Archive for August, 2008

“Recognition Matters”

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

You’ve probably used the phrase “no news is good news”. Well, that doesn’t apply when it comes to acknowledging employees for a job well done. Most employees report that what keeps them motivated and committed is the opportunity to be challenged, achieve results, and be recognized. Recognition itself is consistently ranked by employees as a primary reason for staying or leaving an organization. Gallup Research reports that an employee needs acknowledgement for contributions at least every seven days.

As the recipient of recognition, employees experience greater satisfaction, higher self esteem and increased personal success. Appreciating and valuing employees for the work they do builds team spirit and a positive working environment, both very impactful for organizational success. This is true for individuals from junior to senior levels.

Praise, as recognition, has no monetary cost. Encourage a culture of spontaneous, sincere and personal appreciation of employee efforts. Use this format: 1) give specific examples of the performance; 2) give examples of the personal qualities that allowed them to achieve it; 3) give specific benefits to you, the team and or organization; and 4) give your appreciation.  

Try this
Delivery is everything.  Use a sincere, genuine compliment or words of acknowledgement for outstanding effort and positive results. Rather than saying “you’re well organized”, say “our team was able to focus on their deliverables and meet our deadline because you were well organized and kept the support work up to date”.  Specific, timely feedback will reinforce and encourage employees to continue the behaviour.

Repeat often.

“Hiring for Fit”

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

Recruitment is one of the most important processes an organization undertakes. Without optimum ‘people power’ an organization will struggle to meet its objectives. Recruiting errors are costly financially, and can take their toll on your existing productive employees.

Employing individuals with the right technical skills, education, knowledge, experience plus the motivation and positive attitude is a good foundation to begin your search.  (Typically, this is information on your role description.) However, to “hit the bulls eye” with your hiring, we need to delve deeper to bring in the people that will integrate smoothly with your existing team and organization.

When planning your vacancy profile first make sure you include your culture and competencies to ensure there’s a match between what you need from employees and what you have to offer them in terms of workplace practices, culture, and consistency. Consider your organization from a view of: “who you are”, “what you do” and “how you do it”. A highly motivated sales candidate may not fit into a culture where customer service is a key to the organization’s success. He/she may be rightly interested in your organization as a choice employer, but without the “fit” they’ll be short term. 

As a second step to look for “fit” assess the team of individuals the new hire will work with. At this level, the fit will include the level of expertise, knowledge and skills required. A seasoned team may want to welcome a recent hire or an internal candidate who has shown potential. A team preparing for future changes may benefit from bringing in a highly skilled individual with expertise to share. The team members and manager will make this determination. The team also knows the attributes that will ensure the new hire is a solid fit to their daily operations.

Before you rush in to fill a vacancy, do the “fit” due diligence–your efforts will pay off. 

As a solid HR practice, before your candidate starts working, have a well-planned orientation process including tools and support to ensure they have every opportunity to succeed.

“Green is the new value”

Monday, August 11th, 2008

There are many reasons for introducing green practices in your workplace. Environmental practices are being embraced in the personal lives of your employees, and they’re looking to align those personal values in the work environment. Their sense of what’s important will influence their commitment and motivation at work.

Values are at work in every organization. For example, they are reflected in what the company stands for; how they treat their employees and customers; how they want to be seen by the community; their stance on ethical behaviour; and how everyone at work treats each other. With the environment at the forefront today, progressive employers are taking steps to shift to a more sustainable workplace.

A major Canadian recruitment agency reports that over 80% of candidates ask them about an organization’s green practices when considering potential employers. Whether you’re a large corporation or a small business, green practices will help set you apart from other employers–important for retention of your valued employees. And, our labour market is about to get tighter.

You’ll need executive buy-in, and a group of like-minded people in your office that want to make things happen. Start small and deal with the ‘low hanging fruit’. Find the financial benefits, measures, and most impactful steps that will work in your workplace. These meaningful actions will benefit your employees, customers, and your bottom line. Chart a path and start with small steps – those will lead to more wins.