Archive for May, 2009

Be Bold – Go green

Friday, May 15th, 2009

Green.  Did you just think of money. No, likely you thought planet sustainability. In a short few years, our awareness of climate change has grown and our values have shifted. Wikipedia confirms that yes, green is still a color, and has added new references to the “Green Movement” and “environmentally-friendly” products.

As a business, your bottom line is important and that’s the right focus. You’ve also needed to meet changing market demands to ensure your sustainability. That’s your business. With pressure from customers and competitors, multitudes of businesses are green-shifting products, services and delivery methods. Shades of green (not green washing!) will increase your ability to attract and retain employees.

Socially-conscious employees need to find meaning in their work, knowing their company is positively contributing to the world, and green practices is one way of putting values to action. In a previous tip “Green is the new value” I touched on the reasons for introducing green practices in your workplace. These are fundamental principles that are here to stay. Once we’re through this economic downturn, the war on talent will resume in full force, so these principle are critical to positioning your organization.

Start by reviewing your current workplace practices, vision what’s possible, and work with employees to prioritize changes. Some changes I’m seeing include: reusing office products; reducing energy use by turning off lights, printers, computers; transit passes or discounts; recycling; no plastic waterbottles, cutlery, plates, cups, or other kitchen/cafeteria items; having office cleaners use enviro-friendly cleaning products. A friend who works at ICBC said that the head office escalators are now turned off on Fridays as an energy saving measure–now that’s creative – and impactful. 

Tip: Be Bold

Explore going further, and shift people practices to include: telecommuting, flextime, carpooling, video conferencing to reduce air travel, provide transit passes rather than car allowances, or provide hybrids. Leaders that champion these initiatives and shift personal behaviors for green alignment will see returns from customers, and employees who truly are the greatest asset of any business.

Keeping the People who Keep you in Business

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Retention Strategies

Turnover is costly, both financially, and the time involved to source and integrate replacement staff.  Exiting employees may leave with: intellectual knowledge that is important to your business; client relationships that will need to quickly shift to other staff; and, depending on why they left and where they’re going, they may encourage others to leave. Risky business.

In this economic downturn phase when employee turnover is down, take time to explore retention, gain input from your staff, and implement strategies for future stability.

Before rushing to address turnover by integrating a new compensation plan or talent management strategy as potential solutions, following are some retention principles, drivers and ideas. Elements of rewards and talent management segments may still be required, but do your research to ensure the time, effort and cost in solutions will ‘hit the mark’. 

The strongest relationships between the intention of people to stay and other attributes include such items as pride in the employer overall, the employees’ affinity for the type of work, the leadership skills of management, trust, and teamwork. Creating a supportive environment, one with transparent communication from leadership, where everyone is pulling in the same direction and employee contributions are valued, are elements more important than compensation rewards when thinking retention.

Stay or Leave?

Start by finding out why your employees stay, and what would cause them to leave. Gather through informal conversations, formal interviews, or employee satisfaction surveys. This input will provide you with guidance for your organization-wide retention strategy. Share your findings and actions with staff so they understand you’re listening and committed to this partnership. This openness, dialogue and partnership is fundamental to being a valued organization to work for.

Be a place people want to work

Enhance your people practices to shape an environment where people are proud of the organization they work for, doing work that aligns with their strengths. You’ll be rewarded with motivated employees who share your passion for the business and strive to meet objectives. They’re likely to stay.