted by Dan Furlan at 3:02 PM 0 Comments

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