Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Five Major Management Mistakes After You Hire

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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!

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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?

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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

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Think / Plan / Act

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Think  •  Plan  •  Act

These three words enable us to build and implement successful business plans (and yes, this includes successful non-profits, as well).

While our world is complex, we can target our efforts on practical, time tested steps to simplify and focus on key priorities. Human Resource practices are, like any other business system, both simple, and complex.

We need to THINK about what we need in,

  • Staffing
    skills and capabilities, how many, when, and what type of people do we really want
  • Orientation
    will they arrive on Day 1, absorb every scrap of info given and contribute on Day 2?
  • Performance
    do they promptly start delivering good performance on their own, or do we have some obligations here?
  • Policies and Practices
    do they quickly learn all policies thoroughly and work within them without reminders?
  • Employee Relations
    do Employees just naturally work with others respectfully and effectively?
Maybe… but to be sure, we need to PLAN systematic steps to get what we need. What is your plan to?

  • Target key skills and qualities in staffing
  • Accelerate new employees fitting in, learning, then building confidence and competence
  • Direct, guide and coach increasingly better performance, and intervene, as needed
  • Clearly communicate and reinforce desired behaviours for smoother operations
We have plans for finance, marketing, sales, productions, customer service, so need a simple, practical HR Plan (as employment is one of the largest expenses we have.)

Successful Employers commit and follow through to ACT on their plans and adapt them over time. The smartest employers, ACT to,

  • Live up to basic expectations of Employees. (Many don’t and disengagement results)
  • Consistently follow through on plans. (Fairness and consistency build trust and results)
  • Support Employee success-Orientation, Training and Coaching pay off big time
If we are leaders, let’s lead the way. Let’s Think, Plan and Act  |  204-232-0903

Posted by Dan Furlan at 2:47 PM 0 Comments

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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